Progressive Calendar 06.08.06
From: David Shove (shove001tc.umn.edu)
Date: Thu, 8 Jun 2006 05:02:16 -0700 (PDT)
             P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R    06.08.06

1. StP 2007 budget   6.08 7pm

2. Schultz/950AM     6.09 5pm
3. Alt to violence   6.09-11 6pm
4. Crash/race/film   6.09 6pm
5. GPSP CC           6.09 6:30pm
6. Swede/Greek films 6.09 7pm
7. Gore/warming/film 6.09
8. LWV national      6.09-13

9. PRT/Bakken        6.10 10am
10. Nicaragua        6.10 10am
11. Alt to military  6.10 10:30am
12. Mothers walk     6.10 11am
13. China            6.10 1pm
14. YAWR             6.10 2:30pm
15. Candidate sings  6.10 5pm
16. Democracy/film   6.10 7pm
17. Rwandan music    6.10 7:30pm
18. Holocaust conf   6.10-13

19. Kristen Olson     - Green Party MN endorsements
20. Danene Provencher - Signatures required for GP ballot access
21. Dave Edwards      - Ridiculing Chavez - Part 1
22. Dave Edwards      - Ridiculing Chavez - Part 2
23. Larry Hales       - Video games push anti-Chavez propaganda

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From: Rosa Maria de la Cueva Peterson <rmdelacp [at] umn.edu>
Subject: StP 2007 budget 6.08 7pm

[If interested, please SAVE this message. It will not be reprinted here]

Mayor Coleman Unveils Public Engagement Campaign to Educate and Gather
Feedback on 2007 Budget Options

First of all thanks to those responsible at the Mayor's office for all the
work and thought that has gone into getting feedback from the community on
this matter, and for Bob Hume for letting us know about it providing links
to the "budget cruncher." This is a good step to help all of us to
understand the complexities and tough choices that need to be made to
balance the budget. I hope that Mayor Coleman himself gets the opportunity
to be in part of most of the meetings scheduled.

Bob Spaulding said:
"I am rarely wowed by technology, and have been minding other things
lately, but I just visited the City's budget website..."

I have to agree with him, except that I was not able to successfully see
how the changes I suggested compared to the city's budget. I tried this
address <http://www.stpaul.gov/initiatives/budgetcruncher> with three
different browsers.  I am afraid I am facing a technical glitch in my
computer (Mac). I particularly enjoyed the ability to gain more
information on a specific budget line--great feature!!!

What I found as a greater handicap, though, as I played with different
numbers around was the realization that it is hard to increase or decrease
amounts without knowing what makes good fiscal policy. I know that for the
state to put the burden on cities is not, in my opinion, good policy on
the long run.  Increase on property taxes may put extra stress on already
stretched personal budgets, especially on those in lower-income brackets.
My gut feeling to reduce expenses by a certain percentage and increase
revenues by a similar amount could achieve reaching a certain common
ground, but is it good public policy? Are the taxes indicated make good
good public policy? What does St. Paul need to remain and become

My question to forum members: Are there any cities that have dealt
creatively with budget crisis in a visionary manner taking into account
the number of old people/young people/jobs/lack of jobs, etc., predicted
for a given city for the the next couple of decades. How we want St. Paul
(and the metro are for that matter) to look like in 2025 or 2050 should
have an impact on annual budgets.

For now, I have put the city's schedule for District Council Meeting
below. Mark your calendars, take a friend along that might be interested
in learning more or participating more and attend a District Council
meeting:

6/8/06 - 7:00p -District 12 - St. Anthony Rec. Center - 890 Cromwell Ave.
6/8/06 - 7:00p -District 14 - Edgecumbe Rec. Center -320 S. Griggs St.
6/8/06 - 7:00p -District 16 - Linwood Rec. Center -860 Saint Clair Ave.

6/12/06 -7:00p -District 9 - Federation Building -974 W. 7th St.
6/12/06 -7:00p -District 3 - WSCO Office -127 W. Winifred Ave.
6/12/06 -7:00p -District 4 -Dayton's Bluff Office -798 E. 7th St.

6/14/06 -7:00p -District 13- Merriam Park Comm. Center- 2000 St Anthony Av

6/20/06 -7:00p -District 6 -North Dale Rec. Center -1414 N Saint Albans St
6/20/06 -8:00p -District 11-Hamline Park -1564 LaFond Ave.

6/21/06 -7:00p -District 2 -Epworth U.M.C. -1961 Sherwood Ave.

6/26/06 -7:00p -District 1 -Conway Rec. Center - 290 Conway St.
6/26/06 -7:00p -District 13 -Skyline Tower -1247 St. Anthony Ave.

6/27/06 -6:30p -District 7 -W. Minnehaha Rec. Center -685 W. Minnehaha Av
6/27/06 -7:00p -District 8 -Hallie Q. Brown / MLK Center -270 Kent St N

7/6/06 -7:00p - District 13 -Bethel Fellowship Hall - Portland Ave.


--------2 of 23--------

From: David Schultz <dschultz [at] gw.hamline.edu>
Subject: Schultz/950AM 6.09 5pm

Fridays from 5:00 - 6:00 PM, David Schultz hosts "Minnesota Matters,"
on Air America Minnesota radio, 950 AM. Progressive discussion,
interviews, and call in.

David Schultz, Professor Hamline University Graduate School of Management
MS-A1740 1536 Hewitt Avenue St. Paul, Minnesota 55104 651.523.2858 (voice)
651.523.3098 (fax) http://davidschultz.efoliomn2.com


--------3 of 23--------

From: humanrts [at] umn.edu
Subject: Alt to violence 6.09-11 6pm

June 9 - Alternatives to Violence Workshop.  Time: 6/9 (starts 6 pm) to
6/11 (ends 6 pm).

Basic level Alternatives to Violence Workshop, which has been used to
reduce violence in Rwanda, Bosnia, Kenya and the U.S. avp [at] fnvw.org

FFI: avp [at] fnvw.org
Location: Friends for a Nonviolent World, 1050 Selby Ave, St. Paul.


--------4 of 23--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com>
Subject: Crash/race/film 6.09 6pm

Friday, 6/9, 6pm, free film "Crash" about racial and social conflicts in
L.A., Resource Center of the Americas, 3019 Minnehaha, Mpls.
www.americas.org


--------5 of 23--------

From: David Shove <shove001 [at] tc.umn.edu>
Subject: GPSP CC 6.09 6:30pm
 11.28 5pm

Green Party of St Paul
Coordination Committee (CC) meeting
5pm Sunday, 11.28
Cahoots Coffee House
Selby Av 1/2 block E of Snelling in StPaul
[Starts one hour later than usual, lasts till 6pm, then moves to event 5
below - ed]


--------6 of 23--------

From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at] visi.com>
Subject: Swede/Greek films 6.09 7pm

The Oak Street Cinema Returns ­ For Now!

As it is in Heaven
Opens Fri., June 9­13, 7 p.m. nightly, June 14-15, 9 p.m. nightly at the
Oak Street Cinema
Nominated for an Academy Award (Best Foreign Language Film), As It Is In
Heaven is the biggest box office hit in Swedish history ­ and it¹s been seen
by a million viewers in Germany to date. Voted ³Best of Fest² at
Minneapolis-St. Paul Int¹l Film Fest.

Zozo
Opens Fri., June 9­13, 9:30 p.m. nightly, June 14-15, 7 p.m. nightly
Sat. & Sun. Matinees 5 p.m. at the Oak Street Cinema
A new film set in Lebanon about a 10 year old boy forced to emigrate to
Sweden. (In Arabic, Swedish, and English subtitles.)

Touch of Spice
Opens Fri, June 9, runs though June 15 at the Bell Auditorium (17th
Street SE & University Avenue)
Show times are 7:15 and 9:15 p.m. with matinees on Sat. and Sun. at 5:15
p.m.
A new Greek movie about the love of food and sprinkled with the humor of
human foibles. Made in the tradition of' Chocolat and Like Water for
Chocolate. One of the first U.S. openings.

Contact: Vince Muzik (612-331-7563) www.mnfilmarts.org


--------7 of 23--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com>
Subject: Gore/warming/film 6.09

6/9, Al Gore's well-reviewed documentary on global warming "An
Inconvenient Truth," Uptown Theater, Mpls.  www.landmarktheatres.com


--------8 of 23--------

From: erin [at] mnwomen.org
Subject: LWV national 6.09-13

Friday, June 9 - Tuesday, June13 National League of Women Voters Convention
in Minneapolis. Hilton Minneapolis, 1001 Marquette Ave South. For more
information go to www.lwvmpls.org.


--------9 of 23--------

From: Margaret Beegle <beegle [at] louberts.com>
Subject: PRT/Bakken 6.10 10am

Every Saturday in June, Citizens for Personal Rapid Transit will have a
display at the Bakken Museum of Electricity, 3537 Zenith Avenue South,
Minneapolis. The exhibit is intended for children ages 5 to 12 and on up
to adulthood. Hours are 10am-4pm. Come learn about magnetism and the
newest developments with PRT.


--------10 of 23--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com>
Subject: Nicaragua 6.10 10am

Saturday, 6/10, 10 to 11:30 am, Carlos Rojas talks about Nicaraguan visual
art and political muralism, Resource Center of the Americas, 3019 Minnehaha,
Mpls.  www.americas.org


--------11 of 23--------

From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at] visi.com>
Subject: Alt to military 6.10 10:30am

SAT.JUNE 6:Alternatives to Military Service

Saturday, 6/10 (and 2nd Saturday of each month), 10:30 am, Coalition for
Alternatives to Military Service (or CAMS, a counter-recruitment group)
meets at Twin Cities Friends Meeting, 1725 Grand, St. Paul.  Contact Mary
at wamm [at] mtn.org


--------12 of 23--------

From: Nancy Nielsen <nancywriter [at] visi.com>
Subject: Mothers walk 6.10 11am

2006 Mothers Prayer Walk
Fairview Park 621-29th Ave North (at the corner of Lyndale and 29th Ave N)
Saturday, June 10, 11am

for more information please contact
Mary Johnson at 612-501-3512 or Michelle at 612-287-7078 or email
twomothers [at] hotmail.com

Sponsors: From Death to Life Healing Group, MAD DADS, Village Social
Services, Christ English Lutheran Church & Ascension Place


-------13 of 23--------

From: akiko tsutsui <tstskk [at] hotmail.com>
Subject: China 6.10 1pm

China Future Forum and Falun Dafa practitioner Dr. Wang Wenyi

Tienanmen Students Massacre Commemorative event by Minnesota Democratic
China foundation.

It has been forty years since Mao launched the Cultural Revolution. Where
is China now-has it undergone major changes during the past four decades?

Is China on the road to being a world superpower with a prospering
economy? Or is China's progress held back by political and religious
persecutions carried out by the Chinese Communist Party?

At this crucial time in history, China is currently at a crossroad. What
will happen in the next phase of history to China's social, political and
economic systems? Will China ever transition into a democratic country?

These issues and more will be addressed at the China Future Forum held on
June 10 at the University of Minnesota. The forum is open to the public
and all attendees are welcomed to speak and offer insight.

This event is sponsored by the Federation for a Democratic China. Featured
speakers include Ms. Wang Wenyi, who confronted Chinese president Hu
Jintao at the White House, Mr. Tao Ye, the president of Minnesota
Democratic China Foundation, and renowned commentator Zhang Tianliang.

1-5pm Saturday, 6/10
Minnesota Commons, St. Paul Student Center, U of M
2017 Buford Ave, St. Paul, MN 55108

For more information, please contact Yao Yongzhan Telephone: 952-393-9095
Email: usa_fdc [at] yaoo.com


--------14 of 23--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com>
Subject: YAWR 6.10 2:30pm

Saturday, 6/10, 2:30 pm, meeting of Youth Against War and Racism
coordinating committee,  Resource Center of the Americas, 3019 Minnehaha
Ave, Mpls.  612-760-1980.


--------15 of 23--------

From: Susan Kolstad <s.horns [at] yahoo.com>
Subject: Candidate sings 6.10 5pm

[Can a Green Party candidate for MN Attorney General play and sing? You be
the judge. Caution: hecklers may be prosecuted. -ed]

Papa John (AG?) Kolstad with Clint Hoover
June 10, 2006 between 5 and 6:30
Famous Dave's Blues Festival
   Juke Joint Stage
   Peavy Plaza
   Minneapolis

Road To Memphis Competition with Clint Hoover
June 11, 2006 around 6:00 PM
Gingko Coffeehouse
   651-645-2647
   721 N Snelling Av
   St Paul, MN 55104

Jacksons Juke Joint with Clint Hoover  (IF ALL GOES
WELL,THIS WILL BE THE CD RELEASE PARTY FOR THE CD
RECORDED AT THE GINGKO)=
June 14, 2006 7:00 PM
Viking Bar
   612-332-4259
   1829 Riverside Ave
   Minneapolis, MN


--------16 of 23--------

From: Lydia Howell <lhowell [at] visi.com>
Subject: Democracy/film 6.10 7pm

BREWING DEMOCRACY
a new documentary by Beth Peloff
SAT JUNE 10, 7pm
film screening with reception to follow:
http://www.artofthis.net/ar.mbr.htm

ART OF THIS 3222 Bloomington Ave S Minneapolis, MN 55407 612.721.4105
www.artofthis.net


--------17 of 23--------

From: Stephen Feinstein <feins001 [at] umn.edu>
Subject: Rwandan music 6.10 7:30pm

Concert of Rwandan Music June 10, 2006

CHGS and Institute for Global Studies has arranged a concert of Rwandan
music with Jean Paul Samputu as the performer with a back-up band. Event
will be held at Coffman Union Theater
7:30pm
Tickets are $15. More information can be found at www.nibakure.org Event
sponsored by: "Nibakure Children's Village".

Contact: Floriane Robins-Brown or 612-578-6560 for advance tickets.


--------18 of 23--------

From: Charles Underwood <charleyunderwood [at] hotmail.com>
Subject: Holocaust conf 6.10-13

6/10 to 6/13, annual conference of Association of Holocaust Organizations,
Doubletree Park Place Hotel, 1500 Park Place Blvd, Minneapolis.
www.hrusa.org.calendar or www. ahoinfo.org


--------19 of 23--------

Date: Wed, 7 Jun 2006 17:20:22 EDT
From: Krisrose02 [at] aol.com
Subject: GPMN Endorsements -- Press Release

GREEN PARTY OF MINNESOTA ENDORSES CANDIDATES FOR STATEWIDE, FEDERAL
OFFICES
Endorsed Candidates to Hold Press Conference 10 a.m. Wednesday, June 14,
on the State Capitol Stairs.

Contact: Rhoda Gilman, Green Party of Minnesota Politics Chair,
651-224-6383, rhodagilman [at] earthlink.net

Minneapolis, Minnesota -- Minnesota Green Party members gathered Saturday,
June 3, in Duluth for their biennial convention and voted to endorse
candidates for U.S. Senate, Governor and Attorney General.

The Greens endorsed Michael Cavlan for the U.S. Senate seat now held by
Senator Mark Dayton. Cavlan is a registered nurse, and an activist in the
peace and justice movement. Cavlan's platform focuses on creating a
Universal Single-Payer Healthcare system, ending the war on Iraq,
realigning U.S. foreign policy to better address the roots of terrorism,
ensuring transparency and accountability of elections and voting
technologies, implementing sustainable energy and agricultural policies,
and protecting and empowering local family farms and small businesses.

"Working class people and members of the peace and justice community must
have a voice in our society and in the political system," Cavlan said,
"Corporate money must be removed as an influence in our government. We
will work to preserve and rekindle our democracy."

Greens also endorsed Ken Pentel for Governor. Pentel was the Green Party's
gubernatorial candidate in 1998 and in 2002. Pentel has spent the last 20
years working for environmental protection and social justice as an
organizer, speaker, lobbyist, and candidate. Pentel's platform includes
implementing a statewide Single-Payer Universal Healthcare system,
establishing a living wage, improving access to affordable housing, and
education.

"I am running to give voice to the ways we can sustain our relationships
to the Earth and to each other," Pentel said. "The state of Minnesota can
be a leader in sustainable, renewable energy, preventing toxic pollution,
and local-sustainable organic farming. I plan to also speak clearly on the
need to implement policy that will take the influence of big money out of
our democratic process such as, Proportional Representation, Instant
Run-off Voting, publicly funded elections, and lobby reform."

The Greens endorsed small business owner John Kolstad for Minnesota
Attorney General. John Kolstad is currently President of Mill City Music,
and has been active in many civic, business and community organizations
for the last 25 years. Kolstad is currently serving as the Chair of the
Minnesota Universal Health Care Coalition (www.muhcc.org) Steering
committee, whose goal is to bring Universal Single Payer Health Insurance
to MN. Kolstad supports a Single Payer style health plan, affordable
housing, instituting strong enforceable environmental laws in MN, Campaign
Finance Reform, Instant Run-off Voting, Proportional Representation, and
ending Corporate Welfare.

Speaking on the Healthcare crisis in Minnesota, Kolstad says, "What amazes
me is what lengths public and elected officials will go to NOT solve the
health care crises. I have no doubt that I can manage the affairs of the
AG's Office and fully live up to the expectation of the State Constitution
and the people of MN."


Green Party member Dave Berger will be seeking the party's endorsement for
Minnesota State Auditor.  "I have come to realize that we cannot promote a
balanced and sustainable planet unless we have balance within our own
lives."  Berger says. "I promise that I will do all that I can to
represent the people with dignity and respect. Respect for social justice,
grassroots democracy, environmental wisdom, and security through
nonviolence."

In local elections, the Greens have endorsed candidates Julie Risser for
State Senate District 41, Jesse Mortenson for State House Representative
64A, Jay Pond for U.S. Representative in the 5th Congressional District,
Farheen Hakeem for Hennepin County Commissioner (District 4) and Kristen
Olson for Roseville City Council. Green Party member Leroy Schafer is
running for St.  Francis City Council. Wade Hannon is also seeking Green
Party endorsement for U.S.  Congress in the 7th Congressional District.

All of the candidates will be available to address the media at a joint
press conference on Wednesday, June 14, at 10:00 am on the State Capitol
stairs.

The Green Party of Minnesota is founded on the values of Grassroots
Democracy, Non-Violence, Ecological Wisdom, and Social and Economic
Justice. For more information on the Minnesota Green Party
see:www.mngreens.org

For more information on the candidates see:

Farheen Hakeem for Hennepin County Commissioner  www.farheenhakeem.org

Jesse Mortenson for MN House District 64A  _www.jessemortenson.com_
(http://www.jessemortenson.com)

Julie Risser for  MN Senate District 41  _www.voterisser4senate.com_
(http://www.voterisser4senate.com)

Michael  Cavlan for US Senate _www.cavlan.org_ (_http://www.cavlan.org_
(http://www.cavlan.org/) )

Jay Pond, US House  of Representatives, Minnesotaâ's 5th Congressional
_www.JayPond.com  (http://www.JayPond.com


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Date: Wed, 7 Jun 2006 23:28:15 EDT
From: Danene Provencher PRO826 [at] aol.com
Subject: Signatures required for GP ballot access

Due to the fact that we are no longer a major party, we must collect
signatures on the nominating petitions for each of our 9 candidates (Wade
Hannon, US Congress Dist 7 and Dave Berger, MN Auditor are pending
endorsements)  with in a two week period (July 4-18) to be placed on the
November MN Ballot.

The breakdown for the required number of signatures is:

US Senate, MN Governor, MN Auditor, MN Attorney General -2000 for each
candidate

US Congress (2 positions, CD5 and CD7) - 1000 for each candidate

MN Senate, MN House, Henn Co. Commissioner - 500 for each candidate

This is a total of 11,500 VALID signatures to get our candidates placed on
the November MN Ballot.  We are going to shoot for double the number since
some signatures may be disqualified for ineligibility, wrong district,
etc.  In 2004 the Nader campaign collected over 4,600 valid signatures
(2000 required)  and the Democrats tried to contest it.  I hope that the
Greens won't encounter the same anti-democratic attitude.

Democracy is not a choice of two,
Danene Provencher
952-994-3085
GPM Coordinated Campaign Committee
Ballot Access Coordinator


--------21 of 23--------

Ridiculing Chavez - Part 1
By Dave Edwards
ZNet Commentary
May 21, 2006
http://www.zmag.org/sustainers/content/2006-05/20edwards.cfm

Controlling what we think is not solely about controlling what we know -
it is also about controlling who we respect and who we find ridiculous.

Thus we find that Western leaders are typically reported without
adjectives preceding their names. George Bush is simply "US president
George Bush". Condoleeza Rice is "the American secretary of state
Condoleeza Rice". Tony Blair is just "the British prime minister".

The leader of Venezuela, by contrast, is "controversial left-wing
president Hugo Chavez" for the main BBC TV news. (12:00, May 14, 2006). He
is as an "extreme left-winger," while Bolivian president Evo Morales is "a
radical socialist", according to Jonathan Charles on BBC Radio 4. (6
O'Clock News, May 12, 2006)

Imagine the BBC introducing the US leader as "controversial right-wing
president George Bush", or as an "extreme right-winger". Is Bush - the man
who illegally invaded Iraq on utterly fraudulent pretexts - +less+
controversial than Chavez? Is Bush less far to the right of the political
spectrum than Chavez is to the left?

For the Independent on Sunday, Chavez is "Venezuela's outspoken
President". (Stephen Castle and Raymond Whitaker, 'Heralding the end of US
imperialism,' May 14, 2006) For the Mirror, he is a "controversial leader"
called "'the Crackers from Caracas' by his own supporters". (Rosa Prince,
'He calls Bush "Hitler" and Blair "the pawn",' May 16, 2006) He is an
"aggressively populist left-wing leader", the Times writes. (Richard Owen,
'Pope tells Chavez to mend his ways,' May 12, 2006) He is a "left-wing
firebrand," the Independent reports. (Guy Adams, 'Pandora: 'Chavez stirs
up a degree of controversy at Oxford,' May 15, 2006) He is a "Left wing
firebrand" according to the Evening Standard. (Pippa Crerar, 'Chavez to
meet the Mayor,' May 12, 2006) He is an "international revolutionary
firebrand", according to the Observer. (Peter Beaumont, 'The new kid in
the barrio,' May 7, 2006)

A Guardian news report describes Chavez as nothing less than "the scourge
of the United States". (Duncan Campbell and Jonathan Steele,' The
Guardian, May 15, 2006) Although this was a news report, not a comment
piece, the title featured the required tone of mockery: "Revolution in the
Camden air as Chavez - with amigo Ken - gets a hero's welcome".

An Independent report declared of Chavez:

"He has been described as a fearless champion of the oppressed poor
against the corrupt rich and their American sponsors. But also as a
dangerous demagogue subsidising totalitarian regimes with his country's
oil wells." (Kim Sengupta, 'Britain's left-wing "aristocracy" greet their
hero Chavez,' The Independent, May 15, 2006)

Imagine an Independent news report providing a similarly 'balanced'
description of Bush or Blair using language of the kind employed in the
second sentence. Again, mockery was a central theme: "And yesterday in the
People's Republic of Camden the villains remained very much President
George W Bush, his acolyte Tony Blair, big business and the forces of
reaction."

Younger readers may have missed the BBC's prime time TV series Citizen
Smith (1977-80), which lampooned a fictional organisation called The
Tooting Popular Front, consisting of six die-hard Marxist losers, and its
deluded dreams of achieving radical change. This is a favourite media
theme - pouring scorn on popular movements is an absolute must for
mainstream journalism. Thus Richard Beeston reported in The Times this
week:

"Hugo Chavez's Latin American bandwagon descended on London yesterday,
briefly enlivening a dull Sunday in Camden with the sound of drums, the
cries of revolution and the waving of banners.

"At the start of his controversial two-day visit to London, the Venezuelan
President succeeded in attracting an eclectic group of supporters ranging
from elderly CND activists to young anti-globalisation campaigners,
members of the Socialist Workers' Party and even the odd Palestinian
protester." (Beeston, 'Chavez fails to paint the town red in Camden,' The
Times, May 15, 2006)

This recalled the Observer's September 2002 account of what, at the time,
had been London's greatest anti-war march in a generation. Euan Ferguson
wrote:

"It was back to the old days, too, in terms of types. All the oldies and
goodies were there. The Socialist Workers' Party, leafleting outside
Temple Tube station by 11 am. ('In this edition: Noam Chomsky in Socialist
Worker!'). CND, and ex-Services CND. The Scottish Socialist Party.
'Scarborough Against War and Globalisation', which has a lovely ring of
optimism to it, recalling the famous Irish provincial leader column in
1939: 'Let Herr Hitler be warned, the eyes of the Skibereen Eagle are upon
him.' Many, many Muslim groups, and most containing women and children,
although some uneasy thoughts pass through your mind when you see a line
of pretty six-year-old black-clad Muslim toddlers walking ahead of the
megaphone chanting 'George Bush, we know you/Daddy was a killer too,' and
singing about Sharon and Hitler." (Ferguson, 'A big day out in Leftistan,'
The Observer, September 29, 2002)

The emphasis, again, was on the absurdity of a ragtag army of Citizen
Smith-style oddballs who imagined they could somehow make a difference to
a real world run by 'serious' people. The idea is that the public should
roll their eyes and shake their heads in embarrassment at such delusions -
and turn away.

Hidden far out of sight are the life and death issues motivating such
protests - in 2002 the marchers were, after all, attempting to prevent a
war that has since killed and mutilated hundreds of thousands of Iraqi
civilians. It is not inconceivable that if British and American
journalists like Ferguson had emphasised the desperate importance and
urgency of the anti-war protests, rather than sneering at them, those
civilians might still be alive today.

Similarly, the press has barely hinted at the unimaginable horror and
desperate hopes buried beneath the mocking of Chavez - namely, the
suffering of Latin American people under very real Western economic and
military violence. The Independent on Sunday managed this vague mention:

"Mr Morales was, the Venezuelan President said, a direct descendant of an
indigenous Latin American people, adding: 'These are oppressed people who
are rising. They are rising with peace, not weapons. Europe should listen
to that.'" (Stephen Castle and Raymond Whitaker, 'Chavez on tour,'
Independent on Sunday, May 14, 2006)

The tragedy out of which these people are arising, and how their hopes of
a better life have been systematically crushed by Western force in the
past, was of course not explored. The Guardian also managed a tiny
reference to the reality:

"His [Chavez's] unabashed opposition to US foreign policy, and the
pressure it has produced from Washington, tap into the deep vein of
suspicion and resentment that two centuries of US invasions, coups, and
economic domination have aroused in Latin America and the Caribbean."
(Jonathan Steele and Duncan Campbell, 'The world according to Chavez,' The
Guardian, May 16, 2006)

But that was it. As the Guardian writers know full well, these comments
appear in a context of almost complete public ignorance of just what the
United States has done to Latin America - a subject to which we will
return in Part 2.

In 2004, the American media watch site, Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting
(FAIR) reported that a search of major US newspapers turned up the phrase
"death squad" just five times in connection with former US president
Ronald Reagan in the days following his death in June 2004 - twice in
commentaries and twice in letters to the editor. Remarkably, only one news
article mentioned death squads as part of Reagan's legacy. (Media
Advisory: 'Reagan: Media Myth and Reality,' June 9, 2004, www.fair.org) As
we have discussed elsewhere, US-backed death squads brought hell to Latin
America under Reagan. (see our Media Alerts: 'Reagan - Visions Of The
Damned': http://www.medialens.org/alerts/04/040610_Reagan_Visions_1.HTM
and http://www.medialens.org/alerts/04/040615_Reagan_Visions_2.HTM.)

Quite simply the British and American press do not cover the West's mass
killing of Latin Americans.


Radical, Maverick, Firebrands - The Subliminal Smears

A Daily Telegraph comment piece continued the pan-media smearing of
Chavez:

"Now the anticipation is over, and today, flush with six trillion dollars
worth of oil reserves, Hugo Chavez, president of Venezuela, flies in to
fill the despot-of-the-month slot at London mayor Ken Livingstone's lunch
table." (William Langley, 'Welcome to the El Presidente show,' The Daily
Telegraph, May 14, 2006)

The Independent on Sunday (IoS) wrote:

"An icon of the anti-globalisation movement, Mr Chavez's brand of
aggressive socialism is taken seriously because of his country's vast oil
resources." (Stephen Castle and Raymond Whitaker, 'Chavez on tour,'
Independent on Sunday, May 14, 2006)

We wait in vain for an IoS news report referring to Bush and Blair's
"brand" of "aggressive" and in fact "militant" capitalism - this would be
biased news reporting, after all. Likewise, the suggestion that Bush and
Blair's aggressive support for "democracy" is taken seriously only because
of their economic and military power.

The Observer noted that Chavez has a "growing regional profile", which is
"built on a mix of populist rhetoric and his country's oil wealth". The
report added that Chavez "has been publicly feuding with Bush, whom he has
likened to Adolf Hitler - with Tony Blair dismissed as 'the main ally of
Hitler.'" ('Chavez offers oil to Europe's poor,' The Observer, May 14,
2006)

In responding to similar comments in the Times, Julia Buxton of the
University of Bradford has been all but alone in providing some
background:

"To place this statement in context, Chavez was compared to Adolf Hitler
by the US Secretary of State for Defence, Donald Rumsfeld, during a visit
to Paraguay. President Chavez rejected the comparison and countered that
if any individual were comparable to Hitler, it would be President Bush."
(See Buxton's excellent analysis here:
http://www.vicuk.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=85&Itemid=29)

The Times' 'Pandora' diary column wrote:

"Ken Livingstone has invited the Venezuelan President, Hugo Chavez, to
lunch at City Hall. Even by the London Mayor's standards, it's a
provocative gesture - Chavez has a controversial record on human rights -
and several guests have refused to attend."
(http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,6-2171200,00.html)

Channel 4 News asked of Chavez: "Is he a hero of the left or a villain in
disguise?"

For the media, of course, a "hero of the left" +is+ a "villian in
disguise", so viewers were in effect being asked if Chavez was a villain
or a villain. Like many other media, Channel 4 patronised the Venezuelan
president as "a global poster boy for the left". The same programme later
asked if he was "a hero of the left or a scoundrel of all democrats?"

In similar vein, Daniel Howden observed in the Independent:

"Not surprisingly for a man who divides the world, Hugo Chavez is greeted
as a saviour or a saboteur wherever he goes. The Venezuelan President
seems immune to nuance and perfectly able to reduce the world to Chavistas
or to Descualdos, the 'squalid ones' as his supporters dismiss those who
try to depose him." (Dowden, 'Hugo Chavez: Venezualean [sic] leader
divides world opinion. But who is he, and what is he up to in Britain?'
The Independent, May 13, 2006)

The reference to a lack of "nuance" is a coded smear with which regular
readers will be familiar. Chavez is in good company. Steve Crawshaw wrote
in the Independent: "Chomsky knows so much... but seems impervious to any
idea of nuance." (Crawshaw, 'Furious ideas with no room for nuance,' The
Independent, February 21, 2001)

The BBC's former director of news, Richard Sambrook, told the Hutton
inquiry that BBC journalist Andrew Gilligan had failed to appreciate the
"nuances and subtleties" of broadcast journalism. (Matt Wells, Richard
Norton-Taylor and Vikram Dodd, 'Gilligan left out in cold by BBC,' The
Guardian, September 18, 2003)

Channel 4 news presenter Jon Snow wrote in the Guardian of John Pilger:
"Some argue the ends justify [Pilger's] means, others that the world is a
more subtle place than he allows." (Snow, 'Still angry after all these
years,' The Guardian, February 25, 2001)

In 2002, Bill Hayton, a BBC World Service editor, advised us at Media
Lens: "If your language was more nuanced it would get a better reception."
(Email to Editors, November 16, 2002)

The Channel 4 programme cited above went on to describe the Iraqi cleric
Moqtadr al Sadr by his official media title: "the radical cleric Moqtadr
al Sadr". Likewise, the media invariably refer to "the militant group
Hamas". The media would of course never dream of referring to "radical
prime minister Tony Blair" or to "the militant Israeli Defence Force".

The reason was unconsciously expressed by Channel 4 news presenter Alex
Thomson in response to a Media Lens reader who had suggested, reasonably,
that "a terrorist is one who brings terror to another person". Thomson
responded:

"Your definition of a terrorist as one bringing terror is nonsensical as
it would encompass all military outfits from al Qaeda to the Royal
Fusilliers." (Forwarded to Media Lens, February 25, 2005)

It is inconceivable to the mainstream media that Western armies could be
responsible for terrorism, no matter how much terror they actually create.
Likewise, it is inconceivable that Western leaders could be described as
"militant" or "fundamentalist". This indicates that these adjectives are
smear words - they mean, approximately, 'bad'. More specifically, they
mean 'a threat to Western interests,' which is why, by definition, they
cannot be used to refer +to+ the West.

The use and non-use of these words shepherd viewers and readers towards
the idea that leaders like Bush and Blair are reasonable, rational,
respectable figures who must be described with colourless, neutral
language.

The deeper implication - all the more powerful because it is unstated,
almost subliminal - is that figures like Hugo Chavez and Evo Morales do
not merit balanced 'professional' media treatment - the rules do not apply
to them because they are beyond the pale.

Because almost all journalists repeat this bias - and because the public
imagine journalists are simply well-informed, independent observers who
just happen to reach the same conclusions on who is worthy of respect -
the impression given is that the media consensus is the only sane view in
town.

Before we know it, we find ourselves accepting the corporate media view as
our own. If we see enough journalists smearing "maverick",
"controversial", "left-wing", "Gorgeous George" Galloway, we will likely
find ourselves responding: 'I can't stand that guy!' But how many of us
will really know why, beyond feeling that there is 'something about him I
don't like'? And how many of us will have reflected that, of all MPs,
Galloway has at least been uniquely honest in his opposition to the Iraq
war?

As for that other "maverick Chavez" (Sunday Times, February 19, 2006), the
Financial Times noted that he was invited to London by Ken Livingstone:
"London's maverick mayor." (David Lehmann, 'Why we should bother about
Chavez and his politics,' May 15, 2006)

In Part 2 we will examine the realities of Western political, economic and
military violence in Latin America - realities that are consistently
ignored by the corporate media.


--------22 of 23--------

ZNet Commentary
Ridiculing Chavez - Part 2
June 01, 2006
By Dave Edwards

In Part 1 of this alert we showed how the mainstream media have been
united in depicting Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez as an extreme, absurd
and threatening figure. In essence, the public has been urged to consider
Chavez beyond the pale of respectable politics.

As John Pilger has observed, British media attacks "resemble uncannily
those of the privately owned Venezuelan television and press, which called
for the elected government to be overthrown". (Pilger, 'Chavez is a
threat because he offers the alternative of a decent society,' The
Guardian, May 13, 2006;
http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,,1773908,00.html)

We focused mainly on news reports, skipping many of the more madcap
comment pieces. Aleksander Boyd, for example, wrote in the Times of how:
"The Venezuelan President aligns himself with dictators, human rights
abusers and notorious narcoterrorists." (Boyd, 'Guess who's coming to
dinner with Red Ken?,' The Times, May 9, 2006)

No surprise, then, to learn that in thrall to this monster: "Venezuela has
ceased to be a real democracy: it now exists instead in the murky twilight
world between democracy and dictatorship, where there is still a free
press and a nod to holding elections." (Ibid)

In fact Chavez is one of the world's most popular heads of state. Boyd has
been quoted and heard elsewhere - in The Sun and on BBC Radio 2, for
example. Julia Buxton of the University of Bradford responded in a letter
to the Times:

"Mr Boyd has been linked to threats of violence against people working and
writing on Venezuelan related issues for the past few years. He has also
organised disruptive protest actions that have undermined public security
and he has published libellous and inflammatory articles on Islam, Middle
Eastern and South American politics."
(http://www.vicuk.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=85&Itemid=29)

It might be argued that media reporting simply reflects a dismal reality -
perhaps Chavez +is+ irresponsible. But in fact the current media smear
reveals more about power relations in Britain than it does about politics
in Venezuela. In 1992, Jeff Cohen of the US media watch site Fairness and
Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) described media coverage afforded to one
important Western ally:

"During that whole period when the United States was helping build up the
military and economic might of Saddam Hussein in Iraq, the issue of his
human rights abuses was off the media agenda. There was this classic in
the New York Post, a tabloid in New York. After the [1990] crisis began,
they had a picture of Saddam Hussein patting the British kid on the head
and their banner headline was 'Child Abuser'. That was very important to
us [at FAIR] and very ironic, because Amnesty International and other
human rights groups had released studies in 1984 and 1985 which showed
that Saddam Hussein's regime regularly tortured children to get
information about their parents' views. That just didn't get the coverage.

"It shows one of the points FAIR has made constantly: that when a foreign
government is in favour with the United States, with the White House, its
human rights record is basically off the mainstream media agenda, and when
they do something that puts them out of favour with the US government, the
foreign government's human rights abuses are, all of a sudden, major
news." (Quoted, David Barsamian, Stenographers To Power, Common Courage
Press, 1992, p.142)

In a review of press reporting on Iran under the mass murdering Shah - a
Western ally installed and armed by Britain and America - William A.
Dorman and Ehsan Omad noted:

"We have been unable to find a single example of a news and feature story
in the American mainstream press that uses the label 'dictator'." (Dorman
and Omad, 'Reporting Iran the Shah's Way,' Columbia Journalism Review,
January-February 1979)

British media performance is close to identical, as we have documented
many times.

Of the hundreds of media reports on Chavez in recent weeks, almost none
have depicted events in Venezuela as a fundamentally positive and urgently
needed attempt to improve the condition of impoverished people. In a rare
exception, John Pilger wrote in the Guardian:

"Mavis Mendez has seen, in her 95 years, a parade of governments preside
over the theft of tens of billions of dollars in oil spoils, much of it
flown to Miami, together with the steepest descent into poverty ever known
in Latin America; from 18% in 1980 to 65% in 1995, three years before
Chávez was elected. 'We didn't matter in a human sense,' she said. 'We
lived and died without real education and running water, and food we
couldn't afford. When we fell ill, the weakest died. In the east of the
city, where the mansions are, we were invisible, or we were feared. Now I
can read and write my name, and so much more; and whatever the rich and
their media say, we have planted the seeds of true democracy, and I am
full of joy that I have lived to witness it.'" (Pilger, op. cit)

Almost nothing of this has been reported elsewhere. Do the journalists of
our corporate press just not care about people like Mavis Mendez? Does it
not matter to them that Chavez is, as Pilger writes, "a threat, especially
to the United States... the threat of a good example in a continent where
the majority of humanity has long suffered a Washington-designed peonage"?
(Ibid)

In all the voluminous coverage, there has been close to zero analysis of
why so many Latin Americans living in resource-rich countries have been so
poor for so long. The role of the West in this catastrophe has been
essentially invisible. Instead, a remarkable leader in the Independent on
Sunday observed:

"Mr Chavez is an unabashed admirer of Fidel Castro, which gives his
attachment to democracy a temporary and improvised feel. As do the human
rights abuses of which the Venezuelan government is guilty.

"Most sinister of all, perhaps, is Mr Chavez's use of anti-US sentiment to
create an external threat in the classic gambit of the tyrant. As we
reported recently, he has formed a militia of ordinary Venezuelan citizens
to mobilise against the threat of an 'invasion' by unspecified enemies.
That is not the sane or balanced action of a committed democrat." (Leader,
'Why Hugo Chavez is no hero,' Independent on Sunday, May 14, 2006)

Can it be that the media ingenues at the Independent on Sunday are
completely unaware of the reality of Latin American politics?

             Killing Hope - Of Jackals And Economic Hit Men

In his book, Confessions Of An Economic Hit Man, John Perkins describes
the role he played in the West's devastation of the Third World for
profit, Latin America very much included. Perkins compares himself to the
slave traders of colonial times:

"I had been the heir of those slavers who had marched into African jungles
and hauled men and women off to waiting ships. Mine had been a more modern
approach, subtler - I never had to see the dying bodies, smell the rotting
flesh, or hear the screams of agony." (Perkins, Confessions Of An Economic
Hit Man, Ebury Press, 2005, p.148; http://www.johnperkins.org/)

In January 1971, Perkins was hired by American big business to forecast
economic growth in Third World countries. These forecasts were used to
justify massive international loans, which funded engineering and
construction projects, so funnelling money back to US corporations while
enriching a small Third World elite.

Perkins explains that his real task - rarely discussed but always
understood in high government and business circles - was to deliberately
exaggerate growth forecasts in countries like Peru, Ecuador, Indonesia and
Saudi Arabia. The goal was for these countries to +fail+ to achieve their
inflated targets and so be unable to repay their loans. The point being,
as Perkins writes, that Third World leaders would then "become ensnared in
a web of debt that ensures their loyalty". As a result, American interests
"can draw on them whenever we desire - to satisfy our political, economic,
or military needs. In turn, they bolster their political positions by
bringing industrial parks, power plants, and airports to their people. The
owners of US engineering and construction companies become fabulously
wealthy". (Ibid, p.xi)

The "needs" include military bases, votes at the UN, cheap access to oil
and other human and natural resources. Perkins describes this as a
non-military means for achieving "the most subtle and effective form of
imperialism the world has ever known". (Ibid, p.139)

Bankrupt debtor countries have thus been forced to spend much of their
national wealth simply on repaying these debts even as their people sicken
and die from malnutrition and poverty. For example, international banks
dominated by Washington loaned Ecuador billions of dollars from the 1970s
onwards so that it could hire engineering and construction firms to
improve life for the rich. In the space of thirty years, poverty grew from
50 to 60 per cent, under- or unemployment increased from 15 to 70 per
cent, public debt increased from $240 million to $16 billion, and the
share of national resources allocated to the poor fell from 20 per cent to
6 per cent.

Today, Ecuador is required to devote nearly 50 per cent of its national
budget to debt repayment - leaving almost no resources for millions of
citizens classified as "dangerously impoverished". Out of every $100 worth
of oil pumped from the Amazon, less than $3 goes to Ecuadorian people
dying from lack of food and potable water.

Perkins is clear that, waiting in the wings should the economic hit men
(EHMs) fail, are the real hit men - "the jackals". He writes of Jaime
Roldas, president of Ecuador, and Omar Torrijos, president of Panama, who
both died in plane crashes:

"Their deaths were not accidental. They were assassinated because they
opposed that fraternity of corporate, government, and banking heads whose
goal is global empire. We EHMs failed to bring Roldas and Torrijos around,
and the other type of hit men, the CIA-sanctioned jackals who were always
right behind us, stepped in." (Ibid, p.ix)

Perkins writes of Rolda's death in May 1981:

"It had all the markings of a CIA-orchestrated assassination. I understood
that it had been executed so blatantly in order to send a message. The new
Reagan administration, complete with its fast-draw Hollywood cowboy image,
was the ideal vehicle for delivering such a message. The jackals were
back, and they wanted Omar Torrijos and everyone else who might consider
joining an anti-corporate crusade to know it." (Ibid, p.158)

Torrijos was killed just two months later. This is the likely fate that
awaits Chavez, Morales, and other Third World leaders currently being
ridiculed by the British press.

The last fifty years have seen a vast bloodbath as Washington has
funnelled money, weapons and supplies to client dictators and right-wing
death squads battling independent nationalism across Latin America.
Britain's only left-wing daily newspaper, the Morning Star - with a tiny
circulation of between 13,000-14,000 - is a lone voice describing some of
these horrors. Dr Francisco Dominguez, head of the Centre for Brazilian
and Latin American Studies at Middlesex University, writes:

"Military dictatorship, death squads, torture, assassination, economic
blockade, economic genocide, military intervention, wanton repression,
corruption and every other means intrinsic to capitalist and imperialist
'management techniques' has been utilised to secure the profits of
primarily US multinationals and the wealth of the privileged few. Mass
unemployment and mass poverty are just two extra means with which to
obtain compliance with the economic and political pillage of the
continent." (Dominguez, 'Latin America takes centre stage,' Morning Star,
November 22, 2005)

John Pilger adds:

"In the US media in the 1980s, the 'threat' of tiny Nicaragua was
seriously debated until it was crushed. Venezuela is clearly being
'softened up' for something similar. A US army publication, Doctrine for
Asymmetric War against Venezuela, describes Chavez and the Bolivarian
revolution as the 'largest threat since the Soviet Union and Communism'."
(Pilger, op., cit)

Who benefits? The answer is provided by Professor William Domhoff of the
University of California at Santa Cruz in his study 'Wealth, Income, and
Power In the United States'. Domhoff reports that as of 2001, the top 1%
of US households owned 33.4% of all privately held wealth, and the next
19% had 51%, indicating that just 20% of the people owned 84%, leaving
only 16% of the wealth for the bottom 80%. In terms of financial wealth,
the top 1% of households had an even greater share: 39.7%.

In terms of types of financial wealth, the top 1 percent of households
have 44.1% of all privately held stock, 58.0% of financial securities, and
57.3% of business equity. The top 10% have 85% to 90% of stock, bonds,
trust funds, and business equity, and over 75% of non-home real estate.
Domhoff comments:

"Since financial wealth is what counts as far as the control of
income-producing assets, we can say that just 10% of the people own the
United States of America." (G. William Domhoff, 'Wealth, Income, and Power
In The United States,' February 2006;
http://sociology.ucsc.edu/whorulesamerica/power/wealth.html)

These fabulously wealthy elites own politics, they own the media, they
control what the American people know, see and think. In Britain, the top
5% of the British population own 45% of the nation's wealth - they also
run politics, the economy and the media in their own interests.

Naturally, then, elite journalists reflexively declare that the United
States and Britain are passionately intent on bringing democracy to the
world. A recent BBC radio talk show asked: "Are 100 British soldiers'
lives too high a price to pay for democracy in Iraq?" (BBC Radio Five
Live)

This, despite the fact that the income ratio of the one-fifth of the
world's population in the wealthiest countries to the one-fifth in the
poorest countries went from 30 to 1 in 1960 to 74 to 1 in 1995.

Despite achieving bestseller status by word of mouth, Perkins' account has
been all but ignored by the mainstream British press since its publication
last year, receiving mentions in just four articles. In one of these, a
Sunday Times reviewer wrote:

"One measure of the success of an author is whether his book passes the
'laugh out loud' test. John Perkins's had me in stitches. The problem is,
it is not meant to." (David Charters, 'A miss not a hit,' Sunday Times,
March 5, 2006)

Cynically ignoring the issues and evidence, Charters dismissed the book as
"ridiculous": "If it was not so laughable, it could be depressing." The
book has received similar treatment in the US press.

We should be under no illusions. The corporate media oppose Chavez because
the corporate system is viscerally opposed to policies that are unleashing
democratic hopes in Venezuela. It takes a moment's thought to understand
that greater democracy, equality, justice and popular empowerment are
+not+ in the interests of a system built on exploitation. As John Perkins
comments of the media:

"Things are not as they appear... Our media is part of the corporatocracy.
The officers and directors who control nearly all our communications
outlets know their places; they are taught throughout life that one of
their most important jobs is to perpetuate, strengthen, and expand the
system they have inherited. They are very efficient at doing so, and when
opposed, they can be ruthless." (Perkins, op. cit, p.221)

As long as we support this corporate media system - as long as we hand
over our money for its product, for its phoney 'balance' and subliminal
smears - it will continue to subordinate the welfare of millions of human
beings to corporate greed.


--------23 of 23--------

Video games push imperialist propaganda as poverty drops in Venezuela
By Larry Hales
Workers World - Jun 8, 2006 issue
http://www.workers.org/2006/world/venezuela-0608/

Video-game makers Lucasarts and Pandemic have announced the sequel to the
hugely popular "Mercenary" game. It will be titled "Mercenaries 2: World
in Flames," and is to be based on fictional events unfolding in Venezuela.

The makers of "Mercenaries 2" describe the game as "an explosive
open-world action game" in which "a power-hungry tyrant messes with
Venezuela's oil supply, sparking an invasion that turns the country into a
war zone."

The first "Mercenary" game was equally provocative. The action took place
in a North Korea that was supposedly run by a "tyrant." In both games
players run around as guns for hire, but with an agenda that fits the mold
of what the imperialist powers deem as important to furthering "democracy"
and the free flow of capital.

These games are not the first to openly state the U.S. imperialists'
desires or aims. Tom Clancy, the war hawk historian, who has written
fictions on the U.S. intelligence services that detail his insider status
as well as histories of the 82nd Airborne Division and other military
outfits, has developed three different lines of games. One of them was
"Ghost Recon: Island Thunder." Part of the game's write-up features this:
"Cuba. Ripe with randy women, hairy men, some of the world's best cigars,
rainforests, beaches, and a dictator who's managed to stay in power for a
little over 40 years."

The racist, sexist disdain for the Cuban people is clear. Then the
propaganda gets even more to the point: "In the near future, Fidel Castro
is dead. Cuba has decided to hold free elections once again and move
itself into the future and away from the long Communist rule. World
authorities are asked to intervene and make sure that everything runs
smoothly. While the world sits back and looks in on the events proceeding
in Cuba, some startling discoveries are made that point to a group of
rebels in the hills thought to be under the control of drug dealers and
bandits looking to disrupt the process and seize power for themselves,
returning Cuba to a dictatorial state once again."

These are not esoteric games that reach the hands of a sparse population.
The video-game industry has eclipsed the motion picture industry. Its 2003
profits totaled around $10 billion.

These games, like other propaganda from capitalist media, constitute
psychological warfare.

                    Facts about Venezuela denied

The newest game is a major provocation on Venezuela, in a line that leads
back to the 2001 coup attempt, which was openly funded by the United
States, and the Venezuelan bosses' oil strike that followed.

There couldn't be a wider gap between the facts and the game's premise.
Not only has Venezuelan President Chavez won election after election, but
he has followed the mandate of workers and the poor in Venezuela. The
Bolivarian Revolution has inspired workers and the oppressed around the
world and has ignited the struggle for socialism.

Despite all the imperialist action and continuing threats against
Venezuela, there have been great strides made. The Center for Economic and
Policy Research recently released statistics showing a substantial drop in
the poverty rate, based on cash income, in Venezuela.

According to the CEPR, 55 percent of Venezuelans lived in poverty in 1998,
when Chavez was first elected. Today 11 percent less--44 percent--live in
poverty. When the gains made in health care, nutrition and education are
factored in, the number drops to 35 percent.

The United States, in contrast, has shown an increase in poverty rates and
an increase in the number of people without medical coverage over the same
years.

The difference is that the wealth of Venezuela is being used for the
people and not to make the ruling class increasingly rich. The oligarchy
that Venezuela once was is a thing of the past. Workers and the oppressed
are becoming the rulers.

This fact scares Washington because of its global ramifications. The
bourgeoisie in Venezuela is becoming less and less effective, and a
military invasion by mercenaries from Colombia or anywhere else looks less
and less like a viable option. Even a U.S. invasion would be risky, as 1.5
million Venezuelan men and women are being armed and trained to defend the
country from an invasion.

Still, the fact that a popular video game is expressing outright the U.S.
government's plans for Venezuela is no mere coincidence. It is another
threat.

These types of games are dangerous on more than one level. Not only do
they threaten the Bolivarian Revolution, but they act as youth recruiting
tools. The military of late has been designing and marketing video games
to attract youth to join its ranks. Though this game may not have been
designed by the U.S. military, it is a propaganda piece aimed at
disenfranchised youths who feel alienated and see no place to direct their
ire.

This article is copyright under a Creative Commons License. Workers World,
55 W. 17 St., NY, NY 10011 Email: ww [at] workers.org Subscribe
wwnews-subscribe [at] workersworld.net


[When the US elite is charged with crimes of mass destruction, many like
to laugh it off as "conspiracy" nonsense ha-ha and therefore obviously
false. They add that the ruling class is a bunch of bumbling idiots unable
to tie their shoes muchless foment wars and steal the world blind. They
then go back to sleep and urge everyone else to take a nap. They like to
think that +they+ are unable to be fooled by these "bumbling idiots", and
thus that the picture of the US as a near perfect country with almost no
faults and no bad motives is obviously true. This lets the elite go on
with its crimes of mass brainwashing/destruction.

What the elite is +really good+ at is propaganda - brainwashing the rabble
to give up their shares so the elite can have more more more. The above
video game is one good example; they bend the minds of the young to make
them stupid enough to kill to make the rich richer. Let us hear no more
about elite stupidity, or elite goodness. -ed]


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