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Thursday, December 29, 2005

22 - How the U.S. Is Fighting Against Democracy in Haiti, Venezuela and Bolivia / A Listener's Great New Podcast

Right-wingers claim that the U.S. supports democracy in developing and Third World countries. As with most things right-wingers say, the truth is the exact opposite. We'll illustrate the point with recent U.S. actions in Haiti, Venezuela and Bolivia.


A listener started a podcast which is quite powerful, and I'll share a short excerpt with you. The subject is one of my favorites: right-wing fake, phony Christians -- or as I call them, pseudo-Christians.

Jack Clark 2:24 PM [+]
Post #113583733468676492

Comments:  This section is for listeners. To receive a reply from Jack Clark, you should call the comment line.

Keep it up Jack, the truth needs to be told. I would enjoy listing to you discuss why right-wingers are vehemently opposed to universal health care in this country. I could sum it up in one word “money.” I would like to learn who it is that profits the most from uninsured people. The cost of healthcare is destroying our industries ability to compete in a global economy with countries that have government-sponsored healthcare. Who profits from that?
posted by Anonymous Anonymous  10:34 PM   [+]
Great podcasts Jack. My elderly mother got the drug plan information and asked my to look it over. What a joke! It looks like a big insurance scam. Luckily she doesnt take a lot of drugs so she doesnt need to pay into the scam. I see the prescription drug plan as yet another right wing scam along with Iraq and the social security fiasco they tried earlier. GOP, the party of greed and deception...and that's thier good side.
posted by Anonymous Anonymous  3:25 AM   [+]
Jack, with the exception of my 'untrained' ear, a great broadcast.
posted by Anonymous Anonymous  8:36 AM   [+]
For the greatest historical example of the United State's lack of respect for democracy, learn more about the Vietnam War.

"The Geneva partition was not a natural division of Vietnam and was not intended to create two separate countries. But the South government, with the support of the United States, blocked the Geneva scheduled elections for reunification. In the context of the Cold War, and with the recent Korean War as a precedent, the U.S. had feared that a reunified Vietnam would elect a Communist government under the popular Hồ Chí Minh."

US Foreign Policy: If a democratic election doesn't give you the result you want, throw out democracy!
posted by Anonymous Anonymous  1:49 PM   [+]

You continuously refer to us right-wingers and Republicans as anti-poor when that's not it at all. True Conservatives are for small gov't (notice I didn't use the term Republican b/c not all Republicans are conservative).
There's nothing wrong with helping the poor we just don't think the gov't should be doing it. The more people the gov't helps the more people are beholden to that gov't. Therefore that gov't becomes stronger and is no longer a gov't of the people but of the politician/ruler/dictator/general etc.
I look forward to more podcasts

posted by Anonymous Anonymous  3:41 PM   [+]
Mike, I agree that Jack has sometimes overgeneralized about all "right-wingers". I wonder, though, why you are more afraid of elected government controlling everything, at a time when multinationals are running the show (Monsanto,Microsoft, big oil, media, etc.)

Shreveportdude, I think this evangelical Christian agrees with you as far as Bush being dishonest about his supposed Christianity (
http://www.counterpunch.org/alper11262005.html ).

Jack, good job for showing that in historical perspective, the "defending democracy" pretext for the Iraq war is about as logically consistent as the previous reasons that were given.

Now that we have established that the U.S. can lie and do nasty stuff sometimes, I really wish people would take a look at the World Trade Center collapses with their own eyes, and remember the peculiarities (symmetrical,rapid descent and pulverisation) for the next time they happen to witness what a real building fire looks like, or what preplanned demolition looks like. Take a minute to see the videos ( http://911research.wtc7.net/wtc/evidence/videos/index.html ).
posted by Anonymous Anonymous  1:05 AM   [+]
In response to the previous post:

Gov't officials are the only ones who can take my freedom away. The worst Enron, Haliburton, Microsoft, or IBM can do is take my money, usually of my own free will.

I hope that answers your question continue to post if you would like to peer deeper into the brain (albeit miniscule) of an extreme right winger

posted by Anonymous Anonymous  5:05 PM   [+]
Haha, at least you're humble.
Here are some examples:

Limiting your choice of what you can buy or what you can do with it.(Monsanto's proprietary seed products, and buyout of competing seed banks).

Your job outsourced to some third-world sweatshop. Your industry opened up to competition from third-world nation (due to lobbying for free trade).

Contracts such as the ones signed by Microsoft with their PC vendors to keep competing operating systems off PC's. Using their influence in Washington to get away with a slap on the wrist. Using what amounts to a tax on PC's to expand their monopoly.

The political power of monopolies by their vastly superior financial ability to pay lobbyists, buy favors, finance strategic thinktanks, use advertising as blackmail or to persuade, or even controlling mass perception of what is true or important through direct media ownership (AM radio).

Food or drug industries doing their own scientific research with inadequate oversight from impartial scientists, thereby controlling scientific "truth". (Too many examples, e.g. irradiation of food.)

Monopolies setting their own policies for price (oil), wages or social conditions due to lack of competition, therefore fear of standing up to them and risking unemployment.

I could give more examples. The nastiest things were done outside of the U.S. (e.g. selling arms to diamond thugs in Sierra Leone, chemical pollution in Bhopal, etc.)

In fact I agree with you that big government can be bad (e.g.communism). Isn't domination by a big company (e.g. monopolies) the same thing?
posted by Anonymous Anonymous  11:38 PM   [+]
I'm not much of an economist, but I'll try to answer each paragraph the best I can.

I think in a free market capitalist economy there will always be a choice for the consumer. It's just the way capitalism works...someone sees an untapped market and they capitalize on it. Thereby giving consumers a choice.

My answer to the Microsoft example is kind of like the first. Eventually the free market will take care of the problem. I got fed up with Microsoft putting inferior products on the market and switched strictly to Apple (best computer decision one could make). Read about how Dodge automobile company got started as an example of people getting fed up with limited choices.

I believe the political power of monopolies can be negated at the voting booth. If our politicians are dirty (which they are) then we vote them out. The problem is as a society we are too lazy to stand in line to vote. We complain about long lines and disenfranchisement when Iraqis are WALKING miles just to vote. As a nation we are more concerned about Nick and Jessica and Brad and Angelina than we are about politics. We have no one to blame for corruption in D.C. but ourselves for not keeping our politicians on shorter leashes.

I don't know enough about the food and drug situation to make a comment.

I skipped the second paragraph so I'll answer it with the sixth by saying that I, like everyone else, don't want to see jobs leaving the U.S. and going overseas but at the same time if I own a business my main goal is to make money and if I can make more money somewhere else then I'm not so sure that I want the gov't telling me where I can and cannot go. There is a lot about free trade that I don't understand but what I do know is that competition is good for anyone or anything ,especially for the consumer. Competition is good in sports, it's good in schools and it's good in business. It forces people to be better and make better products in order to be at the top of their field.

I don't believe domination by a company is as bad as by the gov't, b/c it's easier to bring down a company that is in the wrong. Governments are only toppled by coup's or civil war. It's much easier to stop buying a product or expose wrongdoing (Enron) than it is to wage civil war. Also keep in mind its not the business itself that is evil. It is the people running that business. They're just people, they can be exposed and shamed. Also remember there are more good people in business than there are bad, and big business creates jobs for Americans. As bad as I hate Microsoft they employ thousands of people and pay them well. Those people take the money they earn and buy TV's, cars, groceries, boats,clothes, and DVD's. The people who manufacture and sell all those products are then able to pay their employees who in turn do the same with their earnings. Without big business the American people wouldn't be as blessed as we are.

posted by Anonymous Anonymous  7:18 PM   [+]
Tbh I think you are underestimating the potential strength of the major multinationals. To take one example in the UK, Tesco (our version of Wal Mart) controls over 33% of the total market - one pound in five goes through a Tescos till. Logically, this continued growth can only have come from the systematic destruction of all competition and the use of 'market muscle' (monopolist power over supply sources) to continue that trend. And looking at the economic situation in Britain this has been accompanied by the simultaneous growth of other major groups in all specialised fields, from IT products (PC world, which is a bad shop, selling poor products at high prices yet continues to dominate the market) to fast food (McDonalds/Burger King, selling chips at 50 times cost through exploitation of third world labour).

The outcome of this, of course, is an oligarchy of corporate influence and power. Libertarian economics has become a major force in Britain because of the influence of these major employers/profit drivers, which distorts the economy. On a very basic level, this manifested during the last oil price scare, when the government's policies on energy were effectively directed by the big five oil companies, who could at any point turn off the taps. On a national level, it distorts the playing field to such an extent that governments have no option except to promote free trade or face capital flight (eg. South Africa's ANC was elected on a socialist ticket, but ended up having to push privatisation or face recession).

The problem of the 'I can always switch' plan is that actually, you can't. For example, if I want to buy a decently produced, inexpensive left wing newspaper I can't. This is partly because of monopoly practice within the newspaper industry (80% of the UK press is owned by five companies), which means they can always undercut any startup company, buy up the available resources and sell far cheaper papers (indeed, the Herald in Britain was bankrupted by such tactics as have all of the last five attempts to found new national newspapers), and partly because private companies, due to ideological imbalances, will refuse to advertise with it. Tescos, incidentally, will refuse to stock it. As a consumer, this means I am unable to get what I want because it doesn't fit in with corporate policy. This also of course undermines democracy, as it acts as a system of censorship, which is legal now and if libertarian economic theory is applied, will remain so.
posted by Anonymous Anonymous  11:08 AM   [+]
I won't make myself look foolish and try to comment on matters in the UK that I know nothing about. But I will say that I do understand the power that major companies wield. I am, in fact, in a business that is in direct competition with Wal-Mart, and as a result we have had to close some of our stores, so I do understand the effect that major corporations have on the economy.

But do not underestimate the power of the consumer. If you are looking for a left wing newspaper and can't find one to buy, keep your money in your wallet and find the information you need on the internet. Buy your computer needs online. Companies are nothing without consumer dollars. Will you shut down PC World just by not shopping with them? Of course not, but in time when enough consumers get fed up lackluster products and high prices, PC World will be forced to change or go out of business. An example here would be a tech store called Radio Shack. High prices, cheap products, annoying salesmen. But for the longest time the only place I knew of to get specialized technological products. Now I have a choice of Office Max, Office Depot, Best Buy, or Circuit City offering competitive prices on name brand products. I also have the opportunity to purchase from eBay and numerous other internet resources. Go into a Radio Shack today and they still have the same cheap products, the same high prices but no customers and fewer stores.

Again, I am not privy to the economic workings of the UK, I am merely stating my beliefs as to a free market capitalistic economy.

posted by Anonymous Anonymous  12:26 PM   [+]
As much as I'd like to agree with you, the amount of damage being caused by libertarian economics (systemically so, Milton Friedman for example has famously said that in an ideal libertarian world the French worker will work like the Indians do now, for less money) seems to point in the other way. You don't seem to have been able to substantiate your claim that the market will solve all bar deconstructing a throwaway sentence about PC world.
posted by Anonymous Anonymous  1:36 PM   [+]
Mike, you have done a great job of supporting my arguments.

You say Microsoft creates inferior products, yet they can still pay their employees well and hold over 90% domination of market, instead of money in the hands of companies that truly enhance America's competitiveness.

You cite Apple as an alternative. Yet it could be argued that Apple has only survived because of government prosecution of the MS monopoly. Microsoft's main competitors in operating systems
(Apple) and office suites(Corel) were on life-support before Microsoft incredibly infused them with cash to keep them afloat, to "prove" competition really did exist.
Their trivial shares of the market hardly make a dent in Bill Gates' "PC tax" revenue stream, giving him the king-like wealth to be able to dictate social policy, as if he were the most qualified person.

Perplexingly, you say competition has beneficial aspectts (as if anyone had claimed otherwise) in response to examples of how monopolies reduce that very competition.
You cite sports as a proof, despite the fact that sports is careful to have rules to ensure fair competition. I wouldn't want to box out of my league with, say, Mike Tyson, without a referee. Similarly I wouldn't want to compete against a company that employs slave labor and owns all the distribution channels.
(By the way, a sports analogy is not a substitute for thinking things through. For example, speed is a great quality for sports, but highly unsafe for driving through a school zone.)

You say people are not aware of political issues and you yourself are not aware of food issues. What is more important than the food we eat, and what is more fragile than the resistance of biological and ecological systems to genetic tampering? Yet there is practically no public discussion of corporate control of the very information used to create policy in genetics.
Your admitted ignorance again supports my point.

You blithely assure us that the market will correct itself one day (i.e.be patient while damage is being done now), and encourage Saii to not worry that musical chairs are being taken away - see, there's still one over there!

So, I ask myself, why is it that you defend all my points, yet cling to your position, that of asserting your support for a "free market capitalistic economy" (a position that no one was asking you to defend)?
The answer, I would suspect, is your emotional need to portray yourself as a conservative, in harmony with whatever social forces (parental,sibling,peer,or media) that may be pressuring you at this stage in your life.
If this is the case, logic would be futile. Better to portray myself as being from a "working-class family" who shares your values, and slip my agenda in by stealth.
But then, that would be just selling out to my corporate paymasters.

Finally, I would like to thank you for taking time to engage in friendly, civic-minded debate with those you who do not share your views. You made some good points as well, but this post was getting too long...
posted by Anonymous Anonymous  10:37 PM   [+]
I think I answered clearly on why I didn't think big business was as dangerous as big government. The other paragraphs were merely responses to your individual situations, which morphed into capitalism.

My sports competition comment was not in reference to the inter-workings of sports as a business but that one team or individual pushes another team or individual to be better.

I'm not sure how my admitted ignorance supports your point either. It just means that instead of trying to b s a response that may bolster my point of view, I'm just going to be honest and say that's not a subject of which I am aware. I don't expect everyone to know all about every issue going on in the world. I'm sure there are issues you are not that well versed in, no one can be up to date on every issue. But I don't think it's too much to ask of Americans to keep up with the issues come voting time.

The market has worked well for America, as we are the richest nation in the history of the world. We need look no further than our borders to see that others want to come here to share in that same market.

True, I was not asked to defend a free market system. You gave specific examples and I tried to stress how a free market would even out the indifferences. So as you can probably tell I don't think I supported your position at all.

Thank you for the psychological diagnosis but, as I am 32 years old, I have had plenty of time to formulate my own political identity autonomous of my parents and siblings, who could care less. Peers, most of whom could care less, and the media, who can't pressure me into anything. I will also refrain from implying that, b/c you do not agree with me, you are a weak minded individual who doesn't really believe what you are saying, but that you are merely echoing the drum beats of your surroundings.

Thank you as well for engaging in a mature, adult conversation.
Agree to disagree........

posted by Anonymous Anonymous  5:19 PM   [+]
Just a quick addendum to this, because I agree to labour the argument would probably be fruitless, but the US originally built most of its wealth, not on the free market, but via protectionism.

Today meanwhile it's upholding its position via opening up the free market in other countries to its high-tech products while keeping its own more vulnerable markets protected (eg. orange production in the south, which is a market built entirely on the systematic tarrif exculsion of Brazil's cheaper produce). Though you say 'the free market', imperialism would be a more accurate term (I'm not meaning that in the hysterical way most leftists use it or 'you're killing africans, boo', but in the more accurate term of competing with Russia, China, Britain, France etc for exploitation and usage rights to other countries' sovereign resources such as oil throug economic or military dominance, and for spheres of influence via trade agreements such as NAFTA).
posted by Anonymous Anonymous  5:25 AM   [+]
I congratulate the previous poster for choosing honesty over denial (Mike) or con job (Neocon Radio), regarding U.S. economic imperialism.

Just for clarification, how do you justify using "military dominance" to exploit other countr's sovereign resources, as you say?

Also, does this extend to me being allowed to mug you on the street should the opportunity arise?

Waiting in breathless anticipation...
posted by Anonymous Anonymous  9:32 PM   [+]
Venezuela was, but is not longer a Democracy. President elect Hugo Chavez did came aboard politics through an existing democratic governmental system, that is true, but once in power he has relentlessly continued to show his true intentions. President elect, Hugo Chavez is a socialist dictator. He only used the democratic system to get elected, now he has canceled that system. Once in power he has radically changed this democracy to serve his own power hunger needs. Just for starters, he has changed the all seats of congress, replaced the lawmakers, and the court judges with all his henchmen. If that was not enough to destroy democratic freedoms, he personally rewrote Venezuelan constitution with out consulting anyone. All of these undemocratic changes have effectively cemented his unchangeable position and grip on power. And yes, the money lots and lots of money. If it were not for the enormous wealth of Venezuelan oil income Chavez would be a street thug at best and could not get even himself out of a wet paper bag on his own in any political front. No one says the kinds of things he says or does the kinds of things he does who are of democratic presidential character. He has now given up on his once touting democracy and has finally come clean and said he is leading a new socialist state. He has made his new best friends, Iran, Cuba, and China, all who hold the world’s worst records for human rights violations. What was it our mothers used to say about making new friends? I am not a right winger, but when I see those of us on the left put their foot in their mouth, it effects me and I speak up. No offence, just a perspective from a American who has been living and working in South America the past 7 years.
posted by Anonymous Anonymous  4:36 PM   [+]
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, whom the US calls a destabilizing force in the region, warned on Sunday he might seek constitutional change to be allowed to seek re-election several times.
Chavez, a leftist closely allied with communist Cuban President Fidel Castro, is seeking the one re-election allowed by the Constitution, in an election scheduled for Dec. 3.
posted by Anonymous Anonymous  4:56 PM   [+]
"Maybe I won't be leaving the presidency in 2013, but in 2019, and then six more years would be 2025; six more would be 2031," Chavez said.

The thought, he explained, "is just an idea that I am working on."
posted by Anonymous Anonymous  4:58 PM   [+]
During the broadcast, Chavez also warned US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice not to "mess with" him, days after Rice described Venezuela as a menace to regional democracy.

"Don't mess with me, Condoleezza. Don't mess with me, girl," Chavez said, sarcastically offering her a kiss and jokingly referring to her as "Condolence."
posted by Anonymous Anonymous  4:58 PM   [+]
The warning comes days after Rice described Venezuela as one of the "biggest problems" for the Western hemisphere and promised to develop regional alliances as part of an "inoculation" strategy to expose what the US State Department calls anti-democratic behavior in Venezuela.
posted by Anonymous Anonymous  5:00 PM   [+]
Caracas, Venezuela, February 20, 2006 – Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez warned the Venezuelan opposition if they did not put forward any candidates to contest the December presidential elections, he might have a referendum to ask if Venezuelans want him to serve a third term. Chavez said, “It’s not a firm decision, it’s something I'm thinking about.”
posted by Anonymous Anonymous  5:06 PM   [+]
Speaking Sunday on his weekly TV show Aló Presidente, Chavez said, “I might sign a decree calling for a popular referendum - Do you agree that Chavez should run for a third term in 2013?”

Chavez said this would be done, “In case the opposition want to do something dirty like withdrawing [from the Presidential election].” If they did, this would, “strengthen this idea that I have come up with,” said the Venezuelan President.
posted by Anonymous Anonymous  5:07 PM   [+]
Chavez argued that this was necessary as the job of rebuilding Venezuela was so big that it could not be done in 5 years. At other times Chavez has said that this project will not be finished until 2021. Chavez has also said he will retire from politics in 2021. This has led many to conclude that Chavez wants to be President until 2021. Chavez has denied this, though.
posted by Anonymous Anonymous  5:10 PM   [+]
Human Rights Watch believes that, with a recall referendum currently under discussion in Venezuela, the democratic benefits of an open public debate are more than ever crucial. It therefore urges the government to firmly avoid infringing on the freedom that Venezuelans currently have to express their views.
posted by Anonymous Anonymous  5:16 PM   [+]
Veteran left-wing historian and eternal abstentionist, Domingo Alberto Rangel says President Hugo Chavez Frias does not have to make much of an effort to remain in power for seven more years or even a hundred if one takes a look at wannabe presidential candidates.
posted by Anonymous Anonymous  5:26 PM   [+]
Vcrisis, a website with a good track record covering Hugo Chavez of Venezuela – the proof is in the numerous attacks made on it by Venezuelan authorities – today charges that the dictator and his cronies are stashing millions of petrodollars overseas in banking havens. Presumably, the money could be used to fund covert ops or to feather the nests of the ruling elite if their hold on power slips away. Some highlights:
posted by Anonymous Anonymous  5:33 PM   [+]
The Path to Dictatorship

Violence has marked each step along Chavez's road to power.

The former paratrooper first tried to seize control by a coup in 1992; he failed and instead spent two years in jail. He later tried democracy and was elected as an outsider by Venezuelans six years later.

Chavez's opponents admit he is popular, especially among the poor. But being popular, they say, does not give the president the right to do whatever he wants. The police, military and armed thugs have been tools used freely by Chavez to hang on to power during a coup attempt and a national strike in 2002.

Now, buoyed by electoral victories and high oil prices, Chavez appears to be doing everything he can to snuff out democracy before the eyes of a nation and a world that does not seem to be paying much attention.

"The danger that we are facing as Venezuelans is the possibility of waking up and not having any of our liberties," Lopez said.

Chavez has packed the Supreme Court and the army with his supporters, seized control of the country's wealth and introduced a penal code that criminalizes dissent. Anyone who opposes him faces violence or prison.

"I spent 20 days without looking at the sun, the air, the sky," said Capriles, the Baruta mayor who was once thrown into solitary confinement for opposing Chavez.

Pictures showing violence against anti-Chavez protestors no longer are allowed to be shown on public or private Venezuelan television; the government claims it's protecting children from scenes of violence.

"Our own journalists don't know whether they can show whatever it is they are trying to cover," said Ana Christina Nunez, legal counsel for Globovision, the country's only 24-hour news channel.

But Chavez's program, "Hello, President," sometimes runs for six hours.
posted by Anonymous Anonymous  5:38 PM   [+]
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Great podcast - a must listen to
Jack Clark documents the right's wars on the poor, civil liberties, the right of workers to organize at work and obtain a decent working wage and work conditions, and against other countries who refuse to accept American domination. Jack provides all the sources so that you can see for yourself how the right is out to enrich itself at the expense of everyone else. Great job, Jack!
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Submitted By: ebrenn1
A Breath of Fresh Air
Jack Clarks Blast the Right podcast is truly a breath of fresh air when it comes to political commentary. Jack is not like some commentators who simply climb on their soap box and state their own opinions as fact. Instead, Jack welcomes competent challenges to his way of thinking, and with logical analysis and sound research, debunks the lies, distortions, and self-deceptions of the right wing. I strongly recommend Blast the Right for people who seek the truth and care more about the long term health and well-being of the whole citizenry than the short term personal gain advocated by modern conservatives. Listen as Jack carefully shows how the high-sounding "God and country" rhetoric of the right wing is really just a smokescreen for policies that ultimately lead only to the increased misery, suffering, and death of the less fortunate for the particular benefit of the wealthy and the well-connected. And, if you find yourself in agreement, return to Podcast Alley to place your vote! Thanks!
Submitted By: automatic



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