El Cubano Cafe asks, The Dictator on Mesa Redonda with Mini-Me today? and sends Fidel Castro reapareció en un video junto a Hugo Chávez
The Daily Gut is starting a Hillary fan club. Via Pajamas Media, Hillary Clamps Down. She’s going to need all the fan clubs she can get; Gerard Baker sure isn’t a fan: The vaulting ambition of America’s Lady Macbeth
There are many reasons people think Mrs Clinton will not be elected president. She lacks warmth; she is too polarising a figure; the American people don’t want to relive the psychodrama of the eight years of the Clinton presidency.
But they all miss this essential counterpoint. As you consider her career this past 15 years or so in the public spotlight, it is impossible not to be struck, and even impressed, by the sheer ruthless, unapologetic, unshameable way in which she has pursued this ambition, and confirmed that there is literally nothing she will not do, say, think or feel to achieve it. Here, finally, is someone who has taken the black arts of the politician’s trade, the dissembling, the trimming, the pandering, all the way to their logical conclusion.
If Mr. Baker ever comes to Princeton I’ll buy him a beer.
Which brings me to Francis Porretto’s excellent essay, Broken Premises Part 3: Is It The Words Or The Tune That Matters?
Rare is the politician, on either side of the divide between the parties, who can be relied upon speak clearly and to the point, and always to call things by their right names. Porfessional pols and their staffs might not believe Sapir and Whorf’s conjecture that words have the power to shape reality, but their confidence in the power of words to shape popular convictions appears boundless.
George Orwell’s landmark essay “Politics and the English Language” is replete with piercing observations about the insidiousness of such rhetoric. Among its many powerful points is that we must know what a thing is to argue for or against it:
Stuart Chase and others have come near to claiming that all abstract words are meaningless, and have used this as a pretext for advocating a kind of political quietism. Since you don’t know what Fascism is, how can you struggle against Fascism? One need not swallow such absurdities as this, but one ought to recognize that the present political chaos is connected with the decay of language, and that one can probably bring about some improvement by starting at the verbal end. If you simplify your English, you are freed from the worst follies of orthodoxy. You cannot speak any of the necessary dialects, and when you make a stupid remark its stupidity will be obvious, even to yourself. Political language — and with variations this is true of all political parties, from Conservatives to Anarchists — is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.
Orwell’s essay should be required reading for every American who thinks himself qualified to vote, or to hold a political opinion. Much of the damage that has been done to freedom these past eighty years has passed into law under the cover of “terms of art,” periphrases and circumlocutions of the sort it describes.
All the events of last spring are only a foretaste of something much bigger, something still unnamed. And when it ends, those who have managed to escape will ask themselves: Why didn’t we see the handwriting on the wall when there was still time? If Muslim protests against a few harmless cartoons can cause the free world to capitulate in the face of violence, how will this free world react to something that is truly relevant? It is already difficult enough to see that Israel is not merely battling a few militants, but is facing a serious threat to its very existence from Iran. All too often it is ignored that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has already taken the first step by calling for “a world without Zionism” — a call that pro-Israel Europeans only managed to condemn with a mild, “unacceptable.” How would they react if Iran were in a position to back up its threats with nuclear weapons?
Kenneth Stein’s My Problem with Jimmy Carter’s Book (Stein was a Fellow at the Carter Center; h/t Not Exactly Rocket Science) ties in well with Jimmy Carter: Too many Jews on Holocaust council. As Stephen Pollard said,
The problem is that Carter does not provide an alternative view but the view from an alternative universe, with facts which are non-facts, events which are ignored and clear justifications for suicide terrorism.
What a disgrace Jimmy is.
There are three serious things we can do now: Tax gas. Drill in the Arctic. Go nuclear
If Cuban prisoner of conscience Prospero Gainza can sew his mouth shut as a defiant and symbolic gesture of protest, we can all show solidarity by fasting every Friday for our incarcerated brothers and sisters on the island.
I signed up for Twitter, where you can post updates on what you are doing during your day. Since I live a pedestrian and totally uninteresting life, I’m posting short quotes from poems I’ve read over the years.
Today’s verse is the first line from Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s Frost at Midnight, in keeping with this morning’s cold weather.
Look at the pink box in the sidebar for each day’s verse.
It’s not surprising that 16 Latin American and Caribbean countries have set up embassies here, more than they have in Russia.
”India is in a growth trajectory,” Nath told me, noting that India is likely to grow at 10 percent annually in coming years. “And Latin America is very important to us.”
While India’s trade with Latin America lags far behind China’s, Indian officials are working overtime to catch up, as I learned after meeting R. Viswanathan, the Foreign Ministry’s head of Latin American affairs.
Unlike most Indian career diplomats, who tend to be low-key bureaucrats, Viswanathan is a highly visible Latin America promoter. His business card reads, ”Passionate about Latin America,” and he personally runs three blogs and one website, Business with Latin America [link added], dedicated to the region.
Oppenheimer notes that politically, India has an advantage over China:
America for its Buddhist history and spiritual movements that are increasingly popular in the region, and for its booming information technology and pharmaceutical companies, he said.
”While China reminds me of 16th century Spain, which was only interested in extracting Latin America’s natural resources, India is never going to be an imperial country,” agreed Abdul Nafei, head of the Latin American studies program at Jawhardal Nehru University.
My opinion: Get ready to hear more about India in Latin America. In addition to a 1.1 billion population, democracy and a booming economy, India will offer an alternative economic role model — based on exporting services rather than manufacturing — that some in the region will find more appealing than China’s. Lagos, the former Chilean president, knew what he was talking about.
In other Caribbean items,
Former tinpot dictator Daniel Noriega of Panama will be released from prison later this year:
When Noriega steps out of his specially built, apartment-like cell at the Federal Correctional Institution in Southwest Miami-Dade, he probably won’t be free. Noriega — reportedly 68 or 72, depending on conflicting birth records — is wanted in Panama and in France.
Noriega was sentenced to a 30-year term for protecting Colombian cocaine shipments through Panama in the 1980s.
At least he can still speak out: Former Chavez confidant becomes critic in Venezuela
President Hugo Chavez’s political mentor — who once persuaded the fiery leader to seek power through elections after he led a failed coup — now says the regime has “all the characteristics of a dictatorial government.”
Richard Rahn writes about the Collapsing Venezuela
Venezuela no longer has an independent central bank, and inflation is already up to 17 percent and rapidly rising. We know countries thrive with economic freedom but decline without it, and Venezuela is now down to 126 out of 130 nations in the 2006 Economic Freedom of the World the most rapid decline ever (in 1995 it was No. 75). And, finally, we know that when a state becomes totally corrupt an economic collapse always follows.
Here are some NEW DEAD CASTRO RUMORS, in case you thought I forgot.
Meanwhile in South America,
Evo replaced seven out of 16 ministers of his cabinet – a day after celebrating his first year in office.
In Spanish: Los muertos de Castro, a must-see video on The Cuba Archive:
This morning there’s no internet connection at casa de Fausta. The problem certainly wasn’t caused by the snow, which was sparse,
and therefore thousands of children had to get up early and head to school.
I left The Husband to deal with the internet problem and took my trusty laptop to the Princeton Public Library, that $18,000,000 living room where
people shop, talk and fall in love
I realize one can’t really control who one falls in love with, but I’ll do my best to refrain from all of those three activities. Right now I’m sitting entirely by myself right next to the LARGE PRINT BOOKS section. It smells of popcorn.
Last night while I was tidying up the family room I watched one of the weirdest musicals ever: In Caliente (1935), starring Dolores del Rio, whom I remember from when I used to wait for my piano teacher when I was a kid living in Puerto Rico. One of the local TV stations used to play in the afternoons old Mexican movies (mostly horrible tragedies) and Dolores starred in many of them after she left Hollywood.
In Caliente takes place in a Mexican town of the same name at the Hotel Caliente (the hot hotel) where four mariachis followed the guests singing the title song, much like Sir Robyn’s minstrels, and, while they didn’t meet the same fate as the minstrels, there was much rejoicing. Dolores del Rio managed to look impeccable while wearing evening gowns throughout the film no matter the time of day or what was happening around her, mariachi or no mariachi.
The rest of the movie’s a Busby Berkely musical, and the songs’ lyrics were written by Al Dubin, of Tip-toe Through the Tulips fame. Judging by his lyrics, Al must have been a wild and crazy guy with a Brooklyn accent, with the emphasis on crazy: here’s She’s A Latin from Manhattan
Fate sent her to me over the sea from Spain
And she is one in a million for me
I found my romance when she went dancing by
And she must be a Castillian, si, si
Is she from Havana or Madrid?
But something about her is making me doubt ‘er I think I remember the kid, yeah!
She’s a Latin from Manhattan
I can tell by her ‘Man-ya-na”
She’s a Latin from Manhattan
But not Havana
Though she does the rhumba for us
And she calls herself Dolores
She was in a Broadway chorus
Known as Suzy Donahue
She can take her tambourine and whack it
But to her it’s just a racket
She’s a hoofer from Tenth Avenue
While the NYT reviewer said,
Perhaps its most notable factor is the restraint of Busby Berkeley’s song and dance interludes
restraint is not what comes mind when you watch eight horses running amok in a Mexican cantina while three dozen dancers drink from shot glasses and sing “Muchacha, at last I’ve gotcha where I wantcha, muchacha“, and Dolores del Rio has just smacked her suitor across the face with a crop, after which he falls down the stairs and miraculously recovers all the while keeping time with the music.
Here’s a still showing the moment just before she grabbed that crop and whacked him.
The lyrics are special,
Muchacha, tonight I’ve gotcha where I wantcha, my Muchacha.
I’ll watchcha just like a cat would watch a little cucaracha.
So, stand up and hand me your lovely charms,
Give me two red lips and a pair of arms.
I’ve gotcha and in the lingo of the “Gringo,” I’m so hotcha,
Muchacha, for you.
I can almost guarantee that no one’s going to be falling in love at the Public Library if they hear those pick-up lines, but going by what Robert Osborne said, being at the set must really have been a hoot.
On to today’s items:
Things are getting more caliente in Venezuela now that the National Assembly has given initial approval to a bill granting the president the power to bypass congress and rule by decree for 18 months.
Also caliente, the Chinese used a ground-based medium-range ballistic missile to destroy a weather satellite that had been launched in 1999. Meanwhile in Iran, the UFOs are flying.
The stakes are nonetheless very high because, unlike Saddam’s Iraq, North Korea has already succeeded in testing its nuclear bomb. The hard currency supplied by the UNDP almost certainly goes into one big pot marked “Dear Leader,” which Kim can use for whatever he wants, including his weapons programs. This may not violate the letter of Security Council Resolution 1718, which restricts trade in anything having to do with North Korea’s nuclear or missile programs, but it certainly violates its spirit.
Unlike Oil for Food, there’s no evidence to date that corrupt UNDP officials are in on the game–though given the U.N.’s record of late, it would be unwise to rule that out before a full investigation.
In Turkey, Hrant Dink has been shot dead. He’s the guy who had been prosecuted under Turkey’s strict laws against “insulting Turkishness.”
In lighter news,
There’s a local exhibition of diverse views on ‘What’s Sacred’. I might drop by during the weekend.
Geoffrey Chaucer got tagged with the V Thinges Meme
The well documented phenomenon that leads to very low, unseasonal temperatures, driving rain, hail, snow or all of the above whenever Al Gore visits an area to discuss global “warming”. Hence the “Gore Effect”
And from Maria
Castro Shuffling in Place
The cadaverish dictator shuffling in place is a perfect metaphoric rendering of Castro’s Cuba over these many decades. He took his country from prosperity and a place at the head of Latin America in material terms to the bottom. In practically every material measure his country is a slum. In terms of freedom it is one vast jail. Had he, when he came to power after the overthrow of Fulgencio Batista’s seven-year dictatorship, made good on his promise to return Cuba to the democratic condition in which it had existed in the 1940s, his country today would most likely be the richest and freest country south of our borders, and possibly Castro would be in the pink and deserving of the accolades now paid him by the American left’s rich and fatuous.
Yes, I know, the two words don’t belong together… until now.
You’ve been warned
Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, and sometimes it’s photoshopped
Is socialized medicine worth dying for? In the mind of Hillary, it’s good because it’s free health care.
Why the delay in announcing the obvious? So the Castro successors keep Cuba on stable track
When the announcement finally comes I won’t attend the funeral, but I’ll write a nice post saying I approved of it, to paraphrase Mark Twain.
Yeah, I know I’m a bad person – deal with it.
Val wrote asking,
If you get a chance, can you post a call for your readers to vote for Sgt Hook in the VA Center Best Military Blog awards? He’s trying to win first place so that he can use the winnings to travel to DC for the Milbloggers conference in May.
Vote for Sgt Hook here: Bloggers can win up to $2,500 in our “Best Military Blog” Contest
Update 2 Castro’s Surgery, and New Jersey….
Not Sonny and Cher’s daughter Chastity, but chastity, via The Anchoress: Casual sex is a con: women just aren’t like men
Former groupie Dawn Eden explains how she realised morality made more sense for women than free love
Our culture – both in the media via programmes such as Sex and the City and in everyday interactions – relentlessly puts forth the idea that lust is a way station on the road to love. It isn’t. It left me with a brittle facade incapable of real intimacy. Occasionally a man would tell me I appeared hard, which surprised me as I thought I was so vulnerable. In truth, underneath my attempts to appear bubbly, I was hard – it was the only way I could cope with what I was doing to my self and my body.
The misguided, hedonistic philosophy which urges young women into this kind of behaviour harms both men and women; but it is particularly damaging to women, as it pressures them to subvert their deepest emotional desires. The champions of the sexual revolution are cynical. They know in their tin hearts that casual sex doesn’t make women happy. That’s why they feel the need continually to promote it.
The article was published in the London Times. I’ll be very surprised if the NYT would carry it in their Styles section. Just a couple of weekeds ago they had a feature article about a 50-yr old porn actress. Dinesh D’Souza writes on Pornography — The Real Perversion (h/t Maria)
Don’t miss LGF‘s videos of Dispatches: Undercover Mosque.
Afghan civilians stop terror attack at U.S. base. As U*2 put it,
This seems to clash with the “America out of everywhere” mantra which is incessantly bleated by the French mainstream preSS.
Say ‘ello to my leetle fren’? Well, My leetle fren’ has more fun than Hugo and Mahmoud!
Muslims say they’ll boycott Northwest Airlines. I predict the stock price will rise.
American Digest says There’s No Stopping This Insanity Now
Not dead yet?
Castro Reportedly in Grave Condition.
At this rate, the official announcement will be coming in July.
Update: Val has a round-up.
Jimmy for terror
Three friends sent this:
JIMMY FOR TERROR
Has a former president of the United States – a Nobel Peace Prize winner, no less – given his blessing to wanton murder and terrorist assaults against Israel?
Sure looks that way.
How else to read that astonishing statement on page 213 of Jimmy Carter’s new anti-Israel screed, “Palestine: Peace, Not Apartheid”?
To wit: “It is imperative that the general Arab community and all significant Palestinian groups make it clear that they will end the suicide bombings and other acts of terrorism when international laws and the ultimate goals of the Roadmap for Peace are accepted by Israel.” (Emphasis added.)
You don’t have to read between the lines here.
Carter isn’t calling on the Palestinians to give up terror and murder now as a way to convince Israel they are serious about peace. Rather, he says they can wait until they’ve achieved their goals at the bargaining table. No need, says Carter, to give up terrorism until then.
The Spanish surgeon’s been in the news, not to be confused with the Spanish Prisoner,
The Spanish Prisoner is a confidence game dating back to 1588
Key features of the Spanish Prisoner are the emphasis on secrecy and the trust the confidence artist is placing in the mark not to reveal the prisoner’s identity or situation. The confidence artist will often claim reputation for honesty and straight dealing, and may appear to structure the deal so that the confidence artist’s ultimate share of the reward will be distributed voluntarily by the mark.
Of course one’s stretching the imagination when trying to find any similarities between the Spanish surgeon and the Spanish Prisoner ploys. What’s clear is that the Cuban free-healthcare apartheid system doesn’t even work for the big honcho:
Reuters says, Spanish surgeon rushed to treat Castro:
Jose Luis Garcia Sabrido, an intestinal specialist, traveled to the Caribbean island on Thursday aboard an aircraft chartered by the Cuban government, according to Spain’s left-leaning El Periodico de Catalunya newspaper.
The plane carried medical equipment not available in Cuba in case the leader needs further surgery due to his progressively failing health, the newspaper reported.
By the way, in Spain, conservative politicians questioned the use of Spanish funds to pay for medicines being sent to the Cuban leader since June (h/t Val). But I digress.
The Beeb‘s a little more specific about Dr Garcia Sabrido’s skills:
Dr Garcia is an expert on intestinal ailments, particularly cancer.
If you do a Google Scholar search, here’s Neoadjuvant Chemoradiation With Tegafur in Cancer of the Pancreas: Initial Analysis of Clinical Tolerance and Outcome and Dr. Garcia Sabrido also presented a paper at the 2nd World Congress of the World Federation of Surgical Oncology Societies, Naples, Italy, September 19-22, 2001: the doctor’s a cancer specialist.
Therefore, when the doctor categorically says,
“He hasn’t got cancer,” Garcia Sabrido said, adding that he believed Castro could be physically capable of running the country again. “While respecting confidentiality, I can tell you that President Castro is not suffering from any malignant sickness.”
one must believe him. You can even watch him say it.
After all, as Taranto points out,
Of course, Spanish doctors have lots of experience dealing with dictators who are still dead.
This is all speculation on my part, folks. Nothing to report … for now.