Venezuela is a Threat to the US Archives

January 7, 2007

My Friends Call Me Jackal


Simon Romero runs a cutie-pootie article on the Venezuelan penchant for funny names in Sunday’s New York Times. Famous names (Stalin! Nefertitis! Elvis Presley!) Backwards names (Susej! Aleuzenev!) Hybrid names (Nelmar, from parents Nelson and Marta!) It’s all in good fun. Then comes this non sequitur paragraph:

Even today, a name or a political philosophy that might result in being ostracized elsewhere is no obstacle to a warm reception in Caracas. Mr. Chávez’s government has said, for instance, that it did not view Ilich Ramírez Sánchez, the Venezuelan-born assassin also known as Carlos the Jackal, as a terrorist. Mr. Chávez addressed Mr. Ramírez as “Dear Compatriot” in letters they exchanged.

Hey NYT, this doesn’t have much to do with funny names, does it? It reads more like a little jab at Chavez and his possible (decontextualized, unexplored, randomly mentioned) acquaintance with a terrorist/assassin.

But then we’re right back to funny names. (Rosaherbalaif! Ha ha.)

What. Does. It. All. Mean?

January 15, 2007

You Gotta Accentuate the Negative

Here’s a fun little time killer on your day off: go to Google News and type in the headline “Chavez says he voiced hope for US thaw,” then click on one of the stories. The headline magically changes to some variation of “Venezuela and Iran Plan to Destroy the World Together” or some such nonsense.

It seems that some AP editor got ahold of Natalie Obiko Pearson’s story and decided it just wasn’t splashy enough. The details of the story haven’t been changed, per se, but the order of importance has. A friendly, newsworthy exchange between President Chavez and a US State Department official has been shoved down to the bottom, while a social fund set up between Venezuela and fellow-OPEC member Iran is now featured (in as sinister terms as possible) at the top.

January 22, 2007

Edwards Was Right: The Other America Isn’t Much Like Us At All

Fox News has a new push poll out! Citing the return of “Alo Presidente” to TV, they want to know whether Venezuela “will now become a threat to American democracy?”

Screw al-Quaeda! Terrorism is so ’02. Telling off Bush is the new threat to our way of life, notwithstanding that about 2/3 of our own countrymen agree with Chavez on this one. Oddly, this is what Fox includes as it list of reasons to fear Venezuela:

“...nationalizing the main telecommunications company and the electricity and natural gas sectors, raising domestic gasoline prices, and approving a new tax on luxury goods.”

Scared yet? You can participate here.

February 25, 2007

Everybody Panic! Venezuela has a Military

The New York Times gets unhinged today over Venezuela’s reported increase in military spending last year. As usual, you have to read Simon Romero’s story carefully to figure out what’s really going on.

First of all, the spending increase estimates come from the Pentagon, which severed military relations with Venezuela a couple years back. So the numbers come from Bush Administration “intelligence.” Yeesh. I mean we know they’re super-duper careful at analyzing things like arms purchases, WMD and yellowcake, so they’ve got to be accurate and not exaggerated or politicized on this one, right? But let’s assume for the sake of argument that they are spot on.

Romero says that the Venezuela’s military spending was “up 12.5 percent in 2006.” Fascinatingly, that’s almost exactly equal to last years 12% increase in GDP. So as a percentage of the overall economy—you know, the way you actually measure the size of a military—Venezuela’s budget hasn’t really increased much at all.

But here’s where it goes from schlock reporting to outright crazy-panic: Romero writes that Venezuela’s spending puts it “ahead of other major purchasers in international arms markets like Pakistan and Iran.” You know, because those are the countries you are supposed to think about when you get nervous about the state of the world. Of course, when you make a relevant comparison, like to other Latin American countries, Venezuela’s spending (as a percent of GDP) remains lower than Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Bolivia (!), Uruguay, Brazil and Peru. The VIO has done a couple of nice charts on this.

Of course, this was a Big New York Times Story, so the content, mistakes and all, are going to dominate the Venezuela discussion, like forever. And of course the New York Times syndicates crap like this and sends it to smaller papers around the country. Already today, there is a telling version of the story in Vermont’s tiny Barre Montpelier Times Argus. It’s got a spiffy new headline (“Venezuela arms spending highest in Latin America”), which is simply false, but the funny part is that they forgot to delete the NYT’s “trimming” notes, which explain to local editors what to cut when pressed for space. Take a look at the recommend trims: Leave in all the panic, fellas, but feel free to delete any of the context.

March 2, 2007

One Big Drug Fueled Merry-Go-Round of Crazy

Uh oh. The State Department and Hill Republicans are talking about the drug war again. Expect the body bags to start piling up. As usual, they are torked that Venezuela (and now, Bolivia) are not “cooperating” with them the way that Colombia-- that model democracy from hell--cooperates. And by “cooperate,” they mean allowing the U.S. military to terrorize your countrymen with a never-ending campaign to fumigate food crops, perpetuate a 60-year civil war, assassinate union leaders by the thousands, and, ultimately, drive up drug production. Success!

Of course, there are penalties for not “cooperating,” including military sanctions so that you can’t adequately protect your border with your drug producing neighbors, which drives more coke into your country and singles you out as a “significant player in the flow of cocaine from Colombia.” Which leads to additional denunciations and sanctions and threats and all around insanity.

Meanwhile, back in the U.S., the kids just keep snorting and snorting and snorting.

UPDATE: ...and snorting and snorting and snorting and snorting and snorting and snorting and snorting and snorting and snorting and snorting and snorting. And these are just the domestic headlines from the past hour.

March 9, 2007

Department of Corrections: That Venezuelan ‘Arms Race’

Remember NYT story from a week ago about the Venezuelan arms race that was so scary it prompted CNN to do a special segment on it? Full of crap, as it turns out. The Times ran a correction today:

An article on Feb. 25 about an escalation in Venezuela’s arms spending referred incorrectly to a statistic cited by the Defense Intelligence Agency of the United States as evidence of a rapid arms buildup. It was a 12.5 percent increase in Venezuela’s 2006 defense budget, not an increase in the value of arms purchased by Venezuela last year.

In other words, the military budget grew exactly in proportion to the economy last year. We can all stop hording non-perishables now.

May 29, 2007

Shitty Crescent Goes John Birch

You've heard of the Shitty Crescent, right? It's the crescent shaped geographic range of congressional nutcases that stretches from Miami up through New Yawk/ New Jersey, with some other scattered points spewed like evil stars in between and all around. And they hate the BoRev.

The Shitty Crescent is in full shit with this latest resolution courtesy of Rep. Ron Klein (D-Fla.) and Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.), among others. These and the other co-sponsors, no populists on pocketbook issues, have gone positively John Birch on this resolution connecting Iran to Venezuela.

The Whereases make for such wacky reading, I think Klein and Company should go into business as a specialty company that you can hire for parties. Just imagine the fun your guests would have! "Whereas you just did 3 tequila shots; whereas you followed it by a beer bong hit; whereas you posed for Girls Gone Wild; be it resolved that you will wake up hungover next to a total stranger!" Only problem is, that line of random assembled facts at least is a plausible narrative. BoRev going Hiroshima? Think not.

Read the full spew after the jump. While you're at it, pick up the phone and call our friends at extension 202-224-7701... you'll know what to do.

Continue reading "Shitty Crescent Goes John Birch" »

September 27, 2007

Right Wing Noise Machine Less Formidable Than Previously Believed

Yesterday we wrote about the American Security Council Foundation’s big fat Congressional fear-off with videos and douchy congresspeople and Otto Reich, remember? And how at the subsequent press conference, there was only one “journalist” who asked a question? Well, Erica Anderson finally wrote her story!! It’s in Human Events, so it competes for space with great works by people like Ann Coulter and Monica Crowly and—holy mac—Casper Weinberger Jr., not to mention Anderson’s own recent opuses like “Why Bill O’Reilly is Not a Racist and the Negroes Should STFU.” But that shouldn’t detract from its sublime awesomeness. Observe:

>>> Anderson mixes up the 2002 coup against Hugo Chavez with the 2004 recall referendum, talking about some “petition” of people who signed for the president’s violent overthrow or something;

>>> She offers the VenGov’s rebuttal of the film’s accusations as “proof” of its “control over media communication;” and

>>> About three quarters of the way down, she quotes from the “film trailer,” meaning she didn’t actually watch the film itself. The one that her article is about. Nice one.

In theory I suppose, this is how that right wing echo chamber is supposed to work, only this time the video is so bad and its Hill support so Florida trash, all they got out of it was a stupid piece in Human Events. But then, you never know, Michelle Malkin may write an equally awesome piece on it one day soon!

September 29, 2007

You Can Understand Where People Might Get the Wrong Idea


Remember how the Bush Administration “decertified” Venezuela—whatever that means—for “failing to cooperate in the war on drugs”? And how Venezuela was all like, “look we would have cooperated if your drug agents weren’t the ones dealing half the drugs in Venezuela?” And the Bush Administration was like “bullshit you’re making that up”?

Well, heh heh. Earlier this week a plane went down in the Yucatan Peninsula, carrying 2.3 tons of cocaine of Colombia to the U.S. And it turned out to be “one of the planes chartered to the CIA for the renditioning of kidnapped prisoners.”

UPDATE: Apparently the coke belongs to Mexico's most notorious drug lord, natch, and like other former CIA planes turned drug transporters before it, the jet "underwent a series of rapid ownership transfers" in the weeks leading up to the crash. It's a Grade A CIA coke jet mystery I tell ya.

October 28, 2007

Blow Me Down


Colombians produce most of the world’s cocaine, and rich Americans snort it, so naturally the drug trade is pretty much Venezuela’s fault. Counterintuitive? Sure! But it’s also totally true because it’s on the front page of today’s Washington Post and based on the unflinchingly credible testimony of a Colombian drug lord captured by the Venezuelan government who couldn’t possibly have an ax to grind.

And it’s not like jailed Colombian drug lords have a history of conveniently blaming governments out of favor with the U.S. (like the Cubans or the Sandinistas, for instance) for the crimes they commit, which is why I believe every word of it, although I’m sure that poor black teenagers share a large burden of the responsibility here too and I’d hate to let them off the hook.

About Venezuela is a Threat to the US

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to BoRev.Net in the Venezuela is a Threat to the US category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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