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Venezuela shipping subsidized oil to Cuba as people at home are starving

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One reason for the near-total collapse of Venezuela’s economy has been the dramatic decline in world oil prices. But at the same time, Venezuela’s government-run oil company has been crumbling from within, producing less oil every month because of incompetence and mismanagement. In fact, last month was the lowest level of oil production the nation has seen in 30 years:

Venezuelan oil production crashed to a new 30-year low of 1.5 million barrels a day in June, the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) said today…

According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Venezuela’s economic collapse is one of the worst in modern history. The economy has shrunk 45 percent since 2013 and the IMF expects it to contract 15 per cent in 2018 alone, with inflation reaching 13,800 per cent.

It turns out that stacking the nation’s leading industry with socialist cronies isn’t great for actual oil production. But even as the nation faces five-digit inflation and people starving at home, President Nicolas Maduro continues to ship subsidized oil to his buddies in communist Cuba. The Miami Herald explains why:

News reports that a shipment of 500,000 barrels of crude was on its way this week to the port of Matanzas in northwestern Cuba sparked indignation among many in Venezuela, a country suffering under the worst economic crisis of its history.

The oil that Venezuela supplies to Cuba equals about 55,000 barrels per day and costs about $1.2 billion per year, money that could help the country curb inflation, import urgently needed medicines or provide food to the 9 million Venezuelans who say they eat only once per day…

Why?

“Because Cuba today is the real mainstay of his power,” said De La Cruz. “Without the Cuban support, Maduro would have been gone a long time ago. Havana today is supplying him with the instruments of repression and the intelligence apparatus that allows him to stay in power despite the tornado he faces.”…

“There have been purchases of light crude in the open market, Russian crudes, and these are sent to Cuba,” said Juan Fernandez, former PDVSA executive director of planning.

That’s extremely expensive, Fernandez added, “but Maduro’s commitment to the Cuban regime is indestructible. Venezuela goes hungry before he stops sending barrels to Cuba.”

A security analyst tells the Herald that if not for Cuba’s help, Maduro would be unable to prevent some of the plots aimed at removing him from office. So he’ll continue to pay however much he must to keep Cuba happy, even as people in Venezuela have resorted to butchering dogs in the street.

Inflation has become so bad that a cup of coffee now costs 1 million bolivars. The cost of a haircut is about the same. Everyone in Venezuela is a millionaire and nearly everyone is starving. As the report below shows, regular people have started to abandon money altogether and are returning to a system of bartering like something out of a post-apocalyptic movie. This is what you get in a state that adopts socialist policies: hungry people, useless money, and a security state that sees the people as a potential threat to its continued existence.

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Report: White House aides expecting Whitaker to “rein in” Mueller’s final report on Russiagate, block any Trump subpoena

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There’s not even a pretense that he’s in this role for any reason other than protecting Trump from Mueller, is there?

In fact, this NYT story claims that the White House’s first contact with him in July 2017 was to discuss “joining the president’s team as a legal attack dog against the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III.” No wonder he ended up at the top of the DOJ. From the beginning Trump seems to have conceived of the position of Attorney General as head of his de facto legal defense team. Once Sessions declared that he wouldn’t play that part by recusing himself from Russiagate, his usefulness to Trump was over.

It’s funny that the White House thinks there’s some way to muzzle Mueller at this point, though, especially with the opposition party set to take over the House in eight weeks.

People close to Mr. Trump believe that he sent Mr. Whitaker to the department in part to limit the fallout from the Mueller investigation, one presidential adviser said.

White House aides and other people close to Mr. Trump anticipate that Mr. Whitaker will rein in any report summarizing Mr. Mueller’s investigation and will not allow the president to be subpoenaed.

He knew exactly how to appeal to the president: “By October of last year, Mr. Whitaker was telling people that he was working as a political commentator on CNN in order to get the attention of Mr. Trump, said John Q. Barrett, a professor at St. John’s University School of Law who met Mr. Whitaker during a television appearance last June.” His cable-news gig was a job tryout in the administration, chock full of soundbites that were skeptical of Mueller, not coincidentally. It worked like a charm.

That being so, it’s impossible to take the report floating around today that Whitaker won’t try to cut the special counsel’s budget as a sign that he plans a hands-off approach to the investigation. He came to Trump’s attention for his willingness to criticize Mueller, ultimately landing a role as Jeff Sessions’s chief of staff and now as acting Attorney General. After all that, how does this wild journey end with Whitaker standing aside and letting Russiagate proceed to the end unimpeded? It would be an even bigger betrayal of Trump’s expectations than Sessions’s recusal was.

But if the plan is for him to bottle up Mueller’s final report — which is submitted to the Attorney General, remember, and remains within the Attorney General’s discretion to releas — that’s not going to work. My pal Karl knows why:

On Earth 2, where Republicans retained control of the House, *maybe* Mueller would have maintained a sphinx-like silence after submitting his final report to acting AG Whitaker. The media would have begged for interviews but Mueller and his deputies have been a vault to this point (publicly, at least). On Earth, however, Mueller will be called to testify before the House Judiciary Committee and House Intelligence Committee, both in open and closed sessions. His core findings will leak. The actual report itself might leak, whether from anti-Trumpers at the DOJ or from House Democrats who’ve finagled a copy somehow. Having Whitaker try to formally suppress the release when the public is an uproar about seeing the contents would achieve nothing except underlining how deeply shady the Trump-Whitaker arrangement appears. It’d be smarter to have him release the report and then set Trump’s spin doctors to work making the case that, if anything, the contents largely/partially/somewhat vindicate the president. Why would they want to suppress something that makes him look good?

Whitaker blocking a subpoena of Trump from Mueller would backfire for all the same reasons. It would reek of cronyism; Democrats would expose it; it would inflame the public more than the subpoena itself would; and thus there are more politically astute ways to deal with it. Trump could go to court and try to have the subpoena defeated there, or he could state upfront that he’d assert his Fifth Amendment privilege if called to testify and therefore Mueller needn’t bother. “How could I submit to questioning in a witch hunt?” he’d say. “I’d be validating this garbage process!” All of his fans will side with him and any political hit he’d take among non-fans will fade by 2020, especially if Mueller’s final report doesn’t directly accuse him of anything.

I don’t think Whitaker will do anything to Mueller while in office. Even if he wants to, the bad headlines he’s generating for Trump likely mean they’ll push him out and propose a permanent nominee sooner rather than later. One more tidbit on Whitaker and his relationship with Sessions, this time from CNN:

In recent months, with his relationship with the President at a new low, Sessions skipped several so-called principals meetings that he was slated to attend as a key member of the Cabinet. A source close to Sessions says that neither the attorney general nor Trump thought it was a good idea for Sessions to be at the White House, so he sent surrogates. Whitaker was one of them.

But Sessions did not realize Whitaker was having conversations with the White House about his future until the news broke in late September about Rosenstein

Whitaker and Sessions didn’t have a prior relationship before Sessions — at the urging of the White House — accepted Whitaker as his chief of staff. Sessions interviewed him and the two grew to have a good working relationship. Sessions liked him, but even if he didn’t, the plan was already hatched for him to take the role, according to one source familiar with the matter.

Let me get this straight. Whitaker spends months on CNN in 2017 criticizing Mueller; then, coincidentally, the White House pushes him on Sessions as his new right-hand man; and not until September did Sessions have an inkling that maybe Whitaker had been working against him? Trump probably wanted him as Sessions’s chief of staff to begin with so that he could serve as the White House’s eyes and ears on Russiagate inside the DOJ. Plus, having Whitaker as a DOJ employee made it easy to satisfy the Vacancies Reform Act in the event of a vacancy at the top of the Department. Remember, under the statute the only way to bypass Senate confirmation for a temporary appointee to a position like AG is to choose someone within the upper ranks of the same agency where the vacancy opened up. That is, if Trump wanted a handpicked (temporary) successor to Sessions and didn’t want to worry about the Senate, he needed that person installed in a top job at the DOJ first. And whaddaya know? Whitaker was appointed chief of staff to Sessions last year. Trump’s probably quietly been eyeing him for this moment for many months. You would think he’d have asked to someone to research Whitaker for any political vulnerabilities during that time, but oh well.

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MUSLIMS Storm Jewish Kristallnacht Remembrance Vigil in London – Start Screaming About Killing Jews (VIDEO)

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On November 7th a vigil was held by pro-Israel activists in London on Speaker’s Corner in Hyde Park. A few dozen activists with Israel Advocacy Movement gathered there ahead of the anniversary of Kristallnacht, the 1938 Nazi pogrom in Germany and Austria.

But the vigil was shut down when angry Muslims stormed in screaming about killing Jews.

The Muslims were screaming about the Khaybar, a historic event mentioned in the Koran when Muslims slaughtered hundreds of Jews in the seventh century.

The Jewish group decided at that point to call off their vigil.
They appeared to be outnumbered about 4 to 1 by the Muslims.

JTA reported:

A vigil held by pro-Israel activists in London for Jews murdered in Arab countries was dispersed after men shouted in Arabic about killing Jews.

The event by the Israel Advocacy Movement was held Wednesday on Speaker’s Corner in Hyde Park, which is known for its culture of free speech and passionate street preachers championing various causes.

A few dozen people holding Israeli flags and candles gathered there ahead of Kristallnacht, the 1938 Nazi pogrom in Germany and Austria, to highlight the suffering and slaying around the same time of many hundreds of Jews who were killed and wounded in pogroms across the Arab world.

Joseph Cohen, an Israel Advocacy Movement activist, filmed the event as about 20 men drowned his talk shouting “Jews, remember Khaybar, the army of Muhammad is returning.”

The cry relates to an event in the seventh century when Muslims massacred and expelled Jews from the town of Khaybar, located in modern-day Saudi Arabia. Some of the men shouted about “Palestine,” surrounding the pro-Jewish activists and shoving them.

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Ignored ICE detainer causes release of illegal alien who goes on to murder 3

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Each one of these stories is tragic and they crop up all too often. Sadly, we have to keep on highlighting them because you generally won’t hear much about it from the mainstream media. This one was flagged by our colleague Timothy Meads at Townhall. Last December, Luis Rodrigo Perez, an illegal immigrant from Mexico, was arrested in Middlesex County, NJ on domestic violence charges. ICE issued a detainer for him, which the local officials refused to honor and Rodrigo Perez was released.

Now, as all too often happens, the story has taken a tragic turn several states away.

An illegal alien previously detained by a sanctuary city in New Jersey has been accused of killing three individuals in Missouri, but federal authorities argue that these crimes could have been prevented if better cooperation existed between immigration officials and local enforcement.

According to Fox News, “Luis Rodrigo Perez, 23, a native of Mexico, is charged with fatally shooting two men and wounding two others on Nov. 1 and fatally shooting a woman the next day.”…

“Yet again, an ICE detainer was ignored and a dangerous criminal alien was released to the streets and is now charged with killing three people,” Corey Price, the agency’s active executive director, said. “Had ICE’s detainer request in December 2017 been honored by Middlesex County Jail, Luis Rodrigo Perez would have been placed in deportation proceedings and likely sent home to his country – and three innocent people might be alive today.”

For their part, the authorities in Middlesex County are trying to blame this on ICE. They’re saying that ICE failed to issue an order which would have “authorized Middlesex County to turn over custody of Mr. Perez.” But that’s the upshot of what a detainer does. They asked Middlesex to hold him so they could pick him up. Instead, he was released and now two men and a woman are dead in Missouri.

Why is this so difficult? We’ve allowed politics to poison the system to the point where authorities in these sanctuary cities, counties and states can’t even cooperate with federal immigration authorities over someone charged with domestic violence? I thought that was one of the triggers which would qualify anyone for detention and deportation. If you’re part of the far left, you can at least make the argument that illegal aliens with zero other crimes on their rap sheet should perhaps be given a break. But that’s not the case with Perez. This isn’t the sort of person we’re supposed to be putting on a smooth pass to amnesty.

Now, instead of sending him back to Mexico, he’ll be tied up in U.S. courts (and probably prison) for decades to come. Small comfort to the families of his victims.

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