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Sat Aug 31, 2013, 08:25 AM

National Lawyers Guild thumbs up on Venezuela April 14 election

Report of the National Lawyers Guild Delegation on the April 14, 2013 Presidential Election and Expanded May-June Audit in Venezuela

By NATIONAL LAWYERS GUILD (US), August 28th 2013

National Lawyers Guild (NLG) election monitors from the United States issued their report today, concluding that the 2013 Venezuelan presidential election process was fair, transparent, participatory, and well-organized.

A five-member NLG delegation formed part of a larger delegation of over 130 parliamentarians, two former presidents, electoral commission members, journalists, and representatives of human rights NGOs from across the world. Election monitors traveled to polling places throughout the country on Election Day.

The NLG report describes a system that strives to encourage voter registration and participation as well as the use of advanced technology – including fingerprint identification and issuance of paper receipts by voting machines – to ensure accuracy and preclude fraud. Active participation by party witnesses and national and international observers provide further assurances. In addition, the observers found a reliable system in which 54 percent of all receipts were randomly audited after the polls close on Election Day to ensure that paper receipts matched the electronic vote recorded by the machines.

A second NLG delegation traveled to Venezuela after the election to observe the expanded audit that had been requested by the opposition candidate, Henrique Capriles, and approved by the National Electoral Council (CNE). The expanded audit was designed and conducted under the purview of a technical team of 30 professors and other professionals from the Central University of Venezuela. The expanded audit found that of “the voting slips audited, 4,596,432 showed no discrepancies whatsoever in relation to the polling booth record of total votes cast, which represents 99.98% of the total.”

The report also contains a review of the legal process pursued by the opposition, noting a lack of evidentiary support. Citing a failure to provide “sufficient proof,” Magistrate Gladys Gutierrez announced that the court had reached a unanimous decision, rejecting the petition and fining the opposition for what was effectively abuse of process.

Describing the independent nature of the CNE, the report concludes: “We have found the CNE’s President, Tibisay Lucena, and the other members of the CNE and its staff to be consistently concerned with perfecting the electoral process to ensure that every Venezuelan adult has access to the polls and every single vote is counted, regardless of party affiliation or candidate.”

The U.S. would do well to incorporate some of the security checks and practices that are routine in Venezuela to improve both the level of participation and the credibility of our elections,” said NLG President Azadeh Shahshahani. “Holding elections on Sundays would facilitate access for working people and utilizing machines that issue receipts would increase credibility and permit the verification of results.”

The margin of victory for Nicolas Murduro, while small, was comparable to close elections in the U.S., such as the margins of victory for Kennedy in 1960 and for Bush in 2000 and 2004. The National Lawyers Guild calls upon the U.S. to honor the Venezuelan election as nations of the world have unquestionably honored ours. As Jimmy Carter recognized, Venezuela’s electronic voting system backed by paper ballots is “the best in the world,” and therefore deserves at least as much respect as our own.

Daniel Kovalik, a member of both delegations who teaches International Human Rights law said: “As this report shows, the Venezuelan elections on April 14 were free and fair, and the CNE continues to take great pains to ensure the integrity and reliability of the Venezuelan electoral system.”

To access the full report, visit http://www.nlg.org/resource/reports/delegation-to-venezuela.

Source: National Lawyers Guild
This work is licensed under a Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives Creative Commons license

(My emphasis.)


In HALF the states in the U.S., NO VERIFICATION OF THE VOTE COUNT IS POSSIBLE, because they have NO receipt or ballot! They do ZERO audit. And the other half do only a miserably inadequate 1% audit. Venezuela does a routine 54% audit!

And the U.S. dares to criticize Venezuela and question its election?

FURTHERMORE, all U.S. elections are tallied by privately owned 'TRADE SECRET' code, with one, private, far rightwing-connected corporation (ES&S, which bought out Diebold) now having a 75% monopoly over U.S. voting systems! Venezuela's electronic voting programming code is OWNED BY THE PUBLIC, is available for public review and is divided up and held by all parties.

And this doesn't begin to exhaust the number of things wrong with U.S. elections, that Venezuela is doing right. The National Lawyers Guild points out some of them. There are many more. Two of the most important ones, in my view, are the government encouragement of public participation and the high voter turnouts. Here, we have ES&S/Diebold s/elected legislators and governors trying to PREVENT public participation and high voter turnouts, trying to RESTRICT the votes of the poor, the elderly and minorities! Is there any better indicator of the sickness in our democracy, and of the rigged nature of our elections, than this?

Venezuela's presidency, national assembly, governorships and provincial legislatures are representative of the Venezuelan people. Ours are not. (And I'm sorry but, though I do think that Barack Obama was the choice of most voters here--given the choices--neither I nor you, nor anybody, including Obama himself, can prove it. The proof is not there. Our system has been privatized. And you really gotta wonder, given some of the things that President Obama has done (and not done), who is really calling the shots at ES&S besides its far rightwing-connected owners.**)

Jimmy Carter recently said that "America does not have a functioning democracy at this point in time."**** I agree. That is our lamentable situation. That is why we are being dragged from war to war to war, though we are bankrupt--robbed a thousandfold by the war profiteers and the banksters--and our people are suffering in every way. Venezuela, though far from perfect, has a functioning democracy--a good democracy, with numerous positive indicators, and some rather dramatic achievements by its government and its people, including poverty reduction, access to education and health care, labor rights, high employment, good jobs with decent wages, fair taxation, strong regulation of the banks and other aspects of "organized money" (as FDR put it) and vigorous public debate.

Our U.S. "military-industrial-fake democracy complex" hates Venezuela for these reasons--for Venezuelans having created a real democracy, for Venezuelans having started the trend toward real democracy in Latin America, and, of course, for using its oil profits for education, health care and other social needs, rather than giving it to Exxon Mobil fatcats. I can hardly express my dismay at President Obama refusing to recognize Venezuela's April election--an election that has been recognized worldwide--for his bowing to this corporate/war machine hatred of Venezuela's democracy and Venezuela's social progress. Martin Luther King would be appalled!


** Our current Sec of Defense, Chuck Hagel, was one of the founders of ES&S, which 'counted' his first s/election for U.S. Senate, with, of course, its private code and no audit.

**** http://www.thenewamerican.com/usnews/constitution/item/16043-jimmy-carter-defends-snowden-says-u-s-has-no-functioning-democracy

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Arrow 23 replies Author Time Post
Reply National Lawyers Guild thumbs up on Venezuela April 14 election (Original post)
Peace Patriot Aug 2013 OP
Judi Lynn Aug 2013 #1
roody Aug 2013 #2
Judi Lynn Sep 2013 #3
Judi Lynn Sep 2013 #4
Oele Sep 2013 #5
Judi Lynn Sep 2013 #6
Socialistlemur Sep 2013 #7
Socialistlemur Sep 2013 #8
Oele Sep 2013 #9
Peace Patriot Sep 2013 #10
Oele Sep 2013 #11
Socialistlemur Sep 2013 #12
Socialistlemur Sep 2013 #13
Judi Lynn Sep 2013 #15
Socialistlemur Sep 2013 #21
Judi Lynn Sep 2013 #14
Peace Patriot Sep 2013 #16
Judi Lynn Sep 2013 #17
Oele Sep 2013 #18
Judi Lynn Sep 2013 #19
Judi Lynn Sep 2013 #20
Socialistlemur Sep 2013 #22
Judi Lynn Sep 2013 #23

Response to Peace Patriot (Original post)

Sat Aug 31, 2013, 01:17 PM

1. The National Lawyers Guild's above reproach. Good to see this report.

Very glad to see this, too:

Magistrate Gladys Gutierrez announced that the court had reached a unanimous decision, rejecting the petition and fining the opposition for what was effectively abuse of process.


Callng attention to the chasm between Venezuela's voting system, and what has been pointed out about it by well-qualified authorities and that of the system used here in the U.S. is critically important. People here need to know the difference so they can't be conned by the trolls who attempt to spin their lies about it. The way to become immune from misinformation is to look for the truth, and you've provided it.

In what other country can a man own a voting machine company, whose accounting process is not auditable and open to the public, run for the Senate, after all? That has been an open sore every year since he did it. Unbelievable.

Thank you for your well-considered comments.

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Response to Peace Patriot (Original post)

Sat Aug 31, 2013, 03:16 PM

2. Oh to have a verifiable vote! I'm jealous.

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Response to roody (Reply #2)

Sun Sep 1, 2013, 06:58 AM

3. Imagine, a country which doesn't try to keep students, "minorities," and elderly

people from voting. Seems so foreign!

As Republicans rush to remind us, this is a Republic, after all.

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Response to Peace Patriot (Original post)

Sun Sep 1, 2013, 06:36 PM

4. Kicking. n/t

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Response to Peace Patriot (Original post)

Mon Sep 2, 2013, 12:57 AM

5. I'm not from the US..

could someone explain to me whether i should take this report seriously?

I know venezuelaanalysis.com is just chavista propaganda, but what about NLG?

I see they're being called "left-wing" and "communist" all over the internet.. but then again you don't have to do much to get that label in the US...

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Response to Oele (Reply #5)

Mon Sep 2, 2013, 01:10 AM

6. Clearly you're turning to us for advice because you respect us so much. Thank you. n/t

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Response to Peace Patriot (Original post)

Mon Sep 2, 2013, 06:01 AM

7. On the other hand many others said the Venezuelan elections were a sham

Given the way the elections happened in Venezuela, and the reports issued by other organizations, I'd say this "National Lawyers Guild" is an organization created by extreme leftists to provide an imprimatur of legitimacy to what are clearly sham and incredibly corrupted elections. I guess I'll have to spend some time researching their background and see who runs it, and whence comes its financing. I'll get back to the forum in a few days on this matter.

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Response to Socialistlemur (Reply #7)

Mon Sep 2, 2013, 06:36 AM

8. National Lawyers Guild is highly biased, their report is worthless

The NLG delegation wasn't an observer delegation. They are present as "companions" meaning they can't really do the function an observer would do. The observer function as defined by Venezuela s so limited, most international organizations have refused such a role. This includes the Carter Center, which has criticized the recent set of Venezuelan elections.

Interestingly, the NLG site states they issued a report, but it's not available at their website for viewing. The quotes are from Venezuelanalysis, a Venezuelan government propaganda website which tries to front as if it were independent.

Furthermore, I found something written by Daniel Kovalik, a communist lawyer from Pittsburgh who was a delegation member and has made previous trips to Venezuela. Mr Kovalik can be quoted as follows:

"My own view on this is that, whatever its faults and shortcomings, the Soviet Union represented the aspiration for a better and more equitable world; an alternative to a world ruled by greed and the whims of the very rich. And, when the Soviet Union died, and the red flag with the hammer and sickle was taken down from the Kremlin on December 25, 1991, the dream of that better world seemed to die with it.

More than anyone else, Hugo Chavez helped to reawaken that dream, especially in Latin America and other parts of the Global South, and it is that contribution for which the international ruling class, led by rulers of the United States, cannot forgive him.".

Conclusion? This report is indeed a sham, prepared by communists who are so fervent they even admire the Soviet Union.

I think people should be free to have diverse opinions, and I myself can be quite radical at times, but I don't buy the idea that people such as Mr Kovalik can be impartial observers in the Venezuelan elections. Furthermore, I dare say these trips he makes to Venezuela to listen to Chavez speak in such admiration give him away. He's so biased and so sold out, he doesn't even see that Chavez was merely the founder of a huge corruption and theft apparatus which is now being disassembled by his heir, Nicolas Maduro, and with extreme difficulties I may add.

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Response to Socialistlemur (Reply #8)

Mon Sep 2, 2013, 10:21 AM

9. Thanks for the clarification.

The report is actually available on the NLG site, but it's embedded in a google docs viewer that doesn't seem to work on every browser.

Here's the direct link to the PDF: http://www.nlg.org/sites/default/files/Venezuela%202013%20NLG%20print.pdf

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Response to Socialistlemur (Reply #8)

Tue Sep 3, 2013, 05:43 AM

10. Is Jimmy Carter a "communist," too?

Speaking at an annual event last week in Atlanta for his Carter Centre foundation, the politician-turned philanthropist stated, “As a matter of fact, of the 92 elections that we’ve monitored, I would say the election process in Venezuela is the best in the world.” - See more at: http://www.globalresearch.ca/former-us-president-carter-venezuelan-electoral-system-best-in-the-world/5305779#sthash.XZOaX0G8.dpuf (my emphasis)

A rundown on Venezuela's election system:


Gee, Dan Kovalik, the National Lawyers' Guild--all "communists." And maybe Jimmy Carter, too, eh? He has a lot of suspiciously socialistic views--like being for honest, transparent elections and human rights. Must be a pinko, at least, don't you think?

Your language gives you away, Socialistlemur. I haven't seen rightwing crapola like this since the Honduran coup general in 2009 stated that their coup was intended "to prevent communism from Venezuela reaching the United States" (quoted in a report on the coup by the Zelaya government-in-exile).

Brain-dead rightwingism. So, yeah, you go scooting around the Internets looking for evidence that anybody who disagrees with you is a "communist." I'm sure you'll cook up quite a list of people to be "blackballed" and monitored by the NSA.

Stick around DU and clue us in, from time to time, who's on "the list," ok? Just as a friendly gesture, so all us "communists" can have a bit of warning when the Boot is going to come down.

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Response to Peace Patriot (Reply #10)

Tue Sep 3, 2013, 07:29 AM

11. That quote from Jimmy Carter was from september last year.

and he mostly focuses on the 'technical' part of the election process: the automation of the process and the *possibility* of auditing every step of the process. Those things are not being disputed by the opposition. The complaints from the opposition are about things like assisted voting, dead voters, intimidation, abuse of state media, the fact that some audits that are indeed technically possible are not being done, etc, etc.

No, i'm not saying that the opposition is right, but just that you can not use a year old quote from Carter about the technical side of the election system to prove that there weren't any non-technical irregularities in the presidential elections 7 months later.

The Carter Center was not that positive about last April's elections: http://cartercenter.org/news/pr/venezuela-070313.html

Dan Kovalik's quote actually proves quite clearly that he has communist sympathies. And not some crazy "everything that is not right-wing is communism" definition of communism. The guy actually admires the Soviet Union.

A few google searches reveal that the NLG has been accused of being an organization with communist sympathies since its foundation in 1937. I'm not saying that this proves that they are communists, but just that the "NLG are communists" idea is not something Socialistlemur made up because of their Venezuelan elections report.

Whether they're 'communists' or not - i think it's safe to assume that the NLG is a left-wing organization. And *if* the political views of Mr. Kovalik are representative for the rest of the NLG, it's not exactly the "moderate left".

There is nothing wrong with that, but it is valuable information. It means that one should take pro-government information from them with a grain of salt, just like with pro-government news from venezualaanalysis or pro-opposition news from La Patilla.

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Response to Oele (Reply #11)

Tue Sep 3, 2013, 11:46 AM

12. I'd say if they give the Venezuelan elections a thumbs up NLG has zero credibility

Which is really a shame because I happen to agree with some of their positions. You know, quite often we find ourselves allied with some strange characters, so I could shake hands with those communists from the NLG on some issues. But I don't think they can be trusted, they lack credibility and professionalism, and frankly I think they are a bit goofy. After all, the really sad thing about the Chavez regime is that is evolved into a corrupt government which committed serious human rights abuses, including very large jail massacres last year. I don't admire a guy like that, and I definitely can't support a goofball like Maduro who spends his time traveling and lets the Cubans tell him what to do.

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Response to Peace Patriot (Reply #10)

Tue Sep 3, 2013, 11:53 AM

13. It's ok if you want to be a communist

But it's not ok if you claim to be an impartial election observer in a tightly contested elections in a highly polarized nation. Such election observers should be as neutral and mature as possible. Mr Kovalik is a rent-a-companion whose comments and behavior tell me he's worthless in THaT particular election role. On the other hand he may be an excellent choice to help prepare an impeachment charge against Kerry for his absolute incompetence.

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Response to Socialistlemur (Reply #13)

Tue Sep 3, 2013, 03:37 PM

15. Take your red-baiting and label flinging elsewhere. Clearly you should know better. n/t

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Response to Judi Lynn (Reply #15)

Sun Sep 8, 2013, 05:19 PM

21. Red baiting?

I pointed out the National Lawyers Guild delegation included one confirmed communist with very extreme pro Chavez views. This clearly disqualifies him as a judge on the ligitimacy of the Venezuelan elections. Furthermore, the fact that these guys come out with such a report in the face of so many abuses, including critical reports by the Carter center, is sufficient to convince me these guys are a bunch of sold out lawyers. They could be communists, Martians or Irish monks...the fact s their report sucks and they happen to be likely communists. The funny thing these tropical "communists" led by Raul Castro are merely fascists in disguise. Cuba s running away from communism at high speed, Maduro seems to be their puppet, and
therefore that turkey is bringing on a repressive fascist oligarchy. I just had leftist Venezuelan friends, PSUV members come visit and this is their call...they think Maduro is too addle brained to tell systems apart, is a repressive jerk, and the Cubans and Maduro are having a huge interal fight with the Cabello faction and with the communist party as well. It isn't a simple story.

Meanwhile the economy continues to implode, inflation is at 40 %, and my vrezuelan friends who visited carried back a suitcase half full of toilet paper.

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Response to Peace Patriot (Original post)

Tue Sep 3, 2013, 03:32 PM

14. About the National Lawyers Guild

About the National Lawyers Guild
Tuesday, 21 September 2010 22:09 administrator

We seek to unite the lawyers, law students, legal workers, and jailhouse lawyers of America in an organization which shall function as an effective political and social force in the service of the people, to the end that human rights shall be regarded as more sacred than property interests.

-- Preamble to the NLG Constitution, 1937 as amended 1971

Founded in 1937, the National Lawyers Guild was the nation's first racially integrated bar association. The first "Guild lawyers" supported the New Deal, assisted the emerging industrial labor movement, and opposed racial segregation in the American Bar Association and the larger society. The Guild was the first national bar association to oppose the Death Penalty. During its more than 60 year history, the NLG has been an important part of the struggle of the American people for real democracy, for economic and social justice, and against oppression and discrimination based on race, ethnicity, immigration status, class, gender or sexual orientation. Consistent with its commitment to ensuring fairness and equality for all people, law students, non-lawyer legal workers and inmate legal experts are full members. The Guild elected its first African-American president in the early 1950s, its first female president in the 1960s and its first legal worker president in 1996.

Our History

In the 1930s, NLG lawyers helped organize the United Auto Workers (UAW), the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) and supported the New Deal in the face of determined ABA opposition. In the 1940s, Guild lawyers fought against fascists in the Spanish Civil War and WW II, and helped prosecute Nazis at Nuremburg. Guild lawyers fought racial discrimination in cases such as Hansberry v. Lee, the case that struck down segregationist Jim Crow laws in Chicago and entered our culture as Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun. The Guild was one of the non-governmental organizations (NGOs) selected by the U.S. Government to officially represent the American people at the founding of the U.N. in 1945. NLG members helped draft the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and founded one of the first UN-accredited human rights NGOs in 1948, the International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL).

In the late 1940s and 50s, Guild members founded the first national plaintiffs personal injury bar association that became the American Trial Lawyers Association (ATLA), and pioneered storefront law offices for low-income clients that became the model for the community-based offices of the Legal Services Corporation. During the McCarthy era, Guild members represented the Hollywood Ten, the Rosenbergs, and thousands of victims of the anti-communist hysteria. Unlike all other national civil liberties groups and bar associations, the Guild refused to require "loyalty oaths" of its members and consequently, the NLG was unjustly labeled "subversive" by the Justice Department, which later admitted the charges were baseless, after 10 years of federal litigation. This period in the Guild's history made the defense of democratic rights and the dangers of "political profiling" more than theoretical questions for Guild members and provided valuable experience in defending First Amendment freedoms that informs the work of the NLG today.

In the 1960s, the Guild set up offices in the South and organized thousands of volunteer lawyers and law students to support the Civil Rights Movement, long before the federal government or other bar associations were involved. Guild members represented the families of murdered civil rights activists Schwerner, Chaney and Goodman, who had heeded the NLG's call to join the civil rights struggle and were assassinated by local law enforcement-Ku Klux Klan members, which was fictionalized in the film Missippi Burning. NLG-initiated lawsuits brought the Kennedy Justice Department directly into the Civil Rights struggle in Mississippi and challenged the seating of the all-white Mississippi delegation at the 1964 Democratic Convention. Guild lawyers defended thousands of civil rights activists who were arrested for exercising basic rights and established new federal constitutional protections in ground-breaking Supreme Court cases such as: Dombrowski v. Pfister, which enjoined thousands of racially-motivated state court criminal prosecutions; Goldberg v. Kelly, the case that established the concept of "entitlements" to social benefits which require Due Process protections; and, Monell v. Dept. of Public Services, which held municipalities liable for brutal police-employees.


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Response to Judi Lynn (Reply #14)

Tue Sep 3, 2013, 08:16 PM

16. NLG--"first racially integrated bar association." Yup, "communists."

Socialistlemur is calling "communist" an organization that came to my personal rescue in 1965, when I was arrested by Alabama sheriffs (white, of course) for stopping for a hamburger at a black restaurant (me being white) in the company of two other civil rights workers, one white, one black. Me and the other white civil rights worker were arrested and taken down a country road, where the sheriff who arrested us for "causing affray" (we weren't "causing affray"--just getting a hamburger) stopped his car and met with a sheriff in another sheriff's car. He unhooked his rifle from the dashboard as he got out of the car. Dark road. Nobody around. Three civil rights workers had been murdered in similar circumstances in neighboring Mississippi the previous summer. That was one of the reasons I (a California girl) had traveled south and joined Martin Luther King's voter registration project. Damned if I would let racists and murderers continue their outrages in "the land of the free, home of the brave." 'THEY CAN'T KILL US ALL!' I said to myself, as I had headed south. But on that scary night, I wondered if I was going to die for that belief.

Luckily, the black civil rights worker, who was talking to the restaurant owner (whom he knew) at the time of our arrest and whom the white sheriffs didn't realize was with us, managed to avoid arrest and CALLED THE NATIONAL LAWYERS' GUILD! Their local lawyer contacted the local authorities, made it clear that we were represented and got us out of that hell-hole jail and that dangerous situation the next morning and got the absurd charge against us dropped.

"Communists"? Nope. Tried and true, honest-to-God, genuine American PATRIOTS, were and are the National Lawyers Guild lawyers!

We don't need this sort of McCarthyite red-baiting here at DU--this crapola that "socialistlemur" is peddling. It is very dangerous stuff. I called it "brain-dead," above. But it's worst than that. It's brain-EATING. It's demented--and it's gets people lynched, murdered, tortured, beaten, raped, and bombed and turns civilization to ashes.

This is a PROGRESSIVE forum. We don't call people "communists" for admiring the Russian peoples' desire for economic fairness. Most Russians are no more guilty of Stalin's crimes than most Americans are guilty of George Bush's. The Russian people wanted economic fairness. They thought they were creating it, but they had no history of how to get there--no democracy whatsoever in their history or traditions. Because of that--and because of Hitler and the horrendous toll he took of Russia during WW II, and because of the paranoia of the West in the post-WW II world--they fell prey to a tyrant, and their ideal of economic fairness was drenched in bloodshed and paranoia.

Something similar is happening here--the greatest democracy in the world falling prey to its "military-industrial complex" and our ideal of democracy getting lost in war after war and mind-numbing paranoia. Do we abandon our ideal of democracy because of this? Is there nothing to be admired in that ideal, because it has come to this--endless war?

It makes no more sense to condemn the communist ideal of economic fairness, because Russia's WW II leader turned tyrant, than it does to condemn democracy because a putative democratic country-- this one--slaughtered one hundred thousand people in Iraq, in the first weeks of "shock and awe" bombing alone, for no reason whatsoever, other than greed for oil!

How is that any different than Stalin's purges or invasions? Do we condemn democracy because of it?

But this kind of REASONABLE discussion cannot take place in an atmosphere of red-baiting. It is, indeed, the purpose of red-baiting to PREVENT reasonable discussion and to STIFLE the higher forms of thought that can discern the ideals and good aspirations of most people who are caught in the tragic circumstances of an out-of-control government.

Most Americans are good people with strong attachment to the ideal of democracy, and who furthermore believe in economic fairness achieved collectively through government action (Social Security and Medicare, for instance), though we also believe in "the marketplace" and liberal freedoms. Most Russian communists were also good people with strong attachment to the ideal of economic fairness, though, with no history of democracy, had no means of dealing with their new 'czar,' Stalin (except internally, within the communist party, by more enlightened leaders such as Krushchev, after many horrors had already occurred). The ideals of communism and democracy are worthy of thoughtful discussion. The reality of governments that claim one or the other as their flag also need discussion, as do all of the various mixes of socialism, capitalism, communism, representative democracy, participatory democracy, etc., that we see around the world and in recent and past history.

Red-baiting is DESIGNED TO prevent such discussion. We're all supposed to SHUT UP because "socialistlemur" has put the hex on the National Lawyers Guild, Daniel Kovalik and all who think they have something interesting and informative to say. The NLG's endorsement of Venezuela's April election is certainly interesting and informative--but we're supposed to dismiss it, disbelieve it and condemn it because "socialistlemur" says they're all "communists."

It would be laughable, if there were not rivers of blood and agonies of pain and deprivation attached to ALL scapegoating campaigns, and most especially to all red-baiting campaigns.

I will repeat what the Honduran general who helped destroy Honduran democracy said, that their coup d'etat was "intended to prevent communism from Venezuela reaching the United States." People DIED because of that--teacher shot point-blank in front of his students, protest organizer beheaded--body left in the road as a lesson to all, hundreds of others killed, still being killed; people imprisoned, raped, tortured, fired from their jobs, hunted, harassed--the brave people of Honduras. Because somebody told this general he had to "prevent communism from Venezuela reaching the United States," and armed him with weapons, and vast amounts of our money, and a U.S. military base to refuel the plane that carried the ELECTED president of Honduras into exile.

That's what red-baiting does. It kills people. It destroys democracy. It destroys liberal freedoms. It even destroys "the marketplace" by turning it into a corporate monopoly playground for the uber rich.

It is so destructive! I hope it ends here, with this thread, but I think we're in for more of it.

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Response to Peace Patriot (Reply #16)

Tue Sep 3, 2013, 09:35 PM

17. Had known you were involved in the nat'l struggle 4 civil rights.U know wherof U speak!

Your post has depth, spirit, wisdom, experience, and INTELLIGENCE. I'm afraid not one of the fascists who might attempt to read it would have the vaguest idea of what it means! They don't speak your language.

Speaking for everyone else, I have to thank you, so much. You went away to war, too, in the '60's, only you didn't go to hurt anyone, only to help.

That was an astonishing time when we realize how much really happened then which HAD to happen.

So much more is needed, but what happened in the 60's was imperative as things couldn't have gotten any worse for the soul of this nation. Things were far too evil.

Long way to go still ahead, but what happened in this country during that time was beyond belief in human advancement.

The right wing wants to put everything back prior to the '60's, before such strides were accomplished. It's not going to happen. There really are far too many of us now. They are screwed! It's just taking some of them a long time to wake up to the facts.

Red-baiting is simply trashy behavior. Odd. Stupid. It's what we expect from failed people.

Thank you for taking the time to share your experience. So glad to have read it.

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Response to Peace Patriot (Reply #16)

Wed Sep 4, 2013, 07:58 AM

18. 'Communism' is a loaded term.

Last edited Wed Sep 4, 2013, 11:16 AM - Edit history (1)

I realize that some people would argue that we should use the word 'socialism' instead of 'communism', but that term is just to broad. When we say 'communism' we try refer to the 'all the way socialism' flavour they had, or wanted to have, in the soviet union. The word 'socialism' can also refer to 'social democracy' type of thing we have in large parts of Europe.

Of course I can't speak for Socialistlemur but i'm personally not against communism per se. If a country succeeds in implementing communism without letting its people suffer from poverty, a lack of freedom and human rights abuses, that would be *GREAT*! The thing is - i have never seen it happen. And it doesn't seem to be happening in Venezuela right now.

Whether the NLG are communists or not *is* relevant in this specific context - if they are communist, or socialist, or red, or "very left wing" or whatever you may call it, there's a great chance that they have a bias in favor of the current "socialist" Venezuelan government.

We are not trying to destroy people, democracy, liberal freedoms or the marketplace. We're just pointing out that there's a big chance that the NLG is not the most neutral source when it comes to this particular subject.

I agree with you that there is a thin line between pointing out a bias and "baiting" or "label flinging".

I just think that it is sad that many forum members who get very upset when someone says 'communist', find it OK to call people 'fascists', 'right wing pigs' or 'coup supporters' because of their political opinion. The same people think that the NLG should be trusted regardless of its political orientation, while disregarding anything written by papers like El Universal or El Nacional or blogs like Caracas Chronicles, just because they're "right wing media" that can not be trusted under any circumstance.

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Response to Oele (Reply #18)

Wed Sep 4, 2013, 01:29 PM

19. The sources you mention would be welcome at a right-wing site.

Last edited Mon Sep 9, 2013, 12:57 AM - Edit history (1)

It's simply inappropriate to try to direct leftists to read your right-wing links.

Democrats are NOT racist, classist, anal right-wingers. There's nothing they (all right-wingers) have to offer to principled people.

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Response to Peace Patriot (Original post)

Sun Sep 8, 2013, 04:59 PM

20. Information which was down-played: FBI Spying on the National Lawyers Guild

June 27, 2007
Targeting Dissent

FBI Spying on the National Lawyers Guild


In 1937, the American Bar Association refused to allow people of color to join its ranks. With the blessing of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the National Lawyers Guild was founded as a multi-racial alternative to the ABA. The Guild’s founding members included the attorney general, several judges, some congressmen, and the head of the National Labor Relations Board.

Three years after the creation of the National Lawyers Guild, the FBI began to conduct secret surveillance of the Guild. From 1940 to 1975, the FBI wiretapped Guild phones, burglarized Guild offices, and sent informers into Guild meetings. The June 25, 2007 New York Times report on the FBI’s program of spying on the Guild omits FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover’s primary rationale for undertaking this surveillance: "to blunt the Guild’s criticism of the FBI and, if possible, to destroy the organization," in the words of Michael Krinsky, one of the lawyers who filed the 1977 lawsuit against the FBI.

The Guild, which provided legal support for the people, was a thorn in Hoover’s side. In 1950, the Guild was about to release a big exposé on the FBI, prepared by Yale law professor and ex-Guild president Thomas Emerson. No other organization was undertaking such a comprehensive criticism of the FBI. Through illegal wiretaps and informants the FBI learned of the Guild’s impending report. In advance of the report’s release, the FBI launched a pre-emptive strike at the Guild by causing people in the press and the Senate to denounce the report. "So the story became the Lawyers Guild, not the FBI," Krinsky said.

The FBI asked Richard M. Nixon, a member of the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), to call for an investigation of the Guild, on the eve of the release of the Guild report. The investigation led to the 1950 HUAC report titled, "National Lawyers Guild: Legal Bulwark of the Communist Party." It concluded with a call to the attorney general to designate the National Lawyers Guild a "subversive organization." The AG complied in 1953, but when no evidence to support the designation was forthcoming, he dropped it in 1958.


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Response to Judi Lynn (Reply #20)

Sun Sep 8, 2013, 05:26 PM

22. Hell the CIA has spied on me in the past

Being spied on by a us government agency is like having the flu. Everybody has it. I don't think these NLG types have any sort of special claim on fame. The point if irrelevant. My point continues to be they are not qualified to be impartial election witnesses. Furthermore since what goes on in Venezuela s closer to incompetent keystone cops fascism it's clear to me they are sold out. Money talks in their case, that's for sure.

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Response to Socialistlemur (Reply #22)

Mon Sep 9, 2013, 12:59 AM

23. Yeah, they spied on my bloviating Aunt Fannie, too. n/t

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