ARC's 1st Law: As a "progressive" online discussion grows longer, the probability of a nefarious reference to Karl Rove approaches one

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Hugo Gets a Round of Applause from DUers

For doing something that would make most DUers riot in the streets and slit their own throats.

He's going to eliminate the constitutional prohibition on three terms for serving as Venezuela's President. The NYTimes provides the coverage:

August 15, 2007

Chávez to Propose Removing His Term Limits
By SIMON ROMERO

CARACAS, Venezuela, Aug. 14 — President Hugo Chávez will unveil a project to change the Constitution on Wednesday that is expected to allow him to be re-elected indefinitely, a move that would enhance his authority to accelerate a socialist-inspired transformation of Venezuelan society.

The removal of term limits for Mr. Chávez, which is at the heart of the proposal, is expected to be accompanied by measures circumscribing the authority of elected governors and mayors, who would be prevented from staying in power indefinitely, according to versions of the project leaked in recent weeks.

Willian Lara, the communications minister, said Mr. Chávez would announce the project before the National Assembly, where all 167 lawmakers support the president. Supporters of Mr. Chávez, who was re-elected last year with some 60 percent of the vote, also control the Supreme Court, the entire federal bureaucracy, public oil and infrastructure companies and every state government but two.

The aim of the overhaul is “to guarantee to the people the largest amount of happiness possible,” Mr. Lara said at a news conference on Tuesday.

And we all know that the definition of happiness for Venezuelans is the jack boot of Hugo right up their keister. At least, that's what Hugo keeps telling us...
The project has already led to fierce debate over Mr. Chávez’s expanding power. Critics in the Roman Catholic Church have been clashing with Mr. Chávez over the re-election proposals, with one cardinal, Rosalio José Castillo Lara, calling him a “paranoid dictator.”

Mr. Chávez’s proposals would centralize his control over political institutions even further, potentially weakening opponents like Manuel Rosales, the governor of Zulia State, who received nearly 40 percent of the vote in presidential elections in December, analysts said. Mr. Chávez’s current term expires in 2012.

“We are entering a new stage implying more intensive state control of society,” said Steve Ellner, a political scientist at Oriente University in eastern Venezuela.

While the proposal to be unveiled by Mr. Chávez may contain surprises, he recently said that “the Venezuelan people should be given the right to keep a president in power as long as they like, whether it be for 5 years, 12 years, 40 years.”

Mr. Chavez added that he would be the one counting the votes over the next 40 years... it was so.... efficient... last December
Since Mr. Chávez’s re-election to a third term in December, he has surprised many with the breadth of the changes in his political and economic policies.

He has nationalized telecommunications, electricity and oil companies; forged a single socialist party for his followers; deepened alliances with countries like Cuba and Iran; and sped the distribution of billions of dollars for local governing entities called communal councils.
Hate to say this, but if the Times thinks that what's going on in Venezuela is socialism (and not full-blown communism), I question their grasp of reality.
As Mr. Chávez, 53, settles into his ninth year in power, images of him have become impossible to avoid here. On billboards, posters and murals, he is seen hugging children, embracing old women, chanting slogans and plugging energy-saving Cuban light bulbs into sockets.

Must've gotten those marketing and PR ideas from Kim...
Still, Mr. Chávez has faced serious setbacks at home and abroad even as his approval ratings remain relatively strong in Venezuela. His decision forcing a major television network critical of him off the public airwaves triggered student protests across the country in May and June.

Dissent? I thought that was just a bunch of right-wing extremists paid off by Karl Rove to embarrass el Presidente?
[...]

But Mr. Chávez has signaled a desire to be president at least until 2021 as part of a project to reconfigure political power structures in Venezuela. A central feature of this plan is the president’s communal councils.

About 20,000 of the councils are expected to be created this year, with authority over issues like infrastructure and some social welfare projects transferred to them from municipal and state governments. Mr. Chávez’s critics say the councils must remain loyal to his political ideology to receive funding.

Centralized Command & Control of economic and social aspects of life. Hmmmmm.... has anything like that ever been tried before? What were the results? (I know, I know... it would've worked just great, if it hadn't of been for imperialist Amerkkka causing all kinds of problems.)
The president said one Sunday last month on his television program that the 1999 Constitution, which he fought for after his first election as president in 1998, has become vulnerable to “counterrevolution” and “infiltration” by reactionary elements.

A counter-revolution would require a revolution in the first place... I don't remember the Times reporting Hugo's election as a "revolution," so it must've just been an election.
Still, even some politicians within Mr. Chávez’s coalition have expressed concern that his proposals could weaken the authority of regional governments.

Hard-line supporters of Mr. Chávez say the project will win easy approval by the end of the year, though it remains to be seen if it will be subject to national referendum or a vote in the National Assembly.

Cilia Flores, president of the National Assembly, said Tuesday that she expected two to three months of discussion before a vote, which, if taken by lawmakers, would be approved by a “qualified majority.”

Of course, we would expect that those "progressives" would resoundingly attack Chavez for this power grab, since they've lectured us for years that:
  1. Bush/Rove stole the 2000 election;
  2. Bush/Rove either Made It [9/11] Happen on Purpose (MIHOP) or Let It [9/11] Happen On Purpose (LIHOP) as a reason for expanding executive power not dissimilar to Hitler's use of the Reichstag fire to implement emergency powers;
  3. Bush/Rove stole the 2002 election;
  4. Bush/Rove stole the 2004 election;
  5. Bush/Rove stole the 2006 election Wooops!!! That election was fair & square! My Bad!; and
  6. Bush/Rove will never step down from office and will instead declare himself Emperor for Life (Chimperor I think is the term they use...)
Ummm, no... instead we get these discussion threads where the Chavez critics are drowned out by his supporters.

Here are the words from your mainstream, Democratic Base:
Peace Patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts)
Wed Aug-15-07 11:42 AM
Response to Reply #1

10. Yup, there are a lot of us at DU who know the facts and can spot propaganda

by our war profiteering corporate new monopolies real fast, and jump right in, to provide perspective on the latest Bush State Dept. "talking point" as they prepare for their second theater of war: The Andes region of South America, rich in oil, gas, minerals and leftist (majorityist) democracies.

We tend to write long, thoughtful pieces, though, full of information, while you anti-Chavez-thread spotters have many hit-and-run tactics but no information to offer. Like slaves, you believe every word about Chavez from the corporate news monopolies who brought us the Iraq War, the slaughter of half a million people to get their oil, the torture of prisoners, worldwide disrepute, two stolen elections, massive theft of our federal treasury, massive domestic spying without a warrant and the shredding of the U.S. Constitution, and told that it was all good, trust us.

You would have us not examine or understand the "framing" in corporate news monopoly stories about Chavez, the "black holes" where contextual information should be, and the REASONS for Chavez's vast popularity in Venezuela and throughout Latin America--why voters in Venezuela's transparent and highly monitored elections keep voting for Chavez and for Chavez allies in the national assembly, each time with bigger numbers, and why OTHER countries in South America are voting for presidents who declare their friendship with Chavez and Venezuela, and advocate similar policies. You would have us believe that Venezuelan voters are stupid sheep who would vote repeatedly to be tyrannized by a "dictator." You would have us believe that the "teeming" masses don't know what's good for them. You would rather we not look at the evil purposes behind this Bush State Dept./corporate predator campaign to demonize a popular and genuinely democratic leader, and keep us all real stupid about his policies, including his entirely lawful, non-corrupt, beneficial and wildly popular policies of social justice, sharing the oil wealth, maximum citizen participation in politics and government, and Latin American self-determination.

At one time in our history, we, too, lucked upon a president who served the interests of the people in a time of economic peril and vast impoverishment--poverty induced by the greed and irresponsibility of the rich--and we elected him four times, because that is who the majority wanted and needed in office. He died in office, in his fourth term. He was "president for life." And he, too, was called a "dictator" by the rightwing greedbags and fascists of that era. The "stupid sheeple" just kept electing him, no matter what the rightwing media and robber barons did to revile him. They said he overreached--and tried to "pack the Supreme Court." They called him a "communist" for advocating a national pension system--Social Security. They spit on him for providing government jobs, with millions out of work and starving.

Our war profiteering corporate news monopolies today, controlled by fascist billionaires, are no different than the forces who opposed FDR. The landscape of their disinformation campaigns is bigger--including the Middle East, South America and the world. They support fatcat sultans and despotic kings in the Middle East; they applaud lavishing billions of tax payer dollars in military aid on the most brutal and criminal governments in Latin America, and support Bushite efforts to topple the democratic ones, and they continually marginalize, trivialize or "black-hole" democratic movements that oppose U.S.-dominated "free trade" and U.S. military aggression, everywhere on earth--in Europe, in Asia, in Africa, in Latin America, and in the United States itself!

You would have us believe their so-called "news" articles about Chavez? If we did, then we really would be "stupid sheeple."

And, not to be outdone, the Kossacks at DailyKos (whose founding member was given legitimacy by NBC news last sunday) have this to say:
[...]
So Chavez might propose a referendum which would allow him the same freedom that U.S. Senators and Representatives currently enjoy, and which American Presidents enjoyed until 1951. The corporate press takes over from there, moving from reality into demagoguery. And even one of my favorite progressive bloggers fell for it.

P.S.: Not that Chavez is proposing a 25-year term, but what exactly is undemocratic about a 25-year term? Is there something magical about a 4-year term (American Presidents) or 6-year term (U.S. Senators, many Presidents including the Venezuelan President) that makes that "democratic"? How about eight years? Ten? Fifteen? When does a "democratic" term become an "undemocratic" one? Not that I support 25-year terms for anyone, mind you. Just askin'. I do think, by the way, that term limits of any kind are fundamentally undemocratic. People should have the right to choose whomever they want for an office. If that person has been in office for 25 years, but a majority still thinks he or she is the best person for the job, they should have the right to vote for that person.

No word on whether he'd let Bush compete for a 3rd election.

And I do love that the elimination of a constitutional term limit is viewed as comparable to our system pre-1951, ignoring the consolidation of power that Chavez is seeking at the same time through the implementation of his communal councils.

For the Left, it seems that some authoritarians are more desirable than others.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler

Comments (1)
ptg said...

I'm trying to think of other notable "Presidents for Life". Idi Amin comes to mind.