Thursday, November 30, 2006

Great article on the media and Venezuela's Chavez

As I write, I find myself focusing on certain things - human rights violations in the US (which include authoritarian politics and constitutional desecration) and what's happening in the rest of the Americas - Mexico and South America.

The attempts of our government to overthrow Hugo Chavez of Venezuela are one of the things that really ticks me off. And the corporate press are going along - in a big way. This article, from Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, lays it all out.

The Op-Ed Assassination of Hugo Chávez
Commentary on Venezuela parrots U.S. propaganda themes

By Justin Delacour
President Hugo Chávez Frias (700 Club, 8/22/05), the editors of several major newspapers were quick to denounce his outrageous incitement to violence. However, in criticizing the conservative televangelist, the prestige press overlooked its own highly antagonistic treatment of Venezuela’s president, which surely contributed to the heated political climate in which Robertson made his threat.

Even so-called “moderate” columnists have contributed to the deterioration of U.S.-Venezuela relations by distorting the Venezuelan government’s domestic and foreign policy record. Robertson may indeed be “just a garden-variety crackpot with friends in high places,” as the New York Times opined (8/25/05), but the televangelist’s erroneous characterization of Venezuela’s president as a “strong-arm dictator” is hardly distinguishable from, say, Thomas Friedman’s contention that Chávez is an “autocrat” (New York Times, 3/27/05).

In studying the opinion pages of the top 25 circulation newspapers in the United States during the first six months of 2005, Extra! found that 95 percent of the nearly 100 press commentaries that examined Venezuelan politics expressed clear hostility to the country’s democratically elected president...

Of course, Chavez is not only calling Bush the devil, he's also challanging neo-liberal economics. This means he's threatening the bloody pyramid of wealth that the US sits atop - which makes him more than just Bush's enemy.

The U.S. media’s distorted characterizations of Venezuela’s government were typified by Diehl (Washington Post, 1/17/05), who claimed that Chávez is “aggressively moving to eliminate the independence of the media and judiciary, criminalize opposition and establish state control over the economy.”

The Post more explicitly conflated democracy with U.S.-sponsored “free market” policies in a January 14 editorial, in which it asserted that Chávez’s “assault on private property is merely the latest step in what has been a rapidly escalating ‘revolution’ . . . that is undermining the foundations of democracy and free enterprise.”

The notion that U.S.-sponsored neo-liberalism (“free enterprise”) is the only economic model compatible with democracy was further promoted by the Miami Herald (5/8/05), which declared that “the pugnacious Mr. Chávez is determined to push his populist model to the people of the region as a competitor to real democracies...”

And as is common, Chavez is accused of committing the sins of the US.

Aside from neglecting to provide proof for the charge that Chávez destabilizes Latin America, columnists failed to recognize the hypocrisy of accusing Venezuela of meddling in a region where U.S. interference is second to none. In reality, it is the Bush administration—not the Chávez government—that is known to meddle in the internal affairs of Latin American countries. During recent presidential races in Nicaragua (2001), Bolivia (2002) and El Salvador (2004), Bush administration officials openly threatened to penalize the three countries if their citizens elected candidates who opposed U.S. policies.

Good article. I recommend it.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Retail purgatory

I can't call it retail hell, but it was a busy busy day at work. So busy I stayed late.

Which is why all you get is this placeholder. And I get the headache.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Returning from vacation...

It was good, but now I've got this - oh my god - anxiety about the coming week. It's going to be a busy one! One media project has a move, and a fundraiser; another has a scrambling rehersal for a show we agreed to do in a month, and another has a going-away party which should be fun but it's just another thing. Work is hitting the Xmas crap in a BIG way (and I work in retail) and I missed a deadline for the newsletter article.

Media note: I saw that Raw Story has the Karpinski claim - that she saw Rumsfeld's handwriting on the 'how to torture' note at Abu Ghraib - sourced to Spanish media. Amy Goodman had her with that same story a week ago. Bullshit on people for not picking that up.

Tha's all for now - just a little 'hey hello and online journalling, i got a priority list of 6 things before bed' post. (Two already done, and this post is a bonus. Rock-rock on!)

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

I got nuttin...

So I'm saying it loud and proud!

Nihilix was a blogger for sure
He was suave and oh so mature
He blogged every day
And in every way
Unless he messed up.


Monday, November 20, 2006

Once more into the breach!

I was going to use 'back in the saddle' but I've already used that on a post after I'd skipped a couple of days.

And I have to say that this Thanksgiving holiday will be rough on the old posting schedule. Starting Wednesday, I'll be in dialup-if-that territory, unless I can get the old Lombard laptop to work. (It's showing a corrupted system file. I don't even know if I can put the original 6 meg harddrive back in... I think I removed or moved some of the system files on that... which might be the problem...)

Anyway, leftist Mexican presidential candidate Luis Obrador of the PRD has had himself sworn in as the 'legitimate' Mexican president, after Vincente Fox's party, the PAN, gave their candidate a bare 1% of the vote. While the people of Oaxaca are trying to maintain their people's governement, Obrador is largely silent. This story about one of the re-appeared disappeared shows how the forces of oppression operate: you pick them up, hold them incommunicado, beat and torture them, and then maybe you let them go, maybe they have a little accident... The man, Rene Trujillo Martínez, was a lawyer and a broadcaster on the APPO radio station at the autonomous university; one of the last voices left to the movement.
At the warehouse the gunmen tortured them, sticking needles under their finger nails (the scars were visible three days later), applying electric shocks to their feet, beating them on the head, and choking them, according to the three men, who were later released.

On the "let's taser the shit out of a student in the library" front, the student has filed a lawsuit and the university cops have been identified. One of them is this winner:
In 2003, Duren shot Willie Davis Frazier Jr., a homeless man Duren encountered in a Kerckhoff study lounge, following a physical and verbal altercation.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Hunting for wabbits...

Well, deer, actually.

Using a camera, this year. Got a clear sight but no clear picture of two deer. If I'd had a gun, I probably would have missed with that as well.

Posting limited today and tomorrow. Maybe something late Sunday.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

More on the tasering

It's brutal. I watched the video (which I was afraid to the first time) and it is as shocking as Firedoglake says it is.

And then there's the statement from UCLA.

Date: November 15, 2006
Contact: Office of Media Relations ( )
Phone: 310-825-2585

Statement from UCLA Acting Chancellor Norman Abrams About Incident at Powell Library

University police are investigating an incident late last night in which police took a student into custody at Powell Library. Investigators are reviewing the incident and the officers' actions. The investigation and review will be thorough, vigorous and fair.

The safety of our campus community is of paramount importance to me. Routinely checking student identification after 11 p.m. at the campus library, which is open 24 hours, is a policy posted in the library that was enacted for the protection of our students. Compliance is critical for the safety and well-being of everyone.



And here's my email to their lovely media department:

I've read your statement on the Tasering of a student in your library.

This is chilling.

"The safety of our campus community is of paramount importance to me. Routinely checking student identification after 11 p.m. at the campus library, which is open 24 hours, is a policy posted in the library that was enacted for the protection of our students. Compliance is critical for the safety and well-being of everyone"

Safety is paramount?? yet you endanger a student with a semi-lethal technology? Compliance is critical?? How in the world can you claim that your need for students to comply with showing a pass is such a critical compliance to use that force?

There were at least three officers on the scene. If three officers cannot remove someone who was not complying without repeatedly hitting that person with a cattle prod, you need to do some serious thinking.

I've considered schools in the California system for graduate school. I can assure you UCLA is no longer on my list.

And here's the video:

Tasers and people's governments.

May we live in interesting times...

The UCLA police tasered the shit out of a student who wouldn't show ID. Guess that showed him!


It all started when campus cops at UCLA decided to run a student out of the library on suspicion of Using a Computer While Brown:

When Tabatabainejad, 23, refused to provide his ID to the community service officer, the officer told him he would have to show it or leave the library, the report said.

Vhee haff to see your papers…

(LA Times account.)

Excellent account from the student newspaper, the Daily Bruin.

On the plus side, the citizens of Oaxaca have formed themselves a people's government.

Oaxaca’s APPO Forms Permanent Government, Announces Escalation of Resistance (Narco News)

Three thousand Oaxaqueños responded to the first call of the Asamblea Popular de Pueblos de Oaxaca (Popular Assembly of the Peoples’ of Oaxaca, or APPO) on Friday, November 10, to forge a new constitution for Oaxaca. The APPO sprang into life in the two days following the attempted eviction of striking teachers from their zocalo encampment on June 14, 2006. It has guided the social movement in Oaxaca since then, and now self-dissolves in favor of a permanent structure of government which includes an executive and legislative branch. The provisional directorship dissolved on formally initiating the work of the constitutive congress.

While the rights of Americans are brutally ripped away, people who are being killed in their struggle announce their determination to rule themselves. It was that kind of day.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Did K Street set us free?

Things are bad. When are we going to catch on? More and more of us are - catching on to something.

What is it that we fasten onto? We have all sorts of drowning going on - in debt, in malaise, in anger... and we fasten on to something we reach for something that provides some hope.

Some have fastened onto a black and white faith that gives simple answers while it supports the current system. As long as there's someone to hate, someone to blame, and someone to tell you with full sincerity that they know what the answer is, people will latch on.

Some have fastened onto political ideology. A secular faith (secular, except when part of the religious reich) which gives us some answers. The left as well as the right do this. If only we can get the majorities. If only we elect the right ones. If only... if only...

Some have had their faith dashed. The megachurch with the grinning formerly closeted fag at the helm. The macho scared male suburbanite with a football team and a tough man president who never loses. He's been losing a lot lately, hasn't he?

The Kossaks and so many others - these kids. I remember being politically active at 24. I was hella active. I loved it - and I thought things were great and big and never more important and we were gonna do it (ok, we lost a lot) but I see these kids now, and they don't remember Reagan. Hell - you got ten years to become aware, and 8 years of Clinton and 6 years of Cheney and you're 24 years old. And it was a loong time since the Democrats had Congress, and frankly, from what I remember, those Congresses weren't the same kind of Democrats. But maybe I'm forgetting - what kind of firebrands they had back then.

So a new Democratic majority in the House. So a feeling of politics mattering. I can see it in some ways - a progressive movement - and I can also see the sellout politics of the DLC and the other corporate Dems - and I wonder if the faith in the new Democratic majorities will soon be dashed.

I was a Naderite in 2000. And I was a WTO protester in 1999. And I formed a union in 1993, and was a Wobbly. I had and have a profound distrust of many structures of power. The Nader critique was a good one - because Bush-the-candidate and Gore-the-candidate weren't that far apart. Al Gore v 2.000 was the crappy southern stiff insider who was flogging his DLC crap. He was into oil in South America, he was death-penalty, he was good for business. His internationalism - and that we cry for that, for the good old days when we weren't unilateralists and instead the US and Western Europe and Japan (a bit) were all holding hands together (as we sucked the third world dry...) - things are so bad that this seems to be the bright and shining path... anyways, Gore was all those things. And Bush seemed like a mix between Dole's boring corporate stuff and Gingrich (but dumber) with a smallish dash of Robertson, and he didn't seem to be the monster.

Perhaps DeLay and Abramoff and Santorum and Grover did us a K Street favor. Maybe they were so good at sucking the corporate power into their machine that they lost some of their hold on the Democrats. Maybe we will be able to talk about things that challange - if not the system, at least the gains the rich and richer have made in the last few years. Maybe we'll be able to stop a war, maybe we'll be able to make some changes in the better. Mounting a better defense is very do-able; going on the attack (subpoena power, anyone) would be even better. Maybe the hand that fed the old Democrats has stopped feeding to the point where it can get bit.

So I am not fastening onto the new House majority. I will have to give them some room, and maybe do some trying to hold accountable (if they do some good accountablity holding themselves, it will be very nice.) I would like to have faith - but I'll wait to see some proof.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Short post - cable night

I do a cable show one Monday a month on Suburban Community Cable. We talked about the election - starting with Greg Palast's 'the election has already been stolen' piece. If vote suppression stole about 4.5 million votes, which is Palast's estimate, then the anti-Republican pro-Democratic sweep was that much greater.

In your face, Ken Blackwell! Right back at ya, Katherine Harris!

Also talked about Rummy's 'resignation' as a failed attempt to steal the news cycle, Allen's concession as a way to keep the lid on whatever is going on in Virginia, and the 13,000 undervotes in Florida.

A brief mention of Oaxaca, too.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Hanging with the kids...

Not mine - we have a great set of 'op kids' (other people's) - my niece and nephew. Who are as demanding as the dawg of time! Went to the Children's Museum in St. Paul, watched some movies, one of them got my sweetie to snap, very sad, that.

So this is rather of a filler post. At least I still remember much of my 8th grade history.

You Passed 8th Grade US History

Congratulations, you got 7/8 correct!

Friday, November 10, 2006

Still don't want to post...

I have in my head the theory that attending Drinking Liberally was the same as posting. This is definitely not the case - but it was still nice. Met a bunch of folks, although didn't talk to as many as I'd like. (And found some people uninterested in meeting me - which struck me as funny for a group that's supposed to be supportive and networking.)

I'm musing on the difference between liberal and progressive - what is it? Is there any, or is it all marketing?

Welcome your comments. And saying 'Drinking Progressively' isn't as clever as 'Drinking Liberally', while true, is not really what I'm looking for.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

I don't wanna post...

but I'll bang on this drum all night!

Oaxaca is still in turmoil. The Federales couldn't shut down the last radio station (they've attacked it and it was defended; someone lobbed a rocket at it, the antenna was destroyed and then rebuilt lower, for some loss in range.) The streets are full of resistance. Hundreds of thousands came - from Mexico City, through police lines - to march in support of APPO.

And the US House and the US Senate. Ahhhh....

That's it for now!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Election resulties

It ain't all done, but this is a gooooood night for democrats. And it's a decent night for the people of Amurrika, since democrats are shitty to good (as opposed to depth-of-evil to crappy)

Although I'm pissed pissed pissed about Pawlenty.

Since I already did a bunch of this work three weeks ago, I'll just go to my prediction post and use that to talk about these races.

Since I am only limited in my omniscience, the following prediction is particularly full of hot air.

National Prediction: Democrats Take House +10, Republicans Control Senate +1

Go to a more inside-baseball site to read more on this. I just think that the local littler races will fall Dem, while the larger targets will be worked hard by the Reps.
As of this second, the corporate media tell us that the Dems have gained 26 in the House, and the Senate is down to Virginia, Montana, and Missouri. And Webb is claiming victory >>YES!!<< so the Senate could be Dem +1, or not. Although Joe Fucking Liebermann (lost 5 bucks on that) (and another 5 on Hatch, if he loses... fucker...) anyway, Liebermann could sell out the Democrats. He lied about respecting the primary, why not this?

My prayer was for 235-200. I'm shocked by how widespread the Dem House pickups are across the country. Holy shit.
Minnesota Predictions

US Senate: Amy Klobuchar 57%, Mark Kennedy 45%, IP-Guy 4%, Mike Cavlan 3%, Right of the Fetus to Buy a Gun with Gold Coins (Constitution Party) 1%

Start with the easy one. Mark Kennedy is a creep, and people know it. Amy's personable and seems tough. While my hope is that Cavlan breaks 5%, the media blackout on all Greens militates against it.
Since the results were Klobuchar 58%, Kennedy 38%, IP-Guy(Fitzgerald) 3%, Cavlan .5%, Gold Fetuses with Guns (Powers) .25%, and since my predictions add up to 110%, I've got to give myself credit for hitting the Klobe number pretty exactly, and the depth of the disgust with the smarmy prick Kennedy was hidden by my extra 10%. Decent on the IP total, but silly-wrong on the Green and the Gold.

The media blackout on the Greens did its job.
Governor: Mike Hatch by a hair

Not much to say about this. Pawlenty is telegenic, but also a fucktard. Hatch's campaign? I've not seen it. Don't know if it's in the grassroots, but with his top-down management style, I somewhat doubt it. Hutchinson, who is propped up by people who (so far as I can tell) were liberal when they were younger, but can't quite sell out ALL the way (but they sure don't like real populism), gets crap. And deserves it! (Ooooh! My greatest accomplishment was that I tried to privatize the Minneapolis School System! And I failed!) (wanker)
Fuck fuck fuckkity-fuck fuck fuck. Fuck. My roomie bitched at me for bitching about Hutchinson - how can you diss third parties? My answer - the IPer's suck. That party exists to give Democrats who dislike poor people and pro-choice Republicans a home, and since there are more of the former than the latter, Hutchinson effectively gives it to Pawlenty.

The smears on Hatch were bad, but could have been countered with something grassroots. In the face of incredible anti-Republican sentiment, Hatch loses it. I predict that the top-down structure of the DFL will get some shaking up.
Attorney General: Lori Swanson

Because the Democrats are going to do well in the state.

Secretary of State: Mark Ritchie

Because more people are ticked off about Mary Evil Fucking Kiffmeyer than there are Republicans who really want to make sure she can bias elections.
Ding, dong, Mary Evil Fucking Kiffmeyer's dead (the witch is dead) The witch is dead!!!
(apologies to all witches.) (and see the original post for a long rant about the banal evil of Mary Evil Fucking Kiffmeyer.)
State Auditor: Don't know, but the best chance for the Greens to get 5%.

So if you want to see the Greens returned to major-party status, so the corporate media (and their MPR affiliate) will need to come up with a new reason to exclude them from coverage, vote Dave Berger for Auditor.
It was the best race for the Greens at over 2%. Not good enough. Otto - decent, who cares.
Congressional races: Two DFL pickups

I think that Wetterling's going to beat Bachmann because of Foley. I think Rowley or Walz will win, but not both. I think Wendy Wilde will give Ramstad the best run for a long time. Ellison will win. And I will celebrate. The rest of the pack are going to stick with the incumbent, even though Colin Peterson's a Torture Democrat.
Foley not good enough. We now have someone in the US House who follows a faith that calls the Pope the AntiChrist. Great news on Walz!!! (as I'm a 1st CD boy.) Too bad on Rowley. And Wetterling's campaign sucked.
State House and Senate: Democratic wins

Even without Matt Entenza's wife's money, the national mood and the creepiness of Pawlenty and Kennedy will give the DFL what they need to take over. Jesse Mortenson, the only Green running for one of these seats (in Entenza's old district) will get in the high 30s.
Mortenson only got 15%. But the Republicans were CREAMED by the DFL.

Overall, I'm pleased by the predictions - although they were mostly conventional wisdom. Like almost-pegging the Klobe number. And Webb - fuck yeah!!!

Monday, November 06, 2006


If voting does so little, why do the forces of evil want to stop us from doing it?

People I think are worth voting for:

US Senate: Michael Cavlan. (5% or bust! And we get rid of Kennedy!)

US Congress: Walz (1), Rowley (2), Wilde (3), Ellison (5), Wetterling (6) (the rest are safe seats - whatever)

Governor: Mike Hatch. (Sorry, Ken - Hatch is good and Pawlenty is so, so bad.)

Attorney General: Swanson. Or Papa John Kolstad.

Secretary of State: Mark Ritchie. (Ritchie is good and Mary Evil Fucking Kiffmeyer must go)

State Auditor: Berger.

And Jesse Mortenson for State House.

As you were.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Olbermann and Canes and Sumner

I love looking at why people come to my page. Many recent hits have been looking for the latest Olbermann commentary, about Bush's attempts to use Kerry's comment about education to beat him about the head and neck.

So here's the video. Enjoy!

The Brits know - Bush is dangerous!

In a recent survey, 75% of the British surveyed find the Preznit to be a threat to world peace.

America is now seen as a threat to world peace by its closest neighbours and allies, according to an international survey of public opinion published today that reveals just how far the country's reputation has fallen among former supporters since the invasion of Iraq.

Carried out as US voters prepare to go to the polls next week in an election dominated by the war, the research also shows that British voters see George Bush as a greater danger to world peace than either the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-il, or the Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Both countries were once cited by the US president as part of an "axis of evil", but it is Mr Bush who now alarms voters in countries with traditionally strong links to the US.

Picture and story from the Guardian UK

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Oaxaca updates

The Fox government is intent on crushing the APPO - the people's movement in Oaxaca.

They have taken the city center, but the radio station at the autonomous university remains in the hands of the people.

Here in the Twin Cities, solidarity action is being planned.

Narco News, the Narcosphere, and La Luchita (Peace, Justice, and Liberty) are all good sources for news on this. The AP and the US corporate media are not.

The left wing political party, the PRD, is apparently doing little, while the Zapatistas are engaging in road blockades in solidarity.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Dawg care, laugh out loud

The dawg's healing is continuing, but she refuses to calm down (i.e., she's the same hyper bundle of muscle, bone, and skin she was before the surgery) and the cyst-removal on the leg is a constant lick-target. This is bad, since she still has staples in the leg, and too much pressure can make them bleed.

She's also requiring near-constant attention. If dogs are training for kids, I'm gonna be one tired daddy when junior finally shows up.

She's also training me to leave my computer.

So that's what's up nowadays.

In other news, this made me laugh out loud. It seems that the Bushies, who love blaming others for their own errors and faults, now think that Hugo Chavez is cheating with electronic voting machines.

If you ever thought that maybe they weren't cheating using electronic voting machines, this projection on their part should be proof certain.

U.S. digs for vote-machine links to Hugo Chávez

Federal officials are investigating whether Smartmatic, owner of Oakland, Calif.-based Sequoia Voting Systems, is secretly controlled by Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, according to two people familiar with the probe.

In July, a Treasury Department spokeswoman disclosed that a Treasury-led panel had contacted Smartmatic, and a company representative said his firm was ''in discussions'' with the panel. At the time, those discussions were informal. The government has now upgraded to a formal investigation, the two sources said.

Sequoia's electronic voting machines operate in 17 states. In Florida, the machines are used in four counties: Palm Beach, Indian River, Pinellas and Hillsborough.

Miami-Dade and Broward use other technology.

Concerns about Smartmatic are keen on the eve of the Nov. 7 election, given fears that someone with unauthorized access to the electronic system could create electoral chaos. Some critics believe that if the Venezuelan government is involved, Smartmatic could be a ''Trojan horse'' designed to advance Chavez's anti-American agenda.