readers! Croquetas and Ironbeer available as you enter)
The Papal memoirs review-post
will have to be pushed to the backburner yet again, reminiscent of this weekend's television coverage when first the Gaza pullout, then the missile-launch attack on an USN ship constantly pre-empted the World Youth Day
coverage, but it can't be helped.
A story of monumentally MSM-ish
proportions is brewing as I write.CNN
, especially of the cable news channels, has covered this story with a passion hithertofore reserved for the capture of Saddam Hussein -- with interruptions, updates, breaking news reports, and regular programmes like Lou Dobbs
economy-centric show being completely devoted to the story.
What is this story? Simple, really.Pat Robertson, whose input in politics waned almost 20 years ago, asked on his Monday televangelical 700 Club programme for the US government to covertly take out Venezuelan President, Hugo Chavez
Phrases such as "evangelical fatwa
" have been heard from such news outlets as Reuters and MSNBC, in a phrase dripping with the same contradiction in terms as "military intelligence" -- according to anti-military wags, that is.
Pat Robertson, for those who are unaware, ran for the nomination of the Republican Party in 1988, being resoundly beaten by President Bush 41, and since then, his political influence has been near neglible. With the present President of the United States, that infamous evangelical of PBS' worst imaginings, his influence is a big goose egg of nothingness.
Robertson lacks the stateliness of a Billy Graham.
He lacks the philosophical fervour of a Robert H. Shuller.
And he can't even be credited the media savviness of a Reverend Jesse Jackson in his prime.
Perhaps he only comes closest to the oft-times bizarre antics of Nation of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan
, who has made throughout the years one outrageous and racist statement
after the other, famously calling Jews "bloodsuckers
", ascribing to them control of most if not all important industries of the US, including their aiding of "pro-Zionist" US foreign policy, with seemingly no CNN round-the-clock media coverage on his remarks whatever.
Robertson's appeal lies primarily with the Bible Belt Over-60's, whose speech patterns and way of thinking are redolent of Paleo-Conservatives
the world over.
This is why he can say in stark terms:
[Venezuela is] the launching pad for communist infiltration and Muslim extremism. We have the ability to take him out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability.
...and some of his viewers wouldn't blink an eyelash.
BUT, don't think all of them wouldn't.
This is precisely one of the biggest stumbling blocks of MSM-led newstories, and the frustration many feel when such stories are being "framed" to get certain impressions: that one member of a sub-culture or group speaks for an entire swath of more-or-less like-minded believers.
Life just doesn't work that way. And they know better.OPINION
Let me be precise.
For Pat Robertson to say something so outrageous, so negligent, and frankly so un-Christian, is a travesty of what he is supposed to represent -- Christian probity in its most direct ethical embodiment, a man of the cloth.
(And here may I say as a Roman Catholic, what a contrast to the very recent words and actions by Pope Benedict XVI
, called "God's Rottweiler" in Monday's UK Channel 4 programme
about his ardent conservatism, in such prickly topics as rapprochement with German Jews and meetings with Islamic leaders, make against the backdrop of Robertson's call for regime-change slaughter)
In very few places of worship in the US will you find Christian leadership advocating the outright killing of another human being.
Even the most religious anti-abortion adherents would think twice about haranguing from their pulpit the need to kill medical doctors who perform abortions -- simply because defenceless killing is wrong. Full stop.
Those who do so are reprehensible and should have the severest consequences dealt to them, like Atlanta Olympics, and anti-abortion crusader, Eric Rudolph
.To say that I find the MSM coverage of this newstory as tilted to salivate over the miscue of one doddering old beg-a-thon preacherman in no way, shape or form excuses these remarks by Mr. Robertson.
Sure, there are practical considerations, such as dangling to dissemblers of bias a carcass dripping in red blood, as to sharks in a tank, waiting for them to present his marginalised position as somehow representative of all strains of Conservatism or Christianity.
Yes. That is despicable too, but it was started by the thoughtless, quite possibly, criminal words of Pat Robertson -- let's not forget that it's against the law to instigate the killing of anyone via the FCC-regulated airwaves.
Who knows now what will happen to his televangelist career, but what he advocates deserves scorn and ridicule of the highest magnitude, from all civilised peoples.
Never mind that he's just
Pat Robertson, and not a pastor with the weight and influence of a Billy Graham.
Wrong doesn't play favourites.HUGO CHAVEZ PLAYS THE ANTI-AMERICAN CARD LIKE HIS MENTOR
Never has anti-Americanism been played better, for such a long time, and from such a position of historical approbation by intellectuals, as by Fidel Castro, Cuba's unelected dictator since 1 January 1959.
Boy, he plays the US and its 5 generations of leaders like a banjo, and the music he produces makes anti-Americans everywhere fall over themselves in Terpsichore delight.
Since he came unto the scene, democratically-elected Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has learned that unsubtle art of throwing caustic acid in the face of the United States like a past master of the genre.
He is literally, Mini-Me.
He even has a signature feature which all successful dictators use to distinguish themselves and their movements -- a beret.
And the one cardinal rule for Castro, and now Chavez, is that you use any and all open expressions of opinions, or actions in the US to body-slam a whole people and especially, its government.
Stretching truth to its most illogical conclusions, they can and have already used the words of one private US citizen to indict the entire US War on Terror
The Venezuelan Vice-President, Jose Vicente Rangel (no relation to Charlie, presumably) railed against the US by saying:
The ball is in the U.S. court, after this criminal statement by a citizen of that country. It's huge hypocrisy to maintain this discourse against terrorism and at the same time, in the heart of that country, there are entirely terrorist statements like those.
This rapid response is straight out of Fidel Castro's "How to Deal with Gringos Hijoputas 101
El Comandante-en-Jefe couldn't have done it better himself if he tried.
Since in the worlds they live in and command, there is no private opinion that is not sanctioned or passed by the strict ideological censorship of their State mechanism, it is inconceivable to their peoples that Robertson is speaking out of turn, rather than out of official imprimatur.Robertson said it, so of course the US EN MASSE as a country and as a people must be guilty of promoting terrorism. Ergo, they are terrorists.
The anti-American feeling is such in South America especially, that old dumping ground for School of the Americas graduates -- go their arguments --, that even moderate politicians or the well-disposed to the US sometimes find themselves angry and envious of the US, simply because this North American country casts a huge shadow over a whole demi-sphere.
It is they, the moderates, or the ones who send their children to be educated in the United States, who are vulnerable since an attack on Chavez might actually give the Venezuelan President sympathy, as yet another beleaguered victim of US bully boy tactics.UPDATE
: Wait! Castro HAS given it the old college try! Pero que cosa mas grande, chico. My word yes, but aren't the wonders of the internet which he denies his own people access to, a wonder to behold. This is what the official news organ of the Cuban State, the comic-sounding-to-English ears, GRANMA
, says on the matter of Chavez v. Robertson
El "Reverendo Robertson" ha retomado ahora la campaña antivenezolana que conduce el gobierno del presidente Bush, con el secretario de Defensa, Donald Rumsfeld, como principal alabardero, encaminada a crear las condiciones sicológicas para un zarpazo militar contra Venezuela y contra Cuba, incluidos el asesinato de los principales dirigentes de ambos países.
Translation mine, with capitalised emphasis mine, below:The "Reverend Robertson" [ed. - note the sarcastic use of inverted commas/quotes] has again taken up the anti-Venezuelan campaign conducted by President Bush's government, of which its main cheerleader is Secretary of Defence, Donald Rumsfeld, by putting into full gear the laying of the psychological foundations to facilitate a military coup against Venezuela AND against Cuba, including the assassination of the leaders of BOTH countries.
As much as my powers of translation would like, I cannot FULLY CONVEY TO YOU the degree of cynicism dripping from this official Cuban communiqué.
First of all, it's just not true. It only rumbas with the truth, like all good Marxists do.
Robertson didn't mention offing Castro in his television show at all.
This only exists in the arteriosclerotic mind of Fidel Castro, who even though his pupil is the object of a hit-talk, cannot forebear but to inject himself into the picture.
We won't even fully explore how Robertson's words suddenly become full-on psychological warfare by the current US administration which will lead to the overthrow via 'dictatorcide', of BOTH these men.
I've heard of wish-fulfillment, but this is ridiculous.
Also, as the briefest of examples, here's another twist.
The word used to describe Donald Rumsfeld, "alabardero
" is really untranslateable. It comes from the religious term "alabar" or to praise on high, to shout hosannas until you are blue in the face, you know, like zealots do (hint, Rumsfeld is a mad zealot), and is used with true comic-sardonic and yet malevolent intent.
If you don't speak Spanish, you cannot know how insiduous this brand of writing is, you truly
cannot. But I can and do.
And I will say it to any who will listen because this, my friends, is mastery of twisting words which cannot ever truly be understood by the free people of the West. Nothing compares.
Cuba has been in the grip of this Orwellian newspeak for almost 50 years. And Venezuela, should Mr. Chavez not be DEMOCRATICALLY unseated, might well be on its way.SCENARIOS
What comes next for Robertson and Chavez?
First, the US President should avoid a Sheehan-like pall of silence until a situation has escalated to suit the needs of a certain demographic still fighting the November 2004 election, and personally mention in the strongest possible terms, that Robertson's views, which cannot be controlled since this is a free country, are nevertheless unacceptable, and morally wrong.
No one who loves Christ, or professes to, as a minister allegedly does, can say what he did.
This will not be the end of it, but can go a long way to ameliorating a media-frenzy which will explode in the dog days of August news reporting Wednesday. Not just in the US, I venture to add. But around the world.
Second, using the Castrista
method of making oneself a victim of Yanqui Imperialismo
, President Chavez will put in an official complaint to the United Nations, asking them to review the words of Reverend Robertson for censure by the whole body of nations, especially noting that the United States government is harbouring terrorists.
This state-of-affairs, he will inveigle, clearly violates the policy of not harbouring terrorists so often stated as an international knuckle-rap by the present US administration.
Third, he will ask for extra protection via the UN Peacekeepers or similar to escort him when he visits the UN Headquarters in the upcoming month. He will be the toast of the Upper East Side salons, should he chance to accept their invitations as Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua once did, despite his anti-bourgeois stance.
That none of this will be granted or truly considered is not important.
The important part is that Chavez is in the news, and that the US is seen in the worst possible international light. Again.WORLD REACTION
When I started this blogpost, there were 883 news articles on the topic, on Google News
. In the span of 2 hours, this has doubled. And that's just in the US Google version, never mind the foreign press.
Here's a cross-sampling of headlines all over the world (translation mine):Prensa Latina (Mex)
: "Pasa campaña contra Venezuela a intimidación abierta
" [The campaign against Venezuela is now in a state of open intimidation
: "Declaraciones de Robertson no asombran a Toro Jiménez
" [Robertson's words don't frighten Toro Jimenez
-- Venezuela's UN Ambassador, Fermin Toro Jimenez]Terra España (Spain)
: "Rangel considera 'una declaración criminal' las declaraciones del Pastor Robertson
" [Rangel, Venezuelan VP, considers Robertson's words "a criminal statement"
]Madrid Digital (Spain)
: "Un ex candidato presidencial por el partido republicano insta publicamente a asesinar al presidente de Venezuela
" [Ex-Republican candidate for the Presidency publicly urges the assassination of the President of Venezuela
: "US Dodges Robertson Comments on Chavez
" [This has mysteriously been taken out of circulation. This is the first line of the article: "Guardian Unlimited, UK - 4 hours ago By ANNE GEARAN. WASHINGTON (AP) - There's an old Southern saying that you dance with the one that brung ya, but as the Bush administration ..."]Times Online (UK)
: "Let's assassinate Chávez, says US Christian leader
: "Chavez's assassination cheaper than starting a war
"US denies any hostile action against Venezuela
: "Chavez ally: Robertson a 'fascist'
"Hindustan Times (India/English)
: "Christian body asks US to murder Venezuelan President
"ABC Online (Australia)
: "US Christian extremist branded a terrorist
"Winston-Salem Journal (US, North Carolina)
: "Out of His Mind
" [Also mysteriously gone after a short 2 hours]Hartford Courant (US, Connecticut)
: "Pat Robertson Issues a Fatwa
"Miami Herald (US, Florida / aka The Miami Horrible)
: "Upset Americans e-mail Venezuelans
"Slate (US, Blogger Wrap-up):
Each of these stories has a certain amount of editorialising contained even in the wording of their headlines. And though Le Monde of France
, La Reppublica of Italy
or Der Spiegel of Germany
carried no headlines on the topic at the time of writing, I'm sure they will weigh in with their respective "framing" soon.
For the secular, represented by the media, anything which even smacks of the religious, but especially that which is Christian, is seen as suspect. And this story only confirms and renews their worst suspicions about ALL Christians.
Oh yes. This story has only just begun.