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The Chavez Show

Blogging from Tucson, Arizona.... I guess if the Leader of the Free World can be a rather laughable character like George W. Bush it is only fitting that the man who pretends to be his global antagonist is himself a cartoon character. If one ever had doubts that Hugo Chavez is at best an intellectual mediocrity (if not a thug) they should forever be confirmed by his speech Wednesday before the United Nations. I'm not going to bother to reproduce any excerpts here. You can read the whole rant in the link provided. Suffice it to say it was juvenile showboating of the worst kind. And while it was chock full of applause and laugh lines as Chavez ripped at Bush, the Empire, the Fascists, the Assassins, the Israelis and the UN itself, it was -- in the end-- a completely vapid exercise. What sort of moral vision or leadership of behalf of the world's poor was voiced by the blustering buffoon of Caracas? All I know is that if I were George W. Bush and was worried what the world thought of me, I would quickly choose Chavez as the guy to represent the global opposition. In any case, Chavez's performance is likely to backfire. His declaration that the UN is "worthless" is not likely to galvanize support for Venezuela's quest to win one of the rotating seats on the Security Council. Chavez' stand-up routine unfortunately overshadowed a truly resonant speech made from the same rostrum by Brazilian President Lula da Silva. Compare the two speeches and you'll immediately note the difference. One is a gusting clown. The other a mensch. Too bad the former sucks up the limelight. If you find yourself applauding Chavez, better check in the mirror and make sure you haven't become some sort of trained seal. P.S. As an additional point of comparison, I offer this link to the dramatic speech made before the UN in December 1972 by then-Chilean President Salvador Allende. Allende also came to denounce the injustice his country was suffering at the hands of the powerful, something he called the "invisible blockade." I had the privilege of translating that speech for publication in English. Unfortunately, I can't find that version and the one I'm linking to is a more awkward take by a different translator. But Allende's intelligence, his poise, his stature still starkly emerge through the mists of time and the shrouds of poor translation.

142 Responses to “The Chavez Show”

  1. bunkerbuster Says:

    Chavez’ remarks hugely overshadow Lula’s in Marc’s commentary, if not less fevered locales.

    I find much to agree with in Chavez’ comments and I wonder why Marc feels free to call the guy a thug with zero substantiation. They get away with it on Fox News Channel because no one’s allowed to respond, but, really Marc, shouldn’t you substantiate that kind of slur?

    If Marc doesn’t like Chavez’ comments, he should try to refute them instead of all the ad hominem. If he deems them unworthy of response, maybe he could elevate Lula’s comments and skip the name-calling.

    Marc is, at best, no better than Chavez himself, (if not a wannabe Judith Miller.)

  2. Grumpy Old Man Says:

    Bb, Marc put in the link so you can judge for yourself.

    The reason I read Marc, proud troglodyte that I am, is that he’s not purely reflexive and makes distinctions (Chavez demagogic, Lula thoughtful) I wouldn’t always think of.

    I suspect Chavez’s speech is eminently fiskable and someone will take on the task.

  3. jcummings Says:

    Its disgusting that Robert Fisk is used as a verb by people who haven’t got an iota of his courage, regardless of what one thiks of his politics.

    His speech was great theatre – and regardless of what Cooper says ad takes out of context – thats all it needed to be, and Venezuela will most definitely be on the security council – or are you gonna criticize the countries you DO respect for voting for him.

    Lula, as we all know, wouldn’t be in power or a rising regional power without Chavez and he knows it.

  4. jcummings Says:

    Using wordnetdaily as opposed to the official UN transcript, eh?

  5. Wall Says:

    And now bunkbuster, it is YOU that go over the top! Although I would agree Chavez was clownish rather than thugish. OT: I do find Jacob Weisberg’s comments interesting in his current Salon piece about the republicans who hope to LOSE congress as it would put them in a better, snarkier posisition: “It is entirely coincidental three of the four of the GOP’s bogeymen are black.”
    Am I to take that at face value, and if so, why bring it up? Is Weisberg winking at me? If so, how do I react when radical jounalist’s join in the black wacking? Better to play the clown or the thug?

  6. evets Says:

    Marc -

    I think you nailed the difference between the two. The scope and rehetorical modesty of Lula’s speech offer some hope that the left can do more than feed on its own carcass, which seems to be what Chavez is chewing on.

  7. Michael Kennedy Says:

    Hey, Cooper. I see you are back to your old ways of haranguing the left. How does it feel, btw, to be a fellow Eustonian with Michael Ledeen, whose signature appears on the latest American spinoff of the British centrist group. Did you ever think 20 years ago that you would be ending up in the same group with a contragate creep? I guess that’s what fanatical hatred for the left leads to.

  8. NeoDude Says:

    Chavez was sassy.

    Hearing him speak in Spanish, he sounded like a friend kidding in a bar. LIKE A GUY I’D HAVE A BEER WITH, go figure. Bush has met his match.

  9. Wall Says:

    Glen Greenwald does a nice job of putting Chavez into context over at Salon’s “War Room.”

  10. reg Says:

    Who started that stupid “fisking” meme ? Was it Sullivan ? You’re right JC that it’s pretty glib and cheap, considering that Fisk is a journalist of considerable courage and experience and the “fiskers” are generally wankers of the wannabe PJ ilk, many of whom tolerate media detritus and excrement like Malkin and Coulter in their ranks – when they’re not elevated to cult status.

    Since I’ve never taken Chavez seriously as anything other than a demagogue, his speech doesn’t shock me. At the risk of being accused (falsely) of “moral equivalence”, I’d have to say that when Bush invoked The Axis of Evil in the context of a response to September 11th – which made no sense whatsoever, other than at the level of banalities about some sundry and obviously repugnant regimes – and proceeded to alienate most of the known world via demonstrably ill-conceived pre-emptive war – not to mention the administration’s current penchant for comparing a fairly incoherent gaggle of enemies to Hitler – finger-wagging about toxic rhetoric, bilious bluster and demonization taking precedent over diplomacy became a bit moot from our corner.

  11. reg Says:

    While I’m on the question of Bush’s hyperventilations-as-political-analysis/strategy, could someone tell me what’s not “Islamofascist” about Saudi Arabia ? Just wondering…

  12. patrick neid Says:

    chavez’s speech would have been much funnier if we hadn’t been hearing for years on the floor of congress……marc, it’s too late to separate yourself from hugo. with “I’m a dinner jacket” and hugo a lot of the your posters will have new heroes to practice their situational ethics on…the kill all jews part should prove to be fun!

  13. reg Says:

    Incidentally, MC, thanks for the Lula link. It’s telling that we’re hearing nearly nothing of this in the media.

    “Speaking of Brazil”, I’m not a big T.Friedman fan but he had a good column yesterday. Here’s a clip:

    I asked Dr. José Goldemberg, secretary for the environment for São Paulo State and a pioneer of Brazil’s ethanol industry, the obvious question: Is the fact that the U.S. has imposed a 54-cents-a-gallon tariff to prevent Americans from importing sugar ethanol from Brazil “just stupid or really stupid.”

    Thanks to pressure from Midwest farmers and agribusinesses, who want to protect the U.S. corn ethanol industry from competition from Brazilian sugar ethanol, we have imposed a stiff tariff to keep it out. We do this even though Brazilian sugar ethanol provides eight times the energy of the fossil fuel used to make it, while American corn ethanol provides only 1.3 times the energy of the fossil fuel used to make it. We do this even though sugar ethanol reduces greenhouses gases more than corn ethanol. And we do this even though sugar cane ethanol can easily be grown in poor tropical countries in Africa or the Caribbean, and could actually help alleviate their poverty.

    Yes, you read all this right. We tax imported sugar ethanol, which could finance our poor friends, but we don’t tax imported crude oil, which definitely finances our rich enemies. We’d rather power anti-Americans with our energy purchases than promote antipoverty.

    “It’s really stupid,” answered Dr. Goldemberg.

  14. bunkerbuster Says:

    Patrick: you seem to be suggesting that if we don’t slur Chavez, we want to kill all Jews. This is exactly the sort of Red Scare nonsense Marc’s “thug” comments inspire..

  15. patrick neid Says:

    i’m saying no such thing. he’s your boy along with his friends. i say stay true to your roots and continue to embrace him. the left has a wonderful long list of heroes starting with the big four of central planners, stalin, hitler, mao and chavez’s spiritual father mussolini. your modern heroes, as you continue to look for your messiah of central planning, has included losers like allende, castro, che, chavez and the paedophile ortiz in nicaragua.

    as to the jews–you know what exactly what i’m saying. all your heroes have one thing in common–and you know exactly what it is…….

  16. Wall Says:

    Patrick, you’re neiding all over the map, it might be entertaining to know the passages from Horowitz you are siting. I can tell you, my friend, any prewar friends of Hitler in the U.S. were not on the left……..

  17. Michael Kennedy Says:

    The paedophile ortiz in nicaragua? Oh, right. The leader of the Sangrianistas.

  18. leftside Says:

    Of course the speech was theatre, as that is all that can make waves any more. Us politicos know that, why play dumb? Do you think anyone would print one word about another boring UN speech politely talking about unjust war, poverty and injustice??

    If you watch the video, it is clear most of the bravado was for comic effect – a common Chavez technique that I don’t mind – and neither did the world’s delegates. El Diablo has a different connotation in Spanish countries a well. I agree, that I would love to hear what exactly Marc disagrees with, besides the hyperbole.

    The biggest issues I got was 1) the US harboring of plane-bombing terrorist Posada Carriles (currently being recommended for release), 2) the UN’s impotence over Lebanon, Iraq and other life and death issues – because of the veto power, 3) that the US does use soft and hard imperialistic power to further its hegemonic goals (suh as threatening countries like Chile with economic reprecussions if they don’t vote against Venezuela in the UN or rebuffing Brazil’s trade agenda).

    The current world order is not sustainable – whether you view that through global warming, nuclear proliferation or poverty. Anyone paying attention knows who bears the most responsibility..

  19. Gray Avis Says:

    Just read your obituary on Phil Angelides (the correct spelling, please) in the New Times, I mean, L.A. Weekly, and can’t help but wonder if you plan to vote for the Austrian? I hope so. For all who missed it check this out:

  20. evets Says:

    “chavez’s speech would have been much funnier if we hadn’t been hearing for years on the floor of congress……”

    And your mini-screed would be more effective if had a touch of logical and/or syntactical coherence.

  21. evets Says:

    and mine would be more effective if I’d stuck an ‘it’ before ‘had’

  22. jcummings Says:

    Chavez’s spiritual father is Mussolini my ass. The guy fought fascists and dictatorship. Despite what people spread about him, given his relationship with Iran, he is not at all an Anti-Semite – ask his Jewish advisors or his untill recently good (read: arms sales) relationship with Israel.

    If you are of the opinion that an increased voice for developing and “global south” nations is an important thing in world affairs, you are an utter hypocrite if you slam Chavez without putting him into context. Ask Lula, as I said, or Bachelet – they wouldn’t be in power without him – in fact, in a move that some people on the far left are decrying, Castro and Chavez are publicly pushing for the centrist Lula as opposed to his left rival – knowing that Brazil is key, just as Chavez is key to Brazil.

  23. patrick neid Says:

    you are judged by your friends. chavez is a anti semite using the the same logic “i’m a dinner jacket” does. Hezbollah isn’t hanging his poster in lebanon by accident.

    my apologies to all the ortiz’s out there. having said that you all knew the paedofile i had in mind.

    mussolini is chavez’s buffoonery spiritual father. in fact, he’ll probably end up the same way–hung upside down in a town square trying to run away. just like mussolini and hitler, they start out as socialists and end up tyrants. as we speak chavez has started the subtle steps to overthrow the constitution so that he can remain in office for a second 12 year term. closing newspapers, throwing critics in jail, well you know the drill……

  24. Randy Paul Says:

    Ask Lula, as I said, or Bachelet – they wouldn’t be in power without him

    Poppycock. Lula had run for president three times before and radically changed his image before the 2002 election. He gave up the open necked shirt rolled up sleeves look and switched to conservative business suits. If anything, some with whom I spoke in the two trips I made to Brazil during the campaign were afraid that Lula would lead like Chávez. I pointed out that unlike Chávez, Lula has always pursued his political goals via democratic means. Lula has been a visible political figure in Brazil for more than thirty years.

    As for Bachelet, she was elected through her strong record as both Defense Minister and Health Minister and her strong ties to the Concertacion movement. Chavez didn’t have squat to do with it.

    I get comments on my blog and e-mails about Chávez from Chileans and Brazilians who tell me that a lot of their countrymen are getting tired of Chávez bombast, although they share some of his goals.

    As for Chávez’s influence outside of Chile, yes he helped Evo Morales and he torpedoed Ollanta Humala.

  25. jcummings Says:

    I don’t disagree that Chavez (far less than NED) helped sink Humala.

    But Lula has been beset with scandals yet Chavez’s council has kept the left – electorally – in his camp – my real intent in making hte point was not Bachelet or Lula individually in power – but the growing power of Latin America/Mercosur as a whole is more due to Chavez’s wily Machiavellianism than Brazil’s industrial power.

  26. jcummings Says:

    I’d rathe bombast than boredom. If thats the best Hugo Chavez’s critics can do (along with telling his supporters they are trained seals for believing in an alternate southern pole in world affairs…) then, well, I enjoy the bombast. Best UN moment since Kruschev’s shoe.

  27. richard locicero Says:

    I won’t get into the name calling one way or another on Chavez though I wonder if Allende would not be greeted the same way today. Just a thought Marc now don’t go all “Fisky” on me for suggesting that. But I do recall that he was a considered a dangerous Marxist wacko by all good people here back in 1972.

    But I really think you should stop for a minute and ask yourself this. Chavez’s speech was greeted with laughter and applause yesterday. He struck a nerve because he said what everyone else in that hall thought. That Bush is a dangerous lunatic who has made the US the biggest threat to world peace going. And I for one am ashamed (just like a Dixie Chick)) THAT THIS CLOWN IS PRESIDENT and is our image in the world.

    And don’t worry about Venezuala getting its seat on the Security Council. Russia and China bothback him and the US choice – Guatemala – is a non starter.

  28. Randy Paul Says:

    It isn’t Chavez that has been doing that, it is Geraldo Alckmin whose nickname is picolé de chuchu, the single largest testament to his blandness.

    Heloisa Helena may very well throw the election into a second round, something Cardoso did not have to endure IIRC.

    As for your last statement, oh please. Lula was negotiating trade deals with China and India years before Chávez. He’s wearing out his welcome among his neighbors.

  29. Randy Paul Says:

    Richard Locicero,

    Allende, like Lula and unlike Chávez, always pursued his political goals via democratic means. I bet he’d probably be regarded like Lula now.

  30. Khan Says:


    Sporadic long-time reader, first comment.

    Read several threads of yours from two or three years ago. The quality of the comments have deteriorated very far, from Roger L. Simon and Michael Hawkins to the dregs of the left (reg is still here, i c). What happened?

    Does it tempt you to close down the comments altogether? It doesn’t add anything to your blog anyway.

  31. jcummings Says:

    To compare Allende to Lula is an insult ot Allende. Allende REALLY was a socialist, in his own way. Lula is at best a moderate social democrat, with some good redistributive policy no doubt but not any long term transformational goal.

    Allende was a threat to American capital. Lula is good for American capital. I say this as someone who admires Lula, but please, if an Allende – who is far more admirable than Chavez could ever be – came into power right now, he’d be treated WORSE than Chavez.

  32. jcummings Says:

    To compare Allende to Lula is an insult ot Allende. Allende REALLY was a socialist, in his own way. Lula is at best a moderate social democrat, with some good redistributive policy no doubt but not any long term transformational goal. Lula is not a threat to international capital. Allende was.

  33. Marc Cooper Says:

    A couple of more comments on Chavez. He has NOT kept the entire left inside his coalition. Venezuela\\\’smost prestigious leftist intellectual is running against him for President. And much of the MAS political arty has long ago moved into opposition against him.

    Cummings ur remark about Bachelet and Lula owing anything to Chavez betrays a yawning ignorance, Im sorry to say, about Latin American politics. The democratic governments in Brazil and Chile were won with the blood of their own people resisting dictatorship — this while Chavez was an officer in the Venezuelan Army plotting coups.

    Lula — at great physical risk– built the modern brazilian trade union movement that was the motor force in displacing the military dictatorship. Bachelet\\\’s father died under torture in custody of the Chilean dictatorship. His daughter was an active member of the democratic opposition and came to prominence as Defense MInister in the post-pinochet elected government. The Chilean people had neve heard of Hugo Chavez when Bachelet was already a popular figure.

    If anything, Chavez now threatens to discredit precisely the work of types like Lula and Bachelet. They \”owe\” him squat. He\’s a gross embarrassment.

    Let me also second Randy\’s statement about Lula\’s diplomacy. You really ought to stick to Canadian politics. Brazils\’s diplomatic corps ar reknown for being the very finest in the hemisphere… before Lula and after. Ask the Bush admin about how Brazil outmaneuvered them on FTAA and you\’ll get an earful.

    You can\’r seriously believe that the sort of jack-assery we\’ve seen from Chavez over the past 2 days has anything to do with effective diplomacy,do you?

    Nor do I understand why, RLC, you mock those who worry about Venezuela being on the UN security council. You think that\’s a good idea? Great. I dont.

    I don\’t know ow Allende would be received today. He was a product of a long-past Cold War. But it is really a discredit to Allende to compare him in anyway to Hugo Chavez. Allende was a learned statesman, a refined intellectual, a committed democrat and humanist and a highly skilled diplomat. Chavez is a swaggering self-obsessed fool with rather obvious authoritarian proclivities. We need go no further than his failed coup attempt.

  34. jcummings Says:

    No one on the Ven. left considers Petkoff left-wing. A lof of anarchists do oppose him, yes…but Petkoff is probably only moderately left-of-centre.

    Oh – and Lula is not a threat to world capital. Neither is Chavez. Allende was.

  35. jcummings Says:

    him = Chavez.

  36. Ryan Says:


    How is Venezuela not an impact on world capital since it is a dominant member in OPEC?

  37. Ryan Says:

    dominant = big friends with all the other members

    He’s been belligerent about oil taxing companies drilling in Venezuela (reasonable for the profits they were able to make under less critical rulers before him) and he has
    threatened not to sell to the US.

  38. Ryan Says:


    You said…

    “Chavez’s spiritual father is Mussolini my ass. The guy fought fascists and dictatorship. ”

    Chavez HIMSELF is a dictator…

  39. Ryan Says:


    You said…

    “Chavez’s spiritual father is Mussolini my ass. The guy fought fascists and dictatorship. ”

    Chavez HIMSELF is a dictator…you’re aware that he appointed HIMSELF leader for 25 YEARS????

  40. Ryan Says:

    Sorry about the double post – that wasn’t for effect.

  41. richard locicero Says:

    Marc please READ what I wrote. I said that in 1972 the Great and the Good considered Allende a dangerous Leftist who was a destabilizing force in the Hemisphere. I guess you you were too starry eyed then to see that was the view on high and I have to tell you that, outside of Pacifica and the NATION I saw no tears shed for his ouster – though some of the more fastidious cold war liberals deplored his death, too messy you know. That does not mean I agree but he would have been compared to Chavez (who, after all did win an election that was as fair as the one in Chile according to all international observers).

    But forget my comments. I urge everyone to read Juan Cole’s remarks on today’s INFORMED COMMENT. He says it better than I could. Bush, by demonizing other world leaders (“Axis of Evil”) has set himself up for the same treatment. Read it. It says it all.

    And while we are blasting Hugo for beastliness can we not stop and note that the “Brave” GOP Senate moderates just caved, er “Compromised”, on the torture bill. Secret evidence, unavailable to the defendant will be allowed as well as effective interrogation measures. So let us all dump on Chavez. The UN reports that torture is worse in Iraq today than under Saddam but that Goddamn Hugo is sure a demogogue! Good thing we don’t have people like that running things here!

  42. scrubs and shines Says:

    Its amazing to me that those who own a computer and who answered CTV poll September 21, 2006 have placed their own fears of security well ahead of Aids and Poverty. Congratulations to mainstream media for setting our priorities in tune to the Conservative Governments agenda. You cant make money on sick people and the poor. But hey look at the bucks we can get by promoting fear. (god we have it too easy) I guess the poor will just have to wait while we spend more money on weapons to appease our paranoid fears. and the sick, well try a prayer…

    What should be the UN General Assembly’s top priority this week?

    Peace and security
    8906 votes
    (72 %)

    AIDS and other epidemics
    687 votes
    (6 %)

    Poverty issues
    1202 votes
    (10 %)

    Global warming
    1562 votes
    (13 %)

    Total Votes: 12357

  43. Ryan Says:


    You’re right we’re spending too much money based on fear, but isn’t the fear based on reality rather than just the military-industrial complex’s and conservative politicians’ greed?

  44. jcummings Says:

    I meant that Venezuela is no threat to the world capitalist system (yet?) but Salvador Allende, an actual socialist, did threaten multinational capitalist interests.

  45. richard locicero Says:

    “let us never negotiate out of fear but let us never fear to negotiate”

    Too bad Shrub, who snubbed overtures from the Iranians to meet doesn’t remember that line from JFK’s Inagural Address. Who knows? It might even help with Chavez. No, its so much more fun to trade schoolyard taunts.

  46. reg Says:

    Great first comment, Khan. It obviously took you a few years to craft it, but it really raised the level of discourse. Can’t wait for your next one.

  47. evets Says:

    “Great first comment …. Can’t wait for your next one.”

    Absolutely — I think we’re all on tenterhooks.

  48. David Says:

    Well, whatever the merits of Hugo Chavez, his name dropping of Chomsky definitely had an impact on Chomsky’s book sales; just check out Amazon. Hegemony or Survival, just three minutes before I posted this, is at #17 overall in Amazon books, which includes both fiction and non-fiction books. Another of his books (9-11) was like in the top 50, and his latest – Failed States – was in the top 600, a huge rise from where it was. In fact, pretty much all of his books have skyrocketed on Amazon. Still, don’t expect him to be invited onto any of the mainstream television programs. I think that if Chavez’s speech gets more people reading his books, then the speech was an overwhelming message for good, even though Hugo Chavez is, I agree, a joke. All I’m saying, you know, is let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water.

  49. David Says:

    Actually, Hegemony or Survival went to #4 today. And Failed States (not the other one I mentioned) moved up into the top 30 today. Link below.

  50. Randy Paul Says:


    It was Lula’s government that, on behalf of itself and several poor African countries that couldn’t afford to do so like Burkina Faso and Mali, successfully had the US cotton subsidies adjudicated as illegal by the WTO. They did the same for the EU sugar subsidies.

    Brazil’s diplomats are whip smart and I might also add, that had he not been murdered in Iraq three years, Sergio Vieira de Mello would have been a shoo-in for succeeding Kofi Annan.

  51. bunkerbuster Says:

    If Marc ever got around to explaining why he supported speculative aggression against Iraq, perhaps he’d admit it was because Saddam Hussein had been so thoroughly demonized, it was just too much work to argue against any attempt to oust him by any means.

    This is what I mean by liberal intellectual fatigue. The Euston Manifesto crowd don’t have the stamina to fend off the inevitable accusation that they are weak, dictator-appeasing closet Stalinists.

    Their concern on that point is legitimate. It is a fact that the right wing media points with glee to Chavez and insists that anyone who declines to join in his demonization is an apologist or, even, a supporter.

    That is the media paradigm that prevented the most powerful liberals from opposing the war in Iraq and, which, prevented John Kerry from beating the weakest, most vulnerable Republican presidential candidate in our generation.

    Marc is certainly correct that Fox News Channel and the media noise machine complex that feeds to and from it uses the Stalinist-appeaser allegation as a club to beat the left with. But the defense against that is not to join in the demonization of brown skinned world leaders who challenge Bush America.

    Rather, liberals/leftists must insist on the right to circumspection about leaders like Chavez and Ahmendinejad.

    These leaders deserve all the scrutiny money can buy, and then some, but it’s essential to refrain from demonizing them, since we know where that leads.

  52. Suzi W Says:

    Marc is right — Chavez is an embarrassment (even though the performance is sometimes funny). Chavez and Castro are the left’s worst enemies. THink about it. Who could even identify Chavez, the golpista, with the project of democratic control from below, a society that puts the economy at the service of the community and not the reverse?
    It is a sign of the times that he is a poster boy for the left. Marc is again right — it is a travesty to compare him to Allende.

  53. Publius Says:

    Chavez is a crazy buffoon.

  54. reg Says:

    This is totally OT, but if anyone has any doubts that today’s “mainstream” GOPer Right is a social disease, read this article on the Washington Times. It would appear that there’s a tug of war between the Moon family and the editor – and guess what ! The Washington Times editor seems to be the crazier of the two.

    Also, the “faux-pro-Geneva Convention” Tres Amigos of the GOP appear to have accomplished some combination of bamboozling the Dems and ending the “interruptus” of their partisan coitus with W. The Dems are, without question, lame. But the GOPers have proven themselves to be without even a shred of integrity at the margins. The punditry will probably try to spin this as a fall for the Dems. In reality, it’s no less than the shame of the country. McCain has, unfortunately, proved himself a whore who needs to pay for this one. Any pretense that was left of his independence or honor has been stripped away.

    This is a man who will do anything to accomodate those who control the GOP nomination process. He’s appeasing both the neo-cons and, ironically if not horrifically, the fake Big Hair Preacher and Dial-A-Prayer “christians” by giving Bush 90% of what he wanted in his torture bill – it’s all about 2008.

    If the ’08 race is between Hillary and McCain, frankly I don’t give a damn who wins. I’ll vote for Hillary – who will probably lose to one who’s proven himself even sleazier (And, of course, Monica’s fabled fellatio will pale compared to McCain’s daily campaign trail dalliances with the horny little peckers of the press. Hillary will be restricted to handjobs and they’ll hate her for it) – but the morning after it will feel like proof that those who despair of the system are mostly right. God knows I don’t want to be subjected to Michael and Marc’s unbridled sarcasm in the wake of that one.

  55. reg Says:

    Ooops…forgot to paste the link, in re that 1st “graf”:

  56. Ed Watters Says:

    Marc Cooper;

    Intersting that you use the very same “Cartoon” description of Hugo Chavez that John Bolton used!

    CONGRATS! You are closer to J Bolton than the population of Venezuela in the esteem in which you hold Hugo C. That’s quite an accomplishment for an alleged “left” pundit!

    I think you omitted the brief Chavez speech, not because of space constraints but because in the few generalizations which Chavez included, there is really not a whole lot to argue about.

    They’re pretty much paraphrasings of any number of Allende’s comments on Washington’s imperialism sans the rhetorical flourishes and ‘humanism’.

    Unfortunately, the people of Venezuela don’t have the opportunity to hold the bar as high as esteemed western journalists such as Mr. Cooper. They’re choice was between the populist ‘thug’ Chavez and an ‘alliance for progress’ US stooge that a Kennedy-Liberal such as Marc Cooper circa 2006 can really appreciate.

    What caused Cooper not to look at what Chavez has done, or the substance of his remarks, but to focus on his brazen, confrontational style?

    Marc. It is time for some soul-searching! We are sorry your aspirations for Pacifica went unmanifested. We’re sorry that Ed Herman trashed you in his analysis of the changing of the guard at Pacifica (I’m certain after a brief discussion wth EH that his remarks were not meant as a personal assualt).

    But it is clearly time for you to relinquish your ego and accept Hugo Chavez as an imperfect yet sincere representative of the hopes of Allende…

    As a Kennedy-Liberal, you are rendered redundant by the remarks of John Bolton and much of the MSM generally.

    As an eye-witness to the tragedy of the first 9-11, you are an invaluable voice on behalf of those who see a Latin-America led non-aligned movement as a source of hope against US hegemony…

    It is your call…

  57. Marc Cooper Says:


    You’re a head case. I let you continue posting only for comic relief.

    I have to relinquish my ego and “accept Chavez?”

    Oh yes, Praise Hugo! I accept him as my savior! He is the Father, the Son AND the Holy Ghost! Once I was blind, now I can see!


  58. rjf Says:

    I have posted on this topic before and I will repeat myself agian. As some one who has been in and out of Venuzuela over the last fifteen years I feel I have a good perspective from which to view the changes made under Chavez. There are two main points I will address. Frist, from a socialist perspective the main achievement under Chavez is that he has provided the space in Venezuela for a massive grassroots movement of cooperatives. The cooperative organizations extend from worker owned factories to women agricultural workers to small media outlets. In a way Chavez’s attempt to centralize the Venezuelan state–which, he has not achieved. Venevuela is still a week highly chaotic state– has created a large and completely decentered grassroots movement. I do believe Chavez will eventually hinder or become superfluous in light of the real story in Venzuela, the rapid spread of grassroots organization and cooperation and their movement to remake the Venezulan state. But Chavez must be credited for opening the space to make this happen. Second, and I will be blunt, from an obective perspective there is vastly more freedom of speech in Venezuela today then fifteen years age. While the upper class are still in control of the media, Chavez’s tenure has opened up the media to include the poor and those previously excluded by dark skin color. As any one on the left or right of the political spectrum in Venzeula will tell you the very poor in Venzuela had no voice what so ever in the media. today they have not just a voice they are organized and in control of radio cooperatives, local newspapers and they are getting long deserved press in the main stream media. These are emperical facts that can be witnessed in Venezuela. These issues are much bigger than Chavez and they are the real story of what is occuring with the people of Venezuela.

  59. Wall Says:

    Hey, Nancy Peloci also used the “T” (thug) word on Chavez. Lucky for Marc it wasn’t Clinton!

    Reg, this early handicapping the media so loves to indulge in feels to me like just another aspect of what’s broke. Let’s worry about McCain/Hillary when we come to that unfortuanate bridge.

    The two front Republican runners are in an interesting posisition, I will venture. What half sane rebublican White House would not feel nearly as much like a repudiation of the W years as a Hillary Presidency? Indeed, it would be in some ways a more noticable one.

  60. rjf Says:

    Interesting, my post at 7:30 sept.22 seems to have vanished.

  61. Ryan Says:


    You said…

    “If Marc ever got around to explaining why he supported speculative aggression against Iraq, perhaps he’d admit it was because Saddam Hussein had been so thoroughly demonized, it was just too much work to argue against any attempt to oust him by any means.”

    Saddam earned that demonizing role, and although Bush deserves the demonizing he gets, Bushes attacks on Saddam only cemented people’s preconceived notions of Saddam.

    The question still remains: should we trust preemtive attacks on a man such as Bush that runs it in such a way? The obvious answer is no, but at least he can redeem some credibility if he gets his head out of his sandbox.

  62. NeoDude Says:


    I blame the liberals and social democrats for the rise of right-wing nationalism in Italy, Germany, Spain, Greece and Latin America. If those wimps would have been sharper critics with charming critiques those thugs could have never taken power.

  63. bunkerbuster Says:

    Ryan: No one expects Republicans not to demonize brown skinned leaders who challenge American militarism.

    We can’t reasonably expect the right wing to ever give up the military money and easy identity politics that fuels jingoism.

    Their entire political movement is built on it. When that goes, they lose. They only reason we got Clinton is that the Soviet Union collapsed, leaving the GOP without an evil empire to scare voters with.

    We will have to rely on liberals/lefiists to lead the way out of this mess. And when liberals join in the demonization, you get things like the Iraq war.

    You say Saddam is worthy of demonization, but ask yourself this: why did the Cheney-Bush team embrace Saddam when he was at the heighth of his atrocities?

  64. Ryan Says:

    “brown skinned leaders” – you lost me from the start when you build your great argument that way; i suppose if he was a shining light torturing and gassing his own people, then the republican majority would forgive him…got an argument for that gem?

    The reason Cheney-Bush team embraced Saddam was politics pure and simple. For the same reason they abandon their fellow repubs when they no longer serve their interests: suddenly the supportee’s faults are very noticable on their reputation. That doesn’t mean Saddam shouldn’t be demonized by the very same people; it just means those former supporters have an extra reason to demonize him: that way they look less culpable. Saddam, regardless of how wrongful the Bush-Cheney team acted, is …Saddam…

    But honestly, you’re saying that because Bush-Cheney supported Saddam at the height of his atrocities, Saddam’s demonization in the eyes of the majority of Americans is UNWARRANTED and based SOLELY on the Bush/Cheney/Military-Industrial-Complex?

  65. reg Says:

    Charles Pierce in The American Prospect blog:

    THE SILENT PARTY. You worthless passel of cowards. They’re laughing at you. You know that, right?

    The national Democratic Party is no longer worth the cement needed to sink it to the bottom of the sea. For an entire week, it allowed a debate on changing the soul of the country to be conducted intramurally between the Torture Porn and Useful Idiot wings of the Republican Party, the latter best exemplified by John McCain, who keeps fashioning his apparently fathomless ambition into a pair of clown shoes with which he can do the monkey dance across the national stage. They’re laughing at him, too…
    And the Democratic Party was nowhere in this debate. It contributed nothing. On the question of whether or not the United States will reconfigure itself as a nation which tortures its purported enemies and then grants itself absolution through adjectives — “Aggressive interrogation techniques” — the Democratic Party had…no opinion. On the issue of allowing a demonstrably incompetent president as many of the de facto powers of a despot that you could wedge into a bill without having the Constitution spontaneously combust in the Archives, well, the Democratic Party was more pissed off at Hugo Chavez.

    The whole thing’s here –

  66. Mavis Beacon Says:

    I’ll second what Reg quoted. I’ve been waiting and hoping that I missed something big since I don’t watch TV news and don’t have cable. From some one who never had too much faith in the Democratic Party to begin, it’s been thoroughly depressing week.

  67. NeoDude Says:

    Remember when all good right-wingers were going to avenge 9-11,…then they went after Hussein…what happened…I mean one did not neeed to demonize Bin Laden, the Saudis who fund him and the Pakis who hide him….yet these brave right-wingers are in Iraq.

    Real strange, that.

  68. NeoDude Says:

    Why do right-wingers protect those who killed 2000 Americans on 9-11.

    “Nope, no Bin Ladden over there,” said Mr. Bush, as another picture showed the leader of the free world looking under a couch. “Maybe under here,” he continued to more laughter.

    “How to Appease Bin Ladden and Keep His Backers Happy? (Washington Time)

    “What Excuse Can You Use to Kill 100,000 Iraqis?” (Weekly Standard)

    “How Do You Lose the Man Who Killed 3000 Americans?” (National Review)

    “How to Avoid Saudi Arabian and Pakistani Rage For Capturing the Man Who Killed Thousands of Americans?” (Commentary)

    “How Can Bush and Patriotic Right-Wing Americans Assist Terrorist Who Desire To Kill More Americans? (Talon)

    “How Can Bush and Patriotic Right-Wing Americans Assist the Spread of Iranian Influence In the Region? (NewsMax)

  69. Elijah Combs Says:

    Chavez is no Allende, but then Allende was really no Allende either (runaway inflation isn’t generally the mark of a competent economic steward, and it didn’t help to be looting the middle class [I didn't say rich] on behalf of the poor [although none of this justified his murder]). And of course Bush is no FDR, anymore than FDR was an FDR (he was an authoritarian demagoge and monster, which kind of makes him a Bush [the trouble here is that it isn't what people mean when they make these comparisons]). Nor is Blair a Churchill (and – yes! – Churchill was no Churchill either). Going down the list, there is Cyndi Sheehan being no MLK (who may actually have been an MLK – wait and see kids!), Tom Cruise being no Monty Cliff (did the gay ones ever really have to *marry* [couldn’t they just kind of show up at the Oscars with a girl under arm?} but then again they weren’t Scientologists were they?), and I barely know who Lindsay Lohan is, or why I should, so I really can’t say who she and who she may not be.

    But what about the Arabs?

    You would think they would have the good sense to recognize that spending a little less money on palaces, Porsches, and Russian prostitutes and a little more on education and social welfare is a rather smarter long term strategy – at least for their own survival, if not for (gasp!) the good of their own people. You would think that knocking down the walls of their little fiefdoms, letting in fair trade, and keeping out the corporate looters would be good for long term survival. You would think that they’re bright enough to recognize that supporting the aspirations of their middle and working class would be a far better strategy in the long term caving to the fears and loathing of a small radical Islamist elite. You would think they would recognize that a robust middle class is the best way of ensuring that when reform comes (and they must know that it will have to come at some time) the totalitarians won’t win. You would think they would understand that sitting atop the world’s oil riches gives them enormous moral authority, and they could be the ones to propose even demand a republican alternative to American Empire that respects the rights of workers, indigenous cultures, and the spread of the global American police and prison state.

  70. cal shiraldi Says:

    I found this a Leftside’s blog,

    cal shiraldi Says:

    September 22nd, 2006 at 10:13 am
    From Leftside, a devestating reply to Bolton’s ignorance about Venezuela. Scary thing is Cooper would agree with Bolton, only in a softer more ‘moderate’ fashion:

    John Bolton, US Top Diplomat, Shows His Ignorance

    Here is what John Bolton, the un-confirmed US representative to the United Nations, had to say about the dust-up on 42nd Street yesterday:

    I understand that President Chavez of Venezuela had some interesting things to say in the General Assembly this morning. You know it’s a phenomenon of the United States that not only can he say those things in the General Assembly, he could walk over to Central Park and exercise freedom of speech in Central Park too and say pretty much whatever he wanted. Too bad President Chavez doesn’t extend the same freedom of speech to the people of Venezuela. That’s my comment on his speech.

    Too bad no one had the balls or knowledge to challenge that completely false statement, that he repeated twice, proving it was well cooked up in the State Dept. lab. If there was an instance of restricting freedom of speech in Venezuela every American would know about it. If a journalist has ever been threatened or killed (like what happened in US lapdog state Guatamala last week) we would know. There are no such restrictions and in fact the Government faces one of the most hostile press in the world. Read their major papers, watch their major TV, internet, etc – there is nothing but anti-Chavez slant and open disrespect for the social revolution. Any talk of repression is just plain ignorance. No one is in jail, no one muzzled, no one facing any sort of presecution at all (unlike this US blogger)– except the couple of folks who took US money and took part in an overthrow of the Government in 2002.

    Even the vehemently anti-Chavez, anti-leftist organization Reporters Sans Fronteres – admits that the press in Venezuela is more free than that in Israel.

  71. richard locicero Says:

    Marc, Re your reply to Watters. Now make your Act of Contrition and say a dozen “Hail Marys”. Then we’ll talk.

  72. Wall Says:

    Reg, is it your posisition no Democrates have taken Bush on on Torture? That’s false. As for the Dems decrying any world leader who calls the President a devil, they SHOULD decry him. Anyway, George Bush is not a devil, he’s a circus clown.

    When I think of the American left playing ball with the far right; my memories turn to the useful idiots who jeered along with Ken Starr. Sorry, that’s what’s given us W for the long haul. The surfacing of the stories of connected, unqualified young rebublicans being handed important jobs in Iraq should come as a shock to no one familiar with the ethics of Ken Starr’s office.

    Saddam was playing ball with the Reagan White House and he later, stupidly, stabbed them in the back. They don’t take kindly to such things in Neoconland.

  73. richard locicero Says:

    And I guess if Chavez loses power he’s got a great future marketing books.

  74. Bob Gibson Says:

    It turns out the NYT blew it btw, Chavez didn’t say Chomsky was dead, he said JK Galibraith was dead.

  75. leftside Says:

    Here are some selected accomplishments of Hugo Chavez so far…

    The number of people in poverty has decreased 13%, the number of extreme poor has fallen at double that rate. This years numbers are expected to amaze.

    The economy is the fastest growing in Latin America – with Argenitina and Cuba. (avg. more than 10 percent for 2.5 years now).

    The UN has declared Venezuela free from illiteracy. (Made possible with Cuba’s help). 1.2 million have learned to read.

    1 million have received training in construction, agriculture, tourism, development and other services.

    1.4 million Venezuelans have enrolled in programs to complete their high school education throught the Ribas Mission

    700,000 will attend college who otherwise could not have afforded it through the Sucre Mission.

    Worker cooperatives and increased worker’s involvement in management is sprouting across the country. Shuttered industries are being re-opened with government help.

    50,000 Venezuelans who are blind or near-blind, will see again.

    The minimum wage was recently increased by 15-percent

    A new $200 million stipend for poor single mothers has been established….

  76. Bob Gibson Says:

    How dare he do such stuff??? We Americans would never allow it!

  77. reg Says:

    “Reg, is it your posisition no Democrate have taken Bush on on Torture? That’s false.”

    No…but I feel distress that the Dems failed to take the lead on this issue in the last weeks. They appear to have handed off to McCain, et al, and got bamboozled. It’s imperative that they move on this, rather than continue to stand next to John McCain and say “Me too!” “What McCain said,” isn’t a viable Democratic strategy – and I’m convinced after this mess that it’s not even a particularly useful tactic on fundamental issues.

    I have no problem with the Dems criticizing Chavez – he deserves criticism for his shrill ranting. But it’s not particularly important, while the “torture bill” is. I think the Dems got rolled, deliberately, by a GOP that’s far more unified that it often appears to be.

  78. reg Says:

    “Here are some accomplishments of Hugo Chavez…50,000 Venezuelans who are blind or near-blind, will see again.”

    I notice that you left the part about healing lepers, raising the dead and walking on water off that list.

    (I agree that a lot of what Chavez has done, basically spreading around oil money, is commendable by the way, but that doesn’t mean I have to admire either his demagogic political style or his rhetorical clowning.)

  79. Bob Gibson Says:

    Thatta boy Reg, show your true blue patriotism, don’t let that Chavez boy kick us adults around.
    A boy should know his place and not be rude to his master.

  80. reg Says:

    Bob…it’s not about “masters” and “boys” – it’s about demagogic fucks who the miniscule, self-loathing wing of the “Left” seems to love. I’m hardly surprised. Catholics defend the Pope. You defend Chavez, Castro or any other demagogue du jour. I’d hardly be surprised if you could cobble together a tribute to Mugabe. If Chavez were smart, he could have easily presented a case against Bush that would put at least half of the U.S. on his side. He’s not. He actually managed to alienate Charlie Rangel from the “left”. Stupid, boorish man. But a stupid, boorish man awash in oil money can buy a lot of services for his electorate. Glad he’s got a populist demagogue streak. Lots of thuggish, would-be pols bred in the Latin American military culture are mere fascists. Kudos to Hugo for that rather consequential favor. I’ll leave the ass-kissing to you.

  81. Leftnut Says:

    Chavez was just fine, that is until he started to criticize Israel, and to directly and bluntly challenge the United States. His sin? to have called Israel into account for its genocidal atrocities against the Palestinian people. He has said that what the jews in Israel are doing to the Palestinians is what the Nazis did to the Jews during WWII. You can now expect people like Bob to turn against him, the left is not really innocent, where was the left during the genocide of Central America during the Reagan years? It only goes so far and this is the limit, touching Israel is it. You can all expect now people like Bob to start the barrage of attacks against Chavez, the only leader in the world to have the guts and balls to stand up to this maniac we have for president. Lula? what is Lula doing for the poor? what is Lula doing to stand up to Bush? Lula is another corrupt president and to compare him to Chavez is ludicrous to say the least.

  82. bunkerbuster Says:



    Someone points out that Chavez’ policies are working and that’s “ass kissing?”

    reg and Marc both do their best to ignore the historical context here.

    It wasn’t that long ago that Daniel Ortega was the Latin American “thug” d’jour. And the likes of Al Gore were right there to provide U.S. takpayers’ money for terrorists out to murder Nicragua’s elected leader.

    And if bin Laden hadn’t manipulated W into the Iraq trap, who can doubt that the pathetic Reagan wannabe would be sending American boys and girls with guns down to Venezuela to kill its “thug” leader?

    America’s lazy, bigoted cult of anti-personality is not just juvenile, it has consequences, NONE of them good.

  83. reg Says:

    Yeah, I find Chavez to be an unimpressive leader so I’m for terrorists murdering Nicaraguans. Blah, blah. What you guys will never figure out is that the pro-Castro, pro-Chavez “solidarity” crowd are about as ineffectual when it comes to putting any brakes on American interventionism as anyone. Actually, more so – because nobody who matters takes you guys seriously. For good reason.

    If the solution to 2-dimensional right-wing politics is more of the same, except from the Left, you guys have pretty much solved all of the world’s problems. Oh, wait a minute…

  84. reg Says:

    Thanks for ramping up the sheer stupidity, Leftnut. It probably wasn’t an easy task, given some of the blather we’d already been treated to…

  85. reg Says:

    “Someone points out that Chavez’ policies are working”

    Incidentally, “bunker”, if you actually read what I’ve written here, I’m “someone” who “points out that Chavez’ policies are working”, if you’re referring to the genius of spreading around easy oil money to poor Venezuelans via various social programs. Unfortunately, that’s not a solution for most poor countries, so Chavez is about as significant a figure in the realm of democratic development strategies as the Sultan of Dubai, or whatever.

  86. reg Says:

    Furthermore, all you dirty leftists really are hiding the true facts about Chavez that he is really a North Korean agent who was smuggled into Venezuela by Ramsey Klark as part of a plot to set up a secrete army of commies that were gone to invade America after Workers Wrold party blew the whistle. Plus their are Martians involved with this plot too, who are sneaking e. coli into my breakfast cereals.

  87. reg Says:

    Bob (steve?) – that was pretty cheap and stupid. Maybe pathetic even…

  88. reg Says:

    Sorry…that was undoubtedly the aptly named “Leftnut”. Apologies for the unlikely attribution…

  89. vanderson Says:

    Thank you leftside- its ALL THEATRE – EVERY LAST SOUND BITE OF IT and everyone playing this game hopes to be believed (hello hillary)
    all I care about is practically deaf and dead Americans desperately needing to be wakened out of their stupor – the dumbing down of america has everyone numb or worse,thinking they are intelligent, when in reality we’ve all been duped and GWBUSH gave us a gift, as do people like Chavez- wake us up -for fucks sake – wake us up- just pay attention to anything – after all the political IS PERSONAL – I don’t care who they are or what you ‘critically’ think of them – I thank them all- JFC – wake up and look at the complete lack of human potential defending itself

  90. Ed Watters Says:

    Marc Cooper:

    Your ‘over the top’ sarcasm (“I accept [Chavez] as my savior…the father, the son and the holy ghost”) is also decent comic relief.

    Just answer the question: how can a journalist that put his ass on the line for Allende exhibit such categorical contempt for another South American president who seeks to challenge US hegemony?

    Lack of eloquence and tact doesn’t negate his accomplishments (kudos to Leftside for blogging the social and educational gains of Venezuelans under Chavez) or the fundamental assertions of his UN address. By focusing on ‘the Devil’ Bush, I thought he effectively diverted attention from the previous day’s silly preoccupation with Iran’s legitimate aspirations to join the ‘nuclear club’.

    Re: your diagnosis of me as a ‘head case’. I couldn’t care less what your assessment of my psycho-cognitive-emotional status is. If you grow weary of name-calling and hyperbole you can always…

    …just answer the question!

  91. Ahmed Says:

    Dennis Perrin fires some pretty accurate shots at Marc Cooper and Charles Rangel

    “As for Chavez, his address, or rant if you prefer, rankled those who deserve a full long rankling; and apart from the theological rhetoric, I thought much of what he said was absolutely true. What, the US isn’t a violent superpower intent on subjugating poorer, weaker countries and generally bullying anyone it can? It doesn’t rob what parts of the planet it can grab and squeeze dry? For such a “free” country, it continually amazes me how supposedly “smart” people find all this shocking news, if not slanderous fiction. It’s a tribute to our indoctrination system that Chavez’s speech was seen by many opinion benders as extremist and insane. Because only a dictatorial madman with a singing cuckoo popping out of his head would openly claim that the US acts in the interests of those who control the mechanisms of state.

    Of course, the demonization of Chavez wouldn’t be complete without the contributions of stateside libs, and Marc Cooper and Charles Rangel filled the bill most adequately. Marc, as we know, hates Chavez with all of his bitter heart, which is fine — we all need something or someone to loathe, I suppose. Passes the time between meals. But I was somewhat surprised that Marc, who also dislikes Noam Chomsky, didn’t take the opportunity to bash him as well. I mean, Hugo the Thug was waving Noam’s book in front of the world, a book doubtless filled with lies, slanders and Holocaust denial, as well as love letters to Milosevic and Pol Pot. Any sniper worth his aim could see this was a natural two-for-one, and yet Marc fixed his sights on Chavez alone, though he fired wide right. (Squeeze the trigger, Marc, don’t pull it.) And, as always, anyone who doesn’t share Marc’s view of Chavez, or anybody else he despises, is a trained, clapping seal. Marc has used this image so often that I suspect he suffered some kind of zoo- or circus-related trauma as a kid. I understand. For me, it’s squirrels. For Marc, seals. The devil assumes many guises.

    Charles Rangel did his best to show Chavez how an “opposition” party operates in a Free Country. As he put it, in his Ralph Kramden voice:

    “I want to express my extreme displeasure with statements by the President of Venezuela attacking U.S. President George Bush in such a personal and disparaging way during his remarks at the United Nations General Assembly.

    “It should be clear to all heads of government that criticism of Bush Administration policies, either domestic or foreign, does not entitle them to attack the President personally.

    “George Bush is the president of the United States and represents the entire country. Any demeaning or public attacks against him are viewed by Republicans, Democrats, and all Americans as an attack on all of us.”

    You tell ‘em, Chuck! United we stand! Children are our future! Refrigerate after opening!

    What was that again about trained seals?”

  92. reg Says:

    Frankly, I think the “much of what he said was true” argument is pretty pathetic. “Much” of what Bennie the Pope said was no doubt true in his recent speech “aside from the theological rhetoric” – to quote Dennis Perrin’s sidestep of Chavez’ more obvious turds – but “much of it is true” isn’t a serious analysis of a speech by a head of state (be it Venezuela or the Vatican) that’s steeped in crank rhetoric and delivered as pure provocation. Cheap demagogy relies on “much of it is true” in order to get off the ground. That’s a ridiculous standard when judging a major speech by a major figure. Chavez – and the Pope – both have an opportunity to use their roles on the world stage constructively and niether one is up to the task. They both chose polarization and provocation over the kind of address that can reach out beyond their “base”. Even Bush is a bit more rhetorically strategic when he steps up on the world stage, crank that he is, and isn’t merely out harvesting yahoo votes in some “redstate” bunker.

    Words matter. Ideas matter. Chavez chooses a certain tone and a certain level of macho provocation because he’s an extremely limited man. He’s lucky that he’s sitting on a ton of oil or many of the Venezuelans who benefit from his programs would be eating dirt, because the guy doesn’t have idea #1 when it comes to a development strategy that can shift the balance, even a bit, for the world’s poor. Whether readers of Monthly Review like it or not, ranting and raving about how bad the imperialists are, calling Bush names and telling the world that Castro and the crazy little shit from Tehran are your new best friends isn’t going to cut it. You don’t have to explain to me why such crap rises to the top in today’s world. But if you do, don’t douse it in perfume and tell me that Chavez or Ahmenamijad – or Castro, for that matter – don’t, fundamentally, stink – like all demagogues who ride people’s frustration and very real problems to political power. These guys are narcissistic motormouths more than statesmen. They’ve – to varying degrees – major streaks of garden-variety fascism, blended into their own political and cultural particularities. Their kind of politics isn’t hard to figure out -either in its root causes, it’s mode of governance or its limitations. We’ve seen it all before. That said, Chavez isn’t a demon. Actually, far from it. (He does lend himself to being seen as a “cartoon” – it doesn’t take a genius to figure out why that keeps popping up.) And guess what…Bush isn’t the devil. (“Little shit” will suffice, but even I wouldn’t use that one when addressing the U.N. – which I haven’t managed to do yet due to scheduling problems.)

    Any world leader who waves a book in my face – be it Noam Chomsky or the Bible or the Koran – rather than makes an appeal to some combination of reason and honest emotion – and who clowns and mouths off rather than does his best to persuade and unite as many people as possible behind some coherent idea, especially given the multiple crises we face in both the developed and developing worlds – isn’t deserving of respect, much less attention. Fawning fans of Chavez – like Harry Belafonte and Danny Glover, to name two – look like morons. Chavez looked like a ranting moron because he made himself such an easy target to be caricatured and dismissed. (I know of what I speak.) In fact, he openly engaged in the kind of self-caricature that those who want to frame him – wrongly IMHO – in the worst possible light as some sort of danger to world peace, or whatever – must just love. Same for Ahmanijad (sp?) when he engages in holocaust denial and anti-semitic rhetoric. Demagogy is demagogy. Some of it masks dangerous fanaticism and some of it masks limitations of both intellect and self-confidence. I don’t think Chavez is dangerous. But his tone definitely makes any attempt by his enemies at home and abroad to paint him as such. He demeans political discourse, which is hard to do given the already ridiculously low standards. He diminishes the good things he’s tried to do domestically by wrapping his cause in cartoonish rhetoric. He lets his targets off the hook by attempting to reduce them to demons, in a bizarre combination of near-theologic terms mixed with references to body-odor, thus rankling even such stateside liberals as Charlie Rangel. And he makes the folks who can be relied on to defend anything he does because he’s so reliably anti-American look like useful idiots. Excellent show. Score one for the tabloid mentality, one for the Bushies’ own fetishization of “enemies” and one for the most ineffectual elements of the left-over Left.

  93. jcummings Says:

    Dismissed? The US media is having a field day with Chavez, don’t know what to say about him. And many liberal/mainstream websites nad journals are backing him, even on the “decent left.”

    Chavez fascinates Americans, even those who dislike him. The proof is all the vitriol as well as all the support.

  94. reg Says:

    Of course they’re having a field day – turning you into a tabloid fixture is the best way to insure that any substance anyone might actually have been attemptiing to communicate is dismissed. Of course the New York Times will always find a more high-minded angle. Apparently Chavez’ recommendation has helped spike Chomsky’s book sales, putting “Hegemony…” at Amazon’s #1. There’s at least one fascinating line in the Times article on Hugo’s “Oprah” turn:

    “But Alan M. Dershowitz, the lawyer and Harvard Law School professor, said he doubted whether many of the current buyers would ever actually read the book.

    “I don’t know anybody who’s ever read a Chomsky book,” said Mr. Dershowitz, who said he first met Mr. Chomsky in 1948 at a Hebrew-speaking Zionist camp in the Pocono Mountains where Mr. Dershowitz was a camper and Mr. Chomsky was a counselor. (end clip)

    Chavez – despite my characterizing him as a moron – may actually be some sort of genius for realizing, in the same vein as the folks who compete on “Fear Factor” or “Survivor”, just how one might turn 15 minutes of fame into 22 minutes plus commercials.

  95. Bob Gibson Says:

    “Fawning fans of Chavez – like Harry Belafonte and Danny Glover, to name two – look like morons. Chavez looked like a ranting moron because he made himself such an easy target to be caricatured and dismissed.”

    Hate to break it to you Reg, Allende in his day was likewise carricatured by the US media. It was his left politics that caused this and, specifically, the populist reforms he carried out against the will of US foreign policy designers.

  96. Bob Gibson Says:

    One will recall in the day when Martin LUther King delivered a very eloquent speech against the Vietnam War, respectable liberal media organs and politicians alike attacked and carricatured King’s speech and character as a civil rights leader. Is it true, as Reg would have us believe, that one must be and act like the Virgin Mary in her purest form in order to gain respect from the established liberal media organs or politicians?

    BTW, didn’t Rangel refer to Bush as ‘Bull Connor’ during Katrina? Talk about the pot calling…

  97. reg Says:

    Ah, gee Bob. Now that I’ve got the real scoop, I’m devastated. Never heard about Allende being demonized. Nor Martin Luther King. Ya, know. Not that I think about it, why didn’t King just get down and call John F. Kennedy a White Devil at the March On Washington ? What difference would it have made ? He was slandered and assassinated anyway, despite all of the eloquence and attempts at moral suasion. As for acting like the Virgin May, she’s not high on my list of role models, but maybe the Pope could take a couple of cues from her kid…

  98. reg Says:

    That was meant to be “Now that I think about it…”

  99. reg Says:

    Didn’t Charlie Rangel, etc. etc.?

    I would assume that if I went to Venezuela and started calling Chavez the stupidest man on the planet who’s mother was a whore, loudly and in public, some people who have no love for Hugo and routinely diss him politically in the strongest terms would tell me to shut the fuck up, quit insulting their President and haul my Yankee ass back where I came from.

  100. Bob Gibson Says:

    one might wonder why you would be so inclined to go after Chavez, coming from a country that tried with the cleverest means possible, to fuel a coup against his country’s democratically elected government? Context Reg, it’s about context.

    Run away from the Rangel hypocrisy btw, it’s too glaring isn’t it?

  101. Bob Gibson Says:

    “Ah, gee Bob. Now that I’ve got the real scoop,”

    Fine, so pull yourself out of the bugs bunny view of the world and recognize that these attacks on Chavez have little to do with ‘style’ and everything to do with politics, end of story. The established liberal media organs and politicians don’t care if you’re Jesus or Chavez, be too critical of US foreign policy and you’re gonna get an ass kicking from the media and politicians in the US, the most ‘free’ country in the world…
    free to criticise the government honestly and get an ass kicking…in the NYT.

  102. jcummings Says:

    For Reg to quote Dershowitz, who has a paranoid vindictive streak about Chomsky, speaks volumes. Dershowitz is a pro-torture liar who Chomsky has repeatedly wiped the floor with in debates – even those sympathetic with Dershowitz’s pro-ethnic cleansing position find him to be a fool. For the record, I’ve probably, in the last twenty years, read a dozen to twenty Chomsky books, which are by the way, required reading in Canadian high schools.

  103. Marc Cooper Says:

    Ahmed.. just to pleasure Dennis, thank you for being his trained seal! Yes, he’s right of course. At an early age my parents took me to Sea World and I got temporarily lost. I was picked up by a grunting, waddling seal with a distinct Stalin moustache and I was repeatedly sexually abused by the animal as it alternately sodomized me and scarfed down pounds of salted anchovies. That traumatic incident explains everything about me.

    Actually, Ahmed, if you re-read ur excerpt, Perrin says NOTHING of substance about me. Indeed, he’s so disappointed that I didnt trash Chomsky he does it for me and then put its in my mouth — something rather akin to what that nasty seal did to me when I was a kid!

    Here’s the technical report by the way: just checked my blog tracking software. I got exactly three referrals from Perrin’s piece. It means other than you, a grand total of two others have come here because of his link. His readership must be about 50 people. Just mentioning this for the curious.

  104. NeoDude Says:

    What did the leaders of Iran and Venezuela look like and sound like, before the Coup attempt in Venezuela and the invasion and occupation of Iran?

  105. richard locicero Says:

    JCummings Noam Chomsky is apparently also being read at West Point. Thats the Left for you! All those tenured Radicals!

    I’ve been hearing a lot about Danny Glover being taken to task for embracing the devil from down South. No one seems to mention why. Maybe it has to do with Chavez providing low cost heating oil to 100,000 low income and elderly residents of Harlem. But that robs them of initive so no wonder its bad!

    Look the argument that those indices are improving in Venezuala because of oil revenue is absurd. Nigeria has a lot of oil revenue. And how are things going there? Why is it so hard for people to believe that maybe, just maybe, Chavez has done some good things. And why do you think he was applauded when Shrub wasn’t?

    Aren’t you ashamed of the way your country is presented to the rest of the world? Do you like to be known as the country of torture? Ready for the (possible Nuclear) bombing Iran? But forget all that – demonize Chavez! Its all his fault!

    Oh and Clinton’s!

  106. Bob Gibson Says:

    Indeed, he’s so disappointed that I didnt trash Chomsky he does it for me and then put its in my mouth —

    –yeah, the indirect link of Chomsky to conspiracy theorists a while back wasn’t anything problematic…Just all in a days worth of ‘fair play’.

  107. Bob Gibson Says:

    “Maybe it has to do with Chavez providing low cost heating oil to 100,000 low income and elderly residents of Harlem. But that robs them of initive so no wonder its bad!”

    How dare he do that, just one more indication that we should be finding ways to support the ‘democratic opposition’ in Venezuela!!

  108. Ahmed Says:

    “I would assume that if I went to Venezuela and started calling Chavez the stupidest man on the planet who’s mother was a whore, loudly and in public, some people who have no love for Hugo and routinely diss him politically in the strongest terms would tell me to shut the fuck up, quit insulting their President and haul my Yankee ass back where I came from.”

    Is this what passes for principled liberalism these day? Reg we now know that in 2002 the CIA and the White House knew about the imminent plot to oust Chavez through a military coup, despite claiming ignorance. They lied and covered up this fact while refusing to condemn the coup, until it was reversed and the demoncratically elected president was reinstalled. Can you recite to me a similar case where Venuzuelan intelligence has collaborated with such forces in the United States. If the example was reversed would any decent person, much less those claiming to be liberals, stand for it. Once we start taking these elementary factors into account then Reg’s silly example ceases to make any sense. And yes IMHO the fact that the US administration supports anti democratic coups in Venezuala gives Chavez the right to come here and attack Bush. Do i like his rhetoric? No. Did I find his speech demogogic? Yes. Big deal. That doesnt change the principle invlolved. I wish that the Lebanese prime minister would get up in the UN, look the US diplomatic folks in the eye and say loudly that you people have no moral compass. When our children were being slaughtered, our fragile bridges, homes and infrastacture were being demolished you stood up in front of the whole world and supported such crimes against humanity. As we were dying you called our deaths part of the “bithpangs of the new Middle East”. If that happenned would reg, Marc and Rangel be telling that he has no right to say this. That criticism of Bush is reserved for americans. That foreigners should shut the fack up, pay deference and learn the lyrics to god bless america. Im much more outraged by Rangels idiotic and opportunist comments than Chavez’s speech, which some argue was designed to take the focus off of the impending threat to Iran.

    “Here’s the technical report by the way: just checked my blog tracking software. I got exactly three referrals from Perrin’s piece. It means other than you, a grand total of two others have come here because of his link. His readership must be about 50 people. Just mentioning this for the curious”

    ps I’ve got a weekend assignment for folks here. Go to your local bookstore, coffee shop, hit up people on the street and ask them this question: Have you heard of either of these people Marc Cooper or Noam Chomsky. Youll qucikly find out that NC is more widely read than our host, MC. Who cares. Could you even imagine Chomsky bringing up such a trivial point in a debate with Marc. Marc thinks he is more popular than Perrin who gives a damn

  109. richard locicero Says:

    I like Charlie Rangel and think he’ll be a dynamite Chairman of Ways and Means after November but the man does have some serious bugs up his ass! He is, for example, a dedicated soldier in the “War on Drugs.” No legalisation for him! No siree! If the drug laws are draconian for Blacks and Crack Cocaine then his answer is toughen the penalties fore powder. See, people I like can be wrong. I understand his umbrage but Bush can’t expect to be exempt from vitriol from foreign leaders when he is a prime offender. And the UN is an International Zone so, technically, Chavez didn’t come to Rangel’s “House” (the US) and insult his host. Bush and Bolten do that regularly at then UN when they insult the Secretariat. And do you think the other members enjoy being lectured by a deadbeat? Criticize Chavez all you want. But why not do it on the substance?

    Oh, and maybe if Allende had to do it over again he’d trust in Democracy – and a few good men with guns! That’s the lession most of Latin America took from that.

  110. Marc Cooper Says:

    Well, I see we have hot rock bottom on this thread. It too us a while, but we finally got to the bottom of the pool.

    I dont want to be sanctimonious about it, and Im not, but RLC ur final throwaway line is just that — garbage. Allende made his decision, and that was to defend to democracy with a machine gun against airplanes. a helluva a lot more sacrifice for those ideals I dare say than anyone on this thread is probably willing to make. If he had it do all over again, and I say this with actual personal authority having known the man, he might have done a lot of things differently. But it wouldnt have included any anti-democratic expediencies. I wont dignify your ridiculous comment with any further riposte.

    As to you Ahmed… holy cow… thanks for shaking me out of deep denial. All this time I was deluding myself, thinking I was more popular and more well-recognized than Noam Chomsky! Geez, it’s gonna be hard to accept the glaring truth now that you have made it inescapable. And maybe now I know why I am not invited on to Amy Goodman’s or David Barsamian’s show for prolonged, repreated public toe-sucking interviews! Maybe If I can convince them Im actually Arundhati Roy I’d have a shot?

    My deeper point about Perrin is not whether he or I are more popular (neither one of us are)… merely that his marginal rantings (and they are marginal) attract only the most marginal of readerships. Nor surprise there. And because both of us are engaged in a sort of public opinion mongering I think that’s a legitimate point to make to see how valued your critics are.

    The last thing I will say on this thread is that apart from the 100 posted comments above, I got about 20 emails on it from friends on the left, mostly of my generation, most not wanting to dive into the muck of the comments section, lamenting to an old grump like to me just how depressing things have become, how brittle and superficial the debate has turned. Do we or do we not support a buffoon who uses the podium of the UN to put on a self-demeaning show? Next question, please/

    As Reg pointed out above, I have never objected to the populist economics professed by Chavez, nor am I in anyway opposed to programs that transfer wealth downward. But for the petty ideological tyrants among us, for those still acting up against Daddy and who get a bit of a woody when someone kicks the U.S. empire in the balls, that is no longer enough. Nope. Now we are asked to sign off on the juvenile, sub-literate behavior of an obvious megalomaniac without any consideration whatsoever of what his depper politics may or may not be, of what historical precedents might be predictors (Peron?), nor what consitututes serious, dignified political statesmanship.Welcome to the era of blogs. Much like the era of talk radio.

    OOPS.. I have one final observation to make. In the thread on the Thailand coup… I have to laugh how some of our revolutionary friends are willing to say — when it is convenient, say in the case of Cuba– that democracy can’t be measured by mere elections are the same folks who tell us Chavez is a democrat because, after all, he was elected. Right.

  111. reg Says:

    rlc – I don’t want to have to defend Chavez by reference to John Bolton, who is on my list of World’s Biggest Asshats. And you’re right that Rangel isn’t “the Virgin Mary”, to quote someone above, and often descends into dubious politics. He’s also more than a tad shady in his use of “discretionary” power – or at least plays ball with some pretty shady characters like Percy Sutton. But in general, given what we’ve got going here – aside from his voluble charm, great wit and impressive hairdo – he’s a reliable member of the progressive wing of congress and certainly not someone who’s going to sign on to topple lefty Latin American governments. You’re right that the UN proper is an internationalized zone, but Chavez went and gave a similiar rant in a church in Harlem, which is definitely Charlie’s turf.

    Ahmed – I fail to see what your response has to do with what I was referencing, which was whether or not Charlie Rangel was a slimeball, or some such, for taking Chavez to task for his ridiculous demoagogy. I’m pretty sure there was some political opportunism involved in Rangel’s comments – since there is in almost every Rangel pronouncement – but so what ? Chavez’ speech will be remembered for a half-dozen crazy lines. “Do I like his rhetoric? No. Do I think he’s demagogic? Yes!” Seems like you’re on board with the “haters”, because for saying exactly that – perhaps with a bit of color added – I’ve been characterized as wanting to kill Nicaraguans and equating Chavez with Kim Il Jong. Your rant is somewhat more coherent and reality-based, but it goes far afield into some strange attempts at linkage, when my “crime” here has been, essentially, to call Chavez a demagogue who’s rhetoric I don’t like. I’ve also said that he has both quasi-fascist and left populist streaks – which isn’t particularly unusual given the political culture and military background. You ask “so what”? Well, yeah. Duh. I think Chavez is a limited leader with some not entirely contradictory unsavory characteristics and some progressive impulses – and a pretty bizarre rhetorical style that actually manages to go farther than George W. Bush in the festishization of enemies department. No, I don’t like the guy. I wouldn’t like him even if John Bolton were the Virgin Mary and the U.S. had never interfered in his country’s affairs. The fact that he’s a somewhat ridiculous figure, steeped in cheap machismo with a motormouth, doesn’t help him – or anti-interventionists stateside, be it me, Ahmed, Marc or even Pat-fucking-Buchanan – given the array of forces that would like to see him ousted. If the Prime Minister of Lebanon or UN Representative goes to the podium of the U.N. to blast the U.S., I’m fairly certain that the speech we’ll hear will not be as easily lampooned or dismissed as overblown rhetoric as Chavez’ speech was. That, of course, doesn’t mean that FOX News, et al, won’t try. But if it’s an impassioned speech that’s measured in its rhetoric for effect and not bluster, you can bet that Charlie Rangel won’t be among those condemning it. Frankly, it’s about as easy to muster a defense of Pope Benedict’s speech based on evidence of fanaticism among Islamic sects as it is to defend Chavez’ rhetoric based on the manifest sins of George W. Bush. People who feel compelled to engage in these tortured gymnastics are missing the point – which is that the admittedly modest political opportunities involved in gaining ascension to a global forum, like the UN podium or even the papacy, aren’t about making yourself feel superior or hurling threats or namecalling or widening rifts or loudly moralizing, but about building bridges and trying to deepen understanding and alliances among people despite differences, bad blood, the dominance of ruthless powermongers, nasty history, etc. etc. This isn’t a very complex issue, IMHO.

  112. reg Says:

    “For Reg to quote Dershowitz, who has a paranoid vindictive streak about Chomsky, speaks volumes.”

    Jeezus, JC (if that’s not redundant), I was quoting that Dershowitz line because I thought it was bizarre, disingenuous and a bit funny, given that Chomsky was apparently his camp counselor.

    Actually, that’s not true. I was quoting Dershowitz because I want to torture Muslims, kill Nicaruaguans and assassinate Hugo Chavez, as is apparent from various comments I’ve made on this and related threads. It’s my version of “principled liberalism”.

  113. netZoo » Chavez Hijacks the U.S. Media — Again Says:

    [...] Chavez — a quasi-revolutionary buffon of sorts — gets unqualified, if not unbeliveable headlines comparing his likeness to Che Guevara, and feeds the fire with outlandish, ridiculous comments. Its no wonder that last week’s U.N. convention quickly turned into the Chavez Show. Never too slow to demonize the opposition, Chavez garnered the AP’s top story for his Bush as Devil tirade. [...]

  114. Ahmed Says:

    Since this thread has pretty much reached its nadir Im forwarding a wonderful interview with one of Marc’s splendid colleagues over at the nation

  115. David Zent Says:

    Marc, you got your ass kicked on this one. Anyone who reads Chavez speech will know your judgement is back-assward.

  116. PerrinFan Says:

    “Here’s the technical report by the way: just checked my blog tracking software. I got exactly three referrals from Perrin’s piece. It means other than you, a grand total of two others have come here because of his link. His readership must be about 50 people. Just mentioning this for the curious.”

    There’s an alternative interpretation. Most people who read Perrin’s blog do so because they are leftists. Any leftist who reads your blog does so for the same reason they read Harry’s Place or Norm Gerass. It is just a way of keeping track of what enemies of the left are up to. Reading Perrin on your latest liberal farts is sufficient for most leftists who are too busy fighting capitalism and imperialism to spend time on this car wreck of a blog.

  117. bunkerbuster Says:

    Reg: I’ve never hinted nor suggested in any way that it’s necessary to be a fan or even a supporter of Chavez.

    My objection is specifically to demonizing him–portraying him as a thug and a threat to peace and order. Yes, he is certainly not the messaiah. He’s not even a decent leftist and, yes, his approach to rhetoric is juvenile.

    And, yes, reg, I’ve spelled out how demonizing people like Chavez leads to things like the contras and the war in Iraq.

    The right demonizes as a matter of course. It’s intrinsic to their world view, and when they are not opposed in this, we get the really wild stuff like the U.S. support for bin laden in afghanistan and the invasion of Iraq.

    That is where demonization leads. And I don’t think that’s even close to saying that if you don’t like Chavez, you’re a Nicaraguan terrorist. Not even close.

  118. Sergio Says:

    I agree, Marc got his ass kicked. But I would like to thank him for the Allende speech link. I was living in Chile then, and was one month short of my 10th birthday when Allende gave the speech. I was politically very aware for a kid, but had no idea the US would intervene so viciously in destroying Chilean democracy. I’ve lived in the US since September 1973, and the anger I feel at US imperialism still seethes. To see one example of US imperialism –for those of you who can stomach it– read Peter Kornbluh’s recently published The Pinochet File.

    And thanks for the Cockburn link, Ahmed.

    Chavez represents a popular tradition in latinomerica of mocking power and authority with humor. His speech rocked because it was funny, and not John Kerry. Very much like what Cockburn said is crucial in leftist activist journalism–don’t be so boring.

    On that point alone, Yanquis like reg and his 63636640275754 posts should try to can the WASP- y rhetorical bullshit that smells like cultural imperialism. Mocking Chavez’ literacy or disdain for gringo discourse at the US -controlled (by veto) UN isn’t going to get points in magical realist Latin America. Recall also that in Latin America our relatives (did reg have relatives in the Estadio Nacional in ’73? I did) were tortured, oppressed, and enslaved by US corporate -military “democracy” until quite recently. Chavez is not seen as an enabler for torture or economic enslavement in Central or South America– Bush is. When Chavez makes a speech, he’s popular, Bush is not.

    In a shameful postscript to Chavez’s speech, the “Democrats” who shilled for Bush like Chuck Rangel remind me of the Christian Democrats in Chile, a lame “progressive opposition” party that when push comes to shove (or military coup) fall in lockstep with the corporate/capitalist establishment. Why didn’t Marc go after the Democrats this time?

    Marc, ¿Te estás convertiendo en un momio?

    Just a question. Look at what happened to Hitchens when he got “mature”.

  119. reg Says:

    “WASP- y rhetorical bullshit that smells like cultural imperialism.”

    How’s this – go fuck yourself with your lame, shallow crap.

  120. reg Says:

    sorry I dropped the “Yanquis like reg should drop the WASP-y rhetorical bullshit, etc.etc.

    I guess by your standards, Martin Luther King was a WASP-y bullshit rhetorician.

    Chavez parades like a boorish punk. You’re welcome to him. So are your WASP-y buddies like Alex Cockburn.

  121. reg Says:

    ‘My objection is specifically to demonizing him–portraying him as a thug and a threat to peace and order’

    Bunker – I’ve stated specifically and, I believe, repeatedly that Chavez himself is not a danger and that he doesn’t deserve demonization. I think you folks who’ve criticized Marc et. al. for characterizing Chavez’ speech as clownish and counter-productive have shown youself to be essentially as prone to hyperbole and grandiosity as he is. At the very least, you haven’t paid much attention to the substance of criticisms here and have just gotten fucking hysterical – like the moron who wants me to duel over dead relatives. I can guarantee you that I’m not “guilt-trippable” on the issue of the Chilean coup. I’m not going to go on the record, at least not in the context of that kind of wankery, but the whole response to the spirit of my criticisms and, I believe, Marc’s has been absurd and, frankly, indicative of just how apolitical and maturbatory much of the “left” actually is.

  122. reg Says:

    Also, bunker, I think the comment you objected to was directed originally to “Bob”, who’s shown himself to be pretty sorry at keeping anything resembling focus on what’s actually being said.

  123. reg Says:

    “Chavez himself is not a danger” – that’s in the BushCo sense. I think Chavez’ is being overblown domestically and internationally, and he’s lending a helping hand, but I’ll also clarify that I think Chavez’ kind of rough populism is a “danger” in some sense to a long-term viable solution to Venezuela’s problems, in that while he’s not a dictator – certainly not by Latin American standards – he’s a determined polarizer with a very heavy hand. We’ve seen in this country how that crap goes. I think the Venezuelans’ deserve better. That Chavez got all of the ink and Lula was all but ignored in the U.S. press is a testament to Chavez being a cunning opportunist and the U.S. press being more-or-less a bunch of tabloidized, clueless packhounds.

  124. reg Says:

    “reg and his 63636640275754 posts”

    Up that to 63636640275760, Sergio buddy.

  125. reg Says:

    “most leftists who are too busy fighting capitalism and imperialism to spend time on this car wreck of a blog”

    How’s that going ?

  126. bunkerbuster Says:

    “ I think you folks who’ve criticized Marc et. al. for characterizing Chavez’ speech as clownish and counter-productive”

    No. I didn’t criticize Marc for that at all. I’ve been very clear that the problem is calling Chavez a thug and the gratuitous belittlement.

    You’ve got people like Pat Robertson calling for Chavez’ assassination and you have to know the Cheney Bush team would love nothing more than to start another war in Venezuela.

    Taken outside that context, Marc’s comments are merely unnecessary, boring, juvenile hyperbole.

    But put inside the context of demonization as the historical prerequisite to U.S. military aggression, Marc’s comments become sadly irresponsible.

    Does Marc doubt that the U.S. military has drawn up plans to invade and/or “assist” in the overthrow of Chavez? You can be sure those plans exist and the only thing keeping it from moving to the front burner is the war in Iraq.

    And should that time come, would Marc take the same position on Chavez that he took on Saddam?

  127. reg Says:

    i resent peoples criticizing my zillions of posts here. You can’t do much at the state hospital for the criminally insane except play ping-pong and watch tv. I am greatful for Nurse Kaplan letting me use her computer to post to Marc Cooper’s bolg when she is busy injecting patients with thorazine. If it weren’t for her, I’d of hung myself years ago.

  128. Marc Cooper Says:

    I most certainly did read Chavez’ speech. Ive also seen him up close and suffered thru 3 hrs of one of his dog and pony show press conferences he staged in Porto ALegre. Sorry if Im convinced he’s a power hungry clown. He radiates not an iota of democratic spirit… he’s a blustering, thundering demagogue who demonstrates no respect for the opinions of anyone except himself.

    I’m quite comfortable being classified as an atagonist to to him and while we’re at it, to Alex Cockburn as well.

    The uncritical supporters of Chavez, those who froth when I chide him, displaly the same headless mentality of the 101st keyboard war bloggers — taking politics as some sort of rugby match where u sit in the bleachers and cheer and jeer.

    Try applying some historical analysis to the real world. You can start with a reading of the history of juan domingo peron.

    I lived in Argentina during his final days and afterward. Unreal to watch the Montoneros and other supposed leftists plunge themselves and the country into the abyss in defense of a dead demogogue who in the end was power hungry opportunist.

    As to the question from one of the dingleberries above (is it bunkerbuster?)/// Let me echo Reg and tell u to simply go fug urself. Dont hand me that half-baked crap that criticizing a public leader is somehow “irresponsible” because it encourages the Bushies to invade his country. I dont believe I am the one who styood at the UN lectern and taunted the US President as “the devil.” If you really believe the US is drawing up plans to invade Venezuela you D*** S*** then you just might consider Mr. Chavez’ level of responsibility in this matter. If such an invasion is in the works, Chavez’ speech just increased the chances by three fold. If such a horrific move were to be made by the US it would be ordinary Venezuelans who would be slaughtered … Chavez I guarantee you would be on the first flight out to Havana. Try growing up, kid.

    Sergo, no me estoy convertiendo en momio. Y hace muchos anos soy much mas que maduro, casi anciano! Pero… ni a misa con los demagogos tipo Chavez.

  129. Beautiful Horizons Says:

    The Mouth of South America…

    I really don’t have much to add to the attention giving to Hugo Chavez last week for his shooting off his mouth other than the comments by Boz and Marc Cooper that all this ridiculous attention sadly sidelined Lula’s brilliant…

  130. Jim R Says:

    “I’ve probably, in the last twenty years, read a dozen to twenty Chomsky books, which are by the way, required reading in Canadian high schools.”

    So,this is What’s the Matter with Canada. :)

  131. bunkerbuster Says:

    The intellectually flaccid habitually resort to demonization the clothing it provides their strawmen. In this case, Marc and some others such as reg, need to insist that I am a Chavez supporter or “ass kisser” in their junior-high-school-level rhetoric because they are unwilling to discuss Chavez on a factual basis.

    So it is that anyone who says Saddam could have been contained by means other than speculative military aggression is an apologist, an appeaser, a soft-headed lover of rape rooms, a useful idiot and so on. So it is anyone who says Chavez is not any kind of extraordinary threat to his own people and certainly not to the U.S. is “licking his boots.”

    I can think of no better example of this than George Galloway. In practice, his political positions are with few exceptions, intelligent, moral and congruent with middle-of-the road liberal/leftist views. More important, Galloway had a clear well-established record of opposing Saddam Hussein, when the “Butcher of Baghdad” was at the height of his atrocities.

    Galloway chose to oppose the sanctions against Iraq and to speak out against the broader hypocrisies of U.S. policy in the Middle East. For that, he has acquired the label “Friend of Saddam” and a steady stream of scurrilous, unfounded, libelous allegations about everything from his bank accounts to his personal life.

    There is only meaningful difference between the Saddam-baiting of Galloway and the Swift Boating of John Kerry is that Kerry was less well equipped to fight back. And we can’t ask the right wing media to stop this because it is what defines them, it’s why they exist. But we can expect people on the left to criticize a little more responsibly.

    Consider Ahmedinejad. A lengthy report at lays out in substantiated detail how the U.S. press has accepted wildly inaccurate and, even, fabricated translations of his comments, and passed them on as true. The man, according this report, has not called for the destruction of Israel, and has, instead, repeatedly counseled accommodation, though certainly not on terms the Kach Party or Hillary Clinton, for that matter, would accept.

    Yet the allegation that Ahmedinijad has vowed to destroy Israel is an unassailed example of conventional mainstream media wisdom, much as Saddam’s possession of WMD was before the war.

    So it is people on this blog, for example, insinuate that because Chavez has sympathy for Ahmendinejad, he’s part of a “let’s kill all the Jews” faction. With this kind of misinformation about Ahmedinejad and Chavez flowing freely, rational public discourse becomes impossible.

    Instead, people end up having to respond to schoolyard ad hominem taunts like “ass kisser” ad nauseum.

    El que escupe al cielo, a la cara te cae.

  132. bunkerbuster Says:

    make that, ahem: “The intellectually flaccid habitually resort to demonization for the clothing it provides their strawmen.”

    or you could just forget I wrote that sentence as it is a real stinker…

  133. Ahmed Says:

    “I’m quite comfortable being classified as an atagonist to to him and while we’re at it, to Alex Cockburn as well.”

    But Marc I posted the specifically for your pleasure. Its quite a charming interview IMHO. Actually Alexander comes across as being for more jovial, friendly and humane than his at times cranky print persona

  134. Marc Cooper Says:


    I agree it’s a charming interview. Alex can be quite charming and entertaining as most A-type personalities can be. But I dont mind saying Ive seen the other much darker side — in print, in public and in private– and it ain’t pretty. I much admired Alex when I first discovered him in the 80′s and I also will say he was quite generous and kind to me. Unfortunately, I found, human relationships mean quite little to them and he’s willing to shred long-time friendships as fodder to get him through one lousy cheap-shot 1000 word column.

    I also think Counterpunch is a showcase for wingnuts and I dont know how mucxh of that rubbish Alex actually believes, if he believes in anything.

    I think he’s a great mind consumed by petty human foibles.

    One day, when Im in the mood, I’ll tell the story of how my then-16 yr old daughter almost decked the old coot during the 2000 Dem Natl Convention in L.A. It’s a hilarious tale if I must say so myself.

    Bunkerbuster: you continue to be great comic relief. How can one not be amused by somone who defends Chavez, Galloway,Ahmedinejad and John Kerry all in one paragraph?? Im beginning to think ur an RNC plant. Or maybe just a potted plant.

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    Excuse, and what you think concerning forthcoming elections?

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