Tag Archives: Augusto Pinochet

Hugo Chavez, rest in peace

File photo of Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez blowing a kiss as he arrives at a rally with supporters in Caracas

Reuters photo

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who democratically was elected as his nation’s leader four times in a row, died today of cancer at age 58. (He is pictured above in February 2012.) I fell in love with Chavez some years ago after I watched the excellent documentary “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised,” which is about the blatantly anti-democratic, treasonous — and, thankfully, short-lived — attempt by fascistic right-wingers in Venezuela to forcibly replace the popularly elected Chavez with an unelected corporatocrat and plutocrat in 2002 — much the way that the fascistic, treasonous right-wingers here at home stole the White House in 2000 against the wishes of the majority of the American voters.

Only plutocrats and fascists have cause to celebrate the death of democratic socialist Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, but, unfortunately, most of those in the United States who celebrate his death are poor to middle-class right-wing fucktards who actually would benefit greatly from Chavez-like socioeconomic policies here at home. (No, the corporate-cash-loving-and-corporate-ass-licking U.S. President Barack Obama is no “socialist.”)

Hugo Chavez became widely known as a “dictator” after the unelected Bush regime relentlessly repeatedly called him such even though Chavez repeatedly had been democratically elected by clear majorities of the people of Venezuela (who didn’t vote the way that they were supposed to vote, which is the way that a right-wing American would vote, you see).

Ironically, since George W. Bush never was democratically elected — Al Gore won more than a half-million more votes than Bush did in 2000, and it was the right-wing U.S. Supreme Court, not the majority of the American voters, who put Bush in the White House — Bush was the actual dictator, one who took power without first having earned the majority of the votes of the people.

Hugo Chavez wasn’t perfect — no leader of a nation is — but “dictator” Chavez’s biggest “crime” was that he actually did his job, which was to look out for the interests of the majority of the people of Venezuela and not for the interests of the plutocratic and corporatocratic few — you know, the way that a “good” Latin American leader “should”: sell out his people for whatever it is that the rich and powerful, especially in the U.S., want him or her to (in this case, oil, especially).

Hugo Chavez is dead, but the revolution in Latin America that he has inspired lives on.

The people’s revolution against their — our — anti-democratic, fascistic, treasonous, plutocratic overlords cannot be about one man or woman anyway.

¡Que viva la revolución!

And let’s hope that the Latin American revolution for the people over the plutocratic few spreads north so that we have a truly democratic nation — a nation governed by those who have the interests of the majority of the people at heart, and not the interests of only the comparatively tiny already-super-rich and already-super-powerful minority — here in the U.S. one day.

May Venezuela be the first domino that topples, spreading democratic socialism to even the notoriously anti-democratic, imperialistic United States of America.

P.S. I know that this is the United States of Amnesia, but Chavez-bashers should remind themselves of history: In April 2002, when the democratically elected and very popular Chavez was briefly overthrown by right-wing traitors, the unelected Bush regime at that time immediately recognized the anti-democratic, right-wing usurpers as the legitimate new government of Venezuela — which was not surprising, given that the members of the treasonous Bush regime had had no problem with the fact that Bush wasn’t elected, either. (The members of the right wing support and respect democracy only when elections go their way, and they feel so absolutely correct and superior in their ideology that they are untroubled with stealing office if they can’t win office legitimately, which they often can’t.)

Moreover, the CIA, at the behest of the White House, has had a long history of deposing left-leaning, pro-their-nation’s-own-people, democratically elected leaders in Latin America — and anti-democratically replacing them with unelected, right-wing usurpers who agree to do anything that the power elite of the U.S. ask them to do.

Chile’s Salvador Allende immediately comes to mind; his usurper was the U.S.-backed mass murderer and true dictator Augosto Pinochet, who should have been executed and not allowed to die a natural death. (It was the Nixon White House, natch, that used the CIA to remove Allende from power and install the murderous dictator Pinochet.)

It is likely that the Bush regime similarly had a hand in the 2002 coup attempt in Venezuela.

Even if the Bush regime didn’t (but it probably did), the fact that the Bush regime wasted no time in recognizing the illegal and unelected “new” “government” of Venezuela by itself was plenty of reason for Hugo Chavez to feel animosity toward the U.S. government at least throughout Bush’s unelected and thus illegitimate tenure.

(And there is a big distinction between the U.S. government and the people of the United States; Chavez’s problem was with the members of the Washington establishment who believe that Latin America exists solely to do the U.S.’s bidding. He never attacked the American people as a whole, although the wingnuts [who still call him a “dictator” after he won four presidential elections in a row with international elections observers present] worked hard to paint Chavez as an enemy of every American, and their propaganda campaign worked to an impressive degree on the bleating American sheeple.)

One of Chavez’s most (in)famous acts was in September 2006, when he remarked of George W. Bush, who had appeared at the same podium before the United Nations General Assembly in New York City the day before: “The devil came here yesterday. And it smells of sulfur still today.”

Bush indeed is one of the most evil entities still stalking the planet, a mass-murdering war criminal who still goes wholly unpunished for his crimes against humanity. (Chavez, despite being called a murdering dictator by the wingnuts, wholly unlike Pinochet and other U.S.-backed actual dictators, never had any of his political opponents killed. In fact, I know of not one confirmed murder or even one confirmed case of torture that Chavez as president of Venezuela was responsible for, when Bush was responsible for the confirmed murder and the confirmed torture of thousands and thousands of human beings.)

Chavez said something else at the UN that day in September 2006, something that strikes me as prophetic: “The Soviet Union collapsed. The United States empire is on the way down and it will be finished in the near future, for the good of all mankind.” (Note that he’s criticizing the idea of empire, of one highly militarized nation calling all of the shots for the entire globe. Also during his September 2006 UN appearance, Chavez correctly stated that the UN headquarters should be moved to another nation. It seems to me that for fairness, UN headquarters should move to different nations around the globe, say, once every decade. It’s fucked up for it to permanently be anchored in the U.S.)

You know, if Hugo Chavez had been just flat-out wrong, I think that Americans would have just ignored him. But they haven’t. A good chunk of them have hated his guts intensely, which, to me, is evidence of two things: (1) that right-wing politicians’ relentless pro-plutocratic propaganda (aided and abetted by the corporately owned and controlled media, the bosses of which certainly disagree with Chavez’s business model of nationalizing the media) can be very effective; and (2) that Chavez’s biggest “crime” was being right and being vocal about it, which certainly are two big no-nos here at home, where telling certain awful (but obvious) truths is considered to be a much larger crime than telling even the biggest lies.

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Partial book review: ‘Wingnuts’

This book sucks ass, as does its author. I did my best, but I was able to get only to page 18.

Trying to buck the criticism that those of us on the left never expose ourselves to views on the right (and vice-versa), I recently bought a copy of John Avlon’s Wingnuts: How the Lunatic Fringe Is Hijacking America.

I like and I often use the term “wingnut” myself, and I bought Avlon’s book even though he (incorrectly) redefines the term “wingnut” to include those on either far side of the political ideology spectrum. (Actually, the commonly accepted meaning of the term “wingnut” is an individual who is to the far right, and the term “moonbat” would be applied to one on the far left.)

Despite the fact that I disagree with Avlon’s retooling of the vernacular to suit his own purposes, and despite the fact that his book puts Keith Olbermann on its cover with Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin — a strikingly false equivalency — I bought his book at full cover price.

Can you say “buyer’s remorse”?

After several pages of reading Avlon’s false equivalencies — for instance, he implies that what he calls “Bush Derangement Syndrome” was/is anything like what he calls “Obama Derangement Syndrome,” which we have been witnessing for some time now* — I finally had to literally toss Avlon’s book aside when, on page 18, I read Avlon refer to the democratically elected Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez as “Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez.”

I mean, as U.S. Sen. Al Franken has put it, you are entitled to your own opinions, but not to your own facts.

Hugo Chavez has been elected and re-elected by a strong majority of Venezuela’s voters and he has the support of a strong majority of the people of Venezuela.

Chavez has been clamping down on his right-wing political opposition (who did, after all, illegally and treasonously attempt to overthrow him in 2002),  and Venezuela needs to be monitored for human rights abuses (just as every nation does, and nothing has gone on in Venezuela under Chavez’s watch that has even approached what happened at the Abu Ghraib House of Horrors or at the Guantanamo Bay Concentration Camp during the eight long nightmarish years of rule by the unelected Bush regime).

But Hugo Chavez is far away from having earned the title of “dictator.” To call Chavez a “dictator” isn’t just against my belief that a nation’s government should work for the benefit of the most number of the nation’s people instead of for the benefit of the minority plutocrats and corporatocrats, as Chavez believes, but it is blatantly factually incorrect, and I can’t handle “non-fiction” books containing such glaring factual errors.

Nor does Avlon bother to explain why he uses the term “dictator” — he just throws it out there for no other apparent reason than that the members of the Bush regime (and George W. Bush, never having been legitimately elected, having started a bogus war that has cost thousands upon thousands of lives and billions upon billions of dollars, having shit and pissed all over the U.S. Constitution, and having left the nation in much, much worse shape than he got it, certainly comes closer to the dictionary definition of “dictator” than does Chavez ) and their allies at FOX “News” falsely called Chavez a “dictator” for several years. (To the right wing you are a “dictator,” you see, if you refuse to kiss U.S. corporate ass and refuse to surrender your nation’s natural resources and other wealth to U.S. corporations; that you have been democratically elected by your people is irrelevant to the democracy-hating, election-stealing right wing.)

But Avlon already demonstrates, before he calls Hugo Chavez a “dictator,” that he’s no more than a smug pretty boy who is posing as an expert on politics.

About all that he points to, in the 18 pages that I was able to stomach, in order to exemplify the far left or the far right are some examples of some political figure, usually George W. Bush or Barack Obama, being compared to Adolf Hitler. Ooooo! Insightful!

However, while skimming through his book, I noted that apparently anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan is a “wingnut”** for having stood up against the Bush regime’s bogus Vietraq War that killed her son — a war that the majority of Americans now acknowledge, fucking finally, was a bogus war.

Hmmm… A woman’s young son is killed for non-existent weapons of mass destruction, Dick Cheney’s Halliburton profits obscenely in that bogus war (as do the BushCheneyCorp’s other oily subsidiaries), and because she has the gall to protest her son’s pointless death, that makes Sheehan a “wingnut,” according to Avlon, who, I take it, hasn’t had a loved one killed in the Vietraq War or ever even been in harm’s way himself. 

Overall, Avlon reminds me of a lazy, mediocre parent or teacher who witnesses two children fighting, and, because he doesn’t want to bother to try to figure out what they’re fighting about — and whether one child might actually be in the right and the other child might actually be in the wrong — he labels both fighting children as equally guilty. There. Done with it. Why bother to unravel the facts? And why take sides?

Except that the real world is so much more complex than that, and our crumbling democracy didn’t really need another book put out there to tell people that instead of closely examining the facts and taking a principled stand on important issues based upon the facts, they need to just join the mushy middle, because obviously there’s no difference between the impassioned right and the impassioned left (or, as Avlon calls everyone who isn’t a milquetoast, apolitical, apathetic sleepwalker, the “wingnuts”).

To give just one of many possible demonstrations of how Avlon shills a false equivalency between the right and the left, right now, as I type this sentence, a book incredibly titled The Manchurian President: Barack Obama’s Ties to Communists, Socialists and Other Anti-American Extremists incredibly is No. 13 — thirteen — on amazon.com’s top 100-selling books list.

When does a moonbat title like that ever get that far on any of the mainstream best-selling books lists?

Further, I know that many of us on the left had at least some fear of possible retribution for our outspokenness against the unelected, mass-murdering Bush regime — the Bush regime was, after all, engaging in the illegal surveillance of American citizens in the name of “national security,” and the Abu Ghraib House of Horrors and the Guantanamo Bay Concentration Camp certainly demonstrated for us where the Bush regime stood on human rights — yet here is a book out calling President Obama a “Manchurian president,” and I don’t sense that the wingnuts (the right-wing kind) have any real fear of retribution from the Obama administration for their publishing, promoting or purchasing a book thus titled.

And that’s because historically, dictators and tyrants — the kind who, unlike Hugo Chavez, actually steal elections, rule against the wishes of the majority of the ruled, and who actually torture and murder their political opponents — predominantly have been right-wingers, not left-wingers. (The right-wing Chilean Augusto Pinochet, for example, was a dictator.)

The wingnuts (my definition of the term, not Avlon’s) attack Obama unreservedly because they know that those on the left only rarely use what I might call, a la Dick Cheney, the “enhanced” tactics used by those on the right against their political opponents. Paradoxically, if Obama truly were the tyrant the wingnuts say he is, they probably wouldn’t be calling him a “tyrant” or a “Manchurian president” or the like — because if he truly were that, he just might retaliate against them.

As far as “Obama Derangement Syndrome” is concerned, it’s far more virulent and widespread than “Bush Derangement Syndrome” ever was. Not only did anti-Bush books not sell nearly as well as anti-Obama books sell today, but there was no “tea-party”-like “movement” formed by the left in response to Bush. The closest thing to the left’s “tea party” that I can think of is MoveOn.org, which, compared to the den of vipers that comprise the tea party, is a den of garter snakes.  

And while the minimum that we factually can say about the 2000 presidential election is that George W. Bush was made president in late 2000 under circumstances that were shady at best, and that in November 2000 he captured only 47.9 percent of the popular vote to Democrat Al Gore’s 48.4 percent, and that he was “re”-elected by only 50.7 percent of the popular vote in 2004, Barack Obama won 52.9 percent of the popular vote in November 2008, a better showing at the polls than “President” Bush ever had, yet far more people have questioned Obama’s presidential legitimacy than questioned Bush’s, even though Bush’s presidential legitimacy was much, much more questionable than Obama’s ever has been.

If you are a right-wing white guy from an oily, rich family, you can “win” the White House without having won the most number of votes (by “winning” the pivotal state of which your brother conveniently is governor, with a little help from that state’s top elections official who also sat on that state’s committee to elect you, and with a lot of help from the recount-quashing U.S. Supreme Court). And that kind of shit is perfectly OK.

But if you’re a black guy, you’re considered illegitimate even if you did better in your presidential election than the last white guy did in his two presidential elections. (But nooooo, racism is dead in the United States of Amnesia!)

For Avlon to make the false equivalency between the far left and the far right — to lump everyone who feels strongly about politics together as “wingnuts” — isn’t only grossly inaccurate, but it’s dangerous to our already endangered, dumbed-down democracy.

If you want to read a real book that’s worth your money, read Susan Jacoby’s The Age of American Unreason, now available in paperback.

Pay close attention to her chapter on “junk thought” — a term that describes John Avlon’s book to a “T”.

*Avlon defines “Obama Derangement Syndrome” as “Pathological hatred of President Obama, posing as patriotism,” and “Bush Derangement Syndrome” more or less as a visceral aversion to George W. Bush, of which I myself have been afflicted.

**On page 189, Avlon quotes Sheehan as — gasp! — having called George W. Bush a “bigger terrorist than Osama bin Laden.” Actually, it’s a fucking fact that Bush is reponsible for the unnecessary deaths of tens of thousands of people, including tens of thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians and more than 4,000 of our troops, in his bogus Vietraq War — which is far more people than Osama bin Laden is responsible for having slaughtered on September 11, 2001, which was fewer than 3,000 people. And if we can call bin Laden a terrorist for having masterminded the slaughter of so many innocents, why can’t we call Bush & Co. terrorists for having masterminded the slaughter of so many more innocents? Why the fucking double standard?

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