Thursday 14 November 2013

Note to Trudeau and Freeland: China and India are not backing Canada’s middle class

Weiwei after the police assault:
The life of an artist in a "basic dictatorship" 
The Canadian Press recently reported that, as head of Reuters Digital in New York, Chrystia Freeland, who is running as the Liberal candidate in Toronto Centre, “moved the digital newsroom to New York and shipped the bulk of its work to the Bangalore operation”.

That in itself is hardly news. Many news organizations, including the Toronto Star, outsource some of their operations. However, most outsource call centres, classified, and design, while keeping editorial close to their chests. This, in fact, is what the Star does. It can then defend the action because it is able to allocate newsroom resources to its core business: journalism. And in fact the Star can argue it has been successful at this, breaking the Ornge scandal and bringing us the sordid truth about Toronto’s sordid mayor, Rob Ford.

Wednesday 13 November 2013

With Chantal Hébert turning on Trudeau, odds now in favour of having hit Peak Justin

Freeland and Justin: hand-picked and parachuted
The media are often misunderstood. If they are perceived as not being objective, they are criticized as “biased”. The truth is that the media function more like a pack of jackals or, worse, vultures. They descend when they observe weakness, and fawn when they believe they are in the presence of success, confidence, and power.

Which is to say that the media do not behave like individuals, but like craven pack animals. Though they can have ideological slants, which can hasten or delay their arrival at a “story”, once a belly is revealed they will turn and dine on the carcass.

Tuesday 12 November 2013

Media roundup: Justin, we have a problem

Not the leader of the Liberal Party of Canada
For many months now La politica has expressed dismay at the popular support for the phenomenon that is Justin Trudeau. No doubt, Trudeau’s relentless showering of platitudes, aggressive fundraising, low-key performance in the House of Commons,  and unwillingness to offer specifics on any issue outside of the Keystone XL pipeline and Quebec’s proposed “values” charter, have combined to form an effective strategy.

In one day, however, it all fell apart. He participated in an ill-advised “ladies night”, then said he admired China’s government above all others. In a heartbeat, Trudeau found himself in the midst of a withering attack by the media, that very group that for so long has given him an easy ride.

Monday 11 November 2013

Pardons, American style: Peña Nieto frees Alberto Patishtán

Free at last
A pardon is an acknowledgement of two injustices. The first is the injustice of the initial conviction and sentence, and the second the injustice that a regal, presidential, or bureaucratic body can override the rule of law.

In parliamentary democracies, as in Canada, pardons tend to be bureaucratic, and are handled via parole boards. A pardon in Great Britain is rare, and does not have the formal, ritualistic quality common to departing presidents in the United States. Presidential republics, perhaps as a kind of psychological need to mimic the powers of the dethroned monarch, tend to relapse into a medieval, regal authority, with the commander in chief tossing out pardons at the end of a presidency much like condemned kings en route to the guillotine.

Was the Acapulco hit on Moreno Gallo local, or did the Mafia come to town?

The restaurant in Acapulco
At 9:20 Sunday evening at Forza Italia restaurant in Acapulco, Mexico, Moreno Gallo, 68, an Italian mobster who lived for decades in Canada, was gunned down.

Gallo was deported from Canada in 2012 due to his criminal record. He is understood to have once had significant influence within the Montreal mafia.

Mexican oil union boss dead at 91: thanked cartel leader for saving life from government killers

A long life
Joaquín Hernández Galicia “La Quina” the, 91-year-old former Pemex Union leader, has died in a hospital in Tampico, Tamaulipas.

Only last month Hernández Galicia told the Mexican press that it was thanks to psychopathic killer Caro Quintero, erstwhile leader of the Guadalajara Cartel, that his life was saved in prison. Caro Quintero was recently released on a technicality and now has a $5 million US government bounty on his head, with Mexico’s Supreme Court reversing the lower court decision that resulted in his release.

Sunday 10 November 2013

With Aeroméxico, all passengers are treated with equal contempt

Watch out!
On November 6 an airline supervisor for Aeroméxico in the city of Oaxaca, Mexico, refused to let six young indigenous men on the plane. The supervisor, Francisco Cáceres, denied them the right to board allegedly because of their indigenous origin and traje, or dress, despite the fact that all six have valid tickets.

The young men, from the communities of Sola de Vega and San Jacinto in the state of Oaxaca in southern Mexico, took their complaint to the airline, saying that they were denied the right to fly on flight 544 from Oaxaca to México City, and flight 706 from México City to Hermosillo in Sonora.

Venezuela says Mexican jet was full of cocaine, not people

Foreign Minister Elias Jaua
The story of the private Mexican jet downed in Venezuela on November 4 has become more confused. Mexico has claimed that there were two pilots and five passengers, even releasing their names – though it is believed that the identities may have been false. However, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro now says that there were no passengers, and that the plane was full of cocaine.

Saturday 9 November 2013

Mexico's $50 billion money laundering problem

Cash seized by Mexican authorities
According to Teodoro Briseño Maldonado, Director of Money Laundering Prevention and Terrorism Financing for the Mexican financial services firm TM Sourcing, data from Mexico’s  Unidad de Inteligencia Financiera (UIF), or “Financial Intelligence Unit” indicate that the country launders anywhere from $10 billion to $50 billion annually.

Given that the oft-quoted number is $10 billion, to have Mr. Briseño Maldonado, who also works for Mexico’s National Banking Services Commission (Comisión Nacional Bancaria y de Valores, or “CNBV”), come out with an estimate that tops out at $50 billion is alarming.

Friday 8 November 2013

Did the Venezuelan government murder seven innocent Mexicans?

The crew and passengers killed in the Mexican-registered Hawker jet shot down by the Venezuelan military this week have now been identified. And, given that there were five passengers and two pilots, it calls into question whether this really was a drug-smuggling plane, as Venezuela’s President Nicolás Maduro has suggested.

Jorge López Portillo, the Secretary General for the state of Querétaro, which is situated just north of Mexico City, has confirmed that the passengers consisted of three men and two women flying under false identities. There supposed names were: Isaac Pérez Dubond, Susana Bernal Rivas, Adriana Gesabel Cruz Méndez, Sergio David Franco Moga and Manuel Eduardo Rodríguez Benítez.

Thursday 7 November 2013

High priced gigolo Justin Trudeau charging $250 for the ladies to “really” get to know him

A talented lady person put this together (from Twitter)
Looks like some “ladies” might be showing up in tonight to give Justin Trudeau a piece of their mind as he hosts the $250-a-plate “Justin Unplugged” event at 639 Queen Street West in Toronto.

The event, which has been promoted with an evite telling the “ladies” that they are “INVITED TO (REALLY) GET TO KNOW THE FUTURE PRIME MINISTER” (seriously, we can’t make this shit up) includes the suggestion that they share the following critical questions facing our nation: “What’s your favourite virtue?” and “Who are your real life heroes?”

Venezuela’s military shoots down alleged Mexican drug plane

The wreakage
The Government of Venezuela has announced that it has shot down an aircraft with Mexican registration that it claims was being used to traffic drugs.

Venezuela’s President, Nicolás Maduro, said in a broadcast on radio and television that the plane had been shot down “recently” and that this was the 30th aircraft linked to drug trafficking that had been demolished in this manner. Most recently, two planes were shot down in late October.

Wednesday 6 November 2013

Mexico's Supreme Court overturns Caro Quintero release

Caro Quintero being released
Mexico's Supreme Court has voted to overturn an appeals court decision that allowed drug lord Rafael Caro Quintero to walk free in August.

Caro Quintero had served 28 years of a 40 year sentence for the murder in Guadalajara of U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena. He was also convicted in the 1985 murder in Guadalajara of John Clay Walker, an American journalist, and Alberto Radelat, a dentist from Fort Worth, Texas.

For widow of DEA agent Kiki Camarena, Quintero’s release is a bitter pill to swallow

A high profile case
On February 7, 1985, U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) agent Enrique Camarena was abducted and murdered in Mexico. Camarena, who went by the nickname “Kiki”, worked out of the DEA’s Guadalajara office. His alleged murderer, Guadalajara cartel leader Rafael Caro Quintero, spend 28 years in prison, but was released in August of this year when the courts decided he was improperly tried at the federal and not the state level. His whereabouts are now unknown.

This has left Camarena’s widow, Mika, and his former partner Steven Delgado calling for action on the part of authorities. The hope is that the U.S. will put pressure on Mexico to capture and extradite Quintero. The most recent news is an offer by the U.S. Department of State of a $5 million reward for the arrest or conviction of Quintero.

Tuesday 5 November 2013

Rob Ford and Justin Trudeau: separated at birth?

Canada’s political Gong Show is ramping up the ratings, with Toronto mayor Rob Ford admitting to crack cocaine use on the same day that the Senate voted to suspend Mike Duffy, Pamela Wallin, and Patrick Brazeau.

Meanwhile the lower-key comedy – consistent and rock-solid in its insistence on vacuous platitudes – known as Justin Trudeau continues to deliver numbing bromides on the “middle class”, all without delivering a single idea on how to assist this aggrieved constituency.

Military and federal police take control of Lazaro Cardenas port on Mexico’s Pacific coast

The Maersk Sarnia
Mexico’s navy, army, federal police, and federal attorney general’s office have together taken control of the Pacific port of Lazaro Cardenas in the embattled state of Michoacán, Mexico.

The port is the number one cargo destination on Mexico’s Pacific coast, and is a major transit point for the precursor chemicals used to make methamphetamines. The federal government has concluded that the level of corruption and collusion with organized crime has made efforts at internal reform pointless. Instead, the port captaincy and chief administrator roles will now be held by military officers. Another 156 officers will work at the port in an effort to weed out corruption.