Click button above to go to DEMOCRACY NOW!

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Letter To MSNBC on Norah O' Donnell

To Whom It May Concern,

Cindy Sheehan returned to Crawford as the Rove smear machine moved into
overdrive. Its talking points are now in the mouths of supposedly neutral
anchors. Example: Norah O'Donnell subbing for Chris Matthews,on Hardball, referred to those at Camp Casey as "anti-war extremists."

Pass this on to 'Airhead' Nora for me, will you?

There are enough whores working for Rove and Company in the Corporate Media sector, America doesn't need another one.

Best Regards,

President Chavez On His Accomplishments

In light of Bush ally, the so-called "Reverend", Pat Robinson's call for "taking out" President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, I thought it would be interesting to see how this (democratically-elected) "dictator" (as Robinson calls him) views his accomplishments after 1,500 days in office. Ironically, there is none of the swagger, boasting or drunk-with-power chest-beating that attends the "Reverend's" compassionate buddy in the White House. What a difference between the Hugo Chavez characterized by the vitriol of the Right-Wing and the Hugo Chavez presented here.

M: Can you talk a bit more about what your government has accomplished?

H: We’ve had 1,500 days in government, almost 4 years. Let’s take the balance of that time.In the health sector, we have dramatically reduced infant mortality. It was at 24 per 1,000 when I came to power, and it is now at 17 per thousand. We should put that into human terms and scale, because sometimes these numbers seem cold. Going from 24 to 17 means a 30% reduction, which translated into real numbers means that thousands of children’s lives have been saved and they have survived, where previously they died just for being poor, or not having access to health services. Before, many expecting mothers did not go to the hospital, or their baby wasn’t vaccinated after birth. We have greatly improved pre-natal care, and expanded the capability of hospitals. We’ve carried through a successful immunization plan, in order to really get at the causes of mortality.For the first time in Venezuelan history, a president has advanced massive child immunization campaigns against hepatitis B. We’ve brought down the infection rate by 15%. We’ve reduced school truancy, and school enrollment has gone up 30%—that’s 30% over what it was. With this increase, we have brought 90% of truant children into the school system. It’s a tremendous accomplishment. We’ve built schools all over the place. We’ve hired thousands of new teachers. We’ve raised the teacher salaries to their highest levels ever.We’ve initiated the Bolivarian Schools program. We have one of the first Bolivarian high schools opening this afternoon. It’s in Amazonas state, where I traveled two and a half years ago. While there, I was approached by a group of teenage boys, who complained about the lack of money for their school. It was a dirty school without running water or clean bathrooms. Today, it is a beautiful school! I’ll update you on our progress up to today. We’ve created hundreds of schools across the country. Schools that were operating at a third of their capacity, we’ve invested millions of bolivares into these schools; we’ve made them like new. School districts that used to serve only 3,000 kids now serve thousands more. We’ve reduced school absenteeism from 10% in 1998 to 3% today. For the first time in Venezuelan history, anyone can be an athlete. I suffered my whole life from lack of access to baseballs and other sporting equipment. There was no equipment; there were no baseball diamonds. We’ve redone all the sports facilities across the country. We have the most and the finest sports installations in all of Latin America. The focus of our investment [in these installations] is at the school level.In the educational field, we’ve opened up nearly 3,000 Bolivarian schools, which represents about 10% of the total number of schools in the country, where children learn only after having breakfast first. Before these schools [existed], kids would arrive at school without having eaten breakfast. There’s not much you can learn on an empty stomach! Now they eat first and then go to classes. They have mini libraries in each classroom. They no longer have to work out of tiny individual desks, now they work at larger tables with more legroom and where they can spread out, and have some ownership of their personal space. They can pour out their creativity, receive medical attention, they have computer labs with internet access. They have theatres for dance, plays, music, sports activities. Later in the day they eat lunch there and have a snack at tea time, even if it’s just a little juice and a pastry. Education is very important to me. I certainly care about the fiscal deficit, but I care about children even more.


During the cold war, the insular and secretive character of the Soviet Union was labeled: "The Iron Curtain". Since the September 11 attack on the World Trade Center and the declaration of the 'War on Terrorism', the United States has developed it's own peculiar kind of insularity. The White House and their conservative allies in the media and in industry have used the post 9-11 era to erect a curtain of control and containment of information. This curtain of containment appears to be successful for about 51% of the American Households, based upon the results of the November 2nd election. My guess is that 51% of the american people have information habits that have been groomed through the skilled marketing to church and peer networks by conservative opinion managers. Skillful memetics by conservatives have immunized these groups from contrary and world opinion through frequent injections of viral notions such as 'liberal media' or 'foreign' media. While 51% of americans can't "see out" because of information habits and information viruses, the world can readily "see in". Information technology and a virtual planetary media network combine with a critical interest in the actions of the United States to make life in the United States a source of intrigue, irritation, admiration and entertainment for the entire planet. Thus americans live behind a two-way mirror of information in which we see only a reflection of ourselves from within but the world clearly sees us from without. I call this phenomenon "The Irony Curtain" because American public discourse intended for the virally afflicted is often viewed by the rest of the world with a sense of amusement perhaps or anger but always, always a sense of irony. For example, last August, after the tragic murder of school children by Chechnyan radicals Russian President Putin announced his intention to suspend provincial elections under an emergency order. A few weeks later, the White House issued a statement, which President Bush repeated on the campaign trail, expressing concern that President Putin was "...using terrorism to justify a damgerous consolidation of power..." That is the height of irony to a world bearing witness to the post 9-11 demagoguery of the American Right. This Web Log is dedicated to documenting life from behind the Irony Curtain. The objective of the log is to a small contribution in the search for a cure to the mind viruses afflicting the insular american mind.