Supreme Rip-Off by Teodoro Petkoff

October 19, 2010
Supreme Rip-Off by Teodoro Petkoff in Tal Cual

The moribund National Assembly, by order, obviously, of Chacumbele is planning to appoint a new group of judges of the Supreme Court, based on the announced retirement of eleven of their current holders in March, and the appointment of 32 alternates, which so far has never been regulated. This is a serious political attack against the Republic.

Political, because the issue is not merely legal. From a purely formal or legal, Parliament would be empowered to make such designations, but it happens that the issue is not formal. Anyone would understand that elected a new National Assembly and with the old one having just over two more months, the prudent thing, which would make any government other than the Chacumbele (purely democratic, whatever its sign), would reflect the spirit of a national electoral decision that created a new political balance in both the country and in the National Assembly and the Supreme Court matter should be referred to the new Parliament. But, unfortunately for the country and its institutions, we have to deal with a government that is completely devoid of scruples, ready to rivet his control over the Supreme Court without having to go through the process of discussion and voting in a legislature where it will not have  2/ 3 of the members which would be necessary to move the roller over in order to remove the eleven judges and elect of their replacements.

The whole nomination process has been carried out in tricky fashion. The reprinting of the Supreme Court Act a few days ago, “due to a Copy error” introduced a change in the current text, in the most brazen and abusive manner. The time for the nomination process, which in the original text was set as “not less than thirty days”, now in the “reprint” appears as “no more” than a month. This sneaky trick favors “Express” applications, already decided by the Miraflores Palace, and makes it difficult for those who are not from the ruling party. From there on, everything has progressed according to plan to fill the chacumbelian Supreme Court with figures which are quite subdued, with no danger that some judges will have, as has happened in some cases, a certain spirit of independence and decency. Chacumbele, who now will not have an Assembly like that is dying, then wants to replace it with one which is an armored in chacumbelian fashion.  The  “new” eleven Judges and 32 alternates to be “elected” will be those who  Chacumbele will personally select from the herd of its advocates. Everything is so opaque, it is not known of the existence of a scale, the principles are not known, the time to exercise opposition is insignificant. The Assembly quickly, will please Chacumbele.

A question arises: Will this Colossal rip-off to the Republic pass under the table?

26 Responses to “Supreme Rip-Off by Teodoro Petkoff”

  1. Ira Says:

    Carlos, this is totally irrelevant, but if you dig deeper into the Kitty Genovese story, you’ll learn that it’s not what it appears to be. And in fact, nothing out of the ordinary happened:

    The news media created something that just wasn’t there.

    I lived in the neighborhood (not at the time, though)–Kew Gardens, Queens, NY. She was murdered by the Long Island Railroad Station, near the back door of a busy bar called Bailey’s, which I used to frequent.

    Someone screaming like a maniac was not out of the ordinary outside of this establishment–people were always stoned and getting into trouble–and such screaming wouldn’t be perceived as someone being attacked or demonstrate apathy of the people living on the street for not calling 911.

    We ALL have to take our news stories with a grain of salt, and since the Genovese story has been debunked, I thought I would mention it. It’s an interesting metaphor for the times we all live in, but it simply never happened that way.

  2. GWEH Says:

    A Nuclear Chavez Gets Obama’s OK

    Posted 07:05 PM ET

    Geopolitics: Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez moves ahead with plans to go nuclear with Russian help, and the response from our president has been to give the lunatic dictator his full backing. This is trouble.

    Not since the days of Jimmy Carter have we seen as craven a U.S. response to a provocation as Chavez’s plan for two 1,200-megawatt nuclear reactors 1,400 miles from our shores.

    “We have no incentive or interest in increasing friction between Venezuela and the U.S., but we do think Venezuela needs to act responsibly,” President Obama told the Spanish-language press Tuesday. “Our attitude is that Venezuela has rights to peacefully develop nuclear power.”

    Oh. So forget the Monroe Doctrine. Never mind President Kennedy’s response to the nuclear ambitions of Cuba. Obama’s new message to the hemisphere is that Chavez can go nuclear because he’s a democracy and will therefore act responsibly.

    Obama’s message was probably intended to deprive the dictator of his capacity to whip up nationalist sentiment in the wake of a U.S. rebuke. But, ultimately, it represents a U.S. failure to deal with the kind of threat Chavez actually poses.

    In itself, Chavez’s plan to construct reactors is little immediate threat to the U.S., its ally Colombia or Brazil.

    But the treaty with Russia was signed in 2009 and is meant to take 10 years to complete. In that time, Chavez will have to develop nuclear experts and find a way to finance all these reactors. Given he already owes Russia $4.4 billion for weapons purchases, the sale of Venezuela’s oil facilities in Europe to Russia won’t be enough.

    The real problem is the relationships Chavez is forging. Chavez’s visit to Russia and Iran to tout the nuclear deal was meant to show the U.S. that even after he lost a legislative election in September, he still mattered. And rogue states like Russia and Iran will still do dirty business with him — even if China won’t.

    Chavez says he means to bring in Russian and Iranian experts for his nuclear project. That opens the door to influence from the mafiya-linked criminal underworld that includes the terrorists and arms dealers at the edges of Russia’s and Iran’s power structures.

    Chavez’s closest Russian associate is Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin, a raving anti-American with rumored ties to illegal arms dealer Viktor Bout. The latter was arrested in Thailand soon after the discovery in 2008 of a computer belonging to FARC terrorists.

  3. GWEH Says:

    OT: we should all send black umbrellas as gifts to Obama in recognition of his acts of appeasement.

    remember: Georgia for Venezuela!

  4. GWEH Says:

    OT: we should all send black umbrellas as gifts to Obama in recognition of his acts of appeasement.

    remember what I said several days ago: Georgia for Venezuela!

  5. RWG Says:

    CarlosElio “…Chavez is no Hitler, Mussolini or even Mugabe.”

    Chavez is best friends with little Hitler Amendinajad and Chavez is giving Iran any parts of Venezuela they want. Chavez adores Mugabe and his murderous policies and insane economics. It is only a matter of time before Chavez starts the killing of Venezuelans in mass for dissent. Castro has murdered over 20,000 Cubans who did not agree with him. Chavez emulates Castro without question. Has the murder of any opposition protester ever been prosecuted? Chavez has threatened violence repeatedly against Venezuelans.

  6. CarlosElio Says:

    Errata in my response to Kepler

    Had they protested, perhaps today we would NOT have Chavez

    It is true that we have a large majority of the population with no political education, no sense that this is Their country

  7. CarlosElio Says:

    I like all your suggestions, deananash

  8. CarlosElio Says:

    Kepler, what you are saying is true and it is the most important area of political endeavor, but it is off mark in the context of the lead entry in this thread. “Will this Colossal rip-off to the Republic pass under the table?”

    To avoid getting tangled in a maze of our doing, lets distinguish between the core element of why we are where we are and the seeming lack of sustained response by the opposition leaders. The first is the topic of your message, the latter is the topic of the thread.

    Large sectors of the C, D, and E groups have no voice today and had no voice before. CAP also lead a very disastrous administration. You may remember Naricual mines, or the Modulos de Apure projects, just two of the countless of “fantastic” projects that were supposed to put us on a firm path towards national development. They all failed albeit a few well-connected mother fuckers made millions with them. Answering to criticisms that labelled him a crazy man, CAP said that the crazy thing would have been not to have loaded up on debt despite the quadruplication of oil prices during his first government. CAP said that the debt would be paid with the revenues those projects would generate once completed. His government botched up all those projects. Not a single one was successful. There you have a big fraud and the people C, D, and E said nothing then. Had they protested, perhaps today we would have Chavez. It is true that we have a large majority of the population with no political education, no sense that this is heir country and that they have rights, and no idea of what it means to hold public officials accountable. And because they vote, the popular vote may not reflect true social preferences, but the skill of manipulators. How to get to them in a manner that elevates their social judgment is the crucible of our political future. I have some ideas, but they are foggy ideas that need more study and good discussions.

    The topic of the thread is the passivity of the organized opposition. The metaphor I used was a table with long legs so that it turns out to be rather easy to let things go under the table. I mentioned two factors that may contribute to the wall of indifference protecting the government’s misdeeds from public scrutiny and response: the dilution of social responsibility (yes the government is bad, but I can’t do anything about it) and the discounting of political capital. By political capital I mean the set of shared beliefs in a group of people. The importance of the system of beliefs is sacrificed in the altar for concrete actions. Hence we do not have good magazines, or a good program of political public education, or a grass-root effort like MoveOn. As a nation we have never been able to launch a successful boycott, for example, and there are many shitty companies (think of your mobile phone provider, or your bank), that deserve a boycott.

    Spaces like the Devil’s Excrement allow some of us to participate in the debate, one that should take place among larger audiences, but it doesn’t. As it is, we end up like monks in remote convents, talking to one another about shared beliefs, without any significant impact on either concrete actions or the development of political capital.

    I think that we should help the formal opposition get its act together. A social movement that successfully removes Chavez from power won’t happen spontaneously; it needs to be organized and led. (I have written two essays and on this topic.)

    I would like to see the MUD launch a social marketing campaign denouncing the appointment of TSJ magistrates before the new AN takes place. With videos, meetings, advertisements, pot lucks, rallies, panel discussion, neighborhoods candlelights, and so forth, they should lead a national effort highlighting the importance of separation of power and the dangers that the entire nation faces if only one power carries the day. Using Pudreval and the exorbitant and irrational foreign aid account as examples of the damage concentration of power does to our nation, the MUD should put in everybody’s mind a red alert about the travesty is about to happen.

  9. Kepler Says:

    Deananash, Carlos,

    We need other methods. Remember this:

    > 80% of Venezuelans go to public schools, where Chavista honchos do not send their children.
    > The higher amount of people who do not go to vote yet and where our growing potential is are living in areas of class C, D and E. It is there where we need to focus.
    Most of them have no Globo, no Internet and do not read newspapers.

    There are actually other ways to reach them. Let’s talk to them about how the government is wasting or simply stealing most of the petrodollars.

    When I was studying in Venezuela, I had no car. I was going to Caracas by bus. I also traveled a lot through Venezuela by using buses. Even now, with millions of cars in Venezuela, most people have NO car. Most of those we still need to move have no cars. And there are lots who can be reached and once we reach them, there is no chance for Chavismo. People in those areas will become more and more vocal. But we need to start.

    The problem is a lot of our politicians and even us are completely living in another world. That’s not our fault but we need to breach the gap.

  10. deananash Says:

    There are lots of actions, short of street protest / strike.

    CarlosElio’s NO IVA day is as good as any place to start.

    Next, I’d keep the kids out of school for a day.

    And that would be the same day that I wouldn’t report to work. Only I wouldn’t call it a strike – it’d just be the one day. It would truly be a NATIONAL “SICK” DAY, as in, “we’re sick and tired of the dictator.”

    And isn’t it about time to start shunning the Chavistas – and I mean the powerful ones. I wouldn’t allow my kid to go to school with their kids. That simply lends them your credibility. Of course, that’s just me. But the point is, there are ways to protest.

  11. The autocrat won’t give up that easy, we all know it. Chávez is creating a dictatorship in Venezuela and this is just one more step in his project. He still has the power and in the next months he will accelerate the radicalization of his regime (before a more plural and democratic National Assembly takes office in January). The government doesn’t stop. For instance, the Congress is now discussing a law to take hold of the oil services industry:

    Venezuelans protested with their vote on September 26th, but the threat is still there!

    Follow us on:

  12. Roy Says:

    Carlos Elio,

    You are quite correct. There are still ways to mount protests that make our displeasure public. I am currently going through a post-election depression generated by the knowledge that in spite of the positive showing, nothing substantive has changed. The forces of logic and reason still hold no sway in this country.

    I wish I could feel hope for the future of Venezuela, but I do not. I fear that, like a coke addict, before any recovery can begin, Venezuela must hit rock bottom. That moment is still years in the future, as the Government can continue to sell off unrealized resources.

  13. loroferoz Says:

    They can be hopeful for success in ripping off Venezuela.

    They did it big time with “El Congresillo” (aka Comision Legislativa Nacional) in 1999-2000. That unelected, un-consulted body was practically convened in secrecy and did name the first TSJ, CNE, Comptroller and People’s Ombudsman after the coming into effect of the 1999 Constitution. It did legislate practically unchallenged.

    I do mention not only because it was the original legal ripoff. But because it was at the root of later ripoffs. It should have been strenuously opposed and then stopped. It was not and the story from then is well known.

    Nowadays I do not believe that we can stop this. We can only prevent the ripoff from being that, and becoming armed robbery then, by making sure Venezuelans know that they are being had.

    I also do not believe that the Venezuelan State resulting from this 1999-2010 period is salvageable, or that it is worthwhile to salvage. Ditto for the State-controlled economy associated with it, and particularly PDVSA.

    I can only hope against every hope and then fantasize some that Venezuelans will be able to do half as well as Czechs, Poles and Hungarians (among others) did when they ditched communism.

  14. CarlosElio Says:

    In my Twitter account, @carloselio, I have suggested a day of No IVA. Do not buy anything that carries IVA tax. When I was in Venezuela this past Summer, I made a point of buying from local grocery stores and asking that no receipt was printed. Very vocally I said that I preferred if the store owner kept the tax money, after all, he could use it to fight the inspectors that came seeking a bribe. Only one refused and I did not buy from him. I even bought two tires with no receipt.

    A day of repudiation, if thoughtfully carried out, would link the tax revenues with major disasters like Pudreval of the constant power failures. “Do not pay tax because the mismanage the money or give it away to buy international sympathy”would be the main line. Whatever form the repudiation takes, it must link one’s behavior with the government failures. Mere chanting slogans or marching down the streets does nothing to loosen the government’s grip on power.

  15. jeffry house Says:

    The opposition should propose a bill that all of the new, “midnight” judges will filling unpaid voluntary positions. Or, if that is difficult, make them dollar-a-year judges. With no pension unless approved by the necessary 2/3 majority.

  16. Douglas Says:

    There is noting surprising in what Chavez wants to do with the Supreme Court. I agree with CarlosElio that the real problem or issue is how the opposition and the civil society reacts. To Roy’s comment about protesting in the streets the message is that the streets must apply pressure and “undress the emperor”. The way for this grotesque regime to fail and fall passes through a lot more street protests, among other things. If society does not stand up to the Dictator, it deserves what it has. Those have always been the rules of any social struggle and let´s face it, Chavez is no Hitler, Mussolini or even Mugabe. The disintegration is obvious for all to see.

  17. CarlosElio Says:

    Roy, I am not an opposition leader, so I am proposing nothing specific–nor do I think I am obliged to do so. I am a witness to the political landscape; my opinions reflect what I witness, not a desire to compete for leadership.

    Petkoff, a political leader with better credentials than most of us, does not offer “exactly” any suggestion. He notes the potential rip off we all stand to suffer.

    I do think, however, that behind the passivity with which we accept all of Mr. Chavez’s shenanigans lies a troubling social disease that may be called “dilution of social responsibility” following the research that Kitty Genovese’s murder spawned. The confines of this forum is too narrow to develop a complete theory of DSR in Venezuela, but I can venture a crude outline. If the outline has merits, the debate will steer its development.

    The first trait of the disease is the gap between the macro view and the personal view. We feel that the government is a big farce and we see its failures. They are too grotesque to ignore and have been well documented in the press. At the same time we doubt our personal efficacy to drive change or even to contribute to change. The net result of the gap is learned hopelessness. We learn to feel dis-empowered, we accept a bad situation as ordained by supernatural forces.

    A second trait is the discounting of political capital. Driven by the need to see concrete results, we ignore the value of beliefs systems. This is incomprehensible when we see the incredible faith that Chavez loyalists have in their leader and his Mickey Mouse revolution despite Pudreval, the lack of power or water, the broken hospitals and schools, the decrepit roads, the garbage everywhere, and the high crime in their neighborhoods and in their personal lives.

    It is as if Chavez successfully implanted a drone in their brains that triggers faithful responses despite his abysmal failures while the opposition implanted a repulsive force that calls into question all actions they take to counterbalance the abuses of government.

    One plausible course of action is to link the macro-personal view gap and the political capital. The opposition could launch a sustained campaign asking the government to respect the voice of the people and to refrain from appointing lackeys to the TSJ until the new AN is sworn in. They should conduct the campaign in such a manner that people feel that they personal view expressed in the privacy of the voting booth is being ignored by the government. It is not a quarrel between Chavez and the opposition, but an asymmetrical struggle between a despotic government and private citizens that yearn for democracy.

  18. island canuck Says:

    If God had wanted us to vote, he would have given us candidates.
    – Jay Leno

    Couldn’t resist

  19. island canuck Says:

    Roy said: “Venezuela might as well start making plans to give the Constitution a decent burial. When the new justices take the bench, the Constitution will mean whatever “Chacumbele” decides it means.”

    I think that during the last few years that has been the situation.
    When was the last time we won a decision.
    Oh yeah. It was Judge Afiuni & we all know where she is.

  20. Roy Says:

    Carlos Elio et al,

    Other than protesting in the streets (an action that will achieve nothing), exactly what is it that you propose the Opposition leaders do? This has been known about since three or four months ago, when the TSJ announced the mass resignations. The purpose of these resignations was well understood at the time. I don’t recall who, but it was covered by at least one of the bloggers, Daniel, Juan, Francisco, or Miguel. At the time, nothing could be done about it and that hasn’t changed. Even if it is a despicable abuse of the system, it appears to be legal.

    Venezuela might as well start making plans to give the Constitution a decent burial. When the new justices take the bench, the Constitution will mean whatever “Chacumbele” decides it means.

  21. CarlosElio Says:

    The warning ends with an uncomfortable question: Will this Colossal rip-off to the Republic pass under the table?
    What makes it uncomfortable is that we all know the answer: Yes, it will pass. It is a non question that Petkoff asks nevertheless, perhaps to invite us to think about the whys buried behind the veneer of a table with long legs.

    Venezuelans are willing to accept national offenses that would be unacceptable in any other country. It is not just a matter of national pride or self respect. According to the Maslow hierarchy, hungry people do not care much for the niceties of pride and self respect. It is a matter of hunger and survival, and people turning the other way, replicating on a national scale the indifference of New Yorkers when Kitty Genovese was murdered in front of them. The travesties of Chavez government are costing people jobs, services, and lives, and no one seems interested in standing up and saying No More.

    Individually, they are fed up with this incompetent government and that feeling is showing up in national elections. In the solitude of the voting booth, protected by the anonymity of the vote, people are beginning to express their dislike for Chavez. A few dare to join marches or sign petitions, but ever fewer are willing to organize the marches or drive petitions.

    Perhaps people keep memories of the disastrous consequences of signing the “revocatorio” like losing their jobs or finding their names in the infamous Tascon list. I can understand that those memories would dampen people’s desire to participate. What is hard to understand is that leaders of the opposition also shy away from participating. It is as if the crime unit of the NYPD also was a silent witness to Kitty’s murder.

    I would modify Petkoff’s question asking not if we will let this colossal rip off pass under the legs of the long-legged MUD table, but why is it that the leaders of the opposition fail to lead? The failure of leadership of the political opposition to the Chavez regime is the most important issue in front of us. We need to understand why such a failure occurs, because it is a bigger rip off to the Venezuelan people than the questionable appointment of judges to the TSJ.

  22. Roberto N Says:

    Could someone explain to me why we need to have 32 alternate Supreme Court Justices?

    GWEH: I recall a yacht in Caraballeda during the last days of CAP I and a cooler full of coke. Not in cans or bottles mind you.

    I also recall the parties CAP and Torrijos had in La Orchila, they’d make PJ’s adventures look like kindergarden!

  23. GWEH Says:

    OT: El chisme de Igor Sechin y las bañistas rusas en Canaima me hace recordar del cuento de Pérez Jiménez en su motoneta persiguiendo a carajitas en bikini en la discreta isla de La Orchila

  24. Gonzalo Says:

    thanks Miguel. have a nice trip!!!

  25. moctavio Says:

    I am travelling, but yes, they are a good deal, you buy $ at around Bs. 6.2

  26. Gonzalo Says:

    Sorry. but need advise on buying petrobonos or not. can someone provide a ligth. are they good to convert bs in dollars?

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