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Trump’s Cuba restrictions are a needed message on human rights

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If there’s one thing I’m actually very happy with about President Trump, it’s his mostly consistent message on human rights. While President Obama talked the talk and did his liberal virtue signaling thing on freedom and basic human rights, he was woeful on walking the walk–most liberals are because of their confusion on mutually-exclusive “intersectional” causes. (For example: Islamophobia and transphobia, or women’s rights and Palestinian activism.)

Trump has no such confusion. He deals with China, and tells them to their faces that they’ve got an abysmal problem with freedom. He admires Vladimir Putin while recognizing that his kind of “leadership” carries with it some terrible costs in personal freedom.

When it’s necessary, Trump takes on the brutal dictators and doesn’t let them off the hook with platitudes. He’s done it with Mahmoud Abbas (after naïvely believing the PA isn’t paying and raising up terrorists). He’s done it with the UN through Ambassador Nikki Haley.

And now he’s sending a message to Cuba, dialing back some of the dictator-love Obama showed to the brutal Castro regime. Good.

Trump will sign a directive requiring the Commerce and Treasury departments to issue regulations spelling out the travel and business restrictions. Enforcement will take effect once the regulations are finalized. For example, someone heading to Cuba next week on an individual people-to-people visit and self-certifying that it is for educational reasons could still go.

The new regulations will end these individual person-to-person trips and require travelers who meet other categories of allowable travel to keep detailed records. Eliminating the individual travel category is designed to reduce the likelihood of tourism travel — a type of economic activity banned by the U.S. embargo and a combination of sanctions against Cuba, the officials said. The travel records would be subject to federal audits.

These changes aren’t just to punish Cuba. They are specifically to push the Cuban regime to make real changes.

 

  • Deny U.S. dollars to the Cuban government.
  • Increase pressure on President Raul Castro to end human rights abuse.
  • Allow free elections.
  • Free Cuban political prisoners.
  • Return U.S. fugitives to the homeland.
  • Institute changes that will convert the government-run economy to one dominated by private businesses operated by Cuban citizens.

The U.S. embassy in Havana and Cuba’s Washington embassy will remain open.

This is probably the best of both worlds. Complete disassociation with Cuba didn’t accomplish anything for 50-plus years. Now that they’ve had a taste of American tourists and cruise ships once again, maybe they’ll have an incentive to take some active steps–if baby steps.

Sen. Marco Rubio, who had input into the new proposed rules, agrees.

“All the pressure comes from American business interests that go to Cuba, see the opportunities and then come back here and lobby us to lift the embargo,” Rubio told the [Miami] Herald. “I’m trying to reverse the dynamic: I’m trying to create a Cuban business sector that now goes to the Cuban government and pressures them to create changes. I’m also trying to create a burgeoning business class independent of the government.”

Around the world, engaging on business, being direct with political leaders and dictators, while maintaining a pro-human-rights stance is one of the best things I’ve seen about this frequently-self-hobbled administration. Keep it up.

 

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Judiciary

Jeff Flake has become a punchline

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Jeff Flake has become a punchline

There are conservatives who oppose the President through conscientious means and with discernment of who to support and what to oppose. Then, there are “conservatives” like Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ).

In his final days in the United States Senate, Flake has decided to go out with his conscience intact. At least that’s what he’s telling himself and anyone who would listen. In reality, he’s going out with his middle finger raised to the man he blames the most for his career failures: President Trump.

Flake has threatened to hold up judicial nominations until the Senate votes to protect special counsel Robert Mueller. Let’s set aside the likelihood that such an action by Congress would be unconstitutional with Article 2 giving the President wide powers over the Justice Department. That’s a debate for Constitutional scholars.

Instead, let’s focus on what Flake is actually doing. He’s willing to jeopardize the judicial system which desperately needs an infusion of originalists just to fire a parting blow at the President. That’s really what this comes down to. He’s not obeying his conscience. He’s not protecting Mueller. He’s not trying to right a wrong. He’s being a child.

He’s a punchline.

Even if there was a real threat that President Trump might somehow interfere with the Mueller investigation, this wouldn’t be the way to try to protect him. All Flake is doing is pulverizing the few pieces of his credibility that were left standing.

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Democrats

Good news for the Democrat agenda: McConnell and McCarthy will lead the GOP

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Good news for the Democrat agenda McConnell and McCarthy will lead the GOP

Trumplicans chalked one up for the status quo yesterday when they chose Paul Ryan’s right-hand man, Kevin McCarthy, to be the party leader in the House and unanimously re-elected Mitch McConnell to lead the Senate. Both men were endorsed by Donald Trump for the jobs.

Despite the fact that Republicans suffered the worst mid-term defeat since Watergate, McConnell and McCarthy touted a list of vague GOP accomplishments that conveniently failed to mention the party’s failure to keep their promises, which is why the Democrats won last week.

In an opinion piece for FOX News, McConnell bragged — now try not to laugh — about how the past two years of Republican leadership “will be remembered as a period of historic productivity.” He then challenged the new Democrat majority in the House to put aside partisan politics and work with Republicans to get things done.

Apparently, the concept of irony is lost on McConnell. Outside of the GOP’s alleged success at saving the Supreme Court, Democrats and Republicans have always been working together, which is why they still fund Planned Parenthood, Obamacare, DACA, and sanctuary cities with massive new spending that exploded the budget deficit.

While McConnell and McCarthy have adopted Trump’s “blame the Democrats for my failures” playbook, the sad reality is that Republicans favor the Democrat agenda because it’s their agenda; bipartisanship is a given.

Based on developments during the lame duck session, it’s going to be worse when the 116th Congress opens for business in January.

Nancy Pelosi called last week’s victory a mandate to save Obamacare and she will promote legislation designed to move America closer to a single-payer healthcare system. Trump has a track record of support for Obamacare and he promoted single-payer healthcare during his 2016 campaign.

Following the recent shootings in California, Pelosi announced that she would make gun control a top priority. Trump and the GOP have actively promoted radical gun-control legislation, including: seizing guns without due process, establishing an FBI database to track guns and gun owners, and requiring a license to own a gun.

Now comes word from the Democrats that they will work to bring back a classic of Bernie Sanders and Democratic Socialists — a federal minimum wage of $15 an hour. As expected, Trump appears to be a fan of the idea.

During his 2016 campaign, Trump supported raising the minimum wage to at least $10 and hour. And as part of the recent US-Mexico trade deal, he fought for and won a $16 an hour minimum wage for auto workers on both sides of the border in an effort to price Mexico out of the auto industry. Ironic because he’s essentially admitting that mandatory minimum wages eventually result in lost jobs.

Even thought economic advisor Larry Kudlow recently stated his preference to see the federal minimum wage eliminated, Trump’s history of flip-flopping on this along with a host of other issues, along with his 2020 re-election hopes, means that the Democrats will likely win on the issue.

We were repeatedly told last week to vote Red to make sure we stop the Democrats. But to quote Hillary Clinton during the Benghazi hearings, when it comes to the difference between Republicans and Democrats . . .

“What difference, at this point, does it make?”

 

Originally posted on StridentConservative.com.

 


David Leach is the owner of The Strident Conservative. His daily radio commentary is distributed by the Salem Radio Network and is heard on stations across America.

Follow the Strident Conservative on Twitter and Facebook.

Subscribe to receive podcasts of radio commentaries: iTunes | Stitcher | Tune In | RSS

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Media

To advance conservatism, nobody gets a free pass

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To advance conservatism nobody gets a free pass

Before the midterm elections, most of the writers here spent a good chunk of their copy space helping Republicans in their campaigns. They focused on exposing Democrats for what they are (as well as what they’re becoming) and often turned their back on the negatives associated with Republican candidates.

This was intentional and I allowed it. Like many proponents of limited government, I compare the rhetoric and actions of the two major parties and I see one that’s pushing for big government and another that’s pushing for even bigger government. The fallacies in the Democrats’ proposals are obvious and universal. Republicans have a mix of good and bad; for example, lowering taxes was good, but simultaneously increasing spending was bad.

I allowed the pro-Republican approach because in the world of partisan politics, we’re stuck in a lesser-of-two-evils scenario. While I personally didn’t get involved in party politics and focused my posts on fighting for conservative and limited-government federalist values, I didn’t ask my writers to do the same. Any who chose to promote the Republican agenda, which was most of them, were allowed to do so.

They still can. I’m not censoring anyone. However, I want to be clear about the true purpose of this news site.

We are not a partisan site that is pro-Republican or anti-Democrat. We are a pro-American site that understands the importance of limiting government, defending freedoms, and protecting life, plus many other ideas that are usually associated with conservatism and/or classical liberalism.

Now that the election is over, we are relaunching our GoFundMe page.

Getting donations during campaign season was tough, but now we’re ready to accept help. We need it.

The description of our site on GoFundMe encapsulates what we are.

Our society is rapidly deteriorating into helplessness. Ideas such as self-governance, conservatism, patriotism, personal responsibility, limited-government federalism, and civil discourse are being threatened by a sharp leftward lurch. It isn’t just progressives who are veering to the left. The center is shifting to the left and as a result, many who are or were conservative have become more open-minded to the cultural and geopolitical shifts.

We are losing our ethical, traditional, and logical cores as a society.

NOQ Report has three goals:

1) Expose the fallacies of this leftward lurch that is making progressives more unhinged and conservatives more malleable.
2) Educate the masses about the benefits of liberty-driven philosophies that include limiting government, defending freedoms, and protecting life.
3) Engage with people in a meaningful way. We want a dialogue with everyone whether they agree or disagree with us.

America deserves better than what mainstream media feeds us.

Every dollar donated is invested back into the site to pay writers, editors, and to promote the site so it can reach more people. We have limited advertising on the site for a reason. We do not want “corporate overlords” who try to steer content, nor do we want to load the site with spammy ads. This is why we must rely on you, the readers, to keep the site afloat.

As of the middle of November, 2018, we are relaunching this campaign. We had a soft launch that had minimal success. We are pushing harder now. Please help us elevate this news site to compete against the incessant leftist propaganda being pumped onto the internet. Donate now.

Moving forward, we are going to focus on our three goals. It doesn’t matter if someone is a Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, or whatever. If they aren’t helping to limit government, defend freedoms, and protect life, we’ll call them out.

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