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Thursday, August 19, 2010 

Intellectual blind spots.

Both left and right can have blind spots when it comes to certain favoured regimes or countries. Some on the left are always willing to overlook the negatives of the regimes in Venezuela, Cuba, Gaza or even Iran, while the right does much the same when it comes to Israel or Colombia, and yes, I am generalising here. Our governments, bless them, have much the same attitudes when it comes such bastions of human rights as Saudi Arabia, which can never be sold enough weapons as long as the oil keeps flowing, and that's without bringing into the equation nations such as Pakistan, our relationship with which is a complete mess of contradictions and compromises.

This sort of thing though just makes you look like a useful idiot. Within a few pages of each other in today's Graun you have this report:

Venezuela has banned its press from publishing graphic images of crime and violence for one month, fuelling a row over censorship in the runup to elections.

A court yesterday imposed the "temporary" order on print media, citing a need to protect the "psychic and moral integrity of children and adolescents".

The ruling said: "For the next four weeks, no newspaper, magazine or weekly of the country can publish images that are violent, bloody, grotesque, whether about crime or not."

Then Seumas Milne on the "transformation of Latin America":

So expect a flurry of new claims that Chávez is a dictator who has stifled media freedom and persecuted bankers and businessmen, and whose incompetent regime is running into the sand. In reality the Venezuelan president has won more free elections than any other world leader, the country's media are dominated by the US-funded opposition, and his government's problems with service delivery stem more from institutional weakness than authoritarianism.

Yes, what could possibly have given that impression? It's the intellectual dishonesty more than anything which makes you want to scream: everyone can see that Venezuela is a vastly more equal country than it was when Chávez came to power, and the short-lived coup against him was proof if it was ever needed of what sort of opposition he has always faced; trouble is, he's since turned to using exactly the same sort of methods as they did then. He might not tick all the required boxes to truly be considered a dictator, but anyone suggesting the ban on publishing "graphic" images is anything other than censorship for a political purpose is spouting the equivalent of nonsense on stilts. You can support Chávez's aims without giving succour to his methods or even him personally, yet still so many have a fundamental problem with grasping such subtlety. Is it really so difficult?

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Things are so much better now that Hugo took charge.
What's a few crackdowns on freespeech, press, dissent, and civil liberties when you're creating a "vastly more equal country".

It's the moral relativism that makes you want to scream.

Have you actually seen the photo? I read this about CNN's coverage:

"In an interview on CNN en Español with Otero, the US news network admitted the image published by El Nacional was too graphic to present to viewers and stated, “CNN will not show this image during any of our broadcasts since we consider it could perturbe viewers and is too graphic to show”. Nonetheless, Otero, and other corporate media in Venezuela, claim the publication of the graphic image is a part of “free expression”. "

By the way, the ban has been quashed now. A ban does seem heavy handed but the actions of the paper seem to be questionable to say the least.

Been Googling your name again, have you Cheryl? http://www.septicisle.info/2008/02/former-us-soldier-writes.html

Do keep coming back, it's great entertainment to read your stuff, like this:


That mosque would be a glorification of the murder of 3000 people, not to mention the atrocities that muslims commit on a daily basis.
It’s up to the American people to stop this Islamofascist incursion on our soil. The government sure won’t.

And you're preaching about moral relativism to me? Sheesh.

Matthew: I haven't, have seen it described, but I think such shock tactics can be legitimate when used sparingly and when no one disputes what a horrific violent crime problem Caracas has. It's certainly not that much different from the recent Time magazine cover, which also set out to shock with a point, and which sparked much debate. Banning rarely works, and certainly doesn't when it comes to the press in the online age. Desperation comes to mind.

Who is this Cheryl? She needs to get some perspective. It isn't a Mosque it's a Sufi cultural centre and I am told it is a walk from "ground zero". On the Today programme I heard some idiot compare the building of the "Mosque" to Nuns building a church on Auzchwitz. a) the story didn't make ANY sense, b) the analogy didn't make any sense and c) they wre essentially creating an opportunity to compare "9/11" to the holocaust. I am SO bored with people who have nothing better to do than ignorant fear mongering. Especially when they so blantantly get their facts wrong...

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