Chavez loses

December 3rd, 2007 at 9:58 pm by David Farrar

This is great news – Venezuela voters have rejected the constitution promoted by Hugo Chavez by 51% to 49%.

This new constitution would have removed the law requiring Chavez to step down in 2012, and give him greatly increased powers.

He is accepting the result for now, but we’ll see given time whether or not he does hand power over peacefully.

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70 Responses to “Chavez loses”

  1. Right of way is Way of Right (1,129 comments) says:

    Yippee, Chavez first, then Clark-ez?

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  2. Southern Raider (1,800 comments) says:

    Maybe Helen will take this as a sign from the gods and put the EFB on the back burner as well. She was starting to model her leadership on Chahez so it must hurt when your idol takes a hit. I suppose she can always take a leaf out of Putins book and lock up your opposition before the election.

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  3. Lindsay Addie (1,394 comments) says:

    HURRAH!!!!!

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  4. Rex Widerstrom (5,346 comments) says:

    she can always take a leaf out of Putins book

    Shut UP Southern Raider! If she starts copying Putin, it can’t be long before we start seeing the topless photos.

    Noooooooooooo!!!

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  5. Southern Raider (1,800 comments) says:

    Rex I bet Putin has more perky boobs than our beloved leader.

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  6. Tane (1,096 comments) says:

    You know, for all the talk you hear about Chavez being a dictator he sure does seem to have a lot of elections and referenda. Don’t get me wrong, I have my issues with the guy, but a lot of the stuff that’s said about him is simply made up.

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  7. MikeE (555 comments) says:

    “You know, for all the talk you hear about Chavez being a dictator he sure does seem to have a lot of elections and referenda. ”

    They have elections in North Korea too…

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elections_in_North_Korea

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  8. Grant (436 comments) says:

    The trick, Tane, will be to see whether he abides by the result of this latest election.
    Comrade Mugabe held a similar referendum in 2000 and was incensed when the population voted against his proposals. Not that he took too much notice anyway, and carried on regardless transforming Zimbabwe into the shining beacon of a socialist paradise we know it as today.
    It will be interesting to see if Chavez learns from the example.
    G

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  9. Tane (1,096 comments) says:

    See, that’s exactly my point Mike. There’s a lot to criticise (and a lot to praise) about what’s happening in Venezuela, but reducing it to comparisons with North Korea is just stupid.

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  10. Richard (130 comments) says:

    “They have elections in North Korea too… ”

    …and in Cuba but the Castro and Kim regimes don’t lose. It wouldn’t be surprising if Chavez’s next attempt to make himself dictator bypasses the election route.

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  11. Dazzaman (1,139 comments) says:

    China also has elections

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  12. Dazzaman (1,139 comments) says:

    Chavez + Castro + Kim + Mussolini = Buffoon x 3

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  13. Dazzaman (1,139 comments) says:

    er 4

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  14. dime (9,806 comments) says:

    holy shit! didnt see that coming!!!

    this guys going nowhere though!

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  15. Tane (1,096 comments) says:

    You’ll also notice that the Venezuelan right were so incensed by the result of a democratic election that they overthrew Mr Chavez in a coup.

    That doesn’t mean he’s a perfect democrat (far from it), but his record is a lot better than the right-wing opposition, which the Western media sees fit to present as the great protector of Venezuelan democracy.

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  16. emmess (1,420 comments) says:

    Tane,
    Funny how the far left never seems to mention that Chavez attempted his own coup against a truly democratic government in 1992

    Anyway, as others have said now is the real test, we gwt to see whether or not Chavez is a hard core authoritarian or worse or is prepared to manntain the minimal vestiges of democracy which will see him out in a few years

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  17. Tane (1,096 comments) says:

    Emmess, you’ll not my comment “far from it”. I’ve made no bones about the fact that I have my suspicious about Chavez, but I also recognise a lot of the great work he’s done for the poor of Venezuela (who make up 80% of the population and the bulk of his support). I’m just saying the kneejerk comparisons to North Korea and talk about dictatorship doesn’t help anyone.

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  18. francis (712 comments) says:

    claims about Chavez made up? wow. now there’s denial at an entirely new level of operation.

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  19. Dazzaman (1,139 comments) says:

    Say what you like Tane, Chavez is a loon. Hopefully he tries to push his luck too far, then those students will grind the place to a halt. Can’t trample on people with real aspirations for wealth without getting a bloody nose.

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  20. Dazzaman (1,139 comments) says:

    Tane – but I also recognise a lot of the great work he’s done for the poor of Venezuela

    Last time I looked, Chavez was & is doing a Mugabe by “nationalizing” the shitter out of the place! Chavez’s “nationalizing”, read theft.

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  21. Tane (1,096 comments) says:

    Dazza, your problem appears to be with socialism in general. That’s fine. Just don’t kid yourself that it’s a substitute for serious political analysis.

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  22. PaulL (6,030 comments) says:

    Tane, compared to the alternatives Chavez is pretty good. On an absolute scale though, not exactly a democrat. But I agree, we have to live in the world of the possible. Equally John Key isn’t perfect, but compared to the alternative…

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  23. Dazzaman (1,139 comments) says:

    Dead right….it won’t, hasn’t & never will work. Here’s common sense analysis Tane Let …me …say…it …slowly, Chavez is a LOON

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  24. Buggerlugs (1,609 comments) says:

    Just don’t kid yourself that it’s a substitute for serious political analysis.

    A bit like the sub-standard then, eh Tutae?

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  25. Tane (1,096 comments) says:

    Buggerlugs, the closest thing to analysis I’ve ever seen you engage in is to repeatedly refer to me by the Maori word for ‘shit’. It doesn’t bother me in the slightest seeing as it’s so childish, but it does provide an interesting insight into your warped, and I suspect racist, mind.

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  26. Dazzaman (1,139 comments) says:

    Don’t worry Buggerlugs, I’m a Maori and I’ll call him tutae! By the way, Tane, I haven’t read any sense from you on any subject here … pot …kettle

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  27. Buggerlugs (1,609 comments) says:

    Hey brother – I’m a Maori too. I just don’t go on about it, and the racism call is classic – didn’t Labour used to think Billy T James was an Uncle Tom?

    Labour should take my aunty’s advice: Tungia te ururua kia tupu whakaritorito te tupu o te harakeke.

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  28. Kimble (4,443 comments) says:

    “I suspect racist”

    you always suspect racist, Tane, GTF over yourself and stop playing the eternal victim

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  29. Kimble (4,443 comments) says:

    hThe Left is going to be on the wrong side of history again with Chavez.

    They are already on the wrong side of present, doing things they should be sickened by, as in defending the forced closure of TV stations and newspapers that have been critical of Chavez.

    They will scream the silly heads off at the slightest perceived slight on free speech by a centre right politician, but give a free pass to their brethren.

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  30. Peak Oil Conspiracy (3,295 comments) says:

    DPF wrote:

    This new constitution would have removed the law requiring Chavez to step down in 2012, and give him greatly increased powers.

    A selective listing of these greatly increased powers (from the article DPF linked to):

    * let Chavez handpick local leaders under a redrawn political map (so much for grassroots democracy)
    * permit civil liberties to be suspended under extended states of emergency (so much for human rights)
    * allow Chavez to seek re-election indefinitely (so much for electoral democracy)
    * grant Chavez control over the Central Bank (so much for central bank independence)

    To name a few.

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  31. Camryn (555 comments) says:

    If Chavez really cared about the poor of Venezuela instead of his own power and ideological flights of fancy then he would’ve simply taxed the private industry that already existed rather than nationalize it. This is just one more example of where governments that own businesses end up making less money to spend on social programmes because they can’t run anything effectively. Chaves would have some really decent oil wealth to spend on whatever if output hadn’t floored due to state ownership.

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  32. dad4justice (8,062 comments) says:

    This is chicken shit compared to the landslide win for that scumbag Putin the former KGB spy that has put operational bombers in the air, but the world is silent ? Bit like the operational Chinese warships that docked in kiwi ports ??

    Hugo promotes a policy of “democratic socialism ” just like Helen does, but not like Vladimir who likes to hate all Western governments and accuses them of “poking their snotty noses ” in Russia’ s affairs . All three are fraudsters !!!

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  33. Danyl Mclauchlan (1,066 comments) says:

    I guess the difference is that George W has looked into Putins eyes and decided he’s a good guy – and besides, when he met the president Putin wore a crucifix on his lapel (for possibly the first and last time in his life) so his rapid ascent to despotism and regular murder of his political opponents is all in a noble cause.

    Besides, what role has Russia played in world history or recent geopolitics? Don’t you think its far more important for DPF to breathlessly update everyone on day to day Venezuela than some former superpower and one of our biggest trading partners?

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  34. dad4justice (8,062 comments) says:

    “Besides, what role has Russia played in world history or recent geopolitics?”

    Obviously this comment is absurd Danyl .

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  35. Chicken Little (793 comments) says:

    eee wheres Sam D when you need him?

    Maybe someone else could explain to Tane that everyone is a racist in their own little way.

    Of course, pulling out the ‘racist’ card on an anon internet user just shows a complete lack of style which, I’m quite sure, Sam would agree with ,if he could be here today.

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  36. Reg (544 comments) says:

    Chavez is the “poster boy” for the “incremental socialist revolution”.

    How to do Chavez style:

    1. Gain power by articulating moderate policies and promising assistance to the poorer sections of society.
    2. Once in power promote anti-Americanism and create an outside enemy to facilitate development of Nationalism.
    3. Accuse domestic political opponents as being American puppets.
    4. Use this as an excuse to fiddle with the electoral system to the advantage of the ruling Party and to politicise the civil service.
    5. When these moves are constitutionally challenged, stack court system with regime friendly judges.
    6. Move to Nationalise large business holdings to prevent any concentrations of wealth that could provide the “critical mass” needed to revive and sustain serious political opposition!
    7. Entrench regime by constitutional amendments that effectively turn the Nation into a one party Cuban style communist state.

    It might be too late for Venezuela they are having problems with number 7. but take heart we are only up to 4. and there is still an election next year!

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  37. the deity formerly known as nigel6888 (859 comments) says:

    So Tane has his “suspicions” about Chavez

    yea gods, what does it take before some people notice a fascist dictator. Ohhh, lets see, close down opposition media – check. Rig elections- check, attempt coup – check, attempt to overthrow neighbouring governments – check, hang out with other dictator losers – check, employ private army to beat up opposition groups – check, create state apparatus to control food and basic staples – check, nationalise private property – check, create personality cult – check. Chavez is following the National Socialist handbook to the letter.

    so at what point does “suspicion” harden into something like an opinion eh Tane?

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  38. Paul (1,315 comments) says:

    Yet the poor people love him?

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  39. the deity formerly known as nigel6888 (859 comments) says:

    and your point is paul? oh thats right you don’t have one do you.

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  40. the deity formerly known as nigel6888 (859 comments) says:

    next you’ll be telling us how the revered Chavez makes the trains run on time? and that poor people need strong leadership, particularly if they suffer from the disadvantage of being poor AND brown?

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  41. Paul (1,315 comments) says:

    No, all I said was the poor people love him.

    Nothing more nothing less.

    It is a point, wether you like it or not. It was a statement of fact and opinion. I don’t like the guy, there is no place in this world for extremists and dictators, but it is very funny that he has all that oil.

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  42. the deity formerly known as nigel6888 (859 comments) says:

    ah yes funny. Its always funny when a fascist uses the resources of the state to create a dictatorship isn’t it?

    Sorry I can’t share your sense of humour, you got any other gems?

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  43. NeilM (370 comments) says:

    “I guess the difference is that George W has looked into Putins eyes and decided he’s a good guy…’

    Fair point about double standards Danyl but Chavez has been making a big nuisance of himself with befriending Ahmadinejad and other unpleasant anti-Americans. Putin just seems to be making a mess of his own backyard and isn’t attempting to resurrect the old socialist crusade.

    Chavez will most likely cause a lot of trouble in Central and South America all in the name of The Revolution.

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  44. NeilM (370 comments) says:

    “Yet the poor people love him?”

    yep – good ol’ Populism. Putin’s quite good at that too. So was Peron. It ends in tears everytime.

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  45. Johnboy (15,903 comments) says:

    Helen thinks the people love her.

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  46. clintheine (1,570 comments) says:

    Sheesh Tane, talk about understatement. You’re a *little” worried about Chavez?

    “The defeated reform package would have created new types of communal property, let Chavez handpick local leaders under a redrawn political map and suspend civil liberties during extended states of emergency. Without the overhaul, Chavez will be barred from running again in 2012.

    Other changes would have shortened the workday from eight hours to six, created a social security fund for millions of informal laborers and promoted communal councils where residents decide how to spend government funds”

    Not to mention that Chavez wants to fire all the independent thinking University professors and replace them with his mates, then worked on oppressing the student riots when they told him to piss off. Not to mention when he shut down the independent media outlets and then cut off trade to Columbia because their leader told him to stop stirring up the FARC militia in their country.

    Chavez is dangerous and is using the poor of his country as pawns in his little game. Todays result was fantastic.

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  47. hinamanu (2,352 comments) says:

    “Don’t you think its far more important for DPF to breathlessly update everyone on day to day Venezuela than some former superpower and one of our biggest trading partners?”

    Chavez is an international stirrer, thats why I like him.

    His people are divided over him, fair enough. He’s not inciting then against each other.

    Because he’s not Britain, Russia or France, he can afford to speak his mind, he doesn’t have to be diplomatic. He is probably rallying his peoples army for that very reason. Sth America has never been free of
    the US yoke. We simply can’t look at Chavez or any Sth American leader in the same light as Nth Korea or Zimbabwe who have never known US interference and ruthlessness in their affairs.

    He may be a barking dog, but history has shown reason for his concerns.

    I find it quite alarming that the US can say Chavez is being ultra paranoid and the world agrees. The US are barborous rapers, pillagers and assassins and their wars are nothing more than to deal with their own unemployed they create. this, under the guise of being the greatest nation on Earth. They could have been. they chose to go the way they have from the beginning. Murderers of men, women and children of the Indian nations and slavers. The conduct of their troops in foreign lands says they haven’t changed. And we sit back and criticise Chavez comparing him to inhumane dictatorships. Playing right into US stratedgy.

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  48. PhilBest (5,120 comments) says:

    Hinamanu, was South America 1950-1985 engaged in a struggle against US hegemony, or embroiled in a proxy struggle between the US and the MOST EVIL POLITICAL SYSTEM IN HISTORY being pushed by the rival superpower of the day?

    And since the collapse of the USSR and the cessation of subsidies and support of bloody “Shining Path” type movements, why haven’t US-backed coups just cleaned up the whole continent – if they were even a fraction as evil as you make out, or as the Commies WERE?

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  49. PhilBest (5,120 comments) says:

    # Tane Says:
    December 3rd, 2007 at 11:49 pm

    “Dazza, your problem appears to be with socialism in general. That’s fine. Just don’t kid yourself that it’s a substitute for serious political analysis.”

    Tane, if you DON’T have a problem with governments “nationalising” privately owned property and businesses without compensation, if you think that’s “Socialism in general”, you are a filthy Quisling and the sooner Kiwis generally recognise your type as such, the better.

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  50. PhilBest (5,120 comments) says:

    DPF FA PETE’S SAKE, can’t you SEE what is happening to the Democratic world? 49% – FOURTY-NINE PERCENT – FOR PETE’S SAKE – of Venezeulans WANT the place to become a Communist dictatorship? The effing Marxists are just about THERE, and its only going one way all over the world. WAAAAKEY, WAAAAAAAKEY.

    What percentage of Kiwis don’t give a toss what dictatorial powers OUR Dear Leader takes to herself? OK, it’s not 49%, YET, but if you don’t know what it is, and you don’t see it’s too high, and you don’t see a dangerous TREND, you are just a stuffed shirt who is in politics for the kicks.

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  51. hinamanu (2,352 comments) says:

    “And since the collapse of the USSR and the cessation of subsidies and support of bloody “Shining Path” type movements, why haven’t US-backed coups just cleaned up the whole continent.”

    In actual fact, I have recently found the US wanted to wipe out the Phillipines just b4 ww1 then move through Asia. This one General commented on because they were so proud of what they had done to the Indians.

    The reason they ‘didn’t clean up Sth America’ is the same reason they didn’t start in Asia. Unbelievable expense. Iraq alone is proving a bottomless financial hole.

    Major US campaigns have always originated within the Republican party against non white races because there is absolutely no respect in the White House for anything different or cultural.

    The US is about class and race. I heard recently they still have divided churches. But thats another subject. I suppose you also haven’t understood yet the world is being Americanised. And to America’s idea of democracy which is totalatarism .

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  52. Andrew W (1,629 comments) says:

    The US hostility towards Cuba has been a huge help to Castro, they have helped keep Cuban nationalism strong, ditto for Chavez. It all comes down to the same old same old, US presidents are only interested in getting/keeping US public opinion behind them (understandably), demonising Castro, Saddam, or Chavez can win votes, Americans are also very nationalistic.

    If these failing states were ignored they would soon fall over under their own weight, as others have.

    I see Putin’s Russia as a worry, Putin seems to be building a Hitleresk personallity cult, and the freer Russian economy and oil will soon give Russia the economic and military muscle to step up the intimidation of her neighbours.

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  53. hinamanu (2,352 comments) says:

    “the freer Russian economy and oil will soon give Russia the economic and military muscle to step up the intimidation of her neighbours.”

    If Russia can convince China of its confidences, we’re all in trouble.

    I do have a pet theory Russia accomodates some of the Chinese army.

    I find it hard to believe China has enough room for its armed forces as well as its domestic population. If anyone needs ‘Lebenstraum’ its China.

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  54. Kimble (4,443 comments) says:

    Danyl, I dont think anyone, even GWB is defending what is obviously happening in Russia. If this is just a resurfacing of the “well why dont they invade all other despotisms” argument then you can shove it back where you found it.

    Are you really suggesting that the recent parliamentary elections in Russia, which went how pretty much everyone was expecting, is somehow as interesting and blogworthy as a constitutional referendum in Venzeula, which most certainly did not?

    For those who say that Chavez holds a lot of referendums and elections for a dictator, I dont think you could expose your idiocy any more efficiently. Given his previous actions it isnt unreasonable to think that, he holds referenda because up untill now he knew he would win.

    That is why this result is so important. It is the first real slap in the face his leadership has had to endure. If he is a dictator he will find a way around the result (holding another referendum is my guess), if he isnt then he will abide by the rules as they stand and give up the leadership.

    I cannot see him stepping down. I dont have inside knowledge or anything, but from what I have seen (as kindly listed above by nigel) he doesnt seem the sort to give up power willingly.

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  55. Andrew W (1,629 comments) says:

    “he doesnt seem the sort to give up power willingly.”

    Agree, politicians that give up power willingly are nearly as rare as hens teeth

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  56. hinamanu (2,352 comments) says:

    “Agree, politicians that give up power willingly are nearly as rare as hens teeth.”

    Which is exactly why I don’t believe John Keys will rescind the EFB if it passes and he wins the next election.

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  57. Andrew W (1,629 comments) says:

    Which is one of the reasons why I see the power of the state always expanding, always moving towards more socialism.

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  58. hinamanu (2,352 comments) says:

    I’ve never heard of a govt being down sized.

    we’re being feed the lie we can be afford more bureaucracy.

    For that to happen something else has to go.

    but of course as Dear Leader explains, thats the way of the world.

    So far, we can still change her world.

    btw, talking about worlds, there’s a Texan selling plots on the moon.

    Therefore you can be sure the moon will fall under US legislation.

    There’s just no getting away.

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  59. Andrew W (1,629 comments) says:

    The moon? there’s an outfit selling the stars!

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  60. Kimble (4,443 comments) says:

    “I’ve never heard of a govt being down sized.”

    Labour late 80’s, National early 90’s.

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  61. Andrew W (1,629 comments) says:

    Temporary aberrations.

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  62. Kimble (4,443 comments) says:

    Fiji after every coup.

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  63. Andrew W (1,629 comments) says:

    Exactly! Viva la revolution!

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  64. sonic (2,818 comments) says:

    So much for him being a dictator then.

    Any chance of you guys withdrawing all the nonsense about totalinarianism?

    Sadly, No

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  65. Kimble (4,443 comments) says:

    “For those who say that Chavez holds a lot of referendums and elections for a dictator, I dont think you could expose your idiocy any more efficiently.”

    “So much for him being a dictator then.”

    The jury is still out, sonic. He has tried the peaceful method and failed. Why did he try in the first place? The question is will he abide by this or will he try and find another way to hold onto power?

    Should he take further steps to retain power, would you admit YOU were wrong to question our concerns?

    Sadly, no.

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  66. Andrew W (1,629 comments) says:

    “Any chance of you guys withdrawing all the nonsense about totalinarianism?”

    Any chance of a rational refutation from you?

    Sadly, no.

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  67. PhilBest (5,120 comments) says:

    Hinamanu, you’re selling plots on the planet Chomsky.

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  68. foal30 (1 comment) says:

    I think Chavez has done more for the working poor in 7 years than 100 years of his nation being a slave state to American and Spanish banking, mining, fruit and oil interests.

    holding a referendum tends to dispel notions and accusations of totalitarianism. Yes, the proof will be in the pudding over the response to the latest vote, but I fail to see much difference between re-jigging the constitution and say, grooming your son for the job.

    The populist laminations strike me as odd too…the guy actually is popular because rather than just talk about the poor as some exploitable group 6 weeks out from an election Chavez has actually delivered policy that directly lifts the poorest sections of society.

    oh for some of that sort of leadership here.

    Complaints about nationalization of Industry fail to hold water either. Even a cursory look at economics should tell us that those states with the most protectionist trade regimes are the best off.

    Despite what edicts they espouse to the “Third World”.

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  69. PhilBest (5,120 comments) says:

    Interesting Wall St Journal Editorial on this:

    http://www.opinionjournal.com/columnists/bstephens/?id=110010942

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  70. Andrew W (1,629 comments) says:

    The support that Chavez has had from the population is not surprising – for the reasons you outline, his policies redistribute the pie. The downside is that they will also at best slow the growth in the size and at worst shrink the size of the pie.
    That’s always the result of a rapid move to socialism.

    “Complaints about nationalization of Industry fail to hold water either. Even a cursory look at economics should tell us that those states with the most protectionist trade regimes are the best off.”

    nationalization of Industry and protectionist trade policies are not the same thing, not even close.

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