Archive for October, 2007

Still Flowering!!!

October 23, 2007

Yes, I still collect orchids, it is just that between a bad floweering September, the Red Sox and work I haven´t had time to post much, but here they are!!!

Cattelay Jenmanii Gran Sabana x Rubra on the left and Cattleya Jenmanii Castro x Rosa on the right

Two Cattleya Percivalianas, on the left is a variety called ¨Gabriela¨, no name on the right

On the left Cattleya Gaskelliana Labio Solido x (Mimi x Aida). On the right Cattleya Warnerii from Brazil

On the left, my faithful Cattleya Violacea, which is blooming three time a year. Not only that, but each time it sends a shoot with as many flowers as the previous time or one more. It’s up to five! On the right spectacular Blc. Ronald Hauserman.

Cirrhopetalum Elizabeth Ann on the left, magnificent, no? On the right a close up of its complicated reproductive structure.

Another Cirrhopetalum, not sure which one. On the right a close up.

Media blamed for shortages, as they persist

October 23, 2007

So, while there was no Alo Presidente
because the autocrat had a cold, Chavez had the time to call up a
program sponsored by his political party PSUV on the official TV
channel VTV to blast the church and once again suggest that the media
has invented a campaign to make it look as if there are shortages of
foodstuffs in the country.

Demonstrating the
despicable style that has characterized him, Chavez criticized former
Cardinal Castillo Lara, showing his disrespect towards an honorable
Venezuelan even in death. The Government failed to even note the passing
of this distinguished Venezuelan who held the highest positions in the
Vatican hierarchy. But instead of praising this, Chavez recalled “how
wrong” the Cardinal had been in his latter years.

And
then he went on onto the “mediatic campaign” to make it appear as if
there are food shortages in the country. But let’s review the evidence:

—Datanalisis
polls supermarkets and markets and find that many products are not even
available in half of them. The most absent? Milk, present in only 25%
of them.

—The Government holds a Megamercal,
a huge market where you can get controlled products and people show up
at six in the morning to see if they can get some milk. According to
pro-Government newspaper Ultimas Noticias (by subscription) people were
complaining that they show up at 6 AM and have to stand in line until
noon, because there are lines both outside and inside the market. At
the end, when you finally get to the head of the line you can buy a
limited amount of stuff: one kilo of milk, 2 kilos of sugar and two
chickens.

—And speaking of “mediatic
campaigns”, the Minister of Feeding, Rafael Oropeza, reiterated that
there is plenty of milk (!!!), despite the “worldwide seasonal
shortage” of the product. I guess my poll the other day about the
availability of milk where the readers are must have been in a
different “season”.
 \u003cdiv\> \u003c/div\>\u003cdiv\>Meanwhile, my sources report that despite his cold, Chavez went to Cuba again today, probably to get some advise from Castro on what material to use in making the new Che Guevara monument to replace the one shattered by bullets in Pico El Aguila. Meanwhile, the National Assembly approves some more of the articles proposed y Chavez, some of the ones sneaked in three weeks ago and why not, some new ones, because form is certainly more\u003cspan\> \u003c/span\>important than substance in the robolution.\u003c/div\>\u003cdiv\> \u003c/div\>\u003cdiv\>And speaking of substance, the subway was on strike this afternoon which has not been reported by the media in this country with total free press, as \u003ca href\u003d\”http://www.globovision.com/news.php?nid\u003d68543\” target\u003d\”_blank\” onclick\u003d\”return top.js.OpenExtLink(window,event,this)\”\>a transportation strike is set to start at midnight\u003c/a\> and university students \u003ca href\u003d\”http://www.globovision.com/news.php?nid\u003d68593\” target\u003d\”_blank\” onclick\u003d\”return top.js.OpenExtLink(window,event,this)\”\>warn\u003c/a\> that they will not be stopped from either joining the main protest in Caracas tomorrow or reaching the National Assembly or else, \u003ca href\u003d\”http://www.globovision.com/news.php?nid\u003d68453&clave\u003da%3A1%3A%7Bi%3A0%3Bs%3A11%3A%22estudiantes%22%3B%7D\” target\u003d\”_blank\” onclick\u003d\”return top.js.OpenExtLink(window,event,this)\”\>as pro-Chavez students say\u003c/a\> they will “wait for them at the Assembly”. \u003c/div\>\u003c/div\>”,0]
);

//–>

Meanwhile,
my sources report that despite his cold, Chavez went to Cuba again
today, probably to get some advise from Castro on what material to use
in making the new Che Guevara monument to replace the one shattered by
bullets in Pico El Aguila. Meanwhile, the National Assembly approves
some more of the articles proposed y Chavez, some of the ones sneaked
in three weeks ago and why not, some new ones, because form is
certainly more important than substance in the robolution.

And
speaking of substance, the subway was on strike this afternoon which
has not been reported by the media in this country with total free
press, as a transportation strike is set to start at midnight and university students warn
that they will not be stopped from either joining the main protest in
Caracas tomorrow or reaching the National Assembly or else, as pro-Chavez students say they will “wait for them at the Assembly”.

<!–
D(["ce"]);

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Some straight forward questions on the legality of the proposed Constitutional reform

October 21, 2007

Questions on the Constitutional reform that no rational person can answer the way Chavismo pretends to do it:
 
—Don’t
the redefinitions of the Republic as a Socialist State, which now will
be a centralized one and the indefinite reelection, imply fundamental
changes to the Constitution, which require a Constituent Assembly (see Art. 342)?
 
—Since
25 new articles were not part of the first and second discussions of
the proposed reform, as they were introduced after the second
discussion, doesn’t this mean that they have to go back and begin the
process with a first discussion (see Art. 343)?
 
—The
original argument to why the reform should be voted as a block, was
that Chavez’ proposal was a single unit and could thus not be voted in
parts. Doesn’t this mean that now that the Assembly has introduced 25
new and separate articles that argument is no longer valid?
 
—Since the Constitution guarantees the “progressivity” of human rights (Art. 19), i.e. no right can be reduced, can the reform of Art. 337 be legal?
 
Given
these four items, isn’t the proposed Constitutional reform totally and
absolutely illegal and thus constitutes a coup de etat against the
current Constitution, using the favorite language of Chavismo?

Random things, all read today…

October 21, 2007

Random quotes read today, a very rainy day in Caracas:
 
—“Decree:
 
Unique Article
 
Let
it be declared starting today a state of exception in all of the
territory of the Republic, assuming this Junta the quality of Commander
in Chief which will operate the emergency.”
 
Signed Augusto Pinochet, September 18th. 1973. The rest the deaths, the tortures and the disappearances is, as they say, history.
 
—“In
the terrible history of famines in the world, no substantial famine has
ever occurred in any independent an democratic country with a
relatively free press. We cannot find exceptions to this rule, no
matter where we look”
 
Amartya San, Nobel Prize in Economics.
 
—“The
data points to three important characteristics influencing growth: (1)
the extent of competition domestically, and, especially for developing
nations, the extent of country’s openness to trade and its integration
with the rest of the world; (2) the quality of a country’s institutions
that make an economy work, and (3) the success of its policy makers in
implementing measures necessary for macroeconomic stability.”
 
Alan Greenspan in “The Age of Turbulence”
 
—“I
was particularly distressed by evidence that despite the indisputably
bad economic outcomes of populist policies undertaken by almost all
Latin American governments at one time or another since the end of
World War II, these results had not seemed to dampen the impulse to
resort to economic populism.”
 
Alan Greenspan in “The Age of Turbulence”
 
—“We are drowning in the Devil’s Excrement”
 
Juan Pablo Perez Alfonso, 1975

More flowers from Eduardo

October 21, 2007

Eduardo sent these a while ago, but have not had time to post and I lost the names, but here are my guesses:

Sprays of Cycnoches and others in this overview of Eduardo’s orchid house. On the right Vanda Sanderiana.

On the right a Cycnoches Winde Delight

Cattleya Percivaliana on the left.

Two nice Catsetums

One Rodriguez scolds the other, who backtracks, as both defend the indefensible

October 20, 2007
Well, I guess that I was very wrong in thinking
Isaias had been ordered to speak against the reform of Article 337 of
the Venezuelan Constitution. In fact, now Isaias says he did not say
what even the press release from his office says he stated about due
process in the proposed reform of the Venezuelan Constitution. And in
the best tradition of the doublespeak of the revolution he suggests his
statements were twisted with some obscure purpose by the media.

But
I guess it was twisted by the Government itself, which also reads the
press releases from the General prosecutor’s office and the Chief
Fascist Jorge Rodriguez recriminated the Prosecutor for what he said.
He called him short sighted and defended the reform.

The
Vice President then proceeded to speak on the defense of human rights,
saying that never in the country’s history have human rights been as
protected as they are in Hugo Chavez’ Government. Perhaps suffering the
death of his father at the hands of the authorities has given the VP
this distorted view of history, but the truth is that in these eight
years there have been more deaths and injuries form political
demonstrations than in any eight year period of the country’s modern
history. And Rodriguez has never said anything about it. In
fact, never were the rights of free speech as threatened as they have
been under Hugo Chávez. But the VP should remember that maybe one day
Jose Vilas Jr. will come back to haunt him, asking him what was
difference between Rodriguez’ and his own dead father.

And
while the VP spoke, those same human rights that he defends were under
fire by the authorities as thousands of Podemos militants were \u003ca href\u003d\”http://www.eltiempo.com.ve/noticias/default.asp?id\u003d128222\” target\u003d\”_blank\” onclick\u003d\”return top.js.OpenExtLink(window,event,this)\”\>over and over\u003c/a\> by the National guard all across Venezuela as they attempted to join their leaders in a protests against the Constitutional reform. Thus, massive violations of rights by the same Government that Rodriguez presides from the Vice-President’s office took place yesterday and neither he, nor the People’s Ombudsman have yet to show their face criticizing the actions. Remarkably, they were violating the rights of people who have supported the robolution for eight long years and are only trying to say they disagree in this reform and not on the “process” itself. \u003c/div\>\u003cdiv\> \u003c/div\>\u003cdiv\>But very quickly they came out to condemn \u003ca href\u003d\”http://www.noticierodigital.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t\u003d270649\” target\u003d\”_blank\” onclick\u003d\”return top.js.OpenExtLink(window,event,this)\”\>the destruction of the monument\u003c/a\> placed by Rodriguez himself in the Pico del Aguila a couple of weeks ago in order to honor that paradigm of murder and terrorism on innocent civilians named Ernesto Che Guevara. But the people of El Paramo are as tired of this as a majority of Venezuelans, even those, like Podemos, who support the dumb revolution. \u003c/div\>\u003cdiv\> \u003c/div\>\u003cdiv\>I you can only wonder when they say how useful the suspension of due process and information would have been in 2002, if they have really thought about it. I guess Chavez could have invoked it on that fateful day, the repressive Plan Avila would have been activated in full and rather than two dozen deaths and over one hundred injured, there would have been hundred and thousands of each. \u003c/div\>\u003cdiv\> \u003c/div\>\u003cdiv\>Of course, we would probably not know about it, because much like they did with the deaths caused by Chavismo that day, they would have hidden and blocked all of the information about it, but this time with full backing of the new Constitution. \u003c/div\>\u003c/div\>”,0]
);

//–>harassed over and over
by the National guard all across Venezuela as they attempted to join
their leaders in a protests against the Constitutional reform. Thus,
massive violations of rights by the same Government that Rodriguez
presides from the Vice-President’s office took place yesterday and
neither he, nor the People’s Ombudsman have yet to show their face
criticizing the actions. Remarkably, they were violating the rights of
people who have supported the robolution for eight long years and are
only trying to say they disagree in this reform and not on the
“process” itself.

But very quickly they came out to condemn the destruction of the monument
placed by Rodriguez himself in the Pico del Aguila a couple of weeks
ago in order to honor that paradigm of murder and terrorism on innocent
civilians named Ernesto Che Guevara. But the people of El Paramo are as
tired of this as a majority of Venezuelans, even those, like Podemos,
who support the dumb revolution.

I you can only
wonder when they say how useful the suspension of due process and
information would have been in 2002, if they have really even taken the time to think about it. I guess Chavez could have invoked that suspension on that fateful day, then
repressive Plan Avila would have been activated in full and rather than
two dozen deaths and over one hundred injured, there would have been
hundreds and thousands of each.

Of course, we
would probably not know about it, because much like they did with the
deaths caused by Chavismo that day, remember the truth commission, they would have hidden and blocked
all of the information about it, but this time with full backing of the Constitution. And VTV and Chavez would have told us their ¨truth¨ about it. I guess the last part is still true. even if it was not then part of the Constitution.

Change of heart or order from above?

October 19, 2007
Interesting, the Shameless Attorney
General/Prosecutor Isaias Rodriguez, who had earlier backed the
suspension of due process and the elimination of the right of
information, changes his mind and comes back saying now that he
disagrees with it. Rodriguez now says that due process is an absolute
right, which cannot be restricted and corrects all of the claims by the
ignorant Deputies who were saying the right of information could be
eliminated in the 1961 Constitution.
 
I mean, Mr. Rodriguez has gone from expressing satisfaction at the proposed changes two days ago, to exactly the opposite tonight.
 
What gives?
 
Some
of you may think Government officials in Venezuela have the
intellectual and judicial consistency of Tapioca, which is true…
 
Or that Rodriguez in the last days as Prosecutor, thought about it and changed his mind, which is possible but unlikely…
 
Or that he changed his mind. Is there any brain there to do that?
 
No, this is an order from somewhere way up above. All the way to the top,  to
the autocrat. By tomorrow, other Chavistas will be siding with the
prosecutor. They will use the words “rights”, the “people”, “democracy”
and the like. All of the things that have not been said, but should
have been said, since the now infamous proposal to change article 337
of the Constitution.
 
Why?
 
Who
knows? Either a poll says that this is not popular or international
reaction ahs been negative or this clouds the possibility of the easy
approval the Government wanted. In any case, there has been a change of
heart and the Prosecutor, this sad character, this overly dependent
Head of an independent power was charged with announcing the change of
heart. \u003cdiv\> \u003c/div\>\u003cdiv\>Of course, nothing is said about the other illegalities and violations of the Constitution. They follow orders, not morals, ethics or principles.\u003c/div\>\u003c/div\>”,0]
);
D(["ce"]);

//–>

 
Of
course, nothing is said about the other illegalities and violations of
the Constitution. They follow orders, not morals, ethics or principles.

Good news: We have sardines!

October 18, 2007


Watching the Red Sox game, I have little time to even think, I am deep into my irrational life. So, I leave you with this chart from Datanalisis of a poll of markets and supermarkets. The red line is how many did not have a product the third week in October, compared to April in blue. So, 75% have no milk, 51% no sugar, 43% meat, 40% corn oil. Funny, these are precisely the top Government’s priorities in agriculture.

The good news: Plenty of sardines…I guess Chavez has not been able to take over the seas…

More autocratic democracy today

October 17, 2007

Pro-Chavez party Podemos is suffering the consequences of sticking
to its principles and trying to run an independent political line form
the Government. Podemos’ argument is absolutely correct
in that they say the National Assembly is violating the Venezuelan
Constitution, because by now they are considering two separate Constitutional reform projects
in its third discussion: The first one is Chavez’ which was part of the
first and second discussion and consulted with the people, even if it
was done in arbitrary fashion, while the second one is that cooked up
suddenly by the Assembly, which are 25 new articles, not discussed in
the first two discussions, and which are being sneaked in into the third
discussion without discussing their content or even titles as very clearly specified
in the Venezuelan Constitution.
 
The Podemos argument is
correct, the Assembly could have modified articles to make them
consistent with Chavez’ proposal, but not by introducing major
modifications like it is now trying to do. In fact, the main argument
brought forward by Chavismo, when it was suggested that the referendum
be voted in parts was that Chavez’ proposal was an integral one and
since he was proposing it he also had the right to ask that it all be voted
all at once. All of these arguments, which were spurious in that
context anyway, have now been invalidated. There is no “single”
proposal to vote on anymore and their earlier reading of Article 344 of the Venezuelan Constitution is now a moot argument.
 
Podemos
was punished today for their dissidence, with the President of the
National Assembly arguing they were out of order, as they would get up
on each article not proposed by Chavez and say that this was
unconstitutional. Deputy Molina was simply shut up by Ms. Flores in the
best expression of the sad state of democracy in Venezuela, when a
Parliament composed only of Chavez’ supporters does not even allow a
discussion among themselves. Even Deputy Paez, who is not from Podemos,
stormed out of the Capitol building when Ms. Flores denied her the
right to speak. \u003cdiv\> \u003c/div\>\u003cdiv\>Podemos was being encouraged to vote in favor of articles repeatedly by various Chavista Deputies, but they refused to budge. When told they were betraying those that voted them in, Deputy Ismael Garcia said that they did not vote him in to violate the Constitution. When told that if he did not vote for the next article he would have proven he had jumped sides, Garcia said that he would not allow them to blackmail him with these arguments. In the end Podemos was told that they were not even going to be given the right to say anything anymore.\u003c/div\>\u003cdiv\> \u003c/div\>\u003cdiv\>Thus, as Chavismo continues to talk about more\u003cspan\> \u003c/span\>“democracy” and “participation”, they continue to approve articles not only in illegal fashion, but also in a very fascist manner, refusing to discuss anything. But even worse, the contents of what is being approved imply less democracy, fewer rights and less freedom, as I discussed a few days ago. At the same time they also are making actions like calling a recall referendum more difficult and even restricting what questions a referendum may call for. \u003c/div\>\u003cdiv\> \u003c/div\>\u003cdiv\>And then, of course, there is the ultimate fascist act, the illegal introduction of the new article removing rights in a state of exception, which is also illegal because it violates international law, as well as being illegal because the Venezuelan Constitution guarantees the “progresividad” of human rights. That is, you can give more rights to the people, but you can’t reduce them.\u003c/div\>\u003cdiv\> \u003c/div\>\u003cdiv\>Meanwhile, the cheerleading continues by the paid and unpaid supporters of the Government, which have the audacity to stick their necks out to defend the indefensible.\u003c/div\>\u003cdiv\> \u003c/div\>\u003cdiv\>Some democracy, some democrats! \u003c/div\>\u003cdiv\> \u003c/div\>\u003cdiv\> \u003c/div\>\u003cdiv\> \u003c/div\>\u003cdiv\> \u003c/div\>\u003c/div\>”,0]
);

//–>

 
Podemos
was being encouraged to vote in favor of articles repeatedly by various
Chavista Deputies, but they refused to budge. When told they were
betraying those that voted them in, Deputy Ismael Garcia said that they
did not vote him in to violate the Constitution. When told that if he
did not vote for the next article he would have proven he had jumped
sides, Garcia said that he would not allow them to blackmail him with
these arguments. In the end Podemos was told that they were not even
going to be given the right to say anything anymore.
 
Thus, as Chavismo continues to talk about more  “democracy”
and “participation”, they continue to approve articles not only in
illegal fashion, but also in a very fascist manner, refusing to discuss
anything, even among a 100% pro-Chavez Assembly. But even worse, the contents of what is being approved imply
less democracy, fewer rights and less freedom, as I discussed a few
days ago. At the same time they also are making some actions, like calling for a
recall referendum, more difficult and even restricting what questions a
referendum may call for.
 
And then, of course,
there is the ultimate fascist act, the illegal introduction of the new
article removing rights in a state of exception, which is also illegal
because it violates international law, as well as being illegal because
the Venezuelan Constitution guarantees the “progresividad” of human
rights. That is, you can give more rights to the people, but you can’t
reduce them.
 
Meanwhile, the cheerleading
continues by the paid and unpaid supporters of the Government, which
have the audacity to stick their necks out to defend the indefensible.

What do they call this? Autocratic democracy?

Two pictures are worth 10,000 words: Despite the Government´s voracity, real salaries do not show benefits

October 16, 2007

  

On the left, the Government’s voracity as it increased the budget from 17% of GDP to 30% last year. (GDP is up!). Despite this, Government’s statistics reveal that the average salary of employed workers adjusted in real terms, has not increased at all!!!

Thus, there is voracity, but the inefficiency is even worse!!!

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