My colleague, Les Blough, Editor of the website, Axis of Logic, sent me
this article today and I'm am pleased to republish it in The American Choice
Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez Frias proposed for the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize
By Carlos Herrara Nov 26, 2004, 18:09
Editor's Note: Please consider signing the petition below in support of President Hugo Chavez
for the Nobel Peace Prize. - Editors, Axis of Logic.
Link to Article and Pictures
Link to sign petition or contribute: PetitionOnLine
VHeadline.com commentarist Carlos Herrera writes: Thursday evening 9:00 p.m.
on Venezuelan National Radio (RNV) I learned that there are moves afoot to propose President of the Bolivarian Republic of
Venezuela, Hugo Rafael Chavez Frias as a leading candidate for the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize.
For many people throughout the world whose information about Chavez is conditioned by
mainstream news media, the immediate reaction to this news could be: ”How could a “firebrand” like Chavez
ever be considered for such an internationally prestigious award?”
I can already imagine the radical opposition thinking this and cannot believe that such a thing
could conceivably happen. The next stage will be gnashing of teeth and frothing at the mouth! Readers will recall that, two
years ago Chavez won the “Man of the Year Award” in an internet vote run by bbcmundo.com against all comers ...
including George W. Bush.
The reaction in 2002 by opposition figures was to send thousands of President Hugo Chavez Frias
insulting and threatening e-mails to bbcmundo.com, accusing the BBC of rigging the outcome, and alleging ... without any evidence
... that the Venezuelan government had “paid” for the results.
This was just a non-scientific poll in internet and not something as prestigious as
the Nobel Peace Prize ... so why is Chavez a candidate and likely winner of the Nobel Peace Prize?
Looking at the web page of the Nobel Prizes at www.nobelprize.org/peace the 2004 winner was
Wangari Maathai of Kenya was awarded the prize “for her contribution to sustainable development, democracy and peace.”
If these three qualities are key to winning the Nobel Peace Prize then Chavez has all these in abundance and more ... he must
be the world’s leading democrat having been to the polls 9 times since 1998 ... he promotes peace by asking for troops
out of Afghanistan and Iraq, so that these sovereign nations can exercise self-determination and define their own path in
Sustainable and endogenous development is one of the corner stones of the Bolivarian
revolution -- thus alleviating poverty medium to long term.
Other accomplishments which have been pushed by Chavez’ personal leadership in Venezuela
are the Social Missions, all grouped under the humanitarian banner of Mission Christ.
The primary ones are:
Mission Robinson -- teaching more than 1.3 million people to read and write
in the space of 16 months, a world record in this field
Mission Ribas -- secondary education for just over 1 million people so far,
who were denied this basic human right during the 4th Republic
Mission Barrio Adentro (Into the Nieghborhood) -- to provide free primary health
care for more than 10 million people up to now, and who did not have access to health care in the past - unless they paid
Mission Simoncito -- care and education for pregnant mothers and their children
from gestation to kindergarten, to ensure a healthy start to life
Bolivarian Schools -- integral schooling including free health care and meals,
with the objective of inculcating patriotic, humanitarian values in the upcoming generations President Hugo Chavez Frias
There may be other accomplishments I have omitted to mention, and am certain that opposition
spokesmen will try to shoot down all these accomplishments in the usual manipulative format and with their well-known semantic
bile. However, it does not matter what they think ... but what the Nobel Foundation in Oslo considers
to be true and of real value to human development and peace.
The reaction of the USA and and especially that of Condoleezza Rice will be interesting to observe.
Let us hope that the Nobel Foundation with its 105-year history will have the courage and independence of thought to consider
President Chavez for this world shattering accolade, without outside interference.
Chavez Frias has the qualities and the accomplishments, even though his style may have upset
some influential international personalities in the past.
It would be very difficult to taint Chavez as a “dictator” if he does manage to
win the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize ... and the ultimate recognition of the inherent goodness in the Bolivarian Constitution, whose
precepts President Chavez is carrying out with deep humanitarian convictions.
If you want to contribute the Bolivarian campaign for Chavez to win the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize,
you can do so by signing the petition at: Petition On Line
Victims of a Lie
By Thomas M. Braun
I am a Vietnam veteran who served honorably for my country.
I was an air operations supervisor in the US Air Force, and served on Temporary Duty status at Vietnam's Bien Hoa Air Base
and Tan Son Nhut Air Base. I have great compassion and love for every single military person now serving in Iraq.
I know the horrors they wake up to each day.
I was the victim of a lie. They are victims of a vast
lie also. I was not in combat in Vietnam, but the experience changed me and affected me deeply. I had an epiphany
one day when, looking out onto the tarmac from base operations, I saw a pallet of coffins being loaded onto a cargo plane.
The ties did not hold and the coffins fell out onto the ground. At that moment I left my duty station with the permission
of my supervisor as I felt a deep and personal trauma.
I saw the madness and the surreal nature of that war.
I also saw the Base Exchange at Tan Son Nhut Air Base in Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City), a kind of Sam's Store selling everything
from refrigerators to air conditioners and anything one could find back in the states. It was ironic to me that this
supermarket was dropped right into the middle of a war zone -- a combat zone, and everyone seemed to accept this as normal
I did not accept this. Upon returning to the states I joined Vietnam Veterans Against
the War (http://www.vvaw.org/). Like Senator John Kerry, I experienced the horror -- saw the
insanity -- and I decided to do everything I could to stop further deaths and murders in Vietnam. Like Senator John
Kerry, I had no choice. It was the only honorable thing to do.
I worked tirelessly, and continue
that fight to this day. The Swift Boat Liars have caused me to wake up again -- and to fight again. The war in
Iraq is an illegal and immoral war. It violates international law. Under the guise of bringing "freedom" to Iraq,
my government is killing innocent Iraqi women and children for oil.
My government has caused the needless
deaths of more than 1,000 U.S. military members (http://icasualties.org/oif/). My government has launched this insane war causing thousands of maimed
and wounded U.S. military personnel, not to mention the tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians injured and maimed.
All of this is based on a lie.
After the loss of 57,000 American lives, the United States did finally
wake up with regard to the war in Vietnam. But it was the people who forced that war to end, not the politicians.
Now, twenty-five years later, the people must again face their duty and demand an end to this lie, the war in Iraq.
The war in Iraq is a vast and vicious lie.
There are those who tend to minimize this as failed policy
or, like House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said (http://msnbc.msn.com/id/6095868/) in her party's weekly radio address Sept. 25, “This war has been a
grotesque mistake that has diminished our reputation in the world and has not made America safer.”
Pelosi is right. The quagmire in Iraq IS grotesque, but is is far more than a "mistake." It is a deliberate
and calculated lie to trick the American people into a patriotic orgy of support for our current president. Of course
we know the true villains in this. They are Dick Cheney and Paul Wolfowitz and Donald Rumsfeld and Condoleezza Rice
and George Bush, as well as all of the advisors who sanctioned this mess, including the pentagon's (the president's) legal
staff who condoned and justified the torture and murder of Iraqi detainees at Abu Ghraib.
I cannot say
how deeply ashamed I am of this war. I never supported George W. Bush. I voted against him because I saw his vacant
and wild stare and heard his jumbled, chopped, and childish words. I knew he was inept and incompetent to serve, not
only as president, but as commander-in-chief of our brave armed forces. I know he is a fraud. Our country has
been deeply harmed by this war and this man who hears God tell him to "spread democracy" so violently.
insanity fits so well with the agenda of the right-wing neocons and the Christian fanatics, each with its own mad road map
and grand prophecy. Christians see Bible prophecy being fulfilled. The neocons, with their own Bible, the Project for a New American Century see power being the entitlement of the imperial United States and hegemony
as our right.
All of these actors are causing serious, even irreparable, damage to a country once admired and
envied throughout the world. Admiration has been replaced with disgust. Envy has turned to hate. The evil
of this war has engulfed our country like a deep and smothering fog.
We who know the horror of a war
based on a lie must do everything in our power to stop this madness.
Thomas M. Braun resides in Tampa,
Florida. He can be reached at email@example.com
The Bush Tent Show
President Smoke and Mirrors
By MIKE WHITNEY
The Bush presidency has been the most elaborate public relations swindle in
the history of the country. From his inauguration to the present day, Bush's every move has been carefully choreographed to
maximize the ambitions of his handlers. His appearances have meticulously exorcised any fractious elements that might suggest
that he is not unanimously revered by the American people.
As Noam Chomsky notes: "For George Bush the younger, PR specialists and speechwriters
have constructed the image of a simple man with a direct line to heaven, who relies on his gut instincts as he strides forward
to rid the world of evildoers while contemplating his visions and "dreams, a caricature of ancient epics and children's tales,
with an admixture of cowboy fiction."
George Bush is entirely the invention of Madison Ave and the feverish imagination
of Karl Rove. If it was possible to get close enough, you could probably pass your hand through the pasty gray spectral figure
that is the central image of this political light show. There is simply nothing there.
The iconic image of Bush is devoid of any real substance; rather it is a repository
of familiar American symbols and comforting "sound bytes. This has elevated the President to an archetypal figure whose wisdom
issues from his deeply felt commitment to God and flag.
This manipulation of symbols first took root during the Reagan administration.
Reagan's handlers learned how critical it is to create the illusion of leadership while obscuring the brutish machinations
of government. Reagan's cheerful and bumbling character became a convenient foil for ongoing atrocities in Nicaragua and shadowy
dealings with Iran. He was an upbeat guy who photographed as well in a Stetson as in a pinstriped suit. His good-humor and
alleged forgetfulness proved to be valuable tools in disguising the many crimes that were perpetrated in his name.
The Bush character duplicates much of the Reagan mystique, with one notable
difference; the emphasis on religion. The Bush chimera is one part plain-speaking cowpoke and one part Tent-show preacher.
This adjunct to the Reagan formula has inspired legions of loyal followers to profess their unflinching devotion to their
new messiah. The unfortunate facts concerning his dubious personal history ( a unique mix of shady business deals, insider
trading, arrests, alcohol abuse, unaccounted for absences in the National Guard etc) has done nothing to upset their unshakeable
belief in junior Bush.
The illusion of Bush's popularity has been, perhaps, the thorniest aspect to
stage manage. Bush is the most reviled public figure of our era. Even when he visited close friend and ally Tony Blair in
England he had to be accompanied by an entourage of 4,000 secret service agents and an army of 18,000 Bobbies. His presence
provokes a similar reaction wherever he goes. (The unprecedented pre-war protests, that sent millions of people across the
world into the streets, attest to the overwhelming public revulsion to his policies.)
Never the less, the media has done an admirable job in concealing the rage of
the common man by isolating the "Dear Leader from his myriad detractors and by filming him in only the most flattering environs.
Public appearances have deteriorated into private affairs for well heeled contributors, who are, in turn, asked to take off
their Brooks Brothers coats and roll up their sleeves so they can affect the appearance of Joe six-pack.
Most people know by now that this painfully scripted vaudeville is nothing but
political fakery, but it plays well on America's TVs and it lends a bit of credibility to a predictably vacuous performance.
Bush's televised appearances are equally artificial but, regrettably, frequent.
On the rare occasion when the camera lingers too long on the presidential visage, peering through the vacuous executive gaze,
a broad expanse of emptiness unfolds stretching across the ether; the motionless void of Bush's brain. Then, just as quickly,
a shifting of cameras, a jolt back to life, the set jaw, the firm tone and the confident stride; our man from Crawford is
restored to his task of saving the free world from fanatics and infidels.
The Bush presidency, with its heavy dependence on symbolism rather than content;
"archetypal wizardry rather than leadership, has sent the ship of state limping towards the rocky shore. In just three years
the administration has torpedoed long-held alliances, savaged the treasury, eviscerated our international credibility, initiated
two wars of aggression, curtailed civil liberties and established an archipelago of torture camps across the globe. These
accomplishments would never have been possible without the smoke and mirrors handiwork that spawned the Pretender in Chief.
The White House illusionists have created an effective mask for disguising their
rampant criminal activity. By manufacturing a folksy, Bible wielding President, Rove and co. have fully embraced the "cult
of the personality" that faithful friend of autocrats and boon to power hungry politicians.