Why Only Mark Zuckerberg Can Transform Immigration Policy

By Ralph Benko

facebook logoProblems caused by America’s broken immigration system are causing misery to America’s immigrant community (both legal residents and undocumented), and, for good measure, to the president, the GOP and American society. There may be only one person with both the intentionality and the resources to resolve America’s immigration predicament: Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook. Continue reading “Why Only Mark Zuckerberg Can Transform Immigration Policy”

London Mayor Boris Johnson For President? Welcome to the UKSA!

By Ralph Benko

borisjThis columnist’s admiration for Senator Rand Paul is driven, in part, by Sen. Paul’s consistent and honorable stand against the “warfare/welfare state.” Rising-star national talk radio host, and columnist, Steve Deace astutely observes in a recent Washington Times op-ed, “he’s the only candidate running that is attempting to introduce an entirely new paradigm into the process.”  Sen. Paul presents as well attuned to the national mood. Continue reading “London Mayor Boris Johnson For President? Welcome to the UKSA!”

Six reasons why US capital expenditure is on the rise

robeco logoIn the United States, capital expenditure is lagging the economy as a whole. Some think this is the ‘new normal’. But Robeco’s strategist Peter van der Welle believes there is a strong case for a rebound in investments later this year.  Continue reading “Six reasons why US capital expenditure is on the rise”

U.S. Defense Policy in the Wake of the Ukrainian Affair

By George Friedman

georgefriedmanEver since the end of the Cold War, there has been an assumption that conventional warfare between reasonably developed nation-states had been abolished. During the 1990s, it was expected that the primary purpose of the military would be operations other than war, such as peacekeeping, disaster relief and the change of oppressive regimes. After 9/11, many began speaking of asymmetric warfare and “the long war.” Under this model, the United States would be engaged in counterterrorism activities in a broad area of the Islamic world for a very long time. Peer-to-peer conflict seemed obsolete. There was a profoundly radical idea embedded in this line of thought. Continue reading “U.S. Defense Policy in the Wake of the Ukrainian Affair”

A Modest Proposal: Should Puerto Rico Consider Joining The Russian Federation?

by Ralph Benko

uscapitolShould Puerto Rico explore following Crimea into the Russian Federation? Puerto Rico’s biggest problem in dealing with Washington is of the same nature as that increasingly shared by too many Americans. Puerto Rico’s biggest problem in dealing with Washington is of the same nature as that increasingly shared by too many Americans. We citizens much too often find ourselves in the position of supplicants to Washington rather than, at minimum, as dignified peers. Might there be a way to change this? Continue reading “A Modest Proposal: Should Puerto Rico Consider Joining The Russian Federation?”

Russia and the United States Negotiate the Future of Ukraine

By George Friedman

georgefriedmanDuring the Cold War, U.S. secretaries of state and Soviet foreign ministers routinely negotiated the outcome of crises and the fate of countries. It has been a long time since such talks have occurred, but last week a feeling of deja vu overcame me. Americans and Russians negotiated over everyone’s head to find a way to defuse the crisis in Ukraine and, in the course of that, shape its fate. Continue reading “Russia and the United States Negotiate the Future of Ukraine”

U.S. Unemployment Will Remain High So Long As The Dollar Remains Wobbly

by Ralph Benko

uscapitolThe Republican National Committee recently passed a resolution, by the unanimous vote of its National Committeepeople, calling for the creation of a national Monetary Commission.  This legislation is prime sponsored in the House of Representatives by Joint Economic Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Tx) and in the US Senate by Republican whip John Cornyn (R-Tx). Cato, with a representative from Heritage, recently conducted a panel on Capitol Hill on this same proposed Commission. Continue reading “U.S. Unemployment Will Remain High So Long As The Dollar Remains Wobbly”

Chuck Hagel Propels Barack Obama Into History

By Ralph Benko

chuckWith his thoughtful restructuring of America’s military, secretary of defense Chuck Hagel — a Republican — has cemented Obama’s signature  legacy: restoring America to a peacetime footing. Obama’s bringing  American troops home from two wars, and, now, reducing the military to a strong, but proportionate, peacetime footing, was not easy. Doing so required something of a political miracle. Obama, with a critical assist from Hagel, is pulling it off. Continue reading “Chuck Hagel Propels Barack Obama Into History”

Vitol, Sunoco to build new Texas pipeline

vitollogoSunVit Pipeline LLC, a newly formed joint venture between Vitol Inc and Sunoco Pipeline L.P. is set to build a pipeline to connect the Midland Texas market with Sunoco’s recently announced Permian Express 2 pipeline. SunVit will provide enhanced logistical flexibility for crude oil exiting the Midland, Texas market.  The 20” crude oil pipeline will run from Midland, Texas, to Garden City, Texas, where it will connect to Sunoco’s Permian Express 2 pipeline, as well as other existing Sunoco pipelines, enabling it to access U.S. Gulf Coast refineries. Continue reading “Vitol, Sunoco to build new Texas pipeline”

Heritage Drafts Steve Moore, Supply Side Visionary, To Fight Team Obama

By Ralph Benko

uscapitolWill America start prospering again — as it has not prospered for over a decade? Likely yes. But not without a fight.  Now that Jim DeMint has raided Steve Moore from the Wall Street Journal that card might be Heritage Foundation vs. the White House. Could be big. John Holdren, now Obama’s White House science advisor, 40 years ago termed America “overdeveloped.” Continue reading “Heritage Drafts Steve Moore, Supply Side Visionary, To Fight Team Obama”

The American Public’s Indifference to Foreign Affairs

By George Friedman

georgefriedmanLast week, several events took place that were important to their respective regions and potentially to the world. Russian government officials suggested turning Ukraine into a federation, following weeks of renewed demonstrations in Kiev. The Venezuelan government was confronted with violent and deadly protests. Kazakhstan experienced a financial crisis that could have destabilized the economies of Central Asia. Russia and Egypt inked a significant arms deal. Right-wing groups in Europe continued their political gains. Any of these events had the potential to affect the United States. At different times, lesser events have transfixed Americans.This week, Americans seemed to be indifferent to all of them. This may be part of a cycle that shapes American interest in public affairs. The decision to raise the debt ceiling, which in the last cycle gripped public attention, seemed to elicit a shrug. Continue reading “The American Public’s Indifference to Foreign Affairs”

Rand Paul vs. Hillary Clinton: A Radically Transformational Presidential Election Fighting Over Peace and Prosperity?

By Ralph Benko

randpaulRand Paul vs. Hillary Clinton? In a context of emerging peace, prosperity, and human rights? This would be big.  Transformational, even.Peter Bein art, in the Atlantic Monthly (among many, many other political observers), has concluded that “Rand Paul is the 2016 Republican Frontrunner.”  And two of the Washington Post’s top political observers, Chris Cillizia and Sean Sullivan, say “Hillary Clinton is the biggest frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination ever. Yes, ever.” The next presidential election is not going to be  “Rutherford B. Hayes vs. Samuel Tilden.” It bodes to be transformational. Continue reading “Rand Paul vs. Hillary Clinton: A Radically Transformational Presidential Election Fighting Over Peace and Prosperity?”

China is the real threat to emerging markets

equitiesIt has been a rough time for emerging market equities, but only China has the real power to upset the apple cart for investors this year, says Robeco’s chief economist. Rate hikes in countries such as India and Turkey to try to prop up their currencies and cut capital flows have sent stock prices plummeting. Much of the malaise has been blamed on the US Federal Reserve (Fed) for beginning its tapering program. Continue reading “China is the real threat to emerging markets”

New Dimensions of U.S. Foreign Policy Toward Russia

By George Friedman

georgefriedmanThe struggle for some of the most strategic territory in the world took an interesting twist this week. Last week we discussed what appeared to be a significant shift in German national strategy in which Berlin seemed to declare a new doctrine of increased assertiveness in the world — a shift that followed intense German interest in Ukraine. This week, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, in a now-famous cellphone conversation, declared her strong contempt for the European Union and its weakness and counseled the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine to proceed quickly and without the Europeans to piece together a specific opposition coalition before the Russians saw what was happening and took action. Continue reading “New Dimensions of U.S. Foreign Policy Toward Russia”

Memo To Janet Yellen’s Vice Chair Nominee Stanley Fischer: That Was Then. This Is Now.

By Ralph Benko

fedDr. Janet Yellen now has taken over the chair of the Fed. And President Obama, to great acclaim, recently nominated Prof. Stanley Fischer as Vice Chairman. Prof. Fischer may be the most distinguished and beloved central banker at work within the world financial system today. It is not often that central bankers find themselves beloved. Fed Chairman William McChesney Martin famously quoted a writer saying that the Federal Reserve is “in the position of the chaperone who has ordered the punch bowl removed just when the party was really warming up.” Yet Fischer is beloved. Continue reading “Memo To Janet Yellen’s Vice Chair Nominee Stanley Fischer: That Was Then. This Is Now.”

The Secret Hillary Rodham Clinton, Part II

By Ralph Benko

hillaryAs recounted in the previous column, the record is clear that Saul Alinsky, about whom the young Hillary Rodham wrote her Wellesley honor’s thesis, was neither communist nor  conventional Big Government liberal. Hillary Rodham turned down a job  offer from Alinsky.  She turned aside from the path of  anti-establishment populist. Hillary Rodham took the road more traveled, that of conventional  liberal. By word and deed she turned away from Alinsky’s optimistic  participatory politics. She turned, instead, to central planning.  What might that choice suggest? Continue reading “The Secret Hillary Rodham Clinton, Part II”

Shell producing from new Mexican Gulf platform

shellShell has begun production from the Mars B development through Olympus – the company’s seventh, and largest, floating deep-water platform in the Gulf of Mexico. It is the first deep-water project in the Gulf to expand an existing oil and gas field with significant new infrastructure, which should extend the life of the greater Mars basin to 2050 or beyond. Combined future production from Olympus and the original Mars platform is expected to deliver an estimated resource base of 1 billion barrels of oil equivalent (boe). Continue reading “Shell producing from new Mexican Gulf platform”

The Secret Hillary Rodham Clinton, Part I

By Ralph Benko

hillaryForty-five years ago Hillary Rodham made a fateful decision. It has defined her life. Understanding that moment of decision is essential to understanding  Hillary Clinton’s life — the successes and the failures and, perhaps,  the future. It would explain the subtly discordant persona that causes  the media — even many elite Hillary sympathizers — to present her as  some kind of fabulous monster. And it may reveal something of the soul  within. Continue reading “The Secret Hillary Rodham Clinton, Part I”

How The Republicans Can Win The Upcoming Battle Over Income Inequality

by Ralph Benko 

GOP_Logo1_svgFollowing President Obama’s lead, the Democrats are seeking to make  income inequality the wedge issue of the 2014 Congressional and Senate  elections. This unquestionably addresses an issue that — after forty  years of middle class family wage stagnation — resonates with voters. Yet the Republicans, thanks to Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tx) and Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Tx), not the Democrats, are better positioned to take this on. The Republicans are far better positioned to get right and use the  underlying issue — which is more one of inequity than inequality — to  political advantage.  Continue reading “How The Republicans Can Win The Upcoming Battle Over Income Inequality”

Tōˌtaliˈte(ə)rēəns Among Us?

by Ralph Benko

uscapitolPossibly the most powerful, and dangerous, euphemism in politics today is “progressive.” This writer has many cherished progressive friends. He considers them beautiful… but, often, misguided. Yet perhaps they are more “guided” than he has supposed. Perhaps progressives, many of them, are precision guided. A pattern is emerging. That pattern is to assert government control over, well, everything. Government control … in the name of social and economic justice, of course. There’s another word for this: totalitarian. Continue reading “Tōˌtaliˈte(ə)rēəns Among Us?”

Elections Don’t Matter, Institutions Do

By Robert D. Kaplan

kaplanMany years ago, I visited Four Corners in the American Southwest. This is a small stone monument on a polished metal platform where four states meet. You can walk around the monument in the space of a few seconds and stand in four states: Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Utah. People lined up to do this and have their pictures taken by excited relatives. To walk around the monument is indeed a thrill, because each of these four states has a richly developed tradition and identity that gives these borders real meaning. And yet no passports or customs police are required to go from one state to the other. Continue reading “Elections Don’t Matter, Institutions Do”

World Bank warns of emerging markets risks

worldbank-logo-enThe world economy is projected to strengthen this year, with growth picking up in developing countries and high-income economies appearing to be finally turning the corner five years after the global financial crisis, says the World Bank’s newly-released Global Economic Prospects (GEP) report. The firming of growth in developing countries is being bolstered by an acceleration in high-income countries and continued strong growth in China. However, growth prospects remain vulnerable to headwinds from rising global interest rates and potential volatility in capital flows, as the United States Federal Reserve Bank begins withdrawing its massive monetary stimulus. Continue reading “World Bank warns of emerging markets risks”

Can The Left’s “Mad Tea Party” Beat The Tea Party?

By Ralph Benko

aliceOne year ago, between the re-election and re-inauguration of Barack Obama, the Vast Left Wing Conspiracy met and mapped out three major strategic goals.  These are designed to seize plenary control over the US government and, thereby, America. This is not “black helicopter” paranoia.  It was reported candidly in the pretty hard left Mother Jones.  While MJ is not canonical  — that would be The Nation — it is credible on all things left. Here is what the left is up to.  Continue reading “Can The Left’s “Mad Tea Party” Beat The Tea Party?”

NAFTA and the Future of Canada, Mexico and the United States

By Marc Lanthemann

northamericaThe 20th anniversary of NAFTA’s implementation on Jan. 1 has revived some of the perennial arguments that have surrounded the bloc since its inception. The general consensus has been that the trade deal was a mixed bag, a generally positive yet disappointing economic experiment. That consensus may not be wrong. The history of the North American Free Trade Agreement as an institution has been one of piecemeal, often reluctant, integration of three countries with a long tradition of protectionism and fierce defense of economic national sovereignty. While NAFTA was a boon for certain sectors of the economy, particularly the U.S. agriculture industry, the net effect of the world’s second-largest trade bloc remains somewhat unknown. Continue reading “NAFTA and the Future of Canada, Mexico and the United States”

Government Gridlock, Saving America From Even Worse Laws

by Ralph Benko

uscapitolMany hands are being wrung among the elite governing class about Congressional gridlock. The Democrats have invoked the “nuclear option” — allowing the Senate majority in effect to prevail by simple, rather than 60%, majority. (This will come back to haunt them if majority control turns Republican in next year’s election.) Fortunately for us mere citizens the House is still Republican controlled. It thereby is situated to block the worst Big Government initiatives. In the great “Hunting of the Snark” on Capitol Hill many legislators of both parties have broken their picks in “supercommittees” and “gangs” and other efforts to foment a “grand bargain” or other grandiose deal. This typically is done in the name of “bipartisanship.” Continue reading “Government Gridlock, Saving America From Even Worse Laws”

Rediscovering the Americas: The World’s 15 Best Countries for Business in 2014

terminalThe US, Germany, Poland and Mexico are among next year’s Best Countries for Business. Rotterdam Week in cooperation with Atlantico Business Development (an international consultancy based in Rotterdam) has selected the best 15 markets of 2014/15 for your direct investment or for exporting your products. Continue reading “Rediscovering the Americas: The World’s 15 Best Countries for Business in 2014”

How the US Will Amend the Constitution To Rein In A Power Drunk Washington DC

by Ralph Benko

GeorgeWashingtonOn December 7th, nearly 100 state legislators, many distinguished, representing 32 states, assembled at Mount Vernon. They gathered at the homestead of George Washington, 15 miles from the capital city named for him. The purpose? To discuss how, safely, to revive an overlooked, but invaluable, provision in the United States Constitution to allow a supermajority of states to rein in a power-drunk federal government. According to a Continue reading “How the US Will Amend the Constitution To Rein In A Power Drunk Washington DC”

Shell will not pursue U.S. Gulf Coast GTL project

shellRoyal Dutch Shell announced that the company will not move forward with the proposed 140,000 barrels per day Gulf Coast gas-to-liquids (GTL) project in Louisiana and will suspend any further work on the project. Shell is the industry leader in GTL technology, and the company has carefully evaluated a number of development options for GTL on the US Gulf Coast, using natural gas feedstocks. Continue reading “Shell will not pursue U.S. Gulf Coast GTL project”

Israel’s new strategic position

By George Friedman

georgefriedmanIsrael has expressed serious concerns over the preliminary U.S.-Iranian agreement, which in theory will lift sanctions levied against Tehran and end its nuclear program. That was to be expected. Less obvious is why the Israeli government is concerned and how it will change Israel’s strategic position. Continue reading “Israel’s new strategic position”

Equities set to rise further in 2014

equitiesEquities are set to rise further in 2014 after the world returns to normality, with higher global growth and the end of easy money in the US. These are the key predictions of Robeco’s Chief Economist Léon Cornelissen in his outlook for markets next year. Stocks are Robeco’s preferred asset class for 2014, although returns may not be as strong as in 2013, when the MSCI World Index rose almost 16% in the first 10 months of the year in euros on the back of stimulus from quantitative easing (QE) programs. Continue reading “Equities set to rise further in 2014”

How to Stop Elite Republican Plans to Take the GOP Down The Way of the Whigs

by Ralph Benko

GOP_Logo1_svgAmidst the Democratic Party meltdown might elite Republican Party  operatives snatch defeat from the jaws of victory?  Don’t rule it out.   Many elite Republicans lust to steer their party the way of the Whigs. The Whigs?  This month a candidate of the Whig Party, long believed extinct, won an election for the first time in 160 years.  This scoop was reported by MyFoxNY, Philadelphia voters elect Whig to public office. Continue reading “How to Stop Elite Republican Plans to Take the GOP Down The Way of the Whigs”

Cambridge Innovation Center looking for expansion in Rotterdam

cicoldOn Thursday 21 November 2013 a letter of intent has been signed between the Cambridge Innovation Center (CIC), represented by CEO Tim Rowe, and the city of Rotterdam, represented by Vice Mayor Jeannette Baljeu. The parties have expressed the intention to conduct a feasibility study in order to evaluate whether Rotterdam is a suitable location for CIC. To support CIC during their study the city has put together a team including the Rotterdam Investment Agency and Deloitte. Continue reading “Cambridge Innovation Center looking for expansion in Rotterdam”

Global economy still recovering at moderate pace but more risks ahead

logooecd_enThe global economy is expected to continue expanding at a moderate pace over the coming two years, but policymakers must ensure that instability in financial markets and underlying fragility in some major economies are not allowed to derail growth, according to the OECD’s latest Economic Outlook. Growth in the United States is projected at a 2.9% rate in 2014 and a 3.4% rate in 2015. In Japan, GDP is expected to drop to a 1.5% growth rate in 2014 and a 1% rate in 2015. The euro area is expected to witness a gradual recovery, with growth of 1% in 2014 and 1.6% in 2015. Continue reading “Global economy still recovering at moderate pace but more risks ahead”

Port of Rotterdam strenghtens hub function for Eastern Europe

terminalSeacon Logistics has started a rail service between Poland and the United Kingdom for a number of large shippers, via the port of Rotterdam. The Russian Fesco Transportation Group has started a regular weekly service between North America and Saint Petersburg via transhipment in the port of Rotterdam. Continue reading “Port of Rotterdam strenghtens hub function for Eastern Europe”

Let John Boehner fix Obamacare

by Ralph Benko

glass_surgeryBetter the loss of office than of honor.

If he cannot prevent the botch of Obamacare from becoming a blunder  the honorable course for President Obama is to resign, together with his vice president, from office.  Let John Boehner — next in line of  succession — assume the office of the presidency and correct “the single worst piece of legislation that’s been passed in modern times.”

Mr. President, according to McClatchy  “11 million who bought their own insurance … could lose their plans.”  And: “as many as 41 million people could lose their plans even if they  wanted to keep them and would be forced into other plans.” Continue reading “Let John Boehner fix Obamacare”

Mr. Obama, I Am Unhappy That Obamacare Threatens To Kill Me

by Ralph Benko

glass_surgeryWill Barack Obama kill, or financially ruin, me?  Interesting question.

This columnist is one of the, reportedly, millions whose health insurance (much of good quality and affordable) has fallen prey to an Obamacare “Death Panel.”  My insurance policy of long standing, apparently, will disappear on January 1. My efforts to replace it, in the Exchange, have been thwarted by an epic fail of the Obamacare system.

Many repeated efforts to access the new exchange have been repulsed by technical glitches. (Maryland’s Navigators, let it be said, are knowledgeable, polite, and offer, as best as possible within the constraints of a thoroughly broken system, excellent customer service.)  All efforts to get in and apply for replacement coverage have been repulsed.

To you, Mr. President, this is may be an annoying detail.  To me, it is, well, a contingent death sentence.  Continue reading “Mr. Obama, I Am Unhappy That Obamacare Threatens To Kill Me”

For the Tea Party and GOP to Unite and Win, Follow the (Shrinking) Money

by Ralph Benko

GOP_Logo1_svgWhat is the next direction in the Republican Civil War?

Best guess:  Follow the Money.

Americans feel their dollars shrinking.  We don’t like it.

And we are groping for a way to stop it.

The left is reported shamelessly cheerleading for a  bout of inflation in no less than the lead story of the October 27 Sunday New York Times:  “In Fed And Out, Many Now Think Inflation Helps.”   The story states, for example, that Harvard economist Kenneth S. Rogoff is championing inflation of 6% a year for “a few years.” Continue reading “For the Tea Party and GOP to Unite and Win, Follow the (Shrinking) Money”

OMA/Royal HaskoningDHV Rebuilding New York Vision Presented

logo-rhdhv-largeFollowing the announcement from the President’s Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force that the OMA/Royal HaskoningDHV team were selected as one of only ten multidisciplinary design teams to participate in the Rebuild by Design competition, the team presented their four Design Opportunities in New York City (NY) and Newark (NJ) on 28 October 2013. The competition is intended to give the “world’s most talented people” the opportunity to respond to the aftermath of hurricane Sandy by delivering their visions and innovative solutions that would increase resilience across the Sandy-affected region. Continue reading “OMA/Royal HaskoningDHV Rebuilding New York Vision Presented”