Archive for the ‘politics’ Category

My 1 question on #bridgegate

Thursday, January 9th, 2014

Cuba: Lies, lies, and more lies

Saturday, January 4th, 2014

For decades, we’ve been subjected to numerous reports on Cuba’s “excellent free healthcare”, when in fact it is an apartheid system where poor Cubans have to provide their own sutures, supplies, and sheets if they’re in the hospital (video in Spanish)

Now we’ve been hearing about Raul Castro’s “reforms”; Mary O’Grady writes about the reality:

It was only two years ago that Castro boasted a loosening of the rules in the state-owned economy. He did it under duress: The bankrupt government couldn’t continue to pretend to pay people who pretend to work. The dictatorship forecast that it had to unload more than a half-million Cubans from state payrolls. To ease the pain and potential social unrest, Castro pronounced 178 trades “legal.”

A gullible foreign press swooned over Castro’s words as if he was getting ready to admit the defeat of the 55-year-old communist revolution and let the market take over.

Which, as we have seen, is not the case.

The regime, he [Raúl Castro] said, is not about let “private business people” go around “creating an environment of impunity and stimulating the accelerated growth of activities that were never authorized for certain occupations.” Illegal activities like “competing excessively with state enterprises,” will not be tolerated, he warned. In other words, Cuban poverty is here to stay.

Fabio Rafael Fiallo points out how Once Again, the Castro Regime Lies:

The fiction of “reform” has once again been in full swing since 2010, as President Raúl Castro has introduced a new set of policy changes labeled as an “updating” of Cuba’s socialism. The purpose of the exercise is to inject the economy with homeopathic doses of capitalism — the very capitalism that the regime took so much care to wipe off.

A cornerstone of the “updating” exercise relates to the creationof a “special economic zone” in the west designed to host foreign firms and expected to operate according to criteria other than those applied in the rest of the country.

These kinds of special economic zones have been tested already in a country ruled by another staunch communist regime: the Kaesong Industrial Complex in North Korea, where some 100 South Korean enterprises, staffed by 50,000 North Korean workers, are allowed to operate. The complex has not halted the continued decline of the North Korean economy, nor the recurrent famines. And there is no reason to believe that the Cuban version will perform any better.

And much like North Korea, the Cuban regime fails to realize that it is not by insulating several hundreds of square miles from the rest of the country — so as to keep the bulk of the population immunized from the “virus” of capitalism — that an economy can possibly take off.

Still more unfounded are the expectations that the Cuban regime is trying to nurture the political realm. While Raúl Castro proposes to President Obama to establish a “civilized relationship” between their two countries, the Cuban regime continues to repress members of the dissidence, denying them the right to express their views, beating them brutally and submitting them to recurrent arrests.

Arrests of dissidents have in fact been on the rise: 4,000 in 2011, 5,000 in 2012 and more than 5,300 in 2013. Some leading dissidents — such as Laura Pollán and Oswaldo Payá — lost their lives under strange circumstances.

And more truth on the island-prison: How the Castro brothers observe Christmas in Cuba: Beating children and stealing toys

Mexico: What has changed

Tuesday, December 31st, 2013

Michael Barone summarizes Mexico’s political landscape in an op-ed for the Washington Examiner:
Overdue reforms boost Mexico — and the United States

Some historical background is in order. For 71 years, Mexican politics and government were totally dominated by the paradoxically named Party of the Institutional Revolution (PRI), which held the presidency and virtually all governorships from 1929 to 2000.

Under the PRI system, presidents served one six-year term and in their last year — usually a time of catastrophes — chose their successors, who paraded around the country and were elected without difficulty.

Once in office, the new president blamed all his problems on his predecessor, who often left the country. This system suited the sensibility of a nation whose culture is still at least partly Aztec: It combined elements of calendrical regularity, elaborate ceremony and human sacrifice.

This system worked tolerably well for 30-some years. But as time went on, it produced widespread corruption, periodic currency devaluations and massive outmigration. Mexico seemed to be falling further behind the United States.

Read how things have changed here, and also at NRO (h/t Instapundit).

Mexico showed the way in 2013

Friday, December 27th, 2013

says Andres Oppenheimmer:

But the fact remains that in 2013, Mexico was the only country in the Americas —including the United States — where the government and opposition parties broke decades of political paralysis to approve profound reforms that could speed up the country’s development for many decades.

Oppenheimer enumerates the reforms: educational, political, fiscal, labor, telecommunications, and energy, and concludes,

But the fact remains that in 2013, Mexico was the only country in the Americas —including the United States — where the government and opposition parties broke decades of political paralysis to approve profound reforms that could speed up the country’s development for many decades.

Time will tell.

Colombia: mayor trouble

Monday, December 23rd, 2013

It’s “yankee go home” unless it serves the purposes of the Left, in which case Jim McGovern and Robert Menendez are welcome to intervene.

Read about the whole sorry mess where McGovern and Menendez are interceding for now-fired mayor of Bogota and former M-19 terrorist guerrilla Gustavo Petro, of all people at
Yankee Neocolonialism Returns to Colombia
Two congressional Democrats meddle in the affairs of a U.S. ally.

Mexico: A house divided

Thursday, December 12th, 2013

Enrique Krauze has an interesting op-ed in the NYTimes, The Danger in Mexico’s Divided House

In the end, however, Mexico’s old model of governance was brought down not by economic liberalism but by the rise of democracy. First, in 2000, the president as monarch vanished from the scene. The legislature became a genuinely multiparty body, and the Supreme Court far more independent. Free elections were overseen by an entity independent from the government.

Still, those interest groups that had long been dependent on and controlled by the presidency did not exit the scene. On the contrary, they grew dangerously stronger, each trying to secure a place at the center of power. Three of the major reforms proposed by Peña Nieto’s government aim to limit their influence.

Read the full article.

Mexico: AMLO has a heart attack, and other news

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

Andrés Manuel López Obrador, far-left former presidential candidate who was endorsed by Hugo Chavez has been hospitalized after suffering a heart attack,

The 60-year-old Mr. López Obrador on Sunday addressed a large gathering in the city’s main square in opposition to plans to open the oil sector to private investment, and has planned a number of protest actions as the congress takes up the proposal this week.” target=”_blank”>The 60-year-old Mr. López Obrador on Sunday addressed a large gathering in the city’s main square in opposition to plans to open the oil sector to private investment, and has planned a number of protest actions as the congress takes up the proposal this week.

In other Mexico news,
U.S. Indicts Ex-Mexico Governor [Tomas Yarrington]
Former Mexican governor and one-time presidential hopeful is accused of accepting millions of dollars in bribes from drug cartels for protecting drug shipments

In the May indictment, opened on Monday in Brownsville, Texas, U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson charged the former governor, Tomas Yarrington, with accepting millions of dollars to allow the Gulf Cartel and the Zetas drug gang to ship tons of cocaine through the state of Tamaulipas while he was governor between 1999 and 2005.

The indictment marks the second time in weeks that a Mexican governor has been indicted in the U.S., and is an embarrassment for the government of President Enrique Peña Nieto. Many Mexicans suspect the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, for years had ties to organized crime cartels. The PRI has denied that.

Migrants clash with U.S. Border Patrol agents at Mexican border

More than 100 people attempting to illegally cross into the United States from Mexico over the weekend threw rocks and bottles at U.S. Border Patrol agents trying to stop them, the agency said Monday.

And, in a lighter mode, let’s not forget this week’s Terapia intensiva, in Spanish,

On the radio!

Saturday, November 23rd, 2013

faustaI’ll be a panelist on DaTechGuy on DaRadio The Senate is going Nuclear edition Noon EST, in the second half.

Listen live.

Yes, I’m wearing a fedora: In the photo it’s Pete’s fedora, but I’m wearing my own for the show.

Colombia: Santos to run for 2d term

Thursday, November 21st, 2013

Colombia Leader to Seek Re-Election
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said that he would run for re-election next year.

Mr. Santos’ second bid for the presidency comes as the country’s growth accelerated faster than expected the second quarter, growing 4.2%. That was down 0.6 percentage points from the same period in 2012, but greater than the 2.8% expansion in the first quarter.

While Mr. Santos appears as the clear favorite in the 2014 elections, he does face some headwinds. His approval ratings plummeted in September, amid widespread strikes by agricultural workers that hindered the country’s food supply chain. People were also frustrated by what they saw as little progress in the peace process. His approval rating fell to around 20%, an all-time low.

Kevin Howlett:

Polls show that less than a third of Colombians want Santos back in the presidential palace come next August (when the possession takes place). However, with the state`s largesse at his disposal, the coalition votes in the bag, and the majority of the national media “on message”, public opinion will struggle to be heard. Santos` re-election has an air of inevitability.

The elections will take place next May.

In Rick Moran’s podcast

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

talking about Obama’s Gettysburg Snub with Rick and Bridget Johnson.

And Obama changed the speech,

Live now, and also archived for your listening convenience.