Sunday, February 15, 2009

Venezuela at a crossroads

Last-minute polls show that Venezuelan wannabe-absolute dictator (and one of "actor" Sean Penn's bestest buddies) Hugo (Pugsley) Chavez is close to getting his wish to be able to run for re-election forever. This will be the second time in two years that Chavez has tried to lock up the job of El Presidente for life, just like his hero (and Penn's other good pal) Fidel Castro managed to do in Cuba until very recently, when he passed power to his younger brother Raul because of illness.

"On Saturday, Chavez said he lost in 2007 because of a weak get-out-the-vote effort, which he has now overhauled, making him "infinitely more" confident of victory on Sunday."

Meaning: His goons' arms are going to be mighty sore from pushing all of those uppity citizens who declined to vote for his last naked power grab to the polls at gunpoint this time around.

Venezuelans should take a close look at today's Cuba and think long and hard about whether they wish to emulate that prison state before deciding which lever to pull today.

Speaking of the hateful Mr. Penn (who has a long history of violence-related arrests, including being charged with felony domestic assault against his then-wife Madonna, yet despite this shameful record was still issued a handgun carry permit in Marin County, California, something that's denied to virtually all law-abiding peasants there), here's two excerpts from a recent interview he did for Rolling Stone magazine:

"The gist was, they praised you as an actor but said you're a naive journalist."

'Well, I think that they're professionally naive journalists. I have no regard for 90 percent of American journalism. That's why I travel and look for things for myself. If you're going to get on Cuba for its lack of free press, well, we don't have any press, as far as I'm concerned.'

Except for a lapdog music magazine that interviews uneducated media whores like Penn, a person who is famous mainly for playing make-believe for a living, as well as for getting into multiple scrapes with the law. That fills his definition of hard-hitting journalism, it seems.

Said periodical then allows this self-proclaimed "expert" to prattle on for pages on end, heaping abuse on the country that has given him so much in life and extolling the virtues of places that he himself would never deign to live in, as his lifestyle would be curtailed too much by having to simply barely exist from day to day, just like any other oppressed peasant in those hellholes.

"Do you have any regrets about not challenging Raul Castro more during your visit on things like the historic repression of gays in Cuba?"

'I wasn't intending to paint the whole picture. I was talking about the United States and our gullibility. Just a few weeks ago, I was doing a reading for Paul Newman's foundation, and we had people outside with "Matthew Shepard, burn in hell" signs. We've got a few closet-cleaning numbers to do before we start attacking them.'

Because, you know, Cuba has it all over us in the freedom department. You know, Mr. Penn, Walter Duranty didn't "paint the whole picture" of the Soviet Union under Stalin, either, and he ended up winning the Pulitzer Prize for his mostly made-up portrait of idyllic Communism. Is that the kind of journalism you idolize and wish to emulate?

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