Peace Patriot's Journal
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...a miserable 1% audit in the other half.
Know how much usually gets audited in a recount, here (if you can afford the money and lawyers to get a recount)? 3%.
Know who owns the programming code in these UNAUDITED and miserably inadequately audited voting machines, all over the U.S., in every state? 75% owned and controlled by ONE, PRIVATE, FAR RIGHTWING CONNECTED CORPORATION--ES&S which bought out Diebold.
Know what this code is called? It is called 'TRADE SECRET' code! The public is forbidden to review it!
Know what Venezuela's code is called? OPEN SOURCE code! It is owned by the PUBLIC and anyone may review it.
Know how much of an audit experts say is needed to detect fraud in electronic systems? At least 10%!
Venezuela is doing an audit that is more than FIVE TIMES the amount needed to detect fraud!
The U.S. government demanding a 100% audit in Venezuela is "Alice in Wonderland-ish" hypocrisy.
“'The U.S. government must know this...' said CEPR Co-Director Mark Weisbrot...".
He's damn right they know it. EVERY Democratic Party/Obama administration POLICY is designed with one thing in mind: the noose that ES&S/Diebold has around their necks.
One, private corporation, with far rightwing connections that would make your hair stand on end, designed the U.S. vote counting system (um, vote rigging system) for profit and for power, and operates it as a monopoly!
And they dare to criticize Venezuela!?
Posted by Peace Patriot | Sat Apr 27, 2013, 02:54 AM (0 replies)
--upside down, inside out and backwards.
1. In the United States, 75% of the votes are 'counted' by ONE. PRIVATE. FAR RIGHT-WING-CONNECTED. CORPORATION--ES&S, which bought out Diebold--using 'TRADE SECRET' code--code that the public is forbidden to review--with half the states doing NO AUDIT AT ALL (automatic comparison of electronic results to ballots--most because they HAVE NO ballot), and the other half doing a miserably inadequate 1% audit. And even if the fingernails of secretaries of state are pulled out and they are forced to do a recount--in the states that CAN do a recount--they only do 3% or so.
2. According to statisticians, and computer and election experts, 10% is the minimum audit needed to detect fraud in an electronic system.
3. Venezuela votes electronically, but uses OPEN SOURCE CODE--code that anyone may review and that belongs to the PUBLIC--and they do a whopping 55% audit--more than five times the minimum needed to detect fraud. Furthermore, Venezuelan elections are closely monitored by all the major election monitoring groups, by invitation of the Venezuelan government--the OAS, the EU, Unasur, the Carter Center and others, and Jimmy Carter recently said that Venezuela has "the best election system in the world." These groups do not just drop in on election day and make pronouncements. They help set up the system and monitor it all along the way. They KNOW what's needed--as to audits and other requirements of honest, transparent elections--and have repeatedly validated Venezuela's elections, including THIS election.
4. The U.S. State Department (Obama, H. Clinton) helped to legitimize the fascist military coup in Honduras by THE U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT holding an 'election' UNDER MARTIAL LAW, using entities like John McCain's INTERNATIONAL REPUBLICAN INSTITUTE to 'monitor' the voting. (John McCain has telecommunications and other interests in Honduras.) No reputable elections group in the world would touch that election. Talk about 'illegitimate.' Honduras has since become a Colombia-like killing field, as rightwing death squads murder hundreds of labor leaders, teachers, community activists, leftist politicians, journalists and others, and inflict a reign of terror on Hondurans, with every kind of oppression.
5. The U.S. (Obama, H. Clinton) did the same thing in Haiti--phoney election in which the party that represents 70% of Haitians was banned from the ballot!
6. As Mark Weisbrot has pointed out, the leftist Manual Obrador in Mexico lost the presidential election in 2005 by only 0.05% of the vote. Millions of Mexicans demanded a recount of Mexico's largely paper ballot system (but with highly riggable, PRIVATE electronics at the top of the chain, which the Bush Junta helped Mexico put in place). The U.S. (Bush Junta) immediately endorsed the rightwing candidate, Felipe Calderon (who also, like the fascists in Honduras and Colombia, has engaged in violent repression against labor leaders, community activists and peasants, in Oaxaca, and furthermore invited the corrupt, murderous, failed U.S. "war on drugs" into Mexico, for a bloodbath in the border areas--some 50,000 dead!) Why was that much closer election "legitimate" while Venezuela's (1.6% difference), with all of its safeguards and above-board systems, is not?
I am writing this for those of you who know instinctively that this U.S. government demand that Venezuela do a 100% recount is absurd. Your instincts are correct. I am also writing it for those who know nothing about these matters: Half the states in the U.S. cannot even DO a recount! Our system is 100% RIGGABLE by corporate CEO's whose far rightwing connections would make your hair stand on end.
Obama should be calling for 100% recounts HERE! Why isn't he? Why are our Democratic leaders as silent as the dead about OUR egregiously riggable system--and instead beat up on Venezuela, where they CAN prove, and HAVE proven, who was elected?
Not one elected official in this country can prove that he or she was actually elected. Not Obama. Not anybody else. NOT ONE OF THEM! Our system is UNVERIFIABLE, and has been rendered unverifiable DELIBERATELY--methodically, knowingly--and we can only wonder why and who is really calling the shots. WHO is picking and choosing among our already compromised and LIMITED political candidates--drenched with money, pandering to Corporate Media, and with ES&S/Diebold's noose around all of their necks? WHO is choosing who to give our power and our sovereignty TO? WHO is choosing our rulers? And are those "dark actors" the ones responsible for the wretchedness of this unrepresentative Congress, for the shackles on Obama, for the loony rightwing governors and state legislatures we see, and for the obvious wars being waged against the poor majority and all progressive policy?
And Obama--who surely knows all of this, and has to have agreed to it (along with other "deals" like no prosecution--and not even investigation--of Bush Junta war criminals)--dares to demand a 100% recount of Venezuela's election--a country whose president and whose poor majority DID EVERYTHING POSSIBLE to ensure a clean, honest, verifiable election system?!
It is just bizarre. It really is. Upside-down, inside out and backwards.
We really, really, REALLY need to understand this--however difficult and demoralizing it seems to be--because it is REALITY. Our system is rigged. It is anti-democratic, even to the very 'counting' of our votes. And it is producing office-holders--holders of OUR power as a people--who are clearly NOT acting in our interests, and are interfering against the peoples' interests in other countries--not just in the war zones of the Middle East but also in our own hemisphere. We need to face this. We need to expose it. We need overcome it--peacefully and democratically.
That is a difficult project, to say the least. But, hey, the people of this country have faced difficult projects before--on our long road to a fairer and more progressive society. We owe it to those who went before us, to straighten out the goddamned fascist disaster that has fallen upon us, starting with Reagan. And if Latin Americans--who have suffered so much grief at the hands of our ruling powers--can throw off those shackles, as they are doing in country after country, so can we.
The powers that control Obama KNOW that Latin America is undergoing a vast, deep, grass roots, leftist democracy revolution, and that Venezuela is the pioneer and inspirer of this amazing revolution. It has swept through most of South America, with strong leftists elected and re-elected in Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador, Uruguay, and soon to be re-elected in Chile (after a miserable rightwing hiatus), and into Central America (Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras until the coup). Their Corporate Media are doing their best to keep this information from us, precisely because they FEAR that we, too, will be inspired with democracy once again. And they REQUIRE their hand-picked office holders to LIE about Latin America's democracy revolution continuously and to engage in anti-democratic plots--with twisted lies like this one, about a 100% recount, and with worse.
Obama is obediently LYING. He has no other choice. And that lie--like the lie about the "constitutional crisis" in Honduras--is the visible element of a destabilization and overthrow plot, that Obama may or may not be in control of. I DO think that Obama was elected, by the way, but he was also PERMITTED TO BE elected, and that is the problem. We have been deliberately deprived of verifiable elections--and we had better be aware of how vulnerable this makes us to FUTURE Bush Juntas, beyond the misery of seeing a Democratic president propose cuts to Social Security and all our other current miseries. Worse is not only possible; it is likely, and it is all set up to have the APPEARANCE of legitimacy with no legitimacy at all.
Posted by Peace Patriot | Wed Apr 17, 2013, 12:20 AM (3 replies)
The New Yorker Corrects Two Errors on Venezuela, Refuses a Third
By KEANE BHATT - NACLA, April 9th 2013
Thanks to readers’ responses to The New Yorker following my last post (LINK), “On Venezuela, The New Yorker’s Jon Lee Anderson Fails at Arithmetic,” the magazine has amended two errors in two separate articles.
The first correction involves an online piece that Anderson wrote on the eve of Venezuela’s elections in October of last year. As was pointed out almost immediately after (LINK) Anderson’s entry was published, he had incorrectly claimed that “Venezuela leads Latin America in homicides” in his “The End of Chavez?” (LINK) (the headline was changed to “Chavez the Survivor” after the late Venezuelan president handily won his reelection).
Actually, it is Honduras that leads Latin America (LINK)—and indeed the entire world—in per capita homicides: 92 per 100,000 people are killed annually there, while Venezuela’s figure stands at 45.1, according to the most recently available United Nations data. And unlike the Venezuelan government, the Honduran government contributes to this body count by regularly murdering its own civilians through its military and police, both of which (LINKS) receive tens of millions of dollars from U.S. taxpayers. (The New Yorkerhasn’t published a single article referring to Honduras’s current post-coup regime, headed by Porfirio Lobo, who came to power in January of 2010.)
Reacting to readers’ complaints, the magazine’s editors issued an addendum to Anderson’s October 7 piece, which reads (LINK):
*An earlier version of this post said that Venezuela led Latin America in homicides; globally, it was in fourth place, but third in Latin America (behind Honduras and El Salvador), according to U.N. statistics (LINK) on intentional homicides for 2010-11.
Another Anderson article—“Slumlord: What has Hugo Chávez wrought in Venezuela?”—also misled the print magazine’s readers by giving the impression that Chávez’s presidential tenure was predicated on a coup d’etat rather than his victories in over a dozen internationally vetted elections. The New Yorker released a correction (LINK) for the inaccuracy in its April 1 issue, two months after the original piece had been published:
In “Slumlord,” by Jon Lee Anderson (January 28th), Hugo Chávez is described as having been concerned with “preventing a coup like the one that put him in office.” In fact, Chávez’s coup attempt, in 1992, failed; he was elected to office in 1998.
For Jon Lee Anderson’s most recent factual error, unfortunately, The New Yorker has thus far refused to issue a clarification or retraction. One month ago—the day Chávez died—Anderson wrote a third piece (LINK), for NewYorker.com, claiming:
What (Chávez) has left is a country that, in some ways, will never be the same, and which, in other ways, is the same Venezuela as ever: one of the world’s most oil-rich but socially unequal countries. . .
As I pointed out in “Anderson Fails at Arithmetic (LINK)," this allegation misleads the reader in two ways. Inequality has been reduced enormously under Chávez, using its standard measure, the Gini coefficient. So one can hardly say that in this aspect, Venezuela remains the “same as ever.” Making Anderson’s contention even worse is the fact that Venezuela is the most equal country in Latin America, according to the United Nations (LINK). Anderson’s readers come away with exactly the opposite impression.
To The New Yorker’s credit, a senior editor sent me an email regarding my article’s criticisms, and flatly conceded the first two misstatements in Anderson’s pieces. However, the note offered a strained defense of Anderson’s position on inequality, arguing that Anderson’s point was valid, given that his claim supposedly combined Venezuela’s conditions of being both “oil-rich” and “socially unequal” as one assertion.
I pointed out in my response that any reasonable reading of the statement would portray Venezuela as both one of the world’s most oil-rich and one of the world’s most socially unequal countries. And the fact of the matter is that the CIA’s World Factbook ranks (LINK) the country 68th out of 136 countries with available data on income inequality—that is to say, Venezuela is exactly in the middle, and impossible to construe as among the most unequal.
I also explained that when Anderson was confronted with this evidence on Twitter, the magazine’s principal correspondent on Venezuela expressed extreme skepticism (LINK) toward publicly available, constantly used, and highly scrutinized data; he instead cited his own “reporting” and “impressions” as the authority for his assertions. Given Anderson’s defiant admission not to even pretend to care about empirical data—after his magazine had already retracted two of his articles’ factual claims—it was incumbent on editors and fact-checkers to uphold The New Yorker’s reputation as a trustworthy and evidence-based journal by addressing the issue immediately.
Lastly, I argued that the awkward formulation of combining “oil-rich” and “socially unequal”—a reading I reject—exposes Anderson’s contention as even further at odds with reality. Included in my email was the following list showing the top 10 most “oil-rich” countries ranked in order of their total crude oil production,according to the International Energy Agency (LINK). Each country’s corresponding Gini coefficient from the CIA World Factbook (LINK) appears in parentheses—the higher the Gini coefficient, the greater the country’s inequality:
1. Saudi Arabia (unavailable)
2. Russia (0.42)
3. United States (0.45)
4. Iran (0.445)
5. China (0.48)
6. Canada (0.32)
7. United Arab Emirates (unavailable)
8. Venezuela (0.39)
9. Mexico (0.517)
10. Nigeria (0.437)
When provided with these arguments and data, The New Yorker’s senior editor fell silent in the face of repeated follow-ups. I received a reply only once: a rejection of my request to publicly post our correspondence. While issuing a correction to Anderson’s third Venezuela article over the past year would have been embarrassing, the continued silence and inaction of the elite intellectual journal is perhaps a greater indictment. Anderson’s error remains unchanged on the liberal magazine’s website, while its senior editor has refused to address the matter in private correspondence or offer a public rationale for leaving Anderson’s claim intact.
When asked to comment on this issue, Branko Milanovic (LINK)—a lead economist at the World Bank and arguably the world’s foremost expert on global inequality—interpreted Anderson’s quote the standard way: “The article says that Venezuela is one of most ‘socially unequal’ countries,” he wrote by email. But The New Yorker’s “extremely vague formulation,” he added, obscured an important reality: “What we know…is that Venezuela is among two or three most equal Latin American countries measured by income inequality.” According to his own research of inequality throughout the world, Venezuela is likely to be ranked somewhere “around the middle, or perhaps slightly above (these things do change from year to year).”
Prominent macroeconomist Dean Baker of the Center for Economic and Policy Research (LINKS) found The New Yorker’s factual contention and subsequent unresponsiveness astonishing: “This is pretty outrageous,” he wrote by email. “Do they have any data to support their assertion, or is the argument that because they don’t like Chávez they can say anything they want about him?”
Readers can pose such questions to The New Yorker by contacting its editors at www.newyorker.com/contact/contactus, by email at email@example.com, or on Twitter at@tnynewsdesk. Such media activism plays a crucial role in engendering more careful portrayals of countries like Venezuela, which has long been the target of cartoonishly hostile, slanted, and outright false media coverage. Previous demands for accuracy and accountability have already prompted two admissions of error by The New Yorker, and can lead to a third, in spite of the magazine’s obstinacy. More importantly, the magazine now faces a real political cost to publishing sloppy reporting, as well as a powerful deterrent to running reckless news and commentary during a politically significant transitional moment for Venezuela.
This work is licensed under a Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives Creative Commons license
(LINKS at the site.)
found at: http://venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/8562
My email to the New Yorker:
Not you, too!
I have been flabbergasted by the Corporate Media's propagandistic coverage of the Chavez government in Venezuela and I've held out the hope that The New Yorker would counter this garbage with an intelligent, fact-based article, as it has done on other subjects.
Alas, you instead decided to pile some more (or rather the same) refuse onto the garbage heap, by publishing Jon Lee Anderson's lies about Venezuela's murder rate and about how Chavez came to power--lies right out of the Corporate Media's "talking points" folder on Venezuela; lies for which you then published lame and very late corrections--plus a third lie that you haven't corrected, that Venezuela is now "one of the world's most...socially unequal countries."
According to the UN Economic Commission on Latin America and the Caribbean, Venezuela is "THE most equal country in Latin America," after more than a decade of the Chavez government winning honest elections and implementing "New Deal"-like policies. Furthermore, in the Gallup Well-being poll, Venezuelans rated their own country FIFTH IN THE WORLD on their own sense of well-being and future prospects.
Obviously, Anderson consulted neither easily available, fact-based sources nor the people of Venezuela in his assessment of the Chavez government.
I used to have great respect for New Yorker fact-checkers. What happened? Did you down-size that staff?
Upshot from my point of view: The New Yorker's going onto the garbage heap unless you do a REAL correction of Anderson's lies and bias, by finding an intelligent and objective reporter to explain to the world why the Chavez government keeps winning honest elections by big margins, despite the relentless, monotonous, "Big Lie" campaign against them in ALL Corporate Media, here and there. Answer THAT, and you win the prize for the only honest news source in the western world.
And DO re-hire those fact-checkers, if that's the problem.
Posted by Peace Patriot | Wed Apr 10, 2013, 06:01 AM (14 replies)
...and that it is very, very old, indeed, and deeply rooted, way back in the 5th century--the original sin of the Church-as-institution.
It was a specific crime that led to all the others and that sent the Church down the wrong road into woman-hatred from which it has never recovered.
In the 5th century, a woman named Hypatia, a mathematician and philosopher, who was the beloved teacher of bishops and other clergy, was skinned alive on the streets of Alexandria by a mob of monks under the direction of a very evil man, Bishop Cyril, who went on to cause a riot and sword fights at a Church synod over the weird subject of the virginity of Jesus' mother. The man was sick, but became a "Father of the Church"--the first to call himself a "patriarch"--and was later canonized as a "saint," by which the Church means that he is in Heaven with God.
What had Hypatia done? She was a brilliant, powerful and highly respected figure. She was a Pagan but that does not explain the horror of her death at the hands of allegedly 'christian' monks. Alexandria was famous for its learning and its tolerance of all religions, philosophies and cultures. It was a haven for the Jews, especially the Alexandria Library, when she headed at that time. She was friends with Orestes, the Roman governor of Alexander. Like the rightwing of today in the U.S, Cyril was trying to undermine the civil government and subject it to Church rule. He sent his mobs against the Jews, confiscated their property and drove them out of Alexandria. Orestes opposed him, and they clashed several times. But neither does this explain the particular horror of Hypatia's murder.
Skinning alive in those days was intended to prevent the soul from going to Heaven. It was worse than death. It was eternal damnation.
Why did Hypatia merit eternal damnation, in this truly terrible form of murder? (--not to mention how Cyril ended up presumed into Heaven by Church "sainthood"; he is called Saint Cyril to this day.)
None of her works survived the crumbling of the Roman Empire. Probably they were burned. (Cyril's monks also attacked the Library.) An index indicates that she wrote several mathematical works. The only thing that remains are the letters of Bishop Sinesius of Ptolemais TO Hypatia. Sinesius had been her pupil and worshiped her. How is it that a Christian bishop considered Pagan Hypatia to be his greatest teacher? Interesting question.
There are hints in his letters to her (and also in certain other events that occurred around that time) that what she may have been embarked upon was peace between, and possibly even a synthesis of, Pagan and Christian teachings--the wedding of Pagan learning (which, in Hypatia's case, was embedded in highly ethical and high-minded neoplatonism) and Jesus' message of love for all, across tribal, religious and class lines.
Another feature of Paganism is worship of the Goddess--a particular target of "Fathers of the Church" like Cyril who took control of Church doctrine, or rather, established that there would be Church doctrine--rigid doctrine from which no one was permitted to deviate. This notion gained ascendance with the cementing of the Church with the power of the State, around the same time. One doctrine (all others anathematized), one Church, enforced by the brutal powers of king and emperor, with particular emphasis on casting out any group, leader or set of ideas that included the Goddess (such as the Christian neoplatonists of the time--the Gnostics) or anything remotely connected to the Goddess (such as the nature worship of the Pelagian Christians) or anything human (such as Jesus being born of a normal mother).
What seems to have seized this sick man Cyril's mind was loathing of women. He is the main force of that era for infecting the Church with this original sin. Jesus didn't hate or loathe women. In fact, in the Gnostic gospels he basically designates Mary Magdalen as head of the apostles. He says she is the only one of them who really understands his teaching. Cyril and his ilk burned those gospels, and somebody during that era grabbed a whole bunch of them, in willy-nilly fashion, as if in a hurry, and buried them in a cave in sealed jars in a desert near Alexandria (where they remained, undiscovered, until the 20th century). So there was obviously an underground movement, at the time--the same period as Hypatia's death--to preserve that which the Cyrils of the newly doctrine-ridden Church were trying to extinguish.
There is an underground Church that runs all through Church history--driven underground by people like Cyril--in which there is no such conflict with half the human race and no such loathing of women and rejection of the Goddess. This is the real Church--the Church of the People, not of the Prelates; the Church of the washing of feet, not the swishing of red robes and the crowning of kings. The washing of feet is a womanly act, a motherly act, a loving act. In doing it, Jesus made himself like a woman and made women (who were often the servants performing tasks like this) equal.
The male hierarchy, with its 1,500 years of misogyny dating back to "Saint' Cyril, turned that act into yet another exclusive male ritual. Pope Francis seems to have sensed its true origin and meaning. I doubt that this will result in reversal of the misogyny of Church doctrine or policy any time soon but it might start the process of bringing the underground Church--the real Church--aboveground. I think that Hypatia was an early activist in that underground Church, earnestly trying to direct bishops and monks onto a higher path of learning and tolerance, and she paid for it by an intolerant, woman-hating dogmatist trying to destroy her very soul, with the particular torture that he subjected her to.
To cleanse such a profound sin will take time. We obviously have quite a lot of sick male descendants of Cyril, quite abominably in positions of religious and moral authority. There is no easy cure for this. But I have to say that symbolism is a good way to begin. Symbols and symbolic acts can be very powerful in bringing about the deep, psychic change that is needed to overcome such a history of error, sin and crime. These men--bishops, cardinals, many priests--are deeply attached to the notion of their superiority--their primacy before God, their self-worship. They are also very, VERY attached to symbols, and need the help of symbols to overcome it. Maybe Pope Francis was intentional in this, or maybe only intuitively or dimly aware of it. Hard to say. But he seems to have good instincts.
Posted by Peace Patriot | Fri Mar 29, 2013, 06:04 AM (7 replies)
Very good article. I'm quoting its opening and its conclusion. It's a long article, well worth reading...
MARCH 06, 2013
Not One Step Backward, Ni Un Paso Atrás
Preparing for a Post-Chávez Venezuela
by GEORGE CICCARIELLO-MAHER
Hugo Chávez is no more, and yet the symbolic importance of the Venezuelan President that exceeded his physical persona in life, providing a condensation point around which popular struggles coalesced, will inevitably continue to function long after his death. It’s not for nothing that the words of the great revolutionary folk singer Alí Primera are on the tip of many tongues:
Los que mueren por la vida
no pueden llamarse muertos
Those who die for life
cannot be called dead.
In 1959, Frantz Fanon declared the Algerian Revolution irreversible, despite the fact that the country would not gain formal independence for another three years. Studying closely the transformation of Algerian culture during the course of the struggle and the creation of what he called a “new humanity,” Fanon was certain that a point of no return had been reached, writing that:
“An army can at any time reconquer the ground lost, but how can the inferiority complex, the fear and the despair of the past be reimplanted in the consciousness of the people?”
In revolution, there are no guarantees, and there’s no saying that the historical dialectic cannot be bent back upon itself, beaten and bloody. The point is simply that for the forces of reaction to do so will be no easy task. Long ago, the Venezuelan people stood up, and it is difficult if not impossible to tell a people on their feet to get back down on their knees.
George Ciccariello-Maher, teaches political theory at Drexel University in Philadelphia. He is the author of We Created Chávez: A People’s History of the Venezuelan Revolution (Duke University Press, May 2013), and can be reached at gjcm(at)drexel.edu.
I don't entirely agree with the following article, but its passion is so extraordinary and so heartfelt, that it surely deserves to be passed along. It likely expresses the feelings of the hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans who have poured into the streets to mourn Chavez, and many people around the world who received the gift of hope from the Bolivarian Revolution.
I agree that Chavez was a great leader--and probably the greatest in the world, in this era--but I believe that the Venezuelan people are the chief actors in the Bolivarian Revolution and that it was THEIR actions in re-writing their constitution, in electing Chavez, in rescuing Chavez from the Bush Junta-supported coup, in reelecting Chavez--in correctly reading the Corporate anti-Chavez propaganda and ignoring it, and so much else--including their creation of an honest, transparent election system (which Jimmy Carter recently called "the best in the world") and their awesome grass roots organization--that empowered Chavez to implement a "New Deal"-type revolution for Venezuela.
We must beware of deification of Chavez because the opposite of a god is a demon--and Chavez haters were and are good at playing that game. They created a demon--a bogeyman "dictator" to knock down. Both sides of the god/demon notion are phantoms. Chavez was neither god nor demon--he was just a man with certain great qualities including charisma and luck that enabled him to ride the crest of a profound revolution and help direct it, in so far as such great political waves, comprised of so many people and actions, can be directed. It's not only a mistake to equate the man with the revolution--as if it could not have occurred without him--it leads to wrong predictions. Venezuela's leftist democracy revolution was created by its people--a truth that the Corporate Media has tried so hard to obscure--and thus it is going to survive and even get stronger, and will likely spread farther than it already has, maybe, even to...here?
MARCH 06, 2013
Long Live Revolution...Damn It!
by ANDRE VLTCHEK
When we lose people that are indispensible to us, nothing may change on the surface: we are still walking, eating sleeping, working, even fighting. The void, the gaping hole is what dominates our hearts and our souls.
Yesterday, the President of Venezuela and one of the greatest revolutionaries in the history of mankind – Hugo Chavez – passed away, and the world is still moving by inertia. Buildings did not collapse, continents did not sink, and the wars and misery ravaging many parts of the world did not stop.
Yet something changed. Three beautiful muses that have been inspiring so many millions all over the world, turned into widows, at least for one day or two. Their names are: Love, Faith and Hope.
Some ask: is it really wise to make an entire country, an entire revolution dependent, and reliant on one single man?
My answer is simple: people like Chavez are born infrequently, too rarely. It would be a historical anomaly for two giants of his size to live in the same period of time, in the same city, and even in the same country.
* * *
Yet his words and deeds were simple and pragmatic: poor people have to be housed, fed, educated and given medical care, and above all, they have to be armed with dignity. And the wealthy world, which became rich through plunder, colonial expansions and unmatchable brutality, has to stop terrorizing and looting; the countries of Europe and North America have to be forced to behave like members of the international community consisting of states with equal rights, instead of what they have been accustomed to for decades and centuries: a bunch of thugs living above the law.
Hugo Chavez was a man who appeared to come from a different era, where Western propaganda, indoctrination and surveillance had not yet broken the free spirit of men and women. He stood tall, spoke loudly and coherently, naming names, and pointing fingers. He was not afraid of his own people: he drank gallons of coffee and talked to them from the balcony of the Presidential Palace, and at street corners.
The following article captures one of the intangibles about Chavez's personality and leadership--he really loved to talk, and he said what he really thought--unusual in a politician--and he said it amiably and politely to most people and audiences, but sometimes spoke bluntly to the powerful and with exhilarating rudeness to oppressors. He must have been the most talkative president ever to hold office.
I really liked this quality about Chavez. He loved to communicate. And he seemed to have none of cloaking devices, slyness or masks of other politicians. He believed what he said. He said what he thought. And he had a lot of thoughts--he bubbled with ideas, and very much wanted others to understand his ideas and policies not passively but actively--to engage with him in the creation of social justice and democracy.
It's difficult to assess the importance of Chavez's talkativeness. I mean, a leader can be taciturn and still feed the poor and do other good things. I've never been to Venezuela but I've had reports that people talk politics a lot--street vendors, bus drivers, shopkeepers, any and all; some carry copies of the constitution in their pockets and pull them out and argue about that; it's "in the air" that ordinary people exchange political opinions and info, and have a right and duty to do so, and that what they say is meaningful and can have influence. Maybe that's the importance of Chavez the Talker--he opened up discussion of public affairs. Not only was change possible, but one and all had to argue out what the changes would be.
In addition to his jokes, his songs, his friendly demeanor and his bright smile, in casual conversation, he engaged the public frequently with serious matters of government, in extemporaneous lectures on his TV show, and in long speeches full of detail--not 'talking points" or "sound bites" or vague platitudes, but saying how things actually work and what a proposal actually means in the real world. His speech was straightforward and practical, like your Dad explaining to you how to mount a bicycle wheel and going through the tools you will need. Useful political speech. Not the blather we are used to from politicians.
Our leaders talk that way--practical, useful--to banksters and war profiteers. They don't talk to us that way. We get degraded, meaningless speech, for people who are not expected to be actors in public affairs, who don't have influence, whose opinions don't count. There you go. Chavez spoke to ordinary people as active participants in government whose opinions and actions matter a great deal. The kid trying to mount the bicycle wheel might get restless at his Dad's notions about tools, or his admonition to "read the manual," but would absorb some of it and eventually benefit in doing things on his own. Chavez wasn't particularly paternal or top-down in his speech, though. He just really, really wanted people to see how things work, now that they had a government working FOR them, now that, through his eyes, they could see it from the inside.
The Venezuelan people created their own revolution and demanded their "New Deal" and were gifted with a leader who was determined to do their will and anxious for them to understand the particulars and talked them up incessantly.
Maybe this is just a native quality of Venezuelans--political talkativeness--but, if so, Chavez was surely the top exemplar of it.
The Corporate Media accused Chavez of suppressing "free speech." Ha-ha-ha! What really bothered them, I think, was that street vendors had free speech and the government was paying attention to them, and not to the billionaire media moguls. Oh, yeah, there was RCTV and all that--long overdue denial of the right of coup to media monopolists. (I wish we had some of that here.) The real problem, for them, was that Chavez was talking over them, around them, under them, to everyone else; not accepting their terms of discussion; not accepting their limited venues; flouting them; and talking USEFULLY to the real sovereigns of the country, the people. It was a blow to their mighty egos--and they determined to shut him up.
Do you know what these media moguls did during the 2002 coup attempt? They not only hosted those who had kidnapped the president and had suspended the constitution, the courts, the national assembly and all civil rigths; they also banned all Chavez cabinet members from the broadcast airwaves--wouldn't let them speak to the people. That's your Corporate "free speech." Only they get to speak!
MARCH 06, 2013
The Spark That Lit the Fires in Latin America
The Convictions of Hugo Chavez
by CHRIS GILBERT
Hugo Chávez, who died yesterday afternoon, was something of an Emersonian hero. “Speak your latent conviction,” said the sage of Concord, “and it shall be the universal sense.”
Chávez said things that other people thought, or at least recognized that they thought after he said them.
One could say that he expanded the notion of the political. He sang and recited poems during his innumerable hours of television… he talked incessantly.
Chris Gilbert is professor of Political Science at the Universidad Bolivariana de Venezuela.
My thanks to the writers of these articles for helping me to pull together some of my own thoughts about Chavez.
And my thanks to all Venezuelans, for producing such a leader! The Bush decade would have been unbearable without him. Now we've all got work to do to protect existing social justice revolutions and create more of them, and the neverending, difficult work of being sovereign, self-governing peoples.
I won't say, "Rest in peace, Hugo Chavez," because that implies quietude. I hope his soul is swirling around joyfully somewhere in active discussion with the angels and telling God a thing or two about how to improve the Universe. I'd love to hear that discussion!
Posted by Peace Patriot | Thu Mar 7, 2013, 04:48 PM (1 replies)
President Obama the other day said that if he had a son, he would hesitate to let him play football (because of the prevalence of serious and permanent injuries to both young and older players).
I am a sometime football fan--married to a former college football player who absolutely LOVED football (not to watch; to play), and what with Superbowl fever this week--a contest that I'm interested in (rooting for the Niners, though some sympathy for the Ravens, too--just hope it's a really good and clean game)-- I am hearing and reading A LOT of talk about the INCREASE in football injuries, from within the sports world itself, including very serious concerns, from sports commentators, columnists, former players, parents of young players (feature in Sports Illustrated this week) and others. I find it interesting and unusual that reasons NOT to play football, NOT to let your kids play football, and (implied) NOT to support football--especially in the current atmosphere, wherein some coaches at all levels encourage players to seriously hurt and disable opposing players (concuss them, break their legs)--in the week before the Super Bowl.
It gives me pause about my own enthusiasm for this game. And one of the facts I picked up from all this extraordinary discussion within and the around the sport, about injuries, is that many retired pro-football players suffer early dementia, directly caused by repeated brain concussions and serious visible (in x-rays) damage to the brain. That's not the only serious and permanent injury that occurs, but it is perhaps the most tragic, because it is so frequent and because it eventually deprives the sufferers of their reason--their minds, their ability to think and communicate. (i work with dementia patients so I know how serious this is. There is no cure. There is no hope. The "person" is mostly gone, often long before they die. It is a heartbreaker.)
Another commentator said that he did not know a single retired professional football player who was not suffering a serious permanent injury from football, of one kind or another. I also heard about quite young players--children, teenagers--being crippled for life or dying, due to football injuries. Even one such incident is bad. It happens much too frequently to be considered an anomaly. The culture itself demands winning at any cost, in a sport that--more than any other except boxing--requires frequent physical battering as the price of admission. Not a quirk. Not an anomaly. A way of life.
Should a 9 year old or a 15 year old be permitted to choose this (or worse, be pressured into it)? Should battering of the head in particular--with helmets that are NOT preventing repeated concussions leading to early dementia--be allowed to continue as a national sport? Should we all be cheering on these future dementia patients, or future cripples?
I've also been thinking about gladiators--way back during the Roman Empire. There was a period or periods during the Roman Empire when those contests were incredibly bloody and murderous, and disgustingly prurient, as to the sadism of the spectators. The contestants were slaves and seldom benefitted from any skill they might demonstrate. And while our modern professional football players are not slaves--most are well paid, with many perks including the best sports medicine and the best protective equipment--are there not some haunting similarities here?
For instance, does money mean anything to a professional football player who is descending into dementia at an early age? What good is his money to him? Are these owners and corporations who run football not luring him with lots of money into sacrificing his life for them? Also, those on the lower rungs of the sport are not so well paid, and the young players--the kids--aren't paid at all. In any case, what good is money OR fame, if your mind is gone? What good is a scholarship if, two years or five years later, you are undergoing multiple surgeries with, say, only a 50/50 chance of being fully ambulatory again, and no chance at playing sports again? What kind of career is that? Who benefits from that? Who pays for that? What is that worth?
I do understand the male need for danger, having had four brothers (two football players) a football player and AF jet bomber pilot husband and a son (not football but other dangers). Some woman have this need, though in my experience it's mostly a male thing. Women can be aggressive and competitive, and do engage in dangerous sports and love it--but I've never known a woman who wants to be hurt playing sports, the way men court that danger in football. Probably this will change and some day there will be no difference. Anyway, a physical challenge is one thing; courting physical injury is quite another. It is no accident that 18 to 25 year old men have the highest auto insurance rates. They are more reckless than women their age. They do things on a dare that young women would never do (or only the rare young woman would do). Utterly stupid things--to prove their manhood, to show they are not afraid, to show they don't care about themselves but yield their life to the group. It probably goes way back in our evolution to our early hunter-gatherer beginnings and male differentiation into communal hunters. It seems to be a NEED, not a choice.
I wanted to struggle with this thought because I admire heroics--physical heroics (but much more so, ethical heroics). We need heroes; we need models; we are an imitative species and are heartened by heroics of various kinds. It's not a bad thing. It's who we are. And it's not bad to test yourself--learn your limits, your fears and how to handle them, discover your skills and strengths; and feel confident that you can defend yourself and others. We are all surrounded by known and unknown dangers. We all face death. Of all humans, though, I think it is young men who least believe in their inevitable deaths. Indeed, they don't believe in it at all, most of them. They think they will live forever--and it is so like them to scoff at the danger of permanent injury from playing football, and then to court that danger, to invite it. We CANNOT shield everyone from everything. They WILL court danger. But should we be encouraging it, in this case of known, frequently occurring permanent injury? Should we be glorifying excessively aggressive football, football that demands harm and injury?
My once football-loving husband agrees with these concerns (on his own--I didn't badger him). He says that he was never happier in his life than when he was playing football in high school and college. He was very good at it. He never got seriously hurt on the field (that we know about yet). He clearly was a daredevil in his youth--many risks, many accidents (non-football). But he now thinks that football is much too violent and also way too corporatized. He doesn't have any desire to watch televised (or any) football games, and won't be watching the Superbowl.
I will be watching and probably enjoying the game on Sunday, in fits and starts. I will be at work tending to dementia and other patients. I've never, ever wanted players injured in any game or sport. I don't have any desire to see one side or the other playing dirty football. But I must say that these discussions have sobered me. And I want the sport to be reformed--for the long term health of its players and for all the kids who play it.
One other suggestion--regarding corporate sports. Our entire culture--and our democracy--is in the process of being destroyed by transglobal corporate powers--from the riggable voting machines, to the outsourcing of jobs and destruction of communities, to poisonous food, to toxic wastes, to the oil wars and more. So much that is good about our country and our people is being despoiled. Perhaps the answer, as to football, is a weekly show on "reality TV" of local community or family touch football games, that could be even more engaging than these multi-million dollar gladiators and their sponsors' one-long-commercial, gawdy spectacles.
Every community in the country could plan a little one-week touch football festival--one neighborhood vs another, or one side of the block vs the other side--with a big potluck picnic as the centerpiece and the game, played by everyone, for fun and recreation. It doesn't matter who wins--or it matters only for the fun of it. The only thing that really matters is being together.
I'm modeling this on some wonderful family picnics that I have attended. The food was great. The flag football competition was ferocious--but no one got hurt and no one cared (or can even remember) who won. Winning wasn't the point. Playing was the point. Entertaining each other was the point. For the oldsters, testing whether you could get up on your legs and run like a kid again, or throw a ball with conviction. For the youngsters, seeing their elders make fools of themselves or being surprised by their dash and daring. Feeling the thrill of a successful play or the agony of bad one. Joining the fray as a novice and botching your assignment, or not--succeeding, making a touchdown your first time out. Laughing at it all. Giving the young ones good memories. Giving "the bench" a good show. And--my brilliant idea--sharing it with the whole nation.
Could it replace the Superbowl? Could it change football into something better for all of us, as well as for the future dementia patients that we will be watching on Sunday? Las Vegas could even bet on these little community or family games and someone could take on the role of local sports announcer. All for fun. Amateurism seems to be a new trend. Why not amateur football? (But no kicking anybody off islands or ridiculing their talents! Straight-up play time. No boo's. No trophies. Bets limited to a dollar.)
Well, maybe it's a silly idea. I don't know. What about all those billions of dollars--the vendors, the jobs, the "camps," the hotels, the souvenirs, the development corporations, the stadiums, the mansions, the yachts and so on--lots and lots of money spread around, to big incomes and small ones. Like a war machine, once an economy is invested in it, it's very difficult to stop or even curtail it. It becomes its own justification. That's how the Romans went off the deep end--with war after war to expand and protect their empire, and an addiction to violent spectacles at home, for entertainment. A little simplistic, yeah--but the parallel is there. Do we really care about these gladiators that we are going to gawk at on Sunday more than the Romans cared about their gladiators? A shocking question. Of course we do...don't we?
Do we really care if they start losing their minds at age 45, to extreme damage that multiple concussions have done to their brains? Do we care if our kids suffer multiple concussions or other serious injuries before they even get out of childhood, after being encouraged to win at any cost? And if we care, how do we channel that energy, and how do we create a national entertainment, that doesn't demand permanent injury, or, at the very least, changes the culture to greatly reduce the harm?
Posted by Peace Patriot | Thu Jan 31, 2013, 07:56 PM (0 replies)
...but we don't live in the "Old West" any more. The Transglobal Corporate powers that rule over us are much, much, MUCH more sophisticated in their techniques of control than Athens' corrupt mayor and sheriff. For instance, all vote counting is now done with electronics, using 'TRADE SECRET' code, owned and controlled largely by one, private, far rightwing-connected corporation (ES&S, which bought out Diebold). How ya gonna use guns to overturn that kind of power? It's not possible. The government has bigger guns, and more of them, and drones and other lethal aircraft, and impenetrable tanks, and machines with hoses that spray suffocating substances at fire hose pressures, and whatever else they need for total physical control of the population, including impenetrable prisons and out-of-control spying.
We have a much different sort of problem than a local dirty political machine. We have a huge, transglobal and impenetrably dirty political-financial machine which has hijacked the U.S. military for a corporate oil war, which installed Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld in power, which clearly has President Obama on a short leash, and which has gone a long, long way toward destroying our democracy altogether, not to mention robbing us blind.
If you think that even the arsenal of assault weapons in American homes can overturn these powers--can "run them out of town"--you are very foolish, indeed. We need to match the quite staggering power of transglobal corporations and their unprecedented war machine with People Power of a different kind than personal weapons, that don't have a chance against them and that shouldn't be used that way, in any case. Making war on the government? I mean, really. If you want bloodshed, go to a war theatre. There are plenty of them. Don't bring any more of it here!
No, don't go 'there." Sorry I said that. I don't wish more bloodshed on ANYONE.
We have to be a lot smarter than that, to outsmart the forces that are destroying our democracy and impoverishing us and others--and we need to be a lot more aware of, and compassionate toward, the victims of bloody conflict--the ones who always take the brunt of it--children, girls, women, parents, the elderly, the helpless. You want our people engaged in bloody conflict with the government? You want people shooting our own people--our police, our soldiers? You want our police and our soldiers put in the position of being ordered to shoot us? You want buildings and buses and airplanes and trains and bridges being blown up? You want social mayhem? You want loss of medical services and food supplies? You want blood all over the streets? You know much about civil wars? You know much about any wars?
Try to take your musket down to the local voter Registrar to get a look at that 'TRADE SECRET' code--and see how far you get.
We have a very difficult, long developing, complicated problem to solve, that requires brains not brawn, and moral courage, not battle courage. We need a Martin Luther King to lead it, or, best of all, many Martin Luther Kings. And we need it to be peaceful. And anyone who doesn't understand this--who eggs people on to think that buying guns is going to protect them from corrupt and oppressive government--is inviting the ruination of our people and our country.
This video is a neat little story--satisfying like some cowboy movies where the good and the true win out. But it does not apply to our situation, except that the integrity of the vote count is involved. But how do you get the ballot boxes out of the hands of the bad guys if there are no ballot boxes? If they are fiddling the results remotely, ten states away, or in another country? (You know where ES&S manufactures their touchscreen voting machines? In the Philippines! In sweatshop conditions!) You can go shoot up your local voting machines, and get yourself a long prison term, and they will just bring in more such machines--and maybe take your house to pay for the damage, and put your family out on the street.
Collective action we will surely need--but it has to be smart and it has to be peaceful. Nothing else has any chance of success--if the goal is improving our democracy and the fairness and decency of our country. If the goal is some teenage boy's dream of gunplay and social mayhem and dystopia, where the he-man with the biggest gun wins, go to the movies, please, and stop peddling nonsense.
One other thing: How many of those good guys and bad guys would have lived, in that conflict in Athens, if even one of them had been armed with an assault weapon that shoots six bullets per second? SIX BULLETS PER SECOND! It's bad enough to think of those men, good and bad, lying in bloody heaps, dead--having had no chance whatsoever to get away or fight back. Now think about a kindergarten shot up with such a weapon--the little tykes shivering in their shoes, maybe trying to run away--and getting blown to bits, in mere seconds, with multiple, deadly wounds, and no chance at all. You and others have carried this 2nd Amendment crapola way, way too far. We are not that country any more. We are a country where five year olds get massacred and we can't do anything about it because people like you get maudlin over your guns and want more and more guns, and faster and more deadly means of mowing down your "enemies." But who gets mowed down, hm?
Two days before the Newtown massacre, I heard an ad on the radio in my car. Imagine a radio ad by an Animal Shelter that uses soft music and softer words to urge you to adopt a cute little puppy for Christmas, and tells you that a homeless puppy is waiting there to love you. Now substitute "gun" for "cute little puppy." That's the ad I heard, from a gunshop in Fresno, CA. They had guns that wanted to love you, that were waiting for you to "adopt" them.
It's sick. That's what it is. Getting so maudlin over guns that you can't see reality any more.
Posted by Peace Patriot | Thu Jan 10, 2013, 10:16 PM (2 replies)
...and most Americans and most people in the world (except those with leftist governments such as Venezuela, Brazil, Bolivia, Ecuador, Uruguay and others in Latin America).
As we try to cross the room, from our births to our deaths, working more and more for less and less pay (if we can find work at all), seeking educations that cost more and more and MORE and that throw us into lifelong debt, paying into Social Security all the while to find our benefits, at retirement, way, WAY behind inflation, with yet more cuts intended by vicious politicians who don't represent us (were (s)elected by ES&S/Diebold and their 'TRADE SECRET' code), who find our Social Security checks dunned for Medicare but not for all of Medicare, leaving us to come up with 20% of hugely inflated medical costs while getting even LESS of our Social Security pension, should we get ill or disabled by old age, finding the cost of running the vehicles to which we have been deliberately addicted rise higher and higher and HIGHER for no reason at all ($4 frigging dollars per gallon! Jeez!), finding the costs of all energy and other essential life commodities getting beyond our reach, unable to put food on the table, unable to buy our kids Christmas presents let alone diapers, clothes, proper nutrition, books, sports uniforms, musical instruments, educational trips and all the tacked on costs of public education (if their schools even have sports any more, or orchestras, or teachers), some of us unable to even put a roof over their heads...
...and on and on, while the rich beat us along our way and take large chunks out of our flesh, as we try to cross the room (live our lives), with dreams of "putting a little away" for our kids, or "putting a little away" for that trip to Hawaii that we've put off for decades, while we worked more and more for less and less pay (if we can find work at all) gone up in smoke. No dreams any more--not even modest little dreams, like paying off the mortgage before we die and our kids inheriting the house free and clear. All gone.
We reach the middle of the room and find that we have gotten nowhere. We try to make the next couple of steps and find ourselves being pushed backwards. Zeno comes into play--logic's biggest joke come true, in real life, in 21st Century America and other places run by transglobal corporate monsters and the 1%. Most people will die, become sick or disabled, or "get kicked off the island" before they even get a chance to approach the middle point of the second half of the paradox, because, to the transglobal corporate monsters who rule over us, and the 1% who support them--getting richer and richer, while the rest of us get poorer and poorer--we are not really people; we are lines on a graph, where our modest gains go down and down, and their ungodly wealth goes up and up.
It is no surprise at all that these same forces have lied to us, time and again, about "saving energy" or "saving money" (har-har) and it is no surprise that, whatever we do, energy and other life essentials, and everything that energy produces, will cost more and more, as our incomes decline. That is the "Zeno's Paradox" of this horrible system of Corporate Rule--a philosopher's joke made manifest.
Whether Zeno's Paradox applies to "energy efficiency" in this system is pretty obvious to me. It does. But not in the way discussed (and argued about) above. It is applicable in this way: The profits of the few go up as the viability of Planet Earth goes down. These two things are tied to each other, inversely. And any effort to get past the half way point, and to start putting the decline of Planet Earth in reverse, is impossible until we STOP the profits of the few from GOING UP as the result of their extremely destructive behavior--whether it is deforestation or frakking or oil spills or oil wars, or their imperiling the food system with GMOs and pesticides, or their vast plastics pollution, or their growing of tasteless, messed-with strawberries in Chile and flying them to Los Angeles, or their avoidance of environmental laws by manufacturing in China, or their de-funding of the EPA, or their assault on every resource agency in the country and in other countries where they can get at them, or their slave labor palm oil farms and (you heard it here first) GMO marijuana farms in Colombia, or any of their other goddamn schemes to subvert democracy and workers' rights and destroy the very planet we live on, for more and more and MORE profits for the few.
We can't really tinker with this--by introducing better light bulbs or better cars--and testing out this or that economic paradox. And we CANNOT solve it as individuals, nor as isolated communities, because WE DON'T HAVE TIME. Even if we were to convert the entire USA to less individual consumption and to growing vegetable gardens instead of lawns, these powers go elsewhere--they are already there--to Asia, to Africa, to the parts of Latin America that they've been able to hold onto, not to mention the Middle East, forcing and bribing and encouraging them down the same utterly unsustainable path that we have trod. We really have to grab these Destroyers by the throat, and start deconstructing their corporations--pulling their corporate charters, dismantling them and seizing their assets for the common good.
How do we do that? First of all, we must understand that it is doable and that it is our right, as a sovereign people. Second, GET RID OF THE CORPORATE-CONTROLLED 'TRADE SECRET' VOTING MACHINES. You want to see a miracle happen to our dying democracy? That's where to start. Thirdly, we need a much bigger "Occupy" coalition, involving all the hurting people in the country--the poorly paid, the out of work, the hurting old, the hurting young, middle classers sinking into poverty, worthy professionals who hate injustice and can't do their jobs in the ethical way they would like to (doctors, nurses, teachers, fire fighters, first responders, police, social workers, et al) or whose unions are getting busted, and so on. The coalition might even include some Republicans who believe that votes should be counted in the PUBLIC venue and Corporate Rule has destroyed "main street" businesses.
This takes time we don't have too--a political coalition to END Corporate Rule--but I think it would be easier than weening Americans from over-consumption. For one thing, if your piece of crap appliance, manufactured in China, falls apart in a year, or doesn't work at all, you pretty much have to buy another. With stinking corporate policies like "planned obsolescence" and utter lack of accountability, and with millions and millions of people dependent on an urban or suburban lifestyle (can't grow their own foods or don't know how to; have long commutes, etc.), you can't just overturn these dependences overnight. A political coalition of the majority--all the hurting people in the country--while also difficult, could occur a lot faster--and could do what I've proposed here--END Corporate Rule--provided that its targets are very pointed and focused--for instance, on the 'TRADE SECRET' voting machines (for starters). Another powerful action could a boycott of all products made out of the country, or out of specific countries with obnoxious labor and/or environmental policies. However, I think political power is more important, in the near future, for saving Planet Earth--the power to start pulling corporate charters--and that requires vote counting in the PUBLIC VENUE.
Why do you think Congress has the approval rating of a dead skunk? Because a great many of them WERE NOT ELECTED. They have NO right to the power they wield. We've got to change that first--and the first step toward changing that is restoring a PUBLIC vote count. We could start ending Corporate Rule and saving Planet Earth in the next congressional elections, if we had a PUBLIC vote count.
We don't have one now. Why is that? How is it that ONE, PRIVATE, FAR-RIGHTWING CONNECTED CORPORATION--ES&S, which bought out Diebold--now controls 75% of the voting machines in the USA, using 'TRADE SECRET' code--code that the public is forbidden to review--and with half the states in the country doing NO AUDIT AT ALL of these machines?
How is that? Why is that? Think about it. And don' worry so much about Zeno and lightbulbs. Our problem--and the peril to Planet Earth--goes way beyond what products are best or what effect they might have.
Just to say: I don't discount the potential power of ideas to spread among the collective populace--ideas such as walking, bicycling or taking mass transit (if you have it), or growing your own food or buying from local farmers (if that's possible), or using less paper, plastic and energy. And I greatly admire and approve of those who are implementing these and other such ideas, and who are helping to make them popular. But I think that such movements are chancier, and more difficult for most people to implement, than restoring our rightful political power, which would appeal to most sectors of society immediately. I mean, who wants Exxon Mobil and Chevron fixing gas prices? Who wants their appliances made in China? Who wants their town destroyed and their jobs outsourced? Who wants usurious credit card rates? Who wants trillions of our tax dollars going to transglobal banksters and the transglobal Pentagon for its resource wars? Who wants their votes 'counted' with 'TRADE SECRET' code? (or who would want it if they knew about it?)
The answer to all of these questions is: Almost nobody! And the same parties who are inflicting us with these and other ills are the ones destroying Planet Earth. We have common cause among all of the people inflicted with these ills, whether they are aware of, or care about, the peril to Planet Earth, or not. That is why I think that regaining our rightful political power, as a People, is a quicker route to saving the Planet than trying to change consumer habits, dickering with consumer products or trying to make "the Market" (controlled by the transglobal corporations) 'respond' to the Planet's dire peril--or trying to transform entire cities and suburbs, containing billions of people, into "green zones." It can't happen soon and even if it did, what of these transglobal corporations' transglobal activities? We need People Power--we need a strong, vibrant democracy--to curtail their power, starting here, where most of them are chartered by U.S. states and where congress could seriously curtail them as well, if only we had a congress that represents us.
Posted by Peace Patriot | Thu Jan 10, 2013, 08:08 PM (0 replies)
Exposing Five Key Media Myths about Chavez’s Health and Swearing-in
By EWAN ROBERTSON AND TAMARA PEARSON - VENEZUELANALYSIS.COM , January 8th 2013
Over the last few weeks the private English media has stepped up its campaign against the Venezuelan revolution, spreading a number of lies and misconceptions around President Hugo Chavez’s health, the politics and legalities involved in his swearing-in for his new term, and the Venezuelan government’s handling of the situation.
The media, often taking its line directly from Venezuela’s right-wing opposition, is exploiting a sad time for the Venezuelan people. Media Observatory journalist Mariclem Stelling, talking on public television station VTV, called it a “combination of glee, irony, and necrophilia...an attempt to remove (Chavez) from his political role”.
“They build the news from the economic and political interests to which they respond,” she said.
Here, Venezuelanalysis.com debunks the top five lies currently being spread by private media.
1) The Venezuelan government is being secretive about Chavez’s health
This charge has been made by international media since Chavez first announced he had cancer in June 2011. Criticisms by the private media of government “secrecy” around his condition have intensified as the swearing-in date approaches, in part reflecting an increasingly fractious Venezuelan opposition anxious for details they could use to their advantage.
Mass media sources describe Chavez’s medical condition as “a mystery”, with outlets such as the Los Angeles Times referring to government information on Chavez’s post-operatory recovery as “sporadic and thinly detailed medical updates”. Outlets such as the British BBC and the Australian have picked up the opposition’s call for the Venezuelan government to tell the “truth” on Chavez’s health, implying that the government is withholding information, or outright lying.
The argument that the Venezuelan government is keeping secrets feeds into the discourse most mainstream media use in relation to the Bolivarian revolution, recently describing the government as “despots” (Chicago Tribune) and “autocratic populists” (Washington Post).
Other media has put out its own versions of Chavez’s state of health, with the Spanish ABC going to great lengths to describe even his bowel movements, and reporting that he is in a coma, and the multinational Terra mistaking its desires for reality, reporting that Chavez is already dead. These media outlets have just one “anonymous” source for their reports; they somehow, apparently, have an infiltrator (or an “intelligence source” as they call it) among Chavez’s Cuban medical team.
The government has in fact released 28 statements updating the public on Chavez’s condition since his operation on 11 December, an average of around 1 per day. These statements are available in full text on the internet, and are also being read out by communication minister Ernesto Villegas on all Venezuelan public television and radio.
In the latest statement, released yesterday, Villegas said that Chavez’s condition remains “stationary” compared to the last report, where the public was informed that he has a respiratory “deficiency” due to a pulmonary infection.
It is true however, that beyond mentioning the general cancer site; the pelvic region, the government hasn’t revealed the exact type of cancer that Chavez has, nor the exact nature of the operation that he underwent on 11 December. This is possibly due to privacy reasons.
When asked directly about this issue in a recent interview, Jorge Rodriguez, a doctor and key figure in Chavez’s United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), said “I’d give the example of Mrs. Hilary Clinton, who had a cerebral vascular accident. There are three factors which influence these cases: the part of the brain where it happens, the size of the affected zone, and if it produces a hemorrhage or obstruction. Well fine, I’ve not seen any serious and decent doctor ask in which zone she had the lesion. And I think it’s fine that they don’t ask because that lady has the right to privacy. I’ve not seen Ramon Guillermo Aveledo (the executive secretary of the opposition’s MUD coalition) asking to know if her accident affected her in the frontal lobe, in which case, of course, she couldn’t continue giving the instructions she normally gives”.
Of course, when the international media report on the Venezuelan opposition’s stance towards Chavez’s health situation, they invariably fail to mention that the opposition’s approach has a lot less to do with a crusade for truth, and more to do with its hopes of creating a political and constitutional crisis over the issue. They make out that the Venezuelan government is being deliberately misleading and manipulative with information, but would never point the finger at Western leaders such as George Bush or Barack Obama for not announcing the exact locations of their frequent, long, and luxurious vacations, for example.
2) It is unconstitutional if Chavez doesn’t take the oath of office on 10 January
This is another lie that takes a leaf straight from the opposition’s book. Most opposition leaders, and even the Venezuelan Catholic Church, are arguing that if Chavez cannot be officially sworn-in as president on 10 January then he will lose his status as president of Venezuela. They say that in that case, Chavez should be declared “permanently absent”, and the head of the national assembly, Diosdado Cabello, would have to take over as president and call fresh elections. The opposition also claim that the swearing-in ceremony cannot be postponed, and that if Chavez continues on as president after 10 January it would be a “flagrant violation of the constitution”. Their strategy is to use their own interpretation of the constitution in order to try and depose Chavez on a technicality while the president-elect lies in Cuba struggling in post-surgery recovery.
Private media outlets have latched onto this argument, and misinformed about the Venezuelan constitution. In a highly misleading article, the Washington Post claimed that a delay in Chavez’s inauguration ceremony would be “a stretch of the constitution’s ambiguous wording”. Similar comments were made in other U.S. outlets, with Time arguing that Venezuela’s constitution is “a murky map that could send the western hemisphere’s most oil-rich nation into precarious governmental limbo this year”. Reuters argued that the Venezuelan government is “violating the constitution” and the country will be “left in a power vacuum”, and the BBC, which maintained a more reserved tone, still portrayed interpretations of the constitution as muddied debate between government and opposition.
However, Venezuela’s constitution is clear on the situation. The conditions under which a president can be declared permanently absent and new elections called are covered by article 233, and are, “death, resignation, destitution decreed by the Supreme Court, mental or physical incapacity certified by a medical council designated by the Supreme Court with the approval of the National Assembly, abandonment of the post, a popular recall of the mandate”.
Currently Chavez’s status is that of “absence from the national territory”, a status which is granted by the national assembly. This could eventually be declared a “temporary absence” from the presidency, which is granted by the national assembly for a period of ninety days, and can be extended for 90 further days, as outlined by articles 234 and 235 of the constitution.
What the opposition are trying to do is use article 231 of the constitution, which describes the presidential inauguration, to argue for Chavez’s deposal. The article states that the president elect “will assume their mandate on the 10th of January of the first year of their constitutional period, through a swearing-in ceremony in front of the National Assembly”. The opposition claim that Chavez’s inability to attend that ceremony means that he has not assumed his term and his “permanent absence” should be declared. However, as noted above, not being able to attend the inauguration ceremony is not considered a reason for “permanent absence” in the Venezuelan constitution, leaving the Venezuelan opposition without a constitutional leg to stand on.
Rather, this situation is dealt with by the second half of article 231, which states, “If for any supervening reason the president cannot take office in front of the National Assembly, s/he will do so before the Supreme Court”. No date is specified.
Venezuelan constitutional lawyer Harman Escarra, an opposition supporter who helped draft the 1999 constitution, explained in an interview with Venezuelan daily Ciudad CCS that constitutionally, even if the president can’t attend the 10 January ceremony, the new presidential term still begins, including the constitutional mandate of the president’s council of state, the vice-president, and government ministers. As such, he affirmed that in Venezuela “there isn’t a power vacuum”.
The constitutional lawyer further explained that under both the letter and spirit of article 231 of the constitution, “The President, from the point of view of sovereignty, is the President. There’s no other, and the mandate of the popular majority cannot not be overturned because of the issue of a date at a specific moment, because that would be to violate a sacred principle that is in article five of the constitution, which says that power resides in the sovereignty of the people”.
Therefore, it is erroneous for international media to report that Venezuela is entering a constitutionally ambiguous situation in which either the status of the president or the next constitutional step is not clear. Further, it is not only misleading, but dangerous to wrongly paint Chavez allies as looking to subvert the constitution to stay in power, when the opposition is trying to question the government’s constitutional legitimacy in order to provoke a political crisis and depose Chavez as president. The opposition is not the “critical” and “unbiased” democratic voice that the private media represent them as. Such reporting also displays a certain level of hypocrisy, as one can be sure that if the U.S. president or British prime minister were unable to assume a particular inauguration ceremony for health reasons, such outlets would not start casting doubt on their legitimacy, as they are currently doing with Chavez.
3) Should elections have to be called, they may not be “fair”**, and opposition leader Henrique Capriles has a good chance of winning
This third myth adds to the previous two to create the impression that the Bolivarian revolution is undemocratic. It is spouted by most private media, but especially media from the US, which rarely points out the utterly unfair conditions in which elections are held in its own country.
The Washington Post claimed that if Chavez were to die and new elections had to be called, “Chavez’s inner circle…may consider postponing the election or even calling it off”.
“That’s why the first responsibility of the United States and Venezuelan neighbors such as Brazil should be to insist that the presidential election be held and that it be free and fair**,” the WP said, and even suggested that “Mr Chavez’s followers or military leaders” might “attempt a coup”.
The US State Department has also called for any elections that Venezuela has to be “free and transparent”** and the Chicago Tribune in an article today said, “In October, Chavez vanquished his first serious challenger, Henrique Capriles, despite being too sick to campaign... Too sick to give speeches, he bought votes through political stunts like awarding a free government-built home to his 3 millionth Twitter follower.”
The Chicago Tribune’s statement is a lie; Chavez attended one to two huge rallies around the country in the month before the presidential elections, including one in Merida the authors of this article attended, as well as fulfilling his duties as president. And, of course there is no basis or need for these calls for “fair” elections. None of the private media will remind its readers of the 16 elections held over the last 14 years, that 81% of Venezuelans voluntarily turned out to vote in the October presidential elections, that Venezuela is building up participatory democracy through its communal councils, and that Venezuelans have access to completely free and widely available health care, education, and even to subsidised housing—basic conditions necessary for democracy to be practiced.
The Washington Post argued that the Venezuelan government “fears” free elections** because “a fair vote would be won by opposition leader Henrique Capriles, who lost the October presidential ballot but is more popular than Mr. Maduro.” This is wishful thinking, another example of the media mistaking its desire for reality. The opposition did not receive more votes than the governing PSUV in the recent 16 December regional elections, despite Chavez’s absence. The opposition is weak, divided, disillusioned after 14 years of losing election after election (except the 2007 constitutional referendum), has no street presence what so ever, and has no program or cause to unite around, beyond wanting power.
4) A split within the Chavista leadership between Maduro and Cabello is coming
This is another idea bandied about by the Venezuelan opposition and propagated by the international media. The notion, or hope, is that if the worst were to happen and Chavez were to die, Chavismo would immediately become divided among itself and fall apart. In particular, it is argued that national assembly president Diosdado Cabello would try to seize the presidential candidacy of the PSUV from Vice-president Nicolas Maduro. Some opposition figures appear to be actively encouraging this, with opposition legislator Maria Corina Machado demanding that Diosdado Cabello take power on 10 January and that “distrust” and “fear” exist between Cabello and Maduro.
On cue, always backed by vague “analysts” or “observers”, the international media has informed the public of, “A potential rift inside Chavismo between Maduro’s more socialist faction and that of the more pragmatic Cabello” (TIME), or, “Mr Cabello wields considerable power and is thought to harbour his own political ambitions” (BBC), and that, “Chavez's death or resignation could set off a power struggle within the party among Maduro, Cabello, Chavez's brother Adan and state governors” (LA Times).
Such commentary has been slammed by Maduro, Cabello and other leaders within Chavismo, who all stress the unity of different currents within the Bolivarian movement in the current difficult situation. Indeed, the scenario of a direct power grab by Cabello or any other figure within Chavismo of Maduro’s role as successor if Chavez cannot assume his presidential term is very unlikely. Just before Chavez flew off to Cuba for surgery in December, he told the nation that, “If such a scenario were to occur, I ask you from my heart that you elect Nicolas Maduro as constitutional president of the republic”. Chavez has such strong support and respect from among his followers that it would be almost unthinkable for another leader within Chavismo to publicly go against Chavez’s express wish that Maduro be his successor. Any attempt to usurp Maduro’s leadership and candidacy in fresh presidential elections would be seen as political suicide.
5) That the revolution is over without Chavez
Most private media have also subtly cast doubt that the revolution will continue without Chavez, suggesting that the leadership will collapse, that Venezuela is already in “economic chaos” and “disaster”, that Venezuela is living a political “crisis” right now, and that the revolutionary process can’t survive without Chavez. The Chicago Tribune said that, “Whoever ends up running Venezuela will preside over the mess Chavez made of a prosperous and promising nation” and there is now “high unemployment, record inflation and rampant crime”. This is despite Venezuela ending 2012 with 19.9% inflation, the lowest in years, and unemployment lower than the US.
The media is ignoring the fact that the country has been doing fine this last month without Chavez, that the PSUV leadership won 20 out of 23 states in the regional elections in December, without Chavez’s presence, that there is no crisis here; schools started again as normal today, the barrio adentro clinics are open, people are working, shopping, returning from Christmas season vacations, as normal. There is no panic buying, no looting, no political unrest.
Most importantly, the media is ignoring, is invisibilising the biggest factor there is; the people of Venezuela. Chavez isn’t just a person, or a leader, he represents a political project; of economic and cultural sovereignty, of Latin American unity, of freedom from US intervention, of all basic rights satisfied, and of participatory democracy. The majority of Venezuelans have showed their support for that project by turning out to vote en masse time and time again, including in elections in which Chavez wasn’t running, with voting rates generally increasing each year. In most other countries people would be tired and would have gotten over so many elections by now. Venezuelans have marched in the thousands and millions around the country again and again, not just to support electoral candidates, but to march for workers’ rights on May Day, as well as for other causes such as gay rights, defending journalists against violent attacks by the opposition, in support of various laws, and more. It was Venezuelans, en masse, who helped overturn the coup against Chavez in 2002.
The list of gains over the last 14 years is a long one. To mention just a few: complete literacy, broadly available and free university education, free healthcare centres in most communities, free laptops to primary school children, free meals for primary school children, subsidised food, subsidised books, increased street culture and street art, a range of new public infrastructure such as train lines and cable cars, laws supporting the rights of disabled people, women, and so on, government assisted urban agriculture, legalised community and worker organising, nearly a 1000 free internet centres, music programs, pensions for the elderly, and much more. These huge changes can’t be quickly reversed, and the Venezuelan people have every reason not to let them be.
Further, over the last 14 years, Venezuelans have woken up. They read and know their laws, everyone, even opposition supporters, spends hours each day debating and discussing politics and economics. Apathy still exists, but is way down. There is a political consciousness and depth that can’t be turned off overnight.
While it is true that after Chavez there will probably be bureaucracy, corruption, reformism, and some internal disagreements, these issues existed with him as a leader as well. Any change in political circumstances is an opportunity to bring these problems to the surface and to confront them.
The people of the Bolivarian movement are fighters, and are here to stay.
This work is licensed under a Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives Creative Commons license
(CREATIVE COMMONS LICENSE, my emphasis)
NOTE BY ME:
**The U.S. State Department, the Washington Psst and assorted other shills of the transglobal corporate rulers demanding "fair and transparent" elections is so egregiously absurd, hypocritical and "Big Lie"-false that one hardly knows where to begin. Let me begin with the facts about Venezuela's election system vs. this farce we call an election system in the U.S.
Venezuela uses electronic voting, but the programming code is OPEN SOURCE CODE--code that anyone may review--and they conduct a whopping 55% audit (comparison of ballots to electronic totals)--over five times the necessary audit to detect fraud in an electronic voting system.
The U.S. uses electronic voting, but it is run on 'TRADE SECRET' code--code that the public is forbidden to review-- and half the states in the U.S. DO NO AUDIT AT ALL of the electronic totals, and the other half do a miserably inadequate 1% audit. Furthermore, 75% of the voting systems in the U.S. are controlled by ONE, PRIVATE, FAR RIGHTWING-CONNECTED corporation--ES&S, which bought out Diebold.
There are many other election system issues on which Venezuela shines--shines so brightly, indeed, that Jimmy Carter recently said that Venezuela has "the best election system in the world." Venezuela's system has been closely monitored and its elections certified by every major election monitoring group on earth.
Our system stinks to high heaven. Venezuela's system is superior in every respect, from its transparency and verifiability to public participation and enthusiasm. Our system is MADE TO ORDER FOR FRAUD. Venezuela's system is made to order to reflect the will of the people. Our system is invisible, shadowy, controlled by "TRADE SECRETS" and vast amounts of dirty money and dirty deals. Venezuela's system is transparent, open, public and accountable--and it is a system in which you don't have to be a millionaire to run office--everyone has a chance to rise to leadership positions and to be elected to office.
Venezuela is a DEMOCRACY. Is the U.S.? It is arguable that it is NOT--though I believe that we still are a democratic people, longing for good government and a real and fair say it how it is run and what our tax dollars are used for, and are mystified about its failure to represent us and are very, very demoralized about changing things for the better.
Not so in Venezuela. Venezuelans ARE running their own affairs, as a sovereign people, and they are among the most positive-minded people in the world. (They rated their country fifth in the world, as to their own happiness and future prospects!)
This is what makes these lectures from corporate shills about "fair and transparent elections" so utterly ridiculous--so mind-bendingly unreal, and, in truth, so evil--because the perpetrators of this kind of lie are not doing it in ignorance. They know exactly what they are doing. They are turning the truth on its head.
Posted by Peace Patriot | Wed Jan 9, 2013, 03:57 AM (2 replies)
...Chavez--and who fear that, if he dies, this revolution will be over, I assure you that you have been disinformed.
Disinformation is a CIA technique of substituting a plausible lie in place of the truth--in this case, substituting a very false creation--bogeyman Chavez the dictator--for the truth that the leftist democracy revolution in Latin America is ENTIRELY the creation of THE PEOPLE OF LATIN AMERICA. The "New Deal" that they have voted for themselves in numerous countries is the result of their long hard work on their civic structure--for instance, honest, transparent elections*--remarkable grass roots organization, dauntless persistence and dauntless courage, and an abiding belief in social justice and fairness that has survived every bloody effort, by the U.S. government and its corporate rulers, to destroy that democratic spirit in Latin America.
It is NOT about one man--neither in Venezuela, nor in Brazil, nor in Argentina, nor in Bolivia, nor in Ecuador, nor in Uruguay, nor in Nicaragua, nor in El Salvador, nor in Peru--nor in any LatAm country where this remarkable movement has been successful and has been able to elect leftist governments. Neither is it about one man in the countries where the people are still struggling for democracy (as in Honduras).
The corporate media--including the goddamned Guardian, the BBCons and NPRats--have been waging this disinformation war for nearly a decade: creating a PHANTOM, "Chavez the Dictator" (and, more recently, "Chavez the Incompetent Dictator"), so they can knock him down. And why do they do this? To deny US the information that it is not about Chavez; it is about DEMOCRACY and how democracy, if it is real, is also FAIR, to everybody--results in fair trade, fair wages, decent jobs, high employment, fair access to health care, fair educational opportunity, fair use of a country's resources to help the people who live there, fair and inclusive public participation, dignity and civil rights for all, and--lo and behold!--prosperity for all!
Jimmy Carter recently said that Venezuela's election system is "the best in the world." It is the truth. I have looked into it myself. So, how is it that an incompetent dictator--as Chavez has been portrayed by the corporate press--has not only been repeatedly elected by big majorities in an honest, transparent election system (by a 10% margin in the last presidential election, and including the socialists winning 20 of 23 governorships in the more recent by-election), but also was defended and restored to office by the PEOPLE OF VENEZUELA, a million of whom poured into the streets, facing down a military coup and rightwing mobs egged on the by corporate media in 2002?
It's not about Chavez. It's about the people who put him in office! It's not about Rafael Correa (Ecuador). It's about the people who put him in office. It's not about Evo Morales (Bolivia). It's about the people who put him in office. Remember this, as each demonization of a democratically elected leftist leader arises, as each dirty trick unfolds, as each carefully calibrated or gross lie rattles around in your head, about "caudillos" and "dictators" in Latin America, about how "New Deal" economics, though plainly, obviously--according to hard data--hugely successful at creating prosperity, is nevertheless doomed, how sharing the wealth and giving everybody a chance leads to ruination, how denying a broadcast license to a coup-mongering corporate TV station and expanding public access to the public airwaves is "dictatorial," and on and on.
I cannot stress enough how totally we have been disinformed by the entirety of the 1%-er press, on this historic and inspiring leftist democracy movement in Latin America: by the New York Slimes, by the Associated Pukes, by the Miami Hairball, by Rotters, by the alphabet soup of monopolists of our public airwaves (CBS-NBC-ABC-CNN-NPR-BBC and of course Faux News) and, most shocking of all, by the Guardian. (BP's tentacles are long and lethal, apparently.) It is across the board in ALL corporate media, and in media that is not supposed to be corporate but IS. Goddamned lies. Pervasive lies. "Big Lies" of the Stalinist kind (repeat a lie often enough and people come to believe that it is reality).
That Chavez is a dictator.
That Chavez elects himself.
That Chavez is ruining Venezuela.
That Chavez is against "free speech."
That anything that goes wrong in Venezuela is Chavez's fault.
That Chavez is incompetent.
So, if these are your only sources of information--and you have nevertheless been inspired by Chavez and figured out that he represents something real--DO NOT DESPAIR because Chavez may well be dying. (It doesn't look good for him.) HE is NOT the movement. He is merely one elected leader of this vast and inspiring movement--a courageous man, yes, a visionary leader, yes, a true representative of Venezuela's majority, yes, pugnacious and articulate, yes, comparable to our own FDR, absolutely--but he could not have been elected and re-elected, and could not have done what he has done--transform Venezuela from an extremely unfair country into a fair one, with opportunity for all--without the Venezuelan peoples' extraordinary efforts in creating and defending their democracy, and an extraordinarily competent and talented government comprised of hundreds of leaders--and, furthermore, without the cooperation, networking and backing of leftist movements and leaders throughout the region.
They don't want you to know this--that Chavez is just one man, one leader, of a vast and REAL democracy movement--because they don't want it to happen here (or in the UK). The 1%, the banksters, the war machine and the transglobal corporate monsters that rule over us would be seriously imperiled if real democracy happened here (or in the UK). So, after creating Phantom Chavez, in order to knock down a movement involving multi-millions of people, they are now in the process of creating Chavez the Icon, whose death will mean the death of THE LEFT.
You may mourn Chavez or not, depending on how you feel about it. (I will mourn him. I think he's a brilliant and courageous man.) But don't be fooled about WHO created Venezuelan democracy in its fairest manifestation over the last decade, and WHO has created the huge, important and inspiring leftist movement throughout the region: The people themselves--ordinary people like you and me, organizing, doing our civic duty (for instance, creating honest, transparent elections), envisioning and then implementing a better future, and electing leaders who are "of, by and for" the people--who listen to us, who act for us, who attend to the common good.
Posted by Peace Patriot | Fri Jan 4, 2013, 11:45 AM (0 replies)