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Aug 232014

Guevara’s Own Words Shatter His Myth

Marxist Marketing Gimmick Cannot Overturn Murderous, Racist Legacy


EspañolNicolás Márquez is a lawyer, journalist, political analyst, and native resident of the coastal city of Mar Del Plata, Argentina. Above all, Márquez is a writer.

Tapa del libro de Nicolás Márquez, El Canalla.

Cover of the book The Canalla by Nicolás Márquez. (HACER)

 Perhaps inspired by the fresh sea air that permeates the city, Márquez wrote El Canalla (The Scoundrel): The True Story of Che, where he brings to the surface the man beneath the myth, the Argentinean behind the Latin American, and the murderer underneath the façade of a righteous man.

Márquez speaks slowly and possesses the enviable vocabulary and oratory skills of man who has been immersed in endless debates across the political spectrum. His book has received both visceral reviews from critics and appreciation from those who view it as the unmasking of the real Che Guevara.

The third edition of the book was just released in early August, with presentations in Buenos Aires and Rosario.

Why does the myth of Che persist despite documented truths?

Progressives have strong emotions and weak ideas, and have no objection to sacrificing logic and documented truth before utopian dreams. For progressives, things are judged not by their results (proven to be disastrous), but by their objectives, supposedly noble, consisting of “saving the world’s poor.”

In the collective imagination, this is how Che is viewed. They don’t remember the man who shot and murdered [his opponents], but the man who supposedly serviced the “wretched of the earth.”

What surprised you the most when studying Che Guevara?

What most surprised me, unlike the other books I’ve written, was how easy it was for me to destroy the myth.

Beyond the numerous biographies and references to other various sources, it is Che Guevara himself, in his memoirs, personal diaries, and complete works that recognize each and every one of his crimes. Continue reading »

Aug 202014

The Ben Franklin Bridge in Philadelphia. (Photo: Wasted Time R/Wikimedia Commons/public domain)

Pennsylvania’s large transportation system is getting old.

Nearly 6,000 of the state’s bridges were deemed structurally deficient in 2008. Its 40,000 miles of state-maintained highway — making it No. 5 in the nation — shows critical signs of wear. Truck traffic on 1,754 miles of interstate highways is more than double the national average.

Last November, Pennsylvania tired of waiting for Washington to address its transportation problems and took matters into its own hands.

Gov. Tom Corbett, a Republican, signed a bipartisan transportation bill giving the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation $2.3 billion over five years to repair and maintain state roads and bridges, plus the mass transit system.

That’s on top of the $6 billion a year PennDOT was set to receive.

“The extra resources were critically needed,”  PennDOT spokesman Rich Kirkpatrick says.

Although some conservative lawmakers criticized the bill because it raises Pennsylvania’s gas tax to pay for road improvements (the increase will be phased in at the wholesale level), the move represents an attempt by a state to regain control of its transportation destiny. Continue reading »

Aug 202014

Chief of the Argentinean Cabinet of Ministers Jorge Capitanich. (Creative Commons)

In yet another aggressive move against private enterprise, Argentinean officials introduced a new bill to the Senate on August 5: the New Regulation of Production and Consumption Relations.

This legislation aims to replace the current governing Law of Supply by establishing limits on prices, production levels, and profit margins, and has already received harsh criticism from certain industries.

The Kirchner administration’s goal with this proposal is to “prevent abuse and the misappropriation of the value chain surplus.”

The existing law has been in place since the military dictatorship of 1974, which established prison sentences for business owners convicted of “induced shortages.” The principal difference with the government’s new proposal is that it provides further state control over the market in the form of price controls. Once signed into law, it will legally codify the government’s current agreement with suppliers and distributors of products subject to the Careful Prices program.

“It is essential to observe the behavior of the price system and the extent to which economic concentration allows certain economic groups to abuse their dominant position,” reads the proposal.

In addition, the bill further defines the state’s role in “defending the interests of consumers in order to make the price and quality of services consistent with offers proposed by companies.”

Total Market Control

Article 2 of the bill would grant the Commerce Secretariat the authority, when “strictly necessary,” to “establish profit margins, reference prices, and maximum and minimum price limits at any stage of the economic process.” It will also be granted the authority to dictate policies governing the trade and distribution of production, and command the continued production of certain items. Continue reading »

Aug 192014

Jabbar Collins photographed at the law firm where he now works. (Andrew Burton, special to ProPublica)

New York City has agreed to pay $10 million to settle a wrongful conviction lawsuit filed by Jabbar Collins, who spent 15 years in prison for a murder he did not commit.

The settlement announced today concludes a decades-long struggle for Collins, now 42.

He was just 22 when he was sent to Green Haven Correctional Facility in upstate New York for the 1994 murder of Brooklyn landlord Abraham Pollack. In the years that followed, Collins turned his cell into a full-fledged jailhouse lawyer’s office. He filed Freedom of Information Requests, re-interviewed witnesses, and taught himself to write and submit legal motions. Eventually, he gained the attention of a Manhattan defense attorney named Joel Rudin, who helped Collins win his freedom by persuading Federal Judge Dora Irizarry to vacate his conviction in 2010.

As ProPublica has reported, the effort by Rudin and Collins, in many ways, helped trigger the downfall of former Brooklyn District Attorney Charles “Joe” Hynes, whose top aide Michael Vecchione prosecuted Collins. In their lawsuit, Collins and Rudin accused Vecchione of violating several bedrock legal principles in order to win the conviction, saying he coerced witnesses, withheld exculpatory evidence, and suborned perjury. To bolster their claim, Collins and Rudin pointed to other instances of similar abuses by Brooklyn prosecutors, suggesting thatwhat Vecchione did was part of a larger, systemic pattern of misconduct that Hynes either overlooked or encouraged during his 23 years in office.

In an interview, Rudin said that the settlement marked a very gratifying moment for himself and Collins. Continue reading »

Aug 192014

Public support for the national education standards known as Common Core is falling, though a slight majority remains in favor, a new poll finds.  Less than half of teachers surveyed back Common Core, however.

The poll by Education Next, a journal from Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, found that public support for the Common Core standards in reading and math dropped from 65 percent last year to 53 percent now.

Opposition to the education standards doubled, from 13 percent to 26 percent.

The number of teachers who oppose Common Core plummeted: Last year, 76 percent of teachers supported the national standards, with 12 percent opposed. Today, 46 percent of public school teachers say they support Common Core, with  40 percent opposed.

The results are based on a nationally representative, stratified sample of adults 18 and older, as well as representative oversamples of three subgroups: teachers, blacks, and Hispanics.

The National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers developed Common Core in 2009. Continue reading »

Aug 192014

A barn wedding. (Swroche/Wikimedia Commons)

Should the government be able to coerce a family farm into hosting a same-sex wedding?

In a free society, the answer is no. Family farms should be free to operate in accordance with the beliefs and values of their owners. Government shouldn’t be able to fine citizens for acting in the market according to their own—rather than the government’s—values, unless there is a compelling government interest being pursued in the least restrictive way possible.

But the New York State Division of Human Rights doesn’t see things this way. On August 8, it fined Cynthia and Robert Gifford $13,000 for acting on their belief that marriage is the union of a man and woman and thus declining to rent out their family farm for a same-sex wedding celebration. The Human Rights Commission ruled that “the nature and circumstances of the [Giffords’s] violation of the Human Rights Law also warrants a penalty.”

This is coercive big government run amok. Continue reading »

Aug 192014


Post Mortem by Michael Baden is only the beginning as teams of specialists study the body of 18-year-old African American killed by police.

In the next few weeks, separate teams of doctors will issue autopsy reports about Michael Brown, the unarmed African American shot to death by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. If history is any guide, they will differ, perhaps significantly, on how to interpret the gunshot wounds on his body. Michael Baden, the veteran medical examiner chosen to autopsy the body by Brown’s family, has released the preliminary results of his autopsy and both the St. Louis County Medical Examiner and U.S. Justice Department have announced plans to conduct or commission separate post mortems.

As a journalist, I’ve read roughly 1,000 autopsy reports and spent much of my career reporting on fatal encounters between police officers and civilians. Here’s some of what Baden found and what experts will be looking for as they examine Brown’s corpse:

  1. Evidence that Brown was fleeing from the officer who shot him, Darren Wilson. Shots to the back are a red flag, indicating the victim may have been running from the officer rather than attacking. The basic law on use of force turns on whether a police officer acted from a “reasonable belief” that he or she was facing a lethal threat. Baden — who was hired by Brown’s family — believes Brown was shot at least six times with all the bullets striking him from the front.

Continue reading »

Aug 192014

WHOSE JOHN HANCOCK IS THAT?: Supportive Homecare Options Inc. in Wauwatosa claims that SEIU Healthcare Wisconsin has forged at least two employee signatures for political activity deductions that benefit Big Labor causes.

WAUWATOSA, Wis. — A home health-care company contracted with the Milwaukee County Department of Family Care is accusing a local labor union of forging workers’ signatures to collect more money for political activity.

Art Beck, a Milwaukee attorney representing Sally Sprenger, owner of Supportive Homecare Options Inc., told Wisconsin Reporter two employees have come forward since April alleging they were signed up to make contributions without their authority.

The contributions were for the Committee on Political Education through the Service Employees International Union Healthcare Wisconsin.

After reviewing their forms for voluntary COPE deductions, which help fund union causes for political gain, the workers discovered their signatures were fraudulent, Beck said. Continue reading »

Aug 192014

Photo: Jake Brewer/Creative Commons

 In a bizarre case of medieval barbarism fusing with 21st century technology and a dash of capitalism, the terrorist group Islamic State, which is rampaging across Syria and Iraq, has taken to the Internet with a new level of sophistication.

In Iraq, the government shut down Twitter and Facebook only to find terrorists are now selling apps on Google Play to connect with followers. This creates a challenge not only for governments but for Internet companies whose websites and products are being deployed for terrorist recruitment and propaganda.

Islamic State, also known as the Islamic Front, uses social media to spread terror with graphic depictions of murders and boasts of its territorial gains. Islamic State now has moved into the app business with applications that allow it to post propaganda directly to users and circumvent government controls of the Internet.

Its product, The Dawn of Glad Tidings, abbreviated to Dawn, was sold through Google Play and has been used to circulate more than 40,000 messages in recent days. The website even features a line of products, including T-shirts with revolutionary messages. Continue reading »

Aug 182014

Photo: Gage Skidmore/Creative Commons

As a character noted in Tom Wolfe’s “The Bonfire of the Vanities, a prosecutor could convince a grand jury to indict anything, even a ham sandwich. And while Texas Gov. Rick Perry isn’t a ham sandwich, he might as well be. Last Friday, a Texas grand jury returned a two-count indictment against Perry that even Democratic strategist and Obama confidante David Axelrod labelled “sketchy.”

So what did the governor do to attract the attention of a Travis County prosecutor? He vetoed a proposed spending bill, a clear exercise of his executive power under Article 4, Section 14 of the Texas Constitution, one which is shared by virtually every other state governor and, at the federal level, by the president. Certainly, there’s a bit more to the story—the sausage-making of state politics that many find unsavory.

Travis County district attorney Rosemary Lehmberg was busted for drunk driving—her blood alcohol level was nearly three times the legal limit, she was driving erratically and into oncoming traffic, and she had an open bottle of vodka in her car. Beyond that, she became belligerent following her arrest, telling the officers that she was a district attorney and that they were going to be the ones who would wind up behind bars. She eventually pled guilty and was sentenced to 45 days in jail and fined $4,000. Perry, who thought (as did others) that Lehmberg ought to resign, threatened to veto funding for a unit in her office if she did not do so. When she refused to resign, Perry made good on his threat and vetoed the proposed $7.5 million funding for an investigative unit that reports to her. That veto was not overridden by the required two-thirds of both houses of the Texas legislature, and so the funds were not appropriated. Continue reading »