Archive for 30 septiembre 2010

LEGALIDAD EN ECUADOR

30 septiembre, 2010

Se confirma que en America no se permiten los golpes de Estado, y que ahora los miltares bananeros perdieron, porque la “teoría yanqui imperialista asquerosa” de que el pueblo elige a sus gobernantes ha triunfado en el continente, desde Alaska a Tierra del Fuego.

Esta defensa de la legalidad institucional  confirma que el interés es la medida de la acción, y que el afan de mantenerse los Presidentes en el Poder los hacen colocarse en legalistas constitucionalistas, incluso cuando provienen de países donde el fascismo militarista triunfó y luego se camufló, tipo Chile, o de otros pseudo izaquierdistas revolucionarios,, tipo varios otros, incluyendo un izqauierdista serio pero además honesto económica e intelectualmente, como Pepe, el oriental admirado Presidente mas cercano.

La parte de la legalidad que los Kirchners todavía no aceptaron es aquella que dice que las Cortes Supremas son Supremas, y que los Presidentes Ejecutivos están para hacer efectivo el cumplimiento de las sentencias del Máximo Tribunal de cada país.

Este presidente ecuatoriano se ha podido lucir (esperemos que todo termine bien para su salud) ofreciento su pecho para que lo asesinen, desde la ventana del hospital policial de su país. Una escena dramática que parece un montaje televisivo propagandístico, que nos hace recordar cuan distinta actitud tuvo el ex votado Presidente Fernando de la Rúa, que eligió traicionar el voto del pueblo y renunciar, antes que ser baleado por los politicos que le hicieron el golpe de estado que el denunció.

Si el célebre Chupete hubiese tenido una actitud igual a la del Presidente Correa, y los bandidos que le hicieron el golpe de estado que lo hizo abandonar la presidencia, hubieran elegido eliminarlo, o arrojarlo desde el aire a Plaza de Mayo, hoy los radicales tendrían a un héroe en su partido, del cual carecen, y necesitan, si quieren volver a tener chances electorales. No podemos decir que lamentamos que esto no sucedió, pero cada uno puede evaluar si hubiera sido mejor tener un martir de la democracia a un ex presidente que abandona su cargo y juramento. 

Los chilenos con su Presidente asesinado por Pinochet, enaltecieron a la izquierda, y pese a que Pinochdet ganó, y hoy los gobiernan los que mas se le asemejan, y encima tienen fortunas sospechosas blanqueadas, sed encuentran con el problema que los Kirchners no quieren entregarles al acusado del asesinato de un senador pinochetista, posiblemente porque lo correcto es apoyar a la izqauieda incluso asesina, a entregar a un sospechado de crímenes comunes. Y el Presidente de Chile sospechará que los K desconfian de la derecha chilena, pero de todos modos, deben todos comportarse educadamente, porque President Obama no permite golpes de estado militaristas en su patio trasero.

                                            LA FARSA DE LA LEGALIDAD

Dejemos a los chilenos con el gobierno que se merecen, el que tienen, y pasemos  a nuestra propia casa. Aca hubo dos golpes de Estado, contra de la Rúa y contra el Adolfo Rodríguez Saa, que no fueron registrados como tales, porque los medios lo hicieron olvidar. Y los Kirchners callan esas violaciones a la democracia, porque fueron el orígen de su subida al Poder Presidencial, de la mano de .Duhalde, quien prohibió la interna abierta obligatoria justicialista, y así consiguió que no ganara Carlos Menem (que hoy podria estar en su cuarto mandato presidencial, de no haberse cometido aquella violación a la constitución, que designó un Presidente sin ser votado por el pueblo, cuando ya estábamos convocados para votarlo para marzo de 2002. Eso ya pasó.

Lo que sigue vigente es otro golpe de Estado, esta vez contra la Corte Suprema, que se produce cuando los K no solo no apoyan el cumplimiento de una sentencia de la Corte para que se repontga al ex Procurador de la Provincia de Santa Cruz, sino que proclaman abierta y publicamente que la sentencia de la corte suprema no tiene valor, porque equivale a interenir a una Provincia.

El hecho de que la Corte nuestra carezca de agallas (de Derecho se supone sabe mucho mas que yo) para hacer respetar la Constitución es un golpe de estado igual  o quizás peor que los de los militares contra la Constitución. Pero como casi todos lo olvidaron, eso pasó hace casi una década, y los medios no lo recuerdan, insistimos desde este blog que la democracia argentina fue violada varias veces desde el año 2001 e incluso esta semana, con el episodio del procurador de Santa Cruz y la falta de respeto de los Kirchner por los cortesanos que ellos mismos designaron diciendo que eran juristas brillantes e independientes.

                                                EL SHOW DE LA LEGALIDAD….

podrá continuar en torno a Ecuador y para beneficio de los presidentes americanos, pero respecto de los K, cabe recordarles que esta violacion especifica a la Constitución, que es desconocer la supremacía del SUPERIOR TRIBUNAL todavía esta vigente, y que en teoría Cristina podría ser acusada por no cumplir ni hacer cumplir con la Carta Magna.., siempre y cuando tuviésemos suficientes congresistas constitucionalmente probos en el Congreso Nacional.

ARG. UPDATE Thursday

30 septiembre, 2010

Sue

Subject: Argentina Editorial Roundup – Thursday SEE 8. LATIN AMERICA: POVERTY MOVES FAIL TO TACKLE INEQUALITY

1. BEST EMERGING-MARKET BONDS SPURRED BY RECORD RESERVES: ARGENTINA CREDIT (Bloomberg News)

  

2. LA NIÑA MAY PROMPT ARGENTINE CORN FARMERS TO SPEED PLANTING AFTER RAINFALL (Bloomberg News)

  

3. ARGENTINA’S PUBLIC SECTOR HOLDS HALF OF GOVERNMENT DEBT (Reuters News)

  

4. BUENOS AIRES PROVINCE OPEN TO NEW BOND ISSUANCE  – GOVERNOR (Dow Jones International News)

 

5. ARGENTINA SENATE FACES GLACIER BILL SHOWDOWN; MINING COMPANIES WORRIED (Dow Jones International News)

 

6. ARGENTINE ECONOMY JUMPS 11.8% IN Q2 (IHS Global Insight Daily Analysis)

 

7. ARGENTINA: ACTIVISTS FILE WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS û FOR LEGAL ABORTION (Inter Press Service)

 

8. LATIN AMERICA: POVERTY MOVES FAIL TO TACKLE INEQUALITY (Oxford Analytica)

1. BEST EMERGING-MARKET BONDS SPURRED BY RECORD RESERVES: ARGENTINA CREDIT (Bloomberg News)

By Drew Benson and Ben Bain

September 30, 2010

Argentine bonds beat all emerging market debt this month as rising exports pushed international reserves to a record and a credit rating increase bolstered confidence in South America’s second-biggest economy.

Argentine dollar bonds returned 8.5 percent on average this month, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s EMBI+ indexes. Venezuelan debt posted the next-best performance, returning 4.4 percent, while Ukrainian bonds lost 0.4 percent.

The combination of the highest emerging-market yields after Venezuela and Ecuador and the fastest economic growth in almost two decades is luring investors to Argentine debt. Exports rose 47 percent in August to $6.4 billion after a record 55-million metric ton soybean harvest, helping push central bank reserves to $51.3 billion. The central bank forecasts the economy may grow as much as 9.5 percent this year, the most since 1992.

“When you look at capacity and willingness to pay, there is no doubt that investors have to look at Argentina,” said Paolo Valle, who co-manages more than $1 billion of emerging- market assets including Argentine bonds with Federated Investors in Pittsburg. “There’s higher headline risk and higher volatility, but you’re getting paid to own it.”

President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner tapped $5 billion of reserves to pay debt this year and is seeking another $7.5 billion for 2011, according to her Sept. 16 budget proposal.

Standard & Poor’s raised the country’s credit rating one level to “B,” five levels below investment grade, on Sept. 13, citing the economy’s “strong” performance. The move followed Argentina’s $12.2 billion restructuring of defaulted bonds in June, the second since a 2001 financial crisis.

‘More Flexibility’

Argentina’s debt-to-gross domestic product ratio fell to 48 percent as of June 30 from as high as 166 percent in 2002, Finance Secretary Hernan Lorenzino told lawmakers in Buenos Aires yesterday. As much as 45 percent of the country’s debt is held by government agencies, with only a third of maturities coming due in the next three years held by private creditors, S&P said in its ratings report.

“That gives them much more flexibility to pay,” Valle said in a telephone interview yesterday. Federated has an “overweight” position in Argentine debt and didn’t add to its holdings in September, he said.

Argentina is benefiting from a “hunt for yields,” said Jeremy Brewin, who manages $2.3 billion of emerging-markets assets including Argentine debt. Argentine dollar bonds yield 680 basis points, or 6.8 percentage points, more than similar- maturity U.S. Treasuries, the highest after Ecuador, at 1036 basis points, and Venezuela, at 1139, among nations tracked by JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s EMBI+ Index.

Argentina is outperforming because there has been “less stress than had been anticipated at the beginning of the year,” Brewin said.

Falling Yields

The yield on Argentina’s 7 percent dollar bonds due in 2015 tumbled 202 basis points to 9.18 percent this month. The yield on Ukraine’s 6.58 percent dollar bonds due in 2016 rose 22 basis points to 6.98 percent over the same period, while the yield on Venezuela’s 2017 notes fell 33 basis points to 13.34 percent.

The extra yield investors demand to own Argentine bonds instead of U.S. Treasuries fell 80 basis points this month to 680 yesterday, according to JPMorgan. Argentina’s yield spread is about 150 points higher than Ukraine and almost 500 points above neighboring Brazil.

The peso fell for a ninth-straight month, dropping 0.4 percent in September to 3.9676 per dollar. The currency closed at 3.9725 per dollar on Sept. 28, the peso’s weakest level since its inception in 1992. Warrants linked to growth in South America’s second-biggest economy rose 0.09 cent yesterday to 11.85 cents, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Tapping Markets

Five-year credit-default swaps tied to Argentine debt fell 12 basis points yesterday to 738. The swaps dropped 210 points during September, the biggest decline among government debt worldwide. Credit-default swaps pay the buyer face value in exchange for the underlying securities or the cash equivalent should a government or company fail to adhere to debt agreements.

“The use of reserves to pay debt along with the debt restructuring has substantially cut the bond yields, leading private and public actors who weren’t able to tap credit markets to access them,” Lorenzino said during congressional testimony yesterday.

Argentina’s bond rally may have peaked as recent gains prompt investors to look to other emerging economies, said Igor Arsenin, head of Latin America strategy with Credit Suisse Group AG in New York.

‘More Confident’

“Now that everyone is more confident that emerging market assets will perform well moving forward people will look at some of the underperformers,” Arsenin said.

The provinces of Buenos Aires and Cordoba have taken advantage of falling borrowing costs to sell bonds abroad. Buenos Aires sold $550 million of five-year notes this week to yield 12 percent, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Its budget calls for a total of $1.1 billion in international bond sales this year. Cordoba sold $400 million of seven-year dollar bonds last month to yield 12.375 percent.

Grupo Supervielle SA, which owns Argentina’s Banco Supervielle SA and Banco Regional de Cuyo SA, is preparing the sale of 200 million pesos in local bonds, the banks’ President Juan Carlos Nougues said in an interview on Sept. 28. Shareholders of Aeropuertos Argentinas 2000 SA, the country’s main airport operator, approved plans this month to sell as much as $300 million in bonds.

Fidelity’s Valle and Aviva’s Brewin said they expect Argentine debt to outperform through the end of this year.

“The best performance on most of the emerging market debt happens as a result of step by step improvements,” Brewin said. “And that’s basically what’s been happening in Argentina.”

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2. LA NIÑA MAY PROMPT ARGENTINE CORN FARMERS TO SPEED PLANTING AFTER RAINFALL (Bloomberg News)

By Rodrigo Orihuela

September 29, 2010

Corn farmers in Argentina, the world’s second-largest exporter of the commodity, will probably speed planting to take advantage of above-average rainfall before a dry spell begins, the Cordoba Cereals Exchange said.

“Farmers are likely to start planting corn at an earlier time than in other years to take advantage of the humidity” from rain in the past week, Silvina Fiant, a forecaster at the exchange, said today by telephone from Cordoba province. “Rain this year is falling earlier than in other years.”

Growers may seek to plant early so crops can withstand drier weather expected in December and January because of the La Nina weather pattern, she said. Central Cordoba got about 81.1 millimeters (3.2 inches) of rain in the four weeks through yesterday, data published on the exchange’s website show. That’s above the historical average, Fiant said.

Cordoba farmers this year will plant about 800,000 hectares (1.98 million acres) of corn, a third of the country’s total, according to an estimate by the Buenos Aires Cereals Exchange. Argentina’s total output may reach 26 million metric tons, Martin Fraguio, head of the Maizar corn growers’ association, said Aug. 31.

Corn futures for December delivery rose 2.25 cents, or 0.5 percent, to $5.0225 a bushel at 11:14 a.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade.

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3. ARGENTINA’S PUBLIC SECTOR HOLDS HALF OF GOVERNMENT DEBT (Reuters News)

By Magdalena Morales and Hilary Burke

29 September 2010

* Debt held by state agencies easier to renew

* Cenbank reserves, intrastate loans key to 2011 finances

* Argentina’s debt load has fallen to 48 percent of GDP (Adds details on debt characteristics, 2011 financing plan, byline)

BUENOS AIRES, Sept 29 (Reuters) – State entities now hold half of Argentina’s total debt load, the finance secretary said on Wednesday, making it easier for the government to renew loans a year before a presidential election.

Ratings agencies say the increase in state agencies’ government debt holdings has improved refinancing options in Argentina, which is still wrestling with fallout from its $100 billion sovereign default in 2002.

It should also ease any lingering concerns of another default in Latin America’s No. 3 economy.

In recent years, the government of President Cristina Fernandez has relied heavily on loans from state agencies such as the pensions administrator, ANSES, since lawsuits over the default have blocked access to global credit markets.

Finance Secretary Hernan Lorenzino told Congress the country’s debt load totaled some $156 billion by June 30. This represents 48 percent of gross domestic product, down from 74 percent in 2005.

“Nearly half of the total debt, or 49.8 percent, is within the public sector,” Lorenzino told legislators analyzing the details of the government’s 2011 budget bill.

He added that only 35.4 percent of debt is in the hands of private creditors, whom the government proposes to pay again next year by using the central bank’s foreign currency reserves.

Next year’s financing plan foresees the Argentine Treasury will continue tapping state agencies, including state-run bank Banco Nacion, Lorenzino said.

The government will also rely on its primary budget surplus, estimated at 2.46 percent of GDP, and loans from international credit organizations.

Although Argentina had planned to issue bonds on global markets after concluding a $12.2 billion swap of defaulted debt in June, officials have since backed off that idea and supported instead the continued use of foreign reserves.

“Our financing policy for 2011 will be focused on obtaining funds to service our debt, without paying the price of accepting interest rates that do not jibe with Argentina’s real capacity and willingness to pay (debt),” Lorenzino said.

President Fernandez said last week the country was not interested in issuing foreign debt at rates between 8 and 8.75 percent.

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4. BUENOS AIRES PROVINCE OPEN TO NEW BOND ISSUANCE  – GOVERNOR (Dow Jones International News)

By Ken Parks

29 September 2010

BUENOS AIRES (Dow Jones)–The province of Buenos Aires could tap international debt markets for a second time this year after selling $550 million in five-year bonds earlier this week, according to a top government official.

“We’ll be evaluating market conditions and the strategic needs of the province. This year we could do a bit more,” provincial governor Daniel Scioli said in a transcript of a Tuesday press conference.

The province, Argentina’s largest in terms of population and economic output, sold bonds paying an annual interest rate of 11.75%. The provincial government’s 2010 budget includes authorization to sell up to $1.1 billion in bonds.

Speaking at the same event, the province’s economy minister, Alejandro Arlia, said the deal was the result of 32 meetings with 82 institutional investors in eight cities in Asia, the U.S. and Europe.

“We had offers for $1.1 billion and we decided to take half” in order obtain the best interest rate, Arlia said, adding that 34% of the issuance was bought by U.S. investors, 54% by European investors and the remaining 12% in equal portions by Asian and Latin American investors.

The deal follows the federal government’s debt swap in June with the holders of bonds dating back to the country’s $100 billion default in 2001, opening the door for provinces to tap foreign debt markets to finance spending and infrastructure projects.

Cordoba province sold $400 million in seven-year bonds in early August, paying 12.375% in interest a year in its debut on international markets. In March, the capital city of Buenos Aires sold $475 million in five-year bonds, paying an annual interest rate of 12.5% in the midst of the European sovereign debt crisis.

Arlia said the province was able to obtain a lower interest rate than Cordoba and the capital thanks to the timing of the deal and “good coordination with the federal government.”

Federal government transfers account for about 40% of the provincial government’s revenues.

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5. ARGENTINA SENATE FACES GLACIER BILL SHOWDOWN; MINING COMPANIES WORRIED (Dow Jones International News)

By Shane Romig

29 September 2010

BUENOS AIRES (Dow Jones)–Argentina’s Senate is set to vote on a pair of competing glacier protection bills on Wednesday, and environmentalists and mining companies are battling to push forward their preferred legislation.

The mining industry-backed bill, originally sponsored by Sen. Daniel Filmus, includes a relatively narrow definition of what would qualify as a protected glacier and largely leaves it to the provinces to decide how to implement the law and protect their ice.

The bill was introduced by Filmus–a strong ally of President Cristina Fernandez–and approved by the Senate in late 2009. However, in August the House passed a modified bill and sent it back to the Senate for a new vote. Filmus now backs the House bill, which is competing with the “Filmus bill” he originally sponsored.

The House bill, which also has the backing of opposition lawmaker Miguel Bonasso and environmentalists, is more restrictive of economic activity in the areas adjacent to glaciers. It would also put the federal government in charge of enforcing the law.

Tuesday, the Senate environmental committee voted to send the Filmus bill to the floor for a vote. If the legislators vote down that bill, they will then vote on the House version. The bill that gets passed will head to the president’s desk to be signed into law. A similar glacier protection bill was vetoed in 2008 after complaints from a number of governors from glacial provinces, but Fernandez has made it clear that she won’t stand in the way of the legislation this time.

Oil and mining groups have lobbied hard against the House version and have the backing of governors from mining provinces such as San Juan and Santa Cruz.

“In reality, the [House] bill aims to inexplicably block and prohibit mining development,” the mining chamber Caem said in a recent statement.

But environmental groups say the Filmus bill is little more than window dressing.

“If the Filmus version gets passed, we have no glacier law–they will allow mining on glaciers,” said Daniel Taillant, founder and consultant to the Center for Human Rights and Environment, or Cedha.

“A vote for the [Filmus] bill is a deceitful vote–it’s a vote for there not to be a law,” Greenpeace Argentina said in a press release.

It remains unclear how the Senate will vote. According to a poll of Senators conducted by local daily La Nacion, supporters and opponents of the Filmus bill are tied at 32, with five still undecided.

Argentina’s mountainous western border is famed for its soaring peaks, pristine rivers and lakes, forests and numerous glaciers, drawing flocks of tourists each year. Proponents of tighter protection of the glaciers also point to the key role they play in ensuring the country’s water supply.

But mining and oil companies are worried that passage of the bill could be used by environmental groups and others to stall projects. These groups may seek restraining orders in local courts to stop exploration and mine development.

The law could complicate plans for companies such as Barrick Gold Corp. (ABX, ABX.T), which is finally moving forward with construction of the $3 billion Pascua Lama gold and silver mine straddling the border between Argentina and Chile.

The company spent years fending off challenges from environmentalists in Chile, securing permitting and waiting for Chile and Argentina to reach a tax-sharing agreement for the project. Barrick vice president of corporate affairs Rodrigo Jimenez declined to comment on the legislation while debate continues in Congress.

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6. ARGENTINE ECONOMY JUMPS 11.8% IN Q2 (IHS Global Insight Daily Analysis)

By Santiago Mosquera

29 September 2010

IHS Global Insight Perspective

Significance

The stellar GDP expansion observed in the second quarter responds to good performance across all sectors except mining, but it is agriculture that leads the expansion, rebounding after last year’s droughts.

Implications

The agricultural sector, which represents 8.7% of overall GDP, advanced by 65%, contributing 5.6% to total growth.

Outlook

At IHS Global Insight, we expect the economy to expand 8.2% in 2010 before decelerating to 5.2% in 2011.

According to the latest national accounts data released by the Argentine statistical office, the economy jumped 11.8% year-on-year (y/y) in the second quarter of 2010 and posted a 3.0% change with respect to the previous quarter on a seasonally adjusted basis. Global demand was propelled by an 18.1% advance in capital formation, with investment in plant and equipment advancing 35.5% y/y and construction growing 8.1% y/y. Good results were observed across the other categories. Government consumption continues to be a growth engine, expanding 12.9% y/y, while household consumption grew 8.1% y/y. Performance in the external sector raises some concerns, with total imports jumping 35.6% y/y, while exports only did so by 18.2% y/y; nevertheless, the latter result is substantially better than the 4.2% expansion observed in the previous quarter. While the impact is not that dramatic from the terms-of-trade perspective, the jump in imports confirms the economic rebound, with important advances across all import categories, at the expense of a shrinking trade surplus in the coming quarters.

The goods-producing sector advanced 18.3% y/y in the second quarter thanks to a solid recovery in manufacturing activities (up 9.9% y/y), and agriculture (up 65.0% y/y), the latter the result of a low comparison base in 2009 when the sector suffered from adverse weather conditions. In fact, agriculture retreated by 27.1% during the second quarter of 2009. The growth rate in the service sector accelerated to 8.2% y/y, driven by advances in transportation (up 11.3% y/y) and commercial activities (up 12.0% y/y), with important contributions from other sectors. The advances observed in manufacturing, commerce, and agriculture suggests that these labour-intensive sectors will be increasing their demand for labour in the coming months, improving the outlook for the overall economy.

According to the consumer confidence index (ICC) drawn up by the Universidad Torcuato Di Tella, confidence in August advanced 4.6% with respect to July, while in annual terms, it remains 23.8% higher. Perceptions of personal finances advanced 7.1% in August, while consumers’ views about macroeconomic conditions and timing for the purchase of durable and non-durable goods advanced 2.4% and 4.0%, respectively. This suggests that household expenditure should remain strong in the third quarter of 2010, good news considering the negative impact coming from external accounts and weaker fiscal position. A survey on consumers’ inflation expectations for the coming 12-month period shows that the median inflation expectation remains at 25.0% for August 2011, while the average expected inflation rate increased slightly to 32.8%.

Outlook and Implications

The economy is growing fast again. The strong economic expansion observed in Argentina during 2003–08 called a short-lived truce in 2009, as deteriorating economic conditions worldwide took their toll on Argentine exports and, later, on household consumption. Economic expectations improved during the last quarter of 2009 because of an apparent change in policymaking, and not even the removal of the central bank president in early 2010 without following proper procedure derailed the process. Some deceleration in activity levels is expected in the second half of 2010, with the outlook for 2011 and beyond very much linked to the evolution of the global economy, particularly Argentina’s main trade partners. Returning to the financial market is important for the government, but especially for companies located in Argentina and for its provincial governments, which have suffered a lack of financing sources since 2001. Improving the business climate under current conditions would be a big plus for the economy. So far only a few provinces and cities have issued new debt, with more to follow in the coming months. At IHS Global Insight, we expect the economy to expand 8.2% in 2010 before decelerating to 5.2% in 2011.

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7. ARGENTINA: ACTIVISTS FILE WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS û FOR LEGAL ABORTION (Inter Press Service)

By Marcela Valente

29 September 2010

BUENOS AIRES, Sep. 28, 2010 (IPS/GIN) – Heartened by the passage of a same-sex marriage law in Argentina, women’s organizations in this South American country stepped up their demands for the legalisation of abortion, on the Day for the Decriminalisation of Abortion in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Some 1,000 members of the Juana Azurduy Women’s Collective, better known as Las Juanas, filed a “collective and preventive” writ of habeas corpus at different courtrooms around the country, demanding that the criminalisation of abortion be declared unconstitutional.

They also asked the courts to press the legislature to bring the law that penalises abortion into line with international norms that recognize a woman’s right to make decisions about her body.

“We chose the habeas corpus route because it protects people’s freedom, and we are thus asking the courts, in a preventive manner, to protect us if we become pregnant and want to interrupt the pregnancy,” Las Juanas activist Gabriela Sosa told IPS.

Sosa, who is head of the organization in the eastern province of Santa Fe and is one of the women who signed the writ of habeas corpus, said the present political and social climate in the country lends itself to making progress towards a law that would decriminalise abortion.

“Not long ago we could not imagine that Argentina would have a same-sex marriage law, and this year it was achieved because there is social concern and interest in debating these issues, and the politicians are picking up on and reflecting that,” she said.

But she admitted that the 2011 elections are an obstacle, because “no candidate is going to want to pick up the hot potato of abortion” in a campaign year.

In Argentina, abortion is a crime punishable by prison, except in cases where the pregnancy is the result of rape, the expectant mother’s life is in danger or she is mentally ill or disabled.

But every year some 460,000 to 600,000 women resort to abortion in this country of 40 million people, according to the report “Estimate of the Extent of the Practice of Induced Abortion in Argentina”, prepared by experts from the University of Buenos Aires and the Centre for Population Studies.

In Latin America, abortion is only legal in Cuba, Puerto Rico and Mexico City. With the exception of Chile, El Salvador and Nicaragua, where abortion is illegal under any circumstances, in the rest of the countries in the region “therapeutic” abortion is legal in certain cases, such as rape, incest, fetal malformation or risk to the mother’s life.

Nevertheless, more than four million illegal abortions a year are practiced in the region, according to different sources, and 13 percent of maternal deaths are caused by abortion-related complications.

In Argentina, unsafe abortions are the main cause of maternal mortality, the Juana Azurduy Women’s Collective reports.

Against that backdrop, Las Juanas presented their legal action on Tuesday Sept. 28, observed as the Day for the Decriminalisation of Abortion by the women’s movement in Latin America and the Caribbean since 1990.

The London-based Amnesty International joined its voice to the campaign. The deputy director of the rights watchdog’s Americas Program, Guadalupe Marengo, called for the repeal of all laws that penalise or provide for the imprisonment of women or girls who undergo an abortion under any circumstances.

Amnesty said the restrictions on safe, legal abortion put the human rights of women in the region in “grave danger.”

For years, women’s groups in Argentina have been campaigning for the decriminalisation of abortion, but have continually run up against the fierce resistance of the powerful Catholic Church and other conservative sectors of society.

However, this year the situation looks more favourable. Since March, the lower house of Congress has been studying a draft law that would decriminalise abortion, which has the backing of around 50 lawmakers from different parties.

The bill, which may be debated in October, was introduced by Cecilia Merchan, a legislator with the left-wing movement Libres del Sur, and would legalise first-trimester abortion on demand, similar to the law in effect in the Federal District of Mexico City.

None of the nearly 20 earlier bills on abortion introduced in the Argentine legislature over the years progressed. But the current draft law has already made it through several committees and is on its way to a full session debate in the lower house.

Merchan told IPS that the bill she sponsored is in response to the large number of abortions practiced in this country, and especially to the fact that more than 70,000 — mainly low-income — women are hospitalised annually for complications from unsafe abortions.

“Last year, 120 of the women admitted to public hospitals with abortion-related complications died: in other words, every other day, a woman dies in Argentina due to this cause,” she said.

The lawmaker said “the present climate is favourable” to moving forward on the issue because “society has raised the need for Congress to address a question that has severe consequences for the lives of so many women.

“Just like in the case of the debate on same-sex marriage, society as a whole, even those who are opposed, don’t want to keep hiding a reality that involves so many people,” she said.

“For us, this is not a new issue, but we see that society’s demands are now forcing legislators to discuss it,” she added. There have also been declarations on the issue by sectors that in the past have been reluctant to take a public stance, like public universities. The deans of the University of Buenos Aires, for instance, backed the decriminalisation of abortion by 23 votes against one, in August.

In addition, there have been statements in favour by members of the Supreme Court, like magistrate Carmen Argibay, who said this month that the time to debate changes in the country’s abortion law “is now.”

However, while the legislators are preparing their offensive in the lower house, another bill has been presented in the Senate, which would merely expand the circumstances under which therapeutic abortion is legal.

The idea underlying the initiative by several women senators is that legal abortion would also be made available to women facing risks to their health, a concept that would be broadly defined as physical and mental health.

The women’s organizations do not have the support of President Cristina Fernandez, who has spoken out against the legalisation of abortion. But Merchan is confident that the president’s position will not impose itself in the legislative debate.

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8. LATIN AMERICA: POVERTY MOVES FAIL TO TACKLE INEQUALITY (Oxford Analytica)

September 29 2010

SUBJECT: Persistent inequality in Latin America.

SIGNIFICANCE: According to the first Human Development Report for Latin America and the Caribbean published by the UN Development Programme, the region is caught in an inequality trap from which it will not escape while reductions in inequality continue to be regarded as a spin-off of anti-poverty policies.

ANALYSIS: In a new report, Acting on the Future: Breaking the Intergenerational Cycle of Inequality, released earlier this month, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) points out that Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) is not only the region with the world’s most unequal income distribution, but this inequality has also proved relatively immune to the different development strategies tried by LAC and its different political regimes over the past half century:

¨      LAC’s income inequality, measured using the Gini coefficient, is 65% higher than in the world’s high-income countries, 36% above that of East Asian countries and 18% higher than in Sub-Saharan Africa. In addition, ten of the world’s 15 most unequal countries are in LAC and, even in Uruguay, the region’s least unequal country, income inequality is higher than in the most unequal developed country (Portugal).

¨      From the 1970s through to the end of the 1990s, income inequality in LAC increased. The report attributes this mainly to the greater vulnerability of poor people to the inflation of the 1980s and, in the 1990s, to a drop in demand for unskilled workers and a widening gap between their wages and those of skilled workers. During LAC’s recent period of high growth through to the 2008-09 global financial crisis, most countries showed a small improvement in income distribution but this may have since shown at least a temporary reversal and the report questions its sustainability over time.

Unequal human development. Over the past 20 years, human development in LAC as measured by the UNDP’s Human Development Index (HDI) has advanced steadily. However, the HDI reflects a country’s average performance in the three main areas considered in the index (health, education and income), without taking account of how the benefits are distributed across the population. In a recalculation of the HDI for 18 LAC countries in which inequality is incorporated using a parameter of “aversion to inequality”, the new report found that all countries showed a drop in their score, with the largest losses seen in Nicaragua, Bolivia and Honduras. However, most retained their relative position within the region, with the notable exception of Bolivia which dropped from 13th to 16th position.

Vicious circle. According to the report, LAC is caught in an “inequality trap” in which inequality breeds inequality. This appears to be the case not only for the region’s disadvantaged groups as regards equality — principally women and indigenous peoples — but also for the population at large:

¨      A study carried out in the late 1990s found that, in LAC countries, the correlation between a family’s socioeconomic situation and its children’s educational level was, in general, at least twice as high as in United States.

¨      Similarly, according to a more recent study, the correlation between the income level of successive generations is generally much higher than in developed countries and, in Peru, for example, reaches 0.60 as compared to 0.32 in Germany and 0.47 in the United States (although Chile’s coefficient of 0.52 is only just above England’s 0.50).

Necessary conditions. Over the past decade, economic growth and anti-poverty policies have meant an important expansion of basic services across the region. However, in many countries, access to these services remains very unequal:

¨      Infrastructure. In Uruguay, Chile, Argentina and Costa Rica, there is little difference between the access of the richest and poorest quintiles of the population to drinking water or in the quality of the materials used in housing. However, in other countries, particularly Bolivia, Peru, Paraguay and in Central America, wide differences persist.

¨      Education. Enrolment in primary education is now virtually universal throughout the region but important differences exist in secondary education where enrolment rates range from 94.1% in Chile and 90.3% in Argentina to 60.9% in Guatemala.

¨      Healthcare. A study of infant malnutrition — a key indicator of access to healthcare — in five countries (Bolivia, Colombia, Nicaragua, Peru and the Dominican Republic) in the early 2000s found that this was between five and ten times more prevalent in the poorest quintile than in the richest quintile.

Insufficient conditions. Moreover, the report points out that, even when schools and healthcare services are available, inequality may itself prevent or deter families from using them. For example, evidence from Chile — one of the LAC countries most successful in reducing poverty — suggests that access to free education does not guarantee attendance by poor children. A study in 2006 found that Chilean children from the poorest quintile were four times more likely not to attend school than peers in the richest quintile.

This phenomenon appears to have two main causes:

¨      Hidden costs. Although schooling or healthcare may be free, use of these services has costs for families in the form of out-of-pocket expenses (such as transport and school uniforms) and, particularly in rural areas, loss of children’s work. This may explain, for example, why in Paraguay, desertion from school reaches of 4-5% in urban areas but up to 50% in rural areas.

¨      Limited aspirations. In LAC’s stratified societies, low-income parents have little contact with alternative role models for their children and, as a result, tend to base their expectations on their own limited experience. For instance, a survey in Buenos Aires found that the probability of a low-education parent aspiring to only a low level of education for a child dropped significantly if the parent had a friend or colleague with a university education.

Policy recommendation. In response to these challenges, the UNDP recommends that inequality be addressed as a problem in itself, as distinct from poverty. While recognising the benefits as regards inequality of the conditional cash-transfer programmes used by some LAC countries to combat poverty, it advocates a broader approach based on three “Rs”:

¨      reach or, in other words, policies that effectively benefit those for whom they were designed;

¨      range, in ensuring they reduce objective restrictions that would prevent the intended beneficiaries from taking advantage of the policies; and

¨      reason, or a consistency with people’s subjective aspirations that empowers them to make the best use of the new opportunities created.

CONCLUSION: There is growing awareness in many LAC countries that inequality is a broader problem than poverty and, moreover, constitutes a key barrier to economic and social development. However, because it affects more areas of national life and is embedded in countries’ political systems through, for example, regressive tax structures and the vested interests of elites, it will be far more difficult to address.
 


  ‘Hypocrisy is the homage vice pays to virtue.’de La Rochefoucauld

ARG. UPDATE – Wednesday

30 septiembre, 2010

1. FERNANDEZ BONDS BEAT `FADING MOMENTUM’ OF UKRAINIAN DEBT: ARGENTINA CREDIT (Bloomberg News)

  

2. FERNANDEZ REJECTS 8% YIELD OVERSEAS TO PAY 12% IN PESOS (Bloomberg News)

 

3. ARGENTINA’S SUPERVIELLE PLANS 200 MILLION PESO BOND SALE TO FUND EXPANSION (Bloomberg News)

 

4. ARGENTINA’S 2010 BEEF EXPORTS COULD DROP 52% TO 320,000MT (Dow Jones News Service)

 

5. BRAZIL’S JBS SHUTTERS ARGENTINA BEEF PLANTS, CONSIDERS SALE (Dow Jones International News)

 

6. ARGENTINA PROVINCE COULD ISSUE MORE DEBT THIS YEAR (Reuters News)

 

7. ARGENTINA FARM MACHINERY SALES COULD REACH RECORD (Reuters News)

 

8. EXXONMOBIL AND ANCAP PULLING OUT OF ARGENTINE RETAIL FUEL SECTOR ACCORDING TO REPORTS (IHS Global Insight Daily Analysis)

1. FERNANDEZ BONDS BEAT `FADING MOMENTUM’ OF UKRAINIAN DEBT: ARGENTINA CREDIT (Bloomberg News)

By Ben Bain and Drew Benson

September 29, 2010

Argentine bonds are outperforming Ukrainian securities this month by the most since October as the South American nation’s defaulted debt restructuring and surging exports help revive economic growth.

Argentine dollar debt has returned 7.8 percent since Aug. 31 as Standard & Poor’s raised the country’s credit rating on Sept. 13, compared with a 0.5 percent loss for Ukraine’s bonds, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co. indexes. The last time Argentine bonds beat Ukrainian notes was 11 months ago, when the difference was 9.3 percentage points.

Argentina, whose borrowing costs are closer to Ukraine’s than any other major emerging-market country, is benefitting from central bank forecasts that the economy will grow the most since 1992. The yield difference between benchmark bonds from Argentina and Ukraine narrowed to 128 basis points on Sept. 20, the smallest gap since May, JPMorgan’s EMBI+ index shows. BNP Paribas Investment Partners predicts Argentine yields will fall below Ukraine’s for the first time since February by year-end.

“On the fundamentals side Argentina is much more of a stronger case nowadays than Ukraine,” Sergio Trigo Paz, who oversees about $4 billion in emerging-market debt at BNP Paribas Investment Partners, said in a telephone interview from London. “The economic data coming out of Argentina has been surprising on the upside.”

Record Crop

South America’s second-biggest economy will expand as much as 9.5 percent this year as farmers sell a record soybean crop and car sales surge to the highest ever, the central bank forecasts. Goldman Sachs Group Inc., boosted its 2010 growth forecast to 9 percent and Morgan Stanley has lifted its projection to 9.7 percent. The economy grew 0.9 percent last year.

Ukraine’s gross domestic product will grow more than 4 percent after shrinking 15.1 percent in 2009 amid the global recession, Deputy Economy Minister Iryna Kryuchkova said in Kiev on Sept. 16.

“Latin America to a certain extent is surrounded by an aura of large growth, very strong growth, and very strong commodities exports, both of which are themes that are very linked into the Argentine story,” Enrique Alvarez, head of Latin America fixed-income research at IDEAglobal in New York, said in a phone interview. “Under that perspective it’s very reasonable to assume that the spread probably will shrink over time” between Argentina and Ukraine, he said.

Debt Swap

S&P boosted Argentina’s credit rating one level to B, leaving it one step below the B+ ranking on the former Soviet republic’s debt, after President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner restructured $12.9 billion of bonds left over from the country’s 2001 default in June. The S&P increase matched a similar move by Fitch in July.

Ukraine and Argentine bonds are the third- and fourth- highest-yielding in JPMorgan’s benchmark emerging-market index after Venezuela and Ecuador.

Argentine dollar securities yielded 683 basis points, or 6.83 percentage points, more than U.S. Treasuries yesterday while Ukraine debt yielded 535 above Treasuries, according to JPMorgan. The 148 basis-point difference between Argentine and Ukraine debt is down from a 267 basis-point difference at the end of August, marking the biggest monthly decline since October.

The difference had climbed to 244 at the end of July after the International Monetary Fund approved a $15.2 billion loan program for Ukraine, prompting S&P to raise its rating on July 29 to B+. The IMF agreed to an immediate $1.9 billion cash delivery to allow the country to use $1 billion of the first payment to help cover a budget deficit the government is seeking to trim to 5.5 percent of GDP this year.

Ukraine ‘Catalysts’

While Ukraine had “catalysts” driving bond gains earlier in the year, “everything in a way is fading,” Trigo Paz said. “Momentum is fading in Ukraine. Momentum is accelerating in Argentina.”

Ukraine dollar debt has returned 29 percent this year, topping the 35 percent gain on Argentine securities, according to JPMorgan. Emerging-market bonds have returned 14 percent.

Alejandro Urbina, a Chicago-based emerging-market debt portfolio manager at Silva Capital Management LLC, said Argentine borrowing costs likely won’t fall below Ukrainian yields soon as “there are a lot of questions outstanding” in terms of Argentina’s financing situation.

Dart Lawsuit

The $12.9 billion restructuring may not have paved the way for the country to sell bonds in international markets for the first time since the default, he said. Creditors including billionaire investor Kenneth Dart and New York-based Elliott Management Corp. still hold about $4.5 billion of defaulted securities and are suing the country in international courts.

“It’s still Argentina, they still defaulted,” said Urbina, whose firm holds bonds from both Argentina and Ukraine. “While they’ve dealt with the bondholders, there’s still the possibility of some lingering legal risk for them if they were to come to market again. Their financing picture is a little bit more complicated than Ukraine’s.”

Fernandez said Sept. 24 that the government isn’t interested in selling bonds at yields as low as 8 percent because it is more “rational” to tap central bank reserves to pay debt.

The average yield on Argentine dollar bonds dropped to a two-year low of 9.81 percent yesterday from 11.53 percent at the end of June, according to JPMorgan.

GDP Warrants

Warrants linked to Argentine economic growth fell 0.09 cent yesterday to 11.76 cents, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The peso weakened 0.3 percent to 3.9725 per dollar, its biggest one-day decline since June 1.

Five-year credit-default swaps tied to Argentine debt rose four basis points to 750 yesterday. The swaps have dropped from 971 at the end of June. Credit-default swaps pay the buyer face value in exchange for the underlying securities or the cash equivalent should a government or company fail to adhere to debt agreements.

“People feel more comfortable” about Argentina, Trigo Paz said. “It’s in stronger hands than it was previously.”

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2. FERNANDEZ REJECTS 8% YIELD OVERSEAS TO PAY 12% IN PESOS (Bloomberg News)

By Drew Benson and Ben Bain

September 28, 2010

Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner is holding off on selling bonds abroad at the lowest yields in two years, forcing the central bank to pay 12 percent interest in pesos as she uses reserves to pay debt.

Fernandez said Sept. 24 that she isn’t interested in selling bonds at an 8 percent yield while the government has access to reserves earning 0.5 percent interest. The average yield on Argentine dollar bonds fell to a two-year low of 9.82 percent last week after the June completion of a $12.9 billion debt restructuring, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co. indexes.

The government has spent $5 billion of reserves this year and plans to use another $7.5 billion in 2011, Economy Minister Amado Boudou said. Policy makers finance these reserves by issuing local debt paying about 12 percent to 14 percent, above the official inflation rate of 11.1 percent, compared with a yield of about 0.25 percent on one-year U.S. Treasury notes.

“The reserves aren’t free,” Miguel Kiguel, the 56-year- old former finance undersecretary who runs research company Econviews, said in a phone interview from Buenos Aires. “The central bank buys them with pesos that it pays about 12 percent to remove from the monetary supply.”

The weekly auction of local notes, known as Lebacs, takes place today. Last week the bank’s 126-day notes yielded 11.9 percent while 504-day notes sold at 14.2 percent, the bank said in a Sept. 21 statement. It sold a total of 2.5 billion pesos ($631 million) of the securities.

Sale Delayed

The total supply of central bank notes maturing in one month to three years rose to 60.4 billion pesos this month from 34.1 billion in June of last year, it said.

Boudou delayed a sale of as much as $1 billion in bonds during the debt restructuring, saying South America’s second- biggest economy didn’t need additional financing this year and that it would wait until rates fell under 10 percent. Argentina hasn’t sold bonds since a record 2001 default on $95 billion of debt.

“Today rates are in the single digits but we aren’t interested in taking on debt that could be at 8 or 8.75 percent, because in reality we can pay debt with reserves that are earning 0.5 percent,” Fernandez told reporters in New York last week. Reserves are a “rational” use of the savings, she said.

The reserves have climbed about 7 percent this year to $51 billion amid a record 55-million metric ton soybean harvest and surging automobile sales to neighboring Brazil.

A message left with the central bank’s press office for comment wasn’t returned.

Holding Out

“When they say there’s no cost in using reserves, well, there is a cost,” Bret Rosen, a Latin America debt strategist with Standard Chartered Bank in New York, said in a phone interview. “Her strategy right now is to hold out” for rates to fall further.

Buenos Aires province sold $550 million of five-year notes yesterday, its first international bond sale since 2007, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The province sold the 11.75 percent notes to yield 12 percent.

Shareholders of Aeropuertos Argentinas 2000 SA, the country’s main airport operator, earlier this month approved plans to sell as much as $300 million in bonds.

Five-year credit-default swaps tied to Argentine debt fell 16 basis points to 746 yesterday. A basis point equals $1,000 annually on a contract protecting $10 million of debt. Credit- default swaps pay the buyer face value in exchange for the underlying securities or the cash equivalent should a government or company fail to adhere to debt agreements.

Warrants

The extra yield investors demand to own Argentine bonds instead of U.S. Treasuries slid six basis points to 672 at 5:13 p.m. New York time, according to JPMorgan.

Warrants linked to growth in South America’s second-biggest economy fell 0.02 cent to 11.83 cents, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The peso fell 0.3 percent to 3.9725 per dollar.

Boudou originally canceled the $1 billion debt sale following the economic crisis in Greece, which prompted investors to pull back from emerging markets.

Fernandez’s decision to hold out for lower rates could backfire, said Claudia Calich, who helps manage $1.5 billion in emerging market debt, including Argentine bonds, at Invesco Advisers Inc. in New York.

“It’s always hard to pick the absolute low point in yields,” Calich said in a phone interview. “At what point do you want to finally issue, even if it’s a small amount, just to test the waters and reintroduce Argentina to the capital markets?”

Fueling Inflation

Paying debt with reserves also fuels inflation by freeing up budget money for other uses, said Claudio Loser, a former International Monetary Fund official, in a Sept. 22 interview. Consumers expect prices to rise 25 percent over the next year, , more than double the official rate and the most in the world after Venezuela, according to a Sept. 15 survey by Buenos Aires- based Torcuato Di Tella University.

Argentina’s economy will expand as much as 9.5 percent this year, the fastest since 1992, Banco Central de la Republica Argentina said, after growing 0.9 percent in 2009. That puts the country in a “position of strength” for now, Rosen said.

“They are awash in cash,” Rosen said. “If economic conditions globally were to change dramatically you may not have the ability to use $7 billion or $8 billion in reserves per year to service debt.”

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3. ARGENTINA’S SUPERVIELLE PLANS 200 MILLION PESO BOND SALE TO FUND EXPANSION (Bloomberg News)

By Eliana Raszewski

September 28, 2010

Grupo Supervielle SA, which owns Argentina’s Banco Supervielle SA and Banco Regional de Cuyo SA, is preparing the sale of 200 million pesos ($50 million) in local bonds, said the banks’ President Juan Carlos Nougues.

The group is awaiting regulatory approval for the sale, which would be the first by the closely held company, Nougues said in an interview at his office in Buenos Aires.

“The funds will be used for possible acquisitions or expansion,” Nougues, 55, said. “It’s a group that is brimming with plans for the future and at present is in full expansion.”

The planned bond sale comes as Argentine companies and provinces return to credit markets in the wake of President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner’s restructuring of $12.9 billion in defaulted debt in June. South America’s second-biggest economy hasn’t sold bonds since a record 2001 default on $95 billion.

The provinces of Buenos Aires and Cordoba have taken advantage of falling borrowing costs to sell bonds abroad. Buenos Aires this week sold $550 million of five-year notes at a price to yield 12 percent, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Cordoba sold $400 million of seven-year dollar bonds last month to yield 12.375 percent.

Banco Supervielle also plans to sell shares in an international initial public offering, probably in New York during the second half of next year, Nougues said.

“Banks have high growth potential,” Nougues said.

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4. ARGENTINA’S 2010 BEEF EXPORTS COULD DROP 52% TO 320,000MT (Dow Jones News Service)

By Taos Turner and Shane Romig

28 September 2010

BUENOS AIRES (Dow Jones)–Argentina’s beef exports may decline by more than half this year government policies and unfavorable climatic conditions hurt the country’s famed meat industry.

Argentina will likely export 320,000 metric tons of beef in 2010, down almost 52% from the previous year, Hector Salamanco, executive director of the Argentina’s ABC beef exporter group, said Tuesday at a meeting here of the World Meat Congress.

Beef slaughterhouses and exporters here are struggling with high cattle costs and low sale prices for table-ready meat, leading a number to shut down or trim unprofitable operations.

The companies are having a tough time getting enough cattle after a prolonged drought and government policies designed to keep prices down spurred ranchers to reduce herds last year. Beef processors are shutting down left and right, with up to 10,000 jobs at risk, according to the beef chamber Ciccra.

During the first half of the year, the slaughter rate was down 22% on the year, while exports plunged 44%, according to Ciccra. Argentina was the world’s third-largest beef exporter last year, but is expected to slip to seventh place this year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Moreover, it will take years to rebuild herd sizes. There are currently about 48 million cattle in Argentina’s pastures, down from about 60 million two years ago, according to Ciccra.

Now Argentines–among the world’s top beef eaters–are begrudgingly walking past the beef aisle in their local markets and turning to more economical options like chicken and pork.

While the average Argentine devoured over 70 kilograms (154 pounds) of beef last year, that has dropped by almost 20% this year due to sticker shock.

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5. BRAZIL’S JBS SHUTTERS ARGENTINA BEEF PLANTS, CONSIDERS SALE (Dow Jones International News)

By Shane Romig

28 September 2010

BUENOS AIRES (Dow Jones)–Brazil’s JBS SA (JBSAY, JBSS3.BR), the world’s biggest beef producer, has suspended production at several of its six beef-processing plants and is considering selling them, the director of investor relations, Jerry O’Callaghan, said Tuesday.

While for now the company has simply shuttered the plants to contain costs in the face of insufficient cattle supplies, “the company is a business, and will consider offers” to buy the facilities, O’Callaghan told reporters at the World Meat Congress in Buenos Aires. JBS first said it was considering closing some of its Argentine operations when it released its second-quarter results.

About three years ago, JBS bought Swift, Argentina’s largest beef exporter, but has struggled in the face of government export limits and a severe drought last season, which led ranchers to send their herds off to slaughter. The herd trimming last year saw production soar, but consumers and exporters are paying the price this year due to very tight supplies.

During the first half of the year, the slaughter rate was down 22% on the year, while exports plunged 44%, according to the beef chamber Ciccra. Argentina was the world’s third-largest beef exporter last year, but is expected to slip to seventh place this year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Earlier Tuesday, the executive director of Argentina’s ABC beef exporter group, Hector Salamanco, said that the country’s beef exports will likely fall to 320,000 metric tons this year, down over 50% from last year, due to a combination of the drought and government export restrictions.

According to Ciccra, beef exports in August totaled just over 17,000 tons, down 56% on the year. Production was down 26% on the year at 219,000 tons. The tight supplies have fueled steep price gains which have driven many consumers away from beef and to cheaper pork and chicken. While Argentines are still among the world’s top beef consumers, per capita consumption has fallen from last year’s record high of over 70 kilograms (154 pounds) by over 20% so far this year, according to Ciccra.

While the higher prices are leading ranchers to increase herd sizes again, it will take six years for the country to be producing as much as it did just a few years ago, according to Ciccra.

In addition, the constant intervention in beef markets by the government in the form of export limits and domestic price caps makes ranchers wary about getting back into the business.

“Beef prices have gone up a lot, but not profits. There are lots of ranchers that don’t have any cattle now and don’t have confidence to reinvest,” said Argentine Rural Confederation president Mario Llambias.

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6. ARGENTINA PROVINCE COULD ISSUE MORE DEBT THIS YEAR (Reuters News)

By Magdalena Morales

28 September 2010

* Buenos Aires province sold $550 million in 5-year bond

* Officials say demand more than doubled the issue size

* Province could tap markets again later this year or next

LA PLATA, Argentina, Sept 28 (Reuters) – Argentina’s largest province, Buenos Aires, could issue more debt this year following strong investor appetite for its first global bond sale since 2007, provincial officials said on Tuesday.

The cash-strapped province on Monday sold $550 million in five-year dollar bonds at a yield of 12 percent on Monday. Demand topped $1.1 billion, provincial Economy Minister Alejandro Arlia said.

Buenos Aires is the third province to have sold bonds since Argentina’s national government concluded a $12.2 billion debt swap in June aimed at cleaning up the remnants of a massive $100 billion default from 2002.

Part of the reason for the swap was to lower borrowing costs for the provinces, many of which have budget deficits.

Buenos Aires province, home to about one third of Argentina’s population, has authorization to issue another $550 million in bonds this year, but market conditions will determine whether it taps investors again.

“If we see there’s more interest, another debt sale would definitely be possible,” Arlia told Reuters after a news conference in the provincial capital of La Plata.

“We don’t have an urgent need for more funds than what we’ve already obtained, which means we were able to structure the bond in a very solid way,” Arlia said, adding the proceeds will finance education, health and crime-prevention programs.

The province’s new bond carries a coupon of 11.75 percent and priced at 99.076 to yield 12 percent, Arlia said, confirming what Thomson Reuters news service IFR reported on Monday.

Deutsche Bank and Bank of America-Merrill Lynch were the lead managers.

In June, Arlia told Reuters the district wanted to issue a 10-year bond and that a 12-percent yield would be “way too high.”

He said on Tuesday, however, that capital markets felt more “comfortable” with five-year bonds.

Arlia also told Reuters the provincial government will seek authorization to issue bonds again next year, but for less than the $1.1 billion approved for 2010. He also said the province will have fewer financing needs next year.

Argentina’s government had planned to issue $1 billion in global 2017 bonds <AR050119548=RRPS> in tandem with its debt swap but shelved the issuance after the market tanked.

Since then, Argentine bond prices have risen significantly. But President Cristina Fernandez said on Friday the country was not interested in issuing foreign debt at rates between 8 and 8.75 percent, reiterating the country does not need the money.

Cordoba province sold $400 million in 2017 bonds in early August, paying a yield of 12.375 percent.

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7. ARGENTINA FARM MACHINERY SALES COULD REACH RECORD (Reuters News)

By Maximiliano Rizzi

28 September 2010

* Agricultural machinery chamber sees record annual sales

* Bumper corn, soy harvests boost investment in machinery

BUENOS AIRES, Sept 28 (Reuters) – Sales of farm machinery in leading grains exporter Argentina could reach a record this year as forecasts point to hefty soy and corn harvests for a second year, the head of a local industry chamber said.

Analysts say higher global prices and last season’s record corn and soy output could encourage the South American country’s farmers to plant even more over the coming months and spend more heavily on agrochemicals and new machinery.

But the fate of the 2010/11 harvest will be largely decided by the weather and there is concern the La Nina weather pattern could bring more dry weather to Argentina — the world’s No. 2 exporter of corn after the United States and the top soymeal and soyoil supplier.

“La Nina issue is a threat that hangs over us … but up until now farmers have been buying enthusiastically,” Jose Alustiza, head of CAFMA, the Argentine chamber of agricultural machinery producers, told Reuters in a recent interview.

Sales of Argentine-made agricultural machinery rose nearly 90 percent in the first half of the year to 812 million pesos ($202 million) from the same period last year, government data shows.

“Sowing machines and sprayers are selling really well and they’re buying the best technology available,” Alustiza said, adding that he sees annual sales of locally produced machinery topping the 2007 record of 1.42 billion pesos.

Nearly 60 percent of the agricultural machinery bought by Argentine farmers last year was manufactured in the country.

Soy production in Argentina, the world’s No. 3 exporter, may dip slightly in the 2010/11 crop year but corn output should be a record, Agriculture Minister Julian Dominguez told Reuters last month.

Dominguez estimated production of soybeans at 52 million tonnes, slightly below the previous season’s output and the corn harvest at an all-time high of 26 million tonnes.

Meanwhile the government forecasts the 2010/11 wheat harvest at between 10 million and 11.2 million tonnes, above the 7.5 million tonnes produced last season as farmers stepped up sowing due to moister soils at the start of the season.

Farmers cut back on investment in machinery last year due to the global economic crisis and because they were short of cash following the drought-hit 2008/09 harvest.

The start of a long-running conflict with the government in March 2008 over high export taxes and price controls also rattled farmers, deterring some from spending heavily on new tractors and combine harvesters.

That led the government to launch a program to grant low-interest loans to farmers for the purchase of machinery.

“We need this tool to sell … Last year, about 50 percent of sales were financed through this program,” Alustiza said.

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8. EXXONMOBIL AND ANCAP PULLING OUT OF ARGENTINE RETAIL FUEL SECTOR ACCORDING TO REPORTS (IHS Global Insight Daily Analysis)

By Juliette Kerr

28 September 2010

The U.S. supermajor ExxonMobil is evaluating offers for its downstream assets in Argentina, according to recent reports in the local press. The assets comprise the 85,000 b/d Campana refinery and a network of 450 service stations. According to reports potential bidders include the Brazilian state oil company Petrobras, who saw an earlier offer for the Esso branded service stations blocked by the government, Pan American Energy, Pampa Energía, and the Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA. Shell itself has refused to confirm or deny the speculation. Meanwhile, the Uruguayan daily El País reports that the Uruaguyan state oil company Ancap is no longer interested in participating in Argentina’s retail fuel sector. Venezuela and Uruguay signed an agreement in 2006 for the state oil company PDVSA to acquire a 50% stake in Uruguayan state oil company ANCAP’s Argentine subsidiary, Petrolera del Cono Sur (see Argentina: 13 February 2006: ).

ANCAP has now reportedly sold its remaining stake to PDVSA as well. The network of 120 service stations operating under the Sol brand will be rebranded under the PDV Sur brand.

Significance: If confirmed, the reports that Ancap and ExxonMobil are exiting Argentina’s downstream sector would not come as a surprise as the operating environment remains difficult, with the government using the draconian 1974 Law of Supply to maintain pressure on foreign oil companies to keep prices low (see Argentina: 25 August 2010: ). ExxonMobil’s subsidiary Esso is the third largest fuel retailer in Argentina, whilst Petrolera del Cono Sur is the country’s fifth largest.

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  ‘Hypocrisy is the homage vice pays to virtue.’de La Rochefoucauld

¿TEMOR A CRISTINA?

29 septiembre, 2010

La permisividad de la Corte Suprema sorprende. A medida que la Presidenta se agranda como figura internacional, ya que se ha hecho amiga de los gobernantes poderosos, y Néstor dirige a UNASUR, en el plano local los cortesanos supremos siguen indecisos, no se atreven a ponerle los cascabeles al gato, o mejor dicho, los límites a una gerenta general que supone su cargo es superior en jerarquía y mando a la Corte Suprema de Justicia, la única y final intérprete de la Constitución.

Ante el silencio supremo, hasta la asociación de magistrados judiciales ha tenido que salir a defender a una corte paralizada por el temor a Cristina, o a traicionar a los Kirchners, porque se sienten inferiores, como si estuviésemos en un país con constitución Bolivariana y no Republicana Federal.

Si alguien es culpable de no poner límites a nuestra audaz y simpática Presidenta, son loos cortesanos supremos. Si en su momento en vez de chismear ante la prensa, le hubiesen sentenciado en silencio, aclarando que mandaa la Corte y no la Presidenta, y  que el Congreso Nacional es quien maneja el dinero, y no la secretaría de gabinete de Cristina, ni tampoco ella misma, la cosa hubiera sido distinta.

Ahora es tarde, alguien no actuó y el prestigio perdió, y ese alguien no es Cristina (que está necesitando desesperadamente que le pongan límites judiciales, y que hubiera aceptado un par de fallos supremos que la Corte no se atrevió a firmar (como el reclamo de la Provincia de San Luis sobre los dineros del Central y quien tiene derecho a manejarlo). La deseducación en Argentina viene desde arriba, como sostenemos, y este es el caso ejemplar: si la Corte Suprema no puso limites a Cristina, es como si la invitaran a violar permanentemente la Constitución, para convertirse en dictadora o zarina, y los Jueces Supremos seguirán siendo sus incondicionales.
Pero si ese ha sido el sentir de los Kortesanos, se equivocaron. Los Kirchners saben bien hasta donde pueden cantar la falta envido internamente, pero como son inteligentes, se han dado cuenta que es imposible en el tercer milenio permitir que se insulte a la Corte Suprema en America, por la sencilla razón que President Obama no lo acepta.
Desde nuestro blog somos permanentes oficialistas, y esperamos que Cristina declare que ella acata a la Corte Suprema, y que de esa forma, el asunto de Santa Cruz termine bien, el ex procurador sea repuesto, y la calma vuelva al gallinero. Mas aun, si la presidenta corrige a Anibal Fernandez y da una charla demostrando cuanto sabe ella de Constitucion y porqué la Corte Suprema debe ser respetada, estamos convencidos que todos gtanaremos. Comenzando por Cristina, que ganará prestigio en el ámbito local, donde lo necesita, ya que internacionalmente es exitosísima, a juzgar por el tratamiento que recibe Argentina con su gestión, y a pesar de ciertas deudas impagas en juicio en nueva york y de otros asuntos sospechosos.
Nos gustaría que esto de Anibal Fernandez  y de Hebe de Bonafini sea parte de otro show del bicentenario, armado para que la Presidenta se luzca defendiendo la Constitución, y de esa forma será muy prestigiosa, y la Corte Suprema se habrá quedado callada, desprestigiada, pero al menos la sentencia en cuestión será cumplida. Y la Presidenta en lo sucesivo respetará y hará respetar a la Justicia.
                                           SI NOS EQUIVOCAMOS…
ni sería la primera vez, pero creemos que no se puede en Argentina seguir desafiando a la corte suprema. Ojo, hasta Nestor habló sobre que Chávez tendría que reconsiderar ciertos aspectos a raíz de las elecciones, de modo que bien puede el matrimonio aceptar que la Corte Suprema manda y que ellos obedecen.
Por otra parte,  la oposición demuestra su debilidad (resultado de ocho decadas de fascismo, en el cual incluimos al kirchnerismo hasta hoy, porque se burla de la Corte Suprema vía su jefe de gabinete, lo cual implica desconocer la Constitución argentina, como si en vez de kirchners se llamasen Mussolinis o Hitlers, que afortunadamente no lo son).
Quizas hoy sea Scioli el candidato mas atractivo para Presidente en 2011, hoy, y si los Kirchners lo designan, poca duda queda sobre el resultado electoral. Y tampoco parece un riesgo exagerado para los Presidentes actuales, porque  Scioli es kirnerista y leal,  y seguramente no los perseguirá a los K, porque existe una vieja costumbre de que al presidente saliente no se lo persigue demasiado. Nestor lo demostró con Duhalde, éste con de la Rúa, quien tampoco fue demasiado duro con Menem, quien consintió todos los sospechosos hipernegociados hiperinflacionarios alfonsinistas. Recordando de paso que en el aspecto económico, tampoco se investigó los agujeros producidos al Estado Nacional por los gobernantes, y hasta creo que ni siquiea llamaron a los ex ministros de economía del proceso a preguntarles por las finanzas pubicas que manejaron, y desde luego, no hubo pedido de rendición de cuentas.
                                             EL PACTO DEL OLVIDO
Estamos en circunstancias especiales para que se firme el pacto del Olvido, donde los partidos y los politicos se comprometan firmemenente a no robar mas,  se autoaministien de sus sospechosas finanzas, y entonces pasemos a ser un pais normal. Incluso, y si esto sucede, los Kirchners serían candidatos al Premio Nobel de la Paz, compartido, obviamente.
Con lo cual los ochenta años de fascismo – que continúa, reiteramos – habrán finalmente de terminar, para que reine la Justicia de una vez por todas, y  las futuras Cortes  Supremas se den cuenta que la Constitución les exige  de cuando en cuando enseñar al Congreso, al Ejecutivo y  a la gente que no deben pasarse ciertos límites. Porque somos un país Republicano y Federal, donde nadie discuta los fallos de las futuras Cortes Supremas.
La actual Korte está demasiado desgastada por su inacción, y merecen sus siete integrantes ser jubilados en forma privilegiada para olvidarlos cuanto antes y que nadie dude que sus sucesores harán buen uso de la palabra SUPREMA cada vez que se desacaten sus sentencias. AMEN

AFGHANISTAN

28 septiembre, 2010
September 28, 2010

A Change of Course in Cuba and Venezuela?

 

By George Friedman
Bob Woodward has released another book, this one on the debate over Afghanistan strategy in the Obama administration. As all his books do, the book has riveted Washington. It reveals that intense debate occurred over what course to take, that the president sought alternative strategies and that compromises were reached. But while knowing the details of these things is interesting, what would have been shocking is if they hadn’t taken place.
It is interesting to reflect on the institutional inevitability of these disagreements. The military is involved in a war. It is institutionally and emotionally committed to victory in the theater of combat. It will demand all available resources for executing the war under way. For a soldier who has bled in that war, questioning the importance of the war is obscene. A war must be fought relentlessly and with all available means.
But while the military’s top generals and senior civilian leadership are responsible for providing the president with sound, clearheaded advice on all military matters including the highest levels of grand strategy, they are ultimately responsible for the pursuit of military objectives to which the commander-in-chief directs them. Generals must think about how to win the war they are fighting. Presidents must think about whether the war is worth fighting. The president is responsible for America’s global posture. He must consider what an unlimited commitment to a particular conflict might mean in other regions of the world where forces would be unavailable.
A president must take a more dispassionate view than his generals. He must calculate not only whether victory is possible but also the value of the victory relative to the cost. Given the nature of the war in Afghanistan, U.S. President Barack Obama and Gen. David Petraeus — first the U.S. Central Command chief and now the top commander in Afghanistan — had to view it differently. This is unavoidable. This is natural. And only one of the two is ultimately in charge.

The Nature of Guerrilla Warfare

In thinking about Afghanistan, it is essential that we begin by thinking about the nature of guerrilla warfare against an occupying force. The guerrilla lives in the country. He isn’t going anywhere else, as he has nowhere to go. By contrast, the foreigner has a place to which he can return. This is the core weakness of the occupier and the strength of the guerrilla. The former can leave and in all likelihood, his nation will survive. The guerrilla can’t. And having alternatives undermines the foreigner’s will to fight regardless of the importance of the war to him.
The strategy of the guerrilla is to make the option to withdraw more attractive. In order to do this, his strategic goal is simply to survive and fight on whatever level he can. His patience is built into who he is and what he is fighting for. The occupier’s patience is calculated against the cost of the occupation and its opportunity costs, thus, while troops are committed in this country, what is happening elsewhere?
Tactically, the guerrilla survives by being elusive. He disperses in small groups. He operates in hostile terrain. He denies the enemy intelligence on his location and capabilities. He forms political alliances with civilians who provide him supplies and intelligence on the occupation forces and misleads the occupiers about his own location. The guerrilla uses this intelligence network to decline combat on the enemy’s terms and to strike the enemy when he is least prepared. The guerrilla’s goal is not to seize and hold ground but to survive, evade and strike, imposing casualties on the occupier. Above all, the guerrilla must never form a center of gravity that, if struck, would lead to his defeat. He thus actively avoids anything that could be construed as a decisive contact.
The occupation force is normally a more conventional army. Its strength is superior firepower, resources and organization. If it knows where the guerrilla is and can strike before the guerrilla can disperse, the occupying force will defeat the guerrilla. The occupier’s problems are that his intelligence is normally inferior to that of the guerrillas; the guerrillas rarely mass in ways that permit decisive combat and normally can disperse faster than the occupier can pinpoint and deploy forces against them; and the guerrillas’ superior tactical capabilities allow them to impose a constant low rate of casualties on the occupier. Indeed, the massive amount of resources the occupier requires and the inflexibility of a military institution not solely committed to the particular theater of operations can actually work against the occupier by creating logistical vulnerabilities susceptible to guerrilla attacks and difficulty adapting at a rate sufficient to keep pace with the guerrilla. The occupation force will always win engagements, but that is never the measure of victory. If the guerrillas operate by doctrine, defeats in unplanned engagements will not undermine their basic goal of survival. While the occupier is not winning decisively, even while suffering only some casualties, he is losing. While the guerrilla is not losing decisively, even if suffering significant casualties, he is winning. Since the guerrilla is not going anywhere, he can afford far higher casualties than the occupier, who ultimately has the alternative of withdrawal.
The asymmetry of this warfare favors the guerrilla. This is particularly true when the strategic value of the war to the occupier is ambiguous, where the occupier does not possess sufficient force and patience to systematically overwhelm the guerrillas, and where either political or military constraints prevent operations against sanctuaries. This is a truth as relevant to David’s insurgency against the Philistines as it is to the U.S. experience in Vietnam or the Russian occupation of Afghanistan.
There has long been a myth about the unwillingness of Americans to absorb casualties for very long in guerrilla wars. In reality, the United States fought in Vietnam for at least seven years (depending on when you count the start and stop) and has now fought in Afghanistan for nine years. The idea that Americans can’t endure the long war has no empirical basis. What the United States has difficulty with — along with imperial and colonial powers before it — is a war in which the ability to impose one’s will on the enemy through force of arms is lacking and when it is not clear that the failure of previous years to win the war will be solved in the years ahead.
Far more relevant than casualties to whether Americans continue a war is the question of the conflict’s strategic importance, for which the president is ultimately responsible. This divides into several parts. This first is whether the United States has the ability with available force to achieve its political goals through prosecuting the war (since all war is fought for some political goal, from regime change to policy shift) and whether the force the United States is willing to dedicate suffices to achieve these goals. To address this question in Afghanistan, we have to focus on the political goal.

The Evolution of the U.S. Political Goal in Afghanistan

Washington’s primary goal at the initiation of the conflict was to destroy or disrupt al Qaeda in Afghanistan to protect the U.S. homeland from follow-on attacks to 9/11. But if Afghanistan were completely pacified, the threat of Islamist-fueled transnational terrorism would remain at issue because it is no longer just an issue of a single organization — al Qaeda — but a series of fragmented groups conducting operations in Pakistan, Iraq, Yemen, North Africa, Somalia and elsewhere.
Today, al Qaeda is simply one manifestation of the threat of this transnational jihadist phenomenon. It is important to stop and consider al Qaeda — and the transnational jihadist phenomenon in general — in terms of guerrillas, and to think of the phenomenon as a guerrilla force in its own right operating by the very same rules on a global basis. Thus, where the Taliban apply guerrilla principles to Afghanistan, today’s transnational jihadist applies them to the Islamic world and beyond. The transnational jihadists are not leaving and are not giving up. Like the Taliban in Afghanistan, they will decline combat against larger American forces and strike vulnerable targets when they can.
There are certainly more players and more complexity to the global phenomenon than in a localized insurgency. Many governments across North Africa, the Middle East and South Asia have no interest in seeing these movements set up shop and stir up unrest in their territory. And al Qaeda’s devolution has seen frustrations as well as successes as it spreads. But the underlying principles of guerrilla warfare remain at issue. Whenever the Americans concentrate force in one area, al Qaeda disengages, disperses and regroups elsewhere and, perhaps more important, the ideology that underpins the phenomenon continues to exist. The threat will undoubtedly continue to evolve and face challenges, but in the end, it will continue to exist along the lines of the guerrilla acting against the United States.
There is another important way in which the global guerrilla analogy is apt. STRATFOR has long held that Islamist-fueled transnational terrorism does not represent a strategic, existential threat to the United States. While acts of transnational terrorism target civilians, they are not attacks — have not been and are not evolving into attacks — that endanger the territorial integrity of the United States or the way of life of the American people. They are dangerous and must be defended against, but transnational terrorism is and remains a tactical problem that for nearly a decade has been treated as if it were the pre-eminent strategic threat to the United States.
Nietzsche wrote that, “The most fundamental form of human stupidity is forgetting what we were trying to do in the first place.” The stated U.S. goal in Afghanistan was the destruction of al Qaeda. While al Qaeda as it existed in 2001 has certainly been disrupted and degraded, al Qaeda’s evolution and migration means that disrupting and degrading it — to say nothing of destroying it — can no longer be achieved by waging a war in Afghanistan. The guerrilla does not rely on a single piece of real estate (in this case Afghanistan) but rather on his ability to move seamlessly across terrain to evade decisive combat in any specific location. Islamist-fueled transnational terrorism is not centered on Afghanistan and does not need Afghanistan, so no matter how successful that war might be, it would make little difference in the larger fight against transnational jihadism.
Thus far, the United States has chosen to carry on fighting the war in Afghanistan. As al Qaeda has fled Afghanistan, the overall political goal for the United States in the country has evolved to include the creation of a democratic and uncorrupt Afghanistan. It is not clear that anyone knows how to do this, particularly given that most Afghans consider the ruling government of President Hamid Karzai — with which the United States is allied — as the heart of the corruption problem, and beyond Kabul most Afghans do not regard their way of making political and social arrangements to be corrupt.
Simply withdrawing from Afghanistan carries its own strategic and political costs, however. The strategic problem is that simply terminating the war after nine years would destabilize the Islamic world. The United States has managed to block al Qaeda’s goal of triggering a series of uprisings against existing regimes and replacing them with jihadist regimes. It did this by displaying a willingness to intervene where necessary. Of course, the idea that U.S. intervention destabilized the region raises the question of what regional stability would look like had it not intervened. The danger of withdrawal is that the network of relationships the United States created and imposed at the regime level could unravel if it withdrew. America would be seen as having lost the war, the prestige of radical Islamists and thereby the foundation of the ideology that underpins their movement would surge, and this could destabilize regimes and undermine American interests.
The political problem is domestic. Obama’s approval rating now stands at 42 percent. This is not unprecedented, but it means he is politically weak. One of the charges against him, fair or not, is that he is inherently anti-war by background and so not fully committed to the war effort. Where a Republican would face charges of being a warmonger, which would make withdrawal easier, Obama faces charges of being too soft. Since a president must maintain political support to be effective, withdrawal becomes even harder. Therefore, strategic analysis aside, the president is not going to order a complete withdrawal of all combat forces any time soon — the national (and international) political alignment won’t support such a step. At the same time, remaining in Afghanistan is unlikely to achieve any goal and leaves potential rivals like China and Russia freer rein.

The American Solution

The American solution, one that we suspect is already under way, is the Pakistanization of the war. By this, we do not mean extending the war into Pakistan but rather extending Pakistan into Afghanistan. The Taliban phenomenon has extended into Pakistan in ways that seriously complicate Pakistani efforts to regain their bearing in Afghanistan. It has created a major security problem for Islamabad, which, coupled with the severe deterioration of the country’s economy and now the floods, has weakened the Pakistanis’ ability to manage Afghanistan. In other words, the moment that the Pakistanis have been waiting for — American agreement and support for the Pakistanization of the war — has come at a time when the Pakistanis are not in an ideal position to capitalize on it.
In the past, the United States has endeavored to keep the Taliban in Afghanistan and the regime in Pakistan separate. (The Taliban movements in Afghanistan and Pakistan are not one and the same.) Washington has not succeeded in this regard, with the Pakistanis continuing to hedge their bets and maintain a relationship across the border. Still, U.S. opposition has been the single greatest impediment to Pakistan’s consolidation of the Taliban in Afghanistan, and abandoning this opposition leaves important avenues open for Islamabad.
The Pakistani relationship to the Taliban, which was a liability for the United States in the past, now becomes an advantage for Washington because it creates a trusted channel for meaningful communication with the Taliban. Logic suggests this channel is quite active now.
The Vietnam War ended with the Paris peace talks. Those formal talks were not where the real bargaining took place but rather where the results were ultimately confirmed. If talks are under way, a similar venue for the formal manifestation of the talks is needed — and Islamabad is as good a place as any.
Pakistan is an American ally which the United States needs, both to balance growing Chinese influence in and partnership with Pakistan, and to contain India. Pakistan needs the United States for the same reason. Meanwhile, the Taliban wants to run Afghanistan. The United States has no strong national interest in how Afghanistan is run so long as it does not support and espouse transnational jihadism. But it needs its withdrawal to take place in a manner that strengthens its influence rather than weakens it, and Pakistan can provide the cover for turning a retreat into a negotiated settlement.
Pakistan has every reason to play this role. It needs the United States over the long term to balance against India. It must have a stable or relatively stable Afghanistan to secure its western frontier. It needs an end to U.S. forays into Pakistan that are destabilizing the regime. And playing this role would enhance Pakistan’s status in the Islamic world, something the United States could benefit from, too. We suspect that all sides are moving toward this end.
The United States isn’t going to defeat the Taliban. The original goal of the war is irrelevant, and the current goal is rather difficult to take seriously. Even a victory, whatever that would look like, would make little difference in the fight against transnational jihad, but a defeat could harm U.S. interests. Therefore, the United States needs a withdrawal that is not a defeat. Such a strategic shift is not without profound political complexity and difficulties. But the disparity between — and increasingly, the incompatibility of — the struggle with transnational terrorism and the war effort geographically rooted in Afghanistan is only becoming more apparent — even to the American public.
 
 
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DESAFIAR A LA KORTE

27 septiembre, 2010

Si la Presidenta redujo el Presupuesto para la Justicia (como creo haber leído hace un rato), nada sorprende, porque estamos casi en un país bolivariano, donde quien manda es el Ejecutivo, y los demás obedecen. Cristinaa puede sentirse entusiasmada por el rotundo triunfo electoral de Chávez, el día de ayer, y comprendió que la Justicia no merece un Presupuesto mayor, sino uno menor, porque ya ha demostrado carecer de agallas para ejecutar su propia sentencia contra la provincia de Santa Cruz.

La constitución argentina no funciona, desde el momento que la propia Corte Suprema se siente inferior a los Kirchners, y busca caminos torcidos para evitar desgraciarse de los Amos bolvarianos argentinos. Lo que cuenta en los pueblos salvajizados es el Poder, y parece razonable entregar mas dinero a los amigos del Poder capaces de usar la fuerza bruta, y para eso hay que quitarlo de los funcionbarios mas débiles, que en Argentina desde 1930 hasta hoy han sido los que pertenecen al frustrado poder Judicial, cuya cabeza  SUPREMA ha abdicado de aplicar la fría letra y el sano espíritu de la Constitución.

Cabe reconocer que la Presidenta desafía al mejor estilo de Néstor, a los otros dos Poderes, y está dispuesta a cortarles los viveres a los cortesanon supremos, con un ataque directo a su viscera mas sensiblel, el bolsillo, tal como vienen llorando por separado los miembros de la Corte, cuando dicen que carecen de presupuesto para aplicar la Justicia. En  esta tierra de audaces, en la que nos convirtieron los fascistas en 1930, quien pega primero no necesita pegar dos veces, si el ultrajado (la Korte K) no reacciona.

Si en USA President Obama amenazara a la Corte Suprema con cortarle los víveres, y se mofara de sus fallos, obviamente aparecería el Medico Oficial Federal y lo internaría en la enfermería, por considerarlo alterado. Pero estamos en el hemisferio sur, con una Constitución copiada mal de la Norteamericana, y entendida todavía peor, especialmente por los Presidentes de los ultimos ochenta años y sus correspondientes cortes supremas minúsculas, incapaces de frenar al Amo cuando se pasa de la raya, para que el ciudadano menos fuerte y menos rico no pueda ser pisoteado por Presidentes fascistas ni bolivarianos.

                                               ¿REACCIONARÁ LA CORTE?

a esta altura de los hechos, la Corte luce doblegada y humillada, y cuesta imaginar que reaccione como gran parte de los abogados desearíamos. Pareciera que la Constitución seria, tipo la norteamericana deberá esperar ochenta años mas, para que constituya el arma defensiva de un ciudadanon contra el abuso del Presidente o incluso un Gobernador de Santa Cruz.

Cristina le ganó la pulseada a la Korte, y actúa como si supiera que ella le permite todo, con tal de seguir los  cortesanos en sus butacas del Palacio de Tribunales. El daño espiritual que esto hace a los argentinos es minimo, porque son muy pocos los que creen que la Corte debe ser acatada por la Presidente.

Seguimos siendo un pueblo donde manda el Amo y nosotros a regañadientes debemos obedecer, porque como la Constitución es lo que la Corte Suprema dice que es, y la Corte  nuestra se considera inferior al Poder Ejecutivo, es inútil lo que los habitantes opinemos. Cristina manda, ganó su apuesta, y el bolivarianismo triunfa, al estilo incaico, y los Constitucionalistas que se ufanan de serlo en Argentina, deben callar, porque la propia Corte Suprema acepta subordinarse.

¿SOMOS CIUDADANOS O SUBDITOS K? Al menos, si la Jefa es Cristina, debemos aceptar que los Kirchners tendrán defectos parecidos a otros Presidentes, pero al menos, no matan ni secuestan ni violan derechos humanos.

 Tan solo aplican en forma distinta la Constitución: la Presidenta manda, y la Korte Suprema lo acepta, y aparenta estar  feliz.  Esperemos que no corra sangre, ya tuvimos demasiadas bajas humanas, y los Kirchners no son eternos. Si el Ejecutivo se desprestigia, la Corte Suprema  mucho mas, pero éste el único país que tenemos y hemos salido de cosas peores. Cabe ser optimistas, algo debe cambiar y pronto, es lo que me digo porque todavía me resisto a aceptar la triste realidad.

CARRIÓ ¿KIRCHNERISTA?

24 septiembre, 2010

La doctora Carrió pareciera quiere ayudar a la Corte Suprema y a los Kirchner a que la sentencia de la propia Corte no se cumpla, en el caso del ex procurador de Santa Cruz. Veamos.

La Corte Suprema, si se sintiera Suprema (tema de nuestras charlas anteriores) hubiera terminado con la farsa usando el método mas simple: ejecución de su propia sentencia firme, como hace cualquier tribunal serio que ha dictado sentencia que quedó firme (no es susceptible de apelación por haberse agotado todas las instancias y solo queda cumplirla o dejar que los bandidos se mofen de la Constitución, la Justicia y la Corte Suprema).

Curiosamente, hay un viejo dicho que en política, cuando se quiere posponer algun tema, lo mejor es inventar una “Comisión” para que lo analice, y eso significa años de espera. Y fue precisamente el camino torcido que eligió la Corte Suprema, diciendo que debe ser el Congreso Nacional el que intervenga (y presione al Ejecutivo),  para no ser la propia Corte la que ejecute su propia sentencia, como manda el sentido común y la ley, ya que el Congreso es un tercero en este tema.

Obviamente, en un pais serio la Corte hubiera ordenado al Presidente (Cristina en Argentina) que ejecutara su sentencia, pero es obvio que la propia Presidente desacata a los cortesanos, así que ellos no se atrevieron. Entre la espada y la pared (los kirchners y la opinion de los jueces “de los Tribunales inferiores” de Argentina, como los llama la Constitución) los “supremos” eligieron la vía eclèctica, que consiste en ganar tiempo hasta ver el resultado de las elecciones Presidenciales del 2011. Cosa que nada asombra, tratandose de una Corte Suprema oficialista, como hemos tenido desde que el fascismo se entronizó desde 1930 hasta hoy. En el interín los cortesanos siguen en sus poltronas, cobrando sus salarios a la espera de la jubilación de privilegio, y la vigencia de la Constitución en Argentina puede quedar demorada por diez o veinte años mas, porque ya pasaron ochenta sin ella, y el país sigue creciendo. Como los ingleses, casi, que sin Constitución escrita, funcionan bien, los argentinos mostramos que incumpliendo la Constitución que tenemos (pero sosteniendo que se la cumple, un doble mensaje de los gobernantes) todavia el pais no se hundió.

Aca a la Constitucion la violaron ultimamente varios: de la Rua, cuando aceptó  ser expulsado en vez de resistirse como corresponde a un Presidente digno. También cuando lo expulsaron al Adolfo, y cuando lo eligieron a Duhalde, el inventor de Néstor Presidente,  por medio de una asamblea legislativa, prescindiendo de que el pueblo ya estabamos convocados para elegir en marzo de 2002 a la nueva fórmula presidencial,   porque existía acefalìa.

                                                        LO QUE SI ASOMBRA

Que el diputado Adrian Pérez haya dado a entender que su jefa Carrió es partidaria de llegar a un arreglo politico e impedir que se cumpla la sentencia, por considerarlo un hecho imposible, es tragicómico. Ahora la abanderada contra los Kirchners no propone que la Corte ejecute su propia sentencia, y quiere arreglar. Con lo cual la oposiciòn queda debilitada, al pasar el asunto al Congreso, los cortesanos lograron su proposito, sabiendo que la oposicion es altamente sospechable de  cuidar sus propios intereses personales, especialmente tratandose de partidos politicos con propietarios personales, como el de Lilita Carrio y el de Pino Solanas.

De Lilita nada me sorprende, juega para su propio partido, alterna entre demagogia populista y varias otras cosas raras, y se las ingenia para subsistir, y ademas designar a millonarios exitosos en puestos tipo senador (Estenssoro) y diputado (Prat Gay). De Pino Solanas, que parece compartir la idea de que no se puede ejecutar una sentencia de la corte, me sorprende, lo cría sensato, y no esperaba que esté acordando con el oficialismo K para impedir que se destape la olla de Santa Cruz y que terminen siendo descubiertos los bandidos que la prensa dice que existieron en dicha provincia. Y que ciertamente existen: al menos, el Gobernador y la Lagislatura provincial que no cumple con una sentencia de la Corte Suprema se han convertido en el acto en algo parecido a rebeldes subversivos.

No existe diferencia alguna entre el bandido general URIBURU (que derrocó al Presidente,  y forzó a la vergonzante Corte Suprema a dictar una acordada diciendo que reconocían el poder, porque tenían los militares la fuerza y eso es lo que vale) y los legisladores como Lilita que hoy se hacen los que ignoran que una Corte puede ejecutar su propia sentencia, sin necesidad del Congreso.  Ignoro si Lilita está en esta posición porque arregló con los Kirchners, o porque quiere sacar una de sus ventajas personales, para presionar en forma extraña y quedar su partido politico mejor parado frente al desprestigio que ahora tiene (casi no sale diputada por haberle “cedido” el primer puesto de la lista al Duhaldista Prat Gay, remember).

Carrió se puso del bando de los que desconocen que la Constitución es lo que la Suprema Corte dice que es, y por ende, no cree que sean ejecutables sus fallos. O sea, que no serìa Suprema la Corte, sino tan solo una oficina que dicta fallos no ejecutables cuando la PRESIDENTA no quiere. Pero eso es un sistema FASCISTA, donde la voluntad del Fuhrer es la única que vale, es  SUPREM, y Lilita lo acepta encantada. En vez de luchar, como dice hace cuando denuncia penalmente a Nèstor y sus amigos.

Por comparación, Borocotó es un amigo fiel. Y esto cabe tenerlo en cuenta para las elecciones del 2011, ya que allí se renuevan diputados, y es bueno que los que creen que la Justicia debe ser acatada y cumplida, se olviden de votarla o de votar a sus propios candidatos para diputados, senadores o intendentes y concejales.

LA MENTIRA TIENE PATAS CORTAS, especialmente cuando es algo tan burdo como lo que sucede cuando un país quiere que su constitucion se cumpla y los bandidos pseudo opositores se pliegan al oficialismo, cuando se trata de impedir que una sentencia del Supremo Tribunal se cumpla. Esto es negar el Estado de Derecho, un desejemplo para todos, especialmente los jovenes, que es mucho peor que lo que hace Cristina al alentar a la juventud que no vayan a los colegios que están pagos por el Intendente Macri con plata de los vecinos porteños.

¿S.O.S. A OBAMA?

22 septiembre, 2010

Los Kirchners se sacaron la careta. La Presidenta desafìa abiertamente a la Constitución, y eso no es respetar las reglas del juego de la democracia republicana federal.

Los que saben de  Constituciónes son los norteamericanos, porque la inventaron y allá funciona. El tema es muy simple: la Corte Suprema de Justicia de la Nación en cada caso contreto, es Suprema, y el Congreso y la Ejecutiva (gerenta general, que recibe ordenes del Congreso y de la Constituciòn) deben acatar las sentencias firmes de la Corte. Si las desacatan, se alzan contra la Constituciòn y la libertad, porque nos pisan abiertamente a todos los que no somos Kirchners. Y eso ha sido precisamente uno de los motivos por los que los yanquis han intervenido para desalojar dictadores o para liberar pueblos oprimidos, sea por Hitler o por Hiroito.

Los Kirchners son de barrio, no están al nivel peligroso, pero se equivocan cuando ningunean a la Corte Suprema. Olvidan que en el conflicto de Honduras, el hecho de que la Corte Suprema lo echó a Zelaya significò que el ex Presidente no fuera repuesto, pese a los esfuerzos de otros países, y que los yanquis terminaran ordenando que el ganador de las siguientes elecciones subiera al Poder. Por lo tanto, respetò a la Corte Suprema Hondureña, mucho mas que al Presidente que ella derrocó.

Es curioso como vacilan los cortesanos, le piden al Congreso Nacional que intervenga, como si la Justicia Suprema de Argentina no fuese el poder superior. Si no estàn entongados con los K, esto significa que la Korte K alienta a que los Kirchners se perpetúen, con tan solo impedir que el Senado apruebe lo que la Corte le pide que apruebe contra la Provincia de Santa Cruz.

Cristina alardea, se manda una tìpica canchereada diciendo que le darán asilo polìtico a un Gobernador de Santa Cruz que desacata la Constituciòn y la Justicia, y esto es mucho peor por su gravedad, que alentar a los chicos de los colegios de Macri que los sigan ocupando.

Una pena, es como si en los momentos finales, la desesperación cunde en el bando K, y han hecho lo peor que podrìan haber hecho: anunciar su DESPRECIO por la Corte Suprema Argentina, y esto provocara consecuencias terribles para el kirchnerismo, porque los jueces saben que esta vez la Presidenta cruzó la raya que separa el show mediàtico de la dictadura que implica que una Presidenta se considera que está por encima de la Ley, y que en Argentina manda el Poder Ejecutivo, y no la Justicia.

Cristina, lo sentimos, F U I S T E, es solo cuestiòn de contar los dìas que restan, Obama no puede razonablemente comperender tu teorìa y tu interpretaciòn de la Constitucion, y has dejado muestras claras de tu intenciòn de seguirla violando en forma abierta, y encima, como si fuese una cancherada para festejar con los partidarios K, que cada vez son menos.

No creemos necesario enviar el S.O.S. a OBAMA, estos K se bolearon solos, como dicen los paisanos, por chambones y charlatanes.

LA CUENTA REGRESIVA COMENZÒ Y NO HAY RETORNO.

A COWBOY STORY…

19 septiembre, 2010

Date: Sunday, September 19, 2010, 11:39 AM

A Cowboy Story……

     A cowboy appeared before St. Peter at the Pearly Gates.

        ‘Before I can judge whether or not you can enter heaven, young man,” St. Peter told the cowboy, I need to ask you a question.  Have you ever done anything of particular merit in your lifetime? 
                    
         ‘Well, yeah, I can think of one thing,’ the cowboy offered.  “I wuz on a trip to the Black Hills out in South Dakota and I come across a gang of bikers who wuz threatening to do sumthin´ bad to this purty little lady.  I directed them to leave her alone, but they wouldn’t listen.   So I grabbed the biggest and most tattooed biker and smacked him in the face, kicked his bike over, ripped out his nose ring, and threw it on the ground and stomped it with my boots and yelled, ‘Now, back off, you bastards, or I’ll kick the shit out of all of you!’
                 

        St. Peter was impressed, ‘My goodness!  When did this happen?’

       ‘A couple of minutes ago.’ 

OBAMA WILL TRIUMPH…

19 septiembre, 2010
Sounds good to me!  Missing words on right, though.

Sue

 
Obama Will Triumph — So Will America
 
 By Frank Schaeffer
Before he’d  served even one year President  Obama lost the support of the easily distracted left and engendered the  white hot rage of the hate-filled right. But some of us, from all walks of  life and ideological backgrounds — including this white, straight,  57-year-old, former religious right wing agitator, now progressive writer  and (given my background as the son of a famous evangelical leader) this  unlikely Obama supporter — are sticking with our President. Why?–  because he is succeeding.

We faithful Obama supporters still trust  our initial impression of him as a great, good and uniquely qualified man  to lead us.

Obama’s steady supporters will be proved right.  Obama’s critics will be remembered as easily panicked and prematurely  discouraged at best and shriveled hate mongers at worst.

The Context of the Obama  Presidency

Not since the days of the rise of fascism in   Europe , the Second World War and the Depression has any president faced  more adversity. Not since the Civil War has any president led a more  bitterly divided country. Not since the introduction of racial integration  has any president faced a more consistently short-sighted and willfully  ignorant opposition – from both  the right and left.

As the President’s poll numbers have fallen so  has his support from some on the left that were hailing him as a Messiah  not long ago; all those lefty websites and commentators that were falling  all over themselves on behalf of our first black president during the 2008  election.

The left’s lack of faith has become a self-fulfilling  “prophecy”– snipe at the President and then watch the poll numbers fall  and then pretend you didn’t have  anything to do with it!

Here is  what Obama faced when he took office– none of which was his  fault:

# An ideologically divided country to the point that   America was really two countries

# Two wars; one that was  mishandled from the start, the other that was unnecessary and  immoral

# The worst economic crisis since the depression

#   America ’s standing in the world at the lowest point in history

# A  country that had been misled into accepting the use of torture of  prisoners of war

# A health care system in free fall

# An  educational system in free fall

# A global environmental crisis of  history-altering proportions (about which the Bush administration and the  Republicans had done nothing)

# An impasse between culture warriors  from the right and left

# A huge financial deficit inherited from  the terminally irresponsible Bush administration…

And those were  only some of the problems sitting  on the President’s desk!

“Help”  from the Right?

What did the Republicans and the religious  right, libertarians and half-baked conspiracy theorists — that is what  the Republicans were reduced to by the time Obama took office — do to  “help” our new president (and our country) succeed? They claimed that he  wasn’t a real American, didn’t have an American birth certificate, wasn’t  born here, was secretly a Muslim, was white-hating “racist”, was secretly  a communist, was actually the Anti-Christ, (!) and was a reincarnation of  Hitler and wanted “death panels” to kill the elderly!

They  not-so-subtly called for his assassination through the not-so-subtle use  of vile signs held at their rallies and even a bumper sticker quoting  Psalm 109:8. They organized “tea parties” to sound off against imagined  insults and all government in general and gathered to howl at the moon.  They were led by insurance industry lobbyists and deranged (but well  financed) “commentators” from Glenn Beck to Rush Limbaugh.

The  utterly discredited Roman Catholic bishops teamed up with the utterly  discredited evangelical leaders to denounce a president who was trying to  actually do something about the poor, the environment, to diminish the  number of abortions through compassionate programs to help women and to  care for the sick! And in Congress the Republican leadership only knew one  word: “No!”

In other words the reactionary white, rube, uneducated,  crazy American far right,combined with the educated but obtuse  neoconservative war mongers, religious right shills for big business,  libertarian Fed Reserve-hating gold bug, gun-loving crazies,  child-molesting acquiescent “bishops”, frontier loons and evangelical  gay-hating flakes found one thing to briefly unite them: their desire to stop an uppity black man from  succeeding at all costs!

“Help” from the Left?

What did the  left do to help their newly elected president? Some of them excoriated the  President because they disagreed with the bad choices he was being forced  to make regarding a war in Afghanistan that he’d inherited from the worst president in  modern history!

Others stood up and bravely proclaimed that  the President’s economic policies had “failed” before the President even instituted  them! Others said that since all gay rights battles had not been fully won  within virtually minutes of the President taking office, they’d been  “betrayed”! (Never mind that Obama’s vocal support to the gay community is  stronger than any other president’s has been. Never mind that he signed a  new hate crimes law!)

Those that had stood in transfixed legions  weeping with beatific emotion on election night turned into an angry mob  saying how “disappointed” they were that they’d not all immediately been  translated to heaven the moment Obama stepped into the White House! Where  was the “change”? Contrary to their expectations they were still mere  mortals!

And the legion of young new supporters was too busy  texting to pay attention for longer than a nanosecond… “Governing”?! What  the hell does that word, uh, like mean?”

The President’s critics  left and right all had one thing in common: impatience laced with  little-to-no sense of history (let alone reality) thrown in for good  measure. Then of course there were the white, snide know-it-all  commentators/talking heads who just couldn’t imagine that maybe, just maybe they weren’t as smart as they  thought they were and certainly not as smart as their president. He hadn’t  consulted them, had he? So he must be wrong!

The Obama critics’  ideological ideas defined their idea of reality rather than reality  defining their ideas—say, about what is possible in one year in office after the hand that the  President had been dealt by fate, or to be exact by the American idiot  nation that voted Bush into office… twice!

Meanwhile back in the reality-based community –  in just 12 short months — President Obama:

#Continued to  draw down the misbegotten war in Iraq
(But that wasn’t good enough for  his critics)

#Thoughtfully and decisively picked the best of  several bad choices regarding the war in Afghanistan
(But that wasn’t  good enough for his critics)

#Gave a major precedent-setting speech  supporting gay rights
(But that wasn’t good enough for his  critics)

#Restored America ’s image around the globe
(But that  wasn’t good enough for his critics)

#Banned torture of American  prisoners
(But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)  

#Stopped the free fall of the American economy
(But that wasn’t  good enough for his critics)

#Put the USA squarely back in the  bilateral international community
(But that wasn’t good enough for his  critics)

#Put the USA squarely into the middle of the  international effort to halt global warming
(But that wasn’t good  enough for his critics)

#Stood up for educational reform
(But  that wasn’t good enough for his critics)

#Won a Nobel peace  prize
(But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)

#Moved the  trial of terrorists back into the American judicial system of checks and  balances
(But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)

#Did  what had to be done to start the slow, torturous and almost impossible  process of health care reform that 7 presidents had failed to even  begin
(But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)

#Responded  to hatred from the right and left with measured good humor and  patience
(But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)

#Stopped  the free fall of job losses
(But that wasn’t good enough for his  critics)

#Showed immense personal courage in the face of an armed  and dangerous far right opposition that included the sort of disgusting  people that show up at public meetings carrying loaded weapons and  carrying Timothy McVeigh-inspired signs about the “blood of tyrants”  needing to “water the tree of liberty”…
(But that wasn’t good enough  for his critics)

#Showed that he could not only make the tough  military choices but explain and defend them brilliantly
(But that  wasn’t good enough for his critics)

Other than those  “disappointing” accomplishments — IN ONE YEAR — President Obama  “failed”! Other than that he didn’t “live up to expectations”!  

Who actually has  failed…

…are the Americans that can’t see the beginning  of a miracle of national rebirth right under their jaded noses. Who failed  are the smart ass ideologues of the left and right who began rooting for  this President to fail so that they could  be proved right in their dire and morbid predictions. Who failed  are the movers and shakers behind our obscenely dumb news cycles that have  turned “news” into just more stupid entertainment for an  entertainment-besotted infantile country.

Here’s the good news:  President Obama is succeeding without the help of his lefty “supporters”  or hate-filled Republican  detractors!

The Future Looks  Good

After Obama has served two full terms, (and he will),  after his wisdom in moving deliberately and cautiously with great subtlety  on all fronts — with a canny and calculating eye to the possible  succeeds, (it will), after the economy is booming and new industries are  burgeoning, (they will be), after the doomsayers are all proved not just  wrong but silly: let the record show that not all Americans were panicked  into thinking the sky was falling.

Just because we didn’t get  everything we wanted in the first short and fraught year Obama was in  office not all of us gave up. Some of us stayed the course. And we will be proved right.

PS. if you agree that Obama is shaping up to be a great president, please pass this on and hang in there!  Pass it on anyway to ensure that his “report card” gets the attention it deserves.  

Frank Schaeffer is a writer and author of “Patience With God – Faith For People Who Don’t Like Religion (Or Atheism).”