April 18, 2009

Obama, warmly clasping hands with Hugo Chavez.

"Como Esta?"

130 comments:

lacegrl130 said...

I can't wait to hear what the body language experts have to say ... hmmmm

Alcibiades said...

Still happy with your vote, Ann?

Michael Hasenstab said...

I'm not sure that that is an actual handshake.

Obama appears to be pulling Chavez's thumb. Those Venezuelans have a good sense of humor. Chavez is probably smiling because he just won a bet with Fidel Castro.

"I bet a cigar that I can get Obama to pull my thumb, Fidel."

"You're on. He's stupido, but not that stupido. Even Boosh was smarter than that."

Pogo said...

I'm shocked, shocked.


"So tell me, Hugo, how exactly did you shut down the TV stations and newspapers who wrote against you?

Was it as fun as it looked?"

bearbee said...

Did he bow?

US oil imports ranks Venezuela as its 4th top exporter.

Hugo is slowly diverting oil to China away from the US.

Any exchange of gifts?

Bissage said...

I would have expected a fist bump.

john said...

Michael Hasenstab said...
"I'm not sure that that is an actual handshake. Obama appears to be pulling Chavez's thumb."

I think it was one of those fart jokes guys do.

Issob Morocco said...

I sense a Prime Time TV appearance by Obama on Hugo's Tirade Of Stars to the Venezuelan People.

"You say Tomatoe, I say Tomato, let's put the whole thing behind us and Socialize the world!"

Hugo in his Red Chile Pepper outfit, Barack in his sleek Black COat and tails with top hat.

Gosh we just have the best president since Jimmy Carter.

Big Mike said...

Let's see, according to Napolitano, American veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars should be regarded as potential terrorists, as well as anyone who criticizes the present administration. FARC and its chief supporter, Hugo Chavez, are good buddies.

Yup, this is change all right.

john said...

lacegrl130 said... "I can't wait to hear what the body language experts have to say"

I can't wait to hear what the apology expert has to say, you know, being head of the Yankee Empire, and all.

(Or was Chavez just talking baseball?)

rhhardin said...

Hail fellow well met, is all it is. They have similar problems.

Lem said...

It was problably more like..

Compadre!.. Como tuestas?

And then Chavez gave Obama cigars and guayaberas.

Robyn said...

Obama's level of inexperience is what frightens me. It doesn't seem to frighten very many others. Hmmm. I was once a broker at PaineWebber. Maybe I should apply to be secretary of the treasury, I've got as much experience at it as the president has at foreign policy.

Peter V. Bella said...

I'will take the Messiah seriously when he shakes hands with Netanyahu. Until then, this is the Flintstones Administration;
Bam Bam Bam Bam!

Skyler said...

Okay, since the evil of this man is now too obvious to say much more about, I will make fun of his appearance. I mean, we've been saying he's an anti-American Marxist ideologue for quite some time, so there's not many more ways to say that.

What I will say is, geez he has such girly hands. He and his wife have skinny little dainty wrists. On him it looks so effeminate. On her it looks so out of place compared to her height and build.

This explains his terrible bowling. He hasn't the musculature to control a 12 pounder. It's not his fault, he's just got sissy wrists.

I know this has nothing to do with his policies, but I just felt a need to point this out. So many people have bought the line that he's somehow masculine.

Big Mike said...

@Robyn, did you pay your taxes? Then you don't qualify!

Republican said...

Attention Obama voters:

President Obama identifies his former employees, defenders of our country, as potential terrorists, while hobnobbing with a dictator who hates America and comes closer to supporting terrorists who would kill us all.

Is this the kind of change you believed you would be getting?

Shameful. Shameful.

Republican said...

If Chavez is credible, shall we assume he was correct in calling our President an "ignoramus"?

"He [Obama] goes and accuses me of exporting terrorism: the least I can say is that he's a poor ignoramus; he should read and study a little to understand reality," said Chavez..

Quayle said...

Chavez looks desperate to cash in on Obama's fame and cool.

Two crowd pleasers.

And as of April 16th, "Manuel Rosales, mayor of Maracaibo, Venezuela's second largest city, is missing—in what the opposition is calling the latest instance in wave of persecution by the government of President Hugo Chávez. After Chávez vowed on national TV to have Rosales imprisoned, the government filed corruption charges against the 56-year-old mayor"

Isn't it cool to be a popular world leader - you can incide public opinion against anyone you want.

Peter V. Bella said...

"Isn't it cool to be a popular world leader - you can incide public opinion against anyone you want."

Obama is an eternal student. He is now learning how to stifle dissent. He is learning from the masters on how to consolidate power. now, if that pesky constitution would just get out of the way.

John said...

This is nothing. We'll see a picture of him kissing Fidel's ring before the year is out.

SMGalbraith said...

Hey, I bet those pro-democracy and pro-American people in Venezuela are just ecstastic to see this photo.

So in Cuba.

But look, America must restore its image in the world of supporting human rights by not mistreating Islamic terrorists.

Yep, we can't harm terrorists but if other countries want to butcher or oppress their own people, we're good with that. High-five Hugo?

Sheesh.

UWS guy said...

We have always been at war with Eurasia.

Pissed Off Hillbilly said...

Love the soul brother handshake.

UWS guy said...

It's funny to see people calling him a dictator when the american govt. Supported the coup against him in 2002. Which faild two days later due to popular protest. Also bearing in mind that he came to power though an election in the first place.

SMGalbraith said...

It's even more funny watching some people contort their arguments in rhetorical defense of a guy who they would never defend if he was an American ally.

Perhaps that's the key to getting apologists of these thugs to turn and condemn them: make them our friends.

Because as the saying goes, it may be unwise to be an enemy of the US, but it's absolutely deadly to be her friend.

UWS guy said...

Let's see. Chavez nationalized the oil industry like...hmm...Alaska! And sends the citizens money and pays for education.

He shut down a news Corp that backed the failed coup. I'll tell you what. If newt Gingrich and the tea baggers attempted to overthrow our president and fox news cheered on air about it? We'd do more that shut down hannitys America...we'd hang him from a lamp post.

SMGalbraith said...

If newt Gingrich and the tea baggers attempted to overthrow our president and fox news cheered on air about it? We'd do more that shut down hannitys America...we'd hang him from a lamp post.If a President of the US engaged in 1/10 of the actions that Chavez has done, he'd be impeached in absolute utter disgrace.

SteveR said...

Alaska nationalized the oil industry?

David said...

We will see how things develop. My bet, though, is that we will see more of this photo in 2012.

I'm not that upset about the photo. Yeah, Obama could have avoided it, or he could have looked stern instead of smiling. But they were at the same conference. Unless Obama was going to avoid the conference, something like this is likely.

The test will be his policies. We will see. So far I don't think he has a policy regarding Venezuela.

Given the recent Russian military visits, I hope he remembers the Monroe Doctrine when he gets around to formulating a policy.

William said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SMGalbraith said...

Alaska nationalized the oil industry?Yeah, Jon Stewart "reported" it.

Kirby Olson said...

Obama is basically saying in his body language, "Yes, we can!"

PatCA said...

Did Obama apologize to him?

William said...

The article also mentions that Obama shook hands with Daniel Ortega, the President of Nicaragua. Those here who complain about our treatment of sex offenders at Coalinga should look at Nicaragua and see how much further we have to go. Nicaraguans elect their sex offenders President.....This story has been supplanted by the later story of Chavez presenting Obama with a book. In the pictures of the incident I saw, Obama accepts the book with a broad smile and gives a hug shake to Chavez as he accepts it. I am not familiar with the book, but I sense that this will come back to haunt Obama. My spidey sense tells me that that it was something like the President of Iran giving Benjamin Netanyahu a signed copy of Mein Kampf as a good will gesture.

Chip Ahoy said...

"Estoy bien, he venido a jugar bromas"

Obama meets Chavez imagined in animated GIF.

Zachary Paul Sire said...

It truly is a delight to see you nuts getting worked up over this. I can't wait to see what Obama does next!

Paul said...

Alaska nationalized the oil industry.

Wow. Every once in a while a lefty nitwit says something that's so stupid it stands out even with all the competition.

But don't them lefties love them some dictators? It's the naked power they are enamored with. You can see them salivating with idea of having that much power. Mostly for the expressed purpose of killing their political enemies.

Drew W said...

From the news story:

"I hope President Obama is the last president of the Yankee Empire, and the first president of a truly democratic republic, the United States," Chavez said, after declaring a visit to Tehran "is like arriving at one's own home."

Oh dear, where to start . . .

downtownlad said...

too bad suckers. I know you all have hardons for another war and another 3000 dead soldiers, but you're not going to get it in Venezuela. At least not under Obama.

Alex said...

Why is a coup a bad thing against a brutal thug like Chavez? UWS shows his true dictator-loving colors...

Chip Ahoy said...

You guys should consider work in the film industry. Much like Garofalo, you make fantastic projectionists.

Skyler said...

DTL, most people don't give a rat's behind about Venezuela to be honest with you.

But they are controlled by a thug and our president shows he is friendlier with the thugs than he is with the decent heads of state.

Quayle said...

too bad suckers. I know you all have hardons for another war and another 3000 dead soldiers, but you're not going to get it in Venezuela. At least not under Obama.No, under Obama we'll get 3000 Venezuelans killed by their own emboldened government?

Much better, don't you think, DTL?

SMGalbraith said...

The same folks who were outraged with private citizen Donald Rumsfeld shaking hands with Hussein think this is no big deal.

As they say in Caracas, "Oy!"

Well they would say "Oy" if the Jews weren't driven out of the country by the anti-semitism of Chavez and his cronies.

UWS guy said...

Because gassing Kurds = nationalizing oil production.

I mean...what if he ends up nationalizing some banks!

Revenant said...

Eh, I wouldn't read too much into this. Every President we've had in the last 70 years -- and probably long before that -- has warmly greeted some real sons of bitches during these diplomatic meetings.

Look at Ronald Reagan. He famously (and accurately) described the USSR as an evil empire, but he was quite gracious when meeting with Gorbachev.

Alex said...

Revenant - there is NO comparison between Gorbachev and a thug like Chavez. Reagan knew from the start that Gorbachev was a reasonable guy. Reagan knew the difference between the hard-line Communists and the ones who didn't have the belly for it.

Chip Ahoy said...

I've learned to expect no intellectual consistency across time. Whatever is expedient for the immediate argument. There was a time when human rights ranked high on liberal agenda and we looked to the UN to project those values I was proud to align myself with that party, but now it's populated entirely with self-interest groups who look no further than their own interests and frame their positions in accordance to that. Their concepts of self-interest change slightly over time so re-frame their arguments accordingly and term it progressive. As far as I can tell, and I never manage to get very far in direct discussion on this subject because it inevitably dissolves into something like attention deficit disorder, their vision of an ideal life in a progressive world resembles something aking to life in DisneyWorld™ where all the people of all the countries sing "It's a Small World (After All)" and where Daddy pays for all the rides with his magic money card.

It's sweet, really. Here' have yourself an anim of Nina's adorable pony.

SMGalbraith said...

Eh, I wouldn't read too much into this.Sure, but it's the unwillingness of the President to defend rhetorically the US against thugs like Chavez and his libels.

Chavez's path for the people of Latin American would be a disaster.

Yes, the US has done some shameful things but the entire history of that region consists of much, much more than just US involvement.

Replacing one oligarchy for another doesn't make sense.

CarmelaMotto said...

and Gorbachev was negotiating with us in good faith, hence the handshakes. I doubt Reagan would have been as cordial (I don't recall hugs!) if Glastnost Gorbachev was behaving like Chavez.

Zachary Paul Sire - when I read childish comments such as referring to those who disagree with your opinion as nuts, I always assume it is a child making the comments. Then I see the profile and I am so disappointed to see an adult, a supposed liberal, unable to debate points without name calling. Shame.

Minzo said...

I'm obviously one of the very few people on here who thinks its a good thing? Chavez is dodgy, but I dont see why the diplomatic approach cant work. Considering the dictators America has enthusiastically supported over the decades, he's pretty much small fry. Calling this 'anti-American' is laughable.

SMGalbraith said...

For me, all anti-democratic, anti-US thug regimes that officially support terrorism and try to overthrow democratic governments are the same.

Saddam, Hugo, Baathists, Marxists.... all thugs.

One is smarter - he's able to convince people that he's really concerned about his people - but they're the same.

traditionalguy said...

Now let's see... The enemy of my enemy is my friend. These two friends have a common enemy. You and me, if we happen to own any property "stolen" from these official re-stealers of our wealth on behalf of any poor person on this planet. And to make the game rigged better, they can make more poor people by waiving the Socialism wand in the name of the two big crises in bad loans and Global Warming, being waived by Demos as we speak. Then after they have finished arranging to own the media's message and to count the votes,they own it all.Not a bad con even by ChiTown standards.

downtownlad said...

Chavez was elected three times - all in fair elections.

I think it's up to the people of Venezuela to decide how they want to run their country. If they want Socialism - well that's their choice.

Would I vote for him? No - he strikes me as a leader who is as incompetent and as immoral as George W. Bush.

I'm sure Chip Ahoy favors Chavez's assassination, just like Pat Robertson called for. And assassination of properly elected foreign leaders, or coup-attempts against them - well that's not a human rights abuse in Chip Ahoy's book.

SMGalbraith said...

but I dont see why the diplomatic approach cant workHow do you think the real pro-democracy and pro-West groups in Venezuela react when they see something like this?

It's not the handshake per se. It's the failure - so far - of our President to defend the US and democracy against thugs like Chavez.

Diplomacy works if you're standing up for your ideals. It's not diplomacy if you just allow the other party to disseminate their lies.

But if the Obama Administration really does believe in realism, really does believe that democracy promotion and human rights are ancillary to our national interest, then I guess he'll just be a punching bag for these thugs.

Minzo said...

SMG-you make some good points but as someone else said, Chavez has been elected and not in a Saddam-style 100percent sham. I'm not a fan, but we cant call for democracy in other places and then start bitching when they elect someone like Chavez.
Traditionalguy- what the devil are you on about? There's a conspiracy in your rant somewhere but I cant make head or tail of it.

Alex said...

Minzo - Venezuela is free to elect a thug like Chavez and America is free to declare Venezuela a pariah state. You seem to think that we should embrace thugocracy, just because. Do you stand for anything other then 50.000001% wins?

Minzo said...

SMG-you make some good points but as someone else said, Chavez has been elected and not in a Saddam-style 100percent sham. I'm not a fan, but we cant call for democracy in other places and then start bitching when they elect someone like Chavez.
Traditionalguy- what the devil are you on about? There's a conspiracy in your rant somewhere but I cant make head or tail of it.

Minzo said...

Alex- I didnt say the US should embrace Chavez. I said I didnt oppose having talks with him. I dont think it was a good idea for Obama himself to do the talking though. The bitchiness of your last sentence was epic however- I would respond in kind but I fear I will fall short of your eloquence.

Alex said...

Minzo - you better respond. I'm sick and tired of all my life seeing liberals embracing thugs if they come from 3rd world hellholes. Once again a lot of this has to be motivated by the fact that he's a brown-hued dictator, which makes him palatable to lily-white liberals who are pickled in guilt.

Minzo said...

Liberals have embraced dictators all your life? How many repressive maniacs did Reagan support? Dont act like this is some special Democrat affliction because it isnt.

Alex said...

Minzo - there is a difference between the Realpolitik of having to deal with dictators like Reagan did, and having marches where you celebrate them(Chavez). I don't recall any conservative marching in the streets holding up signs for Pinochet. If you can find me one case, I'll take that back.

Oh, and it's just a matter of course that you guys have Che signs all the time. You guys worship Che.

Minzo said...

First, I would argue that you are seriously downplaying Reagan's connections with dictators, It wasnt just 'having to deal'- thats very misleading. he actively supported them and armed them. Whether people matched in the streets or not is immaterial. And Alex, principle should be principle. Realpolitik shouldnt make it any less morally disgusting.
For what its worth by the way, I despise Che Guevara and I think Che-worship is again not just a liberal thing- he's just a hip icon for clueless people to idolise even though they dont know the vaguest thing about him.

Alex said...

Minzo - if you despise Che that puts you into a very tiny minority of liberals. At least you have some sense.

Kansas City said...

A lot of American politics is luck. Obama makes a anti war speech with a bunch of lefties at an anti war rally when he had no choice but to be against the war, then the public turns against the war and he comes president, after his opponents self destruct in his senate race, Kerry picks him for the keynote, Hillary blows a lead, and the stock market crashs six weeks before the election leaving the republicans with the worst candidate in an economic crisis.

Now, he is a naive and over his head president. Does his luck hold out? It may, with natural economic forces fixing the economy by 2012. But it also is easy to see the world swallowing him up, hurting America, and revealing him as naive and over his head. The notion that he would buddy up to Chavez, apparently without any real prior thought, makes him and us look like fools.

I'm not sure what is best for America. Continued Obama good luck will result in an 8 year leftward lurch that will significantly change America, probably in ways that cannot be reversed. On the other hand, a disastrous one term Obama obviously would be bad short term, but probably better long term, comparably to the Carter years (although we and the world still pay for Carter's ineptitude on Iran).

Cedarford said...

Skyler said...
DTL, most people don't give a rat's behind about Venezuela to be honest with you.

But they are controlled by a thug and our president shows he is friendlier with the thugs than he is with the decent heads of state.
I do. Venezuela has the largest reserves of oil and heavy grade bituminous oil in the Western hemisphere.
That makes Venezuela one of our most important geostrategic neighbors. And as long as Latin Americans fear invasion and that the Neocons still have power, the door into Venezuela and other nations are open to Rising China. 1st dibs on resources there in return for China supporting them against "war for the noble freedom-lovers and pro-democracy forces" that the US used as an excuse for about 2 dozen past invasions since the 50s.

[It is time to back down a good deal from "State of War!!" America, where people eager for other American's kids to fight and someone else pay assembled a "Dream List" of about 10 or so more wars they wanted fought for "Freedom!!!!" or Our Special Friend - starting with Iran, of course...It seems there is much to gain by chilling down the warmongers, so Latin America and much of the ME is not reacting to our bellicosity.]

As for backing thugs, we have plenty of our own. Even after the Cold War. And unlike, say, Mubarak, Chavez is a democratically elected thug. And his thuggish moves are less blatant than the moves Our Special Friend has done in recent years, or the "freedom-loving Georgians", or our Hero Karzai...who runs a narco-state.

Alex said...

Kansas City - the problem with Obama is that no matter how horribly he fails, the "hipsters" will support him like a god to the end of days. You know, the academics, hollywood types, singers...

SMGalbraith said...

It is one thing to practice realpolitik in foreign policy because you have to (hell, we gave billions to Stalin) but quite another to practice it because you want to.

Recognizing the limits of American power is good. Believing that American power needs to be limited because it is not good or is too arrogant is a different sort of recognition.

I'm unsure which of those admittedly simple explanations Obama embraces.

Sure, talk with Chavez or Ahmadinejad. But defend our interests and help those who support us as well.

To me, the pro-US and pro-democracy forces in Venezuela and Iran and Cuba and elsewhere must be just devastated over the silence of our President in supporting - rhetorically - their cause.

Just devastated.

Paul said...

Obama, Chavez, Rev Wright. Peas in a pod. Their contempt for America is a tie that binds. Soul brother handshakes all around!!

Kansas City said...

The mindset of Obama and other leftists is hard to understand on issues like Chavez, Castro and Ahmadinejad. They go crazy over our alleged torture, when we waterboard three terrorists for less than a minute, but look the other way on the atrosities of these guys. It seems a combination of liking anyone who blasts Bush and a naive view that if they can just talk to there guys, they will be able to reason with them. Hard to see how this will play out, but if things go south, Obama certainly is setting himself up for a big fall. However, it is true that the media will require outright disaster before assigning any fault to Obama, so maybe his chances of stumbling through to re-election are better than one would think.

mrs whatsit said...

I am just glad he didn't bow to him.

He didn't, right?

Alex said...

KC - Evan Thomas of Newsweek said back in 2004 that the MSM gives the Democrat 15 points automatically. So no matter what a disaster Obama is, the MSM has become so powerful that he simply can't lose in 2012. Even if the GOP put up the strongest candidate possible, he'd still lose something like 330-208 at best. The sheer amount of idiocy among the American people takes my breath away.

Paul said...

"The mindset of Obama and other leftists is hard to understand on issues like Chavez, Castro and Ahmadinejad."

Not at all. At the heart of the leftist worldview is the utopia that will result from the enlightened social engineering of the experts and technocrats in the perfect progressive government. Utopia by definition doesn't allow for dissenting viewpoints or compromise. It's truly totalitarian. Only absolute power can bring utopia to an unwilling and foolish citizenry, thus the left's obsession with and worship of naked power and those who wield it.

Of course not everyone on the left thinks in those terms. Most do not in fact. Still they are borne along by the current of the underlying philosophy that has defined the leftist agenda since Rousseau.

Kansas City said...

Paul, I think that you are largely correct in the view that leftists truly believe in socialist policies for the masses (not for themselves). In Obama's case, his two objectives are: (1) personal glorification; and (2) a belief that socialist policies are good for America. His actions are designed to accomplish those objectives.

Unfortunately, with continued good luck, he may succeed, at least for four years and re-election. I think the chances are very small that he would be a successful 8 year president, but few presidents are these days.

Lawgiver said...

DTL said,

I think it's up to the people of Venezuela to decide how they want to run their country.And what is the status of gay rights in Venezuela? Is there anyplace in Venezuela gays can legally marry? Shouldn't you hate them as much as you do hetero Americans?

Lawgiver said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cedarford said...

SM Galbraith -

"To me, the pro-US and pro-democracy forces in Venezuela and Iran and Cuba and elsewhere must be just devastated over the silence of our President in supporting - rhetorically - their cause."

Hardly.

The pro-democracy forces in Iran warn that the worst thing for them would be the US attacking Iran or being complicit with Israel by allowing the Israels to cross Iraq airspace unchallenged. We do so, they warn, the Mullahs have 30 more years in office, and the whole nation will be behind any effort or cost to rebuild what was destroyed in any bombing..

In Cuba, many of the dissidents support ending the trade embargo and allowing travel between the countries. They note that when relations were opened with the US and other communist nations, things got better. Right now, all that is remains supporting Embargo is the hard right/Religious Right and the fanatical original Exiles, who came in the 1959-62 time period. And what other country do we ban all citizens from travelling to? Only Cuba. And the "ethnic exception" allowed under part of Clinton's term and now resurrected by Obama is even more bizarre - it is OK to travel there, invest, spend money - but only those Americans in an approved ethnic group.

In Venezuela, the opposition certainly does not want America to do a trade embargo and ban it's citizens from travel..And say their cause will be helped by Chavez no longer having Bush and the neocons having Venezuela on a long list of "war targets" - as a rallying cause.

Skyler said...

Cedarford, where has anyone anywhere mentioned going to war with Venezuela? Where do you make that logical leap?

Chavez has personally insulted B. Hussein. He has personally insulted Bush. He has shown he hates our nation, and has been having talks with Iran on how to cooperate against us. Iran has been actively trying to kill Americans for several decades.

A polite handshake is expected and appropriate, but the display of enthusiasm borders on the insane.

Peter V. Bella said...

Chavez was elected three times - all in fair elections.

Hey DTL, you have a whole new career ahead of you. Yep. Stand up comic. That is the funniest and silliest thing you ever wrote. Now you can stop being a professional victim and go on to fame and fortune. I could see it now; DTL on his Heteromania Tour.

Peter V. Bella said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Eli Blake said...

Funny,

Chavez, whatever you think about him, is the democratically elected leader of Venezuela.

It is funny to hear the right going on a bender about this when they said nothing about President Bush being friendly with Hu Jintao, King Abdullah, Pervez Musharrif and many other world leaders are both repressive to their population and have never had to face an election among their own people.

blogging cockroach said...

estoy bien gracias
y usted

Peter V. Bella said...

He shut down a news Corp that backed the failed coup. I'll tell you what. If newt Gingrich and the tea baggers attempted to overthrow our president and fox news cheered on air about it? We'd do more that shut down hannitys America...we'd hang him from a lamp post.

Oh the hypocrisy!!! Shred the constitution and lynch journalists, critics, and dissenters. Ya gotta love those lefties. Give them a little more power, a President, and wham, bring on the dictatorship and tyranny.

Oh, and UWS, I hope you do not own a lap top. That moron from New Mexico that is now the head of DHS; why she thinks liberals who own laptops are terrorists. Maybe we will meet one day and discuss this rationally. In one of the re-education or internment camps.

SMGalbraith said...

Hardly.I'm not talking about an attack or keeping the embargo.

I'm talking about keeping the pressure on these regimes to lessen their repression.

The bully pulpit, rhetoric, speeches.

Obama should have had a copy of the Federalist Papers or the Black Book of Communism to give back to Chavez and then stated that democracy and the rule of law is the way and not replacing one oligarchy with another.

Say something, Mr. President. As you said, "Mere words?"

No, they're not "mere words."

Zachary Paul Sire said...

Breaking News: I'm over Obama.

But not for this Chavez thing.

For this.

Eli Blake said...

Zachary:

I disagree with you about that. It is indeed good that he released the memos (with more information likely to follow) but I agree that he should not prosecute those who conducted the torture.

The reason is this: Regardless of which party and which President is in power, one of the things that has always been honored (and which is at the core of a consistent and not erratic foreign policy) is the notion that each President, while he has been free to change the policies of his predecessor, respects all decisions, treaties entered into and other actions taken by his predecessor.

I believe that prosecuting the torturers, as much as they richly deserve it, would really hamstring future Presidents since virtually anything that they do might lead to some future prosecution, if not of them then with those who they task with carrying out their policies.

Letting the Bush torture policies see the light of day but declining to prosecute those who carried them out (and on what grounds-- they were authorized by a Presidential directive) is a way of denouncing the policy while keeping the policy of Presidential continuity (for wont of a better term) intact.

AJ Lynch said...

Zach:

Few in the MSM used the word "torture". Even CNN and the NY Times refrained from using that word.

I wonder why you used it?

SMGalbraith said...

It is funny to hear the right going on a bender about this when they said nothing about President Bush being friendly with Hu Jintao, King Abdullah, Pervez Musharrif and many other world leaders are both repressive to their population and have never had to face an election among their own peoWell, I recall the critics on the left complaining about the "neocons" wanting to create democracy everywhere. I guess that criticism is forgotten?

But you do know the difference between having to practice realism and wanting to?

And the difference between rapprochement with ugly regimes that are not anti-American and do not actively oppose our interests and those regimes that do? Regimes, moreover, that are allied with open enemies of this nation? And that are exporting their ideology elsewhere?

We recognize the limits of American power in a complex and difficult world. None of the above leaders you list engaged in the open anti-Americanism that a Chavez has.

And the issue on the table is not talking or shaking hands with thugs. Fine. The issue is not defending US interests when you do so.

C'mon President Obama. Defend the US and democracy against these Marxists.

Skyler said...

C'mon President Obama. Defend the US and democracy against these Marxists.But B. Hussein IS a marxist. It couldn't be clearer than if he said all his ideological influences were marxists.

Oh, wait.

He DID say that, didn't he? Why is anyone doubting anymore?

Zachary Paul Sire said...

I wonder why you used it?
One, I'm not the MSM. Two, because it is torture.

Alex said...

I have no problem using torture to save American lives.

Kirby Olson said...

Chavez recently froze his opposition leader's assets, neutering him politically.

It's standard business in Venezuela, where lots of opposition leaders regularly disappear.

Of course there is no opposition left in Cuba, so Castro doesn't have the same P.R. problem.

Kirby Olson said...

http://www.newsmeat.com/news/meat.php?articleId=47873597&channelId=2951&buyerId=newsmeatcom&buid=3281

JAL said...

So why is Hugo Chavez a bad guy? And you guys act like we should know what about him? And it's just a cultural mis-read on the stuff he does?

I thought Chavez and Bill Ayers saw eye to eye on stuff. Weren't Ayers and President Obama friends or something?

JAL said...

I have a friend who immigrated legally from Venezuela. Much of his family is still there.

Venezuela is not a cool place to be.

(The previous post was my ingenue alter ego speaking.)

SMGalbraith said...

Somebody print this and mail it to our President:

"Conflict between states is made from sterner stuff than bad manners or bad vibes, past grievances or imaginary fears. International politics is neither psychiatry nor a set of ’see me, feel me’ encounter sessions. It is about power and position, about preventing injury and protecting interests. Love and friendship move people, not nations."

The foolish Bush thought otherwise when he looked into the eyes of Putin and "saw his soul."

I'm afraid Mr. Obama is making a another kind of mistake based on a different understanding of the world. That is, if we're humble before others, they're unclench their fists.

Their fists aren't clenched, Mr. President, because we've been too arrogant. They are clenched because their interests are not ours.

Paul said...

I played a show a couple of weeks ago with the singer from Santana and he was telling me about a recent Latin American tour. He, as well as the rest of the band (except me), are all black guys from Oakland and naturally staunch Dems. He mentioned playing in Colombia and I asked him if conditions have improved there. He said things were much better but the place that frightened him was Venezuela. I keep my politics to myself around my musician friends (with the exception of a few right wingers....we're all DEEP in the closet) so I didn't comment, but I thought it interesting.

Skyler said...

Their fists aren't clenched, Mr. President, because we've been too arrogant. They are clenched because their interests are not ours..

B. Hussein is clearly a marxist ideologue. He's not interested in a distinction between their interests and our interests. They're all his interests.

The only question remaining about B. Hussein, the marxist ideologue, is whether he intends to be the totalitarian that controls the masses, or whether he is one of the useful idiots that allows the totalitarian to take control.

He doesn't seem much like an idiot to me.

Paul said...

"He doesn't seem much like an idiot to me"

I dunno. He doesn't appear to be other than of ordinary intelligence. But being a useful idiot has little to do with native intelligence, but rather being susceptible to indoctrination, particularly indoctrination that ultimately proves to be not in one's own self interest.

Obama is a weak, vain man. He is not a leader nor a decider. He's the front man for Soros Inc.

UWS guy said...

Matthew Yglasias has it right today. Bush/Cheney torture is the same as japanese internment.

Can we all agree that it was immoral and a sad chapter in a scared America (yet, knowing we would do it all over again?)

The danger is not admitting that what we did was wrong.

Dale said...

Can we all agree that it was immoral and a sad chapter in a scared America (yet, knowing we would do it all over again?)Nope.

Glad we did it. Would recommend we do it again.

Oh childish UWS. You are such a naive one. The freedom to be ignorant and ridiculous in your beliefs has been paid for over and over by the blood of men and women who's shoes you and your naive co-horts who despise America's liberties are not fit to tie.

Pogo said...

"The danger is not admitting that what we did was wrong."

The Lefty Church of Perpetual Self-Abasement, services daily at 7 and 7, and on Sundays every hour.

Bring your own sackcloth and ashes. Hairshirts $10.00 each.

Palladian said...

"Funny,

Chavez, whatever you think about him, is the democratically elected leader of Venezuela."

That makes me think Venezuelans are stupid.

Lyle said...

This was one of the things I was looking forward to as Obama as President... Hugo Chavez being chastened around him. Wouldn't be prudent to demonize a black man. Doesn't jive with the Socialist International's take on race.

SMGalbraith said...

It seems to me that President Obama needs to remember that talking to Latin American (or world) elites is different than talking to the Latin American or world people.

Two different audiences. The message for one will be heard differently by the other.

He's appealing to the leftist Latin American elites while ignoring the vast majority of Latin American people whose lives will not be improved by replacing the old oligarchies with a socialist or statist oligarchy.

I'm not sure, I'm afraid, that he knows this.

Eli Blake said...

SMGalbraith,

You have a point in that Hu Jintao, King Abdullah and Pervez Musharrif have not used anti-American rhetoric (though many in their governments have, sometime you should read a transcript of some Saudi family members' speeches about America and Israel as translated from the original Arabic if you don't believe me).

However I was responding to some who argued that Obama shouldn't have shaken Chavez hand because he was a thug.

The larger issue however is how we plan to approach those who are anti-American. Do we want to keep them as enemies forever? We've essentially had the same policy against Cuba (embargo and isolation) for half a century and has failed to weaken the government there. I don't see where that kind of policy has worked anywhere for that matter, we've isolated and refused to trade with Iran for 30 years and their government is just as firmly rooted as ever, and so is the government of North Korea.

President Obama is trying a different tactic. It is a tactic which Richard Nixon used, successfully.

Let's go back to Hu Jintao. Now, China is certainly a rival of the U.S. (and we've pretty much sold them our country by now) but in 1972 let's remember that the previous 23 years was a continuous stream of anti-American rhetoric out of the Chinese, who blamed western (especially American) imperialism for all the ills and humiliations of China going back at least a hundred years. They not only used anti-American rhetoric but they also killed a lot of Americans in the process, including in the Korean War and by supplying the North Vietnamese with weapons to kill Americans.

And the rhetoric was just as tough going the other way, with a lot of right-wing Americans suggesting that we should nuke China into submission (at the time China was just emerging as a nuclear power but didn't have more than a couple and no way to deliver them outside their borders.) But Richard Nixon saw something else-- a way to open up China by using not nuclear weapons and planes and guns and troops, but America's greatest asset-- capitalism as represented by companies like McDonald's, Disney and Coca Cola. so he went to China and shook hands with Mao Tse-Tung. And no one would seriously dispute that despite the new issues that have developed since then with China, we are far better off today than we would if China were still nothing but an implacable military foe.

Free trade has also opened up Vietnam, another old enemy.

Also let's not forget that Nixon also opened the door to trade with the Soviet Union, and Carter and Reagan expanded it, so that by the time Reagan shook hands with Gorbachev (!) his own people wanted to dump Soviet Communism in favor of capitalism and materialism.

So Obama's strategy with Cuba is not to continue the same old thing that has failed, but to try the strategy that has succeeded.

Lyle said...

Galbraith,

I agree. Obama also benefits from the world loving him and makes world leaders less ready to criticize him for domestic political reasons.

John Stodder said...

I guess I throw in with Eli Blake types on all this. Embargoes only make sense if a) They'll make an existential impact on the bad regime we think needs to go, and b) If we're not doing it alone, so it's effective.

The Cuban embargo has never met either criteria, much less both.

I'm also fine with Obama making nice with Chavez. It makes it harder for leaders like him to gain propaganda value from demagoging against the US, without strengthening his international position appreciably. It's not as if we're sending him weapons. And I don't think it made Obama look weak or naive, which is what happened with his video address to Iran. But even that was a blip.

Those of us who voted for Obama figured he would be nicer to left-wing regimes. Why not? He's got to be able to say something in his memoirs for Bill Ayers to dig. Fortunately, the left-wing regimes really aren't the biggest problems for the US right now.

Peter V. Bella said...

"Obama also benefits from the world loving him and makes world leaders less ready to criticize him for domestic political reasons.Like if he should decide, oh, I don't know, maybe to send Afghan and Iraq vets and liberals who own laptops to Gitmo as terrorist threats? Those kind of domestic reasons? :)

Cedarford said...

UWS guy said...
Matthew Yglasias has it right today. Bush/Cheney torture is the same as japanese internment.

Can we all agree that it was immoral and a sad chapter in a scared America (yet, knowing we would do it all over again?)
Yglesias is now a conventional liberal Jew convert, backing furiously away from when he jumped briefly on the Neocon bandwagon.

Now he is just another liberal drone obsessing about 40 seconds of waterboarding 3 people of a movement that routinely kills thousands of civilians for spreading fear, and cuts prisoners heads off or amputates limbs. (Iraq, Afghanistan).

As for the Japanese relocation/internment camps, the Left just loves those. Because they claim they make America morally equivalent to Nazis. American camps = Death Camps.

45,000 of the Japs relocated were enemy foreign nationals. Most of the rest, underaged dependents. 10,000 were interned based on strong Japanese sympathies. At war's end, even with Japan defeated and in ruins, 10,000 left "because the Emperor needs us back home".
Relocation was preferable to what happened in Hawaii, when all went under Martial Law for the duration.

Japanese were free to leave the camp for school or jobs outside the relocation area. Death and illness were rare. Before War's end, most had been allowed back to the West Coast. 2 of the camps near military bases were converted to military housing because they were better than anything the soldiers and families could have on Base.

Skyler said...

Okay, you don't need to be a leftist or new age liberal to know that torture or even maltreatment of prisoners is wrong.

This has been the law for centuries across civilized nations. I don't like taking on the worse characteristics of unciviized nations.

We're not Byzantium. We're the United States. We are better than those that mistreat those in our custody.

The people in our custody should not be coddled or given bon bons, but should not be treated as animals, either. Leave them alone in their cages where they won't hurt anyone. That is our alternative to executing them, which would also be perfectly legal.

But I guess perhaps we are becoming more like Byzantium, a corrupt, bloated government with endless intrigues and disdain for human life.

Matt Eckert said...

Eli Blake has never met a communist or an enemy of America that he did not love.

It is the Republicans and the taxpayers that he despises. Just like his man Obama.

Lyle said...

Peter V. Bella,

What do you mean by sending vets and liberals to Gitmo?

Lyle said...

Peter V. Bella,

I didn't mean American domestic reasons, but the domestic politics of foreign countries.

Bush was a great voting getting tool for many a left-of-center politician in Europe and elsewhere.

Peter V. Bella said...

Lyle,
Sorry for the misunderstanding aout the domestic stuff.

The moron from New Mexico who heads up DHS thinks that vets and liberals with lap tops are ripe for terrorist recruitment.

You know, she is about as dumb or dumber than Jocyln Elders. Man can this guy pick people or what. He is even making Clinton look good.

Seven Machos said...

I have to say that I agree with Eli, too. At the end of the day, the embargo is just face saving now.

Are we free traders or are we not? Do we believe that our freedoms trump their tyranny, or do we not?

Of course, Eli isn't. But that matters not. When you and the other side can agree, bully for you both.

Really, this is the kind of thing a Republican second-termer ought to do. Thanks for nothing, W.

Seven Machos said...

Over editing above. You get the gist.

traditionalguy said...

You know the selected stories now being planted about the Right Wing Nuts all being a danger to a smoothly run Socialist Society, and probably needing to be disarmed before they all crack-up and attack the federalies is a sign of an expected power encounter.They are preparing the battlespace as Goebbels did for his man. (The Texas Governor probably does qualify as a threat to a peaceful Obama era of Chavez's style rule). Both Chavez and Obama rely upon claiming the power when elected to remove large private assets into the hands of a Fascist one man ruler. These two guys are comfortable together because they both have worshiped at the altar of the atheistic/humanistic Secular Religion called Communism. There is little doubt any longer about that truth.

Peter V. Bella said...

The embargo made sense when the Russians were suppying Cuba with all their needs. Since they pulled out, we should have lifted it. The Cuban Americans are a powerful voice in D.C., so I do not see the embargo being lifted anytime soon.

Chip Ahoy said...

There are two types of cocao trees, three really, the third hybrid of the first two, Forastero, Criollo, and Trinitario. Forastero accounts for 95% of world production, 70% of which is grown in West Africa. They're touchy bastards of trees, requiring strong light but indirect sun so the trees are usually grown as undercrops beneath canopies of larger trees which themselves must be tended but they must still get enough light to thrive. They grow only 15 - 20 degrees north or south of the equator in rich soil, so you can easily see on a globe the band representing the area where cocao trees are viable. They need consistent moisture without flooding. They're prone to diseases and attack by insects. The trees are persnickety and touchy as some commenters here. They're a total pain in the arse. Did you know the heavy cocao pods grow directly on the tree trunks? That right there makes them a very odd species indeed. The Criollo type cacao tree is grown almost exclusively in Venezuela and it is the most difficult of the three types. It is the least productive by far and the most susceptible of all to disease. It's also the best tasting according to chocolate connoisseurs. It is used in blends to impart its unique floral characteristics to the less splendid types, and in its 100% pure form it is reserved for very fine chocolates. All this conspires to make the cost of Venezuelan Criollo couverture chocolate easily over double the cost of other blends. In its pure form it is adored by chocolate cognoscenti, but it is not universally loved.

Add to all that a maniac driving the Venezuelan economy straight into the ground and you can sense my concern. These troubling factors that bear on the world of chocolate are on my mind in relation to Obama shaking hands with Chávez because today I tempered two rather large batches of El Rey discos which are processed from Venezuelan Criollo cocao.

This is pretty much the only thing I really care about Venezuela I'm shallow that way. I do wish them all the luck in the world though, they need a lot of luck to reverse their misfortune so I can only hope Obama will bring to them some of his magic grace he shines upon the whole world. From what I read I understand presently Obama is actually more popular than Chávez according to these blogs, where you can see for yourself what I'm telling you is not just made up. Odd though, they always talk about serious stuff and never about my chief interest, chocolate.

babalublog.com

daniel-venezuela.blogspot.com/

redpepper.blogs.com/venezuela/

resistenciabucarecaracas.blogspot.com/

venezuelasententia.blogspot.com/

downtownlad said...

That makes me think Venezuelans are stupid. - Palladian

As if that matters. They are hot - that matters.

http://www.ohlalaparis.com/ohlalaparis/2005/12/mr_venezuela_el.html

Jeremy said...

Typical whining from the right wing crowd here..but...

...have the wingnuts here already forgotten that 15 of the 19 9/11 terrorists were Saudis?

And did that fact bother you at all...during the chummy meeting between President Bush and Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah in Crawford, Texas...the one with hand-holding?

AlphaLiberal said...

So, Obama shouldn't shake the man's hand?

And he shouldn't even talk to Chavez?

I don't get conservative "thinking" at all.

Skyler said...

Talking and politely shaking hands is of course appropriate.

But this was a wildly enthusiastic, happy, I want to be your best friend type of handshake. It wasn't merely a polite "I don't have a knife in my hand" handshake.

Jeremy said...

Skyler said..."It wasn't merely a polite "I don't have a knife in my hand" handshake."

And God knows that when attending a forum such as this, the message you want to send is that you "don't have a knife in my hand."

What more could a country want of their President?

Alex said...

Jeremy - we know you hate America.

Jeremy said...

Alex, As always you comment has no relevance to the discussion at hand.

And as usual, you can suck my cock.

Skyler said...

Jeremy, if you didn't realize it, many people beleive that the tradition of shaking someone's hand came from a need to prove that the hand was not carrying a weapon. I was referring to that purpose of shaking someone's hand.

And in fact, that is a very good message to send when at a diplomatic meeting -- that you intend no malice so long as we're still talking.

Jeremy said...

Skyler - I agree.