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The devil made him do it

By
September 22, 2006

By JAY AMBROSE

Until reading about Hugo Chavez’s U.N. speech the other day, the craziest reference to the devil I had ever seen was on the front page of a supermarket tab. "DEVIL ESCAPES HELL," it said in all-caps, super-large type. Under the headline was a picture of smoke pouring out of a great, big hole in the ground. I couldn’t help laughing.


It’s hard to laugh at Chavez’s speech saying President Bush was the devil, though, because this clown-in-chief of Venezuela is in a position to inflict a whole lot of pain on people _ he has been busily doing that very thing _ and it’s hard to grasp why U.N. delegates applauded him. Are they of the same ilk as the ignorant, gullible souls who would buy that supermarket tab to get the real goods on satanic doings? Maybe so, maybe so.

Large numbers of these delegates, after all, represent tyrannies chiefly notable for abusing their own people _ sometimes slaughtering them, usually impoverishing them, always ensuring they don’t get uppity about their rights _ and all the time blaming their national misery on those other lands that have found prosperity through constitutional order, liberty and free markets. They may hold their tongues when genocide is afoot in some desperate country much like their own, but loudly curse the wealthy and powerful United States.

When Chavez tells such an audience that the devil spoke from the same platform the previous day, makes the sign of the cross over his heart and says "this place still smells of sulfur," he is playing to this covetous spite, hoping his theatrics will win him a world standing that doesn’t notice the horrendous mess he has made of things in Venezuela as its president.

"I think we could call a psychiatrist to analyze yesterday’s statement made by the president of the United States," Chavez said. "As the spokesman of imperialism, he came to share his nostrums, to try to preserve the current pattern of domination, exploitation and pillage of the people of the world."

Was it exploitative or dominating for Bush to call for establishment of a Palestinian state that would exist democratically side by side with Israel? Was it a nostrum for him to call for strengthened peacekeeping forces in Darfur, where 200,000 have died from hate campaigns and some 2 million more rendered homeless? Did he have pillage in mind when he said Iran deserves democracy and a thriving economy instead of leadership that funds terrorists and seeks to construct nuclear weapons?

We know how Chavez stands on that last issue because, on a multi-country trip, he stopped over in Iran and out-ranted that country’s clown-in-chief, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. In still another instance of using the word "devil," he said that’s what resided inside the people of Israel. Self-revealed as an anti-Semite from utterances spoken elsewhere, he characterized the Israelis as "cowards" and "murderers" and called for God to throw "lightning bolts" at them. A nuclear bomb or two would probably suit him fine, as well.

Chavez has one thing going for him back home. High oil prices. In oil-rich Venezuela, they have kept the economy humming, although Chavez’s socialist enthusiasms have increased poverty. He operates in extraordinary, undemocratic secrecy, presides over an outlandishly corrupt government, doesn’t allow the press to say unpleasant things about him, has essentially made the courts and legislature his playthings, has wrecked the lives of ordinary people opposed to his rule and buttresses his populism with threats as necessary, various reports tell us. Those reports also tell us that he has a considerable following and came to power through an election, while reminding us that he once tried to come to power through a military coup.

You might think Chavez is just one more harmless fool, but Venezuelans are suffering, and if he grows in global stature _ if, for instance, Venezuela gets Latin America’s seat on the U.N. Security Council as he wishes _ he could expand that suffering to others. The hope has to be that mature, rational judgments will catch up with him and squash his career, causing him to look for excuses. Someone might then tell this lover of devil references about the line used by the late comedian Flip Wilson to escape blame in sketches about his mistakes being found out.

"The devil made me do it," dear, old Flip would say.

(Jay Ambrose, formerly Washington director of editorial policy for Scripps Howard newspapers and the editor of dailies in El Paso, Texas, and Denver, is a columnist living in Colorado. He can be reached at SpeaktoJay(at)aol.com.)

24 Responses to The devil made him do it

  1. Lori

    September 22, 2006 at 5:07 pm

    “tyrannies chiefly notable for abusing their own people_sometimes slaughtering them, usually impoverishing them, always ensuring they don’t get uppity about their rights_”

    Sounds like the Bush administration to me. As for the lingering sulfur smell, well, he IS the Farter In Chief, DYK.

  2. Fritz

    September 22, 2006 at 5:23 pm

    I still prefer Chaves to Bush. Is there really anything to consider?

    You, Jay Ambrose, should take a hike; Bush is a fascist, (or at least controlled by fascists.)

    Viva Chaves! Viva Venezuela!

  3. Florence Murphy

    September 22, 2006 at 5:40 pm

    The howls of indignation from the US media after the
    scintillating, exciting, informative and well received speech from Hugo Chavez were expected. The little boy president, a gift from Poppy and Bar, must be protected…it’s been a familial pattern for 60 years.

  4. Massachusetts Boots

    September 22, 2006 at 5:45 pm

    Boo Hoo. Chavez called Bush “a Name.” What should we do, shoot him? Oh,Oh, that’s already been flown up the flagpole by “Crazy Pat.” How about staging a black op coup on the bum? Oh yeah, we did that already. Only lasted a few days and the bum took back control of his country.

    Doesn’t matter Bush calling other countries names. Boys will be boys you know.

    Pay attention to Bush, you bunch of losers. He’s the real problem with this country. He and his whole family are more corrupt than Chavez ever thought of being.

  5. justathought

    September 22, 2006 at 9:01 pm

    Chavez may be partially correct. If Dubya isn’t the devil he is surely the antichrist who, unrestrained, will bring the “end times” promised to his most ardent supporters!

  6. justathought

    September 22, 2006 at 9:04 pm

    Chavez may be partially correct. If Dubya isn’t the devil he is surely the antichrist who, unrestrained, will bring the “end times” promised to his most ardent supporters!

  7. Jennifer

    September 22, 2006 at 9:28 pm

    Justathought & Mass.Boots:

    Nice to read & heard honest people speak the TRUTH.
    Let’s see this man Chavez offered poor people in the North-east of the USA, last winter heating oil, because our government programs don’t benefit the poor, anymore. Hum.
    Doesn’t Gore’s family own Citgo which comes from Venezula/ don’t we get 17% of our oil from there?
    Hum?
    Everything comes full-circle, always will, always has.
    Takes one to know one; although, I have read that Chavez helps his people! “An axis of evil”, who truly believes in helping his people…doesn’t make sense does it………..wake up America. He just does not want a dicatiorship in his sovernign nation, one who will control their, not “OUR” resources.
    Wisomkeeper

  8. Gerald Bentley

    September 22, 2006 at 11:01 pm

    Jay,
    Couldn’t help but notice how you and most all of the other US news media just completely missed the most important things Chavez said. WHY IS THE US REFUSING TO EXTRADITE A CONFESSED TERRORIST WHO BOMBED A PLANE FULL OF CIVILIANS? Could it be that he might expose who put him up to it? Another question Jay, how many people were slaughtered in that soccer arena after US special ops engineered a coup of another democratically elected leader – Allende – and replaced him with a butchering dictator – Pinochet? How did assasins kill Letelier in broad daylight in Washington, DC? Was the soccer stadium incident the reason that Mexicans began booing and chanting OSAMA when the Star Spangled Banner was played in their stadium last year? How many East Timorese died when the US furnished the arms for the Indonesians to overrun them? And finally, why do we have to read foreign news sources to get any info about US Special Operations and the band of 40 led by Kissinger? The world hates the US gov’t but loves the US people because they know that we aren’t told the truth about anything. Think about what that says about US journalism. Like much of our government, you guys are the best that money can buy.

  9. Richard Melvin

    September 22, 2006 at 11:11 pm

    Jay,

    I agree that it is an insult for Chavez to compare Bush with the Devil. Since the Devil is (obviously) so much more intellegent and has a better track record of success as an executive than “W”, there is no comparison between the two.

  10. DAVID T. GRAY

    September 22, 2006 at 11:11 pm

    Jay is one of those “folks” who will always think of the US as a country that has the right to look down upon the rest of the world, discern their failings and then prescribe the remedy: YOU MUST DO WHAT THE US SAYS, NOT DOES, IN ORDER

    TO APPROACH OUR HALLOWED POSTION AS SUPREME ARBITER TO THE REST OF THE WORLD. FURTHERMORE YOU MUST BE GRATEFUL FOR OUR GIVING YOU THESE ORDERS. AFTER ALL WE COULD HAVE IGNORED YOU & THEN YOU JUST WOULDN’T EVER COME OUT OF YOUR CAVES TO BECOME A MEMBER OF THE CIVILIZED WORLD.

    What Chavez is pointing out to the rest of the world is that the US NEEDS them MORE than they need the US. The paradigm has shifted folks. The proof is in South America, Central America, Turkey and other countries who have told our puppet economic HAMMERS like the IMF, WBO to shove their back-breaking loans that are just a means of global DOMINATION. Hey they even elected, DEMOCRATICALLY, a woman, former POW, for the President of Chile, home of Augusto Pinochet! Can we say the same about our last TWO elections? Do you think the rest of the world didn’t SEE that those elections have proven the steady EVAPORATION of our glorious democracy? Foreign countries sent MONITORS to our election sites and some were NOT allowed to observe–think they didn’t go home and tell on us? One could say that right now the REST of the world knows more about the US than the American CITIZENRY aka The Sheeple.

    Jay Ambrose is a troglodyte who is living in the past and will never pull his head out. Remember Scripps News Service is not an INDEPENDENT news org. Says it all.

    Go, Hugo, go. Maybe if he shoves the smelly pile underneath American noses enough times we will see through the Bush Dominionista lies. W has focused the Neocon war laser on Iran but right AFTER 9/11 Iran offered to help us with Osama Bin Laden and broker him out of Afghanistan but Bush DISMISSED this gesture. The result? Ahmanadinejad, who calls Bush an idiot on 60 minutes, that was edited out, and can not FATHOM W’s status as leader of the “Free World”. Russia, France, Germany, England, Israel, AND Iran warned W about 9/11 and THEY were ignored. Americans used to have ALLIES, try to find some NOW!

    However, always rccall that radiant quote of H. L. Mencken: “You will never lose money underestimating the stupidity of the American people.”

  11. Ragnar

    September 23, 2006 at 3:20 am

    After reading http://www.alternet.org/story/27725/ and how Bush continues to give support to torturers like this demon, and adding the obsession that Bush shows for legalizing and spreading torture, there’s no doubt left for me that Chavez is absolutely right. Bush is a devil.

  12. fygar

    September 23, 2006 at 3:55 am

    Why does CHB publish this garbage? The propaganda slurs against Chavez are no more true than the absurd lies Washington continues to tell about Iraq. The facts on the ground in Venezuela expose Jay Ambrose as a liar and tarnish CHB’s reputation for publishing him. For the first time Venezuela’s vast oil wealth is being used to improve the lives of the poor majority in Venezuela. In terms of food, housing, education and health care there is no question that Chavez’s policies have lead to dramatic improvements. For the first time the non-white poor majority of Venezuela have the true freedom to play an effective role in the politics of their county. Suggestion for CHB: Learn something about the reality of Venezuela under Chavez before you publish another another column full of lies like this one by Ambrose.

  13. Felipe Riojas

    September 23, 2006 at 5:31 am

    Jay,
    Your article is the funniest thing I’ve read today. The way you switched Chavez’s name for Bush… HYSTERICAL!
    You were kidding,right?
    You know better than that… You call yourself a journalist? You ought to be ashamed of yourself.Amazing what a guy will do for a buck.

  14. John Rice

    September 23, 2006 at 6:02 pm

    To Jay,,,
    You can write no doubt about that–it is your research, observations and conclusions that abysmally suck. Chavez was “spot-on”–and he delivered his UN oration with grace and good humor, in a manner GWB couldn’t learn in a thousand years.

    My only complaint was Chavez was not in attendance when GWB gave his speech, so “reciprocal listening” was not diplomatically required. I think Chavez missed a golden opportunity by not ‘forcing’ Bush to attend. If Bush chose not to attend, after Chavez had braved ‘both barrels’ from Bush, it would only tend to further demonstrate GWBs cowardice. And if Bush walked out in the middle, it would only show what a simplistic, spoiled baby our president really is.

    To CHB—Did somebody take the day off??

    How you could publish a great piece like DT’s “Ashamed to be an American” on one day, and then follow it with Ambrose’s cynical and intellectually dishonest piece above, is beyond me.

    If this piece is journalism at all, it is yellow, and taints everything you put out.

    I am disappointed—I expect more from you than bromides from a propagandist.

    Regards,,,John
    ( john_rice@neitherparty.org )

  15. Lexie Homewood

    September 24, 2006 at 3:30 am

    Jay,

    I don’t know how many deaths Hugo Chavez is responsible for, but the tally for Moron Bush rises every single day.–
    Lexie

  16. jeeters

    September 22, 2006 at 5:48 am

    Wheres the proof of this? I hope it’s not USG based.

    “Chavez has one thing going for him back home. High oil prices. In oil-rich Venezuela, they have kept the economy humming, although Chavez’s socialist enthusiasms have increased poverty. He operates in extraordinary, undemocratic secrecy, presides over an outlandishly corrupt government, doesn’t allow the press to say unpleasant things about him, has essentially made the courts and legislature his playthings, has wrecked the lives of ordinary people opposed to his rule and buttresses his populism with threats as necessary, various reports tell us. Those reports also tell us that he has a considerable following and came to power through an election, while reminding us that he once tried to come to power through a military coup.”

  17. El Guapo

    September 22, 2006 at 5:53 am

    Wow, jeeters sounds like you could replace Chavez with bush and leave out the part about the military (chimpy just stole the election)and they could be twins

  18. Lysistrata

    September 22, 2006 at 6:07 am

    Bush stands for torture, so Chavez is not off the mark.
    Bush lies, is secretive and heads a corrupt administration, refuses diplomacy and prefers to bomb the hell out of defenseless nations. Look what he has done to Iraq. He is namecalling too, Islamo-fashists, evil, he is insulting.

  19. South Point Man

    September 22, 2006 at 10:11 am

    For those still caught up in the dominant/submissive primate routine, for the submissives, that whom they regard as their dominant primate can do no wrong no matter how nutcasey and evil their “dominant” primate may be.

    For those of us who are actual people and know that there is no such thing as dominant/submissive for sentient beings, an evil nutcase is simply an evil nutcase.

  20. Jackson

    September 22, 2006 at 4:11 pm

    Sorry Jay,

    No matter how you craven Bush apologists try to spin Chavez’s remarks, his referring to Bush as the Devil, was quite astute and far more sensible than those of your ilk, would ever care to admit. It isn’t hard to see how truly evil the Bush administration is, just ask the people in Afghanistan, Iraq, New Orleans, and the thousands of anonymous victims of Bush’s torture gulags! While Bush may not be “The Devil”, he certainly is “A Devil” without a doubt! Chavez’s remarks also serves to remind people that evil in the world, is represented by flesh and blood Devils like Bush, not some cartoon character with a tail, and pitch fork.

  21. Rich Farris

    September 22, 2006 at 4:21 pm

    Duh? I’m sorry, but the “clown in Chief” with the most power, endangering the most people in this world is named Bush. I saw the Chavez speech, and it was impressive. The humor, and it’s delivery, was impressive. His public speaking ability was impressive. I wish our President was half as bright. His reference to Chomsky was impressive. [Would Bush ever read Chomsky? Now that’s a funny thought.] I agreed with Chavez’s every comment about Bush and the USA. It was by far the most accurate, and most relevant speech given at the UN all year (with the possible exception of Chomsky’s own speech). The applause when Chavez finished was staggering. Oh, and by the way, your attempt to portray Chavez as a ruthless dictator rings hollow. Besides his proven democratic popularity (he didn’t have to steal his elections like the GOP does), the press in Venezuela is quite free. By some measures, more free than our own. So stop the uneducated, uninformed whitewash, and start looking at the real devil for what he is. If you aren’t sure who it is, re-read Chavez’s speech, and maybe you can learn something.

  22. Rich Farris

    September 22, 2006 at 4:30 pm

    The Chavez speech was by far the most accurate and most impressive speech given at the UN all week. Maybe that’s why it drew so much applause. Why you try to denegrate all of the poor countries of the world, maybe you should get yourself a mirror.
    I agreed with 100% of what Chavez had to say. I only wish our own President was half as bright, and half as honest. [Imagine Bush reading Chomsky? Now there’s a funny thought.] Your downright innacurate comments about Chavez and his country only expose your ignorance, or dishonesty. I don’t know which. But then, that’s par for the course in the USA these days, as people like you try to Swiftboat those who are trying to save this planet from Bush’s hopeless insanity.
    I can only hope that bumper sticker rings true: “2008. The end of an error.”

  23. california rick

    September 22, 2006 at 4:32 pm

    Chavez received a five-minute UN standing ovation.

    Didn’t see?

    …that’s because American television didn’t cover it ; – )

    SOURCE: http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article15049.htm

  24. Phil

    September 22, 2006 at 5:07 pm

    Oh, that evil, evil Chavez -a legitimately elected leader who gives land to tenant farmers, uses his own country’s resources to benefit his country instead of the US, funds health clinics for the poor and even dares to work toward a – deep breath here – universal health care system. Last I heard, gas in Venezuela was 13¢ a gallon. Horrors! Such a good example must never come to light, or else people might wonder why the unelected King George can’t be bothered doing the same in a nation that’s many times richer. Or maybe he’s just jealous since all the GOP’s number-spinning can only bring his own ratings up to the appearance of 30% or so.

    “I think we could call a psychiatrist to analyze yesterday’s statement made by the president of the United States,” Chavez said. “As the spokesman of imperialism, he came to share his nostrums, to try to preserve the current pattern of domination, exploitation and pillage of the people of the world.”

    What part of that isn’t true? Anyone? Anyone?