Category Archives: Politics

Cal 3 Has the Votes to Appear on November’s Ballot

Map of the Cal3 (or Three Californias) proposal by Tim Draper (2017). Map courtesy of Wikipedia.

The initiative to divide the state of California into three separate states, Cal 3, received over 450,000 valid signatures, more than enough to appear on this November’s ballot in search of approval from California voters.

Yes, you read that correctly. The voters in California will decide whether they want California to add two new entities within its borders, to be known as Northern California and Southern California. Just plain California will be the area that includes all the coastal counties from Los Angeles to Monterrey.

The money behind the initiative comes from Silicon Valley investor Tim Draper. He was an early backer of Tesla and Skype and believes three Californias are better than one.

It is unclear if this initiative is an amendment to California’s constitution or a revision. If its considered a “small change” than it will not need approval from the state legislature before it heads to Congress for approval. However, if it is indeed a revision, which is a big change, then it will need to be enacted first by the California state legislature before heading to Washington, D.C.

Draper has tried twice before to split up his home state but failed. This time around he has dedicated $1.2 million of his own funds to push for Citizens for Cal 3. He probably spent an additional million dollars to get the signatures he needed to see the initiative on the ballot.

Polls seem to show that Cal 3 wont pass, with only 17% of Californians saying they would vote for the initiative in November. Since the poll only asked 900 voters, it could be be misleading.

The proposal would give the three new states 6 senators together in place of the two they have now. The number of congressmen would be determined by the population of each newly created state. Even if the proposal were to pass, the initiative will still have many obstacles in its way before it could be implemented. Cal 3 is most likely a bad case of “California Dreaming” for some of the residents of the Golden State.

American Released from Venezuelan Jail After Two Years

Nicolás Maduro Moros, interim President of The Boliviarian Republic of Venezuela following the death of Hugo Chávez. Courtesy of Wikipedia.

Joshua Holt, an American citizen who had been held in a Venezuelan jail for the past two years, was freed last week as a result of high-level diplomatic talks. His wife Thamara Caleno, was also released.

“Overwhelmed with gratitude,” Holt was welcomed in Washington, DC by his parents, Laurie and Jason Holt, and a few hours later by President Donald Trump.

“Those two years, they were a very, very, very difficult two years,” said an emotional Holt, sitting beside Trump in the Oval Office. “Not really the great vacation that I was looking for. … I’m just so grateful for what you guys have done.”

Holt, a Utah citizen, went to Venezuela in 2016 to marry Caleno, a woman he had met online but never in person. Soon after arriving in Venezuela and marrying Caleno he was arrested and labeled by the Venezuelan government as the “CIA’s top spy in Latin America.
Holt’s release was orchestrated by Senator Bob Corker, Republican of Tennessee, who met with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, in what was a surprise meeting.

The couple was arrested on June 30, 2016 in a raid on Caleno’s family’s apartment. They were accused of stockpiling an assault rifle and grenades and being linked to other unspecified attempts by the US to weaken Maduro’s rule.

Upon his release the Holt family released the following statement:

“We thank you for your collaboration during this time of anguish. We ask that you allow us to meet with our son and his wife before giving any interviews and statements. We are grateful to all who participated in this miracle.”

Saudi Prince in US to Discuss Politics and Business

Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud at the Royal Court Palace in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman has arrived in the United States to conduct a tour to strengthen not only business ties but also political ties with the US.

This is the Crown Prince’s second visit to the US. It begins with a stop at the White House for a meeting with US President Donald Trump. Trump has been working since his inauguration to strengthen the relationship between the two countries.“

Saudi Arabia was the first foreign country Trump visited after taking office, traveling to the kingdom in May and signing memorandums and agreements for defense spending that totaled about $110 billion,” according to Bloomberg.

The US and Saudi Arabia have been allies for 75 years, according to the Brookings Institute. During that time, they have worked “closely together” and have also at times been “estranged,” said Brookings.

Forbes said that the two leaders will most likely be discussing a reinstatement of sanctions against Iran; Saudi’s protracted war in Yemen; and the kingdom’s wish to buy at least one additional nuclear power plant and what role the US government will play in allowing a company like GE to construct it.“

Other issues that may come up would include the disagreement between Qatar on one hand and Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt on the other as well as the U.S. decision to move the embassy to Jerusalem,” said Forbes.

Bloomberg also said that the Crown Prince will be meeting top executives to discuss business deals. He is on schedule to meet the heads of Apple Inc., Google, and:

• Uber
• Executives from the film industry
• Oil Services Companies
• Amazon
• GE
• NYSE

President Trump to Present a $1.5 Trillion Infrastructure Plan

Fulfilling one of his campaign promises, US President Donald Trump will uncover his plan for rebuilding the country’s infrastructure this week. The plan will cost US taxpayers $1.5 trillion, but is heavily dependent on state and local funding sources.

The plan will centerpiece a $200 billion pledge from the federal government which will be used to leverage money from cities and state budgets which will earmark them to roads, highways, ports, airports and more.

“Every federal dollar should be leveraged by partnering with state and local governments and — where appropriate — tapping into private sector investment to permanently fix the infrastructure deficit,” Trump said at last month’s State of the Union address.

Trump has said many times that the deteriorating roads and highways are holding the country back from faster expansion of the economy. Some lawmakers and others say that this issue should have been dealt with last year and Trump’s first big push in Congress, instead of the health care issue. Infrastructure is a bipartisan issue that would have helped create a more unified Congress.

The plan was previewed by administration officials as containing two key components: funding for new investments which will help speed up repairs on crumbling roads and airports; and a more efficient way for projects to get the permits they need, so projects can get underway faster. The officials added that the $200 million will come from cuts in other programs.

US Initiates Largest US-South Korean Aerial Drill in History

US stealth fighters arrived in South Korea to launch what is being billed as the “largest US-South Korean aerial drill in history,” set to begin on Monday. The drill, dubbed “Vigilant Ace” aggravated the already explosive nature of the US-North Korean non-relationship, prompting a message from North Korean foreign ministry verging on the hysterical, which said that the US has “nuclear war mania” and that President Donald Trump is “begging for nuclear war.”

The weekend saw several announcements issued from North Korea. The dictatorship’s foreign ministry read a statement on state television that said that the US president and his administration are “begging for nuclear war” by engaging in what is an “extremely dangerous nuclear gamble,” according to CNN.

The foreign ministry also said that if nuclear war did emerge on the Korean peninsula and the rest of the world, that the US would be “fully responsible” because of its “reckless nuclear war mania.”

Later North Korean state TV said in a commentary that the joint US-South Korea joint air exercises are a “dangerous provocation” which will “push the region “to the brink of a nuclear war,” also reported by CNN.

HR McMaster, the White House national security advisor, agrees that tension in the region are rising, and the chances for a nuclear war are also growing.

“I think it’s increasing every day, which means that we are in a race, really, we are in a race to be able to solve this problem,” McMaster said in a conference in California.

McMaster added that he believes North Korea is the “greatest immediate threat to the United States” at the moment.