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acmejack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 10:05 PM
Original message
Venezuelan Lawmakers Pass Mandatory Community Service
Dec. 15 (Bloomberg) -- Venezuela's congress unanimously backed a law requiring two years of monthly community service by all citizens, as President Hugo Chavez expands his plans for ``21st Century socialism'' to create new grassroots groups.

The law, which aims ``to generate a culture capable of putting the collective before the individual,'' would have every person between the ages of 15 and 50 work a minimum of five hours a month over two years at schools, parks, job centers and housing projects, the National Assembly said in a statement. After college, students would serve a full, post-graduate year.

``It's a typical socialist building block, with this sense of togetherness that regimes including Cuba have gone through,'' said Riordan Roett, head of Latin American Studies at Johns Hopkins' School of Advanced International Studies in Washington D.C. ``Its major point is to gain greater control.''

Chavez poured Venezuela's record oil revenue into the public sector ahead of the country's Dec. 3 presidential vote, funding health, housing and education programs and slashing official poverty rates by 31 percent since 2003. Analysts and his supporters say his talk of ``socialist revolution'' now calls for action instead of just cash.

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601086&sid=aQN...
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Cha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 10:11 PM
Response to Original message
1. Sounds good to me.
People are getting oil cash and there's no reason not to pitch in and help out your community.
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acmejack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 10:20 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. It is a community builder.
It is a amazing how isolated Americans are. Most people don't even know the names of their immediate neighbors anymore. We need to meet through websites!
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BlackVelvet04 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 10:42 PM
Response to Reply #2
5. Some of us don't need to meet through websites.....
we just do that as an addition to our otherwise very full lives.

I don't WANT to know my neighbors. That's why I moved to the country. I have friends and family I get together with, I do volunteer work, donate money to charity and I don't WANT to feel any more of a part of a community.

If some of you want to volunteer and be part of something bigger....go for it. But don't expect the rest of us to fall in line with your mandatory bullshit.



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acmejack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 10:46 AM
Response to Reply #5
11. I expect nothing of you or anyone else.
Edited on Sat Dec-16-06 10:52 AM by acmejack
To expect anything of an American nowdays is to ask for an attitude just like yours! So by expecting nothing from "Citizens" such as yourself, I am never surprised. BTW, It is not MY mandatory Bullshit-I am not a Venezuelan, so chill the fuck out and enjoy your very full life!
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katsy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 10:23 PM
Response to Original message
3. I think our lawmakers should be required to do the same thing here.
It would help them get in "touch" with their constituents. They seem to have forgotten what it's like to walk in someone else's shoes.
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Poll_Blind Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 10:23 PM
Response to Original message
4. I can't help but believe if all Americans, not just those who...
...self-select, were to perform community service we wouldn't have so many problems in our communities to begin with.

  I think this is a great idea. People from different social classes and political views mingling, talking, making connections while working on projects that benefit them all.

  This is one way you can help build a strong country.

PB
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JDPriestly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 10:46 PM
Response to Original message
6. WE DO A LOT OF VOLUNTEER WORK WITHOUT COERCION
AND THE COURTS IN CA FILL THE RANKS OF PUBLIC SERVICE PROJECTS WITH MISDEMEANOR PROBATIONERS. CAPS DUE TO DIFFICULTY TYPING TODAY NOT EMPHASIS.
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tom_paine Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-15-06 11:15 PM
Response to Original message
7. I am stunned that DUers would support a coercive anti-freedom law!
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601086&sid=aQN...

Wow.

And before you label me a Bushevik or some other such nonsense, look at my journal and/or search my previous posts.

Volunteering to help the community is all well and good. But once you are unilaterally by threat FORCING people to work (slave labor, anyone? because that is essentially what it is, albeit a mild form with mild punishments comparatively...bet they get worse as time drags on)

I have always been on the fence about Chavez. Some have said him a saint, some a devil. I have seen both sides and thought some merit in each. This is not remarkable, most people are in between those two points (Mr. Bushler is close enough to the devil side that I never want a closer one to rule us).

But this law, in my opinion is just plain WRONG. And my opinion of Mr. Chavez just dropped a few notches. He is most definitely not a saint. His hyperbole is often bordering on ridiculous. Bad as Bushler is, can anyone say with a straight face that his "is the worst Tyrant in the history of the world", which Chavez has said more than once?

Wow, that sure puts Hitler and Stalin in their place, doesn't it? Bush isn't even close to Pol Pot, Hitler, Stalin, Shaka Zulu, Caligula, Genghis Khan, Mao, etc. etc. ETC.!

My point being that was indication enough that maybe at least some of what Chavez critics about him being a bit of a tyrant himself were true.

Now this. An ugly ultra-coercive law which, as the gentleman from John's Hopkins correctly points out, is a time-worn Communist/Hardcore Socialist method of bringing more aspects of society under control, like Bush and the Religious Right are trying to do to different aspects of society here.

I know, maybe Chavez can have a Spartakiad...attendance compulsory, of course.

Now I see Chavez as more of a Left-Wing Bush (it would explain why they hate each other so badly) and I recommit myself to being a Moderate who resists the extremes of BOTH SIDES.

Because in the end, left-wing and right-wing authoritarianism are both contrary to freedom and simple human decency.

Chavez is now exposing himself a a left-wing authoritarian.

Flame away, if you must! :grr:
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brokensymmetry Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 12:25 AM
Response to Reply #7
8. Well said, tom_paine.
I agree. You said it better than I ever could.
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Selatius Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 11:50 AM
Response to Reply #7
15. I don't necessarily think it is anti-freedom.
Edited on Sat Dec-16-06 12:05 PM by Selatius
The problem with the US is that we have too many people who look at things in black/white, good/evil, with us/against us paradigm. It is absolutism, and I'm tired of dealing with people who look at the world in this light. We get George W. Bush as a result. The world is shades of gray.

I wouldn't say it's "anti-freedom." If you wanted a truly authoritarian example, then try not having elections, which is something Chavez has not done yet. Many European countries that more than a few DUers here have put forth as models to emulate require some kind of national service if not outright military service back to the community, and most people in Europe are fine with it because they have more control over their own governments than we do over here.

Besides, if the Venezuelan people think this is too authoritarian, then they will communicate their position at the ballot box or through calling a referendum on this act of their congress.

To be sure, I wouldn't have been the one offering this up as a proposal as I generally favor a more anarchistic form of socialism, but if it works, it works. If it doesn't really improve the situation, then lesson learned, but in this case, I generally defer to the Venezuelan people on the matter.
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tom_paine Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-17-06 03:07 AM
Response to Reply #15
16. We agree on some things, and disagree on some
First, I completely agree with you about the false dichotomies presented to the nation by the Bushevik Party-Loyal Sub-Media and Lie-Laundry (i.e. the black/white, with us/against us duality).

Second, I am going to continue to disagree with you that this isn't anti-freedom. I will go so far as to say it is a relatively MILD form of anti-freedom, just as Bushevism is. The Europeans can do what they do, many of them, because the USA helped to give them that ability, after World War II. I say this not as a Bushevik would, for simple "we're so great" shock value, but to say that OK, we are in a little down patch for the strength and health our small-d democratic processes, but let us not forget what our nation can accomplish and has accomplished. I will remain an FDR-democratic-capitalist but I will always reject that level of coercion for which hardcore socialism and communism are infamous. And as I resist the first steps of Bushevism before they become extreme, so I do with socialism/communism. It is my opinion, so we will probably agree to disagree.

Third, I never suggested the Venezuelan people shouldn't be allowed to do this if indeed a Chavez controlled Congress is any more representative of their people than a the Bush-controlled Congress we just had. If it is (and I do not know one way or another, I will leave that discussion to the Chavezistas and their critics), then sure they have the right to run their country as they see fit.

I simply disagree with it. Strongly disagree with it and I view it as having the ulterior motive of power consolidation.

So we will have to agree to disagree.
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Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-17-06 04:16 AM
Response to Reply #7
19. Deleted message
Message removed by moderator. Click here to review the message board rules.
 
rman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-17-06 09:09 AM
Response to Reply #7
35. By that measure the US and European nations have been authoritarian
for a long time (and some still are).

Remember the military draft?
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ronnie624 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-17-06 11:20 AM
Response to Reply #7
37. From the article:
"Venezuela's congress unanimously backed a law requiring two years of monthly community service by all citizens, as President Hugo Chavez expands his plans for ``21st Century socialism'' to create new grassroots groups."

Not Chavez.
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EFerrari Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-17-06 05:59 PM
Response to Reply #7
40. So, why are you demonizing CHAVEZ for a law that CONGRESS passed?
Hmm?
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Toots Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-18-06 08:22 AM
Response to Reply #7
43. What about taxation?
Isn't that forced upon us? In a sense it is forced labor in that you work for money you must give the government. In a society such as ours we must all do our part. We need highways and airports and harbors and dams and water works and schools and ??????? What is different about paying your fare share of taxes or giving some labor to the state?
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TahitiNut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 12:30 AM
Response to Original message
9. "two years of monthly community service"
Like 'weekend warriors' ... but without guns. Sounds like a decent program. :shrug:

I'm one who believes we have duties ... as parents, as citizens, and as part of a society from which we benefit.

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Selatius Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 12:31 AM
Response to Original message
10. Ultimately, this will be decided by the Venezuelan citizens themselves.
I am not entirely sure, but I believe the people have the ability to call a referendum on major acts of Congress to either approve or repudiate what they are doing. The Swiss Constitution also has similar provisions.

Personally, I am on the fence about mandatory national service, especially if it includes a draft.
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malaise Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 10:52 AM
Response to Original message
12. In Denmark even doctors
in private practice do community service.
The key is when the state provides basic guarantees, citizens should return these in kind.
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SoCalDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-17-06 03:16 AM
Response to Reply #12
17. Bingo.. basic guarantees deserve some community give-back
Edited on Sun Dec-17-06 03:17 AM by SoCalDem
The reason we do it "voluntarily" is because only the people who can "afford" the time are the ones out there doing the communty good works.

"mandatory" community service is about SHARING EQUALLY in the "pay-back" for what your country/community/state/whatever is providing for ALL the peopple..

It's quid pro quo in the fairest/kindest sense..

and it helps the "lesser" people who may get more in services, feel as if they too have a stake in their community and are paying back what they are getting.. It takes a little of the sting of poverty away.
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malaise Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-17-06 05:13 AM
Response to Reply #17
20. I agree with you 100% n/t
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Donald Ian Rankin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-17-06 07:03 AM
Response to Reply #12
22. Yes, but forced labour is a very bad way of doing that.

It's a) less efficient, and b) more onerous than taxing everyone and using the money to pay volunteers.

Forced labour puts the people who could otherwise earn a living doing those jobs out of work, increasing poverty.

Forced labout means that the jobs being done with it are being done by people who have very limited training, no enthusiasm or sense of commitment or duty, and want to be doing something else.

Forced labour is far more onerous than taxation for the people made to do it.

Forced labour interferes with your workforce training to do jobs of their own choice (including all skilled jobs, because those can't be done by conscripts), harming your economy and your job market.

Forced labour is a less efficient means than paying professionals out of taxation of doing the work it does.

Forced labour is deeply illiberal and an assault on personal liberty.
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Solon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-17-06 07:36 AM
Response to Reply #22
24. Aren't you being a little dramatic here?
Its not like the people will be forced to work in Coal mines or something. Community service is just that, working within your Community. I doubt that taking ONE weekend a month out of someone's time to work at a soup kitchen is going to increase poverty.
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Donald Ian Rankin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-17-06 07:55 AM
Response to Reply #24
26. It's a slippery slope.

This law won't achieve very much of anything, but the majority of what little it does achieve will be bad. The real reason to worry about it is because it opens the jar labelled "forced labour"; a jar that is far easier to open wider once it's open a crack and that should always be kept firmly shut, in my view.
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Selatius Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-17-06 08:25 AM
Response to Reply #26
31. Slippery slope arguments are fallacious for a reason.
This is akin to saying that if school prayer is banned today, then someday all religious expression in all aspects of life will be banned.
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madokie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-17-06 08:14 AM
Response to Reply #24
29. Actually it would decrease poverty
as we share so do we learn to share
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Commie Pinko Dirtbag Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 10:58 AM
Response to Original message
13. Still better than Brazil. Here we have mandatory MILITARY service.
Edited on Sat Dec-16-06 11:03 AM by Commie Pinko Dirtbag
The only reason not everybody serves is there aren't enough vacancies in the Armed Forces.

Edit: and before you start blathering, no, that's not evil leftie Chavez-lover Lula's invention -- it's in effect since the 19th century.

Also Brazil is not the only country who demands more than this new Venezuelan law and doesn't get called a dictatorship because of that.

Some people will say Chavez saying he likes scrambled eggs is proof he's a dictator. Bite me, you all.
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treestar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-16-06 11:00 AM
Response to Original message
14. Sounds hard to enforce
Encourage, but don't mandate.

Sounds like a pandora's box about to be opened.
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nadinbrzezinski Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-17-06 03:19 AM
Response to Original message
18. Ah the screeching already
it is amazing

Will it work?

Time will tell

And it is up to the VENEZUELAN people to decide what they want to do

As is, it should increase the sense of we are in this together

and yes I do believe people owe more to the community than we demand these days
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madokie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-17-06 06:30 AM
Response to Original message
21. I like it but then again I grew up when it was mandatory for me
and I marched right along and I am proud today I did then. its us us us not me me me. I never have understood whats wrong with for the common good, the common good makes all our lives better, methinks
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Donald Ian Rankin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-17-06 07:05 AM
Response to Original message
23. "Community service" is a very euphemistic way of saying "forced labour".

This is a very bad and illiberal law, for the reasons I've set out in post 22.
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madokie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-17-06 07:45 AM
Response to Reply #23
25. Your opinion and your opinion only
I probably didn't like it at the time but as I look back I can look back with pride at not just what I had done but what I learned, the many benifits of. My dad was a WPA worker, many years before I was born but he was proud of having been part of something for the common good, one of the bridges I had to cross as a young person, the school I attended from the 8th grade on, many of the sidewalks I walked on and on and on were constructed in your eyes, forced labor, in my eyes, with pride.
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Donald Ian Rankin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-17-06 07:58 AM
Response to Reply #25
27. No, not my opinion only.
That this is forced labour is objective fact, not just "in my eyes".

I am all in favour of community service, and I can quite see that it can be a source of pride.

What I'm *not* in favour of is forcing *other people* to do community service. If you choose to, that's your choice; if they don't, that's theirs, and it's not your or my or the government's place to force them without a damn good reason. "National emergency" might justify some degree of forced labour; "building a sense of togetherness" absolutely doesn't.
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madokie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-17-06 08:12 AM
Response to Reply #27
28. makes me think of what a President once said and to which I happen to agree
think not what your country can do for you think what you can do for your country. I owe something to those who came before me paving the way for the life I have the privilege to live. If another person doesn't want to participate then let it be, but many more will want to. I like the I am for Us. I like having pride too because I earned it. And of course we are only sharing ideas anyway.
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Donald Ian Rankin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-17-06 08:17 AM
Response to Reply #28
30. Think what I can do for my country, not think what he/she can do for my country.
Edited on Sun Dec-17-06 08:18 AM by Donald Ian Rankin
Voluntary community service is a perfectly good idea, but forcing other people to do it is something completely and utterly different.

It's like the difference between not smoking and banning smoking.
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LittleClarkie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-18-06 04:33 AM
Response to Reply #25
42. Well of course it's his opinion
that's what we do here.
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Commie Pinko Dirtbag Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-17-06 08:36 AM
Response to Reply #23
32. Does that appply to all countries in this list too?
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Donald Ian Rankin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-17-06 05:53 PM
Response to Reply #32
39. Yes; in many cases to a greater extent.

The "community service" being introduced in Venezuela is - currently at least - less than that in many countries, including many otherwise liberal first-world western ones, as I'm sure you're aware.

That doesn't mean it's not a bad thing.
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rman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-17-06 09:11 AM
Response to Reply #23
36. kindof like military draft
right?

except that one is destructive while the other is constructive.
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nebula Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-17-06 09:02 AM
Response to Original message
33. Lame to call it forced labor
Edited on Sun Dec-17-06 09:06 AM by nebula
If 5 hours a month of community service is forced labor, then the government policy we have in the US of forcing our children to attend school 8 hours a DAY is another form of forced labor as well.

OMG, we have forced child labor!
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rman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-17-06 09:08 AM
Response to Original message
34. social draft vs military draft
discuss.
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eyl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-17-06 01:04 PM
Response to Reply #34
38. I'd say there's a significant difference
the draft is, obviously, a much more onerous requirement than community service. However, military conscription - at least in theory - is instituted out of a need to defend the nation. Presumably, were the nation to fail in its defense, it would be destroyed or at least badly damaged.

Because of that, the draft, while certainly a curtailment of freedom, can be justified on the basis of necessity - in much the same way as we allow people to kill in self-defense.

Community service, OTOH, is much less crucial. While it may make life better, it's absence will almost certainly not cause critical drawbacks, especially not to the nation as a whole. Because of that, even though it's a far smaller curtailment of liberty than a draft, it lacks the latter's counterbalancing justification.
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rman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-18-06 04:15 AM
Response to Reply #38
41. It is to be expected that there's difference of opinion
on the need for serving the community versus the need to wage war.
Personally i think the the US could very well use some community service - more so perhaps than Venezuela.
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genie_weenie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-18-06 08:33 AM
Response to Original message
44. 167 people decide 27 million should do homage
Instead of putting a nice spin on how the "People" of Venezuela choose 2 years of community service let's label it for what it is, a return to Feudalism. 167 people in Parliament determined the rest must put the collective before the individual...
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