Wednesday, March 31, 2004
”Why would Iraq attack America or use nuclear weapons against us? I'll tell you what I think the real threat (is) and actually has been since 1990 -- it's the threat against Israel,” Zelikow told a crowd at the University of Virginia on Sep. 10, 2002, speaking on a panel of foreign policy experts assessing the impact of 9/11 and the future of the war on the al-Qaeda terrorist organisation.This was said by Philip Zelikow, executive director of the 9/11 commission! Statement was made 9/10/2002.
Tuesday, March 30, 2004
Monday, March 29, 2004
The case for war against Iraq was dealt another embarrassing blow yesterday due to claims by an American newspaper that the first-hand intelligence source on Saddam Hussein's alleged mobile bioweapons labs was a politically motivated Iraqi defector now dismissed as an "out-and-out fabricator".
Thursday, March 25, 2004
Friday, March 12, 2004
The government's top expert on Medicare costs was warned that he would be fired if he told key lawmakers about a series of Bush administration cost estimates that could have torpedoed congressional passage of the White House-backed Medicare prescription-drug plan.
Tuesday, March 09, 2004
Tuesday, March 02, 2004
I just feel compelled to show this picture of a massive pro-Chavez demonstration that happened in Caracas on Sunday. Wow.
Like the situation in Haiti, the Venezuelan mess is complex.
The sides are, however, bluntly discernable. Most people who talk about it are strongly partisan, speaking with almost cold-war rhetoric ("They're evil autocratic socialists!" or "They're evil corporate, capitalist imperialists!")
There was long a piece about Chavez in the Sept 10 2001 New Yorker that showed him to be a complex and imperfect man who truly cared about the people. His vision is greater than his reforms and he alienated the business community rather than trying to work with them.
I side with the Chavez supporters, but not blindly or idealistically.
The US media is clearly biased against him. Check out this rebuttle of many of the 25 editorials the Washington Post has written about Venezuela since 1999, which are strongly titled against Chavez. I found it quite eye-opening. I only buy into about 70% of the examples (I do for example think that Chavez' party has consolidated power to an extent that makes me uncomfortable, although the constitution was changed by a congress that was fairly elected according to monitors, this piece says). But while this rebuttle must be read as an unabashedly partisan document, it is also thorough and shows the Post editorial board contradicting it's papers own news articles, repeatedly making unsubstantiated and inaccurate claims, and sometimes out and out lying. This piece makes lot of the standard charges against Chavez look questionable, and sometimes baseless. Importantly, there's no grounds to say that Chavez has killed the Venezuelan economy. The most damaging thing to the economy in the past years is when Chavez' business opponenents organized strikes and lock-outs to shut-down the oil industry.
As far as the current referendum controversy goes, I'm not taking sides. I think both Chavez and the opposition are playing politics and it reminds me of Florida chad. In my opinion, there probably was a lot of fraud in obtaining the signatures, but is it enough to discount 1 million out of 2.4 million (the totals are something like that)? Shouldn't the opposition be given more than *five days* to have citizens revalidate their signatures. (This is a little bit less crazy than it sounds, because printouts of the rolls are being provided locally... the manpower is supposedly there). And I don't know how well to trust the voting commission.
But on the subject of US intervention, it's documented that the United States has, in the name of "democracy", funded organizations working to oust Chavez. These include an organization involved in obtaining the signatures to remove Chavez, and some of the organizers of the oil shutdown in 2002.
For an "opposition" viewpoint which is at least a little bit nuanced, check out caracaschronicles.blogspot.com. It is written by a former New York Times contributer who left the paper after his partisan blog was outed and who said he couldn't be unbiased when his country was in such turmoil.
STUFF I'VE WRITTEN OR BLOGGED ABOUT BEFORE:
Oil Strike that wasn't a strike:
Media Revolution Article
Shoddy Media Coverage of Venezuela:
Brad Carlton articles