Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Some Macon residents have called for demonstrations and boycotts after the mayor of the central Georgia city formally reached out to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez with a declaration of solidarity. Jack Ellis said the declaration, sent about two weeks ago by courier, was a message that local leaders can stand together despite disagreements at the highest reaches of government. Some local leaders have blasted the mayor's decision to support Chavez, a vocal ally of Iran and Cuba who has called President Bush "the devil."...Ellis praised the controversial leader, who has subsidized the cost of heating fuel for some American low-income citizens, as a champion for the common man who could offer aid to Macon's residents. "This is about a humanitarian effort," he said. "This is not about politics." A Venezuelan Web site reported that Chavez had thanked Ellis for his support during an eight-hour broadcast of his show "Alo, Presidente," which he used to call for a "global alliance of civilizations to resist the attacks of U.S. imperialism.".............

Thanks to Vlado for the feed.

Mayor Ellis has something in common with Sean Penn, who recently made a trip to Venezuela as a journalist (no, I'm not kidding) and just can't seem to get enough of the Castro mini-me. Indeed, Chavez has slowly become the hero of many on the Left who believe that socialism is the best route to that ever-elusive utopia, although I'm sure there are many Cuban-Americans in south Florida that would disagree. Chastro has referred to President Bush as "the devil", called on international efforts to resist US imperialism, led a government takeover of Venezuela's crude oil industry, led a similar takeover of the media, and just today announced his intent to change the constitution so he can be "re-elected" to office indefinitely. But, he gives money to the poor and is a "champion" for the common man. Yeah, sounds like a great guy.

Chavez is a Socialist, let's not beat around the bush. Socialists survive by promising the little guy that the government will provide them with everything they need and will counterbalance the "haves" of the world, and in return the little man owes his services to the government. This, of course, gives the government power which is what it's all about for those in the "party". Sounds wonderful to some, but not me. What the government gives, the government can also take away. But this doesn't make socialism any less of a threat. Promising big things to the "have nots" is a brilliant political strategy, entire empires were built around the notion, however empty that promise always seems to be. History has taught us that Socialism is a failed and flawed form of government, amounting to oppression. People like Jack Ellis and Sean Penn still have a lot to learn. Chastro will roll out the red carpet for these people in an effort to show them how wonderful his people live, but unfortunately the real story won't be told...despite Penn's talent as a journalist.

Whether it's Chavez's championing for the poor, or Castro's health care, the Left seem to fall over themselves in praise for the world's best known Socialists. I don't get it, especially when we consider the dark days of the iron curtain and the bloody images of Tiannamen Square. I guess the prospect of utopia is strong enough to induce amnesia and revisions of history.


prolerat said...

Chavez is not a socialist ,neither is Castro nor was Lenin,or any of the leaders of the so called communist states.
Socialism/communism are interchangable terms for what is a classless, moneyless, democratic society, which will have no political parties ,or leaders as there will be no sectional interests in a global commonwealth where even nation states will cease to exist as anyhting other than geographical descriptions.This is a convenient fiction of so called free world political leaders right and left to call these people,or themselves socialists.Real socialism will not be about nationalisation of assetts but about them being commonly owned by all of the worlds people.

One of the greatest cons of all time is to call the USA a perfect example of democracy. Very rich people make all the decisions and American workers are told to wave flags and sing hymns. "America is on course to stage the world's first billion dollar election with candidates already raising in excess of $100 million, fully 19 months before voters choose which one will be the next US President." (Times, 3 April) Lets face it who is donating $26 million to Clinton, $20 million to Obama or $17 million to Giuliani? Giant corporations or individual millionaires are the only ones with that kind of bread. The rich not only dictate how you live, but they are trying to dictate how you think.
Before you misrepresent socialism again, perhaps this will help you understand what it really is,
and capitalism.
Regards MC

Dan Trabue said...

"I don't get it, especially when we consider the dark days of the iron curtain and the bloody images of Tiannamen Square."

Get this, then: Socialism does not equal fascism. Because the USSR, which had socialist economic policies, had a leader that was fascist, is not a condemnation of socialism in all circumstances. If a fascist leader led a nation with capitalist economic policies, that nation would still be led by a fascist.

Although way too often, nations with some socialist policies have had less respect for human rights and democracy, they are not one in the same. Nicaragua in the 80s (and today, since I believe Ortega is still socialist-leaning), France, Sweden and, yes, Venezuela are all examples of nations that are have socialist economic policies that aren't fascist. Democratic socialism, in other words.

Having said that, one should not assume that because I, or the mayor of Macon, or Sean Penn utter some defense of Democratic socialists, that they fully support the socialists in question.

I, for instance, prefer some form of regulated capitalism as an economic system, but that does not mean I fail to see the failings of the US. Similarly, I may defend Chavez from the more strident accusations against him that aren't supported by the facts (as well as horrifyingly UN-Democratic attempts to support coups against him), but that does not mean I fail to see his shortcomings.

Right now, he is talking about getting rid of presidential term limits. Venezuelans should have red flags flying right and left there!! Just as should happen here if Bush were to start talking about ending presidential term limits. What a horrible idea!

"Commies" are not boogeymen and that some nation elects a leader who supports a more socialist economic system does not give another nation the right to try to overthrow that nation (Hello? Mr. Reagan? Mr Bush?). Fearmongering and demonization is not called for in a nation that values democracy.


Unlimited Term For Hugo Chavez?

When Does 'King Hugo' grab his Imperialistic Throne? Please tell us, when does the Grand Ayatollah Annex Venesuela with a Cute Iranian Virgin Gift? It sounds just like a breath-taking Hollywood Scenario.

Visualize a meek Alter-boy Sean Penn, standing by with a be-jewelled crown on a red-silk pillow for that crude Ape? The common people ain't gonna like it! reb

The Loop Garoo Kid said...

The problem, as the good doctor points out, is that the common people love Hugo Chavez. He makes promises and so long as he delivers to some degree, as apparently he has w/ health care, the dirt poor "common people" of Venezuela can't get enough of him.

Almost certainly he is South American Robert Mugabe in waiting.

Meanwhile, the Venezuelan intellegensia; the middle class; the upper class; and and professionals are looking to do a bunk much as the moneyed classes in Hong Kong did, except for one thing. The Chinese had the goosd sense to realize the "One country two systems idea" b/c Hong Kong--a wonderful place in my opinion--was and is a cash cow for China.

Oil is Chavez's cash cow. His program of nationalization has already resulted in multi- nationals backing out of the Venezualan oil industry. At some point, the Venezualan oil industry will begin to spiral downward resulting in less capital for Chavez to spread around. Then he will start using the $ to keep himself in power and none of his promises will be kept.

I believe the challenge is not to make the same mistakes we made w/ Cuba. Castro is still in power b/c of our policy of isolation and non engagement.

We should have opened up our relations to him after the USSR collapsed but the Cuban-Americans in FL wield too much political power. If both parties just ignored them we could get rid of Communism in Cuba in a generation or less.

I am disappointed w/ anyone who climbs on Hugo Chavez's band wagon.
Sean Penn is a very good actor and I don't mind his political work.

Of course I could be wrong. All we have to do is figure out how to make Sean Penn and the Maoyot fo Macon instruments of Chavez's downfall or at least, instruments of keeping him engaged.

prolerat: Democracy isn't for everyone buy see Winston Churchill on democracy.

dan: The Venezuelans should see the red flags but I fear they will not after which it will be "meet the new boss; same as the old boss."

reb: The common people make up their own minds. Unfortunately, after the coronation, or after 28 years of mullahs, the common man is no position to change the system.


The 'common man' in Venesuela is less sophisticated than the modern,
70% of young, educated Iranian.

These men & women privately hope for
a Secular Shah, to replace the
War-eager crazies. Iran's population severely suffered in their 8-year war with Saddam.
Millions of families were affected!

A key element is Iran's military. reb

John Washburn said...

My, my. I did not realize there was such strong sentiment for socialism out there. Fearmongering? Demonization? Misrepresenting? It would appear as though criticizing socialism is becoming politically incorrect in the eyes of some. Lenin wasn't a socialist? Really? So the United Soviet SOCIALIST Republics was just a misnomer.

So, some would say that socialism is a good thing that has been tainted by fascist leadership. Okay, that's one way to look at it. Another would be to say that socialism breeds fascist leaders. I think history has given us the answer. Promise to the poor, make them love you and dependent upon you, and you have all the power you need. Such is the promise of socialism, and it is gradually becoming the promise of America's democrat party.

Socialist democracy? I guess that's what it's called when Castro wins elections with 100% of the vote. Hey, at least he lets his people vote, right?

This is a pipe dream. It's the ever-elusive utopia that so many dream about. The notion that people all live and work for each other. That greed doesn't exist, there are no self-interests. The society is the priority, not the individual. That capitalism and entreprenuership are not necessary. That we all have a group hug every day. Sounds wonderful, but it just aint realistic. Sorry guys.

Still, there are so many out there who cling to this notion, and the fascists know how to exploit it. Along the way, those who buy in are robbed of their individualism for the betterment of society. The promise of utopia is the path to power.

Dan Trabue said...

John, I think you're misreading things. No one said that Lenin wasn't a socialist. No one has even advocated socialism here. What I have pointed out is that there ARE and have been socialist democracies out there. And they have had problems. As have capitalist democracies.

For my tastes, the socialist democracies have had more problems than the capitalist democracies, but no system is perfect. Most of those who have expressed "support" or more correctly, defense of Chavez have done so not saying that they think his system is perfect - at all - nor even wanting to have a democratic socialism here. We have done so because OUR capitalist democracy has a horribly un-democratic history of attacking, undermining and abusing nations that lean more socialist than we do. And we don't want to see another Pinochet, another Somoza, another Nicaragua Contras, etc, etc, etc.

Our history is littered with illegalities and anti-democratic action in the name of opposing socialism and we are opposed to THAT.

That is not to say that we think Chavez is a perfect leader or that we want his style of gov't here.