Frightening the horses (2)

Hugo ChavezPat Robertson. *sigh*

I had planned to use this post to comment on Robertson’s original “take him out” tirade against Hugo Chavez, but really, is he worth it? One shouldn’t mock the afflicted, after all.

Anyway, the text of Robertson’s original comments, his first, hilarious (not to mention mendacious) non-retraction (“I didn’t say ‘assassination.’ I said our, uh, our special forces should, quote, ‘take him out.’ And ‘take him out’ can be a lot, a number of things, including kidnapping”), and his written statement “to clarify remarks made on the Monday, August 22nd edition of The 700 Club”, can be found here.

How anybody could describe that statement as an “apology” is beyond me. OK, Robertson says he apologises for using the word “assassination”, but then he goes on to say, “would it not be wiser to wage war against one person rather than finding ourselves down the road locked in a bitter struggle with a whole nation?” (Y’know, I’m sure I’ve heard a comment not entirely dissimilar to that somewhere before.)

Further down the statement, Robertson invokes the example of “the brilliant Protestant theologian, Dietrich Bonhoeffer”, and his decision to “lend his support to those in Germany who had joined together in an attempt to assassinate Adolf Hitler”. So Pat Robertson thinks that he is Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Chavez is Adolf Hitler? Pathetic.

Bonhoeffer made the decisions he did at the end of a long process of peaceful resistance to Nazi rule, and he did so knowing he faced imprisonment, torture and death if caught. He would be appalled to find his example being used as implicit justification for a “doctrine of assassination” in any circumstances. But to use Bonhoeffer’s example to support actions, not by desperate individuals living under tyranny, but by the most powerful nation in the world in order to uphold that nation’s economic and strategic interests through the murder of a democratically elected leader? Just pathetic.

Anyway, let’s move on to some interesting links concerning this fiasco. First off, Rick Ritchie suggests that Robertson’s outbursts over the years support Neil Postman’s argument that “anything important suffered when it was covered on television”:

The three areas of life that were too important to leave to television were politics, news, and religion. Robertson has managed to mangle all three at the same time.

The British politics blog Blood & Treasure asks, “Who would Jesus kill?” (language warning). Opening with a nice Fast Show reference – “This week, the Rev. Pat Robertson mostly wants to kill Hugo Chavez” – Jamie Kenny goes on to look at some of Robertson’s other proposed targets in the past: Osama bin Laden, people who’ve seen UFOs, “Ah, **** it. KILL THEM ALL!”.

The Guardian gives some background to Chavez and his two fingers to America (see picture, left). Interesting read, though from a very pro-Chavez perspective. It argues that the main reason for US antipathy toward Chavez is his support for Cuba, which has been “the grateful recipient of cheap Venezuelan oil, replacing the subsidised oil it once used to receive from the Soviet Union”. But that doesn’t mean Chavez is a new Castro:

[A]lthough his rhetoric is revolutionary, his reforms have been moderate and social democratic. He criticises the policies of “savage neo-liberalism” that have done so much harm to the poorer peoples of Venezuela and Latin America in the past 20 years, yet the private sector is still alive and well. His land reform is aimed chiefly at unproductive land and provides for compensation.

His most obvious achievement, which should not have been controversial, has been to channel increased oil revenues into a fresh range of social projects that bring health and education into neglected shanty-towns.

As this article concludes, were Robertson’s wish to become somebody’s command, the results could be tragic for Venezuela:

Assassinations may be easy to plan, and not difficult to accomplish. But their legacy is incalculable. The radical leader of neighbouring Colombia, Jorge Gaitán, was assassinated more than 50 years ago, in 1948. In terms of civil war and violence, the Colombians have been paying the price ever since. No one would wish that fate on Venezuela.

Not even, one would hope, Pat Robertson.

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40 Responses to Frightening the horses (2)

  1. CPA says:

    As you could see from my comments on “Daylight” Robertson’s comments are inexcusable (and unlike other commentators, I actually have an objection to assassination in principle). But there’s a LOT more to be said about Chavez.
    I’d suggest the following assessment by Mark Falcoff. Is Chavez a menace to the US? Maybe. Is he a menace to Venezuela’s future? Pretty likely. Is he the very caricature of the bombastic Latin American dictator (try General Alcazar in “Tintin and the Picaros”)? Most definitely.
    Here’s a few key quotes from Falcoff’s column: In some ways the Chávez regime represents nothing new at all in Venezuela or indeed for the region as a whole — it is merely an exaggerated version of the classical Latin American populist regime, one that rewards loyal followers and buys off potential opponents through the promiscuous use of government funds. But unlike its predecessors elsewhere, this regime survives not by borrowing heavily from abroad, or expropriating foreign investors’ assets, or printing money (or all three), but by earning hard dollars from the export of oil by the state oil company, PDVSA. Nor is Chávez himself a unique phenomenon in Latin America — he merely represents the latest incarnation of the phenomenon pioneered by the late Argentine strongman Juan Perón in the 1940s: the authoritarian by popular consent. Chávez, we should recall, has been elected twice, was reaffirmed in a referendum last year, and is a sure bet for reelection next year. While in theory Venezuela is a constitutional democracy, in practice Chávez has packed the courts, converted the armed forces into a private constabulary, and disobeyed his own new constitution which, on paper at least, established a limited system of checks and balances. Where the rules cannot be bent, the government often reverts to low-grade thuggery and intimidation.
    The thousands of Cubans at work in his government are also a bit worrying, especially after the experience of Grenada, where they helped the radical conspirators shoot Maurice Bishop and the moderate socialists who invited them in.
    But here’s the bottom line on “does Chavez help the poor” (by an author, by the way, arguing against US pressure:
    After seven years in office, most of them during an oil boom, Chavez’s welfare programs or misiones have not, for the most part, panned out. According to government data, Venezuela’s unemployment rate last year was higher (13.7 percent) than in 1998 (11 percent). More than 53 percent of households lived in poverty last year as opposed to 49 percent seven years ago. The percentage of households without basic public services remains exactly the same.

  2. CPA says:

    As you could see from my comments on “Daylight” Robertson’s comments are inexcusable (and unlike other commentators, I actually have an objection to assassination in principle). But there’s a LOT more to be said about Chavez.
    I’d suggest the following assessment by Mark Falcoff. Is Chavez a menace to the US? Maybe. Is he a menace to Venezuela’s future? Pretty likely. Is he the very caricature of the bombastic Latin American dictator (try General Alcazar in “Tintin and the Picaros”)? Most definitely.
    Here’s a few key quotes from Falcoff’s column: In some ways the Chávez regime represents nothing new at all in Venezuela or indeed for the region as a whole — it is merely an exaggerated version of the classical Latin American populist regime, one that rewards loyal followers and buys off potential opponents through the promiscuous use of government funds. But unlike its predecessors elsewhere, this regime survives not by borrowing heavily from abroad, or expropriating foreign investors’ assets, or printing money (or all three), but by earning hard dollars from the export of oil by the state oil company, PDVSA. Nor is Chávez himself a unique phenomenon in Latin America — he merely represents the latest incarnation of the phenomenon pioneered by the late Argentine strongman Juan Perón in the 1940s: the authoritarian by popular consent. Chávez, we should recall, has been elected twice, was reaffirmed in a referendum last year, and is a sure bet for reelection next year. While in theory Venezuela is a constitutional democracy, in practice Chávez has packed the courts, converted the armed forces into a private constabulary, and disobeyed his own new constitution which, on paper at least, established a limited system of checks and balances. Where the rules cannot be bent, the government often reverts to low-grade thuggery and intimidation.
    The thousands of Cubans at work in his government are also a bit worrying, especially after the experience of Grenada, where they helped the radical conspirators shoot Maurice Bishop and the moderate socialists who invited them in.
    But here’s the bottom line on “does Chavez help the poor” (by an author, by the way, arguing against US pressure:
    After seven years in office, most of them during an oil boom, Chavez’s welfare programs or misiones have not, for the most part, panned out. According to government data, Venezuela’s unemployment rate last year was higher (13.7 percent) than in 1998 (11 percent). More than 53 percent of households lived in poverty last year as opposed to 49 percent seven years ago. The percentage of households without basic public services remains exactly the same.

  3. CPA says:

    As you could see from my comments on “Daylight” Robertson’s comments are inexcusable (and unlike other commentators, I actually have an objection to assassination in principle). But there’s a LOT more to be said about Chavez.
    I’d suggest the following assessment by Mark Falcoff. Is Chavez a menace to the US? Maybe. Is he a menace to Venezuela’s future? Pretty likely. Is he the very caricature of the bombastic Latin American dictator (try General Alcazar in “Tintin and the Picaros”)? Most definitely.
    Here’s a few key quotes from Falcoff’s column: In some ways the Chávez regime represents nothing new at all in Venezuela or indeed for the region as a whole — it is merely an exaggerated version of the classical Latin American populist regime, one that rewards loyal followers and buys off potential opponents through the promiscuous use of government funds. But unlike its predecessors elsewhere, this regime survives not by borrowing heavily from abroad, or expropriating foreign investors’ assets, or printing money (or all three), but by earning hard dollars from the export of oil by the state oil company, PDVSA. Nor is Chávez himself a unique phenomenon in Latin America — he merely represents the latest incarnation of the phenomenon pioneered by the late Argentine strongman Juan Perón in the 1940s: the authoritarian by popular consent. Chávez, we should recall, has been elected twice, was reaffirmed in a referendum last year, and is a sure bet for reelection next year. While in theory Venezuela is a constitutional democracy, in practice Chávez has packed the courts, converted the armed forces into a private constabulary, and disobeyed his own new constitution which, on paper at least, established a limited system of checks and balances. Where the rules cannot be bent, the government often reverts to low-grade thuggery and intimidation.
    The thousands of Cubans at work in his government are also a bit worrying, especially after the experience of Grenada, where they helped the radical conspirators shoot Maurice Bishop and the moderate socialists who invited them in.
    But here’s the bottom line on “does Chavez help the poor” (by an author, by the way, arguing against US pressure:
    After seven years in office, most of them during an oil boom, Chavez’s welfare programs or misiones have not, for the most part, panned out. According to government data, Venezuela’s unemployment rate last year was higher (13.7 percent) than in 1998 (11 percent). More than 53 percent of households lived in poverty last year as opposed to 49 percent seven years ago. The percentage of households without basic public services remains exactly the same.

  4. CPA says:

    As you could see from my comments on “Daylight” Robertson’s comments are inexcusable (and unlike other commentators, I actually have an objection to assassination in principle). But there’s a LOT more to be said about Chavez.
    I’d suggest the following assessment by Mark Falcoff. Is Chavez a menace to the US? Maybe. Is he a menace to Venezuela’s future? Pretty likely. Is he the very caricature of the bombastic Latin American dictator (try General Alcazar in “Tintin and the Picaros”)? Most definitely.
    Here’s a few key quotes from Falcoff’s column: In some ways the Chávez regime represents nothing new at all in Venezuela or indeed for the region as a whole — it is merely an exaggerated version of the classical Latin American populist regime, one that rewards loyal followers and buys off potential opponents through the promiscuous use of government funds. But unlike its predecessors elsewhere, this regime survives not by borrowing heavily from abroad, or expropriating foreign investors’ assets, or printing money (or all three), but by earning hard dollars from the export of oil by the state oil company, PDVSA. Nor is Chávez himself a unique phenomenon in Latin America — he merely represents the latest incarnation of the phenomenon pioneered by the late Argentine strongman Juan Perón in the 1940s: the authoritarian by popular consent. Chávez, we should recall, has been elected twice, was reaffirmed in a referendum last year, and is a sure bet for reelection next year. While in theory Venezuela is a constitutional democracy, in practice Chávez has packed the courts, converted the armed forces into a private constabulary, and disobeyed his own new constitution which, on paper at least, established a limited system of checks and balances. Where the rules cannot be bent, the government often reverts to low-grade thuggery and intimidation.
    The thousands of Cubans at work in his government are also a bit worrying, especially after the experience of Grenada, where they helped the radical conspirators shoot Maurice Bishop and the moderate socialists who invited them in.
    But here’s the bottom line on “does Chavez help the poor” (by an author, by the way, arguing against US pressure:
    After seven years in office, most of them during an oil boom, Chavez’s welfare programs or misiones have not, for the most part, panned out. According to government data, Venezuela’s unemployment rate last year was higher (13.7 percent) than in 1998 (11 percent). More than 53 percent of households lived in poverty last year as opposed to 49 percent seven years ago. The percentage of households without basic public services remains exactly the same.

  5. John H says:

    Chris – thanks for those links. I’m sure Mark Falcoff is right in arguing that Chavez’s personal popularity is directly proportional to the oil price, and if the price of oil goes south then so will our Hugo.
    The revolutionary rhetoric coupled with business-as-usual for many of the rich could be a sign of moderation (as Richard Gott argues in the Guardian piece I linked), or it could be a sign that the man’s an absurd fraud (as Falcoff contends). Will reserve judgment on that one for the moment.

  6. John H says:

    Chris – thanks for those links. I’m sure Mark Falcoff is right in arguing that Chavez’s personal popularity is directly proportional to the oil price, and if the price of oil goes south then so will our Hugo.
    The revolutionary rhetoric coupled with business-as-usual for many of the rich could be a sign of moderation (as Richard Gott argues in the Guardian piece I linked), or it could be a sign that the man’s an absurd fraud (as Falcoff contends). Will reserve judgment on that one for the moment.

  7. John H says:

    Chris – thanks for those links. I’m sure Mark Falcoff is right in arguing that Chavez’s personal popularity is directly proportional to the oil price, and if the price of oil goes south then so will our Hugo.
    The revolutionary rhetoric coupled with business-as-usual for many of the rich could be a sign of moderation (as Richard Gott argues in the Guardian piece I linked), or it could be a sign that the man’s an absurd fraud (as Falcoff contends). Will reserve judgment on that one for the moment.

  8. John H says:

    Chris – thanks for those links. I’m sure Mark Falcoff is right in arguing that Chavez’s personal popularity is directly proportional to the oil price, and if the price of oil goes south then so will our Hugo.
    The revolutionary rhetoric coupled with business-as-usual for many of the rich could be a sign of moderation (as Richard Gott argues in the Guardian piece I linked), or it could be a sign that the man’s an absurd fraud (as Falcoff contends). Will reserve judgment on that one for the moment.

  9. Donald Johnson says:

    I don’t know much about Chavez or Venezuela, but I know something about Mark Falcoff. He wrote an article in the conservative journal Commentary early in 1999 and in a letter published in the Sept. 1999 issue, someone pointed out that Reagan had praised the genocidal dictator Rios Montt. That’s something anyone who has read about Guatemala in the early 80’s would know. Falcoff replied by saying, well, yes, Reagan praised Rios Montt, but only at the beginning of his rule. That’s false–Reagan did praise him at the beginning, but he also came to his defense in December 1982, after Amnesty International had published reports of massacres of Mayan Indians. (See, for instance, page 211 of Aryeh Neier’s book Taking Liberties or virtually any book about Guatemala during this time frame). It’s extremely hard to believe that anyone who is an expert on Central American politics in that time period would not have known this. It is, however, easy to believe that someone who was defending Reagan would lie about this in a forum where no reply was possible. So maybe Falcoff is telling the truth about the situation in Venezuela, but I’d advise people to find other sources of information.

  10. Donald Johnson says:

    I don’t know much about Chavez or Venezuela, but I know something about Mark Falcoff. He wrote an article in the conservative journal Commentary early in 1999 and in a letter published in the Sept. 1999 issue, someone pointed out that Reagan had praised the genocidal dictator Rios Montt. That’s something anyone who has read about Guatemala in the early 80’s would know. Falcoff replied by saying, well, yes, Reagan praised Rios Montt, but only at the beginning of his rule. That’s false–Reagan did praise him at the beginning, but he also came to his defense in December 1982, after Amnesty International had published reports of massacres of Mayan Indians. (See, for instance, page 211 of Aryeh Neier’s book Taking Liberties or virtually any book about Guatemala during this time frame). It’s extremely hard to believe that anyone who is an expert on Central American politics in that time period would not have known this. It is, however, easy to believe that someone who was defending Reagan would lie about this in a forum where no reply was possible. So maybe Falcoff is telling the truth about the situation in Venezuela, but I’d advise people to find other sources of information.

  11. Donald Johnson says:

    I don’t know much about Chavez or Venezuela, but I know something about Mark Falcoff. He wrote an article in the conservative journal Commentary early in 1999 and in a letter published in the Sept. 1999 issue, someone pointed out that Reagan had praised the genocidal dictator Rios Montt. That’s something anyone who has read about Guatemala in the early 80’s would know. Falcoff replied by saying, well, yes, Reagan praised Rios Montt, but only at the beginning of his rule. That’s false–Reagan did praise him at the beginning, but he also came to his defense in December 1982, after Amnesty International had published reports of massacres of Mayan Indians. (See, for instance, page 211 of Aryeh Neier’s book Taking Liberties or virtually any book about Guatemala during this time frame). It’s extremely hard to believe that anyone who is an expert on Central American politics in that time period would not have known this. It is, however, easy to believe that someone who was defending Reagan would lie about this in a forum where no reply was possible. So maybe Falcoff is telling the truth about the situation in Venezuela, but I’d advise people to find other sources of information.

  12. Donald Johnson says:

    I don’t know much about Chavez or Venezuela, but I know something about Mark Falcoff. He wrote an article in the conservative journal Commentary early in 1999 and in a letter published in the Sept. 1999 issue, someone pointed out that Reagan had praised the genocidal dictator Rios Montt. That’s something anyone who has read about Guatemala in the early 80’s would know. Falcoff replied by saying, well, yes, Reagan praised Rios Montt, but only at the beginning of his rule. That’s false–Reagan did praise him at the beginning, but he also came to his defense in December 1982, after Amnesty International had published reports of massacres of Mayan Indians. (See, for instance, page 211 of Aryeh Neier’s book Taking Liberties or virtually any book about Guatemala during this time frame). It’s extremely hard to believe that anyone who is an expert on Central American politics in that time period would not have known this. It is, however, easy to believe that someone who was defending Reagan would lie about this in a forum where no reply was possible. So maybe Falcoff is telling the truth about the situation in Venezuela, but I’d advise people to find other sources of information.

  13. John H says:

    Donald – thanks.
    I’m still resisting the temptation to get a t-shirt printed up with Hugo Chavez’ face on it, and to get my children to chant “We would be like Hugo!” every morning. 🙂
    (“We would be like Chav” would carry the wrong connotations here in the UK…)
    But when I saw he’d written a book called Cuba the Morning After: Confronting Castro�s Legacy, it did make me wonder just how neutral a witness Mr Falcoff is.
    And even if what Mr Falcoff is saying is accurate, I’m still a little wary of his motives. It’s hard not to suspect that the motive behind reciting this litany of failures is not so much a heartfelt concern for the disappointed poor of Caracas, as an attempt to delegitimise Chavez’s regime, which certainly seems to be the overall intention of Mr Falcoff’s essay.
    The point being to make people that little bit more inclined to shrug their shoulders when the next military coup, or the one after that, finally overthrows Chavez. Just as the US government came out with one almighty shrug after the failed coup a couple of years back.
    Mind you, that old Commie, Richard Gott, is scarcely a neutral figure either.
    *sigh*
    So much propaganda, so little time…

  14. John H says:

    Donald – thanks.
    I’m still resisting the temptation to get a t-shirt printed up with Hugo Chavez’ face on it, and to get my children to chant “We would be like Hugo!” every morning. 🙂
    (“We would be like Chav” would carry the wrong connotations here in the UK…)
    But when I saw he’d written a book called Cuba the Morning After: Confronting Castro�s Legacy, it did make me wonder just how neutral a witness Mr Falcoff is.
    And even if what Mr Falcoff is saying is accurate, I’m still a little wary of his motives. It’s hard not to suspect that the motive behind reciting this litany of failures is not so much a heartfelt concern for the disappointed poor of Caracas, as an attempt to delegitimise Chavez’s regime, which certainly seems to be the overall intention of Mr Falcoff’s essay.
    The point being to make people that little bit more inclined to shrug their shoulders when the next military coup, or the one after that, finally overthrows Chavez. Just as the US government came out with one almighty shrug after the failed coup a couple of years back.
    Mind you, that old Commie, Richard Gott, is scarcely a neutral figure either.
    *sigh*
    So much propaganda, so little time…

  15. John H says:

    Donald – thanks.
    I’m still resisting the temptation to get a t-shirt printed up with Hugo Chavez’ face on it, and to get my children to chant “We would be like Hugo!” every morning. 🙂
    (“We would be like Chav” would carry the wrong connotations here in the UK…)
    But when I saw he’d written a book called Cuba the Morning After: Confronting Castro�s Legacy, it did make me wonder just how neutral a witness Mr Falcoff is.
    And even if what Mr Falcoff is saying is accurate, I’m still a little wary of his motives. It’s hard not to suspect that the motive behind reciting this litany of failures is not so much a heartfelt concern for the disappointed poor of Caracas, as an attempt to delegitimise Chavez’s regime, which certainly seems to be the overall intention of Mr Falcoff’s essay.
    The point being to make people that little bit more inclined to shrug their shoulders when the next military coup, or the one after that, finally overthrows Chavez. Just as the US government came out with one almighty shrug after the failed coup a couple of years back.
    Mind you, that old Commie, Richard Gott, is scarcely a neutral figure either.
    *sigh*
    So much propaganda, so little time…

  16. John H says:

    Donald – thanks.
    I’m still resisting the temptation to get a t-shirt printed up with Hugo Chavez’ face on it, and to get my children to chant “We would be like Hugo!” every morning. 🙂
    (“We would be like Chav” would carry the wrong connotations here in the UK…)
    But when I saw he’d written a book called Cuba the Morning After: Confronting Castro�s Legacy, it did make me wonder just how neutral a witness Mr Falcoff is.
    And even if what Mr Falcoff is saying is accurate, I’m still a little wary of his motives. It’s hard not to suspect that the motive behind reciting this litany of failures is not so much a heartfelt concern for the disappointed poor of Caracas, as an attempt to delegitimise Chavez’s regime, which certainly seems to be the overall intention of Mr Falcoff’s essay.
    The point being to make people that little bit more inclined to shrug their shoulders when the next military coup, or the one after that, finally overthrows Chavez. Just as the US government came out with one almighty shrug after the failed coup a couple of years back.
    Mind you, that old Commie, Richard Gott, is scarcely a neutral figure either.
    *sigh*
    So much propaganda, so little time…

  17. CPA says:

    First off, the fact that poverty and unemployment has increased on Chavez’s watch despite a booming economy is not a “Falcoff” fact or assertion. It is a fact taken from Venezuelan official statistics as reported by many others. (The second quote BTW was NOT from Falcoff).
    Second about Donald Johnson’s assertion that Falcoff must be liar, I’m not familiar with the letter/article in question (unfortunately Commentary’s archive is only available for pay), but this doesn’t pass the smell test. A few facts that Donald doesn’t mention: Rios Montt was in power for fourteen months, from March, 1982, to August, 1983. The difference between criticizing Montt at the “beginning” of his time as dictator of Guatemala and in December, 1982, is at the very most nine months. Mark Falcoff was writing about the events in a letters section, probably under a tight deadline, about events that happened seventeen years before that time. Are you telling me that it is IMPOSSIBLE for one to honestly make a mistake of nine months in dating various statements some guy made seventeen years ago?
    And finally sure, Falcoff’s got an “agenda.” He doesn’t like the only government in Latin America where there is only one legal political party and that one based on “scientific atheism” which is compulsory indoctrination in all schools (sorry no private ones allowed). He doesn’t like the only govenrment in Latin America that routinely jail journalists, librarians, and all other public critics, routinely denies all rights to fair representation for criminal defendants, has no independent labor unions, and calls itself a “republic” while having one bombastic five-hour speech-making egomaniac as its president for the last 45-plus years. He doesn’t like a government that pursued its class warfare at the cost of exiling 10% of its population and confiscating everything they owned, and still keeps them exiled 45 years later. He doesn’t like the government that took over 45 years ago in a country with Latin America’s third highest per capita GNP, and now has it vying with Haiti for bottom place.
    I mean, do YOU like those things?

  18. CPA says:

    First off, the fact that poverty and unemployment has increased on Chavez’s watch despite a booming economy is not a “Falcoff” fact or assertion. It is a fact taken from Venezuelan official statistics as reported by many others. (The second quote BTW was NOT from Falcoff).
    Second about Donald Johnson’s assertion that Falcoff must be liar, I’m not familiar with the letter/article in question (unfortunately Commentary’s archive is only available for pay), but this doesn’t pass the smell test. A few facts that Donald doesn’t mention: Rios Montt was in power for fourteen months, from March, 1982, to August, 1983. The difference between criticizing Montt at the “beginning” of his time as dictator of Guatemala and in December, 1982, is at the very most nine months. Mark Falcoff was writing about the events in a letters section, probably under a tight deadline, about events that happened seventeen years before that time. Are you telling me that it is IMPOSSIBLE for one to honestly make a mistake of nine months in dating various statements some guy made seventeen years ago?
    And finally sure, Falcoff’s got an “agenda.” He doesn’t like the only government in Latin America where there is only one legal political party and that one based on “scientific atheism” which is compulsory indoctrination in all schools (sorry no private ones allowed). He doesn’t like the only govenrment in Latin America that routinely jail journalists, librarians, and all other public critics, routinely denies all rights to fair representation for criminal defendants, has no independent labor unions, and calls itself a “republic” while having one bombastic five-hour speech-making egomaniac as its president for the last 45-plus years. He doesn’t like a government that pursued its class warfare at the cost of exiling 10% of its population and confiscating everything they owned, and still keeps them exiled 45 years later. He doesn’t like the government that took over 45 years ago in a country with Latin America’s third highest per capita GNP, and now has it vying with Haiti for bottom place.
    I mean, do YOU like those things?

  19. CPA says:

    First off, the fact that poverty and unemployment has increased on Chavez’s watch despite a booming economy is not a “Falcoff” fact or assertion. It is a fact taken from Venezuelan official statistics as reported by many others. (The second quote BTW was NOT from Falcoff).
    Second about Donald Johnson’s assertion that Falcoff must be liar, I’m not familiar with the letter/article in question (unfortunately Commentary’s archive is only available for pay), but this doesn’t pass the smell test. A few facts that Donald doesn’t mention: Rios Montt was in power for fourteen months, from March, 1982, to August, 1983. The difference between criticizing Montt at the “beginning” of his time as dictator of Guatemala and in December, 1982, is at the very most nine months. Mark Falcoff was writing about the events in a letters section, probably under a tight deadline, about events that happened seventeen years before that time. Are you telling me that it is IMPOSSIBLE for one to honestly make a mistake of nine months in dating various statements some guy made seventeen years ago?
    And finally sure, Falcoff’s got an “agenda.” He doesn’t like the only government in Latin America where there is only one legal political party and that one based on “scientific atheism” which is compulsory indoctrination in all schools (sorry no private ones allowed). He doesn’t like the only govenrment in Latin America that routinely jail journalists, librarians, and all other public critics, routinely denies all rights to fair representation for criminal defendants, has no independent labor unions, and calls itself a “republic” while having one bombastic five-hour speech-making egomaniac as its president for the last 45-plus years. He doesn’t like a government that pursued its class warfare at the cost of exiling 10% of its population and confiscating everything they owned, and still keeps them exiled 45 years later. He doesn’t like the government that took over 45 years ago in a country with Latin America’s third highest per capita GNP, and now has it vying with Haiti for bottom place.
    I mean, do YOU like those things?

  20. CPA says:

    First off, the fact that poverty and unemployment has increased on Chavez’s watch despite a booming economy is not a “Falcoff” fact or assertion. It is a fact taken from Venezuelan official statistics as reported by many others. (The second quote BTW was NOT from Falcoff).
    Second about Donald Johnson’s assertion that Falcoff must be liar, I’m not familiar with the letter/article in question (unfortunately Commentary’s archive is only available for pay), but this doesn’t pass the smell test. A few facts that Donald doesn’t mention: Rios Montt was in power for fourteen months, from March, 1982, to August, 1983. The difference between criticizing Montt at the “beginning” of his time as dictator of Guatemala and in December, 1982, is at the very most nine months. Mark Falcoff was writing about the events in a letters section, probably under a tight deadline, about events that happened seventeen years before that time. Are you telling me that it is IMPOSSIBLE for one to honestly make a mistake of nine months in dating various statements some guy made seventeen years ago?
    And finally sure, Falcoff’s got an “agenda.” He doesn’t like the only government in Latin America where there is only one legal political party and that one based on “scientific atheism” which is compulsory indoctrination in all schools (sorry no private ones allowed). He doesn’t like the only govenrment in Latin America that routinely jail journalists, librarians, and all other public critics, routinely denies all rights to fair representation for criminal defendants, has no independent labor unions, and calls itself a “republic” while having one bombastic five-hour speech-making egomaniac as its president for the last 45-plus years. He doesn’t like a government that pursued its class warfare at the cost of exiling 10% of its population and confiscating everything they owned, and still keeps them exiled 45 years later. He doesn’t like the government that took over 45 years ago in a country with Latin America’s third highest per capita GNP, and now has it vying with Haiti for bottom place.
    I mean, do YOU like those things?

  21. John H says:

    No, but when you consider the ability of the US to live with similarly repellent regimes elsewhere in the world (again: China), it’s difficult not to conclude that the true reasons for the US blockade of Cuba have more to do with the US’s selfish strategic interests as regards its “backyard”, with concerns about the state to which Castro has reduced Cuba then providing a more “noble” justification for this.
    Nothing new, or even especially disgraceful, in countries pursuing self-interest under a banner of fine-sounding sentiments. Imperial Britain scarcely took up “the white man’s burden” out of altruism, and on balance both the British Empire and its American successor have done more good for the world than bad. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take the rhetoric with a pinch of salt.
    Take the Iraq invasion, for example: this was not “all about oil” (yawn), but the strategic importance of Iraq (of which its oil is a significant factor) is certainly one reason why Saddam got it with both barrels while someone like Robert Mugabe remains in power.
    As for Cuba: the best way to undermine Castro and the Communist regime would be to lift the sanctions. Quite apart from this leading Cuba to getting swamped by foreign capital, the current situation just gives the Communist regime a scapegoat for its failings.
    Finally, the statistics: it wasn’t their content I was querying, it was their function as used by Falcoff.

  22. John H says:

    No, but when you consider the ability of the US to live with similarly repellent regimes elsewhere in the world (again: China), it’s difficult not to conclude that the true reasons for the US blockade of Cuba have more to do with the US’s selfish strategic interests as regards its “backyard”, with concerns about the state to which Castro has reduced Cuba then providing a more “noble” justification for this.
    Nothing new, or even especially disgraceful, in countries pursuing self-interest under a banner of fine-sounding sentiments. Imperial Britain scarcely took up “the white man’s burden” out of altruism, and on balance both the British Empire and its American successor have done more good for the world than bad. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take the rhetoric with a pinch of salt.
    Take the Iraq invasion, for example: this was not “all about oil” (yawn), but the strategic importance of Iraq (of which its oil is a significant factor) is certainly one reason why Saddam got it with both barrels while someone like Robert Mugabe remains in power.
    As for Cuba: the best way to undermine Castro and the Communist regime would be to lift the sanctions. Quite apart from this leading Cuba to getting swamped by foreign capital, the current situation just gives the Communist regime a scapegoat for its failings.
    Finally, the statistics: it wasn’t their content I was querying, it was their function as used by Falcoff.

  23. John H says:

    No, but when you consider the ability of the US to live with similarly repellent regimes elsewhere in the world (again: China), it’s difficult not to conclude that the true reasons for the US blockade of Cuba have more to do with the US’s selfish strategic interests as regards its “backyard”, with concerns about the state to which Castro has reduced Cuba then providing a more “noble” justification for this.
    Nothing new, or even especially disgraceful, in countries pursuing self-interest under a banner of fine-sounding sentiments. Imperial Britain scarcely took up “the white man’s burden” out of altruism, and on balance both the British Empire and its American successor have done more good for the world than bad. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take the rhetoric with a pinch of salt.
    Take the Iraq invasion, for example: this was not “all about oil” (yawn), but the strategic importance of Iraq (of which its oil is a significant factor) is certainly one reason why Saddam got it with both barrels while someone like Robert Mugabe remains in power.
    As for Cuba: the best way to undermine Castro and the Communist regime would be to lift the sanctions. Quite apart from this leading Cuba to getting swamped by foreign capital, the current situation just gives the Communist regime a scapegoat for its failings.
    Finally, the statistics: it wasn’t their content I was querying, it was their function as used by Falcoff.

  24. John H says:

    No, but when you consider the ability of the US to live with similarly repellent regimes elsewhere in the world (again: China), it’s difficult not to conclude that the true reasons for the US blockade of Cuba have more to do with the US’s selfish strategic interests as regards its “backyard”, with concerns about the state to which Castro has reduced Cuba then providing a more “noble” justification for this.
    Nothing new, or even especially disgraceful, in countries pursuing self-interest under a banner of fine-sounding sentiments. Imperial Britain scarcely took up “the white man’s burden” out of altruism, and on balance both the British Empire and its American successor have done more good for the world than bad. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take the rhetoric with a pinch of salt.
    Take the Iraq invasion, for example: this was not “all about oil” (yawn), but the strategic importance of Iraq (of which its oil is a significant factor) is certainly one reason why Saddam got it with both barrels while someone like Robert Mugabe remains in power.
    As for Cuba: the best way to undermine Castro and the Communist regime would be to lift the sanctions. Quite apart from this leading Cuba to getting swamped by foreign capital, the current situation just gives the Communist regime a scapegoat for its failings.
    Finally, the statistics: it wasn’t their content I was querying, it was their function as used by Falcoff.

  25. Hi there,
    I didn’t know where else to go to contact you. I need some help with my blog, but chances are you may not be able to help.
    I’d really like entries on my blog to be automatically shortened, the same way that Michael Spencer does it at Internet Monk. That way they appear on my front page in a shortened form (the first 20 lines, say), but they have a button to click to see the full article.
    The problem is that I’ve been pasting my sermons into my blog site and they take up a lot of space on the front page. There are other posts, too, that are quite long.
    Any ideas?
    Neil Cameron

  26. Hi there,
    I didn’t know where else to go to contact you. I need some help with my blog, but chances are you may not be able to help.
    I’d really like entries on my blog to be automatically shortened, the same way that Michael Spencer does it at Internet Monk. That way they appear on my front page in a shortened form (the first 20 lines, say), but they have a button to click to see the full article.
    The problem is that I’ve been pasting my sermons into my blog site and they take up a lot of space on the front page. There are other posts, too, that are quite long.
    Any ideas?
    Neil Cameron

  27. Hi there,
    I didn’t know where else to go to contact you. I need some help with my blog, but chances are you may not be able to help.
    I’d really like entries on my blog to be automatically shortened, the same way that Michael Spencer does it at Internet Monk. That way they appear on my front page in a shortened form (the first 20 lines, say), but they have a button to click to see the full article.
    The problem is that I’ve been pasting my sermons into my blog site and they take up a lot of space on the front page. There are other posts, too, that are quite long.
    Any ideas?
    Neil Cameron

  28. Hi there,
    I didn’t know where else to go to contact you. I need some help with my blog, but chances are you may not be able to help.
    I’d really like entries on my blog to be automatically shortened, the same way that Michael Spencer does it at Internet Monk. That way they appear on my front page in a shortened form (the first 20 lines, say), but they have a button to click to see the full article.
    The problem is that I’ve been pasting my sermons into my blog site and they take up a lot of space on the front page. There are other posts, too, that are quite long.
    Any ideas?
    Neil Cameron

  29. John H says:

    Neil – thanks for your comment. I’ve emailed you.

  30. John H says:

    Neil – thanks for your comment. I’ve emailed you.

  31. John H says:

    Neil – thanks for your comment. I’ve emailed you.

  32. John H says:

    Neil – thanks for your comment. I’ve emailed you.

  33. CPA says:

    Well, I agree with all your observations John, including the one about the embargo (although for somewhat different reasons), but . . .
    At this point I was going to go on to analyse the previous thread, but I have noticed that US policy in Latin America is one thing Europeans and (North) Americans will probably never see eye to eye on. Even where we agree on the facts and the policy, we just can’t seem to talk about it the same way.
    So I think I’ll just let it drop.

  34. CPA says:

    Well, I agree with all your observations John, including the one about the embargo (although for somewhat different reasons), but . . .
    At this point I was going to go on to analyse the previous thread, but I have noticed that US policy in Latin America is one thing Europeans and (North) Americans will probably never see eye to eye on. Even where we agree on the facts and the policy, we just can’t seem to talk about it the same way.
    So I think I’ll just let it drop.

  35. CPA says:

    Well, I agree with all your observations John, including the one about the embargo (although for somewhat different reasons), but . . .
    At this point I was going to go on to analyse the previous thread, but I have noticed that US policy in Latin America is one thing Europeans and (North) Americans will probably never see eye to eye on. Even where we agree on the facts and the policy, we just can’t seem to talk about it the same way.
    So I think I’ll just let it drop.

  36. CPA says:

    Well, I agree with all your observations John, including the one about the embargo (although for somewhat different reasons), but . . .
    At this point I was going to go on to analyse the previous thread, but I have noticed that US policy in Latin America is one thing Europeans and (North) Americans will probably never see eye to eye on. Even where we agree on the facts and the policy, we just can’t seem to talk about it the same way.
    So I think I’ll just let it drop.

  37. Andy Lang says:

    Neil, I don’t know if your blog software permits this, but “Blogger” allows users to post at the beginning of the text you want to appear on a separate page, and at the end. Anything above will appear on your main blog page, the rest on the continuing page.
    Example at http://langohio.blogspot.com.
    However, you need to enable Comments to appear in a separate window for this to work. “Help” at Blogger explains further if you type “Summaries” into the search field.
    If you’re not using Blogger, I don’t know what to suggest.

  38. Andy Lang says:

    Neil, I don’t know if your blog software permits this, but “Blogger” allows users to post at the beginning of the text you want to appear on a separate page, and at the end. Anything above will appear on your main blog page, the rest on the continuing page.
    Example at http://langohio.blogspot.com.
    However, you need to enable Comments to appear in a separate window for this to work. “Help” at Blogger explains further if you type “Summaries” into the search field.
    If you’re not using Blogger, I don’t know what to suggest.

  39. Andy Lang says:

    Neil, I don’t know if your blog software permits this, but “Blogger” allows users to post at the beginning of the text you want to appear on a separate page, and at the end. Anything above will appear on your main blog page, the rest on the continuing page.
    Example at http://langohio.blogspot.com.
    However, you need to enable Comments to appear in a separate window for this to work. “Help” at Blogger explains further if you type “Summaries” into the search field.
    If you’re not using Blogger, I don’t know what to suggest.

  40. Andy Lang says:

    Neil, I don’t know if your blog software permits this, but “Blogger” allows users to post at the beginning of the text you want to appear on a separate page, and at the end. Anything above will appear on your main blog page, the rest on the continuing page.
    Example at http://langohio.blogspot.com.
    However, you need to enable Comments to appear in a separate window for this to work. “Help” at Blogger explains further if you type “Summaries” into the search field.
    If you’re not using Blogger, I don’t know what to suggest.

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