Updated Travel Guidelines to CUBA


[Washington, D.C.]   Ever since the June 5th announcement I have received many calls/text and other communication regarding this matter.

 

Unfortunately, similar to the infamous Mueller report, MOST people simply refuse to read the specs for themselves!!!!  It appears they are more comfortable hearing from third-party sources such as media, friends, acquaintances, etc. rather than just taking a couple of minutes to read and comprehend for themselves.  The result is lots of misinformation.

 

Effective June 5, 2019, a regulatory amendment to the CACR removes an authorization for people-to-people educational travel that was conducted under the auspices of an organization that is subject to U.S. jurisdiction and that sponsors such exchanges to promote people-to-people contact (group people-to-people educational travel).

 

No doubt, the Trump administration continues its assault on guidelines created by the Obama administration to prevent U.S. citizens from going to Cuba.   It has been stated this move was implemented in part because the Cuba government supports the Maduro regime of Venezuela?  The assumption is any money spent from U.S. travelers would financially benefit the Cuban government.  The two largest groups impacted are those who traveled by a cruise ship or who went under the peer-to-peer license.  For a smaller minority, travel is permitted as long as it is under the licenses per the June 5th memorandum.

 

For clarity on the updated guidelines, please take 5 or 10 minutes to READ THE DIRECTIVE HERE

Carnival cruise lines is one major company that is negatively impacted by the new guideline and yesterday announced it will need to restate its corporate financial projections.

 

Watts, an update


Thanks to our remote cultural correspondent Elena Bell, LSW we are sharing a screening of the Broken Bread series titled “WATTS.”

A common misconception by most is understanding the 1965 Watts Riot DID NOT START IN WATTS.  The California Highway Patrol stopped Marquette Frye on 116th & Avalon which is in South Central.  His arrest triggered community resistance which became the flash-point of the riots.  It eventually spread to Watts as the main street, 103rd Street was home to the local business strip.

Watts, CA is a mysterious to most, while “home” to so many who have moved from the area but have an affection as the place their ancestors settled when coming to Los Angeles.  What it is not, is the community immediately south of the Santa Monica freeway (I-10).  It is approximately 11 miles southeast of downtown.   Specifically it is tucked into what is called South Central and its boundaries are:

  • North – Firestone Blvd.
  • South – Imperial Highway
  • West – Central Avenue
  • East – Alameda Blvd.

This 30 minute clip gives you a snapshot of what is going on in Watts today.

As African-Americans fled oppression in the South, the early 1940’s saw a migration of basic working-class folk looking for a safe place to raise their families.   Watts and spots in South Central became home to thousands.  In the late 80’s the ethnic composition took another change as a new migration took place and Latinos moved in, however today a small cadre of African-Americans remain.

https://www.kcet.org/shows/broken-bread/episodes/watts

 

Mortgage News: Discount Rate, Weekly Survey & D & I


The Feds led by Jerome Powell announced yesterday, discount rates would remain unchanged.  Although Donald Trump has been up to his usual antics of butting in to agencies which demand independence, Powell has been clear and intimated to Trump to stop harassing him or threatening to fire him.


Here is his remarks about why there was no need to change rates.


This week’s mortgage rate survey

June 20, 2019

30-Yr FRM 15-Yr FRM 5/1-Yr ARM
Average Rates 3.84 % 3.25 % 3.48 %
Fees & Points 0.5 0.4 0.4
Margin N/A N/A 2.76

Diversity & Inclusion

While some will swear congress, specifically the House of Representative is doing nothing for the people was they are mired down in whether to impeach Donald Trump or not, in fact there is lots going on.

One such group, the Financial Services Committee has been busy (in addition to coordinating impeachment discussion) hold critical hearings about financial issues affecting the American people.  Today, they held a very important hearing on Corporate Diversity & Inclusion.

Here is the full hearing

Contrary to belief – HR40 does not give every Black person a check


Despite what is regularly reported the House of Representative have been busy creating legislation, holding hearings and seeking solutions to benefit the lives of all Americans.

Today, was a hearing on HR 40.  It was not a day where all black people where given checks.  What is was as the nation celebrates Juneteenth was a hearing to determine if a commission is warranted to study the issue of Reparations.

WASHINGTON, DC – JUNE 19: Writer Ta-Nehisi Coates testifies during a hearing on slavery reparations held by the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties on June 19, 2019 in Washington, DC. The subcommittee debated the H.R. 40 bill, which proposes a commission be formed to study and develop reparation proposals for African-Americans. (Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, DC – JUNE 18: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) speaks to the media after attending the Republican weekly policy luncheon on Capitol Hill June 18, 2019 in Washington, DC. McConnell spoke on several topics including Iran and compensation for 911 responders. Additionally he displayed his sheer ignorance regarding the issue of Reparations by claiming he had nothing to do with slavery. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

For more information please read HERE

 

 

Fed Chair Jerome Powell on the skids……again


Some baby-boomers like myself or those who are music aficionados remember the rock group Blood, Sweat & Tears.  In 1968 they produced a hit called “spinning wheels.”  It was a melodic tune that caught your attention.


“What goes up must come down
What must rise must fall
And what goes on in your life
Is writing on the wall!


In the world of Donald Trump those lyrics are a no-no especially when it comes to communicating about the economy as well as regulators who are charged to keep our system running smoothly.  The economy is cyclical.  Some metrics which guide it are up, meaning others must be down in order to maintain fluidity.

Photographer: Aaron P. Bernstein/Bloomberg via Getty Images

As the economy improves regulators such as Jerome Powell who is chair of the Federal Reserve must guide against inflation or pumping too much money into it.  At the same time, when the economy is struggling as was the case with our financial meltdown of 2008, the Feds were charged with lowering the discount rate to make funds more affordable for commercial banks.  Now that the economy is doing well there is very little justification it needs a boost or having the rate lowered.

 

Unfortunately, that is not the case in Trump world.  He likes to tout everything is the best, the greatness on and on, so in his mind Powell needs to lower the discount rate immediately.  It is no surprise that president’s in the past understand the protocol of the Fed and make it a point to allow them to operate from a non-political position.

“Trump is not planning to demote Powell.” Larry Kudlow, director of the National Economic Council

 

For the past year Trump has intimated his disappointment of Powell while suggesting he might fire him.  This is due to the Feds raising the rate as a protection of maintaining a strong economy.  Fortunately for Powell, his position is not a cabinet level.  However, just as Trump harassed and badgered Jeff Sessions, James Comey and other leaders within his administration until they finally departed, he appears to be using the same antics against Powell.

 

Imagine waking up everyday hearing or reading the boss is unhappy with your performance, even though there is no justification, let alone using common sense to communicate the decision.

 

Today and tomorrow the FOMC (Federal Reserve, Federal Open Market Committee) is holding their regular meeting to discuss monetary policy.  The bottom-line announcement usually follows the conclusion of the meeting.  While Trump has communicated his desire that rates must be immediately lowered, most financial experts agree that is unlikely.  They do look to the meeting in July with the assumption things stay the way they are; there may be a lowering in the discount rate.

 

In the meantime, as for economic issues Trump should hum the lyrics of Spinning Wheel to appease his desire to invoke another rash move

Mortgage news: GSIBs as a group have paid at least $163.7 billion in fines!!!


above photo - House Financial Services Committee Holds Hearing On Keeping Megabanks Accountable
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 10: (L-R) Michael Corbat, chief executive officer of Citigroup Inc., Jamie Dimon, chief executive officer of JPMorgan Chase & Co., James Gorman, chief executive officer of Morgan Stanley, and Brian Moynihan, chief executive officer of Bank of America Corp., listen during a House Financial Services Committee hearing on April 10, 2019 in Washington, DC. Seven CEOs of the country’s largest banks were called to testify a decade after the global financial crisis. (Photo by Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images)

The news was initial reported in April but it is worth repeating today because at first the amount seemed like a prank but it truly is real!  Ever since the Democratic party assumed control of the House of Representatives they have moved quickly to implement more accountability as part of their oversight.  Global Systemically Important Banks known as GSIB’s make us some of the largest U.S. commercial banks.

The TARP Bailouts

During the financial crisis or mortgage meltdown of 2008, in 2009 the GSIB’s as mentioned appeared before the Financial Services Committee to discuss the bailouts they received.  On April 10th they reappeared before the committee chaired by Rep. Maxine Waters.  The purpose was to discuss “lessons learned” as well as steps they have engaged to balance the lending spectrum across the nation.

WASHINGTON, DC – APRIL 10: Chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) speaks during a House Financial Services Committee hearing on April 10, 2019 in Washington, DC. Seven CEOs of the country’s largest banks were called to testify a decade after the global financial crisis. (Photo by Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images)

$163.7 in FINES

As a group to date they have paid $163.7 BILLION in fines for various consumer abuses and other violations of the law.  Questions remain but one thing is clear; many banks chalked up the fines as the cost of doing business as evidenced by their current behavior and fact collectively they have made over $780 billion in profits.  Has anything changed?

The hearing shed light on why accountability is critical.  The committee has more hearings planned to address specific steps the banks plan on incorporating to benefit all consumers, particularly those that have been historically marginalized.

Here is a list of the fines some of the largest banks have paid in the last ten years:

  • Bank of America has paid $76.1 billion in fines.
  • JPMorgan Chase has paid $43.7 billion in fines.
  • Citigroup has paid $19 billion in fines.
  • Wells Fargo has paid $11.8 billion in fines.
  • Goldman Sachs has paid $7.7 billion in fines.
  • Morgan Stanley has paid $5.4 billion in fines.

Here is the full hearing on video

Emmanuel hits the screen for 2 days – June 17th & 19th


Monday, June 17th will mark the 4th year congregants were in bible study at Mother Emmanuel A.M.E. church in Charleston, SC.   After inviting a stranger by the name of Dillon Ruth to join them for study, time passed before he committed an unforgettable act.  He shot and killed nine souls!

The news shocked the nation!  shocked the world!  They became known as the “Charleston Nine!”


Stephen (Step) Curry, Viola Davis and an extraordinary team has pulled together a documentary of the event.  The one and one-half film will be shown two days only, June 17th and 19th and as of this posting many theaters have reported sell-outs (check your local theater for details).

Processed With Darkroom

My review will follow as we will be at the June 19th screening in Baldwin Hills, CA.

Here is the trailer

HUD’s Inconsistency a blow to DACA


above photo - Photo by Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Imagine!  “you are a person living in the place you know as home; the United States of America.  You are not a citizen, instead you are known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).   You have broken no laws (of significant consequence) other than your parent(s) did not bring you here through the normal immigration process.”  Some will profess saint-hood and claim the law is the law, without trying to understand the majority in the DACA population entered as infants.


AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

When Donald Trump was declared the victor in the 2016 presidential election some signaled a warning bell (and not all were Trump haters) that he was hellbent on appointing cabinet members who would do the bidding for himself, his cronies and supporters regarding the agency’s they would administer.  In other words unlike normal cabinet leaders it was not that important for you to have subject matter expertise.  It was more important for you to do as you were told while high-jacking agencies that millions of American’s would need to engage in their day to day activity.

During the nearly three years of the Trump administration many have left  after their malfeasance became too much for the administration to keep deflecting.  Take the case of Dr. Ben Carson who was appointed to lead Housing Urban Administration (HUD).  He rightfully earned the respect and admiration as a gifted surgeon.  With respect to housing or public policy which impacts how HUD operates he knew ZERO.  Some of Trump supporter’s snickered that he would be a good fit because as a child he grew up in HUD housing or the projects in Baltimore.

(Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

“I’m sure we have plenty of DACA recipients who have FHA mortgages,” Carson said. “I would simply say that I have instructed everyone to follow the laws of the United States with regard to DACA, with regard to anyone who is an immigrant or a potential immigrant to this country, and as long as you continue to follow the laws you will have my approval.”

 

Today, Carson sided with his boss engaging an updated policy to insure DACA recipients have difficulty in accessing public programs.  The latest is to make it impossible for them to secure an FHA or U.S. backed mortgage.  Again, while the move may appease some, you have to probe and ask the question what is the ulterior motive of withholding a popular program to gain homeownership?

 

In a response to HUD’s updated guideline or a legislative rebuttal, this afternoon the Financial Services Committee led by Representative Maxine Waters introduced H.R. 3154,

Representative Maxine Waters, a Democrat from California and chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee, listens during a hearing in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, May 16, 2019. A top Democratic lawmaker yesterday questioned whether the Federal Reserve Vice Chairman can be trusted when he says leveraged lending isn’t a current threat to the financial system, pointing to his failure to foresee similar dangers before the credit crisis a decade earlier. Photographer: Anna Moneymaker/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Homeownership for DREAMers Act, legislation to clarify that Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients cannot be denied mortgage loans backed by FHA, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac or the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) solely on the basis of their DACA status.

Stay tuned.

Netherlands National Players in MLB v2019


[Oranjestad]     For the first year we will feature baseball players from the Netherlands who are playing in MLB (Major League Baseball).

The Netherlands is located in Europe; however, it has six countries in the Caribbean that are part of their governing system.  Aruba, Curacao and Bonaire are known as the ABC Islands.  Due to the climate Aruba and Curacao long ago embraced the sport of baseball.  A new dimension of Netherlands pride was created in 2013, as 21-year-old Xander Bogaerts who hailed from the Lago Heights community of Aruba staked his greatness as the starting shortstop for the Boston Red Sox.  Coincidently, the Red Sox surprised many by going all the way and winning the World Series.  Currently there are seven players from the Netherlands who are part of MLB. Four are from Curacao, one is from Aruba and one is from the Netherlands.


During my recent visit to Aruba I came across a new eatery just adjacent downtown called Parada.  There I encountered Mr. Humphrey Mohammed who is passionate and knowledgeable about the game.  He proudly stated, “there is great talent in Aruba and Curacao and we are very pleased of the way they are representing our country.  I am fortunate as I have access to the MLB channel so I can stay informed of the progress.”

 


Fred with Mrs. Sandra Brown during interview about her son and family’s success in baseball.
Xander Bogaerts field in Lago Heights

While the sport of baseball….is baseball, games in the Caribbean/Latin America are a bit different than the USA brand.  And, that is not a bad thing but it boils down to your perspective of understanding the game and the cultures who have adopted it.  There is lots of emotion and fan engagement featuring bands, horns and other devices and instruments presenting enthusiastic sounds.

The interior of the newly remodeled Joe Lavist Sports Park

 

Joe Lavist field in Sint Nicolas

Currently Netherlands is ranked 8th determined from the World Baseball Confederation.

This year’s edition has been expanded to include the 40-man roster instead of the 25-man roster.  This was done since technically they are eligible to play at a moment’s notice.

To understand the difference please read here

25 player roster – known as the Active Roster – A club’s 25-man roster is its full roster of active Major League players.

40 player roster – The 40 Man roster is the group of players who are eligible to be added to the active (25 manroster.



NETHERLANDS NATIONAL PLAYERS ON MLB 40 MAN ROSTER
Teams 2019
TOTALS>>> 7
Arizona Diamondbacks
Atlanta Braves 1
Baltimore Orioles
Boston Red Sox 1
Chicago Cubs
Chicago White Sox
Cincinatti Reds
Cleveland Indians
Colorado Rockies
Detriot Tigers
Houston Astros
Kansas City Royals
Los Angeles Angels 1
Los Angeles Dodgers 1
Miami Marlins
Milwaukee Brewers
Minnesota Twins 1
New York Mets
New York Yankees 1
Oakland Athletics 1
Philadelphia Phillies
Pittsburgh Pirates
San Diego Padres
San Francisco Giants
Seattle Mariners
St. Louis Cardinals
Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Texas Rangers
Toronto Blue Jays
Washington Nationals

Cuban National Players in MLB v2019


[Havana]     For the third year we feature Cuban national baseball players who are play in MLB (Major League Baseball).

I was in Havana on my way to Estadio Latinoamericano when MLB, the MLB Players Association and the Cuban Federation reached a historic agreement allowing Cuban nationals to achieve a path to play in the MLB.  The agreement eliminated the need for players to defect or leave under negative circumstances.  Unfortunately, four months later the Donald Trump administration maintained its posture of dismantling anything viewed as positive which the Obama administration was part of, and abruptly canceled the agreement.   In the meantime, many have adopted a slogan adopted by MLB last year which simply states, “Let the kids play!!!!”

Ranked #5 in the World

Baseball is still an important part of Cuban culture.  With a population of approximately 11 million their impressive ranking is 5th as determined from the World Baseball Confederation.  While it is great that MLB fans get a first-hand opportunity to see the players perform, one can only imagine how good the national team would be had there not been defections, which have impacted the talent pool?

25 player v 40 player?

This year’s edition has been expanded to include the 40-man roster instead of the 25-man roster.  This was done since technically they are eligible to play at a moment’s notice.

To understand the difference please read here

  • 25 player roster – known as the Active Roster – A club’s 25-man roster is its full roster of active Major League players.
  • 40 player roster – The 40 Man roster is the group of players who are eligible to be added to the active (25 manroster.

Currently there are 25 players who are Cuban nationals who meet the criteria.  Of the thirty MLB teams, Houston is the leader with five players.


CUBAN NATIONAL PLAYERS ON MLB 40 MAN ROSTER
Teams 2019 2018 2017 Change 2019 v 2018
TOTALS>>> 25 20 0 5
Arizona Diamondbacks 1 0 1 1
Atlanta Braves 0 0 2 0
Baltimore Orioles 0 0 0 0
Boston Red Sox 0 0 1 0
Chicago Cubs 0 0 0 0
Chicago White Sox 3 2 2 1
Cincinatti Reds 3 1 1 2
Cleveland Indians 0 2 1 -2
Colorado Rockies 0 0 0 0
Detriot Tigers 0 1 1 -1
Houston Astros 5 2 0 3
Kansas City Royals 1 0 1 1
Los Angeles Angels 0 1 1 -1
Los Angeles Dodgers 1 2 2 -1
Miami Marlins 0 1 1 -1
Milwaukee Brewers 1 0 0 1
Minnesota Twins 0 0 0 0
New York Mets 2 1 1 1
New York Yankees 3 1 1 2
Oakland Athletics 0 0 1 0
Philadelphia Phillies 0 0 0 0
Pittsburgh Pirates 0 0 0 0
San Diego Padres 0 0 0 0
San Francisco Giants 0 0 0 0
Seattle Mariners 1 2 2 -1
St. Louis Cardinals 1 0 1 1
Tampa Bay Devil Rays 2 1 1 1
Texas Rangers 0 0 0 0
Toronto Blue Jays 1 3 0 -2
Washington Nationals 0 0 0 0