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10/13/12

Could do with a haircut

The photo that was included in the dossier handed to Peru's government by Alberto Fujimori's children, pleading for an official pardon.

As for special treatment in a Peru prison, you can see he gets it from this photo. There are sheets and a pillow.

UPDATE: Photo versions already appearing, including this one, this one and this below:


And this one from @jfowks

Junior miner Liberty Silver under double scrutiny

We highly recommend this Peter Koven report in today's Financial Post for more information on the growing hoo-hah around Liberty Silver (LSL.to) (LBSV.ob), the promo pumped junior that was halted by the SEC a week (and a bit) ago and is now under official halt status in Canada, too. Koven does a particularly good job on the Canadian people angle of LSL and although doesn't say it out loud, there's clearly a connection to be drawn between the high profile people on the LSL board and the way in which LSL managed to by-pass Venture Exchange listing to get quoted immediately on the TSX. Anyway, go read Koven's story for yourself and get more informed without me blathering in your ear.

We also remind readers of our own modest efforts on this story, earlier in the week. They can be found on this link.

Five days of metals and miners; October 13th

Our regular Saturday slot of the last five days' worth of action in the gold bullion ETF (GLD), the silver bullion  ETF (SLV), the miner ETF (GDX), the junior miner ETF (GDXJ) and the copper ETF (COPX).


A losing week for all the squiggly lines we follow. Hardly a disaster week, but a loser all the same. Notably, the worst of the bunch was the gold miner producer ETF (GDX), with its first real retreat since the Bouncing Bernanke QE3 announcement days. The others, all around a point off for the week.

10/12/12

Anglo American (AAL.L) (AAUKY) being kicked out of Venezuela and its nickel operation to be nationalized

Setty has the exclusive right here. Go read for yourself, but here's how his scoop kicks off:

"Anglo American has a nickel mine in Venezuela. A month from now, from what I hear, that won’t be the case. The concessions now being mined expire..." continues here

The Friday OT: Robert Frost; Mending Wall (read by Robert Frost)

You have a recording of the man himself, reading one of his most famous verses. You have the words, you have images of the Berlin Wall. 


Something there is that doesn't love a wall.

The world's 50 most dangerous cities, all on one chart

Via the excellent blog Diverging Markets and the always informative seguridad y justicia page, we get this chart made from stats supplied by Consejo Ciudadano para la Seguridad Pública y la Justicia Penal.

Click chart to significantly ingranderate image (or embiggenfy, if you prefer)

And thusly San Pedro Sula was the most dangerous city in the world last year 2011, beating out Ciudad Juarez and all the others listed. Also note that of the top 20, 100% are in Latin America. Diverging Markets adds the datapoint that of the full 50, 14 are in Brazil, 12 in Mexico and 5 in Colombia.

Five hundred and twenty years ago today...

...the person known in the English language as Christopher Colombus, while attempting to find a new route to India, arrived on the shores of The Americas. If he were around today he would have had the same result using Apple Maps.

Chart of the day is...

...the US Dollar (USD) Chinese Renminbi/Yuan (CNY) exchange rate, last five years:


As the FT notes, it's the highest in the last 19 years this morning.

10/11/12

Peru benchmark interest rate stays at 4.25% for the 17th straight month

Peru central banker? Easy Life! The board met again today and decided it was best not to fiddle with the benchmark interest rate of the country. For the 17th month running.

From here

Minyanville does the Sanchez-Paredes

Snappily entitled "Gold Mining Company Actually Trafficking Cocaine: Authorities" and your humble scribe is quoted. 


Fortuna Silver (FSM) (FVI.to) 3q12 silver production looks like this

NR here, silver numbers here. By the way, gold production was 498oz down on 2q12. 


Your humble scribe has fielded several mails on this company in the last 48 hours, the general theme "buy this pullback?". We'll go into it on Sunday subbers, as there's no need to rush into a decision in the next 48 hours as far as fundies are concerned. 

Chart of the day is...

...gold, dailies:

All those high falutin' Gordon Gekko wannabes in Bay and Howe Streets can't use gold for their alpha. Time for the gold producers.

10/10/12

Gold and cocaine and Peru and USJD and funstuff

Here's a US justice dept NR headline dated today, October 10th:

"Manhattan U.S. Attorney Announces Seizure Of Over $31 Million In Connection With An International Drug Trafficking And Money Laundering Scheme"


And here's a bit of the NR with the name Sanchez-Paredes in it:

"...today announced the seizure of over $31 million from nine bank accounts in the United States, which are alleged to have been connected to an international money laundering scheme run by a drug trafficking organization operated by members of the Sanchez-Paredes family (the “Sanchez-Paredes DTO”), a family that Peruvian law enforcement authorities have been investigating since the early 1980s."

And here's a bit about the San Simon gold mine:

 "For example, the Sanchez-Paredes DTO owns two mining companies, CIA Minera Aurifera Santa Rosa SA (“Comarsa”), and CIA Minera San Simon (“San Simon”), which purport to be in the business of mining gold, but are believed to be in the business of producing cocaine. In March 2007, Peruvian authorities seized approximately 125 tons of calcium oxide, a chemical used to both mine gold and produce cocaine, that were later identified as having been purchased by Comarsa and San Simon. Comarsa’s mining records show that on numerous occasions, the amount of calcium oxide it used did not correspond with the amounts needed to process gold. This suggests that Comarsa is not actually involved in the business of mining gold, but rather in the business of producing cocaine."

My thanks to JR for the headsup.

Brazilian Real forex (BRL) datapoint of love

Top Brazilonomics blogger Drunkeynesian informs us that exactly ten years ago today on October 10th 2002, the Brazilian Real (BRL) traded at 4:1 to the US Dollar (USD). He has the chart and everything, right here.

In a shocking development, the world notices that Venezuelans resident in Miami are not a representative pool of their fellow nationals

This table shows the results of how the 8,509 Venezuelans resident in the Southeast of the USA (nearly all in Miami) voted in the 2012 Venezuela Presidential election, according to the official Venezuela election body (CNE) figures and this report:

(if you're wondering, the 6 votes were scored by Reina Sequera, an independent candidate)

So well done Capriles, scoring 99% of the Miami vote, which compares quite favourably to the overall Chávez 55.14% / 44.24% win over Capriles with 97.65% of the votes now counted. However, we can fully expect the Northern media channels to continue to faithfully represent the views of the 8,500 Miami expats more than the country. Because that's how democracy works.

10/9/12

Liberty Silver (LBSV) (LSL.to), from IKN179


This is the report written on Liberty Silver (LSL.to) (LBSV.ob) that appeared in last Sunday's edition of The IKN Weekly, issue 179. The only thing to have changed are the two price charts, because I didn't save the ones from last week and have used the ones available on yahoo today which show the same thing, just a couple of extra days down the line. The rest is verbatim.


Liberty Silver (LBSV.ob) (LSL.to): A scam and a screaming short (if it ever trades over a buck again)
A number of weeks ago (to be quite honest, I can’t remember exactly when) I did a quick pass check of a TSX listed company called Liberty Silver (LSL.to) (LBSV) (LBSV.ob) on the suggestion of an IKN reader, but at that time had made it an easy pass because of the low-grade marginal property it was optioning into. I didn’t look much at the people or structure behind LSL at the time as it was one of those companies I tend to filter out quickly as “not reaching first base”, place in the mental discard pile, simply avoid from that point and move on to other potentials. It’s a pity I didn’t look more closely at LSL at the time because if I’d done so I would have seen a screaming short candidate.
Cut to last week, and on Wednesday I was pointed in the direction of LSL by a contact, someone who knows both the property and had checked behind the company curtain, and told me in no uncertain terms that the company was a scam. I saw the recent share price run-up...


...downloaded the SEDAR files, checked through them and suddenly LSL was past first base and onto second, but this time as a potential short. And when I saw the name of the person who was running the show from backstage, a certain infamous Bobby Genovese, it went straight to home run. With the price running above $1.50 on Thursday on strong volume and no real news and listing in the USA on the OTCBB (that does most of the volume) and on the TSX as LSL.to (note, not a Venture exchange listing) this had the makings of a great shortable story to put before you today and one that many of you (I admit not all, because shorting Canadian stocks isn’t child’s play and much easier if you’re an accredited investor or inside an insto) would be able to play to the downside.
Then on Friday morning, my big idea was shattered by this (22), an SEC news release halting trading in the stock. This halt was well reported in the press, for example this (23) the link to a Stockwatch report on LSL last Friday evening written by the always good Mike Caswell, which also adds background to this scam and is well worth reading. So anyway, pre-bell Friday the SEC put a ten day trading halt on the otcbb listing which was emulated very quickly by IIROC in Canada (not before 138k shares had traded through at a big drop price of 97c, but to be honest IIROC did pretty well under the circumstances to block trading in LSL.to as quickly as it did and should be commended). We can see the effect the halt had on the stock via the few trades that got through before the Canadian listing was halted, in this five day chart:

As the LSL NR later that day (24) (after the bell in fact) confirmed the halt and added some flavour to the reasons behind it
According to the Order, the SEC states that, "It appears to the SEC that there is a lack of current and accurate information concerning the securities of Liberty Silver because of questions concerning publicly available information about Liberty Silver, the control of its stock, its market price, and trading in the stock"
We can translate that for you. It means that the SEC believes there is at least one large holder of LSL stock (and probably more than one) that has not done the right thing and filed their total holding in the stock to the authorities. These are known as “undisclosed free trading shares” and the problem is that the person who owns them can suddenly decide to dump some or all of that large holding on the market without anyone knowing who the seller might be. And if, as is almost certainly the case in this story, the large holder is an insider at the company, the sales can easily be made at the most advantageous  moment for the seller. Or put in simple terms, the cloak of anonymity makes the “dump” part of “pump and dump” a whole lot easier and probably much more profitable. It’s also illegal, which is why the SEC has halted the stock to give time for investigations.
About the people behind Liberty Silver
Before we jump in to this section, I’d like to make clear that some of the information that follows comes from an as-yet unpublished report that was sent out by persons who wish to remain anonymous (for obvious reasons) to myself and to a mailing list that includes industry professionals and journalists who have shown interest in this scam, in LSL the company, in the history and track record of Bobby Genovese and in market scams in general. They are concerned investment professionals who want real reform and better regulatory oversight of micro and small cap issuers and have assured me that they are not short (or long for that matter, no position at all) Liberty Silver. I also know the ID of at least one of the people who authored the report (again, will remain anonymous) and will personally vouch for that person’s trustworthiness, absolute integrity and track record of hunting down market scumbags. The report is excellent and goes deeply into the background of the unwholesome people behind this scam, highlighting the many other examples of otcbb pump and dump scams they’ve been associated with over the years, going into detail as to how LSL has been set up and also marking your cards on two other companies currently being set up as pump and dumps scams by Genovese and his crew.
What follows is a quick rundown of datapoints on the corporate structure and people behind LSL, unearthed by your author in the period Wednesday to Friday as well as a few of the many datapoints revealed by the report. It’s not as long as it was going to be if the SEC hadn’t halted the stock and scuppered the potential short play, but it should give you more than enough idea.
The company has around 81m shares outstanding. Around 65m of those shares were issued at a fraction of a penny and are now held in offshore accounts (that’s reliable off-record).

Most of those 65m very cheap shares are held by Robert Donald Bruce Genovese, known to friends and foes alike as Bobby Genovese or sometimes simply “Bobby G”. We’ll call him ‘Genovese’ from here on because I have no desire ever to be on first name terms with this scumbag. Genovese also bought a fair whack of LSL shares over the OTC market in the period December 2011 to January 2012 at prices at or around one dollar (25) at the same time as a placement that raised $4.6m (the qualifying placement for the company’s TSX listing) was running on the stock, units priced at 50c. From these transactions, we know that he controls at least 10% of the company but that’s almost certainly the tip of the iceberg and he holds a lot more of these shares. Based on information from reliable sources, Genovese holds at least 48m shares of LSL that come from the original transactions and forward splits that set up the company structure we see today. However, it’s necessary to state that this 48m holding is not officially known and in fact the lack of disclosure on Genovese’s part is likely one of the main reasons the SEC halted the stock pre-bell Friday morning, so in the course of the next few days I’d expect clarification on this matter.
 
Genovese is a penny stock pump and dump scam runner and has made millions of dollars for his own back pocket by unscrupulously ripping off the general public over the years. That’s not an opinion that’s a fact, as anyone who watched the action and events around “Clearly Canadian”, a mineral water company that shot higher and dived lower in the period 2005 to 2008 will testify. According to SEDI insider transaction records Genovese had access to millions upon millions of very cheap shares and proceeded to dump those millions of shares on the general public while in charge of the company at the time. His aggressive selling continued up to the point when the share price, that tended to fluctuate between $2 and $4.50 (the average between $2.50 and $3), collapsed back into the pennies region. He used highly aggressive pumping techniques, including paying pumpers to do his dirty work and sucker in as many retail shareholders as possible, then when the stock was high enough he cashed in relentlessly.

‘Clearly Canadian’ is not his only pump and dump scam either, not by a long chalk. The last 20 years is littered with the remains of companies he has promoted, pumped, dumped and cashed in with, all to the retail shareholders’ chagrin. The table above is from the mentioned report (I asked for and was denied permission from the authors to pass on the whole PDF, but was granted permission to sample from it, including the sampling of this table). For further reading I also point you towards to this report (26) by Carol Remond of Dow Jones Newswires dated November 2009 that goes into the world of Genovese and some of the scams that he has successfully led. Genovese is now by all accounts a very wealthy man, but he’s made his money the parasite’s way.
Moving back to LSL, in August and September 2012 Genovese cajoled or hired for cash a bevy of newsletter writers into promo’ing his stock. Top of the list comes James West of The Midas Letter, one of the most two-faced and unscrupulous of all mining newsletter writers (and my stars, there’s competition for that mantle) to pump the company to his subscribers. Along with the others brought on board for the same purposes West was paid handsomely to write up LSL in glowing terms and got a lot of people on board, pushing the share price higher on no apparent news. Interestingly, since the SEC halted LSL James West has decided that he doesn’t want to be associated with the name any more and as all good cockroaches do, has crawled under a rock and pulled his glowing (and extremely stupid) note on LSL from his website. However it can still be found at this address (27) and we also recommend that you check out Iwnattos’s review of the James West piece here (28) as that blogger does an entertaining job of pulling James West’s infantile promotion arguments into little pieces. And before we leave this paragraph, it’s worth noting that the two-faced West may get his own comeuppance on this play because the only disclosure he makes on payment from LSL is “I am a shareholder”. This is a direct violation of SEC rule 10b5, because he needs to state exactly, precisely how many shares and how he came to own them. If, as is almost certainly the case, he was given the shares in exchange for his sordid pumping of the stock and also received a cash payment, the man could be in trouble with the U.S authorities. Maybe that’s why he was so keen on pulling his note from his own website, but as noted above other copies already exist.
The property
A pump and dump has to be centred on something of value (or at least something that can be claimed as having value) and in this case, LSL’s fortunes have been tied to the Trinity Silver property in Nevada, USA. Here’s another brief rundown of the basic points of Trinity.
  • The Trinity property has been optioned from Renaissance Gold (REN.to). The deal cost LSL $25,000 up front, has a few cash payments along the way and the company now has four years in which to spend $5m on its development in order to earn 70% rights.
  • The heart of the Trinity property isn’t much more than a mined out deposit. It was mined by the Borax Company of USA in the period 1987 to 1989, when that operation mined out the best rock in the centre of the deposit grading around 6oz/t silver (around 185 g/t) in oxide host. When the best was mined, Borax decided that the silver price at the time for what was left was too low and they closed down the operation.
  • That’s still true today. Borax and others put in a lot of drill holes in and around the Trinity property, trying to find more of the good grading stuff, but nothing doing. What’s left there today is a non-43101 compliant historical resource that’s understood by the 2011 technical report to grade at an average of 0.7 ounces Ag per tonne. There’s plenty of rock there that grades to that average, but the whole resource is based on the halo of lower grading material that was left behind when Borax had finished the good material.
  • According to optioners REN.to (a serious exploration company), the interest that Trinity may hold is at depth, with the potential to drill under the low grading oxide halo and into the underlying sulphide to potentially discover a copper style porphyry system that wasn’t on the agenda of Borax in the 80s or others later. However, Genovese and LSL have stated that the company can put together a PEA based on the drilling done to date alone and that it’s not necessary to drill any more. This clearly implies that the very limited drilling program done by LSL earlier this year, which included just two twinning holes to check previous assay results from the historical drilling program instead of the 12 holes that third party technical report compilers Mine Development Associates (MDA) recommended, is all that LSL thinks it needs to get a PEA and then move to “fast track production” when added to the historical drilling that shows a lot of meterage but was done for another purpose, namely to find better, higher grade oxide with which it could extend mine life.
  • Now for an idea of project economics on this low grading oxide halo material. At the moment, both LSL and the third party technical report compilers MDA are using a conceptual recovery level of 75% for the silver held at Trinity. This means that processing a tonne of rock will earn you perhaps $18, at best in payable metal (based on 22g Ag grade, 16g recovered, $35/oz Ag price). From this you pay mining, processing, smelting, G&A, tax and interest on any loan. Look, on paper it might be possible to process that rock and make a marginal profit, but off the top of my head I can think of a dozen, nay two dozen other development stage silver projects that offer far, far better ballpark economics than that and none of them have a market cap anywhere near $70m, let alone $126m.
  • As for the valuation consider one thing, simply for perspective: According to the price at which LSL closed Thursday ($1.58), it’s $1.4m in cash and 70% of Trinity (assuming it makes the optioning-in commitment) is worth $126.4m by company market cap. Meanwhile, its 30% partner REN.to has a market cap of around $30m, but it also has another 30 exploration targets on its books (26 of those in Nevada/Utah), working capital of $6.3m (IKN estimated, with June 30 filings showing working cap of $7.36m and a company with  modest underlying burn rate) and top class geols running its show (it was spun out of AuEx Ventures and is headed by Ron Parratt, known in the trade as world class especially on Nevada).
People, this is nuts and it’s what put me off the company in the first place, back when I quickly filtered it, decided it didn’t get to first base and then discarded it without looking “behind the curtain”. Even if it weren’t being controlled by a proven pump and dump scam artist in Bobby Genovese, the most cursory glance at its only asset (barring an IKN estimated $1.4m in working capital that may have already depleted further) makes the company very, but very easy to discard.
The Sennen Affair
Another moment along the way in LSL version 2012 was its unsuccessful offer to buy out Sennen Resources (SN.v), a tiny exploreco that’s been quiet for a long time but does have one significant thing in its favour; a cash treasury of $13.5m that it’s been protecting through this rough period for juniors (Sidebar: SN.v currently has a market cap of $8.25m, so on paper at least there’s value in this stock’s share price at the moment). The offer was an all-paper deal in which LSL offered 0.28 of its shares for every share of SN.v. According to LSL this placed a 47.3% premium on SN.v’s share price and was equivalent to them running a private placement at 71c.
It goes without saying that SN and its board and management strongly disagreed. The merger was clearly a move to get its hands on the SN.v treasury by paying with dubious paper and after running its own DD, Sennen management were scornful of that paper and the assets that backed it up. In a series of some of the most entertaining defence NRs to a hostile takeover I’ve seen in years, SN released NR such as (29) on August 20th that included a mountain of pearls like this one...
Sennen's management and directors are totally focused on the resource sector, unlike the CEO of Liberty, who is a managing partner of a fund management company and sits on nine company boards, some of which are in the media and entertainment sector and responsible for such resource and energy related blockbusters as "Bingo Night in Canada", "Hooking up with Mariko" and "Ladies Night Out".
...along with plenty of technical and financial reasons to laugh the offer out the room and then concluded its argument in these terms.
Stated Ian Rozier, President and CEO of Sennen, "Liberty's Offer is an insult to the intelligence of Sennen Shareholders who understand that this is a clear case of the management and promoters of an OTC shell company with very little money and questionable assets trying to back their ludicrously overvalued paper into an established company with tangible assets-in this case Sennen and its treasury.
Wonderful stuff. In early September the hostile bid collapsed, with apparently very few or even none of the shareholders having decided to accept the LSL bid.
Conclusion
We could continue on this case for pages upon pages, but it’s time to draw a line under things. Liberty Silver (US OTC: LBSV) (TSX:LSL) is a scam stock run by a long-time scam runner who has made multi-millions of dollars over the years by taking the money of the innocent retail investor and putting it straight into his own back pocket. The plan today was to have pointed your way to an easy shorting opportunity on the TSX (and to be quite honest, even after dedicating plenty of time to this case this week and looking into the qualifying transaction back in late December, I’m still not sure how Liberty Silver managed to get a ticker straight on the TSX without having to go through the Venture exchange first; that’s one that raises serious questions about the Canadian regulators, I’m afraid), but the SEC slammed the gate shut on Friday morning and now things look very grim indeed for the company and anyone left holding a bag after having bought on the promo pump led by the scoundrel James West and aided and abetted by others who made buy calls on this stock.
In the end, I’m glad, very glad, that the SEC has acted quickly because a quick cauterizing of this cancerous company will do more good than an easy buck on a short trade. We applaud the SEC for its prompt action and therefore offer up LSL to you as a prime example of what happens when you do not do your own DD and rely on the word of others when investing in the junior mining world.

UPDATE: You need to read this, the report referenced above is now available for download. Go get your copy

10/8/12

Sharing beautiful things is one of the pleasures of a blog, and...

...Ronaldinho Gaucho's goal, October 6th 2012, is one of them.



If you only watch one goal being scored this year, make it this one.

And about his emotions afterwards: His stepfather died the day before the match and he nearly didn't play due to the news. Instead he did and scored three goals in the 6-0 win. 

On the road


Posting will be light for a couple of days, as your author has people to see. About things. And stuff. So while I'm away, you can click on this and order your copy of Dominic Frisby's new book 'Life After The State' (no I'm not on commission, I just want to see it happen). In the words of the man himself...
"This book is the culmination of these seven years of study, bordering on obsession. Just as I saw the financial crash of 2008 coming, I now see another one, even more calamitous, headed our way; only this one has serious political ramifications as well. But now, as then, not one high-profile politician, economist or journalist seems to "get it" - because not one of them have correctly identified the cause of our problems.

"I had never thought, before, about the nature of money. I never realised that there is a direct link between what we use as money and liberty, honesty and efficiency. It is in money – the blood of an economy – that our salvation lies.

"Support this book, and I’ll explain all"

And you can check out the contents by clicking here and hearing the author himself read chapter one to you, so your excuses for not ordering your copy are running thin, aren't they?

Chart of the day is...

...this. There can be only one.


That's not the final, all down official percentages because we still have about 7% of votes to be counted, so give it  couple of days and the numbers after the decimals may change a bit. But it's a done deal by anyone's standards. And by the way, recall how all through this campaign your humble scribe has pointed to Datanálisis as the "best of a bad bunch" when it comes to Venezuela opinion polls? Well folks, look at what some of Datanálisis's staunchest critics (and bigtime Capriles supporters) are now saying:

"Readers of this blog know that for the past few weeks, we (mostly me, really) have raised serious doubts about Datanálisis’ poll predictions. At the same time, we relied on Consultores 21′s projection that Capriles was ahead.
The results were a clear endorsement of Datanálisis, who predicted the outcome pretty nicely, and a serious embarassment to Consultores 21.
So in that regard, kudos to Datanálisis and their team. They can be proud, and I apologize for criticizing them."

Errrr....toldyaso.

10/7/12

Chávez wins

With 90% of ballots counted, Chávez has 54.42% of the valid vote, Capriles: 44.97%. The end.

And now allow me to re-post IKN's final thought on the Venezuela bunfest, dated September 21st 2012. the bit highlighted in red is highlighted in red.


xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
 
We're now two weeks and a bit from the October 7th vote that will decide whether Hugo Chávez Frías keeps his job or whether Henrique Capriles Radonski gets a new job. As the media bullshit chatter is already ratcheting up and is going to get a lot worse in the days left, IKN is therefore going to keep away from all the false polemics and liberty/tyranny/democracy/dictatorship/freedom/fair/fraud tosh and nonsense that your media channels of choice are bound to subject you to and make this post today our final comment on the subject until October 8th minimum. So for the record...
  • I think Chávez is favourite and if you wanted a book number from me, I'd go for something around 75% chance. Purely seat-of-pants subjective stuff. Put another gun to my head and I'd go for Chávez securing 55% of valid votes come the big day. Again, guesstimate.
  • However, this means that Capriles has about 24% more chance than any other candidate running against Chávez in recent years and his campaign shouldn't be written off. Henrique Capriles has run a good campaign, a smart campaign and has played to his strengths more than trying to attack Chávez on any given occasion. That type of slugfest would have favoured Chávez much more, so Capriles' strategic decision to keep away from the insult-swapping type of campaign has been a good one.  Bottom line: I'd consider it a surprise if he wins, but not a stunning surprise.
  • But one 100% dead cert is that media coverage and anal yst comment is going to be all-but insufferable. World-and-his-spouse all suddenly experts on the intricacies of Venezuelan politics? Why of course!
  • The final confident prediction is that on October 8th, the losers will be calling fraud. That, my fine feathered friends, is a given.

So, until October 8th and if you really have the right type of masochistic streak that insists you keep up with the BS show, Two Weeks Notice is as good a filter as any, I think.  


Venezuela unofficial official word gives Chávez as the likely winner

No fat lady singing, but the unofficial/official word leaking out of the CNE electoral body now is that Hugo Chávez gets to keep his job and has won today's Presidential election in Venezuela by around 1m votes.
So which pollster looks like getting closest? Here are all the September poll results from all the pollsters in Venezuela, wildly to the right, wildly to the left and all serious and pretending to be in the middle, too. From this link:


For me, looks like the average of all was better than any particular.

UPDATE: We now have an official result from the CNE: Chávez wins. With 90% of ballots counted, Chávez has 54.42% of the valid vote, Capriles: 44.97%. The end.

The IKN Weekly, out now


IKN179 has just been sent to subscribers. You'll need a stiff drink after reading it, so have one before as well. Which reminds me...