I’m Rick’s co-host in tonight’s podcast.
Archives for June 2012
Talking about Obamacare,
Jon Stewart bit off more than he could chew. Unfortunately he can’t keep himself from cutting in while Rubio’s talking.
Rubio’s selling his new book An American Son, which is available on Kindle, too.
The latest raffle-for-Obama stunt is this Dinner with Barack and Michelle video,
The whole contrived mess sounds like a composite as it explains that they “spent the whole day together” on their first date and capped it by seeing Do the Right Thing, the Spike Lee movie about a racial riot, because it’s all about being “hip, cutting edge, cultural, sensitive”. All to get you to enter the raffle (yet another one!) for dinner with the First Couple,
The winners will each receive round-trip tickets for them and a guest from within the fifty U.S. States, DC, or Puerto Rico to a destination to be determined by the sponsor.
Whoever the sponsor is?
They will stay in a hotel and have dinner with the president and his wife at an undisclosed location – the competition states that the package is worth about $4,800.
In case you didn’t win dinner with SJP, Anna Wintour & the Obamas, here’s your chance.
Meanwhile, Buzzfeed’s busy CGI’ing Ann Romney into Viagra ads, in the hopes of attracting “the youth vote” by undercutting her – since that’s worked so well.
The youth vote may, on the other hand, have time to spend on Buzzfeed since we’re seeing the lowest employment rate for Americans ages 18 to 24 since the government began keeping track in 1948.
But, when you have an incumbent who desperately wants to get re-elected with the official unemployment rate at 8.2% (more likely at 11%), the lowest workforce participation rate in this century, and $3.50 gas, you know you’ll be seeing more creepy ads.
And yet… unintended consequences…
Who knows? Maybe showing the father of five sons (oh, yes, there are a lot of people in in America from cultural backgrounds* where that’s considered the apex of masculinity and potency) will boost Pfizer’s sales even more.
Linked by MOTUS. Thank you!
The move comes as party planners are grappling with a fundraising deficit of roughly $27 million
El Nuevo Herald has obtained a copy of a contract (link in Spanish) signed in 2010 by Asdrúbal Chávez, Hugo Chávez cousin, by which the Venezuelan government contracted Iranian Offshore Engineering & Construction Company (IOEC) to enlarge the Astinave shipbuilding facility in the state Falcón which had previously been seized by Chávez’s government. (My translation: if you use it, please credit me and link to this post)
Astinave is located in Venezuela’s geographic point nearest to the USA and the Panama Canal, while the peninsula was identified by Western intelligence sources quoted in two reports by German daily Die Welt as the location chosen by Iran to locate some of its medium-range missiles.
According to Venezuelan military sources, Iran is using Astinave to unload its container ships.
Another report states that (emphasis added)
Venezuela has transferred at least one F-16 fighter to Iran in an attempt to help it calibrate its air defenses, in preparation for a possible Israeli or U.S. strike on its nuclear facilities, reports Spanish newspaper ABC.
ABC, one of the three largest Spanish dailies and aligned with the ruling rightist party, wrote that the transfer, in 2006, was supervised by one of Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez’s closest aides. The paper’s Washington correspondent, Emili J. Blasco, said the story was based on both sources in Venezuela’s air force and classified documents, following a tip- off by a non-Western intelligence agency.
At least one F-16 was transferred to Iran in 2006. According to the report, the jet was disassembled and packed in several sealed and unmarked wooden containers. These were loaded on a Boeing 707 Venezuelan air force plane that took off from the El Libertador Air Base, stopping in Brazil and Algeria before landing in Tehran, where it was reassembled. Venezuelan pilots instructed Iranian pilots and technicians as to the jet’s capabilities.
According to the news report, the F-16 was given to Iran so it could test its antiaircraft radar systems and become familiar with its capabilities, in preparation for a possible strike.
The trial flights in Iran were used to calibrate the Iranian air defense systems. Iranian officers also studied the speed of the F-16 on the radar screens.
We all know Chávez is a buffoon, but, as Roger Kimball said, the Ridiculous Is no Laughing Matter
here’s the thing to remember. We often assume that someone who is ridiculously contemptible is therefore not dangerous. History shows that, on the contrary, the ridiculous can easily cohabit with the malevolent.
The photo above was taken during Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s visit to Caracas last week.
Cross-posted in The Green Room.
Diminishing differences between Kirchner and military dictator that invaded Falklands in 1982
Cristina Kirchner may be more Machiavelli than Clausewitz, but, like Galtieri, she’s using the Falklands to distract from the increasing domestic problems that are festering under her tenure
Julian Assange Might Want to Think Twice About Seeking Asylum in Ecuador
The Ecuadorian government has treated media organizations harshly, though its president seemed to show sympathy for Wikileaks during a recent, collegial TV interview with Assange.
Self-determination in the South Atlantic
Paternity suits, cancer, and now, impeachment, for the bishop-turned-president: Paraguay Senate says impeachment trial of president will start on Friday (slideshow).
Paraguayan President Fernando Lugo vowed on Thursday to stand and fight rather than resign after his opponents launched an impeachment drive over a land eviction in which 17 people died last week.
Uruguay marijuana sales to be controlled by state
Uruguay is planning a radical approach to the legalisation of marijuana by proposing the sale of the drug be controlled by the state. Well, that’s one way to make sure the politicians get rich. (h/t GoV)
The week’s posts:
Whittle on Fast & Furious
As previously posted, Fernando Lugo, the Catholic bishop(*) who’s sired at least a dozen children by several women (at least one of which was underage at the time), has crowned his political career by getting himself impeached.
As Carlos Eire put it, the impeachment is good news from Latin America, for a change.
The Diplomad has more,
Lugo. I have met him on three occasions, once in Paraguay and twice in Washington. How do I put this diplomatically and delicately? He is certifiably insane. He is the stuff of novels and comedy movies. A Catholic bishop gone mad who promotes a weird blend of populism, sixteenth century anti-Protestant dogma, a dash of Marxism, some anti-US rhetoric, and some other odds and ends. He had become a follower of Venezuela’s ailing Hugo Chavez and Ecuador’s increasingly unstable Rafael Correa, and at the OAS and the UN, Paraguay took on the anti-US rhetoric of his ALBA masters. As a priest, he had several children, some of whom he officially acknowledged as his. Paraguayans frequently referred to Lugo as “the father of our country.”
Lugo used his office to promote land seizures and, frankly, violence against landowners by the poor. For him, the law was a flexible, plastic, pliable material which could be bent, pulled, and twisted into whatever form he saw fit. He encouraged violence, and he got it; dead cops and dead poor people. The Paraguayan congress had enough of the violence and wackiness, impeached and convicted him in rapid fire order, and swore in Vice President Federico Franco. President Franco will hold the office until national elections in 2013. The new chief executive has run into a firestorm of criticism from around the region, especially the Chavez controlled ALBA nations, but others as well. Lots of gnashing of teeth and rending over garments over the supposed lack of due process, with some alleging the Congressional action is tantamount to a coup a la Honduras.
Third, I am no Paraguayan constitutional expert, but any process that involves open voting by elected officials, and does not involve firing squads or electrodes to the genitals, is a dramatic improvement over what has happened before in Latin America and Paraguay. To have your process criticized as undemocratic by the likes of Castro and Chavez is no shame.
Fourth, this is an opportunity for the US to begin to undermine ALBA influence and shore up a rocky democratic regime. The worst thing we can is criticize, criticize, criticize, and do what we did in Honduras–i.e., let Venezuela take the lead. The US should act like a democratic superpower and not let ourselves get steamrolled by loud Latin American executives who do not like to see fellow chief executives removed, even by democratic means.
Lugo’s crying coup, while new president Federico Franco explained the impeachment,
The transition took place with little unrest, while the usual Latin American lefties aren’t happy.
*Note: As a couple of readers correctly point out, Lugo is no longer a bishop,
Born in 1951, Mr Lugo became a priest in 1977, and served as a missionary in Ecuador for five years.
In 1992 he was appointed head of the Divine Word order in Paraguay. He was ordained a bishop in 1994, and then served for 10 years as the bishop of the poor region of San Pedro.
There, his support for landless peasants earned him the reputation of “bishop for the poor”.
He came to national prominence in March 2006 when he helped lead a big opposition rally in the capital, Asuncion.
He resigned from the priesthood in December that year, as the Paraguayan constitution prohibits ministers of any faith from standing as a political candidate.
The Vatican initially refused to accept his resignation, arguing that serving as a priest was a lifetime commitment and instead suspended him from his duties.
However, in July, Pope Benedict XVI granted Mr Lugo an unprecedented waiver to remove his clerical status.
I should have said “former Catholic bishop.”
He still wears custom-made suits with a clerical collar.
Just a few days after announcing that his administration would no longer deport about 800,000 young illegal immigrants, you would think that President Obama would be received as something of a hero by NALEO, the National Association of Latino Elected Officials, before whom Obama is giving a speech this afternoon in Orlando. But the Secret Service wasn’t taking any chances. As hundreds of Latino elected officials were enjoying their lunch at Disney’s Contemporary Resort earlier today, it was announced that forks would be collected before Obama took the stage. It was also mentioned that knives, too, were entirely absent from the lunch for “a reason.”
Is Obama Afraid Latinos Will Attack Him With Forks At Luncheon? Or does he think we eat with our hands because we don’t know how to use utensils?
Forkless Friday at Politico,
But let’s put Ruprecht in charge of the forks and take away the tridents,