The Kensington Review

25 May 2016


Cogito Ergo Non Serviam

Latest Commentary: Volume XV, Number 100

Violence Attends Trump Rally in New Mexico -- Violence was in attendance at a Donald Trump rally in New Mexico last night. Protesters inside the convention center in Albuquerque disrupted the candidate repeatedly, and security removed each of them while Mr. Trump abused them from the podium. Outside, protesters threw burning T-shirts, rocks and plastic bottles at horseback-mounted police. The police responded with smoke grenades and pepper spray. This isn't the first outbreak of violence at a Trump campaign stop, nor will it be the last. At least, it won't be until and unless the candidate stops inciting violence. [25 May]

Pro-Green Independent Beats Far Right for Austrian Presidency -- The Federal Presidency of Austria is largely a ceremonial post. In theory, he or she appoints the Chancellor and cabinet ministers, Supreme Court judges and military officers. The president can dissolve the National Council (the lower house of the legislature). In practice, the president acts much as the British monarch, reigning rather than ruling. Still, the office symbolizes the Austrian nation, and so it is with great relief that one can report Alexander Van Der Bellen, an environmental activist, has defeated the Freedom Party's Norbert Hofer, a proto-fascist. One is less happy to report that the race was so close that it required the counting of postal ballots to determine the victor. [24 May]

Obama Lifts Arms Embargo Against Vietnam -- Barack Obama is in Vietnam, the third presidential visit by an American leader since the end of the Vietnam War. Since the Reagan years, Vietnam has been under an American arms embargo and has purchased most of its defense equipment from the Soviets/Russians. With China making aggressive territorial moves in the South China Sea, the Obama administration has decided to life the blanket arms embargo and link future sales to improvements in human rights. The decision is more symbolic than practical, but it is a step toward a balance in southeast Asian politics. [23 May]

Netanyahu Makes Deal Moving Israel Further to Right -- Since the last Israeli election, the nation has been led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who commands just 61 of the 120 votes in the Knesset. A year ago, when he assembled the current coalition, he said, "Sixty-one is a good number. Sixty-one plus is a better number,"signalling that he would be seeking ways to add to his majority. This week, he accomplished that by added Avigdor Liberman's Beiteinu Israel party and its six votes. The price was Mr. Lieberman's appointment as Defense Minister and a move even further to the right. The unlikely prospect of some kind of peace in the region has grown more distant. [20 May]

Congress Starting to Move on Puerto Rico Debt Problem -- The American Commonwealth of Puerto Rico is in debt. It owes $70 billion with a GDP of $103 billion (as of 2013). However, this is somewhat fictitious given its few natural resources, its reliance on tax breaks to attract business, and its current unemployment rate of 12.5% aggravates a 45% poverty rate among its 3.5 million US citizens. The simple fact is that a level of debt that should be manageable (debt-to-GDP below 70) isn't. It has already defaulted on $400 million. A payment of $1.9 billion is due July 1. Congress has finally started work on legislation to avert disaster. [19 May]

Copyright 2016 by The Kensington Review, Jeff Myhre, PhD, Editor. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written consent. Produced using Ubuntu Linux.


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