Saturday, August 25

Chavez Power Grab: Venezuelan Constitutional Changes Approved

This week's Economist had a short blurb  in the "The World This Week" section on how the Venezuelan National Assembly -- all Chavez cronies -- unanimously approved the constitutional change that removes term limits on Chavez. How surprising! And all it took them was 6 hours of debate.
Hugo Chavez and his enablers indeed! An Aug 16th article also on the Economist had more details on the Venezuelan Constitutional changes.
The plan to abolish presidential term limits is part of a bundle of constitutional changes unveiled by Mr. Chávez on August 15th. These would remove the last remaining checks and balances to presidential power in Venezuela. They would strip the Central Bank of all autonomy, allowing the government to spend the country's foreign reserves. The government would be given power to expropriate private property by decree, and to promote co-operatives and state enterprise.
Perhaps in the midst of these dark days for Venezuela, there is still some good news.
The president remains popular, thanks to a bond with many poorer Venezuelans reinforced by quantities of oil money for social programmes. But there is much polling evidence that a large majority oppose socialism and value democracy.
My mother used to say, "tell me who you hang around with, and I'll tell you who you are." Less America forget about who exactly is Hugo Chavez, I'll let Michael C. Moynihan tell you about the sort of man he is.
...he is also the man who has declared his eternal friendship with Libya's Col. Gaddafi, Belorussian dictator Alexander Lukashenko, Iranian leader Ahmadinejad, Zimbabwean tyrant Robert Mugabe, Sandinista commandante Daniel Ortega, imprisoned terrorist Carlos the Jackal, Saddam Hussein and, of course, Fidel Castro. Amongst the gringo masses, this side of Chávez is rather less well-known.
Make sure to check out Moynihan's entire piece at
It's sad news indeed and a dark time for Venezuela.

Friday, August 24

On NPR's "Tell Me More" -- Obama's Miami-Herald Op-Ed

I’ll be talking about Obama’s Miami Herald op-ed, the Univision debate and other political subjects. Read more here.

Update: You can check out Michelle Martin's Tell Me More blog right here. I had a great time talking with Michelle, as always! I believe the audio will be available online around noon.


Crossposted on my blog.

You can listen to the audio clip of the segment of Tell Me More.

Tell Me More, August 24, 2007 · In this week's political chat, Bloggers Marisa Trevino, of, and Josue Sierra of discuss Sen. Barack Obama's pronouncements on Cuba policy, which White House hopefuls are confirmed to attend a fall presidential forum sponsored by the Spanish-language television network, Univision and, overall, what the candidates must do to appeal to Latino voters.
On the subject of Obama's Miami Herald op-ed, and the Cuba embargo, check out for real good analysis of the South Florida community and voting trends. I pretty much voiced Henry Gomez's perspective on Obama's op-ed ( I learn from the masters on the subject, since I haven't lived in Miami for quite a few years now).

I just realized that the strategy is not about getting Cuban-Americans to vote for the Democratic candidate next November, it's about getting Cuban-American Democrats to vote for Barack Obama in the Florida primary in January. Obama has staked out a position that differentiates himself from Hillary Clinton who is the front runner and therefore being more cautious in her approach.

Henry is predicting that Hillary has the campaign in the bag. I'm no political science expert, but it does seem that way to me as well.

The dialoguero Cuban-Americans will vote for the candidate that represents most change from the current policy. If they perceive that that's Obama, they'll vote for him. But in November you can't lose votes you never had. Hard-liners and Republicans aren't going to vote for Clinton or Obama anyway so it's a smart move on Obama's part but as I said, Clinton has this thing in the bag.

Matt Lewis thought this was a gaff by Obama
, but reading Henry's perspective, as well as today's The New York Sun's op-ed in response to Obama, I would have to disagree. I don't think its going to help him in South Florida, but it certainly was better than nothing -- it will get him a few more Democrat votes and it certainly got him some airtime.

Mr. Obama's debate remarks might have been an accidental blunder, but it's harder to pass off an op-piece under the candidate's byline as some sort of gaffe. On a trip to South Africa last year, Obama said that the struggle against apartheid there was an inspiration for his own political career. As the Cuban Liberty Council said in a statement this week, it's too bad Mr. Obama doesn't see the parallel between the struggle for democracy in Cuba and the one in South Africa, where economic sanctions helped bring about historic change of the sort that is dreamed of by Cubans from Miami to Havana.

Henry broke down the
FIU poll of Cuban-Americans -- read it here.

That was comment on another post about Obama's strategy to differentiate himself from Hillary Clinton. As I analyzed that situation I realized that Obama's advisers probably used data from that FIU poll of Cuban-Americans to devise the strategy. They noticed one of the "disconnects" in the data.

He has more here as well.

So the Democrats have their work cut out for them. In my opinion, they need to fight the natural tendency for the recent arrivals to somewhat change their views over time, they need to get them their citizenship faster, convince them to register to vote, and then go against the trend of registering Republican and finally getting them to vote for a Democratic candidate. Could it happen? Sure. I'm not holding my breath.

"El Conductor" said it best.

Wednesday, August 22

FW: Help in the media war: Freedom's Watch

Just a heads up on the media war. Check out the links below.

Just a quick note to draw your attention to a multi-million dollar advertising campaign that is launching today on our side of the debate.

The campaign's sponsor,
Freedom's Watch,  is a brand-new organization with a brand-new website that you can visit here. From their press release:
August 22, 2007, (Washington, D.C.)—Today a new organization named Freedom’s Watch announced it is launching a nationwide grassroots campaign aimed at ensuring Congress continues to fully fund the troops with the ultimate goal of victory in the War on Terror. Freedom’s Watch will spend approximately $15 million on radio and television ads as well as grassroots activities from now thru mid-September and has partnered with a host of veteran’s organizations in an effort to ensure terrorism is confronted all over the world.

I'd encourage everyone to visit the Freedom's Watch site and watch their television ads online.

The tide is turning on the national debate, and with help from groups like Freedom's Watch, we can ensure that our troops get the support they need to win. Thanks to all for your support...

The Victory Caucus

Tuesday, August 21

Governor Romney On Senator Obama's Cuba Succession Policy

Quick and rapid response from Romney campaign on Obama's short-sighted Cuba Succession Policy. Good job Romney campaign!

Sent: Tuesday, August 21, 2007 1:14 PM
Subject:  PRESS RELEASE: Governor Romney On Senator Obama's Cuba Succession Policy

August 21, 2007


Boston, MA – Today, Governor Mitt Romney issued the following statement on Senator Barack Obama's Cuba succession policy, outlined today in the Miami Herald:

"Senator Barack Obama continues to demonstrate through his words that he does not have the strength to confront America's enemies or defend our values. First, Senator Obama said he would make it a priority to meet with Castro in his first year in office. Now, he's proposing that we begin to lift sanctions against the Castro regime.

Unilateral concessions to a dictatorial regime are counterproductive, helping to secure a succession of power and repression instead of a transition to freedom.  They will only embolden those who cling to power at the expense of the Cuban people. We must not weaken our policy on Cuba until the Castro regime is dismantled, all political prisoners are freed and Cuba transitions to free and fair elections."

Monday, August 20

The Missing Headlines

The AP headline this morning says, "Immigration Activist Deported to Mexico." It goes on to tell you what a brave cause she struggled for, and made sure to even give you the tear-jerker details on how she left her son behind.
Her 8-year-old son, Saul, is now living with Coleman's family. During a news conference in Los Angeles after Arellano's arrest, the boy hid behind the pastor's wife and wiped away tears.
But just in case you lose sight of what the real story is, let me remind you...

Arellano, 32, arrived in Washington state illegally in 1997. She was deported to Mexico shortly afterward, but returned and moved to Illinois in 2000, taking a job cleaning planes at O'Hare International Airport.

She was arrested in 2002 at O'Hare and convicted of working under a false Social Security number. She was to surrender to authorities last August but instead sought refuge at the church on Aug. 15, 2006.

False Social Security number, breaking airport security, evading arrest. I'm not saying this lady is a "dangerous" criminal, but she DID break the law, and she DID circumvent our security protocols, and SHE chose to enter this country illegally well aware that this could and would eventually happen. That IS dangerous and highlights the critical nature of our broken immigration system and unsecured border. The fact is that the Liberal puppet masters managed to get to her and use her -- yes, that's right: USE HER -- to promote their left-wing pro-illegal immigration cause.

 In my opinion, our country is in grave danger of seeing the "victim mentality" that was propagated among the African American community since the 60's repeated among the Latino immigrant population -- legal and illegal. The root of our social unrest is found in the manipulations of the socialist academics and activists that are using individuals like Elvira Arellano to tug at America's hearts with the help of the typical left-wing media manipulation.

Personal consequences. I am the first one to advocate for an improved legal immigration process that does not separate families, but when an individual chooses out of their own free will to put themselves outside the protection of the law, it is their choice that brings about consequences. Whether the boy stayed in the US with friends, or eventually leaves to be reunited with his mother is his mother's choice -- the government is not to blame in any way.

Arellano has repeatedly called for a stop to immigration raids that break up families with some members who are in the U.S. legally and others illegally. She has said her son would be deprived of his rights as a U.S. citizen if he had to go to Mexico simply because she did.

Well, I'll call myself a "Legal Immigration Activist" and I'm calling on illegal immigrants to STOP the break-up of families in Mexico and Central America -- stay home with your families, petition to your government for better economic opportunities for yourself and your children, and respect the laws of your neighbors. Educate yourselves about the candidates that run for positions of power in your city, province and country, and demand integrity and transparency. When Latin America's voters stop putting up with government greed and corruption, and when Latin America's journalists start doing their job in exposing these, then we'll see change start happening.

How about it Arellano? How about focusing all that "activist" energy at your government? Maybe we can get some real change.