Friday, January 20, 2006

Socialism; The Southern Front

The United States, in the midst of the war on terror, has got to keep it's eye on the growing socialist movement in Latin America. With this Sunday's surprising victory of Michelle Bachelet, a self described leftist, Chile becomes the next country in a growing list of socialist or socialist leaning countries in South America.

Here's a list of countries in the Pro-Castro Axis
1) Cuba
2) Brazil
3) Venezuela
4) Bolivia
5) Uruguay
6) Ecuador

And the list of targeted countries
1) Argentina
2) Peru
3) Columbia
4) Paraguay
5) Nicaragua
6) Honduras
7) El Salvador
8) Guatemala


"Michelle Bachelet , a socialist doctor and former political prisoner was elected Sunday as the country's first female president, defeating a conservative multimillionaire opponent in a race that reflected Latin America's increasingly leftward tilt.

She has bescribed herself as: "I was a woman, separated, a socialist, an agnostic ... all possible sins together," Chile's next president Michelle Bachelet will be joining the ranks of Latin American leaders including leftists such as Venezuela's Hugo Chavez and newly elected Evo Morales of Bolivia.

Bachelet indicated she would work with all the region's leaders. "We shouldn't take Latin America back to the Cold War. Chavez, Morales, they are presidents elected by their peoples. Chile must have relationships with all of them."


Until recently, Uruguay could be counted upon as one of Washington's staunchest friends in the hemisphere. But then Mr. Vazquez, an oncologist and former mayor of Montevideo, broke the traditional two-party mold of Uruguayan politics by leading the Frente Amplio (Broad Front) leftist coalition to an overwhelming election victory.



"with Iranian nuclear aspirations gaining notice, it's worth directing attention to the growing relationship between Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Venezuela's President Hugo Chávez. The Reagan administration repulsed Soviet efforts to set up camp in Central America. Iranian designs on Venezuela perhaps deserve similar U.S. attention.

The warmth and moral support between Ahmadinejad and Chávez is very public. The two tyrants are a lot more than just pen pals. Venezuela has made it clear that it backs Iran's nuclear ambitions and embraces the mullahs' hateful anti-Semitism. What remains more speculative is just how far along Iran is in putting down roots in Venezuela.

In September, when the International Atomic Energy Agency offered a resolution condemning Iran for its "many failures and breaches of its obligations to comply" with its treaty commitments, Venezuela was the only country that voted "no." Ahmadinejad congratulated the Venezuelan government, calling the vote "brave and judicious."

Three months later, in a Christmas Eve TV broadcast, Chávez declared that "minorities, the descendants of those who crucified Christ, have taken over the riches of the world." That ugly anti-Semitic swipe was of a piece with an insidious assault over the past several years on the country's Jewish community. In 2004, heavily armed Chávez commandos raided a Caracas Jewish school, terrifying children and parents. The government's claim that it had reason to believe that the school was storing arms was never supported. A more reasonable explanation is that the raid was part of the Chávez political strategy of fomenting class hatred--an agenda that finds a vulnerable target in the country's Jewish minority--and as a way to show Tehran that Venezuela is on board. Ahmadinejad rivals Hitler in his hatred for the Jewish people."

From Humberto Fontova

"Basically this "master plan" involved massive loans, financial aid and shipments of free oil to Castro from Venezuela so he could carry out his anti-American jihad without fear of economic strangulation from the "Gringos." Betancourt balked and no sooner had Castro returned home empty handed than he was planning subversion in Venezuela, including assassination attempts against Betancourt and sneaking in guerrilla bands. These guerrillas were trained primarily by Che Guevara, so naturally they were completely routed and stomped out in short order.

It took Hugo Chavez to finally enlist with Castro's plan. In 2004 Cuba got 1.3 billion in essentially free oil from Venezuela. By mid 2005, 160,000 barrels of oil were flowing from Venezuela to Cuba daily. This is much more oil than Cuba's refineries can process, because most of this oil is resold to Central American nations by Cuba, which pockets the handsome profit. Here's the second half of the "master plan against the gringo's" that Castro had originally proposed to Romulo Betancourt.

The mainstream media naturally ignored this, but just last month the Ecuadoran government captured a group of rebels who admitted they were trained and equipped in Venezuela. Colombian president Alvaro Uribe has to be painstakingly circumspect in his public pronouncements, but he knows good and well who is arming, supplying and providing safe haven for Colombia's FARC guerrillas. "Thanks to Castro" boasted Colombia's FARC (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia) commander "Tiro-Fijo" in a 2001 interview, "we are now a powerful army, not a hit and run band." The conduit for this type of aid and sanctuary is, of course, Venezuela."

From Steve Johnson

"Despite his need for surrogates and seclusion, Fidel is still in control. Thousands of his advisers form a shadow government in Caracas to ensure that Chavez doesn't flub his chance at dictatorship the way Nicaragua's Sandinista comandantes or El Salvador's guerrillas once did. Fortunately for him, U.S.-backed democratic and market reforms in the region have barely gone beyond elections and free trade, disappointing those who hoped they would deliver greater prosperity. And at a time when the United States is preoccupied in the Middle East, few U.S. policymakers are interested in advancing these reforms in Latin America--although more comprehensive ties and greater restructuring is needed and wanted.

Democracy is unraveling in Bolivia and Ecuador, and is under assault in Nicaragua and Mexico where the Venezuelan government has sent activist ambassadors to aid the campaigns of leftist politicians. Meanwhile, renewed turmoil in the region will cost the United States in lost trade, security woes, rising drug and arms trafficking, and floodtides of migrants fleeing closed societies patterned on the ramblings of an island-bound sociopath."

From Philip Peters

"From the perspective of U.S. policy and strategy, I think it's important to examine the void into which Cuba and Venezuela are rushing in so many Latin American countries. This void is real and durable, and while it may not threaten the survival of democratic governance, it is almost guaranteed to shape it in ways we do not like.

1.There is a big opening for Cuba and Venezuela to provide doctors, teachers, oil, and other forms of aid, financed mainly by Venezuelan oil revenues - and as in any aid program, there will be political benefits for the donor. This aid will also highlight ways in which many Latin Americans do not see eye to eye with many Americans. First, they have few qualms about the collaboration. Uribe in Colombia, for example, has welcomed thousands of Cuban teachers, last week thanked Cuba for hosting peace talks between his government and Colombian guerrillas, and recently signed a long-term energy pact with Venezuela that includes big investment projects. Second, people in countries with poor systems of delivery of social services are likely to admire Cuba´s health care system because of its universal reach. They could care less about its deficiencies. They are happy to have a Cuban doctor in a place where no doctor has been before.

2.We are in for a period (already underway) in which there is an opening for left-of-center politicians (including many with mainstream ideas, not Evo Morales´ brand of populist extremism) to gain ground in Latin America; they will move away from the last decade´s "Washington consensus" economic policies and they will be critical of U.S. foreign policy.

3.If we don´t like #1 and #2, the only antidote is to engage in the serious long-term work of making democratic capitalism work in Latin America. That is, we have to close the void. If we are serious, we would expect results in generations, not years. And we will have to ruffle the feathers of many Latin American elites"

From Jaime Suchlicki

"The US has an interest in preventing and reversing political conditions that could a) generate hostility toward the US and its economic and political interests; b) divide the region into antagonistic groups c) give rise to violence and armed conflict; and d) work to the detriment of the US or the Hemisphere.

What's to be done? For starters:

1.Develop policies and strategies to focus sustained attention on the problems of Latin America.

2.Redirect foreign aid programs to the region to deal with grassroot development, social and economic issues.

3.Direct public diplomacy programs to the region.

4.Support electoral candidates favorable to US interests.

5.Establish a major center in the US to train and support democratic candidates in the region.

6.Open offices in select countries to train future political leaders.

7.Strengthen covert intelligence capabilities. Covert actions should be used when critical to the security of the US, when significant chances and success exist, and when diplomatic, propaganda, or other efforts have little prospect of success.

8.The quality, motivation, and language capabilities of US diplomats and other personnel being sent to Latin America should be improved.

9.Cultural and exchange programs should be strengthened and expanded.

10.Consideration should be given to the establishment in the US or Puerto Rico of "the University of the Americas," a specialized technical, business, and diplomatic school to train Latin Americans."

We have got to focus our attention on South America and develop a clear plan to deal with this growing tide of socialism. We have to apply the same type of foreign policy, as it relates to dictators and their atrocities, as we do to the Middle East.

I believe if we apply the right kind of pressure and point out the failures of this ideology to the Latin American people combined with the reality their economic situation we may be able to turn the tide.

This situation may ultimately play itself out in our favor just like communism is Europe did, but I think you'll agree this is a situation we need to monitor very closely.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Anti-death penalty crowd dealt a blow

On the heels of the infamous Tooki Williams case comes another blow for the anti-death penalty crowd. Today DNA testing proved "there was almost no conceivable doubt that Coleman was the source of the sperm found in the victim."

Some background:
this is from death penalty information center

"Virginia Governor Mark Warner has ordered DNA evidence retested to determine whether Roger Keith Coleman, who was executed in 1992, was actually innocent. Warner said he ordered the tests because of technological advances that could prove a level of certainty that was not available at the time of Coleman's execution.

Since his execution, Coleman's case has generated a great deal of national and international attention. After the Virginia Supreme Court denied a request for new DNA testing made in 2002 by four newspapers and Centurian Ministries, a New Jersey-based group that investigates claims of innocence, a number of requests for new DNA tests were directed to Governor Warner. If the testing shows Coleman did not commit the crime for which he was executed, it would be the first time in the United States that a person was exonerated by scientific testing after his execution."

And this from FOXNEWS today:
DNA Tests Confirm Guilt of Executed Man

"The case had been closely watched by both sides in the death penalty debate because no executed convict in the United States has ever been exonerated by scientific testing.
The tests, ordered by the governor last month, prove Roger Keith Coleman was guilty of the 1981 rape and murder of his sister-in-law, Gov. Mark R. Warner's spokeswoman Ellen Qualls said.

The report from the Centre of Forensic Sciences in Toronto concluded there was almost no conceivable doubt that Coleman was the source of the sperm found in the victim.

"The probability that a randomly selected individual unrelated to Roger Coleman would coincidentally share the observed DNA profile is estimated to be 1 in 19 million," the report said."

It went on to say:

"A finding of innocence would have been explosive news and almost certainly would have had a powerful effect on the public's attitude toward capital punishment. Death penalty opponents have argued for years that the risk of a grave and irreversible mistake by the criminal justice system is too great to allow capital punishment.

"We have sought the truth using DNA technology not available at the time the commonwealth carried out the ultimate criminal sanction," Warner said in a statement. "The confirmation that Roger Coleman's DNA was present reaffirms the verdict and the sanction. Again, my prayers are with the family of Wanda McCoy at this time."

I realize this was to be the "See I Told You So" moment for the anti-death penalty folks but I'm personally happy with this outcome. It shows that the system, as flawed as it may be, works!

And to think TIME Magazine put this slime on its cover.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Boo-Hoo Economics and Media Bias

With all the talk of Media bias of late and some people asking for specific links to polls and how the MSM repots on the economy I thought I'd combine the two and share some articles I've read recently.

The first is an article by Dan Gainor from the Washington Times

"The Christmas shopping season culminated a strong year for the U.S. economy. But instead of ringing out the old year and toasting the success, 43 percent of Americans think we're in a recession. And that's a crying shame"
According to the American Research Group, the public is split over the notion we're in a recession. It's no wonder almost half of the public thinks things are bad, because most people only know what they're told. For 43 percent of the population to believe something so wrongheaded, there can be only one culprit -- the major media.

Journalists describe the economy as "strong, but with serious weaknesses" when they are being positive or focus on the "housing bubble" bursting instead of dwelling on the 55 percent gains home prices have made since 2000. They've even discussed a possible recession.

This happens all the time one of our more left leaning papers or news broadcasts will headline a story like this: the GNP is up but you never know with the U.S. economy while another will say, about the same story, something like this: The GNP is up to 4.3% and expectations are high both headlines, while not exact quotes are what I remember hearing about a month ago on TV.

Dan went on to site:

"On Oct. 14, CNN's Lou Dobbs -- the network's own Howard Beale -- discussed the September CPI report, warning: "Tonight middle-class Americans and those who aspire to the middle class face a growing cost-of-living crisis. Inflation last month up at the fastest pace in 25 years, while wages are falling."
But when the Labor Department released numbers last week showing inflation declined by the greatest percentage in 56 years, Lou was nowhere to be found.

Now you know the true origin of the word "de-pressed" -- to have the media lament news about the economy. Only this isn't just the media version of the little boy who cried wolf. This is an ongoing, consistent attempt to depict a successful economy as a failure. It's time we put away our hankies, got mad and demanded the media do a better job.

Pouting Pundits of Pessimism is another great article for this kind of bias BRIAN S. WESBURY writes:

"It is amazing. Everything is negative. When bond yields rise, it is considered bad for the housing market and the consumer. But if bond yields fall and the yield curve narrows toward inversion, that is bad too, because an inverted yield curve could signal a recession.

If housing data weaken, as they did on Monday when existing home sales fell, well that is a sign of a bursting housing bubble. If housing data strengthen, as they did on Tuesday when new home sales rose, that is negative because the Fed may raise rates further. If foreigners buy our bonds, we are not saving for ourselves.

If foreigners do not buy our bonds, interest rates could rise. If wages go up, inflation is coming. If wages go down, the economy is in trouble.

This clearly shows how the presentation and choice of words or phrases slant or move people in a certain direction. Unfortunately most people listen or read the headline and first paragraph of a news story and then go on to the next one or tune out the meat or true facts of that story.

As truth tellers our journalists must be held to a certain code of conduct and self governing! Unfortunately this is not the case of late.