Who Called Bush an "alcoholic Mr. Danger"?

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And a "donkey" and a "drunkard"?

Was it: A) Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.V.), B) Academy Award-winner George Clooney, C) Dixie Chicks member Natalie Maines, or D) Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez?

The answer here.

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  1. At a guess, I’d say D.

  2. And he scores!

    Politicians are wankers.

  3. On a more serious note (if that’s even possible given the subject matter), when will Bush & Co learn that treating this guy like some great big threat only increases his credibility in the region? You’d have thought the example of Fidel Castro would make it fairly obvious. But since the embargo on Cuba is still going strong after all these decades, I guess it’s not so obvious after all.

  4. http://people-press.org/reports/display.php3?ReportID=271

    “The single word most frequently associated with George W. Bush today is “incompetent,”and close behind are two other increasingly mentioned descriptors: “idiot” and “liar.” All three are mentioned far more often today than a year ago.”

    The american public believes worse about the prezz.

  5. C’mon Hugo, this is weak; get Fidel to write you some new material. I hear Saddam is looking to kill some time, maybe he could come up with some better insults. Maybe something like “Three-headed pig suckling at the teat of the oil barons!” or “Bobble-head icon for the capitalist overlords.” Try again.

  6. Am I taking crazy pills or did DrX just post something that had a semblance of a point? Was it almost on topic even? What is the world coming to, I feel like I don’t even know who I am anymore.

    Saw the headline on Drudge this morning…okay, so like 30 seconds ago. Also on Drudge, our old pal the carpethumper.

  7. A) Byrd B) Clooney, C) Manes, or D) Chavez?

    Anyone else notice that you never see these people in the same place at the same time?

  8. How gratifying, praise from a sludge fan.

    Did you check WorldNutDaily to find out what your next talking point will be? Better do that.

    And I bet that soldier needs help getting that loot out of Iraq? Check your email! Before you miss out!!

  9. I laughed my ass off when Castro said that Bush couldn’t debate a Cuban 9th grader! The sad part, though, is that Bush COULD debate an Amerixan 9th grader on a relatively even footing.

    One thing about this thread – why would one call Chavez a “strongman”?

    JMJ

  10. “…why would one call Chavez a “strongman”?

    PNAC plan to invade, occupy, and nation build Venezualen oil? After all, it’s working so well in Iraq.

  11. “Why would one call Chavez a ‘strongman’?”

    For some answers, go here.

  12. “Why would one call Chavez a ‘strongman’?”

    Noam “Hero of Sophmores Everywhere” Chomsky likes him, and he’s a noted autocrat-snuggler.

  13. How gratifying, praise from a sludge fan.

    Did you check WorldNutDaily to find out what your next talking point will be? Better do that.

    And I bet that soldier needs help getting that loot out of Iraq? Check your email! Before you miss out!!

    That’s more like it, all is right with the world.

  14. By the latest polls, I’d say 2/3 of the electorate would call Bush Mr. Danger.

  15. Noam “Hero of Sophmores Everywhere” Chomsky likes him, and he’s a noted autocrat-snuggler.

    Eyeballs still absorbing coffee automagically translated that to “acrobat smuggler.”

  16. Uh, Nick, the Dixie Chicks band member’s name is spelled “Natalie Maines”: http://www.dixiechicks.com/press_release.asp

  17. Dear RS SR:

    Thanks. Errors corrected.

  18. This reminds me of the old joke about World War II. This soldier complained that he had not killed any Japanese, so his commander says “When you go out, yell, ‘to Hell with Hirohito’ and when someone responds, shoot him.”

    The next day the soldier is more despondent. “Didn’t you do what I say?” “Yes” “So?” “So he yelled back ‘to Hell with Roosevelt’ and I could not shoot a fellow Republican.”

    No matter who called Bush a drunken Mr. Danger, you will find more and more Americans today who agree with him.

  19. Right at this very moment Bush is hangin’ with Mr. Cheney smirking and mugging, saying, “Mr. Danger…like it…like it…damn straight…Mr. Danger…can we get some t-shirts made up? You can have one too….’I’m with Mr. Danger’…hehehe”

    While Cheney mumbles under his breath “He’s Mr. Danger? What do you have to do to get a hard-ass knickname, shoot somebody?!”

  20. *to james bond theme*

    Mr. Danger,
    he’s the man who’s name you’d love to touch!
    But you mustn’t touch!
    His name sounds good in your ear, but when you say it, you mustn’t fear!
    Cause his name can be said by anyone!

  21. He looks like he’s listening to Saturday Night Fever.

    I wish I were.

  22. “Alcoholic Mr. Danger” is already taken.

    By Ted “Chappaquiddick” Kennedy.

  23. Nick and Albo – the people of Venezuela have spoken loud and clear. Do you hear them?

    JMJ

  24. JMJ – do you? There are a lot of “the people of Venezuela” who are saying they don’t like him, but their protests are now illegal.

    Are you a big fan of every President-for Life who uses force to disperse demonstrations, violates free speech, and impoverishes his country, or just the leftist ones?

  25. C’mon R C Dean, be nice…

    It’s mean to force a lefty to acknowledge that one of “their own” could be a jerk. I mean, we all know that intentions count more than actions, right?

  26. RCD,

    There is only a small minority of hardcore detractors and most all of them are white Euro rich people who are the cause of all the woes of the common people of that country. I don’t think his media rules are out of line at all. In fact, they’ve been a boon for native artists. As for impovershing hius country – that’s just stupid. No he’s not. He’s avoiding just that, in fact, by ignoring American hegemony. We have never done one single good thing for the people of South America. Ever.

    Voltaire once said, “the best one could hope for in the way of good government is a good king.” Now, that’s a dated concept in the First World, but not in the Third – just ask your average Iraqi.

    Representative Democracy is a symptom of advanced nationhood – it’s not a cause.

    JMJ

  27. “There is only a small minority of hardcore detractors and most all of them are white Euro rich people who are the cause of all the woes of the common people of that country.”

    Get over yourself. “White Euro(what the fuck does this mean?) rich people” are the cause of EVERY SINGLE ONE of Venezuela’s common people’s problems? What absurd hyperbole.

    “We have never done one single good thing for the people of South America.”

    And neither have their rulers.

    Hugo may seem like a hero because he fights the american “hegemony” and “lucha por el pueblo” and all that, but if you actually take the time to look at his actions you’ll see that they’re just as repressive as any of his “right-wing” forebears. You just think that’s ok cause he’s on the “good team.”

  28. There is only a small minority of hardcore detractors and most all of them are white Euro rich people who are the cause of all the woes of the common people of that country

    you forgot to include the phrases “phallocentric hegemony” and “dialectical materialism.”

  29. “Donkey” gave it away. No Democrat would use that as an insult

  30. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Criticism_of_Hugo_Chavez

    Violations of political freedoms

    Human rights organisation Amnesty International has, as of December 2004, documented at least 14 deaths and at least 200 wounded during confrontations between anti-Ch?vez demonstrators and National Guard, police, and other security personnel in February and March 2004. Several reports of ill-treatment and torture at the hands of the Ch?vez government’s security forces have also surfaced. There are reports of slow and inadequate investigations into these abuses, which Amnesty International had attributed to the lack of police and judiciary impartiality. The organisation also has documented numerous reports of both police brutality and unlawful extrajudicial killings of criminal suspects, as well as intimidation of witnesses to the abuses. Calls by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights on the Ch?vez government to quell such threats and intimidation have also reportedly not been addressed, and Ch?vez himself has suggested that some international human rights defenders had intentions of fermenting turmoil and destabilizing the country. These allegations have been reported to result in endangering human rights defenders, including death threats.[9]
    [edit]

    Violation of freedom of expression

    The Ch?vez government has been denounced by Human Rights Watch for its passage of legislation that threatens to stifle anti-Ch?vez criticism and dissent from Venezuelan media. The statements are leveled specifically at restrictive amendments to the Venezuelan Criminal Code that criminalize insults, disrespect, and libelous remarks from the news media aimed at either the president or other government authorities. Severe punishments, including sentences of up to 40 months, are part of the so-called “Law on the Social Responsibility of Radio and Television” personally endorsed by Ch?vez.[10]
    ……..

    All for the Bolivaran revolution, hurrah.
    Now what was that again about civil libertarians being happy…

  31. Frank, many people who call themselves “civil libertarians” will not have a problem when that sort of thing is done by leftists. Nor will many self-styled “fans of democracy” mind if not-terribly-kosher things are done during elections and recalls by leftists. So, technically, he’s not lying.

    Now, the fun part will be guessing what his response will be. A reprise of damn white folks never done nothin’ good for Latin Americans, or perhaps something along the line of their Dear Leader is helping them, dammit!, or maybe the default of those are all lies/those minor problems are terribly overemphasized?

  32. “Corrupt and failed regime?”

    The people love him, he democratically came to all the changes (parliamentory and constitutional), Venezuela is more peaceful and better off than it’s been in years (maybe ever). What the heck are you talking about? And you really just write off EVERYTHING Marx had to offer because you’re not a Communist?

    How incurious. How anti-intellectual. You should not be proud of that stance. I’m not a communist by any stretch, but that doen’t mean I simply tune it all out. To do so is willful ignorance. Terrible.

    JMJ

  33. Frank – sounds like America under a dozen or so presidents… it’s unfortunate that he is pursuing these measures, but you do have to take into account the depth of instiutional corruption in Venezuela. If the American media was all run and owned by right wing sickos (think FOX on every station here…), and foreign entities were pushing in anti-Chavez propoganda everywhere else, we’d want the same thing.

    I’m not applauding this, though.

    And let this be a lesson to you libertarians out there. When you let things get out of control, don’t be surprised when an authoritarian has to clean things up. Chavez didn’t happen in a vacuum. He is the consequence of the horrific mishandling of the Venezuelans that makes his authoritarian regime seem like a libertarian utopia in comparison.

    JMJ

  34. And let this be a lesson to you libertarians out there. When you let things get out of control, don’t be surprised when an authoritarian has to clean things up.

    OK, I call foul. That’s just too blatantly self-parodic – especially implicitly blaming libertarians for Venezualan problems. This has to be one of the regulars here having a gag. Who’ll fess up?

  35. I find myself thinking it really wouldn’t be a terrible thing if some intelligent, sincere leftists showed up here. Actual leftists, not just aggrieved liberals annoyed that everyone here doesn’t vote (D). Preferably ones who could string relevant thoughts together and avoid calling everyone corporatist stormtroopers…

    At the very least, it might keep some discussions out of the partisan wankery trap they tend to fall into.

  36. You can Google me if you like. I’m a progressive who’s been out there for many years under the same name. The point I am making is that you reap what you sow. Chavez, like Castro, is a product of the frustration of the peoples of their respective countries with the failed and abused capitalistic policies imposed by America and Europe.

    JMJ

  37. Dude, that’s not cool to use a real person’s name for that sort of thing. Someone might really think it was that guy.

  38. My parody of Jersey McJones, 80 years earlier:

    Well of course Comrade Lenin has to implement the Checka! He’s just only cleaning up the mess left to him by the Tsars who were so much worse than he was.

    My parody of Jersey McJones, 70 years earlier:

    Well of course Comrade Stalin has to destroy the kulaks! He’s just only cleaning up the mess caused by their bougeousie intransigence.

    My parody of Jersey McJones, 70 years earlier:

    Well of course Comrade Stalin has to destroy the kulaks! He’s just only cleaning up the mess caused by their bougeousie intransigence.

    My parody of Jersey McJones, 50 years earlier:

    Well of course Castro and Guevara have to close down churches, create concentration camps, and summarily execute people. They’re only cleaning up the mess caused by Bastista. Oh, and it was VERY necessary for him to throw the fags in jail, I mean, their fags, duh!

    My parody of Jersey McJones, now if he was a rabid-Bush supporter:

    Well of course Bush has to circumvent FISA and tap our phones without a warrant! He’s fighting Al Qaeda! Al QAEDA! We’re at war, man!

    ….

    As usual, the quickest way for a supporter of authoritarians to justify the crap down in their name is to just shift focus on another target (American presidents) and then blame the actions on their predecessors.
    But then again, who am I to judge the wonders of the Bolivaran revolution? Viva Chavez!

  39. “And you really just write off EVERYTHING Marx had to offer because you’re not a Communist?”

    No, I write off everything Marx had to offer because his entire theory of economics is untenable.

    Duh.

  40. Oh yeah, Chavez can only carry out his revolution because gas prices are high. My old governor, Edwin Edwards did the same thing in the 70’s, tax the oil companies to hell and then ramp up social services. Worked out fine until the oil industry tanked because of the drop in oil prices in the 80’s.

    So, Chavez programs (IMAO) will fail because he’s basing it all on what he can squeeze out Venezuala’s oil industry and will crash once gas prices fall. Viva Chavez

  41. Eric, what the heck does that mean??? I am Jersey McJones!

    Frank, I’m trying to speak objectively. I don’t personally support any of those things. In the real world, though, things happen. In the comic-bookish ideological world of the libertarian, clamping down on a media owned by the same junkers that once abused the Venezuelan people – leading to Chavez – becomes comparable to the Gulags or concentration camps. That’s just silly.

    JMJ

  42. As usual, the quickest way for a supporter of authoritarians to justify the crap down in their name

    The guy posting as JMJ missed a great opportunity to say “Totalitarianism, no! Authoritarianism, si!” That would have been a hoot for all five of us who saw that movie.

    (Seriously, though. Some well-meaning progressive doesn’t want to find out someone’s making a Stalin-apologist parody of him on a libertarian site. Someone should pick a fake name, is all I’m saying.)

  43. “if you actually take the time to look at his actions you’ll see that they’re just as repressive as any of his “right-wing” forebears.”

    Er, no. Chavez’s term in office has been noted for its absence of death squads, and the regular holding of scheduled, open elections. Neither of which are eblematic of the right-wing (no scare quotes necessary, thanks) strongmen in Latin American history.

    Which is not to defend everything Chavez has done. Some of it is far too authoritarian.

    But between the debunked “firing into crowds” footage that got hurled around the internet, and the State Department’s support of the coup against him, I treat any such accusations with a high level of skepticism. We know, for a fact, that people with political and financial interests in his overthow are lying about his record, and should take such criticism with a grain of salt.

    Also, I’d like to note that, if a Middle Easter country had the political and human rights record of Hugo Chavez’s government over the past three years – democratic assemblies elected in free elections, Constitutions established by those assemblies, the President standing for election in free contests, with the balloting certified as clean by international monitors – the people calling him a thug on this thread would be dressing up in flight suits and naming their firstborn sons “Cheney.”

  44. Frank, if you think gas prices are going to fall, I have a lovely bridge here in NY that I’d just love to sell you.

    JMJ

  45. It’s not my actual name, Eric. I’ve just always posted and blogged with it.

    JMJ

  46. Mediageek, His entire theory of economics??? Do you have a clue what you’re saying? Hell, Marx’s predictions of economic changes were sometimes so accurate, and so far ahead of their time, he may well be remembered as a prophet one day!

    JMJ

  47. It’s not my actual name, Eric. I’ve just always posted and blogged with it.

    And if someone went on left-wing blogs and posted wildly ridiculous strawman right-wing/randroid/whatever posts under the nickname I use here, I’d be irritated. I’m not saying it’s a big deal – hey, maybe the guy got on your nerves, I sympathize – just show the guy some courtesy. Be the bigger man.

    (More practically, it’ll prevent the annoyance of a one of those link-invasions of a dozen annoyed leftists thinking we’re all Republicans.)

  48. “Also, I’d like to note that, if a Middle Easter country had the political and human rights record of Hugo Chavez’s government over the past three years – democratic assemblies elected in free elections, Constitutions established by those assemblies, the President standing for election in free contests, with the balloting certified as clean by international monitors – the people calling him a thug on this thread would be dressing up in flight suits and naming their firstborn sons “Cheney.””

    You’re comparing apples and oranges, Joe. Venezuela is not in the Middle East. It has been light-years beyond the arabs/muslims for centuries. We can’t hold Venezuela to the same (extremely low) standards that we have to hold the arabs/muslims to.

  49. JMJ,

    No, I’m just ridiculing your former stance that Hugo Chavez was good for civil liberties, and once a simple check from Wikipedia proved that…untenable, you then say the usual, “You can’t make an omlette without breaking a few eggs” routine favored by apologists for authoritarianism everywhere. Your “objective” standards ring hollow when you automatically switch from calling Hugo Chavez a friend of civil liberties and then say it’s just fine and dandy about how his solution for this:
    The statements are leveled specifically at restrictive amendments to the Venezuelan Criminal Code that criminalize insults, disrespect, and libelous remarks from the news media aimed at either the president or other government authorities. Severe punishments, including sentences of up to 40 months, are part of the so-called “Law on the Social Responsibility of Radio and Television” personally endorsed by Ch?vez.[10]

    Oh yeah, and where does corruption and right-wing antagonism need this:
    Several reports of ill-treatment and torture at the hands of the Ch?vez government’s security forces have also surfaced. There are reports of slow and inadequate investigations into these abuses, which Amnesty International had attributed to the lack of police and judiciary impartiality. The organisation also has documented numerous reports of both police brutality and unlawful extrajudicial killings of criminal suspects, as well as intimidation of witnesses to the abuses.

    Look, Fox is full of tools, but I don’t recall Bush needing to shut down Air America or torturing Arianna Huffington in order to fight terrorism.
    Once you admit to yourself have a hard-on for left-wing authoritarianism it will be a lot easier for you to realize how much of suck-up you are for Chavez.

  50. We can’t hold Venezuela to the same (extremely low) standards that we have to hold the arabs/muslims to.

    Well, Venezuela also hasn’t been heavily bombed or invaded. Nor is it undergoing civil war/insurrection/whatever one wants to call it. A reasonably stable country in peacetime that’s a major exporter of a seriously in-demand good like oil is rather different from a war-torn society.

  51. JMJ,
    I’ll buy that bridge because he’s basing his whole revolution on the temporary price of oil, and that’s really going to screw all the poor people who depend on his oil largesse, such a great way to found a revolution on solid ground.
    If countries around the world start majorly harvesting oil tar/sands, start a major switch to hybrids, find better oil efficiencies, then we just might see the same swing back to lowered prices that happened in the 80’s.
    Therefore, the foundation of the Bolivaran revolution is based on sand, and when the tide changes, a lot of people that were supposed to be helped will be on the street begging just like my home state.

    joe,
    As much as I am loathe to admit it, you got a point about people and Chavez. He is not El Supremo Presidente like many South American rulers have been, and many who call him an outright dictator is untrue.
    Nonetheless, he’s an authoritarian ass, and it’s justified to call him out on his bs when the rest of South America is changing it’s economy through democratic means (via Kirchner or Lula) rather than Presidentail fiat.

  52. your former stance that Hugo Chavez was good for civil liberties

    Actually, he said, “Well, civil libertarians should be happy, anyway.” Then down the page, he doesn’t even object to likening Chavez’s actions to Stalin’s, just says, “I don’t personally support any of those things. In the real world, though, things happen.”

    Please. Game over. You might get some guy who’ll say both things at different times, but you won’t get somebody who says both so easily in the same argument.

  53. Let me revise my last statement.
    Chavez is getting his legislature to pass his needs, but the same thing happened during Huey Long, and that bastard would’ve been a true dictator of Louisiana if Carl Weiss hadn’t “assasinated” him (there’s been rumors that it was acutally one of the richocheted bullets of Long’s bodyguards that were aimed at Weiss that hit Long).
    It still doesn’t matter if there is corruption and a nation full of Fox News, there no reason to pass laws against…insult, I mean WTF!

  54. The people love him, he democratically came to all the changes (parliamentory and constitutional), Venezuela is more peaceful and better off than it’s been in years (maybe ever).

    He democratically came to power 6 years after attempting a coup. And history is littered with the corpses of failed messiah’s who get into power democratically promising fairness and change, and then morph into authoritarians caricatures: Kwame Nkruma, Robert Mugabe, Alexander Lukashenko…

  55. I actually missed that, DeM. One minute, “JMJ” is hyping how “democratic” Chavez is, the next he’s talking about how the best anyone in the third world can hope for is a “good king”. That’s a textbook right-wing parody of a leftist.

  56. Eric the .5b,

    That’s pretty good right there.
    I can just see Jersey just shaking his/her head at us “just not getting it.”

    As for Marx, I’d rather get my left-wing criticism of capitalism from Prodhoun or the American individualist anarchists. At least they didn’t believe in that wonderful notion of the dictatorship of the proletariat…

  57. “Mediageek, His entire theory of economics??? Do you have a clue what you’re saying? Hell, Marx’s predictions of economic changes were sometimes so accurate, and so far ahead of their time, he may well be remembered as a prophet one day!”

    Right.

    Evidently somebody needs to put down the bong and step off of campus and into the real world.

  58. Eric, you completely lost me. (I think you’re a little paranoid – otherwise you’re just baiting me to which I would say – nice try, kid.) Look, I’m not a big Socrates head. I see things as paradoxical – as both good and bad, right and wrong. Gray. I call that “realism.” [Emphasis added]

    The “kid” was a nice touch. But, OK. I won’t hassle you about your schtick, it’s your business – but don’t blame me when this guy and his friends show up and throw a fit and people here get pissed at you.

    (As for paranoid, I do think that more applies to the “everyone left of Milton Friedman secretly lusts for Stalinism” subtext of your posts. Believe it or not there are real, outright Communists who’d despise some guy making gotta-break-some-eggs/it’s-not-all-black-and-white excuses for left-wing thugs. I count one as a friend and think highly of him. He’d roll his eyes at anyone trying to call Marx a “prophet” – straight face or not. I’m not saying Communism is remotely right, I’m just saying it – and other left-wing schools of thought – don’t brainwash people into Stalin-droids.)

  59. (Heck, if I didn’t think he’d get bored and be rudely treated by some people here, I’d invite Rob here just to get a real leftist voice in on some of these discussions.)

  60. JMJ, that is a fallacy. You’re assuming that demand is going to remain static. I direct your attention to this chart tracking the price of oil for the last 100 years, adjusted to 2005 dollars. You’ll notice that after the peak of 1981, (which dwarfs the post-katrina peak) prices plummeted.

    As an aside, oil reached an all-time high of $100/barrel in 1861. I didn’t realise SUV driving soccer moms existed back then.

    <offTopic>
    Does anyone know of a spellchecker for FireFox 1.5? Seems that Spellbound doesn’t work with that version.
    </offTopic>

  61. Eric1/2Bee

    While I agree that JMJ is making less than a stellar showing in his arguments here, it is important to understand that he sounds much like you do (and I mean you, not the board) when you argue for your own point of view (rather than against someone elses). It is hard to see one’s own biases clearly enough to recognize them.

    JMJ is clearly not a communist.

    As for the Marx and economics thing: Libertarians and Communists hold essentially the same world view, they just disagree on the moral values of various solutions. This is why they hate each other so much. When you boil the world down to economics, then economic solutions solve the problems. Libertarians and Communists disagree on how to get to the economic solutions… it is like matter and anti-matter…

  62. “As for the Marx and economics thing: Libertarians and Communists hold essentially the same world view, they just disagree on the moral values of various solutions.”

    Say what?

  63. While I agree that JMJ is making less than a stellar showing in his arguments here, it is important to understand that he sounds much like you do (and I mean you, not the board)

    Feel free to give an example or two of my sounding like him.

  64. MGeek

    Just read further. It is a very targeted point…

    “When you boil the world down to economics…”

  65. When you boil the world down to economics, then economic solutions solve the problems.

    Why is it always the anti-libertarians who look at libertarianism and somehow can’t find anything to talk about but economics – and yet folks like you are the ones making this reductionist claim?

  66. There is only a small minority of hardcore detractors and most all of them are white Euro rich people who are the cause of all the woes of the common people of that country. I don’t think his media rules are out of line at all. In fact, they’ve been a boon for native artists. As for impovershing hius country – that’s just stupid. No he’s not.

    Mwuhhh… huh… what?

    Yes, Chavez is popular – to a certain extent. But he’s not a universally beloved figure like Castro; he’s more like Bush, in that he has a vocal base but an equally large and equally ardent group of detractors. They might even be equally vocal if they weren’t afraid of being killed by the National Guard.

    I’ve been to Venezuela 3 times in the last 4 years or so, and my friends and contacts there are pretty average, middle-class, politically-centrist folks, neither strongly for or against Chavez (and not white, since that seems to be a major character flaw in your book). Or at least until my last visit. I was there at the end of November, days before a parliamentary election. I would describe the prevailing mood as paranoid and pessimistic. I can’t recall speaking with anyone who wasn’t certain that the elections would be rigged in favor of Chavez’s party. There were long lines at gas stations and the grocery stores were packed with people stocking up on food – everyone was planning to stay home all weekend in case the National Guard got a little strong-armed in putting down protests. I heard the same thing over and over again: Chavez and his cronies are stealing from the country while running it into the ground. A couple of my friends were firmly convinced that the economy will collapse within the next year.

    Sure, Chavez has a few token populist gestures that reinforce his claims of fighting for the little guy, but that doesn’t offset all the damage to the economy that he’s wrought, which has hit the poor hardest of all. The poverty level is up. Inflation is still running at 15-20% annually and the official exchange rate remains fixed at a laughable 2150 (the black-market rate is closer to 3000). Restrictions on currency exchange just keep getting tighter, locking people’s meager savings in an artifically overvalued currency (and it’s widely speculated that most of those outlawed dollars are going straight into Chavez’s pocket). Crime is rampant. The shantytowns keep expanding out into the countryside. Even the middle class can’t afford housing anymore; a crummy 1 bedroom apartment goes for over $1000 a month (thanks to the currency exchange restrictions) while the average middle class couple would be lucky to make half that.

    It sort of takes the joy out of all that gas for 20 cents a gallon, doesn’t it?

  67. A couple of my friends were firmly convinced that the economy will collapse within the next year.

    But when that happens and/or Chavez starts getting 100% support at polls that even international observers won’t certify, it’ll somehow be the fault of “capitalism” or the United States.

  68. Eric,

    I didn’t call Marx a “prophet,” I was only saying that some people may one day as his predictions were often quite accurate, never mind his genius at forming early sociological and political theory. I’m the same Jersey McJones from Team Bio and Hannity et al. If you read my stuff, you’d know that. Google me and stop looking like such a poor judge of character. I am not a pigeon toe-able liberal. I’m not a Dem. I consider myself a practical progressive. That’s it.

    Deux,

    “JMJ, that is a fallacy. You’re assuming that demand is going to remain static. I direct your attention to this chart tracking the price of oil for the last 100 years, adjusted to 2005 dollars. You’ll notice that after the peak of 1981, (which dwarfs the post-katrina peak) prices plummeted.”

    Do you know what the industrial output of India and China were 25 years ago? Do you know what they are now?

    Oil is a relatively finite commodity (that is to say that it does not naturally replenish at nearly the rate it is consumed). I’m afraid you are not following me here. Do you really think that oil priced will one day plummet again? Did you know the Saudis are already pumping sea water into their wells to get the oil out? There are renewable resources and there are not. You are forgetting to add that to the equation.

    Mainstream,

    “As for the Marx and economics thing: Libertarians and Communists hold essentially the same world view, they just disagree on the moral values of various solutions. This is why they hate each other so much. When you boil the world down to economics, then economic solutions solve the problems. Libertarians and Communists disagree on how to get to the economic solutions… it is like matter and anti-matter…”

    Libertarians are fatalistic optimists. Communists are abusive pessimists. (Objectivists are lunatics – the Scientologists of political thought, if you will). That’s a pretty big difference in outlooks. Both, however, tend to be extremely idealistic and unrealistic. That said, I wouldn’t want to live in either of their ideal worlds.

    JMJ

  69. Arepas

    “Yes, Chavez is popular – to a certain extent. But he’s not a universally beloved figure like Castro; he’s more like Bush, in that he has a vocal base but an equally large and equally ardent group of detractors”

    No, Chavez is extemely popular. Read about it so that you don’t look foolish.

    JMJ

  70. maybe Jersey is Hakluyt, just having a laugh with you guys. the reading assignment is a dead giveaway 🙂

  71. I am not a pigeon toe-able liberal. I’m not a Dem.

    Never said you were – or that you were pretending to be – either of those.

    [Said to someone who actually spends time in Venezuela and associates with Venezuelans]
    No, Chavez is extemely popular. Read about it so that you don’t look foolish.

    I’ve given you a hard time, but kudos. That’s gold, man.

  72. the reading assignment is a dead giveaway

    The syntax is rather different from Hak’s, but you have a point.

  73. But anyway, I said I wouldn’t rag on you about the schtick, JMJ, and I won’t anymore.

  74. There’s actually plenty of oil left in the world, just not in the most easily accessible areas. What is ending is the era of putting up a couple of derricks in the middle of a desert. Future sources will more likely be in the middle of an ocean, and in the oil sands in Alberta. While relatively expensive to extract now, rising demand will make these processes more cost effective. And that’s not taking into account some of the more futuristic fuel sources like biodisel, ethanol and hydrogen fuel cells, which are probably a decade or two away from implementation.

    Also, a resolution to the Iran crisis, a withdrawal from Iraq, a lower than normal hurricane season, and an improvement in the political situation in Nigeria all could have an impact on the future price of oil.

  75. “I am not a pigeon toe-able liberal. I’m not a Dem. I consider myself a practical progressive. That’s it.”

    A commie by any other name would still just as happily execute a free man.

  76. .5B

    RE: Why is it always the anti-libertarians who look at libertarianism and somehow can’t find anything to talk about but economics – and yet folks like you are the ones making this reductionist claim?

    Maybe because it is a central tenent…From http://www.libertarianism.org/

    “In fact, the ownership of property is a necessary implication of self-ownership because all human action takes place over property.”

  77. So? Like many libertarians, I’ll happily agree that property and other economic rights are human rights/natural rights/whatever one wants to call them, but that doesn’t reduce libertarianism to economics or even concerns about economic rights. It just shows how narrow your criticism is.

  78. It’s really not even a criticism, unless one wants to dispute the tenets of self-ownership or property rights.

  79. I mean his reductionist criticism of libertarianism as being about only economics, mediageek.

  80. “ALL human action takes place over property”
    This statement reduces, not me.
    But…

    Was not actually a criticism at all.
    It was an observation of the parallels between C and L.

  81. For further mischaracterization…

    “Why is it always the anti-libertarians”

    You assume that because I find a parallel between C and L, that I am anti-libertarian…

  82. “ALL human action takes place over property”

    Again, so? You’re not arguing with Boaz, you’re claiming the primacy of economics as a “tenet of libertarianism”. Neither Boaz, nor the Objectivists, nor the Libertarian Party, get to define libertarianism for all the other libertarians.

    If you want to ignore the focus on civil liberties (or, hell, liberty in general), minimal government, etc. and say it’s all about the benjamins, why not go natter to someone like Boaz who actually believes something vaguely like that?

  83. For further mischaracterization…

    “Why is it always the anti-libertarians”

    You assume that because I find a parallel between C and L, that I am anti-libertarian…

    Please. The only thing you post here are lame, sardonic attacks on libertarianism. You don’t present your own ideas, you just harp on how libertarians are wrong and unable to gain the sympathy of “the mainstream”. Even obsessives like M1EK or AmazingDRX will actually express ideas and make arguments beyond you’re wrong and people like me, whoever they are, will never go for your ideas.

    That is kind of unique, I’ll grant that.

    (Well, OK, only M1EK made passably coherent arguments, but AmazingDRX seems to have a POV.)

  84. OK, .5b,
    Fair enough. Libertarians are as heterogenous as any other political group. I wouldn’t deny that.

    You bring up civil liberties and minimal government.

    Ask yourself why minimal government?
    I rarely see it couched in non-economic terms.

    Civil liberty (aka rights)… a big topic. Let’s pick a commonly discussed subtopic… do I have a right to healthcare if I can’t pay?
    Why not?

    Most libertarians would say that it is because it requires someone else to provide that service to me without compensation (or for compensation to be “stolen” via taxes), an economic argument.

  85. Fair enough. Libertarians are as heterogenous as any other political group. I wouldn’t deny that.

    Aside from talking about the “tenets of libertarianism” as if we all recited a Boaz essay before bed each night…

    Ask yourself why minimal government?

    Because the more government there is, the more it interferes with our lives and the more likely it is to harm us in some way.

    I rarely see it couched in non-economic terms.

    Then you’re not simply not looking, you’re closing your eyes, covering your ears, and saying “La la la, I can’t hear you.”

    Civil liberty (aka rights)… a big topic. Let’s pick a commonly discussed subtopic… do I have a right to healthcare if I can’t pay?

    Cute. You see, this is why I know you’re not someone making a parody of “the mainstream”, but not sincere in anything but mocking libertarians. Who on Earth segues from civil liberties to “should I be able to get something if I can’t pay” with a straight face?

    More to the point, you set up a question of what should be done when someone can’t pay, an economic question, so you can criticize any response as economic.

    But hey, why not go with that?

    Most libertarians would say that it is because it requires someone else to provide that service to me without compensation

    So, the only people who’d oppose forcing people to do work for free are those obsessed with economic rights. Well, true, I remember reading all those stirring abolitionist speeches about the greater efficiency of free labor and the property rights of slaves, but I seem to remember other concerns being mentioned. …Ehn, it’s been a few years, probably why I forgot.

  86. “The only thing you post here are lame, sardonic attacks on libertarianism.”

    I have been engaged in many (variously successful) interchanges on these boards. My ideas have been pretty clearly stated… I think libertarianism is one of many political viewpoints that needs to be more integrated in mainstream political thought. If that is to happen, libertarians will need to build coalitions with other parties.

    Solutions to any problem, let alone all problems, will result from a hybrid position that balances libertarian concerns with communists, greens, labor, pragmatists and others (I would be a political pluralist).

    I think your (leftist) friend should be invited to comment on the boards, but you are right others would attack him. A better strategy might be to have him right an article for comment.

    I do get sarcastic with those that feel they need to attack alternative positions as if they were motivated by malice…And I do make fun of extreme positions based on paranoid fantasies about the ultimate aims of “statists.” But you would never do anything like that so I am sure it offends you. You always have something positive to contribute ;~]

  87. I have been engaged in many (variously successful) interchanges on these boards. My ideas have been pretty clearly stated… I think libertarianism is one of many political viewpoints that needs to be more integrated in mainstream political thought. If that is to happen, libertarians will need to build coalitions with other parties.

    Keep it up, and if I come across some of those, I’ll start to take you seriously.

    I do get sarcastic with those that feel they need to attack alternative positions as if they were motivated by malice

    That makes two of us, as it happens. 🙂

    But you would never do anything like that so I am sure it offends you. You always have something positive to contribute

    Not always, but at the very least, I’ll actually argue an idea or a position of my own instead of attacking others and demanding they accomodate everyone who fundamentally disagrees with them.

  88. While I agree that JMJ is making less than a stellar showing in his arguments here, it is important to understand that he sounds much like you do (and I mean you, not the board)

    Incidentally, I’m still curious as to whether you’ll come up with anything to try to justify that claim. 🙂

  89. .5b

    I never once asked for accomodations.
    I have a very nice place to live.

  90. Incidentally, I’m still curious as to whether you’ll come up with anything to try to justify that claim. 🙂

    It comes from the fact that I thought JMJ was just you doing a parody when his posts first started popping up. Something about the tone. Nothing more specific…

  91. I never once asked for accomodations. I have a very nice place to live.

    OK, that was funny.

    I thought JMJ was just you doing a parody when his posts first started popping up

    If you’re at all still under that impression – no. In all dead seriousness, I am not JMJ and I don’t know who JMJ is. That sort of parody is very common here (though usually even more broad and blatant, aside from the Institude for Clumsy Sarcasm guy), and I’ve never been very fond of it.

  92. What was this thread about? Insoles or something?

    Right, Hugo Chavez.

    Can everyone agree that the best possible outcome is for Chavez to be voted out of office in the next election or the one after that, and for there to be a peaceful transition of power?

  93. Yup, that would be wonderful.
    Question is, if he does lose the next election will Hugo let go to all that power he has amassed and all the projects he has built? Given his strong-man proclivities, I’m very doubtful of that.

    Also, just to cap the whole Chavez discussion, here’s Alvaro Varagas Llosa on why the Left should not like Chavez [url=http://www.independent.org/newsroom/article.asp?id=1678]here[/url]

    Why The Left Should Cringe at the Mention of Hugo Ch?vez
    February 27, 2006
    Alvaro Vargas Llosa
    Investor’s Business Daily

    1. CH?VEZ MAKES WAR, NOT LOVE. The left has repeatedly condemned the right for being militaristic. It has pressed for disarmament in the region, deeming it immoral that resources should be used to buy weapons when so many people are hungry. Hugo Ch?vez has started the biggest arms build-up in Latin America in a long time. He is buying $2 billion plus worth of Mi-17 and Mi-35 helicopters, Mig-29 fighters, C-295 transport planes, patrol ships, and corvettes. He has knocked every door, from Brazil to Spain, from Russia to China, lusting for weapons.

    2. CH?VEZ IS A HEAVY PRIVATIZER. The left has denounced the right for wanting to privatize the state. Hugo Ch?vez has undertaken the biggest privatization to date in Latin America by expanding the number of military reservists from 90,000 to one million. These reservists are not answerable to the army?s hierarchy. In effect, Ch?vez has created a private militia that serves him directly. Let us not forget that a number of killings by pro-Ch?vez snipers have taken place over the years (most notably the murder of seventeen protesters in April 2002).

    3. CH?VEZ CAN?T HAVE ENOUGH OF U.S. BUSINESS. The left thinks the U.S. economy thrives at the expense of the world?s poorer economies, including those of Latin America. It should be outraged at the fact that Ch?vez venerates the U.S. economy to the point of providing it with 1.5 million barrels of oil per day, the equivalent of 60 percent of his oil exports, which in turn represent 80 percent of the nation?s total exports. He has not made the slightest attempt to make good on the promise to start substituting China for the U.S. as an oil trade partner because he knows that the cost of transporting it to China is simply too expensive and that the Panama pipeline through which he would need to take it in order to deliver it to the Pacific is already busy taking oil from other countries in the opposite direction!

    4. CH?VEZ WANTS TO BECOME A WORLD BANK. Few causes have impassioned the left more in the last few decades than the foreign debt of underdeveloped nations, which is attributed to a conspiracy on the part of big banks and their government backers. Ch?vez is fast becoming a creditor to many Latin American nations by buying their sovereign bonds (which are issued only after he offers to buy them). He has become an IMF and a World Bank unto himself. Argentina and Ecuador combined owe him a bit less than $2 billion so far.

    5. CH?VEZ POLLUTES THE ENVIRONMENT. The left has denounced industrial capitalism as an assault on the environment and has called time and again for the replacement of oil as a primary source of energy because of its polluting effects. But Ch?vez?s government owns scores of refineries and cashes in big time on the processing of his sulphur-heavy crude. In the U.S. alone, Citgo, the affiliate of Venezuela?s state oil concern, owns eight refineries and pays Ch?vez almost $500 million a year in dividends!

    6. CH?VEZ ADOPTS THE PINOCHET LINE ON THE FREEDOM OF THE PRESS. The left has rightly condemned Pinochet?s treatment of the Chilean press during his 16-year dictatorship. Ch?vez has passed a Law of Social Responsibility in Radio and Television that Human Rights Watch, the organization usually touted by the left when it wants to give weight to its criticism of press censorship under right-wing governments, has called ?a recipe for self-censorship.?

    7. CH?VEZ HAS INCREASED POVERTY. The left has criticized the 1990s as a decade in which ?neoliberalism? (meaning free-market policies) failed to reduce poverty in Latin America. Poverty in Venezuela is still above the 1998 level?the year Ch?vez was elected president. In the first five years, poverty increased by 10 percent according to the government body that puts out statistics. (By the time Ch?vez realized the information had been posted it was too late!) In the past two years, even though the economy has grown because of astronomical oil prices and a rebound effect, poverty has been only slightly reduced and the overall figure is still above the 1998 mark.

    8. CH?VEZ INVITES FOREIGN DOMINATION. The left has traditionally been nationalistic in Latin America, decrying the military, political or economic presence of foreign powers (Spain?s and Portugal?s in colonial times, Britain?s in the 19th century, that of the U.S. in the 20th century). There are between 30,000 and 50,000 Cuban advisors in Venezuela, helping with everything from building up the intelligence system to lending ?social? services in the government-funded ?missions? (one of them, ?Misi?n Barrio Adentro?, is entirely handled by Cubans). That?s between one fifth and one third of the number of U.S. soldiers in Iraq!

    9. CH?VEZ SENDS MONEY ABROAD THAT IS NEEDED AT HOME. For years the left has vehemently decried the remittances sent home by foreign investors in Latin America with the argument that the proceeds of Latin America?s resources should be kept at home. A few weeks ago, just as Venezuelans were shocked to discover that the highway linking the country?s main airport to Caracas had collapsed, Ch?vez announced he would give Bolivia 200,000 barrels of diesel oil per month to help Evo Morales.
    Alvaro Vargas Llosa is a Senior Fellow and director of The Center on Global Prosperity at the Independent Institute. He is the author of Liberty for Latin America.
    ………..
    Make of the article what you will, but change the name of Chavez with another Right-wing strongman who does the same sort of Bismarkian paternalist social programs with the anti-foreigner rhetoric/action and you’d see progressives of all stripes condemning him as a crypto-fascist.

  94. Frank A,

    I am not completely confident that Chavez would exit the stage gracefully, either.

    That is one reason why it is so frustrating to see our government on the side of coup plotters who tried to overthrow his legitimately-elected ass: had we treated his office with the respect due ot a legitimate, democratically-elected leader, we’d have more “hand” in calling for him to step down when the time comes. Now, if we even make noises in that direction, we’ve given him the perfect opportunity to sneer “Look who’s lecturing me on the democratic process.”

    Stupid, corrupt, stupid administration.

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