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The PJ Tatler

by
Dan Miller

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April 14, 2011 - 2:24 pm

Attention, Passengers. You may be awakened when we strike an iceberg; if and when and the Captain hears about it and decides how to deal with it.

Here is an article by Gustavo Coronel, a Venezuelan author who disagrees with most of el Presidente Chávez’ steps to make Venezuela a better place for the Chavistas little people. While things have deteriorated in Venezuela during el Presidente’s reign from not so great to abysmal, and although the situation in the United States remains far better than that in Venezuela,  Sr. Coronel’s comments bring to mind some of President Obama’s recent harangues.

Hugo Chavez has succeeded in dividing Venezuelans deeply, sowing social resentment into the souls of millions of poorer Venezuelans who now believe that anyone who has an education, a home and a stable job is responsible for their poverty and chronic state of hopelessness. Even worse, they have been promised that the assets of the “rich” will be confiscated and given to them.

Chavez has promoted and encouraged these attitudes by establishing a gigantic system of handouts: free or subsidized food, transport, primary medical assistance and low quality education, to millions of poorer, largely uneducated Venezuelans who receive a fish a day buy [sic.] who are not learning how to fish. As a result they are becoming more and more dependent on presidential promises that remain essentially unfulfilled.

As noted in a blog by another Venezuelan,

These days the mood of chavistas seem to be oscillating dangerously between shit scared and batshit crazy.  If you forgive me the vulgarity.

No problema, mon; extreme situations call for extreme words. However, it is not so extreme yet in the United States. It could perhaps be said simply of those pushing President Obama’s agenda that they “oscillate between confused and incontinent;” or in some well reported cases, between being hidden away in a closet and somnolent. That happens when  a “leader” is “a vague and uncommitted person pretending to be otherwise.” Fortunately and increasingly, the pretense seems to be noticed. Not enough yet, but maybe later.

Perhaps later than would be really helpful. An editorial in the Christian Science Monitor today compared, in specious Librul fashion,  the United States to North Korea and opined that

Nearly one quarter of North Korea’s population is either starving or at risk of starvation, according to a recent UN report, yet its government pours money into missile and nuclear programs. Such behavior seems to be the height of irrationality.

. . . .

Not all countries have behaved irrationally during the economic crisis. European governments have finally begun to cut back on their war budgets, reducing expenditures last year for the first time since 1998. But Europe was the exception.

. . . .

At a time of fiscal austerity, the US government should pause in its attacks on community services and low-income energy assistance to consider where the real fat can be cut. A recent Government Accountability Office audit reports as much as $70 billion in waste alone in the Pentagon budget.

. . . .

North Korea justifies its military spending as a necessary precaution to deter the kind of military intervention that ousted Saddam Hussein and now threatens to unseat Muammar Qaddafi. For the North Korean regime, spending money on the military ensures its survival and protects the ruling elite.

The international community, on the other hand, faces overwhelming threats such as climate change, health pandemics, and nuclear proliferation. You can’t attack climate change with a fighter jet or stop the AIDS crisis with a submarine. These threats have become all the more dangerous during this last decade of massive increases in global military spending.

So, in the end, who is behaving irrationally? By lavishing precious funds on the military, we are all North Koreans now.

Well, probably not North Koreans; the official motto there is Juche, self reliance, even though North Korea is far from it and speeding heading in the same direction as usual. Maybe we are just nascent Venezuelans, heading toward more ethnic, racial, class and economic division with leaders prepared, if for nothing else, to take full advantage of it. Will Greece help to bail out the United States one of these days? China can’t do it alone.

Dan Miller graduated from Yale University in 1963 and from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1966. He retired from the practice of law in Washington, D.C., in 1996 and has lived in a rural area in Panama since 2002.
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