sunset from behind the wire

sunset from behind the wire

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Bloody Blogging in Mexico

As some of you know who follow the rantings on this blog know, I try to keep touch with what's going on in Latin America. It's a hobby with me.

Yesterday while I was slumming in Northern Mexico, I learned that apparently Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generacion is targeting bloggers who bad-mouth drug cartels. I immediately felt somewhat slighted because I've been bad-mouthing the bastards for a long time with no repercussions. That leads me to believe that I haven't been bad-mouthing them enough. (check this out) And the subliminal message is that I'm a looser. 

CBS News carried this story (LINK) where 26 men were shot in the head and dismembered a day or two ago in Guadalajara. I know, it's not real news because another 26 or 260 people dismembered, beheaded or hanging from an over pass with piano wire is sort of 'life in the fast lane' in Bloody Mexico these days.

The CBS News piece (cited above) suggests that this is the result of a gang war between Los Zetas and the Sinaloa Federation, or perhaps La Resistencia (a joint cartel effort dedicated to resisting Los Zetas that has some interesting dynamics attached to it). I suspect that it's a turf war within the Sinaloa Federation and that the 26 dismembered bodies (I could show photos here, but good taste forbids it) simply sent a message. So I differ from the locals in Guadalajara who harbor an opinion other than mine.

But one thing that I know (not for sure) is that the 26 dismembered corpses were not bloggers, because some of them had their hands remaining on their arms. And when the cartel murders a blogger, they always cut off his or her hands -- to send a message.

If you want a nice vacation, go to Mexico, it's the antidote for civilization. (LINK) You can do everything on your Mexican vacation or you could end up doing absolutely nothing...

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Sin of Ingratitude

I have a lot of faults, but I hope that ingratitude is not among the list.

On this Thanksgiving Day, I feel more profoundly moved toward being grateful for the bounty that I have enjoyed in my life. Reflecting back to my youth on the things that I had hoped to do both professionally and personally, I managed to do them all. It's not small thing when you consider both my ego and ambitious nature. Less that be considered boastful, let me assure you that it's a matter of thankfulness that I have had the circumstances presented to me where I could do those things. 

One of the nice things about being in middle age is the presence of grandchildren in my life. It's a reward for raising children with the sort of values that they themselves would want to bring their own children into the world and raise them up to honorable adulthood.

I don't want to leave you with the impression that what I have had as an American, and as a man has come easily. The shouters and marchers who crowd some urban centers even today on Thanksgiving are demanding a free ride through life. Freedom isn't free, and neither is bread. 

In order to keep from drowning, the US Navy taught me techniques called "drown-proofing". Going through this ordeal wasn't easy, but I learned how NOT to drown. And I'm thankful for those hard times that helped to make me hard. The movement for 'free everything' doesn't understand that whatever you do to earn freedom involves some sort of pain. And while I didn't want the pain at the time, I'm even thankful for that. (though endless flutter kicks in training conjure up a really painful memory)

I'm thankful for my country and for what it usually stands for, though there have been times in my life where I looked at the flat - or at some of the people voted into positions of great responsibility, and felt ashamed.  For the most part, my nation has stood for the right things, and has encouraged people to work and earn so that they could have the dignity of earning what they ate. There is a dignity that is imparted by work. I'm thankful that I was healthy enough to work and to earn compensation for my labor.

I'm grateful for love, having loved and having been loved. Some people don't know that they are loved. A lot of those people are well compensated actors and reality show participants, who can be seen wallowing in their sorrows on television every single day. I don't fit into that category, and I'm thankful for it.

I'm fortunate enough to have friends. Not a lot, but enough, and people that I care about and who in turn care about me. A couple of days ago an acquaintance asked me about a friend of mine, who was part of the Somalia disaster that inspired the feature film Blackhawk Down. He was shot three times on the streets of Mogadishu while he served his country, and survived to fight another day. I explained, "He's my friend because he'd take my back. And if somebody hit me in the back, I'd know that he was laying dead behind me." That is my definition of friendship. The friendship I give and that which I demand. It's a litmus test for commitment demanded of true friends. A man with friends like that can't help but be humbled by the honor they do by offering that sort of friendship.

Happy Thanksgiving - It's our right as Americans to eat too much, watch football on TV and spend some time with family and friends.

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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Bloody Mexico - and Central America


I've heard a lot of buzz about the Mexican drug cartels moving into Central America. It's not news because they've been there for a long time. What is newer (though not exactly new) is the trend for Mexican narcos to buy estates/ranches/estancias in Central American countries to avoid the narco-politics and hassles in Mexico.

And while a vacation in Bloody Mexico is clearly 'the antidote for civilization', you can rub shoulders with a lot of famous and not-so-famous drug kingpins when you visit Central America. But usually they're on vacation too posing as 'industrialists'. That means that 'you' may not get your first choice in seating at the best restaurants, but you can dine with confidence because the bodyguards will shoot first and ask questions later if some 'suspicious outsider' tries to worm their way into the restaurant where you are seated.  You see a lot of age disparity both with vacationers and narcos when you visit hotspots in Central America. 
"Guatemalan President-elect Otto Perez Molina told Mexican newspaper El Universal on Nov. 9 that he plans to engage drug cartels in a “full frontal assault” when he takes office in 2012. The former general said he will use Guatemala’s elite military forces, known as Los Kaibiles, to take on the drug cartels in a strategy similar to that of the Mexican government; he has asked for U.S. assistance in this struggle." 
Even the Central American governments are trying to cash in on the chase to apprehend narcos now. It makes sense when you think about it. The USGOV doles out cash and helicopters (used for joy rides mainly) and when groups like Los Kaibiles apprehend a narco, they expect a bribe to let him go. So it's really a win/win for nations such as Guatemala. 

Do I sound like a cynic?


Read more: The Mexican Drug Cartel Threat in Central America | STRATFOR 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Why Mitt Romney will be the Republican candidate in 2012

There's a lot of political buzzzz in media circles as the mainstream media struggles to remove Herman Cain from the Republican gene pool. It simply wouldn't do for a half-black man to run against a black man for president. What would that do to affirmative action? What would that say about America? It is a liberal's worst nightmare. The mainstream media will keep pounding on Herman Cain - like an unwanted stepchild. (Palin scenario all over again) Herman is not ready to be president anyway, but the mainstream media isn't concerned with that - just as they weren't concerned about Obama's dismal lack of qualifications.

But this blog post is about Mitt Romney, not Herman Cain. And it's not about Rick Perry, who is trying to learn to debate and figure out what to say while he's running. Because there is a steep learning curve in the race to be president. You have to nail those talking points down. Rick didn't know that before he started out on this and he's ended up looking less than qualified. Newt Gingrich has surged in the polls because people have jumped ship on Perry and they saw Herman failing and didn't like Mitt enough to want to vote for him. But Newt won't be nominated for president by the Republican Party. You heard it here first... (maybe not first)

It comes down to the comparison between Romney and Obama, because that's who will be left standing next year when all of the shouting dies off and the race begins in earnest.

Romney (unlike Perry) has been running for president for the past several years and has a smooth machine in place. He's thought through the issues with his brain trust and they have a line to promote that doesn't take a firm stand anywhere. It makes political sense while infuriating groups like the Tea Party who want to see a conservative scrapper take on Obama and the establishment left. Unlike Cain, he's not black (not a threat to the establishment media's ability to define one candidate as opposed to another) and he's a genuine RINO. He's every bit as liberal as John McCain and looks more presidential than McCain. If that makes the American voting public seem shallow - recall that they put Barack Hussein Obama in the White House.

The average American mistrusts Obama at just about every possible level and Romney will appear to be that firm, steady, just slightly right of center candidate who gives them a comfortable alternative to the seated president.

There's not a lot to hate about Mitt Romney because he hasn't given America anything to hate about him, unless you simply hate Mormons in a generic way. And most people don't. Not anymore than they hate Black Liberation Theologists like Barack Obama. 

Romney will appeal to voters by promising to bring a palatability to government and by removing the radical change-and-rearrange Obama socialist movement that flopped so badly. He will also offer home for an improved economy while Obama is running with double digit unemployment in place. In short, Romney will be the Republican Candidate because he's not making mistakes. He's been running for a long time and he knows what to do and what not to do in order to win. And Romney quite simply intends to win.

Meanwhile, Obama is trying to reinvent himself (yet again).





Monday, November 14, 2011

Where's there is a FARC, there's fire.

I know that nobody in the lower 48 really cares that Alfonso Cano (true name: Guillermo Leon Saenz Vargas), the leader of FARC (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia) went to the hot place last week. Yes, Cano (pictured - left) died in a shoot-out on November 5th, after he was tracked down and killed. Really, he's not much more than another drug kingpin and he ended badly as they tend to do. Some in Colombia will assert that he was a freedom fighter. And that FARC, funded almost entirely by cocaine profits, is 'pure in its Marxism'. But personally, I fear that people who feel that way are 'using their own product' far too much. Cano had a lot of blood on his hands while living and now his clay rests in a government freezer in Bogota, waiting for final internment. 

Today, FARC supplies selected Mexican drug cartels with cocaine product, which they move across the US Border to American consumers. When it becomes tough to move dope, they kidnap people. Trying to put a happy revolutionary face on FARC is impossible, but I'm shocked at the number of liberal Americans (mostly college professors) who try to.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Just FARCing around

In my work in Mexico, I've recently become aware of how deeply the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia-Ejército del Pueblo) is  in bed with many of the Mexican Cartels. I don't know how involved they are with Los Zetas, but they seem to be joined at the hip with the Sinaloa Federation and The Caballeros Templario (formerly La Familia Michoacan, for those of you keeping track).

FARC is a Marxis-Lenninist guerrilla army, that was formed from the Colombian Communist Party. It is based in Colombia and it opposes US involvement in Colombia. FARC fields about 10,000 soldiers and roughly the same number of non-combatants who provide logistical support, intelligence and work as plainclothes militia in the barrios. 

They (among others) are part of the coterie of actors who supply cocaine to the Mexican Narcotics Cartels. Some downplay FARC's involvement in the cocaine trade, but those doubters would be wrong. I'm not contending that the traditional Colombian Drug Cartels (not to be confused with their Mexican cousins) are out of the picture. I merely suggest to you that FARC and possibly Ejercito de Liberacion Nacional (ELN), the other and smaller communist revolutionary army in Colombia, have more to do with supplying cocaine than I (and anyone I know) thought that they did.

However, Presidente Hugo Chavez (Venezuela) supports FARC, and we all know that Hugo and President Barack Hussein Obama are friends. So I don't know where it puts the USA in all of this intrigue. I don't have any information that the US Government is facilitating smuggling firearms to FARC in the way that they did to the Sinaloa Federation through Operation Fast and Furious (with ATF as the front man).

In Operation Castaway (LINK HERE), the US Government sold firearms to criminal gangs in Honduras through the ATF Tampa Field Division according to the Fox News Report. But they didn't sell to Colombians as far as anyone knows. Right?

President Obama and Presidente-for-Life Hugo Chavez (Venezuela)

Presidente-for-Life Chavez and Linda Panetta, daughter of Defense Secretary Leon Panetta

Presidente-for-Life Chavez will hug anyone, but it seems almost sexual
when he's with Iranian strong man President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

I don't know for sure how close Chavez is to FARC. But HE provides them with weapons and ammo. (LINK TO CNN). It makes you wonder if Hugo buys his arms and ammo in the US these days, doesn't it?


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Silk?

What's up with Silk (besides being a self-assembling protein)?



I guess that it's not just for men's ties and women's scarves anymore.