Bloggers discuss protests in Bolivia and mock U.S. Customs for allowing a Canadian with a bloody chain saw to cross the border. Also, everyone's linking to a blog post compiling gratuitous Hitler analogies.
No Peace in La Paz: Bolivian President Carlos Mesa resigned yesterday in response to widespread protests calling for nationalization of the natural-gas industry.
Concern abounds in the blogosphere. Pointing out that Bolivia is "rapidly heading for a power void, something which could be filled by force with unsavory elements," conservative Publius Pundit's A.M. Mora y Leon provides a roundup and notes that the "Crucenos," residents of the oil and natural gas-rich province of Santa Cruz, support privatization. Mora y Leon writes, "Whether such privatization would happen in an equitable way, or in the Latin American way of rewarding special interest groups, is something I do not know. The angry indigenous groups fear the latter and the industrious Crucenos hope for the former." Blue Sheet's Democrat James Fichter believes that the gas industry's nationalization "would be a disaster" because "without the sunshine of foreign investment, foreign accountants and foreign full-disclosure regulations, the industry will likely become the corrupt fifedom of government, a means to nepotism and graft rather than fuller employment and a rising standard of living." He continues, "The protestors feel economically and political disenfranchized from the Bolivian center; the irony is, their success will worsen their economic position."
Blog from Bolivia's Jim Shultz, who heads the Democracy Center, an NGO working in Cochabamba, disagrees: "It was the IMF that coerced Bolivia to privatize its gas and oil a decade ago, sewing the seeds for the current unrest." Another NGO-ite, Open Veins' Nick Buxton, remarks, "For me, it has been inspiring to see those who have been excluded from power taking to the streets and fighting for their rights. But I feel the backlash could be an increasingly brutal one. In the fight for Bolivia's future, I fear it may be torn apart."
Borderline crazy: Although Gregory Despres was carrying "a homemade sword, a hatchet, a knife, brass knuckles and a chain saw stained with what appeared to be blood," U.S. Customs officials confiscated the weapons but allowed him to cross the border in April. He was arrested in Massachusetts two days later and charged on two murder counts.
Bloggers from all over the political spectrum are filled with scorn. "One man tries to cross the US-Canadian border (into Canada, I might add) after a family vacation. He hasn't done anything suspicious on the flight, and is not carrying anything dangerous or illegal. He has committed the crime of knowing someone who may or may not be a terrorist back in 1997. He is sent to Syria to be systematically tortured for months," writesPlucky Punk's Happy Land...Grr...Spit...'s liberal Vanessa about Maher Arar. "Another man attempts to cross the US-Canadian border, into the US, covered in blood and carrying several blood-covered weapons. He has just brutally murdered an old man and his wife. He is sent along his way."
Noting that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police "would not comment on whether it was, in fact, blood on the chain saw," the right-wing Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler snarks, "Nah, couldn't have been. It could just as easily be that Mr. Despres had decided to custom paint his preciousssss to impress U.S. Customs." But Jazz, a "former Republican" on Running Scared comes to U.S. Customs' defense: "[T]hey really weren't being dim. They simply didn't have the legal grounds to hold the guy, no matter how suspicious he seemed."
Read more about Despres.
15 minutes of infamy: In a post called "In the future, everyone will be Hitler for 15 minutes," Beautiful Atrocities' Jeff provides a roundup of hyperbolic Führer comparisons: "North Korea compares Rumsfeld to Hitler … Hugo Chavez compares Spanish PM Jose Aznar to Hitle r…Global warming worse than Hitler … Sharon is Hitler Clothing Line …Hillary Duff is a Nazi."
"It's true - we need new cliches," admitsDirkworld's Dirk Belligerent. "Hitler's the new black i guess," quips Massachusetts blogger Petitedov. "I'm not saying it's a brilliant line that could only fall out my capacious head, and no disrespect intended towards Jeff, but I did coin it first. Over ten years ago, in fact." grumblesJames Lileks, a columnist for the Minneapolis Star Tribune. And conservative favorite Michelle Malkin, who's on the Beautiful Atrocities list, gloats, "You know you haven't made it in public life if you haven't been compared to Hitler."
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