Journalists Freed

Great news:

Bill Clinton’s spokesman says the former president has left North Korea with two American journalists who had been held hostage.

Matt McKenna said late Tuesday that Clinton has “safely left North Korea with Laura Ling and Euna Lee.” He said they’re flying to Los Angeles, where the journalists will be reunited with their families.

The White House is not commenting the trip.

Although the Obama White House had to send a former president to do the job the current president was elected to do (as well as the spouse of said former president was confirmed by Congress to take the initiative), I’m thankful that Ling and Lee were freed by their captors and are now homeward bound. Former President Clinton deserves credit where credit is due for putting himself on the line.

Al Gore, the employer of Ling and Lee through his co-ownership of Current TV, should also give thanks that no harm came upon them.


Chavez: “No Cinnabon For You!”

Down in Hugoland, free markets continue to be brought to a slow, grinding halt as the “democratically-elected” El Presidente shuts down a nearly-completed shopping mall in Caracas.

“They had already built a monster there,” Chavez said. “I passed by there just recently and said, ‘What is this? My God!'”

So the often-impulsive president told an allied mayor to halt construction and said this prime block of urban real estate should be expropriated. He said the sprawling six-story building might be put to better use as a hospital or university.

The exercise in drive-by socialism illustrates Chavez’s tendency to govern from his gut, and to leap in when he thinks other government agencies — in this case city planners — aren’t doing their job.

The new Sambil mall was scheduled to open in the La Candelaria district early next year, packed with 273 shops, movie theaters and offices. Chavez complained — with reason, some experts say — that it would add yet more traffic to an area that’s already so crowded “not a soul fits.”

“Stop it, Mr. Mayor. And we’re going to review all of it. And we’re going to expropriate that and turn it into a hospital — I don’t know — a school, a university,” Chavez said during his weekly broadcast on Sunday. […]

Despite Chavez’s calls for moving toward socialism, many Venezuelans have tended to ignore his exhortations to shed their consumerist habits. Shopping malls with stores such as Louis Vuitton and Timberland have sprouted up rapidly in recent years as windfall oil earnings have boosted the economy.

If the voters can’t throw him out of office, maybe the mall rats will.


Goldwasser and Regev, R.I.P.

SnoopyTheGoon of Simply Jews comments on the recent prisoner exchange between Israel and Hezbollah.

The decision to go ahead with this exchange, with almost total certainty that we’ll be paying the price of releasing a baby killer for two bodies, was not an easy one. I wouldn’t wish to be one of the people on whose shoulders the decision fell. But it is over and done with.

As for the question that will be debated for a long time: was the exchange worth it? – a lot of hot air and acrimony were already spent and will be spent in the future. Uncounted angles, including the future victims of the “surrender” to the blackmail, the loss of face, the new kidnappings awaiting and the damage to something called “national psyche”, whatever it means – all these and more will be thrown into the ring. Surprisingly or not, many of these angles are valid. All, or almost all of them, were part of the excruciating decision process.


What Would Hugo Do?

“Liberation Theology” rears its ugly head in Hugoland:

Founders of the newly created Reformist Catholic Church of Venezuela, based in the western city of Ciudad Ojeda, say that supporting Chavez’s socialist ideals goes hand-in-hand with Christian aims of helping the poor.

“We don’t side with any political banner, but we cannot fail to recognize and support the socialist achievements of this government,” Enrique Albornoz, a former Lutheran minister who helped start the church, said in a telephone interview on Monday. “We back the social programs of this revolutionary government.”

A group of dissident Catholic priests, Lutherans, and Anglicans quietly formed the church several years ago, but its first three bishops were sworn in last weekend, Albornoz said.

Chavez’ hand is in this. First the establishment of a state religion, soon to be followed by the end of religious freedom for Venezuelans. Mark my words.


Tyranny Prevails

Another sad day for Zimbabwe.

Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai said Sunday he is pulling out of this week’s presidential runoff because mounting violence and intimidation have made it impossible to hold a credible election.

Tsvangirai announced his decision about Friday’s election during a news conference in Zimbabwe’s capital after thousands of ruling party militants blockaded the site of the opposition’s main campaign rally in a now routine pattern of intimidation.

“We can’t ask the people to cast their vote on June 27 when that vote will cost their lives. We will no longer participate in this violent sham of an election,” he said. “Mugabe has declared war, and we will not be part of that war.”

He said it is the United Nations’ responsibility to make sure the people of Zimbabwe are protected from the violence now under way in the country

In Mugabe’s feeble, yet evil mind, if you can’t beat the opposition, kill them.

Marxism, truly defined.

The Corner’s Michael Leeden opines (h/t: Instapundit):

So why are we paying the U.N. anyway? I once called it the biggest criminal enterprise in the world. But it’s worse than that. Top-notch criminal enterprises protect their own.

Related: Help the Zimbabwe Opposition Now!


Why Blacks Ignore Zimbabwe

I don’t always agree with Cynthia Tucker, but she’s spot-on with her commentary concerning the thuggish regime of Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe — and why very few blacks in America and their African counterparts will confront the issue:

Although Mugabe has labored mightily to blame his nation’s troubles on others, including the dwindling population of white Zimbabweans and Western human rights activists, Zimbabwe’s voters have finally determined he needs to go. His opponent, Morgan Tsvangirai, led the opening round of voting in elections in March.

But Mugabe’s henchmen have resorted to murder to make certain the runoff election, scheduled for June 27, is anything but free and fair. Tsvangirai has been harassed and detained repeatedly by police. The wives of other opposition leaders have been butchered and burned alive. Mugabe’s police even went so far as to seize food sent to schoolchildren by international donors, giving it only to those who promised to vote for him.

His followers maim and murder their opponents and starve children, but few black Americans notice. Why? Why do we ignore the transgressions of black African tyrants while assailing those of white tyrants?

Former U.N. Ambassador Andrew Young is among those who still manage to see more morality than malice in Mugabe’s rule. “Americans cannot be rational about Mugabe,” Young said. “We’ve always miscast Mugabe. He’s a fundamentalist Roman Catholic. He doesn’t steal.”

Young traces Zimbabwe’s troubles back more than 30 years, to the failure of the United States and Great Britain to fund land reform efforts as generously as promised.

Similarly, Nicole Lee, head of TransAfrica Forum, a Washington-based human rights group founded by black Americans, points to “a larger context” that includes the failure of Western nations to fund programs to grant farmland to poor black Zimbabweans. She, too, says that Americans shouldn’t “demonize” Mugabe.

There’s just one problem with that: Mugabe has become a demon.

Shame on “Black Leaders” like Young and Lee for defending a demon (Desmond Tutu and Congressman John Lewis excepted).

Shay Riley makes it clear as to why they do:

“Many high-profile black American liberals – and their African counterparts – hesitate to criticize Robert Mugabe, because they share his Marxist views.”

May Robert Mugabe burn in hell.

(h/t: Booker Rising)


Veganism Rears Its Ugly Head…Again

From across the pond:

A girl of 12 brought up by her parents on a strict vegan diet has been admitted to hospital with a degenerative bone condition said to have left her with the spine of an 80-year-old.

Doctors are under pressure to report the couple, from Glasgow, to police and social workers amid concerns her health and welfare may have been neglected in pursuit of their beliefs.

The youngster, fed on a strict meat- and dairy-free diet from birth, is being treated at the city’s Royal Hospital for Sick Children. She is said to have a severe form of rickets and to have suffered a number of fractured bones. The condition is caused by a lack of vitamin D, which is needed to absorb calcium and is found in liver, oily fish and dairy produce.

Dr Faisal Ahmed, the consultant treating the child, said he believed the dangers of forcing children to follow a strict vegan diet needed to be highlighted. “Something like this needs publicity,� he said. However, he refused to blame the parents, who are understood to be well-known figures in Glasgow’s vegan community: “We shouldn’t name and shame. Mum feels guilty about the whole thing and feels bad about it.� (emphasis mine)

Wrong, Doc. Absoultely, positively, 100% wrong. The parents are to blame to subjecting their daughter to a cruel diet which will leave her crippled for life. It IS abuse, and those veganazis should be thrown in jail. If you had a spine, you should have hastily notified Glasgow’s Child Protection Services
(that is, if they haven’t taken the child into custody already).

(via Emperor Misha I)


“Educating” The Children

In Venezuela, the Chavez regime is “achieving” what our teachers’ unions dream about doing for all American schools:

President Hugo Chavez threatened on Monday to take over any private schools refusing to submit to the oversight of his socialist government, a move some Venezuelans fear will impose leftist ideology in the classroom.

All Venezuelan schools, both public and private, must submit to state inspectors enforcing the new educational system. Those that refuse will be closed and nationalized, Chavez said.

A new curriculum will be phased in during this school year, and new textbooks are being developed to help educate “the new citizen,” added Chavez’s brother and education minister Adan Chavez in their televised ceremony on the first day of classes.

Just what the curriculum will include and how it will be applied to all Venezuelan schools and universities remains unclear.

But one college-level syllabus obtained by The Associated Press shows some premedical students already have a recommended reading list including Karl Marx’s “Das Kapital” and Fidel Castro’s speeches, alongside traditional subjects like biology and chemistry.

The syllabus also includes quotations from Chavez and urges students to learn about slain revolutionary Ernesto “Che” Guevara and Colombian rebel chief Manuel Marulanda, whose leftist guerrillas are considered a terrorist group by Colombia, the U.S. and European Union. […]

“We must train socially minded people to help the community, and that’s why the revolution’s socialist program is being implemented,” said Zulay Campos, a member of a Bolivarian State Academic Commission that evaluates compliance with academic guidelines.

“If they attack us because we’re indoctrinating, well yes, we’re doing it, because those capitalist ideas that our young people have — and that have done so much damage to our people — must be eliminated,” Campos said.

Somewhere on the campaign trail, Hillary Clinton and the usual suspects are taking notes.

If you think having a federal education department is bad, just think how bad things will get if the extreme left has their way with America’s schoolchildren. Their “education reform” will make the “Bolivarian” curriculum look like a homeschool program.

Update: Chavez’ money shot: “Society cannot allow the private sector to do whatever it wants.” Sounds like something Hillary would say…