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Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 24,979

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Yeah, every time some CIA tool makes up bullshit about his being near death...

The 86-year-old man should run out and do a speech to please you. Because it's his job to "dispel doubts" (respond to the usual lies). Maybe you can exhaust and kill him by making up some bullshit every day.

My guess is, he's as near or as far from death as anyone else who's 86 - and doing a lot better than most people that your CIA allies have tried to kill 14 to 140 times (depending on which estimate we go by).

The first question in this for US Americans

cannot be, "Is Chavez a bad guy? Is he a dictator?" Because if he is, we didn't pick him, did we now? Venezuelan majorities have backed him a half-dozen times in elections monitored internationally and praised as free and fair.

Necessarily, it must be: "Do I support the attack on Venezuela by my own government?"

Because that's the domestic concern. We are responsible for that. Our taxes pay for the propaganda, direct support to Venezuelan opposition groups, and covert actions.

We're not responsible for Venezuelans choosing Chavez, right or wrong.

Depends how you count, but 10-15 percent.

1) Disney-ABC, 2) NBC-Universal (GE is still a partner, I think, as is MS), 3) Viacom-CBS, 4) Time-Warner, 5) Sony and 6) this abominable slime-crawling motherfuckbeastfromhades are responsible for 90+ percent of the network TV programming by audience and 90+ percent of the movie box office, plus I'd have to say 80-ish percent of the TV news (counting local news affiliates) and I'd think something like a quarter each of the radio and the print news, when you count re-prints. Maybe I'm high on the print side. Hope so. (To get almost all media in the country, add Bertelsmann, the telecoms and cable companies, Apple, MS, Google, Yahoo, Facebook, AOL-Huffington, Clear Channel and the print dinosaurs of Gannett, NYT, WaPo, Knight-Ridder and Hearst...)

Murdoch in USA = FOX + FOXNEWS + WSJ + NY POST + ??? some other business-oriented news properties I forget.

I think you are confusing boss with servant.

Romney the super-rich hedge fund vulture may qualify as one of the bosses. His own, in this case.

Romney of the Romney campaign, however, lives at the mercy of NEWSCORP and the other media conglomerates. He's Murdoch's more than Murdoch is his.

This is only one element of Rupert Murdoch's never-ending Attack On America.

It's kind of obvious and dangerous to discuss.

There are two visions here:

- A place for the left within the Democrats at a time when the country is in great crisis -- as it has been since the moment DU was founded -- i.e., not just "Democratic" but also "Underground."

- A cheerleading appendage to Democratic campaigns.

I question its utility as the latter -- since there is an extreme aggression to people who aren't fully on the party line, although obviously the party also needs such people to win. As you say, the result has been a less lively and interesting place, and how does that help?

Option 1 is largely wiped out. Most of the interesting analyses & debates were coming out of that corner. I see people still around who supported the Iraq war resolution in 2003 and made light of the 2004 election fraud, but few of the people who helped break open the lies in both cases at the time.

The forums usually get more interesting after the election seasons.

I like it for Latest Breaking News (still a great aggregator) and for those debates on issues that still interest me and can be had here without running into the righteous flamery.

Still missing the essential point.

Your country, the US, is waging an illegitimate propaganda and politics war against Venezuela. Venezuela's failings become secondary in the face of this. Yes, they do. Stop the lies and the deliberate stoking of tension, then you have standing to complain about the handful of exaggerated cases you cite - which are a joke compared to the US treatment of Bradley Manning, Don Siegelman or the Portland anarchists and the Austin occupiers, among many others. You should ask, when will the US end its hostility to Venezuela!

And let me know when Chavez opens up an island prison in a foreign country (so that it can evade its own laws) and renditions people kidnapped from around the world into it and tortures them for years without letting them receive visits let along have representation. Let me know when Chavez drone-bombs his own nationals, or when VZ has the equivalent of an NDAA 1021/1022.

Mexico and Colombia are directly relevant, because they represent the alternative that the US is trying to push on the rest of Latin America: drug war, neoliberalism, and death squads. This is what the US wants for VZ! These are the "allies," one of them next door to VZ, a recipient of US military aid with a half-dozen US bases and US forces operating within its borders. So when you join in the chorus of right-wing talking points against Chavez, that is what you are objectively supporting: the Pinochet solution, which the US attempted to impose on VZ in 2002.

Meanwhile, the world's most advanced police state has been built right here, in the US. And you don't really want to get into the question of the "company we keep," do you? That's a laugher. At least two of the "bad" countries you cite - Russia and Iran - have a history in which the US fucked them over very badly, as you should know, resulting in many of their woes to this day. Would there have been a Putin as a nationalist reaction, if there had not first been a shock therapy run by the Chicago boys. Would there have been ayatollahs without the overthrow of the democratic government and the dictatorship your country imposed on Iran? This is what the US is supporting as a solution for VZ - it's good news that VZ has so successfully resisted and inspired most of Latin America to emerge from the US shadow.

Racially segregated facilities were also once lawful.

In Rome, the testimony of a slave could only be accepted if the slave had been tortured (since slaves are otherwise untrustworthy and will say whatever keeps them out of trouble).

In other words, laws should not be confused with justice.

Laws can be abused all the time. This is one reason we have juries - the grand jury as presently used is the opposite of an adversarial procedure, however. It is a means for prosecutors to get any charges they like, unchallenged, and as we see also imprison anyone they like.

All of my heroes have FBI files!

"As of 2010, US federal government grants accounted for most of Freedom House's funding."

ON EDIT: In addition to the below, Freedom House was chaired for three years by James Woolsey, the former Director of Central Intelligence, member PNAC, and one of the neo-con warmongers leading the way into Iraq. Whatever it may have been in the past, this is a US intelligence front.

On Woolsey, Freedom House in Russia:



So, a think tank funded by the US government does your thinking for you on the state of political freedoms in the United States?

On that map, the narcostate Mexico, currently overrun by military death squads in a policy originally promoted and heavily backed by the US, is "free," but Venezuela is "unfree." No ideological bent there! Israel is "free," of course.


And unlike these young people being persecuted by our government, Pussy Riot got a trial!

Venezuelan democracy: "The best in the world."

The best in the world. That's what Jimmy Carter called the election system in Venezuela, noting that the Carter Center has monitored 92 elections.

Susan Scott and Azadeh Shahshahani of the National Lawyers Guild were among the 220 international parliamentarians, election officials, academics, journalists, and judges present in Venezuela as observers of the presidential elections last Sunday. They write:

What makes Venezuela’s electoral system stand out resides in a combination of factors. The Bolivarian project of “21st Century Socialism” and Latin American integration, initiated by Hugo Chavez and his supporters after his first election in 1998, is a fundamentally democratic project. Chavez has repeatedly emphasized that its legitimacy and viability lies in the will of the people as expressed in free and fair elections. The 1999 Bolivarian Constitution was itself drafted by an assembly of elected members with significant popular input and was adopted in a national referendum by a 72% popular vote. It provides for an independent National Electoral Council (CNE), chosen by the elected National Assembly (Congress), and with a constitutional status equal to the other four branches of government (executive, legislative, judicial, and Poder Ciudadano, “People’s Power,” which includes the Attorney General, Human Rights Defender, and Comptroller General). The Constitution provides for more than the election of political representatives – there are provisions for referenda to change the Constitution (used in 2007 and 2009), referenda to abrogate laws, and even for recall of the president (attempted in 2004).

As more and more elections are conducted under the CNE’s leadership (28 since the Bolivarian Constitution) and more electoral laws and regulations passed, the electoral system has become increasingly trusted and respected by the Venezuelan populace. The system has been used by unions to elect leadership and even by the opposition to elect its standard bearer in a primary last February (also witnessed by an NLG delegation).

Since the 1998 election of Hugo Chavez and the 1999 adoption of the Bolivarian Constitution, voter registration has climbed from 11 million in 1998 to almost 19 million today, as a result of a robust registration program throughout the country, targeting the country’s poorest communities. The number of polling places has increased from 20,202 in 1998 to 38, 239 in 2012.

Perhaps the most outstanding aspect of the Venezuelan electoral system is the technology used to record, verify, and transmit the votes. The technology provides for accessible electronic voting with a verifiable paper trail and instant transmission of vote counts from remote locations to CNE headquarters. CNE’s anti-hacking and multiple transparent audit and identity authentication systems have put to rest past opposition claims of fraud. At each of the polling stations we visited, there were observers present representing both the Capriles and the Chavez camps. The observers expressed satisfaction with the integrity and transparency of the process, regardless of their political affiliation.

Source: http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/10/11/investing-in-democracy-in-venezuela/

I'm not entirely convinced by any electronic system, but I am convinced that Venezuelans are aware of the potential troubles with any such system, to a much greater extent than any of the US states who use a hodge-podge of different corporate-owned systems. They understand that the vote can be hacked, there must be a full paper trail and multiple authentication systems.

The authors go on to note that Venezuela does not regard elections as a field for cutting costs, and has invested enormous sums in building up this system. Capriles conceded freely and had to accept the fairly counted result. The majority chose Chavez, once again.

Venezuela is obviously far ahead of our own country in guaranteeing the integrity and fairness of elections. But this is the country that is defamed by US and some European propaganda and corporate-owned media as a dictatorship! Meanwhile, Colombia may with some luck emerge from decades of death-squad governments backed by US taxpayer money, and Mexico unfortunately looks like it's not going to soon back down from a US-backed drug war that has turned that country into a narco state where military and paramilitary death squads directly involved with the cartels murder tens of thousands of people.
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