Is Roger Cohen insane, or just stupid?

December 7, 2007

(Via Contentions)

Is it any wonder The New York Times’ subscription numbers are dropping like a rock, when they have columnists either dumb enough or mendacious enough to argue that Venezuela’s recent elections show it is more of a democracy than the United States?

I salute you, Hugo Chávez.

Those are words I never thought I’d write. But nor did I think it possible that a Latin American strongman, issued from the barracks, accumulating power through threats, slandering opponents as “traitors,” buying support with $150 million a day in oil money, and bent on a socialist revolution, would accept a marginal electoral defeat.

No, if it came to the humiliation of a 51 to 49 percent rejection of his proposal to end term limits and undermine private property rights and centralize authority, he would surely use a controlled Election Commission to tweak the numbers for Venezuela’s glorious march to socialism.

And yet, there was a glum Chávez declaring in the unadorned language no totalitarian system can abide that: “The people’s decision will be upheld in respect of the basic rule of democracy: the winning option is the one that gets most votes.”

The United States might ponder those words — not just because of what happened in the presidential election of 2000; not just because the arithmetic of voting has proved unpalatable in Palestine; not just because of the past U.S.-abetted trampling of elected Latin American leaders in Chile and elsewhere — but because democracy was alive and vital in Venezuela on Sunday in a way foreign to President Bush’s America.

(Emphasis added.)

What a fatuous twit. Tell me, Roger, in George Bush’s less than democratic America, where were the tanks on the streets on November 8th, 2006, after the Democrats thrashed the Republicans and took control of both houses of Congress? Where were the arrests of opposition leaders? How many hostile newspapers (including your own) were suppressed? Was CBS taken off the air, like Venezuela’s Radio Caracas? Did you write this column from some secret safe house, fearful that a knock at the door would mean Dick Cheney was there to take you hunting?

And don’t peddle this “let’s forget about the 2000 election” garbage. You reactionary lefties have obsessed over it ever since Al Gore proved to be such a poor candidate that he couldn’t even win his home state. Face it, the rules we operate under give the election to whomever wins the most electoral votes, not popular votes. All recounts conducted under generally accepted rules showed George Bush won Florida and thus the presidency. Deal with it.

But to get back to that living, vital democracy in Venezuela — what have you been smoking? Chavez has been beating Venezuelan democracy with a tire-iron since he was first elected. You even catalog many of his faults:

Let’s be clear: Chávez is a caudillo. His “socialismo” equals “Hugoismo.” He’s a menace. He’s about to introduce a new currency, the strong bolívar, with monetary policy in chaos, inflation rising toward 20 percent, and his crony bankers pocketing millions by arbitraging the disparity between the official and black-market rates.

Crime and drug-trafficking are thriving. He’s still a believer in building socialism through local councils for which the Russian translation would be “Soviets.” He accused his opponents of a “Pyrrhic victory” and vowed not to change a “comma” of his rejected reforms.

And yet you still honor him? Come back to reality; you clearly could use a dose of it. The victory of the “No” vote in last weekend’s election wasn’t a resounding victory for vital democracy: it was a last, desperate clawing at the face of the man who’s raping and killing it. Do you think Chavez genuinely gracefully accepted defeat, when his military forced him into it?

“I think the opposition has nothing to celebrate,” Chávez said. “We didn’t lose anything. Prepare yourself because a new offensive will come with a proposed reform — that one, or transformed, or simplified.”

Chávez said Venezuelans have flooded him with letters of support. He said that with enough signatures, he could propose another referendum, “in other conditions, in another moment.” Addressing his foes, he added: “I wouldn’t sing victory, opposition misters.”

The comments came after Venezuelan newspapers reported Wednesday that Chávez ceded to his foes in the pre-dawn hours Monday only after high-ranking military officers pressured him to do so. Venezuela has been rife with rumors about such a scenario because it had taken the National Electoral Council hours to announce the results, though voting in Venezuela is tallied electronically.

(Emphasis added.)

I’d tell you not to fool yourself, Roger, but it’s too late for that.

LINKS: Blue Crab Boulevard, Fausta’s blog.

Sixty-six years ago today

December 7, 2007

In the last surprise attack on American soil before 9/11, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor:


(Credit: Aviation History)

My grandfather, Herndon Ragan, was a Petty Officer aboard the USS Nevada during the battle. Below are a couple of pictures of his ship under attack, the only battleship to get underway that day:




(Both photos credit: Naval Historical Center)

As you can see, they had been hit pretty hard. Thankfully, Grandpa survived.

Six years ago, we were hit by another fascist enemy, with casualties 25% higher than Pearl Harbor:


(credit: September 11th News)



(Credit: Aspersions)



(Scene at the Pentagon. Credit: US Government)

Our grandfathers finished their job. Let’s not do any less, shall we?

The clueless twit of the day award

December 7, 2007

Goes to Helen Thomas for her reply in this interview:

Q. Do you think technology is changing that? That a good reporter will always find a venue because there are so many media outlets now?

A. No, but I do think it is kind of sad when everybody who owns a laptop thinks they’re a journalist and doesn’t understand the ethics. We do have to have some sense of what’s right and wrong in this job. Of how far we can go. We don’t make accusations without absolute proof. We’re not prosecutors. We don’t assume.

(Emphases added.)

I have five words for Helen: Eason Jordan. Dan Rather. Fauxtography. It wouldn’t take much digging to find a lot more.

Why does anyone take this fatuous dinosaur seriously anymore? Then again, people take The New York Times seriously, so why not?

(hat tips: Roger L. Simon and Riehl World View)

Pay no attention to that elephant

December 7, 2007

Apropos our sudden discovery that Iran had stopped its military nuke program in 2003:



(Courtesy Dry Bones)