Archive for August, 2005

Kidnap Hugo Chavez?

Wednesday, August 24th, 2005

I noted this at a message board I wander across:

On the August 24 edition of the 700 Club, Robertson claimed he wasn’t actually calling for Chavez’ assassination, but that there were other ways of “taking him out,” such as… KIDNAPPING!

Yes, you got that correct, He now suggested that we might want to KIDNAP a foriegn president! That’s two strikes, as both kidnapping and assassinations are TERRORIST ACTS!

The US government would NEVER kidnap a foreign leader. That’s just insane!!

US officials are dismissing allegations that US troops forced Jean-Bertrand Aristide to leave Haiti.

Secretary of State Colin Powell says the claim is absurd. White House spokesman Scott McClellan calls it “nonsense.” He says Aristide left on his own free will — and that US troops were there to protect him.

But Congresswoman Maxine Waters of California says she got a phone call today from Aristide and his wife, who are now in the Central African Republic. She tells CNN that the Aristides claim US officials forced them to get on a plane — and that they now feel as if they’re being held as prisoners.

African-American activist Randall Robinson says he got a similar call from Aristide — who said he’d been ousted in a coup and abducted by US soldiers.

A good rule of thumb is that a foreign leader does not “meekly step down” to a popular uprising uplifting a new government whose pocket of popular support does not really follow. (I know I mentioned it on my blog at the time… here it is.) (The story template for the American backed-coup never changes. Go back and read the New York Times articles on the Monarchist Uprisings Bringing to Power the Shah in Iran. And the small story laughing at Pravda for the ludricous notion that this was a US backed coup.)

I noted this story here… which seems to either lose something in translation or is written partly in Aesopian parable. See… Chavez recently threatened the US with $10 gas prices. Which suggests why Pat Robertson is full of it: the US government cannot kidnap Hugo Chavez, because the storyline of “meekly resigning” does not fit into his personality. The government is just going to have to assassinate him.

Actually, I find this paragraph hilarious:

Chavez asserted that there has never been an empire more brutal, more cruel, more cynical, more savage, more hypocritical, and more dangerous than the one led by his counterpart, George Bush. He said that “Mr. Danger,” like all other U.S. presidents, is not a person but an imperial system of hegemony that personifies within himself all other names and figures.

Mr. Danger is not a person but an imperial system of hegemony that personifies within himself all other names and figures.

Mr. Danger is not a person but an imperial system of hegemony that personifies within himself all other names and figures.

Hm.

I note some more news on the Hugo Chavez front. He’s now offering the US some assistance in fighting poverty:

But Chavez said what did concern him was the level of poverty of certain people in the United States, and he offered aid from his government to help with the well-being and health of the American people.

Chavez said that some citizens of that country could be enrolled in the medical program of Cuba, and he even spoke of offering a special program of direct gasoline assistance to poor communities.

“The level of poverty in the United States also worries us. We offer not only to cover 6 million people with medical care over the next ten years, but to train over 200,000 doctors over the 10 years. We will put them back into the program,” he said.

“Venezuela is also offering energy aid. We could assist some poor communities by selling them gasoline directly. If we sell directly they could save a lot of money. If you are going to New York or San Francisco, the price of a barrel of Venezuelan gasoline is $80. That is almost double the price at which it leaves us, because intermediaries speculate and raise the price. We are prepared to help poor communities with doctors but also with fuel.”

Islamo-Commies overrun Venezuela

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2005

The easiest thing to call Pat Robertson (and Jerry Falwell — the two are basically the same person-mass, so I’ll tend to confuse them in my mind) at this point in time is “Mullah Robertson”. It’s not much of an exaggeration to say he’s thrown out a Fatwa on Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens and now Venezuela President Hugo Chavez.

I want to unpack his quote on Hugo Chavez just a wee bit.

ROBERTSON: There was a popular coup that overthrew him [Chavez]. And what did the United States State Department do about it? Virtually nothing. And as a result, within about 48 hours that coup was broken; Chavez was back in power, but we had a chance to move in.

This is a lie. There wasn’t a popular coup to overthrow Chavez. There was a coup-attempt from his political opposition, backed by the weight of the US government. It was here that Hugo Chavez started to get a bit paranoid about the United States government, seeing Bush attempting to overthrow him at every corner — a very understandable feeling, actually. He has since been re-elected by a large margin. (Incidentally, Hugo Chavez tried to coup his way into power years before he became president. He failed, but went on to gain power through an election.)

He has destroyed the Venezuelan economy

Perhaps. But, for most Venezuelans, it was broken before he came to power. The poor masses voted him in. The general left-wing assessment of Latin America is of a batch of post-globalization governments, accumulating a block of anti-corporate governments. Lulu is supposed to be the tops. Chavez is supposed to be a bit troubling in terms of some of the things he’s doing.

, and he’s going to make that a launching pad for communist infiltration and Muslim extremism all over the continent.

Wow. We’ve been facing Islamo-Facism. Now we have to deal with Islamo-Commies? And the Islamo-Commies are hiding out in South America??? I have an idea! Let’s get the Islamo-Facists to fight the Islamo-Commies! They can kill their way into oblivion, and we’ll just swoop in at the end and take the oil that’s left.

You know, I don’t know about this doctrine of assassination, but if he thinks we’re trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it. It’s a whole lot cheaper than starting a war.

Please note the assumption that we oughta start a war. Consult the National Review issue with a cover with Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro and the words “Axis of Evil Latin American Edition!” In the craps game to figure out “who will be next” on the list to war with (You know the one … is it Iran or Syria or…), Venezuela was always a sort of dark-horse waiting in the wings. (And the agit-prop was always there). The question: What did Hugo Chavez do to us other than successfully foil our coup?

And I don’t think any oil shipments will stop. But this man is a terrific danger and the United … This is in our sphere of influence, so we can’t let this happen. We have the Monroe Doctrine, we have other doctrines that we have announced. And without question, this is a dangerous enemy to our south, controlling a huge pool of oil, that could hurt us very badly.

Well… Monroe Doctrine… Oil… Imperialism writ large, ain’t it?

We have the ability to take him out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability. We don’t need another $200 billion war to get rid of one, you know, strong-arm dictator. It’s a whole lot easier to have some of the covert operatives do the job and then get it over with.

So, the news polls oughta start asking this question:

What should our policy toward Venezuela be?
(a) War
(b) Covert operations to assassinate Hugo Chavaez.

Sunday, August 21st, 2005

Green Day’s “American Idiot” album — undoubtedly the rawk critics will end up considering a “seminal album of the oughts”, permanently placed on various rock-and-roll listings of such things 40 slots after Led Zeppelin IV– has four singles released from its tracks.

Two of the songs are political: “American Idiot” and “Holiday”. Two of them aren’t “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” and “Wake Me Up When September Ends”.

But looking at the videos… the only video that is political in nature is “Wake Me Up When September Ends”. The band managed to sort of de-politicize to the greatest extent possible “American Idiot” and “Holiday”. And, by adding a few minutes of a sappy little story to stick “Wake Me Up When September Ends”, they turned the song into an anti-recruitment video. (Found here.

Perhaps that effect is a result of the re-election of Bush and the meaning of the War in Iraq. I don’t know.

Anyway… The Decembrists’ 16 Military Wives is found here.

racist numbskulls

Saturday, August 20th, 2005

Something called “Aryan Fest” is apparently in town — somewhere or other — today. It sort of crept past the awareness of the city permitters, with the work of misleading paperwork on the part of the “Aryan Fest”ivalists. Electronic news reports chime in with the idea that “They say they’re non-violent racists, but those two words don’t really go together.”

I google and see that it’s a concert. I’m having trouble understanding what can be misleading in turning in the paperwork — if they called their get-together “Aryan Fest 2005″, and they put it on the paperwork, what’d be the confusion. Perhaps they neglected that part of the equation, and called it a concert for “Non-violence”. (And another google search shows that it’s an annual concert. Aryan Fest 1988 figures highly in the biography of Tom Metzger, who I suppose I could include as a “Portland celebrity”. Also, the photographs for the 2004 event are quite comical — I swear it’s an audience of two dozen.)

Racial tensions seem to have risen here in Portland. And we get this comment about the recent downtown spate of club violence. Also, we get observations that violence has long been a problem in North Portland (which is where Portland’s fairly small black population reside — and mind you, Portland historically is the most segregated Northern city), and yet Mayor Tom Potter and the police chief are making a special deal about the violence downtown. This, though, is not directly racist but business-related — they’re protecting businesses and profit more than anything else.

Though the Aryan Fest pretty well lives in a bubble.

The Bozos of the Cindy Sheehan Affair

Friday, August 19th, 2005

#1: George W. Bush. This sums up the political stupidity he’s shown: The liberal establishment – the left wing of the state’s bird of prey – would have been just as indifferent to Cindy’s plea as are the conservatives. Liberals would not, however, have been so unbelievably stupid as to attack a lone, grieving mother, and threaten her with arrest. A liberal president would have met with this woman to “feel her pain” – with full media coverage, of course – before proceeding with the conduct of his bloody warfare.

Bush could’ve ended this “fiasco” on day one. But his arrogance got the best of him. (There’s a bit more to say about his supposed “charm” with calling her “mom” when they met initially. One person’s charm is another person’s grating behaviour.)

#2: Larry Northern, 46, of nearby Waco, Texas

Enough said.

#3: Supposed security deal for Jeb Bush:

Protesters say the man showed up just after 1:00 am asking a lot of questions and claiming to be security for the president’s brother, Governor Jeb Bush. They say he got mad and started threatening protestors when a chase ensued and police were called.

Protestor Diane Wilson says, “They started chasing him down the road. There was a full fledged chase down the road and they called the cops… He said, ‘I can make a call and have you arrested right now.’”

#4: Rush Limbaugh
August 15: “I mean, Cindy Sheehan is just Bill Burkett. Her story is nothing more than forged documents. There’s nothing about it that’s real, including the mainstream media’s glomming onto it. It’s not real. It’s nothing more than an attempt. It’s the latest effort made by the coordinated left. ”

August 16: “Let me take a brief time out here to address something. I have been the recipient of a pretty decent amount of hate mail, far, far, far more hate mail than I usually get. Just this morning — and I don’t really get a whole lot of hate mail. And most of it’s funny as it can be. But apparently there is something that is out there misreporting what I have said. And of course, these people are reading that rather than listening to this program and choosing to believe it.

Apparently, what’s out there is that I said that Cindy Sheehan is no different than Bill Burkett, that Bill Burkett lied and Cindy Sheehan lied. They’re actually out there, people saying that I am accusing Cindy Sheehan of making up the fact that she had a son and making up the fact that her son died in Iraq. And of course, I’ve never said this. That I, early on in this, if you wanna go back — and we’ll post the archives on my website tonight just to illustrate this. I’m the one that actually expressed a little compassion for her. And I said I don’t really wanna talk too much about her, particularly because she’s lost a son here. And that can never be easy. And I don’t care — there are all kinds of different people that have all kinds of different reactions to this. But losing a child is the absolute worst thing that can happen to an adult. There’s nothing that rivals it, in my estimation.

#5: Bill O’Reilly
August 9: “O’REILLY: Well, I have to say that she obviously does because she’s the lead story on Michael Moore’s Web site on an almost daily basis. And she knows — I mean, Michael Moore isn’t a subtle guy. Everybody knows where he stands.

So I mean, I think Mrs. Sheehan bears some responsibility for this and also for the responsibility of other American families who have lost sons and daughters in Iraq, who feel that this kind of behavior borders on treasonous.

You know, you got to think about those people as well. What about their feelings?”
Next day: “I never said or implied that Mrs. Sheehan was a traitor.”

#6: Larry Mattlage. ” I ain’t threatening nobody, and I ain’t pointing a gun at nobody,” Mattlage said. “This is Texas.”

Mattlage said he was initially sympathetic toward the demonstrators, but that they have blocked roads in the area and caused traffic problems. He said he fired his gun in preparation for the dove-hunting season, but when asked if he had another motive, he said, “Figure it out for yourself.”

The list of right-wing pundits is long and wearisome and bottomless, and it’s a little difficult to parse out the “special” cases. Who stands out as particularly obnoxious and ridiculous? Hard to tell.

David Horowitz is still a Communist.

Israel

Thursday, August 18th, 2005

Contemplating Israel’s withdrawal from the West Bank… that much ballyhood 1967 line.

… I hear that citizens of Israel Proper roll their eyes at the citizens of the settlements. Or, the more cosmopolitan Israelites. The settlers are The True Believers, who live there and want to keep expanding throughout all of what is considered Palestine. The total effect is creepy. Turn on TBN and you’ll see happy stories of Christian fundamentalists helping out Jewish fundamentalists to move to the settlements.

The great problem commences: See here: Palestinians watched the drama in satisfaction from the rooftops of their nearby homes. “I’m standing here without any fear that Israelis will shoot at me because their battle today is against themselves,” said Mohammed Bashir, a farmer in the town of Deir al-Balah, near Kfar Darom. Unilateral as the move is, Violent Extremists will view it as a victory and… onward to Greater Palestine! (Beyond which, there is something a bit creepy about a government deploying military force with its own citizens. I hear that such a byline is written deep within the contract a US Enlistee signs — the pages and pages of which that are rarely read.)

(The paradox I view the US as facing in Iraq, actually… there, the need is to get somewhere beyond the frame of the phrase “cut and run” — suggesting a victory for — um — “Islamofacists”(??) — more importantly the part of the “Resistance” that is fighting more than just simply the “Occupation”, while actually… leaving the place. The key problem there is that for the neocons, there’s no need for an Exit Strategy becaus eIraq was an Entrance Strategy.)

Why don’t you call it a protest?

Wednesday, August 17th, 2005

At some point before noon, a handful of youngsters — late teens, early twenties — stand in Pioneer Square, in a line (or maybe two), with gray duct tape over their mouths with the word “Life” on it. A couple of members stand by the way-side, without the duct tape — wearing a badge that suggests that they’d answer any questions you have.

“What precisely are you protesting?”
“It’s not a protest. It’s a prayer meeting to create a Culture of Life and bring attention to the issue of Abortion.”
“Ok. Thank you very much.”

I used the word “precisely” because I imagined they might have a specific piece of legislation somewhere (or even a Supreme Court nominee somewhere) that they wanted to advocate for. I suppose if there were, you can argure against it being a “protest”. As it is, they have duct tape over their mouths with the word “Life” on it — a statement, I guess symbolizing how the aborted fetuses are being deprived of their right (and ability?) to speak.

Why can’t the guy call it a protest?