Short, and not so sweet, intro here, with the essence of this SNLC being the poll below. The reasons for the inclusions of the 'candidates' should be pretty obvious, even if there are nuances here and there, regarding loserdom cosmic and otherwise of each. More below the flip.....
On the surface, it would seem that Viktor Yanukovych would be the biggest loser of the bunch, since he's not president of Ukraine now, except in his own mind. However, he has a powerful ally in Vladimir Putin, of course, who should be a loser in principle for being his thuggish homophobic self, except that after the success of the Sochi Olympics, Putin is kind of on a roll right now, having just royally steamrolled into the Crimea. In one sense, Putin obviously doesn't care what the West thinks, and he unfortunately seems in a very good position not to care. Except, perhaps, in the analysis of the BBC's Jonathan Marcus here:
"There are huge risks here for a Russia that for the moment may be buoyed up by strong oil and gas prices but which is highly susceptible to fluctuations in energy markets. Russia has re-established itself as a diplomatic player on the world stage, not least given its pivotal (though not uncontroversial) role in the Syrian crisis. Is Mr Putin really ready to put this international standing at risk?"Marcus notes briefly just how Yanukovych's loserness led to the mess that we see now:
"......while this is fast developing into a crisis with overtones of Cold War tensions, the reality of Ukraine's difficulties comes down to one simple truth. It is fast becoming an economic basket-case due to the mismanagement and pilfering of the previous leadership in Kiev."Of course, arguably, a collaterally damaged loser here is President Obama, since he really can't do much to intervene to stop the Russians from doing their thing. But then you read the next sentence in Marcus' analysis about the Ukraine:
"It needs massive external economic support. This cannot come from Russia alone. It would prove a millstone around the Russian economy's neck."In other words, you could almost tell Putin, almost in the Pottery Barn manner: "You really want it? OK. You go ahead then and fix it all by yourself, all with your own money, if you really want it that much." Granted, per David Remnick in The New Yorker today, things look to get a lot worse before they get better:
"How can Ukraine possibly move quickly to national elections, as it must to resolve the issue of legitimacy, while another country has troops on its territory?"Speaking of homophobic thugs, that would seem to sum up Uganda's president Yoweri Museveni, following his signing of the vicious anti-gay legislation that criminalizes "aggravated homosexuality" and "promotion of homosexuality". One wonders where "non-aggravated homosexuality" would fall into the scheme of things. Snarky rhetorical comment, of course, given the deeply homophobic nature of Ugandan society, which only proves that as bigoted as Museveni is, he's just one of many, albeit the most powerful, in Uganda. Pretty sad, given the oppression and racism from the West visited upon Africa all throughout the continent's history, to see native Africans being just as bigoted and narrow-minded as the worst Westerners, even if US fundie bigot/wingnut hate money did help to fuel the homophobic fires there. However, as this article by Alexis Okeowo again from The New Yorker (seems to be their day for linky goodness here) notes:
"Sylvia Tamale, a scholar and the author of several books on sexuality and gender in Uganda, suggests that it is no coincidence that a government that is avoiding dealing with repression, inflation, and high unemployment is pushing the fervor over homosexuality. As for Ugandans, she writes, 'The mainstream aversion to same-sex relations consequently reflects a greater fear … Homosexuality presents a challenge to the deep-seated masculine power within African sexual relations.' So does feminism."Then you have Venezuela's president Nicolas Maduro, a.k.a. Hugo Chavez ultra-lite. Anybody remember the days on DK when just about everyone here loved Chavez, because he kept sticking it to Dumbya in his political rhetoric and social policies? I drank the Kool-Aid to an extent myself about Chavez, until it became abundantly clear that Chavez was just a left-wing version of Dumbya, the Venezuelan version of "The Decider", a megalomaniac power-grabber who cultivated quite the cult of personality in his time, even if he did talk a lot about helping the downtrodden in his country. Maduro doesn't have nearly that kind of charisma, of course.
Plus, shooting protesting students doesn't exactly reflect well on a president. If you want to read a takedown of Maduro and Chavismo post-Chavez, read Rory Carroll in The Observer here, where he notes about the protests:
"Demonstrations in Caracas, Valencia, Mérida and other cities turned lethal, with student-led rallies provoking a fierce backlash from National Guard units and paramilitaries. They roared on motorcycles into "enemy" neighbourhoods, guns blazing. Families piled mattresses against windows to shield against bullets."What's sad to see from supporters of Maduro is their refrain that Maduro was democratically elected, as if being democratically elected justifies shooting students. This part of the analysis from Carroll notes that, even if Maduro "wins" in the short term, the long term may be another matter:
"By rallying his fractious ruling coalition, Maduro could emerge even stronger.So that's that; we'll see what kind of response the poll gets, if any. To be sure, the more fool that 3CM for trying to write a breaking news events-related SNLC. With that, after you've voted (if you've voted), time for the standard SNLC protocol, namely your loser stories of the week.....
That will not mean the revolution has won. On the contrary. In a broader, historical sense, it has already lost. This tropical would-be alternative to capitalism is a husk. It faces an existential threat not from youths chanting in plazas but from the fact that Venezuela is a shambolic, crumbling, dysfunctional ruin.
Start with the economy. The official inflation rate, 56%, is among the world's highest. There are shortages of bread, flour, meat, toilet paper and other basics. The bolívar currency has collapsed in value and is virtually unconvertible. Agriculture and industry are gasping. Newspapers are running out of paper. Airlines are threatening to cut services because the government owes them $3.3bn. Food companies are owed $2.4bn. Bond prices have plunged to levels associated with default. Recession hovers. An infrastructure once the envy of South America has suffered from lack of investment and maintenance. Power cuts leave cities in darkness. Potholes make highways look like they have been mortared. Cobwebs shroud abandoned cable cars. Even the facade of the presidential palace, Miraflores, peels and rots."