Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
February 14, 2009

The NYT Editors' Consistency On Term Limits

Hugo Chávez apparently doesn’t believe Venezuelan voters, who just more than a year ago rejected his bid to eliminate the term limits that are blocking his continued rule. On Sunday, he is giving them another chance. For the sake of Venezuela’s democracy, they should again vote no on changing the nation’s constitution.
Venezuelans’ Right to Say No, NY Times, Editorial, Feb 13, 2009


[Mr. Chavéz] should abandon for good his push to change the Constitution so that he can run for a third term in 2013. Venezuelans deserve the chance to choose a competent government.
Hugo Chávez’s Choice, NY Times, Editorial, Nov 24, 2008


We supported Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s bid for the right to stand for a third term because we strongly believe that voters deserve as rich a choice as possible on Election Day — and term limits narrow that choice.
Mayor Bloomberg’s Opportunity, NY Times, Editorial, Nov 9, 2008


This page has always strongly opposed term limits, and we continue to oppose them. We believe they infringe a basic American right: the voters’ right to choose who they want in office. If we had our way, the Council would be voting to abolish term limits altogether.

The question of voter choice is particularly relevant now. Although a majority of New Yorkers, according to a recent Quinnipiac poll, oppose changing the term-limits rule, a majority of New Yorkers also strongly approve Mr. Bloomberg’s performance and, more to the point, say they would vote for him given the opportunity.

They should be given that opportunity.
Term Limits and the Council, NY Times, Editorial, Oct 22, 2008


The bedrock of American democracy is the voters’ right to choose. Though well intentioned, New York City’s term limits law severely limits that right, which is why this page has opposed term limits from the outset.
The Limits of Term Limits, NY Times, Editorial, Sep 30, 2008


Mr. Chávez’s approval rating has plunged since December, when he narrowly lost a referendum that would have given him even more power and allowed him to run for re-election indefinitely.
He must stop using the levers of the state to harass his political opposition at home. And he must stop trying to seize by decree powers that voters denied him in December’s referendum.
Hugo Chávez, New and Improved, NY Times, Editorial, Jun 15, 2008


An article in The Times the other day about Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s political ambitions reminded us of how little we like term limits.
We opposed term limits when New York City voters first approved them in 1993. (They were reaffirmed in 1996.) Term limits are undeniably seductive. They seem to promise relief from mediocre, self-perpetuating incumbents and from gridlocked legislatures in places like Albany. They also diminish democracy, arbitrarily deny choice, reduce accountability and squander experience.

The deceptive charm of term limits is that they automatically purge the system of rascally politicians. But democracy vests that power in every citizen who chooses to vote. Meanwhile, of course, term limits automatically retire excellent public servants whose instincts and experience are not easily replaced. Their future should also rest with the voters.
The Seductive Charms of Term Limits, NY Times, Editorial, Jun 9, 2008


[Mr. Chavéz] favorite provisions, of course, would extend the presidential term from six to seven years and remove presidential term limits.
Opponents are calling for a massive “no” vote. For the sake of Venezuela’s battered democracy, voters should heed the call.
Saying No to Chávez, NY Times, Editorial, Dec 1, 2007

Posted by b on February 14, 2009 at 7:15 UTC | Permalink


b,a post of classic beauty.

Posted by: waldo | Feb 14 2009 7:23 utc | 1

Hosted with their own petard, as the saying goes. As someone said recently in a comment at A Tiny Revolution:

The coolest thing about the NYT is their big gaping memory hole--it's about the size of the Grand Canyon and should be on any tourist's list of things to see while visiting Manhattan. They specialize in dropping in their own reporting, when it conflicts with a point they might want to make later on.

Posted by: Colin | Feb 14 2009 7:39 utc | 2

Flippity floppity. It's like watching a coin flip.

Posted by: IanTheGreat | Feb 14 2009 8:37 utc | 3

I generally refrain from superflous and the obvious sayings "right On" "wonderful" "beautiful" -- But not for this. I can't resist this time. BRAVO!!!

Posted by: owl | Feb 14 2009 14:29 utc | 4

Superb, b, just superb. American Exceptionalism extends to the New York Times, as well. No doubt the Sulzbergers are thinking of their wealthy Jewish brothers and Sisters in Venezuela who have suffered so dearly under Chavez. Here's an example of how afflicted and persecuted they are. Woe are they. No laughing.>Venezuela’s Jews Find Their Voice as Chavez Ramps Up Harassment

Caracas, Venezuela — When two dozen heavily armed policemen came to search the Hebraica community center in the Venezuelan capital one night last month, the Jewish community here finally snapped.

The government officers who entered the sprawling, country club-like complex were ostensibly looking for a stash of weapons and for evidence of “subversive activity.” They found neither. In the subsequent days, the Venezuelan Jewish community’s umbrella organization, the Confederation of Israelite Associations of Venezuela, fired off a statement denouncing the raid as an “unjustifiable act” aimed at creating tensions between the community and the government of socialist President Hugo Chavez.

This would not be remarkable in the United States, where Jewish groups routinely state their views with little trepidation. But their counterparts abroad have tended to be less confrontational, especially in countries with small communities and a volatile political environment. In Venezuela this has been the case until recently, despite a long series of problems that includes an earlier raid on the Hebraica center, antisemitism on state-controlled media and anti-Israel pronouncements by Chavez. The calculated quiet ended with last year’s December 1 raid.

“We’re facing the first anti-Jewish government in our history,” Simon Sultan, president of Hebraica, told the Forward in an interview in his office, located in a tony Caracas neighborhood.

Posted by: Obamageddon | Feb 14 2009 14:50 utc | 5

Read the directions and directly you will be directed in the right direction.

Posted by: Doorknob | Feb 14 2009 14:55 utc | 6

christ, every time there is a democratic, a real democratic process happening in latin america - the demonisation is unbelieveable - with aljazeera, chief amongst them. it would seem that aljazeera has a real problem with liberation movements, any liberation movements

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Feb 14 2009 20:16 utc | 8

"...their rights will be respected until someone we approve of is elected, until then -- send in the Marines!" (Tom Lehrer -- after memory, probably faulty)

Posted by: Chuck Cliff | Feb 14 2009 20:56 utc | 9

The more interesting double standard is not between Bloomberg and Chavez, but between Uribe and Chavez. I have seen no criticism of Colombia's President Uribe for trying to end term limits but widespread criticism of Chavez. Could we please have a consistent set of principles for Latin America?

Also, criticism of Chavez for raiding wealthy, Jewish businessmen must be put into the context that it is the wealthy, Jewish or not, who are the most rabid opponents of Chavez. I can just see the headlines if neocons, who are disproportionately Jewish, are ever put on trial for war crimes!

Also, there are lingering suspicions about Mossad having been involved in the 2002 coup attempt against Chavez and in the assassination of Federal Prosecutor Danilo Anderson, who was investigating the authors of the 2002 coup - including allies of Rabbi Pinchas Brenner. It would not have been the first time that the US government outsourced its work Mossad to avoid leaving its own fingerprints.

News stories tend to charge that Chavez is either crazy or anti-semitic for thinking that Mossad was involved. None state that he was wrong.

Posted by: JohnH | Feb 14 2009 22:47 utc | 10

those who rule from the roll of dollars & their servants & apologists are never so frenzied in their hatred of the people as in the democratic developments of the new latin america. at each step of the people in their path - the world press is in fulmination at their stupidy, or at the venality of their leaders or their connections with those in the so-called axis of evil

they have tried to make of that most exemplary man evo morales a monster as they once did of nelson mandela - but the facts are too strong. the weight that the people have borne is too much - & their processus will continue despite those cultivated commentators in washington who are used to writing their words in the blood of other people. correa also has proved what it is to be an exemplary figure

anyone who is vaguely aware of the coup in 2002 can be under no illussions about whose revolution the venezuelan revolutions belongs to. it does not belong to the elites, even the 'elites' of the new venzuela - it was the people & the people alone who saved venezuela & its historic leader, hugo chavez

they will do so today tho i am under no illussion that it will come under attack, perhaps even physically

the fact the venezuela & bolivia have offered their support to the people of gaza has already called forth a mossad operation in collaboration with elements of the reactionary police

there is absolutely no history of anti semitism in venezuela & what existss is considerably less than in paris or philadelphia, for example

when you compare what is happening all over latin america - that which is being done with the greates of human frailties & is still fragile today - with what is happening under the direct control of us imperialism - where all forms of murder, mayhem & madness - whether in iraq, pakistan, afghanistan - make a mockery of a sovereign people or sovereign nation - where in latin america there is delicacy in its movement - the only word that can be used to describe the exercise of u s power - is monstrous, maniacal

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Feb 14 2009 23:31 utc | 11

For those of you who appreciate the elegant simplicity of a flow-chart, I direct you to this offering from


Posted by: Marek Bage | Feb 15 2009 3:12 utc | 12



Posted by: triklett | Feb 15 2009 3:29 utc | 13


Surely you meant sovereign? :)

Posted by: Marek Bage | Feb 15 2009 6:34 utc | 14

Every $ of oil Chavez gives to poor white Americans is another $ the Cheneyim let slip from their grasp, and as we had predicted months ago, the final Obama Plan would be so chewed down by the NeoZi's that the average American gets $53 back on their taxes, but will owe apparently seven trillion dollars in deficits for the bazillions handed out to Wall Street and their cronies. You can laugh at Little Wars™ and End Times™, but only the way a broken-down alcoholic chuckles when some limo gets a flat tire. What goes around comes around right up your wazoo while you're sitting here shooting shit, then all the Chavez's and all of his men, won't be able to heat up your trailer again.
If you've ever spent your last cent, and busted up your furniture for firewood, laugh.

Posted by: Peter Piper | Feb 15 2009 8:08 utc | 15

yeah, that too.

Posted by: triklett | Feb 15 2009 8:16 utc | 16

I hope Chavez DOES win, and nis enabled by the people to deepen the Revolution.BUT as we see foreigners like the NYT hate democracy, and want to influence the people to vote in the direction of foreign capital.

Posted by: brian | Feb 15 2009 21:39 utc | 17

Venezuelans have just exercised their right to say Yes. Looking forward to many more years of Chávez-bashing in NYT and the rest of world MSM.

Posted by: estouxim | Feb 16 2009 2:36 utc | 18

hugo chavez quoted brecht in his speech tonight - i wish i could find the proper quote

There are men who struggle for a day and they are good. / There are men who struggle for a year and they are better. / There are men who struggle many years, and they are better still. / But there are those who struggle all their lives: / These are the indispensable ones.

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Feb 16 2009 3:10 utc | 19

in oraise of fighters song :

Those who are weak don't fight.
Those who are stronger might fight
for an hour.
Those who are stronger still might fight
for many years.
The strongest fight
their whole life.
They are the indispensable ones.

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Feb 16 2009 3:21 utc | 20

Chávez Decisively Wins Bid to End Term Limits

About 54.4 percent of voters supported the proposal, with 45.6 percent voting against it, electoral officials said late Sunday, based on preliminary results with nearly complete returns.

While Mr. Chávez’s support ebbed from the 63 percent he secured in a presidential election in 2006, he remains by far Venezuela’s dominant political personality.
Still, representatives of opposition parties swiftly recognized Mr. Chávez’s victory. Freddy Guevara, a prominent opposition leader, said the result called for “a process of internal reflection.”

Posted by: b | Feb 16 2009 6:47 utc | 21

congrats chavez!

Posted by: annie | Feb 16 2009 10:33 utc | 22

r'giap #7, great link!

#5Here's an example of how afflicted and persecuted they are. Woe are they. No laughing.

After meeting with Venezuelan Foreign Minister Nicolás Maduro, the Venezuelan Israeli Association publicly expressed its appreciation of the government’s prompt condemnation and successful criminal investigation of a recent attack on a Caracas Synagogue.....

Farache individually thanked each of the top government officials who publicly declared their repudiation of the January 30th burglary and vandalism of the synagogue. He also thanked the national Criminal, Penal, and Scientific Investigations Corps (CICPC) for its thorough investigation and arrest of a total of 15 suspects over the past week.

Last Monday, Interior and Justice Minister Tarek El-Aissami announced eleven suspects had been arrested for the burglary and vandalism of the synagogue, including the rabbi’s bodyguard, who allegedly intended to steal money from the synagogue’s coffers, and the security guard who assisted the break-in.

CICPC investigators also arrested seven other Caracas police officers, an investigator from the CICPC homicide department, and four other suspects, all of whom allegedly participated in the vandalism, which included painting anti-Semitic and anti-Israel slogans on the walls.

El Aissami said Monday that the hate speech was a diversion meant to impede the investigation and direct blame toward the government, which had dismissed the Israeli ambassador in January to protest Israel’s assault on the Gaza strip.

Venezuelan opposition leaders and major private media, amidst a heated campaign against a proposed constitutional amendment that will end term limits on elected offices if approved by voters this Sunday, accused the government and their allies of encouraging the attacks on the synagogue.

sounds like another strategy of tension election gambit to me.

Posted by: annie | Feb 16 2009 10:59 utc | 23

ps, one would think the ptb @ the Venezuelan Israeli Association had vetted the rabbi's bodyguard along w/ the security folks at the compound.

Posted by: annie | Feb 16 2009 11:04 utc | 24

Bravo on pointing out hypocrisy and selective adherence to selectively-applied "principles", but I take a different lesson from this. By removing term limits Chavez has pretty much guaranteed that he will try to stay too long (they always do-- Fujimori was wildly popular once, too) and when the economy goes south as it eventually always does, things will end badly, in a coup rather than in an institutional change governed by the rule of law. The same might happen with Uribe, too, for much the same reason, though Colombia's more stable two-party system might prevent that. Seems to me the correct consistent position would have been to oppose letting Bloomberg overthrow term limits.

Posted by: the exile | Feb 17 2009 18:19 utc | 25

the exile

you cannot seriouslly compare the fraudelant elctoral politics of the fascist fujimori (who is now before a court in peru for his crimes) with the democratic politics of venezuela. the people decided on sunday in much the same way that it was the people who decided in the u s organised coup against venezuela in 2002

what i see from here is that a disciplined cadre are being born throughout latin america & that what will happen is exactly what he says will happen - there will be a consolidating of the socialist bolivarian revolution

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Feb 17 2009 19:00 utc | 26

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