Monday, August 30, 2004

Secret Service shuts down Michael Moore interviews

This is a transcript of the broadcast the General describes in his letter. Audio is available here (click on Monday, hour 2)

1st clip begins at 31:19

NPR Reporter Andrea Seabrook: Hello Frank. I'm standing here with Michael Moore, the filmmaker who made Fahrenheit 911. Mr. Moore, why are you here?

Michael Moore: I'm here writing a guest column each day for USA Today.

Seabrook: OK, so you have credentials to...

Secret Service Agent Come around here

Seabrook: I'm going to have to join him. They're kicking me out of this exact area but I can go around to...They just asked me to come around to the other side here.

NPR Convention Anchor Fred Stachio (phonetic spelling): Andrea Seabrook on the floor with Michael Moore.

Seabrook: [unintelligible]

Stachio: I know you're still there. I just want to be sure that you can still hear us while your being moved, Andrea.

Seabrook: Well, well I'm not...the Secret Service has blocked off that area. They're calling it a...a hazard because of the number of people who are a gathered around him. There aren't that many people, but the Secret Service won't let me around him anymore, so I think a the access to him might be cut off for a moment. We'll try to get back with him.

2nd clip begins at 39:55

Seabrook: Yes, I am in the middle of might be able to hear the Secret Service yelling into my mic at the same time. There, there are a bunch of Secret Service that have surrounded Michael Moore's section. There are three or four reporters with him right now, but they are trying to kick all of the reporters and press photographers who are around him out of his area. The convention staff is also here. They're standing here telling us that we have to move from this are...they're obviously disturbed by the fact that Michael Moore is here and want as little public here as possible.

Stachio: Can we hear? Can we hear what's going on? Can you stick a mic in there? I don't know if we can hear.

Seabrook:'ve sort of moved me away from that area.

Stachio: I don't understand. Who is it? Is it Secret Service?

Seabrook: It's Secret Service which is interesting because the Secret Service of all agencies is the one that the least involved in the sort of political...political kinds of things, but of course they always cover the candidates and they have to be involved in the convention like this. They claim that what they're doing is for safety reasons, although there is a almost nobody around Michael Moore right now. So a we'll see if I can a...

Secret Service Agent: [crosstalk] thank you very much

Seabrook: Yeah, I'm being herded back in four different ways right now.

Friday, August 20, 2004

Florida Republicans helping Swiftboat Attack Dogs Raise Funds

From the Collier County Republican Central Committee web site:


I googled an old college friend from Venezuela last night. His name appeared on a list of counter-revolutionaries. That's not a big surprise, because although he was very liberal, his family was part of the oligarchy. His father held an important post in the state security police force until he had a falling out with the President in the Eighties. Then things became tough for the family as the father's old bureaucratic enemies turned a blind eye to the looting of the family's property.

I lost track of him about ten years ago, but it's possible given the nature of oligarchies, that my friend sided with those who opposed Chavez, even if many of them were rightists and the very people who disgraced his family. Class is very important in Latin America.

I don't know as much as I should about Venezuelan society and politics. As my remarks above suggest, I believe it's as stratified in terms of class as Mexico and the Central American countries. I could be wrong.

Given this bias on my part, I've been inclined to support Chavez as a defender of the poor and disenfranchised. I've doubted much of what has been printed about him, because it's the same rhetoric I've heard from the oligarchs in San Salvador, Managua, and Mexico City. The fact that Otto Reich despises him also suggests that he might be someone we should embrace.

However, after seeing my friend's name on a list of counter revolutionaries, and, indeed, learning that such lists exist, I'm beginning to wonder about Chavez. It's time I learned more about Venezuela. I'd appreciate any suggestions you might have in regard to articles and books on the subject.

Update: Upon further research, I found that my friend is a major Chavez backer. The list was put out by the opposition because he holds an influential position in the State oil company. They're angry with him because of his actions during the company's shut down after the attempted coup. It's interesting to see the oligarchy brand its enemies as being counter-revolutionaries.