by Fausta Rodríguez Wertz

The Economist‘s cover story:

Mr Putin’s new order, in short, is built on revanchism, a reckless disdain for the truth and the twisting of the law to mean whatever suits those in power. That makes it no order at all.

Some of the more unsavory heads of state in Latin America have been borrowing a page from Putin: Last year I posted on Mary O’Grady’s article on how Cuba Studies ‘Putinismo’ for Survival Tips

behind the scenes, putinismo blends authoritarian political control and crony capitalism to produce a lock on power.

It’s not only indirect “putinismo”: Putin has been interested in Latin America all along.

Russia has been cruising through the region for quite a while. On November 2008, the day before Thanksgiving, I was at Fox News talking about Russian warships holding military maneuvers with Venezuela in the Caribbean, and a Russian ship was docked in Havana last month.

Following John Kerry’s announcement last year that the Monroe Doctrine is over (thereby sticking a “Kick me” sign on America), Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu announced in February this year that Russia is negotiating with Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua for establishing permanent military bases in those countries.

One could say that Putin interpreted Kerry’s announcement as a license to ride on in the Americas.

Frances Martel at Breitbart reports on PUTIN’S SLOW AND STEADY RECONQUISTA OF LATIN AMERICA

While the United States has maintained close ties with Colombia and Chile, helping the former end a guerrilla warfare crisis perpetrated by left-wing leaders in the nation, the generation of leaders calling themselves Bolivarian socialists in Bolivia, Ecuador, Argentina, Brazil, Venezuela, and, to a lesser extent, Peru have all expanded their ties with Russia.

You must read Martel’s article in full. She is definitely not exaggerating when she concludes,

Vladimir Putin has spent more than a decade investing in the loyalty of a continent often left behind by the puppetmasters of international diplomacy. When–not if–he decides to continue his westward expansion, he will be able to rely on the support of the assorted wayward leftist regimes of Latin America.

Venezuela’s oil props up Cuba, so Putin (at least for now) doesn’t have to bother supplying Cuba’s ruined economy for as long as Venezuela does. But for his long-term game, Putin’s been gaining the loyalty of a continent the US seems to neglect.

Fausta Rodríguez Wertz writes on American and Latin American politics at Fausta’s Blog.

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Olimometer 2.52

It’s Friday the tip jar sits still at $155 for the week.

Only 8 $25 tip jar hits stand between me and not only this week’s goal but an outside chance of making the monthly goal and the mortgage.

We’ll have at least a fighting chance if you hit DaTipJar below.

 

With 61 more $20 a month subscribers this site will be able to cover its bills for a full year.

I would ask that you do subscribe by hitting the button below. If your finances allow it, consider choosing Hat level or better. A subscription comes not only with exclusive commentary, but on a weekly basis you will have the opportunity to get direct access to me by phone to provide feedback or suggestions to make sure this site is worthy of your financial support and patronage.


 

by Fausta Rodríguez Wertz

Lefties firmly believe the deceased Hugo Chavez “improved the economy drastically and ameliorated poverty drastically” because GDP went up, and fewer people were living below the poverty line by the time he died last year.

The numbers are there: GDP did go up, and yes, fewer people were listed as living below the poverty line. Whose numbers?

The numbers came from the Venezuelan government.

The International Monetary Fund keeps a List of IMF Member Countries with Delays in Completion of Article IV Consultations or Mandatory Financial Stability Assessments Over 18 Months. As of the writing of this post, Venezuela hasn’t held an Article IV consultation with the IMF in 99 months.

Let me translate that into plain English: The Venezuelan government has not allowed its own numbers to be verified for almost a decade.

It also stopped reporting a number of standard indicators several years ago:

Heavy government spending has fueled rampant inflation, which averaged an annual 22% during Mr. Chávez’s tenure. Its anticapitalist rhetoric and broad state intervention into the economy have led to a dearth of investment. Gross fixed capital formation declined to 18% of gross domestic product in 2011, from 24% in 1999, according to the World Bank. Net inflows of foreign direct investment stood at 2.9% of GDP during that same year, his first in office, nearly double the 1.7% in 2011. Capital flight from Venezuela intensified as Mr. Chávez pursued more interventionist policies, including capital controls and a fixed official exchange rate that — if you can get it — offers dollars at a quarter of the exchange rate that the greenback fetches in the black market. Stock market capitalization of companies listed on the Caracas Stock Exchange has gone from a paltry 7.6% of GDP in 1999 to a minuscule 1.6%.

Rather than pursue policies that might stimulate investment, the government’s response to shrinking productive capacity and high inflation has been price caps. The result? Shortages of food and other basic necessities, periodic electric brown- and blackouts, and far fewer jobs: the labor force participation rate has dropped from 52% to 46% in the Chávez era.

Does that sound like a “drastically improved” economy?

But let’s look at GDP some more, with the numbers that are available: Chavez made the Venezuelan economy increasingly dependent on oil exports. In 1999, oil accounted for 80% of all exports. Back then the Annual Average Domestic Crude Oil Price (AADCOP) was $16.56. By the time of his death last year, the number had risen to 95% at an AADCOP of $91.17. GDP had to go up, if only because all the eggs in that one basket got pricier; even then Chavez didn’t do all that well:

There was strong economic growth from 2004 to 2008 but GDP fell in 1999, 2002, 2003, 2009 and 2010. From the time Chávez took office in 1999 to 2011 Venezuela’s economy grew by an average of 2.8% per year. During this same period Latin America as a whole grew by 3.3% per year and Brazil grew by 3.4% per year.

While Venezuela’s oil production decreases, Cuba still receives 100,000 barrels of its oil per day.

How about reducing poverty?

According to the UN’s Economic Commission for Latin America, the percentage of the population living under the poverty line in Venezuela fell from 49.4% in 1999 to 27.8% in 2010. That is a pretty good record but there were similar trends across Latin America. In the region as a whole poverty dropped from 43.8% in 1999 to 31.8% in 2010. A few countries, like Peru, Brazil and Panama, faired even better than Venezuela. Poverty rates in Peru dropped sharply from 54.7% in 2000 to 31.3% in 2010—all three have solidly capitalistic economies.

There are no verifiable data available on income distribution, but again, according to government numbers

The country now boasts the fairest income distribution in Latin America, as measured by the Gini coefficient index.

In 2011, Venezuela’s Gini coefficient fell to 0.39. By way of comparison, Brazil’s was 0.52, in itself a historic low.

So every Venezuelan now has a more equal slice of the cake. The trouble is, that cake has not been getting much bigger.

“Venezuela is the fifth largest economy in Latin America, but during the last decade, it’s been the worst performer in GDP per capita growth,” says Arturo Franco of the Center for International Development at Harvard University.

The Gini numbers do not include moneys kept by corrupt officials or “Tier II Kingpins” drug lord Cabinet members.

Venezuela ranks 181 out of 189 in the World Bank Economy Rankings.

Chavez’s true legacy is a ruined country with murder rates doubling or tripling over a decade, Communist control of all institutions and media, falling oil production, crumbling infrastructure, a moribund private sector (what little is left of it after the expropriations and nationalizations), soaring inflation, fleeing capital, power outages and food shortages, and now, electronic food rationing cards.

Drastically, yes. Improved, no.

Fausta Rodríguez Wertz writes on Latin American and US politics and culture at Fausta’s Blog.

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Olimometer 2.52

It’s Wednesday and yesterday a pair of tip jar hits moved us to $101 toward our goal of $365 to pay the mortgage and the writers.

After two dismal weeks it’s vital to get those 11 $25 tip jar hits necessary to make the weekly goal to even have an outside chance of making the mortgage this month

We’ve done a lot in the last 10 days from CPAC to NLRC. but it can’t be done without you.

 

With 61 more $20 a month subscribers this site will be able to cover its bills for a full year.

I would ask that you do subscribe by hitting the button below.  If your finances allow it, consider choosing Hat level or better.  A subscription comes not only with exclusive commentary, but on a weekly basis you will have the opportunity to get direct access to me by phone to provide feedback or suggestions to make sure this site is worthy of your financial support and patronage.


 

by Fausta Rodríguez Wertz

Vice-president Joe Biden was in Chile for the presidential inauguration of Michelle Bachelet.

Bachelet previously served as President from 2006–2010, but could not serve two consecutive terms, so she ran, and won this second term. Bachelet has already proposed increasing corporate taxes and closing tax loopholes to sponsor a system of free college education, changes to the constitution, and more spending to address inequality. This does not bode well for the most successful country in South America if she steers the country away from its free-market economy.

Chile, Peru, Colombia and Mexico compose the Pacific Alliance, a trade block created in 2011 which aims to

  • Build, in a participatory and consensual manner, an area of deep economic integration and to move gradually toward the free circulation of goods, services, capital and persons.
  • Promote the larger growth, development and competitiveness of the Parties’ economies, aiming at achieving greater welfare, overcoming socio-economic inequality and achieving greater social inclusion of their inhabitants.
  • Become a platform for political articulation, and economic and trade integration, and project these strengths to the rest of the world, with a special emphasis on the Asia-Pacific region.

Biden scheduled face-to-face meetings with each of the Pacific Alliance presidents, Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia, Ollanta Humala of Peru, and Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico, having already met with Bachelet.

Earlier during his visit, Biden had

called the unstable situation in Venezuela “alarming” and said the Caracas government lacked even basic respect for human rights.

The Pacific Alliance arose as a free-trade, pro-democracy answer to the pro-Communist, pro-Cuba UNASUR that was the brainchild of the late Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez. Hugo’s successor, Nicolas Maduro, was scheduled to attend Bachelet’s inauguration, and had called an emergency meeting of UNASUR to take place in Chile, saying that the UNASUR heads of state are “welcome” to condemn the opposition’s violence.

Maduro had certainly made his agenda clear.

In anticipation of Maduro’s visit, several Chilean congressmen wore #SOSVenezuela buttons to the inaugural, showing their support for the protesters:

Maduro decided at the last minute to skip Chile altogether, and took a hike. He sent his Foreign Minister, Elias Jaua.

Brazil, the largest UNASUR country, demurred on taking a stance on Venezuela. Biden was not invited, and it’s a good thing he’s not perceived as being involved with any of the UNASUR doings.

Better yet, I applaud Biden’s attention to the Pacific Alliance presidents. That is the kind of organization the hemisphere needs.

Fausta Rodríguez Wertz writes on US and Latin American politics and Culture at Fausta’s Blog.

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Olimometer 2.52

It’s Wednesday and we remain at $66 dollars toward this week’s goal of $365 to keep the bills paid. That’s $299 short

If you think our work here is worthy of your support I ask you consider hitting DaTipJar below.

 

 

With 61 more $20 a month subscribers this site will be able to cover its bills for a full year.

I would ask that you do subscribe by hitting the button below.  If your finances allow it, consider choosing Hat level or better.  A subscription comes not only with exclusive commentary, but on a weekly basis you will have the opportunity to get direct access to me by phone to provide feedback or suggestions to make sure this site is worthy of your financial support and patronage.


 

by Fausta Rodriguez Wertz

I can not attend CPAC this year, but have been paying attention to the speakers; yesterday Senator Marco Rubio’s speech on American exceptionalism defined America’s post-Obama foreign policy, as Mediate rightfully said:

He defined the threats he warned that the United States will face in the near future and defined current and long-term America’s economic challenges in terms relating to the preservation of free trade guaranteed by American military and diplomatic strength.

All the threats come from totalitarian regimes, regimes who do not respect their citizens’ God-given rights: “Any government and any leader who violates those rights is an illegitimate one.”

Rubio asserted that “America must be involved in leading the world”. “There is only one nation on earth capable of rallying and bringing together the free people on this planet to stand up to the spread of totalitarianism. The United Nations cannot do this. In fact, they cannot do anything.”

“If you think high taxes and regulations are bad for our economy, so is global instability and the spread of totalitarianism,” Rubio continued. “What we have in America is the exception, not the rule, in human history. Almost everyone who has ever lived on this planet didn’t’ get to choose their leaders, and they didn’t get to choose their life either.”

Ed Morrissey:

Rubio nails it on foreign policy, and in a way explains why the Obama administration fell into the trap of their own arrogance. Barack Obama campaigned on “hope and change,” and later implied (if not quite stated outright) that he was the change and the hope. The administration seemed to have bought its own hype. The mere fact of his election was supposed to argue that America had already fundamentally changed, and that all that was needed to get imperial-oriented nations like China and Russia to see the light was a reset button or two.

That’s the “fantasy” world inhabited by the Obama administration, as the Washington Post described it last weekend. Obama, Hillary Clinton, and John Kerry all seem to believe that just talking about change and hope will mean that nations run by power-seeking leaders will suddenly embrace Utopianism, because — as Kerry explicitly said — that’s the right side of history, and the geopolitical manipulations of Russia and China are on “the wrong side of history.” There is absolutely no evidence for that claim, except for their own declarations that it’s so.

Video of the full spech:

Memeorandum thread.

Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on Latin American and USA politics and culture at Fausta’s blog.

by Fausta Rodríguez Wertz

Yesterday U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan

found that New York lawyer Steven Donziger and his litigation team engaged in coercion, bribery, money laundering and other misconduct aimed at securing a 2011 verdict against the company in Ecuador.

The judge concluded that Mr. Donziger and his team fabricated evidence, promised $500,000 to an Ecuadorean judge to rule in their favor, ghostwrote much of the final verdict in the case and took other actions that “perverted” the course of justice.

In the 2011 lawsuit, Chevron accused Donziger and Ecuadorian plaintiffs of fraud and racketeering in the 2003 Lago Agrio trial that resulted in a US$19billion verdict against Chevron, which had never operated in Ecuador but had inherited an environmental clean-up case when Chevron acquired Texaco in 2001. (The Wall Street Journal has a timeline, and you can read the 500-page Kaplan ruling here.)

Last November Ecuador reduced the $19 billion to $9 billion.

The Aguarico-4 site became a favorite cause among celebrities like Sting, Danny Glover, Cher, Daryl Hannah and Mia Farrow (who on January 27 tweeted that she was “in Equador to check out the toxic #mess left by Texaco-#Chevron” but appears to have deleted that tweet and turned her attention to other matters). These same celebrities have nothing to say about tribal warfare in the Amazon killing hundreds of people, the government’s war against freedom expression, and China’s control of Ecuador’s oil.

The government of Ecuador gives tours to the site, which is actually owned by its own oil company, Petroecuador.

Chevron is right to continue to fight the (now) $9 billion judgement.

I expect that Donziger will appeal: Jack Fowler reported in late January that

Donziger has cobbled a fourth legal defense team, led by Deepak Gupta, who will be assisted by University of Denver Law School professors Justin Marceau and John Campbell.

Judge Kaplan probably expects him to, also, considering his 500-page decision plus 89-page appendix.

Judge Kaplan points out that Donziger is a master at public relations, and Donziger’s strategy of a media campaign “shifting the focus from the fraud on Chevron and the Lago Agrio court to the environmental harm that Donziger [and the plaintiffs] claim was done” will most likely continue.

Over in US, however, the Chevron Case Helped Wreck a Big Law Merger between Patton Boggs of Washington, DC, and Locke Lord of Texas,

Chevron has filed a counterclaim against Patton Boggs in the case, and two sources familiar with the matter told The Am Law Daily that the firm’s potential liabilities on that front contributed to Locke Lord’s decision to call off merger talks.

Last month Locke Lord managing partner Jerry Clements told The Am Law Daily that the potential liabilities and “reputational aspects” of the Chevron matter were a key part of her firm’s due diligence efforts in evaluating a merger with Patton Boggs.

“Reputational aspects” indeed.

Fausta Rodríguez Wertz writes on Latin American and US politics and culture at Fausta’s Blog. You can read her posts on the Chevron case here.

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Olimometer 2.52

Speaking of reality, Wednesday is here I leave for DC in a few hours and DaTipJar is at $57 toward this weeks goal of $365 to be on track to pay the mortgage and our writers.

We need 12 tip jar hitters at $25 to get that goal and if that trend doesn’t change it’s going to be very rough around here very fast.

Be part of the solution to fight back against the media meme. Hit DaTipJar below

Now there is another reason to kick in on a more permanent way

DaGuy low rez copy-psd

Please consider being a subscriber. With additional writers we need 61 subscribers @ at $20 a month are necessary to secure the cost of Da Magnificent Seven & the monthly mortgage on a permanent basis AND if you so at the $25 level
you can receive one of several Exclusive Original Chris Muir high Res Graphics of original members of DaTechGuy’s Magnificent Seven Gang. like the one on the right


Low res tha lotPlease specify which of the eight hi res (including myself you wish to receive) Subscribe at $50 a month and receive all eight. Subscribe at $100 a month and get all 8 wanted posters high res graphics plus the high res version of all of us exclusively created for subscribers of DaTechGuy blog by Chris Muir himself!

by Fausta Rodríguez Wertz

We turn our attention away from porn stars (and no, looking up a Twitter feed is not a good idea), if we may, to a more vexatious problem: The economics of ruinous populism in Latin America, and how to avoid that in the USA.

Samuel Gregg, in his essay EXORCIZING LATIN AMERICA’S DEMONS
Its populist cultural norms are a killer
, explains that reversing decades’ worth of damage,

such as food-shortages, electricity-blackouts, endemic corruption, the disintegration of rule of law, utterly insecure property-rights, and wild inflation — all of which have helped ArgentinaVenezuelaBolivia, and Ecuador achieve the ignominious distinction of being categorized as “repressed economies” in the 2014 Index of Economic Freedom

will take more than just

a dramatic shift of economic incentives away from the relentless cultivation of connections with politicians and bureaucrats, . . .mandated price-and-wage controls, government restrictions on currency and capital movements, the nationalization of industries, import-substitution policies, and the manipulation of official statistics.

A drastic shift in culture will have to also take place: it will require the embrace of “the habits and institutions of freedom.”

Gregg lists abandoning three mindsets:

  •  the widespread clientelismo, where government  dispenses favors and largesse to their followers,
  • the idea that if only the “the right leader” can be found, everything will be fine,
  • the widespread use of the language of conflict.

In other words, abandon Chicago-style politics.

We are experiencing in the USA many of the  ruinous policies that Gregg lists: “the relentless cultivation of connections with politicians and bureaucrats”, wage controls, government dispensing favors and largesse to a select few who can afford the lobbyists, a cult of personality where anyone disagreeing is accused of racism, a language of conflict accompanied by attempts to curb free speech, and the manipulation of official statistics.

It behoves us as citizens to stop these policies. The question is, how?

Fausta Rodríguez Wertz writes on American and Latin American politics at Fausta’s blog.

by Fausta Rodríguez Wertz

Embedded image permalink

“He who tires, loses.”

Venezuela is at a crossroads.

For over two weeks, the people have been protesting against the government. What started as a students’ protest has spread throughout the country – even the beauty queens are protesting. Why?

The protests accompany inflation officially at 56% (but likely much, much higher); the third-highest murder rate of any country in the world; and, according to an official index, scarce supplies of one out of four staple items needed in every home, such as cooking oil, corn flour, and toilet paper.

Nationalization and expropriation of private businesses, price controls, huge corruption, government printing money to finance itself (including having to pay bond yields higher than all 55 emerging markets tracked by Bloomberg) are all part and parcel of a ruined economy. The scarce benefits that may have accrued under Chavez are being eaten away fast by the crisis.

One of the causes for the rampant criminality is due to the multiple times when, urging his “Bolivarian Revolution,” Hugo Chavez  encouraged the poor to steal while he created a favored class, instead of directing his regime towards the rule of law. Chavez armed gangs that repressed opposition demonstrations (and, make no mistake, they’re on the attack now). He named to his cabinet men who were designated as “Tier II Kingpins”  by the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control. To worsen things, as part of his “war of all the peoples”, Chavez forged close ties with Iran and Hezbollah.

Add to how socialism has destroyed Venezuela, the regime’s suppression of the media:

  • international networks have been blocked from cable and satellite TV,
  • TV and radio stations had their licenses revoked,
  • newspapers are denied the hard currency they need to buy paper,
  • news websites are taken down,
  • the government blocked Twitter images and digital walkie-talkie apps like Zello.
  • president Maduro calls CNN “fascists”, throws them out of the country, and them changes his mind, allowing them to stay if they toe the line,
  • all while the government continues to assert that Venezuela is a free democracy.

YouTube, Twitter and other social media carry the opposition’s message as the international media has ignored until this week the Venezuela story. Worryingly,

influential news outlets have started describing students protests in the country as the domain of “conservative” kids (here’s looking at you BBC). To those who discovered Venezuela only a couple of weeks ago, and are bent on projecting racial and cultural prejudices on the situation, let me just leave with this little factoid to ponder on: chavismo has never won a general election in Venezuelan universities. Ever. Since 1998. In other words, where the voting is manual (rather than with Smartmatic / official electoral body), chavismo is yet to win one election, of either authorities or students bodies in universities across Venezuela.

Much to their credit, CNN en Español sent correspondent Fernando del Rincón to interview retired Brigadier General Ángel Vivas, who had armed and barricaded himself in his home when the National Guard came to seize him for denouncing that Cuba’s giving the orders to the military.

There’s even a photo claiming to show Cuban General Leopoldo Cinta dictating his orders to the Venezuelan army.

Senator Marco Rubio explained Cuba’s influence on Venezuelan affairs:

Like its Cuban overlords, the Venezuelan regime’s human rights violations are egregious:

the human rights abuses taking place every day with government oversight. In the past 14 days, Venezuelan protesters, comprised mostly of students and the middle class, have been shot; tear-gassed, beaten and arrested by National Police. Fifteen people have died as a result of the protests, seven of them were shot in the head. In addition, two local human rights organizations, Provea and the Venezuelan Penal Forum, have also called for investigations on the ongoing torture of detainees.

Here are two tragic (and very graphic) stories that haven’t made their way into American headlines: Geraldine Moreno, a student, died this past Saturday after troops shot numerous plastic bullets at her eyes. Juan Manuel Carrasco, 21, y Jorge Luis León, 25 – two male students detained in the city of Valencia – were allegedly raped with long guns by military troops and handcuffed for 48 hours. There is has been no word of an official investigation, and the two are only being helped by an NGO, Venezuelan Penal Forum.

Today there’s a women’s demonstration taking place. Tomorrow the Organization of American States will be meeting on Venezuela – I doubt they will denounce the regime’s abuses. Jimmy Carter wants to go to Venezuela, Next week Carnival celebrations are scheduled but the opposition has already said no to the Carnival.

Venezuela’s regime has no ace-in-the-hole monetary allies; there are signs that some of the military may side with the protestors. Yet, things will have to get a lot worse before they get better.

Venezuela’s opposition, in order to be effective, must continue its struggle. Their motto, so far, is “He who tires, loses.” As Jay Nordlinger said,

The Castros and the Chávezes and the Maduros and their apologists never tire — ever. Their opponents must not either, if they can possibly help it.

Let this be their anthem, then:

Fausta Rodríguez Wertz writes at Fausta’s blog on Latin American and US politics and culture.

Today on DaTechGuy on DaRadio we turn the lens on the forgotten revolution.

While the world focus’ on Ukraine events in Venezuelan continue to spiral out of control with crackdowns, shootings repression of the press el/al

DaTechGuy’s Blog’s resident expert on Latin American affairs and Member of DaMagnificent Seven Fausta Wertz takes the chair to fill us in on the story the media is not.

In the 2nd Hour we bring in our Magnificent Panel and we’ll Discuss the Crisis in Ukraine, Venezuela, the update to Arizona law that has the left’s knickers in a twist and the Merideth statue case with

Andy the Right Wing gamer

Mike Wade of the long running Radio Show Conservatively Speaking on WCRN

and old friend Dominic Nanni in the Bob Beckel chair for unrepentant liberals/socialists

 

You can reach us at 888-9-fedora to opine on the air and as always you have multiple options to hear the show via our online streams click the links to listen.

on FTR Radio

on our Tune-in Stream for the Money Matters Radio Network

And of course there are the terrestrial stations

WBNW Concord Ma 1120 AM FLAGSHIP

WPLM 1390 AM Plymouth MA

WESO 970 AM Southbridge MA

(and on the Terrestrial stations the replay is 11 PM EST tonight)

And if you miss all of these you can now catch our show on replayed on the 405 media out of California every Tuesday Noon EST (9 AM Pacific)

Join us, let’s talk

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Olimometer 2.52

For the 2nd week in a row I’ve come to Saturday short of the full paycheck. We need $190 to finish the week in the black

Only 8 Tip jar hits of $25 are needed to get us there.

Last week we made it with just a few hours to spare, please consider kicking in now so I can go into today’s show with that worry behind me.

Now there is another reason to kick in on a more permanent way

DaGuy low rez copy-psd

Please consider being a subscriber. Only 57 subscribers @ at $20 a month are necessary to secure the cost of DaMagnificent Seven & my monthly mortgage on a permanent basis AND if you so at the $25 level
you can receive one of several Exclusive Original Chris Muir high Res Graphics of original members of DaTechGuy’s Magnificent Seven Gang. like the one on the right


Low res tha lotPlease specify which of the eight hi res (including myself you wish to receive) Subscribe at $50 a month and receive all eight. Subscribe at $100 a month and get all 8 wanted posters high res graphics plus the high res version of all of us exclusively created for subscribers of DaTechGuy blog by Chris Muir himself!

by Fausta Rodríguez Wertz

Yesterday’s massive demonstrations in Venezuela were eclipsed by the bloody suppression of demonstrators in the Ukraine.

To summarize yesterday’s events, hundreds of thousands gathered peacefully in Caracas and other cities to protest the Chavista Communist regime’s rationing, lack of freedoms, and lack of security.

Unarmed students have been demonstrating for over a week, resulting in four dead and dozens wounded. The government charged opposition leader Leopoldo López with inciting terrorism and issued an arrest warrant. López convened yesterday’s demonstration and turned himself in.

Following López’s arrest, the government issued warrants for the arrest of two other opposition leaders, Carlos Vecchio, Leopoldo Lopez’s party leader, and Assemblywoman Maria Corina Machado.

Most international media have completely ignored the Venezuelan events of the past weeks. The Venezuelan government, which controls all the country’s media, blacked out DirectTV and other TV channels, including (briefly) NTN24, which broadcasts from neighboring Colombia on a YouTube livestream, and (also briefly) Twitter.

Following his arrest, López’s wife released a video (in Spanish) they made where

he gives instructions as to how carry on the fight under a dictatorship that has sequestered all media: we all must become a media.

Indeed, most of the photos and reports come via Twitter, with the hashtags #18F, #18FResistencia, #Venezuela, #ResistenciaVzla, #SOSVenezuela, and #LaSalida.

Venezuela’s a country clearly in the path to ruin: exchange controls cripple the economy as oil production plunges. Cuba controls the military and homeland security. Venezuela’s growing ties to Iran include direct flights from Tehran, and ceding Iran a shipyard facility within direct range of the Panama canal.

Some are asking whether Venezuela is collapsing, with some even writing a postmortem.

Venezuela has a long way to go before total collapse:
– While Venezuela’s oil production has severely declined over the years, oil is still hovering the $100/barrel magical number.
– The students are going it alone: Most importantly, no one in Venezuela’s military appears to be behind them.

The country is well down the road to repression. The current regime will continue for many years to come, be it with current dictator Nicolas Maduro, or National Assembly president Diosdado Cabello (who actually drove López to jail last night), or someone else at the presidency. Indeed, their ties to repressive Cuba and Iran signal a willingness to crack down on any form of dissent.

And I pray to God I’m wrong.

Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on Latin America and American politics at Fausta’s Blog.

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Olimometer 2.52

It’s Wednesday and the quest for the #350 to pay the pay Da Magnificent Seven and the less than magnificent mortgage continues.

You might ask why you should support some overweight guy in a fedora & a scarf writing a parody piece about the media ignoring Jihadists. I submit and suggest it’s BECAUSE I’m writing these pieces that the MSM does not that you should kick in.

10 $25 tip jar hits will do it for this week.

If you would to help Just click on DaTipJar below

Now there is another reason to kick in on a more permanent way

DaGuy low rez copy-psd

Please consider being a subscriber. Only 57 subscribers @ at $20 a month are necessary to secure the cost of DaMagnificent Seven & my monthly mortgage on a permanent basis AND if you so at the $25 level
you can receive one of several Exclusive Original Chris Muir high Res Graphics of original members of DaTechGuy’s Magnificent Seven Gang. like the one on the right


Low res tha lotPlease specify which of the eight hi res (including myself you wish to receive) Subscribe at $50 a month and receive all eight. Subscribe at $100 a month and get all 8 wanted posters high res graphics plus the high res version of all of us exclusively created for subscribers of DaTechGuy blog by Chris Muir himself!

I recently had the opportunity to dine with a group of young men who attend one of the 15 most liberal colleges in the country. When I brought up the subject of Che Guevara t-shirts, all of them, and I mean all, agreed that Che was a mass murderer.

There is hope for mankind!

The gentlemen I was talking to are well informed. Unfortunately, many are not, and some others need to be reminded of the facts about Che’s crimes.

Here is a short list of suggested reading:

The Fontova, Eire and Arenas books are available on Kindle and in stardard print.

But you don’t need to read a while book. You can start with Michael Totten’s excellent reports on his recent trip to Cuba. Read The Truth About Che Guevara, and pay particular attention to Humberto Fontova’s words (emphasis added):

“…Here is a quote from Fidel Castro in 1955 when he was in prison in Cuba. He said, ‘Propaganda is vital—the heart of our struggle. We can never abandon propaganda…Use a lot of sleight of hand and smiles with everybody. We must follow the same tactic we employed in our trial; defend our points of view without raising hackles. There will be plenty of time later to crush all the cockroaches.’

“And here’s Che Guevara from his own diaries in 1958. He said, ‘Much more valuable than rural recruits for our guerrilla force were American media recruits to export our propaganda.’ Castro and Guevara cultivated and shmoozed the foreign media. They made it a goal from day one. They needed to export their propaganda and make it not seem like propaganda.”

With that kind of useful idiots, why should some still may think “It could never happen here”?

Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on Latin America and American politics atFausta’s Blog

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Olimometer 2.52

Wednesday is here and DaTipJar continues its perfect display of inertia.

Over the last 48 hours while plenty of people have visited the site none have deigned to hit DaTipJar leaving my weekly total at $51.11

But while that brings an impending sense of doom to my finances less than a month from CPAC I know that a mere 12 readers kicking in $25 will turn this week from disaster to sucess.

Olimometer 2.52

It’s your call, please answer it by hitting DaTipJar below.

And now there is another reason to kick in on a more permanent way

Fausta mini

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