blatham
 
  1  
Reply Wed 7 Nov, 2007 08:52 pm
thanks fbaezer

To your question at the end...nope.
0 Replies
 
georgeob1
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Nov, 2007 09:59 am
fbaezer wrote:
I guess the "children of the tycoons" are starting to get their comeuppance.

Same with General Baduel. Chávez called his former Defense Minister a "traitor", a "lackey of the right wing" and "a tool of Imperialism".
Does anyone here think the US government has to do anything with Baduel? I personally don't.


Nor do I.

What explains this anomalous behavior of the U.S. government?

They have oil; they go to some lengths to oppose and offend us; they are bringing fairly radical change to the political structure of the country, changes that may promise inconveniences to us and real suffering to their own people; they are in Latin America -- why haven't we invaded or sponsored a counter revolutionary movement????

Could some of the cant and platitudes so loved by Bernie and others be wrong??
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Nov, 2007 10:19 am
georgeob1 wrote:
What explains this anomalous behavior of the U.S. government?

Venezuela doesn't need an American invasion to mess up the country, keep oil prices high, and thus enrich Big Oil in Texas. Chavez does that all by himself.
0 Replies
 
georgeob1
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Nov, 2007 10:40 am
Are you really asserting that Chavez can control oil prices? or that his actions enhance the profits of U.S. oil companies? Which ones?
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Nov, 2007 10:47 am
georgeob1 wrote:
Are you really asserting that Chavez can control oil prices?

Not deliberately. But yes, I think oil prices would be lower if Venezuela was governed by a reasonable Social Democrat like Lula daSilva instead of the crackpot commie who actually governs it.

georgeob1 wrote:
or that his actions enhance the profits of U.S. oil companies? Which ones?

The ones who sell crude oil, and thus like prefer their oil prices high.
0 Replies
 
georgeob1
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Nov, 2007 10:57 am
I don't think your opinion conforms to the facts. Chavez is pumping and selling oil as fast as he can to finance the internal and external giveaways on which his power increasingly depends. A more restrained and farsighted government might limit production to drive up prices, but Chavez has - so fgar - shown no inclination whatever to do this.

I will concede that he is also likely to thoroughly corrupt the technical competence of the now nationalized oil extraction company, and thereby limit production. However that has not happened yet.
0 Replies
 
blatham
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Nov, 2007 11:01 am
Quote:
What explains this anomalous behavior of the U.S. government?

They have oil; they go to some lengths to oppose and offend us; they are bringing fairly radical change to the political structure of the country, changes that may promise inconveniences to us and real suffering to their own people; they are in Latin America -- why haven't we invaded or sponsored a counter revolutionary movement????

Could some of the cant and platitudes so loved by Bernie and others be wrong??

Would you make the claim that the CIA (or other US operatives) have not been operating in Venezuela over the last two decades?

Would you make the claim that such operatives have not moved in any way to support opposition to Chavez?

Would you make the claim that if the US found it in their interests, regardless of negative consequences to the Venezuelan citizens, that they would refuse (on moral grounds) to foment a counter revolution or even to engage in military operations?

Would you make the claim that government-caused hardship for citizens in a foreign state is the most important factor in US involvement in foreign states?
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Nov, 2007 11:02 am
georgeob1 wrote:
I will concede that he is also likely to thoroughly corrupt the technical competence of the now nationalized oil extraction company, and thereby limit production. However that has not happened yet.

It doesn't have to. All you need to do is to keep the markets nervous about it. And anyway, your steeenkin facts are not going to ruin my favorite conspiracy theory.
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Nov, 2007 11:27 am
georgeob1 wrote:
why haven't we ... sponsored a counter revolutionary movement????


I dated some of those 'children of tycoons' some decades ago. I'd be amazed if there wasn't a U.S. sponsored counter-revolutionary movement, and they weren't in the middle of it. They liked their money, and their power - they'd grab any opportunity to re-establish their position at the country club.
0 Replies
 
georgeob1
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Nov, 2007 11:45 am
blatham wrote:
Would you make the claim that the CIA (or other US operatives) have not been operating in Venezuela over the last two decades?

Would you make the claim that such operatives have not moved in any way to support opposition to Chavez?
No. I'm sure our intelligence apparatus is there functioning to some degree - along with their counterparts from Brazil, Mexico and Spain. Our government has been rather public about its disapproval of Chavez' extensions of constitutional power and suppression of opposing political parties and media. Beyond that you are demanding that we be found guilty of bad intent, even in the absence of evidence that we have acted on it, or even of a theory explaining it. This is irrational.

blatham wrote:
Would you make the claim that if the US found it in their interests, regardless of negative consequences to the Venezuelan citizens, that they would refuse (on moral grounds) to foment a counter revolution or even to engage in military operations?

Would you make the claim that government-caused hardship for citizens in a foreign state is the most important factor in US involvement in foreign states?

Hard to fully grasp the meaning of your first question. I'll take it to mean, 'would we decline to foment a counter revolution that we found to be in our self interest purely on moral grounds based on their likely adverse effects on some Venezuelans?' Stated clearly the absurdity of the question becomes evident. Some Venezuelans are likely to be injured no matter what we do or refrain from doing.

The more general statement of the same proposition in the second of these questions is equally absurd and unanswerable. Hardships were inflicted on many people as a result of our war against Japan. Were they justified? Canadian, British and American military forces caused considerable hardships to the people of Normandy and Btittany in France in 1944. Was that justified? Many hardships were inflicted on the people of South Korea in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Was that justified?
0 Replies
 
blatham
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Nov, 2007 04:17 pm
Quote:
Beyond that you are demanding that we be found guilty of bad intent,

No. Not 'bad' intent. Nor 'good' intent (which is the standard PR line, of course, as in Iraq). Selfish and amoral intent is the thing.

Quote:
even in the absence of evidence that we have acted on it, or even of a theory explaining it. This is irrational.

But as I'm not speaking of bad or evil intent, rather callous self-interest, there's much theory (you often advance it yourself) to explain why the US would act in such a manner and be so motivated.

Quote:
Hard to fully grasp the meaning of your first question. I'll take it to mean, 'would we decline to foment a counter revolution that we found to be in our self interest purely on moral grounds based on their likely adverse effects on some Venezuelans?' Stated clearly the absurdity of the question becomes evident. Some Venezuelans are likely to be injured no matter what we do or refrain from doing.

I think this (and your last paragraph( is a cowardly avoidance of the moral questions, george. Let's restate your formulation...
Some people will be hurt if Chavez gets more dictatorial but some will be hurt anyway if he doesn't...therefore there's no moral distinction and it is absurd to suggest there is one.
Let's look at Iraq. Imagine you could go back in time before the invasion and reveal to all the Iraqi citizens now living or dead or maimed or displaced or wealthy through corruption or newly empowered and reveal the future (as it is today) to all those people and have them vote as to whether the US should procede with the invasion. What do you think they would say? More importantly, would you care? Would Rumsfeld care? Understand please that I'm not speaking of strategy but rather of the wishes of those local citizens. Is it the case that once the US has acted, then that act must be 'good' or 'justifiable' because it was the US who did it?
0 Replies
 
georgeob1
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Nov, 2007 04:54 pm
You use the words "selfish and amoral" and "calous, self interest", but those whose actions you are criticizing might chose (and really mean) a somewhat different verbal formulation. People and nations are very often required by circumstance to chose between a bad outcome and a worse one - in cases where both options appear to bring the likelihood of injury to some. It can often be difficult enough to simply evaluate the tradeoffs, much less form a defensible "moral" basis for the choice between them. I wonder if you are giving due credit to the reality of such situations.

Nations do indeed act in their self interest in ways that bring serious harm to some, but I'm not sure that "calous" is the most apt description for all such situations. You prefer the Iraq example, but consider the calous self interest involved in the U.S. and British bombing of German cities in WWIII. Was that morally defensible? Was the war in South Korea that killed hundreds of thousands morally defensible? Was the prolongued inaction of the European neighbors of the former Yugoslavia, as major parts of it descended into mass slaughter and genocide, while they, with troops on the scene who stood by taking no action at all, morally defensible? Was the silence of many Germans and Frenchmen as the Jews in their midst were led off to slaughter morally defensible? Were the myriad actions taken by the US and our allies to thwart the expansion of the Soviet empire morally defensible?

You are levelling some rather broad criticisms without acknowledging the standards you would wish to apply in them. In addition you are ignoriing some important, relevant and common realities. First provide me with your version of practical standards for making "moral" judgemments in such matters, then ask me to listen to your judgements.
0 Replies
 
Ramafuchs
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Nov, 2007 05:14 pm
This video shown on Mario Silva's "Razorblade Program" on VTV reveals the truth about the students' "non-violent, peaceful protests" claimed by the Venezuelan opposition against the constitutional reforms. It's important to note that these protests are being carried out by the Venezuelan students from wealthy, Venezuela families. It also shows the "violent police oppression" against them.

Watch the students uproot trees, destroy public property, overturn dumpsters, attack the police with clubs and knock police off police vehicles with street barricades set up to contain them. Watch them pour raw gasoline into a police vehicle with the police in and on the vehicle. But the hatred revealed in the faces and attitudes of the students say even more about who and what they are than their acts of violence.

Watch the incredible restraint demonstrated by the extremely well-trained, professional Venezuelan police and National Guard. Note the police and NG using humane tactics to deny them the ability to chain themselves to the doors of the National Assembly. See them arrest violent protestors with no beatings and without use of tasers or pepper spray.

These CIA-backed, NED (Washington) funded, violent thugs benefit from low-cost education subsidized by the Venezuelan government and eat low-cost food purchased at the expense of all the Venezuelan people. As one who has participated in many anti-war protests, I can affirm that were anti-war protestors to attack the police in the United States like these students attack police, they would be shot dead - no question about it. The video opens with Romer Alvarado, a student spokesman complaining on opposition private media about whatever blemish might lie beneath a small bandage on his forehead. If you cannot speak Spanish - no problem - one picture is worth 10,000 words. This video is worth watching through to the end. - Les Blough, Editor
http://axisoflogic.com/artman/publish/article_25448.shtml
0 Replies
 
blatham
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Nov, 2007 06:08 pm
George

These are complex questions. They are complex even outside of moral conundrums which are probably the least susceptible to clear and unambiguous formulations. Laying out a consistent and rational moral philosophy even for oneself seems next to impossible and to do it for a nation seems rather more difficult.

But surely a fundamental component must involve an eradication of presumptions that if one has done it oneself, or if one's nation has done it, then it must be or must probably be moral.

I argue stridently against nationalism because it moves so easily into a denial and a blindness regarding the negative consequences to others from ones' nation's acts. I consider this to be America's great failing because whatever else it might get wrong, it is this one which prevents national self-awareness and correction.

You have a clear-headed grasp of how modern Israel creates problems for itself through denying its own moral failings. You see how it attempts to avoid any significant constraints on its actions through this mechanism of denial, bolstered by a delusional self-image of its own intrinsic good or by an absolutist amoral claim that it has the right to act as it deems because it has enemies.

If you don't want to consider Iraq, then consider another contemporary issue...torture. How has it come to be the case that America, of all countries, now utilizes torture? Consider too the easy defense of torture which so many on this board advance with nary a quibble. Rather than evaluate whether their country is behaving morally, they re-evaluate the utility and the morality of the act so as to excuse their country. The nature of their nationalism does not permit deep self-criticism. Such self-criticism feels like an enemy attack to them and those who voice it must clearly be aligned with the enemy.

I'm rooting for America george.
0 Replies
 
georgeob1
 
  1  
Reply Thu 8 Nov, 2007 07:25 pm
Bernie,

Now THAT I can deal with. I don't for a moment believe that all, or indeed any, of America's actions, from the revolutionary war to the present (a range that includes the expulsion of the Cheokees and the attendant expansion of slavery; the extermination of the Plains Indians; the War with Mexico; and many other like events) has been entirely free of the taint of greed or intolerance - or even that none were dominated by such motives. We are only marginally different from the dominant powers that preceded us, and that is mostly the result of the circumstances of our creation and development. Like them we have done both good and harm sometimes knowingly and sometimes without intending it. On the whole I believe we have been a marginal improvement on what preceded us.

Further, I don't deny that good things can turn bad; that mixed but mostly creative political forces can become poisioned by pride and greed, and end up destroying what they have created. There are elements of this in the stories of most nations and we are certainly not exempt from it ourselves. Lastly it is easy to believe that following the Cold War we have become a bit susceptible to hubris and old but no longer so relevant habits of thought and action. However that is a long way from the implications of your earlier statements which rather clearly suggested something far more deliberate, pervasive and characteristic. That I flatly reject.

There is the additional factor of the reflexive anti Americanism of some circles in Western Europe and as well among the liberal establishment in this country. Both phenomena have been around for a long time - indeed they were fixtures in 19th century literature, both here and in Europe. This too bears heavily on the events of the last seven years - these folks would much prefer a pliable poodle like Clinton to anyone who would actually be willing to act independently on anything from Kyoto to the ICC or Iraq.

The substance of the "torture" issue is peanuts compared to what the British and Frebch did in their post WWII colonial wars, however much the shrill response in the public debate suggests otherwise. However we were indeed foolish to get so mired in it.

All that said, I don't believe we have lost our souls, though we have indeed encountered some serious setbacks, in large part of our own making. In addition it is time for our European "friends" to face up squarely to their own behavior and interests in the current world and the degree to which they have grown into the habit of standing securely and safely in our shadow while increasingly carping at our efforts. I believe both points were the meaningful notes of Sarkozy's somewhat interesting speech to the Congress the other day.
0 Replies
 
blatham
 
  1  
Reply Sat 1 Dec, 2007 07:52 am
Quote:
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/01/opinion/01baduel.html
0 Replies
 
blatham
 
  1  
Reply Sun 2 Dec, 2007 09:26 am
Quote:
Chavez For Life? Venezuelans to Vote on Re - Election

By REUTERS
Published: December 2, 2007
Filed at 10:09 a.m. ET

Skip to next paragraph CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuelans voted in a tightly contested referendum on Sunday on whether to allow left-wing President Hugo Chavez to stay in power for as long as he keeps winning elections or hand him his first defeat at the polls.

The anti-Washington firebrand, who has easily won one election after another against a fragmented opposition, is in the hardest campaign of his life as he moves to deepen his self-styled revolution by reforming the constitution.

He predicts he will win by 10 percentage points but most polls show a neck-and-neck race between backers of the referendum, which Chavez says will usher in "21st century socialism," and those who call it an assault on democracy.
http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/world/international-venezuela-referendum.html
0 Replies
 
Ramafuchs
 
  1  
Reply Sun 2 Dec, 2007 12:02 pm
0 Replies
 
Ramafuchs
 
  1  
Reply Sun 2 Dec, 2007 04:31 pm
All the badly outgunned, alternative media in the US can do is try its best to rebut the bias in the storylines defined by the mainstream media. The tiny fraction of Americans who visit the alternative media discover that Chavez has submitted a proposal to change the Venezuelan Constitution in a number of ways, one of which is to eliminate term limits on the office of President. All changes will first have to be approved by the democratically elected Venezuelan National Assembly, and then also approved in a popular referendum before they become law. Only Americans who search out the alternative media discover that HugoChavez was elected President by a comfortable margin in 1998, survived an opposition-sponsored recall in 2004, and most recently was re-elected in December 2006 with more than 60% of the vote. International observers certified all three elections as fair and square. George Bush, on the other hand, was selected President by a partisan Supreme Court after losing the popular vote in 2000, and won re-election only because enough black voters in Ohio were disenfranchised by a partisan Republican official to keep the Buckeye State in the Republican column in 2004. Few observers believe Bush could survive a recall election today, but of course this basic element of democratic rule is not permitted by the US Constitution. Nonetheless, the only storyline ninety-nine percent of Americans hear remains: Hugo Chavez is a dictator and George Bush is the democratically elected leader of the free world.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article18816.htm
Dreams are shattered( for the few intellectuals).
Realitysucks( for the many decent people).
0 Replies
 
InfraBlue
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 Dec, 2007 02:28 am
www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/chi-venez_avila_mondec03,1,6173457.story

chicagotribune.com
Venezuela's Chavez fails in bid to boost his power
Venezuelans nix sweeping changes
By Oscar Avila

Tribune foreign correspondent

12:44 AM CST, December 3, 2007

CARACAS, Venezuela


For the first time, voters put the brakes on President Hugo Chavez's "socialist revolution" by defeating a referendum to expand presidential powers and eliminate term limits, election officials announced Monday.

Two packages of proposals to overhaul the constitution each went down to defeat by margins of 51 percent to 49 percent, according to the National Electoral Council.

The results were a stunning defeat for Chavez, who had never been on the losing side of an election since winning office in 1998. In the process, he had amassed control of nearly all the political institutions in this major oil-producing nation.

Chavez congratulated a previously fractured opposition that was able to pull together university students, business leaders and even former Chavez loyalists. Opponents had warned that the laundry list of 69 constitutional provisions would create a de facto dictatorship.

"I think the Venezuelan democracy is maturing. Each of these processes that we live, each election, allows our democracy to mature," a subdued Chavez said in a national television address from the Miraflores Palace.

The referendum would have let Chavez seek re-election an unlimited number of times, suspend civil liberties in emergencies and appoint regional officials who would have stripped power from elected governors and mayors.

The measures had caused bitter, and often violent, conflicts among an emboldened opposition and Chavez's loyal supporters who saw the changes as a way to keep moving power from the elite to grass-roots movements.

Opponents, gathered at a meeting hall in a tidy Caracas neighborhood, had insisted that their own exit polls showed positive signs even after Chavez backers took to the streets, thinking their man had won.

"We believe in the vote. We believe in elections. We believe in the construction of a new majority," said Leopoldo Lopez, mayor of the Chacao municipality.



Trend 'not reversible'
Human Rights Watch and other groups had criticized the measures that would have let the president suspend due process and other civil liberties during states of emergency. The referendum also would have ended the autonomy of the Central Bank.

The National Electoral Council reported a generally peaceful day of voting.

Council President Tibisay Lucena, ending eight hours of suspense that had the nation on edge, said around 2 a.m. that there were still uncounted ballots but that "analyzing the transmissions, up to now, it has been determined that this is a trend that is not reversible."

Lucena urged citizens on both sides to remain calm.

"Those who have to celebrate, do so with generosity. Those who have to mourn that their option did not win, go home peacefully," she urged.

Several polls had found Chavez in danger of losing. But analysts thought he might pull out a victory thanks to his charisma and well-honed political organization.

Turnout wasn't particularly high, according to the first reports, but leading opposition blocs vowed to participate instead of boycotting as in a 2005 legislative vote.

Esther Maria Rincon, 43, waited in a line that extended more than a block at the Mariscal Sucre school in the middle-class Libertadores section of the capital. The wait stretched to three hours, but Rincon said she wasn't going anywhere.

"Under no circumstances am I leaving before I cast my vote," said Rincon, a teacher who opposed the referendum. "If we don't vote, then they are going to take away so many of our liberties that we won't be able to breathe."

Citizens in pro-Chavez slums had draped themselves in red for days to support a man many adore and whose image they display nearly everywhere in tribute. They took to the streets before dawn Sunday with loudspeakers blaring a reveille.

In recent days, Chavez had threatened to send supporters to the streets if the opponents tried to challenge the results. He also said he would cut off oil exports to the U.S. if the Bush administration interfered.

But Chavez sounded his first conciliatory note Sunday afternoon after voting at a school in the capital. Holding his infant grandson, Chavez said he was confident that the election would proceed smoothly and said he would respect the results.


U.S. unsure of vote's integrity
The election was complicated because major teams of international observers, such as the European Union and Organization of American States, were not present. U.S. officials said they could not be sure of the election's integrity.

But smaller contingents, including foreign lawmakers and the NAACP, were on hand to monitor an election of about 16 million eligible voters.

Julia Castillo, 28, said she found it difficult to make up her mind because she liked some measures, including reducing the workday from eight hours to six hours and creating a pension system for street vendors and other workers outside the formal economy.

"I think a lot of voters were like me, going back and forth," said Castillo, a linguistics student. "It was hard when so much was in play."

[email protected]

Copyright © 2007, Chicago Tribune
0 Replies
 
 

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