Patterico's Pontifications


Homes and Homeless in El Paso

Filed under: International — DRJ @ 8:51 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

Even though they live in Mexico, the new Mayor of Juarez and his wife have claimed a homestead exemption on their El Paso, Texas, residence for 13 years. This is a good example of how the dividing line between Juarez and El Paso is becoming increasingly blurred, but this El Paso homeless man knows the difference:

H/T A Friend.



Danger on the Texas Border

Filed under: International — DRJ @ 7:12 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

For an Administration that isn’t worried about securing the border, they sure are worried about the border:

“The State Department, meanwhile, announced new travel restrictions Friday for U.S. government employees working away from the border in Mexico and Central America. As of July 15, they and their families are barred from crossing anywhere along Texas’ border, north or south, because of safety concerns. The U.S. government continues to urge Americans to exercise extreme caution or defer unnecessary travel to certain parts of Mexico.”

I can’t find the warning at the State Department’s Current Travel Warnings. Perhaps it hasn’t been posted yet or it applies only to State Department employees and their dependents.


The Russian Spy Ring Children

Filed under: International — DRJ @ 4:09 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

There are 11 members of the alleged Russian spy ring, and 8 of them have 8 children whose lives will never be the same:

“At least two of the children, the toddler and pre-schooler whose parents posed as American Michael Zottoli and Canadian Patricia Mills, will be going to Russia. Federal prosecutors said Friday the couple acknowledged they are Russian citizens and instructed a family friend now caring for the children to contact relatives in Russia to arrange for the youngsters to go there.
The tot may now find himself learning a new language in a new country, but possibly without his parents as teachers.”

This is just one story of several recounted at the link in which the younger children (and perhaps the older ones, too) had no suspicion about their parents’ alleged activities or backgrounds — and why should they? But if their parents chose to live a lie, this is the terrible consequence of that choice.


Arrests Made in U.S. Consulate Murders (Updated)

Filed under: Crime,International — DRJ @ 2:03 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Mexican authorities have arrested two alleged cartel members in the March 2010 murders of two Americans, including a U.S. Consulate worker who they claim was providing passports to cartel members. If these allegations are correct, the cartels’ corruption and violence isn’t just in Mexico anymore.


UPDATEThe AP reports Enriquez did not work in the passport/visa area.

A New Era in U.S.-Afghan Relations, Take 4

Filed under: International,Obama — DRJ @ 1:52 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

General David Petraeus is doing what President Obama promised to do — talking to allies like Afghan President Hamid Karzai:

“A phone call from Gen. David Petraeus helped persuade President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan to approve a plan to lure Taliban fighters back into society, the New York Times reports.”

President Obama’s public criticism of Karzai failed to convince him to accept the U.S. position. Petraeus is obviously not the nuanced leader Obama is.


Cartel Violence in Mexico Kills 23

Filed under: International — DRJ @ 9:39 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Fox News reports that, near the Arizona border, rival Mexican smuggling and drug cartels engaged in a massive gun battle that left 21 dead:

“A massive gun battle between rival drug and migrant-trafficking gangs near the U.S. border left 21 people dead on Thursday, prosecutors said.”

And in Juarez, gunmen chased and killed a special prosecutor and one of her bodyguards.

Since 2006, over 4,300 people have been killed in Juarez and over 23,000 are dead nationwide. Mexico can barely function like this. How can it ever prosper? Plus, it’s inevitable that more and more violence will cross the border.

H/T Dana, with my thanks for consistently good links.


El Paso City Hall Shooting Update

Filed under: Crime,International — DRJ @ 8:31 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Earlier this week, I posted on a report that the El Paso, Texas, City Hall was hit by bullets originating in Juarez. Six to seven bullets hit the building, including one that entered an office.

Today El Paso Police Chief Greg Allen announced the bullets were from AK-47s, the guns typically used by drug cartels. That’s a large caliber bullet. It’s fortunate no one was hurt.


The L’Oreal Heiress Trial

Filed under: International — DRJ @ 8:05 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

A rather common situation can become very uncommon when you add money, politics and intrigue, especially in France. The participants:

  • 87-year-old Liliane Bettencourt, heiress of the L’Oreal SA cosmetics empire and one of the richest people in the world.
  • Her daughter, Francoise Bettencourt-Meyers. Mother and daughter are no longer on speaking terms.
  • Photographer Francois-Marie Banier, who is accused of exploiting his relationship with Liliane for financial gain and could be sentenced to three years in prison if convicted.
  • Bettencourt’s butler, who apparently is not accused of wrongdoing but has provided 21 hours of recordings of the heiress talking to her advisers.
  • The problem:

    “The butler’s lawyer, Antoine Gillot, has vouched for the authenticity of the recordings and the accuracy of excerpts leaked to the press.

    In them, Bettencourt’s financial adviser speaks to her as though to a child, and she is sometimes confused. The heiress’ lawyer defended her mental acuity, saying she is simply hard of hearing.

    At one point in the taped conversation, adviser Patrice de Maistre reminds Bettencourt that she signed over her private island in the Seychelles to Banier.

    “I wanted to give him an island?” a puzzled Bettencourt asks, according to the media excerpts.”

    The trial began today but was suspended within hours following suggestions that the foreign accounts were established to help Bettencourt evade French taxes. Over the past weeks, leaks of these allegations of government wrongdoing (as well as other problems) have reportedly sent conservative President Nicolas Sarkozy’s approval rating to a “dismal 26 percent.”

    — DRJ


    Kids Day Camp in Gaza

    Filed under: International,Terrorism — DRJ @ 9:00 pm

    [Guest post by DRJ]

    Gaza’s summer day camps for children are really, really competitive:

    “Rival day camps by the United Nations and Gaza’s Islamic militant Hamas rulers compete for the hearts of the next generation, the roughly 700,000 children under 15 who make up nearly half of the Gaza Strip’s population.

    Hamas camps teach an anti-Israeli doctrine and military-style marching, along with horseback riding, swimming and Islam. U.N. camps try to instill hope in a better future, a message wrapped in fun and games.”

    The article has more details on what kids do in the Hamas camps and the UN camps so read the whole thing. Once again, the “good works” of Hamas are distinguished from its terrorist actions, but it’s a dangerous distinction that leads to children taught to celebrate their own mother’s death:

    — DRJ

    Russian Spy Tales

    Filed under: International — DRJ @ 3:59 am

    [Guest post by DRJ]

    Spy Tale #1Real sex, real kids, but not all were married.

    Spy Tale #2Some were better at complaining than spying.

    Spy Tale #3One made an interesting connection with an Obama Cabinet official.

    Don’t you think Anna Chapman (photo at the links) could be a Bond girl?

    — DRJ

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