Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Bits and Pieces of Good News

The news from home and abroad is almost uniformly bad. The damage wrought by the Obama misadministration is now in the incalculable range. As I have mentioned before some of the damage this horrid president has inflicted on us and the Western world might well be permanent.  I, however, don't want this post to be yet another recitation of the Obama catalog of destruction. For one of very few times, I am going to write a relatively optimistic piece.  Please note the word relatively.

While as noted the picture is bleak, there are glimmers of light that give some hope. Let me rattle off a few, starting overseas.

In Australia, of course, we see a conservative government in charge and, one hopes, on the way to undoing the progressive damage to that great country's economy, image, culture, and soul. We hope, at a minimum, that the new PM will be able to reverse the destructive "green" and immigration policies that threaten Australia and the rest of the West. Lead the way Australia!

In other good news, this time from Latin America, the Nobel-prize winning novelist Gabriel García Márquez is dead.

One of the great phonies and bootlickers of leftist dictators has passed from the scene. Those who love freedom can only be grateful.

I will speak ill of the dead. It is hard to exaggerate the damage that GGM has done to the image of Latin America and Latin Americans, portraying the region and the people as some sort of quasi-magical place, a place filled with ethereal, mystical beings without logic, common sense, and ordinary human emotions and foibles. For all his "magical realist" vision, he could not or would not see, for example, the horrors brought to Cuba and Cubans by the Castro brothers. On the contrary, he had an enormous house in Havana provided by the regime, with servants and cars at his beck-and-call, and a ready chummy access to the bloodstained brothers and their rule of terror. He convinced generations of gringo academic Latin American "specialists" that the region could not be understood in conventional terms; that supply-and-demand economics did not work there; and that ordinary people did not want individual liberty and political democracy. He helped perpetrate and perpetuate a horrid stereotype of Latin America, one in which the atrocities of leftist regimes could be ignored because the region operated on another level of consciousness, one beyond our poor powers to comprehend. Good riddance to this poseur and his unreadable sentences! An enemy of freedom is gone.

In Venezuela, the revolt against dictatorship continues.

Ignored, when not maligned by the rest of the Americas, the Venezuelan protestors have revealed the Chavez-Maduro regime for what it truly is: an economic, political, humanitarian, and moral disaster. It is a rotten regime that now survives only by eating its foreign reserves, using the full power of the state to try to crush dissent, and by lying non-stop. Despite the lack of international support, the sort of support that would have been shown students, for example, revolting against a right-wing regime, the protests continue on a daily basis. The Maduro regime is in a death spiral, and that is all to the good. The passing of this hideous regime will be due to the people of Venezuela, who abandoned by their alleged friends, took matters into their own hands.  

Here in our own beloved but sorely distressed and bedraggled USA, we also see some signs of hope that the fog of leftism is not impenetrable.

I have written before of the defeat handed the bloated, corrupt, and politicized United Auto Workers (UAW) in Tennessee.  We have more good news on that front. The press is reporting that,
The United Auto Workers has dropped its challenge of a vote to organize workers at Volkswagen's only U.S. plant that went against the union. 
The National Labor Relations Board was set to start a hearing Monday on the UAW's complaint that Republican politicians improperly interfered before the Feb. 14 vote at the Chattanooga, Tenn. plant, which the union lost 712 to 626.
But the union issued a statement Monday saying it was dropping its appeal because fighting the election through the NLRB could have dragged on for years. 
"The UAW is ready to put February's tainted election in the rear-view mirror," said UAW President Bob King in a statement. 
The union said even if the NLRB ordered a new election -- the board's only available remedy under current law -- nothing would stop politicians and anti-union organizations from again interfering. 
But some experts had suggested that the union stood little chance of winning a new vote, even if the NRLB ruled in its favor. 
"Most people thought they'd win the first time around," said Gary Chaison, professor of industrial relations at Clark University. "I think the chances of winning a second vote will be more difficult than winning the first vote."
They will just have to go home to Detroit and rest on their laurels . . .

Gun ownership has won some significant battles. We see the idea of concealed carry by law abiding citizens gaining currency throughout the country. Come on folks! How many of you thought you would see concealed carry in Illinois in your lifetimes? The anti-gun hysterics are losing and losing badly. Oh, and guess what? As gun ownership and concealed carry have expanded, crime rates, including gun crime, have declined.

Sherryl Attkisson, the former CBS reporter and one of the very few MSM reporters outside of FOX who tried to report the truth on Benghazi, has now reported that (Surprise!) the folks at CBS were ideologically reluctant to criticize the government, and that reporters who do not toe the lib line will come under attack. You mean the media has a leftist bias? Wow! That's a scoop!

The Bundy Ranch standoff I have covered before. It still remains a remarkable event, and I think one that is going to force the government to rethink its heavy-handed SWAT tactics in the future. American citizens stood up to armed agents of the Federal government and forced them to back down. That is a major development.

Despite its best efforts, the Obama misadministration has been unable to stifle US oil production. The US, by some calculations, is now the world's top energy producer, and we're only getting started. Making the US energy independent is the best way to increase our foreign policy options, and provide a steady stream of good paying jobs here at home.

These are just a few of my favorite things. I am sure readers can come up with more. Look, I realize that the overall trend line is not promising, but that should not blind us to the occasional bits of good news which come to us thanks to the actions of some brave and dedicated people.

58 comments:

  1. Hi Dip,
    along with the waning enthusiasm for green totalitarianism and the socialist mantra I perceive that the people are beginning to wonder how we elected these people and more importantly why and how we can reverse our misfortune.

    I was interested in the Carlonie Glick realization of how dire the Obama Presidency has been, a start of the process, and our own fight for freedom of speech here in Oz. Mind you not a 2nd amendment but a reasonably timid removal of 18c wording "likely to cause offense" when we should be doing away with the whole bloody lot, but it is struggling to get support with the major Jewish and ethnic lobbies against the revisions.

    The unions here now basically only represent public servants as the car manufacturers quit last year after decades of union rorts and featherbedding combined with outlandish pay packets and gross mismanagement.
    I have a post http://www.38south.com/?p=2559 on free speech and Glicks article http://www.38south.com/?p=2564 you may like
    Cheers

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  2. Great post, Dip.

    There is a sea change happening for the better, its growing incrementally but its a steady groundswell.

    Haven't ever seen the leftist, bureaucratic elites placed under the microscope like they are down here now.

    And they are squealing like stuck pigs as they and their sacred cows and institutions are being held accountable and having the endless taxpayer-supplied money streams cut off.

    Blogs like yours have been an important part of the change. Thank you!

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  3. Mumbles you may be surprised at how few Jews those "major Jewish Lobbies" actually speak for.

    I am Jewish and all of my Jewish friends [and non-Jewish friends] would like to see 18C gone. Everyone is entitled to say what they want and, if it is mindless drivel or just plain wrong, have someone call them out on it with facts.

    The "Jewish Lobby" is fond of dragging out "Holocaust Denial" as a reason to limit free speech and it is a red herring. The Weimar Republic had hate speech legislation and look where that went. Let the deniers rant and rave and then show them the irrefutable evidence of the systematic extermination of Jews, Gypsies, Freemasons, Jehova's Witnesses, handicapped people, dissenters from the glorious Reich and anyone else they decided was expendable.

    With the current generation my entire family has been here in Oz for six generations and all but the most recent have borne arms for it. Fortunately none of my family was left in Europe to be consumed by "the Final Solution".

    Free speech is an essential to a free society. I might not like what you say and if that is the case expect a serious beasting but you have a right to say it in the first place.

    Dip I am not even going to enter into the concealed and carry argument. Been there, done that with American mates. Our cultures are very different in that respect.

    On a positive note I hope your optimism is borne out. There is more in your country to admire than disapprove of - even if it is not as good as here. :-)

    Moed tov

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    1. David I am in full agreement with your sentiments, but unfortunately the Liberal Lite government in Victoria doe not seem to agree and quotes approvingly of the State Racial Vilification Act as its policy while standing against the proposed Brandis changes. I dp appreciate that its all about the upcoming election and Danby, the Federal Member for Melbourne Ports is orchestrating the opposition which the socialist and green totalitarians support.
      We have a hard road to travel on this I'm afraid.

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    2. Yo "mumbles"

      David from Oz is my Friend & come to think on it, we're all on a hard road.

      Y'all just had an election soonest.

      Arkie of Arkansas & Cairns 'Casionally

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    3. G'day Arkie. - and Whitewall if you are lurking. Kol tuv mates.

      Mumbles I am also a citizen of the Socialist Lite Victorian Soviet and am disgusted with the allegedly conservative's opposition to the repeal of 18C.

      I fired off a letter to my local conservative [?] MP asking why they were against free speech. No reply now for three weeks.

      When 18C is repealed the Vic government will just have to put up with it as Commonwealth Law trumps State Law where they are in conflict.

      For our American cousins I have referred to the State Government as conservative so as not to confuse with their definition of Liberal.

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    4. David has it right. Free speech is free speech, regardless of your viewpoint. Example: I was in the public bar at Joe McGuires Pub and heard some retard rubbishing the Plymouth Brethren. My dear departed Mother was a devout member and my dear departed Father's fomer employer Sir Frederick Handley Page (for whom Dad flew flight test in the 50s & 60s) was also a staunch member. I listened to a stream of vitriol, mostly illiterate, then introduced myself and belted him, laying him out on the floor. Everyone is entitled to an opinion that's to be sure, but there is always the danger that someone in the audience is going to disagree.

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    5. Great post DFO, I concur with your sentiments in particular how you handle the deniers.

      You mentioned that "you may be surprised at how few Jews those "major Jewish Lobbies" actually speak for", if that is the case then why isnt there a Jewish lobby that speaks for its "mainstream"?

      I make the above question as I reside in your neck of the woods and would have thought that 18C could be used against Jews by Palestinians and other Sharia supporters. As you know these guys protested outside a chocolate shop owned by a Jew so I would rule out the above from happeinng.

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  4. I suspect that with the Bundy Ranch experience, the government will learn the lesson that it needs more men and more firepower. Embarrassing the powerful in that manner does not result in a kinder, gentler approach later.

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    1. Anonymous: Especially when those powerful ones who've been embarrassed long ago rejected the Anglosphere tradition of limited government!

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    2. Hope you're both wrong but fear you might be right.

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    3. I have the same hope and fear... but the fear is further tempered by the hope that patriots and lovers of small government are also becoming more vigilant.

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  5. Holy Shit!

    "It is hard to exaggerate the damage that GGM has done to the image of Latin America and Latin Americans, portraying the region and the people as some sort of quasi-magical place and beings where logic, common sense, and ordinary human emotions and foibles do not operate."

    It is good I come to this place to read and ponder the world as it is ... I was thinking the MSM was telling me Carlos Casteneda had died and along with him ... the quasi-magical place where logic, common sense and relatively speaking ordinary humans and foibles are not operative.

    You didn't though Dip ... only Whitewall, James and I are concerned you understand, what with all the Vette problems paint it pink?!!

    We understood you Dip, to be under some duress.

    Arkie

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    1. Ah Arkie,
      Mentioning Cateneda brought an image to my feeble mind of an imaginary half naked Yaqui brujo driving a pink corvette while high on mescaline.
      James the Lesser

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    2. Bwahahaha! Magickal realism at its best! With a touch of Fear and Loathing.

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    3. Well, here in my corner of America, we admire the Vette but worship the pickup truck. It is the standard by which one's admission to the best fishing spots is measured. I keep a nice one and therefore I have been busy fishing. Sort of a duty I believe.

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    4. He floats through the air,
      with the greatest of ease,
      that daring young man
      on the urine trapeze.

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  6. Thanks for this list. There is so much bad sh*t happening that my spirit often sags. It is good to be reminded occasionally that there are rays of light out there and that we have not lost the war...yet.

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  7. More and more people are taking a stand. I'm hearing people stand up to the leftists more and more often in the news. They are winning against political correctness.

    Another thing I'm seeing is a strange bedfellows situation where conservatives and OWS types are showing at the same protest events. When both sides are there, there is something really wrong. It speaks to government tyranny happening and the people are waking up across the board.

    There is reason to hope.

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  8. I wonder what role the legitimacy of the NLRB played in the UAW's decision to drop its' challenge? Obama decided the Senate was in recess and appointed his people to the NLRB 'in recess' (requiring no Senate consent), even though the Senate was pro forma in session. Reid didn't object to the usurpation of Senate prerogative but others did. A Supreme Court ruling that the President can't declare the Senate in recess would put many NLRB decisions of the past 2+ years in question. I hope it would also stall the move by the NLRB to give unions veto power over the ability of a company to move.

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    1. Excellent observation re the NLRB's lack of legitimacy. I had not thought of that.

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  9. Great post as ever Mr Mad

    On GGM, I remember enjoying reading 100 years of solitude many years ago when I was young handsome rich and happy, and i am sure that having done so helped me get laid on at least one occasion, not not a totally pointless piece of work... I have no intention of re-reading it. Just looked up GGM on wikipedia and oddly enough there is no mention of his communist fellow travelling. I doubt he was really as damaging as all that. He was just a writer. The problem with lefties is that they all believe in majical realism anyway, I doubt GGM really changed anybody's opinion or even helped cement it - they just thought it was real. What is pretty crap is some git saying that this together with Genesis should be required reading. That really is bollocks.

    "The road to serfdom" should be required reading.

    But I digress.

    Keep up the good work and give your magnificent dog a pat on the head and a biscuit from Italy

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    1. Biscuit from Italy?!? I am already going broke feeding Hartza with Kibble from COSTCO!

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  10. D-Mad,

    currently reading the book by Carlota Gall, "The Wrong Enemy," and wonder if you have read it yet? If not, please do and give us your view on its merits. And if you don't care to read it, then sling us a post sometime on the premise of her book which is, essentially, that Pakistan was the real enemy to the U.S. in Afghanistan.

    Her evidence seems convincing and it is utterly appalling to think that the Bush Admin either ignored P-stan's acts of war against us or blinded themselves to the plain evidence. Either way, this is the very kind of thing that has turned so many conservatives like myself into cynical neo-isolationists, ripe for the Rand Paulist school of foreign policy. We all knew that A-stan was unwinnable so long as we allowed Pakistan to harbor and support the Taliban and Al Qaeda affiliates. Seeing that Bush and Obama both sacrificed American blood and treasure in vain because they could not or would not confront Pakistan is debilitating. I can't support the use of American force abroad for virtually any reason now because I don't believe that any American President will do what it takes to win.

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    1. Good idea. I did a long piece on Pakistan some time back; it's time to revisit.

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    2. My (admittedly amateur) take: while there's plenty of room for ignorance and blindness in the story, in reality we could not do what we needed to do w/o Pakistan's cooperation, taking them on as a full-fledged enemy was beyond our will (if not our capabilities), and thus frenemy was what they were destined to be. The fact that we played it poorly, for the most part, is a different matter.

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    3. @Kirk P.

      "The fact that we played it poorly, for the most part, is a different matter."

      Sorry and apologies (an' all that) 'cause I'm gonna have to paraphrase Rumsfeld in order to clarify where - in my humble estimation - The Wrong Enemy loses traction in the early section.

      *Disclaimer. I've not read the book, watched an interview or two.

      You're spot on with "in reality we could not do what we needed to do w/o Pakistan's cooperation" in the very earliest stages because in order to get into Afghanistan the sorts of equipment needed took sea access thus Karachi. (Here's my Rumsfeldian* You go with what you got).

      The Kazakhstan/Russian ingress/egress route could only be accomplished in the future. GW to his credit realized that - despite Wolfowitz & Cheney's protestations that "Musharraf is one of the good guys once you get to know him."

      It should be noted too - early on, when it was all Agency & Northern Alliance pretty much, Iran was giving assistance as it could - but our ability to "openly" use Iran would've been *distasteful* in the extreme.

      Of course playing ball in that part of the world necessitates a choice between & among which devils to be seen with at the table & making the later choice for Putin's route did make the later complication which was Georgia inevitably become Ukraine.

      It's possible just that had the via Russia/Kazakhstan not been opened up by GW looking in the devil's eyes "we" might not've been so keen on a little piece of Paki real estate known as Abbottabad.
      _______________

      Looks like I might need to write a book myself - I wonder if Obama would let me out of that old non-disclosure thingamajig? Probably not. You guys are gonna have to get me a Republican elected President. But not McCain.

      Arkie

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    4. Arkie, if you do write a book, be sure to include a chapter on "after Obama", the high water mark of the American Left. You remember growing up and seeing the TV adds about "ring around the tub"? A high water mark is just another way of describing the Obama years...Ring around the Tub.

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    5. Well, I remember "Ring Around the Collar" which given there seems to be a lot of "choking" off a lotta liberties etc these last few years "might" be the more appropriate of the TV ad metaphors to fall back on.

      And, "Ring Around the Tub" as best I recall implied whoever was in the tub was using soap - somehow soap for the bath we appear to be taking seems inappropriate. Unless perhaps I've not been apprised Proctor&Gamble has come out with manure-scented not-Ivory bathbars.

      Ark

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    6. @ Kirk and Anonymous et al...

      Two points: 1) as to being dependent upon Pakistan for the overland shipment of supplies to our forces in A-stan, this assumes an approach in A-stan of large ground forces and massive rebuilding/nation building. The better approach IMHO would have been (and still is) to match our strategy with the reality on the ground, to wit: A-stan is a backward, tribal, warfare-plagued land not-yet-ready for the 19th century let alone the 21st. The U.S. could have used (and still could use) warlords and patchwork alliances to bring rough security, i.e., we provide the guns and some limited funding/projects to whatever war lord in, for example, Helmand province, is willing to keep the Taliban/Al Q out and allow us the free movement of our spec forces as needed to hunt down the bad guys. No big bases, very small foot print except for perhaps Bagram for some air assets to pound the crap out of any bad guys that even think about massing in large numbers (a la 2001). A-stan is doomed to civil war, so it's time to start finding the old Pashtun and Northern Alliance leaders that we can back and who can reassemble their fighters to achieve a state of at least stalemate. This kind of support does not require the overland route through Pakistan, and it frees up our hand with the Paks considerably vis a vis the border areas.

      2) Even assuming that we don't adopt a warlords approach (for whatever reason), there is no reason that we couldn't (and can't) play the very same double game that Pakistan is playing. Call it Operation Good For the Gander. The Paks want to pretend to be our ally while funding and planning attacks on our troops? Fine mother f***ers. We will do the same thing. We will pretend that we respect Pak sovereignty and borders while going after every bad guy we want, whether they're in Kandahar or the tribal areas. And that includes ISI people that we are sure are helping to plot and plan attacks against the U.S. What is Pakistan going to do? Complain that their intel officer that was meeting with Haqqani Network leaders got blown up by a missile strike? What was he doing there in the first place? Are the Paks really going to start a shooting war with U.S. forces in the tribal areas? No more than they did over the Abottabad raid.

      The point of all this being that the U.S. puts constraints upon itself needlessly and adopts strategies that are doomed to failure when we try to fight insurgents while allowing them free sanctuary across the border.

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    7. @ Anon

      I like much (85%+) of what you suggest ... & there's a wild card:

      http://thediplomat.com/2014/01/is-trilateral-china-india-russia-cooperation-in-afghanistan-possible/

      http://warontherocks.com/2014/04/indias-growing-strategic-importance-to-the-middle-east-and-persian-gulf/

      Arkie

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    8. Non-Arkie anon,

      Your #2 is a lot of what I was thinking of--lots of ways for us to play a lot more hardball w/Musharref behind the scenes. "We'll do what we can to help you stay in office, and in exchange..." squeeze that no-good duplistic fellow for all we're worth.

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    9. Arkie,

      "You guys are gonna have to get me a Republican elected President. But not McCain."

      Are you always this redundant?

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    10. Sorry Kirk,

      I had on my mind when I commented, a recent phone-call during which, The McCain-Feingold Legislation came up.

      Ark

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    11. Anonymous (1:31 pm): Your proposal "The U.S. could have used (and still could use) warlords and patchwork alliances to bring rough security, i.e., we provide the guns and some limited funding/projects to whatever war lord in, for example, Helmand province, is willing to keep the Taliban/Al Q out and allow us the free movement of our spec forces as needed to hunt down the bad guys." Is almost word-for-word a message I wrote while at State as a modest proposal for Afghanistan. It was ignored.

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    12. Isn't there actually two problems? Pakistan and Saudi Arabia's funding of global Wahibbism? Neither of which have actually been tackled.

      I've been to Afghanistan several times and have read a number of books on it, currently working my way through Return of a King. I think Anon and Dip's proposal of arming / funding warlords who are against Taliban/Al Q would work. Herat would seem to work like that, there seems to be a wealthy and powerful core there that seem to want Taliban/Al Q out, although it may also be their R&R area.

      The Afghans seem take extreme umbridge at foreign boots on their soil, regardless of their intent. This is seared into their history and it is a matter of significant national pride that the foreign boots always have to leave in the end.

      rickw-png

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    13. Anon, wasn't it one of the AQ top brass who once said "Afghanistan is easy to enter but difficult to leave"? Flies have to be careful not to conquer the fly paper.

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  11. "It is hard to exaggerate the damage that GGM has done to the image of Latin America and Latin Americans, portraying the region and the people as some sort of quasi-magical place and beings where logic, common sense, and ordinary human emotions and foibles do not operate."

    Let me say "AMEN"!!

    And let's not ignore how irritating it is that GGM and several others (among them Isabel Allende) relied on "magical realism" every time they had painted themselves into a corner to get the plot moving again.

    But let's brace ourselves - GGM left a manuscript, which "has a working title of "We'll See Each Other in August," ("En Agosto Nos Vemos").

    'An excerpt of the manuscript published in Spain's La Vanguardia newspaper contains what appears to be an opening chapter, describing a trip taken by a 50-ish married woman who visits her mother's grave on a tropical island every year. In the chapter, she has an affair with a man of about the same age at the hotel where she stays.

    "The erotic tone of the work is heightened by the island's tropical charm, with deftly drawn touches of the heat, the landscape, music, and local inhabitants."
    If the main character is named Estella, we'll know she gets her groove back.

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    1. Chick-lit for snobs. Won't be the 1st time GGM gets on the Oprah Book Club.

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    2. Re Gabriel Garcia Marquez,I tried reading _One Hundred Years of Solitude_. With a manful sense of duty, I got through between a half and two-thirds of it, and used the library's due date as a convenient excuse to give it up.

      BTW, I've gotten through a few character-replete, dense novels by Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Solzhenitsyn, and other Russians (in English translation); got through Ba Jin's _Jia_ and am close to finishing Liu E's _Lao Can You Ji_ in Chinese; I also like Saul Bellow. I'm not a lazy reader, but something in GGM just didn't seem to click with me.

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  12. I offer, the timely impending birth of the newest royal Clinton. /s

    Pales in light of the magnificent Hartza's graduation.



    pmc

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  13. Australia isn't out of the woods yet by a long shot, the "conservatives" need to have the courage of their convictions, instead of just whittling away at The Lefts installed or distorted institutions, they need to close them down entirely.

    Rickw - Oz

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    1. Greetings all you Aussies! Someplace I've always dreamt of visiting. Used to talk about moving there, but there was a rumor you had to "have something to offer for the benefit of the country" to be allowed to emigrate. In recent years, I see all these Muslims have moved there. Perhaps someone could share what they "had to offer"?

      At least you guys are on the road to recovery. We are still in intensive care and the prognosis is guarded indeed, although signs of improvement have been noted.

      One good thing, my patients, who generally I would have considered to be generally politically ignorant, and therefore liberal, are frothing mad at the state of America. A good sign in my book.

      Dip, I can't express how you give me hope in times of despair.

      Throw ALL the bums out!

      LibertyGrace'sGrandma

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    2. Hi there from across the pond, LGG!

      Tried twice to say hey back but something happened.

      Lots of mouth frothing ex-liberals down here too, they got a rude shock when the last lot of Labor/Green (Democrat equivalent) government showed its true colours.

      Also didn't help that the left leaning judiciary was allowing some queue jumping 'asylum seekers' rape our children without consequence. That sort of thing even upsets liberals.

      Just a word of warning. Your Harvard Kennedy School of Government have hired Rudd and Gillard, the worst Prime Ministers we have ever had. Even their own party dumped them, they were that bad.

      Cant believe Harvard showed such a complete lack of political acumen by hiring those two clowns. The only thing they will do is inexorably hasten decline and turn the economy into a chain wreck.

      Anyway, forewarned is forearmed, so good luck!

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    3. In the US, if the good guys ever win again, we too will have to close down whole departments in order to return the federal government to its proper limits. And in the remaining bureaucracy, we will need to ruthlessly weed out the leftist nomenklatura--something the Russians failed to do in 1992, to their sorrow. Not a big deal--they have 99 weeks of unemployment and then food stamps to fall back on. Like the rest of us in the country they've destroyed.

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  14. 'As gun ownership and concealed carry have expanded, crime rates, including gun crime, have declined.'

    As a 30 year army veteran Bob, this does not surprise me trained extensively and repetitively in firearms as I have been. CCW and 'Stand Your Ground' legislations have totally altered the firearms culture in the USA in that the crims, previously somewhat safe in the knowledge that they were armed and their victims were not are now in the doubtful situation of being unaware that their 'victims' can't draw a bigger piece first and blow them away.
    It brings to mind that piece of doggerel from Hilaire Belloc:
    'Whatever happens, we have got
    the Maxim Gun and they have not'

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  15. And on the other side of the coin we are getting ready to display our ignorance as we gear up to celebrate the triumphs and benevolence of The Communist Internationale...
    Sorry, Earth Day.

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  16. Would have put this in an email if I could have found an address.

    I'm a lurker who looks forward to your posts and thought you might be willing to point me in the right direction. I've been teaching myself to read Spanish (too much hearing loss and too anti-social to dream of ever being able to speak it or understand Spanish speakers), and I've been reading the occasional Spanish newspaper on my Kindle. But I'm tired of having to shovel liberal mush out of my brain after reading El Pais, El Universal, etc. I thought I had a winner in El Tiempo, until I read the endless praise for GGM. Any recommendations?

    Steve

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    1. ABC is the traditional paper of the conservative/monarchists. It is not bad.

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  17. I saw the passing of GGM and approved. Nobody mentioned it so I thought maybe it was just me. When the Castro boys finally dissolve into nature's ultimate waste product, it will be a good day too. It is people like these that have allowed so much of Central and South America to habitually and repeatedly plunge itself into collectivist misery only to fight their way free for a time and then repeat.

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  18. Quite a good thread here. It seems the properly departed GGM should be on par with the late Pete Seeger. Pete was revered in some circles but condemned as the Totalitarian Troubadour in others.

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. Pete Seeger was a workmanlike folk singer better than some (e.g. Phil Ochs), but not all that compelling an attraction. Marquez was an abnormally talented literary craftsman, and worth an investment in time.

      IIRC, there was one claque of Communists that GGM was dubious about: the narco-trafficking kidnappers working in his own country. Perhaps he had sense when he really had something at stake.

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  19. James?

    Some recent exchange had you inquiring about "Is there any EU entity fielding forces" or somesuch.

    You might find useful pages 5 through 11 here:

    http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/row/R43478.pdf

    Arkie

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    1. Summary-every EU country pissed the peace-dividend away on welfare, all countries with Russian borders and most Euro countries are hopelessly dependent on Russia for natural gas. They made a concious decision to make themselves vulnerable.

      Here are 300,000 MRE's they are good-and-hard throw them at the Russkies if they invade.

      Shhhh, don't wake the snoozing members of congress and never mention the missile system for Czech republic and Poland that Obama cancelled.

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    2. Thank you Arkie. Well that leaves France, Germany, and Britain doesn't it. Let's start with Britain, they've never really been ground orientated militarily wise and their naval strength is in dramatic decline. Some excellent air power, but of limited duration and range. Germany, still too much baggage from WWII. That leaves France who in time honored fashion will be France, unfathomable. Eastern Europe mostly nothing with nightmarish logistic scenarios for US. US 2 brigades, air power and peripheral naval presence. Real confidence building stuff there. NATO the worlds largest tree-house club with Russia throwing rocks at it and the inhabitants screaming go away.

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  20. I am rather fond of Gabriel Garcia Marquez fiction and creative non-fiction. It was his politics that were deplorable (and not uncommon among opinion journalists and academics in America, btw; see Raymond Bonner and Penny Lernoux for two examples).

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