"The world is not a lodging-house at Brighton, which we are to leave because it is miserable. It is the fortress of our family, with the flag flying on the turret, and the more miserable it is the less we should leave it."
-G. K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy
This here blog is a glimpse or two or three at the condition of the 'fortress of our family' through the eyes Timothy Goddard, a Christian writer with an unhealthy interest in politics living in the Puget Sound area.
More thoughts on Venezuela Kurt Weyland is pushing for new elections--not a plebiscite--in Venezuela, and pointing out some facts that, I'd say, deal mortal blows to my good friend Micah's objections to that. An excerpt:
But Chavez's insistence on the inviolability of the current constitution is hypocritical. Four years ago, Chavez deviated from the old constitution by using a plebiscite to engineer a new one, tailor-made for him. Now he invokes that charter to block calls for a plebiscite on his continuation in office.
Good point. Another good point:
The opposition comprises most of Venezuela's organized civil society, not only business, but also trade unions, professional associations, and non-governmental organizations. So Venezuela's polarization does not pit "the poor" against "the oligarchy," but a populist against civil society.
He is generally balanced, to the point that he is pessimistic about the chances of success for the opposition, in an election or a plebiscite:
Chavez insists on the recall referendum mechanism included in his constitution, which the opposition cannot tolerate -- removing the president in this way would require a larger absolute number of votes than Chavez garnered in the last election. But rising abstention makes this virtually impossible...
Chavez will need to clarify the content and meaning of his "Bolivarian Revolution." Since Chavez is a skilled campaigner and the opposition so far lacks unity, he will have a realistic chance of winning -- which should make a new contest acceptable to him.
I disagree on both points. As I understand it, the Venezuelan government suggested a referendum, then backed out of it, but the referendum went ahead anyhow, albeit unofficially, and Chavez got mauled by far more votes than he needed to be mauled by. This would also insinuate that a blind monkey with rabies could run against him, and he would lose. I think he understands this better than Mr. Leyland, which is why he'll never go for it, which is why the situation there is so dangerous.
Meanwhile, if you care about the situation in Venezuela, keep reading Caracas Chronicles. A revealing excerpt from today:
The National Assembly was in the middle of an all-night debate on the government's unconscionable new Contents Bill (you know, the one that bans saying nasty things about the government) when Carlos Tablante, an opposition assembly member, takes the floor to give an impassioned speech against the bill. He closes by asking, rhetorically, "You keep talking about China and Cuba...in those countries there's only one leader, there's only one party, there's only one ideology, there's only one newspaper, there's only one radio station, there's only one TV station. Is that what you want here?" Well, he thought it was a rhetorical question...but the response from the chavista side of the aisle was a resounding chant of "¡Siiiiiii!"