Sunday wrap

Americas: Thieving tyrants are wearing thin ... It's hard to imagine anyone who misses the presidency of George W. Bush more than Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez. While Washington all but ignored Latin America in the last decade, Chávez managed to bolster his standing at home and beyond by mocking Bush, the man he described as producing sulfurous emissions in the manner of the Devil himself, and by warning of the threat from ''The Empire,'' his term for the United States. Chavismo, the ideology and methods honed by the regime in Caracas, began growing roots in other parts of the region. Now we see signs that the appeal of Chávez and his regional followers has started to wilt. Throughout Latin America leaders who emulate Chávez and receive strong support from Caracas are beginning to run into strong resistance and immovably low approval ratings. (miamiherald.com)

Imitating Bush: Obama refuses to admit mistakes ... With bad-news stories about the stimulus spending bill piling up at home, President Obama used his weekly radio address Saturday to try to reset expectations, saying despite continued job losses and the money going out slowly, the program "has worked as intended." Nowhere does he mention his goal to "save or create" 3.5 million jobs through the spending bill — a figure he repeatedly used when demanding the bill's passage, but which has come under fire as being impossible to measure. (washingtontimes.com)

Related video: Done Its Job?

Why Obama hearts LatAm thugs ... "Will George W. Bush end up being the last true U.S. President?" asked Sher Zieve, writing for the Canadian Free Press on Jan. 14. "As I warned you on multiple times prior to the 2008 General Election, 'Once Obama is elected, we won't be able to get rid of him.'" Tragically, this warning is now being realized. Not only has President Obama established his election-fraud organization ACORN nationwide, his adherents have now begun the process to repeal the U.S. Constitution's 22nd Amendment." Rep. Jose Serrano, D-N.Y. introduced H. J. Res. 5, a bill that would repeal the amendment prohibiting a president from being elected to more than two terms in office, paving the way to make Barack Obama president for life. Not surprisingly, the corporate media currently caught up in Obama-mania has not covered this story. (pressconnects.com)

U.N., OAS ignore anti-democratic coup in Caracas ... While the Organization of American States is rightly denouncing the coup against ousted President Manuel Zelaya in Honduras, there are growing questions about why it hasn't said a word about the coup against Antonio Ledezma in Venezuela. Ledezma, you may recall, is the opposition mayor of Venezuela's capital, Caracas, who was elected by a landslide in November 2008. Yet after his victory, President Hugo Chávez effectively ignored the election results by creating a position of ''super-mayor'' of Caracas, appointing a loyalist to the new job and stripping Ledezma of his offices and the bulk of his budget. (miamiherald.com)

Obama flunks Democracy ... Now, in unison, Obama and Chávez are denouncing the removal of Honduran President Zelaya by soldiers. Note this is a legal ousting, ordered by the justice department and legislature in an established democracy. Clashes have occurred in Honduras between police and soldiers, battling thousands protesting in support of Zelaya. While one death was reported, it was eclipsed by the recent carnage in Tehran, which, strangely enough, required much prodding to even get a response from Obama on the actions of that tyrannical regime. Where’s the consistency? And where’s the very much promised transparency of the Obama Administration? (examiner.com)

Venezuela shows Barack the way ... New regulations in Venezuela will require cable and satellite TV channels to carry speeches by President Hugo Chávez on a regular basis. The measures will apply to those stations that produce more than 70% of their content within Venezuela. The BBC correspondent in Caracas says this will apply to dozens of international broadcasters, which will be considered national stations. Government opponents said it was an attack on freedom of speech. The BBC's Will Grant in Caracas says when Mr Chávez deems it necessary, all national broadcasters in Venezuela must carry the president's speeches. The broadcasts, known as "cadenas", are part of Venezuelan life under Mr Chávez and can last up to five hours. For those who do not want to watch the socialist leader, cable television has been a refuge whenever a cadena interrupts their favourite soap opera or a baseball match, our correspondent says. But not any more, he adds. The Venezuelan government defended the new regulations. The minister overseeing broadcast licensing, Diosdado Cabello, said it was all part of bringing greater democracy to Venezuela's media landscape. He told the National Assembly that the new rules affecting cable TV would take effect on Friday. But opposition MP Ismael Garcia said: "This law seeks to persecute, increase control and intimidate. (news.bbc.co.uk)

Chávez gets free pass ... However, your brief text below the photograph failed any mention of the fact that President Manuel Zelaya has been trying to set himself up as president-for-life, and thus as a virtual dictator. He has been attempting a Hugo Chávez-style takeover. The duly elected Congress of Honduras and the Supreme Court of that nation have ruled this to be illegal, and Zelaya has ignored them. He has been trying unilaterally to force a major revision of the Constitution of Honduras to allow himself to run again. The current Constitution bans this. (blogs.kansascity.com)

Honduras, Chávez: What the state-run media aren't saying ... The "coup" in the Central American nation of Honduras is the first major blow to the Marxist expansion sponsored by Hugo Chávez, but the American people are to a great extent being kept in the dark by the centralized news media. The Associated Press, upon which most news outlets in the United States depend, appears to be slanting its reporting to support the pro-Chávez version of events in Honduras. The AP tells us that much of the world has condemned the deposing of Manuel Zelaya. We also are told that Hugo Chávez, president of oil-rich Venezuela, has vowed to remove the new president of Honduras, Roberto Micheletti, and that U.S. president Barack Obama has called the Micheletti government "illegal." (rightsidenews.com)

ACORN stains Sotomayor: Is she fit to serve? ... Sotomayor has acknowledged that she is "extraordinarily intense," has had to seek out laughs where she could find them in recent weeks. Since her nomination, she has been alternately praised and pilloried. Her foes labeled her a racial activist for siding with the city of New Haven, Conn., after it tossed out a promotional examination for firemen when minorities performed worse than their white counterparts. The Supreme Court in a 5-to-4 ruling overturned the decision two weeks ago. She defended her membership in an all-female networking club, saying it did not practice "invidious discrimination," then resigned from it to erase it as a distraction from the analysis of her qualifications and record. And her critics continue to highlight her speech at the University of California at Berkeley Law School where she said, "Our experiences as women and people of color affect our decisions." The attacks have left her friends seething at times. (newsmax.com)

We don't need no stinkin' voters ... In both situations, Colorado Concern — an alliance of some of the state's top business executives — worked with union officials from multiple labor groups, including the AFL-CIO, the Service Employees International Union, the American Federation of Teachers, and the Colorado Education Association. Unfortunately, Amendment 54 passed and became law, banning political contributions from holders of so-called "sole-source government contracts." (denverpost.com)

Communist leader lets down workers ... The strike by construction workers at World Cup stadiums and the Gautrain will impact negatively on the tournament. Like the strike by doctors and a possible one by teachers, this strike shows that people expect a lot from the new administration in terms of improving their lives. Some unions want to prove they can’t be intimidated by ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe, who said “strikes would undermine (President Jacob) Zuma’s administration”, as if it was only legitimate to strike under the Thabo Mbeki administration. Cosatu used strikes and demonstrations to undermine Mbeki, a tactic Mantashe and Zuma thought would not be used against them. Many labour, economic and political analysts warned the ANC against making promises to workers that cannot be realised. With the new regime, workers expected higher wages, improved working conditions, a 13th cheque and job security. (thetimes.co.za)

Obama meddles with Mugabe ... Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe has branded a top US envoy "an idiot" with a condescending attitude. He said that Johnnie Carson, US assistant secretary of state for African affairs, wanted to dictate what Zimbabwe could and could not do. The two spoke on the sidelines of last week's African Union meeting in Libya. (news.bbc.co.uk)

MM takes on Spendulus monster ... Let there be no doubt: Democrats are the party with two ideas: borrow and spend. The only vigorous internal debate on the left revolves around two questions: How much and how much more? Even as the first trillion-dollar stimulus craters, the debt-o-crats are floating yet another grand act of generational theft to create the illusion of jumpstarting the economy. Call it Spawn of Spendulus. Return of the Porkulus Beast. Crap Sandwich Redux. White House economic adviser Laura D'Andrea Tyson told an international economic conference: "We should be planning on a contingency basis for a second round of stimulus." Team Obama flack Robert Gibbs says the president isn't "ruling anything out, but at the same time he's not ruling anything in." Despite the inconvenient fact that less than 10% of the initial stimulus has been spent (or misspent), congressional Democrats remain "open" to the idea of digging a deeper fiscal hole for your children and grandchildren. (ibdeditorials.com)

Obama pays back union bigs in many different ways ... President Barack Obama has been in office for only seven months, but already his administration has ushered in a slew of rules and regulations that affect the way employers deal with their employees — from a new law that makes it easier for people to pursue pay-discrimination cases to a broader reading of who's covered under the Americans With Disabilities Act. More change is on the way — a lot more. In fact, even before Election Day last year, Chicago labor law firm Franczek Radelet P.C. began tracking then-candidate Obama's speeches and platform positions and tallied more than 30 workplace-related initiatives he likely would push if he won. (chicagobusiness.com)

SEIU: Hike taxes or we strike ... As California's budget crisis continues, the state's largest union is considering a possible strike. Officials with Service Employees International Union or SEIU have approved asking its nearly 100,000 members to vote on a strike. The union is fearing additional pay cuts and possibly more furloughs. The vote is expected to take place in about two weeks. One local SEIU representative Action News spoke to says she won't be voting for a strike and says she hopes it doesn't come to that. But she is growing more and more frustrated with the state's inability to pass a budget. "The sticking point is that it's unfair to balance the budget on the backs of employees," Leticia Soria who is a senior steward for SEIU's local chapter said. (ksby.com)
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