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January 4, 2007

Where Do All These Friggin Think Tanks Come From?

The Foundation for Defense of Democracies (ever heard of ‘em?) published a new paper today. Although the Foundation claims to be “dedicated exclusively to promoting pluralism, defending democratic values, and fighting the ideologies that drive terrorism,” they decided instead to focus on the internal politics of Venezuela’s political parties.

The paper, titled “A Long Goodbye to Democracy,” criticizes the Venezuelan left’s decision to merge a bunch of pro-Chavez political parties into one. Apparently, with this move, “Venezuela is staring into the abyss of fascism.”

By taking a CNN report out of context, the paper seems to claim that opposition parties are a part of this merger, as if they were being forced to join a pro-Chavez coalition, which sort of grotesquely misses the point. They also take pains to misrepresent the whole RCTV controversy.

Channeling Henry Kissinger, the Foundation defends the 2002 coup against Chavez: “America,” it turns out, “was slow to recognize that democracy in Venezuela could no longer be restored by elections.” You see, “It was through elections that democracy had been destroyed.” Oh, I get it. No. Wait…huh?

So who are these guys? According to their website, they are a “non-partisan institute.” Their funding comes from a “diverse group of individual philanthropists and foundations.” Oh! And the State Department. Now it makes sense.

February 7, 2007

Slipping Past the Censors

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I imagine these are hectic days over at the Houston Chronicle, what with their diaper-wearing rabbit-boiling bitch-slapping space daughter returning to town and all. But shepherding history requires constant vigilance. Turn your back for just one moment, and suddenly your opinion page gets littered with reason.

How else to explain this piece from former Associated Press correspondent Bart Jones? Dude deftly puts the “Op” back into “Op-Ed,” and defies the conventional media take on Venezuela.

On the press: “Venezuela's media, owned largely by the country's wealthy elites, are arguably the most rabidly antigovernment media in the world.”

On the “muzzling” of a TV station: “If RCTV were operating in the United States, it's doubtful its actions would last more than a few minutes with the FCC.”

On the lurch toward one-party rule: “Chavez is not creating a single-party state as widely reported but is melding together an amorphous array of parties that support him. He is not outlawing opposition parties.”

On commie-style property takeovers:
“Chavez also is not nationalizing the entire economy without compensation to companies, as Castro did in the early days of the Cuban revolution, but rather is buying back a few key strategic utilities such as the CANTV telecommunications company…”

Sure, all this is “accurate.” Sure, it’s all backed up by “facts.” Sure, the author “knows” Venezuela in the sense that he lived and worked there for years. But he certainly doesn’t know what he’s supposed to know about Venezuela.

Every newspaper in America should be on guard. In a sense we’re all just one incontinent rocket vixen away from total message meltdown.

February 15, 2007

Slipping Past The Censors II. And III.

We were shocked last week when Bart Jones’ excellent Op-Ed was printed in the Houston Chronicle. Doubly-so today to see it picked up by the Providence Journal and in longer form in the National Catholic Reporter (the latter is subscription-required. Sorry).

What’s gotten into these editors?

March 4, 2007

Opposition Moves to Create One-Party State

Among the most ridiculous rumors about Venezuela is that Chavez is attempting to create a “one-party state” within the country. As we’ve noted over and over again, there is a movement to consolidate a number of Chavista parties into one umbrella party. But of course this movement is voluntary and certainly doesn’t affect opposition parties. They can do whatever the hell they want. Of course, that hasn’t stopped the totalitarian-sounding one-party-rule meme from being spread in the L.A. Times and on Capitol Hill.

The funny thing is, today we learn the opposition’s next big move: to consolidate themselves into one unified anti-Chavez party. Keep this up, and Venezuela will be as democratically inept as the Democrats & Republicans.

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