Bush Trips Over Democracy In Venezuela

There's an old saying in Chicago politics: Before you dance on someone's grave, be sure he's dead.

George W. and the global corporate empire builders in his administration forgot this basic rule when they exultantly tried to dance on the political grave of Venezuela's president, Hugo Chavez. On April 11, a cabal of wealthy Venezuelan elites and the military staged a coup against Chavez, putting him in an island prison and installing the head of Venezuela's chamber of commerce as their hand-picked president.

Whatever you think of Chavez, he was the duly-elected president, and it's considered bad manners and totally anti-democratic to impose an unelected oligarchy on the country. But the Bushites hate Chavez, who won't go along with their model of a world run by corporate power, so they had been meeting with the coup plotters and now cheered his demise. At first, they claimed that he had resigned because no one in Venezuela supported him any more. Neither was true -- indeed, an explosion of popular protest swept the country within hours of the coup.

Worse, the business elites who took over had delusions of grandeur -- they dissolved the congress, fired the supreme court and all state governors, and suspended the constitution, declaring that they would rule by popular decree. But they were not at all popular with the great majority of Venezuelans who live in grinding poverty. To its credit, the military decided to back the people in a counter-coup ... and Chavez was returned to the presidency only 48-hours after being deposed.

Meanwhile, Bush & Company were caught completely on the wrong side of democracy. While all Latin American countries had immediately condemned the coup, our nation did not join in the condemnation and publicly gloated about Chavez's ouster by the business oligarchy. Now, Chavez has more support than ever, and Bush looks like an arrogant bully.

This is Jim Hightower saying ... For George W., supporting democracy is strictly a matter of political convenience ... not of political commitment.

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Imagine you've forgotten once again the difference between a gorilla and a chimpanzee, so you do a quick Google image search of “gorilla." But instead of finding images of adorable animals, photos of a Black couple pop up.

Is this just a glitch in the algorithm? Or, is Google an ad company, not an information company, that's replicating the discrimination of the world it operates in? How can this discrimination be addressed and who is accountable for it?

“These platforms are encoded with racism," says UCLA professor and best-selling author of Algorithms of Oppression, Dr. Safiya Noble. “The logic is racist and sexist because it would allow for these kinds of false, misleading, kinds of results to come to the fore…There are unfortunately thousands of examples now of harm that comes from algorithmic discrimination."

On At Liberty this week, Dr. Noble joined us to discuss what she calls “algorithmic oppression," and what needs to be done to end this kind of bias and dismantle systemic racism in software, predictive analytics, search platforms, surveillance systems, and other technologies.

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