Saturday :: Aug 27, 2005

Sauce For The Gander

by pessimist

In the United States, law enforcement takes threats of physical harm against public officials very seriously:

Tallahassee Man Charged With Threatening Gov. Bush

A Tallahassee man was being held Wednesday in Leon County Jail after being accused of threatening Gov. Jeb Bush. Nathan Wayne Stewart, 46, was charged with making a threat to discharge a destructive device, a second-degree felony, and was being held with bail set at $50,000. Stewart acknowledged stating to the citizens' services office that he "felt like strapping a bomb to himself and attending the next governor's meeting."

Investigators from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement also interviewed Stewart. FDLE agents reported that Stewart claimed 'he was mad at Governor Jeb Bush because the Governor had privatized Medicare and he was unable to get his medications'. "The FDLE does a spectacular job," Bush said. "I have no concerns about my safety."

But also in the United States, law enforcement DOESN'T take threats of physical harm against Venezuelan or Cuban public officials very seriously. This isn't playing well:

Venezuela demands action over kill quip

Venezuela condemned US religious broadcaster Pat Robertson for suggesting Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez should be killed, saying he committed a crime that is punishable in the US. Venezuelan Vice President Jose Vicente Rangel said his government was considering legal action against Robertson for saying US agents should 'take out' Chavez, an outspoken critic of US President George W. Bush and close ally of Cuban President Fidel Castro.
"There is a legal measure in the United States that condemns and punishes statements of this nature," Rangel said, referring to laws dealing with television broadcasts. "It's a huge hypocrisy to maintain this discourse against terrorism and at the same time, in the heart of that country, there are entirely terrorist statements like those," he added.

Such Bu$hCo hypocrisy is hardly new, but at least one country that isn't even involved with this controversy is taking this Venezuelan request seriously:

Finnish TV drops U.S. televangelist's show after call to assassinate Chavez

"It's sad that a leading Christian figure makes these kinds of statements," said the channel's executive, Martti Ojares. "The American style of mixing politics and Christian faith is also foreign to Finnish culture."

There are many things about the current regime in America that are sad. Not the least of which is that they hide behind an outspoken and self-proclaimed 'Man of God' to do their dirty work for them:

Why not use the Patriot Act against religious fanatics like Pat Robertson?

by Mary MacElveen

On The 700 Club Reverend Pat Robertson called for the assassination of President Hugo Chavez ... I find this outrageous coming from an alleged man of God. I find this equally outrageous that a man who believes in the sanctity of all human life would call for this. By calling for a world leader's assassination, this proves that he is NOT PRO LIFE, but part of the sick machine in Washington, D.C. that has taken hold of our country where death goes hand in hand with the promotion of their agendas.

This is nothing new. Ask the Iranians about the US and Mossedegh. Ask the Iraqis about the US and King Feisal and later the rise of the Ba'athists. Ask Guatemalans about Arbenz, or the Chileans about Allende. They all remember well what happened when the Norte Americanos came to town through the actions of local Quislings. Their neighbors also remember well:

Chavez: If anything happens to me, blame Bush

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said on Friday U.S. President George W. Bush would be to blame if anything happened to him after conservative evangelist Pat Robertson said Washington should assassinate the leftist leader. "He was expressing the wishes of the U.S. elite ... If anything happens to me then the man responsible will be George W. Bush. He will be the assassin," Chavez said at a public event.

Why is this charge being levelled?

Chavez presents his self-proclaimed revolution as an alternative to U.S. foreign and trade policies in the region. His tough anti-capitalist talk often rattles investors.

Considering that Venezuela supplies some 1.3 million barrels of oil per day to the United States - approximately 7 percent of the U.S. gasoline market - this is enough to affect the 'booming' Bu$hCo economic 'recovery' if it were to be redirected toward the Caribbean nations at prices lower than US suppliers can supply. These nations are supporting Chavez' demand that action be taken against Robertson, although there is no indication yet that they will take any further action to press that demand. They don't want to find themselves in Chavez's tight, American-made zapatos:

Venezuela: revolutionaries and a country on the edge
Venezuelans were hardly surprised by an American preacher's call to kill their President. After all, the US funded a coup attempt against him

Venezuela is living in the shadow of the other 11 September.

In 1972, on a day synonymous with death, Salvador Allende - the democratically elected left-wing President of Chile - was bombed and blasted from power. The CIA and the US Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger, had decided the "irresponsibility" of the Chilean people at the ballot box needed to be "rectified" - so they installed a fascist general, Augusto Pinochet. He "disappeared" at least 3,000 people and tortured 27,000 more as he clung to power right up to 1990.

Since the Venezuelans elected Hugo Chavez, their own left-wing democrat, in a 1998 landslide, they have been waiting for their 11 September. That's why it did not surprise anyone here this week when Pat Robertson - one of America's leading evangelicals and a friend of George Bush - openly called for a US-backed murder of their President.

I don't see why we need to stand by and watch a country go communist due to the irresponsibility of its people. - Henry Kissenger

This attitude, substituting for 'communist' any derogation of a people that is not 100% in line with the wishes of the Best Government Corporate Campaign Contributions Can Buy, rules American foeign policy today. The arrogance of such an attitude leads to taking extreme actions to achieve the goals which motivate said attitude. In the past, these extreme actions were successful - at least in the short run. Later, however, greater problems (see: Iran) arose from these actions.

Today, however, the incompetence and the arrogance of Bu$hCo operatives glows brightly in the glare of the world's media - and in the minds of targeted populations:

Laydez Primera, 34, explains: "Los esqualidos [the squalid ones, as the opposition is often called] and Bush have tried everything to get rid of Chavez.
"They know we have elected him in totally open elections, but they don't care.
"They have tried forcing a recall referendum in the middle of Chavez's term, but the President won by 60 per cent. They have tried saying the elections were rigged, but the opposition asked Jimmy Carter to come and watch the elections, and he said they were totally free. He didn't say that about the election of Bush in Florida! And they even tried staging a coup. We will never, never forget that."

Everybody here has their stories about the 2002 coup d'état, and the strange 47-hour Presidency of Pedro Carmona Estanga, the head of Venezuela's equivalent of the Confederation of British Industry. That April, Chavez was kidnapped and removed from power in a decapitation of democracy orchestrated by the media, a few generals and the wealthy. Carmona dissolved the Supreme Court, the Constitution and the elected National Assembly and assumed control of the country. This was immediately welcomed by the Bush administration.

King George is sympathetic to this sort of governance: "If this were a dictatorship, it'd be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I'm the dictator."
- President-Elect George W. Bush, CNN News, December 18, 2000

The motivation for this immediate US support?

Washington was eager to ensure the largest pot of oil outside the Middle East - providing 10 per cent of US domestic imports - was placed back under the control of US corporations, rather than a left-winger with his own ideas about oil revenue. It later emerged the US had been funding the coup leaders.

[An excerpt from that article: In the past year, the United States channeled hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants to American and Venezuelan groups opposed to President Hugo Chavez, including the labor group whose protests led to the Venezuelan president's brief ouster this month.]

Only the story didn't end there. Venezuela refused to be Chile.
Yet, three years on, the country is still split. There is the rich 20 per cent, who for more than a century received all the oil profits - until Chavez came to power and began to distribute them more widely. They welcomed the coup and rejoiced at Robertson's comments.

And, glaring at them across a chasm of incomprehension, there is the poor 80 per cent, who defended Chavez. Judith Patino, a 57-year-old grandmother and street-seller who lives in one of the shanty-towns in the west of Caracas, explains: "We would not let our democracy be destroyed. We refused. Everybody from this barrio [district], everybody from all the barrios, went on to the streets of Caracas. We were afraid, we thought there would be massacres, but we had chosen our President and we were governing our own country and we would not surrender."

It is easy to see why the people of the barrios support Chavez so passionately: I visited dozens of the 'missions' built by Chavez that provide health and education for the poor - in some places for the first time. If democracy was destroyed, these missions - the lifelines for the barrios - would soon disappear.

The Miracle Mission, for example, provides cataract operations, restoring the sight of poor people who have been blind for decades. They would have never seen again under the opposition's vision of slashed public spending and oil revenues directed once again to the rich.

It is harder to see why the opposition loathe Chavez with such snarling ferocity that they want a foreign power to intervene. I decide ... to meet ordinary anti-Chavistas, so I head for Las Mercedes where Caracas's air-conditioned restaurants are. I soon find Mario and Ellie Novo Chavez (Armani suit, Donna Karan dress). They have never been to a barrio, and they say I am "insane" to visit one. Ellie laughs. She explains that Chavez is 'a fucking communist', a man who looks to "Fidel Castro, Muammar Gaddafi and Saddam Hussein" for inspiration. Mario says: "There are really only two classes in this country - the educated, and the stupid. The poor are poor because they are incredibly ignorant."

There is an irony here: while lambasting the poor as ignorant, it turns out the couple are entirely ignorant of life in their own country.
I remembered what one maid in Barquisimeto, in the south of the country, told me: "We know how they live because we are in their houses every day, cleaning their homes and raising their children. But the rich have no idea, no idea at all, how we live."

How much of the division in Venezuela is based on race? Although there are exceptions, the wealthy elite tends to be white, and the skin tone gets darker the farther you go into the barrios. In the newspapers - which are all anti-Chavez - the depictions of the President in cartoons look like Ku Klux Klan propaganda, wildly exaggerating the thick curliness of his hair and the indigenous slant to his features.

"Oh, there was no problem with racism before Chavez," Ellie tells me. "You know, it used to be a sign of affection to call somebody el negro. If you had a slow member of your family, that's what you would say. But now, since Chavez, people have begun to think it is racist!" Across the opposition heartlands, people talk like this - and worse.

In Venezuela, people can (and, every night, do) call on television for the President to be killed. Indeed, Chavez has been so reluctant to commit a crackdown that the leaders of the coup are still free and unpunished. Venezuelans are still nervously waiting for them to return, in the form of another coup - or a CIA bullet.

The Fears Of The Confederacy Ride Again

Such a coup will have its racially and economically motivated backers:

The wealthy seem to have whipped themselves into a hysteria, convinced that their maids, their police and their president are going to turn on them and lynch them in their homes. The media carefully reinforces this impression, creating a fantasyland for the top 20 per cent to scream in. Yet if you ask them for facts - actual examples of persecution or dictatorial behaviour - they either offer demonstrably false urban myths, or declare: "It will happen soon!"

But from what the opposition says in every Venezuelan newspaper, or from the propaganda of Pat Robertson, you would not know that Venezuelan elections are open and fair, that Chavez has been approved in polls or referenda no less than seven times, and there is more substantial free speech than in Britain.

I ask Zaid Cortez, 27, what will happen if Chavez is assassinated.

"Venezuela will never go back to being governed by Los esqualidos. We won't go back to being a country where the petrol money is used for a minority and not for the barrios."
So what will happen if Chavez is killed?
"Civil war. We are ready."

The poor of Venezuela have something at last to defend, and it is clear that they will. This is the great evil that threatens Marion Robertson and the BFEE/PNAC Petroluem Pirate Posse. An aroused populace makes it hard for the greedy to take from the powerless. Greed is at the center of the oppression of the many to materially benefit the few. Ever since the rise of the Bolsheviks in Russia, any attempt by a people to balance an out-of-kilter economy and restore a degree of human dignity for all to their society is met with the most virulent opposition. No expense will be spared to stamp out anywhere in the world the 'evil' of those who, like Dickens' Oliver Twist, have to temerity to demand 'More' of those who already have too much.

As Mary MacElveen puts it:

Pat Robertson states of Venezuela, that they are controlling a huge pool of oil that could hurt us very badly.
Let us all remember that this oil belongs to the people of Venezuela and it does not belong to us. We are not entitled to it, and President Chavez has every right to sell it to whomsoever he chooses.
Tell Pat Robertson that, through sales of CITGO oil, many of the profits go to feed the poor in 1,100 food centers that President Chavez has set up.

* What has Bush done to feed the poor here?

Remind him of this fact: that Castro gave access to thousands of Venezuelans in his country for free medical care and he did so by partnering with President Chavez.

* Bush has not even addressed the millions that go without health care in this country.

Sure he has! He's helping corporations take advantage of them for profit!

But I digress.

I would not mind being governed by a man who is looking out for the poor and powerless. In fact, I would welcome it.

Is the sort of declaration behind why the US is building a military base in Paraguay? After all, we can't allow any more Bolivias, can we? It will spread across the entire continent, and maybe even further:

The Bolivian uprising has sparked widespread support among the people of Latin America. Activists and militants see it as a demonstration that U.S.-backed neoliberal regimes can be defeated.

America was once a very generous land, even if so many citizens were so greedy. As more and more wealth concentrated in fewer and fewer hands, Wall Street character Gordon Gekko's mantra - Greed is Good - has become the meme, and American 'generousity' is now offered at a great cost. [See: Confessions of an Economic Hit Man by John Perkins] Having run out of any other slogan that still works, they are pushing a Man of God out in front to present a policy that God would vehemently decry.

Fairness and sharing are anathema to believers of this dogma from a cinemagraphic apostle of Mammon, and until we as a nation return to a belief in fairness and display a willingness to share, to be willing to pay a fair price for property we need that isn't our own, we will be the true terrorists of the world.

Taking something from another by force is terror. Just because the force is national in scope doesn't justify it. If a man who lost his medication through government policies can be arrested for threatening a government official, then ANY such threat by ANYONE against ANY public official has to be treated the same way.

So if it's sauce for the goose, Bubba can call new his bitch 'Marion'.

After all - it IS his name.

Copyrighted [©] source material contained in this article is presented under the provisions of Fair Use.


This article contains copyrighted material, the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. I am making such material available in my efforts to advance understanding of democracy, economic, environmental, human rights, political, scientific, and social justice issues, among others. I believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material in this article is distributed without profit for research and educational purposes.

pessimist :: 12:00 PM :: Comments (24) :: TrackBack (2) :: Digg It!