December 4, 2007

Gaius at Blue Crab Boulevard has a post up that just skewers our Global Warming Saviors, who are meeting at a luxury resort in Indonesia to nod sagely and tell us how we all need to limit our lives to save the planet from Imminent Disaster(tm). While doing this, of course, they’ll be leaving a carbon footprint larger than the nation of Chad.

I really do think they haven’t a clue of how hypocritical they look.

LINKS: More Fausta’s blog.

TNR folds

December 4, 2007

Last summer, I wrote (here, here, here, and here) about The New Republic and the fake stories they published by Army private Scott Thomas Beauchamp. At long last, they have retracted the stories and apologized. Almost.

The lion’s share of credit belongs to Bob Owens of Confederate Yankee for not letting go of this story.

TNR’s editor, Franklin Foer, should be fired, plain and simple.

UPDATE: Bob doesn’t think the story is over.

Teddy Bear of Blasphemy(tm) update

December 4, 2007

It seems the Islamist Sudanese government came to their senses and released teacher Gillian Gibbons early.

To quote the great Bugs Bunny, “What a bunch of maroons!”

On democracies dead and dying

December 4, 2007

The big news this last weekend were the elections in Russia and Venezuela, both of which saw would-be autocrats trying to cement their dictatorial control. In Russia, Vladimir Putin succeeded, getting a pliant parliament and setting the stage for him to become Prime Minister after his presidential term runs out and he’s succeeded by what is sure to be a puppet president. Democracy in Russia is dead: but, while it was killed by Putin, it was with the approval of the Russian electorate. Kim Zigfeld explains:

Many Russians express disappointment with democracy as Russia has become a mere shadow of the mighty USSR, they clearly miss two points, and their recent vote expresses profound contempt for the institution. But this disappointment is without grounding in fact, for two reasons. First, much of the voters’ current misery (less than $3 an hour for an average wage, less than 60 years for an average male lifetime) is obviously attributable to the failures of the USSR itself. Second, they’ve never really experienced democracy. In every “election” since the fall of the USSR the only major opposition party has been the Communists, and the party of power has consisted mostly of those who came of age in the USSR. Not once have there been presidential debates, much less has a party in power surrendered it to a rival.

Russians have, in short, seated themselves in the democratic bathtub but they’ve never turned on the faucet. So it’s ironic that, now, they blame democracy for the fact that they’re not yet clean.

Given the fait accompli in Russia, is there any reason for it not to be kicked out of the Group of Eight, the annual conclave of industrialized democracies? One potential US president doesn’t think so. He’s not my first choice for president, but I can’t argue with him.

In Venezuela, the Castro-wannabe President Chavez narrowly lost his bid to become dictator for life. I’m not sure what shocked me more — that Chavez lost or that he allowed those results to become final. The sneaky part of me thinks the margin was even more lopsided, but Chavez massaged the tally and then let it go through in order to appear a democrat. Instapundit seems to agree with me. Tigerhawk wonders if the King of Spain made the difference by telling Chavez to shut up.

So, like Mary, Queen of Scots, in the old Monty Python routine, democracy in Venezuela is not dead, yet.

But let’s not mistake Danny Glover’s best friend for a convert to democracy. He’s made it quite clear whom he admires, and it’s not George Washington. By accepting the referendum’s results, he’s just making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. The question is, what will he do next? Bridget Johnson provides an answer, and it isn’t reassuring:

After he spends time pondering his referendum defeat – and, of course, all of the conspiracies that led to it, considering he’s more obsessed with “the empire” than a “Star Wars” groupie – Chavez will slowly, surely, take what he originally wanted by force. He will justify this by calling his 2006 re-election a mandate for his “Bolivarian revolution,” referendum or no referendum.

“We should be alert to the possibility that these changes will be imposed through a different route than the constitution,” former Chavez ally and ex-Defense Minister Raul Isaias Baduel said on Globovision after the results were announced.

Who will be the first victim of Chavez’s tighter, crushing grip on the nation? The entity that, in his mind, orchestrated Sunday’s defeat: the independent media.

So, while democrats in Venezuela bloodied Hugo’s nose this weekend, I guarantee you he will try some other way to satisfy his megalomania.

Buena suerte, Venezolanos.

LINKS: More at Blue Crab Boulevard, Contentions (here, too), and Captain’s Quarters. Ralph Peters has a more hopeful take on Russia. I’d like to think he’s right, but I doubt it.