Quote of the week

[Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro] possesses, however, few of his predecessor’s resources, lacking not just oil revenue but Chávez’s surplus of charisma, humour and political skill. Maduro, unable to end the crisis, has increasingly sided with the privileged classes against the masses; his security forces are regularly dispatched into barrios to repress militants under the guise of fighting crime. Having lost its majority in Congress, the government, fearing it can’t win at the polls the way Chávez did, cancelled gubernatorial elections that had been set for December last year (though they now appear to be on again). Maduro has convened an assembly to write a new constitution, supposedly with the objective of institutionalising the power of social movements, though it is unlikely to lessen the country’s polarisation.

Greg Grandin
London Review of Books
11 January 2007

Captain Blackadder on Bush’s new plan for Iraq

Not really. But the “new” plan for victory in Iraq does remind one of an episode of the BBC comedy “Blackadder.” The relevant dialogue follows after the video.

GENERAL: Now, Field Marshal Hague has formulated a brilliant new tactical plan to ensure final victory in the field.

CAPTAIN BLACKADDER: Ah, would this brilliant plan involve us climbing out of our trenches and walking very slowly towards the enemy, sir?

CAPTAIN DARLING: How could you possibly know that Blackadder, it’s classified information?

CAPTAIN BLACKADDER: It’s the same plan that we used last time, and the seventeen times before that.

GENERAL: Ex… ex… ex… actly! And that is what is so brilliant about it! It will catch the watchful Hun totally off guard. Doing precisely what we’ve done eighteen times before is exactly the last thing they’ll expect us to do this time!

There is, however, one small problem.

CAPTAIN BLACKADDER: That everyone always gets slaughtered in the first ten seconds?

GENERAL: That’s right. And Field Marshal Hague is worried that this may be depressing the men a tad. So, he’s looking to find a way to cheer them up.

CAPTAIN BLACKADDER: Well, his resignation and suicide would seem the obvious.

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