by Fausta Rodriguez Wertz

Recapping a few of this week’s stories:

The idea is to strike America at its historic source of strength, as well as its critical economic power point. No wonder Russia wanted a spy base, as reported by Kommersant, a newspaper Putin frequently fights.

All of these relate to a U.S. foreign policy of disengagement (at best), neglect, and weakness, leading from nowhere, a.k.a. “smart diplomacy.” U.S. defense cuts that included a 26% cut in the Southern Command’s fiscal 2013 certainly won’t improve things, as neither will Harry Reid’s new stint as Bagdad Bob, assuring all that “the border is secure.”

What was the late news, then?
The POTUS dedicates all of 40 seconds to the Malaysian jet bombing before going back to his prefab speech and more fundraising, and the State Department spokeswoman tweets about a fashionable friend:

faustaMakes you wish for a real President, doesn’t it?

Meanwhile, After America Arrives Early

Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S. and Latin American politics and culture at Fausta’s Blog.

Among the more deranged (among many) reactions to the Supreme Court decision on Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., you’ll find this:
The Uncomfortable Question: Should We Have Six Catholic Justices on the Supreme Court?

In Justice Alito’s majority opinion, he relies squarely on Catholic teaching about “complicity” to explain the supposed burden. In doing so, he reiterates the argument that the Catholic Church has made in the dozens of lawsuits it has brought challenging the contraceptive mandate. According to the Church, it violates the moral obligations of a Catholic to do anything — anything — that would “facilitate” the provision of contraception to an individual. So even if one is not using contraception oneself, if one facilitates access to contraception by others, a grave moral wrong has been committed.

The man writing that nonsense does not bother to define exactly what he means by Catholic teaching about “complicity”, and clearly ignores the fact that Hobby Lobby willingly provides insurance coverage for 16 types of contraceptives.

Princeton University professor Robert P. George addresses the uncomfortable question in this morning’s Facebook post:

It is true that six justices are (at least nominally) Catholic, though only 24% of Americans are members of that faith.

It is also true that three justices are Jewish, though less than 2% (1.7% to be exact) of the U.S. population are Jewish.

So the folks on the left who are questioning the appropriateness of having so many Catholic justices should be asked to tell us which religious group in the U.S. they believe is most highly overrepresented on the Supreme Court.

And what about underrepresentation? The largest religious group in the U.S., Evangelical Christians, are nearly 27%. The number of Evangelicals on the Supreme Court: Zero. Hmmmm . . . . What do our friends on the left who are complaining about the overrepresentation of Catholics on the Court have to say about that? Aren’t Evangelicals, if we are bean counting, entitled to at least 2 seats?

And the third largest religious group in the country are mainline Protestants, at about 18%. Shouldn’t they have a seat?

And what about the LDS Church (the Mormons)? The Mormon population in the U.S. is as large as the Jewish population and is growing faster. Do the LDS have three seats on the Supreme Court? Nope. There are no Mormons among the justices.

Well, shall we stop playing the bean counting game?

Prof. George’s commenter Lynn approaches the issue:

A solid jurist shouldn’t be judged by religious affiliation. Rather judged by judicial temperament and thorough knowledge of the laws.

Yes, but their duty is to uphold the Constitution of the United States of America, to which they are bound by solemn oath. And, by the way, one of their oaths specifically states “no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”

Amen to that!

faustaFausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S. & Latin American politics and culture at Fausta’s blog.

by Fausta Rodriguez Wertz

[The Northern Triangle refers to El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras in Central America.]

I live in Princeton, NJ, where you can find the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. I am not connected to the School, or to Princeton University, but over the years I have attended many speeches, events and symposia at both.

So I can venture a guess that the School may have a more polished term for the no-do foreign policy of Yes, Prime Minister:

The Obama administration, at best, follows the Yes, Prime Minister school of International Affairs by neglecting our allies and doing nothing. There’s doing nothing, however, and then there’s folly.

Michael Gonzalez has a must-read article on Obama’s Central American Follies: “A country-by-country survey of the Obama administration’s actions in the Northern Triangle [Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador] shows how the administration has sown instability in Central America by siding with former guerrillas who have ties to drug trafficking.

Only lately has the White House bowed to reality and finally conceded what Democrats in Congress, The Washington Post and even Univision were already admitting that dreams of sanctuary under the DREAM Act had convinced Central American families to hand their children over to coyote networks that would take them across Mexico and the Rio Grande. In other words, the administration had to admit that it had contributed to the problem by appearing to promise that children who crossed the border illegally would not be deported.

But the administration shouldn’t get a pass on the violent hell that has been unleashed in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador.

From siding with the wrong guys in Honduras, to interfering in the judicial process in Guatemala, to ignoring the ties between the drug gangs and newly-elected president Salvador Sánchez Cerén, Gonzalez’s article tracks the Obama administration’s long record of incompetence (at best), and suggests some things the U.S. can do now to improve our country’s security.

faustaBorder security is national security. Go read Gonzalez’s article and find out three examples of why it is.

Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S. and Latin American politics and culture at Fausta’s Blog.

by Fausta Rodriguez Wertz

CNN reports that “U.S. authorities estimate that between 60,000 and 80,000 children without parents will cross the border this year.”

The logistics of moving 60,000+ children across several countries and through the U.S. border and cities such as New York and Miami takes planning, coordination, and funding.

I don’t know who is behind this. However, the Mexican cartels control all the smuggling across the U.S.-Mexico border: drugs, weapons, people.

Every parent who puts their child in the care of smugglers is, at best, allowing that child to be a human shield for drug gangs, and in effect allowing that child to be used as a prostitute, a drug mule, and/or a kidnap victim. This is, plain and simple, child abuse in a very grand scale. Which, by the way, nearly ensures the child will get a special immigration juvenile status visa (emphasis added):

“The fact that they get up here, and that they’re fleeing violence, doesn’t give them any grounds for relief at all. So the only way they get to stay here in the U.S. legally, is through this special immigration juvenile status visa.”
To get that visa, the children have to first establish that the parent they left behind abused them.

Victor Davis Hanson looks at the immorality of The New Children’s Crusade:

This latest cruel episode — What sort of parent sends his children across the desert unaccompanied? What sort of country allows its youth just to walk away en masse? What sort of country facilitates their transfer across its own territory into the U.S.? And what sort of American administration tolerates this human tragedy as a way of building a future political constituency? — reminds us that almost everything we are told about illegal immigration is both a lie and amoral.

Neo-neocon explains

Now, we don’t know how families are getting the money to come here, and your conspiracy theory is probably as good as mine—and I do have some. But even if the majority of families/kids are coming for their own reasons (because they think they will be allowed to stay and get services, and/or to flee the violence in their home countries) rather than purposely as decoys for the cartels, they are serving as de facto decoys for them nonetheless. So if fleeing the danger posed by murderous drug cartels in their countries of origin is one of their motivations, then it’s highly ironic that escaping in this manner will serve to facilitate the entry of those very same dangerous people into the US, while the border guards are busy being babysitters.

As Neo points out, “their entry is flooding the border and distracting the guards’ time and energy while the drug cartels climb aboard.” The National Border Patrol Council Statement on Influx of Juveniles in Rio Grande Valley Sector confirms (emphasis added):

Cartels are forcing juveniles and illegal aliens to cross the border in between the ports of entries because it further ties up Border Patrol agents in the field. In effect, cartels are using these immigrants as a human shield to divert resources that would otherwise be spent interrupting their trafficking operations. Once the agents are taken out of the equation, the cartels are smuggling drugs, weapons, and special interest aliens across the border unfettered. At a time when agents are most needed to deal with the cartel threat, they are unavailable because they are either dealing with a tidal wave of humanity by either arresting juveniles and families in the field or by processing them in the stations.

That is why Texas’ top three leaders, Governor Rick Perry, Lt. Governor David Dewhurst, and House Speaker Joe Straus have directed the Department of Public Safety to immediately begin law enforcement surge operations along the Texas-Mexico border.

It’s a start.

faustaFausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S. and Latin America politics and culture at Fausta’s blog.

by Fausta Rodriguez Wertz

One of the benefits of being fluent in more than one language is that it allows you to watch hoity toity stuff from abroad. You know the type – soap operas wrapped around history/period pieces, like The Tudors and such, only in languages other than English.

After the success of The Tudors – where Henry VIII was gorgeous but shorter than the real-life Henry – the Spaniards have come up with a TV series on Henry’s mother-in-law, Queen Isabella. The series, Isabel, is as visually appealing as The Tudors, filmed on beautiful locations and sets, and stars not only a lovely girl as Isabel but very handsome men, who greatly add to the appeal. Behold, the cast of Isabel:

I came across Isabel while flipping channels a couple of weeks ago, and started to watch the episodes on line (in Spanish, no subtitles). As it turns out, I finished watching the first season just as Hillary Clinton’s new book came out.

Hillary could learn five things from the young Isabel:
1. It’s not about you, it’s about your country: The young Isabel wanted to be queen not because it was her due as kin of the powerful, but because she was determined to make her people more prosperous (materially and spiritually) and to better her realm.

2. Don’t ask “what difference at this point, does it make?” Isabel fully realized that she was there to make a difference, and that it was her responsibility to do so.

3. Treat your bodyguards with respect and consideration. Young Isabel learned from an early age that good help is not only hard to find, but that her life depended on them, unlike Hillary, who confused the Secret Service with porters.

4. Don’t let your hair down in public. While young Isabel wore her hair down in the TV series, she was scrupulous about protocol. No leading the conga line while on a junket for her!

5. Don’t hang on your husband’s coattails. Isabel, when her brother the king died, placed the crown on her head and became chief justice through her own initiative. She didn’t wait for Ferdinand to get back in town. Indeed, the point was that she didn’t need to wait because it was she who was in charge.

faustaFausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S. and Latin American politics and culture at Fausta’s Blog, and is fond of pretentious TV soaps disguised as docudramas.

by Fausta Rodriguez Wertz

Granted, low-information voters live in a state of permanent blissful ignorance. My friend Denny even has a weekly joke dedicated to them (it used to be a Saturday blonde joke, but then I made a suggestion, and the rest is history).

Da Tech Guy Blog’s readers are definitely not low-information voters, so right now we are dismayed by the headlines. Paul Mirengoff looks at Three Crises,

Islamic extremists are overrunning major cities in Iraq that U.S. forces liberated at the cost of American lives. Children from Central America are pouring illegally into America in numbers that far exceed our capacity to deal with them. Veterans are dying because they can’t get medical treatment.

Three crises that are ongoing, with long-term consequences, and all have a direct connection to Obama administration policy.

And that’s just for starters. Benghazi, the IRS, Obamacare, Iran’s expansion in Latin America, the 5 Talibanis traded for Bergdahl, Fast and Furious, the pervasive patterns of fictions as truths, together with the media’s mythologizing, go on and on.

It’s enough to bring a blogger down.

So at times like this, what does a blogger do? Take a break by, of course, checking out other blogs. The other day I found Terrible Real Estate Agent Photographs via Emily Zanotti of Naked DC. If you thought you have seen dumps (and in my years as active real estate agent I visited places to which I should have worn a flea collar), “you ain’t thing nothing yet”. A great blog for a good laugh.

I’m sure you can name others equally amusing.

But my point is this: Take a break, relax, recharge. The struggle for conservative values continues, and we each do our part. We’re in this to stand for what we believe best for ourselves and for our great country.

And get involved in the upcoming mid-term elections.
Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S. and Latin America politics and culture at Fausta’s blog.

by Fausta Rodriguez Wertz

The latest invasion of thousands of unaccompanied children at the border raises some very important questions, not all on immigration:

Who paid for their transport?
Coyotes (who are agents of the drug cartels controlling illegal border traffic) charge thousands of dollars – from what I have heard, US$5,000 per person. Did all of a sudden poor families manage to all at the same time find the funds to send these children? Or did the coyotes start giving group discounts?

Why now?
The current immigration reform law is vastly unpopular, to the point where a wave of anti-amnesty sentiment defeated Eric Cantor yesterday.

The Obama administration’s push for a comprehensive immigration bill pushes aside any other alternatives – such as the Red Card Solution – eventually granting citizenship to all who want it, regardless, for the sake of social justice.

Former Congressman John Linden writes on how The Cloward-Piven Strategy is Alive and Well at the Border

Children are crossing the border in astonishing numbers and an additional 230,000 children are expected over the next 24 months. Border officials fear that this is just the tip of the iceberg.
. . .
President Obama has called it “an urgent humanitarian situation.” Attorney General Holder said that amnesty is a civil right and has initiated a program to hire an additional 100 attorneys to represent these children in the immigration process.

Richard Cloward has died. His partner and wife, Francis Fox Piven, serves as the honorary chairman of the Democratic Socialists of America. The Cloward-Piven Strategy is alive and well in the care of President Obama who is superintending the chaos on the border.

He took office promising to transform America. This will do it.

Victor Davis Hanson agrees,

For Obama, open borders with Mexico are revolutionary ends that require the necessary means to achieve them. New influxes of illegal aliens represent a fundamental transformation of America. Many of them look to government for help; they will in time become proper Democratic households; and they are a club to hit conservatives with, as being insensitive to Latino needs. The law, in other words, is a small bump on the highway to social justice. Who cares if some are rattled a bit by speeding over it?

I have written in the past about how border security is national security; Iran‘s increasing presence in Latin America with its use of Hezbollah to establish
intelligence, terrorism and crime networks is only one aspect of the problem. All that is ignored for the sake of an open border and social justice.

The Obama administration’s foreign policy failures, combined with its purpose to “fundamentally transform America” (into what, I asked myself years ago when I first heard Obama declare it) is a pattern of behavior that weakens the U.S. for a purpose of “social justice” here and abroad.

Expect more, Prof. Hanson believes,

The more such scandals occur in the next two years, the more they will not be seen as scandals, but as mere bothersome hurdles to fundamentally changing America. In the age of Obama, you win the race not by playing by the fossilized rules of jumping over the track’s hurdles — but instead by running right through them to reach the finish line first.

And a parting question:
The Obama administration wants to end the so-called embargo with Cuba. How unlikely is it that they would yield to Cuba’s demand, “End the embargo now, or you’ll get another Mariel?”

faustaFausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S. and Latin America n politics and culture at Fausta’s Blog.

by Fausta Rodriguez Wertz

My friend Silvio Canto brought to my attention this article:
Wave of Minors on Their Own Rush to Cross Southwest Border (emphasis added)

Since Oct. 1, a record 47,017 unaccompanied children have been apprehended at the southwest United States border, most traveling from Central America, part of a larger wave that includes some youngsters accompanied by their parents and some traveling alone.

Breitbart has photos:

Breitbart Texas obtained internal federal government photos depicting the conditions of foreign children warehoused by authorities on U.S. soil on Wednesday night. Thousands of illegal immigrants have overrun U.S. border security and their processing centers in Texas along the U.S./Mexico border. Unaccompanied minors, including young girls under the age of 12, are making the dangerous journey from Central America and Mexico, through cartel-controlled territories, and across the porous border onto U.S. soil.

This a perfect storm, formed by four factors:

  •  The U.S. government’s inability to develop solid immigration and border security policies,
  • The immigrant’s belief  that Obama administration had quietly changed its policy regarding unaccompanied minors, from leniency to downright permissiveness.
  • The criminality and poverty of the immigrants’ home countries perpetuated by their corrupt governments.

And, also,

  • Parents who are willing to use their children as human shields, regardless of the risks involved:
  • Many say they are going because they believe that the United States treats migrant children traveling alone and women with their children more leniently than adult illegal immigrants with no children.

    Face it: placing a small child under the “care” of a coyote, who actually is an agent of a drug cartel, to travel alone with no supervision, is a most irresponsible act. Realistically, the child can be used as a drug mule, a prostitute, and a hostage for ransom if the coyote believes the parents are able to put out  more money, at any point during their journey.

    American citizens who expose their children to risks such are charged with child abuse and jailed. Permitting such parents to remain on U.S. soil makes our government an accomplice.

    Resources should be allocated to return these children to their home countries as promptly and humanely as possible. Since even White House Domestic Policy Council Cecilia Muñoz admits,

    “We have heard sort of rumors and reports, or suggestions, that the increase may be in response to the perception that children would be allowed to stay or that immigration reform would in some way benefit these children,”

    the time to do it is now.

    faustaFausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S. and Latin American politics and culture at Fausta’s Blog.

    by Fausta Rodriguez Wertz

    Brazil has spent so far close to US$12 billion dollars preparing for the upcoming World Cup, making this year’s World Cup the priciest ever.

    The logistics are gigantic: Twelve cities, thousands of miles apart, building new stadiums, each with capacity ranging between 35,000 to 70,000 people – and the need to provide the supporting infrastructure to room, feed, transport, and host the crowds.

    The stadiums alone have cost more than the stadium bill for the last two Cups combined; two are unfinished, while the cities are rushing to complete roads, sidewalks and other Cup-related infrastructure.

    Eight years ago, the idea of hosting the World Cup was sold to the Brazilian people as showing the world that the country of 200 million was on its way to become a world power; the projects would be financed through private investment and the entire country would benefit:

    Brazil’s government insisted on staging games in 12 cities, rather than the required eight, in order to spread the benefits across the country.

    The reality is that costs are way over budget, as

    Red tape and overlapping federal, state and municipal fiefs have snarled projects. Jérôme Valcke, secretary-general of FIFA, football’s governing body, has described dealing with Brazilian authorities as “hell”. Eight construction workers have died in accidents, six more than in South Africa four years ago. FIFA insists stadiums will be ready when fans start pouring in. But delays have left little time to install and test telecommunications kit, prompting worries over patchy television and radio transmission.

    Part of the stadium that will host the 2014 World Cup opener in Brazil collapsed last month, killing two.

    Thousands of poor people have been forcibly evacuated from slums to make room for the construction, adding to the violent demonstrations held throughout the country in the past year.

    Support for hosting the World Cup has fallen sharply, from 79% after it was awarded to Brazil in 2007 to 48% now. The economy is growing at a slower pace, inflations’s up, and, in another survey,

    61% of Brazilians say hosting the World Cup is a “bad thing because it takes money away from public services,”

    especially schools and hospitals.

    Yesterday protestors launched giant soccer balls to protest the amount of taxpayers’ money Brazil is spending,

    Activists with the group Rio de Paz launched 12 balls each 2 meters (about 6.6 feet) in diameter from the avenue with red crosses painted on them to symbolize the lack of security in a country where, according to official figures, some 50,000 people are murdered each year.

    At least that one was a peaceful protest.

    Brazilians are angry at the government,

    Nao Vai Ter Copa has become a national rallying cry. There Will Be No World Cup.

    There’s even a group of anarchists calling themselves the Black Bloc ready to “raise hell.”

    Therefore, on top of the $12billion already spent, Brazil is spending another $855 million on security and safety and deploy 57,000 troops and 100,000 police.

    faustaHow will it all turn out?

    We shall find out soon enough: The opener is on June 12 in Sao Paulo. President Dilma Rousseff insists the games will be a resounding success.

    Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S. and Latin America culture and politics at Fausta’s Blog.

    The House of Representatives passed on Wednesday HR4587, the Venezuela Human Rights and Democracy Protection Act, which will

    impose targeted sanctions on individuals responsible for carrying out or ordering human rights abuses against the citizens of Venezuela

    The purpose of the bill is to deny visas to enter the United States, block property, freeze assets, and prohibit financial transactions to members of the Venezuelan regime who are responsible for the commission of serious human rights abuses against the citizens of Venezuela.

    At my blog I have posted about how the amount of oil revenues spent in the U.S. by highly-placed chavista is in the hundreds of millions of dollars, while the country sinks into abject poverty.

    (If you are fluent in Spanish, I recommend Casto Ocando’s book, Chavistas en el Imperio: Secretos, Tácticas y Escándalos de la Revolución Bolivariana en Estados Unidos, a thorough investigation on the subject.)

    The bipartisan bill, sponsored by Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), was co-sponsored by Congressional Black Caucus members Democrats Corrine Brown, Frederica Wilson, and Alcee Hastings, along with Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), Ted Deutch (D-FL), Joe Garcia (D-FL), Matt Salmon (R-AZ), Albio Sires (D-NJ), Patrick Murphy (D-FL), Steve Stockman (R-TX), Ron DeSantis (R-FL), Michael McCaul (R-TX), Michael Grimm (R-NY), Alan Grayson (D-FL), Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Christopher Smith (R-FL), Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), Jeff Duncan (R-SC), Ted Poe (R-TX), Ted Yoho (R-FL), and Sean Duffy (R-WI).

    Fourteen members of Congress had written a letter to Pres. Obama against Venezuela sanctions; they are Representatives John Conyers, Henry “Hank” Johnson, Karen Bass, Barbara Lee, Raul Grijalva, James McGovern, Sam Farr, Chellie Pingree, Keith Ellison, Jan Schakowsky, Emmanuerl Cleaver, Jose Serrano, Michael Capuano, and Peter Welch.

    Passage of the bill

    raises pressure on the Obama administration, which has been wary of passing any kind of sanctions for fear it could create a backlash by allowing Mr. Maduro to mobilize supporters against the U.S. and distract from Venezuela’s growing homemade troubles. The administration also fears that the sanctions could jeopardize attempts at reaching a negotiated solution between the government and the opposition.

    What negotiated solution? The so-called “negotiations” fell apart already.

    Russia opposes the sanctions. Venezuelan dictator Nicolas Maduro wasted no time and accused the U.S. ambassador to Colombia of plotting to destabilize Venezuela.

    Yleem D.S. Poblete posits that, in addition to the human rights violations,

    For the sake of U.S. national security interests, the United States needs to act swiftly and resolutely to hold the Chavez-Maduro apparatus accountable.

    A similar bill was approved by a Senate committee, and is now headed for a vote on the Senate floor.

    Video report here:

    faustaFausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S. and Latin American politics at Fausta’s Blog.