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Open mike 06/02/2010

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, February 6th, 2010 - 34 comments
Categories: open mike - Tags:


Topics of interest, announcements, general discussion. The usual rules apply (see the link to Policy in the banner).

Step right up to the mike…

34 comments on “Open mike 06/02/2010 ”

  1. Jenny 1

    Is he still here?

    After the tax working group’s recommendations were widely rubbished as a lot of right wing twaddle, and extremist wish list, even the National government distanced themselves from it.

    Don Brash who headed the TWG has his own take on the furore.

    And it confirms his detachment from reality.

    Don Brash claims that the TWG report ” ….attracted a lot of editorial support, including some from The Dominion Post, and considerable support from economists and business groups.”

    Notice that the only source named here by Brash in support of his view of “considerable support” is the Dom. Obviously no one else was prepared to be publicly acknowledged as wanting this smellly albatross draped around their necks.

    And, in an even more ludicrous attempt at spin, Brash puts up a straw man, claiming that the main critics of his report were against the report’s stated target of matching Australian income levels.

    Then spends about 10 paragraphs battleing his own straw man.

    What a lot of self serving tosh.

    In fact the main criticisms of the report was it’s boringly predictable concentration on tax cuts for the Well-To-Do, with the fruity accents similar to his, paid for by vicious cuts in government spending on things that matter to the rest of us, like state funded health, education and welfare.

    No mention of the Maori Party bill to remove from GST from food. No consideration of a Tobin Tax, which is being considered by far more serious and august bodies, in other countries contemplating tax reform in the wake of the failure of the unregulated free market.



    • Shona 1.1

      I am a long time fan of the Tobin tax. Where is it being seriously considered for implementation?

  2. Jenny 2

    Kia ora Shona,

    The following are some links to serious mainstream international discussion on the idea of implementing a Tobin Tax.

    I have also added links from the New Zealand union movement and socialists. That this discussion is carried out on the fringes in New Zealand society probably reflects how far NZ has gone down the neo-liberal road.





    This is a particularly good one.


    And from NZ,



  3. Draco T Bastard 3

    Headline: National standards policy: How parents mark it

    Like it: 73 per cent
    Hate it: 14 per cent

    Almost three-quarters of parents support the Government’s controversial national achievement standards for primary and intermediate students, though few fully understand it, a Weekend Herald survey has found.

    Looks and sounds impressive but,

    The survey – conducted by Nielsen – asked 545 Herald readers with school-age children a range of questions about the standards system, which came into force this week.

    It’s not even close to an impartial survey so it’s findings aren’t actually worth anything and shouldn’t be published at all. Just another pro-NACT statement by the Granny.

    • Olwyn 3.1

      That is how National party spin tends to work. People do naturally want to know how their kids are doing, and National standards appeal to that desire. Questions as to whether National standards will achieve this, and what other agendas may come with the package, fall into the background. A further cause of excitement is the idea of getting rid of incompetent teachers, without any clues as to what will count as competency. If the government itself is anything to go by, it will not be based on the teacher who does the best job, but the teacher who best ‘sells’ the school.

      Note that John Roughan, in this morning’s Herald, has come out in favour of the voucher system.


  4. Bill 4

    Bearing in mind that Belgium is generally viewed as being rather conservative as well as being capable of brewing some of the world’s better beers….

    “For two weeks in January Belgian brewery workers blocked roads, set fire to beer crates, kidnapped managers and handed out free beer as part of their tactics against job cuts proposed by Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world’s largest brewer.”


  5. Anne 5

    Fran O”Sullivan’s article in today’s Herald “Foreshore debate all about big bucks” is a fascinating read. It may well provide the real reason behind the F&S Act, and adds a new dimension to the formation of the Maori Party and it’s… secret agenda?

    As a relative newcomer to the Internet I have yet to learn how to link articles from other sources. Perhaps someone is willing to provide the link for The Standard readers. In fact it is worth a separate post as it would be interesting to read how others view O’Sullivan’s revelations.

  6. Anne 6

    Thanks Olwyn. I suspect it’s still going to take me a bit of time to get the hang of it but I’ll make it eventually. 😀

    • prism 6.1

      Thanks Olwyn for info on copying links. My son had shown me how to organise one with a title but it is simpler to just print out full address as hyperlink. I am slow but steady learner and have to remember to use right click button on mouse.

  7. prism 7

    The Maori Party gives up too easily when a bit of pressure is applied. Cutting funds to Te Hurihanga program is an example of the wasteful and shallow lack of commitment of government to social programs to help NZ give better opportunities and reduce crime.
    Compare to the background of the Chapmans and the story by Kim Hill on Nat Radio this Saturday 6/2. Interesting how they have dedicated themselves to changing life positively for many who have lost their way and without government funding. They feel that government involvement reduces the effectiveness and that it has unreasonable expectations.

    This is what the Beehive site had to say, and notice that the program has been running only 21 months, which since it is a 9 to 18 month programme has allowed only one cycle.
    “Since April 2007, Te Hurihanga has been a pilot residential and community-based treatment programme for young male offenders aged 14-17 years, and run by the Youth Horizons Trust for the Ministry of Justice. The pilot was scheduled for completion on 31 March 2010 and to this date has cost $5.040 million.
    “Twenty-three young offenders have begun the residential Te Hurihanga programme which serves the Waikato region,” Mr Power said. “However, only eight have completed the 9- to 18-month programme since April 2007. Averaged out, that’s an estimated $630,000 for each successful youth.”
    This needed to be analysed into the running costs and the set-up costs if assessing the costs per “ex-offender”.

  8. Quoth the Raven 8

    This is one for the Chavez fans out there: Venezuela: Chavez equates Twitter with terrorism

    After finding himself on the receiving end of widespread criticism and unfriendly hashtags on Twitter, Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez has announced that he now considers Twitter messages and social networking as terrorist threats. He is quoted in this Spanish-language news report as calling for more state control over the internet.

    • gitmo 8.1

      Most politicians are egotistical control freak cunts, the more power they have they nuttier they become…….. nuf said.

    • Bill 8.2

      That’s fucking ridiculous QtR!

      You paraphrase a comment from a tabloid type site that claims a quote which, unless you read Spanish, can’t be verified!

      A quick google search has none of this twitter stuff coming from any sites that are not of the rabid nonsense variety.

      Wonder why?

      How about….the twitter shit got traction ( out of all proportion to any actual efficacy of such messaging) in the msm when it was thrown up in relation to Iran. So if we throw it up again but say it is being controlled by the state because people on twitter were saying bad things about Hugo Chavez…and we might get a sympathetic echo from China and google and interweb control then…yeah, thumbs up good idea.

      And if you had done even a minimal amount of digging you’d have seen that this twitter shit is just another pop gun fart in the elites panty wringing squealing campaign about how “Chavez is a bad man who is controlling all the media!”…in a state where the media gets away with far more than the media here (or in the US) would ever get away with…in a state where the media is owned and run by the elites who are vociferously against everything the Venezuelan government does and where the media even threw its weight behind a briefly successful coup.

      • Bill 8.2.1

        Here, according to http://www.venezuelanalysis.com/news/5101 is the guts of the media legislation that was being flouted

        “The media law establishes standards for child and adult programming, prohibits racist, sexist or inflammatory content and incitement to violence, places limits on commercial advertising, and requires stations to broadcast important government announcements.”

        You want to compare that to, oh I dunno….let’s say NZ and then tell me what is so totalitarian about it?

        I mean, you can see why the poor little rich kids of the fading elites might twitter in a froth after the very media that is or has been flouting the law, used their ‘reigning in’ as an excuse to ‘have a go’…again…can’t you?

        And you do know that the student population comes from the privileged sectors of ‘old’ Venezuela, don’t you?

        What I find amusing is that over recent years the right wing ( and many on the left too) have wanked on about how the media in Venezuela isn’t free and how it’s all controlled by the state, but the same people can’t see the disconnect between those earlier claims and the current claims that the media is being subject to state control.

        If the former claims had been true, the present claims could not be made (’cause the state can hardly suppress state controlled media… just in case it needs spelled out)

        • Quoth the Raven

          We both know political regimes can interpret such laws to crack down on political dissent. Here’s a recent article at Human Rights Watch on Chavez’s media clampdown: Venezuela: Stop Abusing Broadcast Powers but I guess you’ll think that is just ‘elites panty wringing squealing’. A couple of years ago Chavez did expel a couple of their members; Venezuela: Human Rights Watch Delegation Expelled Maybe you have an explanation for that? What do you think of Chavez banning signs in stadiums recently?

          Anyway on your comment on boing boing it’s a blog and your characterization of it is quite wrong http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boing_boing honestly why you must go into a rant about the site is beyond me – is it not suitably left wing enough for you? Here’s a blog article in the guardian on earlier comments of Chavez’s on twitter Just in case they’re up to your standards – http://www.guardian.co.uk/global/blog/2009/aug/03/hugo-chavez-takes-on-twitter The real threat is that of Chavez trying to control internet content.

          You can compare New Zealand to Venezuela try the press freedom index

          • Bill

            More Than 100 Experts Question Human Rights Watch’s Venezuela Report

            “By publishing such a grossly flawed report, and acknowledging a political motivation in doing so, Mr. Vivanco has undermined the credibility of an important human rights organization,” the letter states.

            As for the Press freedom Index…you are shitting me right? You know it’s compiled by Reporters Without Borders? Hardly bastions of impartiality or integrity.

            Here’s a couple of wee snippets from wiki since you like wiki links


            Le Monde diplomatique has criticized RWB’s attitude towards Hugo Chávez’s government in Venezuela, in particular during the 2002 coup attempt.[45] In a right of reply, Robert Ménard declared that RWB had also condemned the support of Venezuela media to the coup attempt.[11] RWB has also been criticized for supporting Globovision’s version of events about its false reporting in relation to a 2009 earthquake, claiming Globovision was “being hounded by the government and the administration.


            American reporter on human rights, Kevin Pina, who was imprisoned under Gérard Latortue’s rule, said of RSF:

            “It was clear early on that RSF and Robert Menard were not acting as objective guardians of freedom of the press in Haiti but rather as central actors in what can only be described as a disinformation campaign against Aristide’s government. Their attempts to link Aristide to the murder of Jean Dominique and their subsequent silence when the alleged hit man, Lavalas Senator Dany Toussaint, joined the anti-Aristide camp and ran for president in 2006 is just one of many examples that expose the real nature and role of organizations like RSF. They provide false information and skewed reports to build internal opposition to governments seen as uncontrollable and unpalatable to Washington while softening the ground for their eventual removal by providing justification under the pretext of attacks on the freedom of the press.

            The blog on The Guardian you link to is just echoing the boing boing crap. ( And whereas I find the Grudgeon okay for a lot of stuff, it is generally woeful in it’s Venezuela coverage)

            Nevertheless, here’s an article that first appeared there. Note the comment at the bottom?

            Anyway, the real threat is Chavez and his big internet control switch…not corporate media prop…boing, boing being the sound of your credibility bouncing off down the street QtR.

            • Quoth the Raven

              Don’t like RSF fine. Freedom House produces an index also Freedom of the Press (report) but I know you won’t like them either. New Zealand’s rating 14 Free – Venezuela 73 Not Free. Here’s a list of indices of Freedom you can compare Venezuela there.

              The human Rights watch article I linked is not the one critiqued in the piece you link to. You could give me your opinion on their workers expulsion from Venezuela. Here is Amnesty international’s 2009 report on Venezuela.

              Attacks on journalists were widespread. Human rights defenders continued to suffer harassment. Prison conditions provoked hunger strikes in facilities across the country. Some significant steps were taken to implement the 2007 law on violence against women but there was a lack of commitment from many of the authorities responsible. Lack of arms control contributed to high levels of violence and public insecurity.

              Here’s Amnesty International’s section on Venezuela.

              The Guardian is not echoing the Boing Boing ‘crap’ it was written months beforehand about a different comment of Chavez’s about Twitter.

              Internet filtering or any other method that Chavez may use is a real threat just as it is a real threat here and as we know by the news recently already a problem in Australia.

              Boing Boing is a good blog. The wiki article describes it as left wing – I know otherwise you wouldn’t read it. Cory Doctorow and the like write very good pieces criticizing intellectual property laws. You’re just being dismissive because they wrote something you disagree with. Have a look through their news section you might find it interesting.

              • Quoth the Raven

                Here’s one for you: Venezuela bans Family Guy cartoon

                Authorities in Venezuela say they will punish TV stations if they continue to broadcast episodes of cult US animation Family Guy.

                Justice Minister Tareck El Aissami says the show should be banned because it promotes the use of marijuana.

                He took exception to a recent episode in which one character – Brian, a talking dog – started a campaign to legalise the drug.

                Cable stations which refuse to dump the show would be fined, El Aissami said.

              • Bill

                It’s not a case of ‘not liking’ Reporters Without Borders. It’s a case of them being a disreputable source of information. Read through the links I provided.

                Freedom House ( according to the link you provided) gets about 2/3rds of its funding from the US government and claims that “American leadership in international affairs is essential to the cause of human rights and freedom”

                Hardly a platform for integrity and honesty is it?

                Moving on.

                The AI report is unremarkable if you actually read it. Even the quote you take, which I assume was meant to be damning, says nothing devastatingly negative about the Venezuelan government. I haven’t bothered to search, but I’d warrant that AI was more critical of the NZ government with regards prison overcrowding, seabed and foreshore, Ahmed Zaoui, the ‘terror raids’, immigration, tasers…..

                Here’s the thing. You can run all over the net finding anti-Venezuelan crap like the BBC’s Family Guy nonsense (Here’s a different source on same story with a link to the clip. Venezuelan state TV today broadcast an exceprt from “Family Guy” as an example of how the U.S. promotes drug use. The clip features Stewie, the matricide-obsessed infant son of Peter and Lewis Griffin, singing a song extolling the virtues of smoking weed.) It’s like shooting fish in a barrel. Like the Climate Change ‘debates’, the mudslingers have spread shit far and wide.

                And the liberal media also initiates, misreports and encourages the bullshit. (BBC on Family Guy story as an eg) The corrections and refutations or just the level headed reports are out there, but are generally ignored…takes a bit of reading and a bit of critical thinking.


                Trying to have an intelligent discussion on Venezuela is a bit like trying to have an intelligent discussion on aspects of climate change thanks to the thoughtless regurgitation of bullshit of both the obvious and subtle variety, by dumb arses who are too lazy or stupid to think things through for themselves and too quick to accept the spin of vested interests.

              • Quoth the Raven

                That’s a good link there’s a patently absurd statement from a Venezuela’s Interior Minister –

                “We can observe how [the U.S. government] promotes and incites the population to consume that drug there,” said Tarek El Aissaimi, Venezuela’s Interior Minister. “There’s no subliminal message. It’s an animated cartoon where you can observe perfectly how they promote consumption and moreover they foster the legalization of marijuana.”

                You may call it anti Venezuela ‘crap’ or ‘bullshit’ bill, but it is true and a disturbing example of media censorship in Venezuela and something that simply shouldn’t happen in any nation.

                Insulting Chavez is a punishable offense in Venezuela by 6 to 30 months in prison – what would you say if Key introduced something similar here?

                Do you not see any pattern – the closed radio and television stations, the forcing of others to play government propaganda, the banned television shows, the recent banning of political signs in stadiums, the expulsion and murder of human rights activists. It should be clear that this is no longer the operation of a responsible government. The work of Reporters sans frontiers, Human rights watch, Amnesty International, Freedom House etc should give you some inkling of a pattern. Whatever good intentions Chavez and his followers may have started out with the inevitable has happened. It is simply what happens when the state accrues such power.

                This is the AI report on New Zealand for you to compare to Venezuela. You know I criticise New Zealand, I do it all the time on this website, we have a very serious lack of freedom in this nation, but it is certainly not as bad as Venezuela.

                I think your support of Chavez is naive. I know whatever source I bring up you’ll decry it as elitist or some vested interest and see it all as some vast conspiracy against Chavez, but those organization do important work defending human rights and freedom around the world and maybe you should take a little time to listen to them and look at the situation in Venezuela with a bit more of a critical eye.

              • Bill

                You don’t actually read through stuff do you?

                Go back to my previous comments and actually read them in regards to Reporters Without Borders, Freedom House and Human Rights Watch. Read through the links provided and you will get a good picture of the agendas pertaining to those particular orgs.

                As far as your intention to run on the Family Guy angle well, it was aired on Venezuelan State TV …not censored. To agree or disagree with the ministers sentiments is one thing ( personally I think they’re stupid) but to take it and spin it in the way the BBC and others did is fucking fucked.

                Insulting Chavez is a punishable offence? Really? Got a link? He is insulted daily and vociferously in the Venezuelan media. Nobody goes to jail.

                And AI report on NZ is pretty much as I picked.

                Meanwhile, those particular ‘concerned’ HR orgs that you seem attached to promote a Washington line and/or right wing economic line before human rights. Just read up about them ffs!

                For the record. I am not uncritically supportive of the Venezuelan government. But where it seems that the power of the state is being used to divest the state of that very power and hand it over to the people in the form of worker and housing co-ops and so on I am broadly supportive and hopeful. That the old elites are fighting against this tooth and nail is predictable. That they try to moneywrench initiatives is predictable. That their allies abroad ( government and business) fume and froth and peddle lies to their own domestic populations thereby minimising international solidarity is also predictable.

                And the constant and successful diversion away from substantive debate is bloody lamentable insofar as many on the left are adopting positions laid out by their natural class enemies.

                So the left can’t have debate on what is and what might be; on how to achieve certain outcomes and avoid certain pitfalls because the reality of what is and isn’t happening on the ground in Venezuela has been successfully obscured and debate degraded by the imposition of infantile black/white, yes/no, good/bad political slanging matches.

                Contrasted and compared with the debate and energy unleashed by the Nicaraguan revolution ( where the flaws and shortcomings were debated openly and positively by the left) has to lead to uncomfortable questions being addressed with regards gullibilities on the left and the why’s and wherefor’s of the current successful strategies of the right in shutting down meaningful dialogue and how it might be countered going forward.

              • Quoth the Raven

                I’m sure they’re ripe for criticisms as a lot of organizations are, but they do a lot of good work and there are too few such organizations doing such work. Do you really not see the good work they do?
                I know any link I’ll provide you with you’ll complain about it being part of a conspiracy – even if it’s left wing like Boing Boing. Here’s one though it’s from Freedom House on the UNHCR site.

                In March 2005, the penal code was revised to make insulting the president punishable by 6 to 30 months in prison.

                and yes people have been imprisoned because of it.

                But where it seems that the power of the state is being used to divest the state of that very power and hand it over to the people in the form of worker and housing co-ops and so on I am broadly supportive and hopeful

                and where that happens in a meaningful and sustainable way that’s admirable. Land reform and support of cooperatives I can get behind, but the increased state control of the economy, I cannot nor the political persecution and media suppression that is plaguing Venezuela and of course the military buildup, the drug war the socially conservative policies etc. The creeping autocracy of Chavez is plain to see and it’s a shame you cannot see it. It’s as I said an inevitability and it is the major, as you say, pitfall, of the statist left.

                This is a good piece on the latin american left – Un Colombiano Más on the Latin American Left. Just search the site anything from it is going to be good on this. This piece is a must read and follow the links – Que se vayan todos That’s the substantive debate you’re not going to get from the statist left and once again anything else on that site will be good on the topic.

                This massive campaign of strike-breaking, union scabbing, and union-busting, which would have done Frick or Carnegie proud, is passed off today by compliant State Socialists in the U.S. as if it were a triumph for the working class. Meanwhile, in Argentina and then increasingly throughout South America, workers began to reclaim abandoned factories, and to run them under participatory, rotating worker self-management (autogestión); when Chávez and his revolutionary bureaucracy took notice of the trend, they started to heavily promote their own favored alternative: government expropriation of factories and the institution of “co-management” (cogestión), in which workers’ associations pay for the government’s help by ceding a substantial share of ownership (often up to 51%) and management (often filled by political appointees) to the Venezuelan government. The excuse for this gutting of worker management in favor of state bossism is that by putting the factory partly under government command, co-management ensures that it will produce in the interests of the “public” or the “nation” — as those interests are defined by detached government bureaucrats, rather than by the actual members of the public or the nation who happen to be engaged in doing all the work of making, buying, or using the factory’s products.

                When Chávez, former leader of a military coup d’etat, rose to power, he took it upon himself to send out the military in virtually every one of his government welfare projects, and rather than altering, containing, or abolishing the existing military and the state security forces, he and his bureaucracy have taken deliberate efforts to militarize the civilian police forces and integrate paramilitary training and discipline throughout the government schooling system that they have been so assiduously expanding and remaking in their own Bolivarian image…

                Or, in other words, under the name and banner of a “socialist” and “revolutionary” movement, the emerging Boli-bureaucracy has used subsidy, co-optation, conversion, and violent repression to devour any and every independent project or association, whenever, wherever, and however it could get them into its ravenous maw. All too many Potemkin-tour “Progressives” and authoritarian Leftists have deluded themselves into believing that this process of the endlessly self-aggrandizing State bureaucracy engorging itself on the living remains of industrial and civil society, is something that Leftist, grassroots, and populist tendencies ought for some reason to support; the Libertarian Left — i.e., the real, anarchistic Left, unencumbered by the reactionary apparatus of Authority — knows better than that.

              • Bill

                You said: “Land reform and support of cooperatives I can get behind, but the increased state control of the economy, I cannot nor the political persecution and media suppression that is plaguing Venezuela and of course the military buildup, the drug war the socially conservative policies etc. The creeping autocracy of Chavez is plain to see…”

                If there is land reform and cooperatives that you can get behind, and these things are happening, then these things are evidence of the opposite of state control of the economy are they not? That the state has taken over industries from major private interests and paid negotiated compensation to the former owners; that the state has tried (unsuccessfully) to pass said industries on to the workers and entered into transitional co management arrangements with workers in the meantime is known and the evidence can be linked to.

                That elements within the bureaucracy pose a threat to the revolution is known. That elements of the bureaucracy have lined their pockets is known. That they are being tried and jailed if found guilty is known. And nobody has made any charges of show trials.

                As for this political persecution and media suppression that plagues Venezuela…it’s mythical. Even ‘your’ HR groups…the ones that promote US foreign policy objectives in the region..have nothing of consequence relating to political persecution. They do (laughably) have stuff about media suppression in a state where well over 90% of the media is privately owned and anatgonistic; where even media that supported the coup were allowed to continue broadcasting until their licence came up for renewal and who still broadcast through cable with no state interference.

                Military build up. Lets look at the neighbours. Columbia in particular. US proxy state. US bases in the country. And remember Nicaragua and how the US used the Contras to fight a dirty war to undermine the revolutionary gains in that country? And you know how the US has this penchant for invading oil rich countries? And of course, you know that before any invasion there has to be demonization of the invaded countries leaders or government (Hussein, the Talaban, Aristide…the list rolls on…oh, Chavez.) so that the US public feels comfortable with its government invading and occupying foreign lands…oil and empire are of course burdensome side effects to promoting democracy.

                War on Drugs.

                What is the problem? That the Venezualan military are unable to stop the cocaine smuggling?…or that they do?….or that Chavez has agreed with Morales that coca cultivation and use of coca should be legal and that only the processing into cocaine and it’s subsequent distribution should be subject to legal sanction?

                Socially Conservative Policies.

                Access to education for the poor. Housing for the poor. Land redistribution. Literacy and numeracy for all. Deliberate discouragement of democratic centralism through encouragement of horizontal democratic structures in the community and workplace. (Sometimes moving forward on co management basis where workers lack the confidence or will to assume full control.) Improved medical care for poor.


                Chavez is subject to electoral processes as are other elected officials. As said before, the danger is the bureaucracy… the civil service if you will.

                Meanwhile if you want to read serious pieces (rather than just opinion pieces) on indigenous rights in Venezuela, or military and trade contracts, US meddling, press freedoms and political freedoms, then here’s a link with a plethora of sourced material as well as opinion and commentary which in turn links to other sources of information. If your interested.

              • Quoth the Raven

                If there is land reform and cooperatives that you can get behind, and these things are happening, then these things are evidence of the opposite of state control of the economy are they not?

                If those cooperatives are of the bureaucratised co-managment vareity then they are not. Take a look at the ever more and more regulations Chavez is placing on the Venezuelan economy that’s quite the opposite of the state freeing the economy. It’s been much more pronounced in recent years than earlier and the negative economic outcomes are now becoming apparent.

                That elements within the bureaucracy pose a threat to the revolution is known. That elements of the bureaucracy have lined their pockets is known. That they are being tried and jailed if found guilty is known. And nobody has made any charges of show trials.

                Who is the head of that bureaucracy? A. Chavez. As the links I provided Chavez has insinuated his military and bureaucracy into the workers efforts coopted them and limited the possbility of any real independent and truly worker controlled orgainsations. And what of the oil workers mentioned in Que se vayan todos

                When organized oil workers went on strike in 2003, Chávez and his revolutionary bureaucracy took the opportunity to fire 18,000 workers, to hire scabs and political favorites to cross the picket lines and replace them, and to create a new yellow-dog union federation that would support the official line of the government and the government-owned oil company

                That’s not the work of a man commited to the workers struggles.

                As for this political persecution and media suppression that plagues Venezuela it’s mythical.
                That’s not mythical Bill. It’s reality. There is ample evidence of it and I’ve given you a fraction of that.

                Military build up. Lets look at the neighbours. Columbia in particular. US proxy state. US bases in the country. And remember Nicaragua and how the US used the Contras to fight a dirty war to undermine the revolutionary gains in that country? And you know how the US has this penchant for invading oil rich countries? And of course, you know that before any invasion there has to be demonization of the invaded countries leaders or government (Hussein, the Talaban, Aristide the list rolls on oh, Chavez.) so that the US public feels comfortable with its government invading and occupying foreign lands oil and empire are of course burdensome side effects to promoting democracy.

                So you support the military buildup? Do honestly believe Obama is going to invade Venezuela? I think there’s little excuse for the military buildup and the consequent squandering of money taken out of the pockets of workers to pay for it.

                What is the problem? That the Venezualan military are unable to stop the cocaine smuggling? or that they do? That they do. Some positive moves have been taken, but using a militarised police and the military itself to attack drug traffickers is very harmful IMO. It’s in the best interests of the latin american nations to not fight the drug war against there own people. Morales is ahead of Chavez on this.

                Socially Conservative Policies.

                I wasn’t thinking of the policies you mentioned Bill. I was thinking along the lines of abortion, LGBT issues, drugs, etc. Same problems as other nations and Venezuela is no worse than many others in that respect.

                No doubt some positive moves have been made by the Venezuelan government and the previous governments were very poor, but many negative moves have been made and the insinutaion of the military into workers affairs is a major one there as is the curtailment of freedom of expression. Your trenchant defense of Chavez is IMO misplaced. Things are getting especially worse in Venezuela in recent times and it will be interesting to see where it goes in the next couple of years and I think you may well change your tune then as will many other misguided leftists.

                You should read the article in the one linked to above: Venezuela, Socialism to the Highest Bidder

  9. Olwyn 9

    Yes it would be easy to turn into a conspiracy theorist with the run of colour-coded revolutions in recent years: rose for Belarus, orange for the Ukraine, green for Iran; all illustrated by attractive young people, all involving IT social networking. Soon they will run out of attractive colours that are negative connotation-free. A yellow revolution sounds cowardly, violet too much like violent with the “n” left out, Mr Chavez already has the copyright on red, and blue is ambiguous, being democratic in the US and tory in other places. All sign up for the heliotrope revolution? Hasn’t got much of a ring to it has it.

    • Ari 9.1

      Blue is generally associated with “liberal” parties, so it’s actually pretty consistent worldwide, given that the democrats fit in roughly the same broad political box as the Australian Liberals, the British Conservatives, or our own National Party, except with a small social-democratic wing off to the left of the party. Red is actually a far more problematic political colour than blue. 🙂

  10. handle 10

    You forgot last year’s kiwi black-out campaign against the government’s proposed section 92 copyright changes. A geek revolution.

  11. Olwyn 11

    So what’s with the Republicans having red? It shouldn’t be allowed!

    • Olwyn 11.1

      And yes, I forgot about the geek revolution. Apologies to the geeks out there.

      [lprent: indeed. ]

    • Ari 11.2

      The republicans have red because the US media originally switched blue and red colours every election to avoid anyone making value judgements based on the colours. For some reason they stopped, and the republican party got red.

      At least, that’s what I’ve heard. I should probably check on it at some point. <..>

  12. af ticker 12

    Thank you Jenny for including my blog in your links. The Tobin Tax as George Soros wishes to use it is a travesty and will be nothing more than a step toward a One World Government.

    Ari, You are correct about how the colors came about for political parties in the US.

    Bill, while it is not reported that anyone goes to jail Chavez does not take kindly to criticism. You asked for a link? Here is one of many that are available: http://news.softpedia.com/news/Hugo-Ch-vez-

    To the owner of this blog. Very interesting blog. I plan to visit more often.

    Ticker in Texas, USA

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