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Flush With Election Success, Venezuela’s Chávez Appoints New Cabinet Minister: Jesus Christ

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On Sunday night, shortly after he handily won reelection, Hugo Chavez, Venezuela’s controversial President-cum-dictator surprised the world in a speech to his constituents by announcing, “The Kingdom of Christ is the kingdom of love, of peace; the kingdom of justice, of solidarity, brotherhood, the kingdom of socialism. This is the kingdom of the future of Venezuela.” Not exactly the words one expects to hear from the mouth of a socialist.

Born into a Catholic family, Chávez has never displayed much religious fervor until recently. Indeed, he has criticized the Venezuelan Catholic heirarchy in the past for its support of what he calls the “traditional oligarchy,” and he is known to have once said he is “neither Christian nor Catholic.” But Venezuela is a majority Catholic country, as are most Latin American nations, and Catholic traditions are deeply rooted throughout the region, which could explain Chávez’ bizarre conflation of Christ with a political philosophy which, in most of the rest of the world, is atheistic, or at least, agnostic.

In keeping with his newfound religious fervor, Chávez continues to refer to President Bush as “the Devil,” and recently told a US diplomat, “I’m ready to talk, but if you’re going to talk to the devil, you have to have strong morals, because the devil has many ways to tempt you.” Such pronouncements lend Chávez a clownish air, but it would be a grave mistake for the US to dismiss him as such.

Chávez has repeatedly stated his intention to spread his socialist “Bolivarian Revolution” to the rest of the hemisphere, and he is backing his words up with petrodollars; subsidizing Cuba with more than $2 billion a year, and forging strong ties with the newly elected leftist presidents of Ecuador and Nicaragua. His mentoring of Evo Morales, leftist president of Bolivia is ongoing. He is also seeking to broaden his relationship with Brazil and Argentina, saying they, along with Venezuela, should become the “axis of a new economic, political and military bloc.”

With almost eight years in power under his belt, Chávez has already drastically changed the political and sociological landscape of Venezuela. Using the vast amount of oil revenue at his disposal since his nationalization of Venezuela’s oil industry, he has created a welfare state unparalleled in the region. Consolidating his hold on education (and the minds of the people), Chávez has announced the establishment of a new national education curriculum which includes educating students away from “individualism” and toward “collectivism.”

In keeping with his stated goal of more “economic equilibrium” for the country, Chávez has also announced he will revoke private licenses in both the telcommunications and television industries as a first step toward nationalization. He is proposing additional legislation to further muzzle newspapers, which are already limping under stringent laws prohibiting criticism of the government and its officials.

Venezuela’s election laws allow, indeed encourage, citizens residing abroad to vote. In Miami, home to tens of thousands of Venezuelans who have fled the Chávez regime, nearly 11,000 Venezuelans voted in the Orange Bowl on Sunday afternoon. Sunday evening, Venezuelan government officials announced the results of the Miami vote. Not surprisingly, Chávez’ opponent, Manuel Rosales, won in a landslide: 10,679 votes for Rosales to 242 for Chávez.

Following his reelection in Sunday’s voting, Chávez promised to “deepen” his revolution by spreading “21st Century Socialism,” not only in Venezuela, but throughout the hemisphere. More ominously, he has proposed to eliminate term limits, setting himself up for a Haitian style “president for life” regime, and prompting some to worry that Chávez has begun to think of himself in Messianic terms; which he denies, saying, “I don’t think I’m Jesus Christ; far from it.”

Christ-like or not, the Bush administration and the ones to follow it, would do well to keep a close eye on St. Hugo and strengthen our relationships with Latin America. Unlike Castro, Chávez has the wherewithal to back his ideas up with enormous amounts of money. Latin America for the most part is a poor region, and as such is fertile ground for the siren song of the socialist “Bolivarian Revolution.” If we want to maintain our influence in the region, we need to help the Latin American countries to develop their potential in a meaningful way.

To not do so will be folly.

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About Clavos

Raised in Mexico by American parents, Clavos is proudly bi-cultural, and considers both Spanish and English as his native languages. A lifelong boating enthusiast, Clavos lives aboard his ancient trawler, Second Act, in Coconut Grove, Florida and enjoys cruising the Bahamas and Florida Keys from that base. When not dealing with the never-ending maintenance issues inherent in ancient trawlers, Clavos sells yachts to finance his boat habit, but his real love (after boating, of course) is writing and editing; a craft he has practiced at Blogcritics since 2006.
  • moonraven

    The most obvious folly to be watched out for here is the mushroom-like proliferation of blogs by folks without journalistic credentials and ethics and absolutely zero knowledge of or information about what is really happening in Latin America who are continuing to beat their chests about what the US can do to “maintain” its influence in the region by trying to smear the most democratic AND influential leader in the hemisphere, Hugo Chavez.

    Sadly, this is one of those blogs.

  • Franco

    Clavos,

    BRAVO! Well Said.

    I see that your first guest walks in the path of Martha Wolfe Raymonds foot steps. I do not think though they are in her class, but sould be interesting none the less.

    Looking forward to this.

    Franco

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    Moonraven, nice to see you come in and make an absolute fool of yourself by describing Clavos as having “zero knowledge of or information about what is really happening in Latin America.” But I doubt that the fact that he’s intimately familiar with the region would actually make any difference to you. You’d find some other way to denigrate him solely because he hasn’t been fooled by Chavez the way that you have chosen to be.

    BTW, good piece, Clavos. I was going to write something on the election in Venezuela – I found some fantastic quotes from zombielike government stooges praising Chavez – but you did so well the topic is pretty much put to rest.

    Dave

  • troll

    well presented but I do wish the author had spent some effort creating links to sources as por ejemplo:

    *More ominously, he has proposed to eliminate term limits, setting himself up for a Haitian style “president for life” regime*

    make it easy for us slobs

    I fear that with Chavez we will get to watch the saying – ‘the road to hell is paved with good intentions’ proven true once again

  • Clavos

    moonraven,

    I have spent most of my life growing up in, living in, and working in Latin America. I’m all too painfully aware of the widespread poverty in the region, and also of the great disparity between the tiny ruling classes in each country and the poor. It is for that reason, I advocate that the US help LatAm countries in their development, rather than simply send aid, as we have in the past.

    As for my knowledge of what is going on in the region: I have friends in almost every country with whom I correspond on a regular basis; I speak Spanish (it’s actually my first language), and I regularly read the major LatAm newspapers.

    Please tell me where I “smeared” Chávez in this article. Virtually everything in quotes is something he said, either in his speech Sunday night, or recently.

    And finally, I’m also interested in knowing how you can justify judging my ethics based on what you read in this this article?

  • Clavos

    ¡Gracias, Dave! Much appreciated, coming from you.

    troll, gracias as well, and point taken; I should have provided some links. Yours, BTW, is an excellent one, thanks.

    Y Franco: Muy agradecido. ¿Sigues en Chile?

  • Franco

    #1 — moonraven

    moonraven sez…

    The most obvious folly to be watched out for here is the mushroom-like proliferation of blogs by folks without journalistic credentials

    This assertion is faults. Since when did having journalistic credentials over a blogger, or even the man in the street, make one an intelligent seer and speaker of truth?

    moonraven sez…

    absolutely zero knowledge of or information about what is really happening in Latin America.

    This assertion is faults. Not only dose the publisher of this article, Clavos, happen to know more about Latin American and more what he is talking about then you do, he has spend half of his live living in Latin America. Then there is me. I know Latin America, I live in Chile and we are watching Hugo with both eyes wide open my friend.

    moonraven sez…

    what the US can do to “maintain” its influence in the region by trying to smear the most democratic AND influential leader in the hemisphere, Hugo Chavez.

    This assertion is faults. The US does not smear Hugo in efforts to maintain its influences in Latin America. It is in fact exactly the other way around. Hugo needs to try and smear the US in his attempt to influence Latin America away from the US. His means will be to buy his way into attempts at more influence. Sounds a little capitalist to me. But hell, what do I know, I don’t have journalistic credentials

  • Franco

    #4 — troll

    as por ejemplo

    I didn’t know you spoke español. Bravo!

  • troll

    (Franco – living in the US southwest I can smell the cafe and despite a proven crappy language learning ability I’m working on it…again)

  • Franco

    moonraven,

    Jumping into a pool of blogcritics with teeth from first hand knowledge and experience on this topic and having your ass ripped apart, is I’m sure, not a pleasant experience.

    I believe everyone has something important to say and contribute to any discussion/debate. Therefor I would encourage you to rejoin this blog and voice your views and opinions, but obviously doing so from a more sound and logical stand point in presenting them. Just a thought.

  • Jerry

    Franco,
    I think Moonraven may have graduated from the Jimmy Carter school of politics.

  • Franco

    #11 — Jerry

    Hi Jerry,

    It’s probably worse then that, but until he offers up something other then block paragraph spam , we’ll never know.

    But now that you mention Jimmy Carter, I wonder what “two cents” has he been offering up on this lately.

  • troll

    let’s see….

    Clavos says – *Venezuela is a majority Catholic country, as are most Latin American nations, and Catholic traditions are deeply rooted throughout the region, which could explain Chávez’ bizarre conflation of Christ with a political philosophy which, in most of the rest of the world, is atheistic, or at least, agnostic.*

    there is nothing new about the ‘Marxist’ Chavez’s appeal to religion – in fact ‘leftist’ movements throughout South America have been based on a coalition of atheists and Christian humanists…there were many observant Catholics in the Sandinista movement

    for more on this google up ‘liberation theology’

  • http://www.blogger.com Georgio

    I liked your article Clavos because I have been watching Hugo with interest because I enjoy watching the way he tells Bush off…I have zero knowledge of Latin America but have always why we can’t have better relations with our neighbors..how the hell do we expect to influence the Islam region when we can’t even have good relations with our neighbors..I don’t know if Socialism works or not for Venezuela but the extreme difference between rich and poor isn’t right either..Not talking to Castro or Hugo is in my opinion just as stupid as not talking to Iran or NK..

  • Franco

    Clavos,

    Latin America for the most part is a poor region, and as such is fertile ground for the siren song of the socialist “Bolivarian Revolution.” If we want to maintain our influence in the region, we need to help the Latin American countries to develop their potential in a meaningful way.

    That is the heart of it all right there in those two sentences.

    As I, a gringo born and rased on S. California, sit her living and working in Chile writing this, I am racking my brain for meaningful ideas for helping Latin America develop their potential, I am ashamed to say that they do not come easily. The world over all is complex and growing smaller everyday, which also forces more complexity into it.

    Clavos, can you help me rack my brain.

    Franco

  • Clavos

    Franco,

    You present a real challenge with that question.

    I don’t have any specifics in mind; if I did, I would be trying to run for President, or at the very least trying to aim for Dr. Rice’s job.

    What I as a US citizen would like to see is the government structuring our aid to the region along the lines of the old cliche that says, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach him to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime,” rather than continue with the same old methods of giving money and foodstuffs, which only “feed for a day” if they even actually get to the people they’re intended to help.

    We’ve certainly been very good, with the Army’s School Of The Americas, at teaching them how to make war on each other; why can’t we set up similar programs to teach them to how stabilize and grow their economies, improve their agriculture and infrastructure, etc?

    Mexico, for example has made much progress with its economy in recent years; not because of direct assistance from the US, but because they have had a number of US trained economists in key government positions (including the presidency) for a number of years. Those economists have gradually moved Mexico away from its traditional protectionist mode into a more open ambience which encourages foreign investment.

    As a result, their economy is today one of the stronger ones in Latin America (though it certainly has a long way to go; but the point is, they’re making progress).

    This is the kind of direction our regional assistance programs should be taking, IMO.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Clavos,

    Nice job with the article. I might have written it from a slightly different slant, but you know the region far better than I could ever pretend to.

    From what little I can see, the guy may have wobbled on the side of populism for a while, but it appears that he is a totalitarian Jew-hating bastard who worships a Jew – always an interesting combination.

  • Franco

    #17 — Clavos

    You brought some very good points up.

    If we want to maintain our influence in the region………maybe we have to learn the art of romance and dancing again.

    You know the scenario in a dating relationship of two people when one becomes a bit too possessive of the other, caused by either their own insecurities, or their impatience, or to the cleaver political aloofness of the other in this game of love. The latter is the point I want to carry forward.

    What would happen if the US foreign policy was to shift away from appearing to try to police and or dominate states and adapted the opposite approach of the skillful, yet real romantic art, of political aloofness with states we want to influence most. Let those states watch us dancing with our other friends and see how beneficial and rewarding those relationships are. Some of those states outside the party will want to get in, some sooner then others, but the powerful attraction that emanates from a women playing it a bit aloof has been the downfall of a many a good men. Why wouldn’t this work for states as well.

    Nobody is holding sanctions over someone’s head, if there not dancing with us were not trading with them anyway. If some of our other dance partners trade with them that is their business. Nobody is using military force. If their not dancing with us we won’t protect them, they are some other state dance partners responsibly. They don’t have to come to our dance and if they don’t want to. That is the way it should be.

    If we really have the greatest dance hall going, which I still believe we do, as do so many all over the world even if it is unpopular to admit it, inside they know our dance hall offers the greatest freedoms and opportunities the world has ever known.

    Getting our attractiveness back again is not impossible. Getting states re-attracted to us isn’t either. When they want into the dance they know they have to dress for it. Then when we were dancing again we could help develop their potential in a meaningful way. Meaningful is ways you already have racked your brain to come up with and they are good ones.

    Don’t ya think we could use a couple of cool black cats in the Whitehorse. Clavos for President!

  • moonraven

    1. My ass is perfectly intact–not any of you wannabe bloggers has presented a single fact in regard to Venezuela. Not one. Nor any links to support your OPINIONS. Regarding asses, you might consider practicing the art of finding one’s own.

    2. The US has no right whatsoever to influence the politics of Latin America. The Monroe Doctrine was just another gringo bully-on-the-corner jingoist assertion–directed specifically at Great Britain. Latin America is not the US’s back patio, and the image itself is highly offensive to those of us who live there.

    3. If Clavos had journalist credentials and ethics, he would know that just making something up is not journalism. Admittedly, operations such as Fox News have so debased the concept of journalism that now everyone in the street thinks he/she should be editing the New York Times. That is a symptom of the abrupt plummeting of reportage standards and the substition of propaganda for information. We have a saying in Spanish: “Zapatero, a sus zapatos”. In this context it would mean “Boat salesman, sell boats.”

    4. Chavez has made it perfectly clear that he couldn’t care less about whether the US wants to engage him in dialog or not. He has other fish to fry: the realization of Bolivar’s dream of integration of South America.

    As I type, if it were a clear day instead of an overcast one, I would be able to see Iran on the other side of the gulf. There’s a US navy base on this little island I am visiting. If the US government persists in its refusal to engage the up-and-coming countries in a dialog, and bombs Tehran, the navy base here will be the number one short-range target.

    Guess I had better start packing my bags….

  • moonraven

    I don’t know whose pipedream this quote came from:

    “Mexico, for example has made much progress with its economy in recent years; not because of direct assistance from the US, but because they have had a number of US trained economists in key government positions (including the presidency) for a number of years. Those economists have gradually moved Mexico away from its traditional protectionist mode into a more open ambience which encourages foreign investment.”

    Mexico is on the brink of another civil war–in large part due to the complete indifference of the PAN government during the past 6 years to promote the economy for anyone except their relatives and cronies.

    Poverty statistics are always highly suspect in Mexico–and the Fox government sat on last year’s figures until after the controversial July election–the most optimistic of the government groups places poverty at 47% in 2005–a full 10 points above that of Venezuela.

    Yes, neo-liberalism has devastated the economy of Mexico–which is why 500,000 folks are forced to leave their country every year to cross the border to the US and work for jobs that–according to ex-president Fox “even blacks won’t do”.

    Foreign investment in Mexico means sweatshops where folks work 12 hours a day for less than 5 dollars (a day–not an hour) and the goods and PROFITS are exported to the country of origin of the company. It also means a banking industry with all but one bank (Banorte) being owned by foreign capital and usuury rates upwards of 50% for credit card holders.

    In 1810 Mexico revolted against the Spanish and the War of Independence began.

    In 1910 Mexico revolted against Porfirio Diaz after 30 plus years of dictatorship and the Mexico Revolution began.

    We are very close to 2010. Given the polarization created by the PAN government, maybe it will come early.

    Zapata vive, la lucha sigue.

  • Clavos

    Welcome back, Martita.

    You didn’t add anything new or substantive to your previous unfounded fulminations, so I’ll not waste time responding to this new set (which is actually not new at all; simply a rehash of your crap from a couple of months ago), except to point out that, neither in the article nor in my comments have I advocated “engaging Chavez in dialogue”; my focus was and is on the nations which are recoiling from Chávez’ brand of neo-communism.

    Anyway, I see you finally made it over to the Middle East, did you remember to take your burkha?

  • troll

    moonraver – does it not concern you that Chavez talks like he intends to push for alterations in the V constitution to avoid having to step down – ?

    good people throughout history have been overcome by hubris and seduced by power…it looks to me like Chavez is going down this path

  • troll

    btw – you seem to miss the point of blogging which in large part is to enable ‘shoe salesmen’ to express their views

  • Franco

    #19 — moonraven

    moonraven sez…

    The US has no right whatsoever to influence the politics of Latin America.

    Moonraven did not finish this sentence which says, “But Chavez has every right to influence the politics of other Latin American states.

    Here is another classic and embarrassingly obvious “New Left” concept blatantly being asserted more and more.

    Now for anyone thinking I am putting words in moonravens mouth, bullshit, just ask moony if he/she agrees.

  • Clavos

    Franco,

    Moonraving is our old friend Marthe. See the passage in her #20 about being in the Middle East.

    Plus, the whole style (?) of the writing is the same as it was a couple of months ago, and she’s rehashing the same tired old points we already refuted back then.

    La vieja ha vuelto.

  • Franco

    #21 — Clavos

    Anyway, I see you finally made it over to the Middle East, did you remember to take your burkha?

    LOL

  • http://alienboysworld.blogspot.com Christopher Rose

    CLAVOS: Please don’t forget the comments policy precludes ad hominem attacks so, much as you may disagree with Moonraven’s views, let’s leave out the snide insults like calling her Moonraving, lest I find myself compelled to start editing this thread. Also, as a BC writer, you could consider setting a better example to our visitors…

  • Clavos

    Quite right, Mr. Editor.

    My lapse is probably due to my lack of “journalist credentials and ethics.”

  • D’oh

    If so Clavos, what’s the excuse for editors Bambinek and Nalle?

    Don’t let it get to you, though we may disagree at times ourselves, I give you full credit for being reasonable and willing to discuss sticky points.

    One would hope all that still counts for something among readers, it does to me.

  • Franco

    Clavos,

    I have to say that you’re one of blogcrites most ethical and cleanest discussion/debaters out there. You are also one of the true champions against ad hominem attacks on others. In ever blog I have ever been involved in with you, you are always to one calling down others for ad hominem attacks regardless if they are directed at you or at others. All of BC management should be thankful for it..

    Christopher Rose is politically correct on his statement of BC’s ad hominem attack policy, and about his authority to start editing this thread. However, he must have been away from or asleep at the switch for a few weeks when moonraven (AKA) marthe raymond (assuming another name is also a BC violation) posted more then 30 posts riddled with some of the nastiest ad hominem attacks I had ever seen at BC or other blogs as well. I never saw anything quite like it. I clearly remember it and Dave surly would too. Where was Christopher Rose then.

    I have to say that though all that ugly besiegement, you remained a gentleman, you held on to your ethics and did not let her drag you down into the mud. A feat that Christopher Rose would have had to admit was almost super human considering at voracity of the attacks. You held up BC policy as good or better then anyone I have ever seen. You earned the Purple Heart and the Silver Star in that battle. However, it is obvious from Christopher’s post, one clearly doesn’t get any credit for those metals in another battle to even commit the tiny of sins..

    I look at it this way. After experiencing that besiegement of ad hominem attacks first hand, which we all did, no one could blame even Mother Teresa for shipping in an appropriate name change on such an attacker. I certainly forgive you.

    I guess you are really getting called out more for being a BC writer with example standards to uphold then anything else. I hope that is truly the case even though Chris did use the word “also” which I found disturbing

    Well Clavos, when you’re at the top making the big bucks, it has to stop somewhere.

  • troll

    sorry ’bout that Clavos –

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    CR: Please don’t forget the comments policy precludes ad hominem attacks

    I thought the policy was against personal attacks, not ad hominems as such. I mean, there’s no problem if I say “Eurocentrists like Christopher are often mistaken for socialists,” but if I say “Eurocentrists like Christopher are usually fatuous nannynoses,” that might be unacceptable.

    D’oh: If so Clavos, what’s the excuse for editors Bambinek and Nalle?

    I can’t speak for JB, but much of my editorial experience has been working for partisan political house organs, so a certain amount of excessive rhetoric was tolerated or even encouraged. I think it makes life more fun.

    Dave

  • Clavos

    D’oh, Franco and troll,

    Thank you, gentlemen.

  • Clavos

    Mister Comments Editor,

    Dave Nalley has raised an interesting question here:

    “I thought the policy was against personal attacks, not ad hominems as such.”

    What say you?

  • http://www.futonreport.net/ Matthew T. Sussman

    You’re just saying that because you’re ugly.

  • Clavos

    Suss,

    I know you are, but what am I?

  • ss

    Clavos & Franco:

    Ireland was an impoverished nation of small farms and big slums until it realized it’s small size and young population meant it was poised to cash in on the new economy. They got their financial house in order (painful, in a poor country), shook off traditional views, invested whatever they could in education, and offered incentives for foriegn investment (also painful in a poor country)
    They then (largely) skipped industrialization and became a leader in high tech services. In one generation they’ve become one of the wealthiest countries (in terms of per capita income) in the world (14th wealthiest, I believe)
    It seems like Costa Rica should be poised to do the same. I don’t see any reason all of Central America and the larger Carribean countries couldn’t do just as well with that strategy, though it may take a while a longer.

    For the larger countries, like Mexico, competing with an emerging China seems to be a kick in the ass with no easy answer.
    Ican’t claim to be an expert, but that’s how it looks to me.

  • ss

    As far as America trying to maintain it’s influence, I’m with moonraven on that, though for different reasons.

    There’s a great documentary called ‘Our Brand is Crisis’ that details mistakes made by several American politicos that actually helped Evo Morales expand his base of support and eventually take over by riot induced elections
    These mistakes include

    1) American free market development experts forced American raised President Quiroga into unpopular decisions concerning a deal for using a port with a neighboring country (I’ve forgotten which one) that the neighbor had actually taken from Bolivia in a war 100+ yrs ago,
    2) An American political consulting firm brought Quiroga from behind to win election, but did it by smearing a rival who was a moderate populist (at least compared to Evo)
    3) An American ambassador who evoked the War on Terror, compared Morales to bin Ladin, and threaten the Bolivian people with sanctions if they elected Morales. As a result, Morales found new support in the cities and among the middle class

    As I said, the end result of these moves was a President to unpopular to sustain his own government and the only opposition left standing, Morales, istigated unrest and moved in and took control

    Personally, I wouldn’t be surprised to find out we had a hand in the failed coup against Chavez. Since he kept power, it seems to have made him even bolder and given him an even freer hand to buy rifles, arm his thugs, stifle critism, and rewrite the constitution as he sees fit.

    In short, we (in the US) are now so bad at meddling in other peoples affairs that the more we do the more likely we’ll get the result that hurts ourselves the most AND hurts the country where we meddle the most.
    We should just stop thinking of other countries as ours to manipulate before we manage to make it any worse.

    This doesn’t mean I support American isolationism, but the arraogant, our way or else approach is even worse.

  • Clavos

    An excellent example, ss.

    This is just the kind of thing I would like to see the US helping our neighbor nations to accomplish.

    As I pointed out in #16, instead of (or perhaps in addition to) simply giving them money, or even foodstuffs, we should be helping them to improve their own economies along the lines of the Irish example you cite.

    For one thing, too often the money (and even the food) is stolen by corrupt officials, and doesn’t reach those it’s supposed to help. For another, even when distributed properly, the money and food are soon gone, the problems of the people aren’t resolved, and they’ve learned nothing to help them work their way out of the morass.

  • D’oh

    Then the question would be – do you still feed them while you are thinking up this new plan?

    Just curious.

  • moonraven

    Newsflash: Ad hominem attacks ARE by definition personal attacks–ad hominem means, literally, DIRECTED AT THE PERSON:

    “A Circumstantial ad Hominem is a fallacy in which one attempts to attack a claim by asserting that the person making the claim is making it simply out of self interest. In some cases, this fallacy involves substituting an attack on a person’s circumstances (such as the person’s religion, political affiliation, ethnic background, etc.).”

    Ad hominem attacks are the only response I have ever received from any of the posters on this forum–I have been attacked for both my SUPPOSED political affiliation as well as for my Native American background.

    The twisted logic of those attacks boils down to this: that I cannot possibly be right because I am a commie pinko with whom you all have ideological differences.

    However, I deal in information–carefully checked out IN THE FIELD–and have zero tolerance for ideological discussions, since I subscribe to no ideology.

    As for Clavos’ ethics–he’s now saying that he’s a used boat salesman in Carl Hiasson Country–but a few months back he was supposedly living in Mexico and therefore said he had credentials to challenge me, a longtime Mexico resident. By his own admission he did not have the money for a plane ticket to Caracas, so I find it astonishing that in this short period of time he packed up, moved to Florida and established a thriving business in used boats (although I suppose if those boats are the high speed launches used by the drug cartels maybe it would be possible). I don’t believe it for a minute. And an ad hominem logical fallacy application would be the following: Clavos lied about his place of residence and his occupation, so he couldn’t possibly be telling the truth about anything else.

    He also has spent most of his energy “outing” me in the sense of posting personal information that is available from a Google search. (If that is not an ad hominem approach, I’ll eat it.)

    He has NEVER refuted–with facts–a single statement or piece of information I have posted on this site. NOR have any of the rest of you.

    The group of posters that crops up on this site whenever there is a piece involving Venezuela appear to have no experience of the country, nor of its president, but the very word SOCIALISM sets them off like a car bomb in downtown Bagdad.

    Do you do the same thing when there is a piece about one of the SCANDINAVIAN SOCIALIST countries–NORWAY, for example, which is a major petroleum producer and has had a revenue distribution scheme in place for many years that is considerably more radical than that of Venezuela?

    Norway is the second richest country per capita in the world–right after Luxembourg and right above Switzerland.

    Try calling a few of those Norwegians raving commie pinkos and see how they react to you.

  • troll

    calling you ‘moonraver’ is not an attack on your politics or ethnicity…it’s a statement about how you come across in your comments

    I’ve tried a couple of time to tap your impressions of Venezuela and Chavez’s behavior…you’ve responded with generalized vitriol

    so with all due respect [Edited] imo people who are in perpetual attack mode are useless

  • moonraven

    Specific to troll: I am not the least concerned by anything Chavez does. Most of the folks in Venezuela are not concerned either. The country is in an ecoonomic boom–19% growth in 2004, almost 10% in 2005 and so far more than 10% this year. That’s higher than China’s! The dicussion of changing the term limits specified in the Constitution has been raised because most folks in Venezuela want to see the Bolivarian project conotinur to unfold.

    Term limits in Latin America have provided AT BEST for alteration of two corrupt parties (Venezuela and Mexico are both good examples of that–and in fact the alteration of parties in Mexico has put the country in the worst straits it has seen for almost 100 years).

    The Mexican Revolution of 1910 was supposedly fought because Diaz was in power for more than 30 years. The result: the PRI party was in power for over 70. (Neoliberal pundit Mario Vargas Llosa called it “The Perfect Dictatorship”.)

    What’s happening in Venezuela–or even as I type this in Cochabamba, Bolivia, at the South American Summit–has nothing to do with political parties or ideology. It’s about the recovery of human dignity and integration to form a power bloc.

    Someone mentioned Bolivia earlier–about how it became landlocked: as a result of losing The War of the Pacific. A few years back Chavez said “I dream of swimming on a Bolivian beach” and Chile withdrew its ambassador in Caracas. It may not be such a far-fetched, radical idea anymore….Bolivia’s new presidents are discussing that–and a host of other changes–at this very moment.

    The world of politics is a fast-moving arena–where only the reactionaries like Bush/Cheney dig in their heels and refuse to move forward, to consider alternative ways of dealing with the rest of the folks on the planet.

    I don’t think they are models worth imitating. Not by a longshot.
    s

  • moonraven

    Wow, troll–talk about projection! You wrote:

    “so with all due respect – fuck you…imo people who are in perpetual attack mode are useless”

    They may well be useless–I am not at all sure that whether someone is useful is the question to discuss here. What concerns me is that you don’t seem to see is that you are one of them. I certainly interpret the phrase, “fuck you”, as being attack mode.

    And you have the audacity to wonder why I don’t spend my time giving you ALL of my impressions of Venezuela and Chavez?!

    I have given the ONLY information about Venezuela and Chavez that has ever been posted on blogcritics.org. Everything else posted on this site in regard to those two topics has been either libelous or unsubstantiated opinions.

    Nobody on this forum has ever shown the slightest inclination to actually inform himself about the country or the president in question.

    That’s what I find reprehensible.

  • moonraven

    This piece from Mark Weisbrot speaks to the original topic in the mature, well-documented manner: (Just in the offchance that someone reading this forum might actually be interested in information.)

    Venezuela’s Election Provides Opportunity for Washington to Change Course Friday, Dec 08, 2006 By: Mark Weisbrot – Common Dreams

    President Hugo Chavez’s landslide victory in Sunday’s election provides an opportunity to open a new chapter of US-Venezuelan relations. It was one of the most internationally monitored elections in recent memory, with observers from the Organization of American States and the European Union once again approving the results and the process. This is the fourth time that Chavez has stood for election and won, if we include the recall referendum of August 2004, which he won by a similar margin. As the famous Brazilian sociologist Helio Jaguaribi recently remarked, Chavez is “the most elected president in the hemisphere.”

    This would be a good time for President Bush to call and congratulate President Chavez, and bury the hatchet with our fourth largest oil supplier. To those who object that Chavez called President Bush “the devil” just last September at the United Nations, it is worth noting that on Thursday President Bush called to congratulate left economist Rafael Correa, the newly elected president of Ecuador. When asked about Chavez’ UN speech last September, Correa had commented that it was an “insult to the devil,” and added a couple of choice remarks of his own about President Bush which do not need to be repeated here.

    Correa responded graciously to President Bush’s overture and praised him as “noble” for calling. The day after our own Congressional elections, a reporter reminded President Bush that the new House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi had recently called him a liar, incompetent, and dangerous, and asked how he could work with her. He replied that “if you hold grudges in this line of work, you’re never going to get anything done.”

    Well said. Now why not apply that philosophy to Venezuela? The Congressionally appointed Iraq Study Group is calling for dialogue with Iran and Syria. Here is a democracy just a few hours flight from Miami, which has never done anything to injure the United States and has always been a reliable energy supplier. Why not have engagement in this hemisphere as well?

    The Bush Administration’s strategy of trying to isolate Venezuela from its neighbors has clearly failed. Two weeks ago President Lula da Silva of Brazil took his first foreign trip, after re-election, to Venezuela, where he presided with Chavez over the inauguration of a $1.2 billion bridge financed by the Brazilian government, praising Chavez and pretty much endorsing him publicly as he headed for re-election. Most of Latin America supported Venezuela’s unsuccessful bid for a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council, despite warnings and pleadings from the Bush Administration. It seems that Washington has succeeded more in isolating itself in the hemisphere, rather than Venezuela.

    It is likely that Chavez would respond positively to an olive branch, although his grudges against the Bush Administration go beyond the exchange of unpleasantries – such as Donald Rumsfeld comparing him to Hitler. The Administration openly supported the military coup against his democratically elected government in 2002, and according to the US State Department, gave financial and other support “to individuals and organizations understood to be actively involved in the brief ouster of the Chavez government.” It is this and other support for Venezuela’s political opposition that have done the most to poison the relationship between the two governments.*

    But the hard-liners who saw Venezuela as “another Cuba” and regime change as the preferred strategy – people like Otto Reich and Roger Noriega – are now gone from the Bush Administration, and many career diplomats at the State Department would welcome a new policy of engagement, especially since Chavez is going to be president of Venezuela for another six years.

    Chavez is well-known for his undiplomatic outbursts, but he also has a pragmatic side: he has very good relations with his ideological opposite, President Alvaro Uribe of Colombia, despite the problems of guerilla and paramilitary violence along their 2,000 kilometer border that have led to serious friction between previous governments.

    The rest of the region would also like to see this dispute put to rest. Most countries clearly reject the new “Cold War” framework on which it is based, and do not want to choose sides. And we who live in the United States really don’t need more enemies in the world.

    Mark Weisbrot is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington.

    *Note to the editors: since these facts are well-documented but not well known in the United States, I am attaching the following explanation and documentation of the Bush Administration’s support for the coup. It is also worth noting that the Administration stepped up financial support to opposition groups after the coup, including people involved in the economically devastating oil strike of 2002-2003, and USAID continues to fund organizations in Venezuela with millions of dollars but refuses to disclose the recipients.

    First, according to the U.S. State Department’s Office of Inspector General, “it is clear that NED [the National Endowment for Democracy], Department of Defense (DOD), and other U.S. assistance programs provided training, institution building, and other support to individuals and organizations understood to be actively involved in the brief ouster of the Chavez government.” [1]

    Second, and even more importantly, the Bush Administration had advance knowledge of the coup but then denied that knowledge when it occurred, claiming that it was not a coup at all, in an attempt to make it succeed. This is a form of involvement. To take an analogy: imagine that someone tells me that they are going to kill someone, and then does so. He then claim’s self-defense. If I then go to the police, with full knowledge that the crime was planned, and say that it was self-defense, I am participating in the crime. In that sense, then, Washington was involved in the coup.

    During the April 16, 2002 White House press briefing, White House spokesman Ari Fleischer stated that the U.S. government had no prior knowledge of a pending coup in Venezuela: “events were combustible, events were fluid. Those events were not anticipated.” [2]

    However, an April 6, 2002 CIA Senior Intelligence Brief (several days before the coup) states that “[d]issident military factions, including some disgruntled senior officers and a group of radical junior officers, are stepping up efforts to organize a coup against President Chavez, possibly as early as this month To provoke military action, plotters may try to exploit unrest stemming from opposition demonstrations slated for later this month or ongoing strikes at the state-owned oil company PDVSA.” [3] Intelligence briefs such as this one are typically read by as many as 200 officials in the Bush Administration.

    Earlier, a March 11, 2002 CIA Senior Intelligence Brief had warned: “If the situation further deteriorates and demonstrations become more violent or if Chavez attempts an unconstitutional move to add to his powers, the military may move to overthrow him.” [4]

    It is thus clear that U.S. officials were briefed at the highest level about an anticipated and likely military coup against the Chavez government. Yet when the coup occurred, White House and State Department officials attempted to convince the public that it was not a coup but rather a popular uprising. (See below).

    Third, the White House supported the coup government in other ways:

    White House spokesperson Ari Fleischer said on April 12, one day after the attempted coup: “We know that the action encouraged by the Chavez government provoked this crisis. According to the best information available, the Chavez government suppressed peaceful demonstrations. The results of these events are now that President Chavez has resigned the presidency. Before resigning, he dismissed the vice president and the cabinet, and a transitional civilian government has been installed. [5]”

    The U.S. State Department Deputy Spokesman Philip Reeker followed the White House line stating that “undemocratic actions committed or encouraged by the Chavez administration provoked yesterday’s crisis in Venezuela.” [6]

    Jorge Castaneda, former Foreign Minister of Mexico stated that “Effectively, there was a proposition made by the United States and Spain, to issue a declaration with Mexico, Brazil, Argentina and France recognizing the government of [coup leader] Pedro Carmona.” [7]

    Similar allegations were made by Castaneda in a New York Times article that after the coup Mexico and Chile countered a coordinated effort by the U.S., Colombia, El Salvador and Spain to cobble together diplomatic support for the interim coup government. [8]

    [1] A review of U.S. Policy Toward Venezuela: November 2001 April 2002, Report 02-OIG-003, July 2002, state.gov
    [2] White House Press Briefing, April 16, 2002. Available online at: whitehouse.gov
    [3] Full document available at: venezuelafoia.info
    [4] Full document available at: venezuelafoia.info
    [5] White House press briefing, April 12, 2002. Available online at: whitehouse.gov
    [6] Venezuela: Change of Government, Press Statement by Philip T. Reeker, Deputy Spokesman, U.S. Department of State, April 12, 2002. Available online at: state.gov
    [7] Jorge Castaneda, former Foreign Minister of Mexico, in “Colombia, Espana, El Salvador y EE.UU. Apoyaron el Golpe,” by Nancy Fara, Agence France-Presse, November 28, 2004
    [8] Documents Show C.I.A. Knew of Coup Plot in Venezuela, by Juan Forero, New York Times, December 3, 2004.

    Original source / relevant link: Common Dreams

  • http://alienboysworld.blogspot.com Christopher Rose

    Any further comments on this thread that are not on the subject of Clavos’ original article will be deleted in their entirety regardless of their source.

    The Comments Editor

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    Marthe, while I appreciate your desire to reprint Socialist propaganda here, please don’t paste entire articles into comments. Summarize and use a link. Editors have warned you about this before. It’s often a violation of copyright – though in this case likely not since it’s propaganda – but it’s always an abuse of the comments system.

    Dave

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    A couple of notes on the recent election in Venezuela to get things back on track.

    Were you aware that Venezuela has over 3 million potential voters who don’t exist? I bet you can guess who they voted for. And I’m not sure that figure counts the various middle eastern terrorists who go there for training. For more on the amusing case of the 1921 fraudulent Gonzales registrations see the Miami Herald.

    And consider this. Why do the same people who object to electronic voting machines as easily used for fraud here in the US believe that the Venezuelan elections are legitimate when they are done almost entirely using these machines and run by the government which underwrites the manufacture of one of the machines most criticized here in the US. He who controls the voting machines controls the outcome of the election.

    Dave

  • Zedd

    Clavos,

    Great article. You reserved a lot of judgment and stopped just short of the childish “socialism bad, capitalism good, ALWAYS” position.

    So far Chavez has been intelligent and thoughtful about the future of the region. The truth be told, he offers hope for this dead part of the world. The same patterns of governance and economic depletion, U.S. manipulation, have eroded the landscape, so he is a breath of fresh air, for now. I appreciate his stand against our bullying. He should speak up against what he sees as imperialism. It’s no secret that we have played around with the politics in that part of the world for quite some time. Besides, if Bush can name an Axis of EVIL, he can call Bush a devil, “El Diablo”. That was hysterical. I loved that. When he said it, it was really dramatic. The statement about the smell of sulfur still lingering in the halls was poetic. I wish the Decider was that riveting… Anyway, I thought it was funny. It keeps us in check and helps us have a reasonable perspective on the level of influence that we have instead of becoming bullies because no one ever confronts us. It’s a good thing. Everyone needs someone to keep them on the ground. Besides, he is saying what a lot of people are thinking and we need to pay attention, for our own safety. Judging from the chuckles in the seats of the UN I am not the only one who enjoyed the speech.

    The ending of term limits is THE alarm about Chavez. He’s entering into kook mode and yes he needs to be watched closely. We however may not have the clout any longer to affect this region, thanks to Bush. Also our years of manipulation, starting wars, supporting dictators, has worn out our welcome. Our influence and contribution to the chaos over the years has been exposed and I am not sure especially now with Bush in place, if we could regain respect and influence.

    However the religious spin is not new. This format is being utilized by Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua. The Sandinista, in a 1997 CNN interview, said that his two role models in life are the Nicaraguan patriot Sandino, and Jesus Christ. Ha ha ha. He won his bid for president a month ago with 37% of the vote. It seems as if Chavez is joining the band wagon. I think they are both adopting a Rovian approach myself. They see how WE get all goo-goo eyed whenever a politician said something vaguely religious. They have tapped into an electorate that is fool proof (I mean GWP… come on). It’s a great tactic and it will work… for a while.

  • Zedd

    Troll,

    I don’t think you have a grasp of what liberation theology is.

  • Clavos

    D’oh #40:

    Then the question would be – do you still feed them while you are thinking up this new plan?

    Of course. In fact, I believe I said that (though as an aside) in my #39.

    The most troubling aspect of our aid worldwide is that so much of it never actually gets to the people it’s intended to help, but is stolen by corrupt officials for resale on black markets.

    The first time I became aware of this was in Vietnam, where I found bags of rice, clearly marked with the USAID logo, for sale in village markets on more than one occasion. I even have pictures of them tucked away someplace.

    Later, I looked into it further, and found that it happens just about everywhere we send aid.

    I know this is not news, but my point is that if we’re going to give aid in whatever form, we need to take measures to ensure that it actually reaches the end users.

  • Zedd

    Ruvy:

    Not everything is about the Jews. Can you give us a break? I mean really. We are spending a lot of money and are being attacked all for the sake of Israel. Can we talk about OUR region without you interjecting JEWNESS into it? GEEZZ!! Bad enough that you have declared yourselves to be GOD’S PEOPLE (no one else) and soberly want everyone in the world to go along with you, don’t you think? Put the mirror down. Enough with the self absorption.

    A lot of people are thinking this… aren’t you?? he he he. Seriously, enough is enough. And no I am not an anti-Semite. I’m sure you’d love that…. Another reason to go on nauseatingly about your Jewish ness and how oppressed you are in that oasis in the desert that we pay for.

  • Zedd

    Dave #48:

    Just stop it with the “Libertarian” claim. You are way too partisain. Let it go. You are getting way too paranoid about Dems. Relax guy. THEY are not everywhere lurking and plotting.

    Look democrats come in many forms. Those who complained about the machines may not be the same ones who championed what is going on in South America. Take a deep breath. The election is over, Bush is an idiot, the republicans lost. Lets move on.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    Just stop it with the “Libertarian” claim. You are way too partisain. Let it go. You are getting way too paranoid about Dems. Relax guy. THEY are not everywhere lurking and plotting.

    Comment #48 wasn’t terribly long. Certainly short enough that you should have noticed that I didn’t mention Democrats once in it.

    As for my ‘partisanship’, you seem to have leapt to an erroneous conclusion. I’m not partisan, I’m anti-partisan. I’m mostly just against socialists, communists and other leftist fifth columnists working against the best interests of the US if that makes it look like I’m anti-democrat it’s kind of an illusion. It also makes me equally strongly opposed to the Neocons for the same reasons.

    Dave

  • Clavos

    When did “partisan” become a dirty word?

    Certainly, there are situations where partisanship is anappropriate and not acceptable — news reports, for example.

    There are other scenarios where I see nothing whatever wrong with partisanship — an opinion piece, by definition, is “partisan.”

    “Partisan” used to mean an individual supported a specific point of view in a discipline, and didn’t, if memory serves, carry any pejorative baggage with it. Now. it seems, one of the worst epithets one can hurl at another is that of partisan.

    How did that happen? And why?

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Zedd,

    “Not everything is about the Jews. Can you give us a break? I mean really. We are spending a lot of money and are being attacked all for the sake of Israel. Can we talk about OUR region without you interjecting JEWNESS into it? GEEZZ!!”

    Aww, that’s just too damned bad, Zedd. I didn’t hear the author whine at all about my comment.

    If it pisses you off, so much the better. When the politics and politicians in YOUR region shut their fucking mouths and stay out of OUR lives in OUR region, I’ll keep my long Jewish nose out of your region. By the way, take your money and your damned soldiers and their shitty weapons with you when you leave. We don’t need any of it. And don’t let the door crack your skull as you slam it on the way out – I wouldn’t want nice people with class like you to get hurt.

  • MCH

    “When did “partisan” become a dirty word?”
    – Clavvy

    About 15-20 years after “liberal” became a dirty word.

  • Franco

    #37 & #38 — ss

    #37 – The Ireland example you post is excellent and the sacrifices the poor made to achieve this success. However these advancements from poverty to prosperity seem to be always a success story more for the North then the South.

    That in and of itself is a question that needs to be studied and explained so what ever is lacking can be addressed to bridge this seeming short fall correctly so proven principle can be successfully applied, even in bigger countris like Mexico.

    #38 – If you knew moonraven like Clavos, Dave, and I do, you would not able to say with a straight face that you were with moonraven on anything. That point aside, you make very good points about US failed foreign policy that has a less then successful history. Your suggestions are well heard. I posted an over simplified concept on this too in post #18.

    In your comment…….American free market development experts forced American raised President Quiroga into unpopular decisions concerning a deal for using a port with a neighboring country (I’ve forgotten which one) that the neighbor had actually taken from Bolivia in a war 100+ yrs ago

    That port you are referring to is Arica at the northern most point in Chile. The conflict you refer to was “The War of the Pacific” which involved Bolivia, Chile and Peru.

    The wars roots can be traced back to Simon Boliva when he declared Bolivia’s independence from Spain in 1825, yet he failed to clearly define pacific coast National boundaries with Peru or Chile. Being a dry and seemingly useless territory no one got hot and bothered until many years later when the discovery of quno and saltpeter was found in abundance for use in fertilizers and explosives that wwere coming into international demand.

    Chile was already working the area and had established industrial processing. The arguments over this once unimportant area lead to the War of the Pacific which Chile eventually won.

    Both Bolivia and Peru lost territory. The results of this left Bolivia loosing its one time sea port access called Antofagasta (now part of Chile) leaving it land lock. Peru lost the port of Arica (now part of Chile) but sill Peru maintained its port access at all is Pacific ports North of Arica which Chile had captured but returned to Peru.

    The unpopular decision you refer to when Bolivia worked out a deal with Chile for the right to tax-free access at the Chilean port of Arica. This arrangement still exists today and accounts for all of Bolivian exports.

    I have spent a lot of time in Bolivia and Peru and have friends there and I now live in Chile. I can tell you first hand that the resentments left over from this war are still deeply rooted in the people of each country. It’s a good topic not to bring up.

    Here is a classic example of current events to further my point. The Sea, The Sea, The Sea

    You can googel more but its all the same emotional shit.

    When you say the Americans forced the Bolivian President into an unpopular decision as if the unpopularity of it was some how the fault of the US government, it would not have mattered what foreign government, let alone the US. Anybody would be dealing with a deeply rooted and extremely unpopular topic that no one to even this day can discuss with any of these countries absent of irrational emotions running out of control. If America had not helped Bolivia with Chile to get tax-free access to the sea, they would still be without sea port access to this day. So I’m not sure if that can be considered a failed US foreign intervention. However your point is well taken. The US creates a lot of its own messes through bad decisions.

    Getting back more on topic, one of Hugo Chavezs publicly stated goals for Bolivia is to swim in the Pacific Ocean of Bolivia. Nothing short of another war involving Bolivia, Chile and Peru would see his dream come true. I guess he has plans for those new Russian AK103 fully automatic rifles under his new licensing contract with Russia to build the arms factories in Venezuela, which will be cranking out hundreds of thousands if not millions in the next few years.

    Chavezs failed attempt at influencing the recent Peruvian presidential elections was a set back for him and a plus for Peru and Chile. Yet Peru still deeply resents Chile over the results of the War of the Pacific. Had the Peruvian elections gone Chavezs way, I think Chile would have considered it time to increase its military capabilities and focus its military strategies.

    Chavezs recent success in influencing Ecuador’s presidential election is a plus for him and a problem for Columbia and Peru.

    The fact that Hugo can not contain himself to just Venezuela is making it more and more dangerous in South America each and every year.

    Chavez knows he can not pull Chile in under his wings for his Bolivian Revolution. It will become a larger sticking point for him in the future as will as Columbia also. This isn’t getting any better, it is getting worse and in the worse kind of way.

    I think the US should leave it up to South America to deal with Hugo. If he pisses off Chile and Columbia and Peru too much, Latin’s have a way of taking care of things too, and they can always call on the US for assistance if they so choose.

    Just my opinion.

  • Clavos

    Franco,

    Thanks for the excellent recap of the history of the War of The Pacific, as well as the insight into international relationships in southern South America.

    As you point out, Chavez has had setbacks, most notably in Peru and in the recent election in Mexico.

    Nonetheless, what makes him a “person of interest” as the saying goes, is the huge petrodollar wealth he controls and the speed with which he’s arming Venezuela. It’s only a matter of time before he begins to esacalate to the arming of those countries which are aligning themselves with him.

    As I said in the article, he’s scarier than Fidel because of all the money, though I don’t think he’s as smart and crafty as Castro. Castro wouldn’t have let US keep him out of that UN seat.

    There’s an interesting opinion piece by Enrique ter Horst, a political analyst in Caracas, published in the International Herald Tribune a few days ago which says, in part:

    “In the present climate, it is probably impossible to carry out a dogmatic, neocommunist revolution in Venezuela. The enormous amount of oil money has transformed the regime into a gang of accomplices, much in the mold of Haiti in the time of François Duvalier, and the socialist discourse and other ideological rituals only provide the regime with a fig leaf for what is already fast becoming a mafia- type power structure. The seeds of its destruction are already within it, even though it might take time for them to grow.

    Venezuela has purchased arms worth more than $10 billion this year and is planning to purchase an equivalent amount in 2007, deeply upsetting the strategic balance in South America.”

  • Clavos

    OOps, I left off the last graf of the ter Horst piece I quoted:

    “Chávez’s narcissistic nature has been satisfied for a while with this electoral victory, but his appetite for power is insatiable. Chávez’s opponents and his neighbors must brace for a time of ever- increasing outrage and danger.”

  • Franco

    #63 — Clavos

    Thanks for the link artical. Excellen read.

  • moonraven

    If I wanted to post under my name, I would do so, Nalle. I am not spending my time outing clavos and posting his real name. (As if he had one….) Your disrespect is without bounds.

    And I posted an entire article–and will continue to do so–because when links are posted on this forum you folks invent stuff supposedly from the stories, post it and others are too lazy to read the original article. If you behaved in an ethical manner posting the entire article with notes would not be necessary.

    This has got to be the most incestuous forum I have ever looked at.

    No discussion here. Just Franco posting stuff he found in a google search as if it were his own, and clavos telling him how smart and cute he is. And franco telling clavos how smart and cute HE is.

    I thought that mutual stroking stuff only happened at British boarding schools.

  • moonraven

    So?

    Just stating what anyone can see from even glancing at this thread.

    Information you copied from your google search without citing the source doesn’t qualify–it was about The War of the Pacific–in which Venezuela was not a participant–as information about Venezuela.

    Just in passing:

    Chile y Bolivia intercambian mensaje de buena vecindad
    Reuters

    09/12/2006 13:04

    Cochabamba, Bolivia. Los presidentes de Bolivia y Chile intercambiaron este sábado mensajes de hermandad y buena vecindad y reafirmaron su voluntad de diálogo para resolver cuestiones bilaterales, incluida la antigua demanda boliviana de una salida soberana al mar.

    El acercamiento entre el gobernante boliviano Evo Morales y la mandataria chilena Michelle Bachelet, ambos en funciones desde principios de año, se produjo en la sesión plenaria de la II Cumbre de la Comunidad Sudamericana de Naciones, en la ciudad de Cochabamba.

    Morales dijo, en el discurso de apertura, que tras una historia de enfrentamientos en la región, algunos provocados por intereses externos, se abría la oportunidad de “cerrar las venas abiertas de América Latina”.

    Precisó que, en esa línea, Bolivia y Chile, que no tienen relaciones diplomáticas desde 1978, han comenzado a acercarse en un proceso que envuelve no sólo a los gobiernos sino fundamentalmente a los pueblos.

    “Es impresionante lo que sienten nuestros pueblos”, dijo Morales al mencionar encuestas que muestran en Bolivia un amplio respaldo al acercamiento con Chile, incluso a una venta de gas y electricidad “sin condicionamientos”, y voces chilenas a favor de un acceso al mar para los bolivianos.

    Bolivia perdió su salida al océano Pacífico a manos de Chile, por una guerra de fines del siglo XIX y lleva reclamando por décadas lo que denomina también la recuperación de su “cualidad marítima”.
    *
    Franco, I believe Ms. Bachelet is the president of the country in which you reside?

    Chavez will be swimming on a Bolivian beach before you know it.

    Perhaps if you spent less time writing misogynist “reports” on this forum you could keep up with the news that involves Chile?

    Just a thought.

  • socrates

    Dear Dave,
    your last line was quite amusing’If we want to maintain our influence in the region, we need to help the Latin American countries to develop their potential in a meaningful way.’
    If US continues to help Latin America the way it does it may end up losing the entire region to Chavez.And who knows with the mess in Iraq and the creeping recession the American people may throw their lot with Chavez.

  • socrates

    correction- Dear Clavos,
    your last line was quite amusing’If we want to maintain our influence in the region, we need to help the Latin American countries to develop their potential in a meaningful way.’
    If US continues to help Latin America the way it does it may end up losing the entire region to Chavez.And who knows with the mess in Iraq and the creeping recession the American people may throw their lot with Chavez.

  • socrates

    Dear moonraven,
    Excellent comments.Your views on Latin America/ Hugo Chavez are honest, blunt and refreshing.

  • moonraven

    A fair number of folks in the US already HAVE thrown their lot in with Chavez–despite the propaganda machines of Fox News, CNN and the Washington Times.

    Especially the folks in the 16 states who are benefitting from Citgo‘s program of cut-rate fuel oil.

    The recent election showed that not ALL of the folks in the US are snoozing their lives away in a post-9/11 coma.

    On Friday, Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney submitted articles of impeachment against Bush, Vice President Cheney and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

    When a critical mass of awake citizens is finally reached, those articles will be acted on.

    I hope it happens before they bomb another country–specifically, my neighbor Iran.

    Although–if they do that, Israel will cease to exist–so there’s always some good that comes from bad things happening.

  • moonraven

    If anyone feels that wiping Israel off the map to get rid of our Jerusalem poster is a bit extreme–may I remind them of the precedent of 1) Murdering 3500 plus Panamanians to go after Manuel Noriega because he refused to be Oliver North’s boy, and 2) Murdering an arrogantly uncounted (Rumsfeld dixit) number of Iraquis to go after Saddam Hussein because he wasn’t the US government’s boy any longer.

    The two current leaders in the voting for Time’s Man of the Year for 2006 are:

    1. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, President of Iran, with 25%

    2. Hugo Chavez, President of Venezuela, with 23%

    The times they are a-changing….

  • moonraven

    Thanks, Socrates.

    Nice to know there is someone reading this thread who isn’t here to stroke another male’s virtual body parts.

  • troll

    3 things:

    1st…Zedd says – *Troll, I don’t think you have a grasp of what liberation theology is.*

    …thanks for sharing – your gratuity is appreciated

    2nd…moonraven – pardon my ‘audacity’ in asking for your opinion and ‘attacking’ you to get it

    rave on and enjoy

    3rd…to the editor – by editing the phrase ‘fuck you’ you’ve taken BC over the line you seem to forget that most participants can take care of themselves

    [Edited. Troll, you seem to forget that we have a comments policy and it’s my responsibility to judge how to apply it, not some anonymous commenter such as yourself. It has nothing to do with the ability of participants ability to take care of themselves. Thanks for caring mind you. Feel free to visit a heavy metal or rap article and use all the street language that fits. Your Comments Editor.]

  • Clavos

    @#68,

    Whichever of those two creeps becomes Time man of the year, he’ll join such spiritual brethren as:

    Adolf Hitler 1938
    Joseph Stalin 1939 and 1942
    Nikita Kruschev 1957
    Ayatullah Khomeini 1979

    An illustrious group in which either Ahmadinejad or Chavez will fit well. Perhaps they both should be named?

  • Clavos

    socrates writes:

    your last line was quite amusing’If we want to maintain our influence in the region, we need to help the Latin American countries to develop their potential in a meaningful way.’
    If US continues to help Latin America the way it does it may end up losing the entire region to Chavez.

    Excellent point, and exactly why I say we need to address our relationships in LatAm in a meaningful way.

    To continue the way we have in the past serves neither the interests of our hemispheric neighbors nor our own.

    Nice to see an intelligent response to the article — it’s been somewhat dry the last few hours…

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    I’m with Socrates and Clavos. Let’s by all means help out the nations of Latin America. IMO it’s about time for a Marshall Plan for that region to surround Venezuela with prosperous, hostile and pro-democracy countries so that Chavez’ expansionism will wither on the vine.

    It’s quite true that his type of demagoguery and socialist dictatorship can only flourish where people are poor and oppressed. Address that problem and Chavez and his efforts to enslave the region go away.

    Dave

  • Franco

    #73 — Dave Nalle

    I’m with Socrates and Clavos. Let’s by all means help out the nations of Latin America. IMO it’s about time for a Marshall Plan for that region to surround Venezuela with prosperous, hostile and pro-democracy countries so that Chavez’ expansionism will wither on the vine.

    Dave, are we having a bad day? You’ve a little quick to jump Clavos considering he has already discredited the Marchial plan in an earlier post, and even came up with ideas on how to deal with what you say in your next paragraph. Which are not easy answers.

    It’s quite true that his type of demagoguery and socialist dictatorship can only flourish where people are poor and oppressed. Address that problem and Chavez and his efforts to enslave the region go away.

    There ya go Dave, now you back in the grove and on target again with a bulls eye. Paragraph #2 is well said and gives us the bottom line. Have any ideas on how to do it?

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    I don’t see my first and second paragraphs as at all contradictory. The Marshal Plan was about spending American money in threatened countries bordering the iron curtain so that they wouldn’t fall into the Soviet sphere of influence. What I was proposing was doing the same thing on a smaller scale to counter Chavez.

    If Mathe objects to that then she can’t hide behind humanitarianism any longer and might as well admit she’s just a socialist stooge.

    Dave

  • Franco

    Dave,

    After re-read I see your point. Sorry, I’m way to tired to be posting at the moment. Check ya latter. zzzzzzzzz zzzzzzzzz zzzzzzzzzzzz

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    I feel your pain, Franco. I’ve posted when sleep deprived a few times myself.

    [Edited]

    Dave

  • moonraven

    WHERE on this thread did I say I was in Cochabamba, Bolivia? Absolutely nowhere.

    I said the South American Summit was taking place in Cochabamba–but none of you noticed that since none of you knows anything about South America….

    And those who supposedly are fluent in Spanish and who of course did not read the news article I posted which began with this dateline:

    09/12/2006 13:04 Cochabamba, Bolivia. Los presidentes de Bolivia y Chile intercambiaron este sábado mensajes de….

    If I post a news article about something happening in Moscow that HARDLY means that I am personally there!

    We are using the Internet, guys–not two cans and a string.

    Of course you guys think there should be no more Time Persons of the Year because Hitler and Stalin were among them. Which also means no more chancellors of Germany or presidents of Russia. Talk about twisted logic. Tell that to Angela Merkel and Putin….

    But the biggest gaffe of all on this thread is that the poster who supposedly lives in Chile did not even mention the item that knocked everything else off the top of the news heap yesterday:

    THE DEATH OF AUGUSTO PINOCHET!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    The sonofabitch did it–boogied off to prepare for his next lifetime, leaving everyone holding the bag–including Chile’s current president.

    Frano–Don’t put on your best suit and cry for an invitation to tomorrow’s funeral–it will not be a State funeral.

    Even though Pinochet got out of going to jail for his crimes against humanity, it’s nice to see another fascist pinup boy bite the dust.

    Hugo Chavez was leading the voting for Time’s Person of the Year last night at 28%.

    Marshall Plan—hahahahahahahahaha. Absolutely not necessary anywhere in Latin America–which has the biggest share of ALL of the most desirable resources on the planet. What’s needed is to throw the multinational company vultures out on their cans and nationalize EVERYTHING.

    In 2007 we will see Chavez continuing to hold Exxon Mobil and Chevron’s feet to the fire. Among others.

    In case you haven’t noticed: CHAVEZ IS THE ONE WITH THE MARSHALL PLAN FOR LATIN AMERICA. He’s also dispensing charity to the poor–IN THE UNITED STATES. (Citgo site cited above in #67.)

    Wake up and smell the coffee, guys.

    I am in Al Manama, Bahrain.

    No need to be a detective–or a weatherman–to know which way the wind’s blowing.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    Good guess, Clavos, but you should have read this quote first:

    “What’s needed is to throw the multinational company vultures out on their cans and nationalize EVERYTHING.”

    I’m sure she’s in Bahrain as she says, but the fact that her IP address is in Beijing says it all, does it not?

    I wonder exactly who she’s working for there in Bahrain…

    Dave

  • Clavos

    Martita asks,

    WHERE on this thread did I say I was in Cochabamba, Bolivia? Absolutely nowhere.

    Right here, girl, in your comment #43:

    What’s happening in Venezuela–or even as I type this in Cochabamba, Bolivia, at the South American Summit-

    And if you didn’t mean to imply you were typing that in Cochabamba, you should have punctuated it better — tsk,tsk and you’re an “academic” –disque.

  • Clavos

    You’re right, Dave, I should have realized it.

    Beijing, Huh? I’ll be damned..

    Hey Martita, do you have epicanthi?

  • moonraven

    Oh, right, you academic boat people are now complaining about MY punctuation.

    Give me a break.

    In post #19 I told you were I was. Reading is a useful skill to have.

    Given all the cubans down there in S. Florida, there must be literacy classes you could take….

    Never even been to Beijing. What it says is beyond me. Probably it says that you didn’t read post #19, and just made something up. Standard operating procedure on this forum.

  • STM

    Yes, the old missing or added comma …. as in, “What’s this thing called, love”?

    Such a small thing, the comma, but poor use is absolutely fraught.

  • moonraven

    RACIST COMMENT BY CLAVOS: EPICANTHI.

    Next he’ll be calling me a “gook”.

    Are you a trip-wire vet? I understand there are many down there in the Florida swamps.

  • moonraven

    Wrong, actually. A comma was not the answer. However, I could have typed:
    –or even as I type this–in Cochabamba….

    But it really doesn’t matter one damn as post 19 indicates I was in Bahrain on December 8, 2006 @ 03:24AM, and even I cannot get from the middle of the Persian Gulf to the fairly remote city of Cochabamba, Bolivia, THAT fast.

    See, reading skills can do wonders for you? For want of a comma Clavos’ kingdom was lost?

    Don’t believe it for a minute.

    This thread nnow has more than 85 posts and I am the only one who has posted or cited any information.

    Dave Nalle should get an award for The Person Who Has Nothing To Do But Make Things Up.

    I’d vote for him.

  • Clavos

    Are you a trip-wire vet? I understand there are many down there in the Florida swamps.

    What, pray tell, is a “trip-wire vet?” And actually, I lived on my boat until about a year and a half ago, when my wife became a paraplegic; now, unfortunately, we live in a house.

    Oh, and BTW, the Everglades are not a swamp — it’s a common misconception among the ignorant, but actually it’s a very wide, very shallow river; which is why Marjorie Stoneman Douglas titled her book The Everglades, River of Grass.”

  • STM

    Wrong moonraven, a comma WOULD have been the answer. Trust me, this is my area of expertise.

  • moonraven

    Uh–Where did I mention the Everglades? Again, you are making it up.

    Are you telling me there is NO swampland in South Florida?

    Geez, those suckers I sold it to on blogcritics.org are going to be mad as hell….

    They may even want their money back.

    A tripwire vet (or trip-wire vet)–I will save you the google search because I am such a nice person–refers to a veteran of the Vietnam war who lives in isolated areas (such as swamps in S. Florida) because he cannot tolerate contact with other people (due to active symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).

    They set up booby traps around the perimeter of their area with wires that set off some kind of primtive alarm system when someone enters the area. If one “trips” the “wire” an alarm of some kind sounds to alert the veteran.

  • Clavos

    Thanks for the elucidation.

    I assumed you meaqnt the ‘Glades, because they’re the only thing around here resembling swamps anymore — everything else has been filled in and paved over.

    No trip wires. When the voices start, I just go out and kill a few babies and them I’m fine for another few months…

  • moonraven

    STM:

    Trust ME. Consistency is the ideal of all punctuation schemes. For that reason the double dash was indicated.

    I have a PhD in English, many years teaching writing at the university level, plus many years as a professional journalist–including as an editor. That means I am the one with expertise in this topic.

    I will continue to punctuate my senteneces however I damn well please.

    Thank you.

    Do you have something you’d like to say about the topic of the thread?

  • moonraven

    Clavos:

    Do not assume ANYTHING–especially when it comes to me.

    I am sorry to hear your wife is now paraplegic. That’s your politically well-connected Mexican wife, right?

    Apparently it’s dangerous to leave the environs of Los Pinos to live on a boat in S. Florida with a vet with no tripwire sustem.

    She has my deepest sympathy.

  • Clavos

    That’s your politically well-connected Mexican wife, right?

    When did I ever say my wife was Mexican? She’s a gringa who doesn’t even speak Spanish (which puts her at a distinct disadvantage here in Miami).

    And while I’m at it, I never told you in the previous thread a few months ago, as you indicated in your comment #41 in this thread, that I was now living in Mexico. I did say that I was born there, and lived there most of my life, that I have dual citizenship, and that I continue to travel there frequently for business; all of which are true.

    I also did not say I didn’t have the money for a plane ticket to Caracas — what I actually said on that thread was that I have been to Caracas a number of times in the past, though not since Chavez took over there. In fact I don’t need money for a plane ticket–I’m retired from Mexicana De Aviación and can travel on passes.

    Just for the record. You can go back to that other thread and check, if you don’t believe me.

  • moonraven

    Hey, clavos, this is a virtual space were are typing in.

    I don’t believe anything any of you say. Why should I?

    For all I know you are 13 years old–popping zits and whacking off as you type. In fact, I consider that a highly likey scenario.

    What I DO know is that you know absolute squat about Latin America.

    Living in Miami with all the Posada terrorist wanna-bes doesn’t count.

    Dame dos, por favor.

  • moonraven

    You don’t have a Mexican wife?

    Gee, I must have mistaken you for Jeb Bush.

    My apologies.

  • moonraven

    Aha–so you are 13 beating off on this thread.

    A true mexican would have used the verb chingar someplace in there.

    Gave yourself away.

  • Clavos

    I have a PhD in English, many years teaching writing at the university level, plus many years as a professional journalist–including as an editor.

    And yet, you’re infantile…

  • moonraven

    I am adult enough not to spend my time posting drivel in the middle of the night.

    The 3:42 a.m. dateline on this blog site refers to Eastern Standard Time–which, if I am not mistaken, is the time zone for Miami.

    Here it is nearly noon.

    Fun life you have there.

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Marthe,

    I see the great sage of latinoamerica is now writing from Manama.

    Do try to stay away from this country. It’s a small one and the stink of your kind of self-righteousness smells like a bad bean fart – or worse. I hope the locals can stand the stink. Fortunately, the wind blows to the east on this part of the planet, so your stinky variety of self-righteousness does not come our way…

    “Although–if they do that, Israel will cease to exist–so there’s always some good that comes from bad things happening.”

    #68 — December 10, 2006 @ 07:40AM — moonraven

    “If anyone feels that wiping Israel off the map to get rid of our Jerusalem poster is a bit extreme–may I remind them of the precedent of 1) Murdering 3500 plus Panamanians to go after Manuel Noriega because he refused to be Oliver North’s boy, and 2) Murdering an arrogantly uncounted (Rumsfeld dixit) number of Iraquis to go after Saddam Hussein because he wasn’t the US government’s boy any longer.”

    For all of your radical talk, you sound an awful lot like the great crusading Christians who thought it was a blast to kill Jews when Moslems weren’t available.

    Americans kill Panamanians – your solution? Kill the kikes! Americans kill Iraqis – your solution? Kill the kikes!

    You’re lucky I’m not as interested in seeing you dead as you appear to be interested in seeing me dead.

  • moonraven

    Actually, I am not interested in seeing you in any condition.

    I am painfully aware of the east-to-west wind pattern in your area–which is why I was made very ill with radiation poisoning from the reactor at Dimona when I was in Amman last year: the waste from it is blown into Jordan and dumped there.

    That’s the reason thousands of Jordanian children are dying from various forms of cancers–many were being treated at the cancer center in Houston when afriend of mine was there having a bone marrow transplant last year.

    I told my Palestinian students: Look to what lengths the Israelis will go to kill you folks off….

    You have some nerve.

    And you have NO sense of humor.

    P.S.: FALAFEL farts. Not bean farts.

    What kind of sabra are you, anyway?

  • http://alienboysworld.blogspot.com Christopher Rose

    I would be quite within my rights to delete most of the last 25 comments and if I’d been on duty at the time of them being posted, I would have.

    As you’ve all read them already and seem to enjoy such childish behaviour I’ll let them stand, but enough is enough. There will be no more namecalling or mudslinging on this thread.

  • moonraven

    [Edited]

    Chavez is now leading the votes for Time’s Person of the Year with 29%.

    Still time for folks to get on the winning bandwagon.

    Bush is at 8%–1 percentage point behind….Al Gore.

    I thought Al would make a better showing–what with having a hit movie and all.

    I guess the difference is, as our teenager friend Clavos has indicated, all about having Jesus Christ in your corner.

    All kidding aside, I was sitting in front of Chavez when he said–3 years ago–that the 21st century would be the South American Century.

    It remains to be seen who is right: Chavez (one of the brightest, most intuitive guys on the planet) or you guys with your Marshall Plan retreads, racist condescending and general misunderstanding of how the world turns.

  • Les Slater

    The Venezuelan situation is unstable. There are many powerful people that want to rid the country of Chavez and any expectations that masses of working people have that they might actually rule.

    One side or the other WILL be defeated.

  • S.T.M

    Moonraven [Edited] wrote: “I thought that mutual stroking stuff only happened at British boarding schools.”

    Only of egos, moonraven and I’m told there’s not much call now for that other stuff as everyone’s allowed out on weekends these days to meet girls. And whilst not stroking each other, they ARE taught that Simon Bolivar was a genuine hero of the Americas.

    I would take a punt that in 100 years’ time, they won’t be teaching the same thing about Hugo Chavez, who might best be described as a tin-pot dictator. It’s an absurdity to regard Chavez as the most democratic and influential man in the hemisphere (especially when the hemisphere also contains South Africa, Australia and New Zealand and a plethora of quite civilised Pacific Islands). I believe that Graham Henry, the New Zealand rugby coach, wields far more influence in the southern hemisphere than Hugo Chavez.

    He certainly commands a greater television audience.

    And while coaching the All Blacks is regarded in New Zealand as a more important job than that of the Prime Minister, there is another person to consider in all this.

    Yes, Nelson Mandela, that’s him. The one who pales into insignificance when compared with Hugo Chavez. Bugger … how could I have been so wrong all these years?

    And I maintain: you still needed just a simple comma rather than a mish-mash of double dashes.

    Consistency may well be the key both to good punctuation and economical writing, but it’s not much use unless it’s accompanied by simplicity, its old school chum. And let’s not forget syntax, the literary equivalent of the bullying prefect. It will always get you in the end.

  • Clavos

    Les,

    By all reports (and rumors) circulating here in Miami, you’re right.

    The fat lady has not yet sung…

  • D’oh

    Well now, all the carnage is still here, but much of the rest has been removed, including some commentary which does not violate the Comments Policy.

    Clavos, thank you for some thoughtful reading.

    That’s about all that’s left to say, except for a side inside Joke to Clavos…

    now not only is the *Form* done, but this last ensures that certain *Content* is irrelevant.

  • troll

    if anyone reading this thread is interested in learning about recent US/Venezuelan relations written from a ‘leftist’ pov without moonraven’s gutter rant here’s an interesting pdf

    (Chris – don’t get me wrong…I appreciate you efforts as comments editor and am only expressing my dissatisfaction with this capricious instance

    ‘fuck you’ can be found unedited throughout the politics comments section…had I known that it is no longer acceptable I might have thought twice before using it

    xxoo from troll aka some anonymous commenter)

  • http://alienboysworld.blogspot.com Christopher Rose

    troll: I try to be context sensitive to language usage rather than sticking to a rigid policy. That means there are good fucks and bad fucks!

  • moonraven

    troll,

    Surely you don’t expect anyone on this thread to read something by Deborah James after you described it as being written “from a leftist POV”….

    I am going to leave you guys to smoke and stroke.

  • troll

    moonraven says – *I told my Palestinian students: Look to what lengths the Israelis will go to kill you folks off….*

    before you fade away I want to thank you for your work with those students…I’m sure that the future peace makers will come from their ranks

  • moonraven

    Geez, the one thing even scarcer than knowledge of Latin America on this thread is…a sense of humor.

  • Clavos

    Here’s an excerpt from an interesting op-ed piece by Frida Ghitis, nationally syndicated columnist, and recognized expert on Latin America, published in today’s The Miami Herald.

    In her column, Ms Ghitis points out that Chavez’ support among other LatAm governments, even the left-leaning ones such as Chile and Brasil, is weak at best. She also notes, as we have in this thread, that the best path US can take in the region is to constructively address and assist with the issues of regional poverty:

    Yes, Latin America has taken a leftward step. That, however, does not mean that Latin America is becoming Chávez Country. The true story of Latin American politics is that the left has moved to the center, advocating a new brand of capitalism with a heart. The new Latin American left is no threat to the United States. In fact, it has much to teach Washington.

    If the United States truly wants to regain its standing, it could study the views of socialists like Bachelet and Lula, who don’t turn their backs on democracy or capitalism but recognize that the state does have a role to play in alleviating the suffering of the poorest of the poor and in providing the tools to help them become productive citizens with a measure of human dignity. As one Buenos Aires resident told me, “The real danger in Latin America is not Chávez; it’s poverty.”

  • moonraven

    If the problem is poverty, then Chavez is the solution. Or one of the solutions. T

    oo bad it causes some people so damn much pain to swallow their pride and admit that. (The OAS refused to release their statement about the prresidential election in Venezuela until the US and Canada swallowed their pride and agreed to the statement specifically congratulating Chavez for his re-election.)

    Poverty in Venezuela is now 33%. Much lower than in the majority of Latin American countries. (In my home base, Mexico, for example, it’s officially just under 50%.

    Lula barely was re-elected because he did so little to address poverty.

    Bachelet has been in power only a few months–and so obviously hasn’t done a heck of a lot. Except endorse repression of the indigeous tribe, Mapuches–the poorest folks in Chile. That’s not a good sign.

  • STM

    Chavez is an absolute shonk and at best a tin-pot dictator who cares far less about his people than he does for his own grasp on power.

    There is nothing wrong with socialism provided it’s pragmatic too, and I know because I live in a country that has a lot of socialist principles instituted in its laws.

    When poverty levels in “socialist” latin-American countries come down to the levels they are in the US, Australia, Britain, Canada, New Zealand (notice how many former colonies are in that little grouping, and how different their stories have been to Latin America’s) and most of Europe, start preaching to us then, monnraven.

    Until then, I suspect we occupy the higher moral ground on this one.

    What’s really annoying about people like Chavez is that they don’t recognise – or care – that much of the infrastructure provided for the industries they want to nationailise have been paid for by other people who have a reasonable right to expect some return on that.

    Yes, I’m talking about oil in this particular case. He just joins the long list of tin-pot Latin American dictators who have tried to rattle sabres because it’s the only way they can hang on to power.

    And caring for your people has nothing to do with power. It’s about good government, the will of the people and the setting up of institutions enshrined in law that enable that process to continue indefinitely.

  • troll

    STM – I don’t think that I could disagree with the tone and content of #113 more strongly…

    I won’t bore you with a litany of crimes against humanity committed by capitalists and their minions – you are a student of history and must know that there are no ‘good guys’ in it (objectively speaking)

    but I remind you that the USA (and Australia) developed based on the genocide of indigenous populations (moonraven’s ancestors btw) and the exploitation of other peoples’ resources with consciously minimized compensation

    claiming the ‘moral high ground’ is absurd

  • moonraven

    I do not think it is reasonable to assume that STM–or anyone else on this forum–is a student of history. Especially when what they post indicates exactly the contrary.

    Not to mention that the poster in question has never even been to Venezuela and knows nothing about the country or its leaders–past or present.

    All he is doing is parroting the usual right wing propaganda media–whose list of descriptions of Chavez is pretty much limited to: tinpot dictator, firebrand leftist and Latin American strongman–all of which are meaningless sandbox epithets akin to “Your mama wears combat boots”.

    Armchair experts give me a royal pain where I sit…down.

    This bird is leaving the Persian Gulf on Friday–flying back to Mexico, then on to Caracas.

    No armchairs for me.

  • Les Slater

    Moonraven #112

    “Poverty in Venezuela is now 33%. Much lower than in the majority of Latin American countries. (In my home base, Mexico, for example, it’s officially just under 50%.

    ”Lula barely was re-elected because he did so little to address poverty.

    ”Bachelet has been in power only a few months–and so obviously hasn’t done a heck of a lot.”

    You don’t seem to have any sense of history.

    You cheer Chavez but are blind to the dangers of his course. Lula and Bachelet have never challenged imperialism or their local and regional lackeys. Chavez also does not challenge the local capitalists either. He says that that the Bolivarian revolution can benefit all classes. This is a very dangerous game. All the promises of not fundamentally changing property relations will not placate imperialism or the local capitalists. The class polarization in Venezuela is deepening. Chavez will not be able to straddle that forever. Popularity does not impress imperialism in the least.

  • S.T.M

    “All he is doing is parroting the usual right wing propaganda media.”

    Sorry moonraven … but I am from the left, way left of what you might describe in the US as liberal. A card-carrying member of a socialist party that has actually governed on many ocasions as a result of genuine, free elections, in fact. You assume too much without any real knowledge.

    That’s why I don’t like Chavez. His brand of “socialism” isn’t really about genuine social change – it’s about shoring up his own grip on power.

    Perhaps he would be better off putting some institutions in place that would stop people like himself keeping themselves in power, rather than the opposite.

    Otherwise, tell me honestly, what’s changed? I put him in the same category as Latin America’s long list of right-wing tin-pot dictators. It’s really about him, not about his people.

    He dresses it up differently for public consumption at home, but he’s not that different to the Galtieris and Pinochets of this world.

  • Clavos

    Martita,

    In case you hadn’t heard, Time didn’t name your favorite dictator after all. They named “You!”

    According to China Daily:

    Time magazine unveiled its ‘Person of the Year’ for 2006 on December 16, 2006, as — You, the creators and consumers of user-generated Internet content like video-file sharing site YouTube and social network MySpace.

    Congratulations, Martita!

  • Clavos

    Good morning, S.T.M. (Stan The Man) (Am I right?),

    Martita (moonraven) isn’t going to be impressed; she knows more about Chávez than any of us; just ask her.

    You haven’t been there — you don’t know. :>)

  • S.T.M

    Morning Clav … yes old boy, you nailed it. I don’t really care what moonraven thinks, to be honest. She lost me when she accused boarding school boys of stroking each other.

    She’s wrong of course, and I’m assuming she’s never been to a boys’ boarding school. In fact, they don’t need help and are all perfectly capable of looking after themselves …

    No, but I digress. I think she is a very balanced person, actually. She seems to have a chip on each shoulder.

    My grandfather lived in Caracas and Aruba during the second world war, BTW. I don’t know what he was doing, but as he was British and there was a war on, I suspect he was up to no good. He said Caracas was a nice place, though.

    And on revolutionaries and genuine dissidents who have called Caracas home: first, Simon Bolivar, now he really was a genuine hero of Latin America.

    And let’s not forget the wonderful Isabel Allende, niece of Salvador. Salvador Allende was the real deal, too. But Chavez? Nah. Just a would-be dictator pretending to be a populist.

    It might have all been believeable had he left out the sabre-rattling. That’s what makes me suspect he’s bullshitting.

  • Clavos

    STM says:

    And on revolutionaries and genuine dissidents who have called Caracas home: first, Simon Bolivar, now he really was a genuine hero of Latin America.

    Absolutely. That’s why I carefully researched my amazon link to highlight a book I felt provided the a good history of Bolívar, the genuine hero.

    As for believeability: Les, who’s political ideas (in his own words) go beyond (or further left, if you prefer) socialism, is many magnitudes more impressive, even when I disagree with him, which is often, than Martita, because he knows what the hell he’s talking about, historically.

    So far, Chávez is following the classic pattern of ALL previous LatAm dictators. He’s rapidly squelching dissent, tightening his hold on all means of production, especially oil (without giving control to the people, which a real socialist would do), he’s setting himself up for a lifetime of ruling, etc. etc.

    As for the improvement in poverty statistics quoted by moonraven: they come from Chávez himself; where’s the independent corroboration?

  • troll

    thus Bolivar who declared himself Dictator in a failed attempt to save his Republic becomes the Hero and Chavez who advocates that the term limit clause of the V constitution be amended becomes the tin pot dictator Heel

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    She lost me when she accused boarding school boys of stroking each other.

    As a boarding school boy, I have to admit that this is about the only thing Marthe has gotten right. Not universally, but a certain amount of teen boy love does go on in the dorms.

    Dave

  • STM

    Dave said: “As a boarding school boy, I have to admit that this is about the only thing Marthe has gotten right. Not universally, but a certain amount of teen boy love does go on in the dorms.”

    Not at the great institition I love. The only teen boy love encountered was on the rugby field. It usually involved a love tap to the right or left eye, and usually to a boy from another school where they obviously DID engage in that other stuff. I have one institution in mind particularly.

  • troll

    while looking around for information about the nuts and bolts of Chavez’ brand of socialism I found this (slightly dated) sympathetic description by Sarah Wagner of how he is moving the Venezuelan economy away from production (strictly) for profit through the development of cooperatives

  • STM

    Troll: I thought a few years back he had some good ideas and I believed his motives were good. Now I’m suspicious of his motives. When genuine social change is accompanied by the kind of sabre-rattling indulged in by Chavez (embracing the Iranian regime is real a worry, IMO. It’s almost like he’s done it just to give the two-fingered salute to the US).

    The proof will be in the pudding I guess. Should he succeed in reducing poverty, saving the environment and providing jobs for his countrymen all well and good.

    But why use the US and the capitalist West as the scapegoat for all his country’s ills?

    All his country’s ills, like many of those in Latin America, are down to his own countrymen.

    When the shantytowns around Caracas are bulldozed and proper housing provided for their inhabitants, then and only then will I believe that his aims are pure.

    Until then, I see him as just another Latin-American tin-pot dictator who has chosen to wear a red hat because it looks better than an army cap.

  • troll

    agreed STM – the proof will be in the pudding…and there does appear to be some progress on the housing front in their Mission Habitat

  • moonraven

    So far the Chavez government has not met its goals for new housing for the poor–but it’s gradually getting there.

    And as far as the shanty-towns, if any of you had spent any time with the people in Latin America, you would know that owning a house–ANY house–is probably the most important and most common goal. You may sneer at the housing in the Caracas hills, but the folks who live there are pretty happy that under the Chavez government they have received DEEDS to those houses–which gives them ownership as well as a little asset. Most of those folks do not want their houses bulldozed. We are talking about the Third World, not downtown Dallas, after all.

    As for the supposed rapidity with which you insist Chavez has been consolidating his power–please be advised that he will have been in power 8 years at the beginning of February–that’s 2 US preesidential terms.

    In that 8 year period complete freedom of the media has been the case, there are no political prisoners, poverty has been reduced, Venezuela has been declared Illiteracy Free by the United Nations, hundreds of families have received agricultural land, thousands have formed active cooperatives and millions have entered the educational system. Free health care is available for everyone. Gasoline is 13 cents a gallon. Government food markets offer staples at 40 to 50% less than in the supermarkets. Anyone who is hungry can go to a community kitchen for meals.

    Sounds a hell of a lot better than life in the USA.

    For those of you for whom History is a foreign language: Simon Bolivar died in 1830 in exile from Venezuela (he had been declared persona non grata in his home country) and was buried in a borrowed shirt. Twelve years passed before his remains were returned to Caracas and were buried in the Panteon.

    Now you call him a real hero. He had his ups and downs in that department during and after his lifetime.

    Why not let History sort out the heroism–or lack of it–of Hugo Chavez?

    Why not educate yourself before you spout your borrowed “opinions” as gospel?

    And maybe you should also take into consideration that Chavez could not possibly care less about the opinions of the uninformed.
    Nor those of the delinerately ignorant.

  • S.T.M

    “You may sneer at the housing in the Caracas hills”

    Please moonraven, no one is sneering at the plight of the people living in the shantytowns.
    It must be difficult. The deeds to the houses also entitle them to new housing once it is built, no?

    Don’t misunderstand: This is not an exercise in looking down our noses at the people of Venezuela.

    Some of us just don’t think Chavez is fair dinkum.

    “Free health care is available for everyone.”

    That’s wonderful. We’ve had it in my country too for a long time. It should be a fundamental right available to everyone on this planet.

  • moonraven

    STM,

    I guess I have to repeat my usual advice:

    Since you can’t really know about–or even have a credible opinion about–a situation without having first-hand experience (especially given that most of the planet’s media are actively engaged in DISINFORMING their audience), I suggest that you spend some time in Venezuela. Get to know the people–from all classes–and their president.

    Until you do that you are just parroting what you hear or read from other uninformed or disinformed folks.

    My personal inclination at this moment in History–when the planet seems to be going to hell in a handbasket and the fundamentalists are duking it out over its present and future–is to support a leader who is at least TRYING to create alternatives that are POSITIVE. That leader is Hugo Chavez.

    Everybody else is offering the same old shit.

    It’s too late for that.

    Two days ago while I was having lunch with a friend a little boy approached us and was very taken with the Native American Raven image on my tee shirt. So I told him an abbreviated version of the story of how Raven put the sun, the moon and the stars in the sky so that the world could stop living in darkness.

    I would like that little arab boy to have a future. So I am not going to promote that the world return to living in darkness.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    You’re lucky you weren’t arrested for repeating that Raven story in an Islamic country, Marthe.

    Dave

  • Clavos

    Since you can’t really know about–or even have a credible opinion about–a situation without having first-hand experience

    Oh please, Marthe. No one over the age of the three has to touch the stove to know it’s hot.

    You say you’re a teacher. From what you’ve said above, you’re wasting your time, because your students can’t possibly know what you’re teaching without knowing and experiencing it directly, instead of as filtered by you.

    If everyone had to experience everything first hand to really know it, mankind would still be in the stone age.

    Because we have a bad propensity not to learn from the previous generation’s mistakes, we haven’t advanced as far as we should have by now, but we DO learn, and mostly NOT by direct experience.

    Hogwash, Martita.

  • Jdubbery

    Hey folks. I’ve been reading along yall’s posts and have been amused, informed, and entertained, and so I thank you all. I confess I know next to nothing about the situation in Venezuela and surrounding countries, so I can’t add much of anything. I do have a question though. I have a group of friends from the college I go to here in Lincoln, Nebraska that will be traveling to Venezuela soon to stay for about 4 months traveling to villages and doing basic health care and emergancy work for the populace. What are the chances that we will be able to send people down there on a yearly basis? Will Chavez give us the boot? Are they in danger? What are your thoughts?

  • STM

    Moonraven: I did live in Baghdad. Does that count when I’m discussing Iraq and the middle east?

    And my grandfather lived in Aruba (yes, I know it’s not part of Venezuela) and Caracas during WWII, between 1939 and 1944. I believe it had something to do with oil supplies for Britain’s war time efforts against the Nazis.

    Does that count also? He loved it and told me a lot of things about Venezuela (and Aruba) when I was just a young pup, which encouraged me in later years to read up a bit on Latin America.

    Unfortunately, nothing I’ve read recently changes my mind about Chavez. Perhaps his goals really are noble, but the sabre-rattling and the alignment with rogue states such as Iran really worries me. What is that all about, and why is there a need to engage in such useless and empty rhetoric?

    In regard to his policies, I am not opposed per se to, for instance, nationalisation of the oil industry, provided proper compensation and access to production is offered, but with the bizarre non-aligned states alignments, and the very close ties with China (I wonder how much pragmatism is being exercised on their part), I just don’t see how any of it really helps Venezuela in the long run.

    History will decide whether Chavez has a legacy worth remembering. In the meantime, as a dedicated, life-long proponent of Labour-style socialism and workers’ rights existing in accord with capitalism, I remain sceptical of his motives – particularly given his military background.

    I see him more as a Peron-type character, although it’s interesting that in the early years of his rule, Chavez didn’t redistribute anywhere near as much wealth as Peron. He seems more a populist than a genuine socialist and less given to real Bolivarian thought than I would have expected in view of his recent announcements, and therein I believe lies the problem.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Jdubbery,

    Unless someone from Venezuela is reading this and can help you, I suspect that the most informed advice would come from the lady who posts here under the moniker ‘moonraven.’

    Marthe?

  • moonraven

    Dave: Your slip is showing again. Raven plays a big part in the Creation stories in many cultures–including here in Bahrain, which was called Dilmun in ancient times. Raven also figures prominently in the Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh.

    Before you shoot off your mouth about the likelihood of my being arrested–what a luagh!, at least do an Internet search.

    Clavos, I believe you wrote the following: “You say you’re a teacher. From what you’ve said above, you’re wasting your time, because your students can’t possibly know what you’re teaching without knowing and experiencing it directly, instead of as filtered by you.”

    You are absolutely right–my teaching is ALL done as an inductive process. Students experience EVERYTHING–that’s the only way one truly owns one’s learning. And I can assure that I am most certinly NOT wasting my time.

    YOu, however, are wasting both my time and your own.

    STM, Whether you have credibility because you lived in Bagdad depends on what you did while you were there. And when you were there. If you were there in 1980 you MIGHT be able to say something about Iraq in 1980. I don’t know. The perception in the area where I am (very close to Iraq) is that folks were MUCH better off under Saddam Hussein.

    This is my second stay in the Middle East. I do not claim to be an expert on it, but I could say a few things about the current situation here. And probably more than a few about the history of the region because I have studied it. And I may have a bit of an in because I live and create history-based projects in Latin America–which is a dominantly Arab culture.

    Your grandfather’s experiences don’t cut any ice at all. My grandfather was in the Mexican Revolution–with Pancho Villa. His stories made me interested in Mexico, but I had to go to Mexico and study almost everything written about the Revolution AND write 2 works for theater about it before I could say I had a bit of expertise about ONE of its major figures, Emiliano Zapata.

    Saying Iran is a “rogue state” to someone like me who lives within spitting distance of it is really absurd. You know absolutely nothing about Iran. I at least know enough to know when to keep my mouth shut–even though I DO know how it is perceived in this region–especially here in a country whose majority is Shiite….

    I DO know enough about the USA–of which I am a citizen–to be able to say that it IS a rogue state now. And so I take whatever its mouthpieces say with a BIG grain of salt and a pill for my blood pressure.

    Venezuela’s partnership with Iran in a number of development projects (including producing tractors and cars in Venezuela) is a pragmatic one. As is the case with its projects with China. It is the job of a country’s leader, after all, to foment conditions which advance his or her country. The fact that that is NOT happening in the USA is of no relevance for Venezuela. The governments of the OPEC countries moving away from the dollar to the euro, for example, doesn’t make them rogue states–it makes them responsible in the handling of their countries’ interests.

    As for your question about politicians’ rhetoric–I can’t believe that you are naive enough to even ask that!

    Chavez did not nationalize the petroleum industry in Venezuela. If memory serves me, it was nationalized in 1975–and Chavez did not take office until 1999.

    I can’t respond to comments and questions which are simply not based on fact.

    I can say, however, that Chavez is demanding that the partnership contracts between PDVSA and Big Oil benefit the country of Venezuela–so all the hundreds of millions they owe in back tazes are being collected and new contracts drawn up which give the country majority control over its own resources. The various missions that have been operating since 2003 are largely run on the backs of windfall profits. If that is not using the petroleum resources to benefit a country’s people, I would like to have you show me something that IS!

    As for his military background–you need to be aware that in Venezuela the military has not just been an option for the oligarchy–it is neither Venezuela nor Chile. Most of the folks in the military in Venezuela come from the lower classes–as does Chavez. And he has revamped the role of the military in Venezuela to focus it on service to the community. In the Martha Harnecker book, Chavez–un hombre, un pueblo (which may have been translated into English) there is a very extensive description and discussion of the unique role of the Venezuelan military.

    Comparing Chavez to Peron doesn’t seem to be too useful–WHICH Peron? The Peron of the early 1940s was a very different person than he was when he returned to power 30 years later after his exile in Spain.

    I also fail to see why making the comparison would be part of your decision-making process in regard to the legacy of either one of them.

    It seems to me that you need to really study Latin American history and be there with your mind open to understand anything of what is happening there now.

    Reading up on it a bit–your own words, sir–simply is not enough.

  • moonraven

    Jdubbery:

    You wrote “I have a group of friends from the college I go to here in Lincoln, Nebraska that will be traveling to Venezuela soon to stay for about 4 months traveling to villages and doing basic health care and emergancy work for the populace. What are the chances that we will be able to send people down there on a yearly basis? Will Chavez give us the boot? Are they in danger? What are your thoughts?”

    Who is sponsoring the folks from Nebraska? Fromo whom did they receive permission to go to Venezuela?

    It’s hard for me to answer without knowing the answers to those questions.

    If they are legitimately in the country and do not use their stay there to act as spies for the US government, and if they actually do something positive for the community, there would probably be no problem with their going on an annual basis.

    Please be advised that a large group of missionaries were given the boot fairly recently–after years of provocative behavior. I believe they were called New Tribes? Chavez said that Venezuela had plenty of old tribes and didn’t need new ones that were just ripping off the country.

    Venezuela is not a dangerous country by my standards–I have traveled extensively in a number of different regions and never felt unsafe. Caracas is a bit dangerous–you have to stay on your toes there at night in several parts of the city.

    In short, acceptance or rejection is based on folks’ behavior. If one does the Gringo Dance and comes across as the Ugly American, folks will get sick of him or her fast. A respectful posture towards the people and the culture of Venezuela is what’s indicated.

    (That’s something none of the other posters on this thread seem to have.)

  • Clavos

    Martita (moonraven) asks jdubbery:

    Who is sponsoring the folks from Nebraska? Fromo whom did they receive permission to go to Venezuela?

    Careful how you answer Jdubbery. You have no idea who this person is. Remember that Venezuela under Chavez IS a dictatorship, and by her own words this person has VERY close ties to the government…

    This quote is revealing:

    If they are legitimately in the country and do not use their stay there to act as spies for the US government…

    The US government doesn’t use amateurs as spies.

    And finally:

    Please be advised that a large group of missionaries were given the boot fairly recently–after years of provocative behavior. I believe they were called New Tribes?

    Investigate that. Find out what their “provocative behavior” was.

  • D’oh

    OK Clavos, might one ask what leads you to assert that Venezuela is under a dictatorship with Chavez?

    Last I heard, he was duly elected, with the process being monitored and considered a much “cleaner” election than here in the States in ’00 and ’04.

    Now, I’ve only been to Venezuela once, many years ago, so I have no on the ground , first hand info that is current except from one of my companies salesmen who IS from there, and who handles Central and South America. He is fairly conservative in his politics and has both good and bad things to say about Chavez, but has no inclination to refer to him as a dictator.

    The one thing that sticks in my mind was Chavez’s funding a program to teach the native population to read, since that was a requirement for voting and said population had been excluded from excercising their franchise for many years.

    Of course, it is easily seen that there was a pure political motive for doing so, but still, doesn’t education benefit all of a population in the long term?

    Also, whereas I know it has been reported that Chavez is attempting to change the term limits in the constitution there, is that the action of a dictator, to attempt legislative change via proper channels? Here I had thought dictators seized power and refused to relinquish it via the use of force.

    One last thing , Clavos, you say, “The US government doesn’t use amateurs as spies.”

    Yes, yes they do, many times and in many places a trained operative uses “amateurs” in many ways.
    You might want to do some research into Intelligence agency history before making such statements.

    Int he last 6 years (or longer) one could make the case that all of the US “intelligence” has been amateurish.

  • Les Slater

    Clavos #121

    “As for believeability: Les, who’s political ideas (in his own words) go beyond (or further left, if you prefer) socialism, is many magnitudes more impressive, even when I disagree with him, which is often, than Martita, because he knows what the hell he’s talking about, historically.”

    I am actually impressed with Moonraven’s writing in this thread. Why is she treated with such hostility? Most could learn from her. I do.

    I have never been to Venezuela but know many people that spend much time there.

    I see the overall developments in Venezuela as very positive. I do not see Chavez as a villain.

    I do see a fundamental problem. The elections and the promises raise the expectations and the combativeness of the workers, peasants and part of the middle classes. Much progress has been made. To the extent that workers and peasant progress impinges on the property and prerogatives of the capitalist class they will resist.

    The only way Chavez can live up to his ‘revolution’ being for all classes is for him to try to check the aspirations of the workers and peasants at a certain point. He would then be part of the obstacle to a real and necessary revolution.

    The workers and peasants will have to find the means to get past this obstacle. There is much discussion going on in Venezuela. I am optimistic.

  • Clavos

    D’oh,

    He has re-written the constitution without confirmation by the people..

    His police and military are intimidating dissidents.

    He is attempting to squelch criticism by muzzling the press. He has threatened to yank the license of the opposition TV network.

    Here are a few links:

    John Kerry speech.

    Catholic Cardinal

    Venezuelan military officers.”

    Walks like a duck. Quacks like a duck.

  • D’oh

    Thanks for the links, Clavos.

    First take on the last link, reading the article, and noting it’s source, this quote from it is interesting.
    “Chavez’s “constitution” is a farce instituted by Chavez himself in December 1999, a year after he was elected, to extend his hold on power. Chavez supporters, who controlled the National Assembly, rammed the document through the legislature. It was later approved in a national referendum in which over half of the electorate stayed away from the polls.

    The new “constitution” dissolved the senate, extended the president’s term from five to six years, gave greater power to the military, tightened state control over the oil industry, and limited the central bank’s autonomy. ”

    Now, even loaded as this bit of prose is, it does state that the constitutional changes instituted were passed by the legislature, and voted on in a general election.

    As for the retired Catholic Cardinal, this quote from the article is also interesting.
    “He told Venezuelans to use their constitutional right to refuse to recognize the left-wing president on the grounds he was not ruling democratically. Castillo did not elaborate on what actions he thought Venezuelans should take.

    But recent opinion polls show nationalist Chavez enjoys the support of a majority of Venezuelans because his self-styled “revolution” is using abundant oil export income to fund free health and education programs and cheap food for the poor.

    Castillo said that as he was retired he could not speak officially for Venezuela’s Catholic Church.”

    Both of these are from political opponents of Chavez, purely partisan and hardly objective.

    Finally, the coverage of the Kerry speech in ’04, you might want to read this bit carefully.
    “The statements were made on Wednesday night during Kerry’s first interview with the U.S. Spanish-language network, Univision, in an obvious attempt to garner the Hispanic vote. The 38 million strong Hispanic population in the United States is considered to be an important voting block in the upcoming 2004 presidential elections.

    The Univision interview, conducted by Jorge Ramos, was clearly targeted at Southern Florida Spanish-speaking voters, known to be opposed to Cuban President Fidel Castro and with strong ties with the Republican Party. Yet in recent months, South Florida’s Hispanic population seems to have placed its votes up for grabs; the candidate with the firmest stance on Cuba and Venezuela is likely to acquire its support — democrat or republican aside. ”

    Again, a politician currying votes from a particular segment of a population, in this case Floridian Cubans who despise Castro. Hardly objective, or even well informed, since I find no record of Kerry visiting Venezuela in ’04 , or since.

    I’m more than willing to be convinced that Chavez is a dictator, or even a bad guy…but crap hack jobs and politically motivated partisanship is a far cry from objective assessments, merely propaganda.

    Just as I would not take a Chavez spokesman at face value talking about their opposition, I cannot take the sources you have cited seriously for the same reasons.

  • S.T.M

    Moonraven wrote: “I can say, however, that Chavez is demanding that the partnership contracts between PDVSA and Big Oil benefit the country of Venezuela.”

    Nationalisation occurred in 1976, not 1975, but was severely relaxed in the 1990s to the point where it was no longer really nationalised in the strict sense of the word. To borrow your oft-repeated phrase (and, geez, I do mean OFT), you know nothing … about Venezuelan oil.

    You are also splitting hairs in relation to what constitutes nationalisation in this case, and you know it, since PdVSA and foreign companies had entered into a number of business ventures mostly financed by the foreign companies. Also, if you check with your friends in Venezuela, you’ll find it was PdVSA that was largely under investigation for tax evasion.

    Moono also wrote: “I can’t respond to comments and questions which are simply not based on fact.”

    Well, you seem to be doing a pretty bloody good job of it. Great strategy, too: start out antagonistic, tell everyone they don’t know what they’re talking about and see what happens when the ice-cream hits the fan. For a person who is so adamant about our propensity for bullsh.t, you don’t seem to have a problem with your own.

    For that reason, but not only that reason, I’m beginning to suspect you are not who or what you say you are, particularly after your recent comment about US spies (yes, I do know they exist).

    I wouldn’t go so far say as to say Mr Chavez might have a new ministry in Caracas, possibly a recent legacy of his close links with some communist and “non-aligned” states: the department of Quite Angry and Not Very Subtle Propagandists Who Have Difficulty with Irony and who are trying to flum it on internet blog sites, but …

  • moonraven

    Jdubbery doesn’t need to answer my questions if he doesn’t really seek information. It’s HIS choice. My occasional proximity to the Venezuelan president might mean that I have some idea of what I am talking. Or it might not.

    In most Latin American countries folks who are going in groups to do community projects as volunteers cannot do so on a tourist visa. They need to be sponsored by an organization that is already on the ground. In some countries that means being sponsored for a cultural exchange visa (Ecuador). In others the visa does not have a different name but specifies the activties that can be legally pursued (Mexico). I am not an expert on the Venezuela visa process. I can say, however, that visas other than tourist visas are not easily come by in Venezuela–and that was also the case in pre-Chavez times.

    If a group of students from Venezuela wanted to do a community project in the US, they would have to be sponsored by a US-based organization.

    Why should gringos have free access to do what they want in any country when their own country is CLOSED to foreigners without visas?

    All this means that if those students do activities outside of those permitted by a tourist visa without having a different kind of visa, and someone–for whatever reason–decides to complain–they can be deported. Even though Venezuela is much more easy-going in that area than countries like Mexico.

    Les, you make some good points regarding the class conflicts and the problem of governing for all the people. In the past, everything was for the (white) minority. Since Chavez came to power, they have not been the government’s first priority.

    However, the bottom line is…the bottom line, which means that the oligarchy is making money because Venezuela is booming–especially the PRIVATE sector. They aren’t depositing the oil profits in their offshore accounts like they were, but they are still doing well with their businesses. Opposition to Chavez has shrunk in direct proportion with economic growth.

    Many people feel that the biggest threat comes from within chavismo itself–conflicts over individual power and over ways to do things. I tend to agree with that, as I have been inside the inner circle for very brief bits of time but have personally seen that there’s a lot of jockeying for position and sabotage.

    Chavez said a couple of days ago that he was going to make changes at the top level–cabinet ministers, and asked for all their resignations to facilitate that process. He is aware that some folks are less than effective and are in the picture for self-interest as opposed to putting the revolutionary process first.

    I am GUARDEDLY optimistic–and the guards on that optimism do not have to do with Chavez; they have to do with some of the folks around him.

    I suppose that I am treated with such hostility here on this site because I DO have first-hand knowledge of the Venezuelan process, and my testimony directly contradicts those posters who feel that they will impress folks by repeating what some small-fry journalist for the Miami Herald has to say. I spent some years as a fairly small-fry journalist in the USA myself–although at least I had a byline and a picture above it and the ethical posture of writing about what I knew: FILM.

    There are WAY too many hate-mongers in the world–even on sites as completely inconsequential as this one. It’s a microcosm for what’s happening on the planetary scale, probably. Ignorant brutish types trying to run the show.

    Another reason for why I am only guardedly optimistic, in general, about the survival of our species.

  • moonraven

    STM:

    You need to read more. I do not know EVERYTHING about PDVSA, but I know enough to know that when oil prices hit the toilet the state-ownded company made sweet deals with BIG OIL to try to hang on to the boom days. Chavez cancelled those sweet deals, told BIG OIL to pay up or get out, and they must have been making a good profit even under the new rules–or they would’ve taken their mmarbles and gone home.

    The corruption of PDVSA got blown out the tube when Chavez fired about 18000 workers–including management saboteurs–during the lockout of 2002-2003. The bad apples are still begging for their jobs back. And a few of them are even here in Bahrain working for Bahrain Petroleum….Hah. Not good news.

    Your big wind response to my comment about not responding to questions with no factual basis made absolutely no sense.

    You need to “debate” someone at your own level of knowledge. You ain’t cutting it with me.

    Aruba, Caracas in 1944, you are your grandfather. Who are you trying to kid?

  • S.T.M

    Moonrave, if I was allowed to say it on here and I’m not, of course, I’d say that you appear to be working for the Venezuelan Ministry of Hot Air.

    However, you do provide us with hours of fun …

    BTW, I think my grandfather was exploiting the Venezuelan people, no doubt being part of a plot by those dreadful capitalist running dogs and past masters of espionage, the British, to pay a fair price for something that was being offered for sale.

  • S.T.M

    PS, you need to get out more ….

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    Another reason for why I am only guardedly optimistic, in general, about the survival of our species.

    Some might argue that if our species has to live in the diminished and deluded conditions which you promote, we might all be better off dead.

    Dave

  • S.T.M

    Come on Dave, you need to agree with her … you need to. You also need to, ah, agree with everything she writes.

    It’s all on a need-to-know basis: you need, she knows … very simple old boy.

    Are we still in Beijing, BTW?

  • moonraven

    I need to get out more?

    Again, who are you trying to kid?

    There are few people on the planet who get out MORE than this bird. And certainly nobody contributing to this forum even comes close.

    My bags are nearly packed for Mexico City–30 hours from here in flight time–from where I will head inland to celebrate Christmas and New Years before heading south to Caracas. Somehow I need to squeeze in two trips to the States, an actual vacation on the Pacific coast of Mexico with an old boyfriend who is currently undergoing chemotherapy and then give a 2-month training course for teachers in Nicaragua before the rainy season heads our way in May.

    Just try keeping up with me.

  • moonraven

    Dave: I am only DESCRIBING the woeful conditions on the planet and indicating why I am throwing in my lot with the one project that at least seems hopeful.

    Who said something about being careful what you ask or pray for–because you might get it? Being better off dead, huh?

    Where I live in Mexico I could put a firing squad together to blast you out of your misery for less than a thousand bucks.

    Think about it….

  • Jdubbery

    Thank you Moonraven, and also Clavos. Perhaps you’ve heard of David Gates? He’s the director of Medical World Aviation. He’s been a part of that landscape for a long time I believe, and the site we’ll be going to has been several years in preperation. Our missin statement is purely medical, no political agenda involved, so it’s likely that we won’t be stepping on many toes. I just wondered about the likelihood of Chavez shutting down borders to Americans, even those working for the people. Thanks for your information.

    Moonraven, It’s funny how the various names on this site have banded together against you. Stay strong. You and Clavos are amoung the only ones that seem to present new and pertinent information to educate and enlighten. Thanks.

    Also, why doesn’t the Peace Corps operate in Venezuela?

  • Clavos

    Marta sez,

    Where I live in Mexico I could put a firing squad together to blast you out of your misery for less than a thousand bucks.

    You’re paying too much. You gringos always do that.

    $50 ought to do it in Mexico.

    You can get it done here in Miami for $500 or less; but that’s because we’re a third world city, according to Tom Tancredo.

  • Jdubbery

    estados unidos americanos, i should have said, not Americans

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    I need to get out more?

    Again, who are you trying to kid?

    I think he meant ‘get out’ in the sense of moving beyond your extraordinarily narrow viewpoint on the world. You’re phenomenal proof that you can travel widely and yet see and learn nothing.

    Dave

  • troll

    *Also, why doesn’t the Peace Corps operate in Venezuela?*

    here’s a read on that subject

  • STM

    Dave said: “I think he meant ‘get out’ in the sense of moving beyond your extraordinarily narrow viewpoint on the world. You’re phenomenal proof that you can travel widely and yet see and learn nothing.”

    Phenomenal proof also that despite a PhD, claimed experience as a journalist and whatever else she bragged about, the ability to recognise or use irony remains the great test of English linguistic skills. He said, without even a hint or irony.

  • Clavos

    Dave,

    STM asks:

    Are we still in Beijing, BTW?

    Inquiring minds want to know…are we?

  • STM

    Yes, that was a fascinating little morsel Dave threw in earlier up the thread. I’d love to know the truth of it.

    As an aside Clav, but while we’re on the subject, linguistics experts working for the spy organisations of certain anglo countries used to use the irony test, among others, as a way of ascertaining whether people were native speakers of English, were not native speakers but had been taught well, or were just perfectly trained parrots.

    I believe that another of Venezuela’s exports, apart from oil and world-beating beauty-pageant winners, is the brightly coloured, screeching, squawking parrot.

    I am not saying moonraven is one, of course, but she did cast some suspicion on herself – by describing herself as a bird when it was suggested she get out a bit more …

  • Clavos

    Understanding humor is always one of the last things one learns in a foreign language, and irony is even more difficult, of course.

    I very much enjoyed the bright squawking parrot image.

    Another favorite (though not Venezuelan, of course) is the ostrich, with its head in the ground, and which, no matter how hard it flaps its wings, never really does achieve flight…

  • STM

    Lol! Or the native Australian emu (eem-you), which you can actually ride if you play your cards right. Very dangerous though, as they aren’t too keen on it. I recommend any would-be emu rider have no less than five beers before they try to ride one, but no more than 10.

    These are giant flightless birds with tiny heads, much like an ostrich, and with brains about the size of a pea.

  • moonraven

    Jdubbery:

    I hope you read the link Troll provided about the Peace Corps. I am of the generation that graduated from university in the 60s and provided the first cadres of volunteers. Several of my friends went into the Peace Corps–and had to change countries because the Peace Corps had been kicked out of the country they were in–because the governments of those Latin American countries believed that the PC volunteers were spying and dealing drugs.

    So far as I know none of my friends was spying or laying the infrastructure for drug cartels, but that was a common perception and still is.

    It was a reasonable perception at the time–as the US was actively participating in military coups to overthrow democratically elected leaders with progressive agendas. And not only in Latin America–my friends in the PC in various African countries also were under suspicion–and why not, as the CIA had recently assassinated Lamumba in the Congo and was recruiting mercenaries to keep their stooge in power there (at the same time as Che Guevara and the Cubans were there in 1965….)

    I have never heard of the group you mention, but as apparently providing medical care is the objective I don’t see why you don’t lay the groundwork for your missions in another Latin American country. As I mentioned, medical care is free and available to everyone in Venezuela–even in rural areas–as there are more than 10,000 Cuban doctors providing the majority of it.

    Frankly, this sounds to me like a very clumsy cover for spying. Want my best advice? Try to set something up closer to home–like Mexico. Of course you will have to get FM-3s for all volunteers–not tourist visas–but you won’t have so many eyes on you.

    Or, for a really novel approach–do your program in the US. I bet there are plenty of folks there who can’t afford the outrageously priced medical care to keep you guys busy.

    The terms in common usuage, apart from gringo, are norteamericano and estadunidense.

  • moonraven

    Clavos–That 1000 bucks to put Dave out of his misery breaks down thusly:

    250 bucks for a full firing squad (not one guy),

    and 750 bucks for my administrative costs.

    It’s a great deal–and Dave gets to have a Mexican vacation (not included in the 1000 bucks of course) before he stands in front of the wall–not a crummy pass through the friendly confines of the Cuban Mafia in Miami.

  • moonraven

    STM:

    You wrote: “I am not saying moonraven is one, of course, but she did cast some suspicion on herself – by describing herself as a bird when it was suggested she get out a bit more …”

    Uh, is that a duncecap I see or is your head really that shape? RAVENS ARE NOT BIRDS?????????

    And you folks have the audacity to mention humor and irony? Dave must think that firing squad deal is a legitimate offer….

    The price has just gone up.

  • Clavos

    The terms in common usuage, apart from gringo, are norteamericano and estadunidense.

    And, of course, imperialista and diablo…

  • D’oh

    I like it when they call me diablo, or quai loh or gai-jin…

    Then you just say their souls are too bland and would need a little salt.

  • Clavos

    So far as I know none of my friends was spying or laying the infrastructure for drug cartels, but that was a common perception and still is.

    Exactly my point in #138.

    Missionaries, the Peace Corps, and other American volunteer organizations are not spies, no matter what Chavez thinks (or wants his subjects to think).

  • moonraven

    Claos:

    Let’s cut the crap. It doesn’t matter one damn whether those folks are spying or not spying in Venezuela.

    The point is that every country has the right to determine which foreigners can visit it and what they can do there.

    The millions of Mexicans who go to the USA every year aren’t spies, either. Spies for whom, for godssake. Yet if they don’t have visas it is hunting season on them the second they cross the border.

    Get real.

    Here’s a little history lesson for today–which of course you will dismiss because the guy who is writing it is 1) a student (DOWN WITH ALL FOLKS WHO ARE EDUCATED OR TRYING TO BE is your battle cry–ratcheted up to the 10th power for me because I have a PhD and have been a professional educator most of my life) and 2) LIVES IN VENEZUELA (he couldn’t possibly know what’s happening there–not when you know EVERYTHING about the country and you DON’T live there).

    I hope someday you will get even a small glimpse of how ridiculous you look.

    History of Democracy Prevention in Venezuela – Part 1
    Democracy: Washington’s Real Enemy in Venezuela

    Tuesday, Dec 19, 2006 By: Chris Carlson

    Hugo Chavez isn’t the only Venezuelan leader to ever challenge and anger the United States. Cipriano Castro, president of Venezuela from 1899 to 1908, was probably as big of an adversary to Washington as Hugo Chavez is today. Throughout Castro’s reign, U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt was itching for an excuse to invade Venezuela. He considered the Venezuelan president a “villainous little monkey,” and threatened to take action in order to teach Castro a lesson. Referring to the Venezuelan people, Roosevelt said he would “show those Dagos that they will have to behave decently.” But, to his dismay, he could not get the support of the American public for an intervention in Venezuela and would have to, for the time being, put up with Castro’s disobedience.

    Castro was no revolutionary, but like Chavez, he was an outsider, rejected by the white elite class. He had an obvious mixed heritage with some Indian features, and came from the rural Andean region of Tachira. He was an ambitious nationalist and openly defied the interests of the United States, hostile to U.S. imperialism and the foreign companies who committed excesses in his country. But perhaps most of all, Castro had become fed up with the corrupt Caracas elite and their control of the political system. He led a movement to take over the political system and change it.

    The threat of change was as feared then as it is now. For the local elites and their allies in Washington, change has never been in their interests. Since the colonial days, a small, white, economic and political elite has controlled the country and enriched themselves from the unfair, undemocratic system of exploitation. This system is closely linked to the interests of Washington, as Venezuela exports vast amounts of raw materials to the United States, and serves as a lucrative market for American products. Any attempts to change this structure would be very threatening to elite interests.

    U.S. politicians did their best to smear Castro, calling him anti-American and corrupt. U.S. Secretary of State Elihu Root said he was a “crazy brute.” Cartoonists in the U.S. portrayed him in a racist fashion, or as an ornery child. U.S. minister to Venezuela, Francis B. Loomis, described him as a “small, dark man” with an “admixture of Indian blood.” He added that he had “slight acquaintance with public men and with the details of Governmental business.” Although Castro may have had the support of Venezuelan nationalists, U.S. officials assured that he was not supported among the “better class of people.”

    Hugo Chavez is seen in a very similar way. Upper and middle class Venezuelans will assure you that it is only the “stupid,” and “uneducated” poor people who support Chavez. Among the elite classes he is despised and regarded as an obnoxious idiot, a backwards “campesino” from the country’s interior. They will assure you that no “educated” person would ever support Chavez. “Ask any criminal or thug, they are the ones who support Chavez, ” one middle class student told me. “It’s just the poor people who vote for Chavez, but since the majority is poor, Chavez wins the elections, ” a neighbor told me. The majority of the population is seen as sub-human. They are too stupid to know anything, too stupid to know who to vote for.

    As with Chavez, the Caracas elite was vehemently opposed to Cipriano Castro. With funding from the U.S. and other foreign companies, Manuel Antonio Matos, the richest man in Venezuela, launched a long and expensive revolution against the Castro government. Two years and twenty thousand deaths later, the revolution failed and Castro remained in power. The elites, however, continued calling for the U.S. to intervene and U.S. officials seem willing to oblige. The United States military drew up plans to kidnap the president and send him into exile. A provisional government made up of elite leaders would take power, but would need to be protected from the population, as the Caracas elite did not represent the majority of Venezuelans and might be met with violence. But the invasion never took place as another solution came about. When Castro had to go to Europe for health reasons, he was prevented him from ever returning to Venezuela with a U.S. naval blockade. The dictator Juan Vicente Gomez, supported by the U.S and friendly to elite interests, would rule for the next 30 years. In order to maintain order, dictatorship was preferable to democracy. Participation of the masses had to be avoided.

    With almost one hundred years of history between them, Castro and Chavez both received very similar receptions from the Caracas elite and their allies in Washington. Since neither of them belonged to the white elite class of Venezuelans, they both presented a similar threat: they weren’t loyal to the interests of the elite.

    In a nation founded on exploitation of Indian and African slaves, designed to make a few rich at the labor of the rest, class conflict has always been present. From the very beginning, the Venezuelan economy operated solely for the benefit of the Spanish landowners and the commercial traders. In order to build wealth from the exploitation of the nation’s riches, it was necessary to construct this unfair system. A system that served a minority, and inevitably, a system that excluded the vast majority. In a society such as this, which is built upon an undemocratic economic and political system, the biggest threat is democracy itself. The threat is that the people will elect someone who really represents them, who fights for their interests, who seeks real structural change, and who allows for the real democratic participation of the masses; a system that serves the interests of the majority, not a minority. But to be democratic, to serve the interests of the majority, means the unraveling of the whole colonial construction. Thus, the hidden truth has always been that democracy must be prevented, at all costs, by any means.

    Chris Carlson is a Northamerican student and activist living in Venezuela. See his personal blog at: Gringo In Venezuela.

  • moonraven

    And Dave: Don’t whimper to me about Internet etiquette while you’re peeing in this sandbox.

  • STM

    I love it when the pommies call me convict.

    It’s what they use when they can’t think of anything else. They are hurting, and I am expecting a fair amount of abuse this week after they got absolutely flogged in the cricket.

    Incidentally, I believe Argentina is (now, not then) the only really civilised nation in South America, as they are the only ones who seriously play cricket and rugby (both still being a prerequisite for the superior brand of civilisation).

    Chavez, incidentally, although I’m unsure, might well have been a rugby player as he does a very good passing impression of a prop-forward who’s been on the bottom of one ruck too many.

    I can therefore understand the reports that he reputedly spends about $560 a month on male beauty products.

    Still, with Venezuela’s new infrastructure works turning much of downtown Caracas into a busy little construction zone, Chavez will at least have access to a heavy-duty crane should he decide to opt for the face lift instead.

  • moonraven

    STM:

    Chavez plays baseball–the Venezuelan national sport.

    Of course you didn’t know that as you live in a world only populated by folks from Australia.

    You told us about your grandfather, but did not mention the crimes committed by your great great grandfather that got him exiled to the penal colony that is now called Australia….

  • STM

    Sorry moonrave, yes, I should have elaborated. I have an Anglo-Irish background, mostly.

    So if you were Irish, you need not have committed any crime. You just had to stand up to the English.

    But all’s forgiven now, and we all live in peace and harmony. Kind of. Sadly, too, I don’t always live in a world populated only by Australians. That is something I can only dream of.

    No, I didn’t know Chavez was a baseballer. But it’s largely irrelevent: I’m not that interested in what he really does for kicks. I was simply saying that he looked like a prop-forward, which he does, especially an Argentinian one.

    In other words, he’s got a head like a smashed crab. Although it’s no shame. Look at the French, very stylish people, but with the world’s ugliest rugby forwards. Their backs, on the other hand, are usually hollywood heads and therefore may well present even more of a danger than their forwards, as that often means they are too quick and elusive to tackled.

    Incidentally, I have played against a team from Venezuela. I’m sure they tried to distract us from our game by having their wives and girlfriends stand on the sideline, but we hung in bravely.

  • http://alienboysworld.blogspot.com Christopher Rose

    #155: “You’re phenomenal proof that you can travel widely and yet see and learn nothing.” There’s the first laugh of my day! Projection personified!!

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    And Dave: Don’t whimper to me about Internet etiquette while you’re peeing in this sandbox.

    There is no such thing as internet etiquette, though your impotent death threats are particularly pathetic.

    Dave

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    And to answer Clavos’ earlier question, she’s now on a Bahrain network. She must have been visiting her controller when she made that earlier post.

    Dave

  • moonraven

    Memory-challended, are you now, Dave? I do believe you wrote this early on in this thread:

    “Marthe, while I appreciate your desire to reprint Socialist propaganda here, please don’t paste entire articles into comments. Summarize and use a link. Editors have warned you about this before. It’s often a violation of copyright – though in this case likely not since it’s propaganda – but it’s always an abuse of the comments system.

    Dave”

    So now it comes out that your feeble-minded try at being the blogcritics policeperson was not even taken seriously by you.

    Now THAT’S pathetic!

    (Not my offer to put you out of your misery for a very modest fee.)

  • moonraven

    Dave: Proof positive of your being memory-challenged (I guess brain dead is now politically incorrect so I won’t use that term to describe you)!

    HOW many times on this thread have I said I was in Bahrain?!!!

    Of course you caught on a bit late since I am leaving here in 48 hours.

    And how can my “controller” be in China when I am supposedly a plant by the Venezuelan government?

    You credit me with capers even I am not capable of pulling. This is turning into “Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego?”!

    You’d better google that above-referenced computer game NOW–Alzheimers is breathing down your neck like an angry dragon….

  • Jdubbery

    Thanks troll for the read on the PCV. Very interesting stuff.

    Moonraven:
    Thanks for the link the gringo in venezuela. My organization is in fact building bases in several other countries. And I say ‘my organization’ loosely. I have no way to control it at this point, so you advising me to base it elsewhere is like telling me telling you to make stupid people stop posting on this forum. There’s just no way, see?

  • moonraven

    Jduggery,

    Sigh. It’s true that I can’t stop stupid people from posting here–that’s one of the few rights that their President Bush hasn’t taken away from them in his psychotic war on terror.

    A word to the wise, however: These folks who give morons a bad name won’t be deported for posting here.

    The jokers that you can’t control in Venezuela probably will be.

  • moonraven

    Skullduggery:

    The good news is none of it is my problem.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Marthe,

    You’re leaving Bahrain in 48 hours? Wow, that’s one Middle East crisis solved! You wouldn’t happen to be like the Lappi witch in Dinesen’s story about the sailor boy, would you, turning into a raven and flying with the wind? If you are, I could give you the coordinates of the Arab village just north of here and you can do a “bombing” raid on the way home.

    Gosh, you’ve given us all a good ride. As for executions, they can be arranged here for NIS 100. Sorry, I don’t know the value in Bahraini currency, but it works out to just under $25, US. I can’t believe that labor is cheaper here than in Mexico. Live and learn.

  • moonraven

    Ruvy,

    Now it’s more or less 46 hours before I am leaving. Ravens don’t turn into ravens, by the way. They start out that way.

    I wouldn’t consider bombing any Arab villages, but if you want to give me YOUR coordinates and arrange a payment of 1000 dinars (2,650 dollars)to one of my bank accounts, I can put you and Dave together in heaven for Christmas.

    (Unfortunately, a pack of C-4 plastic explosives is more expensive than bullets.)

    Labor is not necessarily cheaper there than in Mexico–I did not say how many people are in the firing squad that the $250 pays for. MY labor costs are reasonable, however you slice it, as this is a humanitarian project.

  • MCH

    “Dave: Proof positive of your being memory-challenged (I guess brain dead is now politically incorrect so I won’t use that term to describe you)!”
    – Moonraven

    Dittos, Moonraven. He’s even having trouble keeping track of the number of stray dogs he’s killed with his 30.06 hunting rifle.

  • troll

    *Dittos* – ? lord help us

  • MCH

    “There is no such thing as internet etiquette, though your impotent death threats are particularly pathetic.”
    – Dave Nalle

    Nalle, you’re so brave…writing from deep within your fortified compound…

  • troll

    moonraven – upthread you mentioned the relationship between arab and latino cultures which imo wins a most pregnant comment award…got the time and inclination to flesh it out a bit – ?

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy in Jerusalem

    “I wouldn’t consider bombing any Arab villages, but if you want to give me YOUR coordinates and arrange a payment of 1000 dinars (2,650 dollars)to one of my bank accounts, I can put you and Dave together in heaven for Christmas.”

    Marthe,

    So sweet of you to offer. A real kindhearted soul you are. I don’t celebrate Christmas, so that doesn’t quite turn my crank; I intend to live a long time and be buried in this country, not in some stinkin’ hole a fine memorial garden in Texas. BTW, in Israel, you get buried for free in the town cemetery. So, I can do better than 1,000 dinars, thank you.

    There are a lot of Jews who will sell their murderers the C4 or the rope or the gun to kill them with – they are all over this country like a bad smell, especially in the government, and they have a huge cheering section in Americans for Piss Peace Now.

    I’m not that stupid.

    Happy Hanukkah

  • moonraven

    No need to flesh it out all that much. When you think about it, it’s prretty obvious.

    The Arabs controlled the Iberian peninsula for almost 800 years–during which time the Spanish language(s) and culture were developing. (Spanish contains approximately 10,000 words that come directly from Arabic, and Spanish syntax is taken from Arabic as well.)

    When the Conquistadores arrived in what is now Latin America, they brought their culture–which was dominantly Arab culture–with them: building styles, family style, grammar (loaded with reflexive verbs). The only thing that was different, in fact, was that they professed Christianity (I say professed as there were a fair number of crypto-Jews and crypto-Muslims among the Conquistadores–which we find out a bit later when the Inquisition got going big timein Mexico City.)

    Whereas Spain received a lot of pressures from other cultures, things were less dynamic in Latin America–they subjugated the indigenous folks and set up a hierarchical system whose aim was to maintain the 16th century status quo. That system has changed some–but not much–the family style, grammar (the way one sees the world around one), building styles are still basically the same.

    I was taking photos here in Bahrain on Monday in an early 19th century building which looked very much like it could just as easily be located in Northern New Mexico. When I walk to work every day I pass an apartment complex which looks like what they call the “pueblo style” buildings in Santa Fe….

    In Jordan fewer folks speak English than here in Bahrain–so I had to get around in Amman last year using Spanish words that I knew come directly from Arabic. It worked.

    The Middle East is the land of Inchallah. In Latin America it’s the same: Si dios quiere. If god wills it in English translation. Or sometimes in Latin America we just say Ojala (another form of Inchallah).

    Chavez is a big hero here in the Middle East–especially since Venezuela has joined the Arab League….

  • moonraven

    Ruvy,

    The 1000 dinars did not include funeral or burial. Nor burial plot. I am afraid you present yourself in fairly stereotypical guise.

    Your expecting to live a long life tempts me to tell the probably apocryphal story about the Final Solution being planned to leave only enough Jews in Europe to ride through the streets of Berlin in one limousine.

    But in the inteests of good taste and holiday cheer, I will refrain from doing that….

  • Clavos

    Marta says to Ruvy,

    Your expecting to live a long life tempts me to tell the probably apocryphal story about the Final Solution being planned to leave only enough Jews in Europe to ride through the streets of Berlin in one limousine.

    Apocryphal or not, the fact that you would even obliquely refer to such a disgusting story tells me that, among other things, you’re anti-Semitic.

  • STM

    Yeah, Clav, I was prepared to play along but she’s lost me with that one. That’s not f.cking funny. Worth a ban, too, I’d think.

    The true colours emerge, eh?

  • moonraven

    It’s a Hitler joke, oh information-challenged ones. And I didn’t even tell it!

    Besides, it was in a post responding to Ruvy. Not to either of you.

    You jokers are so childish that if I am not posting something that shows how ridiculous you are, you take the matter into your own hands and DEMONSTRATE precisely that.

    Anyone who tells you you’re full of it should be banned, huh?

    That stinks of fascism. No wonder you don’t want to hear the Hitler joke….

  • moonraven

    PS: Another slip-up, guys: How can I be anti-semitic when I have nothing but good thoughts about Arabs?

    Point of educational reference: Semitic people are those who speak Semitic languages such as Arabic and Hebrew.

  • moonraven

    Today’s read, the 2006 Latinobarometro democracy survey–for those of you who don’t believe that folks in their own countries know anything about them:

    Poll: Venezuelans Have Highest Regard for Their Democracy

    Wednesday, Dec 20, 2006
    By: Gregory Wilpert – Venezuelanalysis.com

    (venezuelanalysis.com)–Venezuelans view their democracy more favorably than the citizens of all other Latin American countries view their own democracies, except Uruguay, according to a new survey released by the Chilean NGO Latinbarometro last Saturday. Also, Venezuela is in first place in several measures of political participation, compared to all other Latin American countries.

    According to the Latinobarometro survey, Venezuelans rank their democracy as being more fully realized than the citizens of all other surveyed countries do except Uruguay. On a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 means a country that is not democratic and 10 is a country that is completely democratic, Venezuelans, on average, gave their own democracy a score of 7.0. The Latin American average was 5.8, with Uruguay having the highest score, of 7.2, and Paraguay the lowest, at 3.9.

    Similarly, Venezuelans say more often than the citizens all other countries except Uruguayans that they are satisfied with their democracy. 57% of Venezuelans are happy with Venezuelan democracy, which is the second highest percentage, with 66% of Uruguayans expressing satisfaction. The average for all countries surveyed was 38%, with citizens of Peru, Ecuador, and Paraguay, expressing the least satisfaction, of 23%, 22%, and 12% respectively.

    For Venezuela, the percentage of citizens surveyed who indicated satisfaction increased more since 1998, the year Chavez was elected, than any other country. The percentage expressing satisfaction increased from 32% to 57% in those eight years.

    In terms of political participation, Venezuelans indicate that they are more politically active than the citizens of any other surveyed country. Venezuelans have the highest percentage of citizens that say they discuss politics regularly (47%, average is 26%), who say that they try to convince others on political matters (32%, average is 16%), who participate in demonstrations (26%, average is 12%), and who say they are active in a political party (25%, average is 9%).

    With regard to whether they believe that elections in their country are “clean,” Venezuelans answer in the affirmative 56% of the time, which puts them in third place, after Uruguay (83%) and Chile (69%). These were the only three where over half said they believed elections were clean. On average, only 41% of Latin Americans expressed confidence in elections in their country. Paraguayans (20%) and Ecuadorians (21%) expressed the least confidence in their elections.

    According to Latinobarometro, Venezuelans and Uruguayans expressed the highest percentage of confidence that elections were the most effective means to promote change in their country (both 71%), compared to 57% for all of Latin America.

    Latinobarometro has been conducting an annual poll in Latin American countries for the past 13 years. The polls are financed by a variety of multilateral agencies, such as the European Union, the Inter-American Development Bank, and the World Bank. The 2006 poll was conducted in 18 countries in the month of October 2006 and involved interviews with over 20,000 people. Its margin of error is about 3% (varies from country to country).

    The Latinobarometro report contradicted the common perception that Latin America was heading towards more authoritarian regimes with the recent political shift towards the left. “It is clear that there is no authoritarian regression [in Latin America], which is demonstrated by the fact that 14 presidents were substituted, for various reasons and due to popular pressure prior to the end of their mandate and within the valid legal framework in each of the countries,” said the report.

    According to Latinobarometro, “An important part of the errors of perception about the evolution and development of the region are produced by the false expectations that international elites have about what the region should be doing.”

    Countries included in the survey were Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Dominican Republic, Uruguay, and Venezuela.

    Link: 2006 Latinobarometro Survey (Spanish, PDF file)

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Boys,

    Marthe is right about the term “anti-Semitism”, even though its common use is to connote Jew-hatred. So let’s drop “anti-Semitism” and stick with Jew-hatred, an accurate term that does descibe much of the feelings of Arabs in my neighborhood.

    Jew-hatred soaked into Spanish culture, just as it soaked into the other cultures of Europe. “Judío” is a curse word in Spanish, as is “zhidi” in Polish and Russian, and many other Eastern European languages. More and more, “jude” is used only in a contemptuous way in Germany, and Jew-hatred soaks through English as well, though not as obviously.

    So Marthe, having absorbed the Latin culture of Mexico, has absorbed much of its Jew-hatred as well, which goes along well with her emotional and intellectual slant against “white” land-stealing exploiters (she is an American Indian – this makes sense), which translates here into hatred of Israel.

    As for her Hitler joke, I seem to have a thicker skin than the rest of you.

    Having said all that, Marthe makes a valuable intellectual contribution to the site on the articles she comments on. I do not think she should be banned from the site at all. It would set a very dangerous precedent, and lead the magazine down a slippery slope of winding up where trashy rags like the Village Voice and Tikkun are now.

    We all deserve better than that.

  • troll

    banning – ?!

    so much for open minds – open forums – and open society

    ps…as concerns the comma controversy: take it from me…when it comes to communication – the comma is king

  • Clavos

    Re moon’s #94:

    In the interests of full disclosure, the article presented in its entirety is written by Gregory Wilpert, of Venezuelanalysis.com, a left wing, pro-Chavez propaganda site and mouthpiece for the Chavez government located in Caracas, and funded by the government through the Fundación para la Justicia Económica Global (Foundation For Global Economic Justice), also located in Caracas.

    From the article:

    For Venezuela, the percentage of citizens surveyed who indicated satisfaction increased more since 1998, the year Chavez was elected, than any other country. The percentage expressing satisfaction increased from 32% to 57% in those eight years.

    Well, of course. They’re mostly abjectly poor, and Chavez has promised to lift them from their poverty. This is standard practice by left wing dictators, particularly in Latin America. See the history of the Castro regime in Cuba, which remains one of the world’s most impoverished after more than 45 years of totalitarian rule by that particular tinpot dictator.

    What still (after eight years) remains to be seen in Venezuela is whether Chavez will deliver beyond a few housing projects.

    If he doesn’t, the people will get increasingly restless, resulting in increasing repression on his part, and the wheel of left wing “reform” will continue to turn, as it has many times before, all over the world.

    Meanwhile, tens of thousands of Venezuelans patiently wait in Miami, alongside the hundreds of thousands of Cubans, for the peoples of their respective homelands to wake up.

    Unfortunately for the Cuban exiles, the island is too close to US, so the island Cubans don’t have to overthrow Fidel; they can just waterproof their washtubs and pickups and navigate to freedom.

    One last point for the record: I did not, and never will, advocate banning or censoring anyone; either on BC or anywhere.

    And troll’s right about commas; even if he doesn’t use ‘em…

  • Clavos

    Sorry, my 197 refers to 194

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Clavos,

    Re #197

    This is why Marthe’s contribution is valuable. She forces you to dig to find that the diamond she offers is zirconium. I can’t do that – it’s a Spanish site.

  • troll

    Clavos says – *One last point for the record: I did not, and never will, advocate banning or censoring anyone; either on BC or anywhere.*

    which is the basic difference between you and a socialist – for whom ‘my individuality is sacred…yours is negotiable’

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Clavos,

    But there is another reason which I forgot completely. Some of the best information of the Middle East comes from sites and writers who are anti-Israel, and often imbued with Jew-hatred as well. I’ve quoted them more than once in my own writing.

    This is analogous to the articles that troll digs up that lack Marthe’s venom, but back up much or what she asserts. You may not like them, but there they are.

  • moonraven

    Clavos:

    What a complete crock you have written here: “In the interests of full disclosure, the article presented in its entirety is written by Gregory Wilpert, of Venezuelanalysis.com, a left wing, pro-Chavez propaganda site and mouthpiece for the Chavez government located in Caracas, and funded by the government through the Fundación para la Justicia Económica Global (Foundation For Global Economic Justice), also located in Caracas.”

    Gregory Wilpert, whom I have known superficially for almost 5 years, is a respected journalist and sociologist who has been living in Caracas now for about 8 years. He has both the academic and experiential credentials for writing about Venezuela. You have neither of those credentials, yet have the nerve to splash your ignorance around here like popcorn.

    YOU are the propagandist, as the above is YOUR clumsy attempt to smear a reputable site of news commentary.

    Logical thinking is clearly foreign to you: Now you call into question one of the most reputable polling agencies, Latinobarometro, because Venezuelanalysis carried an article with the survey results?

    And because you also write foolish statements like the following:

    “They’re mostly abjectly poor, and Chavez has promised to lift them from their poverty. This is standard practice by left wing dictators, particularly in Latin America. See the history of the Castro regime in Cuba, which remains one of the world’s most impoverished after more than 45 years of totalitarian rule by that particular tinpot dictator.”

    You demean the people of Latin America–you are calling them witless and stupid, in effect, because they support a leader who has reduced the poverty level to 33% from almost double that!!??

    The witless and stupid folks are the folks handing over their civil rights to the Bush Gang–and a big concentration of the witless, stupid and gutless live in the state you call home and apparently sell boats….

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy in Jerusalem

    “Gregory Wilpert, whom I have known superficially for almost 5 years, is a respected journalist and sociologist who has been living in Caracas now for about 8 years….

    Marthe,

    I think I understand what you wish to convey here, but I would never say “I know someone superficially” and launch into an impassioned defense of his integrity, or whatever it is you wish to defend here. It has the air of “damningly faint praise”. It would better read, “Gregory Wilpert, whom I have known profesionally for almost 5 years…”

    This gets interesting to watch…

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy in Jerusalem

    That should have read “professionally” not “profesionally.”

    Dammit! We need a spell-checker thingy on this comment medium!

  • moonraven

    Ruvy,

    Just a quick comment before responding to the meat of your complaint–it’s REALLY tough to know what’s going on somewhere when you are not fluent in its language. That’s why I suggest that folks learn Spanish and visit Latin American countries if they actually want to know something. (Spanish is unique among the so called Romance languages, as it grammar and syntax comes directly from Arabic.)

    I can do a whole big rap on reflexive verbs/passive voice and lack of responsibility in regard to Spanish and Arabic, but can’t say for sure if it applies to Hebrew as well.

    When you can’t read the original, you’re a potential victim. Clavos of course believes that Wilpert and I are lying about the results that we read in Spanish of the democracy survey–his “logic” is that because we appear to be on the political left, that we lie all the time. That’s horseshit, obviously, but if folks want to get out of the victim posture, they must learn the language in question. That’s it. Nothing else will do.

    The perverse aspect of Clavos’ behavior is that he supposedly is fluent in Spanish–yet he accuses Wilkpert of lying WITHOUT SHOWING US THE LIE. (If he lied, then Clavos should be able to tell us what the “real” percentages were in the survey results. But he can’t do that as he knows that I am fluent in Spanish and will call him out. The logical conclusion of that is simple: Clavos is the one who is lying.

    Now to your post about my being a Jew-hater:
    All kidding aside, I am not a Jew-hater. I know it’s a cliche to say that I have a number of close Jewish friends (even a couple who are Israelis), but I do.

    However, I make a real distinction between Jewish people and the behavior of the rogue state of Israel.

    I know that one of the reasons why we are in such dire straits on this planet is that many if not most of its nation states were built through the process of human rights abuses–especially genocide.

    That was true to one degree or another all over the American continent. Whites in nation states in formation such as the US and Argentina butchered most of the indigenous poopulation. In nation states such as Bolivia and Ecuador the majority of the population–the POOR majority–is indigenous, and whenever they demand that their human rights be respected the white minorities escalate the killing.

    We are in deep shit all over this planet because of racism and political divisiveness–which leads to widespread poverty, hunger and degradation through violence.

    Israel appears to have been founded through terrorism and justified by appealing to guilt feelings. Claiming the moral high ground and institutionalizing apartheid tends to piss people off, though.

    So far as this student of history is aware, the Palestinians were not the ones who rounded up Jews and put them in death camps. The Palestinian population of Central Europe in the 1930s and 40s was, in fact, barely visible to the naked eye.

    So why is the nation state of Israel not fighting for a toehold in Lower Saxony, for instance? Why are the Palestinians paying the piper for some other ethnic and cultural group’s crimes against them, and consequently, against humanity?

    And if you want to go back to Jews losing the conflagration in the first century of the so-called Christian Era, why are you not demanding a nation state cheek to jowel with the Vatican in the seat of the former Roman Empire?

    Those are questions which have something to do with crimes, victims and causes. They also show a process called reducio ad absurdam. Why stop with Rome? Why not move into the ruins of Bagdad and try to get even for the capticity years? Or tear up the Carter-brokered peace deal with Egypt and kick your way into there?
    I mean, really, you could keep trying to get even with every group somehow involved in the diaspora.

    So why are you stuck on eliminating the Palestinians? I have some theories but that’s all they can be as I don’t speak or read your language and I don’t live in Israel. So I don’t talk about my theories. But I do ask my questions.

    And the question that is most important to me is: Why is the behavior of the nation state of Israel in regard to its neighbor’s a replication of the behavior of the Nazis toward the Jews of central Europe? Why the policy of killing 10 or more Arabs for every Israeli victim? Just where is the logic in that inhumane posture that breeds violence in a geometric progression?

    Maybe you can answer some of my questions….

  • moonraven

    Ruvy,

    Yes, I could have said I know the guy professionally. What I was trying to say was that we are not close friends, therefore I have no non-professional reason for defending his article.

    I don’t think saying he has the academic and experiential credentials to write about Venezuela is an “impassioned defense”. It’s simply a statement of fact.

  • moonraven

    Troll,

    Since Chavez has made it very clear ad nauseum that the socialism in process of construction in Venezuela is NOT the old twentieth century version that imploded from its own mistakes, I am not sure that your description of the socialist posture is particularly germane.

    What he is NOT trying to do is present the planet with a revival of Orwell’s Animal Farm–where “All animals are equal” soon turns into “All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others”.

    If you feel that a pronouncement of equality unfaltingly leads to inequality, I would say that you are taking a pessimistic posture.

    I am forcing myself to take an optimistic one–it’s either that or blow my brains out….

  • Clavos

    Ruvy,

    Download and start using Firefox 2.0 as your web browser. It incorporates a spell checker which works while you compose your comments.

    It’s available for free download at the Mozilla website.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    I love the way in #203 Marthe lists Wilpert’s academic and professional credentials, without even trying to disprove, dispute or even deny the basic facts of his allegiance to the Chavez regime. She seems to have missed the obvious fact that legitimate journalists and academics are among the most effective propagandists and biggest liars in the world. But I guess not when they agree with you, or when you’re on the payroll too.

    What I’d be interested to hear is exactly what organization Marthe works for and where its funding comes from.

    Dave

  • Clavos

    Pajarita,

    Stop putting words in my mouth. I deliberately did not say a word about Latinobarómetro; either positive or negative.

    And you’re raising straw men again when you say:

    You demean the people of Latin America–you are calling them witless and stupid, in effect, because they support a leader who has reduced the poverty level to 33% from almost double that!!??

    But I shouldn’t be surprised; straw men, obfuscation and red herrings have been your tactics all along in your posts on every thread.

    The witless and stupid folks are the folks handing over their civil rights to the Bush Gang

    How about that? Something on which we actually agree!

  • troll

    moonraven – my snarkiness was directed at STM’s ‘conservative socialism’…I should have been more clear

    …but my inner Zozobra comes out whenever I see a road that takes ‘us’ through a stage where the State is yielded power – abstractions have a way of misbehaving imo

    happily my pessimism is a personal problem and is insignificant to Chavez’ project

  • moonraven

    Dave,

    Are you trying to make a point somewhere in there or are you just having another psychotic episode?

    Whether or not Greg Wilpert is a chavista has absolutely nothing to do with the results of the Latinobarometro survey!

    (Of course if he IS a chavista that makes him at least ten times smarter than you and a hundred times more credible as a human being.)

    But that is ALSO immaterial to the results of the Latinobarometro democracy survey. They are what they are.

    If you are illiterate, that is not Greg Wilpert’s fault, nor mine.

    Take a Spanish class, or get a GED.

  • moonraven

    Troll,

    What can I say? If I have the choice between throwing my lot in with a system and a process that I know with 100% certainty does not work–that breeds poverty, hunger, violence and degrades both the present and the future for the majority of people on the planet–or one whose results are uncertain but which APPEARS to be aimed at reducing and/or eliminating those noxious elements, I will choose the latter.

    Choosing the same old shit is just putting a gun to one’s head and squeezing the trigger.

    The consequences are always the same.

    I believe it was Einstein, who was no dummy, who defined insanity as DOING THE SAME THING OVER AND OVER AND EXPECTING DIFFERENT RESULTS.

    This thread is ass deep in that behavior.

  • moonraven

    I just noticed that Dave is inquiring about for whom I work and where that organization (?) gets its funding.

    Of course it is no one’s business, but I believe I have mentioned in the past that I am an educational consultant–which neans that I work for various organizations (universities, in the majority–some private, some public) designing pedagogical programs, language acquisition programs, curricula, and so forth–in different countries.

    Fortunately, I do not have to work all that much–so I have time to do theater projects and can even bankroll them in poor communities.

    Although none of my client organizations has a political affiliation, we all know that ALL EDUCATION IS POLITICAL.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy in Jerusalem

    First a brief note to Clavos. Thank you for the suggestion to load Firefox 2. I love it!

    Marthe,

    I didn’t say you were a Jew hater. If I honestly thought you were, I wouldn’t write to you at all – and, more importantly, if you were, you would not ask the questions you do.

    Your comments to me are most intriguing. What is far more intriguing than anything else is your observation that Spanish grammar and syntax is taken from Arabic.

    In my life, I’ve spent serious time studying three languages other than English: Spanish, Yiddish and Hebrew. Spanish, because I lived in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and was surrounded by Puerto Ricans. Figuring on living in New York for the rest of my life (at age 13 or so), I thought it best to learn the language of a major segment of the population; Yiddish, because my parents spoke Yiddish when they didn’t want me to know what they were saying about me; Hebrew, because that is the language you must learn if you want to chant the from Torah or portions from the Bible chanted on the Sabbath in synagogue. And then Hebrew again, because I wanted to live here. Bills are bills in any language and you need to understand themwhen they come in the mail!

    In studying Spanish and Hebrew I noticed a certain similarity in the grammar. Go to my blogspot and contact me by e-mail and we can talk in more detail if you want. It pays for me to learn a lot more Arabic than, “stop or I’ll shoot!” They are my neighbors and believe it or not, I don’t hate them, and qute frankly, I’m not interested in shooting them. The olives we all grow out here can make us all a fortune of money if we do it right.

    But that doesn’t deal with the meat of YOUR questions.

    I’m going to ask you to read this article reflecting on Jewish destiny that I wrote for Blogcritics Magazine a while back. I’m not trying to persuade you of anything, I want you to understand where it is that I come from in my analysis of things.

    I will explain something about Judaism, because you need to understand this if you are to understand my answers and the article I’m sending you to.

    Judaism believes in a messianic redemption, and specifies two messiahs – one is known as the “messiah, son of Joseph,” (mashiáH ben Yoséf) the second is known as the “messiah, son of David” (mashiáH ben Davíd). The job of the first messiah, the mashiáH ben Yoséf, is to bring the people to the land of Israel to resettle it from the four corners of the earth, to get the farms going, and to populate an empty land. The mashiáH ben Davíd is the fellow who provides the spiritual redemption.

    These are religious concepts, and have nothing to do with Arabs per se, but with bringing Jews (and the other tribes of Israel) back home.

    Just for the record, about the time that mass resettlement began, Samuel Clemens visited this country and commented on its emptiness, which really shocked him. But that is not the main point here.

    Many rabbis hold that the Zionist movement itself was the mashiáH ben Yoséf – looking at the reality of events and assimilating them. When I was a child, there were more Jews in New York City than there were in the entire State of Israel. Today, there are more Jews living here than in all of the United States.

    They also argue (not too loudly) that the Zionist entity, the State, must fall in order for the spiritual redemption to occur.

    Now if you read my article (and my other articles at Blogcritics Magazine), you’ll see that I am no enthusiast of the government of Israel or of its policies. It is duplicitous towards both Arabs and Jews and is trying to create an artificial “Israeli” identity that is analogous to the “new Soviet man” – bear in mind that sociologically (NOT ideologically), the people who founded this country are very similar to the Jews active in the Bolshevik movement in Russia.

    But read the article.

    Now to your questions.

    Striving for a piece of Lower Saxony or a state in the Vatican’s craw would not satisfy prophecy. What you are really describing in your questions is vengeance.

    Blowing up the Germans or the Vatican, and the Russians and especially Kiev would get us vengeance, which would be nice, but if we Jews took vengeance on all those who had persecuted us over the last 1,700 years, Europe and a good part of Iraq and Syria would be radioactive zones.

    The reason that we Jews want to come home to Israel, as opposed to a mineral rich spot in South America or Africa, is that this is the land we were driven out of by the early church fathers and we want it back. So far as most of us who are believers are concerned, the church can rot in hell – and probably will. Three times daily we pray for the rebuilding of the “fallen booth of David,” daily we pray that the walls of Jerusalem will be rebuilt and that the Presence of G-d will return as in the days of the First Temple. We are not specifically interested in Arabs leaving or in driving them out.

    I have to emphasize that this is a religious vision. The secular vision of the State can be gotten from looking at any Israeli government website. Their vision is not mine.

    Looking at our Arab neighbors, most Moslems will argue that we should just get the hell out of here. I suggest you look at the website of Sheikh Abdul Hadi Palazzi. There you will see laid out by a respected scholar of Islam, the argument that we the “bani Israíl” have the right to rule this country according to the Qur’án.

    There is another idea in Judaism that you should comprehend, something lots of rabbis do not like to talk about. That is that the land is holier than we are. This means that we need to respect the land and the animals on it. Corollaries following on: that pollution, whether it be chemical or nuclear, is wrong and violative of our duty to the Almighty; abuse of animals, particularly those we expect to eat, renders them non-kosher no matter how clean and swift the knife of the slaughterer is. If the animal has not had at least a chance to enjoy itself on the Sabbath, it is not kosher when slaughtered. This is the reason a lot of rabbis do not like to talk about this at all. In reality, most of the meat served here is not kosher.

    In short.

    The STATE of Israel is a creation that was meant to collapse, because its leaders do not believe in or understand the holy nature of what they are undertaking. It;s purpose was to bring a concentration of Jews home from exile and that purpose is nearly served. Many of our religious leaders will be severly judged because of their silence about the following: abusing foreign workers, abusing women and bringing them in to be sexual slaves, mistreating Arab workers, abusing animals, abusing the land, and finally abusing each other (including retaining the spilits from exile and the hatreds from exile) and abandoning Jewish culture for an artificial “Israeli” construct.

    You may have figured ut by now that I have a program for peace. If you did, you are truly perceptive.

    I do.

    I hope this of some small help to you.

    Shabbat Shalom,
    Reuven

  • STM

    None of this alters the fact that supposed jokes about Hitler and the holocaust are about as funny as the ovens at Auschwitz.

    Don’t let her try and weasel her way out of it … until she apologises, she doesn’t deserve anything more than total disdain (apart from the ordinary disdain she’s already got)

  • moonraven

    STM:

    You certainly fit Einstein’s definition of insanity: You keep saying the same Bullshit over and over and expect others to knuckle under. Particularly if they are female.

    No sane person would expect me or anyone else to apologize for a “joke” based on a Hitler speech–WHICH I DID NOT EVEN TELL.

    Sorry, but you fall squarely into the bad fuck category described by the comments editor.

  • moonraven

    Ruvy,

    Thanks for your extensive reply, and the link to your piece on how to get there from here.

    I’m going to give you my first responses–not considered at all in an analytical way–just what jumped up and asked to be heard as I was reading.

    1. You rejected the option of overthrowing the Israeli government as a “seditious” act. I suppose in a legal sense you are correct. In a moral sense I have the feeling that you are not.

    Your statement reminds me of another one which I find morally reprehensible: The new US House Majority leader, Nancy Pelosi, said, “Impeachment is not on the table”.

    If ANY US president, vice-president and cabinet members deserved to be impeached, it is this lot, but Pelosi took the air out of everybody’s balloon to suck up one more time to the criminals in the White House.

    I am clearly not an Israeli, and because I tend to see the situation from the Arab standpoint–especially since I spent some time last year in Jordan as well as Bahrain, and I am in Bahrain now– I suppose I am, in fact, anti-Israel, not because I hate Jews, but because I cannot accept the crimes against humanity that the state of Israel has committed and is committed to committing in the future (very much in part because the US state gives Israel carte blanche to rape and pillage and mine territories in neighboring countries and use chemical weapons and cluster bombs with impunity–and yes, grab land–blocking any sanction attempts with its bully veto in the UN Security Council.)

    If you are indeed at odds with the actions of the IDF, from MY perspective you should engage in “seditious” activity big time. There are many immoral laws in place around the planet. (In US history, an early president, John Adams, cooked up laws against “sedition” very similar to the Bush Gang’s Patriot Acts–in order to persecute political opposition.)

    If I were in your shoes I would probably be learning Arabic–you say Arabs are your neighbors, after all–and joining the opposition. (I have a used Teach Yourself Arabic book you can have.)

    But that’s ME. It’s also one of the reasons I support Hugo Chavez–he’s the “seditious” opposition to the Evil US Empire.

    Being on the “winning” side doesn’t do it for me–Im the words of the homespun US philosopher, Will Rogers, “I would rather be right than President”.

    Besides, as you pointed out, the Israeli government has perverted the notion of letting go of the State in order to be saved. As I read what you wrote, that recipe for salvation apparently was NOT: Let all the other states collapse on themselves so that WE can be saved.

    Just as I tell folks here in Bahrain that they must really be BELIEVERS–not just mouthers of the phrase Inchallah–if they expect to live with dignity, I think Israelis who are against the state of Israeli should put their money where their mouths are.

    2. Because I also believe that one reaps what one sows (New Testament, espistle to the Galatians, where Paul answers the question whether Christians were bound by Mosaic Law)–either in this lifetime or the next (karma)–the scenario you paint as unacceptable of a Palestinian state where wealthy Jews are leaving the country in droves and the others are being persecuted may very well have to come about to even things out.

    Yang turning into Yin, again, thinks this student of the I Ching for the past 40 years….

    That’s describing vengeance, you will no doubt say. And you’re right.

    But I seem to remember that the G-d of the Old Testament was wrathful and vengeful.

    Reaping what one sows….

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Marthe,

    One point I forgot to add here. You wrote,

    “So far as this student of history is aware, the Palestinians were not the ones who rounded up Jews and put them in death camps. The Palestinian population of Central Europe in the 1930s and 40s was, in fact, barely visible to the naked eye.”

    Actually, one cockroach got through, and he had a huge influence on Nazi policy in WWII. Let’s be clear here. The Nazis were not humanitarians so far as Jews go. According to their ideology, the Jews constituted a “Gegenrasse” a race set against mankind that had to be eliminated from the planet to purify it for the sake of the Aryan race. So, eventually, the goal was to gather them all in one place and kill them all off. That place was originally, from what I can tell, to be here in Israel. So the Nazi plan was to dump all the Jews here, extorting money from the Jewish community along the way.

    Enter the cockroach. This was a mufti from Gaza who had proclaimed himself “grand mufti of Jerusalem” a fellow from the Husseini clan who was the uncle of the late unlamented Yassir Arafat. In the late ’20’s and all through the thirties, he had incited Arabs to attack Jews. The murderous riots in Hebron in 1929 and the assorted Arab rebellions were largely the work of this man.

    In 1939 or 1940 he ran off to Germany to be Hitler’s running dog. He pushed the idea of exterminating Jews in Europe really hard – he did not want them dumped in his country for murder later. He persuaded Hitler to do something he wanted to do anyway, kill off Jews, only to do it in Europe – places like Auschwitz and Treblinka and Bergen Belsen.

    So while the average fellah was not shoving Jews into the concentration camps, an influential mufti was.

    Had Hitler not concentrated so many resources into the concentration camps in Europe with the eye to killing the Gegenrasse there, he may have had more resources to fight the allies and even succeed in conquering this nation – to set up concentration camps here to accomplish the job.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Marthe,

    Just read some of your reply. That part about “incitement, sedition and treason” was put there because I live here and know Israeli law. It is there for the various police forces reading this over our shoulders…

    I’m very much part of the opposition already. But I still want to keep my freedom. Going to ground here is not as easy as it is in America.

  • moonraven

    Ruvy,

    I know it’s not easy–but that doesn’t make it any less morally necessary.

    You learn to live like I do–deliberately ignoring the CIA operatives following you around, bugging your digs, taking photos of you walking innocently in the street, blocking your e-box, paying thugs to mug you.

    After a while of that stuff, you really don’t give a shit anymore.

  • Matt

    There is one main point which the author of the original piece has totally omitted. It is not a change of heart to hear Hugo Chavez referring to Jesus Christ.

    Chavez has often spoke of Jesus in the past, noting his revolutionary actions in the time of his life. What Chavez is doing and talking about is not about religion, but based on the teachings of Christ. Jesus was a socialist and the first real revolutionary. Look at his actions to see so. Not at the church.

    The teachings of Christ and the Christian religion have long been separated, no more so than in the United States. Therefore I am hardly surprised that this point has been interpreted as Chavez pandering to religious hearts. This is the tactic used by others, especially closer to home, Mr Bush, but it is unfair to tar all men with the same brush. Chavez obviously comes from a different school of thought to other world leaders. You have to accept that.

    It’s not about religion. It’s bigger than that. It is about Mankind.

    -And please also note how when Christianity was introduced to Venezuela via the North West coast, it assimilated a lot of the existing beliefs of the indigenous people, including nature worship. Christianity changed itself to fit the case and agenda at hand. Not the first time, nor the last. It is not that much of a leap to be able to see the corruption of the teachings of Christ in the modern Christian nations.

    Final point, which is my opinion…

    “If we want to maintain our influence in the region, we need to help the Latin American countries to develop their potential in a meaningful way.”
    How about if you want to maintain influence you refer to the basic teachings and actions of Christ. Not capitalism, where meaningful means money.

  • Clavos

    Matt,

    Your comment would carry more weight if you had read the article a little more carefully.

    You say:

    Chavez has often spoke of Jesus in the past, noting his revolutionary actions in the time of his life. What Chavez is doing and talking about is not about religion, but based on the teachings of Christ.

    Uh huh. From the article:

    [Chavez] is known to have once said he is “neither Christian nor Catholic.” But Venezuela is a majority Catholic country, as are most Latin American nations, and Catholic traditions are deeply rooted throughout the region…

    In other words, he’s pandering to his devout constituents.

    Therefore I am hardly surprised that this point has been interpreted as Chavez pandering to religious hearts. This is the tactic used by others, especially closer to home, Mr Bush, but it is unfair to tar all men with the same brush.

    You’re right about Bush. And, since Chavez is obviously employing the exact same tactic, how can you say he’s NOT pandering?

    And you also say:

    How about if you want to maintain influence you refer to the basic teachings and actions of Christ. Not capitalism, where meaningful means money.

    I’m an ex-Christian, so I’ll stipulate to bias.

    I don’t agree with you here, though I DO see the good intentions behind your idea. My problem with it is that, given the extreme poverty prevalent throughout the region, specific, concrete action involving money, education and jobs is needed much more than abstract ideas.

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com/ Elvira Black

    I have tried my best to get through the whole thread, but I just want to say this:

    First of all, great article. And I’m blown away by the commenters’ breadth and depth of knowlege of the topic.

    Moonraven sez:
    There are WAY too many hate-mongers in the world–even on sites as completely inconsequential as this one.

    Hey Christopher–doesn’t that constitute an ad hominem attack (metaphorically speaking ) on our beloved site, Blogcritics? For shame…And why would Moonraven bother to waste so much time in the comments section if it’s so inconsequential? Where’s her blog, btw? And why the name change?

    Her anti-Semitism (oh wait, let’s be crystal clear here–her blatant Jew hatred) is both utterly predictable and breathtakingly unapologetic. At least she’s honest about it.

    I’ve read Moonraven/Marthe’s comments before, and one of many things that immediately come to mind is her utter lack of humor. On the other hand, it’s always useful to tell others that they have no sense of humor as an excuse to hit below the belt, as in–hey, can’t you take a joke?

    That Hitler crack was really hilarious, btw. Bravo.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    What can I say? If I have the choice between throwing my lot in with a system and a process that I know with 100% certainty does not work–that breeds poverty, hunger, violence and degrades both the present and the future for the majority of people on the planet

    AKA socialism/communism.

    –or one whose results are uncertain but which APPEARS to be aimed at reducing and/or eliminating those noxious elements, I will choose the latter.

    Wow, Marthe. I didn’t expect you to throw your lot in with Bush, Blair, Howard and the others who are trying to preserve and promote western, capitalist democracy.

    Dave

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    Of course it is no one’s business,

    Sure it is. We all have the right to be curious, and you have the right to legitimize yourself by telling us, or to obfuscate and conceal your motivations as you have chosen to do.

    but I believe I have mentioned in the past that I am an educational consultant–which neans that I work for various organizations (universities, in the majority–some private, some public) designing pedagogical programs, language acquisition programs, curricula, and so forth–in different countries.

    Extraordinarily vague. Could easily be a bit of spin doctoring applied to someone who does hardcore ideological indoctrination, disseminates propaganda or sells books for a polemical publishing house.

    Fortunately, I do not have to work all that much–so I have time to do theater projects and can even bankroll them in poor communities.

    Just like socialist agitators in Czarist Russia or in the US during the Depression.

    Although none of my client organizations has a political affiliation, we all know that ALL EDUCATION IS POLITICAL.

    So your efforts to spread the wisdom of the myriad failed dictators of the past century like Stalin, Mao and Castro is entirely voluntary, then?

    Dave

  • Zedd

    #212 sez:
    Dave,
    Are you trying to make a point somewhere in there or are you just having another psychotic episode?

    Boy that was funny!!! Sorry Dave but that is excactly what I think when you go on your paranoid kick. I keep reading it and I laugh every time.

    I wish I was rude enough to come up with it. Ha ha ha ha. I hope you laughed Dave. That was priceless, you have to admit it.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    You’re only paranoid up to the point where everyone else realizes you were right. Sadly that’s usually quite a bit too late for them and you.

    Dave

  • Zedd

    Dave:

    What if THEY never realised that you are right.

    I suppose it means that you were just paranoid.

    Unfortunately, if you adhere to your way of thinking, you will never know because you will be forever convinced that “THEY’LL COME AROUND,(insert diabolical laughter, fists raised and head tilted back) some day they will know haha ahahahahahah!!! whose that!!”

  • moonraven

    Dave,

    NO ONE on this site or any other Internet forum is required to “legitimize” oneself by revealing what one does for a living, for hobbies or anything else. Get your nose out of other folks’ butts. No one hired you to be the forum policeman. And given your paranoid nosiness, no one will. Get a life. Or take my firing squad offer before the price is out of your reach.

    I will not treat you with courtesy in the future–certainly will not answer any of your questions about MY life. At least I have one.

    And who is this new heckler, Elvira (apt nom de guerre) who makes my point about the kind of folks that can visit sites and post with impunity and LIE through their dirty little teeth–example:

    “Her anti-Semitism (oh wait, let’s be crystal clear here–her blatant Jew hatred) is both utterly predictable and breathtakingly unapologetic. At least she’s honest about it.”

    I explicitly indicated that I am against the state of Israel, not the Jews. But for the reading-challenged, whose mode of communication is word salad, the word Jew immediately freaks them out. I don’t have to tell any of you what that means.

    The point of all this is the following:

    Chavez has a viable program that is working for the people of Venezuela.

    He is one of the most influential people on the planet.

    He is not white.

    You racist boatsellers and sellers of shoes in strip malls just can’t stomach that.

    It’s not Chavez’ fault that you are failures, nor mine.

    Yep–that’s ad hominem–in a generic sort of way.

    Matt,

    Whoever you are, do not let the boatseller Clavos intimidate you. He quotes other people’s opinions and passes them off as evidence. Chavez has always presented Christ as a socialist revolutionary hero.

    I wrote a couple of pieces about his doing just that 4 years ago on my own blog site. Sorry, won’t give the link as there are too many fruitcakes who clutter up the comments threads on blog sites making foolish comments while they are not beating off in XXX sites.

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com/ Elvira Black

    Moonraven:

    Who is this new heckler Elvira?

    Well, if you ever took your solipsistic head out of your ass and looked around the site instead of just searching for any articles with the name Hugo Chavez in them, you’d know that I’m a BC writer. I post and comment here all the time. And I have my own blog. Unlike you. You may technically have one, but if it’s not linked here, it’s moot.

    Personal attacks may be a no no, but death threats are ok in your book? I can just imagine the kind of world we’d have with the likes of you in charge.

    Oh yes, you don’t hate Jews. The Hitler joke was just good clean fun. Can’t I take a joke? You certainly can’t when folks poke a little fun at your hero Hugo. You go apeshit ballistic, in fact.

    You also said:
    “Wrote a couple of pieces about his doing just that 4 years ago on my own blog site. Sorry, won’t give the link as there are too many fruitcakes who clutter up the comments threads on blog sites making foolish comments while they are not beating off in XXX sites.”

    Cowardly hypocrite. What in the hell do you call what you’re doing here? You can dish out the dogshit, but you can’t take it, can you now? Typical–oh so typical…

    The funny thing is that even though this troll gets her rocks off doing this, it’s so easy to get sucked into her drama. If we all ignored her, she’d move on.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    NO ONE on this site or any other Internet forum is required to “legitimize” oneself

    No one here said you had to legitimize yourself. I merely suggested it so that you could shore up your shaky reputation and get people to take you a bit more seriously here. Clavos has damaged your credibility pretty severely, and your own actions have cast suspicion on your motives, so there are questions out there begging for an answer. You don’t have to answer them, but not doing so amounts to an admission of sorts.

    by revealing what one does for a living, for hobbies or anything else. Get your nose out of other folks’ butts. No one hired you to be the forum policeman. And given your paranoid nosiness, no one will. Get a life. Or take my firing squad offer before the price is out of your reach.

    Nice pointless posturing.

    I will not treat you with courtesy in the future–certainly will not answer any of your questions about MY life. At least I have one.

    Then you have to accept the fact that you’re going to be subject to a certain level of suspicion if you act like a shill.

    Chavez has a viable program that is working for the people of Venezuela.

    I’m going to keep this quote on file for later reference. It will look great in the context of death squad reports and mass imprisonments which we can expect in the coming years.

    He is not white.

    He’s not? He looks whiter than I do.

    Dave

  • Zedd

    Ruvy

    I thought Jewness was a religious designation and not an ethnic definition.

    If it is a religious distiction, why are you on here cursing everyone out under guise of being one of God’s chosen? Were you chosen to hurl obscenities across the planet at those who don’t agree with you?

    Just asking…. Trying to expand my mind.

  • STM

    Moonrave wrote: “He Chavez) is one of the most influential people on the planet.”

    Lol! What, in some bizarre alternative universe?

  • Zedd

    SMT

    No he really is..

    Don’t forget, not all of the world is White.

    Don’t dismiss him because he is not going to get an invite to the queens table. He has been tactfully courting the developing world, Russia, and the Middle East.

    People are listening.

    European countries people admire him for his muchakas!

  • STM

    Chavez has a head like a smashed crab

  • STM

    Zedd: “Don’t forget, not all of the world is White.”

    Oh, really Zedd, thanks for letting me know. If we’re talking about people more influential than Chavez in the southern hemisphere alone, I could think of a few just off the top of my head (including Graham Henry, the NZ rugby coach, who certainly commands a much wider TV audience than Chavez) but there is one who springs immediately to mind: Mandela. You couldn’t compare what they’ve done. One’s a hero, the other’s a self-aggrandising chest-beater.

    Chavez? Phhht! And Venezuela? Oil coming out of the ground for nearly a century, literally awash with natural resources, but thanks to the greed of its own ruling class, or its military, depending on who was in power at the time, has ignored the plight of its people and still has a poverty rate of 33 per cent. What a disgrace that people are even propagating this nonense in public. The catchcry, so typical of parts of Latin America: it’s everyone else’s fault we’re poor – they exploited us. And don’t expect much to change.

    And courting the developing world? For what, and to what end? It’s still a third-world country. It’s one of the most urbanised cities in the region, but half of Caracas isn’t even sewered (if you’re ever there, try not to let anyone make you a sandwich), and many of its “new” infrastructure works remain half finished and can expect to stay that way for the forseeable future.

    This whole thing is a joke. Chavez might be a legend in moonraven’s ever-diminishing lunchtime (how does she manage to do all she brags about, and save the world in the process, with just 24 hours in a day?), but look, honestly, that’s about it.

    Also, in relation to this thread: there are plenty in South America who believe that Chavez has ripped off and hijacked the concept of Bolivarian thought, and that this latest nonsense about Venezuela, the Kingdom of Christ, is a sop to those real Bolivarian thinkers who have criticised him for it.

    He is a typical Latin American populist dictator pretending to be a socialist and whose only real recourse when it comes to holding on to power is to rattle a very small sabre.

    You can just imagine the Yanks now, quaking in their boots in Washington.

  • Les Slater

    STM #237

    “…whose only real recourse when it comes to holding on to power is to rattle a very small sabre.”

    ”You can just imagine the Yanks now, quaking in their boots in Washington.”

    What are you trying to say here? Why do you link him holding on to power to whether on not the Yanks quake in their boots?

  • troll

    nice words STM

    now how about some links to these reasoned critiques for those of us who are trying to learn something other than the prejudices of commenters…I’m particularly interested in reading the *real Bolivarian thinkers who have criticised him* that you reference

    thanks in advance

  • Clavos

    To all on BC:

    Peace on Earth to men of good will.

    Happy holidays, one and all.

  • S.T.M

    Les: Chavez’s bizarre alignments with the so-called non-aligned (including strange schemes such as new programs of migration from Iran and China) are undoubtedly part of the Chavez’s angry, two-fingered salute to Washington. We all know the history of US meddling in Latin America, but to what end this latest little bout of anti-imperialist rhetoric? It is the key question, as Chavez doubtless could have achieved more in terms of social change by at least keeping the US onside, if not as his best friends.

    Troll, I don’t have my instructions on how to link. I can only give you the raw one, which may not please Chris, but here it is for a pretty good overview of how Chavez has corrupted Bolivarian thought (which is a fairly open-ended philosophy anyway, it must be said)

    [I’ve made the link active for you, STM, and as a seasonal gift, here’s an explanation of how to make a link active for future reference. Happy Holiday!]

  • troll

    STM – here’s an example that would link to the blog critics home page:

    < (a) href="http://blogcritics.org/">insert text of your choice< (/a)>

    remove the parentheses from around ‘a’ and ‘/a’ to make the link active

  • Clavos

    STM,

    Thank you for presenting that excellent report.

    I’m taking the liberty of providing the link to the paper here.

    And here’s a summary quote from the report:

    On balance, the latest incarnation of Bolivarianism is nebulous and therefore not fully coherent, although some of its proponents’ main aims, such as nationalism, Latin American regionalism, anti-Americanism, xenophobia, and the mobilization and militarization of Venezuelan society, are certainly clear.

    As previously noted, Bolivarianism is a rather nebulous interpretation of Latin American reality, but one that provides an effective tool for drumming up support for radical political agendas. As the movement matures and produces a more substantive body of theoretical, legal, administrative, and political literature that clearly lays out aims and policies, it might become something quite different from the manipulative political construction it now appears to be. In the end, however, one must understand this about Venezuela and Latin America: That no matter how popular such radical agendas become, they can survive only if the military sector, for whatever reason, decides to support them. MR

    And, of course, Mr. Chavez is a former military officer.

  • troll

    great linkage STM – thanks

    but I don’t read in it a description of how *Chavez has corrupted Bolivarian thought* … his militarism and goal of an integrated Latin American regional power bloc seem consistent with Bolivar’s wishes for his Republic

    why the anti-US rhetoric – ? might be because the US actively supported a coup against him and will oust him and given any chance to do so

    you asked earlier why Chavistas are so hard on western capitalism – I get the impression that the answer is simply that it wasn’t getting the job done…the poor majority remained under-fed/educated/housed/healed …something new is required (and imo fundamental change is needed in the US as well despite its bountiful pirated booty)

    my worry is that Chavez will be unable/unwilling to constrain his State apparatus from adopting totalitarian measures if (read when) his party’s hold on power is threatened…as I expect it would be in response to a stepped up program of expropriation and redistribution of capitalists’ assets

  • troll

    (I left out the all important under employed above – sorry)

  • Clavos

    troll,

    my worry is that Chavez will be unable/unwilling to constrain his State apparatus from adopting totalitarian measures if (read when) his party’s hold on power is threatened…as I expect it would be in response to a stepped up program of expropriation and redistribution of capitalists’ assets

    Agreed. And I think that process is already underway: the threats to revoke broadcast licenses and his proposal to revoke term limits certainly are steps in that direction.

    Total and irrevocable control is what he seems to be bent on.

  • Clavos

    troll,

    you asked earlier why Chavistas are so hard on western capitalism – I get the impression that the answer is simply that it wasn’t getting the job done…the poor majority remained under-fed/educated/housed/healed

    Won’t argue with you there, either. I wonder: is the “failure” of capitalism in Venezuela a repudiation of the concept, or simply of the manner of its implementation in Venezuela (and elsewhere in LatAm)?

    (and imo fundamental change is needed in the US as well despite its bountiful pirated booty)

    I agree with you in principle there, as well. What argument (if any) I might have with you on that point would revolve around how “fundamental” a change you advocate. I don’t think there’s an inherent fallacy in the idea of capitalism as an economic theory and system.. I DO think it’s implementation (in most countries, US included), HAS been flawed, to varying degrees — less in the US than elsewhere.

  • troll

    extending/eliminating term limits is not a totalitarian measure…outlawing opposition parties or restricting their access to the ballot or the propaganda outlets (read media) would be

    as would be ‘postponing’ elections

  • Clavos

    extending/eliminating term limits is not a totalitarian measure

    In and of itself, no. But it puts him in an excellent position to stay in power indefinitely.

    And that’s apparently his goal, as this recent article in Bloomberg indicates:

    Dec. 5 (Bloomberg) — Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said he will push for a constitutional amendment next year that would allow him to hold office indefinitely as a first step toward making Venezuela a socialist nation.

  • troll

    (hey – that’s my link from #4)

    if the voters turn him into a Venezuelan Roosevelt through ‘free and fair’ elections what’s the problem – ?

  • MAOZ

    I’ve been away for awhile. Is it too late to jump in here over the “anti-semitic” thing?

    Moonraven at #193 asks “How can I be anti-semitic when I have nothing but good thoughts about Arabs?” And Ruvy at #195 seconds the point.

    So let me just point out that the dictionary definition of “anti-semitism” is hatred of Jews, NOT “hatred of Semitic-language speakers”.

    (Cf. Merriam-Webster’s on-line dictionary: anti-semitism = “hostility toward or discrimination against Jews as a religious, ethnic, or racial group.” Or the Cambridge on-line dictionary’s definition: “the strong dislike or cruel and unfair treatment of Jewish people.” [Emphasis added in both cases])

  • Clavos

    troll,

    I thought it looked familiar…:>)

    if the voters turn him into a Venezuelan Roosevelt through ‘free and fair’ elections what’s the problem – ?

    On the surface of it, none. But remember, WE put term limits on the Presidency because of Roosevelt. No matter how benign, most people aren’t comfortable with “president for life.”

    Bottom line: time will tell.

    In the meantime, it does have a funny odor to it, IMO.

  • Clavos

    It’s never too late, MAOZ. Welcome aboard.

    I’m glad to see your reaction to moonraven’s response to my accusation of anti-Semitism.

    I didn’t reply myself, but I agree with your post (and the dictionary) completely.

  • Les Slater

    Troll #244

    “…my worry is that Chavez will be unable/unwilling to constrain his State apparatus from adopting totalitarian measures…”

    I wouldn’t use ‘unwilling’ but otherwise the statement has merit. I too would be concerned.

    The problem is that the state is capitalist and one of the more important of the state apparatuses is the military. In a real crisis of class polarization the military would have divided loyalties. The upper echelons would support the capitalist class over the workers and peasants. Chile in 1973 is good example.

    A popular militia needs to be built.

  • Clavos

    Les writes,

    I wouldn’t use ‘unwilling’ but otherwise the statement has merit. I too would be concerned.

    Well, we’re all in agreement as to being concerned.

    I DO think he’d be “unwilling.” In fact, my concern centers on what I believe is the very strong possibility that, if his opposition is strong enough, he himself will have the state apparatus set in motion the totalitarian measures.

  • Les Slater

    MOAZ #251

    I think there is a problem with the dictionary definition of anti-Semitism.

    My Merriam-Webster Unabridged says the same thing. It also says:

    2 : opposition to Zionism : sympathy with opponents of the state of Israel

    The second definition is wrong. Many anti-Semites oppose the Zionist State of Israel but also many that do not discriminate, hate or otherwise denigrate Jews do find justifiable political reasons to oppose Zionism and the State of Israel.

    Jew-hatred is much clearer and accurate.

    “anti-semitism.” Webster’s Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged. Merriam-Webster, 2002. (24 Dec. 2006).

  • Les Slater

    “Well, we’re all in agreement as to being concerned.”

    My concern come from opposite direction and isn’t really the same concern.

  • Clavos

    Les,

    Please, give me some credit… I KNOW where your concern is — you made that clear, and I CAN read…

    Nonetheless, there IS a common thread: we’re all concerned that totalitarianism may enter into the picture one day. We differ in how and by whom.

  • Clavos

    Les writes,

    The second definition is wrong. Many anti-Semites oppose the Zionist State of Israel but also many that do not discriminate, hate or otherwise denigrate Jews do find justifiable political reasons to oppose Zionism and the State of Israel.

    True. My best buddy is a Reform Jew, a Democrat, and a liberal. He’s very much opposed to the present government of Israel, though not to the concept of an Israeli homeland.

  • http:ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy in Jerusalem

    MAOZ,

    There is nothing wrong with the dictionary definition until you get to the details. When you mess with the details, you get stuck in a nasty way. Plus you get people who spin the term anti-Semitism for all it is worth. That is why I stick with Jew-hatred. It does the job and gets rid of the spin. Clarity, aHí, is a virtue in writing, one of the very few things I learned in law school years ago.

  • troll

    I imagine that’s what the AKs and his Mission Miranda are about – even if his language emphasizes a perceived external threat

  • Les Slater

    “Please, give me some credit… I KNOW where your concern is — you made that clear, and I CAN read…”

    The following gives me cause to wonder:

    “I DO think he’d be “unwilling.” In fact, my concern centers on what I believe is the very strong possibility that, if his opposition is strong enough, he himself will have the state apparatus set in motion the totalitarian measures.”

    I think this only could be true if you looked at the situation as I explained in my #140 in response to your #121:

    “The only way Chavez can live up to his ‘revolution’ being for all classes is for him to try to check the aspirations of the workers and peasants at a certain point. He would then be part of the obstacle to a real and necessary revolution.”

    Does this mean you are also for an anti-capitalist revolution?

  • Clavos

    He’s playing with fire there. 100,000 AKs in the hands of an unruly mob (if they ever become such) can wreak a lot of havoc.

    The external threat language is standard LatAm strongman rhetoric. It’s a great way to rally and motivate the people. It may also be a red herring.

  • Clavos

    Les,

    I’m confused when you refer to Chavez’ living up to his revolution being for all classes. Can you source where he includes the capitalists?

    It’s my understanding that it is precisely in regard to capitalism where he most diverges from Bolívar, who was a firm believer in free-market capitalism?

  • Les Slater

    “He’s playing with fire there. 100,000 AKs in the hands of an unruly mob (if they ever become such) can wreak a lot of havoc.”

    They are also getting the rights to set up factories to build more. Maybe the Cubans are getting through to them that they need to build a popular militia. That would be good.

  • Clavos

    “That would be good.” Even if they all turned to capitalism? :>)

  • Les Slater

    “Even if they all turned to capitalism?”

    That wouldn’t be my worry. :>)

  • Clavos

    No, I suppose not…

  • MAOZ

    Ruvy #260 — so do you automatically surrender the linguistic battlefield to the spinsters?

  • MAOZ

    Clavos #253, thanks.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy in Jerusalem

    MAOZ,

    Go check through my posts and my comments to see how many times I have used the term “Palestinian” to describe Arabs living in our country without using quotes around the term.

    The big spin term the Arabs have put over on so many others who report what they call “news” is where I have never given in. But if Marthe is right about anti-Semitism, or if she can use the fact that Arabs are Semites to spin the term, then Jew-hatred is the term to use, boychick.

    I’ve given in on nothing, just switched the battle to a field of MY choosing.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    why the anti-US rhetoric – ?

    To build a totalitarian empire you need to have an external enemy. Who better for this than the US? It worked for Iran and it can certainly work for Venezuela.

    Dave

  • Les Slater

    Clavos #264

    “It’s my understanding that it is precisely in regard to capitalism where he most diverges from Bolívar, who was a firm believer in free-market capitalism”

    There are no states, capitalist or otherwise, that allow unfettered ‘free-market capitalism’. The 1999 Bolivarian constitution only puts limits on the private sector. It proscribes monopoly. In general it encourages the ‘private sector’.

    Neither Hugo Chavez nor his political party has ever called for the expropriation of the capitalist class in Venezuela.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    Neither Hugo Chavez nor his political party has ever called for the expropriation of the capitalist class in Venezuela.

    So they just did it without making an announcement, then?

    Dave

  • Les Slater

    “So they just did it without making an announcement, then?”

    You know something the rest of the world doesn’t?

  • troll

    Les – I was under the impression that low level expropriation has been going

    factories

    land

  • Les Slater

    Troll,

    “I was under the impression that low level expropriation has been going..”

    This is true. It is the low-lying fruit, no real challenge, in-itself, to capitalist property relations. Any capitalist state, including the United States, will nationalize property that it thinks important to the economy, and is not being run effectively. Often it is the capitalist owners themselves that arrange for the nationalization, especially if they think they cannot make a profit by running it.

    In the United States I think the whole energy industry should be nationalized and put under workers control. That, in-itself, would not overturn capitalism in the U.S.. It might set a precedent where workers could gain experience, and confidence, that they could run industry, without the capitalists.

    For whatever reason, the owners of the property that is being nationalized in Venezuela have abandoned the property.

    As far as land reform is concerned, this is common in the development of modern capitalist states. Again, in Venezuela, this is being aimed at unproductive land.

    Les

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    You know something the rest of the world doesn’t?

    Looks like troll knew it too and provided the links, and you seem to have admitted it, so yes apparently I know something and I’m not alone.

    As for your idea of putting the US oil industry in the hands of the ‘workers’, who exactly do you have in mind as the ‘workers’? If you mean the guys who work the rigs and in the refineries, they don’t have the skills or resources to run the operations they work in and the result would be a disaster – ever heard of the Grange?

    If you mean finding ways to encourage small-scale producers and entrepreneurs to get back into production and sell their output through co-ops and deals with distributors the way things worked up until the 1960s, then you might be on to something – but how can we do it without resorting to something pretty draconian?

    Dave

  • Clavos

    And wouldn’t it be in violation of Section 1 of Amendment XIV?

  • Les Slater

    Dave,

    My #275 was in response to your #274, which was explicitly to my, “Neither Hugo Chavez nor his political party has ever called for the expropriation of the capitalist class in Venezuela.”

    I didn’t really presume that you understood what ‘expropriation of the capitalist class’ meant. I left it to further comment. My #277 at least partially explained that.

    To be specific, the capitalist class in a country is just that, a class, not a small subset of that class or their property. The capitalist class in Venezuela has not been expropriated.

    Les

  • troll

    what would such an expropriation of an entire class look like do you think…? (both in terms of process and result)

  • Les Slater

    “And wouldn’t it be in violation of Section 1 of Amendment XIV?”

    I don’t think so. 14 was ratified in ’68. Its Section 1 was to proscribe the possibility of a further Dread Scott type of ruling. It was specifically aimed at protecting the rights of individuals. Its ‘without due process’ does not preclude the use of ‘eminent domain’.

  • Les Slater

    “As for your idea of putting the US oil industry in the hands of the ‘workers’, who exactly do you have in mind as the ‘workers’?”

    Venezuela gives us a little idea what this might look like.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    Ah, so it would look like a totalitarian dictatorship with no free press and huge unemployment. Goody.

    Dave

  • Les Slater

    “…so it would look like a totalitarian dictatorship with no free press and huge unemployment.”

    I presume your response is to my #283.

    The management-instigated lockout and sabotage of Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PDVSA) in December 2002 and January 2003 was an attempt to bring down the Chavez government.

    The government fired all of the management and any others that cooperated with the lockout or sabotage and attempted to bring the oil industry back on line with the workers that remained. They were successful and this lockout is but just one of the failed attempts by the capitalists, their imperialist co-conspirators and cheerleaders to overthrow the government.

    Unemployment peaked just under 16% in 2002, was just over 14% in 2003. It was about 9% in 2005 according to Latin Focus. Venezuela has recovered from this act of sabotage and the workers in PDVSA are working without the capitalist stooges

  • moonraven

    Geez, I am sorry I bothered to return to this thread.

    What is really laughable is that:

    1. Dave insists that invading folks’ privacy is SOP on this site–yet he decries totalitarianism.

    2. Elvira–tells thus that anyone who has a blog that´´s not on this pathetic site doesn´´t count.

    3. Clavos links us to an article that diagrees with everything he has been posting and tells us that it documents his opinions!!

    Newsflash: Heinz Dietrich (just happen to know him as he has spent a lot of time here in Mexico in academic and jornalist circles) is farther left than just about anybody I can think of. Poor, confused Clavos–who also tells us about Bolivar´´s unwavering support for capitalism! Just tosses that off as if he actually knew something. Bolivar, my fine feathered boatman, was an unwavering supporter of the ideas of Rousseau and the Rights of Men promulgated by the French Revolution!!!

    For more on Bolivarian Socialism compared to Capitalism here’s a link:

    4. STM tells us that Chavez is NOT one of the most influential people on the planet!!!!

    5. But what has me falling off my chair with raucous raven laughter is the expressions of CONCERN that Chavez MIGHT turn Venezuela into a totalitarian state. You idiots didn´´t even flinch when the US became a totalitarian state!! (Poltical prisoners up the wazoo a la Gulag in a great imitation of our old friend Joe Stalin, illegal wiretapping ditto, habeas corpus given the boot, FBI snooping at what you´´ve checked out from the PUBLIC library, etc. etc. etc.

    What a riot to be concerned about a country you have never visit, do not plan to vist and know squat about–while whistling blithely as your own country goes to hell in a handbasket.

    Keep up the good work.

  • moonraven

    Here’s a piece that puts “capitalism” and “socialism” in perspective.

    Oh my: that commie pinko rag, The Boston Globe again.

  • moonraven

    Ohmygod: I forgot to comment on Dave´´s biggest howler of all time: His insistentce that Chavez (of mixed indigenous and african origins–what is called a ¨¨zambo¨¨ in Venezuela) is whiter than he is!!!!

    Apparently Dave is an African-American paranoid busybody….

    So much for full disclosure.

  • troll

    nice to read you again moonraven…and you are absolutely correct of course that this thread is an academic exercise – totally irrelevant to what’s going on in Venesuela

    and in that spirit:

    to what extent has the capitalist government simply replaced the capitalists and their stooges in expropriating the working class – ?

    …has the government come up with an efficient principle which will organize production other than maximizing profit (now for the State) with its ownership issues and required winners and losers – ?

    …has the government exploded the myths of more and less valuable forms of labor

    has anything fundamental changed – ?

    also moonraven – it’s old news (debated ad nauseam) that the US government is a quasi socialist fascist totalitarian structure in a velvet glove and a hard nut to crack

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com/ Elvira Black

    Moonraven:

    So good to see you back!

    Not that it matters, but I and many BC writers have sites completely apart from BC.

    I still can’t help but wonder why you bother at all with a site that you call “pathetic,” though…

    Nevertheless, you make for a lively thread to say the least.

  • moonraven

    I don´´t see the velvet glove. troll. I think folks in the US are just too stupid to put cause and effect together. They don´´t want to acknowledge that that broomhandle is being inserted into their rectums by people they voted for.

    Just another totalitarian twostep. (Was going to say tango–which sounds better–but it´´s way too Latin.)

  • moonraven

    Elvira,

    I make for a lively thread because I am alive–35 hours flying from the Gulf to central Mexico notwithstanding.

    Too bad I can´´t say the same for you.

    I don´´t link my blog because its following is of a different stripe than you–academics, artists, writers, filmmakers–you know, educated people. Todate no folks who piss in the sandbox.

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com/ Elvira Black

    Moonraven:

    You are in top form as usual.

    In what sense am I not alive?

    I think you are being a bit presumptous in labeling writers here as uneducated imbeciiles–especially since I don’t think you have read anything on this site other than the Chavez pieces. How could you accurately judge the site and its writers this way–is it just because folks here may disagree with you?

    Again, I fail to see why you don’t link your blog here. What would be the worst that could happen–you’d have to deal with folks who may give you a hard time about your beliefs, just as you give folks here? Since you are quite frank in stating your opinions at this “pathetic” site, why not open up the forum on your site for discussion? And again, why bother with this “pathetic” site in the first place and the imbeciles who frequent it? You seem like a busy woman.

    Perhaps on your blog you have become bored with preaching to the converted?

  • moonraven

    Oops, here´s another shill for Chavez (SOMEBODY WHO ACTUALLY VISITED VENEZUELA!) God forbid….

  • moonraven

    Alive people have hearts that beat and eyes that see and ears that hear. They don´´t stick their fingers in their ears and scream when they hear someone say the world isn´´t flat.

    Those are called vital signs.

    I have read a few other pieces on this site that were not focused on Chavez.

    Sorry, my blog site was never meant to be a public site. Access is by recommendation only. No amount of bitching on your part will make me change my mind about you.

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com/ Elvira Black

    Moonraven:

    Thanks for the response, but you still seem to be skirting some questions.

    One observation: for someone who is supposedly so caring, you certain seem to be pretty much of a misanthrope.

    Changing your mind about me is pretty meaningless, as you dont know me and don’t care to. The only way you can gauge me is by the fact that I may disagree with your political beliefs. It seems very childish to resort to name calling when there’s so little real evidence to base your judgment on.

    Now why is it again that you bother with the morons on this site at all?

  • D’oh

    This is for the People of the Sun, cuz it’s coming back around again.

  • moonraven

    Okay Elvira, Cut the crap. I made it plain earlier on in this thread that you were a liar.

    That´´s enough reason for my not wanting you anywhere near my blog site.

    In fact, this is my last communication to you.

  • moonraven

    This one is for our Homeboy Dave.

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com/ Elvira Black

    Moonraven:

    Don’t tell me I’ve gotten the best of you? Why not answer my questions? I don’t see where I’ve called you a liar, but others on this thread have had worse things to say and you still respond to them.

    Snubbing me proves my point more eloquently than anything else you could possibly say. And with that, I bid you adieu.

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com/ Elvira Black

    Oh, sorry–you called me a liar. That’s a matter of interpretation, I suppose.

    You must be exhausted from your trip–I thought you could do better than the old cut and paste deal.

    Over and out.

  • http://wisdomandmurder.com Lisa McKay

    Moonraven, I’d like to request that you link to your other sources rather than copy-and-paste entire pieces of copyrighted material into the comments thread.

    Thank you.

    Lisa McKay
    Executive Editor

  • Clavos

    Elvira,

    Here’s why moonraven doesn’t link to her blog; she doesn’t WANT dissenting voices on it:

    don´´t link my blog because its following is of a different stripe than you–academics, artists, writers, filmmakers–you know, educated people. Todate no folks who piss in the sandbox. (emphasis mine)

    Why am I not surprised?

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com/ Elvira Black

    Clavos:

    Yes indeed. If one is a fan of totalitarian regimes, why not be a totalitarian on one’s blog?

  • moonraven

    It is MY blog, after all, Clavos–if I don´t want it cluttered up with comments by folks who are professional ignoramuses, that´s my right.

    And that´s not a totalitarian posture because you have no rights in regard to this matter that I am violating.

    Being professionally ignorant is not the same as dissentng–it is picking fights with folks when you don´t know what you´re talking about and refusing to become educated–either out of laziness or out of perversity.

    Hell, you folks are ridiculous: Last week there was a big hue and cry and demands to ban ME from this PUBLIC site.

    My site gets readers and comentators when other folks recommend it. I am sure it won´t be recommended to you.

    So, you´re ot banned–just not invited.

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com/ Elvira Black

    Clavos:

    This is adderessed solely to you, since Moonraven and I are no longer on speaking terms:

    For the record, I couldn’t care less what Moon thinks of me. She has nothing to base her opionions on of me save for a handful of comments here. If that’s all it takes to judge a person’s intellect, integrity, and so on, I’ve been putting myself through a lot of unneccesary work for 49 years.

    I have no desire to read her blog, either–save for purusing it briefly for curiosity’s sake–but I imagine I can live quite well without doing so. Somehow I have the feeling it’s as dried out and useless as her [vulgar one-word personal attack not inserted here.]

    And lastly, as The Professor told Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver:

    “Go out..get drunk. Get laid. Don’t THINK so much…”

    Not a lie; just an opinion.

  • http://www.futonreport.net/ Matthew T. Sussman

    Moonraven, tell Clavos to tell Elvira that I am no longer on speaking terms with her.

  • Clavos

    Last week there was a big hue and cry and demands to ban ME

    Excuse me? “big hue and cry?”

    ONE COMMENTER OFFHANDEDLY suggested it; ONE.

    AND this is NOT a public site. It belongs to the gentlemen who started it. If you had taken the time to read the comment guidelines and other information posted on the home page BEFORE inundating us with your BS, you’d know that.

    Moonraven, you richly deserve all the ridicule we can heap on you. You lie even when we can go back upthread and check. You twist and distort everything the rest of us say, and then accuse ALL OF US of being the liars.

    Your opinions are worth exactly what we paid for them: ZERO.

  • http://elvirablack.blogspot.com/ Elvira Black

    Clavos:

    Tell Moonraven to tell Suss that the reason I’m not on speaking terms with Moon is because she refuses to further engage me. And I quote:

    “Okay Elvira, Cut the crap. I made it plain earlier on in this thread that you were a liar.

    That´´s enough reason for my not wanting you anywhere near my blog site.

    In fact, this is my last communication to you.”

  • moonraven

    Time to respond to Les´s comment about the Venezuelan military.

    1. I believe I already mentioned somewhere on this thread that the Venezuelan military, unlike that of Chile, is largely composed of folks from the lower classes–Chavez being a good example. I also believe I mentioned the Martha Harnecker book which deals at length with the unique role of the Venezuelan military in the community.

    2. Venezuela HAS a civilian militia. They began training last April. The goal is to have a million folks. I am not sure how many are in it as of this date, but I do know that they started the training with 150,000.

    The new Russian-made rifles are to replace the old army rifles–which will be given to the militia members.

  • STM

    “The new Russian-made rifles are to replace the old army rifles–which will be given to the militia members.”

    See, Santa Claus does exist. But I bet that naughty moonraven only got a brick and a carrot in her stocking this year.

  • STM

    As a rugby fan, I would love to have a president with a head like a smashed crab, instead of a prime minister who does a great passing impression of a garden gnome with a botoxed top lip.

    I’d even move to Caracas if the incentives were right. After all, apart from decent plumbing and a fully functioning sewer system, what does Sydney have that Caracas doesn’t?

    I love the sound of that people’s militia, too. Something to aspire to.

  • Clavos

    what does Sydney have that Caracas doesn’t?

    1. Aussies.

    2. A world class opera and one of the most beautiful buildings in the world in which to house it.

  • Les Slater

    moonraven #310

    “Venezuela HAS a civilian militia.”

    One of the things I always say about guns: ‘It really pays to know which way to point them.’

    Chávez talks about invasion from U.S. and about coups. But it is the capitalist class of Venezuela itself that is the nearest, most immediate and dangerous enemy. To the extent that this is not crystal clear, it politically disarms those that might be in a ‘militia’.

  • STM

    “One of the things I always say about guns: ‘It really pays to know which way to point them.”

    My tip: watch Chavez go out on his ear and elements of the army and the civilian militia take over the country eventually, thus forming a new military dictatorship.

    Big mistake on his part, but if you’re worried about the Army and the old ruling class, what’s the choice?

  • moonraven

    I have to laugh at the predictions of folks like STM who don´´t even know how to find Caracas on a map.

    I don´´t believe he was invited to move there, either.

    Les, Just like cars only run on combustible fuel, the opposition in Venezuela only runs on US funding–so it is a misapprehension to believe that there is a viable opposition in Venezuela.

    I think the civilian militia is necessary–an ¨¨unarmed revolution¨¨ led to the fall of the Arbenz government in Guatemala (with the consequence that it became Guate-mucho-peor) as well as that of Allende in Chile.

  • Les Slater

    “Just like cars only run on combustible fuel, the opposition in Venezuela only runs on US funding–so it is a misapprehension to believe that there is a viable opposition in Venezuela.”

    True, in the final analysis, very true. However, this fuel does not have to take the form of an invasion or coup. The capitalist class in Venezuela does have local, and regenerating, resources. They are, in-themselves, a real and dangerous enemy.

    ”I think the civilian militia is necessary–an ¨¨unarmed revolution¨¨ led to the fall of the Arbenz government in Guatemala (with the consequence that it became Guate-mucho-peor) as well as that of Allende in Chile.”

    I agree with your concerns. My problem is with the politics. You cannot have a revolution for all classes. My comment on which way to point the gun is that without the correct politics the gun might end up pointing at you. Nicaragua is a good (bad) example of this. In the end it was the government that turned against the workers. The capitalists won. The revolution was over.

  • D’oh

    As always, it is crucially important to Know your Enemy.

  • moonraven

    Yep, Les, the Sandinistas made a lot of mistakes in the 80s in Nicaragua (I would like to hope that Ortega will do a better job this time around….) But it´´s also hard to sort out the mistakes with a Nicaraguan origin from those resulting from the US-backed Contra counterinsurgency. And it was also the US that lethally damaged the Nicaraguan economy–then refused to pay the reparations ordered by the world court. Keep that in mind.

    Money makes a big difference–maybe if the Sandinistas had been sitting on the largest petroleum reserves in the world like the Chavez government is they would not have made so many mistakes.

    In this case, even hindsight isn´´t 20/20. Unlike the majority of folks posting here, I´´m not willing to shoot my mouth off without having hard data–and I don´´t consider one visit to Nicaragua and my having a number of very sharp Nica buddies sufficient information.

    However, it might be useful to note that Chavez has been in power for 8 years–and has managed to beat back–with the help of the Venezuelan people–a US-backed coup, a US-backed petroleum lockout that cost the country about 9 billion bucks, several assasination plans, plenty of US-instigated mischief, disinformation and outright difamation.

    And he´´s stronger than ever in his own country (gets a couple more percentage points of votes every election) and has gained enormous influence in the world at large. Yeah, some of that has to do with the petroleum reserves for sure.

    But he receives a rock star welcome everywhere he goes–and that has to do with his personal charisma and his refusal to be a lackey of Washington.

    Venezuela also has one of the most dynamic economies on the planet right now–especially in the PRIVATE, non-petroleum sector. This year they will top 10% in IBP increase–again.

    Anyone who wants to pin that on some kind of automatic rise in petroleum prices is ill-informed. Chavez is the person who revived OPEC. He received an empty treasury and Venezuela petroleum selling at 7 bucks a barrell in 1999–and immediately set off on a visit to the other OPEC countries to get them off their butts. Which he did, so immediately the US government started gunning for him.

    As for at whom the gun barrel points, let´´s face it: any weapon can be turned on its owner. But in the case of national defense, when there is a clear and present threat and plenty of sabre-rattling on the part of the US in the Caribbean, I don´´t believe it´´s responsible not to have the weapons and not to have folks trained to use them.

    The Chavez government is not invading other countries nor shooting at its own citizens–which is more than I can say for some of the other ¨¨significant players¨¨ on the planet (US, Israel, Russia….to name just a few.)

  • STM

    “I have to laugh at the predictions of folks like STM who don´´t even know how to find Caracas on a map.”

    I know exactly where it is moonraven. I can do it with my eyes closed.

    Kind of like pin the tail on the donkey

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    “I have to laugh at the predictions of folks like STM who don´´t even know how to find Caracas on a map.”

    Boy, and I thought I was arrogant. Marthe, you take the cake…

  • moonraven

    Hey, Ruvy–It´´s not arrogance. There is precedent, given that Homeboy Dave right here on this forum thought Venezuela was part of Central America.

  • Clavos

    But your jab wasn’t directed at Dave, martita…

  • moonraven

    What difference does THAT make?

    MOST of you jokers have demonstrated the greographical knowledge of a gerbil.

    Watch that wheel go round and round.

  • Clavos

    AAahh, so you’re OK with guilt by association, eh.

    Just because I’m a gerbil doesn’t make STM one, right?

  • STM

    If I’m a gerbil, moonraven is a screeching, squawking, multi-coloured crested Venezuelan parrot from what’s left of the Maracaibo basin.

    However, I prefer to think of myself as a wombat: eats, roots, and leaves.

    Please note the importance of the placement of the comma in that statement, and the use of the word root as it pertains to the rude Australian vernacular, rather than the American.

    Nevertheless, I can still put a red pin into Caracas on a map.

    And in future, I’ll pretend I’m sticking it into moonraven’s head.

  • Clavos

    STM:

    One of my favorite books is:

    Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation by Lynne Truss.

    Truss is a Brit, and the book is, of course, about the importance of using proper punctuation when writing in the English language.

    From your post, I take it you’re familiar with it?

  • STM

    Hi Clav: Yes, I do know of the book (Moonraven should read it, too, methinks, given the comma debacle further up the thread. It was then I realised she doesn’t take kindly to constructive criticism).

    I digress, though. Eats, roots, shoots and leaves has been an in-joke here for eons – probably well before the Englishman wrote his book.

    Emphasis in Australia, of course, as we are collectively of a rude, naughty and irreverent bent, is on the “roots” bit.

  • Clavos

    Stan,

    As you know, I met a few Aussies in Vietnam. To a man, they fit this description:

    we are collectively of a rude, naughty and irreverent bent

    For me, these are some of your most interesting qualities (especially the irreverence), and you Aussies are an interesting and very likable lot.

  • STM

    Thanks old boy – we try our best to be good, but it never works. Why fight fate.

  • STM

    Geez mate, this story of yours has had some legs, hasn’t it? Good effort

  • Clavos

    Thanks, Stan.

    I’ve just written another, about Chavez’ buddy, Evo Morales, in Bolivia.

    He’s trying to deport a dissident ant-Castro Cuban back into Fidel’s hands.

  • Clavos

    The Venezuelan economy has hit several rough patches lately, according to an article in Bloomberg:

    The country’s inflation rate hit 1.8% for December, bumping the annual rate to 17% for 2006, according to the central bank.

    The increased rate of inflation jeopardizes the government’s ability to meet its forecast target of 10-12% inflation for 2007. It missed the target for 2006, and the 17% rate, the fastest in Latin America, was up from 14.4% in 2005.

    Government spending is fueling the inflation, economists say, despite government price controls which affect about half the consumer price index, and which have been in place since 2003.

    Farmers are among the worst hit. Prices for their supplies and machinery are not controlled, while the official prices for their crops are tightly controlled. Consequently, many are selling product on the unofficial black markets, while dairy farmers are diverting their products into making cheese, which is unregulated, and causing shortages of milk throughout the country.

    The instability of the economy has brought other woes, as well.

    According to Bloomberg:

    Meanwhile, companies are reluctant to invest to increase production. Manufacturers, concerned that Chavez will deepen state involvement in the economy, have trimmed spending on new plant and equipment to the point that non-government investment equals no more than 4 percent of gross domestic product, the lowest among Latin America’s 10 biggest economies…

    …Foreign investors sold $778 million more in Venezuelan assets than they bought in the first nine months of 2006, according to the central bank; a decade ago, in the same period, they added $5.9 billion more than they disposed of.

    It looks like Chavez is finding out the hard way that you can’t pour money into an economy without negative results.

  • STM

    Clav wrote: “The Venezuelan economy has hit several rough patches lately, according to an article in Bloomberg”

    This post is sure to draw our old sparring partner, moonraven, out ofthe woodwork.

    And the more the merrier, I say!

  • Clavos

    I’m interested, too, Stan.

    One of the linchpins of her pro-Chavez arguments has always been about all the economic good he’s been doing for the country.

    The issues I reported in #33, and the gist of Bloomberg’s article are facts. They’re not opinion (as she’s accused us of in the past) or conjecture; their problems are real, and they stem from the enormous amount of government spending on the part of the Chavez administration.

  • STM

    One of the major problems of course is the reliance on oil. Chavez possibly needs to move away from it, perhaps using some of the revenue to set up more manufacturing industries capable of exporting consumer goods in large numbers to other countries in the region.

    That of course provides jobs, both in the construction and manufacturing stages, adds more infrastructure, and the like. Not a problem either to have these done as joint government/private industry ventures where the government elicits some control over the process.

    But I can’t see them going anywhere until the economy moves away from its reliance on oil. Things are sweet now, but ultimately it’s fraught.

    Currently, many infrastructure projects in Caracas remain partly completed and will remain that way for the foreseeable future because the funds are goingb elsewhere – however, to his credit, Chavez has poured a lot of money into social programs: universal free hospitals/medical care, education, public transport and housing.

    Perhaps once that stuff is sorted out finally, they can move on. In reality, given their vast supply of natural resources, they should be the powerhouse economy of the region.

    Given my socialist leanings, I am all for Chavez trying to improve the lot of his people (and in truth, despite the fact I love to give the raven some stick about it, he has done quite well, all things considered), but it has to be done in a sustainable way so that if there are blips in oil, the slack can be taken up elsewhere.

    It is worth noting that many countries outside Latin America have been able to provide great standards of living and protect workers’ rights in accord
    with private industry. There are lessons there for everyone.

    Stopping the sabre-rattling would be a great idea too. Aligning yourself with regimes like Iran and China, especially if it’s done just to give the two-fingered salute to the US, is just cutting off your nose to spite your face particularly when the real threat is from within, not from the US.

    That, and only that, is why I remain sceptical of his motives – much of the rest of what he’s done is quite admirable. In my view, it would be far more beneficial to him and to the country to open some constructive dialogue with the US.

  • Clavos

    Stan wrote,

    One of the major problems of course is the reliance on oil. Chavez possibly needs to move away from it, perhaps using some of the revenue to set up more manufacturing industries capable of exporting consumer goods in large numbers to other countries in the region.

    In order to diversify the economy and, as you say, create more jobs, I agree.

    Not a problem either to have these done as joint government/private industry ventures where the government elicits some control over the process.

    The problem here is that, so far, the Chávez government has not shown itself to be content with “some control.” See below.

    however, to his credit, Chavez has poured a lot of money into social programs: universal free hospitals/medical care, education, public transport and housing.

    And in the process, has overheated the economy to a 17% annual inflation rate, while still having a substantial portion of the population living in poverty.

    Given my socialist leanings, I am all for Chavez trying to improve the lot of his people

    I’m not even close to being a socialist, yet I absolutely agree with you; that should be a primary function of any government (though I suspect that my idea of how government should do that will be different from yours).

    But most of what Chávez has accomplished so far amounts to window dressing, and in the process he is severely curtailing the civil liberties of everyone in the country.

    It is worth noting that many countries outside Latin America have been able to provide great standards of living and protect workers’ rights in accord
    with private industry. There are lessons there for everyone.

    Especially Chávez.

    As you know, last week he announced he will not renew the broadcast license of the primary opposition TV station, Radio Caracas Televisión (RCTV).

    In his announcement, Chávez said, “There will be no new [television] concession for that coup-plotting television channel called RCTV,” he pontificated, “No media outlet will be tolerated here that is at the service of coup-ism, against the people, against the nation, against national independence, against the dignity of the republic.”

    So, now he controls congress, the Venezuelan Supreme Court, the electoral commission, and a number of sate governments. His hold on the entire governmental infrastructure in Venezuela is almost total.

    He’s seizing private property, ruling by decree and, as seen above, controlling the press.

    Dictator. And not a benevolent one, either.

  • STM

    “I’m not even close to being a socialist, yet I absolutely agree with you; that should be a primary function of any government (though I suspect that my idea of how government should do that will be different from yours).”

    When I saw socialist, Clav, I probably should explain: I am a member of the Labor Party, which is the equivalent of the Democrats but probably more left in a different kind of way to how you’d understand it there.

    It is one of two main parties here, the other being the Liberal Party (which ain’t liberal – it’s more like the British Conservatives and the Republican Party in the US).

    However, I am what is known as old-Right Labor – very conservative, especially on issues like immigration, as they affect jobs. Since we already have things like universal free health care and education, my main focus is the protection of workers’ rights under federal and state law, court-ordered abitration between workers/unions and employers and if all else fails in the collective bargaining process, the right to strike.

    Of course, there’s more. But the main factor here and yes, the lesson for people like Chavez, is that all these things here have been done in accord with employers and employer groups and for a hundred years have worked successfully. We have had a strong economy and in my view, the fairest and most free society in the world. We have not lived in fear, really, about anything.

    It’s about protection of jobs, wages/conditions and living standards while workers strive for optimum output to the benefit of both themselves and their employers.

    It’s possible for those things to happen, it’s good for the country and for family life and makes for a nation full of happy little Vegemites. Our current PM has tried to change our industrial-relations system to a more Americanised style, giving more power to employers. People are very unhappy. If you’ve never had the rights we had, you don’t miss them but it’s a big deal here. It’s a sleeper issue that may well cost him the next election. My test is the barbecue: this issue was the “barbecue stopper” on Christmas Day at our place.

    It’s not Iraq or anything else here that’s a problem (many of us believe that we should continue to help America and Britain, because of our common values) – it’s the erosion of people’s rights that had taken a century to thrash out through the courts that Howard and his mob of arrogant right-wing bastards undid in one fell swoop.

  • Clavos

    STM sez:

    it’s the erosion of people’s rights that had taken a century to thrash out through the courts that Howard and his mob of arrogant right-wing bastards undid in one fell swoop.

    And they’re doing it in a progressive representative democracy, without a coup, without suppressing the press, etc.

    Which is exactly why Chavez is so dangerous; not only for Venezuela, but for the region as well. He’s already given himself extraordinary powers, and is rapidly leaving the opposition without a voice and without power.

    Soon, he’ll be extremely difficult to stop.

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