En español: Barbara Padilla

August 14th, 2014

The 2d place finalist of America’s Got Talent, Barbara Padilla, interviewed in Spanish by Jaime Bayly,

She has a new CD out today, available through Amazon. I’d like Andrea Bocelli’s agent to sign her up.

The Pontifical Council denounces ISIS

August 13th, 2014

My latest at Da Tech Guy Blog, The Pontifical Council denounces ISIS, is up.

Don’t miss also tonight’s podcast at 8PM Eastern, when I’m Silvio Canto’s guest.

Socialism: making it harder to get a drink since 1848*

August 13th, 2014

First we hear that producers of cheap Malbec are getting squeezed by inflation. Now this,
Venezuela Sips More Local Rum, Less Pricey Whiskey
Lagging Economy Pushes Consumers Away From Expensive Scotches
.

 

At fancy steakhouses and Spanish-style tascas, Scotch is served the Venezuelan way: poured to the brim in a highball glass with ice.

Let’s hope they don’t do that to any of these.

Regardless, $5 says the chavistas are still getting their Buchanan’s and Chivas.

*1848: Karl Marx puts out the Communist Manifesto.


Brazil: Hacking the reporters

August 13th, 2014

Miriam Leitão and Carlos Alberto Sardenberg, outstanding journalists who report on the many corruption scandals of the Dilma years, found out they were being hacked and smeared by someone using a computer address inside the Planalto presidential palace.

Ooopsie!

Or should I have a Captain Louis Renault moment?

I mean, “I’m shocked, shocked” that the journalists have come under attack by someone who doesn’t have enough brains to realize a computer address inside the Planalto could be located.

But I digress.

What’s interesting is the blowback; Mac Margolis:

Launching stealth attacks on critics from within the presidential palace plays well with the party faithful, but maybe less so at the voting booth. Although official probes in Brazil rarely reach the highest office, the blowback from the smear campaign suggests that Rousseff’s road to re-election will be fraught.

Brazil’s general election’s scheduled for October 5th. The Economist calls the presidential campaign “A tightly scripted telenovela.”

Video below the fold, since it starts right away,
Read the rest of this entry »

Cuba: The end of the deepwater oil lie

August 12th, 2014

After offshore oil failure, Cuba shifts energy focus (emphasis added)

Cuba has shifted its focus away from offshore oil, concentrating on renewable energy and improving output from onshore wells due to a lack of interest by foreign companies for further deepwater exploration, sources close to the industry say.

That includes China and Russia; after three deepwater wells drilled in 2012 came up dry.

Capitol Hill Cubans blog had a more tactful title than mine, Cuba Ends Deepwater Oil Exploration Illusion.

Brazil: Opposition now has Arminio Fraga

August 12th, 2014

Arminio Fraga, president of Brazil’s central bank from 1999 to 2002 under the Fernando Henrique Cardoso administration, is now back in the game:
Brazil Ex-Insider Returns to Help Oust President
With slow growth and high inflation hurting Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff’s chances of winning a second term, former central banker Arminio Fraga joins the opposition to persuade voters that Brazil needs a new economic steward.

Mr. Fraga appears to be positioning himself as something of an inflation whisperer. As president of Brazil’s central bank from 1999 to 2002 under the administration of President Fernando Henrique Cardoso, he helped stabilize the currency and rein in consumer prices. Mr. Fraga supports restrained public spending, tough inflation targeting and a floating exchange rate, policies that became known in Brazil as the “economic tripod.”

He is highly critical of the Rousseff administration’s decision slow inflation by capping gasoline prices and electricity rates, moves he dismissed as “gimmicks.” He’s also alarmed that Brazil’s central bank has been intervening regularly in the currency markets to prop up Brazil’s real against the dollar, a strategy he ridicules a “populist move.”

Mr. Fraga said these are stopgap measures that already are proving unworkable and that Brazil needs to focus on long-term fundamentals like increasing private investment and balancing its books.

The fact that earlier this year Standard & Poor downgraded Brazil´s long term bonds credit rating to one notch above junk doesn’t help Dilma – but you have to remember that, even when Dilma’s the candidate, Lula is the man to beat.

Venezuela: El Pollo as big fish

August 11th, 2014

Mary O’Grady on today’s WSJ:
A Terrorist Big Fish Gets Away
The Netherlands refuses to extradite FARC ally Hugo Carvajal Barrios to the U.S.

While O’Grady contradicts herself on the criminals’ intent, saying, on the one hand, “America’s voracious appetite for illegal drugs has allowed violent political actors to create powerful transnational criminal organizations”, while on the other hand stating, “All of this terror is done in the name of social justice for Colombians,” the effect of current U.S. foreign policy is clear: The bottom line? (emphasis added)

Yet it’s not surprising that the Netherlands decided it would be less costly to be on the good side of the bad guys than to be on the bad side of the good guys. After six years of the Obama global retreat, any leader would be crazy to expect the U.S. to go to the mat for an ally, even one that stuck its neck out for Uncle Sam. So when Venezuela threatened military and economic retribution at the Netherlands Antilles if Carvajal was extradited, the Dutch foreign affairs minister relented.

Read the whole thing here.

The wine squeeze Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

August 11th, 2014

Producers of cheap Malbec are getting squeezed by inflation, according to the WSJ,

Wine has been hit harder than agricultural products like soy because picking the grapes is so labor intensive. Analysts say producers’ costs have risen at least 100% in the past four years.

That means fewer bottles of cheap Argentine wine are making it to the shelves of restaurants and liquor stores in the U.S. and Europe.

As if things weren’t tough enough already.

ARGENTINA
Judge Threatens Argentina With Contempt Over Its Statements

Argentina seeks legal case against U.S. in The Hague

Argentine grandmother leading search for stolen children reunited with own grandson after 36 years
Country celebrates as Estela Carlotto, head of the renowned Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo, finds the grandchild taken from her daughter by the military regime almost four decades ago

BOLIVIA
‘King Midas’ Bat From Bolivia Identified As A News Species

BRAZIL
Brazil anger over gynaecological tests for teachers
Brazilian women’s rights advocates denounce Sao Paulo state’s requirement for prospective female teachers to undergo gynaecological test

Women’s rights advocates in Brazil have denounced requirements by the country’s most populous state for prospective female teachers to submit to gynaecological exams or prove their virginity in order to work.

The education department of Sao Paulo state requires female prospective teachers to undergo a Pap smear in order to prove they are free of a variety of cancers, or to present a doctor’s statement verifying they have not been sexually active.

Until recently, it also required women to have a colposcopy, a type of visual examination used to detect disease.

CHILE
Chile youth leader freed in Venezuela, going to Santiago

COLOMBIA
Colombian rebels attack oil field
Colombian rebels attack an oil field in the north-west of the country although no-one is hurt, the state-owned company Ecopetrol says.

CUBA
Cy Tokmakjian – Imprisoned in Cuba No Charges. No Justice

Cuba and the outside world
Rekindling old friendships
Cuba is once again resorting to geopolitics to support a failing economy

Museum enshrines the history of Cuba according to “The Godfather II”

ECUADOR
Ecuador to open embassy in ‘Palestine’, president cancels visit to Israel

What Can Tens of Millions of Dollars Buy Ecuador in the ‘Empire’?

GUATEMALA
Guatemala Receives Deported Children from U.S.

IMMIGRATION
BORDER PATROL AGENT: CARTELS USING CHILDREN AS ‘SHIELDS’

JAMAICA
Jamaica: The good, the bad and the ugly

LATIN AMERICA
Why is Latin America Coddling Hamas?

The Spin of Things to Come

Russia Slaps Embargo on Western Food Imports and Looks to Latin America

WHATEVER HAPPENED TO CYNTHIA MCKINNEY? She’s at TeleSur, which is

funded by the governments of Argentina, Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Uruguay and Venezuela.

MEXICO
Mexico Gains Winning Edge By Opening Energy Market

Mexico Mulls Over Raising It’s Shockingly Low Minimum Wage

NICARAGUA
Costa Rica seeks investigation of immigrant bribes to Nicaraguan military

PANAMA
Has Panama weaned itself off drugs and cleaned up?

PARAGUAY
Pope Benedict XVI OK’d abusive priest in Paraguay, local bishop says

PERU
PERU HAS REOPENED ITS OFFICE OF UFO INVESTIGATIONS

PUERTO RICO
Puerto Ricans Are Fleeing the Economic Disaster That Is Their Home Island

VENEZUELA
Venezuelan weather vanes

Evil in the Bayou

The week’s posts and podcast:
Venezuela: Derwick in the news

Today’s illegal invasion headlines

Nicaragua: A reminder on the sandinistas

Venezuela: What a show trial looks like

“once every 5 years”

Ecuador: Like bitcoin, but not as solid

Need a coyote? Check Facebook!

Mexico: Knights Templar chief La Tuta’s on YouTube

Illegal immigration: Just who is getting in?

At Da Tech Guy Blog:
Pope Francis reinstates Marxist to the priesthood (update DTG)

And now, for a “train deal” with Mexico

The week’s podcast, with Silvio Canto.


Venezuela: Derwick in the news

August 9th, 2014

In the WSJ:
American Agencies Probe Venezuelan Energy Company
Federal and New York City law-enforcement authorities are investigating Derwick Associates, which became one of Venezuela’s leading builders of electricity plants during the Chávez administration.

Manhattan prosecutors are investigating Derwick and ProEnergy for possible violations of New York banking law, people familiar with the matter said.

Meanwhile, people familiar with the matter said prosecutors in the Justice Department’s criminal fraud section are reviewing the actions of Derwick and ProEnergy for possible violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which prohibits offering foreign government officials improper payments in exchange for a business advantage.

Federal prosecutors are scrutinizing the difference between the prices ProEnergy charged Derwick for its equipment and the prices Derwick ultimately charged the Venezuelan government, one person familiar with the matter said. The person said that in some past FCPA cases, excessive margins have been used to conceal bribes to foreign officials.

Casto Ocando, in his book Chavistas en el Imperio: Secretos, Tácticas y Escándalos de la Revolución Bolivariana en Estados Unidos (page 224), estimates that the Chavez government awarded Derwick contracts of nearly a billion dollars (plus $400 million overruns) between 2009-2010.

Alek Boyd has been writing about Derwick since 2012; in today’s post he explains that

Derwick Associates never won “competitive bids”. In the multiple occasions that Batiz and Ultimas Noticias asked Derwick Associates to reveal details of the contracts it had gotten from the Venezuelan State -bold added with the purpose of highlighting the fact that this is public money we are talking about- the company refused, repeatedly, to come clean. Derwick Associates has never been a “transparent company”. Quite the opposite in fact.

Read Alek’s post here.


Today’s illegal invasion headlines

August 8th, 2014

From Drudge:

Rwandan man accused of war crimes arrested crossing into USA…

Immigration Official Arrested for Bringing Man from Ghana…

Border Patrol: Feds Releasing Murderers Into USA…

Email Tirade…

Mother of slain agent: ‘I will not rest’…

WIRE: Americans worry illegals threaten way of life, economy…

UNIVISION POLL: Immigration Low Priority for Latino Voters…

DREAMers vow confrontations…

REPORT: New migrants entering public school system to cost Texas taxpayers $45M…

Feds Bend CDC Rules, Allow Sick Illegals to Stay…

Embattled Dem: I voted with John McCain…

Americans Renouncing Citizenship Hits New Record…

Neoneocon answers Dana Milbank:

Dana Milbank wants all you old white men to know that he understands your concerns, although he doesn’t share them. Big of him, isn’t it?

Actually, he doesn’t even understand them, as his essay proves. He thinks the concerns of those other white men have to do with race itself, and that they’re upset because, increasingly, “Whiteness has less and less to do with being American.”

No, Dana dear, they’re upset because traditional and historical Americanvalues increasingly have less and less to do with being American. You’re the one obsessed with race and ethnicity. For most people opposing increased illegal (or greatly increased legal) immigration, the problems are the following ones, and they have nothing to do with the color of the new arrivals:

(1) Letting people come here who break the law means that you’re bringing in a lot of people with no respect for law. That bodes ill for their future as law-abiding citizens.

(2) Way too many of the new arrivals are economically dependent on the welfare state, and in fact by their own admission that’s one of the main reasons they come here. That was never true in the past (especially back when there was no welfare state) and will constitute a drain on our already-stressed economy no matter whether such arrivals are white, black, green, or purple.

(3) Years ago we stopped stressing assimilation in all its important manifestations. American values have suffered as a result. Assimilation was (and still is) the key to this country’s encouraging immigration and yet continuing to be America, with its American exceptionalism intact. It’s not the race of the new arrivals that’s the problem, the problem is that their failure to assimilate is making this country more like the places from whence they came, and that’s not a good thing.

I don’t see white Dana spending years living in China, Latin America, or any other such places.

The Squeegee men and broken windows are back in NYC