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Archive for December 2nd, 2007

Chavez concedes narrow defeat of Venezuelan constitutional reforms

Posted by Charles II on December 2, 2007

Added 12:40AM, Eastern:  Hugo Chavez, once again proving himself to be so much classier than his opponents, has conceded defeat in the reform of the Venezuelan constitution. The margin is so close (1.4%) that he thinks that the remaining ballots might win it for him, but he said that he didn’t want to put the country through an experience like the US in 2000. The country had indicated that it wasn’t enthusiastically for the reforms, so he would accept their verdict.

So, ok, anti-Chavistas, you keep saying he’s a totalitarian, but you’re still the people who do coups. You say he’s disloyal to the country, but you’re the ones who run to the American government when you don’t get the vote to go the way you want.  You have a much better president than you credit him for… and a much better president than the US has.

I am not at all sad to see these reforms go down. Maybe it will convince Chavez’s cohort that they need to start building leadership that can carry their movement after their leader has stepped down. ________________________________  

There’s an old joke about a football player, having a bad rookie season, being asked by the press: “Jim, coach says that your perfomance is so bad that it can only be ignorance or apathy. What do you say to that?”

And Jim replied, “Well, I don’t know and I don’t care.” 

Early reports (here and Radio Venezuela with English translation here) suggest that most many Venezuelans of all castes are simply ignoring the election. If there’s any sabotage or violence, it would be later in the day, when the opposition is planning to clog voting places (but probably would be unable to do so except in a few districts). There have been sixteen arrests.

Updates follow: Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Venezuela | 7 Comments »

Right-Wing Morality: Lies Are Truth. Amorality Is Moral. Ignorance Is Strength.

Posted by Phoenix Woman on December 2, 2007

Glenn Greenwald catches that bastion of what’s considered respectable and erudite conservativism, the National Review, lying and defending lies:

National Review reporter Thomas Smith has been exposed as a fabulist for plainly fictitious claims he made in two separate NR posts in September regarding Hezbollah’s alleged armed threat to the Lebanese Government. The most comprehensive report detailing Smith’s fabrications is from Thomas Edsall in The Huffington Post, who examines some of the most factually dubious claims (including Smith’s “report” that “between 4,000-5,000 Hezbollah gunmen had ‘deployed to the Christian areas of Beirut in an unsettling ‘show of force'” and his separate claim that “‘some 200-plus heavily armed Hezbollah militiamen’ occupied a ‘sprawling Hezbollah tent city’ near the Lebanese parliament”) Smith’s war-fueling conclusion: “Hezbollah is rehearsing for something big here.”

Edsall quotes four separate experts on Lebanon, who respectively labelled Smith’s claims “insane,” said his most grandiose stories simply “never happened,” and stated that Smith is a “fabulist.” As Edsall notes, Smith’s melodramatic and highly suspicious claims about armed Hezbollah activities in Lebanon “appear to be designed to bolster support for the ongoing presence of U.S troops in the Mideast.”

Rather than acknowledging any errors in a clear and straightforward way, National Review chose late Friday afternoon to raise this matter — the favored time period of politicians to dump embarrassing stories, when as few people as possible will see it — in the form of a mealy-mouthed, self-justifying “Editor’s Note” from Kathryn Jean Lopez. Lopez apologizes to readers on the ground that “NRO should have provided readers with more context and caveats in some posts from Lebanon this fall,” but never says what those caveats should have been or what the missing context was.

Instead, Lopez just relies upon vague cliches that say nothing. She claims, for instance, that she reached these conclusions about Smith’s posts “after doing a thorough investigation of some of the points made in some of those posts,” but she never identifies a single specific fact which this supposed “investigation” revealed or what “some of those points” were that need correction, nor does she identify a single step which this supposed “investigation” entailed.

As Glenn goes on to mention, it’s ironic that the National Review, which has gone out of its way for months to attack The New Republic over Scott Beauchamp’s writing, is still willfully trying to pretend that they aren’t busily committing their own actual, and far some serious, crimes against the truth — crimes for which their buddies in the alleged “mainstream” wing of the GOP/Media Complex will never, ever punish them:

This blinding (though unsurprising) double standard leads to the second point, one which is related to the first. The hysteria generated by Weekly Standard, NR and right-wing blogs led — as always — to extensive establishment media coverage of the Beauchamp affair. Howard Kurtz, who has turned into nothing more than a right-wing blogger — using his Post column and CNN show to fuel every “scandal” they manufacture while steadfastly ignoring every one created by their own dishonest behavior — provided endless coverage of the Beauchamp affair. Kurtz also reported on the matter on CNN.

The New York Times published two separate news articles on the Beauchamp affair. Peggy Noonan wrote a whole lecture on it at the WSJ. And the right-wing blogosphere obsessed on this story for months, and continues to.

Completely fabricated accusations designed to fuel their war agenda and other political interests are not new for the world of right-wing punditry. It is par for the course. Last year, they lied in a swarm by claiming the Iranian parliament passed a new law requiring Iranian Jews to wear yellow stars. They falsely accused AP of inventing a non-existent source, Jamil Hussein, who existed exactly as AP said. They accused Democrats of ghost-writing the vile Terry Schiavo memo written by Mel Martinez (a false accusation Kurtz, of course, pumped). They repeatedly lied about Bilal Hussein’s photography, falsely claiming that he photographed executions of hostages in Iraq and other insurgent actions. And that’s just a small sample of their chronic fabrications and false claims.

None of those falsehoods was covered in the establishment press in any meaningful way. And now, here is the leading conservative magazine, outright inventing facts about Hezbollah’s military conduct in Lebanon. And — in stark contrast to the transparent efforts of Franklin Foer to investigate and disclose what he learned — National Review‘s editors do everything possible to obscure what happened and to justify the falsehoods, praising the reporter who did it and keeping him on. Will attention be paid to this obviously serious — and quite representative — episode of journalistic fabrication by National Review?

Posted in GOP/Media Complex, media, Media machine, mediawhores | 1 Comment »

NYT: Corporations Scrambling To Make Most Of Bush’s Last Year

Posted by Phoenix Woman on December 2, 2007


Think that it really doesn’t matter who controls the White House or Congress? Corporate America thinks it matters a great deal indeed — which is why they’re trying to cash in while they still can under Bush (h/t EZ Writer):

Business lobbyists, nervously anticipating Democratic gains in next year’s elections, are racing to secure final approval for a wide range of health, safety, labor and economic rules, in the belief that they can get better deals from the Bush administration than from its successor.


At the Transportation Department, trucking companies are trying to get final approval for a rule increasing the maximum number of hours commercial truck drivers can work. And automakers are trying to persuade officials to set new standards for the strength of car roofs — standards far less stringent than what consumer advocates say is needed to protect riders in a rollover.

At the Interior Department, coal companies are lobbying for a regulation that would allow them to dump rock and dirt from mountaintop mining operations into nearby streams and valleys. A coalition of environmental groups has condemned the proposed rule, saying it would accelerate “the destruction of mountains, forests and streams throughout Appalachia.”

A priority for many employers in 2008 is to secure changes in the rules for family and medical leave. The National Association of Manufacturers said the law had been widely abused and had caused “a staggering loss of work hours” as employees took unscheduled, intermittent time off for health conditions that could not be verified. …

Posted in 2008, big money, Bush, Bush Family Evil Empire, capitalism as cancer | Comments Off on NYT: Corporations Scrambling To Make Most Of Bush’s Last Year

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