August 15, 2007

The Happiness Dictator!

Hugo Chavez will push through an end to term limits on an elected office in Venezuela, not coincidentally his own. The change will allow Venezuelans the pleasure of electing him indefinitely, which he sees as critical to his nation's "happiness", if not his own:

President Hugo Chávez will unveil a project to change the Constitution on Wednesday that is expected to allow him to be re-elected indefinitely, a move that would enhance his authority to accelerate a socialist-inspired transformation of Venezuelan society.

The removal of term limits for Mr. Chávez, which is at the heart of the proposal, is expected to be accompanied by measures circumscribing the authority of elected governors and mayors, who would be prevented from staying in power indefinitely, according to versions of the project leaked in recent weeks.

Willian Lara, the communications minister, said Mr. Chávez would announce the project before the National Assembly, where all 167 lawmakers support the president. Supporters of Mr. Chávez, who was re-elected last year with some 60 percent of the vote, also control the Supreme Court, the entire federal bureaucracy, public oil and infrastructure companies and every state government but two.

The aim of the overhaul is “to guarantee to the people the largest amount of happiness possible,” Mr. Lara said at a news conference on Tuesday.

Supposedly Chavez "only" wants to retain power until 2021, which would give him 22 years as president. He claims he needs that long to complete the socialist transformation of Venezuela, although he's off to a fast start. He's already nationalized the main technology sectors, such as telecommunications, electricity, and oil.

The plan calls for the limitation of power for local offices, including stronger term limits. Dictators cannot abide divisions of power, and Chavez is no exception. He wants to ensure that no rivals generate any sort of power base that could threaten his own. The less power the governors and mayors have, the more power Chavez accumulates.

Chavez also has a mechanism that will cripple these officeholders even further. Hugo has formed 20,000 "communal councils" that will have the power to distribute funds from the dictator on infrastructure maintenance and social welfare programs. The councils answer to him, and their distribution of money will solidify Chavez' grip on the nation.

Hugo has done his homework. He has created a banana republic from a once-vital democracy. It would be impressive if it weren't so depressing.


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Comments (37)

Posted by brooklyn | August 15, 2007 12:10 PM


And Democrats love him, and want the same here.

Mr. Penn must be thrilled...

The Clintons can only dream of doing this in the USA.

Posted by Electric Ferret | August 15, 2007 12:16 PM

Why do I imagine that the Democrats would love him less if they had to live there.

Posted by FedUp | August 15, 2007 12:36 PM

hmmmm... is this what is meant by 'progressive'???

Posted by MarkJ | August 15, 2007 12:50 PM

I'm sure many Venezuelans will soon bitterly observe, "We should be so lucky to have a 'banana republic': thanks to Chavez, we now even have a shortage of bananas."

Posted by swabjockey05 | August 15, 2007 1:00 PM

Oh where oh where has my little Shyster gone...oh where oh where can he be...?

Posted by Achillea | August 15, 2007 1:05 PM

I eagerly await the vociferous denunciations of Chavez by all those lefties who have been predicting that Chimpy McBushitler wound do exactly this.

Posted by Achillea | August 15, 2007 1:08 PM

Would, even.

Posted by dave | August 15, 2007 1:56 PM

Hi swabjockey. You can go ahead and make your usual comments. I hope you have them saved in a Word document so you can simply cut and paste in order to save time. You never seem to have anything new to say.

Uribe is planning on changing the presidential term laws in Columbia for a second time:
I wonder why this does not seem to get as much press...

FDR would have served 16 years if he didn't die. Was he a dictator? Is the cutoff for dictator somewhere between 26 and 22 years? What's the rule?

Posted by braindead | August 15, 2007 2:05 PM

Is this a Deja Vu from Hitler's playbook?

Within 10 years, he will blowup one of his radio stations and produce American Soldiers (prisoners dressed in US Uniforms) as the "Invasion", and another global war will be on. Venezuela-Iran-China Vs US.

Sounds like a hallucination on my part? Wait and See.

Posted by dave | August 15, 2007 2:12 PM

I meant "...between 16 and 22 years..."

France has no limit on presidential terms. I guess that means the war will be Veneuela-Iran-China-France Vs US.

Posted by Bill M | August 15, 2007 3:28 PM

You can lead a liberal to knowledge, but you cannot make him think.

Three guesses who I am referring to.

On another topic, I can't wait for our boy Jimmah's comments on this. Doesn't he just love and admire Yugo (oops, Hugo)? And Cindy Sheenan, don't you just know she will probably run to Bugo (oops, Hugeo) (double oops, Hugo) and weedle campaign funds for her cursade against Nancy Pelosi, I can just see it now.

Another socialist paradise coming your way. Cuba with oil. Wonder how soon the outflow of people will start. I pity those who can't leave.

Posted by WMD | August 15, 2007 3:31 PM

Hugo Chavez has never been a believer in Democracy. Remember that his first attempt at taking over Venezuelan was failed Putsch back in 1992.

As a matter of fact the worst mistake the Venezuelan government in the 1990s ever made waspardoning him and releasing him from Prison.

Mark my words in five year or so Hugo will be pushing for amending the Venezuelan constitution yet again so he can proclaim himself President for life.

Posted by dave | August 15, 2007 3:38 PM

Bill M:
Excuse me for my stupidity. Maybe you can help me. Why was it OK when the US had no term limits, and why is it OK today that France does not have term limits, and why is it OK for Uribe to change Columbia's laws concerning term limits, but it is not OK for Venezuela to do the same?

Posted by swabjockey05 | August 15, 2007 3:48 PM

Oh where oh where can he be.......?

Ahhhhh there the little commie rascal is…right on "Q".

Whenever a commie tyrant breaks wind you know you can always find the Shyster close at hand…ready to breathe deeply. This time it belches that others never have anything new? What a laugh…if ever there were a broken record…it would have to be called: “dave: the commie shyster lawyer wannabe”----Defender of commies, socialists and any other tyrannical enemy of freedom.

Could be the Sockpuppet today. Yawn.

Posted by docjim505 | August 15, 2007 3:54 PM


You didn't have to wait long, did you? Frankly, when I opened the comments, I wondered which of our lefties would vociferously defend Hugo. No surprises that dave, who hasn't met a dictator he doesn't like OR a situation he can't blame on Israel, is leading the charge.

But let's look at this rationally: the "president" of a country (in a region where dictatorships have been rather common historically) and who is an open admirer of Castro, will:

... announce the project [to get rid of those pesky term limits] before the National Assembly, where all 167 lawmakers support the president. Supporters of Mr. Chávez, who was re-elected last year with some 60 percent of the vote, also control the Supreme Court, the entire federal bureaucracy, public oil and infrastructure companies and every state government but two.

The aim of the overhaul is “to guarantee to the people the largest amount of happiness possible,” Mr. Lara said at a news conference on Tuesday."

Now, if George Bush did this, brother dave would be very rightly howling his head off about "dictatorship" and "theocracy" and "the damned Jooooooos". But since it's a (fellow?) commie, it's all OK.

What Chavez is doing is indeed what liberals around the world dream of.

Posted by Bill M | August 15, 2007 4:03 PM

Bingo, first time right out of the barrell.

You can lead a liberal to knowledge, but you cannot make him think.

Posted by davejoch | August 15, 2007 4:03 PM

If Chavez didn't do this, if he gave up power after this next term (2009?), he would be seen very differently. 25% of this country would blindly hate him, of course, but the majority of the world would have seen a person with an extreme view, but one who still lived within the law.

But, he's shown without a doubt his inner impulses. So, we see yet another person more interested in power than law.

Posted by bulbasaur | August 15, 2007 4:04 PM

lefties always think republicans will declare martial law - they spewed the same paranoid crap before the 1972 election, and they said Nixon fixed the democrat primaries to get the big loser McGovern on the ticket

yes the liberals IMAGINE republicans do the very things their good totalitarian friends ACTUALLY DO...


Posted by rvastar | August 15, 2007 4:05 PM

but it is not OK for Venezuela to do the same?

Amazingly, dave, I completely agree with you. And so should you, swab and doc.

There's a saying:

If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always gotten.

The people of Venezuela elected this idiot...and like all the other leftist "saviours" that "the people" have embraced before, they're going to be enjoying his "benevolent" leadership for a long, LONG time to come.

Enjoy your choice, Venezuela!

Posted by onlineanalyst | August 15, 2007 4:16 PM

It looks as if Madame Hillary has a lot of catching up to do in order to create her socialists' paradise. Hugo has a jump start on her.

Posted by bulbasaur | August 15, 2007 4:20 PM

Assuming democrats follow the same sequence as Chavez, at least now we know what comes after the Fairness Doctrine.

Posted by swabjockey05 | August 15, 2007 4:27 PM


In case you care...I'd prefer "swabbie" or "swabby".

A "swab" is what a swabbie uses to swab the deck...

Posted by rvastar | August 15, 2007 4:31 PM

Not a problem, swabby.

Posted by swabjockey05 | August 15, 2007 4:43 PM

Thanks shipmate.

OBTW: This swabbie will NEVER agree with the commie Shyster...he's the same tyrant wannabe who’s on record saying he supports the VIOLENT overthrow of our elected government...babbles on about how corrupt the government has been since WWII (but not corrupt prior…?)

If only he weren't too cowardly to actually DO something about it himself. He'd rather sit in the stand and "raise the rabble" to do the dirty work for him...must keep his little shysterly hands clean you know...

Nope, no agreement from this corner…Never. If he were to say: "the sky is blue"...instead of agreeing with him, I'll tuck, roll, and "roscoe" will double tap center of mass.

Posted by dave | August 15, 2007 6:09 PM

"Enjoy your choice, Venezuela!"

They are enjoing it. That is why Chavez' approval rating is 71%. As long as the majority of the country approves of him, I see no reason why he should not be president.

"Now, if George Bush did this, brother dave would be very rightly howling his head off about 'dictatorship'".

What action are you alluding to when you say "if George Bush did this"?
Is it that Chavez has the overwhelming support of the people? If so, you are wrong. If 71% of Americans approved of Bush and kept re-electing him, I would not be happy, but I would not call him a 'dictator'. Only complete idiots call someone a dictator who has the overwhelming support of the people and repeatedly wins fair elections by landslides.
Or do you mean that Chavez has overwhelming support in the National Assembly? The opposition boycotted the elections. If the Democrats boycotted the elections and the Republicans won nearly all the seats, that would not make Bush a dictator either. It would simply mean that the Democrats are idiots.
So tell me what Chavez actually did, where if Bush did the same thing, I would call him a dictator.

Posted by Ray | August 15, 2007 6:29 PM

Chávez doesn't want to be "re-elected": he wants to appoint himself President for life. This is just the first step, well one of the first steps anyways.

First: remove term limits, second, outlaw elections, third: appoint yourself President for Life. This is straight out of the "How to be President for Life" handbook (also called "Dictatorships for Dummies") used by "His Excellency President for Life, Field Marshal Al Hadji Doctor Idi Amin Dada, VC, DSO, MC, CBE."

Posted by patrick neid | August 15, 2007 7:11 PM

that lamp post i predict chavez will be hanging from is getting closer. it's in view now, very faint , out there on the horizon.

Posted by docjim505 | August 15, 2007 7:38 PM

Tell me, dave: wouldn't you be just a TEENSY bit suspicious if:

--- All 535 members of Congress were Republicans and Bush supporters

--- The governor and state legislature of 48 states were controlled by the GOP

--- Every justice on the Supreme Court was a Bush appointee

--- Every oil company in America was a subsidiary of Halliburton

--- Bush won reelection with 71% of the vote


--- Bush moved to get rid of that pesky XXII Amendment so he could be president AT LEAST until 2021 so he could fully implement his policies to remake America into the country HE thinks it should be?

And, if I may ask another question, since Saddam and Soviet dictators like Brezhnev routinely got 90%+ of the vote in their elections, do you claim that they WEREN'T dictators?

Posted by dave | August 15, 2007 8:54 PM

“All 535 members of Congress were Republicans and Bush supporters”
If the opposition had not boycotted the election, they would have had a fair chance at winning 1/3 of the seats in the NA. If they had, they would have been able to stop laws such as eliminating term limits. This is not what they chose to do. Instead, they chose to boycott the election in a lame attempt at claiming fraud. If the Democrats boycotted an election, I would not be surprised if the Republicans and their supporters won all the seats. Would you be surprised?

“The governor and state legislature of 48 states were controlled by the GOP”
The vast majority of Venezuelan citizens were living in poverty before Chavez came into office. Chavez is doing something for these people. Why is it so surprising that these people support Chavez and his party. Does it surprise you?

“Every justice on the Supreme Court was a Bush appointee”
Every Supreme Court justice is not a Chavez appointee. When Chavez increased the size of the Supreme Court, he added 12 seats to a total of 32. 12 out of 32 is not all. The existing Supreme Court justices were anti-Chavez to the point of ignoring the law. When the opposition staged their coup, the case against them went to the Supreme Court. The Court decided that the coup plotters could not be punished. Let’s turn this around. Let’s say Communists had power in the US for 40 years, and all 9 judges were Commies. The Bush wins the presidency. The commies get mad, and stage a coup that fails. The coup plotters end up in front of the Supreme Court, and their Commie friend judges let them go. Would you be outraged? If it happened, and Bush decided to increase the size of the court in order to get some objectivity on the court, I would not object. Would you? Would you be surprised if Bush increased the size of the court under these circumstances? Everyone admits that the court system was bankrupt before Chavez came into office. He could have announced a judicial emergency and restructured the courts entirely, but then the “dictator” charges would have been non-stop. So he did something more benign.

“Every oil company in America was a subsidiary of Halliburton”
The oil companies are owned by the state, not a private company. And they are not totally owned, but have a majority share.

Here is some reality about the takeover:
“Despite Chavez's virulent anti-Americanism and ceaseless talk of "oil sovereignty," even Venezuela's tough new terms are better than those offered by other oil-producing countries with closer political ties to the U.S. After all, Venezuela will continue to permit private companies an ownership stake in exploration and production projects — something prohibited by Mexico and Saudi Arabia.”
"But the truth — one that both Chavez and his archfoe, the Bush Administration, would prefer you not know — is that when it comes to oil nationalization, Hugo is hardly the most radical of his global peers. In fact, even after today's petro-theatrics, Chavez is just catching up with the rest of the pack.",8599,1616644,00.html

The oil companies were raping Venezuela. Earlier leaders allowed this to happen because they benefitted personally, and they did not give a shit about the people. Am I surprised that Chavez renegotiated the oil company terms for the benefit of Venezuela? No. These terms are still not as strict as in many countries, as I showed above. I was also not surprised that countries such as the UK nationalized many of their industries in the 60’ and 70’s. There was no talk of a dictatorship in the UK when they did so. First world countries are allowed to act in their own interests. Third world countries are expected to allow themselves to be raped by first world countries. I am not surprised that Chavez does not allow this.

“Bush won reelection with 71% of the vote.”
Chavez won with 63% of the vote. Is this surprising? No. He acts in the interests of the majority of the people. Why should I be surprised? What’s surprising is that the people in the US consistently elect people that act in the interests of 5% of the people. Chavez support is measured at around 70% by all reputable polling firms, including Datanalysis, which is run by an opposition member. It is reality. Deal with it.

Posted by rvastar | August 15, 2007 9:55 PM

As long as the majority of the country approves of him, I see no reason why he should not be president.

Again, I completely agree!

Most victims of leftist dicta...wait a minute...they never actually call themselves dictators, do they? Let's see, what do they usually call themselves? Ummmmmmm..."president"? Yeah, that's it...most victims of leftist "presidents" have no choice in the matter. But Venezuelans did; therefore, they have no excuse and they'll get no pity from me if Chavez - through some cosmic conflagration of the space-time continuum - turns out to be an actual, real, honest-to-God dictator.

But that's not the case for you, is it, dave? You would just feel terrible about it, wouldn't you? Heck, it might even make you a little sad :( And you definitely wouldn't be buying anymore Citgo gasoline, right? I mean, not that any of that would do the Venezuelans any good when they're being gassed, shot, and dragged away in the night, but it would certainly make you feel better about yourself. And why shouldn't you feel better about yourself? Regrets and negativity don't solve anything - onward and upward! Right, Dave? You can just find a more positive opportunity for focusing your political energies.

So let's just forget about silly old Venezuela...they'll have a "real" democracy when their culture and society evolves enough to handle it. Until then, it's probably better for them - and the world - that they have a Chavez-type to keep them under control.

I mean, there never seems to be a shortage of "leaders" whose only purpose in life is to help "the people". Maybe Africa...

Posted by dave | August 16, 2007 7:42 AM

Here's one reson why "the people" support Chavez. The people in social class "E", which is the lowest and most populous, has seen their real income go up 130% in the last 3 years. People tend to vote for leaders who effect this type of change:

Besides eliminating term limits, another interesting proposal in the Constitutional reform is to have a 36 hour workweek. I guess Chavez is just softening them up before he gasses them.

Posted by runawayyyy | August 16, 2007 11:46 AM

Folks, you are wasting your time with dave....there is nothing chavez can ever do to change his whacked out world view.

chavez has now made it clear that he wants absolute power, and he will do anything he has to in order to get it....shutting down all opposition is a prerequisite for dictatorial powers, and chavez has completed that task....there are no more opposition media outlets anywhere in dave's definition, that means everyone in the country agrees with chavez and that's so obvious (since it happens all the time here) that to not admit it is just stupid.

chavez has total control over the economy of venezuela, making it a very bad economic choice to EVER do anything chavez doesn't like....but dave thinks he would be free to vote against chavez (let alone speak out against him)....I'm betting dave NEVER tests that theory, because in dave's little mind, self-preservation is just too strong a motive, regardless of the mindless crap he spews here.

Posted by The Yell | August 16, 2007 1:54 PM

how about the partisan militia murdering opposition marchers Dave?

I say let's spare Venezuela the scars of our rape. Blow up the factories they stole.

Posted by rvastar | August 16, 2007 4:50 PM

The people in social class "E", which is the lowest and most populous, has seen their real income go up 130% in the last 3 years.

Why the big surprise? Goon squad work always pays well! After all, knee-breaking, skull-cracking, and fire-bombing aren't for everyone.

I give Chavez this: at least he's smart enough not to get the police to do his dirty know, "plausible deniability" and all. And I bet he isn't paying his goons with health care credits, either. How very un-socialist of him :)

Folks, you are wasting your time with dave

I know, but it's just so much fun watching dave - or whatever organization is posting as "dave" - show up here, right on que, when the subject of Chavez comes regale us all with the endless tid-bits and factoids, obfuscations and moral equivalences...all to explain how a fish swimming in water isn't necessarily wet.

Posted by Yankee Is Home | August 16, 2007 8:41 PM

Here is some indication that it may be an uphill battle for El Chavez to win the referendum.

For those who believe in the integrity of Chavez-run elections, here is a link to an article in the International Statistical Review. 200702221623

I have worked with Venezuelan professionals in the US, and NONE of them have a good word to say about El Chavez

Posted by Yankee Is Home | August 16, 2007 9:30 PM

For all supporters of democracy, here are some quotes by and about Hugo and his democratic friends, courtesy of Caracas Chronicles blog.
(I Googled them all, but to save space, have not linked them.)

Chávez on Mugabe:
“You are and always will be a true warrior of freedom."

Ahmedinejad on Chávez :
“"I feel I have met a brother and trench mate after meeting Chavez."

Chavez on Bashar Assad:
“ “We have the same political vision.”
(the same vision as other visitors to Damascus, such as Nancy Pelosi and David Duke?)

Chavez on Belarus caudillo Lukashenko:
“ "Here, I've got a new friend and together we'll form a team, a go-ahead team."

Chavez on Gaddafi of Libya:
“friend and brother.” ( El Universal- translation. Cited in Wikipedia)

Posted by dave | August 17, 2007 8:20 AM

I am shocked that someone has tried to bring up facts on this thread. Wow. I actually get to respond to something.

First of all, Hinterlaces (and Keller as well) are notoriously anti-Chavez, and not very trustworthy. Here is an example:

On April 22, 2006, the Economist magazine had this quote from Hinterlaces (Headline: Crimes and misdemeanours; Venezuela):

“The government's approval rating was only 14% in a recent survey by Hinterlaces, a polling firm.”

14%? Do you believe that number by Hinterlaces? Here is a quote from the Boston Globe from May 11, 2006:

“Chavez, who frequently needles the Bush administration by calling the president a ‘crazy man’ and ‘Mr. Dangerous,’ heads into a December reelection campaign with approval ratings of 70 percent to 82 percent, according to recent polls by Latin American organizations.”

In the beginning of April, 2006, Datos reported Chavez’ approval rating as 83.1% in Ultimas Noticias.

So when all other polling firms are reporting Chavez approval rating anywhere from 70 to 83 percent, Hinterlaces does a poll that measures his rating at 14%. Hinterlaces is a joke.

Regarding your paper about the recall election. My roommate has an MS in statistics, and I gave her a copy to analyze. She happens to specialize in cluster analysis. She has not studied it yet, so bring it up on the next Chavez thread and I’ll have more to say. She does doubt whether a technique such as cluster analysis can be applicable to a “proof” that an election is fraudulent, because this is simply not the type of thing it is used for. Cluster sampling, a similar concept, is what was used by the Johns Hopkins researchers to estimate the number of Iraqi deaths due to the US invasion. Their estimate was 650,000, with a 95% confidence interval that the number of deaths is between 400,000 and 950,000. As you can see, this technique is useful, but has rather large error bars. To use this type of method to “prove” fraud is pretty ridiculous. If you believe this technique is valid in regards to the recall election, you must also believe that the US has caused 650,000 deaths in Iraq, unless you are a hypocrite. So how do you feel about that many people dying as a result of US foreign policy?

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