Some quick thoughts, starting with this:
Earlier that year, in August 2005, Pat Robertson, on his televised 700 Club,
actually voiced his will that the U.S. should assassinate a democratically
elected head of state in Hugo Chavez Frias of Venezuela.
Now, I'll grant you that Pat Robertson was a horse's ass of staggering proportions, but if you think for a second that Hugo Chavez Frias of Venezuela was democratically elected, I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you after I introduce some people I know that live under that dictatorial bastard.
I'll also grant that America's embargo of Cuba is foolish and misguided, not to mention unsuccessful. That doesn't change the fact that Castro is also a blood-thirsty, dictatorial thug. But to Penn he is grandfatherly.
He writes, "I'm enthusiastic about exploring socialism. Personal achievement. Well, in this case, I hope to achieve the reader's continued interest."
For amusement purposes only, I would hope. But before he writes, before he shares his enthusiasm for socialism, he should become more familiar with the economic, political and practical implications of such enthusiasm. Enthusiastic socialists in history have been Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, Mao and his buddy Castro. Where is the reconcilliation with these facts?
I agree that capitalism has its problems. I agree that the problem with capitalism is capitalists. But the problem with socialism is socialism. And I can't believe that at the beginning of the 21st century some people haven't gotten this.
I was drawn to this piece by this post by Mark Hemingway on the Corner. I dare you to read it and take it seriously:
From the sublime to the ridiculous, it was now 2am. I lit a cigarette, took a couple of drags, flicked it into the alley and entered the bar. Downstairs the music was loud. Some quasi-combo of house and salsa. Thump! Thump! Thump! The downbeats shook the floor and tickled my feet. I headed up the back stairs, and waiting for me at a table in the upper deck were the two contractors I had arranged to meet the night before. Full disclosure: I'm not a big "contractor" guy. I'd been jacked up by DynCorp-employed Iraqis on a dark night in a Baghdad alley, and slept beside Blackwater boys and their guns on a floor in the floods of New Orleans. It's just this little thing I have about apolitical military might for profit. Call it irksome. Call it what you will, but a source is a source. We exchanged greetings by way of grunts. I took a seat and ordered Johnny Walker Black. It had been years since I ordered Johnny Walker Black. Pathetically I might have wanted to be one of the boys for a moment. They ordered a bubbly water a piece, and it was on. I was Al Capone, m——-f——-, and they were a pair of Perrier pansy John Wayne's. "Whatcha got for me?"
Uninterestingly, they turned out to be a couple of gents, South African though
they were. In practice, their job in Venezuela was logistical. One, organized the patrolling of waterways by their company, contracted by the Venezuelan government to aid in drug interdiction. The other strategized jungle patrols on the Colombian border. We talked about a lot of things, and a lot of parts of the world, as I tend to do when indulging Johnny Walker Black. But here are the highlights: Neither one of them liked Chavez a bit. Whatever personal politics they might have had were far to the right of my peripheral vision. Chavez just wasn't their kind of fellow. But the jungle patrolled said straight out, "I'll tell you this about Chavez though. Of all the countries we've worked for, this government is by far, the most serious about drug interdiction." I said, "What's the bad news?" He said, "Chavez won't last a year." "What do you mean?" I said. "He's too radical. We've seen it before." "Seen what before? I said. "They'll kill him." "They?" I said. He reached across the table, took a sip of my Johnny Walker Black, smiled, and pointed directly at me, the Americano at the table.