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Tue

05

Jun

2007

Call Me Crazy - Rice Blasts Venezuela's Chavez Versus Pakistan takes TV stations off air
Tuesday, 05 June 2007 18:46
by Stephen P. Pizzo

First let me reassure you - you aren't crazy. At least I don't think you are. You just feel that way some days. I know because I felt it again this morning. And wouldn't anyone? I mean these two stories were virtually side by side in my morning paper:

Rice Blasts Venezuela's Chavez
ANAMA CITY, Panama (AP) – Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Venezuela's foreign minister fired verbal broadsides at each other Monday over the closure of a key opposition television station in Venezuela...Rice protested the shuttering of Radio Caracas Television, RCTV, calling it Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez's ''sharpest and most acute'' move yet against democracy as thousands of university students marched in Caracas to protest.

Pakistan takes TV stations off air
Islamabad: PAKISTAN'S President, Pervez Musharraf, has cracked down on the country's television networks in a move against growing calls for a return to democracy. Several stations were taken off the air at the weekend. On Monday, General Musharraf introduced emergency legislation providing for stiff fines and the closure of channels deemed to have broken the law. The military-dominated government is angry at what it calls "sensationalist" coverage of the crisis surrounding the suspended Chief Justice, Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry.
I must be crazy. After all, in neither story did the reporter mention the other, or try to reconcile the inherent contradictions. So, I must be seeing something that ain't there. I must be crazy.

We've all wondered just what goes on in the mind of a crazy person, so here, let me give you glimpse by letting you into this crazy person's mind. Here's how my crazy brain spun it's wheels on all that.

Whoa! Back up buddy. Somethings amiss here.
  • Chevez pulls the plug on television news he doesn't like and the US calls him a dictator.
  • Musharraf pulls the plug on news outlets that he doesn't like and the US says nothing about it.
  • Chevez is considered an enemy of the US, though his only weapon of mass destruction appears to be his mouth (and bears an uncanny resemblance to Benito Mussolini.)
  • Pakistan possesses nuclear weapons and missiles capable of delivering them, and we call Pakistan a friend and "partner in the war on terrorism."
  • Chevez was democratically elected by the Venezuelan people.
  • Musharraf is the General Alexander Haig of Pakistan... he simply appointed himself "in charge," and intends to keep it that way.
  • If Chevez is overthrown, either undemocratically or democratically, the only international ramification would be that US oil companies get to reclaim their Venezuela's assets.
  • If Musharraf gets overthrown, either democratically or otherwise, the chance that Islamic terrorist groups getting their hands on nuclear materials and/or actual nukes, goes from slim to PDG (Pretty Damn Good.)
Whew! Maybe I'm not crazy after all. By George, I think I get it.

Venezuela is in the US dog house as long as socialist big mouth, Chevez, is running the place.

But Musharraf can be anything he must be to to stay in power. That means if he has to jail opposition leaders, so be it. If he has to smother Pakistan's free press in it's crib, smother away. If he has to fix upcoming elections, buzz Diebold and go for it baby, there'll be no objections for this end.

It must be because the US has piled all the chips it has left on a US-subservient Pakistan. After all, it's the only country in the Muslim world without oil (or much else of value for that matter) that can be bought off with liberal applications of US money and military gear. It's also one of the few remaining nations on earth whose leader is so threatened by his own people that a day with out US protection is a day without sunshine - as in forever. Pakistan is also the only country that has less control over it's own border regions that the US. Which is why it is such a popular spring break destination for al-Qaida undergrads throughout the region.

So, let me review:

A democratically-elected leader with a big mouth, but lots of oil, no nukes, who squashes democratic forces in order to remain in power, is an enemy of freedom, democracy and the US.

But a leader who seizes power in a coup, refuses to resign his post as the nation's military leader, whose people hate and would likely replace if allowed to vote in a free and open election, but who isn't about to allow it, a leader who harbors within his notoriously unstable country both terrorists and nukes - oh, and who also suppresses press freedom, is a embraced as a friend of the US and a partner in the global war against terrorists.
Shit. That didn't help.

Wait! I wonder if there's some kind of sliding schedule for these kinds of considerations - a relativity thing going on. Maybe Einstein missed something in his theory of relativity. Maybe not just time, but democracy and freedom are relative forces in the universe as well.

Since I never fully understood Einstein's original theory, maybe I'm not crazy just because I can't get my neurons around a theory of relative freedom and democracy either. Nevertheless, there clearly appears to be some kind of relative standards involved in these highfalutin international mashups.

Hmmmm, I'll try one of Einstein's thought exercises: If Musharraf and Chevez are both fired into space in different rockets, and Musharraf travels at the speed of light while Chevez travels only as fast as the sound of his own words ... Forgetaboutit. That doesn't help either. I still don't get it.

So I go back to my paper:

''Freedom of speech, freedom of association and freedom of conscience are not a thorn in the side of government,'' Rice told the ministers. ''Disagreeing with your government is not unpatriotic and most certainly should not be a crime in any country, especially a democracy.''
Suddenly I'm chanting –

"Head-On! Apply directly to the forehead.
Head-On! Apply directly to the forehead."

So I turn on CNN to drown out the refrain, and there's George W. Bush lecturing the G8 nations in Prague on the importance of "transparency in government."

"The United States is also using our influence to urge valued partners like Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan to move toward freedom. These nations have taken brave stands and strong action to confront extremists, along with some steps to expand liberty and transparency."
That does it. I'm crazy. Pass the Prozac.

Make it a double.
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Prozac for whoes use!
 
June 05, 2007
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