Archive for the ‘Wall Street Journal’ Category

Haiti: Bill Clinton brags while the people suffer

Monday, September 22nd, 2014

Mary O’Grady looks at how Bill Clinton Spins His Haiti Intervention
Amid a probe of Aristide, the former president offers a new version of events.
(emphasis added)

Speaking after his wife addressed the Iowa crowd, Mr. Clinton explained his 1994 Haiti intervention: “The military dictator down there was putting tires around people’s necks and setting them afire, in an affectionate policy called necklacing,” he recalled satirically. “I was told that nobody gave a rip about Haiti.” But “we did it and no shot was fired. Nobody got hurt.”

That’s some tale. But as any Haitian knows, it was Mr. Aristide who championed Haitian “necklacing,” aka “Père Lebrun” after a domestic tire merchant. Governing a democracy with a national assembly was more difficult than he had anticipated and he urged his followers to give Père Lebrun to his opponents, as an Oct. 1993 Congressional Research Service report documented.

On Sept. 29, 1991, the military stepped in and kicked him out. It employed its own paramilitary, which also practiced repression—but guns, not necklacing, were its weapon of choice.

Mr. Aristide fled to Washington, where President George H.W. Bush released Haiti’s international telephone and airline revenues to him as the government-in-exile. There was never any accounting for those funds but they reportedly topped $50 million. Mr. Aristide lived the high life in Georgetown and mounted an aggressive and costly lobbying campaign for U.S. military intervention to restore his presidency.

Once Mr. Clinton put Mr. Aristide back in the palace in Port-au-Prince, his supporters picked up where they had left off. Opponents were hacked with machetes, set on fire and gunned down. Money disappeared.

The Clinton administration did nothing to contain these abuses. Instead, a company called Fusion, run by Democrats—including Joseph P. Kennedy II, Mack McLarty, who had been Clinton White House chief of staff, and Marvin Rosen, a former finance chairman of the Democratic National Committee—went into the long-distance telephone business with Haiti Teleco, the government-owned monopoly.

As long as the spin holds, Hillary will ask, “What difference, at this point, does it make?”

Let’s hope the American public doesn’t put the Clintons back in the White House.

The Hillary Letters
Hillary Clinton, Saul Alinsky correspondence revealed

What does the Hillary-Alinksy letter reveal?

The Crisis of American Self-Government

Sunday, December 2nd, 2012

Famed political scientist Harvey Mansfield is the WSJ’s weekend interview,
The Crisis of American Self-Government
Harvey Mansfield, Harvard’s ‘pet dissenter,’ on the 2012 election, the real cost of entitlements, and why he sees reason for hope.

‘We have now an American political party and a European one. Not all Americans who vote for the European party want to become Europeans. But it doesn’t matter because that’s what they’re voting for. They’re voting for dependency, for lack of ambition, and for insolvency.”

For those who want to split hairs as to which European party, essentially all European politicians and their parties embrace dependency on government-funded social programs, be them public-funded college educations, pensions, or medical care.

Mansfield continues,

The welfare state’s size isn’t what makes it so stifling, Mr. Mansfield says. “What makes government dangerous to the common good is guaranteed entitlements, so that you can never question what expenses have been or will be incurred.” Less important at this moment are spending and tax rates. “I don’t think you can detect the presence or absence of good government,” he says, “simply by looking at the percentage of GDP that government uses up. That’s not an irrelevant figure but it’s not decisive. The decisive thing is whether it’s possible to reform, whether reform is a political possibility.”

What does he want the Republicans to do?

Conservatives should be the party of judgment, not just of principles,” he says. “Of course there are conservative principles—free markets, family values, a strong national defense—but those principles must be defended with the use of good judgment. Conservatives need to be intelligent, and they shouldn’t use their principles as substitutes for intelligence. Principles need to be there so judgment can be distinguished from opportunism. But just because you give ground on principle doesn’t mean you’re an opportunist.”

Nor should flexibility mean abandoning major components of the conservative agenda—including cultural values—in response to a momentary electoral defeat. “Democrats have their cultural argument, which is the attack on the rich and the uncaring,” Mr. Mansfield says. “So Republicans need their cultural arguments to oppose the Democrats’, to say that goodness or justice in our country is not merely the transfer of resources to the poor and vulnerable. We have to take measures to teach the poor and vulnerable to become a little more independent and to prize independence, and not just live for a government check. That means self-government within each self, and where are you going to get that except with morality, responsibility and religion?”

Words to live by, indeed.

Go read the whole thing.

Here’s a selection of Mansfield’s books:

Cross-posted at Liberty Unyielding.

Pod brewers: Shopping for coffee perfection

Sunday, November 25th, 2012

For those obsessing on what to give (or get) the coffee perfectionist, the WSJ has a list, video, and interactive graphics:
Making a Better Cup at Home
More U.S. Homes Adopt Single-Cup Machines as Coffee Culture Goes Self-Serve

My mom makes her expresso in a traditional stove-top brewer that is decades old. Amazon has one for $20.56. The 3-cup size leaves you the option of having more than one cup, or boiling some milk for a nice cafe au lait.

And remember, if you buy through the above links, I make a small commission at no cost to you, which is a nice way of supporting this blog.

Today’s 15 Minutes on Latin America: Free Trade

Wednesday, September 10th, 2008

You can listen to the podcast here

Today at 10AM Eastern I’ll be talking about Mary Anastasia O’Grady’s article, Latin America Wants Free Trade

Chat’s open by 9:45AM, and the call-in number is 646 652-2639. Join us!

Listen to Faustas blog on internet talk radio


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Chavez and Ceresole, and Hugo goes to Russia

Thursday, July 24th, 2008

Today’s WSJ has an article by Travis Pantin, Hugo Chávez’s Jewish Problem, which highlights the ideological connection between Hugo Chavez and Norberto Ceresole.

Norberto who, you ask?

Norberto Ceresole. Pantin explains,

As an alleged oppressor of the Palestinian Arabs, Israel has its own place of special infamy in Mr. Chávez’s worldview. This latter theme has served him particularly well in his efforts to mobilize the sentiments of his rural constituents. Thus, during a 2005 speech marking Columbus’s discovery of the Americas, Mr. Chávez likened the plight of Venezuela’s Indians to that of Palestinians. Reminding his listeners of how their ancestors had been “murdered in their land” by “governments, economic sectors and great land estates,” he thundered: “You were expelled from your homeland, like the heroic Palestinian people.”

All of these elements seem entirely derivative of Marxist-Leninist theorizing, with a strong admixture of postcolonialism à la Franz Fanon and Fidel Castro. But Mr. Chávez is not just another Latin American leftist on the Castro model. While the Cuban dictator may be his most important political influence, his greatest intellectual debt is to the Argentinian writer and thinker Norberto Ceresole: a man not of the left but of the populist right, a Holocaust denier and a sworn enemy of Israel and the Jews.

Born in 1943, Ceresole was one of the leading spokesmen for the radical populist government of the Argentine president Juan Perón. Later, in the guise of a political theorist, he argued that the only appropriate leaders for Latin American nations were caudillos: nationalist, militarist and charismatic strongmen capable of ushering in a “postdemocratic” age in which the region’s people would become effortlessly at one with the generals who would direct every aspect of society. Led by a group of such caudillos, a confederation of Latin American fascist states would then be in a position to beat back American global hegemony.

Ceresole reportedly traveled with Mr. Chávez during his initial bid for power. After the latter’s 1998 victory, he published a celebratory volume, “Caudillo, Army, People: The Venezuela of President Chávez.” The second chapter is entitled “The Jewish Question and the State of Israel.” In it, Ceresole espoused a “new revisionism” that defined the Holocaust as a “myth” and Israel as a global menace:

The existence of this political enterprise—Israel: a power concentrated in the monopoly of monotheism and implemented through an army, police forces, jails, tortures, assassinations, etc.—seeks to consolidate itself through a series of ideological manipulations in the bosom of the hegemonic power of the United States, which seeks to be accepted as the ruler of the world by any means, even generalized terror, and dissuasive and persuasive practices.

It was for this reason, according to Ceresole, that one of the greatest threats to the Chávez regime lay in Venezuela’s “Jewish financial mafia.” Indeed, the Venezuelan Jewish community as a whole was to be considered guilty of race-based hostility to Chávez’s redemptive nationalist movement.

* * *

The ingeniousness of Ceserole’s doctrine, as filtered through the sensibility of Hugo Chávez, resides in its blending of Marxist economics with two venerable anti-Semitic traditions. The first, still powerful in South America, derives from Catholic teachings about the historic Jewish responsibility for the death of Jesus. The second, encapsulated most notoriously in the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” has flourished in both rightist and leftist variations throughout modern European history, resurfacing in our own time in the fulminations of extreme anti-Zionists.

This is an ominous sign, and yet one more symptom of the illness that is Chavez’s regime.

But caudillismo itself is nothing new: Latin America has suffered immensely by holding on to their tradition of caudillismo, and by staying away from true democratic institutions.

Will they ever change?

Hugo and Mendevev
Hugo and Medvedev

In other Chavez news, he’s talking big in Russia, pushing for a natural gas OPEC-like cartel and mutual investment protection.

Hugo was also saying that

if Russian military forces ever visited Venezuelan territory, they would be greeted “by flying colors, drum beats and songs, as this means the arrival of our allies with whom we share the same view on the world.”

Worried that this might imply that Russia’s welcome to build a military-technical base on its territory, the Venezuelan government was quick to correct that, saying that it only means that the Russian Navy would be welcome to dock at a Venezuelan port.

It’s all so redolent of the Cold War it makes one want to send The Hunt for Red October’s Jack Ryan to Caracas.


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WaPo favors day-before news to real news from Iraq

Sunday, October 21st, 2007

Last Friday I posted on a press conference and bloggers’ call held from Iraq by three members of the Provincial Reconstruction team. The State Department had formally announced the press conference on Thursday. The video conference was later transcribed and posted, and the video is on line.

At that time I did the Friday post I wondered what the MSM would report on the information from that press conference. Mind you, this was the second press conference on PRTs this week. The first one (which was held on Monday) went mostly ignored.

Well, this morning I did a search and here’s all there was at the Washington Post as of this morning: Reconstruction In Iraq at a Crawl, Auditor Reports, which was a summary of an audit released on Thursday. This was the case with all the American newspapers.

One has to go to new Zealand to find any reporting on either of the PRT press conferences from this week: Provincial Reconstruction Teams Progress In Iraq, which refers to the Monday press conference.

What all the people who spoke at the press conferences emphasize is that the Iraqis are taking charge of a much larger role in their own governance and security. This doesn’t match the MSM’s meme that Iraq is a quandary, civil war, Shia-vs-Sunni, loser’s game. The media are doing this meme without actually visiting the country.

As Matt Sanchez said in our podcast, the progress taking place is remarkable. Michael Totten is in Commentary Magazine reports,

In the parts of Iraq where the locals turn against the insurgents en masse, it is only a matter of time before the insurgents are finished. Civilians phone in actionable intelligence on the locations of safe houses, weapons caches, IED’s, and everything else.

Michael Yon reports on America’s best ambassadors.

Matt and both Michaels are in the very areas they are writing about. They are there.

Any firsthand reporting that Iraq is not what the MSM wants it to be (“another Viet Nam”), is being ignored. For instance, Anbar Province Team Leader Kristin Hagerstrom specifically talked about Ramadi. As you may remember, last year al-Qaeda declared Ramadi the capital of the Califate in Iraq. Next week, Ms Hagerstorm stated, the people of Ramadi are planning an enormous rally in memory of Sheik Shatar and against al-Qaeda.

But a few newspapers are starting to report on what really is going on in Iraq now. This morning Michael Ledeen writing in the WSJ makes the bold statement that Victory Is Within Reach in Iraq

As evidence of success mounts, skeptics often say that while military operations have gone well, there is still no sign of political movement to bind up the bloody wounds in the Iraqi body politic. Recent events suggest otherwise. Just a few days ago, Ammar al-Hakim, the son of and presumed successor to the country’s most important Shiite political leader, Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, went to Anbar’s capital, Ramadi, to meet with Sunni sheikhs. The act, and his words, were amazing. “Iraq does not belong to the Sunnis or the Shiites alone; nor does it belong to the Arabs or the Kurds and Turkomen,” he said. “Today, we must stand up and declare that Iraq is for all Iraqis.”

Mr. Hakim’s call for national unity mirrors last month’s pilgrimage to Najaf, the epicenter of Iraqi Shiism, by Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi, a Sunni. There he visited Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the top Shiite cleric. The visit symbolically endorsed Mr. Sistani’s role as the most authoritative religious figure in Iraq. Mr. Hashemi has also been working closely with Mr. Hakim’s people, as well as with the Kurds. Elsewhere, similar efforts at ecumenical healing proceed rapidly. As Robert McFarlane reported in these pages, Baghdad’s Anglican Canon, Andrew White, has organized meetings of leading Iraqi Christian, Sunni and Shiite clerics, all of whom called for nation-wide reconciliation.

The Iraqi people seem to be turning against the terrorists, even against those who have been in cahoots with the terror masters in Tehran. As Col. Sanders puts it, “while we were down in Basra, an awful lot of the violence against us was enabled, sponsored and equipped by. . . Iran. [But] what has united a lot of the militias was a sense of Iraqi nationalism, and they resent interference by Iran.”

The propaganda war here in the US continues. But the real reporting is being done by 33 independent embeds in Iraq.


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A poor choice of words

Tuesday, March 20th, 2007

Larwyn emailed about this,

Un Goofo Grande
Mitt Romney committed a paso falso the other day when he spoke to a group of Cuban-Americans in Miami:
When he mistakenly associated Fidel Castro’s trademark speech-ending slogan–Patria o muerte, venceremos!–with a free Cuba, listeners didn’t laugh. They winced.

Castro has closed his speeches with the phrase–in English, ”Fatherland or death, we shall overcome”–for decades. . . .

Romney’s fumble demonstrates the potential snags for state and national politicians trying to navigate the Cuban-American community of South Florida.

Ever since Ronald Reagan enthralled exiles by crying, ”Cuba si, Castro no,” in a landmark 1983 visit to Little Havana, politicians have clamored, with mixed success, for the Spanish-speaking vote.

It’s not so different from the candidates who court Broward County’s heavily Jewish retirement condominiums, offering residents a free nosh and delivering their best schtick.

And if you do go to Broward, Gov. Romney, try to avoid the slogan “Arbeit macht frei.”

I mentioned to Larwyn that Taranto makes a very apt comparison, as the rallying cry of the Cuban revolution, the older generation of Cubans will tell you that Che would preside over executions in Cuba and yell out the “Patria o muerte, venceremos” as he was giving the order to fire the rifles.

Please, please, if you’re a political candidate, avoid the foreign language schtick altogether.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali in today’s WSJ

Saturday, March 10th, 2007

Don’t miss the WSJ’s interview with Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Free Radical
Ayaan Hirsi Ali infuriates Muslims and discomfits liberals.

Many liberals loathe her for disrupting an imagined “diversity” consensus: It is absurd, she argues, to pretend that cultures are all equal, or all equally desirable. But conservatives, and others, might be reasonably unnerved by her dim view of religion. She does not believe that Islam has been “hijacked” by fanatics, but that fanaticism is intrinsic in Islam itself: “Islam, even Islam in its nonviolent form, is dangerous.”

The Muslim faith has many variations, but Ms. Hirsi Ali contends that the unities are of greater significance. “Islam has a very consistent doctrine,” she says, “and I define Islam as I was taught to define it: submission to the will of Allah. His will is written in the Quran, and in the hadith and Sunna. What we are all taught is that when you want to make a distinction between right and wrong, you follow the prophet. Muhammad is the model guide for every Muslim through time, throughout history.”

This supposition justifies, in her view, a withering critique of Islam’s most holy human messenger. “You start by scrutinizing the morality of the prophet,” and then ask: “Are you prepared to follow the morality of the prophet in a society such as this one?” She draws a connection between Mohammed’s taking of child brides in the first century A.D. and modern sexual oppressions–what she calls “this imprisonment of women.” She decries the murder of adulteresses and rape victims, the wearing of the veil, arranged marriages, domestic violence, genital mutilation and other contraventions of “the most basic freedoms.”

About the culture war:

The most grievous failing of the West is self-congratulatory passivity: We face “an external enemy that to a degree has become an internal enemy, that has infiltrated the system and wants to destroy it.” She believes a more drastic reaction is required: “It’s easy,” she says, “to weigh liberties against the damage that can be done to society and decide to deny liberties. As it should be. A free society should be prepared to recognize the patterns in front of it, and do something about them.”

Go and read every word.

Cross-posted at MSN

Fools’ paradise, and today’s items

Monday, February 5th, 2007

Via Linda, Fool’s Paradise – Mass Slaughter in Our Public Schools: The Terrorists’ Chilling Plan

Via Theodore’s World, Global Incident Map

America After The Next Attack


‘The Bush rally’ thrills Wall Street
Despite the gloom and doom we heard in last year’s elections, a torrent of upbeat economic reports show the Bush economy is alive and well, and it is likely headed for a healthier performance in 2007.

Last week’s report from the government’s Bureau of Economic Analysis must have come as a shock to President Bush’s Democratic critics when it showed the economy racing along at a brisk 3.5 percent annual growth rate in the last three months of 2006. For the year, the economy grew at a stronger than expected 3.4 percent, propelled by falling oil and gas prices, higher wage and job growth, increased consumer purchasing power and even an uptick in housing sales.

The future Nagger in Chief raises her fists in her characteristic anger and yells at you what she knows will be best for you

Hillary’s Dark Energy Agenda
Clinton’s remarks are the first time that a nationally known Democrat has openly called for the government seizure of an industry since President Harry Truman tried to nationalize the steel industry in 1952. The U.S. Supreme Court slapped back Truman’s takeover in Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. et al. v. Sawyer. (Like Senator Clinton, Truman also championed a national health-care scheme.)

While other politicians have suggested establishing an alternative energy fund, Clinton is the first to advocate funding it by taking the earnings of a publicly held American company.

Via Larwyn,
Iran: No Bombs, No Appeasement.

“That’s only true if we say so” — our self-absorbed media culture I’ll be reading “Hitchens’s review of Frank Rich’s book later today.

The fence near Edwards’s manse sends him a message.

Not suitable for work, especially if you listen to the Mark Levin radio link Olbermann Left Limp After On Air Smack Down. Olbermann decided to name Levin “the worst person in the world”. Turns out Keith picked on the wrong guy.


In a lighter mode,
Darren‘s freezing in Richmond.
Because of that lack of global warming, Gerard went to Costco. I’ve been to Costco twice in my life and will try to avoid a third time.

Today’s Princeton Global Warming Update
It was 6F when I got up at 6:30Am today. The sun came out and now it’s 8F
It’s so cold (How cold is it?) I’m wearing one of these, even when it’s not really flattering:

Time to wear these:

Ugly boots, yes. Warm, definitely yes.


Update: Superbowl Commercials 2007, via Kim.

The Che myth

Saturday, December 23rd, 2006

Michelle Malkin blogs that Target’s pulled the Che CD case but still carries the Che Calendar.

Nothing shows what an ignoramus you are like having a Che Calendar hanging on your wall.

Yesterday I was talking to Mary Anastasia O’Grady of the WSJ, and I asked her, what book would she recommend for a quick primer on Che? Mary’s choice is The Che Guevara Myth and the Future of Liberty by Alvaro Vargas Llosa, published by The Independent Institute. I read the whole book (67 pages of text) in one sitting last evening.

As it turns out, Alvaro had an epiphany because of Che’s image hanging on a wall (page 2):

A few years later, I spent a semester studying at an American university. Che Guevara made a new attempt to seduce me. This time, my friends were mostly politically active Puerto Ricans who wanted their land to be independent.

It never ceases to amuse me how many independentistas come to the continental USA for college. But I digress.

One of them hung a poster of Che Guevara on his wall and, next to it, a picture of “Comrade Gonzalo”, the genocidal leader of Shinning Path, Peru’s Maoist organization.

And that’s another thing: the rich Marxists. When I was at the University of Puerto Rico, one of the most Marxist guys around drove a convertible Jaguar. Now, when you realize that a Jaguar in Puerto Rico at that time cost twice what it cost in the continental USA, you really appreciate the meaning of the word irony. Alvaro continues (emphasis added),

As I came into the room one afternoon and this couple [Che and “Comrade Gonzalo”] faced me from the wall, I was paralyzed. It suddenly downed on me why my South American friend from boarding school had never been quite able to persuade me to take up Che.

There it was, pure and simple: just like Abimael Guzman, Che was the negation of what I most seemed to long for in this complicated word – freedom and peace. I must have vaguely sensed this at school, but now, for the first time, I was able to fully grasp a precious truth: one should never be confused by the many variations of that species: the tyrant. Stalinist Che Guevara and Maoist Abimael Guzman belonged to different camps and represented contrasting attitudes to life – the former being the quintessential pinup, the latter a bizarre recluse – but what they had in common, their lust for totalitarian power, was much more important than their differences.

I had experienced firsthand Shining Path’s campaign of terror against the very poor peasants in whose name it purported to act. Like millions of Peruvians, I had personally been affected in different ways by this unlikely reincarnation of Cambodia’s Pol Pot in the middle of the Andes. Seeing Che Guevara next to Guzman on a chic campus wall brought to light the ugly truth about the Argentine hero of the Cuban Revolution, but, more importantly, it inspired the poignant realization that all those prepared to use force to take life and property from their fellow men are soul mates whatever the ideological or moral subterfuge used to conceal their real motives. “Really, you should rip that off. You have no idea,” I said to my friend, and I left the room quite disturbed.

Many years later, when I had the chance to encounter numerous other disguises for tyranny, some on the left but others on the right, I focused on that image from university as the starting point of a larger reflection. The conclusion I reached continues to haunt me today: there are myriad forms of oppression, some much more subtle than others, sometimes adorned with the theme of social justice and at other times obscured by the language of security, and recognizing and denouncing the deceitful psychological mechanisms with which the enemies of liberty attempt to bamboozle us into voluntary servitude is one of the urgent tasks of our times.

I highly recommend The Che Guevara Myth and the Future of Liberty