Quotable Quote

"Practically speaking, the totalitarian ruler proceeds like a man who persistently insults another man until everybody knows that the latter is his enemy, so that he can, with some plausibility, go and kill him in self-defense." -Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism [I’m re-reading this now, and while chavismo is much closer to Arendt’s idea…

Memo to the opposition: thanks

(No, I am not being facetious) The opposition umbrella group Mesa de Unidad announced today that it would not meet its January 31st deadline to announce its unity candidates. Instead, it pushed the deadline to February 10th. In a carefully-worded press release, the group said the gerrymandering being done by the chavista-controlled National Electoral Council…

Where did chavismo’s normal go?

Juan Cristobal’s last post – particularly that one-liner about there being "no one normal left in chavismo" – made a few people in the comments section, myself included, pretty uncomfortable. Of course, I’m in no position to go around casting first stones when it comes to flipping my shit over something crazy Chávez just said…

Important man unveils a new tool

Yesterday, the world saw the unveiling of a tool that awed millions. Hugo Chávez’s National Guard unveiled a high-tech little toy they are currently employing in their friendly encounters with the nations’s protesting students. Its intended goal is to revolutionize the way we protest from now on. Much like Steve Jobs did yesterday in San…

My suggestions for the National Assembly

The first month of the new decade is almost gone. With everything that’s going on, it’s easy to forget the opposition leadership promised that, before the month was through, a strategy would be in place for selecting candidates, and we would have the list of places where primaries would be needed. There are still a…

Ud. No Lo Vio Por Venevisión

Longtime reader Vinz reports:  "I’ve been watching the baseball games and it is completely insane.   -Venevisión seems to have recieved orders to cut out the protesters in the back. Their editing is complete lunacy: Sunday, as soon as the pitcher threw the ball, they cut to a point-of-view shot from third base so as…

A crisis Chávez can’t import his way out of

Venezuela’s opposition students have unveiled a clever campaign slogan: "Electricity, water, crime: tas ponchao!" The expression, which draws on Venezuelans’ love for baseball to call three strikes for the President, is being unveiled in ball games as our season draws to a close. By calling attention to three severe problems that are causing the government…

Who’s afraid of the big, bad Gerrymander?

Some longtime readers are up-in-armsabout the CNE’s (predictable) decision to Gerrymander the hell out of the constituencies ahead of September’s legislative elections, which will ensure chavistas get many more parliamentary seats than their share of the vote would entitle them to. As speeding violations go in the Indy 500 of a government we have, it’s…

Trusted Users This Week

Last week, 36 of you logged in to write comments…thanks! The top four contributors last week, as judged by the community, were: Bilis Negra Edgar Brown dagoberto Roberto N Congrats! You’ll have Trusted User status for this coming week.

The Hard-Up Elite

This is a story about two friends of mine: Carola and Andrea. Carola is doing pretty well for herself. Born to a reasonably well-off Caracas family, she nevertheless enjoyed a free university education in La Cuarta and ended up taking a prestigious, even glamorous job at a prominent private firm you’ve certainly heard of. She…

Reductio ad obnoxium

Considering how grotesquely it has been abused, it’s easy enough to forget that, in its original guise, the concept of a broadcasting "Cadena"  has a solid basis in constitutional law. Broadcasting, by definition, involves using a publicly owned medium – the radio-electric spectrum – to transmit a signal. In principle, you need a license to…

Seeking Solace in Understanding

At times, the sheer volume of lunacy oozing out of the Chávez Cult is almost more than I can bear. What can I say, it gets to me. It’s things like Chávez’s contention that the CIA and Colombian paramilitaries are behind the crime wave in Caracas slums, like ViveTV’s report that the quake in Haiti…

The dead gimmick

The election yesterday of Chile’s first right-wing President since 1990 is being hailed as a monumental shift. As former President Ricardo Lagos so eloquently put it, the governing Concertación coalition leaves after twenty years of unqualified success. But in spite of a great track record, and the advantages of a hugely popular President, they lost…