Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez Digs Simon Bolivar … No, He Really “Digs” Him

Since Obama seems to be mirroring Hugo Chavez in everything else, I’m wondering which American “hero” he’ll decide to have dug up:

CARACAS – Venezuela exhumed the remains of 19th century independence hero Simon Bolivar on Friday and will test them to see if he was poisoned by enemies in Colombia.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez rejects the traditional account that Bolivar, a brilliant Venezuelan military tactician who freed much of South America from centuries of Spanish rule, died of tuberculosis in Colombia in 1830.

He insists Bolivar was murdered by a Colombian rival, and Venezuela’s newly inaugurated state forensics laboratory is taking as its first case the death of the hero some call Latin America’s George Washington.

“What amazing moments we have lived tonight! We have seen the remains of the Great Bolivar,” Chavez wrote on his Twitter account, @chavezcandanga, after the casket was opened before dawn.

“My God, my God … my Christ, our Christ … I confess we have cried, we have sworn. I tell them: this glorious skeleton must be Bolivar because you can feel his presence. My God.”

In footage broadcast on state TV, a military honor guard clad in white biohazard suits, face masks and blue gloves marched on the spot alongside the coffin during a ceremony in a room decorated with a huge Venezuelan flag.

Inside the casket was a smaller container wrapped in older Venezuelan flag. Chavez said that flag had been made in England and that they replaced it with a new Venezuelan-made one.

In 2006, the left-wing Chavez added an eighth star to the design of the country’s flag and reversed a white horse on it so it faced left.

In his fight against “Yankee imperialism” by the United States, Chavez repeatedly invokes Bolivar, who is second only to Jesus as a figure of reverence in parts of South America.

In April, a U.S. scientist, Paul Auwaerter of Johns Hopkins University, said he backed the theory that Bolivar most likely died from arsenic poisoning.

But Auwaerter said it probably had been caused by drinking contaminated water or using the naturally occurring poison to try to cure headaches and hemorrhoids — and he was worried that the Venezuelan government was misconstruing his research.

Chavez says Bolivar was murdered by a Colombian general, Francisco de Paula Santander, and some analysts have warned that revisiting the case could put more pressure on strained ties between the neighbors.

The Spanish version is here @ noticias24, where you can also view the video of this ceremony

On Tonight’s “Infidel’s Watch”: The Cuban Prisoner Release

George (and hopefully Alberto) will be on my BTR show tonight, “Infidel’s Watch“, to discuss the background, details, and political aspects of the developing Cuban prisoner release.

You can listen to the show here starting @ 10:00pm eastern time (7pm west coast).

If you aren’t already registered @ Blog Talk Radio you can do so for free. This enables you to join in the chat room conversation … and since George and the Babalu Boys are planning on hitting the airwaves with “Babalu Radio” again soon you should head over to BTR and register anyway.

The Age Of The Middle Digits

My Son-in-law (a complete sports freak and coach himself) was here last night waiting and watching for LeBron’s announcement on ESPN. Was a moment in the live interview when the basketball player was asked, “And does the team you’ve picked know you’ve chosen them?”

And James said, “Yes.”

At that point all other teams knew it was not them. At that point the owners and staff/team of the Cleveland Cavaliers knew he’d abandoned them. It was only a matter of a few more moments in the interview that the Cleveland fans of North East Ohio would know they were being left behind for another ‘lover’. Hey, let’s be real here, however … In THIS instance, his loyalty and devotion aside … “cowardly betrayal” aside, the man DID make a business decision. The round-ball bouncer who calls the POTUS a good friend and supports him and his agenda for the rest of the country basically doesn’t want to spread HIS wealth around. Self-preservation. It’s what this country is all about. Free enterprise. Capitalism. Every person licking their wounds this morning would make the same career decision if presented with it. You can’t please ALL the people all the time, we’re told … well, we used to be told.

It was pointed out by more than one ‘conservative’ voice yesterday afternoon in the lead-up to the evening announcement that the bulk of the news industry was too concentrated on an overpaid self-centered athlete and an overpaid self-centered drug/alcohol abusing immature actress that believes she’s above the law and advertises it on her middle fingernail manicure. Too concentrated on two people who’s career decisions were leading them to either ‘greener pastures’, or into the gutter. Two people whose careers do NOT directly effect our individual lives, or the welfare of this nation.

Too concentrated on two people who should be a microcosm, an in-your-face example, of the one person sitting in a seat of power in this country that is moving through the last year and a half like some self-centered self-serving celebrity and narcissistic whore who refuses to see the total destruction on the horizon. A man who doesn’t need a fancy manicure to tell the American people what he thinks of them through his middle finger.

So, what did my son-in-law say after LeBron finally stated (actually confirmed, after the leak during the course of the day) his choice of Miami?

“F**k him …”

Hey, enjoy him, Miami.

That’s how we ‘roll’ here in NE Ohio … We’re tough. We slap ourselves for putting faith in people and things that end up disappointing us, and go to work the next morning. But being a democrat party stranglehold for decades NE Ohio never seems to fully learn from the “teachable moments” afforded them. I think it’s time the people in Ohio, and in this country, take a lesson from this, and say the same thing in November to the people actually directly and arrogantly effecting our lives for the worse, now and in the future with their middle-fingers in our faces … “F**k `em!”

***

[Editor’s note from Pitbull: I am not a basketball fan; I frankly don’t know (and don’t care about) what all the hoohah is all about. That said, as Maggie linked, it was brought up last night on the blogosphere that part of the attraction of moving to Florida was that it is a no state income tax domicile. If that is the case, I applaud him for making a smart business decision. However, the man he supported in 2008 is definitely not someone you can count on to keep taxes down. Just another example of liberals exercising La Ley del Embudo. (“The Law of the Funnel,” or I get the wide end, you get the thin narrow end…]

Obama’s Court Jester

Vice President Joe Biden seems to be quite the chameleon stand-up comedian. Well, for me anyway.

Generally I think of old Joe as Cousin Eddie from the “Vacation” movies. Somehow, that seems to get me through the days of realizing the man is a heartbeat away from sitting and spinning in the leather-backed chair behind the Oval Office desk. THEN Joe would take on the persona of Jack Nicholson as the POTUS in “Mars Attacks”.

But then he has his Don Rickles and Buddy Hackett moments. Sprinkle in some reverse Rodney Dangerfield.

Not quite sharp or honest enough to be a George Carlin. Not quite witty enough to be a Robin Williams. Although Joe’s been very close to the whiney and complaining delivery much like a Roseanne Barr. Joe lacks the patient finesse of a Bill Cosby or a Red Skelton. Sometimes I think Joe believes he’s channeling Lenny Bruce. While not exactly Flip Wilson, Joe Biden’s been known to flip.

And while they say imitation is the best form of flattery, Joe’s never shied away from stealing someone else’s material. And now that sneaky fool on the Hill is trying to steal someone else’s material again.

Vice President Joe Biden said after a three-day trip to Baghdad that the American people will see President Barack Obama’s Iraq policy as a success when the “combat mission” ends on schedule Aug. 31. Biden said the administration “will be able to point to it and say, ‘We told you what we’re going to do, and we did it.’” […]

Funny but I don’t think Joe Biden was joking here.

Honorable Men

About a month ago this nation’s oldest Medal of Honor recipient, Lt. John Finn, passed away. He was 100 years young. He had received the Medal of Honor, this nation’s highest military medal bestowed, for his heroic actions during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, even while he himself was severely wounded multiple times during the attack. Lt. Finn would spend the rest of his life honoring the memory of those men killed and wounded on that “infamous” day in our history, insisting he wore the Medal of Honor for them. He was the last survivor of the Pearl Harbor attack. He was a true American hero. We hear how we lose more and more WWII veterans everyday. When Lt. John Finn passed away last month a door closed on part of that historical war.

In February of this year Congressman John Murtha died. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps during the Vietnam War. But the bulk of his adult life was spent as a career politician, raking “pork” (tax dollars) back to his district in order to keep his voters addicted to voting for him. As a matter of fact, I believe Murtha rivals recently deceased Sen. Robert Byrd in that career accomplishment. Murtha was also the subject of criminal investigations. But Rep. John Murtha’s biggest sins came near the end of his political career when he constantly trashed our military troops and their mission in the Iraq War. And even more precisely verbally trying and convicting eight U.S. Marines of killing Iraqi citizens “in cold blood” in Haditha, Iraq before the formal military investigation had even begun. Seven of the eight have since had the charges dropped, and the eighth is close to being vindicated too. To his dying day, Rep. Murtha refused to apologize or to even just retract his very public unjust, unfair, and irresponsible condemnation of the Haditha Marines. He was a coward to the end.

Ever hear of Lt. Michael Murphy? He was awarded the Medal of Honor. He was the leader of a U.S. Navy SEAL team in Afghanistan. Maybe you heard of Lt. Murphy’s Navy Corpsman 1st Class Marcus Luttrell … He wrote a book, “Lone Survivor” in which he describes Lt. Michael Murphy’s last moments … he spent his very last breath exposing himself to Taliban fire (while the SEAL team was wounded, dying, and pinned down) in the Afghan mountains in order to get a clear signal and call for immediate air support as he returned fire, and then died from his wounds. With awards posthumously given to the other SEALS on the team Lt. Murphy’s SEAL team is the highest decorated SEAL team in Navy history. Lt. Michael Murphy now has a U.S. Navy ship named in his honor, the USS Michael Murphy (DDG-112).

Ever hear of MA2 Michael A. Monsoor? He too was a U.S. Navy SEAL. He too was awarded the Medal of Honor. He too spent his last moments sacrificing his life for his SEAL team by throwing himself on top of an enemy grenade in Iraq. MA2 Michael A. Monsoor also has a U.S. Navy ship named in his honor, the USS Michael Monsoor (DDG-1001).

Chandler’s Watch has joined the campaign to have the name of Congressman John Murtha replaced with that of the late U.S. Navy Lt. John Finn on the next U.S. Navy ship to be named. You can sign the petition here.

Right now there is a newly designed biofuel-powered boat the John W. Finn that takes Pearl Harbor visitors from the dock to to the USS Arizona Memorial, but he deserves more. The honor of having a U.S. Navy fighting ship named after someone should be reserved for those who have fought bravely and loyally with our military, even after they were out of uniform. Someone who gave his life, or spent his life, honoring them. U.S. Navy ships embody the bravery, spirit and immortal loyalty a man has to fight with his brothers in arms even after he is long gone. Navy ships should not be named after those who fought to dishonor them.

McChrystal to Petraeus: Unexpectedly changing horses in the middle of the raging stream

I have mixed feelings about the removal of Gen. Stan McChrystal. I have been known to have a bit of a conspiratorial mind at times, and at first blush I wondered if the General was so frustrated by the way Obama as “Commander in Chief” (CinC) has been apparently removed and disconnected from the Afghanistan war that he felt he needed to throw himself on a grenade, if you will, in order to gain better attention for the mission.

Hence, the Rolling Stone magazine kerfuffle. McChrystal, by training and instinct, is a “special-ops” man. It’s not completely out of the realm of possibility. In just two and a half years as CinC Obama has provided enough ammo for the General heading our longest war to make political fodder. But whose political move was McChrystal’s removal … really?

General McChrystal: the fall guy for the president’s failure?

Before he fired him, President Barack Obama had just two conversations of any significance with General Stanley A. McChrystal, the man he appointed to win the war in Afghanistan.

The first was last October when Mr. Obama summoned Gen. McChrystal to an awkward face-to-face meeting on board Air Force One to reprimand him for a speech he gave at a prestigious London think-tank in which he openly called on the president to back his plans for a military surge in Afghanistan.

The meeting lasted 25 minutes, during which the president made it abundantly clear to his commander that if he had anything useful to contribute to the prosecution of the Afghan campaign, he should address his comments directly to his commander-in-chief, rather than to the public at large.

The next time Mr. Obama spoke to Gen. McChrystal was at 10am on Wednesday morning in the Oval Office, when the president informed the commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan that he was being dismissed for gross insubordination.

The sacking of Gen. McChrystal says more about the way Mr. Obama fulfils his obligations as the country’s commander-in-chief than the general’s lamentable error of judgement in allowing a Rolling Stone journalist access to the inner sanctum of his campaign headquarters. […] (Telegraph UK)

More likely it is what it appears to be, an interview giving way too much face-time during the nasty belching of Eyjafjallajokull. Being grounded in Europe, tipping back ‘spirits’, and venting dispirited frustrations while the volcano kicked ash into the flight lanes seems to have contributed to this General’s downfall. It’s a pity, really. Although I have disagreed with McChrystal’s military policies concerning Afghanistan, most especially the new Rules of Engagement (ROEs) that stupidly endanger our troops on the ground, I do ponder how much of that military policy was his, and not directly influenced by others. I honor and admire McChrystal’s long service to this country, in spite of missteps such as the fudging of the Pat Tillman report. But it’s our ROEs while the enemy uses civilians as human shields that are just unacceptable. No, “unsustainable”. What’s that old saying about a one-legged man in an ass-kicking contest? I am sure Gen. McChrystal’s frustrations aren’t eased any more since he’s been relieved of command. I hope two things for the man: That his experience is not wasted and he finds a place teaching at a military academy … and that he writes a “tell-all” book outlining his experiences with this poser of a CinC. Just like the growing majority of the people who voted the man into office, I’m certain the General has buyer’s remorse.

Unfortunately, while being an extreme solution to a chain-of-command issue, the ‘reproach’ Gen. McChrystal is guilty of justified his removal. McChrystal’s crime? A possibly slurred slip of the tongue (mostly by his staff) to a reporter agreeing to “off-the-record” rules (with his grimy fingers crossed under the bar). For me “gross insubordination” would have been Gen. McChrystal decking the CinC in the Oval Office last Wednesday … but that’s just me. Go figure, the one thing Obama finally does right during his year and a half on the job and it’s just too damn pathetic his show of “leadership” had to come at the expense of a real proven leader who knew when to admit he was wrong and to do the right thing in the end. Let’s hope Obama sees this as one of those “teachable moments” he’s so fond of pushing off on others.

Thankfully Gen. McChrystal has been replaced by Gen. David Petraeus. He’s a brilliant tactician, and has been studying the differences between Afghanistan and Iraq (where he had a highly successful surge and victory) over the last few years, especially since heading Central Command. Taking over command in Afghanistan is a bit of a step down for him personally. However, Petraeus strikes me as a leader that would sacrifice his stars if it meant seeing a successful mission and bringing out his men with as little losses as possible. I don’t see Petraeus changing too much in the Afghanistan campaign, but already talk is that he will be reviewing and modifying the ROEs and the supposed “courageous restraint” mentality our troops have had to fight under in this war. I’m not looking for scorched earth in Afghanistan … Well, not yet, anyway. I just want our military to be able to do what they have done for generations, lead the way to victory and success … before we lose our NATO allies to their own countries’ politics and budget cutbacks.

A little side-note here: Please recall how just three years ago two certain Senators treated Petraeus concerning his leadership in the Iraq War, and now they have to call on him to rescue one (or both) of their arse(s) in this mess.

As for Rolling Stone Magazine, while they celebrate taking down the top U.S. General leading and running a messy war just before an anticipated ‘surge’ is getting ready to commence I hope they realize the damage they’ve done in the relationship between the US military and the media. As “scorched earth” goes, I’m not sure there will be much re-growth in that relationship. I don’t even want to speculate on whatever damage they have done to us militarily or even diplomatically in Afghanistan. Hell, it’s pretty damn bad when a liberal publication ticks-off ultra liberal journalist Geraldo Rivera to the point of his comparing the reporter to Al Qaeda. Ouch …

Hard to believe a rock and roll magazine and a volcano whose name nobody can pronounce could take down a highly decorated four star general in the middle of one of our toughest wars. However, Gen. McChrystal forgot a golden rule in the military: “Loose lips sink ships”. But these are the times we are living in. Here’s “hoping” an oily mess in the Gulf of Mexico, among other things, will have the same “changing” effect on the CinC. President David Petraeus in 2012, anyone?

Footnote: General David Petraeus is only one piece of the puzzle to turning things around in Afghanistan. A few more suggestions/ideas are in a Washington Post piece.

Not The Forgotten War

Hello, Babalu community. It is my great honor to have been invited by George to be contributor to Babalu Blog. For me this pretty much equates to when I was a kid and I cut my finger along with my friends to become blood brothers and sisters. I thank George and all the Babalu family for this very gracious gesture. This blog and it’s community of contributors, editors, writers, and commenters have been very dear to my heart and soul for a few years now.

My first post topic is very important. I came across something this morning that I felt compelled to inform everyone I could about it, in hopes that word will get out. There is a new Korean War National Museum planned in Springfield, Illinois that might well be finished before it’s even started because of lack of funds:

A ground-breaking ceremony for the Korean War National Museum in Springfield, Ill., will no longer be taking place this summer – because the museum doesn’t have enough money even to start construction.

According to the museum website, the museum is “well short of financial and operational goals to break ground” due to “the recent economic downturn,” as well as leaders it says were “too optimistic” about their ability to raise funds.

Organizers are now desperately trying to fund the initiative to honor the aging vets before it is too late.

Please read the whole story. Our school history classes are deficient enough, but our knowledge and recognition of our brave military’s involvement in the Korean War is pretty much non-existent. Fact is, just as with our WWII veterans, we are losing our Korean War vets everyday. There is a reason why the Korean War is tagged as ‘the forgotten war’.

I have a friend that in the last few years spent his own time and money traveling the nation to interview Korean War vets who were involved in the bloody and deadly Battle at Chosin Reservoir. “The Frozen Chosin” those veterans are nicknamed, survivors and those who did not make it out alive. My friend, Capt. Brian “Iggy” Iglesias, is himself an Iraq War veteran with the U.S. Marines. He is now an independent filmmaker and his first project is “Chosin The Movie“.

I have no particular connection to the Korean War, although I know my uncle served there as a Marine officer with the topography office. Two years ago I took my first trip to Washington D.C.. While touring the monuments and memorials I came across a small booth that offered the park’s brochures, and also sold military avatar badges and such. The two men manning the booth looked old enough so I asked if they were Korean War vets. They said yes. I shook their hands and told them thank you for their service, and I mentioned how I knew they didn’t get all the recognition they deserved … that they were too often forgotten or overlooked. They both were struck a bit silent. Then I turned to the African-American vet and shook his hand again, informing him that I knew Korea was the first war black troops were permitted full integration into the ranks with white troops. I informed him that he deserved credit for his contribution to today’s United States military brotherhood of our brave troops fighting side by side in two wars and serving across the nation and the world. His bottom lip trembled a bit as he gripped my hand a little tighter and nodded quietly. I told him ‘thank you’ again.

Here is a link to the website for the Springfield, Ill. Korean War National Museum where you can read more about the effort and perhaps contribute.