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Venezuella: is this another "bombs for oil" scenario after Libya?

News Fifth column Recommended Links Russiagate -- a color revolution against Trump by neocons and DemoRats Coordinated set of leaks as a color revolution tool MSM as attack dogs of color revolution
Venezuella: another "bombs for oil" scenario after Lybia? Syria civil war Civil war in Ukraine Yemen war Looting pays dividends to empire War and Venture Capitalism
Inside "democracy promotion" hypocrisy fair Democracy as a universal opener for access to natural resources Hypocrisy and Pseudo-democracy "Fight with Corruption" as a smoke screen for neoliberal penetration into host countries Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism The World as the Grand Chessboard of the American empire
Control of the MSM during color revolution is like air superiority in the war Delegitimization of Ruling Party Parasitism on Human rights: children of Lieutenant Schmidt Human right activists or globalism fifth column The art of manufacturing of prisoners of consciousness Sect of fraudulent election witnesses
Neoliberalism as a New Form of Corporatism Neoconservatism Media-Military-Industrial Complex The Deep State Compradors NGOs as brain trust of color revolutions
Inside "democracy promotion" hypocrisy fair NGOs as braintrust of color revolutions Hong Cong Color Revolution of 2014 EuroMaidan Russian Color Revolution of 2012 Ukrainian orange revolution
Frustrated underachievers Russian neoliberal compradors Net Hamsters as a part of fifth column Exploiting Revolutionary Romantics as polit-technology IntelliXencia: Corruption of Intelligentsia and it usage in fifth column in Russia Gene Sharp Recipes and Russian Experience
Elite Theory And the Revolt of the Elite The Iron Law of Oligarchy Two Party System as polyarchy Foreign Agents Registration Act Attack of Think Tanks Destruction by the USA of international law
Corporate Media: Journalism In the Service of the Powerful Few Predator state The Real War on Reality Media as a weapon of mass deception Anatol Leiven on American Messianism  Neoliberalism as Trotskyism for the rich
American Exceptionalism Non-Interventionism Hypocrisy of British ruling elite Politically Incorrect Humor Russian Fifth column Humor Etc

Venezuela has a powerful neoliberal fifth column, strength of which was enhanced by errors of Madiro government and the return on neoliberals to power in Argentina and Brazil (see strange non-death of neoliberalism for some analysis of this post 2008 phenomenon). That  lead some strategists in Washington came to conclusion  that it is ripe for the color revolution, Ukrainian EuroMaydan style and the Maduro day are numbered and the the USA transactionals can get back to Venezuela on a very favorable for them conditions.  The general orientation of Trump administration on economic racket only helps here, as it instantly created sizeable assets for financing of the opposition by confiscating CITCO in the USA.  Which allows to buy weapons in Esatern Europe and ship to Venezuela like was done in Ukraine.  There are also some difficulties: the operation "Embassy cash" needs to be switched to UK and other five-eyes embassies as US embassy is in limbo.  Also both China and Russia have sizable economic interest in Venezuela, and they are more eager to defent them then they were in Ukraine. Actually for Russia it will be  the third slap in the face after they lost their investments in Iraq, Libya and Ukraine due to Washington actions.  In a year or so we will see, if they were right or not (Ukrainian Maydan was in place approximately from September 2013 to February 2014).

It is relatively easy to incite protest in any of impoverished nation, as Ukraine had shown to the world very clearly. The discontent of the population is always present and can be ignited rather easily to the level which allow the color revolution to start by coordinated action of the neoliberal foifith column within the country.

But now governments also leaned something about color revolution tactics and that puts some sand into the wheel of color revolution, which Washington injection of money and intelligence services support needs to overcome.  For example they failed in 2011-2012 in Russia because Russian government was more or less competent to deal with this kind of threat.  So the attempt to install Yeltsin II in Russia failed miserably and Ambassador McFaul was forced to leave the country.

The trigger event is not important. It can be anything.  The common (and almost always fake) trigger event are election "irregularities".They were successfully use ion Orange revolution in Ulraine, which preceded EuroMaydam The level of population  dissatisfaction with the government  is high enough to for the color revolution to succeed.  The more democratic government under attack is the less chances to survive it has.

It does not matter if protests are genuine or artificial. They will be co-opted and exploited by the USA color revolution specialists in the most nefarious fashion with equal success.

The  typical net result of population deceived by the propaganda carrot is the drop of the standard of living or 90% of population (neoliberalism takes care only about top 10% population or even less) Ukraine is a good example here: the standard of living dropped more then twice. This is a neoliberal Catch 22.

It is easy to exploit neoliberalism inflicted poverty for installing via color revolution even more neoliberal, more friendly to West and more corrupt regime. What a paradox. That's why we can call this "neoliberal Catch 22."  When people realize that they were taken for ride and their standard  of living dropped even further, it's too late. 

Here is a simple checklist of the status Venezuela color revolution (as of Feb 10, 2019):

  1. [Yes] The USA NGOs and State Department sniff troubles and mistakes of the current government, who start losing popular support
  2. [Yes] Financial infusions for oppositions
  3. [??? ] Recruitment for football hooligans and other semi-criminal elements as cannon fodder of the color revolution
  4. [Yes] A pack of neoliberal hyenas was assembled: intelligence agencies, NGO and embassies of NATO and "five-eyes" countries. Conversion of embassies and NGO into the brain and coordinating center of the opposition; channeling intelligence information to opposition.  In Venezuela case the country broke relations with the USA and that complicates the role on the USA embassy, the role which probably was transferred to British and several other NATO countries embassies.
  5. [Yes] A group of countries supporting color revolution via their embassies and intelligence services  (Lima group)
  6. [Yes] The USA continued pushing the county into debt slavery, deteriorating standard of living of the population
  7. [Yes] Confiscation  of  state owned money in foreign bank account and/or deposited  gold and channeling those  funds to opposition. Embargo on export of vital goods.
  8. [Yes] Economic sanction designed to strangulate the economy
  9. [Yes] High level of inflation or Hyperinflation
  10. [Yes] Full scale exploitation of the corruption and mistakes of the current government. See How Washington Funded the Counterrevolution in Venezuela The Nation
  11. [Yes] Blanket support of the color revolution by the US controlled MSM
  12. [Yes] Attempts to supply weapons under cover of humanitarian aid. 
  13. [Yes] Appointment  of a specialist in color revolution as either ambassador, or as a Special Representative of the USA government.
  14. [Yes] De-facto parallel government is created. US President openly extends support to the opposition. Some kind of recognition of the opposition as the legitimate government by the USA and its vassals.
    Venezuela currently has two assemblies that claim the right to legislate. In 2015 the opposition won a majority in the National Assembly, the original parliament of Venezuela:
    However, the Venezuelan Supreme Court barred four lawmakers from taking their seats while it probed allegations of electoral fraud. As a result, only 163 of the 167 lawmakers were sworn in on January 5. The next day, three opposition deputies were sworn in over protests by members from the legislature’s minority who announced their intention to challenge the move.
  15. [Yes] NED created leader is promoted as the only legitimate leader, the choice of people of Venezuela

    How Washington Funded the Counterrevolution in Venezuela
    Self-declared president Juan Guaidó comes from the right-wing, US-backed student movement that tried to subvert Hugo Chávez’s government.

    The piece includes this revealing sentence:

    A former USAID/OTI member who helped devise US efforts in Venezuela said the “objective was that you had thousands of youth, high school, and college kids that were horrified of this Indian-looking guy in power. They were idealistic.
  16. [???] "Embassy cash"  for protestors delivered via diplomatic mail ("bombing country with dollars")
  17. [???] Training of militants in third countries.
  18. [Yes] Attempt to supply opposition with weapons, money and other materials under the disguise of humanitarian aid.
  19. [Yes] Defection of high ranking military personnel
  20. [No]  Defection of high level diplomatic personnel in foreign countries.
  21. [No] Creation of a sacral victim (Snipers on rooftops false flag); False flag operation in enhance mass protests against  the government and/ort tot trigger armed uprising.
  22. [No] Permanent protestor camps

The pattern we currently observer are similar to EuroMaydan color revolution. Judging from the implemented measures the key events can be expected within the six month timeframe.  The main mistake that Washington probably made in this color revolution is that Guado is too far right. And while Maduro position is weakening, his support within the society might still be insufficient to overcome Maduro even with foreign aid, short of open military intervention and Guado is too far to the  right to the taste of most Venezuelans.  Looks like Venezuela does not yet have a powerful block of far right nationalist parties like in Ukraine, hell-bent of acquiring power by any means including armed uprising.

 Debt and deficit as shock therapy by Ismael Hossein-zadeh

Nov 6, 2013 | Asia Times

Speaking Freely is an Asia Times Online feature that allows guest writers to have their say. Please click here if you are interested in contributing.

When Naomi Klein published her ground-breaking book The Shock Doctrine (2007), which compellingly demonstrated how neoliberal policy makers take advantage of overwhelming crisis times to privatize public property and carry out austerity programs, most economists and media pundits scoffed at her arguments as overstating her case. Real world economic developments have since strongly reinforced her views.

Using the unnerving 2008 financial crash, the ensuing long recession and the recurring specter of debt default, the financial oligarchy and their proxies in the governments of core capitalist countries have embarked on an unprecedented economic coup d'état against the people, the ravages of which include extensive privatization of the public sector, systematic application of neoliberal austerity economics and radical redistribution of resources from the bottom to the top. Despite the truly historical and paradigm-shifting importance of these ominous developments, their discussion remains altogether outside the discourse of mainstream economics.

The fact that neoliberal economists and politicians have been cheering these brutal assaults on social safety-net programs should not be surprising. What is regrettable, however, is the liberal/Keynesian economists' and politicians' glaring misdiagnosis of the plague of austerity economics: it is all the "right-wing" Republicans' or Tea Partiers' fault, we are told; the Obama administration and the Democratic Party establishment, including the labor bureaucracy, have no part or responsibility in the relentless drive to austerity economics and privatization of public property.

Keynesian and other liberal economists and politicians routinely blame the abandonment of the New Deal and/or Social-Democratic economics exclusively on Ronald Reagan's supply-side economics, on neoliberal ideology or on economists at the University of Chicago. Indeed, they characterize the 2008 financial collapse, the ensuing long recession and the recurring debt/budgetary turmoil on "bad" policies of "neoliberal capitalism," not on class policies of capitalism per se. [1]

Evidence shows, however, that

Indeed, it could be argued that, due to his uniquely misleading status or station in the socio-political structure of the United States, and equally unique Orwellian characteristics or personality, Obama has served the interests of the powerful financial oligarchy much better or more effectively than any Republican president could do, or has done - including Ronald Reagan. By the same token, he has more skillfully hoodwinked the public and harmed their interests, both in terms of economics and individual/constitutional rights, than any of his predecessors.

Ronald Reagan did not make any bones about the fact that he championed the cause of neoliberal supply-side economics. This meant that opponents of his economic agenda knew where he stood, and could craft their own strategies accordingly.

By contrast, Obama publicly portrays himself as a liberal opponent of neoliberal austerity policies (as he frequently bemoans the escalating economic inequality and occasionally sheds crocodile tears over the plight of the unemployed and economically hard-pressed), while in practice he is a major team player in the debt "crisis" game of charade, designed as a shock therapy scheme in the escalation of austerity economics. [5]

No president or major policy maker before Obama ever dared to touch the hitherto untouchable (and still self-financing) Social Security and Medicare trust funds. He was the first to dare to make these bedrock social programs subject to austerity cuts, as reflected, for example, in his proposed federal budget plan for fiscal year 2014, initially released in April 2013. Commenting on this unprecedented inclusion of entitlements in the social programs to be cut, Christian Science Monitor wrote (on April 9, 2013): "President Obama's new budget proposal ... is a sign that Washington's attitude toward entitlement reform is slowly shifting, with prospects for changes to Social Security and Medicare becoming increasingly likely."

Obama has since turned that "likelihood" of undermining Social Security and Medicare into reality. He did so by taking the first steps in turning the budget crisis that led to government shutdown in the first half of October into negotiations over entitlement cuts. In an interview on the second day of the shutdown (October 3rd), he called for eliminating "unnecessary" social programs and discussing cuts in "long-term entitlement spending". [6]

Five days later on October 5th, Obama repeated his support for cutting Social Security and Medicare in a press conference, reassuring congressional Republicans of his willingness to agree to these cuts (as well as to cuts in corporate tax rates from 35% to 28%) if the Republicans voted to increase the government's debt limit: "If anybody doubts my sincerity about that, I've put forward proposals in my budget to reform entitlement programs for the long haul and reform our tax code in a way that would ... lower rates for corporations". [7]

Only then, that is, only after Obama agreed to collaborate with the Republicans on ways to cut both the entitlements and corporate tax rates, the Republican budget negotiators agreed to the higher budget ceiling and the reopening of the government. The consensus bill that ended the government shutdown extends the automatic across-the-board "sequester" cuts that began last March into the current year. This means that "the budget negotiations in the coming weeks will take as their starting point the $1 trillion in cuts over the next eight years mandated by the sequestration process". [8]

And so, once again, the great compromiser gave in, and gave away - all at the expense of his (unquestioning) supporters.

To prepare the public for the long-awaited attack on Social Security, Medicare and other socially vital programs, the bipartisan ruling establishment has in recent years invented a very useful hobgoblin to scare the people into submission: occasional budget/debt crises and the specter or the actual pain of government shutdown. As Sheldon Richman recently pointed out:

"Wherever we look, there are hobgoblins. The latest is … DEFAULT. Oooooo.

Apparently the threats of international terror and China rising aren't enough to keep us alarmed and eager for the tether. These things do tend to wear thin with time. But good old default can be taken off the shelf every now and then. It works like a charm every time.

No, no, not default! Anything but default!". [9]

Economic policy makers in the White House and the Congress have invoked the debt/deficit hobgoblin at least three times in less than two years: the 2011 debt-ceiling panic, the 2012 "fiscal cliff" and, more recently, the 2013 debt-ceiling/government shutdown crisis - all designed to frighten the people into accepting the slashing of vital social programs. Interestingly, when Wall Street speculators needed trillions of dollars to be bailed out, or as the Fed routinely showers these gamblers with nearly interest-free money through the so-called quantitative easing, debt hobgoblins were/are nowhere to be seen!

The outcome of the latest (2013) "debt crisis management," which led to the 16-day government shutdown (October 1-16), confirmed the view that the "crisis" was essentially bogus. Following the pattern of the 2010, 2011 and 2012 budget/debt negotiations, the bipartisan policy makers kept the phony crisis alive by simply pushing its "resolution" several months back to early 2014. In other words, they did not bury the hobgoblin; they simply shelved it for a while to be taken off when it is needed to, once again, frighten the people into accepting additional austerity cuts - including Social Security and Medicare.

The outcome of the budget "crisis" also highlighted the fact that, behind the apparent bipartisan gridlock and mutual denunciations, there is a "fundamental consensus between these parties for destroying all of the social gains won by the working class over the course of the twentieth century". [10] To the extent there were disagreements, they were mainly over the tone, the temp, the magnitude, the tactics, and the means, not the end. At the heart of all the (largely contrived) bipartisan bickering was how best to escalate, justify or camouflage the brutal cuts in the vitally necessary social spending.

... ... ...

The atmosphere of panic and anxiety surrounding the debt/deficit negotiations is fabricated because the central claim behind the feigned crisis that "there is no money" for jobs, education, health care, Social Security, Medicare, housing, pensions and the like is a lie. Generous subsidies to major Wall Street players since the 2008 market crash has lifted financial markets to new highs, as evinced by the Dow Jones Industrial Average's new bubble above the 15000 mark.

The massive cuts in employment, wages and benefits, as well as in social spending, have resulted in an enormous transfer of economic resources from the bottom up. The wealthiest 1% of Americans now own more than 40% of the entire country's wealth; while the bottom 80% own only 7%. Likewise, the richest 1% now takes home 24% of the country's total income, compared to only 9% four decades ago. [16]

This means that there really is no need for the brutal austerity cuts as there really is no shortage of financial resources. The purported lack of resources is due to the fact that they are concentrated largely in the deep coffers of the financial oligarchy.

Ismael Hossein-zadeh is Professor Emeritus of Economics, Drake University, Des Moines, Iowa. He is the author of The Political Economy of U.S. Militarism (Palgrave-Macmillan 2007) and Soviet Non-capitalist Development: The Case of Nasser's Egypt (Praeger Publishers 1989). His latest book, Beyond Mainstream Explanations of the Financial Crisis: Parasitic Finance Capital, will be forthcoming from Routledge Books.

Disaster capitalism swoops over Libya by Pepe Escoba

Voltaire Network

Think of the new Libya as the latest spectacular chapter in the Disaster Capitalism series. Instead of weapons of mass destruction, we had R2P, short for "responsibility to protect". Instead of neo-conservatives, we had humanitarian imperialists.

But the target is the same: regime change. And the project is the same: to completely dismantle and privatize a nation that was not integrated into turbo-capitalism; to open another (profitable) land of opportunity for turbocharged neo-liberalism. The whole thing is especially handy because it is smack in the middle of a nearly global recession.

It will take some time; Libyan oil won’t totally return to the market within 18 months. But there’s the reconstruction of everything the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) bombed (well, not much of what the Pentagon bombed in 2003 was reconstructed in Iraq ...).

Anyway - from oil to rebuilding - in thesis juicy business opportunities loom. France’s neo-Napoleonic Nicolas Sarkozy and Britain’s David of Arabia Cameron believe they will be especially well positioned to profit from NATO’s victory. Yet there’s no guarantee the new Libyan bonanza will be enough to lift both former colonial powers (neo-colonials?) out of recession.

President Sarkozy in particular will milk the business opportunities for French companies for all they’re worth - part of his ambitious agenda of "strategic redeployment" of France in the Arab world. A compliant French media are gloating that this was "his" war - spinning that he decided to arm the rebels on the ground with French weaponry, in close cooperation with Qatar, including a key rebel commando unit that went by sea from Misrata to Tripoli last Saturday, at the start of "Operation Siren".

Well, he certainly saw the opening when Muammar Gaddafi’s chief of protocol defected to Paris in October 2010. That’s when the whole regime change drama started to be incubated.

Bombs for oil

As previously noted (see "Welcome to Libya’s ’democracy’", Asia Times Online, August 24) the vultures are already circling Tripoli to grab (and monopolize) the spoils. And yes - most of the action has to do with oil deals, as in this stark assertion by Abdeljalil Mayouf, information manager at the "rebel" Arabian Gulf Oil Company: "We don’t have a problem with Western countries like the Italians, French and UK companies. But we may have some political issues with Russia, China and Brazil."

These three happen to be crucial members of the BRICS group of emerging economies (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa), which are actually growing while the Atlanticist, NATO-bombing economies are either stuck in stagnation or recession. The top four BRICs also happen to have abstained from approving UN Security Council resolution 1973, the no-fly zone scam that metamorphosed into NATO bringing regime change from above. They saw right through it from the beginning.

To make matters worse (for them), only three days before the Pentagon’s Africom launched its first 150-plus Tomahawks over Libya, Colonel Gaddafi gave an interview to German TV stressing that if the country were attacked, all energy contracts would be transferred to Russian, Indian and Chinese companies.

So the winners in the oil bonanza are already designated: NATO members plus Arab monarchies. Among the companies involved, British Petroleum (BP), France’s Total and the Qatar national oil company. For Qatar - which dispatched jet fighters and recruiters to the front lines, trained "rebels" in exhaustive combat techniques, and is already managing oil sales in eastern Libya - the war will reveal itself to be a very wise investment decision.

Prior to the months-long crisis that is in its end game now with the rebels in the capital, Tripoli, Libya was producing 1.6 million barrels per day. Once resumed, this could reap Tripoli’s new rulers some US$50 billion annually. Most estimates place oil reserves at 46.4 billion barrels.

The "rebels" of new Libya better not mess with China. Five months ago, China’s official policy was all ready to call for a ceasefire; if that had happened, Gaddafi would still control more than half of Libya. Yet Beijing - never a fan of violent regime change - for the moment is exercising extreme restraint.


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[Mar 09, 2021] Sanctions and the loss in $31Bn for Venezuela was designed to and in fact did hurt the poorest of the poor and the working 'middle' class in that country.

Mar 09, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org

_K_C_ , Mar 9 2021 23:35 utc | 32

Posted by: Bobby | Mar 9 2021 18:40 utc | 10

Because the $31Bn (which is probably understated) would primarily have gone to the lower classes in which the U.S. caused humanitarian disaster is most prevalent. Rich, formerly colonial Venezuelan families don't give a shit. The and their ex-pat kids live most of the year in Miami or Vancouver or Madrid. The white upper class in Venezuela is the exact group from which Mr. Random Guy-do emanates and who he represent. They live in gated communities including in the hills around Caracas and their stores are likely fully stocked (as reported by Max Blumenthal last year). However, they are a small minority compared to the indigenous peoples who these sanctions are DESIGNED to hurt. The bank accounts of the colonials are safe while a small number, relatively speaking, of pro-Chavista/Maduro operatives are completely cut off by the Empire.

Same thing in ANY country that the USA is sanctioning. Have a look at Biden's Iran envoy's statements about everyday Iranian people.

https://thegrayzone.com/2021/03/08/biden-iran-envoy-starving-civilians-pain-sanctions/

In response to online criticism, Nephew has claimed that "the main target" of the sanctions regime he designed was "the oligarchs." But his book on "The Art of Sanctions" tells another story.

Nephew fondly recalls how he structured sanctions to sabotage Iranian economic reforms that would have improved the purchasing power of average people. The Obama administration destroyed the economic prospects of Iran's working-class majority while ensuring that "only the wealthy or those in positions of power could take advantage of Iran's continued connectedness," he wrote. As "stories began to emerge from Iran of intensified income inequality and inflation," Nephew pronounced another success.

As he made clear, the rising inequality "was a choice" that Washington "made on the basis of helping to drive up the pressure on the Iranian economy from internal sources." Nephew went on to claim credit for October 2012 protests brought on by the devaluation of Iran's currency.

So these sanctions and the loss in $31Bn for Venezuela was designed to and in fact did hurt the poorest of the poor and the working 'middle' class in that country.

michaelj72 , Mar 10 2021 0:44 utc | 38

thanks to profk at #13 for the link .

here's a snippet, about Venezuela and the US supported/directed economic terrorism, which has obviously caused much economic mayhem and dislocation, humanitarian disaster, and a large number of deaths (I have seen figures up to hundred thousand or more, from the food and medicine sanctions etc. Not to mention England stealing Venezuela's gold. I would imagine the real death toll is quite a bit larger)

https://newleftreview.org/sidecar/posts/smarter-empire

"......Subversion in Venezuela, by contrast, might not require as much 'engagement'. In Cuba the government is stable and the opposition isolated. In Venezuela, by contrast, the Maduro government faces a deep economic crisis (dramatically and intentionally exacerbated by US sanctions) and major public discontent. Betting on Maduro's vulnerability, Biden continues to recognize the self-appointed 'president' Juan Guaidó. Under Obama, Biden courted Guaidó ally Leopoldo López – a so-called political prisoner arrested for inciting violent protests that killed dozens of people – who is now calling for Biden to lead a renewed international effort to topple Maduro. US support for the far-right forces of Guaidó and López is intended to prevent a deal between Maduro and the more pragmatic elements of the opposition. Such a deal might alleviate Venezuela's economic crisis, but it could leave Maduro in power and thus derail the US's regime change agenda.

In late 2018 Biden complained that Trump's 'intensified sanctions on Venezuela have been clouded by sabre-rattling' and 'clunky sloganeering'. At that time, those intensified sanctions had already killed an estimated 40,000 civilians, with an unknown number of additional deaths after Trump imposed harsher measures in 2019. But the goal of regime change had not succeeded. Trump's crime in Venezuela was not his lethal denial of food and medicine to the population, but rather his 'faulty execution' of the policy. This critique informs Biden's current roadmap for Venezuela, which hinges on refining the sanctions to inflict maximum political damage. Secretary Blinken argues that sanctions must be honed 'so that regime enablers really feel the pain', while González favours a 'smart' use of 'multilateral sanctions' over Trump's go-it-alone programme...."

[May 17, 2020] 'Zombie Neocon': How This Iran Contra Architect Is Leading Trump Policy

May 17, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Hawk Elliot Abrams, reborn as a U.S. envoy, is at the spear point of recent aggressive moves in Venezuela. US Special Representative for Venezuela Elliot Abrams addresses the Atlantic Council on the future of Venezuela in Washington, DC, on April 25, 2019. (Photo credit NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images)

May 14, 2020

|

12:01 am

Barbara Boland As we await answers on who funded the plot to use a handful of mercenaries and ex-Green Berets to oust Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro , it's worth taking a closer look at the man behind regime change policy, the special envoy on Venezuela, Elliott Abrams.

Called the "neocon zombie" by officials at the State Department, Abrams is known as an operator who doesn't let anything stand in his way. He has a long history of pursuing disastrous policies in government.

"Everything Abrams is doing now is the same thing he was doing during the Reagan administration. He's very adept at manipulating the levers of power without a lot of oversight," a former senior official at the State Department told The American Conservative. The official added that Abrams is "singularly focused" on pursuing regime change in Venezuela.

A little background on Abrams: when he served as Reagan's assistant secretary of state for human rights, he concealed a massacre of a thousand men, women, and children by U.S.-funded death squads in El Salvador. He was also involved in the Iran Contra scandal, helping to secure covert funding for Contra rebels in Nicaragua in violation of laws passed by Congress. In 1991, he pled guilty to lying to Congress about the America's role in those two fiascos -- twice.

But then-president George H.W. Bush pardoned Abrams. He went on to support "measures to scuttle the Latin American peace process launched by the Costa Rican president, Óscar Arias" and use "the agency's money to unseat the Sandinistas in Nicaragua's 1990 general elections," according to Brian D'Haeseleer.

Under President George W. Bush, Abrams promoted regime change in Iraq.

Abrams was initially blocked from joining the Trump administration on account of a Never Trump op-ed he'd penned. But Secretary of State Mike Pompeo succeeded in bringing him onboard last year, despite his history of support for disastrous regime change policies.

It's no surprise that with Abrams at the helm, U.S. rhetoric and actions towards Venezuela are constantly "escalating," Dr. Alejandro Velasco, associate professor of Modern Latin America at New York University, said an interview with TAC.

In just the last month, Washington has placed bounties on the heads of President Nicolás Maduro and a dozen current and former Venezuelan officials. The U.S. also deployed the largest fleet ever to the Southern Hemisphere.

Meanwhile, Abrams announced the " Democratic Transition Framework for Venezuela ," which calls on Maduro's government to embrace a power-sharing deal. The plan doesn't explain how Venezuelan leaders with bounties on their heads are supposed to come to the table and negotiate with Juan Guaido, whom the U.S. recognizes as Venezuela's legitimate leader. Abrams has also said that the U.S. does not support a coup.

A few days after recommending a power-sharing arrangement, and 18 years after the U.S. backed a putsch against Hugo Chavez, Abrams warned that if Maduro resisted the organization of a "transitional government," his departure would be far more "dangerous and abrupt." To many, Abrams' aggressive rhetoric against Maduro made it sound like the U.S. was "effectively threatening him with another assassination attempt," like the one Washington had "tacitly supported" in 2018.

Two weeks after Abrams' warning, Operation Gideon began. Jordan Goudreau, an American citizen, former Green Beret, and three-time Bronze Star recipient for bravery in Iraq and Afghanistan, along with Javier Nieto, a retired Venezuelan military captain, posted a video from an undisclosed location saying they had launched an attack that was meant to begin a rebellion that would lead to Maduro's arrest and the installation of Juan Guaido.

In a public relations coup for Maduro, the plot was quickly foiled. Given that American citizens were involved and have produced a contract allegedly signed by Guaido, the incident has severely harmed the reputations of both the U.S. and the Venezuelan opposition.

Both President Trump and Pompeo have denied that the U.S. had any "direct" involvement with Goudreau's plot.

However, the Trump administration has given billions of dollars from USAID to Venezuela, and that money is largely untraceable due to concerns about outing supporters of Guaido.

"With all the cash and arms sloshing around in Venezuela," it is not hard to imagine how U.S. funding could inadvertently wind up supporting something like this, said Velasco.

There are other signs that the U.S. may have been more involved in the plot than they are saying publicly.

For one, American mercenaries don't carry passports identifying themselves as American nor do they return to the U.S. where they can be brought up on charges for their work, said Sean McFate, professor of war and strategy at Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service and the National Defense University.

In order to sell weapons or training to another nation, it is necessary to receive permission from the State Department. It's unclear whether Goudreau and his band did so. But Goudreau's social media posts look like a pretty "clear cut" violation of the International Convention Against the Recruitment, Financing and Training of Mercenaries and the U.S. International Traffic in Arms Regulation (ITAR) said Peter Singer, a senior fellow at New America.

We know that months before the fated coup, the CIA met with Goudreau in Jamaica and allegedly warned him off the project. According to the AP, Goudreau is now under investigation for arms trafficking . Members of Congress have asked the State Department what they knew of Goudreau's plans. Given the illegal nature of the supposedly unauthorized project, it's very strange that the ringleader is at present in Florida, talking to the press and posting on social media.

Besides that warning, it seems no one in government tried to stop this calamitous operation.

And it's not just regime change. Last year, Abrams advocated granting special immigration status for the 70,000 Venezuelans residing illegally in the U.S. as a way to "pressure Maduro" even though Trump ran on the promise to severely limit the number of people granted Temporary Protected Status.

It was in pursuit of special status for Venezuelans that Abrams showed himself to be "incredibly pompous, bull-headed, and willing to destroy anyone who opposes him, in a personal way, including by trashing their reputations in the media," another senior State Department official told TAC. Abrams is not above hiding policy options he doesn't like and offering only those he favors to Pompeo to present to Trump, sources said.

Abrams ultimately prevailed and Venezuelans received refugee status from the Trump administration, despite the fact that it betrayed Trump's campaign promises.

According to Velasco, there are some people in the administration who believe that Venezuelans are the "new Cubans" -- that they will become a solid, loyal Republican vote in the swing state of Florida if they're granted special status. They also believe that Venezuelan expats want to see the U.S. remove Maduro. There are "many Cold Warriors" who believe all it will take is a "little push" for Venezuelans to rise up and take out Maduro, said Velasco.

The State Department did not respond to a request for comment on whether Abrams is pursuing a military confrontation in Venezuela.

"Cold Warrior" beliefs are dangerous. While "Operation Gideon" was especially clownish, had it been more sophisticated, it could have easily sparked a world war. The Russians, Iranians, and Chinese are all operating in Venezuela.

That specter is even more concerning now that Russia's Foreign Minister Lavrov has said that Russian special services are on standby to help Venezuela's investigation of the mercenaries. about the author Barbara Boland is TAC's foreign policy and national security reporter. Previously, she worked as an editor for the Washington Examiner and for CNS News. She is the author of Patton Uncovered , a book about General George Patton in World War II, and her work has appeared on Fox News, The Hill , UK Spectator , and elsewhere. Boland is a graduate from Immaculata University in Pennsylvania. Follow her on Twitter @BBatDC .

[Feb 24, 2020] Creating the Corporate Coup

Notable quotes:
"... Although corporations are legally a person (see history below), they are in fact an entity. The sole goal of that entity is profit. There is no corporate conscience. ..."
"... Perhaps it would be useful to look at the nature of our global expansion. The global expanse of US military bases is well-known, but its actual territorial empire is largely hidden. The true map of America is not taught in our schools. Abby Martin interviews history Professor Daniel Immerwahr about his new book, ' How To Hide An Empire ,' where he documents the story of our "Greater United States." This is worth the 40 minute watch...I learned several new things. One more long clip. However this one is fine to just listen to as you do things. This is a wonderful interview with Noam Chomsky. The man exudes wisdom. ..."
"... The oligarchy has been with us since perhaps the tribal origins of our species, but the corporation is a newer phenomenon. A faceless, soulless profit machine. Ironically it is the 14th amendment which is used to justify corporate person-hood. ..."
"... Corporations aren't specifically mentioned in the 14th Amendment, or anywhere else in the Constitution. But going back to the earliest years of the republic, when the Bank of the United States brought the first corporate rights case before the Supreme Court, U.S. corporations have sought many of the same rights guaranteed to individuals, including the rights to own property, enter into contracts, and to sue and be sued just like individuals. ..."
"... But it wasn't until the 1886 case Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Rail Road that the Court appeared to grant a corporation the same rights as an individual under the 14th Amendment ..."
"... The United States is home to five of the world's 10 largest defense contractors, and American companies account for 57 percent of total arms sales by the world's 100 largest defense contractors, based on SIPRI data. Maryland-based Lockheed Martin, the largest defense contractor in the world, is estimated to have had $44.9 billion in arms sales in 2017 through deals with governments all over the world. The company drew public scrutiny after a bomb it sold to Saudi Arabia was dropped on a school bus in Yemen, killing 40 boys and 11 adults. Lockheed's revenue from the U.S. government alone is well more than the total annual budgets of the IRS and the Environmental Protection Agency, combined. ..."
"... http://news.nidokidos.org/military-spending-20-companies-profiting-the-m... For a list of the 20 companies profiting most off war... https://themindunleashed.com/2019/03/20-companies-profiting-war.html ..."
"... Capitalism, militarism and imperialism are disastrously intertwined ..."
"... Corporations are Religions Yes they are. They have ethics, goals, and priests. They have a god who determines everything "The Invisible Hand". They believe themselves to be superior to the state. They have cult garb, or are we not going to pretend that there's corporate dress codes, right down to the things you can wear on special days of the week. They determine what you can eat, drink and read. If you say something wrong, they feel within their rights to punish you because they OWN the medium that you used to spread ideas. OF course they don't own your thoughts... those belong to the OTHER god. ..."
Dec 09, 2019 | caucus99percent.com

Chris Hedges often says "The corporate coup is complete". Sadly I think he is correct. So this week I thought it might be interesting to explore the techniques which are used here at home and abroad. The oligarchs' corporate control is global, but different strategies are employed in various scenarios. Just thinking about the recent regime changes promoted by the US in this hemisphere...

The US doesn't even lie about past coups. They recently released a report about the 1953 CIA led coup against Iran detailing the strategies. Here at home it is a compliant media and a new array of corporate laws designed to protect and further enrich that spell the corporate capture of our culture and society. So let's begin by looking at the nature of corporations...

The following 2.5 hour documentary from 2004 features commentary from Chris, Noam, Naomi, and many others you know. It has some great old footage. It is best watched on a television so you have a bigger screen. (This clip is on the encore+ youtube channel and does have commercials which you can skip after 5 seconds)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zpQYsk-8dWg

Based on Joel Bakan's bestseller The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power , this 26-award-winning documentary explores a corporation's inner workings, curious history, controversial impacts and possible futures.

One hundred and fifty years ago, a corporation was a relatively insignificant entity. Today, it is a vivid, dramatic, and pervasive presence in all our lives. Like the Church, the Monarchy and the Communist Party in other times and places, a corporation is today's dominant institution.

Charting the rise of such an institution aimed at achieving specific economic goals, the documentary also recounts victories against this apparently invincible force.

Although corporations are legally a person (see history below), they are in fact an entity. The sole goal of that entity is profit. There is no corporate conscience. Some of the CEO's in the film discuss how all the people in the corporations are against pollution and so on, but by law stockholder profit must be the objective. Now these entities are global operations with no loyalty to their country of origin.

Perhaps it would be useful to look at the nature of our global expansion. The global expanse of US military bases is well-known, but its actual territorial empire is largely hidden. The true map of America is not taught in our schools. Abby Martin interviews history Professor Daniel Immerwahr about his new book, ' How To Hide An Empire ,' where he documents the story of our "Greater United States." This is worth the 40 minute watch...I learned several new things. One more long clip. However this one is fine to just listen to as you do things. This is a wonderful interview with Noam Chomsky. The man exudes wisdom.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yuVqfKYbGvE (2 hour 5 min)

So much of this conversation touches on today's topic of our corporate capture. Amy interviewed Ed Snowden this week... (video or text)

This is a system, the first system in history, that bore witness to everything. Every border you crossed, every purchase you make, every call you dial, every cell phone tower you pass, friends you keep, article you write, site you visit and subject line you type was now in the hands of a system whose reach is unlimited but whose safeguards were not. And I felt, despite what the law said, that this was something that the public ought to know.

https://www.democracynow.org/2019/12/5/edward_snowden_amy_goodman_interv...

The oligarchy has been with us since perhaps the tribal origins of our species, but the corporation is a newer phenomenon. A faceless, soulless profit machine. Ironically it is the 14th amendment which is used to justify corporate person-hood.

Corporations aren't specifically mentioned in the 14th Amendment, or anywhere else in the Constitution. But going back to the earliest years of the republic, when the Bank of the United States brought the first corporate rights case before the Supreme Court, U.S. corporations have sought many of the same rights guaranteed to individuals, including the rights to own property, enter into contracts, and to sue and be sued just like individuals.

But it wasn't until the 1886 case Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Rail Road that the Court appeared to grant a corporation the same rights as an individual under the 14th Amendment

https://www.history.com/news/14th-amendment-corporate-personhood-made-co...

More recently in 2010 (Citizens United v. FEC): In the run up to the 2008 election, the Federal Elections Commission blocked the conservative nonprofit Citizens United from airing a film about Hillary Clinton based on a law barring companies from using their funds for "electioneering communications" within 30 days of a primary or 60 days of a general election. The organization sued, arguing that, because people's campaign donations are a protected form of speech (see Buckley v. Valeo) and corporations and people enjoy the same legal rights, the government can't limit a corporation's independent political donations. The Supreme Court agreed. The Citizens United ruling may be the most sweeping expansion of corporate personhood to date.
https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/07/how-supreme-court-turned-co...

Do they really believe this is how we think?

More than just using the courts, corporations are knee deep in creating favorable laws, not just by lobbying, but by actually writing legislation to feed the politicians that they own and control, especially at the state level.

Through ALEC, Global Corporations Are Scheming to Rewrite YOUR Rights and Boost THEIR Revenue. Through the corporate-funded American Legislative Exchange Council, global corporations and state politicians vote behind closed doors to try to rewrite state laws that govern your rights. These so-called "model bills" reach into almost every area of American life and often directly benefit huge corporations.

In ALEC's own words, corporations have "a VOICE and a VOTE" on specific changes to the law that are then proposed in your state. DO YOU? Numerous resources to help us expose ALEC are provided below. We have also created links to detailed discussions of key issues...

https://www.alecexposed.org/wiki/ALEC_Exposed

Here's an attempt by a local station to tell the story of a Georgia session of legislators and ALEC lobbyists. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K3yIbxydlHY (6 min)

There is very little effort to hide the blatant corruption. People seem to accept this behavior as business as usual, after all it is.

Part of the current ALEC legislative agenda involves stifling protests.

I think it started in Texas...

A bill making its way through the Texas legislature would make protesting pipelines a third-degree felony, the same as attempted murder.
H.B. 3557, which is under consideration in the state Senate after passing the state House earlier this month, ups penalties for interfering in energy infrastructure construction by making the protests a felony. Sentences would range from two to 10 years.

https://www.ecowatch.com/texas-bill-pipeline-protests-felony-2637605986....
It is now law. Other states are following suit...

Lawmakers in Wisconsin introduced a bill on September 5 designed to chill protests around oil and gas pipelines and other energy infrastructure in the state by imposing harsh criminal penalties for trespassing on or damaging the property of a broad range of "energy providers."

Senate Bill 386 echoes similar "critical infrastructure protection" model bills pushed out by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and the Council of State Governments over the last two years to prevent future protests like the one against the Dakota Access Pipeline.

https://www.exposedbycmd.org/2019/09/16/wisconsin-legislators-seek-crimi...

These activities are taking place in most states...especially red ones like mine.

When TPTB use government to play chess with the countries of the world havoc ensues...

Abby and Mike were on Chris' show yesterday talking about Gaza and the US/Israeli effort at genocide. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gcsEYRt_jGY (28 min)

And Chris was on the evening RT news this week discussing how the US empire is striking back against leaders who help their own people rather than our global corporations.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1P5G9S8flnY (6.5 min)

Lee Camp and Ben Norton also discussed how the US wants to own South America. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XLETst107M0 (1st 22 min)

This excellent article tells the story well...

Financially, the cost of these wars is immense: more than $6 trillion dollars. The cost of these wars is just one element of the $1.2 trillion the US government spends annually on wars and war making. Half of each dollar paid in federal income tax goes towards some form or consequence of war . While the results of such spending are not hard to foresee or understand: a cyclical and dependent relationship between the Pentagon, weapons industry and Congress, the creation of a whole new class of worker and wealth distribution is not so understood or noticed, but exists and is especially malignant.

This is a ghastly redistribution of wealth, perhaps unlike any known in modern human history, certainly not in American history. As taxpayers send trillions to Washington. DC, that money flows to the men and women that remotely oversee, manage and staff the wars that kill and destroy millions of lives overseas and at home. Hundreds of thousands of federal employees and civilian contractors servicing the wars take home six figure annual salaries allowing them second homes, luxury cars and plastic surgery, while veterans put guns in their mouths, refugees die in capsized boats and as many as four million nameless souls scream silently in death.

These AUMFs (Authorization for Use of Military Force) and the wars have provided tens of thousands of recruits to international terror groups; mass profits to the weapons industry and those that service it; promotions to generals and admirals, with corporate board seats upon retirement ; and a perpetual and endless supply of bloody shirts for politicians to wave via an unquestioning and obsequious corporate media to stoke compliant anger and malleable fear. What is hard to imagine, impossible even, is anyone else who has benefited from these wars.

https://www.counterpunch.org/2019/12/06/authorizations-for-madness-the-e...

The United States is home to five of the world's 10 largest defense contractors, and American companies account for 57 percent of total arms sales by the world's 100 largest defense contractors, based on SIPRI data. Maryland-based Lockheed Martin, the largest defense contractor in the world, is estimated to have had $44.9 billion in arms sales in 2017 through deals with governments all over the world. The company drew public scrutiny after a bomb it sold to Saudi Arabia was dropped on a school bus in Yemen, killing 40 boys and 11 adults. Lockheed's revenue from the U.S. government alone is well more than the total annual budgets of the IRS and the Environmental Protection Agency, combined.

http://news.nidokidos.org/military-spending-20-companies-profiting-the-m... For a list of the 20 companies profiting most off war... https://themindunleashed.com/2019/03/20-companies-profiting-war.html

The obvious industry which was not included nor considered is the fossil fuel industry. Here's another example of mutual corporate interests.

"Capitalism, militarism and imperialism are disastrously intertwined with the fossil fuel economy .A globalized economy predicated on growth at any social or environmental costs, carbon dependent international trade, the limitless extraction of natural resources, and a view of citizens as nothing more than consumers cannot be the basis for tackling climate change .Little wonder then that the elites have nothing to offer beyond continued militarisation and trust in techno-fixes."

-- Nick Buxton and Ben Hayes
https://www.counterpunch.org/2019/07/05/doubling-down-the-military-big-b...

The US military is one of the largest consumers and emitters of carbon-dioxide equivalent (CO2e) in history, according to an independent analysis of global fuel-buying practices of a "virtually unresearched" government agency.
If the US military were its own country, it would rank 47th between Peru and Portugal in terms of annual fuel purchases, totaling almost 270,000 barrels of oil bought every day in 2017. In particular, the Air Force is the largest emitter of greenhouse gas emissions and bought $4.9 billion of fuel in 2017 – nearly double that of the Navy ($2.8 billion).

https://www.iflscience.com/environment/us-military-ranks-higher-in-green...

The fossil fuel giants even try to control the climate talks...

Oil and gas groups were accused Saturday of seeking to influence climate talks in Madrid by paying millions in sponsorship and sending dozens of lobbyists to delay what scientists say is a necessary and rapid cut in fossil fuel use.

https://www.rawstory.com/2019/12/fossil-fuel-groups-destroying-climate-t...

The corporations are so entwined that it is difficult to tell where they begin and end. There's the unity of private prisons and the war machine. And it's a global scheme...this example from the UK.

One thing is clear: the prison industrial complex and the global war machine are intimately connected. This summer's prison strike that began in the United States and spread to other countries was the largest in history. It shows more than ever that prisoners are resisting this penal regime, often at great risk to themselves. The battle to end prison slavery continues.

https://corporatewatch.org/poppies-prison-labour-and-the-war-machine/

Then there was the corporate tax give away...

The 2017 tax bill cut taxes for most Americans, including the middle class, but it heavily benefits the wealthy and corporations . It slashed the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent, and its treatment of "pass-through" entities -- companies organized as sole proprietorships, partnerships, LLCs, or S corporations -- will translate to an estimated $17 billion in tax savings for millionaires this year. American corporations are showering their shareholders with stock buybacks, thanks in part to their tax savings.

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/12/18/18146253/tax-cuts-and...

Even Robert Jackson Jr., commissioner at the Securities and Exchange Commission. Appointed to the SEC in 2017 by President Donald Trump. Confirmed in January 2018 sees the corporate cuts as absurd.

"We have been to the movie of tax cuts and buybacks before, in the Republican administration during the George W. Bush era. We enacted a quite substantial tax cut during that period. And studies after that showed very clearly that most corporations use the funds from that tax cut for buybacks. And here's the kicker. That particular tax cut actually required that companies deploy the capital for capital expenditures, wage increases and investments in their people. Yet studies showed that, in fact, the companies use them for buybacks. So we've been to this movie before. And what you're describing to me, that corporations turned around and took the Trump tax cut and didn't use it in investing in their people or in infrastructure, but instead for other purposes, shouldn't surprise anybody at all."

https://www.wbur.org/onpoint/2019/11/18/corporations-stock-buybacks-sec-...

So the corporations grow larger, wealthier, more powerful, buying evermore legislative influence along the way. They have crept into almost every aspect of our lives. Some doctors are beginning to see the influence of big pharma and other corporate interests are effecting the current practice of medicine.

Gary Fettke is a doctor from Tasmania who has been targeted for promoting a high fat low carb diet...threatened with losing his medical qualifications. He doesn't pull punches in this presentation discussing the corporate control of big ag/food and big pharma on medical practice and education. (27 min)

Comments

detroitmechworks on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 8:28am

Corporations are Religions Yes they are. They have ethics, goals, and priests. They have a god who determines everything "The Invisible Hand". They believe themselves to be superior to the state. They have cult garb, or are we not going to pretend that there's corporate dress codes, right down to the things you can wear on special days of the week. They determine what you can eat, drink and read. If you say something wrong, they feel within their rights to punish you because they OWN the medium that you used to spread ideas. OF course they don't own your thoughts... those belong to the OTHER god.

At least the crazy made up gods that I listen to don't usually fuck over other human beings for a goddamn percentage. ON the other hand, if a corporation can make a profit, it's REQUIRED to fuck you over. To do otherwise would be against it's morals. Which it does have, trust us... OH, and corporations get to make fun of your beliefs, but you CANNOT make fun of theirs. Because that would be heresy against logic and reason.

www.youtube.com/embed/uGDA0Hecw1k?modestbranding=0&html5=1&rel=0&autoplay=0&wmode=opaque&loop=0&controls=1&autohide=0&showinfo=0&theme=dark&color=red&enablejsapi=0

Lookout on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 8:37am
yes indeed, they are superior to the state...

@detroitmechworks

In the film Secret State they (fossil fuel) admit it. Here's the trailer...(1.5 min)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uCYjbux_dCM

You can watch the series if anyone has an interest. Start here...there are about 6 episodes.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3aeZT6IXCUg (42 min)

Good spy thriller.

Nice to see you around the site again. Thanks for visiting this piece.

QMS on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 8:39am
A recent front page item

In a local newspaper showed a couple coming out of a Wal-Mart with their carts piled high with big boxed foreign junk, then shown cramming their SUV full of said junk. The headline read "Crazy Busy". It pretty much summed up what is wrong with the American consumer culture. The next day's big headline spotlighted our senator's picture affixed to a LARGE headline boasting "$22 Billion Submarine Contract Awarded". A good example of of what is wrong with the american war economy.

Thank you for your compilation Lookout! If we can get beyond the headlines, working at grass root and local solutions, maybe even underground revolution, there may be hope for us. Barter for a better future.

Lookout on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 9:06am
Let's hope we trade up for something better

@QMS

My buddies always say about their mayor..."There's no way we will trade down after this election...but then we do." Perhaps it is true for more than just their town.

The line running in my head is..."What if they gave a war and nobody came". I want to expand it to..."What if they made cheap junk no one really wanted and nobody bought it". Or substitute junk food for cheap junk, or...

My point in today's conclusion is much as I try to walk away from corporate culture/control, I really can't totally escape...but at least I spend most of my time in the open, breathing clean air, surrounded by forest. We do what we can.

Onward through the fog...

Raggedy Ann on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 8:58am
Good Sunday morning, Lookout ~~

Consumerism in our society is a plague, a disease perpetrated upon us by our corporate lords. It has taken over everything about being an American.

I think the youth are catching on, as they are thrifting more, but they don't understand about food, and that's the rub. Our youth will be more unhealthy until they understand what corporations are doing to us through food addictions.

We're expecting rain today for most of the day and actually it's just started. The person who will drill our well came by yesterday and figured out some details. We are behind two other wells, so it will probably be the holiday week when it happens - we'll see. I can wait til January and hope we do.

Have a lovely Sunday, everyone!

Lookout on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 9:10am
best of luck with your well!

@Raggedy Ann

That's an exciting project. Keep us posted. I hope y'all have a great holiday break. Enjoy your time....the most valuable thing we have!

davidgmillsatty on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 9:09am
The main reason I am not enamored with Sander's economic

Ideas is that new deal of FDR's day had corporate opponents far different than those of today. Sanders does not seem to understand that the corporations of yesterday, and what worked against them, will not work against the corporations of today. In the early part of the 20th century, corporations were still primarily domestic and local often with charters from the state where they conducted their primary business, many times all of their business.

Regulation and unions were reasonable anti-dotes to the abuses of these local and domestic corporations. The state still had some semblance of control over them.

But today corporations are global. They have no allegiance to, or concern for the domestic economy or local people. They do not fear of any anti-dotes that worked for years against domestic or local corporations. Global corporations just leave and go elsewhere if they don't like the domestic or local situation if they have not managed to completely take over the government.

There is only one reason to incorporate in the first place. That is for the owner(s) of the business to avoid personal liability or responsibility. The majority of people never understand this idea. Corporate owners are the people who are the genuine personal responsibility avoiders. Not the poor. The only antidote to corporations these days is the total demise of the corporation and its similar business entities that dodge personal responsibility. And the state must refuse to allow any such entities to do business. It is the only way forward. Otherwise nation states will give way to corporate states. Corporate governance is the new feudalism from which the old feudalism morphed.

Sanders isn't going to advocate doing away with corporate entities or other similar business entities. Nor will any of the Democratic contenders. They all require corporations to rail against as the basis for their political policy.

Lookout on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 9:19am
corporate power is formative

@davidgmillsatty

...and I've always wondered just how Bernie would dismantle them. However like the impotence of the impeachment, is the impotence of the primary process.

When the DNC was sued after 2016, they were exonerated based on the ruling they were a private entity entitled to make rules as the wanted. The primary is so obviously rigged I can almost guarantee Bernie will not be allowed the nomination, so the question to how he would change corporate control is really moot.

Thanks for your thoughtful comment.

davidgmillsatty on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 10:56am
Sanders Winning the Nomination

@Lookout I probably could get on board with a Sanders campaign if he would run as an Independent. But it is really hard to get on board with him as a Democrat. If he loses the nomination, he will probably not run as an Independent once again. Once he bailed on an Independent run last time, I and many others bailed on him. I would support his Independent candidacy just to screw with the Electoral College. I thought last time an independent candidacy might have thrown the election to the House of Representatives. I could see a Democratically controlled House voting for him over Trump in a three way EC split if the Democratic candidate took low EC numbers.

But he is so afraid of being tarred with the Nader moniker.

What I said many times on websites last election is that an EC vote is very similar to a Parliamentary Election. And that would be an interesting change for sure. It would also be a means of having the popular vote winner restored if there is a big enough margin in the House. And what would be equally cool is that the Senate picks the VP. So you could have President and VP from different parties.

Lookout on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 10:32am
in some alternate universe...

@davidgmillsatty

if Bernie got the nomination, I would vote for him, especially in this imaginary world, if Tulsi was his running mate. Then there the question about your vote being counted? We'll just have to see what we see and make judgements based on outcomes, IMO.

#4.1 I probably could get on board with a Sanders campaign if he would run as an Independent. But it is really hard to get on board with him as a Democrat. If he loses the nomination, he will probably not run as an Independent once again. Once he bailed on an Independent run last time, I and many others bailed on him. I would support his Independent candidacy just to screw with the Electoral College. I thought last time an independent candidacy might have thrown the election to the House of Representatives. I could see a Democratically controlled House voting for him over Trump in a three way EC split if the Democratic candidate took low EC numbers.

But he is so afraid of being tarred with the Nader moniker.

What I said many times on websites last election is that an EC vote is very similar to a Parliamentary Election. And that would be an interesting change for sure. It would also be a means of having the popular vote winner restored if there is a big enough margin in the House. And what would be equally cool is that the Senate picks the VP. So you could have President and VP from different parties.

davidgmillsatty on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 11:01am
The more I think about this

@Lookout The only way the Democrats might beat Trump is to have Sanders run as an Independent and prevent Trump from reaching 270. That is a far better way to beat Trump than impeachment. Would the house vote for the Democrat or an Independent? I guess it would depend on how Sanders did in the popular vote and EC against his Democratic rival.

#4.1.1
if Bernie got the nomination, I would vote for him, especially in this imaginary world, if Tulsi was his running mate. Then there the question about your vote being counted? We'll just have to see what we see and make judgements based on outcomes, IMO.

TheOtherMaven on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 2:06pm
And who that rival was!

@davidgmillsatty @davidgmillsatty

If it was Hillary "Dewey Cheatem & Howe" Clinton, all bets are off.

#4.1.1.1 The only way the Democrats might beat Trump is to have Sanders run as an Independent and prevent Trump from reaching 270. That is a far better way to beat Trump than impeachment. Would the house vote for the Democrat or an Independent? I guess it would depend on how Sanders did in the popular vote and EC against his Democratic rival.

Lookout on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 2:48pm
The $hill was on Howard Stern this week...

@TheOtherMaven

//www.youtube.com/embed/LhxMvmX9WlA?modestbranding=0&html5=1&rel=0&autoplay=0&wmode=opaque&loop=0&controls=1&autohide=0&showinfo=0&theme=dark&color=red&enablejsapi=0

snoopydawg on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 3:18pm
Howard effin Stern indeed

@Lookout

Good lord.that she did that is unbelievable. Great point. Boycott Fox News, but go on Stern's show. It's going to be fun to watch how much lower she falls.

Lookout on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 3:30pm
The depth of her corruption is unfathomable

@snoopydawg

AE maybe be correct that they will pull her from behind the curtain and anoint her to run again. But I sure hope not!

snoopydawg on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 3:31pm
More lying about Bernie not supporting Hillary

@Lookout

MSNBC invited on two former Hillary Clinton aides to criticize Bernie Sanders for taking a "long time to get out of the race" and that he didn't do "enough" campaigning for her in 2016. pic.twitter.com/6Vsqo0DKZI

-- Ibrahim (@ibrahimpols) December 8, 2019

Come on Bernie call this crap out.

davidgmillsatty on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 6:08pm
The Way that would work in the House of Reps

@TheOtherMaven They have to choose from actual EC vote getters. So if she is not the candidate she could not win.

Having Sanders run as an Independent and Warren or Biden run as a Democrat would be a much better strategy to ensure a Trump loss in the House. Of course it might take some coordination as in asking the voters to vote for the candidate who has the best chance of beating Trump in certain states. But voters could probably figure that out.

Or a candidate could just withdraw from a state in which the other candidate had a better chance of beating Trump.

QMS on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 9:27am
Dig it

@irishking @irishking
What to do?Dance in the streets! //www.youtube.com/embed/9KhbM2mqhCQ

Lookout on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 9:27am
Do you think the bear went over the mountain...

@irishking

refers to RUSSIA!!! (Just joking) Thanks for the song. Here's one from 1929 back atcha! Thanks for the visit. //www.youtube.com/embed/pDOwDi2jlk0

jakkalbessie on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 10:15am
So much to think about

Lookout as usual you have done an excellent job of giving me a lot of articles to read and think about this next week.

Of course I need to be loading my car and shutting this place down as I head to the Texas hill country. Will look for an article about Kinder Morgan and small communities that are fighting the pipeline through their towns. The read was a little hopeful.

Watching the weather and it looks like sunshine and clear skies as I travel. Thanks for all your work in putting this together.

Lookout on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 10:27am
My buddy JU Lee wrote a song...

@jakkalbessie

I like to travel on the old roads.

There's not a youtube, but the chorus goes:

I like to travel on the old roads
I like the way it makes me feel
No destination just the old roads
Somehow it helps the heart to heal.

I hope your road trip is a good one. The less busy tracks are almost meditative....soaking in scenery as the world passes by.

Have fun and be careful.

Lookout as usual you have done an excellent job of giving me a lot of articles to read and think about this next week.

Of course I need to be loading my car and shutting this place down as I head to the Texas hill country. Will look for an article about Kinder Morgan and small communities that are fighting the pipeline through their towns. The read was a little hopeful.

Watching the weather and it looks like sunshine and clear skies as I travel. Thanks for all your work in putting this together.

ggersh on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 11:06am
Nice work Lookout

Here are a couple of links to how free markets help in the corporate takeover. Amazon a corp that has only made a profit by never paying taxes and accounting fraud. It became a trillion dollar corp through the use of monopoly money(stock) it's nothing but the perfect example of todays "unicorn" corp, i.e. worth what it is w/out ever making a penny

Lookout on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 11:26am
The free market created the private prison industry too

@ggersh

Not so free really is it? Amazon is certainly a monster...now hosting the CIA/MIC cloud as well as owning the WaPo.

Snode on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 11:45am
Corporations are not people

Corporations can live far beyond a persons lifespan. Corporations can commit homicide and escape execution and justice. Unfortunately, unions are just as likely to be on the corporations side to get jobs and wages, and bust heads if anything interferes with that.

If we protest we've seen the police ready to use deadly force at the drop of a hat, and get away with it. We get to vote on candidates that some political club chose for us, and have little incentive to work for the 99%. The gov. has amassed so much information on us we can't even fathom its depth. We have nowhere left, no unexplored lands out of reach of the government. We think we own things, but if you think you own a home, see how long it is before the gov. confiscates it if you don't pay your property taxes.

If I were younger, or a young person asked what to do, I would say.... learn some skill that would make you attractive for emigrating to another country, because the US looks like it's over. It's people are only here to be exploited. And if Bernie were to become president I hope he gets a food taster.

Lily O Lady on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 1:27pm
Corporations are worldwide entities now. No where to

@Snode

run to. No where to hide. As in the U.K., corporations are seeking to to dismantle the NHS and turn it into a for-profit system like ours. Even as the gilllet-jaune protesters risk life and limb, Macron seeks to install true neoliberalism in France. And the beat goes on.

snoopydawg on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 5:41pm
Yep you nailed it

@Snode

Corporations can live far beyond a persons lifespan. Corporations can commit homicide and escape execution and justice.

Look at what chevron did to people in Borapol. I'm sure I spelled this wrong but hopefully people will know what I'm talking about. They killed lots of people and poisoned their land for decades and the fight over it is still going on. How many decades more will chevron get to skirt justice? Banks continue to commit fraud and they only get little fines that don't do jack to keep them from doing it again. Even cities are screwing people. Owe a few dollars on your property taxes and they will take your home and sell it for pennies on the dollar. How in hell can it be legal to charge people over 600% interest? What happened to usury rules if that's the correct term.

Lookout on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 5:51pm
They've done it all over the world...

@snoopydawg

The International Court of Justice at The Hague ruled last week that a prior ruling by an Ecuadorean court that fined Chevron $9.5 billion in 2011 should be upheld, according to teleSUR, a Latin American news agency. Texaco, which is currently a part of Chevron, is responsible for what is considered one of the world's largest environmental disasters while it drilled for oil in the Ecuadorian rainforest from 1964 to 1990.
https://www.ecowatch.com/will-chevron-and-exxon-ever-be-held-responsible...

snoopydawg on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 7:13pm
It's just unbelievable that they can still dodge responsibilit

@Lookout

for decades of polluting and killing.

The legal battle has been tied up in the courts for years. Ecuador's highest court finally upheld the ruling in January 2014, but Chevron refused to pay.

This is another thing that corporations get away with. Contaminating land and then just walking away from it. How many superfund sites have we had to pay for instead of the ones who created the mess. Just declared bankruptcy and walked away. Corporations are people? Fine then they should be held as accountable as the people in the lower classes. Fat chance though right?

Lily O Lady on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 6:01pm
Union Carbide India was responsible for the Bopal disaster.
snoopydawg on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 7:16pm
Thanks for the save

@Lily O Lady

Weren't people killed by a gas cloud released from the plant? I read something recently that said the case is still going through the courts. How much money have they spent trying not to spend more?

snoopydawg on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 12:27pm
7 year old concerned about the Uighers

//www.youtube.com/embed/wGq0xVh6UJw?modestbranding=0&html5=1&rel=0&autoplay=0&wmode=opaque&loop=0&controls=1&autohide=0&showinfo=0&theme=dark&color=red&enablejsapi=0

Lookout on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 12:36pm
The comments are supportive of Tulsi

@snoopydawg

....and no I had not seen that clip. Tulsi impresses me in many ways and the manner in which she treats this child is an example.

Especially as compared to Joe ByeDone's adolescent behavior...

//www.youtube.com/embed/mKV0oAPENdg?modestbranding=0&html5=1&rel=0&autoplay=0&wmode=opaque&loop=0&controls=1&autohide=0&showinfo=0&theme=dark&color=red&enablejsapi=0

snoopydawg on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 1:09pm
Ugh

@Lookout @Lookout

Byedone just needs to pack it in and drop out already. Today he was defending the republican party after someone said something about them needing to go away. Joe said that we need another party so one does not get more power than the other. Yeah right, Joe. It's not like the Pubs are already weilding power they don't have and them dems cowering and supporting them.

Newsweek reporter quit after being censored on the OPCW story.

I have collected evidence of how they suppressed the story in addition to evidence from another case where info inconvenient to US govt was removed, though it was factually correct.

-- Tareq Haddad (@Tareq_Haddad) December 7, 2019

ANd great news for Max Bluementhal!!

BREAKING: The US government has DROPPED ITS BOGUS CASE against me and @NotConq .

I was hauled out of my house by a team of cops, jailed for two days, and maliciously defamed due to the lies of the US-backed Venezuelan opposition.

I plan to seek justice. https://t.co/Wm7Yl8cL2T

-- Max Blumenthal (@MaxBlumenthal) December 7, 2019

Thanks for the wound up, LO. Lots of great stuff here to go back and digest.

#9

....and no I had not seen that clip. Tulsi impresses me in many ways and the manner in which she treats this child is an example.

Especially as compared to Joe ByeDone's adolescent behavior...

data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAAAAACH5BAEKAAEALAAAAAABAAEAAAICTAEAOw==

Lookout on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 1:22pm
Glad to see Max vindicated

@snoopydawg

...thanks for the news.

Caity had a nice piece on Consortiumnews on the newsweek story...
https://consortiumnews.com/2019/12/08/journalist-newsweek-suppressed-opc...

Lily O Lady on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 1:44pm
Bipartisanship is big now. It's how politicians hide their dirty dealings.

@snoopydawg

First frustrate us with gridlock. Then pass bills benefiting the corporate overlords. Then leading up to elections pass bills like the one against animal cruelty (who doesn't love kitties and puppies?), or propose a bill to consider regulating cosmetics. This second bipartisan effort is glaringly cynical since no one apparently knows what is in beauty products. Sanders must have politicians worried for them to attempt something which has managed to go unregulated for so long.

All this bipartisanship is not even up to the level of rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. It's more like wiping at them with a dirty rag while the ship of state continues to sink. While animal cruelty and cosmetic safety are important issues, they pale in comparison to the systemic ills America suffers. Our fearless leaders will continue to scratch the surface while corruption and business as usual continue to fester. These bipartisan laws may look good on a politician's resume, but they won't really help the 99%.

CB on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 5:35pm
Looks like the PTB are starting to crank up

@snoopydawg
the propaganda to give NATO a raison d'être for a pivot to China. This will be doomed to complete failure just as the Russian pivot has.

But Putin and Xi Jinping are both much too skilled and intelligent to defeat. American WWE trash talkers are completely outclassed by an 8th dan in judo paired with a Sun Tzu scholar.

Tomoe nage - use your opponent's weight and aggression against him.

"If your enemy is secure at all points, be prepared for him. If he is in superior strength, evade him. If your opponent is temperamental, seek to irritate him. Pretend to be weak, that he may grow arrogant. If he is taking his ease, give him no rest. If his forces are united, separate them. If sovereign and subject are in accord, put division between them. Attack him where he is unprepared, appear where you are not expected ."
― Sun Tzu, The Art of War

Thank you Barack and Hillary...

CB on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 9:39pm
Neither Russia nor China want the US or US$ to collapse too quickly. It would be devastating for the entire world if it happened suddenly.

@Lookout
What they want is a controlled collapse. If they can get the US to continue to overspend on war mongering rather than programs of social uplift the country will rot from the inside.

"A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death." - Martin Luther King, Jr.

Meanwhile, back in the Motherland: //www.youtube.com/embed/acPgB_rhdfA

Lookout on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 3:25pm
corporate corruption is low fanging fruit

@Pluto's Republic

So much more to say really. Had to stop somewhere but as you know the corruption runs deep and is intermixed with the CIA/FBI/MIC corporate government under which we live.

On we go as best we can!

There is great dignity in the objective truth. Perhaps because it never flows through the contaminated minds of the unworthy.

smiley7 on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 7:43pm
Excellent Watch, Lookout,

Corporate charters were initially meant to be for the public good if i'm not mistaken in recall, it was a trade-off for their privilege to exist. Maybe a movement political leader could highlight this and move the pendulum back to accountability.

Had a conversation with good friend today, a 3M rep, and he was griping about his competitor's shady marketing product practices apparently lying to manufacturers about the grades and contents of their competing products.

smiley7 on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 7:53pm
A timely piece to go with your conversation of today:

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/dec/07/kochland-review-koch-bro...

Battle of Blair... on Mon, 12/09/2019 - 8:37am
I want that flag.

Where can I buy that flag? I will raise it and sing the corporate anthem

"God bless Generica.
Land that is owned.
By the wealthy, unhealthy
As that might be for those being pwnd.

From the Walmart to McDonalds to the corner Dominooooos.
God Bless Generica
My high rent home.

[Feb 09, 2020] As someone born in Latin America, we never saw the US as anything but a brutal predator, whose honeyed words were belied by their deeds

Aug 05, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

The essential facts are these. In April 1898, the United States went to war with Spain. The war's nominal purpose was to liberate Cuba from oppressive colonial rule. The war's subsequent conduct found the United States not only invading and occupying Cuba, but also seizing Puerto Rico, completing a deferred annexation of Hawaii, scarfing up various other small properties in the Pacific, and, not least of all, replacing Spain as colonial masters of the Philippine Archipelago, located across the Pacific.

That the true theme of the war with Spain turned out to be not liberation but expansion should not come as a terrible surprise. From the very founding of the first British colonies in North America, expansion has constituted an enduring theme of the American project. Separation from the British Empire after 1776 only reinforced the urge to grow. Yet prior to 1898, that project had been a continental one. The events of that year signaled the transition from continental to extra-continental expansion. American leaders were no longer content to preside over a republic stretching from sea to shining sea.

In that regard, the decision to annex the Philippines stands out as especially instructive. If you try hard enough -- and some politicians at the time did -- you can talk yourself into believing that U.S. actions in the Caribbean in 1898 represented something other than naked European-style imperialism with all its brute force to keep the natives in line. After all, the United States did refrain from converting Cuba into a formal colony and by 1902 had even granted Cubans a sort of ersatz independence. Moreover, both Cuba and Puerto Rico fell within "our backyard," as did various other Caribbean republics soon to undergo U.S. military occupation. Geographically, all were located within the American orbit.

Yet the Philippines represented an altogether different case. By no stretch of the imagination did the archipelago fall within "our backyard." Furthermore, the Filipinos had no desire to trade Spanish rule for American rule and violently resisted occupation by U.S. forces. The notably dirty Philippine-American War that followed from 1899 to 1902 -- a conflict almost entirely expunged from American memory today -- resulted in something like 200,000 Filipino deaths and ended in a U.S. victory not yet memorialized on the National Mall in Washington.

Why Do We Still Have War Booty From the Philippines? Time to Break Up With the Philippines

So the Philippine Archipelago had become ours. In short order, however, authorities in Washington changed their mind about the wisdom of accepting responsibility for several thousand islands located nearly 7,000 miles from San Francisco.

The sprawling American colony turned out to be the ultimate impulse purchase. And as with most impulse purchases, enthusiasm soon enough gave way to second thoughts and even regret. By 1907, President Theodore Roosevelt was privately referring to the Philippines as America's "Achilles heel." The United States had paid Spain $20 million for an acquisition that didn't turn a profit and couldn't be defended given the limited capabilities of the U.S. Army and U.S. Navy. To complicate matters further, from Tokyo's perspective, the Philippines fell within its backyard. So far as Imperial Japan was concerned, imperial America was intruding on its turf.

Thus was the sequence of events leading to the Pacific War of 1941-1945 set in motion. I am not suggesting that Pearl Harbor was an inevitable consequence of the United States annexing the Philippines. I am suggesting that it put two rival imperial powers on a collision course.

One can, of course, find in the ensuing sequence of events matters worth celebrating -- great military victories at places like Midway, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa, culminating after 1945 in a period of American dominion. But the legacy of our flirtation with empire in the Western Pacific also includes much that is lamentable -- the wars in Korea and Vietnam, for example, and now an intensifying rivalry with China destined to lead we know not where.

If history could be reduced to a balance sheet, the U.S. purchase of the Philippines would rate as a pretty bad bargain. That first $20 million turned out to be only a down payment.


Eliseo Art Silva Mark Thomason 6 hours ago

No. Absolutely not. We would have been much better off had the US not violently dismantled the first Republic of the Philippines.

The canard that our greatest generation of Filipinos (Generation of 1898) was not fit to govern us was a product of US Assimilation Schools designed to rid the Philippines of Filipinos- by wiring them to automatically think anything non-Filipino will always be better (intenalized racism) and to train the primarily to leave and work abroad and blend -in as Americans (objectification) and never stand out as self-respecting Filipinos who aspire to be the best they can be propelled by the Filipino story.

Our multiple Golden Ages only occurred prior to US invasion and colonization.

YES, the USA owes us. We are every American's 2nd original sin.

Eliseo Art Silva Mark Thomason 5 hours ago
We do not owe US anything. The USA owes us a great big deal, More than any other country on earth.

THEY (USA) owes us:
1) For violently dismantling the first Republic of the Philippines at the cost of over a million martyrs from the greatest generation of Filipinos.

2) For US Assimilation Schools denying us the intensity of our golden ages prior to their invasion as our drivers for PH civilization, turning us into a country that trains its people to leave and assimilate in US culture and become workers for Americans and foreigners abroad. This results in a Philippines WITHOUT Filipinos.

3) For US bombs turning Intramuros into dust- the centerpiece of the Paris of the East, with treasures, publications and art much older that the US- without consent from any Filipino leader. And for dismantling our train system from La Union to Bicol.

4) For the US Rescission Act which denied Filipino veterans due recognition, dignity and honor- vets who fought THEIR war against Japan on our soil.

5) For the canard that Aguinaldo, our 29-year old father and liberator of the Republic of the Philippines, is a villain and a traitor, even inventing the heroism of Andres Bonifacio which ultimately resulted in "Toxic Nationalism" which Rizal warned us about in the persona of Simoun in El Filibusterismo who will drive our nation to self-destruction and turn a paradise into a desert by being automatically wired to think anything non-Filipino will and always be better.

The core of colonial mentality is the misguided belief that we cannot have been a greater country had the US not destroyed the first Republic of the Philippines- a lie that was embedded in our minds by the US discrediting Aguinaldo and the Generation of 1896/1898- the greatest generation of Filipinos.

bob balkas 18 hours ago
It does seem to me that every country which was able and could afford to expand its territory did so. In Europe, exceptions to that a wish were Switzerland, Slovakia, Finland, Ireland, Norway, Slovenia, Ukraine, ?Romania and Chechia.
So, US had company!
Romulus 11 hours ago
President William McKinley defends his decision to support the annexation of the Philippines in the wake of the U.S. war in that country:

"When I next realized that the Philippines had dropped into our laps I confess I did not know what to do with them. . . And one night late it came to me this way. . .1) That we could not give them back to Spain- that would be cowardly and dishonorable; 2) that we could not turn them over to France and Germany-our commercial rivals in the Orient-that would be bad business and discreditable; 3) that we not leave them to themselves-they are unfit for self-government-and they would soon have anarchy and misrule over there worse than Spain's wars; and 4) that there was nothing left for us to do but to take them all, and to educate the Filipinos, and uplift and civilize and Christianize them, and by God's grace do the very best we could by them, as our fellow-men for whom Christ also died."

Making Christians of a country that had its first Catholic diocese 9 years before the Spanish Armada sailed for England, with 4 dioceses in place years before the English sailed for Jamestown.

Tommy Matic IV Romulus 6 hours ago
Not to mention a full fledged university older than Harvard.
Michael Brand 7 hours ago • edited
Dan Carlin did an outstanding podcast on the choices America faced after acquiring the Philippines. McKinley was anti-empire, but the industrialists in his administration hungered to thwart the British, French and Dutch empires in the Pacific by establishing a colony all of our own.

Worth a listen

Adriana Pena 7 hours ago
As someone born in Latin America, we never saw the US as anything but a brutal predator, whose honeyed words were belied by their deeds. I wonder if it began with the Philippines. There was the Mexican war first, which wrested a lot of territory from Mexico. And then there was the invasion of Canada to bring the blessings of democracy to Canadians (it ended with the White House in flames). I suspect that the beliefe that you are exceptional and blessed by God can lead to want to straighten up other people "for their own good", and make a profit besides - a LOT of profit.

[Jan 30, 2020] The Neocons Strike Back by Jacob Heilbrunn

Notable quotes:
"... A chorus of neocons rushed to second his praise: Reuel Marc Gerecht, a former CIA officer and prominent Never Trumper, lauded Trump's intestinal fortitude, while Representative Liz Cheney hailed Trump's "decisive action." It was Carlson who was left sputtering about the forever wars. "Washington has wanted war with Iran for decades," Carlson said . "They still want it now. Let's hope they haven't finally gotten it." ..."
"... Neoconservatism as a foreign policy ideology has been badly discredited over the last two decades, thanks to the debacles in Iraq and Afghanistan. But in the blinding flash of one drone strike, neoconservatism was easily able to reinsert itself in the national conversation. It now appears that Trump intends to make Soleimani's killing -- which has nearly drawn the U.S. into yet another conflict in the Middle East and, in typical neoconservative fashion, ended up backfiring and undercutting American goals in the region -- a central part of his 2020 reelection bid . ..."
"... The neocons are starting to realize that Trump's presidency, at least when it comes to foreign policy, is no less vulnerable to hijacking than those of previous Republican presidents, including the administrations of Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. The leading hawks inside and outside the administration shaping its approach to Iran include Robert O'Brien, Bolton's disciple and successor as national security adviser; Secretary of State Mike Pompeo; Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook; Mark Dubowitz, the CEO of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies; David Wurmser, a former adviser to Bolton; and Senators Lindsey Graham and Tom Cotton. Perhaps no one better exemplifies the neocon ethos better than Cotton, a Kristol protégé who soaked up the teachings of the political philosopher Leo Strauss while studying at Harvard. Others who have been baying for conflict with Iran include Rudy Giuliani, the former New York City mayor who is now Trump's personal lawyer and partner in Ukrainian crime. In June 2018, Giuliani went to Paris to address the National Council of Resistance of Iran, whose parent organization is the Iranian opposition group Mujahedin-e-Khalq, or MeK. Giuliani, who has been on the payroll of the MeK for years, demanded -- what else? -- regime change. ..."
"... The fresh charge into battle of what Sidney Blumenthal once aptly referred to as an ideological light brigade brings to mind Hobbes's observation in Leviathan : "All men that are ambitious of military command are inclined to continue the causes of war; and to stir up trouble and sedition; for there is no honor military but by war; nor any such hope to mend an ill game, as by causing a new shuffle." The neocons, it appears, have caused a new shuffle. ..."
"... the killing of Soleimani revealed that the neocon military-intellectual complex is very much still intact, with the ability to spring back to life from a state of suspended animation in an instant. Its hawkish tendencies remain widely prevalent not only in the Republican Party but also in the media, the think-tank universe, and in the liberal-hawk precincts of the Democratic Party. Meanwhile, the influence and reach of the anti-war right remains nascent; even if this contingent has popular support, it doesn't enjoy much backing in Washington beyond the mood swings of the mercurial occupant of the Oval Office. ..."
"... The neocons supplied the patina of intellectual legitimacy for policies that might once have seemed outré. ..."
"... But it was the neoconservatives, not the paleocons, who amassed influence in the 1990s and took over the GOP's foreign policy wing. Veteran neocons like Michael Ledeen were joined by a younger generation of journalists and policymakers that included Robert Kagan, Bill Kristol (who founded The Weekly Standard in 1994), Paul Wolfowitz, and Douglas J. Feith. The neocons consistently pushed for a hard line against Iraq and Iran. In his 1996 book, Freedom Betrayed, for example, Ledeen, an expert on Italian fascism, declared that the right, rather than the left, should adhere to the revolutionary tradition of toppling dictatorships. In his 2002 book, The War Against the Terror Masters, Ledeen stated , "Creative destruction is our middle name. We tear down the old order every day." ..."
"... Still, a number of neocons, including David Frum, Max Boot, Anne Applebaum, Jennifer Rubin, and Kristol himself, have continued to condemn Trump vociferously for his thuggish instincts at home and abroad. They are not seeking high-profile government careers in the Trump administration and so have been able to reinvent themselves as domestic regime-change advocates, something they have done quite skillfully. In fact, their writings are more pungent now that they have been liberated from the costive confines of the movement. ..."
"... And so, urged on by Mike Pompeo, a staunch evangelical Christian, and Iraq War–era figures like David Wurmser , Trump is apparently prepared to target Iran for destruction. In a tweet, he dismissed his national security adviser, the Bolton protégé Robert O'Brien, for declaring that the strike against Soleimani would force Iran to negotiate: "Actually, I couldn't care less if they negotiate," he said . "Will be totally up to them but, no nuclear weapons and 'don't kill your protesters.'" Neocons have been quick to recognize the new, more belligerent Trump -- and the potential maneuvering room he's now created for their movement. Jonathan S. Tobin, a former editor at Commentary and a contributor to National Review , rejoiced in Haaretz that "the neo-isolationist wing of the GOP, for which Carlson is a spokesperson, is losing the struggle for control of Trump's foreign policy." Tobin, however, added an important caveat: "When it comes to Iran, Trump needs no prodding from the likes of Bolton to act like a neoconservative. Just as important, the entire notion of anyone -- be it Carlson, former White House senior advisor Steve Bannon, or any cabinet official like Secretary of State Mike Pompeo -- being able to control Trump is a myth." ..."
"... One reason is institutional. The Foundation for Defense of Democracies, Hudson Institute, and AEI have all been sounding the tocsin about Iran for decades. Once upon a time, the neocons were outliers. Now they're the new establishment, exerting a kind of gravitational pull on debate, pulling politicians and a variety of news organizations into their orbit. The Hudson Institute, for example, recently held an event with former Iranian Crown Prince Reza Pahlavi, who exhorted Iran's Revolutionary Guard to "peel away" from the mullahs and endorsed the Trump administration's maximum pressure campaign. ..."
"... Meanwhile, Wolfowitz, also writing in the Times , has popped up to warn Trump against trying to leave Syria: "To paraphrase Trotsky's aphorism about war, you may not be interested in the Middle East, but the Middle East is interested in you." With the "both-sides" ethos that prevails in the mainstream media, neocon ideas are just as good as any others for National Public Radio or The Washington Post, whose editorial page, incidentally, championed the Iraq War and has been imbued with a neocon, or at least liberal-hawk, tinge ever since Fred Hiatt took it over in 2000. ..."
"... Above all, Trump hired Michael Flynn as his first national security adviser. Flynn was the co-author with Ledeen of a creepy tract called Field of Fight, in which they demanded a crusade against the Muslim world ..."
"... At a minimum, the traditional Republican hard-line foreign policy approach has now fused with neoconservatism so that the two are virtually indistinguishable. At a maximum, neoconservatism shapes the dominant foreign policy worldview in Washington, which is why Democrats were falling over themselves to assure voters that Soleimani -- a "bad guy" -- had it coming. Any objections that his killing might boomerang back on the U.S. are met with cries from the right that Democrats are siding with the enemy. This truly is a policy of "maximum pressure" at home and abroad. ..."
Jan 23, 2020 | newrepublic.com

There was a time not so long ago, before President Donald Trump's surprise decision early this year to liquidate the Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani, when it appeared that America's neoconservatives were floundering. The president was itching to withdraw U.S. forces from Afghanistan. He was staging exuberant photo-ops with a beaming Kim Jong Un. He was reportedly willing to hold talks with the president of Iran, while clearly preferring trade wars to hot ones.

Indeed, this past summer, Trump's anti-interventionist supporters in the conservative media were riding high. When he refrained from attacking Iran in June after it shot down an American drone, Fox News host Tucker Carlson declared , "Donald Trump was elected president precisely to keep us out of disaster like war with Iran." Carlson went on to condemn the hawks in Trump's Cabinet and their allies, who he claimed were egging the president on -- familiar names to anyone who has followed the decades-long neoconservative project of aggressively using military force to topple unfriendly regimes and project American power over the globe. "So how did we get so close to starting [a war]?" he asked. "One of [the hawks'] key allies is the national security adviser of the United States. John Bolton is an old friend of Bill Kristol's. Together they helped plan the Iraq War."

By the time Trump met with Kim in late June, becoming the first sitting president to set foot on North Korean soil, Bolton was on the outs. Carlson was on the president's North Korean junket, while Trump's national security adviser was in Mongolia. "John Bolton is absolutely a hawk," Trump told NBC in June. "If it was up to him, he'd take on the whole world at one time, OK?" In September, Bolton was fired.

The standard-bearer of the Republican Party had made clear his distaste for the neocons' belligerent approach to global affairs, much to the neocons' own entitled chagrin. As recently as December, Bolton, now outside the tent pissing in, was hammering Trump for "bluffing" through an announcement that the administration wanted North Korea to dismantle its nuclear weapons program. "The idea that we are somehow exerting maximum pressure on North Korea is just unfortunately not true," Bolton told Axios . Then Trump ordered the drone strike on Soleimani, drastically escalating a simmering conflict between Iran and the United States. All of a sudden the roles were reversed, with Bolton praising the president and asserting that Soleimani's death was " the first step to regime change in Tehran ." A chorus of neocons rushed to second his praise: Reuel Marc Gerecht, a former CIA officer and prominent Never Trumper, lauded Trump's intestinal fortitude, while Representative Liz Cheney hailed Trump's "decisive action." It was Carlson who was left sputtering about the forever wars. "Washington has wanted war with Iran for decades," Carlson said . "They still want it now. Let's hope they haven't finally gotten it."

Neoconservatism as a foreign policy ideology has been badly discredited over the last two decades, thanks to the debacles in Iraq and Afghanistan. But in the blinding flash of one drone strike, neoconservatism was easily able to reinsert itself in the national conversation. It now appears that Trump intends to make Soleimani's killing -- which has nearly drawn the U.S. into yet another conflict in the Middle East and, in typical neoconservative fashion, ended up backfiring and undercutting American goals in the region -- a central part of his 2020 reelection bid .

The anti-interventionist right is freaking out. Writing in American Greatness, Matthew Boose declared , "[T]he Trump movement, which was generated out of opposition to the foreign policy blob and its endless wars, was revealed this week to have been co-opted to a great extent by neoconservatives seeking regime change." James Antle, the editor of The American Conservative, a publication founded in 2002 to oppose the Iraq War, asked , "Did Trump betray the anti-war right?"

In the blinding flash of one drone strike, neoconservatism was easily able to reinsert itself in the national conversation.

Their concerns are not unmerited. The neocons are starting to realize that Trump's presidency, at least when it comes to foreign policy, is no less vulnerable to hijacking than those of previous Republican presidents, including the administrations of Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. The leading hawks inside and outside the administration shaping its approach to Iran include Robert O'Brien, Bolton's disciple and successor as national security adviser; Secretary of State Mike Pompeo; Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook; Mark Dubowitz, the CEO of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies; David Wurmser, a former adviser to Bolton; and Senators Lindsey Graham and Tom Cotton. Perhaps no one better exemplifies the neocon ethos better than Cotton, a Kristol protégé who soaked up the teachings of the political philosopher Leo Strauss while studying at Harvard. Others who have been baying for conflict with Iran include Rudy Giuliani, the former New York City mayor who is now Trump's personal lawyer and partner in Ukrainian crime. In June 2018, Giuliani went to Paris to address the National Council of Resistance of Iran, whose parent organization is the Iranian opposition group Mujahedin-e-Khalq, or MeK. Giuliani, who has been on the payroll of the MeK for years, demanded -- what else? -- regime change.

The fresh charge into battle of what Sidney Blumenthal once aptly referred to as an ideological light brigade brings to mind Hobbes's observation in Leviathan : "All men that are ambitious of military command are inclined to continue the causes of war; and to stir up trouble and sedition; for there is no honor military but by war; nor any such hope to mend an ill game, as by causing a new shuffle." The neocons, it appears, have caused a new shuffle.


Donald Trump has not dragged us into war with Iran (yet). But the killing of Soleimani revealed that the neocon military-intellectual complex is very much still intact, with the ability to spring back to life from a state of suspended animation in an instant. Its hawkish tendencies remain widely prevalent not only in the Republican Party but also in the media, the think-tank universe, and in the liberal-hawk precincts of the Democratic Party. Meanwhile, the influence and reach of the anti-war right remains nascent; even if this contingent has popular support, it doesn't enjoy much backing in Washington beyond the mood swings of the mercurial occupant of the Oval Office.

But there was a time when the neoconservative coalition was not so entrenched -- and what has turned out to be its provisional state of exile lends some critical insight into how it managed to hang around respectable policymaking circles in recent years, and how it may continue to shape American foreign policy for the foreseeable future. When the neoconservatives came on the scene in the late 1960s, the Republican old guard viewed them as interlopers. The neocons, former Trotskyists turned liberals who broke with the Democratic Party over its perceived weakness on the Cold War, stormed the citadel of Republican ideology by emphasizing the relationship between ideas and political reality. Irving Kristol, one of the original neoconservatives, mused in 1985 that " what communists call the theoretical organs always end up through a filtering process influencing a lot of people who don't even know they're being influenced. In the end, ideas rule the world because even interests are defined by ideas."

At pivotal moments in modern American foreign policy, the neocons supplied the patina of intellectual legitimacy for policies that might once have seemed outré. Jeane Kirkpatrick's seminal 1979 essay in Commentary, "Dictatorships and Double Standards," essentially set forth the lineaments of the Reagan doctrine. She assailed Jimmy Carter for attacking friendly authoritarian leaders such as the shah of Iran and Nicaragua's Anastasio Somoza. She contended that authoritarian regimes might molt into democracies, while totalitarian regimes would remain impregnable to outside influence, American or otherwise. Ronald Reagan read the essay and liked it. He named Kirkpatrick his ambassador to the United Nations, where she became the most influential neocon of the era for her denunciations of Arab regimes and defenses of Israel. Her tenure was also defined by the notion that it was perfectly acceptable for America to cozy up to noxious regimes, from apartheid South Africa to the shah's Iran, as part of the greater mission to oppose the red menace.

The neocons supplied the patina of intellectual legitimacy for policies that might once have seemed outré.

There was always tension between Reagan's affinity for authoritarian regimes and his hard-line opposition to Communist ones. His sunny persona never quite gelled with Kirkpatrick's more gelid view that communism was an immutable force, and in 1982, in a major speech to the British Parliament at Westminster emphasizing the power of democracy and free speech, he declared his intent to end the Cold War on American terms. As Reagan's second term progressed and democracy and free speech actually took hold in the waning days of the Soviet Union, many hawks declared that it was all a sham. Indeed, not a few neocons were livid, claiming that Reagan was appeasing the Soviet Union. But after the USSR collapsed, they retroactively blessed him as the anti-Communist warrior par excellence and the model for the future. The right was now a font of happy talk about the dawn of a new age of liberty based on free-market economics and American firepower.

The fall of communism, in other words, set the stage for a new neoconservative paradigm. Francis Fukuyama's The End of History appeared a decade after Kirkpatrick's essay in Commentary and just before the Berlin Wall was breached on November 9, 1989. Here was a sharp break with the saturnine, realpolitik approach that Kirkpatrick had championed. Irving Kristol regarded it as hopelessly utopian -- "I don't believe a word of it," he wrote in a response to Fukuyama. But a younger generation of neocons, led by Irving's son, Bill Kristol, and Robert Kagan, embraced it. Fukuyama argued that Western, liberal democracy, far from being menaced, was now the destination point of the train of world history. With communism vanquished, the neocons, bearing the good word from Fukuyama, formulated a new goal: democracy promotion, by force if necessary, as a way to hasten history and secure the global order with the U.S. at its head. The first Gulf War in 1991, precipitated by Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait, tested the neocons' resolve and led to a break in the GOP -- one that would presage the rise of Donald Trump. For decades, Patrick Buchanan had been regularly inveighing against what he came to call the neocon " amen corner" in and around the Washington centers of power, including A.M. Rosenthal and Charles Krauthammer, both of whom endorsed the '91 Gulf War. The neocons were frustrated by the measured approach taken by George H.W. Bush. He refused to crow about the fall of the Berlin Wall and kicked the Iraqis out of Kuwait but declined to invade Iraq and "finish the job," as his hawkish critics would later put it. Buchanan then ran for the presidency in 1992 on an America First platform, reviving a paleoconservative tradition that would partly inform Trump's dark horse run in 2016.

But it was the neoconservatives, not the paleocons, who amassed influence in the 1990s and took over the GOP's foreign policy wing. Veteran neocons like Michael Ledeen were joined by a younger generation of journalists and policymakers that included Robert Kagan, Bill Kristol (who founded The Weekly Standard in 1994), Paul Wolfowitz, and Douglas J. Feith. The neocons consistently pushed for a hard line against Iraq and Iran. In his 1996 book, Freedom Betrayed, for example, Ledeen, an expert on Italian fascism, declared that the right, rather than the left, should adhere to the revolutionary tradition of toppling dictatorships. In his 2002 book, The War Against the Terror Masters, Ledeen stated , "Creative destruction is our middle name. We tear down the old order every day."

We all know the painful consequences of the neocons' obsession with creative destruction. In his second inaugural address, three and a half years after 9/11, George W. Bush cemented neoconservative ideology into presidential doctrine: "It is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world." The neocons' hubris had already turned into nemesis in Iraq, paving the way for an anti-war candidate in Barack Obama.

But it was Trump -- by virtue of running as a Republican -- who appeared to sound neoconservatism's death knell. He announced his Buchananesque policy of "America First" in a speech at Washington's Mayflower Hotel in 2016, signaling that he would not adhere to the long-standing Reaganite principles that had animated the party establishment.

The pooh-bahs of the GOP openly declared their disdain and revulsion for Trump, leading directly to the rise of the Never Trump movement, which was dominated by neocons. The Never Trumpers ended up functioning as an informal blacklist for Trump once he became president. Elliott Abrams, for example, who was being touted for deputy secretary of state in February 2017, was rejected when Steve Bannon alerted Trump to his earlier heresies (though he later reemerged, in January 2019, as Trump's special envoy to Venezuela, where he has pushed for regime change). Not a few other members of the Republican foreign policy establishment suffered similar fates.

Kristol's The Weekly Standard, which had held the neoconservative line through the Bush years and beyond , folded in 2018. Even the office building that used to house the American Enterprise Institute and the Standard, on the corner of 17th and M streets in Washington, has been torn down, leaving an empty, boarded-up site whose symbolism speaks for itself.


Still, a number of neocons, including David Frum, Max Boot, Anne Applebaum, Jennifer Rubin, and Kristol himself, have continued to condemn Trump vociferously for his thuggish instincts at home and abroad. They are not seeking high-profile government careers in the Trump administration and so have been able to reinvent themselves as domestic regime-change advocates, something they have done quite skillfully. In fact, their writings are more pungent now that they have been liberated from the costive confines of the movement.

It was Trump -- by virtue of running as a Republican -- who appeared to sound neoconservatism's death knell.

But other neocons -- the ones who want to wield positions of influence and might -- have, more often than not, been able to hold their noses. Stephen Wertheim, writing in The New York Review of Books, has perceptively dubbed this faction the anti-globalist neocons. Led by John Bolton, they believe Trump performed a godsend by elevating the term globalism "from a marginal slur to the central foil of American foreign policy and Republican politics," Wertheim argued . The U.S. need not bother with pesky multilateral institutions or international agreements or the entire postwar order, for that matter -- it's now America's way or the highway.

And so, urged on by Mike Pompeo, a staunch evangelical Christian, and Iraq War–era figures like David Wurmser , Trump is apparently prepared to target Iran for destruction. In a tweet, he dismissed his national security adviser, the Bolton protégé Robert O'Brien, for declaring that the strike against Soleimani would force Iran to negotiate: "Actually, I couldn't care less if they negotiate," he said . "Will be totally up to them but, no nuclear weapons and 'don't kill your protesters.'" Neocons have been quick to recognize the new, more belligerent Trump -- and the potential maneuvering room he's now created for their movement. Jonathan S. Tobin, a former editor at Commentary and a contributor to National Review , rejoiced in Haaretz that "the neo-isolationist wing of the GOP, for which Carlson is a spokesperson, is losing the struggle for control of Trump's foreign policy." Tobin, however, added an important caveat: "When it comes to Iran, Trump needs no prodding from the likes of Bolton to act like a neoconservative. Just as important, the entire notion of anyone -- be it Carlson, former White House senior advisor Steve Bannon, or any cabinet official like Secretary of State Mike Pompeo -- being able to control Trump is a myth."

In other words, whether the neocons themselves are occupying top positions in the Trump administration is almost irrelevant. The ideology itself has reemerged to a degree that even Trump himself seems hard pressed to resist it -- if he even wants to.

How were the neocons able to influence another Republican presidency, one that was ostensibly dedicated to curbing their sway?

One reason is institutional. The Foundation for Defense of Democracies, Hudson Institute, and AEI have all been sounding the tocsin about Iran for decades. Once upon a time, the neocons were outliers. Now they're the new establishment, exerting a kind of gravitational pull on debate, pulling politicians and a variety of news organizations into their orbit. The Hudson Institute, for example, recently held an event with former Iranian Crown Prince Reza Pahlavi, who exhorted Iran's Revolutionary Guard to "peel away" from the mullahs and endorsed the Trump administration's maximum pressure campaign. The event was hosted by Michael Doran, a former senior director on George W. Bush's National Security Council and a senior fellow at the institute, who wrote in The New York Times on January 3, "The United States has no choice, if it seeks to stay in the Middle East, but to check Iran's military power on the ground." Then there's Jamie M. Fly, a former staffer to Senator Marco Rubio who was appointed this past August to head Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty; he previously co-authored an essay in Foreign Affairs contending that it isn't enough to bomb Iranian nuclear facilities: "If the United States seriously considers military action, it would be better to plan an operation that not only strikes the nuclear program but aims to destabilize the regime, potentially resolving the Iranian nuclear crisis once and for all."

Meanwhile, Wolfowitz, also writing in the Times , has popped up to warn Trump against trying to leave Syria: "To paraphrase Trotsky's aphorism about war, you may not be interested in the Middle East, but the Middle East is interested in you." With the "both-sides" ethos that prevails in the mainstream media, neocon ideas are just as good as any others for National Public Radio or The Washington Post, whose editorial page, incidentally, championed the Iraq War and has been imbued with a neocon, or at least liberal-hawk, tinge ever since Fred Hiatt took it over in 2000.

But there are plenty of institutions in Washington, and neoconservatism's seemingly inescapable influence cannot be chalked up to the swamp alone. Some etiolated form of what might be called Ledeenism lingered on before taking on new life at the outset of the Trump administration. Trump's overt animus toward Muslims, for example, meant that figures such as Frank Gaffney, who opposed arms-control treaties with Moscow as a member of the Reagan administration and resigned in protest of the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, achieved a new prominence. During the Obama administration, Gaffney, the head of the Center for Security Policy, claimed that the Muslim Brotherhood had infiltrated the White House and National Security Agency.

Above all, Trump hired Michael Flynn as his first national security adviser. Flynn was the co-author with Ledeen of a creepy tract called Field of Fight, in which they demanded a crusade against the Muslim world: "We're in a world war against a messianic mass movement of evil people." It was one of many signs that Trump was susceptible to ideas of a civilizational battle against "Islamo-fascism," which Norman Podhoretz and other neocons argued, in the wake of 9/11, would lead to World War III. In their millenarian ardor and inflexible support for Israel, the neocons find themselves in a position precisely cognate to evangelical Christians -- both groups of true believers trying to enact their vision through an apostate. But perhaps the neoconservatives' greatest strength lies in the realm of ideas that Irving Kristol identified more than three decades ago. The neocons remain the winners of that battle, not because their policies have made the world or the U.S. more secure, but by default -- because there are so few genuinely alternative ideas that are championed with equal zeal. The foreign policy discussion surrounding Soleimani's killing -- which accelerated Iran's nuclear weapons program, diminished America's influence in the Middle East, and entrenched Iran's theocratic regime -- has largely occurred on a spectrum of the neocons' making. It is a discussion that accepts premises of the beneficence of American military might and hegemony -- Hobbes's "ill game" -- and naturally bends the universe toward more war.

At a minimum, the traditional Republican hard-line foreign policy approach has now fused with neoconservatism so that the two are virtually indistinguishable. At a maximum, neoconservatism shapes the dominant foreign policy worldview in Washington, which is why Democrats were falling over themselves to assure voters that Soleimani -- a "bad guy" -- had it coming. Any objections that his killing might boomerang back on the U.S. are met with cries from the right that Democrats are siding with the enemy. This truly is a policy of "maximum pressure" at home and abroad.

As Trump takes an extreme hard line against Iran, the neoconservatives may ultimately get their long-held wish of a war with the ayatollahs. When it ends in a fresh disaster, they can always argue that it only failed because it wasn't prosecuted vigorously enough -- and the shuffle will begin again.

Jacob Heilbrunn is the editor of The National Interest and the author of They Knew They Were Right: The Rise of the Neocons. @ JacobHeilbrunn

Read More Politics , The Soapbox , Donald Trump , Islamic Republic of Iran , Qassem Soleimani , Bill Kristol , Irving Kristol , David Frum , John Bolton , Norman Podhoretz , Doug Feith , Paul Wolfowitz , George W. Bush , George H.W. Bush , Ronald Reagan , Pat Buchanan , Mike Pompeo , Tom Cotton , Lindsey Graham , Rudy Giuliani , Gulf War , Iraq War , Cold War , Francis Fukuyama , Jeane Kirkpatrick

[Dec 07, 2019] We've turned our attention to Latin America again. That's bad for Latin America.

Notable quotes:
"... As Bolivian soldiers were firing tear gas at a funeral for slain protesters recently, the US State Department issued a statement saluting "Bolivia's political transition to democracy" and declaring that the military leaders who had just overthrown the elected government were "standing up for their constitution." It was the latest example of intensifying US support for violently oppressive regimes south of our border. We are paying attention to Latin America again. That's bad news for Latin America. ..."
Dec 07, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

Fred C. Dobbs , December 01, 2019 at 07:12 AM

We've turned our attention to Latin America again. That's bad for Latin America.
https://www.bostonglobe.com/2019/11/27/opinion/weve-turned-our-attention-latin-america-again-thats-bad-latin-america/?event=event25 via @BostonGlobe

Stephen Kinzer - November 27

As Bolivian soldiers were firing tear gas at a funeral for slain protesters recently, the US State Department issued a statement saluting "Bolivia's political transition to democracy" and declaring that the military leaders who had just overthrown the elected government were "standing up for their constitution." It was the latest example of intensifying US support for violently oppressive regimes south of our border. We are paying attention to Latin America again. That's bad news for Latin America.

The US invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan nearly 20 years ago are sometimes described as wars in which everyone lost. In an odd way, though, Latin America won those wars. For more than a decade, the US government focused so obsessively on the Middle East that it forgot about Latin America. Free of intervention from Washington, voters in several countries elected progressive or leftist leaders whom the United States would never have tolerated in an earlier era. That cycle is now ending. The United States is returning to its traditional role in Latin America, embracing retrograde regimes just as we did during the dark days of military dictatorship in the 1970s and 1980s.

In Bolivia, the landlocked heart of South America, the military deposed President Evo Morales on Nov. 10 after opponents charged that he had used fraud to secure his re-election three weeks earlier. Morales was Bolivia's first indigenous president and an outspoken socialist. He had nationalized the oil and gas industries. Some feared that he was preparing to limit foreign exploitation of his country's rich lithium deposits. His indigenous identity was a permanent affront to the white ruling class. The little-known politician who has installed herself as provisional president, Jeanine Añez, once tweeted: "I dream of a Bolivia free of satanic indigenous rituals."

Morales may have -- manipulated election laws to give himself an extra presidential term. But in its first days, the new regime has shown little democratic impulse. Morales has been forced to flee the country. Senior members of his party have been attacked or arrested. If his masses of indigenous followers are pushed back into political isolation despite constituting the country's majority, many will feel disenfranchised and angry.

Their cousins in Honduras would know the feeling. Late one night in 2009, the elected Honduran president, Manuel Zelaya, who like Morales had alienated both the United States and his own ruling elite, was pulled out of bed and put on a plane out of the country while still in his pajamas. In the decade since then, the new regime in Honduras has eagerly handed out mining and hydroelectric contracts to foreign corporations. It has abolished term limits for presidents -- the very sin for which we denounced President Morales in Bolivia. Mass protests have been harshly suppressed. Environmental activists are killed with impunity.

Last month in a New York court, the brother of Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez was convicted on charges of large-scale drug trafficking. A witness testified that the drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman had contributed $1 million to Hernandez's presidential campaign. Yet just a couple of days after the trial ended, the senior American diplomat in Honduras was photographed partying with President Hernandez. Hondurans who saw those pictures could hardly miss the message: the United States happily supports a Latin American government that holds power unconstitutionally, allows political killers to rampage freely, and is widely reported to be infiltrated by drug traffickers -- as long as it is friendly to the United States. How has Honduras showed that friendship? By keeping leftists out of power and agreeing to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

The other Latin American country in which the United States is most assiduously wrecking prospects for democracy is Guatemala. Like neighboring Honduras, it has long been dominated by a clique of lavishly corrupt oligarchs. But over the last decade, a force has emerged that for the first time mounted a serious challenge to drug traffickers, larcenous politicians, organized-crime kingpins, and death squad leaders. In 2006, the government invited a squad of investigators and prosecutors assembled by the United Nations to come to Guatemala and build cases against powerful criminals. Since then the squad, known by the Spanish acronym CICIG, has secured more than 400 convictions and deeply shaken the political elite. Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama recognized that this process might help stabilize Guatemala, and provided moral support and funding for CICIG.

This year, at the request of senior Guatemalan officials who seemed likely to be indicted for corruption, the State Department agreed to stop backing CICIG. That crippled the first serious effort in generations to confront the violent corruption that throttles civic life in Guatemala. What did President Trump ask in return? That Guatemala open an embassy in Jerusalem and agree to serve as a "safe haven" for Honduran and Salvadoran immigrants the United States doesn't want to accept -- a sick joke considering that Guatemala is plagued by violence and has one of the world's highest murder rates.

Bashing leftists in Latin America and embracing their quasi-fascist enemies is one of Washington's oldest habits. It feels good and pays electoral dividends in Florida. Bolivians, Hondurans, and Guatemalans might be forgiven for wishing that United States would once again plunge into all-consuming war somewhere far away. That might allow them to try shaping their societies as they see fit.

anne -> Fred C. Dobbs... , December 01, 2019 at 09:51 AM
Important and appreciated post.
Paine -> anne... , December 01, 2019 at 06:25 PM
Wait

The uncle LA policy
has nothing but continuity

Going back to 1979

Review moves made under Barry

joe , December 01, 2019 at 09:24 AM
https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2019-09-25/boise-homeless-encampment-amicus-brief-supreme-court-appeal-cities

In addition to L.A., others in California submitting briefs include Sacramento, San Diego, Fresno, Riverside and Orange counties, as well as a slew of cities, including Sacramento, Fullerton, Torrance and Newport Beach. Several states including Idaho, Texas and Alaska have as well. Their reasons for doing so vary.

"We're saying that we agree with the central tenet of Boise that no one should be susceptible to punishment for sleeping on a sidewalk at night if there's no alternative shelter at that point," said Los Angeles City Atty. Mike Feuer. "But the rationale sweeps too broadly ... It makes the opinion unclear and, therefore, the opinion raises more issues than are resolved. And so it leaves jurisdictions like us without the certainty that we need."
---
The ninth curt ruling specified that without enough shelters, public camping cannot be banned.

LA is spewing horse manure, claiming they want a humane solution, but they are filing to have the ruling overturned. LA wants to ban homeless camping and they make up a bunch of irrational horse manure because they had already invited the homeless to California with promises of shelter that does not exits. They re caught in a contradiction and end up talking out of the side of their mouth.

And no, more national debt to promise apartments for everyone just make inequality worse because we end up doing bad deals with the primary dealers. The evidence is in on that. Our ten year experiment of the '50 little hoovers' crowd has been proven fraudulent.

[Sep 25, 2019] Trump should be impeached not for his Ukrainian call but for Venezuela regime change efforts

Notable quotes:
"... Citing a "political and humanitarian crisis" committed by Caracas, the White House Office of the Press Secretary issued a "suspension of entry as immigrants and nonimmigrants of persons who threaten Venezuela's democratic institutions." ..."
"... The move comes as the latest effort from the Trump administration to oust Venezuela's president. ' ..."
Sep 25, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

brian , Sep 25 2019 22:01 utc | 70

He should be impeached. His latest outrage:

'US President Donald Trump has moved to suspend Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's senior officials, relatives, and others who receive financial benefits from entering into the US in Wednesday press release from the White House.

Citing a "political and humanitarian crisis" committed by Caracas, the White House Office of the Press Secretary issued a "suspension of entry as immigrants and nonimmigrants of persons who threaten Venezuela's democratic institutions."

The move comes as the latest effort from the Trump administration to oust Venezuela's president. '

Trumps Suspends US Entry for Iranian, Venezuelan Government Officials - Sputnik International

[Sep 25, 2019] After Chavez took power, Venezuelans told me that he had found that a critical subsidiary of the Venezuelan oil company PDVSA was basically a CIA shop.

Notable quotes:
"... One of the reasons that I doubt Biden's version of the story stems from my experience in Venezuela. After Chavez took power, Venezuelans told me that he had found that a critical subsidiary of the Venezuelan oil company PDVSA was basically a CIA shop. The names of CIA on the Board of Directors were not just ordinary CIA, but were recognizable figures at the very top. ..."
"... To me this is entirely plausible. Control of oil is critical to US global hegemony. And what better way to control foreign oil than to have trusted American asset sit on the BOD? ..."
Sep 25, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

JohnH -> JohnH... , September 25, 2019 at 03:45 PM

One of the reasons that I doubt Biden's version of the story stems from my experience in Venezuela. After Chavez took power, Venezuelans told me that he had found that a critical subsidiary of the Venezuelan oil company PDVSA was basically a CIA shop. The names of CIA on the Board of Directors were not just ordinary CIA, but were recognizable figures at the very top.

To me this is entirely plausible. Control of oil is critical to US global hegemony. And what better way to control foreign oil than to have trusted American asset sit on the BOD?

This brings us to Hunter Biden's appointment to Ukrainian energy giant Burisma. After the coup in 2014, why wouldn't Biden want a trusted asset on the board of the biggest natural gas producer in Ukraine? IOW it was unpublicized standard operating procedure.

[Sep 10, 2019] Neoliberal Capitalism at a Dead End by Utsa Patnaik and Prabhat Patnaik

Highly recommended!
This is a Marxist critique of neoliberalism. Not necessary right but they his some relevant points.
Notable quotes:
"... The ideology of neoliberal capitalism was the promise of growth. But with neoliberal capitalism reaching a dead end, this promise disappears and so does this ideological prop. ..."
"... The ex ante tendency toward overproduction arises because the vector of real wages across countries does not increase noticeably over time in the world economy, while the vector of labor productivities does, typically resulting in a rise in the share of surplus in world output. ..."
"... While the rise in the vector of labor productivities across countries, a ubiquitous phenomenon under capitalism that also characterizes neoliberal capitalism, scarcely requires an explanation, why does the vector of real wages remain virtually stagnant in the world economy? The answer lies in the sui generis character of contemporary globalization that, for the first time in the history of capitalism, has led to a relocation of activity from the metropolis to third world countries in order to take advantage of the lower wages prevailing in the latter and meet global demand. ..."
"... The current globalization broke with this. The movement of capital from the metropolis to the third world, especially to East, South, and Southeast Asia to relocate plants there and take advantage of their lower wages for meeting global demand, has led to a desegmentation of the world economy, subjecting metropolitan wages to the restraining effect exercised by the third world's labor reserves. Not surprisingly, as Joseph Stiglitz has pointed out, the real-wage rate of an average male U.S. worker in 2011 was no higher -- indeed, it was marginally lower -- than it had been in 1968. 5 ..."
"... This ever-present opposition becomes decisive within a regime of globalization. As long as finance capital remains national -- that is, nation-based -- and the state is a nation-state, the latter can override this opposition under certain circumstances, such as in the post-Second World War period when capitalism was facing an existential crisis. But when finance capital is globalized, meaning, when it is free to move across country borders while the state remains a nation-state, its opposition to fiscal deficits becomes decisive. If the state does run large fiscal deficits against its wishes, then it would simply leave that country en masse , causing a financial crisis. ..."
"... The state therefore capitulates to the demands of globalized finance capital and eschews direct fiscal intervention for increasing demand. It resorts to monetary policy instead since that operates through wealth holders' decisions, and hence does not undermine their social position. But, precisely for this reason, monetary policy is an ineffective instrument, as was evident in the United States in the aftermath of the 2007–09 crisis when even the pushing of interest rates down to zero scarcely revived activity. 6 ..."
"... If Trump's protectionism, which recalls the Smoot-Hawley tariff of 1931 and amounts to a beggar-my-neighbor policy, does lead to a significant export of unemployment from the United States, then it will invite retaliation and trigger a trade war that will only worsen the crisis for the world economy as a whole by dampening global investment. Indeed, since the United States has been targeting China in particular, some retaliatory measures have already appeared. But if U.S. protectionism does not invite generalized retaliation, it would only be because the export of unemployment from the United States is insubstantial, keeping unemployment everywhere, including in the United States, as precarious as it is now. However we look at it, the world would henceforth face higher levels of unemployment. ..."
"... The second implication of this dead end is that the era of export-led growth is by and large over for third world economies. The slowing down of world economic growth, together with protectionism in the United States against successful third world exporters, which could even spread to other metropolitan economies, suggests that the strategy of relying on the world market to generate domestic growth has run out of steam. Third world economies, including the ones that have been very successful at exporting, would now have to rely much more on their home market ..."
"... In other words, we shall now have an intensification of the imperialist stranglehold over third world economies, especially those pushed into unsustainable balance-of-payments deficits in the new situation. By imperialism , here we do not mean the imperialism of this or that major power, but the imperialism of international finance capital, with which even domestic big bourgeoisies are integrated, directed against their own working people ..."
"... In short, the ideology of neoliberal capitalism was the promise of growth. But with neoliberal capitalism reaching a dead end, this promise disappears and so does this ideological prop. To sustain itself, neoliberal capitalism starts looking for some other ideological prop and finds fascism. ..."
"... The first is the so-called spontaneous method of capital flight. Any political formation that seeks to take the country out of the neoliberal regime will witness capital flight even before it has been elected to office, bringing the country to a financial crisis and thereby denting its electoral prospects. And if perchance it still gets elected, the outflow will only increase, even before it assumes office. The inevitable difficulties faced by the people may well make the government back down at that stage. The sheer difficulty of transition away from a neoliberal regime could be enough to bring even a government based on the support of workers and peasants to its knees, precisely to save them short-term distress or to avoid losing their support. ..."
"... The third weapon consists in carrying out so-called democratic or parliamentary coups of the sort that Latin America has been experiencing. Coups in the old days were effected through the local armed forces and necessarily meant the imposition of military dictatorships in lieu of civilian, democratically elected governments. Now, taking advantage of the disaffection generated within countries by the hardships caused by capital flight and imposed sanctions, imperialism promotes coups through fascist or fascist-sympathizing middle-class political elements in the name of restoring democracy, which is synonymous with the pursuit of neoliberalism. ..."
"... And if all these measures fail, there is always the possibility of resorting to economic warfare (such as destroying Venezuela's electricity supply), and eventually to military warfare. Venezuela today provides a classic example of what imperialist intervention in a third world country is going to look like in the era of decline of neoliberal capitalism, when revolts are going to characterize such countries more and more. ..."
"... Despite this opposition, neoliberal capitalism cannot ward off the challenge it is facing for long. It has no vision for reinventing itself. Interestingly, in the period after the First World War, when capitalism was on the verge of sinking into a crisis, the idea of state intervention as a way of its revival had already been mooted, though its coming into vogue only occurred at the end of the Second World War. 11 Today, neoliberal capitalism does not even have an idea of how it can recover and revitalize itself. And weapons like domestic fascism in the third world and direct imperialist intervention cannot for long save it from the anger of the masses that is building up against it. ..."
Aug 25, 2019 | portside.org
Originally from: Monthly Review printer friendly
The ideology of neoliberal capitalism was the promise of growth. But with neoliberal capitalism reaching a dead end, this promise disappears and so does this ideological prop.

Harry Magdoff's The Age of Imperialism is a classic work that shows how postwar political decolonization does not negate the phenomenon of imperialism. The book has two distinct aspects. On the one hand, it follows in V. I. Lenin's footsteps in providing a comprehensive account of how capitalism at the time operated globally. On the other hand, it raises a question that is less frequently discussed in Marxist literature -- namely, the need for imperialism. Here, Magdoff not only highlighted the crucial importance, among other things, of the third world's raw materials for metropolitan capital, but also refuted the argument that the declining share of raw-material value in gross manufacturing output somehow reduced this importance, making the simple point that there can be no manufacturing at all without raw materials. 1

Magdoff's focus was on a period when imperialism was severely resisting economic decolonization in the third world, with newly independent third world countries taking control over their own resources. He highlighted the entire armory of weapons used by imperialism. But he was writing in a period that predated the onset of neoliberalism. Today, we not only have decades of neoliberalism behind us, but the neoliberal regime itself has reached a dead end. Contemporary imperialism has to be discussed within this setting.

Globalization and Economic Crisis

There are two reasons why the regime of neoliberal globalization has run into a dead end. The first is an ex ante tendency toward global overproduction; the second is that the only possible counter to this tendency within the regime is the formation of asset-price bubbles, which cannot be conjured up at will and whose collapse, if they do appear, plunges the economy back into crisis. In short, to use the words of British economic historian Samuel Berrick Saul, there are no "markets on tap" for contemporary metropolitan capitalism, such as had been provided by colonialism prior to the First World War and by state expenditure in the post-Second World War period of dirigisme . 2

The ex ante tendency toward overproduction arises because the vector of real wages across countries does not increase noticeably over time in the world economy, while the vector of labor productivities does, typically resulting in a rise in the share of surplus in world output. As Paul Baran and Paul Sweezy argued in Monopoly Capital , following the lead of Michał Kalecki and Josef Steindl, such a rise in the share of economic surplus, or a shift from wages to surplus, has the effect of reducing aggregate demand since the ratio of consumption to income is higher on average for wage earners than for those living off the surplus. 3 Therefore, assuming a given level of investment associated with any period, such a shift would tend to reduce consumption demand and hence aggregate demand, output, and capacity utilization. In turn, reduced capacity utilization would lower investment over time, further aggravating the demand-reducing effect arising from the consumption side.

While the rise in the vector of labor productivities across countries, a ubiquitous phenomenon under capitalism that also characterizes neoliberal capitalism, scarcely requires an explanation, why does the vector of real wages remain virtually stagnant in the world economy? The answer lies in the sui generis character of contemporary globalization that, for the first time in the history of capitalism, has led to a relocation of activity from the metropolis to third world countries in order to take advantage of the lower wages prevailing in the latter and meet global demand.

Historically, while labor has not been, and is still not, free to migrate from the third world to the metropolis, capital, though juridically free to move from the latter to the former, did not actually do so , except to sectors like mines and plantations, which only strengthened, rather than broke, the colonial pattern of the international division of labor. 4 This segmentation of the world economy meant that wages in the metropolis increased with labor productivity, unrestrained by the vast labor reserves of the third world, which themselves had been caused by the displacement of manufactures through the twin processes of deindustrialization (competition from metropolitan goods) and the drain of surplus (the siphoning off of a large part of the economic surplus, through taxes on peasants that are no longer spent on local artisan products but finance gratis primary commodity exports to the metropolis instead).

The current globalization broke with this. The movement of capital from the metropolis to the third world, especially to East, South, and Southeast Asia to relocate plants there and take advantage of their lower wages for meeting global demand, has led to a desegmentation of the world economy, subjecting metropolitan wages to the restraining effect exercised by the third world's labor reserves. Not surprisingly, as Joseph Stiglitz has pointed out, the real-wage rate of an average male U.S. worker in 2011 was no higher -- indeed, it was marginally lower -- than it had been in 1968. 5

At the same time, such relocation of activities, despite causing impressive growth rates of gross domestic product (GDP) in many third world countries, does not lead to the exhaustion of the third world's labor reserves. This is because of another feature of contemporary globalization: the unleashing of a process of primitive accumulation of capital against petty producers, including peasant agriculturists in the third world, who had earlier been protected, to an extent, from the encroachment of big capital (both domestic and foreign) by the postcolonial dirigiste regimes in these countries. Under neoliberalism, such protection is withdrawn, causing an income squeeze on these producers and often their outright dispossession from their land, which is then used by big capital for its various so-called development projects. The increase in employment, even in countries with impressive GDP growth rates in the third world, falls way short of the natural growth of the workforce, let alone absorbing the additional job seekers coming from the ranks of displaced petty producers. The labor reserves therefore never get used up. Indeed, on the contrary, they are augmented further, because real wages continue to remain tied to a subsistence level, even as metropolitan wages too are restrained. The vector of real wages in the world economy as a whole therefore remains restrained.

Although contemporary globalization thus gives rise to an ex ante tendency toward overproduction, state expenditure that could provide a counter to this (and had provided a counter through military spending in the United States, according to Baran and Sweezy) can no longer do so under the current regime. Finance is usually opposed to direct state intervention through larger spending as a way of increasing employment. This opposition expresses itself through an opposition not just to larger taxes on capitalists, but also to a larger fiscal deficit for financing such spending. Obviously, if larger state spending is financed by taxes on workers, then it hardly adds to aggregate demand, for workers spend the bulk of their incomes anyway, so the state taking this income and spending it instead does not add any extra demand. Hence, larger state spending can increase employment only if it is financed either through a fiscal deficit or through taxes on capitalists who keep a part of their income unspent or saved. But these are precisely the two modes of financing state expenditure that finance capital opposes.

Its opposing larger taxes on capitalists is understandable, but why is it so opposed to a larger fiscal deficit? Even within a capitalist economy, there are no sound economic theoretical reasons that should preclude a fiscal deficit under all circumstances. The root of the opposition therefore lies in deeper social considerations: if the capitalist economic system becomes dependent on the state to promote employment directly , then this fact undermines the social legitimacy of capitalism. The need for the state to boost the animal spirits of the capitalists disappears and a perspective on the system that is epistemically exterior to it is provided to the people, making it possible for them to ask: If the state can do the job of providing employment, then why do we need the capitalists at all? It is an instinctive appreciation of this potential danger that underlies the opposition of capital, especially of finance, to any direct effort by the state to generate employment.

This ever-present opposition becomes decisive within a regime of globalization. As long as finance capital remains national -- that is, nation-based -- and the state is a nation-state, the latter can override this opposition under certain circumstances, such as in the post-Second World War period when capitalism was facing an existential crisis. But when finance capital is globalized, meaning, when it is free to move across country borders while the state remains a nation-state, its opposition to fiscal deficits becomes decisive. If the state does run large fiscal deficits against its wishes, then it would simply leave that country en masse , causing a financial crisis.

The state therefore capitulates to the demands of globalized finance capital and eschews direct fiscal intervention for increasing demand. It resorts to monetary policy instead since that operates through wealth holders' decisions, and hence does not undermine their social position. But, precisely for this reason, monetary policy is an ineffective instrument, as was evident in the United States in the aftermath of the 2007–09 crisis when even the pushing of interest rates down to zero scarcely revived activity. 6

It may be thought that this compulsion on the part of the state to accede to the demand of finance to eschew fiscal intervention for enlarging employment should not hold for the United States. Its currency being considered by the world's wealth holders to be "as good as gold" should make it immune to capital flight. But there is an additional factor operating in the case of the United States: that the demand generated by a bigger U.S. fiscal deficit would substantially leak abroad in a neoliberal setting, which would increase its external debt (since, unlike Britain in its heyday, it does not have access to any unrequited colonial transfers) for the sake of generating employment elsewhere. This fact deters any fiscal effort even in the United States to boost demand within a neoliberal setting. 7

Therefore, it follows that state spending cannot provide a counter to the ex ante tendency toward global overproduction within a regime of neoliberal globalization, which makes the world economy precariously dependent on occasional asset-price bubbles, primarily in the U.S. economy, for obtaining, at best, some temporary relief from the crisis. It is this fact that underlies the dead end that neoliberal capitalism has reached. Indeed, Donald Trump's resort to protectionism in the United States to alleviate unemployment is a clear recognition of the system having reached this cul-de-sac. The fact that the mightiest capitalist economy in the world has to move away from the rules of the neoliberal game in an attempt to alleviate its crisis of unemployment/underemployment -- while compensating capitalists adversely affected by this move through tax cuts, as well as carefully ensuring that no restraints are imposed on free cross-border financial flows -- shows that these rules are no longer viable in their pristine form.

Some Implications of This Dead End

There are at least four important implications of this dead end of neoliberalism. The first is that the world economy will now be afflicted by much higher levels of unemployment than it was in the last decade of the twentieth century and the early years of the twenty-first, when the dot-com and the housing bubbles in the United States had, sequentially, a pronounced impact. It is true that the U.S. unemployment rate today appears to be at a historic low, but this is misleading: the labor-force participation rate in the United States today is lower than it was in 2008, which reflects the discouraged-worker effect . Adjusting for this lower participation, the U.S. unemployment rate is considerable -- around 8 percent. Indeed, Trump would not be imposing protection in the United States if unemployment was actually as low as 4 percent, which is the official figure. Elsewhere in the world, of course, unemployment post-2008 continues to be evidently higher than before. Indeed, the severity of the current problem of below-full-employment production in the U.S. economy is best illustrated by capacity utilization figures in manufacturing. The weakness of the U.S. recovery from the Great Recession is indicated by the fact that the current extended recovery represents the first decade in the entire post-Second World War period in which capacity utilization in manufacturing has never risen as high as 80 percent in a single quarter, with the resulting stagnation of investment. 8

If Trump's protectionism, which recalls the Smoot-Hawley tariff of 1931 and amounts to a beggar-my-neighbor policy, does lead to a significant export of unemployment from the United States, then it will invite retaliation and trigger a trade war that will only worsen the crisis for the world economy as a whole by dampening global investment. Indeed, since the United States has been targeting China in particular, some retaliatory measures have already appeared. But if U.S. protectionism does not invite generalized retaliation, it would only be because the export of unemployment from the United States is insubstantial, keeping unemployment everywhere, including in the United States, as precarious as it is now. However we look at it, the world would henceforth face higher levels of unemployment.

There has been some discussion on how global value chains would be affected by Trump's protectionism. But the fact that global macroeconomics in the early twenty-first century will look altogether different compared to earlier has not been much discussed.

In light of the preceding discussion, one could say that if, instead of individual nation-states whose writ cannot possibly run against globalized finance capital, there was a global state or a set of major nation-states acting in unison to override the objections of globalized finance and provide a coordinated fiscal stimulus to the world economy, then perhaps there could be recovery. Such a coordinated fiscal stimulus was suggested by a group of German trade unionists, as well as by John Maynard Keynes during the Great Depression in the 1930s. 9 While it was turned down then, in the present context it has not even been discussed.

The second implication of this dead end is that the era of export-led growth is by and large over for third world economies. The slowing down of world economic growth, together with protectionism in the United States against successful third world exporters, which could even spread to other metropolitan economies, suggests that the strategy of relying on the world market to generate domestic growth has run out of steam. Third world economies, including the ones that have been very successful at exporting, would now have to rely much more on their home market.

Such a transition will not be easy; it will require promoting domestic peasant agriculture, defending petty production, moving toward cooperative forms of production, and ensuring greater equality in income distribution, all of which need major structural shifts. For smaller economies, it would also require their coming together with other economies to provide a minimum size to the domestic market. In short, the dead end of neoliberalism also means the need for a shift away from the so-called neoliberal development strategy that has held sway until now.

The third implication is the imminent engulfing of a whole range of third world economies in serious balance-of-payments difficulties. This is because, while their exports will be sluggish in the new situation, this very fact will also discourage financial inflows into their economies, whose easy availability had enabled them to maintain current account deficits on their balance of payments earlier. In such a situation, within the existing neoliberal paradigm, they would be forced to adopt austerity measures that would impose income deflation on their people, make the conditions of their people significantly worse, lead to a further handing over of their national assets and resources to international capital, and prevent precisely any possible transition to an alternative strategy of home market-based growth.

In other words, we shall now have an intensification of the imperialist stranglehold over third world economies, especially those pushed into unsustainable balance-of-payments deficits in the new situation. By imperialism , here we do not mean the imperialism of this or that major power, but the imperialism of international finance capital, with which even domestic big bourgeoisies are integrated, directed against their own working people.

The fourth implication is the worldwide upsurge of fascism. Neoliberal capitalism even before it reached a dead end, even in the period when it achieved reasonable growth and employment rates, had pushed the world into greater hunger and poverty. For instance, the world per-capita cereal output was 355 kilograms for 1980 (triennium average for 1979–81 divided by mid–triennium population) and fell to 343 in 2000, leveling at 344.9 in 2016 -- and a substantial amount of this last figure went into ethanol production. Clearly, in a period of growth of the world economy, per-capita cereal absorption should be expanding, especially since we are talking here not just of direct absorption but of direct and indirect absorption, the latter through processed foods and feed grains in animal products. The fact that there was an absolute decline in per-capita output, which no doubt caused a decline in per-capita absorption, suggests an absolute worsening in the nutritional level of a substantial segment of the world's population.

But this growing hunger and nutritional poverty did not immediately arouse any significant resistance, both because such resistance itself becomes more difficult under neoliberalism (since the very globalization of capital makes it an elusive target) and also because higher GDP growth rates provided a hope that distress might be overcome in the course of time. Peasants in distress, for instance, entertained the hope that their children would live better in the years to come if given a modicum of education and accepted their fate.

In short, the ideology of neoliberal capitalism was the promise of growth. But with neoliberal capitalism reaching a dead end, this promise disappears and so does this ideological prop. To sustain itself, neoliberal capitalism starts looking for some other ideological prop and finds fascism. This changes the discourse away from the material conditions of people's lives to the so-called threat to the nation, placing the blame for people's distress not on the failure of the system, but on ethnic, linguistic, and religious minority groups, the other that is portrayed as an enemy. It projects a so-called messiah whose sheer muscularity can somehow magically overcome all problems; it promotes a culture of unreason so that both the vilification of the other and the magical powers of the supposed leader can be placed beyond any intellectual questioning; it uses a combination of state repression and street-level vigilantism by fascist thugs to terrorize opponents; and it forges a close relationship with big business, or, in Kalecki's words, "a partnership of big business and fascist upstarts." 10

Fascist groups of one kind or another exist in all modern societies. They move center stage and even into power only on certain occasions when they get the backing of big business. And these occasions arise when three conditions are satisfied: when there is an economic crisis so the system cannot simply go on as before; when the usual liberal establishment is manifestly incapable of resolving the crisis; and when the left is not strong enough to provide an alternative to the people in order to move out of the conjuncture.

This last point may appear odd at first, since many see the big bourgeoisie's recourse to fascism as a counter to the growth of the left's strength in the context of a capitalist crisis. But when the left poses a serious threat, the response of the big bourgeoisie typically is to attempt to split it by offering concessions. It uses fascism to prop itself up only when the left is weakened. Walter Benjamin's remark that "behind every fascism there is a failed revolution" points in this direction.

Fascism Then and Now

Contemporary fascism, however, differs in crucial respects from its 1930s counterpart, which is why many are reluctant to call the current phenomenon a fascist upsurge. But historical parallels, if carefully drawn, can be useful. While in some aforementioned respects contemporary fascism does resemble the phenomenon of the 1930s, there are serious differences between the two that must also be noted.

First, we must note that while the current fascist upsurge has put fascist elements in power in many countries, there are no fascist states of the 1930s kind as of yet. Even if the fascist elements in power try to push the country toward a fascist state, it is not clear that they will succeed. There are many reasons for this, but an important one is that fascists in power today cannot overcome the crisis of neoliberalism, since they accept the regime of globalization of finance. This includes Trump, despite his protectionism. In the 1930s, however, this was not the case. The horrors associated with the institution of a fascist state in the 1930s had been camouflaged to an extent by the ability of the fascists in power to overcome mass unemployment and end the Depression through larger military spending, financed by government borrowing. Contemporary fascism, by contrast, lacks the ability to overcome the opposition of international finance capital to fiscal activism on the part of the government to generate larger demand, output, and employment, even via military spending.

Such activism, as discussed earlier, required larger government spending financed either through taxes on capitalists or through a fiscal deficit. Finance capital was opposed to both of these measures and it being globalized made this opposition decisive . The decisiveness of this opposition remains even if the government happens to be one composed of fascist elements. Hence, contemporary fascism, straitjacketed by "fiscal rectitude," cannot possibly alleviate even temporarily the economic crises facing people and cannot provide any cover for a transition to a fascist state akin to the ones of the 1930s, which makes such a transition that much more unlikely.

Another difference is also related to the phenomenon of the globalization of finance. The 1930s were marked by what Lenin had earlier called "interimperialist rivalry." The military expenditures incurred by fascist governments, even though they pulled countries out of the Depression and unemployment, inevitably led to wars for "repartitioning an already partitioned world." Fascism was the progenitor of war and burned itself out through war at, needless to say, great cost to humankind.

Contemporary fascism, however, operates in a world where interimperialist rivalry is far more muted. Some have seen in this muting a vindication of Karl Kautsky's vision of an "ultraimperialism" as against Lenin's emphasis on the permanence of interimperialist rivalry, but this is wrong. Both Kautsky and Lenin were talking about a world where finance capital and the financial oligarchy were essentially national -- that is, German, French, or British. And while Kautsky talked about the possibility of truces among the rival oligarchies, Lenin saw such truces only as transient phenomena punctuating the ubiquity of rivalry.

In contrast, what we have today is not nation-based finance capitals, but international finance capital into whose corpus the finance capitals drawn from particular countries are integrated. This globalized finance capital does not want the world to be partitioned into economic territories of rival powers ; on the contrary, it wants the entire globe to be open to its own unrestricted movement. The muting of rivalry between major powers, therefore, is not because they prefer truce to war, or peaceful partitioning of the world to forcible repartitioning, but because the material conditions themselves have changed so that it is no longer a matter of such choices. The world has gone beyond both Lenin and Kautsky, as well as their debates.

Not only are we not going to have wars between major powers in this era of fascist upsurge (of course, as will be discussed, we shall have other wars), but, by the same token, this fascist upsurge will not burn out through any cataclysmic war. What we are likely to see is a lingering fascism of less murderous intensity , which, when in power, does not necessarily do away with all the forms of bourgeois democracy, does not necessarily physically annihilate the opposition, and may even allow itself to get voted out of power occasionally. But since its successor government, as long as it remains within the confines of the neoliberal strategy, will also be incapable of alleviating the crisis, the fascist elements are likely to return to power as well. And whether the fascist elements are in or out of power, they will remain a potent force working toward the fascification of the society and the polity, even while promoting corporate interests within a regime of globalization of finance, and hence permanently maintaining the "partnership between big business and fascist upstarts."

Put differently, since the contemporary fascist upsurge is not likely to burn itself out as the earlier one did, it has to be overcome by transcending the very conjuncture that produced it: neoliberal capitalism at a dead end. A class mobilization of working people around an alternative set of transitional demands that do not necessarily directly target neoliberal capitalism, but which are immanently unrealizable within the regime of neoliberal capitalism, can provide an initial way out of this conjuncture and lead to its eventual transcendence.

Such a class mobilization in the third world context would not mean making no truces with liberal bourgeois elements against the fascists. On the contrary, since the liberal bourgeois elements too are getting marginalized through a discourse of jingoistic nationalism typically manufactured by the fascists, they too would like to shift the discourse toward the material conditions of people's lives, no doubt claiming that an improvement in these conditions is possible within the neoliberal economic regime itself. Such a shift in discourse is in itself a major antifascist act . Experience will teach that the agenda advanced as part of this changed discourse is unrealizable under neoliberalism, providing the scope for dialectical intervention by the left to transcend neoliberal capitalism.

Imperialist Interventions

Even though fascism will have a lingering presence in this conjuncture of "neoliberalism at a dead end," with the backing of domestic corporate-financial interests that are themselves integrated into the corpus of international finance capital, the working people in the third world will increasingly demand better material conditions of life and thereby rupture the fascist discourse of jingoistic nationalism (that ironically in a third world context is not anti-imperialist).

In fact, neoliberalism reaching a dead end and having to rely on fascist elements revives meaningful political activity, which the heyday of neoliberalism had precluded, because most political formations then had been trapped within an identical neoliberal agenda that appeared promising. (Latin America had a somewhat different history because neoliberalism arrived in that continent through military dictatorships, not through its more or less tacit acceptance by most political formations.)

Such revived political activity will necessarily throw up challenges to neoliberal capitalism in particular countries. Imperialism, by which we mean the entire economic and political arrangement sustaining the hegemony of international finance capital, will deal with these challenges in at least four different ways.

The first is the so-called spontaneous method of capital flight. Any political formation that seeks to take the country out of the neoliberal regime will witness capital flight even before it has been elected to office, bringing the country to a financial crisis and thereby denting its electoral prospects. And if perchance it still gets elected, the outflow will only increase, even before it assumes office. The inevitable difficulties faced by the people may well make the government back down at that stage. The sheer difficulty of transition away from a neoliberal regime could be enough to bring even a government based on the support of workers and peasants to its knees, precisely to save them short-term distress or to avoid losing their support.

Even if capital controls are put in place, where there are current account deficits, financing such deficits would pose a problem, necessitating some trade controls. But this is where the second instrument of imperialism comes into play: the imposition of trade sanctions by the metropolitan states, which then cajole other countries to stop buying from the sanctioned country that is trying to break away from thralldom to globalized finance capital. Even if the latter would have otherwise succeeded in stabilizing its economy despite its attempt to break away, the imposition of sanctions becomes an additional blow.

The third weapon consists in carrying out so-called democratic or parliamentary coups of the sort that Latin America has been experiencing. Coups in the old days were effected through the local armed forces and necessarily meant the imposition of military dictatorships in lieu of civilian, democratically elected governments. Now, taking advantage of the disaffection generated within countries by the hardships caused by capital flight and imposed sanctions, imperialism promotes coups through fascist or fascist-sympathizing middle-class political elements in the name of restoring democracy, which is synonymous with the pursuit of neoliberalism.

And if all these measures fail, there is always the possibility of resorting to economic warfare (such as destroying Venezuela's electricity supply), and eventually to military warfare. Venezuela today provides a classic example of what imperialist intervention in a third world country is going to look like in the era of decline of neoliberal capitalism, when revolts are going to characterize such countries more and more.

Two aspects of such intervention are striking. One is the virtual unanimity among the metropolitan states, which only underscores the muting of interimperialist rivalry in the era of hegemony of global finance capital. The other is the extent of support that such intervention commands within metropolitan countries, from the right to even the liberal segments.

Despite this opposition, neoliberal capitalism cannot ward off the challenge it is facing for long. It has no vision for reinventing itself. Interestingly, in the period after the First World War, when capitalism was on the verge of sinking into a crisis, the idea of state intervention as a way of its revival had already been mooted, though its coming into vogue only occurred at the end of the Second World War. 11 Today, neoliberal capitalism does not even have an idea of how it can recover and revitalize itself. And weapons like domestic fascism in the third world and direct imperialist intervention cannot for long save it from the anger of the masses that is building up against it.

Notes
  1. Harry Magdoff, The Age of Imperialism (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1969).
  2. Samuel Berrick Saul, Studies in British Overseas Trade, 1870–1914 (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 1960).
  3. Paul A. Baran and Paul M. Sweezy, Monopoly Capital (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1966).
  4. One of the first authors to recognize this fact and its significance was Paul Baran in The Political Economy of Growth (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1957).
  5. Joseph E. Stiglitz, " Inequality is Holding Back the Recovery ," New York Times , January 19, 2013.
  6. For a discussion of how even the recent euphoria about U.S. growth is vanishing, see C. P. Chandrasekhar and Jayati Ghosh, " Vanishing Green Shoots and the Possibility of Another Crisis ," The Hindu Business Line , April 8, 2019.
  7. For the role of such colonial transfers in sustaining the British balance of payments and the long Victorian and Edwardian boom, see Utsa Patnaik, "Revisiting the 'Drain,' or Transfers from India to Britain in the Context of Global Diffusion of Capitalism," in Agrarian and Other Histories: Essays for Binay Bhushan Chaudhuri , ed. Shubhra Chakrabarti and Utsa Patnaik (Delhi: Tulika, 2017), 277-317.
  8. Federal Reserve Board of Saint Louis Economic Research, FRED, "Capacity Utilization: Manufacturing," February 2019 (updated March 27, 2019), http://fred.stlouisfed.org .
  9. This issue is discussed by Charles P. Kindleberger in The World in Depression, 1929–1939 , 40th anniversary ed. (Oakland: University of California Press, 2013).
  10. Michał Kalecki, " Political Aspects of Full Employment ," Political Quarterly (1943), available at mronline.org.
  11. Joseph Schumpeter had seen Keynes's The Economic Consequences of the Peace as essentially advocating such state intervention in the new situation. See his essay, "John Maynard Keynes (1883–1946)," in Ten Great Economists (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1952).

Utsa Patnaik is Professor Emerita at the Centre for Economic Studies and Planning, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. Her books include Peasant Class Differentiation (1987), The Long Transition (1999), and The Republic of Hunger and Other Essays (2007). Prabhat Patnaik is Professor Emeritus at the Centre for Economic Studies and Planning, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. His books include Accumulation and Stability Under Capitalism (1997), The Value of Money(2009), and Re-envisioning Socialism(2011).

[Aug 25, 2019] Think about who gets rich off of the Venezuela regime-change agenda. It's the same people that said we had to invade Iraq in order to prevent nuclear apocalypse. by Kei Pritsker

Notable quotes:
"... The trojan horse for the return of neoliberalism in Venezuela, Juan Guaidó, stated that he's going to borrow money from the IMF to fund his government, which would make all Venezuelans indebted to this predatory institution. Guaidó spends the money, the poor and working people work to pay taxes that pay off the principal and the interest. ..."
"... The IMF was created in New Hampshire in 1945 to internationalize and standardize capitalism and its rules in an increasingly globalized and U.S.-dominated world. ..."
"... Its primary function is acting as an international lender-of-last-resort to indebted countries. IMF member states decide which countries will receive loans, but the member states with the largest say are the ones that own the largest share of the IMF's funds, which have always been the United States and its allies. ..."
"... This is why the IMF's standard "structural adjustment program" is based on the so-called Washington Consensus, a set of 10 economic policies entirely concocted by U.S. think tanks, the IMF, the World Bank and the Treasury Department. The Washington Consensus is as follows: ..."
Apr 15, 2019 | www.mintpressnews.com

Think about who gets rich off of the Venezuela regime-change agenda. It's the same people that said we had to invade Iraq in order to prevent nuclear apocalypse. It's the same people who said the world would stop turning on its axis if we didn't carpet bomb Libya and Syria.

By Kei Pritsker @keipritsker

9 Comments

https://cdn.jwplayer.com/players/ufxBptWt-YuKiCfZc.html

Transcript -- This video was produced as part of a MintPress News and Grayzone collaboration -- Of all the reasons to plot an elaborate and risky coup, there's one reason that always stands out: profit. Money makes the world go around and in far more ways than we might think. Here are the top five special interest groups and institutions that seek to benefit from the U.S. backed coup in Venezuela.

Number 1: The International Monetary Fund (IMF), which wants to saddle the Venezuelan people with enormous debt to the IMF

The trojan horse for the return of neoliberalism in Venezuela, Juan Guaidó, stated that he's going to borrow money from the IMF to fund his government, which would make all Venezuelans indebted to this predatory institution. Guaidó spends the money, the poor and working people work to pay taxes that pay off the principal and the interest.

The IMF was created in New Hampshire in 1945 to internationalize and standardize capitalism and its rules in an increasingly globalized and U.S.-dominated world.

Its primary function is acting as an international lender-of-last-resort to indebted countries. IMF member states decide which countries will receive loans, but the member states with the largest say are the ones that own the largest share of the IMF's funds, which have always been the United States and its allies.

This is why the IMF's standard "structural adjustment program" is based on the so-called Washington Consensus, a set of 10 economic policies entirely concocted by U.S. think tanks, the IMF, the World Bank and the Treasury Department. The Washington Consensus is as follows:

In exchange for a loan, often with a high-interest rate that many would call predatory, the IMF overhauls the protective and redistributive policies of a country for neoliberal policies, making the target country ripe for finance capital investment and profit-making.

Number 2: The Oil Industry, out to control the oil reserves

There's little doubt that the oil industry is pushing the U.S. to overthrow the Maduro government, especially when National Security Advisor John Bolton openly states this on national television.

Bolton was himself once part of the oil industry, serving as the director of Diamond Offshore Drilling, Inc. in 2007. He's no stranger to advocating for the interests of the fossil-fuel industry.

Venezuela has the world's largest oil reserves by far and Washington won't let that wealth go unexploited, or worse, be shared among its enemies like the Maduro government, Russia, China, or Iran.

And with so many politicians, Republican and Democratic, bought off by industry players -- companies like ExxonMobil, Koch Industries, and Chevron -- it's impossible to imagine anyone in Washington successfully advocating for Venezuela maintaining ownership over its own sovereign natural resources.

Number 3: The Military-Industrial Complex, working to military dominance and arm another U.S. puppet

One of the most bizarre things about America is that we've created one of the world's largest private industries around arms dealing. And like any industry, whether it be JDAM bombs or beef, private businesses often resort to lobbying Congress to squeeze political favors out of the government in the form of subsidies -- or in the case of the military industrial complex, a foreign policy of endless war, one based on elusive ideas like combating terrorism or defending democracy.

You can see that wherever the U.S. goes, expensive construction projects follow. Behind every multi-billion dollar base construction, some private contractor is there reaping the profits.

Once our military presence is firmly established, the weapons sales begin. And we all know no U.S. ally or puppet state is complete without a full fleet of Lockheed Martin F-16s -- then they'll be able to fend off all of those pesky leftist rebels with freedom missiles.

With Venezuela's neighbors, Colombia and Brazil, growing closer to NATO and accepting U.S. military presence in their countries, we can only assume Venezuela is Washington's next target.

As the strategic approach of regime change evolves, new industries arise to meet these needs.

After the massive anti-war protests following the invasion of Iraq, outright invasion and occupation are no longer viable strategies, owing to negative public opinion. So Washington sought to disguise war propaganda using humanitarian rhetoric.

Number 4: "Humanitarian" NGOs to create and implement the alibi

Privately owned NGOs dedicated to human rights and promoting "American style" democracy have played a much larger role in regime-change operations in recent years. They serve as soft-power institutions that attempt to subtly sway a population against its own government through propaganda laced with words like freedom, democracy, and human rights.

These NGOs are given the full blessing of the U.S. government and the two often work in tandem. Don't believe me? Take it from former CIA case officer Phillip Agee.

The US Agency for International Development's (USAID) regime-change arm, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), funded opposition groups in Nicaragua, Venezuela (during the 2002 coup), Haiti, Ukraine, and most recently China and North Korea. And whenever U.S. foreign policy sets its sights on a certain target, private industries usually develop to help meet that goal as well as make a quick buck along the way.

For example, Thor Halvorssen -- the first cousin of Leopoldo Lopez, the founder of Juan Guaidó's party, Popular Will -- calls himself a human-rights activist. He founded the notorious Human Rights Foundation (HRF) and makes a living giving speeches and TV appearances talking about why the governments of Venezuela or North Korea are not legitimate and need to be overthrown.

Unsurprisingly, HRF is funded by the conservative Sarah Scaife Foundation, which is itself funded by think tanks like the top neoconservative think tank, the American Enterprise Institute, as well as the Heritage Foundation. HRF is also funded by the Donors Capital Fund and the Diana Davis Spencer Foundation, which are also funded by the American Enterprise Institute. It's one big web of moving money that all leads back to the same cast of characters.

The crisis in Venezuela has been a huge gift for people like Halvorssen, who use the U.S.'s war on Venezuela to promote themselves and their organizations.

Number 5: Think Tanks selling reports that tell the MIC what it wants to hear

Like NGOs, think tanks also play an important role in giving regime change a sense of legitimacy -- in their case, intellectual legitimacy. Think tanks rely on donations to operate and many find willing donors among the capitalist class. These fat cats pay for fancy looking reports meant to justify their desired goal, the delegitimization of socialist governments and the legitimization of coup governments that uphold the Washington Consensus.

The Cato Institute has been deeply involved in overthrowing the Venezuelan government. In 2008, Cato awarded Venezuelan opposition leader, Yon Goicoechea, the Milton Friedman Prize for Advancing Liberty and $500,000 for his role in disrupting a constitutional referendum in Venezuela. That money was used to finance the political rise of Juan Guaidó, and his clique known as Generation 2007.

These seemingly independent research groups have intimate networks that they leverage to amplify the message their donors have given them. Here's an article in the Washington Post written by a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute saying the U.S.'s failure to intervene in Venezuela has caused the Maduro government to destabilize the region.

Whether it was the bank bailouts following the 2008 crisis, or the lack of action on climate disaster, in America it seems the government always puts the interests of the rich ahead of the poor and working class, and the situation in Venezuela is no exception.

As the U.S. continues to attack the Maduro government, keep these special interests in mind. Think about who gets rich off of the regime-change agenda. It's the same people that said we had to invade Iraq in order to prevent nuclear apocalypse. It's the same people who said the world would stop turning on its axis if we didn't carpet bomb Libya and Syria.

Now they're trying to get us to support war in Venezuela. You won't be any freer or more prosperous after the Maduro government is toppled. It's just war propaganda.

Top photo | A worker counts Venezuelan bolivar notes at a parking lot in Caracas, Venezuela May 29, 2018. Marco Bello | Reuters

Kei Pritsker is a journalist and activist located in Washington DC. Kei focuses on international politics and economics. He previously worked as a producer at RT America.

[Aug 20, 2019] For the US its better to wreck Venezuela's economy than to allow it to flourish and expand its influence

Aug 20, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

bevin , Aug 20 2019 18:26 utc | 107

"For the US its better to wreck Venezuela's economy than to allow it to flourish and expand its influence.."
Not necessarily. The US is gambling that it will beat Venezuela. But if it doesn't, if Venezuela simply outlasts the imperialist sanctions, it will emerge much stronger.
In recent years there has been a drift towards compromise with the US in Venezuela. Chavez was always very generous towards his opponents and this has continued. As a result the old Creole ruling class has been relatively undisturbed. It has retained its power over the media, for example and left in a position to sabotage the economy through its control of supermarkets, banks and commerce. It has retained its landholdings and maintained its agribusiness.

And now, in cahoots with the imperialists, it has come out against the government and chavismo. Its racist, neo fascist propensities and its contempt for its own countrymen and women- the poor and the working class- have been revealed. While the people are fighting to defend themselves against imperialism, Guido and the Venezuelan right, the capitalist class have made their positions very obvious. Given any sort of opportunity they will smash the social security and food security networks that keep the poor from starvation. They will privatise- Honduras style- and death squads will roam the working class districts torturing and killing.
In short the people of Venezuela have been shown exactly what to expect if the US wins. And the allies of the US have been revealed to be the country's worst enemies: traitors and Quislings.

In the end, if the US does not replace the Maduro government, it will find itself much worse off. All its Fifth Columnist friends will be in exile or hiding. All their wealth will have been distributed to the poor or nationalised.


And the US will have one more sworn and permanent enemy, the people of Venezuela.

[Aug 07, 2019] Neoliberals are promising to privatize garbage collection and sewer system! Which will huge help to Venezuela. After that, setting up slave markets, just like in Tripoli!

Notable quotes:
"... Cute – immediate goal, humanitarian aid so everybody gets a couple of free meals and some medicine. Next job, roll back socialism. At which time all the poor will not be able to afford to eat or get medicine. But who'll give a fuck then, right? Because corporate America will already be in charge by then, kicking ass and taking names and privatizing everything so that even Guaido will not be able to say he owns anything in Venezuela but his house. And of course, the equation for Venezuelans has not changed a bit: Captain America really wants to help, but it has to be under Guaido – they're really, really stuck on him for some reason. So it's Guaido or starvation. What's it gonna be, Venezuela? ..."
Aug 07, 2019 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Northern Star August 2, 2019 at 7:14 am

Mega corrupt economic cockroach/ghoul/scavenger:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wilbur_Ross
.
Pontificates on Venezuela's future

Northern Star August 2, 2019 at 7:18 am
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-08-01/u-s-commerce-secretary-lays-out-sweeping-plan-to-help-venezuela
yalensis August 2, 2019 at 12:36 pm
"In a post-Maduro Venezuela, the U.S. will remove sanctions, foster pro-market and pro-business reforms and help rebuild confidence, Ross said. An immediate priority will be providing humanitarian aid, while a medium-term focus will be rolling back socialism, Ross said."

They are even promising to privatize garbage collection and sewer system! In the medium-term focus, of course. Immediate focus on reign of terror, while handing out tins of spam to the swarming masses. After that, setting up slave markets, just like in Tripoli!

Mark Chapman August 2, 2019 at 6:59 pm
Cute – immediate goal, humanitarian aid so everybody gets a couple of free meals and some medicine. Next job, roll back socialism. At which time all the poor will not be able to afford to eat or get medicine. But who'll give a fuck then, right? Because corporate America will already be in charge by then, kicking ass and taking names and privatizing everything so that even Guaido will not be able to say he owns anything in Venezuela but his house. And of course, the equation for Venezuelans has not changed a bit: Captain America really wants to help, but it has to be under Guaido – they're really, really stuck on him for some reason. So it's Guaido or starvation. What's it gonna be, Venezuela?

I hope somebody else will help them out. I'd dearly love to see Venezuela get on its feet without American assistance, and then tell the entire Yoo Ess of Aye to kiss its ass. No more heavy crude for your refineries, maybe you can turn them into basket shops, what say? No thanks; we'll buy our food elsewhere, if it's all the same to you. Oh, and Bolsonaro? Eat a bag of shit. Invite your Colombian buddy over for dinner

Northern Star August 2, 2019 at 10:19 pm
IMF loan for Venezuela will make things 'all better' ? Really?
https://www.publicfinanceinternational.org/news/2018/08/imf-loans-can-be-debt-trap
Northern Star August 2, 2019 at 10:32 pm
What would more than likely be the outcome of the IMF solution for Venezuela according to the clown referenced in the link I posted (supra)
https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2018/08/greece-bailout-imf-europe/567892/
Mark Chapman August 3, 2019 at 4:29 am
Pertinent, bitter and frightening – thanks for posting it. A useful reference.
Mark Chapman August 3, 2019 at 4:21 am
Yes, I meant to remark on that as well. It's funny that the western regime-change model relies on countries loaned huge amounts of money to be enslaved by their honesty, and actually pay it back.

[Aug 06, 2019] Trump Imposes Economic Embargo on Venezuela by Jason Ditz

Notable quotes:
"... This is the first major expansion of sanctions against a western hemisphere nation by the US in over 30 years, and is intended to put Venezuela into the same level of economic isolation as similarly restricted Cuba, Iran, North Korea, and Syria. ..."
Aug 05, 2019 | news.antiwar.com

US will freeze all Venezuelan assets

President Trump signed an executive order late Monday imposing a full economic embargo against Venezuela , freezing all government assets in the US and forbidding all transactions of any Venezuelan officials.

This is the first major expansion of sanctions against a western hemisphere nation by the US in over 30 years, and is intended to put Venezuela into the same level of economic isolation as similarly restricted Cuba, Iran, North Korea, and Syria.

The order cites human rights abuses, and the fact that President Maduro is still in power in Venezuela, even though the US recognized opposition leader Guaido as the rightful ruler of the country.

This is the latest US effort to try to impose regime change in Venezuela, after a failed military coup earlier this year. It's not clear how broadly the US intends to enforce the sanctions, for example if they intend to use military force to prohibit naval trade from the Venezuelan coast

[Aug 03, 2019] Officials Say US Headed Toward Blockade of Venezuela

Aug 03, 2019 | news.antiwar.com

US sees 'quarantine' as another path to imposing regime change

Jason Ditz Posted on August 2, 2019 August 2, 2019 Categories News Tags Trump , Venezuela An unnamed senior administration official says that the Trump Administration is seriously considering imposing a naval blockade on Venezuela , saying President Maduro has a "short window" to voluntarily resign before the US makes such a move.

Trump had recently told reporters he was considering a naval blockade or full "quarantine" of Venezuela as the latest effort to try to impose regime change, something the US announced it had recognized month ago but which so far hasn't happened.

President Maduro denounced the comments , and called on his ambassador to complain to the UN Security Council about the "illegal" US threat to blockade the Venezuelan coastline. Maduro added it was "clearly illegal."

Clearly illegal as a practical matter is likely to be very much beside the point for US policy. Previous indications were that Trump had become bored with Venezuela because of the lack of progress, and it's likely he'll only try to impose a regime change in this manner if he believes it will work.

[Jul 29, 2019] Michael Hudson Trump s Brilliant Strategy to Dismember US Dollar Hegemony by Michael Hudson

Highly recommended!
Looks like the world order established after WWIII crumbed with the USSR and now it is again the law if jungles with the US as the biggest predator.
Notable quotes:
"... The root cause is clear: After the crescendo of pretenses and deceptions over Iraq, Libya and Syria, along with our absolution of the lawless regime of Saudi Arabia, foreign political leaders are coming to recognize what world-wide public opinion polls reported even before the Iraq/Iran-Contra boys turned their attention to the world's largest oil reserves in Venezuela: The United States is now the greatest threat to peace on the planet. ..."
"... Calling the U.S. coup being sponsored in Venezuela a defense of democracy reveals the Doublethink underlying U.S. foreign policy. It defines "democracy" to mean supporting U.S. foreign policy, pursuing neoliberal privatization of public infrastructure, dismantling government regulation and following the direction of U.S.-dominated global institutions, from the IMF and World Bank to NATO. For decades, the resulting foreign wars, domestic austerity programs and military interventions have brought more violence, not democracy ..."
"... A point had to come where this policy collided with the self-interest of other nations, finally breaking through the public relations rhetoric of empire. Other countries are proceeding to de-dollarize and replace what U.S. diplomacy calls "internationalism" (meaning U.S. nationalism imposed on the rest of the world) with their own national self-interest. ..."
"... For the past half-century, U.S. strategists, the State Department and National Endowment for Democracy (NED) worried that opposition to U.S. financial imperialism would come from left-wing parties. It therefore spent enormous resources manipulating parties that called themselves socialist (Tony Blair's British Labour Party, France's Socialist Party, Germany's Social Democrats, etc.) to adopt neoliberal policies that were the diametric opposite to what social democracy meant a century ago. But U.S. political planners and Great Wurlitzer organists neglected the right wing, imagining that it would instinctively support U.S. thuggishness. ..."
"... Perhaps the problem had to erupt as a result of the inner dynamics of U.S.-sponsored globalism becoming impossible to impose when the result is financial austerity, waves of population flight from U.S.-sponsored wars, and most of all, U.S. refusal to adhere to the rules and international laws that it itself sponsored seventy years ago in the wake of World War II. ..."
"... Here's the first legal contradiction in U.S. global diplomacy: The United States always has resisted letting any other country have any voice in U.S. domestic policies, law-making or diplomacy. That is what makes America "the exceptional nation." But for seventy years its diplomats have pretended that its superior judgment promoted a peaceful world (as the Roman Empire claimed to be), which let other countries share in prosperity and rising living standards. ..."
"... Inevitably, U.S. nationalism had to break up the mirage of One World internationalism, and with it any thought of an international court. Without veto power over the judges, the U.S. never accepted the authority of any court, in particular the United Nations' International Court in The Hague. Recently that court undertook an investigation into U.S. war crimes in Afghanistan, from its torture policies to bombing of civilian targets such as hospitals, weddings and infrastructure. "That investigation ultimately found 'a reasonable basis to believe that war crimes and crimes against humanity." ..."
"... This showed that international finance was an arm of the U.S. State Department and Pentagon. But that was a generation ago, and only recently did foreign countries begin to feel queasy about leaving their gold holdings in the United States, where they might be grabbed at will to punish any country that might act in ways that U.S. diplomacy found offensive. So last year, Germany finally got up the courage to ask that some of its gold be flown back to Germany. U.S. officials pretended to feel shocked at the insult that it might do to a civilized Christian country what it had done to Iran, and Germany agreed to slow down the transfer. ..."
"... England refused to honor the official request, following the direction of Bolton and U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo. As Bloomberg reported: "The U.S. officials are trying to steer Venezuela's overseas assets to [Chicago Boy Juan] Guaido to help bolster his chances of effectively taking control of the government. The $1.2 billion of gold is a big chunk of the $8 billion in foreign reserves held by the Venezuelan central bank." ..."
"... But now, cyber warfare has become a way of pulling out the connections of any economy. And the major cyber connections are financial money-transfer ones, headed by SWIFT, the acronym for the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, which is centered in Belgium. ..."
"... On January 31 the dam broke with the announcement that Europe had created its own bypass payments system for use with Iran and other countries targeted by U.S. diplomats. Germany, France and even the U.S. poodle Britain joined to create INSTEX -- Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges. The promise is that this will be used only for "humanitarian" aid to save Iran from a U.S.-sponsored Venezuela-type devastation. But in view of increasingly passionate U.S. opposition to the Nord Stream pipeline to carry Russian gas, this alternative bank clearing system will be ready and able to become operative if the United States tries to direct a sanctions attack on Europe ..."
"... The U.S. overplaying its position is leading to the Mackinder-Kissinger-Brzezinski Eurasian nightmare that I mentioned above. In addition to driving Russia and China together, U.S. diplomacy is adding Europe to the heartland, independent of U.S. ability to bully into the state of dependency toward which American diplomacy has aimed to achieve since 1945. ..."
"... By following U.S. advice, countries have left themselves open to food blackmail – sanctions against providing them with grain and other food, in case they step out of line with U.S. diplomatic demands. ..."
"... It is worthwhile to note that our global imposition of the mythical "efficiencies" of forcing Latin American countries to become plantations for export crops like coffee and bananas rather than growing their own wheat and corn has failed catastrophically to deliver better lives, especially for those living in Central America. The "spread" between the export crops and cheaper food imports from the U.S. that was supposed to materialize for countries following our playbook failed miserably – witness the caravans and refugees across Mexico. Of course, our backing of the most brutal military dictators and crime lords has not helped either. ..."
"... But a few years ago Ukraine defaulted on $3 billion owed to Russia. The IMF said, in effect, that Ukraine and other countries did not have to pay Russia or any other country deemed to be acting too independently of the United States. The IMF has been extending credit to the bottomless it of Ukrainian corruption to encourage its anti-Russian policy rather than standing up for the principle that inter-government debts must be paid. ..."
"... It is as if the IMF now operates out of a small room in the basement of the Pentagon in Washington. ..."
"... Anticipating just such a double-cross, President Chavez acted already in 2011 to repatriate 160 tons of gold to Caracas from the United States and Europe. ..."
"... It would be good for Americans, but the wrong kind of Americans. For the Americans that would populate the Global Executive Suite, a strong US$ means that the stipends they would pay would be worth more to the lackeys, and command more influence. ..."
"... Dumping the industrial base really ruined things. America is now in a position where it can shout orders, and drop bombs, but doesn't have the capacity to do anything helpful. They have to give up being what Toynbee called a creative minority, and settle for being a dominant minority. ..."
"... Having watched the 2016 election closely from afar, I was left with the impression that many of the swing voters who cast their vote for Trump did so under the assumption that he would act as a catalyst for systemic change. ..."
"... Now we know. He has ripped the already transparent mask of altruism off what is referred to as the U.S.-led liberal international order and revealed its true nature for all to see, and has managed to do it in spite of the liberal international establishment desperately trying to hold it in place in the hope of effecting a seamless post-Trump return to what they refer to as "norms". Interesting times. ..."
"... Exactly. He hasn't exactly lived up to advanced billing so far in all respects, but I suspect there's great deal of skulduggery going on behind the scenes that has prevented that. ..."
"... To paraphrase the infamous Rummy, you don't go to war with the change agent and policies you wished you had, you go to war with the ones you have. That might be the best thing we can say about Trump after the historic dust of his administration finally settles. ..."
"... Yet we find out that Venezuela didn't managed to do what they wanted to do, the Europeans, the Turks, etc bent over yet again. Nothing to see here, actually. ..."
"... So what I'm saying is he didn't make his point. I wish it were true. But a bit of grumbling and (a tiny amount of) foot-dragging by some pygmy leaders (Merkel) does not signal a global change. ..."
"... Currency regime change can take decades, and small percentage differences are enormous because of the flows involved. USD as reserve for 61% of global sovereigns versus 64% 15 years ago is a massive move. ..."
"... I discovered his Super Imperialism while looking for an explanation for the pending 2003 US invasion of Iraq. If you haven't read it yet, move it to the top of your queue if you want to have any idea of how the world really works. ..."
"... If it isn't clear to the rest of the world by now, it never will be. The US is incapable of changing on its own a corrupt status quo dominated by a coalition of its military industrial complex, Wall Street bankers and fossil fuels industries. As long as the world continues to chase the debt created on the keyboards of Wall Street banks and 'deficits don't matter' Washington neocons – as long as the world's 1% think they are getting 'richer' by adding more "debts that can't be repaid (and) won't be" to their portfolios, the global economy can never be put on a sustainable footing. ..."
"... In other words, after 2 World Wars that produced the current world order, it is still in a state of insanity with the same pretensions to superiority by the same people, to get number 3. ..."
"... Few among Washington's foreign policy elite seem to fully grasp the complex system that made U.S. global power what it now is, particularly its all-important geopolitical foundations. As Trump travels the globe, tweeting and trashing away, he's inadvertently showing us the essential structure of that power, the same way a devastating wildfire leaves the steel beams of a ruined building standing starkly above the smoking rubble." ..."
"... He's draining the swamp in an unpredicted way, a swamp that's founded on the money interest. I don't care what NYT and WaPo have to say, they are not reporting events but promoting agendas. ..."
"... The financial elites are only concerned about shaping society as they see fit, side of self serving is just a historical foot note, Trumps past indicates a strong preference for even more of the same through authoritarian memes or have some missed the OT WH reference to dawg both choosing and then compelling him to run. ..."
"... Highly doubt Trump is a "witting agent", most likely is that he is just as ignorant as he almost daily shows on twitter. On US role in global affairs he says the same today as he did as a media celebrity in the late 80s. Simplistic household "logics" on macroeconomics. If US have trade deficit it loses. Countries with surplus are the winners. ..."
"... Anyhow frightening, the US hegemony have its severe dark sides. But there is absolutely nothing better on the horizon, a crash will throw the world in turmoil for decades or even a century. A lot of bad forces will see their chance to elevate their influence. There will be fierce competition to fill the gap. ..."
"... On could the insane economic model of EU/Germany being on top of global affairs, a horribly frightening thought. Misery and austerity for all globally, a permanent recession. Probably not much better with the Chinese on top. I'll take the USD hegemony any day compared to that prospect. ..."
"... Former US ambassador, Chas Freeman, gets to the nub of the problem. "The US preference for governance by elected and appointed officials, uncontaminated by experience in statecraft and diplomacy, or knowledge of geography, history and foreign affairs" https://www.youtube.com/watch?annotation_id=annotation_882041135&feature=iv&src_vid=Ge1ozuXN7iI&v=gkf2MQdqz-o ..."
"... Michael Hudson, in Super Imperialism, went into how the US could just create the money to run a large trade deficit with the rest of the world. It would get all these imports effectively for nothing, the US's exorbitant privilege. I tied this in with this graph from MMT. ..."
"... The Government was running a surplus as the economy blew up in the early 1990s. It's the positive and negative, zero sum, nature of the monetary system. A big trade deficit needs a big Government deficit to cover it. A big trade deficit, with a balanced budget, drives the private sector into debt and blows up the economy. ..."
Feb 01, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

The end of America's unchallenged global economic dominance has arrived sooner than expected, thanks to the very same Neocons who gave the world the Iraq, Syria and the dirty wars in Latin America. Just as the Vietnam War drove the United States off gold by 1971, its sponsorship and funding of violent regime change wars against Venezuela and Syria – and threatening other countries with sanctions if they do not join this crusade – is now driving European and other nations to create their alternative financial institutions.

This break has been building for quite some time, and was bound to occur. But who would have thought that Donald Trump would become the catalytic agent? No left-wing party, no socialist, anarchist or foreign nationalist leader anywhere in the world could have achieved what he is doing to break up the American Empire. The Deep State is reacting with shock at how this right-wing real estate grifter has been able to drive other countries to defend themselves by dismantling the U.S.-centered world order. To rub it in, he is using Bush and Reagan-era Neocon arsonists, John Bolton and now Elliott Abrams, to fan the flames in Venezuela. It is almost like a black political comedy. The world of international diplomacy is being turned inside-out. A world where there is no longer even a pretense that we might adhere to international norms, let alone laws or treaties.

The Neocons who Trump has appointed are accomplishing what seemed unthinkable not long ago: Driving China and Russia together – the great nightmare of Henry Kissinger and Zbigniew Brzezinski. They also are driving Germany and other European countries into the Eurasian orbit, the "Heartland" nightmare of Halford Mackinder a century ago.

The root cause is clear: After the crescendo of pretenses and deceptions over Iraq, Libya and Syria, along with our absolution of the lawless regime of Saudi Arabia, foreign political leaders are coming to recognize what world-wide public opinion polls reported even before the Iraq/Iran-Contra boys turned their attention to the world's largest oil reserves in Venezuela: The United States is now the greatest threat to peace on the planet.

Calling the U.S. coup being sponsored in Venezuela a defense of democracy reveals the Doublethink underlying U.S. foreign policy. It defines "democracy" to mean supporting U.S. foreign policy, pursuing neoliberal privatization of public infrastructure, dismantling government regulation and following the direction of U.S.-dominated global institutions, from the IMF and World Bank to NATO. For decades, the resulting foreign wars, domestic austerity programs and military interventions have brought more violence, not democracy.

In the Devil's Dictionary that U.S. diplomats are taught to use as their "Elements of Style" guidelines for Doublethink, a "democratic" country is one that follows U.S. leadership and opens its economy to U.S. investment, and IMF- and World Bank-sponsored privatization. The Ukraine is deemed democratic, along with Saudi Arabia, Israel and other countries that act as U.S. financial and military protectorates and are willing to treat America's enemies are theirs too.

A point had to come where this policy collided with the self-interest of other nations, finally breaking through the public relations rhetoric of empire. Other countries are proceeding to de-dollarize and replace what U.S. diplomacy calls "internationalism" (meaning U.S. nationalism imposed on the rest of the world) with their own national self-interest.

This trajectory could be seen 50 years ago (I described it in Super Imperialism [1972] and Global Fracture [1978].) It had to happen. But nobody thought that the end would come in quite the way that is happening. History has turned into comedy, or at least irony as its dialectical path unfolds.

For the past half-century, U.S. strategists, the State Department and National Endowment for Democracy (NED) worried that opposition to U.S. financial imperialism would come from left-wing parties. It therefore spent enormous resources manipulating parties that called themselves socialist (Tony Blair's British Labour Party, France's Socialist Party, Germany's Social Democrats, etc.) to adopt neoliberal policies that were the diametric opposite to what social democracy meant a century ago. But U.S. political planners and Great Wurlitzer organists neglected the right wing, imagining that it would instinctively support U.S. thuggishness.

The reality is that right-wing parties want to get elected, and a populist nationalism is today's road to election victory in Europe and other countries just as it was for Donald Trump in 2016.

Trump's agenda may really be to break up the American Empire, using the old Uncle Sucker isolationist rhetoric of half a century ago. He certainly is going for the Empire's most vital organs. But it he a witting anti-American agent? He might as well be – but it would be a false mental leap to use "quo bono" to assume that he is a witting agent.

After all, if no U.S. contractor, supplier, labor union or bank will deal with him, would Vladimir Putin, China or Iran be any more naïve? Perhaps the problem had to erupt as a result of the inner dynamics of U.S.-sponsored globalism becoming impossible to impose when the result is financial austerity, waves of population flight from U.S.-sponsored wars, and most of all, U.S. refusal to adhere to the rules and international laws that it itself sponsored seventy years ago in the wake of World War II.

Dismantling International Law and Its Courts

Any international system of control requires the rule of law. It may be a morally lawless exercise of ruthless power imposing predatory exploitation, but it is still The Law. And it needs courts to apply it (backed by police power to enforce it and punish violators).

Here's the first legal contradiction in U.S. global diplomacy: The United States always has resisted letting any other country have any voice in U.S. domestic policies, law-making or diplomacy. That is what makes America "the exceptional nation." But for seventy years its diplomats have pretended that its superior judgment promoted a peaceful world (as the Roman Empire claimed to be), which let other countries share in prosperity and rising living standards.

At the United Nations, U.S. diplomats insisted on veto power. At the World Bank and IMF they also made sure that their equity share was large enough to give them veto power over any loan or other policy. Without such power, the United States would not join any international organization. Yet at the same time, it depicted its nationalism as protecting globalization and internationalism. It was all a euphemism for what really was unilateral U.S. decision-making.

Inevitably, U.S. nationalism had to break up the mirage of One World internationalism, and with it any thought of an international court. Without veto power over the judges, the U.S. never accepted the authority of any court, in particular the United Nations' International Court in The Hague. Recently that court undertook an investigation into U.S. war crimes in Afghanistan, from its torture policies to bombing of civilian targets such as hospitals, weddings and infrastructure. "That investigation ultimately found 'a reasonable basis to believe that war crimes and crimes against humanity." [1]

Donald Trump's National Security Adviser John Bolton erupted in fury, warning in September that: "The United States will use any means necessary to protect our citizens and those of our allies from unjust prosecution by this illegitimate court," adding that the UN International Court must not be so bold as to investigate "Israel or other U.S. allies."

That prompted a senior judge, Christoph Flügge from Germany, to resign in protest. Indeed, Bolton told the court to keep out of any affairs involving the United States, promising to ban the Court's "judges and prosecutors from entering the United States." As Bolton spelled out the U.S. threat: "We will sanction their funds in the U.S. financial system, and we will prosecute them in the U.S. criminal system. We will not cooperate with the ICC. We will provide no assistance to the ICC. We will not join the ICC. We will let the ICC die on its own. After all, for all intents and purposes, the ICC is already dead to us."

What this meant, the German judge spelled out was that: "If these judges ever interfere in the domestic concerns of the U.S. or investigate an American citizen, [Bolton] said the American government would do all it could to ensure that these judges would no longer be allowed to travel to the United States – and that they would perhaps even be criminally prosecuted."

The original inspiration of the Court – to use the Nuremburg laws that were applied against German Nazis to bring similar prosecution against any country or officials found guilty of committing war crimes – had already fallen into disuse with the failure to indict the authors of the Chilean coup, Iran-Contra or the U.S. invasion of Iraq for war crimes.

Dismantling Dollar Hegemony from the IMF to SWIFT

Of all areas of global power politics today, international finance and foreign investment have become the key flashpoint. International monetary reserves were supposed to be the most sacrosanct, and international debt enforcement closely associated.

Central banks have long held their gold and other monetary reserves in the United States and London. Back in 1945 this seemed reasonable, because the New York Federal Reserve Bank (in whose basement foreign central bank gold was kept) was militarily safe, and because the London Gold Pool was the vehicle by which the U.S. Treasury kept the dollar "as good as gold" at $35 an ounce. Foreign reserves over and above gold were kept in the form of U.S. Treasury securities, to be bought and sold on the New York and London foreign-exchange markets to stabilize exchange rates. Most foreign loans to governments were denominated in U.S. dollars, so Wall Street banks were normally name as paying agents.

That was the case with Iran under the Shah, whom the United States had installed after sponsoring the 1953 coup against Mohammed Mosaddegh when he sought to nationalize Anglo-Iranian Oil (now British Petroleum) or at least tax it. After the Shah was overthrown, the Khomeini regime asked its paying agent, the Chase Manhattan bank, to use its deposits to pay its bondholders. At the direction of the U.S. Government Chase refused to do so. U.S. courts then declared Iran to be in default, and froze all its assets in the United States and anywhere else they were able.

This showed that international finance was an arm of the U.S. State Department and Pentagon. But that was a generation ago, and only recently did foreign countries begin to feel queasy about leaving their gold holdings in the United States, where they might be grabbed at will to punish any country that might act in ways that U.S. diplomacy found offensive. So last year, Germany finally got up the courage to ask that some of its gold be flown back to Germany. U.S. officials pretended to feel shocked at the insult that it might do to a civilized Christian country what it had done to Iran, and Germany agreed to slow down the transfer.

But then came Venezuela. Desperate to spend its gold reserves to provide imports for its economy devastated by U.S. sanctions – a crisis that U.S. diplomats blame on "socialism," not on U.S. political attempts to "make the economy scream" (as Nixon officials said of Chile under Salvador Allende) – Venezuela directed the Bank of England to transfer some of its $11 billion in gold held in its vaults and those of other central banks in December 2018. This was just like a bank depositor would expect a bank to pay a check that the depositor had written.

England refused to honor the official request, following the direction of Bolton and U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo. As Bloomberg reported: "The U.S. officials are trying to steer Venezuela's overseas assets to [Chicago Boy Juan] Guaido to help bolster his chances of effectively taking control of the government. The $1.2 billion of gold is a big chunk of the $8 billion in foreign reserves held by the Venezuelan central bank."

Turkey seemed to be a likely destination, prompting Bolton and Pompeo to warn it to desist from helping Venezuela, threatening sanctions against it or any other country helping Venezuela cope with its economic crisis. As for the Bank of England and other European countries, the Bloomberg report concluded: "Central bank officials in Caracas have been ordered to no longer try contacting the Bank of England. These central bankers have been told that Bank of England staffers will not respond to them."

This led to rumors that Venezuela was selling 20 tons of gold via a Russian Boeing 777 – some $840 million. The money probably would have ended up paying Russian and Chinese bondholders as well as buying food to relieve the local famine. [4] Russia denied this report, but Reuters has confirmed is that Venezuela has sold 3 tons of a planned 29 tones of gold to the United Arab Emirates, with another 15 tones are to be shipped on Friday, February 1. [5] The U.S. Senate's Batista-Cuban hardliner Rubio accused this of being "theft," as if feeding the people to alleviate the U.S.-sponsored crisis was a crime against U.S. diplomatic leverage.

If there is any country that U.S. diplomats hate more than a recalcitrant Latin American country, it is Iran. President Trump's breaking of the 2015 nuclear agreements negotiated by European and Obama Administration diplomats has escalated to the point of threatening Germany and other European countries with punitive sanctions if they do not also break the agreements they have signed. Coming on top of U.S. opposition to German and other European importing of Russian gas, the U.S. threat finally prompted Europe to find a way to defend itself.

Imperial threats are no longer military. No country (including Russia or China) can mount a military invasion of another major country. Since the Vietnam Era, the only kind of war a democratically elected country can wage is atomic, or at least heavy bombing such as the United States has inflicted on Iraq, Libya and Syria. But now, cyber warfare has become a way of pulling out the connections of any economy. And the major cyber connections are financial money-transfer ones, headed by SWIFT, the acronym for the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, which is centered in Belgium.

Russia and China have already moved to create a shadow bank-transfer system in case the United States unplugs them from SWIFT. But now, European countries have come to realize that threats by Bolton and Pompeo may lead to heavy fines and asset grabs if they seek to continue trading with Iran as called for in the treaties they have negotiated.

On January 31 the dam broke with the announcement that Europe had created its own bypass payments system for use with Iran and other countries targeted by U.S. diplomats. Germany, France and even the U.S. poodle Britain joined to create INSTEX -- Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges. The promise is that this will be used only for "humanitarian" aid to save Iran from a U.S.-sponsored Venezuela-type devastation. But in view of increasingly passionate U.S. opposition to the Nord Stream pipeline to carry Russian gas, this alternative bank clearing system will be ready and able to become operative if the United States tries to direct a sanctions attack on Europe.

I have just returned from Germany and seen a remarkable split between that nation's industrialists and their political leadership. For years, major companies have seen Russia as a natural market, a complementary economy needing to modernize its manufacturing and able to supply Europe with natural gas and other raw materials. America's New Cold War stance is trying to block this commercial complementarity. Warning Europe against "dependence" on low-price Russian gas, it has offered to sell high-priced LNG from the United States (via port facilities that do not yet exist in anywhere near the volume required). President Trump also is insisting that NATO members spend a full 2 percent of their GDP on arms – preferably bought from the United States, not from German or French merchants of death.

The U.S. overplaying its position is leading to the Mackinder-Kissinger-Brzezinski Eurasian nightmare that I mentioned above. In addition to driving Russia and China together, U.S. diplomacy is adding Europe to the heartland, independent of U.S. ability to bully into the state of dependency toward which American diplomacy has aimed to achieve since 1945.

The World Bank, for instance, traditionally has been headed by a U.S. Secretary of Defense. Its steady policy since its inception is to provide loans for countries to devote their land to export crops instead of giving priority to feeding themselves. That is why its loans are only in foreign currency, not in the domestic currency needed to provide price supports and agricultural extension services such as have made U.S. agriculture so productive. By following U.S. advice, countries have left themselves open to food blackmail – sanctions against providing them with grain and other food, in case they step out of line with U.S. diplomatic demands.

It is worthwhile to note that our global imposition of the mythical "efficiencies" of forcing Latin American countries to become plantations for export crops like coffee and bananas rather than growing their own wheat and corn has failed catastrophically to deliver better lives, especially for those living in Central America. The "spread" between the export crops and cheaper food imports from the U.S. that was supposed to materialize for countries following our playbook failed miserably – witness the caravans and refugees across Mexico. Of course, our backing of the most brutal military dictators and crime lords has not helped either.

Likewise, the IMF has been forced to admit that its basic guidelines were fictitious from the beginning. A central core has been to enforce payment of official inter-government debt by withholding IMF credit from countries under default. This rule was instituted at a time when most official inter-government debt was owed to the United States. But a few years ago Ukraine defaulted on $3 billion owed to Russia. The IMF said, in effect, that Ukraine and other countries did not have to pay Russia or any other country deemed to be acting too independently of the United States. The IMF has been extending credit to the bottomless it of Ukrainian corruption to encourage its anti-Russian policy rather than standing up for the principle that inter-government debts must be paid.

It is as if the IMF now operates out of a small room in the basement of the Pentagon in Washington. Europe has taken notice that its own international monetary trade and financial linkages are in danger of attracting U.S. anger. This became clear last autumn at the funeral for George H. W. Bush, when the EU's diplomat found himself downgraded to the end of the list to be called to his seat. He was told that the U.S. no longer considers the EU an entity in good standing. In December, "Mike Pompeo gave a speech on Europe in Brussels -- his first, and eagerly awaited -- in which he extolled the virtues of nationalism, criticised multilateralism and the EU, and said that "international bodies" which constrain national sovereignty "must be reformed or eliminated." [5]

Most of the above events have made the news in just one day, January 31, 2019. The conjunction of U.S. moves on so many fronts, against Venezuela, Iran and Europe (not to mention China and the trade threats and moves against Huawei also erupting today) looks like this will be a year of global fracture.

It is not all President Trump's doing, of course. We see the Democratic Party showing the same colors. Instead of applauding democracy when foreign countries do not elect a leader approved by U.S. diplomats (whether it is Allende or Maduro), they've let the mask fall and shown themselves to be the leading New Cold War imperialists. It's now out in the open. They would make Venezuela the new Pinochet-era Chile. Trump is not alone in supporting Saudi Arabia and its Wahabi terrorists acting, as Lyndon Johnson put it, "Bastards, but they're our bastards."

Where is the left in all this? That is the question with which I opened this article. How remarkable it is that it is only right-wing parties, Alternative for Deutschland (AFD), or Marine le Pen's French nationalists and those of other countries that are opposing NATO militarization and seeking to revive trade and economic links with the rest of Eurasia.

The end of our monetary imperialism, about which I first wrote in 1972 in Super Imperialism, stuns even an informed observer like me. It took a colossal level of arrogance, short-sightedness and lawlessness to hasten its decline -- something that only crazed Neocons like John Bolton, Elliot Abrams and Mike Pompeo could deliver for Donald Trump.

Footnotes

[1] "It Can't be Fixed: Senior ICC Judge Quits in Protest of US, Turkish Meddling," January 31, 2019.

[2] Patricia Laya, Ethan Bronner and Tim Ross, "Maduro Stymied in Bid to Pull $1.2 Billion of Gold From U.K.," Bloomberg, January 25, 2019. Anticipating just such a double-cross, President Chavez acted already in 2011 to repatriate 160 tons of gold to Caracas from the United States and Europe.

[3] ibid

[4] Corina Pons, Mayela Armas, "Exclusive: Venezuela plans to fly central bank gold reserves to UAE – source," Reuters, January 31, 2019.

[5] Constanze Stelzenmüller, "America's policy on Europe takes a nationalist turn," Financial Times, January 31, 2019.

By Michael Hudson, a research professor of Economics at University of Missouri, Kansas City, and a research associate at the Levy Economics Institute of Bard College. His latest book is "and forgive them their debts": Lending, Foreclosure and Redemption from Bronze Age Finance to the Jubilee Year< Jointly posted with Hudson's website


doug , February 1, 2019 at 8:03 am

We see the Democratic Party showing the same colors. Yes we do. no escape? that I see

drumlin woodchuckles , February 1, 2019 at 9:43 am

Well, if the StormTrumpers can tear down all the levers and institutions of international US dollar strength, perhaps they can also tear down all the institutions of Corporate Globalonial Forced Free Trade. That itself may BE our escape . . . if there are enough millions of Americans who have turned their regionalocal zones of habitation into economically and politically armor-plated Transition Towns, Power-Down Zones, etc. People and places like that may be able to crawl up out of the rubble and grow and defend little zones of semi-subsistence survival-economics.

If enough millions of Americans have created enough such zones, they might be able to link up with eachother to offer hope of a movement to make America in general a semi-autarchik, semi-secluded and isolated National Survival Economy . . . . much smaller than today, perhaps likelier to survive the various coming ecosystemic crash-cramdowns, and no longer interested in leading or dominating a world that we would no longer have the power to lead or dominate.

We could put an end to American Exceptionalism. We could lay this burden down. We could become American Okayness Ordinarians. Make America an okay place for ordinary Americans to live in.

drumlin woodchuckles , February 1, 2019 at 2:27 pm

I read somewhere that the Czarist Imperial Army had a saying . . . "Quantity has a Quality all its own".

... ... ...

Cal2 , February 1, 2019 at 2:54 pm

Drumlin,

If Populists, I assume that's what you mean by "Storm Troopers", offer me M4A and revitalized local economies, and deliver them, they have my support and more power to them.

That's why Trump was elected, his promises, not yet delivered, were closer to that then the Democrats' promises. If the Democrats promised those things and delivered, then they would have my support.

If the Democrats run a candidate, who has a no track record of delivering such things, we stay home on election day. Trump can have it, because it won't be any worse.

I don't give a damn about "social issues." Economics, health care and avoiding WWIII are what motivates my votes, and I think more and more people are going to vote the same way.

drumlin woodchuckles , February 1, 2019 at 8:56 pm

Good point about Populist versus StormTrumper. ( And by the way, I said StormTRUMper, not StormTROOper). I wasn't thinking of the Populists. I was thinking of the neo-etc. vandals and arsonists who want us to invade Venezuela, leave the JCPOA with Iran, etc. Those are the people who will finally drive the other-country governments into creating their own parallel payment systems, etc.

And the midpoint of those efforts will leave wreckage and rubble for us to crawl up out of. But we will have a chance to crawl up out of it.

My reason for voting for Trump was mainly to stop the Evil Clinton from getting elected and to reduce the chance of near immediate thermonuclear war with Russia and to save the Assad regime in Syria from Clintonian overthrow and replacement with an Islamic Emirate of Jihadistan.

Much of what will be attempted " in Trump's name" will be de-regulationism of all kinds delivered by the sorts of basic Republicans selected for the various agencies and departments by Pence and Moore and the Koch Brothers. I doubt the Populist Voters wanted the Koch-Pence agenda. But that was a risky tradeoff in return for keeping Clinton out of office.

The only Dems who would seek what you want are Sanders or maybe Gabbard or just barely Warren. The others would all be Clinton or Obama all over again.

Quanka , February 1, 2019 at 8:29 am

I couldn't really find any details about the new INSTEX system – have you got any good links to brush up on? I know they made an announcement yesterday but how long until the new payment system is operational?

The Rev Kev , February 1, 2019 at 8:43 am

Here is a bit more info on it but Trump is already threatening Europe if they use it. That should cause them to respect him more:

https://www.dw.com/en/instex-europe-sets-up-transactions-channel-with-iran/a-47303580

LP , February 1, 2019 at 9:14 am

The NYT and other have coverage.

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.nytimes.com/2019/01/31/world/europe/europe-trade-iran-nuclear-deal.amp.html

Louis Fyne , February 1, 2019 at 8:37 am

arguably wouldn't it be better if for USD hegemony to be dismantled? A strong USD hurts US exports, subsidizes American consumption (by making commodities cheaper in relative terms), makes international trade (aka a 8,000-mile+ supply chain) easier.

For the sake of the environment, you want less of all three. Though obviously I don't like the idea of expensive gasoline, natural gas or tube socks either.

Mel , February 1, 2019 at 9:18 am

It would be good for Americans, but the wrong kind of Americans. For the Americans that would populate the Global Executive Suite, a strong US$ means that the stipends they would pay would be worth more to the lackeys, and command more influence.

Dumping the industrial base really ruined things. America is now in a position where it can shout orders, and drop bombs, but doesn't have the capacity to do anything helpful. They have to give up being what Toynbee called a creative minority, and settle for being a dominant minority.

integer , February 1, 2019 at 8:43 am

Having watched the 2016 election closely from afar, I was left with the impression that many of the swing voters who cast their vote for Trump did so under the assumption that he would act as a catalyst for systemic change.

What this change would consist of, and how it would manifest, remained an open question. Would he pursue rapprochement with Russia and pull troops out of the Middle East as he claimed to want to do during his 2016 campaign, would he doggedly pursue corruption charges against Clinton and attempt to reform the FBI and CIA, or would he do both, neither, or something else entirely?

Now we know. He has ripped the already transparent mask of altruism off what is referred to as the U.S.-led liberal international order and revealed its true nature for all to see, and has managed to do it in spite of the liberal international establishment desperately trying to hold it in place in the hope of effecting a seamless post-Trump return to what they refer to as "norms". Interesting times.

James , February 1, 2019 at 10:34 am

Exactly. He hasn't exactly lived up to advanced billing so far in all respects, but I suspect there's great deal of skulduggery going on behind the scenes that has prevented that. Whether or not he ever had or has a coherent plan for the havoc he has wrought, he has certainly been the agent for change many of us hoped he would be, in stark contrast to the criminal duopoly parties who continue to oppose him, where the daily no news is always bad news all the same. To paraphrase the infamous Rummy, you don't go to war with the change agent and policies you wished you had, you go to war with the ones you have. That might be the best thing we can say about Trump after the historic dust of his administration finally settles.

drumlin woodchuckles , February 1, 2019 at 2:39 pm

Look on some bright sides. Here is just one bright side to look on. President Trump has delayed and denied the Clinton Plan to topple Assad just long enough that Russia has been able to help Assad preserve legitimate government in most of Syria and defeat the Clinton's-choice jihadis.

That is a positive good. Unless you are pro-jihadi.

integer , February 1, 2019 at 8:09 pm

Clinton wasn't going to "benefit the greater good" either, and a very strong argument, based on her past behavior, can be made that she represented the greater threat. Given that the choice was between her and Trump, I think voters made the right decision.

Stephen Gardner , February 1, 2019 at 9:02 am

Excellent article but I believe the expression is "cui bono": who benefits.

hemeantwell , February 1, 2019 at 9:09 am

Hudson's done us a service in pulling these threads together. I'd missed the threats against the ICC judges. One question: is it possible for INSTEX-like arrangements to function secretly? What is to be gained by announcing them publicly and drawing the expected attacks? Does that help sharpen conflicts, and to what end?

Oregoncharles , February 1, 2019 at 3:23 pm

Maybe they're done in secret already – who knows? The point of doing it publicly is to make a foreign-policy impact, in this case withdrawing power from the US. It's a Declaration of Independence.

whine country , February 1, 2019 at 9:15 am

It certainly seems as though the 90 percent (plus) are an afterthought in this journey to who knows where? Like George C.Scott said while playing Patton, "The whole world at economic war and I'm not part of it. God will not let this happen." Looks like we're on the Brexit track (without the vote). The elite argue with themselves and we just sit and watch. It appears to me that the elite just do not have the ability to contemplate things beyond their own narrow self interest. We are all deplorables now.

a different chris , February 1, 2019 at 9:30 am

Unfortunately this

The end of America's unchallenged global economic dominance has arrived sooner than expected

Is not supported by this (or really the rest of the article). The past tense here, for example, is unwarranted:

At the United Nations, U.S. diplomats insisted on veto power. At the World Bank and IMF they also made sure that their equity share was large enough to give them veto power over any loan or other policy.

And this

So last year, Germany finally got up the courage to ask that some of its gold be flown back to Germany. Germany agreed to slow down the transfer.

Doesn't show Germany as breaking free at all, and worse it is followed by the pregnant

But then came Venezuela.

Yet we find out that Venezuela didn't managed to do what they wanted to do, the Europeans, the Turks, etc bent over yet again. Nothing to see here, actually.

So what I'm saying is he didn't make his point. I wish it were true. But a bit of grumbling and (a tiny amount of) foot-dragging by some pygmy leaders (Merkel) does not signal a global change.

orange cats , February 1, 2019 at 11:22 am

"So what I'm saying is he didn't make his point. I wish it were true. But a bit of grumbling and (a tiny amount of) foot-dragging by some pygmy leaders (Merkel) does not signal a global change."

I'm surprised more people aren't recognizing this. I read the article waiting in vain for some evidence of "the end of our monetary imperialism" besides some 'grumbling and foot dragging' as you aptly put it. There was some glimmer of a buried lede with INTEX, created to get around U.S. sanctions against Iran ─ hardly a 'dam-breaking'. Washington is on record as being annoyed.

OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL , February 1, 2019 at 1:41 pm

Currency regime change can take decades, and small percentage differences are enormous because of the flows involved. USD as reserve for 61% of global sovereigns versus 64% 15 years ago is a massive move. World bond market flows are 10X the size of world stock market flows even though the price of the Dow and Facebook shares etc get all of the headlines.

And foreign exchange flows are 10-50X the flows of bond markets, they're currently on the order of $5 *trillion* per day. And since forex is almost completely unregulated it's quite difficult to get the data and spot reserve currency trends. Oh, and buy gold. It's the only currency that requires no counterparty and is no one's debt obligation.

orange cats , February 1, 2019 at 3:47 pm

That's not what Hudson claims in his swaggering final sentence:

"The end of our monetary imperialism, about which I first wrote in 1972 in Super Imperialism, stuns even an informed observer like me."

Which is risible as not only did he fail to show anything of the kind, his opening sentence stated a completely different reality: "The end of America's unchallenged global economic dominance has arrived sooner than expected" So if we hold him to his first declaration, his evidence is feeble, as I mentioned. As a scholar, his hyperbole is untrustworthy.

No, gold is pretty enough lying on the bosom of a lady-friend but that's about its only usefulness in the real world.

skippy , February 1, 2019 at 8:09 pm

Always bemusing that gold bugs never talk about gold being in a bubble . yet when it goes south of its purchase price speak in tongues about ev'bal forces.

timbers , February 1, 2019 at 12:26 pm

I don't agree, and do agree. The distinction is this:

  • Will the USD lose reserve currency soon? Probably no. And that is where I agree with you that the elites will fight to save USD as reserve currency.
  • Will USD lose it's hegemony? Probably yes, and I don't think the U.S., The Empire, or the elites can stop that.

If you fix a few of Hudson's errors, and take him as making the point that USD is losing it's hegemony, IMO he is basically correct.

Brian (another one they call) , February 1, 2019 at 9:56 am

thanks Mr. Hudson. One has to wonder what has happened when the government (for decades) has been shown to be morally and otherwise corrupt and self serving. It doesn't seem to bother anyone but the people, and precious few of them. Was it our financial and legal bankruptcy that sent us over the cliff?

Steven , February 1, 2019 at 10:23 am

Great stuff!

Indeed! It is to say the least encouraging to see Dr. Hudson return so forcefully to the theme of 'monetary imperialism'. I discovered his Super Imperialism while looking for an explanation for the pending 2003 US invasion of Iraq. If you haven't read it yet, move it to the top of your queue if you want to have any idea of how the world really works. You can find any number of articles on his web site that return periodically to the theme of monetary imperialism. I remember one in particular that described how the rest of the world was brought on board to help pay for its good old-fashioned military imperialism.

If it isn't clear to the rest of the world by now, it never will be. The US is incapable of changing on its own a corrupt status quo dominated by a coalition of its military industrial complex, Wall Street bankers and fossil fuels industries. As long as the world continues to chase the debt created on the keyboards of Wall Street banks and 'deficits don't matter' Washington neocons – as long as the world's 1% think they are getting 'richer' by adding more "debts that can't be repaid (and) won't be" to their portfolios, the global economy can never be put on a sustainable footing.

Until the US returns to the path of genuine wealth creation, it is past time for the rest of the world to go its own way with its banking and financial institutions.

Oh , February 1, 2019 at 3:52 pm

The use of the stick will only go so far. What's the USG going to do if they refuse?

Summer , February 1, 2019 at 10:46 am

In other words, after 2 World Wars that produced the current world order, it is still in a state of insanity with the same pretensions to superiority by the same people, to get number 3.

Yikes , February 1, 2019 at 12:07 pm

UK withholding Gold may start another Brexit? IE: funds/gold held by BOE for other countries in Africa, Asian, South America, and the "stans" with start to depart, slowly at first, perhaps for Switzerland?

Ian Perkins , February 1, 2019 at 12:21 pm

Where is the left in all this? Pretty much the same place as Michael Hudson, I'd say. Where is the US Democratic Party in all this? Quite a different question, and quite a different answer. So far as I can see, the Democrats for years have bombed, invaded and plundered other countries 'for their own good'. Republicans do it 'for the good of America', by which the ignoramuses mean the USA. If you're on the receiving end, it doesn't make much difference.

Michael A Gualario , February 1, 2019 at 12:49 pm

Agreed! South America intervention and regime change, Syria ( Trump is pulling out), Iraq, Middle East meddling, all predate Trump. Bush, Clinton and Obama have nothing to do with any of this.

Oregoncharles , February 1, 2019 at 2:12 pm

" So last year, Germany finally got up the courage to ask that some of its gold be flown back to Germany. "

What proof is there that the gold is still there? Chances are it's notional. All Germany, Venezuela, or the others have is an IOU – and gold cannot be printed. Incidentally, this whole discussion means that gold is still money and the gold standard still exists.

Oregoncharles , February 1, 2019 at 3:41 pm

Wukchumni beat me to the suspicion that the gold isn't there.

The Rev Kev , February 1, 2019 at 7:40 pm

What makes you think that the gold in Fort Knox is still there? If I remember right, there was a Potemkin visit back in the 70s to assure everyone that the gold was still there but not since then. Wait, I tell a lie. There was another visit about two years ago but look who was involved in that visit-

https://www.whas11.com/article/news/local/after-40-years-fort-knox-opens-vault-to-civilians/466441331

And I should mention that it was in the 90s that between 1.3 and 1.5 million 400 oz tungsten blanks were manufactured in the US under Clinton. Since then gold-coated tungsten bars have turned up in places like Germany, China, Ethiopia, the UK, etc so who is to say if those gold bars in Fort Knox are gold all the way through either. More on this at -- http://viewzone2.com/fakegoldx.html

Summer , February 1, 2019 at 5:44 pm

A non-accountable standard. It's more obvious BS than what is going on now.

jochen , February 2, 2019 at 6:46 am

It wasn't last year that Germany brought back its Gold. It has been ongoing since 2013, after some political and popular pressure build up. They finished the transaction in 2017. According to an article in Handelblatt (but it was widely reported back then) they brought back pretty much everything they had in Paris (347t), left what they had in London (perhaps they should have done it in reverse) and took home another 300t from the NY Fed. That still leaves 1236t in NY. But half of their Gold (1710t) is now in Frankfurt. That is 50% of the Bundesbanks holdings.

They made a point in saying that every bar was checked and weighed and presented some bars in Frankfurt. I guess they didn't melt them for assaying, but I'd expect them to be smart enough to check the density.

Their reason to keep Gold in NY and London is to quickly buy USD in case of a crisis. That's pretty much a cold war plan, but that's what they do right now.

Regarding Michal Hudsons piece, I enjoyed reading through this one. He tends to write ridiculously long articles and in the last few years with less time and motivation at hand I've skipped most of his texts on NC as they just drag on.

When I'm truly fascinated I like well written, long articles but somehow he lost me at some point. But I noticed that some long original articles in US magazines, probably research for a long time by the journalist, can just drag on for ever as well I just tune out.

Susan the Other , February 1, 2019 at 2:19 pm

This is making sense. I would guess that tearing up the old system is totally deliberate. It wasn't working so well for us because we had to practice too much social austerity, which we have tried to impose on the EU as well, just to stabilize "king dollar" – otherwise spread so thin it was a pending catastrophe.

Now we can get out from under being the reserve currency – the currency that maintains its value by financial manipulation and military bullying domestic deprivation. To replace this old power trip we are now going to mainline oil. The dollar will become a true petro dollar because we are going to commandeer every oil resource not already nailed down.

When we partnered with SA in Aramco and the then petro dollar the dollar was only backed by our military. If we start monopolizing oil, the actual commodity, the dollar will be an apex competitor currency without all the foreign military obligations which will allow greater competitive advantages.

No? I'm looking at PdVSA, PEMEX and the new "Energy Hub for the Eastern Mediterranean" and other places not yet made public. It looks like a power play to me, not a hapless goofball president at all.

skippy , February 2, 2019 at 2:44 am

So sand people with sociological attachment to the OT is a compelling argument based on antiquarian preferences with authoritarian patriarchal tendencies for their non renewable resource . after I might add it was deemed a strategic concern after WWII .

Considering the broader geopolitical realities I would drain all the gold reserves to zero if it was on offer . here natives have some shiny beads for allowing us to resource extract we call this a good trade you maximize your utility as I do mine .

Hay its like not having to run C-corp compounds with western 60s – 70s esthetics and letting the locals play serf, blow back pay back, and now the installed local chiefs can own the risk and refocus the attention away from the real antagonists.

ChrisAtRU , February 1, 2019 at 6:02 pm

Indeed. Thanks so much for this. Maybe the RICS will get serious now – can no longer include Brazil with Bolsonaro. There needs to be an alternate system or systems in place, and to see US Imperialism so so blatantly and bluntly by Trump admin – "US gives Juan Guaido control over some Venezuelan assets" – should sound sirens on every continent and especially in the developing world. I too hope there will be fracture to the point of breakage. Countries of the world outside the US/EU/UK/Canada/Australia confraternity must now unite to provide a permanent framework outside the control of imperial interests. The be clear, this must not default to alternative forms of imperialism germinating by the likes of China.

mikef , February 1, 2019 at 6:07 pm

" such criticism can't begin to take in the full scope of the damage the Trump White House is inflicting on the system of global power Washington built and carefully maintained over those 70 years. Indeed, American leaders have been on top of the world for so long that they no longer remember how they got there.

Few among Washington's foreign policy elite seem to fully grasp the complex system that made U.S. global power what it now is, particularly its all-important geopolitical foundations. As Trump travels the globe, tweeting and trashing away, he's inadvertently showing us the essential structure of that power, the same way a devastating wildfire leaves the steel beams of a ruined building standing starkly above the smoking rubble."

http://www.tomdispatch.com/blog/176373/tomgram%3A_alfred_mccoy%2C_tweeting_while_rome_burns

Rajesh K , February 1, 2019 at 7:23 pm

I read something like this and I am like, some of these statements need to be qualified. Like: "Driving China and Russia together". Like where's the proof? Is Xi playing telephone games more often now with Putin? I look at those two and all I see are two egocentric people who might sometimes say the right things but in general do not like the share the spotlight. Let's say they get together to face America and for some reason the later gets "defeated", it's not as if they'll kumbaya together into the night.

This website often points out the difficulties in implementing new banking IT initiatives. Ok, so Europe has a new "payment system". Has it been tested thoroughly? I would expect a couple of weeks or even months of chaos if it's not been tested, and if it's thorough that probably just means that it's in use right i.e. all the kinks have been worked out. In that case the transition is already happening anyway. But then the next crisis arrives and then everyone would need their dollar swap lines again which probably needs to cleared through SWIFT or something.

Anyway, does this all mean that one day we'll wake up and a slice of bacon is 50 bucks as opposed to the usual 1 dollar?

Keith Newman , February 2, 2019 at 1:12 am

Driving Russia and China together is correct. I recall them signing a variety of economic and military agreement a few years ago. It was covered in the media. You should at least google an issue before making silly comments. You might start with the report of Russia and China signing 30 cooperation agreements three years ago. See https://www.rbth.com/international/2016/06/27/russia-china-sign-30-cooperation-agreements_606505 . There are lots and lots of others.

RBHoughton , February 1, 2019 at 9:16 pm

He's draining the swamp in an unpredicted way, a swamp that's founded on the money interest. I don't care what NYT and WaPo have to say, they are not reporting events but promoting agendas.

skippy , February 2, 2019 at 1:11 am

The financial elites are only concerned about shaping society as they see fit, side of self serving is just a historical foot note, Trumps past indicates a strong preference for even more of the same through authoritarian memes or have some missed the OT WH reference to dawg both choosing and then compelling him to run.

Whilst the far right factions fight over the rudder the only new game in town is AOC, Sanders, Warren, et al which Trumps supporters hate with Ideological purity.

/lasse , February 2, 2019 at 7:50 am

Highly doubt Trump is a "witting agent", most likely is that he is just as ignorant as he almost daily shows on twitter. On US role in global affairs he says the same today as he did as a media celebrity in the late 80s. Simplistic household "logics" on macroeconomics. If US have trade deficit it loses. Countries with surplus are the winners.

On a household level it fits, but there no "loser" household that in infinity can print money that the "winners" can accumulate in exchange for their resources and fruits of labor.

One wonder what are Trumps idea of US being a winner in trade (surplus)? I.e. sending away their resources and fruits of labor overseas in exchange for what? A pile of USD? That US in the first place created out of thin air. Or Chinese Yuan, Euros, Turkish liras? Also fiat-money. Or does he think US trade surplus should be paid in gold?

When the US political and economic hegemony will unravel it will come "unexpected". Trump for sure are undermining it with his megalomaniac ignorance. But not sure it's imminent.

Anyhow frightening, the US hegemony have its severe dark sides. But there is absolutely nothing better on the horizon, a crash will throw the world in turmoil for decades or even a century. A lot of bad forces will see their chance to elevate their influence. There will be fierce competition to fill the gap.

On could the insane economic model of EU/Germany being on top of global affairs, a horribly frightening thought. Misery and austerity for all globally, a permanent recession. Probably not much better with the Chinese on top. I'll take the USD hegemony any day compared to that prospect.

Sound of the Suburbs , February 2, 2019 at 10:26 am

Former US ambassador, Chas Freeman, gets to the nub of the problem. "The US preference for governance by elected and appointed officials, uncontaminated by experience in statecraft and diplomacy, or knowledge of geography, history and foreign affairs" https://www.youtube.com/watch?annotation_id=annotation_882041135&feature=iv&src_vid=Ge1ozuXN7iI&v=gkf2MQdqz-o

Sound of the Suburbs , February 2, 2019 at 10:29 am

When the delusion takes hold, it is the beginning of the end.

The British Empire will last forever
The thousand year Reich
American exceptionalism

As soon as the bankers thought they thought they were "Master of the Universe" you knew 2008 was coming. The delusion had taken hold.

Sound of the Suburbs , February 2, 2019 at 10:45 am

Michael Hudson, in Super Imperialism, went into how the US could just create the money to run a large trade deficit with the rest of the world. It would get all these imports effectively for nothing, the US's exorbitant privilege. I tied this in with this graph from MMT.

This is the US (46.30 mins.) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ba8XdDqZ-Jg

The trade deficit required a large Government deficit to cover it and the US government could just create the money to cover it.

Then ideological neoliberals came in wanting balanced budgets and not realising the Government deficit covered the trade deficit.

The US has been destabilising its own economy by reducing the Government deficit. Bill Clinton didn't realize a Government surplus is an indicator a financial crisis is about to hit. The last US Government surplus occurred in 1927 – 1930, they go hand-in-hand with financial crises.

Richard Koo shows the graph central bankers use and it's the flow of funds within the economy, which sums to zero (32-34 mins.).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8YTyJzmiHGk

The Government was running a surplus as the economy blew up in the early 1990s. It's the positive and negative, zero sum, nature of the monetary system. A big trade deficit needs a big Government deficit to cover it. A big trade deficit, with a balanced budget, drives the private sector into debt and blows up the economy.

skippy , February 2, 2019 at 5:28 pm

It should be remembered Bill Clinton's early meeting with Rubin, where in he was informed that wages and productivity had diverged – Rubin did not blink an eye.

[Jun 20, 2019] Frustrated Donald Trump 'Chewed Out' Staff for Failed Venezuela Coup, Thought His Officials 'Got Played' Report

Jun 20, 2019 | www.newsweek.com

However, when virtually no one in the upper circles of power in Caracas ended up backing Guaidó, Trump thought that his national security adviser John Bolton and his director for Latin American policy, Mauricio Claver-Carone, "got played" by the opposition and key Maduro officials, The Post reported.

Two senior White House officials told The Post that the president "chewed out the staff" after the failure on April 30 to shift Maduro from power and that now Trump's administration has no fixed strategy to remove him.

Trump had "always thought of" Venezuela "as low-hanging fruit" on which he "could get a win and tout it as a major foreign policy victory," the former official said. "Five or six months later . . . it's not coming together," the unnamed official added.

However, this was rejected by National Security Council spokesman Garrett Marquis who described the official's claims as, "patently false."

[Jun 09, 2019] Trump's Venezuela Hallucination The American Conservative

Jun 09, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Trump was eager to boast about Moscow's withdrawal of its troops from Venezuela, but it turned out that he or someone else in the administration just made it up:

The Kremlin said on Tuesday it didn't know where U.S. President Donald Trump had got the idea Moscow had removed most of its military specialists from Venezuela, who it said continued to work there.

Trump tweeted on Monday that Russia had told the United States it had removed "most of their people" from Venezuela, where Moscow has maintained close military and economic ties with socialist President Nicolas Maduro.

Trump's Venezuela policy is a shambles, and Russia previously brushed off his ultimatum to remove their forces from the country. It isn't surprising that he would try to spin any development in his favor, but in this case it seems that he just invented something out of thin air so that his Venezuela policy wouldn't look quite so feckless. He has no genuine successes that he can talk about, so he has to have pretend victories instead. The original tweet is still up:

Claiming that "Russia informed" him of this thing that didn't happen makes it even sillier, because it immediately prompted the Russian government to announce that they couldn't have informed Trump about something that hadn't occurred. Now that Russia has corrected the record, the president looks even more ridiculous than usual.

This episode isn't that important by itself, but it shows how easily Trump can be convinced of the reality of things that haven't happened and how readily he will accept any story, no matter how unfounded it may be, if it flatters him and bolsters his agenda. That makes him unusually easy to manipulate and provoke, and it makes him an exceptionally easy mark for misinformation. That puts the president's decision-making completely at the mercy of the advisers that control what he sees and hears.


Collin, says: June 4, 2019 at 3:30 pm

that his Venezuela policy wouldn't look quite so feckless.

Not a Trump fan, but is Trump's Venezuela policy feckless? Or just Trump somehow understands that it is not our problem and/or military intervention is just a bad investment. For the life of me, I don't understand why Russia desires to part of the Venezuelan mess, but most of their interference is minimal in nature and really has little impact on the situation. I get the Bay Of Bolton was half assed coup that probably did more damage to Guaido chances for new elections. (Guaido is being painted as the Trump Imperialism candidate which is not popular.)

The big question is why this is not China's problem? At this point, Venezuela is completely with them.

EliteCommInc. , says: June 4, 2019 at 3:42 pm
"That puts the president's decision-making completely at the mercy of the advisers that control what he sees and hears."

Hmmmm . . . hard to challenge that.

rayray , says: June 4, 2019 at 3:51 pm
White House staff may have just taken Putin's name off the ship to make Trump feel better.
SteveM , says: June 4, 2019 at 4:01 pm
Re: "Trump's Venezuela policy is a shambles, and Russia previously brushed off his ultimatum to remove their forces from the country."

Agree. But the larger subtext is that the U.S. now has zero credibility with anything . The assumption by every country on the planet has to be that the U.S. word is not worth squat.

Fat Pompeo with his big mouth, "We lie, cheat and steal" mind-dump says it all. The Russians are anything but saints, but they knew that the U.S. planned on having Russia ejected from its Crimean Naval Base in Sevastopol after the coup that Nitwit Nuland and her barrel of CIA monkeys engineered.

Similarly, the Russians know that if/when the U.S. puts sock puppet Guaido in power, they will ensure he stiffs the Russians out of all of their claims and assets in Venezuela.

The Russians don't want to wrestle with the Gorilla, but they have no other choice.

Myron K Hudson , says: June 4, 2019 at 6:14 pm
This new normal is frightening. The man has a tenuous grip on reality at best. Those profiting by it maintain that the Emperor has clothes.
Clyde Schechter , says: June 4, 2019 at 7:11 pm
Given the way the dealings with North Korea have gone, I expect that Trump will soon be announcing that Kim Jong-Un has destroyed all his nuclear weapons and pledged not to build any more. Needless to say, it will not have happened.

But, as they say, fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice shame on me. The question really becomes why so many of Trump's followers continue to believe everything he says when he lies so blatantly so often.

Carnie Barquer , says: June 4, 2019 at 8:10 pm
"That puts the president's decision-making completely at the mercy of the advisers that control what he sees and hears. "

And what a bunch those "advisers" are! Wackjobs, liars, convicted criminals, foreign agents and some are more than one of those things!

Mark Thomason , says: June 5, 2019 at 8:25 am
My guess is that Bolton lied to Trump, in order to make himself look better to Trump when pressed on his failures.

By the time that is known, events will have moved on so far even Trump doesn't care.

Kent , says: June 5, 2019 at 8:25 am
@Clyde Schechter,

"The question really becomes why so many of Trump's followers continue to believe everything he says when he lies so blatantly so often."

I don't know that they do. I tend to think that they just hate what has happened to the country since Reagan and Clinton so much that they just want Trump to keep bashing Congress over the head, even with stupidity.

Not to mention that humans have an innate exploitable weakness: the desire to transfer someone else's perceived greatness on to themselves. Hence the inclination of sports fans and adoration of the military.

So "Team America" is great, therefore I am great, and Trump represents us, therefore Trump is great.

Bannerman , says: June 5, 2019 at 1:45 pm
One should not wish ill on any other human being, even though i have contemplated several slapstick scenarios involving certain politicians, however

Donald Trump is in the process of discovering that one cannot ignore Reality, since it Bites, that live is not a reality TV show (the most unreal thing on television), and that chickens do indeed come home to roost.

Unfortunately, it's been a difficult learning curve, and pathetic boasts to the contrary, he has managed to turn both the Conservative Movement and the Republican Party into a pile of smoking rubble.

It conservatism can be rebuilt in a score of years, it would be a miracle. More like, a generation.

Kevin Zeese , says: June 7, 2019 at 11:04 am
Trump's Venezuelan policy is a series of hallucination's. This article just describes the most recent. It begins with the hallucination that Maduro is a dictator, when in reality he won an election in May 2018 with 67% of the vote in an election that more than 150 international election observers unanimously agreed met all international standards for democratic elections. It follows with the hallucination that the Venezuelan military would join the US in rising up against their elected president rather than support the constitutional government. It continues with the hallucination that the people of Venezuela would join a US-inspired coup against the president they had just re-elected rather than join a 2 million person plus civilian militia to defend against a US attack. And, it continues with the hallucination that Juan Guaido is the interim president when his self-appointment violated the Venezuelan Constitution and the United Nations and Venezuelan law recognize Nicolas Maduro as the legitimate president of Venezuela.

The antidote of these ongoing hallucinatory experiences is for Trump to no longer trust his advisors and end the US coup attempt, which has already failed multiple times in Venezuela. John Bolton, Mike Pompeo, and Elliot Abrams have made Trump see hallucinations that are complete falsehoods. They have led the president into an embarrassing trap that he now needs to get out of. They have made Trump look like a fool.

It is time for Trump to take steps to normalize relations with Venezuela. That begins with a mutual Protecting Power Agreement between the US and Venezuela for Switzerland to be a Protecting Power of the US Embassy in Caracas and Turkey to be a Protecting of the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington, DC. Following from that the US and Venezuela should negotiate the sale of Venezuelan resources, primarily oil, in return for the end of the illegal unilateral coercive measures (inaccurately called sanctions) against Venezuela. Negotiating with Venezuela will be less expensive than a war that will become a quagmire that will end in failure after costing more than $1 trillion and causing chaos in the region. Then, Trump and Maduro should meet to chart a course that begins with mutual respect for the independence and sovereignty of each nation and then determines where the two nations interests are consistent with each other. It is time to leave the hallucinations behind and come back to reality.

delia ruhe , says: June 7, 2019 at 11:49 am
The ease with which Trump is manipulated and provoked can be added to the explanation of why Bibi is now in possession of Jerusalem and war against Iran is a high probability. That should terrify Americans.

[May 31, 2019] Venezuela Oil Exports Slump to a 28-Year Low

Notable quotes:
"... The shipments to Cuba and Russia and possibly a few others just aren't enough. Remember that Venezuela's population in 1989 was 19.3 million while today it is 32.7 million. And back then that nation didn't have to cope with smothering economic sanctions of every kind along with the physical attacks and sabotage of infrastructure. ..."
"... I believe Russia buys oil from Venezuela. US refiners then buy oil from Russia to replace the Venezuelan oil. ..."
May 31, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Zachary Smith , May 30, 2019 5:34:17 PM | 24

@ Peter AU 1 | May 30, 2019 3:58:45 PM #15

Venezuela oil exports seem to be imploding. Headline:

Venezuela Oil Exports Slump to a 28-Year Low
By Lucia Kassai January 2, 2019

More recent:

Shipping data shows that imports of fuel and diluents necessary to make Venezuela's extra heavy crude refinable have dropped to 86,000 b/d in the first part of May from 225,000 b/d for April. Fuel rationing is being overseen by the military as shortages begin to bite deeper. As local crude oil production continues to fall, and refineries operate much below capacity, the lines at gas stations outside of the capital are now miles long.

The shipments to Cuba and Russia and possibly a few others just aren't enough. Remember that Venezuela's population in 1989 was 19.3 million while today it is 32.7 million. And back then that nation didn't have to cope with smothering economic sanctions of every kind along with the physical attacks and sabotage of infrastructure.

Peter AU 1 , May 30, 2019 3:58:45 PM | 14

@Zachary Smith

I believe Russia buys oil from Venezuela. US refiners then buy oil from Russia to replace the Venezuelan oil.

Colin , May 30, 2019 6:40:47 PM | 27

Regarding where the US is getting crude from, some may still be coming from Venezuela directly

https://oilprice.com/Latest-Energy-News/World-News/US-Imports-Of-Venezuelan-Oil-Still-Trickling-In.html

Colin , May 30, 2019 6:47:17 PM | 29

... and a worthwhile analysis of the causes of the Venezuelan economic collapse (including a lot of analysis of their oil export industry) from Francisco Rodriguez who Mark Weisbrot (from the 40k deaths report with Jeffrey Sachs) says knows more about the Venezuelan economy than anyone in the world (although he is a critic of Chavez and Maduro).

https://venezuelablog.org/crude-realities-understanding-venezuelas-economic-collapse/

Peter AU 1 , May 30, 2019 11:22:31 PM | 47

Zachary Smith

A number of ships that were to take refined fuel and food to Venezuela were sabotaged while in port.

Some different takes on it.

[May 13, 2019] Crappy little countries

This was true about Iraq war. This is true about Venezuela and Syria.
Notable quotes:
"... In a rather odd article in the London Review of Books , Perry Anderson argued that there wasn't, and wondered aloud why the U.S. war on Iraq had excited such unprecedented worldwide opposition - even, in all places, within the U.S. - when earlier episodes of imperial violence hadn't. ..."
"... Lots of people, in the U.S. and abroad, recognize that and are alarmed. And lots also recognize that the Bush regime represents an intensification of imperial ambition. ..."
"... Why? The answers aren't self-evident. Certainly the war on Iraq had little to do with its public justifications. Iraq was clearly a threat to no one, and the weapons of mass destruction have proved elusive. The war did nothing for the fight against terrorism. Only ideologues believe that Baghdad had anything to do with al Qaeda - and if the Bush administration were really worried about "homeland security," it'd be funding the defense of ports, nuclear reactors, and chemical plants rather than starting imperial wars and alienating people by the billions. Sure, Saddam's regime was monstrous - which is one of the reasons Washington supported it up until the invasion of Kuwait. The Ba'ath Party loved to kill Communists - as many as 150,000 according to some estimates - and the CIA's relationship with Saddam goes back to 1959 . ..."
"... Iraq has lots of oil , and there's little doubt that that's why it was at the first pole of the axis of evil to get hit. (Iran does too, but it's a much tougher nut to crack - four times as big, and not weakened by war and sanctions.) ..."
Apr 30, 2003 | www.leftbusinessobserver.com

Every ten years or so, the United States needs to pick up some small c rappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show the world we mean business.
- Michael Ledeen , holder of the Freedom Chair at the American Enterprise Institute

Actually, the U.S. had been beating Iraq's head against the wall for a dozen years, with sanctions and bombing. The sanctions alone killed over a million Iraqis, far more than have been done in by weapons of mass destruction throughout history. But Ledeen's indiscreet remark, delivered at an AEI conference and reported by Jonah Goldberg in National Review Online , does capture some of what the war on Iraq is about.

And what is this "business" Ledeen says we mean? Oil, of course, of which more in a bit. Ditto construction contracts for Bechtel. But it's more than that - nothing less than the desire, often expressed with little shame nor euphemism, to run the world. Is there anything new about that?

The answer is, of course, yes and no. In a rather odd article in the London Review of Books , Perry Anderson argued that there wasn't, and wondered aloud why the U.S. war on Iraq had excited such unprecedented worldwide opposition - even, in all places, within the U.S. - when earlier episodes of imperial violence hadn't. Anderson, who's edited New Left Review for years, but who has almost no connection to actual politics attributed this strange explosion not to a popular outburst of anti-imperialism, but to a cultural antipathy to the Bush administration.

Presumably that antipathy belongs to the realm of the " merely cultural ," and is of no great political significance to Anderson. But it should be. U.S. culture has long been afflicted with a brutally reactionary and self-righteous version of Christian fundamentalism, but it's never had such influence over the state. The president thinks himself on a mission from God, the Attorney General opens the business day with a prayer meeting, and the Pentagon's idea of a Good Friday service is to invite Franklin Graham , who's pronounced Islam a "wicked and evil religion," to deliver the homily, in which he promised that Jesus was returning soon. For the hard core, the Iraq war is a sign of the end times, and the hard core are in power.

Lots of people, in the U.S. and abroad, recognize that and are alarmed. And lots also recognize that the Bush regime represents an intensification of imperial ambition. Though the administration has been discreet, many of its private sector intellectuals have been using the words "imperialism" and " empire " openly and with glee. Not everyone of the millions who marched against the war in the months before it started was a conscious anti-imperialist, but they all sensed the intensification, and were further alarmed.

While itself avoiding the difficult word "empire," the Bush administration has been rather clear about its long-term aims. According to their official national security strategy and the documents published by the Project for a New American Century (which served as an administration-in-waiting during the Clinton years) their goal is to assure U.S. dominance and prevent the emergence of any rival powers. First step in that agenda is the remaking of the Middle East - and they're quite open about this as well. We all know the countries that are on the list; the only remaining issues are sequence and strategy. But that's not the whole of the agenda. They're essentially promising a permanent state of war, some overt, some covert, but one that could take decades.

Imperial returns?

Why? The answers aren't self-evident. Certainly the war on Iraq had little to do with its public justifications. Iraq was clearly a threat to no one, and the weapons of mass destruction have proved elusive. The war did nothing for the fight against terrorism. Only ideologues believe that Baghdad had anything to do with al Qaeda - and if the Bush administration were really worried about "homeland security," it'd be funding the defense of ports, nuclear reactors, and chemical plants rather than starting imperial wars and alienating people by the billions. Sure, Saddam's regime was monstrous - which is one of the reasons Washington supported it up until the invasion of Kuwait. The Ba'ath Party loved to kill Communists - as many as 150,000 according to some estimates - and the CIA's relationship with Saddam goes back to 1959 .

Iraq has lots of oil , and there's little doubt that that's why it was at the first pole of the axis of evil to get hit. (Iran does too, but it's a much tougher nut to crack - four times as big, and not weakened by war and sanctions.)

It now looks fairly certain that the U.S. will, in some form, claim some large piece of Iraq's oil. The details need to be worked out; clarifying the legal situation could be very complicated, given the rampantly illegal nature of the regime change. Rebuilding Iraq's oil industry will be very expensive and could take years. There could be some nice profits down the line for big oil companies - billions a year - but the broader economic benefits for the U.S. aren't so clear. A U.S.-dominated Iraq could pump heavily and undermine OPEC, but too low an oil price would wreck the domestic U.S. oil industry, something the Bush gang presumably cares about. Mexico would be driven into penury, which could mean another debt crisis and lots of human traffic heading north over the Rio Grande. Lower oil prices would be a boon to most industrial economies, but they'd give the U.S. no special advantage over its principal economic rivals.

It's sometimes said that U.S. dominance of the Middle East gives Washington a chokehold over oil supplies to Europe and Japan. But how might that work? Deep production cutbacks and price spikes would hurt everyone. Targeted sales restrictions would be the equivalent of acts of war, and if the U.S. is willing to take that route, a blockade would be a lot more efficient. The world oil market is gigantic and complex, and it's not clear how a tap could be turned in Kirkuk that would shut down the gas pumps in Kyoto or Milan.

Writers like David Harvey argue that the U.S. is trying to compensate for its eroding economic power by asserting its military dominance. Maybe. It's certainly fascinating that Bush's unilateralism has to be financed by gobs of foreign money - and he gets his tax cuts, he'll have to order up even bigger gobs. But it's hard to see what rival threatens the U.S. economically; neither the EU nor Japan is thriving. Nor is there any evidence that the Bush administration is thinking seriously about economic policy, domestic or international, or even thinking at all. The economic staff is mostly dim and marginal. What really seems to excite this gang of supposed conservatives is the exercise of raw state power.

Jealous rivals

And while the Bushies want to prevent the emergence of imperial rivals , they may only be encouraging that. Sure, the EU is badly divided within itself; it has a hard enough time picking a top central banker , let alone deciding on a common foreign policy. German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder is already semi-apologizing to Bush for his intemperate language in criticizing the war - not that Bush has started taking his calls. But over the longer term, some kind of political unification is Europe's only hope for acting like a remotely credible world power. It's tempting to read French and German objections to the Iraq war as emerging not from principle, but from the wounded narcissism of former imperial powers rendered marginal by American might. Separately, they'll surely hang. But a politically united Europe could, with time, come to challenge U.S. power, just as the euro is beginning to look like a credible rival to the dollar.

(Speaking of the euro, there's a theory circulating on the net that the U.S. went to war because Iraq wanted to price its oil in euros, not dollars. That's grossly overheated speculation. More on this and related issues when LBO begins an investigation of the political economy of oil in the next issue.)

An even more interesting rivalry scenario would involve an alliance of the EU and Russia. Russia is no longer the wreck it was for most of the 1990s. The economy has been growing and the mildly authoritarian Putin has imposed political stability. Russia, which has substantial oil interests in Iraq that are threatened by U.S. control, strongly opposed the war, and at least factions within the Russian intelligence agency were reportedly feeding information unfriendly to the U.S. to the website Iraqwar.ru . There's a lot recommending an EU-Russia alliance; Europe could supply technology and finance, and Russia could supply energy, and together they could constitute at least an embryonic counterweight to U.S. power.

So the U.S. may not get out of Iraq what the Bush administration is hoping for. It certainly can't want democracy in Iraq or the rest of the region, since free votes could well lead to nationalist and Islamist governments who don't view ExxonMobil as the divine agent that Bush seems to. A New York Times piece celebrated the outbreak of democracy in Basra, while conceding that the mayor is a former Iraqi admiral appointed by the British. The lead writers of the new constitution are likely to be American law professors; Iraqis, of course, aren't up to the task themselves.

Certainly the appointment of Lt. Gen. Jay M. Garner (Ret.) - one of the few superannuated brass not to have enjoyed a consulting contract with a major TV network - to be the top civilian official guiding the postwar reconstruction of Iraq speaks volumes. A retired general is barely a civilian, and Garner's most recent job was as president of SY Technology , a military contractor that worked with Israeli security in developing the Arrow antimissile system. He loves antimissile systems; after the first Gulf War, he enthused about the Patriot's performance with claims that turned out to be nonsense. He's on record as having praised Israel's handling of the intifada. If that's his model of how to handle restive subject populations, there's lots of trouble ahead.

lightness

In the early days of the war, when things weren't going so well for the "coalition," it was said that the force was too light. But after the sandstorm cleared and the snipers were mowed down, that alleged lightness became a widely praised virtue. But that force was light only by American standards: 300,000 troops; an endless rain of Tomahawks, JDAMs, and MOABs; thousands of vehicles, from Humvees to Abrams tanks; hundreds of aircraft, from Apaches to B-1s; several flotillas of naval support - and enormous quantities of expensive petroleum products. It takes five gallons of fuel just to start an Abrams tank, and after that it gets a mile per gallon. And filling one up is no bargain. Though the military buys fuel at a wholesale price of 84¢ a gallon, after all the expenses of getting it to the front lines are added in, the final cost is about $150 a gallon. That's a steal compared to Afghanistan, where fuel is helicoptered in, pushing the cost to $600/gallon. Rummy's "lightness" is of the sort that only a $10 trillion economy can afford.

The Bush gang doesn't even try to keep up appearances, handing out contracts for Iraq's reconstruction to U.S. firms even before the shooting stopped, and guarding only the oil and interior ministries against looters. If Washington gets its way, Iraq will be rebuilt according to the fondest dreams of the Heritage Foundation staff, with the educational system reworked by an American contractor, the TV programmed by the Pentagon, the ports run by a rabidly antiunion firm, the police run by the Texas-based military contractor Dyncorp , and the oil taken out of state hands and appropriately privatized.

That's the way they'd like it to be. But the sailing may not be so smooth. It looks like Iraqis are viewing the Americans as occupiers, not liberators. It's going to be hard enough to remake Iraq that taking on Syria or Iran may be a bit premature. But that doesn't mean they won't try. It's a cliché of trade negotiations that liberalization is like riding a bicycle - you have to keep riding forward or else you'll fall over. The same could be said of an imperial agenda: if you want to remake the world, or a big chunk of it, there's little time to pause and catch your breath, since doubt or opposition could gain the upper hand. Which makes stoking that opposition more urgent than ever.

Losing it all

There's a feeling around that Bush is now politically invulnerable . Certainly the atmosphere is one of almost coercive patriotism. That mood was nicely illustrated by an incident in Houston in mid-March. A teenager attending a rodeo failed to stand along with the rest of the crowd during a playing of Lee Greenwood's "Proud to be an American," a dreadful country song that has become a kind of private-sector national anthem for the yahoo demographic, thanks to its truculent unthinking jingoism. A patriot standing behind the defiantly seated teen started taunting him, tugging on his ear as an additional provocation. The two ended up in a fight, and then under arrest.

There's a lot of that going around, for sure. Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins get disinvited from events, websites nominate traitors for trial by military tribunal, and talk radio hosts organize CD-smashings. But things aren't hopeless. A close analysis of Greenwood's text might suggest why. The song's core argument is contained in its two most famous lines: "I'm proud to be an American/where at least I know I'm free." But the oft-overlooked opening reads: "If tomorrow all the things were gone/I'd worked for all my life," the singer would still be a grateful patriot. That's precisely the condition lots of Americans find themselves in. More than two million jobs have disappeared in the last two years. Millions of Americans have seen their retirement savings wiped out by the bear market, and over a million filed for bankruptcy last year. Most states and cities are experiencing their worst fiscal crises since the 1930s, with massive service cuts and layoffs imminent. In the song, such loss doesn't matter, but reality is often less accommodating than a song.

As the nearby graphs show, W's ratings are much lower than his father's at the end of Gulf War I, and his disapproval ratings much higher. Their theocratic and repressive agenda is deeply unpopular with large parts of the U.S. population. Spending scores of billions on destroying and rebuilding Iraq while at home health clinics are closing and teachers working without pay is potentially incendiary. Foreign adventures have never been popular with the American public (much to the distress of the ruling elite). An peace movement that could draw the links among warmongering, austerity, and repression has great political potential. Just a month or two ago, hundreds of thousands were marching in American streets to protest the imminent war. Though that movement now looks a bit dispirited and demobilized, it's unlikely that that kind of energy will just disappear into the ether.

[May 11, 2019] From Russiagate to Gunboat Diplomacy by Branko Marcetic

Notable quotes:
"... Particularly shameless was Florida Rep. Mario Díaz-Balart, who went on Tucker Carlson's show to peddle half-baked innuendo as brazen as anything claimed in the lead up to the Iraq War. If Maduro's government survived, he claimed, it would be "a green light, an open door for the Russians and for the Chinese and for others to increase their activity against our national security interest right here in our hemisphere." ..."
May 11, 2019 | jacobinmag.com

Russiagate hysteria is already being used to push Trump into an act of armed aggression against Venezuela. It's a disastrous result of a pointless delusion.

One of the things Russiagate skeptics found unsettling about the frenzy over supposed "collusion" was that it made war more likely. Not only did the now-debunked conspiracy theories and resulting political climate push officials into a more aggressive posture toward Russia, but once the Kremlin was returned to its status as the foreign policy elite's Big Bad, it was easy to imagine a situation where the threat of a Russian bogeyman could be used to justify any number of unrelated foreign adventures. This appears to be exactly what's happening with Venezuela right now.

First there was Fareed Zakaria, who two months ago tried to goad Trump into attacking Venezuela by pointing to Russia's support for Maduro. "Putin's efforts seem designed to taunt the United States," he said (it might also have something to do with the billions of dollars Russia sank into the country), making reference to the Monroe Doctrine. He asked if Washington would "allow Moscow to make a mockery of another American red line," warning that "if Washington does not back its words with deeds" the country could become another Syria. Zakaria concluded: "will Venezuela finally be the moment when Trump finally ends his appeasement?"

More recently, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo charged that Russia had "invaded" Venezuela before claiming the Kremlin had dissuaded Maduro from fleeing the country at the last moment, something Pompeo has provided no evidence for but much of the media has treated as fact since.

National Security Advisor John Bolton has said that "this is our hemisphere" and "not where the Russians ought to be interfering." Democratic Sen. Doug Jones echoed this sentiment on CNN, praising the Trump administration for saying "all options are on the table" to deal with Venezuela, something he suggested may have to be acted on "if there is some more intervention [by] Russia."

The national press, taking a break from warning about Trump being a dangerous authoritarian, has been demanding to know why he hasn't been more aggressive toward the country over this.

Particularly shameless was Florida Rep. Mario Díaz-Balart, who went on Tucker Carlson's show to peddle half-baked innuendo as brazen as anything claimed in the lead up to the Iraq War. If Maduro's government survived, he claimed, it would be "a green light, an open door for the Russians and for the Chinese and for others to increase their activity against our national security interest right here in our hemisphere."

He went on to claim that Russia had already placed nuclear missiles in the country, and that it could lead to a Cuban missile crisis-like conflict. There is no evidence this is true, and Díaz-Balart didn't provide any.

Of course, no coverage of the Trump administration's relations with Russia would be complete without a trip into Rachel Maddow's fractured psyche. After Trump repeated Putin's personal assurances that he wasn't interested in getting involved in Venezuela -- contradicting Pompeo and Bolton -- Maddow addressed the two officials :

Hey John Bolton, hey Mike Pompeo, are you guys enjoying your jobs right now? You each thought your job this week was to name and shame and threaten and counter Russian government involvement in Venezuela while saber-rattling about how everybody else better get out of the way because the US is really mad about it. Guys, turns out your actual job is figuring out how and why you work for a president who says whatever Vladimir Putin tells him.

Maddow went on to express her sympathy for one of the most unhinged warmongers in a city teeming with them ("I mean, John Bolton, God bless you"), and again seemed to suggest that Bolton's "job" of "push[ing] Russia back because of what they're doing in Venezuela" was the correct course of action.

It's now clear there is nothing -- not Trump's years-long belligerence toward Russia's Venezuelan ally, not his near-constant bellicosity toward Russia since taking office, not Robert Mueller's failure to indict a single person for conspiring with Russia, not even his report's explicit and implicit denial that any such conspiracy existed -- that will make these people give up the talking point that Trump is secretly in bed with Putin. If Mueller himself denied it, they would claim he was a Russian in disguise. It's simply too convenient an attack line, and too professionally embarrassing to admit otherwise.

There is also an Orwellian level of doublethink going on here. Russia, a Venezuelan ally, has sent personnel and equipment to the country with the consent of its government at a time when it's being threatened by multiple hostile regional powers. Meanwhile the US, one of those hostile powers, has for years been laying siege to the country and killing its people, trying to destabilize and oust its leadership, and even threatening to invade it.

Yet according to the media and political class, it's Russia's actions that are an unacceptable intrusion into another country's affairs -- an "invasion," even. They are holding up four fingers to your face and telling you you're seeing five.

Meanwhile, these same quarters, after spending close to three years hyperventilating about Russia's meddling in domestic US affairs -- an "act of war," in some minds -- have now seamlessly pivoted to cheering Trump as he attempts to engineer a change of Venezuela's government, even calling for him to possibly attack the country. This is glaringly hypocritical, but the Russiagate frenzy was never about principled outrage or any sort of moral consistency.

Lastly and most significantly, the rhetoric around Venezuela is now taking on an explicitly imperialistic character, in the most literal sense of that word. Zakaria invoked the Monroe Doctrine to urge Trump to intervene in Venezuela; National Security Advisor John Bolton "proudly proclaim[ed]" upon launching a fresh round of sanctions that "the Monroe Doctrine is alive and well," and one MSNBC guest insisted the Trump administration was "right in being completely flabbergasted" at Russia's presence in the country because "this is our hemisphere," echoing Bolton .

When these figures talk about "our hemisphere," they don't mean the hemisphere in which the US happens to be located; they mean this is literally their hemisphere. The US is the imperial power with dominion over this part of the world, and only it has the right to interfere in the countries that populate it.

Their objection is not that an outside power is involving itself in a Latin American country's business, but that this outside power isn't the one in Washington. The fact that the US has been doing this very thing for years in Russia's part of the world -- expanding NATO right up to its border, sending weapons to Ukraine -- goes conveniently unmentioned.

Russiagate skeptics were criticized for being hyperbolic in comparing that scandal to the bogus WMD tale that led to the Iraq War; the latter, after all, killed hundreds of thousands and destabilized an entire region. But the full consequences of Russiagate will not be felt immediately; they will unfold over time. And while floating the specter of Russia might not work this time, expect it to be used over and over in the coming years to justify all manner of military aggression .

[May 08, 2019] Reporter INSIDE Venezuelan Embassy Under Siege! w/Anya Parampil

May 08, 2019 | www.youtube.com

The Invisible Man , 18 hours ago

Funny how a comedian is the truth teller here. This is literally clown world

samslog , 17 hours ago

Brave woman. Solidarity from France. Thank you Jimmy!

crownretro , 17 hours ago (edited)

"They want to play government they way I used to play house as a little girl" Brilliant description of these puppets Stay strong Anya!

david august , 18 hours ago

Another day, another coup. Keep up the good work Jimmy.

Steve Warwick , 16 hours ago (edited)

Anya you're doing great journalism work on Venezuela, stay safe!

SFx , 17 hours ago

Uprising? The only uprising is the small one in Marco Rubio's pants.

MexicanosDelMundo , 17 hours ago

This is getting out of hand and increasingly dangerous...

Dave Saenz , 17 hours ago

They are trying to "WMD's" us into another war with their blatant lies.

RP McMurphy , 18 hours ago

50+ years of Allegiance to the Petrodollar...

luke maxwell , 16 hours ago

In a Time of Universal Deceit, Telling the Truth Is a Revolutionary Act - George Orwell.

Katalin McCune , 18 hours ago

I think your videos are remarkable.

Otaku Senpai , 17 hours ago

Good job Dore. MSM sucks. Dont expect them to rreport this.

Gail Doyle , 16 hours ago

Not one other news source is reporting this! Thank you, Jimmy and Anya.

Z ZZ , 16 hours ago

Mike Pompeo. The fat and sweaty face of US faux humanitarianism.

vinm300 , 17 hours ago

23:21 look at Jimmy's face, he is 100% sympathetic to the protestors. That face is the definition of empathy.

R. Scott MacLeod , 17 hours ago

There is only one reason the media goes along with the military lap dogs....$$$$

Chris Petryk , 17 hours ago

can you have Anya on once a week, please? thank you

Johnny Espinal , 15 hours ago

its truly disgraceful how evil our government IS

Esen B. , 17 hours ago

US did the same to Russian consulate and embassies since launch of Russiagate.

Frank Cardoza , 17 hours ago

They wrote the book on corporate media lapdog-ism. in Venezuela years ago!

SNAKEPIT359 , 18 hours ago

As usual. When it suits, the rule book goes out the window. But equally when it suits they will quote rule after rule from the very same book when it suits their agenda.

david Urrea , 18 hours ago

Blowhorns can cause seizures the people inside need ear protection asap

[May 07, 2019] Venezuela and Binary Choice - Craig Murray

May 07, 2019 | craigmurray.org.uk

When a CIA-backed military coup is attempted by a long term CIA puppet, roared on by John Bolton and backed with the offer of Blackwater mercenaries, in the country with the world's largest oil reserves, I have no difficulty whatsoever in knowing which side I am on.

Juan Guaido has been groomed for 15 years as a long-term CIA project. His coup attempt yesterday, which so far appears to have stalled, was the culmination of these efforts to return Venezuela's oil reserves to US hegemony.

It is strange how the urgent installation of liberal democracy by force correlates so often with oil reserves not aligned to the USA, as in Libya, Iraq or Venezuela, while countries with massive oil reserves which permit US military domination and align with the West and Israel can be as undemocratic as they wish, eg Saudi Arabia. Venezuela is an imperfect democracy but it is far, far more of a democracy than Saudi Arabia and with a much better human rights record. The hypocrisy of Western media and politicians is breathtaking.

Hypocrisy and irony are soulmates, and there are multiple levels of irony in seeing the "liberal" commentators who were cheering on an undisguised military coup, then complaining loudly that people are being injured or killed now their side is losing. Yesterday the MSM had no difficulty in calling the attempted coup what anybody with eyes and ears could see it plainly was, an attempted military coup. Today, miraculously, the MSM line is no coup attempt happened at all, it was just a spontaneous unarmed protest, and it is the evil government of Venezuela which attempts to portray it as a coup. BBC Breakfast this morning had the headline "President Maduro has accused the opposition of mounting a coup attempt" Yet there is no doubt at all that, as a matter of plain fact, that is what happened.

The MSM today is full of video of water cannons against "protestors" and a horrible video of a military vehicle ramming a group. But it has all been very carefully edited to exclude hours of footage of the same military vehicles being pelted and set alight with molotov cocktails, and shot at. The presentation has been truly shocking.

In any civilised country, attempting to mount a military coup would lead to incarceration for life, and that is what should now happen to Juan Guaido. The attempt by the West to protect their puppet by pretending the failed military coup never happened, must be resisted, if only in the cause of intellectual honesty.

The resort to violence forces binary choice. I have been and am a critic of Maduro in many respects. I believe the constitutional changes to bypass Parliament were wrong, and the indirectly elected Constituent Assembly is not a good form of democracy. Venezuela does have a rampant corruption problem. US sanctions exacerbate but are not the root cause of economic mismanagement. There are human rights failings. But Chavez made revolutionary changes in educating and empowering the poor, and it is a far better governed country for the mass of its population than it would ever be under a US installed CIA puppet regime. Maduro was legitimately elected. The attempt at violence forces a binary choice.

I know which side I am on. It is not Guaido and the CIA.

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[May 05, 2019] Viva to another jolly little war by Eric Margolis

May 05, 2019 | www.unz.com

Sure. Let's invade Venezuela. Another jolly little war. It's full of commies and has a sea of oil. The only thing those Cuban-loving Venezuelans lack are weapons of mass destruction.

... ... ...

Venezuela is in a huge economic mess thanks to the crackpot economic policies of the Chavez and Maduro governments – and US economic sabotage. But my first law of international affairs is: 'Every nation has the absolute god-given right to mismanage its own affairs and elect its own crooks or idiots.'

[May 05, 2019] Another Jolly Little War by Eric Margolis

Notable quotes:
"... We absolutely have won most of those little wars it's just that majority of the population doesn't have the same definition of victory that our Neocon masters do. As long as we leave a county in ruins so it's development is set back for decades and there are multiple factions fighting for power, the Neocons cobble together a wonderful democratic election and call it a victory. ..."
"... Stay as long as it takes to make sure no major faction is strong enough to set nationwide policy, bomb everything that's required for a 20th Century society, then leave. If one faction plays nice by scraping and bowing to the US, fine, let them have a bit of electricity and running water. Otherwise, leave the factions to fight one another in the rubble and enjoying their new found freedom and democracy. ..."
"... Considering all the oil Venezuela has, they're just begging for some freedom and democracy. ..."
May 05, 2019 | www.unz.com

Sure. Let's invade Venezuela. Another jolly little war. It's full of commies and has a sea of oil. The only thing those Cuban-loving Venezuelans lack are weapons of mass destruction.

This week, leading US neocons openly threatened that if the CIA's latest attempts to stage a coup to overthrow Venezuela's Maduro government failed, Washington might send in the Marines.

Well, the coup was a big fiasco and the Venezuelan army didn't overthrow President Maduro. The CIA also failed to overthrow governments in Moscow, Tehran and Damascus. Its only 'success' to date has been in overthrowing Ukraine's pro-Moscow government and putting a bunch of corrupt clowns in its place at a cost near $10 billion.

The US has not waged a major successful war since World War II – unless you count invading Grenada, Panama and Haiti, or bombing the hell out of Iraq, Syria, Somalia and Libya. That's a sobering thought given the Pentagon's recent announcement that it is cutting back on little colonial wars (aka 'the war on terror') to get ready for real big wars against Russia and China, or even North Korea.

Venezuela is in a huge economic mess thanks to the crackpot economic policies of the Chavez and Maduro governments – and US economic sabotage. But my first law of international affairs is: 'Every nation has the absolute god-given right to mismanage its own affairs and elect its own crooks or idiots.'

Now, however, the administration's frenzied neocons want to start a war against Venezuela, a large, developed nation of 32.7 million, at the same time we are threatening war against Iran, interfering all around Africa, and confronting Russia, China and perhaps North Korea. Large parts of the Mideast and Afghanistan lie in ruins thanks to our 'liberation' campaigns.

Invading Venezuela would not be much of a problem for the US military: half the population hates the current government and might welcome the Americans. Venezuela's military has only limited combat value. Right-wing regimes in neighboring Colombia and Brazil might join the invasion.

But what then? Recall Iraq. The US punched through the feeble Iraqi Army whose strength had been wildly exaggerated by the media. Once US and British forces settled in to occupation duties, guerilla forces made their life difficult and bloody. Iraqi resistance continues today, sixteen years later. The same would likely happen in Venezuela.

There is deep anti-American sentiment in Latin America that existed long before Col. Chavez. Recall, for example, the large anti-American riots that greeted Vice President Nixon's visit to Caracas in 1958.

'Yankees Go Home' is a rallying cry for much of Latin America. Blundering into Venezuela, another nation about which the Trump administration knows or understands little, would stir up a hornet's next. Their ham-handed efforts to punish Cuba and whip up the far right Cuban-American vote in Florida would galvanize anti-American anger across Latin America. Beware the ghost of Fidel.

ORDER IT NOW

Talks over Venezuela are underway between Washington and Moscow. Neither country has any major interest in Venezuela. Moscow is stirring the pot there to retaliate for growing US involvement in Russia's backyard and Syria. Both the US and Russia should get the hell out of Venezuela and mind their own business.

Instead, we hear crazy proposals to send 5,000 mercenaries to overthrow the Maduro regime. How well did the wide-scale use of US-financed mercenaries work in Iraq and Afghanistan? A complete flop. The only thing they did competently was wash dishes at our bases, murder civilians, and play junior Rambos.

For those who don't like the American Raj, a US invasion of Venezuela would mark a step forward in the crumbling of the empire. More aimless imperial over-reach, more lack of strategy, more enemies generated.
The big winner would, of course, be the Pentagon and military industrial complex. More billions spent on a nation most Americans could not find on a map if their lives depended on it, more orders for 'counter-insurgency' weapons, more military promotions, and cheers from Fox News and wrestling fans.

Worst of all, the US could end up feeding and caring for wrecked Venezuela. How did we do with storm-ravaged Puerto Rico? It's still in semi-ruin. Few want Venezuela's thick, heavy oil these days.

Venezuela could turn out to be a big, fat Tar Baby.


mijj , says: May 4, 2019 at 12:47 pm GMT

> "half the population hates the current government and might welcome the Americans"

.. what? .. like in Lybia and Syria?

Verity , says: May 4, 2019 at 4:15 pm GMT
The "crackpot economic policies" of Chavez and Madero increased the health of the people through access to medical care, improved housing, brought the literacy rate to one of the highest in Latin Americs, added years to average lifespan among other things by emphasizing that the country's resources should improve the lives of Venezuela's citizens. This was accomplished by selling resources in the capitalistic market -crackpot I grant you. The American sanctions and the seizure of Venezuelan assets are all illegal under American law and Constitution given the treaties we have signed, but then if you want to know what those laws mean all you have to do is ask any Native American tribe.
Walter Duranty , says: May 4, 2019 at 4:23 pm GMT
Venezuela is a trillion dollar low-hanging fruit which the neo-cons lust after. It would finance another entire war in the middle east.
Walter Duranty , says: May 4, 2019 at 4:27 pm GMT
Who would pay Eric Prince's 5000 Blackwater hired assassins? Would the cash come from the pirate booty war chest or would the citizens of America be stuck with the tab, once again?
The Scalpel , says: Website May 4, 2019 at 6:39 pm GMT
@Walter Duranty Something seems different. With Russian and Chinese intelligence help, the Guaido coup was a laughable joke. It made the US look like bozos. I think Venezuela and allies tipped their hand there, and it is a strong one. I fear the US may be walking into a trap
Galearis , says: May 4, 2019 at 7:50 pm GMT
It is interesting but several Pentagon/military officers are saying the Pentagon is not enthusiastic about invading Venezuela. It is a rugged, jungle cloaked, country that is quite large and an American effort may end up being like the one in Vietnam.

Even Trump is not enthusiastic.
L.

peterAUS , says: May 4, 2019 at 9:56 pm GMT
@Walter Duranty You could be onto something here.

Or controlling Venezuela oil would help in a scenario where Teheran closes Hormuz.

It appears that for the current TPTBs in West Iran is what Carthage was to Rome.

Which points, again, to "them".

Weird times.

Bill Pilgrim , says: May 5, 2019 at 6:31 am GMT
I wonder how many are aware that Venezuela owns a majority of the oil company Citgo?
I wonder how many Americans know that for many years during Winter Citgo gave free heating oil to a large number of low income households in the US northeast? while our own government was cutting back on low income heating oil subsidies.
Dwayne Thundergrit , says: May 5, 2019 at 6:37 am GMT
We absolutely have won most of those little wars it's just that majority of the population doesn't have the same definition of victory that our Neocon masters do. As long as we leave a county in ruins so it's development is set back for decades and there are multiple factions fighting for power, the Neocons cobble together a wonderful democratic election and call it a victory. Stay as long as it takes to make sure no major faction is strong enough to set nationwide policy, bomb everything that's required for a 20th Century society, then leave. If one faction plays nice by scraping and bowing to the US, fine, let them have a bit of electricity and running water. Otherwise, leave the factions to fight one another in the rubble and enjoying their new found freedom and democracy. Considering all the oil Venezuela has, they're just begging for some freedom and democracy.
peter mcloughlin , says: May 5, 2019 at 9:53 am GMT
It may be true that neither the US or Russia 'has any major interest in Venezuela', and that Putin may be 'stirring the pot'. The real danger is, and globally the evidence points to this, an eventual clash between the major nuclear powers (world war). It is ominous if Washington is getting for 'ready for real big wars against Russia and China, or even North Korea.'
https://www.ghostsofhistory.wordpress.com/

[May 04, 2019] The art of provocation and Sacral victims of Maidan

Color revolution is a military operation in which protesters are just a tip of the iceberg. the key players are Embassy staff, three letter agencies, NGOs, bought and foreign owned neoliberal press, some oligarchs (who might be pressed into submission with the threat of confiscating their assets), compradors and bought players within the government.
The initial crash with police was organized by one of such players (supposedly Lyovochkin). One of the key instruments were huge cash flows in diplomatic mail that feed the protest ("bombing country with dollars"). In a sense in any neoliberal republic color revolution is designed to be a success, the fact which EuroMaidan proved quite convincingly.
Ukraine actually was a very easy target. Yanukovich was essentially neutralized and paralyzed by threats from Biden. Security services were infiltrated and partially work for Americans. Several bought members of the government (Lyovochkon?) did their dirty job in organizing the necessity clashes with policy to feed the protest.
Notable quotes:
"... The script writers of the Maidan, in his opinion, were Americans. ..."
Feb 21, 2015 | vesti-ukr.com

Former Prime Minister Azarov explained his version of events on the Maidan. The script writers of the Maidan, in his opinion, were Americans.

Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov told the NTV about how coup d'état of February of the last year was organized. According to him, the script of the coup d'état was written at the U.S. Embassy.

"The main puppeteers were not on the Maidan," Azarov said. The protests started because of the decision of Ukrainian authorities to suspend the signing of the Association agreement with the EU.

"There was, of course, the enormous pressure from the leaders of the European Union, from several European countries. The meaning of this pressure was the fact that we must put aside all doubts and to sign this agreement," said the former Prime Minister. "They just needed an excuse, a reason to overthrow our government. Because we were frankly told: "If you do not you sign this agreement, it will sign another government, another President,"

In this regard, according to Azarov, they needed a provocation to start protest and such a provocation became the use of force on Independence square in Kiev, where supporters of European integration were staying for several nights. "The action was slow. The organizers understood that without the sacred victims they will be unable to ignite the crowd. Suddenly around 3 am several TV crews arrive, set lights, camera. What to shoot? This ordinary situation, when people spend the night at the square?" - said Azarov.

Ukrainian people were cynically played. According to Azarov at this moment "prepared by gunmen in masks" arrived to the square. They started beating on duty policemen with metal sticks. When police called reinforcements instigators quickly disappeared. And when riot police began detention, "they detain generally innocent people who spend night at the square as a part of peaceful protest."

Speaking about the negotiations Yanukovich with the opposition, Azarov noted that the current Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk "every day spend most of his time in the American Embassy and following their instructions to the letter."

In the end, an agreement was signed between the President and opposition leaders on the peaceful resolution of the conflict, the guarantor which were several European countries, but no one except the Yanukovich, fulfilled their obligations. "I still do not understand, how foreign Ministers of Poland, Germany, France, which signed an agreement on February 21 feel themselves. In the history of diplomacy this agreement will be included as an example of the utmost degree of cynicism and deceit," said Azarov.

See also

[May 04, 2019] That nonsense about a plane waiting to shuffle him off to Cuba was complete American lie.

Notable quotes:
"... "What I am saying is that I am confident that the people of Venezuela know a thing or two about what happened in Chile." ..."
"... They also know what happened when the "militares" took over in Argentina (Videla), Paraguay (Stroessner), Brazil (1964-1985), Nicaragua (Somoza), Dominican Republic (Trujillo), Guatemala (1954), Honduras (2009) Panama 1983 (Noriega – see Confessions of an Economic Hit Man on plane crash of Omar Torrijos), and on and on. ..."
"... If there is a US military attack on Venezuela one thing's for sure; many, many young men and women will be making their way from all over Latin America to take on the Gringos. ..."
"... I'm sure the Venezuelan govt knows all about Operation Condor and how that lost the entire South American continent a generation of its best people and degraded its progress and development. ..."
"... Bolton and Abraham are senile. They are totally out of touch with the new realities of the new millenium. they stupidly think that their old tricks still work... in my view both and also Pompeo are near the door out of the White House for good... they won't survive the summer. ..."
"... Clearly, Venezuelans take their oaths of allegiance far more seriously. By comparison, the Outlaw US Empire's entire Neocon and Neoliberal cabal are traitors to their nation and their oaths of office. And it's that very major distinction that's known by the vast majority of Venezuelans that's the real difference maker whereas the US public's mostly illiterate. ..."
"... One curious aspect of the recent events in Venezuela is the lack of signs of wider support for Guaido compared with "energetic" demonstrations and riots few years ago. ..."
"... Initially, some thugs were mobilized to support "humanitarian relief", but it was a smallish crowd and their most spectacular achievement was torching a "relief truck". ..."
"... Then there were "electricity protests", I have no data about their scope. I would theorize that electricity issue decreased the support for Guaido ..."
"... Seems that Russia acted in a characteristically minimalist fashion. Security of power system was improved, gasoline supplies* were improved, and a subtle security operation was launched. Bear in mind that when dealing with domestic opposition Putin is highly flexible, no "one hammer fits all", similarly with "near abroad". Letting Guaido walk around and repetitively make idiot of himself has a resemblance of handling Navalny and similar folks in Russia. ..."
May 04, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Jane , May 3, 2019 6:22:50 PM | link

Maduro needs to man up. He needs to recognize that this is ideological battle, not just a battle for his personal survival.


arby , May 3, 2019 6:31:16 PM | link

Jane @45

Where do you come up with the idea that Maduro is about his personal survival?

IMO, Maduro is quite genuine in taking his position and job very seriously and in no way is this about him.

That nonsense about a plane waiting to shuffle him off to Cuba was complete American lie.

Lochearn , May 3, 2019 6:35:01 PM | link
@ 36 William Gruff
"What I am saying is that I am confident that the people of Venezuela know a thing or two about what happened in Chile."

They also know what happened when the "militares" took over in Argentina (Videla), Paraguay (Stroessner), Brazil (1964-1985), Nicaragua (Somoza), Dominican Republic (Trujillo), Guatemala (1954), Honduras (2009) Panama 1983 (Noriega – see Confessions of an Economic Hit Man on plane crash of Omar Torrijos), and on and on.

If there is a US military attack on Venezuela one thing's for sure; many, many young men and women will be making their way from all over Latin America to take on the Gringos.

Jane , May 3, 2019 6:41:36 PM | link
@arby 46

I really do not know Maduro. I do not know how ideologically grounded he is. But I heard stories about corruption and connections with drug syndicates. I hope that is not true. Otherwise, his apparent weakness will be exploited to the hilt by his ideological enemies.

Jen , May 3, 2019 6:50:02 PM | link
William Gruff @ 36, Lochearn @ 47:

I'm sure the Venezuelan govt knows all about Operation Condor and how that lost the entire South American continent a generation of its best people and degraded its progress and development.

virgile , May 3, 2019 6:51:23 PM | link
Bolton and Abraham are senile. They are totally out of touch with the new realities of the new millenium. they stupidly think that their old tricks still work...
in my view both and also Pompeo are near the door out of the White House for good... they won't survive the summer.
karlof1 , May 3, 2019 7:26:19 PM | link
Jen @49--

Yes, most certainly wasn't lost on Chavez. The changes he made after 2002 to the military and other security-related areas of government are now serving Maduro well. If there was the sort of 5th Column anti-government feelings required of a coup, they would have manifested themselves when the armed demonstrations first began to beset Maduro in 2014, a year after Chavez's passing, which in essence is when the slow moving coup began. Condor and other operations were certainly used in educating higher level officers about the importance of loyalty to Constitutional methods and that one owes their allegiance to the Constitution not the individual just as it's supposed to be within the USA

Clearly, Venezuelans take their oaths of allegiance far more seriously. By comparison, the Outlaw US Empire's entire Neocon and Neoliberal cabal are traitors to their nation and their oaths of office. And it's that very major distinction that's known by the vast majority of Venezuelans that's the real difference maker whereas the US public's mostly illiterate.

Piotr Berman , May 3, 2019 8:22:04 PM | link
One curious aspect of the recent events in Venezuela is the lack of signs of wider support for Guaido compared with "energetic" demonstrations and riots few years ago.

Initially, some thugs were mobilized to support "humanitarian relief", but it was a smallish crowd and their most spectacular achievement was torching a "relief truck".

Then there were "electricity protests", I have no data about their scope. I would theorize that electricity issue decreased the support for Guaido . First, the tales that the troubles were due to mismanagement and neglect look not so probable if you look at the timing of incidents: a wave of incidents at the time "convenient" for the "cause of Guaido" preceeded and followed by rather normal situation. Government surely spend effort to explain the incidents with transmission lines and transformer stations as vile sabotage, ruthlessly inflicting severe hardships on the entire population (including the middle class that should be the social base of Guaido).

Seems that Russia acted in a characteristically minimalist fashion. Security of power system was improved, gasoline supplies* were improved, and a subtle security operation was launched. Bear in mind that when dealing with domestic opposition Putin is highly flexible, no "one hammer fits all", similarly with "near abroad". Letting Guaido walk around and repetitively make idiot of himself has a resemblance of handling Navalny and similar folks in Russia.

Who supported 12 hours of revolution? Videos showed a motorcycle gang, few hundred of energetic young men who blocked a highway bridge and a smallish crowd of housewives and other non-violent type -- I must stress that I wholly approve non-violent types, but in part because this is not a coup material. Why so little? (a) Guaido was never popular, he was in a most histrionic of several opposition parties, popular mobilization without support of the rest of the opposition was a flop. (b) The first two episodes of his "revolution" did not approve his support, to the contrary. (c) On the gangland front that could provide armed muscle and provoke bloody incidents Maidan style, the government probably did some preparatory homework.

[May 04, 2019] Venezuela - Forensics Of A Clownish Coup

Notable quotes:
"... I know the Venezuelan military; I've trained some of them .... The majority of them, if the U.S. military arrives in Venezuela, will take to the hills – very formidable hills, with jungle-like backdrops – and they will harass, kill, take prisoner from time to time, and generally hold out forever or until the "gringos" leave. We might remember how the North Vietnamese and the Taliban accomplished this; well, so will the Venezuelans. ..."
May 04, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Venezuela is not an easy target. Colonel (ret.) Larry Wilkerson, the former Chief of Staff for Secretary of State Colin Powell, writes :

I know the Venezuelan military; I've trained some of them .... The majority of them, if the U.S. military arrives in Venezuela, will take to the hills – very formidable hills, with jungle-like backdrops – and they will harass, kill, take prisoner from time to time, and generally hold out forever or until the "gringos" leave. We might remember how the North Vietnamese and the Taliban accomplished this; well, so will the Venezuelans.

The opposition is warry of a U.S. intervention :

Many believe U.S. troops could ignite internal conflicts within the military, irregular forces linked to Maduro and criminal cartels. Intervention would also undermine Guaidó's claim to be a grass roots Venezuelan leader by seeming to confirm that he's exactly what Maduro has claimed: A puppet of the United States.

A U.S. military intervention would "bring more problems than solutions, " said Carlos Valero, a Guaidó supporter in the National Assembly.
...
Political analyst Felix Seijas, director of the Delphos polling agency in Caracas, says fewer than a fifth of the Venezuelans he has surveyed this year support a military intervention. The numbers have gone up only slightly since the beginning of the year.

There were more warnings from Russia during a Trump-Putin phone call today :

While exchanging views on the situation around Venezuela, the President of Russia underscored that only the Venezuelans themselves have the right to determine the future of their country, whereas outside interference in the country's internal affairs and attempts to change the government in Caracas by force undermine prospects for a political settlement of the crisis.

The planning and decision making for the next phase of the U.S. attack on Venezuela will take time.

Meanwhile we can continue to analyze why the U.S. coup plan failed so devastatingly.

Cont. reading: Venezuela - Forensics Of A Clownish Coup

[May 03, 2019] Trump lost anti-war right. Forever.

Notable quotes:
"... Trump *escalated* US-Iran and US-Venezuela conflicts and intensified the sabre rattling towards both countries, according to all analysts. For the first time a POTUS openly said direct US invasion to Venezuela "is on the table" and his Adelson bought appointment for USNSA Bolton publicly showed in a notebook the writing "5000 troops to Colombia" openly suggesting a direct invasion was imminent. For the first time the White House asked the Pentagon to draw up options for military strikes against Iran. ..."
"... Trump's administration declared a whole branch of the Iran armed forces (IRGC) as a terrorist organisation. This is an escalation and according to most analysts, considered an act of war. ..."
"... Trump administration heavily increased sanctions to Iran, Russia and Venezuela and in the latter case even instigated a failed uprising and coup d'etat, going as far as to declare a virtual political Venezuelan nobody the "official" president of the country, which is in itself unbelievable and has no historic precedent. Another act of war actually. ..."
"... Trump administration also escalated the tensions with China, ordered the arrest and de facto kidnapping of Chinese corporate executives and openly used the US legal apparatus to attack and hinder a foreign corporation. ..."
"... Trump has been, objectively, the most neocon Israel-firster POTUS in US history. ..."
"... Friendly reminder that voting for Republicans and expecting US Jewish lobby/Corporate America promoted policies such as open borders and US imperialist interventions to stop is moronic beyond belief. Republicans are the most pro corporate pro US Jewish lobby of the two parties by far. At least there is talk and critique about how the Israel Lobby owns the USG in the Dem party. Nothing of the sort going on in the GOP. ..."
May 03, 2019 | www.unz.com

Scalper , says: May 3, 2019 at 9:45 am GMT

@A123 You Trump shills are chutzpah personified:

The U.S. missile strike on Shayrat Airbase on 7 April 2017 was the first time the U.S. became a deliberate, direct combatant against the Syrian government and marked the start of a series of deliberate direct military actions by U.S. forces against the Syrian government and its allies in May -- June 2017 and February 2018.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/apr/06/trump-syria-missiles-assad-chemical-weapons

Trump *escalated* the war from covert support to insurgents to direct intervention and official *invasion* in Syria. This is the equivalent of going from financing and supporting a faction in a so called proxy war in say Vietnam to leading the US to go full Iraq WMD and become a warring and invading faction in the conflict. Again, this is an escalation.

The number of boots on the ground vs Obama's is data you just took out of your bottom. Sources for your cheap PR shilling? You don't have any because this statement of yours is a blatant lie.

Trump *escalated* US-Iran and US-Venezuela conflicts and intensified the sabre rattling towards both countries, according to all analysts. For the first time a POTUS openly said direct US invasion to Venezuela "is on the table" and his Adelson bought appointment for USNSA Bolton publicly showed in a notebook the writing "5000 troops to Colombia" openly suggesting a direct invasion was imminent. For the first time the White House asked the Pentagon to draw up options for military strikes against Iran.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jan/13/white-house-asked-pentagon-plans-strike-iran

Trump's administration declared a whole branch of the Iran armed forces (IRGC) as a terrorist organisation. This is an escalation and according to most analysts, considered an act of war.

Trump's administration ended the Iran deal without any objective reasons, ie Obama's effort to deescalate the Israel firsters driven Iran-US conflict

Trump administration heavily increased sanctions to Iran, Russia and Venezuela and in the latter case even instigated a failed uprising and coup d'etat, going as far as to declare a virtual political Venezuelan nobody the "official" president of the country, which is in itself unbelievable and has no historic precedent. Another act of war actually.

Trump administration declared Golan Heights part of Israel brought US embassy to Jerusalem, increasing the tensions and animosity towards the US in the ME.

Trump administration will declare Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organisation, increasing the animosity from Arab countries in the ME to unbelievable levels. This includes non Arab country Turkey also, a traditional ally until neocon Trump took power.

Trump administration also escalated the tensions with China, ordered the arrest and de facto kidnapping of Chinese corporate executives and openly used the US legal apparatus to attack and hinder a foreign corporation.

Trump has been, objectively, the most neocon Israel-firster POTUS in US history.

Friendly reminder that voting for Republicans and expecting US Jewish lobby/Corporate America promoted policies such as open borders and US imperialist interventions to stop is moronic beyond belief. Republicans are the most pro corporate pro US Jewish lobby of the two parties by far. At least there is talk and critique about how the Israel Lobby owns the USG in the Dem party. Nothing of the sort going on in the GOP.

Immigration restrictionism is a traditional pro working class, leftist policy.

Non intervention and "pacifist" policies the same. How many GOP supporters were against the Vietnam and Iraq war? Not many yeah.

Johnny Walker Read , says: May 3, 2019 at 1:20 pm GMT
@A123 Here's your numbers TROLL.

Trump has dropped more bombs and missiles on Middle Eastern countries in a comparable period of time than any modern U.S. President. Presidents Bush, Obama and now [2017] Trump have dropped nearly 200,000 bombs and missiles on Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia. Trump's rate of bombing eclipses both Bush and Obama; and Trump is on a pace to drop over 100,000 [180,000 to be precise] bombs and missiles on Middle Eastern countries during his first term of office -- which would equal the number of bombs and missiles dropped by Obama during his entire eight-year presidency.

Here's more perspective:

The United States Government, under the Trump administration, reportedly drops a bomb every 12 minutes, which means that 121 bombs are dropped in a day, and 44,096 bombs per year. The Pentagon's data show that during George W. Bush's eight years he averaged 24 bombs dropped per day, that is, 8,750 per year. Over the course of Obama's time in office, his military dropped 34 bombs per day, 12,500 per year. This shows that even though American presidents are all war criminals, Trump is the most vicious of them all.

Yes, Trump is dropping almost FOUR TIMES MORE BOMBS than Barack Obama and over FIVE TIMES MORE BOMBS than G.W. Bush -- which included military invasions of two countries.

We also know that Trump expanded America's wars in Afghanistan and Syria (and, no, he is NOT bringing U.S. troops home from Syria) and is ramping up America's war machine against Venezuela, Iran, China and Russia. And this does not even take into account the way Trump has given Benjamin Netanyahu's raunchy racist regime the green light to expand its wars against the Palestinians, Lebanon, Syria and Iran or the U.S./Israeli proxy war (with Saudi Arabia taking the lead) in Yemen.

Then there is Somalia:

In the age of Donald Trump, wasn't that [the Battle of Mogadishu -- Black Hawk Down] a million presidencies ago? Honestly, can you even tell me anymore what in the world it was all about? I couldn't have, not without looking it up again. A warlord, starvation, U.S. intervention, 18 dead American soldiers (and hundreds of dead Somalis, but that hardly mattered) in a country that was shattering. President Clinton did, however, pull out those troops and end the disastrous mission -- and that was that, right? I mean, lessons learned. Somalia? Africa? What in the world did it all have to do with us? So Washington washed its hands of the whole thing.

And now, on a planet of outrageous tweets and murderously angry white men, you probably didn't even notice, but more than two years into the era of Donald Trump, a quarter-century after that incident, American airstrikes in yep, Somalia, are precipitously on the rise.

Last year's 47 strikes, aimed at the leaders and fighters of al-Shabaab, an Islamist terror outfit, more than tripled the ones carried out by the Obama administration in 2016 (themselves a modest increase from previous years). And in 2019, they're already on pace to double again, while Somali civilians -- not that anyone (other than Somali civilians) notices or cares -- are dying in significant and rising numbers.

And with 500 troops back on the ground there and Pentagon estimates that they will remain for at least another seven years, the U.S. military is increasingly Somalia-bound, Congress hasn't uttered a peep on the subject, and few in this country are paying the slightest attention.

So consider this a simple fact of the never-ending Global War on Terror (as it was once called): the U.S. military just can't get enough of Somalia. And if that isn't off the charts, what is? Maybe it's even worth a future book (with a very small print run) called not Black Hawk Down II but U.S. Down Forever and a Day.

And now that I've started on the subject (if you still happen to be reading), when it comes to the U.S. military, it's not faintly just Somalia. It's all of Africa.

After all, this country's military uniquely has a continent-wide Africa Command (aka AFRICOM), founded in 2007. As Nick Turse has often written for TomDispatch, that command now has its troops, thousands of them, its planes, and other equipment spread across the continent, north to south, east to west -- air bases, drone bases, garrisons, outposts, staging areas, you name it. Meanwhile, AFRICOM's outgoing commanding general, Thomas Waldhauser, only recently told Congress why it's bound to be a forever outfit -- because, shades of the Cold War, the Ruskies are coming! ("Russia is also a growing challenge and has taken a more militaristic approach in Africa.")

And honestly, 600-odd words in, this wasn't meant to be a piece about either Somalia or Africa. It was meant to be about those U.S. wars being off the charts, about how the Pentagon now feeds eternally at the terror trough, al-Shabaab being only a tiny part of the slop it regularly digests.

And, while America's wars are way up, according to Gallup, church attendance in America is way down:

As Christian and Jewish Americans prepare to celebrate Easter and Passover, respectively, Gallup finds the percentage of Americans who report belonging to a church, synagogue or mosque at an all-time low, averaging 50% in 2018.

U.S. church membership was 70% or higher from 1937 through 1976, falling modestly to an average of 68% in the 1970s through the 1990s. The past 20 years have seen an acceleration in the drop-off, with a 20-percentage-point decline since 1999 and more than half of that change occurring since the start of the current decade.

Most interesting is this Gallup observation:

Although the United States is one of the more religious countries, particularly among Western nations, it is far less religious than it used to be. Barely three-quarters of Americans now identify with a religion and only about half claim membership in a church, synagogue or mosque.

The rate of U.S. church membership has declined sharply in the past two decades after being relatively stable in the six decades before that. A sharp increase in the proportion of the population with no religious affiliation, a decline in church membership among those who do have a religious preference, and low levels of church membership among millennials are all contributing to the accelerating trend.

Obviously, America's Jewish and Muslim populations pale compared to its Christian population. The vast decline of attendance to religious services, therefore, primarily means church attendance. Notice, also, that this steep decline commenced at the beginning of this century (2000) -- when G.W. Bush became President of the United States.

I tried to warn readers -- and listeners to my nationwide radio talk show -- that due to his insatiable war fever, G.W. Bush was going to forever warp the perception in people's minds of Christianity. And, sadly, I was absolutely right. After eight years of the warmongering G.W. Bush in the White House, millions of Americans came to associate Christianity with wars of aggression. As a result, the exodus out of America's churches began in earnest.

Enter Donald Trump.

As noted above, Trump has expanded Bush's war fever exponentially. But Trump has done more than that: He has aggressively put the United States smack dab in the middle of Israel's wars. It could even be argued that Donald Trump has turned the U.S. military into a proxy army for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).

Don't get me wrong: I am very cognizant of the fact that G.W. Bush's "war on terror" was nothing more than a proxy war for Israel. But the Israeli connection was covert and completely covered up. Not anymore. Donald Trump is unabashedly and explicitly partnering the mission of the U.S. military with that of the IDF. No wonder Benjamin Netanyahu promises to name a community in the Israel-seized, Israel-occupied Golan Heights after Donald Trump. (Trumplinka would fit Netanyahu's concentration-style occupation nicely.)

So, not only are millions of Americans now associating Christianity with G.W. Bush's wars of aggression, they are associating Christianity with Donald Trump's wars of aggression for the racist apartheid State of Israel. The result: the steepest decline in church attendance and church affiliation in U.S. history.

The longer evangelical Christians continue to support Donald Trump's radical pro-Israel, pro-war agenda, the deeper America will plunge into an anti-Christian country.

The good news is that all over America, people are waking up to the Israel deception. Support for the erroneous doctrine of dispensational eschatology is in a giant free fall; the myth of Zionist Israel being a resurrected Old Testament Israel is being repeatedly exposed; the attempts by Israel's toadies to characterize people whose eyes are open to the truth of Zionism as being "anti-Semitic" is losing more and more credibility by the day; and more and more people are becoming aware of the utter wickedness of the Zionist government in Israel. Plus, more and more people are beginning to understand the plight of the persecuted people (including Christian people) in the Israeli-occupied territories of Palestine.

Ron, maybe your shipmates on the USS LIBERTY didn't die in vain after all.

From an historical perspective, overextended wars are the downfall of any empire; from a financial perspective, warfarism is the precursor to an economically depressed middle class; and from a Scriptural/spiritual perspective, God cannot and will not bless a warmongering nation.

Let's be clear: God is not building a "Greater Israel." God is not building a third Jewish temple. God is not speaking through phony prophets who are attributing some sort of divine calling to Trump's pro-Israel warmongering. God is not blessing America because we are blessing Zionist Israel. Just the opposite: The more America aligns itself with Israel's belligerence, bullying and bombing of innocent people, the more God will deliver us over to becoming an antichrist country. After all, one cannot idolize and partner with antichrists without becoming one himself.

After Trump finishes this term in office, two-thirds of this young century will have seen a "Christian" warmonger in the White House. It is no coincidence that during this same period of time, wars are way up and church attendance is way down.
https://chuckbaldwinlive.com/Articles/tabid/109/ID/3866/Americas-Wars-Are-Way-Up-Church-Attendance-Is-Way-Down.aspx

Anonymous [102] Disclaimer , says: May 3, 2019 at 1:23 pm GMT
Burning down the house. Driving like a madman on the road to nowhere has put the nation on a path to its own demise. Our foreign policy is a disaster that does nothing to promote democracy anywhere in the world. Our military has provided nothing but instability in the world since the end of world war 2. Ask yourself, why are we involved in so many useless wars that don't make the world a better place?
Don't you feel like we are being used by war hawks who see every skirmish as a threat to our national security? Why can't we cut out all the military BS and just trade with with nations that want to trade, and ignore those who want to kill each other. Let them figure it out on their own. Social Capitalism is the only policy we should be supporting.
Johnny Walker Read , says: May 3, 2019 at 1:36 pm GMT
America's foreign policy since the end of WWII. End of story.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/O66UKjCwmTw?feature=oembed

EliteCommInc. , says: May 3, 2019 at 2:50 pm GMT
"All statements of Trump do not count. All Trump statements are results from stress of torture by Democrats, and deep state."

When this president stated during the campaign,

that christians don't have to forgive their enemies, I rolled my eyes stated he wrong, and understood well he doesn't know what christianity means and supported him anyway

that he supported same sex marriage, I rolled my eyes, rebuffed the the silliness of his comments and understood, he is not a conservative and beyond that he doesn't know what christianity means

when it was uncovered that he had in fact had relations outside of marriage, I rolled my eyes, and understood that alone could be a disqualifying factor in light of the competition and supported him anyway

when some of the most respected departments of government leaders said he colluded with Russians, based on the evidence, I said "poppycock" and supported him anyway

when media swirled with tales of Russian bath houses and carousings abounded, I thought nonsense and supported hum anyway

when the rumors of underage girls and same sex parties and orgies seped into the main, I rolled my eyes and supported him anyway . . .

when he spouted off about Charlottesville prematurely, I supported him anyway . . .

when became clear he actually advocated torture, I choked, spat and supported him anyway, afterall he's not schooled in international relations and the consequences for our service personnel, much less apparently the basics of tortures effectiveness, especially in large scale strategies such as the US is engaged in

when it came to light he was completely ignorant of how our criminal justice system gets it wrong as exampled by the Cen 5 case, I supported him anyway . . .

I supported him in spite of his comments about the poor and people like me who supported him

There's a long list of tolerance is support of this president based on his advocacy regarding turning the attention to the US welfare . . .

And when he actually agreed that the Russians had sabotaged the US elections and even engaged in murder in the states of our European allies -- I knew, that in all liklihood the turn inward was dead.

Here' a man who beat all the odds because of stalwart support of people like me, who repeatedly bit the sides of our cheeks in the understanding that the returns would exceed the price only to discover that the man who beat the odds doesn't seem to have a spine to stand on ideologically which were the foundations of my advocacy: national security, less reckless spending, holding business and financial organizations accountable for misbehavior, investing in the US citizen, restructuring our trade deals to benefit the US, not merely shooting up tarrifs that would in turn be priced to the citizens the supposed tarrifs were intended to protect, tax cuts that actually gave middle americans less, no evidence of a draw down in our careless ME behaviors, i even gave him some room to deal with israel as perhaps a new way forward -- it's a new way alright – no pretense of acting as honest brokers – that's new, Immigration is worse and by worse he might as well be serving tea and crumpets at the border welcoming illegals . . .

If the man you elected to turn the corner actually becomes the vehicle for of what you elected him to reject and change, eventually one has to acknowledge that fact. he beat the deep state, he just either had not the courage, the integrity, or the ability, perhaps all three to withstand the victory and do the work. Of course he had opposition and not much of it very fair and nearly all of it damaging to the country. But he had support to stand against it -- he chose an easier path.

And while I support him still, I have no intention of pretending that he is fulfilling the mandate for which he was elected. I would be lying to myself and doing a disservice to him.

I have not changed, I knew he was a situational leader, I knew what that meant, but I voted for a particular agenda, he left the reservation on his own accord and the "deep state", the establishment", the democrats, the liberals, the libertarians, can only be held to blame for so much --

But several weeks ago, on top of a complete failure to ensure US order security, the armed forces paid homage to Mexicans on US territory by relinquishing their weapons and surrendering -- and given the tenure thus far -- - it devastatingly fitting that this occurred under this admin.

And in the midst of all this, he is pandering to those engaged in same sex behavior -- – deep state my eye . . .

the path of least resistance. I cling to the belief that having voting for any of the other candidates -- matters would have been far worse.

I make no apologies for being a conservative and Christian and holding a loyalty to the US.

I reject your whine, it had legs and even some salience still, but at this stage, very little.

Now he is bed with Sen. Rubio, Sen. Cruz and others on mucking around in SA -- I can only consider your comments as an attempt at humor.

[May 03, 2019] Tucker Carlson Takes On Venezuela Intervention by Brad Griffin

Notable quotes:
"... As much as Trump has proven to be a disaster with his appointments of Bolton/Pompeo/E Abrams, things could still be worse. We could have wound up with Little Marco, the John McCain of his generation. All praise to Tucker for having the guts to go against the grain. ..."
"... The answer here is simple. When the President of of the US stated that he believed Russia under the instructions of Pres. Putin attempted to sabotage the democratic process, and from the mouths many of our leadership -- was successful he made a major power on the world stage a targeted enemy of the US. When that same president accused Pres. Putin of plotting the same in Europe and ordered the murders inside those sovereign states -- ..."
"... He essentially stated that our global strategic interests include challenging the Russian influence anywhere and everywhere on the planet as they are active enemies of the US and our European allies. What ever democratic global strategic ambitions previous to the least election were stifled until that moment. ..."
"... Sanctions and blockades are acts of war. Try doing it to Washington or one of its vassals, and watch the guns come out. ..."
"... Historically, sanctions are not an alternative to war; they are a prelude to it. Sanctions are how Uncle Scam generally softens up foreign countries in preparation for an invasion or some sort of 'régime-change' operation. ..."
"... All of this is smoke in mirrors. The real story is that Washington is headed for default on it's 22 trillion dollar debt and the Beltway Elites are losing it. They are desperate to start a conflict anywhere, but especially with an oil rich nation like Venezuela or Iran install their own puppets and keep this petro-dollar scam running a little while longer. ..."
"... Syria, Iraq and Libya were not destroyed for oil. Oil provided cover for the real reason. In fact, oil companies opposed war for oil. It doesn't benefit the US or those companies. Those three countries were and are Israel's primary enemies and neighbors and that is why they were destroyed. Only if you stick your head in the sand and ignore the enormous power of Israel and their Jewish supporters which is constantly on full display constantly can someone not see that. ..."
"... Venezuela has one of the highest murder rates in the world. I'm pretty sure there are still lots of guns around. They're not using rocks to kill one another. The U.S. military richly deserves to get itself trapped in a Gaza type situation of house to house fighting in the favellas above Caracas. ..."
"... Trump is a Trojan horse under zionist control who had 5 draft deferments but now is the zionists war lord sending Americans to fight and die in the mideast for Israel just like obama and bush jr. , same bullshit different puppet! ..."
"... America is Oceania , war is peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength and I would add to what Orwell said, war in the zio/US is perpetual for our zionist overlords. ..."
"... Imperialists always see themselves as spreading good things to people who will benefit from them. And imperialists necessarily always dilute their own culture. ..."
"... If the imperialist culture is already rootless cosmopolitan, it will see no downside to the above. If the Elites of a culture have become cosmopolitans divorced from any meaningful contact with their own people (i.e. those of their own blood and history), then they will lead their people into ever more cultural pollution and perversion. ..."
"... Remember. The choice was between Trump and Clinton. Not Trump and Jesus. ..."
"... The funny thing is, the Alt-Right or the 2.0 movement is united to a man on opposing the Trump administration's military interventions in Syria, Iran and Venezuela, but has failed at articulating its own ardent opposition to imperialism and its commitment to humanity and international peace. No one in American politics is more opposed to destructive regime change wars. ..."
"... I'm not sure what "Alt-Right" or "2.0 movement" really means in the current shills-vs-people wars but all the best and the brightest in our ranks are clearly against the globalists. ..."
May 03, 2019 | www.unz.com

H/T Daily Stormer

Venezuela illustrates why a 3.0 movement is necessary.

The funny thing is, the Alt-Right or the 2.0 movement is united to a man on opposing the Trump administration's military interventions in Syria, Iran and Venezuela, but has failed at articulating its own ardent opposition to imperialism and its commitment to humanity and international peace. No one in American politics is more opposed to destructive regime change wars.

The Trump administration's interventions in Syria and Venezuela are victimizing mainly poor brown people in Third World countries. And yet, the Alt-Right or the 2.0 movement is extremely animated and stirred up in a rage at the neocons who are currently running Blompf's foreign policy. Similarly, it has cheered on the peace talks between North Korea and South Korea.

Isn't it the supreme irony that the "racists" in American politics are the real humanitarians while the so-called "humanitarians" like Sen. Marco Rubio and Bill Kristol are less adverse to bloodshed and destructive wars in which hundreds of thousands of people die than the "racists"?


Endgame Napoleon , says: May 2, 2019 at 4:48 am GMT

It is ironic. There is also the issue of economic-based US interventionism, particularly in the oil-gifted nations mentioned. It's their oil. Since the US economy is oil-dependent -- and since fracking is a short-lived "miracle" of unprofitable companies that have already extracted the easy pickings -- it is the role of US leaders to make sure that we can buy oil from nations like Venezuela, keeping relations as good as possible for those means. But US leaders have no business telling them who should rule their country, much less stirring up trouble that can end up in bloodshed.

There's a comment on here about US forces and the Kurds in Syria, helping themselves to oil, while Syrians wait in long lines for gas in a country that is an oil fountain. I have no idea whether or not it is true, and since the US press would rather gossip than report, we'll probably never know. But since oil prices have gone up recently in the USA, it might be true, especially since politicians always want to pacify the serfs facing other unaffordable expenses, like rent. If true you can see how that would make the people in an oil-rich country mad.

lavoisier , says: Website May 2, 2019 at 12:44 pm GMT

Isn't it the supreme irony that the "racists" in American politics are the real humanitarians while the so-called "humanitarians" like Sen. Marco Rubio and Bill Kristol are less adverse to bloodshed and destructive wars in which hundreds of thousands of people die than the "racists"?

There is nothing ironic about your simple statement of fact. The humanitarians you mention are about as much interested in human rights as John Wayne Gacy. There is gold in them there hills, and their "friends" no longer control that gold. So we must go to war.

Rubio is running neck and neck in my mind as one of the most disgusting political whores of all time.

No simple accomplishment that.

follyofwar , says: May 2, 2019 at 2:01 pm GMT
@lavoisier

As much as Trump has proven to be a disaster with his appointments of Bolton/Pompeo/E Abrams, things could still be worse. We could have wound up with Little Marco, the John McCain of his generation. All praise to Tucker for having the guts to go against the grain.

Joe Stalin , says: May 2, 2019 at 4:31 pm GMT
V.I. Kydor Kropotkin: "Look, you want to save the world? You're the great humanitarian? Take the gun!"

[Hands James Coburn full-auto AR-15]

Dr. Sidney Schaefer: [firing machine gun] " Take that you hostile son of a bitch! " " The President's Analyst" (1967)

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0062153/

https://www.youtube.com/embed/mHQYPZqZ_kI?feature=oembed

conatus , says: May 2, 2019 at 5:21 pm GMT
Why not ship some AR-15s and and few million rounds with some 20 round clips?.Venezuela seized all private guns in 2012 to 'keep the people safe'
https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-18288430

How is that working out now? Those are rocks those guys are throwing..right? Why not let THEM do the fighting and keep the guys from Ohio and Alabama here?

lavoisier , says: Website May 2, 2019 at 6:34 pm GMT
@follyofwar Yeah, McCain immediately comes to mind as the front runner.
A123 , says: May 2, 2019 at 8:37 pm GMT

The funny thing is, the Alt-Right or the 2.0 movement is united to a man on opposing the Trump administration's military interventions in Syria, Iran and Venezuela

What Trump administration military intervention? Number of Boots on the ground:

  • Syria -- Reduced vs. Obama, at most a few thousand
  • Iran -- ZERO
  • Venezuela -- Again ZERO

It is quite amazing that Trump Derangement Syndrome [TDS] can take ZERO troops and falsely portray that as military intervention. In the real, non-deranged world -- Rational thought shows ZERO troops as the absence of military intervention.

Trying to use non-military sanctions to convince nations to behave better is indeed the exact opposite of military intervention. If the NeoConDem Hillary Clinton was President. Would the U.S. have boots on the ground in Iran And Venezuela?

Why is the Trump Derangement Syndrome [TDS] crowd so willing to go to war for Hillary while misrepresenting TRUMP's non-intervention?

Those who pathologicially hate Trump are simply not rational.

PEACE

EliteCommInc. , says: May 2, 2019 at 9:05 pm GMT
The answer here is simple. When the President of of the US stated that he believed Russia under the instructions of Pres. Putin attempted to sabotage the democratic process, and from the mouths many of our leadership -- was successful he made a major power on the world stage a targeted enemy of the US. When that same president accused Pres. Putin of plotting the same in Europe and ordered the murders inside those sovereign states --

He essentially stated that our global strategic interests include challenging the Russian influence anywhere and everywhere on the planet as they are active enemies of the US and our European allies. What ever democratic global strategic ambitions previous to the least election were stifled until that moment.

Until that moment foreign policy could have been shifted, but after that moment

-- fo'ge'd abou'd it.

Fidelios Automata , says: May 3, 2019 at 1:50 am GMT
Don't forget the genocide in Yemen. Wanting to exclude Yemenis from the USA means you're an evil racist, but turning a blind eye to mass murder is A-OK.
Biff , says: May 3, 2019 at 4:14 am GMT
@A123 Sanctions and blockades are acts of war. Try doing it to Washington or one of its vassals, and watch the guns come out.
wayfarer , says: May 3, 2019 at 4:28 am GMT
"Guiado Attempts a Coup in Venezuela."

https://www.youtube.com/embed/WAvbX3A7igk?feature=oembed

"Venezuela Uprising Day Two."

https://www.youtube.com/embed/edvjV0HfRRo?feature=oembed

xwray-specs , says: May 3, 2019 at 5:52 am GMT
Gold, Black Gold and Pirates : all about wealth and people getting in the way of the 21st Century Privateers who will stop at nothing including overthrowing governments in Syria, Libya, Iraq and elsewhere.
Anon [358] Disclaimer , says: May 3, 2019 at 6:11 am GMT
Our deep state sure hates losing elections don't they? The lengths they will go to nullify voter will is a sight.
Digital Samizdat , says: May 3, 2019 at 6:32 am GMT
@A123 Historically, sanctions are not an alternative to war; they are a prelude to it. Sanctions are how Uncle Scam generally softens up foreign countries in preparation for an invasion or some sort of 'régime-change' operation.

I appreciate the fact that Team Trump has not actually sent in the tanks yet, whereas Hellary probably would have by now. Believe me, that is probably one of the very few good arguments in favor of Trump at this point. But if we want to make sure that he never does attack, then now is the time to make some noise– before the war starts.

Paul , says: May 3, 2019 at 8:20 am GMT
We do not need yet another U.S. imperialist adventure in Latin America.
JEinCA , says: May 3, 2019 at 8:26 am GMT
All of this is smoke in mirrors. The real story is that Washington is headed for default on it's 22 trillion dollar debt and the Beltway Elites are losing it. They are desperate to start a conflict anywhere, but especially with an oil rich nation like Venezuela or Iran install their own puppets and keep this petro-dollar scam running a little while longer.

If we weren't on the brink of economic collapse I could never see the Washington Elites risking it all with a game of nuclear chicken with Russia and China over Ukraine and Taiwan.

Anonymous [578] Disclaimer , says: May 3, 2019 at 8:49 am GMT
This commentator lost me when he decided Guaido was as socialist as Maduro. Nope. He would not have US backing were that the case. I checked out Telesur on Youtube on April 30 – its continued functioning was one sign the coup attempt had failed. The comments section was full of Guaido supporters ranting about how much they hated Chavistas and socialists and some were asking where Maduro was, probably trying to sustain the myth that he had fled.
PeterMX , says: May 3, 2019 at 9:05 am GMT
"When was the last time we successfully meddled in the political life of another country" The answer to that, Tucker, depends on who you ask. While Syria, Iraq and Libya were "failures" because we were told we would bring peace and prosperity to those countries, that was not the goal of the architects of those wars, neither was it oil. The primary goal was to pacify these countries and neuter them so they would not stand up to their neighbor and enemy Israel. And if they had to be destroyed to accomplish that, that's fine. Minus Egypt, those three countries were Israel's primary enemies in the three Arab-Israeli wars. Venezuela is not "another" war for oil, but it might be the first.
PeterMX , says: May 3, 2019 at 9:19 am GMT
@Endgame Napoleon

Syria, Iraq and Libya were not destroyed for oil. Oil provided cover for the real reason. In fact, oil companies opposed war for oil. It doesn't benefit the US or those companies. Those three countries were and are Israel's primary enemies and neighbors and that is why they were destroyed. Only if you stick your head in the sand and ignore the enormous power of Israel and their Jewish supporters which is constantly on full display constantly can someone not see that.

Anon [424] Disclaimer , says: May 3, 2019 at 9:20 am GMT
@EliteCommInc. The russians are not the ennemies of the europeans , the russians are europeans , the yankees are nor european .

If the yankees were the allies of the europeans , why they should need hundreds of military occupation bases in Europe ? why they should impose on europeans self defeating trade sanctions against Russia ? , strange " allies " .

Anon [424] Disclaimer , says: May 3, 2019 at 9:28 am GMT
@conatus you are late conatus , the russians are building in Venezuela a factory of Kalasnikov rifles , and Maduro is traing a militia of two million men , to help the army .

https://www.defensa.com/venezuela/fabricacion-venezuela-fusil-ruso-ak-103-comenzara-2019

War for Blair Mountain , says: May 3, 2019 at 11:52 am GMT
If JFK were alive ..and POTUS in 2019 he would give the order to overthrow the Maduro Goverment .
Johnny Smoggins , says: May 3, 2019 at 12:13 pm GMT
@conatus Venezuela has one of the highest murder rates in the world. I'm pretty sure there are still lots of guns around. They're not using rocks to kill one another. The U.S. military richly deserves to get itself trapped in a Gaza type situation of house to house fighting in the favellas above Caracas.
Avery , says: May 3, 2019 at 12:25 pm GMT
@War for Blair Mountain {If JFK were alive ..and POTUS in 2019 he would give the order to overthrow the Maduro Goverment .}

JFK was alive way back then, when he gave the order to overthrow Castro and the result was the Bay of Pigs disaster. And – for better or worse – Cubans are still running their own country, not some foreign installed puppet.

'The order to overthrow Maduro' today would have the same disasterous end.
It should be obvious by now, that despite all the hardships, majority of Venezuelans don't want a foreign installed puppet.

Z-man , says: May 3, 2019 at 12:28 pm GMT
Tucker ' Iz Da Man' ! Unfortunately he has to skate a fine line to dodge the arrows* of the Cabal of the right and the Cabal of the left .

*Arrows? No, BULLETS.

War for Blair Mountain , says: May 3, 2019 at 12:37 pm GMT
US Military Intervention in Venazuela .
  • Unending Wounded Warrior Project Infomercials
  • Crippled Freaks on Parade ..with 4 Titanium insect limbs ..
  • "THEY WAS FIGHTEN FOR OUR FREEDOM!!!!"
  • Career Opportunities for THE NATIVE BORN WHITE AMERICAN WORKING CLASS TEENAGE MALE POPULATION ..
  • DONALD TRUMP A FILTHY FUCKING COCKROACH!!!!
  • HILLARY CLINTON A FILTHY FUCKING COCKROACH!!!!
  • A BLATARIA BREEDING PAIR ..FROM RANCID FUCKING HELL!!!!
Mick Jagger gathers no Mosque , says: May 3, 2019 at 12:52 pm GMT
What is really going on in Venezuela was anticipated long ago

https://www.youtube.com/embed/Z1QVthvDhPo?feature=oembed

DESERT FOX , says: May 3, 2019 at 12:52 pm GMT
Carlson is right on Venezuela but was wrong on 911 truthers which he said back in September 2017, that 911 truthers were nuts! 911 which was done by Israel and the zionist controlled deep state lead to the destruction of the mideast for Israel and the zionist NWO!

Trump is a Trojan horse under zionist control who had 5 draft deferments but now is the zionists war lord sending Americans to fight and die in the mideast for Israel just like obama and bush jr. , same bullshit different puppet!

America is Oceania , war is peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength and I would add to what Orwell said, war in the zio/US is perpetual for our zionist overlords.

One more thing, if Venezuela did not have oil the zio/US would not give a damn about it!

Jake , says: May 3, 2019 at 1:15 pm GMT
Imperialists always see themselves as spreading good things to people who will benefit from them. And imperialists necessarily always dilute their own culture.

If the imperialist culture is already rootless cosmopolitan, it will see no downside to the above. If the Elites of a culture have become cosmopolitans divorced from any meaningful contact with their own people (i.e. those of their own blood and history), then they will lead their people into ever more cultural pollution and perversion.

Jews are a people who fit the opening sentence of the preceding paragraph. The WASP Elites fit the second sentence.

Fool's Paradise , says: May 3, 2019 at 1:19 pm GMT
If "no one is more opposed to destructive regime-change wars than the Alt-Right", it means that the Alt-Right are traditional conservatives, paleo-(as opposed to neo)conservatives. Real conservatives have always opposed getting into foreign wars that posed no threat to the U.S. They opposed Wilson lying us into WW1, Roosevelt lying us into WW2. When the neo-conservatives (American Jews loyal to Israel) got Washington under their thumb, we started our decades of disastrous regime-change wars based on lies, starting with the invasion of Iraq. Those neocon mf ers are still in charge.
DESERT FOX , says: May 3, 2019 at 1:46 pm GMT
@Johnny Walker Read Agree, the great zio/warlord got 5 deferments, but he will bomb any country the zionists put the hit on at the drop of a maga hat!

Trump is a zionist judas goat leading America to destruction for his zionist masters, and by the way his son-inlaw is mossad!

War is peace, ie the peace of the dead!

friendofanimals , says: May 3, 2019 at 1:52 pm GMT
Maduro was trading oil in non-Fed Reserve, Jew-Dollar just like Iran, Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan and Syria. can't have that .
Anonymous [392] Disclaimer , says: May 3, 2019 at 2:02 pm GMT
An Alt Right 2.0 concept that is compassionate with the damage done by US war and economic exploitation against the poorest people of the world who are mostly brown people is an interesting concept.

But I think it will ultimately fail, since so many of the white people who make up the Alt Right are angry with minorities and see them as a lower race. And these white people are more interested in playing the victim card anyways.

TKK , says: May 3, 2019 at 2:07 pm GMT
@A123 You speak truth and cite facts, these loons go bananas.

Thank God they have no real power.

Hopefully they don't even own a hamster . probably would make the little fella read Mien Kempf.

Because a hamster reading is just as cogent and linear as their arguments.

They are frustrated they cannot find a way to blame the Jews! for Maduro being a greedy murdering sweathog who lets zoo animals starve while he looks like animated male cellulite.

Funny- in their prostrations to dictators ( these retards actually defend and admire Jong-Un) they conveniently have omitted Putin is cutting Russia from the WWW- the Internet.

They will have a Russia intranet.

Pointing out to the obtuse daily commenters that under the tyrants that practically fellate- they would be arrested and tortured for their Unz hissy fits and word diarrhea

-Does not compute.

TKK , says: May 3, 2019 at 2:16 pm GMT
@Johnny Walker Read All those words, and nary a coherent point made.

Nationwide radio talk show? Wow! What's the station name, number and air time?

If you listen to people with actual media shows, they don't call people TROLL just because they have a different opinion. They don't engage in female hysterical ranting because someone has a different idea about the mechanics of the world.

Who are your sponsors? I can't imagine you would not want the free publicity .

wayfarer , says: May 3, 2019 at 2:22 pm GMT
"Venezuela 'Coup Attempt' Footage They Don't Want You to See." https://www.youtube.com/embed/6OzF5ktFiCk?feature=oembed

"Massive Deception Coming From Corporate Media on Venezuela." https://www.youtube.com/embed/JjXzw51GZtc?feature=oembed

peter mcloughlin , says: May 3, 2019 at 2:37 pm GMT
I agree, there is irony in labels, in trying to tell who is more disposed towards 'bloodshed and destructive wars in which hundreds of thousands of people die'. Why do we fight? It is for power. Power (manifested as interest) has been present in every conflict of the past – no exception. It is the underlying motivation for war. Other cultural factors might change, but not power. Interest cuts across all apparently unifying principles: family, kin, nation, religion, ideology, politics – everything. We unite with the enemies of our principles, because that is what serves our interest. It is power, not any of the above concepts, that is the cause of war. And that is what is leading the world to nuclear Armageddon.
https://www.ghostsofhistory.wordpress.com/
Johnny Walker Read , says: May 3, 2019 at 2:42 pm GMT
@TKK My sponsors are truth and America first. All Zionist hucksters are on my hit list. Again, I suggest you and yours consider "making aliyah".
https://www.nbn.org.il/
HallParvey , says: May 3, 2019 at 2:47 pm GMT
@A123

What Trump administration military intervention?

Number of Boots on the ground:
-- Syria -- Reduced vs. Obama, at most a few thousand
-- Iran -- ZERO
-- Venezuela -- Again ZERO

We will see in the future. Trump has to stir the pot. The foaming at the mouth media and his political opposition, in both parties, need something to blather on about. Jus like rasslin'. Remember. The choice was between Trump and Clinton. Not Trump and Jesus.

Gapeseed , says: May 3, 2019 at 2:50 pm GMT
@TKK Oh, I see a point there, and it's an interesting one – openly Christian presidents discredit their Christianity by engaging in non-righteous wars. After contemplating the point, I don't think the foreign policy of W or Trump is anywhere close to being the primary factor in the decline in church attendance. After all, the Catholic Church and other denominations are mired in myriad sex scandals, the internet pulls people from God with private depravity, science offers compelling hows if not whys, entertainment options abound, and so on. Nonetheless, an orthodox and faithful Christian president committed to peace and not fighting for oil or foreign interests would be a thing to behold. With caveats relating to perceived sanity, that person would get my vote.
Anon [398] Disclaimer , says: Website May 3, 2019 at 2:52 pm GMT
But nothing seems to happen to the scumbags.
EliteCommInc. , says: May 3, 2019 at 3:00 pm GMT
"The russians are not the ennemies of the europeans , the russians are europeans , the yankees are nor european . "

These comments don't make any sense to me based on what I wrote. My comments have no bearing on whether the Russians are an actual threat or not. I see them as competitors with whom there are some places to come to some agreements. They doesn't mean I truth them.

Furthermore, my comments have no bearing on the territorial nature of Russian ethos. That's not the point. Europeans have been at each other since there were Europeans. From the Vikings and before to Serbia and Georgian conflicts. But none of that has anything to do with my comments.

You might want to read them for what they do say as opposed to what you would like them to say.

Agent76 , says: May 3, 2019 at 3:04 pm GMT
Jul 26, 2017 CIA director hints US is working to topple Venezuela's elected government

CIA Director Mike Pompeo indirectly admitted that the US is pushing for a new government in Venezuela, in collaboration with Colombia and Mexico.

Feb 22, 2019 An Ocean of Lies on Venezuela: Abby Martin & UN Rapporteur Expose Coup

On the eve of another US war for oil, Abby Martin debunks the most repeated myths about Venezuela and uncovers how US sanctions are crimes against humanity with UN investigator and human rights Rapporteur Alfred De Zayas.

EliteCommInc. , says: May 3, 2019 at 3:09 pm GMT
"After all, the Catholic Church and other denominations are mired in myriad sex scandals . . ."

Not even to the tune of 4%, and I am being generous. The liberals have managed to make the Church look a den of NAMBLA worshipers -- hardly. In the west the Churches are under pressure from the same sex practitioners to reject scriptural teachings on the behavior, but elsewhere around the world, Catholic institutions, such as in Africa -- reject the notion.

The scandal is more fiction that reality --

A123 , says: May 3, 2019 at 3:11 pm GMT
@TKK Thanks. Ignoring mindless trolls is a necessary skill for the site.
____

Given the end of the Mueller exoneration, both Trump and Putin are looking to strengthen ties. Thus it is:

-- Unlikely that Putin is heavily committed to helping Maduro. The numbers are too small for that. Also, what would Putin do with Maduro? The last thing Putin needs is a spoiler to the developing detente.

-- Much more likely the troops have a straightforward purpose. Brazilian military/aerospace technology would jump ahead 20 years if they could grab an intact S-300 system. Russia doesn't want a competitor in that market, so they have a deep interest in reclaiming or destroying S-300 equipment as Maduro goes down.

PEACE

Gapeseed , says: May 3, 2019 at 3:40 pm GMT
@EliteCommInc. You are certainly right. I have no doubt that the vast majority of priests are good men innocent of these charges, and that there are more public school sex scandals (by both raw numbers and percentage) then similar Church scandals. The scandals do have public currency and legs, though, and are one reason often cited as to why the pews are empty. I am at fault for helping to keep this ruinous perception alive with my online rhetoric, and thank you for pointing it out.
Wally , says: May 3, 2019 at 3:47 pm GMT
@PeterMX Bingo!

' It's the oil ' canard has always been the excuse cultivated for suckers, and boy do suckers fall for it.

US oil companies have not received the big oil deals in countries where the US, at the behest of "that shitty little country", have interfered militarily. However, Russia, China, & to a limited degree, a few European companies have.

follyofwar , says: May 3, 2019 at 4:06 pm GMT
@PeterMX Bibi's biggest enemy, his main prize, has always been Iran. He is afraid that, if Trump refuses to do his bidding now, it may well be too late in an election year. One way or another Bolton and Pompeo are going to convince their token boss to green light a massive bombing campaign, especially if Iran attempts to shut down the Straits of Hormuz. It will happen this year if Trump fails to come to his senses.
Digital Samizdat , says: May 3, 2019 at 4:33 pm GMT
@Scalper In the first place, your bizarre partisan rant is a little out of place. There aren't too many QAnons here at Unz, and there are probably a fair number of regulars here who wouldn't even identify as Republicans or 'conservatives' (whatever that term means today).

Secondly, some of your talking points aren't even accurate:

Trump administration will declare Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organisation, increasing the animosity from Arab countries in the ME to unbelievable levels. This includes non Arab country Turkey also, a traditional ally until neocon Trump took power.

If Trump were truly to declare the Brotherhood to be a terrorist organization, a lot of Arab rulers would actually thank him. You see, the Brotherhood is actually illegal in most Arab countries today, precisely because it has a history of collaborating with foreign intelligence services such as MI6, the CIA and Mossad. More recently, it was strongly associated with failed régime-change projects in countries like Egypt and Syria; so with a few exceptions (like Qatar), the Brotherhood is not well liked by Arab rulers.

Immigration restrictionism is a traditional pro working class, leftist policy.

Traditionally leftist? Sure up until the Hart-Celler Act of 1965! The sad fact is, we don't an anti-immigration party in the US at all today. Neither the Republicans nor the Democrats have any interest whatsoever in halting–or even just slowing down–immigration.

follyofwar , says: May 3, 2019 at 4:34 pm GMT
@PeterMX It's obvious that FOX is giving Tucker a lot of latitude. They continued to support him when advertisers left, and when accusations of racism emerged from a radio interview he'd done years ago with a shock jock. They dare not fire him as he has the largest and most fervent base of supporters on cable news. But Tucker knows that there is one big issue, the Elephant in the room, of which he dare not speak. It's that shitty little country calling the shots, whose name begins with an I.
Digital Samizdat , says: May 3, 2019 at 4:40 pm GMT
@Anonymous I think there may be more alt-righters opposed to foreign wars and exploitative 'free' trade treaties than you assume. Most of the alt-righters I know oppose the current régime's "invade the world, invite the world" policies (to borrow a phrase from our own Steve Sailer). But unlike the anti-imperialist left (with whom they often do ally), they usually argue against such policies based on popular self-interest rather than abstract universal morality. They usually choose to argue that being a mighty world empire has worked to the detriment of the majority of people in America; that the whole thing is just a scam to enrich and empower a small, corrupt élite.
joe webb , says: May 3, 2019 at 4:45 pm GMT
what goes unremarked here and elsewhere is the ethnic composition of Venezuela. From a few searches, Whites are only about one-third of V.

The Tipping Point for chaos is clear. Brazil is half White, Argentina is near 100 % White, ditto Chile. (Argentina ca. 1900 exterminated a large number its "Indigenous." ) The most stable of Latin America is Costa Rica, which is apparently about three quarters White.

Meanwhile the jewyorktimes reports the narco-traffickers in the Maduro administration.

Hopeless. Any Brown or Black Country is doomed. Brazil works cuz Whites know how to control the 45% mulattos and 5 % Blacks. For now anyway. Mexico is a narco-state with the only 9% Whites able to control the half breeds and Indigenous thru co-option. Wait for Mexico to blow up.

Joe Webb

Republic , says: May 3, 2019 at 4:46 pm GMT
Tucker's viewpoints seem to indicate a split in the US ruling class. US Bipartisan Unity on Venezuela Starting to Crumble. which is very good news!
DESERT FOX , says: May 3, 2019 at 6:02 pm GMT
@joe webb The major drug runners in the world are the cia and the mossad and mi6.
twocalves , says: May 3, 2019 at 6:31 pm GMT
@Endgame Napoleon https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-04-30/us-troops-syria-long-haul-atop-lot-oil-resources-top-pentagon-official
tldr ; Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for the Middle East says us occupying syria, because we much stronger
DESERT FOX , says: May 3, 2019 at 6:49 pm GMT
@anonymous Agree, and the same can be said of Hannity, who is another warmonger for his zionist masters.
Mike P , says: May 3, 2019 at 7:11 pm GMT
@follyofwar

It's that shitty little country calling the shots, whose name begins with an I.

Yes, those gosh-darn Icelanders.

Anonymous [173] Disclaimer , says: May 3, 2019 at 7:35 pm GMT

The funny thing is, the Alt-Right or the 2.0 movement is united to a man on opposing the Trump administration's military interventions in Syria, Iran and Venezuela, but has failed at articulating its own ardent opposition to imperialism and its commitment to humanity and international peace. No one in American politics is more opposed to destructive regime change wars.

That's an amazing point. I'm not sure what "Alt-Right" or "2.0 movement" really means in the current shills-vs-people wars but all the best and the brightest in our ranks are clearly against the globalists.

Robjil , says: May 3, 2019 at 9:59 pm GMT
@Avery The Deep state/CIA did the Bay of Pigs. JFK was not informed about it before it happened. JFK was fighting the CIA and deep state throughout his presidency. He wanted to shatter the CIA into a million pieces. Read "JFK and the Unspeakable" by James W. Douglass. His peace speech on June 10, 1963 was too much for our deep state. That speech was the biggest triggers that set the motion for his assassination.
Realist , says: May 3, 2019 at 10:24 pm GMT
@War for Blair Mountain

US Military Intervention in Venazuela .

=

Unending Wounded Warrior Project Infomercials

Why do the naive people have to beg for donations ..make the warmongers pay.

Realist , says: May 3, 2019 at 10:26 pm GMT
@Jake

Imperialists always see themselves as spreading good things to people who will benefit from them.

No they don't .They see power and wealth.

Acknowledging Gravity , says: May 3, 2019 at 10:45 pm GMT
Whatever anyone thinks about the Alt-Right it did expose a lot of things about our current era, our history, our politics, and power paradigms that once seen can not be unseen.

And what are you going to do about it? What can anyone really do, honestly?

Not too much at least in America. Eastern Europe still has a good chance.

In America, the trajectory and machinations of power have been set for a long time and revolutionary romanticism tends to work better for the Left than the Right. A quick look at the data easily reveals this.

So what do you do when you realize how so much of everything that's presented as real and true isn't real or true? And there are so many truly bad human beings with major power over our culture, politics, and society?

Well, when has that not been the case in human history? At some point, acknowledging all the black pills is sort of like accepting your human limits, your finitude, your genetics, the unanswered mysteries of existence, the nothingness of Earth in the grand scheme, and just basic gravity.

You could become a courageous online revolutionary and eventually trigger some unstable person to get things shut down and deplatformed.

Or you could organize with socially and psychologically healthy and mature adults who try to prioritize attainable and realistic goals and gain some moralizing victories that can buffer against the demoralizing defeats.

Luckily, out of the winter of our discontent have emerged many healthy tendrils of new growth.

[May 03, 2019] Tucker Carlson: Before The Bombers Take Off, Let's Ask A Few Questions About Venezuela

Notable quotes:
"... Will the overthrow of disputed President Nicolas Maduro make Venezuela a more stable and prosperous country? More to the point, would it be good for the United States? Lots of people claim to know the answer to that, but they don't. They have no idea. If recent history is any guide, nothing will turn out as expected. Few things ever do. ..."
"... Are we prepared for the refugees a Venezuelan war would inevitably produce? A study by the Brookings Institution found that the collapse of the Venezuelan government could force eight million people to leave the country. Many of them would come here. Lawmakers in this country propose giving them temporary protected status that would let even illegal arrivals live and work here, in effect, permanently, as many have before, with no fear of deportation. Are we prepared for that? ..."
May 02, 2019 | www.realclearpolitics.com

TUCKER CARLSON: There is much we don't know about the situation in Venezuela. What we do know is that Venezuela's current government has done a poor job of providing for its own people. Venezuela has the world's largest oil reserves, yet it remains one of the most impoverished and the most dangerous places on the planet. That is beyond dispute.

Everything else is up for debate. Will the overthrow of disputed President Nicolas Maduro make Venezuela a more stable and prosperous country? More to the point, would it be good for the United States? Lots of people claim to know the answer to that, but they don't. They have no idea. If recent history is any guide, nothing will turn out as expected. Few things ever do.

But that has not stopped the geniuses in Washington. It has not even slowed them down. On Tuesday afternoon, on a bipartisan basis, they agreed that the United States ought to jump immediately, face-first, into the Venezuelan mess. When asked whether U.S. presence in Venezuela would make any difference, Sen. Rick Scott of Florida told Neil Cavuto the following: "Absolutely. I was down at the Venezuelan border last Wednesday. This is just pure genocide. Maduro is killing his own citizens."

When asked whether Venezuela was worth risking American troops' lives, Scott said, "Here is what is going to happen. We are in the process, if we don't win today, we are going to have Syria in this hemisphere. So, we can make sure something happens now, or we can deal with this for decades to come. If we care about families, if we care about the human race, if we care about fellow worldwide citizens, then we've got to step up and stop this genocide."

All right, I just want to make sure that it is clear. If you care about families and you care about the human race -- if you want to stop genocide -- you will send your children to Venezuela to fight right now, without even thinking about it, without even weighing the consequences. You will just do it. Assuming you are a good person, of course.

If you don't care about families or the human race -- if for some reason you despise human happiness and support genocide -- then you will want to join Satan's team and embrace isolationism, the single most immoral of all worldviews. That is what they're telling you. That is what they are demanding you believe.

Message received. We've heard it before. But before the bombers take off, let's just answer a few quick questions, starting with the most obvious: When was the last time we successfully meddled in the political life of another country? Has it ever worked? How are the democracies we set up in Iraq, in Libya, in Syria, and Afghanistan right now? How would Venezuela be different? Please explain -- and take your time.

Are we prepared for the refugees a Venezuelan war would inevitably produce? A study by the Brookings Institution found that the collapse of the Venezuelan government could force eight million people to leave the country. Many of them would come here. Lawmakers in this country propose giving them temporary protected status that would let even illegal arrivals live and work here, in effect, permanently, as many have before, with no fear of deportation. Are we prepared for that?

Are we prepared to absorb millions of new Venezuelan migrants? All of them great people, no question, But many would have little education or skills or would not speak English.

Finally, how, exactly, is any of this good for the United States? Our sanctions on Venezuela have already spiked our gas prices. That hurts our struggling middle class more than virtually anything we could do. So what's is the point of doing that? So our lawmakers can feel like good people?

And if they are, indeed, good people, why do they care more about Venezuela than they care about this country, the one that they run? They are happy to send our military to South America at the first sign of chaos. But send U.S. troops to our own border to stem the tide of a hundred thousand uninvited arrivals a month? "No way," they tell us. "That is crazy talk!"

So, what is the thinking here?

[May 01, 2019] India and Europe stopped buying iranian oil. 1 billion $ of iranian oil stays blocked in China, no one wants to touch it. Even Khamenei admitted that Europe left the JCPOA in practise.

Notable quotes:
"... The Empire is not weak, this is poor analysis. India and Europe stopped buying Iranian oil. 1 billion $ of Iranian oil stays blocked in China, no one wants to touch it. Even Khamenei admitted that Europe left the JCPOA in practice. ..."
"... Iran is in deep recession. Venezuela is in deep recession and is surrounded. ..."
"... Iraq? US troops are staying there. Syria? US troops are staying there long term. 1 third of the country containing the biggest oil fields is under US control. There is fuel shortage crisis due to sanctions. Europe is not stopping its sanctions either. ..."
May 01, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Passer by , May 1, 2019 8:19:31 PM | link

"The Empire only appears to be strong. In reality it is weak, confused, clueless"

The Empire is not weak, this is poor analysis. India and Europe stopped buying Iranian oil. 1 billion $ of Iranian oil stays blocked in China, no one wants to touch it. Even Khamenei admitted that Europe left the JCPOA in practice.

Iran is in deep recession. Venezuela is in deep recession and is surrounded. Almost all of Latin America now has pro-US governments. CIA linked Bolsonaro took over in Brazil. Turkey is in deep recession and Erdogan lost the big cities.

India is moving closer to the US. Europe remains a vassal. Russian economic growth is weak. The US won the trade war against China as Andrei Martyanov himself admitted.

Iraq? US troops are staying there. Syria? US troops are staying there long term. 1 third of the country containing the biggest oil fields is under US control. There is fuel shortage crisis due to sanctions. Europe is not stopping its sanctions either.

There is no doubt that they will be weaker in the future, but they will fight hard to stop this and gain time.

[May 01, 2019] Does Juan Guaido realize what comes next

Notable quotes:
"... The opposition's hoped-for split in the military didn't emerge, a plane that the United States claimed was standing by to ferry Maduro into exile never took off and by nightfall one of the government's bravest opponents, who defied house arrest to join the insurrection, had quietly sought refuge with his family in a foreign embassy. ..."
"... Those that didn't take explicit positions nonetheless wrote articles blaming all or most of Venezuela's woes on Maduro and Chávez. Economics wiz Paul Krugman (New York Times, 1/29/19) gave his spiel: ..."
"... Hugo Chávez got into power because of rage against the nation's elite, but used the power badly. He seized the oil sector, which you only do if you can run it honestly and efficiently; instead, he turned it over to corrupt cronies, who degraded its performance. Then, when oil prices fell, his successor tried to cover the income gap by printing money. Hence the crisis. ..."
"... Note that Krugman failed to mention the 57 percent reduction in extreme poverty that followed Chávez's replacement of management of the state-owned oil industry ..."
"... The total failure of the coup is obvious when one looks at what happened to Leopoldo López, the mentor of Juan Guaidó. He was under house arrest for leading the violent demonstrations and deadly riots in 2014 ..."
"... The generals in the Pentagon will not like the rhetorical build-up at all. They will look at their maps and find that Venezuela is twice the size of Iraq and 30% larger than Afghanistan. ..."
"... It is unlikely that Trump wants to launch a war on Venezuela. He likely knows that it would not be a cake walk, and that it would be a severe risk for his reelection. But who knows what Bolton or Pompeo might tell him to get their way. They just got snookered by the Maduro government. Why would they not snooker Trump? ..."
May 01, 2019 | caucus99percent.com

gjohnsit on Wed, 05/01/2019 - 12:50pm Juan Guaido's U.S.-backed coup failed pitifully yesterday.

He called it the moment for Venezuelans to reclaim their democracy once and for all. But as the hours dragged on, opposition leader Juan Guaidó stood alone on a highway overpass with the same small cadre of soldiers with whom he launched a bold effort to spark a military uprising and settle Venezuela's agonizing power struggle...

The opposition's hoped-for split in the military didn't emerge, a plane that the United States claimed was standing by to ferry Maduro into exile never took off and by nightfall one of the government's bravest opponents, who defied house arrest to join the insurrection, had quietly sought refuge with his family in a foreign embassy.

Guaido's mentor Leopoldo Lopez sought refuge in Chile's embassy in Caracas, while at least 25 pro-Juan Guaido troops asked Brazil for refuge. President Nicolas Maduro is actually in a stronger position now than a week ago. So does the U.S. give up this imperialist project? Nope.

We simply take it to the next level. Juan Guaido must die .

He has been a kind of a hapless figure so far. He calls for mass protests and no one shows up. I don't think he realizes right now that he is actually now worth more dead than alive not only to the CIA, but also to his own opposition people. A shot in the crowd or something like that to take Guaido out. It might shock you, Dr. Paul, but the CIA is pretty good at this kind of things.

Juan Guaido probably only has days or weeks to live.
I wonder if he realizes the danger he is in?

It's unlikely that the Trump Administration will wait long before putting a bullet in their CIA puppet.

"The President has been crystal clear and incredibly consistent. Military action is possible. If that's what's required, that's what the United States will do," Pompeo said on Fox Business Network. "We're trying to do everything we can to avoid violence. We've asked all the parties involved not to engage in the kind of activity. We'd prefer a peaceful transition of government there, where Maduro leaves and a new election is held.

But the President has made clear, in the event that there comes a moment -- and we'll all have to make decisions about when that moment is -- and the President will have to ultimately make that decision. He is prepared to do that if that's what's required."

You don't think that

Maduro would imprison Guaido first?

Is Maduro not able to capture Guaido? Or is he protected by the US and unreachable?

Lookout on Wed, 05/01/2019 - 1:08pm
My guess is Maduro

@dfarrah
Thinks arresting Guaido triggers a US military invasion. Eric Prince is trying to put together a mercenary force if the US troops don't go in.

aliasalias on Wed, 05/01/2019 - 1:48pm
Right wing nuts are joined by faux 'liberals'

calling for the same results that Pompous, Bolton, tRump etc. advocate, the 'liberals' just use nicer language. (highlights are mine)

"...Francisco Rodríguez and Jeffrey D. Sachs (New York Times, 2/2/19) envision similar efforts for a "peaceful and negotiated transition of power," and (Ro) Khanna made sure to characterize Maduro as "an authoritarian leader who has presided over unfair elections, failed economic policies, extrajudicial killings by police, food shortages and cronyism with military leaders."

In other words, Maduro the Dictator must be overthrown -- but don't worry, the US would be diplomatic about it.

Those that didn't take explicit positions nonetheless wrote articles blaming all or most of Venezuela's woes on Maduro and Chávez. Economics wiz Paul Krugman (New York Times, 1/29/19) gave his spiel:

Hugo Chávez got into power because of rage against the nation's elite, but used the power badly. He seized the oil sector, which you only do if you can run it honestly and efficiently; instead, he turned it over to corrupt cronies, who degraded its performance. Then, when oil prices fell, his successor tried to cover the income gap by printing money. Hence the crisis.

Note that Krugman failed to mention the 57 percent reduction in extreme poverty that followed Chávez's replacement of management of the state-owned oil industry (.

I picked the examples above from the article above but it would be a mistake to not point out that this is about all of the media but the NY Tool really stands out, of course Wapoop is never far behind.

However to not make this post too long I'll put up just two of the opening paragraphs and it gets a lot better...

"A FAIR survey of US opinion journalism on Venezuela found no voices in elite corporate media that opposed regime change in that country. Over a three-month period (1/15/19–4/15/19), zero opinion pieces in the New York Times and Washington Post took an anti–regime change or pro-Maduro/Chavista position. Not a single commentator on the big three Sunday morning talkshows or PBS NewsHour came out against President Nicolás Maduro stepping down from the Venezuelan government.

Of the 76 total articles, opinion videos or TV commentator segments that centered on or gave more than passing attention to Venezuela, 54 (72 percent) expressed explicit support for the Maduro administration's ouster. Eleven (14 percent) were ambiguous, but were only classified as such for lack of explicit language. Reading between the lines, most of these were clearly also pro–regime change. Another 11 (14 percent) took no position, but many similarly offered ideological ammo for those in support.

"

https://fair.org/home/zero-percent-of-elite-commentators-oppose-regime-c...

dfarrah on Wed, 05/01/2019 - 2:59pm
So people are stuck with

@aliasalias a choice between corrupt socialists and corrupt capitalists. Yay.

So now I'm watching tv, and oh noes, some guy says that Caracas is a war zone! But all I see is a bunch of people and some sort of smoke bombs going off. But no one yet is shooting. People are throwing rocks at some military vehicles.

The Aspie Corner on Wed, 05/01/2019 - 3:06pm
Krugman is a capitalist stooge.

@aliasalias I'm also willing to bet he was perfectly fine with the US ordering its client states in the Middle East to ramp up oil production to manipulate prices.

What I find particularly laughable is the fact that so many idiots on and offline think Venezuela is socialist despite the fact that their economy is 70 percent private, or mixed, like ours used to be before the capitalist pigs sold off the commons to the highest bidders piece by god damn piece.

Liberals and conservatives are just 2 sides of the same fascist coin at this point.

Battle of Blair... on Wed, 05/01/2019 - 2:04pm
Fight fire with fire

Whats good for the goose is good for the gander.

leveymg on Wed, 05/01/2019 - 3:35pm
Most pathetic CIA coup attempt, yet.

Even after an effective multi-year economic embargo that's caused hyperinflation in Venezuela, and despite a plague of Stuxnet-like viruses that took down most of the country's electrical and communications grid, all the CIA has managed to do is make itself look ineffectual at what really matters. Same in Iran.

All we really still do well is wreck stuff, cause starvation, and cut down the supply of oil going to the world market.

The Agency doesn't really confuse and intimidate anyone, anymore, except The New York Times.

Cassiodorus on Wed, 05/01/2019 - 3:47pm
Is it just me?

Or is the American public missing the obvious? All I see from the folks advocating for a coup in Venezuela is that

1) people are starving,

2) Maduro is a "dictator" (supported by what evidence I don't know) and

3) something must be done. They have no evidence for the counter argument that

4) they are comprador elites who want nothing more than

5) to get their hands on PdVSA's oil after 6) their American sponsors take the lion's share and that

7) it's perfectly obvious that, apart from the end of the US-led embargo, nothing is going to get any better for the vast majority of Venezuelans if the comprador elites are allowed to take over the country. This is because their methods are

9) at least as dictatorial as those they accuse Maduro of employing. And then we have the undemocratic idea that

10) the United States government should somehow have a "say" in who rules Venezuela, a proposition that appears to have the open assent of most of the world's governments.

DonMidwest on Wed, 05/01/2019 - 3:43pm
Guaido got snookered

Venezuela - Guaidó Got Snookered - White House Starts Beating War Drums

Moon of Alabama has an excellent article.

Generals promised him that they were with him, but they were not.

US failed again. And the world knows it.

The total failure of the coup is obvious when one looks at what happened to Leopoldo López, the mentor of Juan Guaidó. He was under house arrest for leading the violent demonstrations and deadly riots in 2014. Yesterday morning the guards let him go. While the circumstances are not clear, the police chief responsible for the guards has been fired. López promised his followers that he would go to the Miraflores Presidential Palace. But he wasn't even able to leave eastern Caracas.

Yesterday evening López, with his wife and daughter, fled into the Chilean embassy. They seem to have disliked the accommodations. Two hours later they moved into the Spanish embassy.

While the embassy food may be good, it will be a quite different life than in their own comfortable mansion. A few of the soldiers who supported Guaidó took refuge in the Brazilian embassy. Guaidó is still free.

The generals in the Pentagon will not like the rhetorical build-up at all. They will look at their maps and find that Venezuela is twice the size of Iraq and 30% larger than Afghanistan. It has impenetrable jungles, mountains and slums that even Venezuelan troops do not dare to enter. It has a functioning army and halfway decent air defenses which were recently upgraded by Russian specialists.

It is unlikely that Trump wants to launch a war on Venezuela. He likely knows that it would not be a cake walk, and that it would be a severe risk for his reelection. But who knows what Bolton or Pompeo might tell him to get their way. They just got snookered by the Maduro government. Why would they not snooker Trump?

[May 01, 2019] War with Venezuela Is Unnecessary, Illegal, and Wrong by Daniel Larison

May 01, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

There are absolutely no vital U.S. interests at stake in Venezuela, and the Venezuelan government poses no threat to the United States. There is no way under these circumstances that military action could be "required," so when Pompeo suggests that it could happen we are clearly talking about a war of choice divorced from any U.S. security interests. It would be a war fought solely for the purpose of achieving regime change, and the only reason why the U.S. would do that is to vindicate the Trump administration's reckless blunder of taking sides in an internal political dispute. No Americans should die for the sake of Trump's ego or for the ambitions of hawkish senators.

Attacking the Venezuelan government would be a terrible error and a violation of international law. It would be a calamity for the people of Venezuela, who would bear many of the costs of turning their internal crisis into an international war, and it would likely cause more displacement and increase the number of people fleeing the country in the short term. I suspect it would also be a more difficult and costly war than most of us expect, and it would be a massive waste of U.S. resources and American lives in an unjustified and unnecessary war. If all that isn't enough, an unauthorized Venezuelan war would also be completely illegal under U.S. law. The American people have no appetite for a new war for regime change anywhere in the world, and there is not much support for it even in Congress. If Trump tries to take the U.S. to war in Venezuela, he will be in clear violation of the Constitution and should be impeached for it.


Collin , says: May 1, 2019 at 11:48 am

The thing I really don't understand about Venezuela here is why is this not China's problem while the US and Russia doing old cold war dance here? They are in debt to their eyeballs here with them.

At this point, Bolton and Pompeo are doing everything to suck President Trump into the battle for Venezuela and we must be not support military action. (I fear the talking heads at Fox News here.) Because it appears the people, or majority, of Venezuela are generally tiring of Maduro government but they do not want US military assistance. (Note any truth the CIA dropped weapons to the Guiadro forces? They do have US guns but this stuff get trade fairly easily without US government doing.)

Allen , says: May 1, 2019 at 12:34 pm
If America goes to war in Venezuela, Trump loses my vote in 2020. If we don't get out of at least one more unnecessary war like Yemen, Syria, Afghanistan, etc, he's on thin ice. Getting OUT of foreign wars was one of his major campaign promises.
james , says: May 1, 2019 at 1:39 pm
It seems that wars of opportunity are the only kind we engage in over the past few decades. If we don't have a war with either Venezuela or Iran, I will be shocked and very relieved.
However, I am not optimistic. Our foreign policy seems to be completely controlled by NeoCons, arms merchants, and Saudi / Israeli interests, with no honest benefits to our own nation's security or strategic interests.

[May 01, 2019] Bay of piglets

May 01, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Hoarsewhisperer , Apr 30, 2019 2:09:11 PM | link

Apologies to b, but today's Xymphora post really tickled my fancy.>

Bay of piglets, Tuesday, April 30, 2019

"Venezuelan coup attempt 'directly planned in Washington' – FM". Guido's cute little coup-let. If you stage a coup and nobody notices as it is so half-assed, is it really a coup? "Venezuela: Military Uprising in Caracas (in Development)".

"Venezuela - Bay of Pigs Redux?" (Lang). Obviously, the government can no longer tolerate Guido's shenanigans, which have become a public safety matter.

Emily Dickinson , Apr 30, 2019 4:53:38 PM | link

Apparently, both López and Guaidó have sought asylum in the Chilean embassy.

https://www.chiletoday.cl/breaking-venezuelan-opposition-leader-escapes-to-chilean-embassy/

I look forward to the embassy video showing them skateboarding in their quarters. I don't, however, believe any self-respecting cat will befriend either one of these tools.

Emily Dickinson , Apr 30, 2019 5:00:30 PM | link
Correction to 114 above. The Venezuela Analysis tweet linking to the Chile Today story claiming that both Guaidó and López had taken refuge in the Chilean embassy has been removed, and the story only claims that López is there. Miscommunication in a rapidly developing situation? In any case, surely Guaidó is seeking refuge SOMEplace.
wendy davis , Apr 30, 2019 5:10:07 PM | link
multiple sources are reporting similar information to telesur's update:

UPDATE: 3:11

pm Chile's Foreign Affairs Minister Roberto Ampuero confirmed that Venezuelan opposition politician Leopoldo Lopez and his family requested asylum at the Chilean embassy in Caracas.

"Lilian Tintori and her daughter entered as guests of our diplomatic mission in Caracas. A few minutes ago her spouse, Leopoldo Lopez, joined his family in that place. Chile reaffirms commitment with Venezuelan democrats," Minister Ampuero tweeted.

that seems that this iteration of the coup has fizzled. stay tuned for what comes next.

[May 01, 2019] It seems Guaido and even L pez were used as pawns in this scheme by US intelligence

The difference with EuroMaydan is that there is no distinct region of the country which supports the opposition.
Notable quotes:
"... US media will milk this to increase sanctions and economic blockade on the country. ..."
"... The show will go on produced and directed by US intelligence. They are using psychological warfare not only on Venezuelans but on American and European citizens. ..."
May 01, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Comandante , May 1, 2019 8:46:35 PM | 67 ">link

So called "coup" attempt was just a show for American and European audience consumption. You can easily tell by watching the Western coverage the last couple of days(CNN, fox, European news) and compare it to actual reality on the ground seen through interviews with Venezuelans and social media videos.

US media will milk this to increase sanctions and economic blockade on the country.

It seems Guaido and even López were used as pawns in this scheme by US intelligence and/,or Venezuelan and Russian intelligence. You can tell by looking at their faces on photos taken that early morning and by the fact that López immediately ran to the Chilean embassy. They knew they'd been duped and used as pawns.

The show will go on produced and directed by US intelligence. They are using psychological warfare not only on Venezuelans but on American and European citizens.

Be aware US intelligence is running the show they don't spend 100 billion in Intelligence to let an idiot like Guaido run the show. Guaido is their dancing monkey. Watch the monkey dance. Dance monkey! Dance!

[May 01, 2019] Is the time for Washington-sponsored snipers on roooftops near?

Is Maduro put in Yanukovich situation by Washington. If so he is doomed...
Notable quotes:
"... Cue the snipers on rooftops. Not wishing for this, but that's what history suggests. Naturally, Maduro would then be blamed. ..."
"... The carnage was blamed on Yanukovich and the Berkut, but the actual killers were from the rebels. ..."
"... All that's needed are a few snipers killing some actually innocent protestors, and blame for the carnage would be pinned on Maduro. Like others in this blog, I think that Maduro should immediately arrest Guaido et al., and not allow the situation to progress further. He should be wary of repeating Yanukovich' mistake. ..."
"... That said, I agree with previous commenters that Guaidó and his clique have gone beyond seditious "baiting" and advocating violent rebellion to engaging in armed insurrection-- however staged and phony. ..."
"... My guess - the CIA want Guaido out of the way to start a serious run at Madura. Sacrifice Guaido and blame Madura (he'll be dead in a week I guess) ..."
May 01, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org
Blue | Apr 30, 2019 3:16:56 PM | 89

Beware of snipers on the roof alla the Takism massacre in Turkey 1977 May Day with the Ecevit (leftist) gov't in power.
Of course Bengazi and Kiev come to mind as well.

Jackrabbit | Apr 30, 2019 12:00:05 PM | 37

Cue the snipers on rooftops. Not wishing for this, but that's what history suggests. Naturally, Maduro would then be blamed.
William Gruff , Apr 30, 2019 1:57:37 PM | link

Chevrus @44

Absolutely correct, Prince's mercs could not actually win territory and hold it. Their attack would just be a "bloody their nose" sort of thing that American psychos are so fond of. Basically Prince's attack dogs create chaos as long as they can get away with and when the Venezuelan military begins a methodical counterattack they retreat to Colombia. Beyond destabilizing the government somewhat I don't see what it could accomplish, though.

I think the concern raised by others is much more likely; that is snipers killing dozens or hundreds of people celebrating May Day in such a way that the mass media can spin it as the government's doing. Most Americans do not know what May Day is and will assume that any Venezuelan crowds their TVs show them will be Random Guaido's faithful flock protesting against Maduro. Guaranteed that's how the New York Langley Times will spin it tomorrow. If mystery snipers (CIA death squads) shoot up the festival-goers it will not be difficult to fool Americans into thinking that the mystery snipers are pro-Maduro forces trying to kill a few Guaidog supporters for some reason.

What further suggests this possibility is that the US State Department's astroturf Twitter army has been trying to force the meme that Random Guaido is actually a socialist and is more left than Maduro. This is to seed the idea among people who actually do know what May Day is about that Maduro would oppose May Day celebrations and thus reinforce the forced meme that Maduro loyalists are responsible for tomorrow's sniper attacks.

Still, selling it to the gullible American public is one thing. It is another entirely to fool the Venezuelans since many of them will be seeing this happen firsthand. If the Venezuelan people don't buy that the government is behind the sniper attacks then they will close up ranks around Maduro rather than throw their lot in with Guaidog's coup attempt.

Rob , Apr 30, 2019 2:05:04 PM | link

@jayc (68) Are the coup planners and advisors smart or dumb? In one sense, they are smart, because they can reason from some basic assumption and reach a conclusion that seemingly flows from the rules of logic. OTOH, they are dumb, because the basic assumption from which their reasoning begins is a steaming pile of crap. So, I vote for DUMB.
cassandra , Apr 30, 2019 2:17:21 PM | link
This is a very dangerous situation. Recall the leaked conversation between Cathering Ashton and Umas Paet, indicating that Maidan sniping was coming from the hotel occupied by the protestors.

https://thesantosrepublic.com/2014/03/06/kiev-snipers-estonia-confirms-leaked-nuland-call-yanukovych-innocent/

The carnage was blamed on Yanukovich and the Berkut, but the actual killers were from the rebels.

All that's needed are a few snipers killing some actually innocent protestors, and blame for the carnage would be pinned on Maduro. Like others in this blog, I think that Maduro should immediately arrest Guaido et al., and not allow the situation to progress further. He should be wary of repeating Yanukovich' mistake.

Ort , Apr 30, 2019 2:35:42 PM | link
This is just to further confirm that this stunt is being hyped by US mass-media as if it is "the big one", i.e. that Guaidó and his "revolutionary" forces are practically storming the presidential palace.

I listen to the local all-news radio station at the top of the hour. It's a reliable indicator of the tune du jour being played on the mass-media Mighty Wurlitzer.

This morning, as noted, it was the "top story"-- and presented as if the long-anticipated nation-wide coup was raging. Despite the usual overwrought sensationalism, I suspected that there was less than met the ear: this local station didn't throw over to their parent network for a Special Report, as it typically would if the conflict had actually escalated into open rebellion.

"Special Report" mode is announced with dramatic theme music, and Team Coverage featuring the Usual Suspect celebrity network correspondents and a gaggle of house "experts".

So I correctly concluded that despite the breathless tone, this was much ado about little.
____________________________________________________

That said, I agree with previous commenters that Guaidó and his clique have gone beyond seditious "baiting" and advocating violent rebellion to engaging in armed insurrection-- however staged and phony.

It seems to have intentionally crossed a line to further test the Maduro government's patience and resolve.

I'm not one of those who finds fault with embattled statesmen for refusing to act precipitously in response to obvious provocations. Maduro and loyal Venezuelans know perfectly well that even a reasonable response to blatant illegal and illicit provocations may be used by the golpistas (which includes the US/Western sponsors and enablers) as a pretext for foreign intervention.

But the prudent policy of tolerance and forbearance cannot continue indefinitely in the face of outright treasonous provocations, since this will eventually be perceived as the government turning a blind eye, or winking at, the rule of law upon which it relies for legitimacy.

It's a difficult dilemma.

William Gruff | Apr 30, 2019 3:25:23 PM | 93

psychohistorian @87 said

"...with very few shots being fired."

This is an important point. The Russians and Chinese seem to have the psycho empire psychoanalyzed and are offering good guidance to Venezuela, assuming Venezuelans themselves are not also clued into how the psycho empire works.

In essence, America needs a pretext to attack. Americans need to maintain the delusion that they are the victims, and that it was their victims who forced America to attack against America's bogus peace-loving will.

The pretext doesn't need to be very convincing, but it needs to exist. For this reason it could be wiser to just leave Random Guaido alone, but arrest and court martial the military personnel who took part in this little stunt. Lopez should also be re-arrested and tried for violating the terms of his detention.

This arresting should be done by regular police for Lopez and military police for the military personnel who violated the chain of command. No shooting or even guns drawn. Just calmly take them into custody and let the legal process work on them.

NOBTS | Apr 30, 2019 3:34:39 PM | 96

Now that CIA poster boy Leopoldo is available to take charge Juan Doe is prime sniper fodder!

Tobin Paz | Apr 30, 2019 3:58:20 PM | 101

US Unconventional Warfare Manual - Plain Text

The Unconventional Warfare Manual sets out the techniques of subversion the US uses in targeting nation states that don't toe the line.

Although the document is of recent date, the policy has clearly existed for a long time. Based on Church Committee hearings, it has been estimated that the US has carried out tens of thousands of covert operations since WW2.

Michael Droy | Apr 30, 2019 6:06:43 PM | 133

Guaido is just an opportunity for Bolton to stir up trouble.

He has never been part of a CIA long term regime change plan. If he was then his wikipedia page would not have been created just 2 weeks before Trump recognised him as President (or at least it would have been manipulated to appear a lot older).

And he would have been mentioned in WaPo a hundred times in the last 2 years instead of only a week before Trump recognition.

My guess - the CIA want Guaido out of the way to start a serious run at Madura. Sacrifice Guaido and blame Madura (he'll be dead in a week I guess).

[May 01, 2019] On Venezuela, America Should Check Its Regime Change Impulses at the Door

Notable quotes:
"... it was Russia that attacked Iraq on the basis of lies? ..."
"... It must have been Russia that turned Libya into a failed state, complete with slave markets? ..."
"... Instead of spinning fantasies about Maduro going into exile or being overthrown by some kind of joint (and illegal) Latin American task force, how's about we consider the very reasonable idea of Guaidó being arrested and tried for treason? ..."
May 01, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Kurt Gayle, says: May 1, 2019 at 1:23 pm

"Tulsi Gabbard: Say NO to the costly interventionist wars that have cost us trillions of dollars" March 12, 2019:

https://www.youtube.com/embed/PziNiTsFByU

Kouros , says: May 1, 2019 at 1:51 pm
Please refrain in using the term "democracy" so easily. US is a republic with the surface of elected representative system, and we know exactly how that works. See the election of Truman as VP instead of Wallace in 1944 or so or very recently the election of Hillary Clinton as democratic representative.

A true democracy is done via a sortition system that selects randomly from the roster of eligible citizens to represent the will of the people.

Imagine that in the Second Amendment instead of "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed" we would have: "A well educated Citizenry, being necessary to the security and well-being of a free, moral, and ethically sound State, the right of the people to get a sound Education in Philosophy, Ethics, Civics, Logic, Finance, and Health, shall not be infringed".

Bah, Utopia

Sid Finster , says: May 1, 2019 at 2:38 pm
Javier:

let me guess,

  1. it was Russia that attacked Iraq on the basis of lies?
  2. It is China that is gleefully assisting the Saudi tyrants to commit genocide?
  3. It must have been Russia that turned Libya into a failed state, complete with slave markets?
  4. Is China now that is frantically threatening war on Iran?
  5. Russia must have been responsible for supporting jihadists to turn Syria into another failed state, right?
  6. For that matter, is it Russia and China that are threatening war on the elected and UN recognized government of Venezuela?

Seriously, after America's long and bloody track record of failed and bloody interventions, it baffles me that anyone could say something so ridiculous.

cka2nd , says: May 1, 2019 at 3:57 pm
" fearmongering about the "Yankee" empire to the north."

What, this isn't justified?

Instead of spinning fantasies about Maduro going into exile or being overthrown by some kind of joint (and illegal) Latin American task force, how's about we consider the very reasonable idea of Guaidó being arrested and tried for treason?

[May 01, 2019] Random Guyaid 's New Coup Attempt Turns Out to Be A Dangerous Joke

May 01, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Chevrus , Apr 30, 2019 8:53:36 AM | link

Guaidó seems to have neither a base nor large scale military support nor access to significant military equipment. If that does not change this coup attempt is likely to fail within a few hours.

We may have jumped the shark in to the realm of the monthly coup attempt. Mostly a media event to see if they can get a buy-in. Didn't work? Not to worry we will try again next month!

Can you imagine a force of 5000 or so mercs staging a combat assault on a large and reasonably well armed country?

If it didn't involve so much killing and dying it would be amusing to watch the "private army" get pinned down and butchered.

Seriously without air cover it would turn into bloody squalor. Meanwhile Russia and perhaps China are likely providing signal intel fo the Venezuelan military and keeping a close eye on what the gringoes are up to. Much like the RAND document on destabilizing other nations it will probably be a slow bleed by sabotage and scarcity.


Geoff , Apr 30, 2019 8:59:52 AM | link

I can't see either Guaido, the US, or any other of the coup fomentors ceasing their attempts until they've achieved some kind of result. Guaido running around, and I can see the rationale behind allowing him to do so, is an ongoing problem. Too much is at stake for the powerful interests to let go of any of their global plans. People everywhere do not really matter all that much.
Kadath , Apr 30, 2019 9:07:34 AM | link
Looks like the Neo-Cons just replied with their unavoidable escalation, this smacks of desperation. I wouldn't be surprised if Abrams told Random Guy to announce a coup and even if it fails the US will protect him or use it as an excuse to invade. Once this coup fails Maduro should stick both of these traitors in a "real" prison and see if that loosens their tongues a bit, neither of these fools have experienced real hardship so just taking away their sliver spoons and private aircraft would convince them to rat out their fellow traitors
Sally Snyder , Apr 30, 2019 9:11:47 AM | link
As shown in this article, the New York Times has been highly biased in its coverage of the situation in Venezuela:

https://viableopposition.blogspot.com/2019/04/the-new-york-times-its-anti-maduro-bias.html

While everyone is aware of the existence of fake news, we are less aware of how editorial conflicts of interest can be used to sway public opinion, particularly in the case of a highly influential and widely read newspaper like the New York Times.

Steve Keith , Apr 30, 2019 9:26:21 AM | link
Harvard Law School
Barack Obama, an alumni of Harvard Law School, was the United States President who ordered the destruction of Africa's richest, most literate and developed country, Libya, and reduced that country to rubble and a state of lawlessness. Thousands died.

The sovereign wealth fund of the oil rich country has disappeared without trace. Libya's premier medical facilities that were the envy of it's continent and it's neighbours in the Middle East have been destroyed, precisely at the time that it's citizens required them. Many of the doctors, nurses and ancillary staff, as highly trained as their counterparts in Europe, have also disappeared without trace, many presumed drowned in the waters of the Mediterranean trying to flee to save their lives. Libya is now the poorest state in Africa. The leader who had united it and raised the infrastructural standards to be on a par with the first world, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, never had his day in a court of any description, he was beaten, tortured and sodomised with a knife, before being murdered on the blood soaked streets by a mob.

We have to wonder what it is that they are teaching at the Harvard Law School? In the 1980's the tiny countries of Central America, Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua suffered from their own brutal civil wars. Extreme, right wing governments and militias were either trying to hold onto power or to seize it for themselves from the impoverished indigenous citizenries who sought democracy and guarantees of their fundamental civil and human rights. The United States sent in Elliot Abrams, now to be found lurking in the jungles of Venezuela, to support the fascistic regimes in the brutal battle against their own civilians. Mr Abrams was another product of the esteemed Harvard Law School. By the end of his time there, hundreds of thousands of some of the world's poorest people and been murdered, their bodies tossed into mass graves if they were lucky. There was no rule of law, in spite of the fact that there were constitutions and courts, judges and the concept of jurisprudence.

The current Secretary of State of the United States, Mr Mike Pompeo, recently addressed an audience of American students and told them that his former department, the Central Intelligence Agency, of which he was the Director from 2017 until 2018, routinely "lied, cheated and stole" as and when it suited or the occasion demanded. Mike Pompeo is another American official who studied at and graduated from the Harvard Law School.

This Massachusetts institution has had scores of it's students graduate and pass through, onwards and upwards into positions of authority in the halls of power. It is difficult to see what ethical foundations were laid down in those formative years of studying the law in the seminars of that Cambridge campus. Three alumni of Harvard Law School who have recently served and continue to serve in some of the highest offices of the United States, have done irreparable damage to a number of countries and have done so by breaking every international law that existed to protect them. They did this unapologetically, in order, as Secretary of State Pompeo admitted in a rare moment of candour, to "cheat and steal" from defenceless nation states and their helpless populations.

Perhaps Harvard Law School is not the best place to send one's kids to learn about ethics, democracy and the rule of law.

EricT , Apr 30, 2019 9:27:59 AM | link
@ #3, for a second I thought you were describing the Bay of Pigs fiasco.
Zico , Apr 30, 2019 9:43:41 AM | link
IF this coup succeeds, Moduro had it coming. He let the wannabe gangster roam free - bad move!

Seems the grandchildren of the plantation owners will get their plantations back after all.

Hoarsewhisperer , Apr 30, 2019 9:44:30 AM | link
Couldn't help noticing that Guyaido looks like a frightened little bunny which just soiled its underwear or is about to. Lopez seems to be in a similar state of near-panic. I don't know why the govt doesn't just disappear them. They could be stuffed and embalmed and put on display in the National Museum as a reminder that abject stupidity isn't a virtue in Venezuela.
BM , Apr 30, 2019 10:11:45 AM | link
OK, both Random Guy and Lopez are openly committing armed insurrection and high treason. Now is the time to arrest both, try in the courts (public and televised) for high treason. Unlimited military force (as required) is fully justified in making the arrests. Not to do so is appeasing the criminal actions of a foreign force attempting to use violence to usurp the legitimate and democratically elected government of a sovereign state.

Until now there have been legitimate strategic grounds for holding off from arresting Random Guy. No longer. They must be crushed with the full force of the law backed by military power if necessary, and immediately prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Limit the prosecution in the first instance to Random Guy and Lopez, and to High Treason and military insurrection. All other charges and defendents can be tried later in a separate trial, but these two need a straightforward and legally watertight conviction as quickly as possible, so that there is then no rotting carcase of ambiguity left.

Cesare , Apr 30, 2019 10:27:16 AM | link
Trump won't be gaining any "wave" from attacking Venezuela. In fact, it stands to alienate a large part of his base and energize the meekly antiwar Democrats.

It might be moot since it looks like this putsch has failed to get more support, and if so Guadó will spend the next months in a cage.

Alaric , Apr 30, 2019 10:35:25 AM | link
Maduro didn't arrest random guy to deny the US an excuse to invade. The US was bluffing I think but simply ignoring random dudecwas wise at that point.

But things have changed now. Lopez and Guaidó must be arrested and tried now. Failure to do so would encourage additional coups.

This does indeed smack of desperation as a previous poster observed.

Cesare , Apr 30, 2019 11:22:37 AM | link
Remember the (if I remember correctly) supposed 1800+ Venezuelan soldiers being kept in hotels in Cucuta, Colombia across the border? This and the white house rejection of the Prince scheme show that some combination of the US, the Colombians, and Guaidó's people have had little faith in the route of using that as the core of a contra force. Now they might have to.

As for our boy Juan, presidente encargado, unless something drastic happens very soon, he'll be wishing for some black helicopters to show up and pluck him off that bridge. Unless, of course, being arrested is the plan. This may be a case of believing your own propaganda - the opposition claims it's 90% of Venezuela. Maybe Guaidó truly believed all he needed to do was orchestrate something like Prince's "dynamic" event and the army would rally to Altamira with the masses in tow.

About a month ago, when his motorcade went outside of his east Caracas haunts and got pelted by rocks, you had all the internet trolls denouncing it as staged.

You see, there are mafialike Chavista bosses, Cubans all, forcing the barrios to act like they hate their beloved interim president. Maybe instead of taking the hint and changing strategy, Juan believed his own spin.

Or maybe he did take the hint, and figures the struggle against Cuban oppression is better waged from the dock than the streets, where he can force action from his allies and supporters by claiming abuse. Time will tell.

Jackrabbit , Apr 30, 2019 12:00:05 PM | link
Cue the snipers on rooftops.

Not wishing for this, but that's what history suggests. Naturally, Maduro would then be blamed.

Kadath , Apr 30, 2019 12:04:40 PM | link
The US media is really talking up this latest coup attempt by random guy, but I still don't see the meat on it. successful coups are fast moving and depend on quickly seizing key targets like media centers, power generators and most importantly of all seizing high value government officials. Currently, it looks like Random Guy just found some more random guys to stand around him and pose while he declares a coup. so this looks doomed to failure within a few more hours (6-8), what really matters is what does the US do once it fails, realistically, there aren't anymore sanctions they can put on Venezuela and Colombia has made it clear they won't send their own army in to fight the US's war.

That basically leaves just Erik Prince's planned mercenary army or a direct US invasion, previously Prince's plan had faced a lot of opposition so it is interesting that this failure of a coup is launched right now. If Trump was ever serious about not starting anymore stupid wars (and thus won't invade Venezuela before the 2020 elections) I imagine he'll now be more supportive of the idea of loaning money to Random Guy's backers so that they can buy Erik Prince's mercenaries and use them. Even if they use Prince's troops I doubt that they will succeed, Prince's mercenaries might be good at massacring civilians, but Venezuela has a massive civilian militia made up of the poorest citizens they will know right away what Random Guy's mercenaries will do to them and their families if their coup succeeds. So they will fight very, very hard. This could setup another Bay of Pigs type situation for the US and their mercenaries.

Red Ryder , Apr 30, 2019 12:26:14 PM | link
Several thoughts to keep in mind:

Trump will be lied to by CIA and NSC and State, so if he okays this or really wants this, it does not matter. He was couped and the Deep State uses him. He's happy being POTUS. That is all that matters to Trump.

The uprising will depend on hundreds of thousands in the streets, not several thousand.

The goal is hundreds of dead protesters.

Maduro has to snatch Guaido and put him on trial.

Looks like they are massing the people successfully.

The question for the moment is will the US agents and officers on the ground turn this into a Venezuelan Tiananmen 2. They certainly know how.

JOHN CHUCKMAN , Apr 30, 2019 12:28:27 PM | link
Imagine trying to overthrow your elected government at the behest of John Bolton?

If anyone in the United States pulled a stunt like this - and, remember, the US is packed with armed extremist loons like militias and survivalists and Aryan churches - they would be stormed with federal agents and soldiers and either dragged away to prison in chains or shot.

I am not exaggerating in the least. He would be charged with treason, and I think we all know, from our memories of how the United States has treated prisoners at Guantanamo what kind of treatment he would receive in prison for treason.

But the same United States not only thinks this is just fine to do in another country, they encourage it.

Simply the most lawless of all advanced nations, that's America. Utter contempt for rule of law and blind belief that American laws should overrule everything else everywhere.

So, what is Canada's Foreign Minister, Ms Chrystia Freeland - someone who has shamed Canada with her fervent support for Washington's illegal activities in Venezuela - doing today to assist Bolton and his unelected, self-appointed "president?"

Ripe Fruit , Apr 30, 2019 12:49:55 PM | link
If I were a Russian or Chinese strategist, I would be salivating at the thought of the US willfully creating another Vietnam right on its own doorstep and throwing the only Continent connected to it by a landbridge into complete upheaval and stark class warfare.

Class-based Civil War could easily spread to Brazil, Colombia, and beyond, throwing the lives of hundreds of millions of people into upheaval, all on Uncle Sam's dollar.

After the failures of Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya and the Ukraine, the several million Latino refugees and the expenditure of another 6 trillion or so over the next decade should be enough to throw the US itself into Civil War and Coup territory and finish off its hegemony over EurAsia for good.

Don't give Maduro too much aid just yet. Sucker the US to commit its hand and go in, then, as elsewhere, give just enough aid to keep the US in perpetual zugzwang as it slowly bleeds itself to death.

Austerity and War for the Americas, OBOR and peaceful development for EurAsia.

This is too easy a call.

WJ , Apr 30, 2019 12:59:20 PM | link
Red Ryder @47

"Maduro has to snatch Guaido and put him on trial."

This might be exactly what the U.S. wants Maduro to do. The arrest and/or imprisonment of Guaido by the "repressive regime" could be the pretext for a sudden "popular uprising" to which the "Venezuelan State" (ie. CIA operatives and hired assassins) responds "violently." A small gathering in any city square suddenly disrupted by the gunfire death of a dozen or so innocents--all miraculously captured "live" on cell-phone video and streamed direct to social media--is all that it would take to give the US sufficient domestic support for any further action. I suspect this action would not take the form of direct US military action but rather the freeing of Erik Prince and his mercenaries upon the dirty brown socialist peasants.

Maduro surely has anticipated that his arrest of Guaido is likely to play into US hands. Guaido may be too stupid to know he is being used as live bait, or he may be simply being coerced by his handlers to undertake increasingly reckless actions until Maduro bites.

I think the best thing Maduro might do would be to arrange for a public meetin and reconciliation between him and Guaido away from his U.S. handlers. The US is not expecting that and would then have to explain why they are opposed to the peaceable reconciliation of the conflict. If Guaido feels he has become disposable to the US, he may not be disagreeable to some kind of pardon and face-saving but largely superficial compromise.

Noirette , Apr 30, 2019 1:20:22 PM | link
The Rovian dictat We make our own reality (mutter it in growling mafia accent) is shredded to confetti, or almost.

Look at Ukraine, a comedian who acts the part of a nobody guy propelled to a presidential position in a TV show, is elected as president in RL!

Coluche was a French comedian who stood for president, 1980. Polls showed 16 to 25% of the vote. (He was supported by Charlie Hebdo.. them again..)

His manager was murdered and Coluche withdrew.

He was then himself killed (1985) in mysterious, highly suspicious, circumstances. Won awards for Best Actor and died because.. a truck..

Beppe Grillo is another comedian who created a Pol Party, the 5 Star, Cinque Stelle, party in Italy (with another guy.) Grillo could not be elected, by law, because he has a conviction on his blotter, for manslaughter.

Random Guy-do is within this landscape a feeble contender - a clown who pretends to be serious! He has no acting credentials, nada. No self proclamation presence. A confused, hapless, manipulated placeholder.

No way that is going to end well. For him. Maybe night - school acting classes? Ouch.. Idk. Operation Freedom, anyone who takes that on is pushed offstage..

Better to be a real clown! One can live on (Grillo) or die an honorable death (Coluche)!

:) :)

carroll , Apr 30, 2019 1:20:29 PM | link
oil
WJ , Apr 30, 2019 1:21:48 PM | link
Venezuela's FM is wisely playing down the guilt of the thirty or so military personnel involved in the coup. Such personnel were first described as likely deceived or misled by Guaido and now the FM is explicitly claiming plan and execution of coup came from Washington. The military personnel were not involved in its planning and so can be treated mercifully. (Who knows if some of them weren't blackmailed to join in? We are dealing with the CIA after all.)
bevin , Apr 30, 2019 1:22:03 PM | link
MediaLens has this story today:
"A new report on April 25 by a respected think tank has estimated that US sanctions imposed on Venezuela in August 2017 have caused around 40,000 deaths."
The question for Canadians is whether Freeland and Trudeau are ready to take ownership for, say, 5,000 of those deaths..and counting. Toss them in with the thousands killed thanks to Canadian assistance in Ukraine and a share of the daily carnage in Yemen and the bloody nature of the Ottawa cabal begins to become clear.
RJPJR , Apr 30, 2019 1:28:41 PM | link
Posted by: Circe | Apr 30, 2019 11:50:18 AM | 33 wrote: "It sounds like Abrams connivance."

Abrams is NOT conniving. He is dead in the middle of it all, the planner, the string-puller, the manipulator.

Ghost Ship , Apr 30, 2019 1:28:55 PM | link
>>>> jsb | Apr 30, 2019 11:26:52 AM | 27
According to reports, a group from Venezuela's Sebin intelligence service freed Leopoldo Lopez from house arrest early Tuesday morning.

Lopez and Guaido could have been set up in a stunning black op. Get Lopez and Guaido to come out openly and claim they're running a coup which is treason. If they stayed out of jail previously will they stay out of jail now? Probably not.

BTW, it's interesting that today's events are being called a coup. The coupist, Guaid and Lopez, have maintained the fiction that Guaido is president of Venezuela so in their narrative, how can this be a coup implying they're the usurpers. Surely it should be a counter-coup, which it obviously isn't so someone has fucked up big time. Perhaps John Bolton and/or Elliott Abrams as they're both stupid and arrogant enough to do so.

Miss Lacy , Apr 30, 2019 1:31:36 PM | link
Another vomitona from Guido Gusano and his boy friend. They're clearly out past curfew and should head back to the dorm. Idiots.
AriusArmenian , Apr 30, 2019 1:38:10 PM | link
Now, finally, after letting the clown run around creating a lot of noise, now that they tried a hapless attempt at a military uprising will the government of Venezuela arrest, imprison, and put on trial for treason the moron Guaido and the idiot Lopez?
Christian J Chuba , Apr 30, 2019 1:38:40 PM | link
Where is the money we stole from Venezuela?

We keep hearing the Neocons saying that Maduro and his 'thugs' are thieves and robbing the 'Venezuelan people'. The Administration has stolen many of their assets like Citgo and given them to Guaido.

So where is that money, his bank account? I'd love to hear someone in the MSM ask Pompeo that question.

Hoarsewhisperer , Apr 30, 2019 1:38:59 PM | link
DW is casting doubt on Guyaido's claim of "widespread support" based on DW's observation that there's very little visible evidence...
Domza , Apr 30, 2019 1:42:33 PM | link jayc , Apr 30, 2019 1:43:40 PM | link
Despite the sanctions, the Lima Group, the OAS, and the relentless public relations stunts, all the self-declared "government" has to show for itself is thirty recruits standing on a bridge. That's a poor result. Maybe all the smart think-tank people who dreamed up the Guaido charade aren't actually so smart, or place too much faith in PR optics as opposed to actual politics. The lack of smarts certainly characterizes the Venezuelan opposition - who would want these people to be in charge of anything?

Credit to Mexico for retaining clearly articulated principles, as displayed at OAS recently.

Miss Lacy , Apr 30, 2019 1:44:03 PM | link
to steve keith # 7 and anitspin # 12 - School of International Atrocities is just right. Remember Haaahvaaad gave us napalm which was field tested in North Korea, along with other such treats as Larry "Garbagemen" Summers, and MacGeorge "Green Ford Foundation" Bundy. " Fight fiercely Harvard, do...." ah yes, and Geo "Is Our Children Learning" Bushboy. Wonderful.

[Apr 30, 2019] What's Driving Bolton's Attacks on the "Troika of Tyranny"? by John Feffer

Apr 30, 2019 | www.counterpunch.org

April 26, 2019

Photograph Source: US State Department – Public Domain

If you're in the market for a troika of tyranny, Donald Trump, John Bolton, and Mike Pompeo certainly fit the bill. Or, if you'd rather focus on countries not individuals, you might single out Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Egypt as the three most likely candidates. Perhaps, if you're in a confessional mood, how about Christian fundamentalism, Jewish extremism, and Salafist Wahhabism?

A troika, for those who haven't read any 19th-century Russian novels recently, is a carriage drawn by three horses. So, the ultimate troika of tyranny, from the point of view of the planet as a whole, would feature the three horsemen of the ongoing apocalypse: climate change, nuclear proliferation, and global pandemic.

But no, that's not what National Security Advisor John Bolton had in mind when he talked last week of a "troika of tyranny." In a rehash of a speech he gave in November in Miami , Bolton declared last week that the "troika of tyranny -- Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua -- is beginning to crumble." Further laying on the insults, Bolton called Cuba's Miguel Díaz-Canel, Venezuela's Nicolás Maduro, and Nicaragua's Daniel Ortega "the three stooges of socialism."

Ever since George W. Bush included Iraq, Iran, and North Korea in an "axis of evil," speechmakers have been in search of the holy grail of geopolitical matchmaking (for instance, Condoleezza Rice's "outposts of tyranny").

Bush's phrase, which proved so enduring, was an extraordinarily flawed piece of work. The three countries he grouped together had little to no relationship at the time. Iraq and Iran had fought a nearly decade-long war that left them bitter regional rivals. North Korea, which has no ideological affinity to either country, was probably included in the list so that it didn't appear anti-Islamic. This particular axis didn't have a leg to stand on.

Bolton's more alliterative phrase suffers from the same conceptual problems. Worse, it revives an anti-Communist crusade that could easily expand to include North Korea, China, and any left-leaning country (New Zealand?) that makes the mistake of looking at Bolton funny.

A New Monroe Doctrine?

Trump understands the world in terms of three types of leaders. There are the autocrats he like. There are the autocrats he doesn't like. And then there are all the rest: the democrats he doesn't respect.

Cuban leader Miguel Díaz-Canel is one of those autocrats that Trump doesn't like. It's not Díaz-Canel's ideology that rubs the American president the wrong way. After all, Trump has no problem praising China's Xi Jinping or falling in love with North Korea's Kim Jong Un. Rather, Cuba made the unpardonable error of negotiating a détente with Trump's predecessor, Barack Obama. So, by the logic of the Trump administration, Cuba is guilty by association.

Over the last two-plus years, Trump has rolled back the elements of the agreements that the Obama administration negotiated with Cuba that culminated in diplomatic recognition in July 2015. The Trump administration has restricted travel to the country, the amount of money that Cubans in America can remit to their families back home, and the deals that U.S. businesses can negotiate with Cuban counterparts. Also, the administration will now allow U.S. entities to file lawsuits against foreign companies operating on property appropriated by the state after the 1959 revolution.

The Obama policy was all about nudging Cuba in a particular direction. More people-to-people contact would increase the free flow of information. More business deals would encourage the growth of market activities. Meanwhile, unrestricted remittances would help Cubans deal with the myriad difficulties of everyday life.

The Trump administration isn't interested in nudging Cuba in a particular direction. Its punitive measures are designed to encourage regime change, pure and simple. The decision to allow lawsuits to go forward is aimed at scaring off European investors in particular who've been operating in Cuba despite decades of U.S. sanctions and embargo. In response, Spain wants the EU to challenge the new U.S. policy at the World Trade Organization.

Bolton never liked Cuba. When he was undersecretary of state for arms control in the George W. Bush administration, Bolton accused the country of making biological weapons. This accusation came only two months after Bush had inaugurated the "axis of evil," and Bolton was eager to shoehorn Cuba into the new group. But his efforts to designate the Caribbean island a "terrorist threat" -- and prepare the ground for yet another U.S. invasion -- foundered when a congressional investigation turned up no evidence of a biological weapons program in the country.

Now Bolton is excited to have a second chance to group Cuba with two other countries that have fallen afoul of the United States: Venezuela and Nicaragua.

Like the original members of the "axis of evil," they don't have much in common with one another. Cuba is avowedly Marxist in orientation, with a Third World agrarian spin. Venezuela, on the other hand, is a corrupt petro-state led by a leader who calls himself socialist but is really just a klutzy kleptocrat. Then there's Daniel Ortega, who was once a socialist revolutionary but has transformed himself into a Catholic dictator along the lines of Francisco Franco.

None of these countries poses even the remotest threat to the United States. They have dismal human rights records, but that hasn't been a concern for the Trump administration anywhere else in the world.

So, why is Bolton bothering to waste his rhetorical flourishes on the trio? The national security advisor claims that Cuba is propping up Maduro. He hints that Ortega's days are numbered. Is Bolton campaigning to revive what had once been the traditional U.S. approach to Latin America: invasion, occupation, regime change?

After all, his most recent "troika of tyranny" speech was timed to coincide with the anniversary of the failed Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba on April 17, 1961. And the audience for his speech was similarly chosen with care: the Bay of Pigs Veterans Association.

When it comes to Bolton, war is always a possibility pretty much anywhere in the world. But with the Trump administration focusing most of its wrath against Iran , the "troika of tyranny" speech is probably not the opening salvo of a new, hyper-militarist Monroe Doctrine.

Bolton likely has a longer game plan in mind.

Expanding the Troika

You can almost see the lips beneath the walrus moustache purse in displeasure when Donald Trump shakes hands with Xi Jinping, murmurs sweet nothings to Kim Jong Un, and has quiet confabs with Vladimir Putin.

John Bolton has never concealed his profound antipathy to the current government in North Korea. He wants to rewrite the one-China policy and is willing to use military force against Beijing as part of that effort. As for Russia, Bolton believes that Putin is a liar and Moscow represents a serious long-term strategic threat to the United States.

This, then, is the shadow "troika of tyranny" that John Bolton would roll out in a speech if only Donald Trump's personal predilections didn't get in the way.

But that isn't stopping the national security advisor from carefully preparing the ground to do just that as soon as Trump gets frustrated with Kim, Xi, and/or Putin.

Toward that end, Bolton carefully chose "troika" for his phrase: a Russian word that can later be repurposed to suggest that Moscow is in fact at the root of these problems. And Bolton is hammering away at the "socialist-communist" nature of the three Latin American countries, which will prove enormously useful later on when expanding the troika to include North Korea and China.

In the end, Bolton is after nothing short of a new Cold War.

Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua are small countries with no desire or means to attack the United States. North Korea with its nuclear weapons, China with the world's second largest military, and Russia with its geopolitical ambitions, on the other hand, are much worthier adversaries.

Prolonged conflict with these three will keep militarists like Bolton in business for decades. As importantly, Bolton can use these larger confrontations to unravel all international institutions, all forms of international cooperation, in fact anything that smacks of an international community.

With all eyes focused these days on Trump and his myriad crimes, John Bolton's speeches are a reminder that even worse options are waiting in the wings. Join the debate on Facebook More articles by: John Feffer

John Feffer is the director of Foreign Policy In Focus , where this article originally appeared.

[Apr 28, 2019] The top five special interests groups and institutions that seek to benefit from a coup in Venezuela

Apr 28, 2019 | failedevolution.blogspot.com

April 16, 2019 globinfo freexchange

As the US continues to attack the Maduro government, keep these special interests in mind. Think about who gets rich off of the regime-change agenda. It's the same people that said we had to invade Iraq in order to prevent nuclear apocalypse. It's the same people who said the world would stop turning on its axis if we didn't carpet bomb Libya and Syria.

Now they're trying to get us to support war in Venezuela. You won't be any freer or more prosperous after the Maduro government is toppled. It's just war propaganda.

Saddle the Venezuelan people with enormous debt to the IMF

The trojan horse for the return of neoliberalism in Venezuela, Juan Guaido, stated that he's going to borrow money from the IMF to fund his government, which would make all Venezuelans indebted to this predatory institution. Guaido spends the money and the poor and working people work to pay taxes that pay off the principal and the interest.

The IMF was created in New Hampshire in 1945 to internationalize and standardize capitalism and its rules in an increasingly globalized and US-dominated world.

Its primary function is acting as an international lender-of-last-resort to indebted countries. IMF member states decide which countries will receive loans, but the member states with the largest say are the ones with the largest share of the IMF's funds, which have always been the United States and its allies.

This is why the IMF's standard "structural adjustment program" is based on the so-called Washington Consensus. A set of 10 economic policies entirely concocted by US think tanks, the IMF, the World Bank and the Treasury Department.

The Washington Consensus is as follows:

In exchange for a loan, often with a high-interest rate that many would call predatory, the IMF overhauls the protective and redistributive policies of a country for neoliberal policies, making the target country ripe for finance capital investment and profit-making.

Control the oil reserves

There's little doubt that the oil industry is pushing the US to overthrow the Maduro government, especially when John Bolton openly states this on national television.

Bolton was himself once part of the oil industry, serving as the director of Diamond Offshore Drilling, Inc. in 2007. So, he is no stranger to advocating for the interests of the fossil-fuel industry.

Venezuela has the largest oil reserves in the world by far and Washington won't let that wealth go unexploited, or worse, be shared among its enemies like the Maduro government, Russia, China, or Iran.

And with so many politicians, Republican and Democratic, bought off by industry players -- companies like ExxonMobil, Koch Industries, and Chevron -- it's impossible to imagine anyone in Washington advocating for Venezuela maintaining ownership over its own sovereign natural resources.

Establish military dominance and arm your puppet

One of the most bizarre things about America is that it created one of the world's largest private industries around arms dealing. And like any industry, whether it be JDAM bombs or beef, private businesses often resort to lobbying Congress to squeeze political favors out of the government in the form of subsidies. Or, in the case of the military industrial complex, a foreign policy of endless war, one based on elusive ideas like combating terrorism or defending democracy.

You can see that wherever the US goes, expensive construction projects follow. Behind every multi-billion dollar base construction, some private contractor is there reaping the profits.

Once the US military presence is firmly established, the weapons sales begin. And we all know no US ally, or puppet state, is complete without a full fleet of Lockheed Martin F-16s. Then they'll be able to fend off all of those pesky leftist rebels with freedom missiles.

With Venezuela's neighbors, Colombia and Brazil, growing closer to NATO and accepting US military presence in their countries, we can only assume Venezuela is Washington's next target.

As the strategic approach of regime change evolves, new industries arise to meet these needs.

After the massive anti-war protests following the invasion of Iraq, outright invasion and occupation were no longer viable strategies due to negative public opinion. Washington sought to disguise war propaganda using humanitarian rhetoric.

Create the humanitarian alibi

Privately owned NGOs dedicated to human rights and promoting "American style" democracy have played a much larger role in regime-change operations in recent years. They serve as soft-power institutions, which attempt to subtly sway a population against its own government through propaganda laced with words like 'freedom', 'democracy', and 'human rights'.

These NGOs are given the full blessing of the US government and the two often work in tandem.

The US Agency for International Development's regime-change arm, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), funded opposition groups in Nicaragua, Venezuela (during the 2002 coup), Haiti, Ukraine, and most recently China and North Korea. And whenever US foreign policy sets its sights on a certain target, private industries usually develop to help meet that goal as well as make a quick buck along the way.

For example, Thor Halvorssen -- the first cousin of Leopoldo Lopez, the founder of Juan Guaido's party, Popular Will -- calls himself a human-rights activist. He founded the notorious Human Rights Foundation (HRF) and makes a living giving speeches and TV appearances, talking about why the governments of Venezuela or North Korea are not legitimate and need to be overthrown.

Unsurprisingly, the HRF is funded by the conservative Sarah Scaife Foundation, which is itself funded by think tanks like the top neoconservative think tank, the American Enterprise Institute, as well as the Heritage Foundation. HRF is also funded by the Donors Capital Fund and the Diana Davis Spencer Foundation, which are also funded by the American Enterprise Institute. It's one big web of moving money that all leads back to the same cast of characters.

The crisis in Venezuela has been a huge gift for people like Halvorssen, who use the US's war on Venezuela to promote themselves and their organizations.

Buy the facts from the think tanks funded by the Military Industrial Complex

Like NGOs, think tanks also play an important role in giving regime change a sense of legitimacy -- in their case, intellectual legitimacy. Think tanks rely on donations to operate and many find willing donors among the capitalist class. These fat cats pay for fancy looking reports meant to justify their desired goal: the delegitimization of socialist governments and the legitimization of coup governments that uphold the Washington Consensus.

The Cato Institute has been deeply involved in the attempted overthrow of the Venezuelan government. In 2008, Cato awarded Venezuelan opposition leader, Yon Goicoechea, the Milton Friedman Prize for Advancing Liberty and $500,000 for his role in disrupting a constitutional referendum in Venezuela. That money was used to finance the political rise of Juan Guaido, and his clique known as Generation 2007.

These seemingly independent research groups have intimate networks that they leverage to amplify the message their donors have given them.

Whether it was the bank bailouts following the 2008 crisis, or the lack of action on climate disaster, in America it seems the government always puts the interests of the rich ahead of the poor and working class, and the situation in Venezuela is no different.

More:

http://content.jwplatform.com/players/ufxBptWt-YuKiCfZc.html

[Apr 24, 2019] It's complete fiction that the US is going after Venezuelan oil so as to confront Iran.

Notable quotes:
"... Plenty of people still fool themselves into believing Trump has been captured by the deep state and is only going along with them to stay alive. Bunk. Ever since Trump sat in the power chair he willingly joined the deep state. He's even going one further and his goal is a one world government led by the US. He knows the American populace won't condone a new war so his weapons are sanctions, the dollar, and trade wars. All viable tools as long as the US continues to control the financial system. ..."
Apr 24, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

snedly arkus , Apr 24, 2019 4:06:05 PM | link

It's complete fiction that the US is going after Venezuelan oil so as to confront Iran. If Maduro goes so does Venezuela as civil war erupts and spreads to other countries. No oil company is going to put itself and it's employees in such a danger zone.

It is also complete fiction that Trump was against going after Venezuela as he has been on them almost from day one and every time Trump announces more sanctions or makes threats he's as giddy as a kid in a candy store and relishes handing out the pain. In one of his latest speeches to a gathering of the faithful he not only gleefully stomped on Venezuela but also announced the US is going to overthrow the governments of Cuba and Nicaragua.

Trump was barely in office when the US undid the efforts by Obama to normalize relations with Cuba and as of the first of the year put sanctions on Nicaragua.

This after NED and USAID last summer brought radicals from Nicaragua to DC for training in riots and rabble rousing. Which they did after returning home. In his speech Trump claimed that by overthrowing those governments this hemisphere will be the "only totally free hemisphere in the world". If the plan was to get Venezuelan oil so as to shut off Iran the US would have supported Maduro, Venezuela is no danger to US security, and offered to send in the best engineers to get the oil industry rolling. The US is now sanctioning the tankers so as to cut off even more revenue to Venezuela and deprive Cuba of oil.

Plenty of people still fool themselves into believing Trump has been captured by the deep state and is only going along with them to stay alive. Bunk. Ever since Trump sat in the power chair he willingly joined the deep state. He's even going one further and his goal is a one world government led by the US. He knows the American populace won't condone a new war so his weapons are sanctions, the dollar, and trade wars. All viable tools as long as the US continues to control the financial system.

If the US does attack Iran it will be a Libya affair using only air power to cripple them and cause internal chaos.

[Apr 23, 2019] Mapping The Countries With The Most Oil Reserves

Apr 23, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Benito_Camela , 33 minutes ago link

" Venezuela tops the list with 300.9 billion barrels of oil in reserve – but even this vast wealth in natural resources has not been enough to save the country from its recent economic and humanitarian crisis."

LOL, good one. It's BECAUSE of their vast wealth that they cannot operate a country free of external interference, internal sabotage and the world's biggest bully attacking its electrical generation and grid. We can't have a successful socialist economy with THAT much oil, now, can we? And while Maduro did make some mistakes with the economy, it wasn't enough to bring about this "economic and humanitarian crisis." No, that level of shitstorm requires the intervention of the Yoo Nited States of America and "experts" on the region like Elliot Abrams (why isn't he in jail again? Oh yeah never mind, two systems of law in this country) and Mike Pom-Pom-Peon.

If the U.S. hadn't attempted coup after coup after coup, and actually let Venezuela's little experiment in Chavismo socialism play out on its own, we'd probably be seeing a South American version of Libya - at one time the richest country in Africa with healthcare for everyone - before France and the Yooo Nited States decided to destroy it. Of course it's too much to ask for a blog called "Visual Capitalist" to acknowledge this, and it's also pretty much par for the course with the sour right who comes to ZH for their daily fix of liberal bashing and rah, rah America is great! And so are (((they))). Of course.

https://venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/14263

Benito_Camela , 20 minutes ago link

You're way out of your depth on this topic. You wouldn't be able to point to a single thing that Maduro did which would have had long-lasting consequences such as what we are seeing now. Total moron - the Venezuelan masses wealth was stolen by the landed former Spanish colonialists and their offspring, who then were given all the good oil leases, and bailed on the country (sabotaged it on their way out - along with the food supply) as Chavez started giving wealth BACK to the masses. You know NOTHING about Venezuela and like many other things you parade around pretending to be some kind of expert while you're just a typical zionist moron.

The US and our buddies have been cutting VZ off from any external capital, but more importantly FREEZING their assets and preventing them from accessing THEIR OWN gold. If that was happening to one of our so-called allies, we'd be calling it THEFT. You idiot.

But let's play - find me a source that backs your assertions. Point to paragraph and sentence where your claims are laid out clearly for all to see. How did Maduro COMPLETELY **** up Venezuela? Your turn...

Benito_Camela , 19 minutes ago link

The Bolivarian Revolution, a series of economic and social reforms that dramatically reduced poverty and illiteracy while greatly improving health and other living conditions for millions of Venezuelans, drew worldwide acclaim. The reforms, which included nationalizing key components of the nation's economy as part of an agenda of socialist uplift, made Chávez a hero to millions of people and the enemy of Venezuela's oligarchs. The exportation of the Bolivarian Revolution, which included forging stronger, more peaceful inter-American relations and even the provision of free home heating oil for hundreds of thousands of needy people in the United States, made Chávez a marked man in Washington.

The administration of George W. Bush -- whom Chávez infamously called "the devil" in a speech before the United Nations -- backed a failed military coup against Chávez in 2002. The attempted coup was closely linked to prominent neoconservatives including Elliott Abrams , the disgraced Iran-Contra criminal who played a key role in covering up massacres committed by US-backed death squads in Central America and Otto Reich, a staunch supporter of Cuban exile terrorists who have killed at least hundreds of innocent men, women and children throughout the Americas. Two key coup plotters, Army commander Efraín Vasquez and Gen. Ramirez Poveda, were trained at the US Army School of the Americas. The coup briefly ousted Chávez but loyalist forces and popular support restored his rule 47 hours later.

Barack Obama continued Bush's policy of demonizing Chávez, whose government he called "authoritarian." This, despite the fact that former president Jimmy Carter, who won the Nobel Peace Prize for his work at the election-monitoring Carter Center, called Venezuela's election process "the best in the world." In 2015, Obama declared Venezuela an "extraordinary threat to national security," a bewildering assertion considering the country has never started a war in its history. The United States, on the other hand, has intervened in, attacked, invaded or occupied Latin American and Caribbean nations more than 50 times and, as Obama spoke, the US military was busy bombing seven countries in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia. For decades, successive US administrations have also lavished Venezuela's neighbor Colombia -- which has been condemned for its government and paramilitary death squad massacres and deadly corporate-backed crackdowns on indigenous peoples and workers -- with billions upon billions of dollars in military and economic aid.

Benito_Camela , 17 minutes ago link

How would they reinstate that "talent" if it was being blocked and bribed not to go to Venezuela by....you know who?

Chavez purged the firm because it was the same rich elites running it and threatening to use it as a form of blackmail.

Failure to regrow human capital base? Is that a repeat of what you just said about PDVSA? What does that even mean?

What about the US sanctions, freezing of their access to their own money, coup attempts, sabotage, the rich cutting off the food supply chain, etc? Which of these things contributed more to the current state of VZ?

Benito_Camela , 15 minutes ago link

Here's a good resource to counter the lies/propaganda you've read:

https://www.counterpunch.org/2019/02/01/sorting-through-the-lies-about-venezuela/

President Chávez had to withstand three successive attempts to remove him -- the 2002 coup, 2002-03 bosses' lockout and the 2004 recall referendum. Five times he was elected president, never with less than 55 percent of the vote, and overall he won 16 of 17 elections and referendums in which his movement participated. The election system put in place by the Chávez government was declared by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter's Carter Center to be " the best in the world ." None of this prevented the late president from being furiously denounced as a "dictator."

and

Government officials have repeatedly discovered vast quantities of consumer goods hidden in warehouses by local capitalists who are artificially causing shortages.

re: PDVSA

The latest, issued on January 28, freezes all property and interests of PDVSA subject to U.S. jurisdiction -- in other words, blocking Venezuela from any access to the profits generated by PDVSA's U.S. subsidiary, Citgo, or any PDVSA activities in the United States. The Trump administration expects Venezuela to lose US$11 billion this year, The New York Times reports.

and Maduro being a "dictator"

President Maduro is repeatedly called a "dictator," an epithet endless repeated across the corporate media. But when a portion of the opposition boycotts, can it be a surprise that the incumbent wins? The opposition actually asked the United Nations to not send observers , a sure sign that they expected to lose a fair election despite their claims that the election would be rigged. Nonetheless, a coalition of Canadian unions, church leaders and other officials declared the election to be "a transparent, secure, democratic and orderly electoral and voting process."

So yeah, you're on the same side of this issue as Barack Obama, George Soros and Hillary Kkklinton. Hope you're happy with that company.

[Apr 21, 2019] Whenever someone inconveniences the neoliberal oligarchy, the entire neoliberal MSM mafia tells us 24 x7 how evil and disgusting that person is. It's true of the leader of every nation which rejects neoliberal globalization as well as for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange

Highly recommended!
Apr 21, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Have you ever noticed how whenever someone inconveniences the dominant western power structure, the entire political/media class rapidly becomes very, very interested in letting us know how evil and disgusting that person is? It's true of the leader of every nation which refuses to allow itself to be absorbed into the blob of the US-centralized power alliance, it's true of anti-establishment political candidates, and it's true of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

Corrupt and unaccountable power uses its political and media influence to smear Assange because, as far as the interests of corrupt and unaccountable power are concerned, killing his reputation is as good as killing him. If everyone can be paced into viewing him with hatred and revulsion, they'll be far less likely to take WikiLeaks publications seriously, and they'll be far more likely to consent to Assange's imprisonment, thereby establishing a precedent for the future prosecution of leak-publishing journalists around the world. Someone can be speaking 100 percent truth to you, but if you're suspicious of him you won't believe anything he's saying. If they can manufacture that suspicion with total or near-total credence, then as far as our rulers are concerned it's as good as putting a bullet in his head.

Those of us who value truth and light need to fight this smear campaign in order to keep our fellow man from signing off on a major leap in the direction of Orwellian dystopia, and a big part of that means being able to argue against those smears and disinformation wherever they appear. Unfortunately I haven't been able to find any kind of centralized source of information which comprehensively debunks all the smears in a thorough and engaging way, so with the help of hundreds of tips from my readers and social media followers I'm going to attempt to make one here. What follows is my attempt at creating a tool kit people can use to fight against Assange smears wherever they encounter them, by refuting the disinformation with truth and solid argumentation.

This article is an ongoing project which will be updated regularly where it appears on Medium and caitlinjohnstone.com as new information comes in and new smears spring up in need of refutation.

[Apr 17, 2019] The media's interest in the well-being of a foreign population is directly proportional to the West's interest in toppling its government, while editorial standards are inversely proportional to its enemy status

Highly recommended!
Apr 17, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 , Apr 16, 2019 7:26:23 PM | link

Ah yes, Prescient observation regarding Venezuela:

"The media's interest in the well-being of a foreign population is directly proportional to the West's interest in toppling its government, while editorial standards are inversely proportional to its enemy status."--John McEvoy

So, lets employ this maxim to Russiagate and the Skripal Saga and the respective national media. In the first case, the Russian public's completely ignored unless it's a member of the so-called opposition while Putin and Russia get slandered constantly. The same treatment goes for the UK media and a case could be made that the two act in tandem, implying innerconnectivity between their spy agencies as suspected.

[Apr 16, 2019] Defending The Revolution a short film about the People's Militia in Venezuela. Not gonna be easy.

Apr 16, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Desolation Row , Apr 14, 2019 2:19:05 PM | link

Defending The Revolution a short film about the People's Militia in Venezuela. Not gonna be easy.

And one more time, Whitney Webb is doing a bang up job with this series:

This article is Part II of a multi-part investigative series examining the efforts of the global elite, as well as powerful elements of the global Zionist lobby and the government of Israel, to create an independent state out of Argentina's southern Patagonia region in order to plunder its natural resources and to fulfill long-standing Zionist interest in the territory that dates back to the "founding father" of Zionism, Theodore Herzl. Part I, which focuses on the de facto "parallel state" created by British billionaire Joe Lewis in Argentina's Patagonia, can be read here. Part II focuses on Eduardo Elsztain -- one of Argentina's wealthiest businessmen, who is deeply connected to the global elite and global Zionist lobbies -- and his role in a scheme to undercut Argentina's democracy by hijacking its voting system.

See my "lost" comment at the end of OT 2019-20, #167

[Apr 15, 2019] The Absurdity of Our Regime Change Policy in Venezuela

Notable quotes:
"... Even if Maduro were forced out by his current supporters in the military, it does not follow that Guaido or any other opposition figure would take over later. At that point, does the policy of forcing regime change continue shuffling forward like a zombie, or will the U.S. then accept a military government in Venezuela that is run by someone not named Maduro? How long does the U.S. keep trying to install its preferred government in power before admitting that it won't work? ..."
"... Since these haven't occurred, they have no plan except to strangle Venezuela's economy further through sanctions. Perhaps the best part is that the administration claims that Guaido is president of Venezuela, but that his presidency hasn't actually started yet. The administration's special representative, Elliott Abrams, claimed this in a press briefing last month , saying that the 30-day "interim" period of Guaido's "presidency" won't begin until after Maduro leaves office. ..."
"... Abrams' comments remind us of the shaky legal basis for everything that Guaido has been doing this year. As Noah Feldman pointed out shortly after this started, the provision in the Venezuelan constitution that Guaido invoked to claim his position as "interim" president was intended to apply in cases of death or incapacity of the incumbent president. It wasn't a loophole for declaring the presidency vacant when it is still very much occupied. Now because it is occupied, the official line is that Guaido's "interim" presidency hasn't really begun. Judging from how the regime change effort has been going so far, it probably never will. ..."
Apr 15, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro. Credit: StringerAL/Shutterstock The Trump administration's statements about Venezuela are beginning to sound eerily like Western governments' pronouncements about Syria over the last seven years:

The United States has no timeline for a change in government in Venezuela, a U.S. top official said, but is certain embattled President Nicolas Maduro will not remain in power.

Almost three months have passed since the U.S. threw its support behind Guaido as "interim" president. During that tine, the opposition has made no discernible progress in taking over, and the military remains firmly on Maduro's side for now. The administration has no "timeline" for when Maduro will leave power because they and the opposition have no idea how to achieve the regime change they are seeking, but that isn't stopping them from pursuing it anyway. Like the confident Western assertions from 2012 that Assad "must go," the administration is "certain" of an outcome that seems increasingly unlikely to happen.

It is possible that the top military brass will eventually decide that it is better for them to rid themselves of the unpopular ruler and retain power for themselves, just as Algeria's military did with Bouteflika and Sudan's military did with Bashir recently, but there is no guarantee that this would lead to a "restoration of democracy."

On the contrary, a transition that depends so heavily on the military is much more likely to produce another dictatorship.

Even if Maduro were forced out by his current supporters in the military, it does not follow that Guaido or any other opposition figure would take over later. At that point, does the policy of forcing regime change continue shuffling forward like a zombie, or will the U.S. then accept a military government in Venezuela that is run by someone not named Maduro? How long does the U.S. keep trying to install its preferred government in power before admitting that it won't work?

The absurdity of the administration's current policy is quite remarkable. They insist that Maduro is no longer president, but the president they recognize controls nothing. The success of their ill-conceived regime change "plan" depended almost entirely on mass defections from the military, but they have found no way to spur these defections.

Since these haven't occurred, they have no plan except to strangle Venezuela's economy further through sanctions. Perhaps the best part is that the administration claims that Guaido is president of Venezuela, but that his presidency hasn't actually started yet. The administration's special representative, Elliott Abrams, claimed this in a press briefing last month , saying that the 30-day "interim" period of Guaido's "presidency" won't begin until after Maduro leaves office. According to them, Guaido is the "legitimate" president but has not yet assumed office:

QUESTION: So Juan Guaido is the interim president of an interim that doesn't exist yet?

MR ABRAMS: The 30-day end to his interim presidency starts counting. Because he's not in power, that's the problem [bold mine-DL]. Maduro is still there. So they have decided that they will count that from when he actually is in power and Maduro's gone. I think it's logical.

QUESTION: So then he really isn't interim president, then?

MR ABRAMS: He is interim president, but he's not --

QUESTION: With no power.

MR ABRAMS: -- able to exercise the powers of the office because Maduro still is there.

Abrams' comments remind us of the shaky legal basis for everything that Guaido has been doing this year. As Noah Feldman pointed out shortly after this started, the provision in the Venezuelan constitution that Guaido invoked to claim his position as "interim" president was intended to apply in cases of death or incapacity of the incumbent president. It wasn't a loophole for declaring the presidency vacant when it is still very much occupied. Now because it is occupied, the official line is that Guaido's "interim" presidency hasn't really begun. Judging from how the regime change effort has been going so far, it probably never will.

[Apr 15, 2019] With the situation stalled the US is ramping up talk of a military attack on Venezuela to create psychological pressure

Apr 15, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

The Washington Post again laments that the U.S. coup attempt in Venezuela failed:

Venezuela's military, despite U.S. expectations, has not turned on Maduro

Nearly three months later, Venezuela's top-heavy military remains largely intact under President Nicolás Maduro. The once-brisk pace of defections to neighboring Colombia has slowed to a trickle. Fewer than 1,500 Venezuelan soldiers, relieved by the Colombian government of their weapons and uniforms and housed in sparsely furnished hotel rooms near the border, now sit waiting for something to happen.

The idea that the Venezuelan army would defect was always crazy. Anyone with a bit of knowledge of Venezuela could predict that it would never do so. Reports of lonely soldiers isolated in fourth class hotels in Columbia will not incite any further defections. While the random opposition guy promised amnesty for any soldier moving to his site, the U.S. seeks to arrest one of the few who did:

Venezuela's ex-spy chief arrested in Madrid on US warrant

Venezuela's longtime spy chief was arrested Friday in Madrid by Spanish police acting on a U.S. drug warrant a few weeks after he threw his support behind opponents of President Nicolas Maduro.
...
The opposition saw Carvajal's criticism of Venezuela's socialist government as a stimulus to prod other military figures to defect, but the country's armed forces have remained largely loyal to current Maduro.

With the situation stalled the U.S. is ramping up talk of a military attack on Venezuela:

US Military Attack on Venezuela Mulled by Top Trump Advisors and Latin American Officials at Private DC Meeting

EXCLUSIVE: Away from the public eye, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) think tank hosted a top-level, off-the-record meeting to explore US military options against Venezuela.

Such talks are poor attempts to create some psychological pressure. There are no sound military options. The U.S. is not going to invade Venezuela. It will ramp up sanctions and press its 'allies' to do the same. Venezuela and its people will suffer but they will not give up on resisting U.S. pressure. The current situation will only resolve itself when the regime in Washington or in one of Venezuela's neighboring countries changes.

[Apr 15, 2019] Canada To Russia Meddling Is Okay If It Destabilizes You But Not The Other Way Around

Notable quotes:
"... While Russia is being set up as the scapegoat of the collapsing western liberal establishment, this most recent red alarm by Freeland and Canada's response to the "danger" is useful for two reasons: ..."
"... First and foremost, Freeland's shameless warnings over "foreign interference" have become so loud that an irony has become unavoidable. She has after all been caught red handed behind the destabilization of both Ukraine and Venezuela. Secondly, by reviewing the mechanisms being created by Canada to counter-act this "threat", a clear insight is provided into the inner workings of the actual foreign influences which infiltrated Canada many decades ago. ..."
"... On the first point, Freeland's role as a co-architect of the nazi-fueled overthrow of a pro-Russian government in February 2014 is now well known. Aside from her family's Nazi connections going back to her grandfather Michael Chomiak's leading role as a Nazi collaborator in WWII, and her own mother's role in helping to draft Ukraine's neo-liberal constitution, Freeland herself not only befriended leading neo-Nazi collaborators such as Canadian Ukrainian Congress' president Paul Grod and but has also promoted NATO's anti-Russian expansion across eastern Europe. ..."
"... Freeland set up a program for regime change which involved a two-part formula of 1) mobilizing mass direct support for the overthrow of a government, and 2) gaining international support for said overthrow. ..."
"... Canada itself was infiltrated by a foreign player many years ago and what we will briefly see is that Canada can only be called the "world's first post national-state nation" because it never really became a genuine nation in the first place, but was always manipulated by a foreign power... although not the one you think. ..."
"... It is from this cybernetics central node that the web of governance both in Canada and also across other British infiltrated territories in the Trans-Atlantic system is coordinated under the directives of London. ..."
Apr 15, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Canada To Russia: 'Meddling' Is Okay If It Destabilizes You But Not The Other Way Around

by Tyler Durden Mon, 04/15/2019 - 18:50 74 SHARES Authored by Matthew Ehret via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

In the midst of one of the most de-stabilizing scandals to rock Canada in years, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland announced on April 5 that the threat of "Foreign interference" going into the October 2019 elections was at an all-time high. Sitting beside her UK counterpart at a G7 meeting in France, Freeland stated:

"Interference is very likely and we think there have already been efforts by malign foreign actors to disrupt our democracy" . Her warning was echoed by an embattled puppet Prime Minister in Ottawa who stated it is "very clearly that countries like Russia are behind a lot of the divisive campaigns that have turned our politics even more divisive and more anger-filled than they have been in the past. "

The Measures to Defend the British Deep State

In order to counteract this "foreign threat", several Canadian mechanisms have been announced to "keep democracy safe" in alignment with the G7, Five Eyes and NATO. These mechanisms are:

The creation of an " Incident Public Protection Panel " run by five Privy Council bureaucrats under the Clerk of the Privy Council which will exist outside of the authority of the Chief Electoral Officer of Canada, whose job is to maintain the integrity of elections. In defense of this mysterious group, Canada's Democratic Institutions Minister Karina Gould stated that "it won't be one person who will decide what Canadians will be allowed to know" (apparently having five people decide is more democratic). The new Clerk of the Privy Council is Ian Stugart, who served as former deputy minister to Chrystia Freeland until just a few weeks ago.

A Security and Intelligence Election Threats Task Force which will incorporate all of Canada's intelligence agencies such as the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, the RCMP, the Communications Security Establishment (CSE) and Freeland's Global Affairs Canada. All of these agencies are Privy Council organizations.

The Rapid Response Mechanism of the G7 created in June 2018 and headquartered in Ottawa Canada in Freeland's Global Affairs Office and Privy Council Office.

While Russia is being set up as the scapegoat of the collapsing western liberal establishment, this most recent red alarm by Freeland and Canada's response to the "danger" is useful for two reasons:

First and foremost, Freeland's shameless warnings over "foreign interference" have become so loud that an irony has become unavoidable. She has after all been caught red handed behind the destabilization of both Ukraine and Venezuela. Secondly, by reviewing the mechanisms being created by Canada to counter-act this "threat", a clear insight is provided into the inner workings of the actual foreign influences which infiltrated Canada many decades ago.

Chrystia Freeland: Regime Change Princess of Ukraine and Venezuela

On the first point, Freeland's role as a co-architect of the nazi-fueled overthrow of a pro-Russian government in February 2014 is now well known. Aside from her family's Nazi connections going back to her grandfather Michael Chomiak's leading role as a Nazi collaborator in WWII, and her own mother's role in helping to draft Ukraine's neo-liberal constitution, Freeland herself not only befriended leading neo-Nazi collaborators such as Canadian Ukrainian Congress' president Paul Grod and but has also promoted NATO's anti-Russian expansion across eastern Europe.

Less well known but equally important is Freeland's leading role in planning for the Venezuelan coup attempt which has been recently halted thanks to Russia's March 23rd intervention.

Working alongside fellow Oxford operative Ben Rowswell (now head of the Canadian International Council/ Chatham House of Canada) during his three year tenure as Ambassador to Venezuela (2014-2017), Freeland set up a program for regime change which involved a two-part formula of 1) mobilizing mass direct support for the overthrow of a government, and 2) gaining international support for said overthrow.

Rowswell's on-the-ground work was designed to achieve the former as he himself admitted in a 2017 interview saying "We became one of the most vocal embassies in speaking out on human rights issues and encouraging Venezuelans to speak out" . Before leaving his post to become the head of the Chatham House of Canada, he tweeted "I don't think they (anti-Maduro forces) have anything to worry about because Minister Freeland has Venezuela way at the top of her priority list" .

Working on fulfilling the 2nd part of the formula, Freeland directed the creation of the "Lima Group". A Global News article of January 24 described the group in the following terms:

"Playing a key role behind the scenes was Lima Group member Canada, whose Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland spoke to Guaido the night before Maduro's swearing-in ceremony to offer her government's support should he confront the socialist leader".

It shouldn't be too surprising in our day and age that a nation with such a high reputation as "polite Canada" is actuality, an active agency for regime change and global governance. Canada's very Prime Minister did assert in 2016 that "Canada is the world's first post national-state nation" . What may surprise some readers is that Canada itself was infiltrated by a foreign player many years ago and what we will briefly see is that Canada can only be called the "world's first post national-state nation" because it never really became a genuine nation in the first place, but was always manipulated by a foreign power... although not the one you think.

The "Foreign Influence" Controlling Canada

While a longer presentation is needed to do this story justice, it is enough to note for now that neither Freeland, nor Rowswell are operating on behalf of Canada's interests, but are rather both operatives run by an entity that took over Canada many decades ago and are currently directed by two interlocking organizations: The Privy Council Office and the Rhodes-Milner Round Table Group .

The Privy Council Office

The Privy Council office was set up in 1867 in order to act as the British hand guiding its newly formed confederacy (Canada nearly became a part of Lincoln's America in the wake of the Civil War. The only thing stopping that outcome was Britain's creation of a confederation. The full story is told in the Imperial Myth of Canada's National Policy. ). While its power was always great, there was still room for independent policy making by nationalistic elected officials when the international conditions were favorable.

This was nearly entirely destroyed during the reign of technocratic golden boy Pierre Elliott Trudeau during his 1968-1973 reform of the Federal Government under the guidance of the OECD's Sir Alexander King. It was during this time Sir King's Club of Rome (Ottawa branch) was set up in Ottawa under the guidance of Trudeau and his clerk of the Privy Council Michael Pitfield, and other neo-Malthusian technocrats such as Privy Council President Michel Lamontagne, Maurice Strong, and Governor General Roland Mitchener.

It was from this control point in Ottawa in 1971 that the work later to become known as Limits to Growth was funded by tax payers and which became the bible for the new Malthusianism and blueprint for the "post-industrial society". It is from this cybernetics central node that the web of governance both in Canada and also across other British infiltrated territories in the Trans-Atlantic system is coordinated under the directives of London.

... ... ...


sir lozalot , 14 minutes ago link

this whole world wide medeling thing after our govs have been unashamedly meddling everywhere for years , it just shows thier fear, they are loosing thier populaces and looking for scapegoats, i love it, times are changing

Reaper , 19 minutes ago link

Obedience to a degenerating noble class or hegemony's psycho neo-ruling class is self-destructive.

Dude-dude , 1 hour ago link

...will Canada follow suit in order to become a true sovereign nation freed of all foreign imperial influence once and for all?

Ha ha (Bart Simpson style). Canada has, and will always be, a British-USA vassal-state (with a veneer of democratic elections). Washington tells the Ottawa government to jump! After asking permission from the UK, Canada negotiates with America as to how high - since the country is technically insolvent there isn't that much jumping room.

Neochrome , 2 hours ago link

Russia is charged with bringing things in the open, to the light, instead of letting creatures of the dark skulk in shadows, plotting, backstabbing, poisoning and conducting their "business" as usual. Because apparently democracy flourishes in darkness and ignorance...

[Apr 14, 2019] Russia remains an obstacle for Trump goal of colonizing Venezuela

Apr 14, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

b4real , Apr 14, 2019 5:20:25 PM | link

@ james your 38 from post on iran thread.....


" it seems the usa is no longer willing to go full on.."

What is being missed by most is that we entered a new era March 2018 when Putin unveiled his new toys. The u.s. is no longer the presumed supreme military power on the planet. Of course they will not not admit this, but I believe we are approaching the moment when the U.S. will be told to stand down or suffer the consequences, whether it be in Syria, Venezuela or Ukraine.

Link

"I want to tell all those who have fueled the arms race over the last 15 years, sought to win unilateral advantages over Russia, introduced unlawful sanctions aimed at containing our country's development: Everything that you wanted to impede with your policies has already happened," he said. "You have failed to contain Russia."

"No one listened to us then. So listen to us now," Putin said to thunderous applause in the speech, which was held at a venue just outside the Kremlin and televised live nationwide.

The pentagon has admitted it has no defense against those hypersonic missiles.

Link

"If that happens, what kind of defense do we have against the hypersonic threat?" Inhofe asked.

Hyten replied, "We have a very difficult -- well, our defense is our deterrent capability. We don't have any defense that could deny theemployment of such a weapon against us, so our response would be our deterrent force, which would be the triad and the nuclear capabilities that we have to respond to such a threat."

Putin has quite clearly stated the what the Russian response will be should the U.S. resort to the use of nuclear weapons.

Link

"Only when we know for certain – and this takes a few seconds to understand – that Russia is being attacked we will deliver a counter strike. This would be a reciprocal counter strike. Why do I say 'counter'? Because we will counter missiles flying towards us by sending a missile in the direction of an aggressor. Of course, this amounts to a global catastrophe but I would like to repeat that we cannot be the initiators of such a catastrophe because we have no provision for a pre-emptive strike. Yes, it looks like we are sitting on our hands and waiting until someone uses nuclear weapons against us. Well, yes, this is what it is. But then any aggressor should know that retaliation is inevitable and they will be annihilated. And we as the victims of an aggression, we as martyrs would go to paradise while they will simply perish because they won't even have time to repent their sins. "


Russia is not going to allow the U.S. to destroy Venezuela, Iran, Syria or Ukraine. It makes sense because Ru cannot allow the United States and vassals to continually put Ru in the position of one step forward two steps backs via their destructive policies and I firmly believe that Putin will not allow the u.s. time to develop counters to their new missiles. That would be foolish as the u.s. has shown what they are capable of when there is no serious threat to their military. It will be a world war and the unites states has been pushing hard to keep its allies on a short tether.

U.S. has been stalemated in Syria, (soon to be ejected) Ukraine is about to fall back into ru orbit after the elections next week. Venezuela has Russians on the ground. They dare not go into Iran, because the iron dome is rusty and one direct hit by the foab about 13k southeast of dimona is going to make a large part of that illegal settlement called israel uninhabitable .

There is much room for miscalculation, and I believe war is an almost certainty. At the same time, I think we need a few tens to hundreds of millions to meet their maker as the human race is only growing more stupid by the minute and eliminating a large portion of the race will likely extend its survival. Sad but true.

'nuff said


b4real

[Apr 13, 2019] Pompeo repeats Gene Sharp recipes: China, Russia Spread Disorder And Corruption In Latin America

That happened often when a second rate provincial lawyer became the Secretary of State. At least Kerry knows French. Pompeo knows absolution nothing and is capable only of repeating old cliché.
Today's special word is: Projection
Notable quotes:
"... Pompeo should go into advertising. Since the late '50's, we've torn Latin America to shreds, but we're the good guys, eh?!. ..."
"... Doesn't Pompeo also believe in the rapture. ..."
Apr 13, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

idontcare , 2 minutes ago link

Pompeo should go into advertising. Since the late '50's, we've torn Latin America to shreds, but we're the good guys, eh?!.

I luv my country, but I hate my government.

beemasters

This must have been the most transparently crooked administration ever in the US history! Ain't that the pot calling the kettle black!

2willies

Doesn't Pompeo also believe in the rapture.

Idaho potato head

At some point even the most deluded sheep has got to realize he is being lied to. Or is it just as in the Matrix, there is an age limit as to when a mind can be awoken.

After reading CYMS1 below I retract that question.

The political and commercial morals of the United States are not merely food for laughter, they are an entire banquet

Mark Twain

[Apr 13, 2019] "We support peoples of all countries in independently choosing their development paths that cater to their national conditions. We never interfere in other countries' internal affairs, nor do we impose anything on other countries," Ma added.

Apr 13, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

psychohistorian , Apr 11, 2019 1:02:58 AM | link

@ Grieved with the UN/Pence story....here is China's take on the situation
"
UNITED NATIONS, April 10 (Xinhua) -- The Chinese ambassador to the United Nations on Wednesday rejected U.S. Vice President Mike Pence's accusation against China over Venezuela.

"China categorically rejects the accusation," Ma Zhaoxu, China's permanent representative to the United Nations, told a Security Council meeting on the situation in Venezuela.

"Earlier in his intervention, the U.S. representative leveled an unfounded accusation on China's position on Venezuela in the Security Council," he said, referring to Pence's remarks that Russia and China obstructed Council action on Venezuela with their veto power.

China has all along maintained friendly and cooperative relations with other countries around the world, including Venezuela, on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, he said.

"We support peoples of all countries in independently choosing their development paths that cater to their national conditions. We never interfere in other countries' internal affairs, nor do we impose anything on other countries," Ma added.

Members of the Security Council should faithfully abide by the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and the universally recognized norms of international relations, genuinely respect the choices of peoples of other countries, and do more positive and practical things for the people of Venezuela rather than the opposite, said the Chinese envoy."

[Apr 09, 2019] People like Elliott Abrams are seldom kept around after the goals are won, though too much danger they might develop loose lips. So, often, something happens to them. In this case, it couldn t happen to a righter guy.

Apr 09, 2019 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Northern Star April 9, 2019 at 12:33 pm

"Nearly a quarter million people were killed between 1962 and 1996 in Guatemala, 93 percent at the hands of pro-government forces. The UN-backed Commission for Historical Clarification classified the massacre of Mayan Indians, treated by the military as a potential constituency for guerrillas, as genocide, including the destruction of up to 90 percent of the Ixil-Mayan towns and the bombing of those fleeing. In El Salvador, 988 of the 75,000 killed between 1980 and 1992 -- also overwhelmingly by pro-government forces -- were massacred in the Morazán Department in the "El Mozote" case, whose prosecution is at risk.

Most of the victims were children, who were shot down, burned and raped en masse or hung upside down and bled from their throats. Refuting claims by defendants that victims were combatants, the Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team has stated: "We only found marbles, toys, coins, cooking utensils, sandals and flip-flops next to their bodies." It was the largest single documented massacre in modern Latin American history.

What the ruling class wants to be "forgotten" is the fact that their only response to the crisis of global capitalism is dictatorship, war and barbarism."

https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2019/04/09/ceam-a09.html

Current (continuing) shitstain war criminal appointed by Trump:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elliott_Abrams#Guatemala

Mark Chapman April 9, 2019 at 4:58 pm
There are always pick-and-shovel men like Abrams around to do the wet work – for their part, because they like it, and are contemptuous of those who shrink from violence. But they are singularly useful for the reigning government, as well, since it has to sing soothing songs of respect for human rights and pretend to view violence as repugnant and unnecessary. It would be, if the government had forever to achieve its aims. But it usually has to bank on putting America in the place it wants it to be in four years. Sometimes that means a bunch of people have to be eliminated, or else you run out of time.

People like Elliott Abrams are seldom kept around after the goals are won, though – too much danger they might develop loose lips. So, often, something 'happens' to them. In this case, it couldn't 'happen' to a righter guy.

[Apr 09, 2019] Maduro government policy protecting Guaido's car in Caracas from being lunched by the mob.

Apr 09, 2019 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Jen April 1, 2019 at 2:24 pm

Global Research publishes the video of a Venezuelan TV news show interview in which a recording of Juan Guaido's apparent admission of culpability in the sabotage of Venezuela's electricity system and intent to disrupt other essential utilities is played.
https://www.globalresearch.ca/juan-guaido-confesses-being-behind-the-sabotage-of-venezuelas-electric-system/5673104
Mark Chapman April 1, 2019 at 3:45 pm
Just to point out once again, it is a war crime and a violation of the International Rules of Armed Conflict for the ENEMY to cut civilians off from the services they need to live. And he wants to lead the country??!!

https://ihl-databases.icrc.org/customary-ihl/eng/docs/v2_rul_rule54

Certainly getting the poor and the middle class on his side. Here's an NPR interview with Ari Shapiro, on the Colombian border with Venezuela. Along with bigging up the impression that there is a shitload of military deserters just waiting to have a crack at Maduro, including the 80% who want him gone but don't dare say so out of fear – by the simple device of interviewing some young men we know nothing about, not even their names because their identities must be kept secret – he says this:

"This is the Colombian ambassador to the U.S., Francisco Santos. Ambassador Santos insists there is still time for what we'll call plan A – international pressure and sanctions to force Maduro out. Venezuela would then hold elections, and Guaido would take power."

Guaido would take power. Oh, wait, wait: we have to have an election first.

Obviously it is inconceivable that anyone else might win. The guy most of the country had never heard of a year ago, now is a shoo-in for the presidency. Isn't democracy fun ???? You just never know what's going to happen!

https://www.npr.org/2019/03/28/707722484/venezuela-hovers-on-the-brink-of-conflict-many-fear-the-situation-will-escalate?ft=nprml&f=

The USA and its 'partners' are moving forward with a debt-restructuring plan for Venezuela – which you just know is going to include massive loans by the IMF and arm-twisting of allies to persuade them to forgive debt to help the US State Department's newest plaything – just as if Guaido is inevitable.

Well, he's not. And few things would give me as much pleasure as seeing the smirk slapped off their faces.

yalensis April 2, 2019 at 3:26 am
"And I repeat, the cessation of darkness will definitely come with the cessation of usurpation," culminates the self-proclaimed Juan Guaidó"

It's odd that the sabotage includes that element of blackmail, i.e., "put me in office, and I will turn the lights on again." How would he expect to do that, if the grid has been damaged?
Such blackmail only makes sense if Guaidó had, like, the secret password that would turn off the viruses(?)
Because, if the damage is physical, then it will take a while to fix, even if Guaidó and the American engineers worked at it night and day.

Mark Chapman April 2, 2019 at 1:40 pm
Even if he has no control over it, he is talking it up like he has, more like "I know people". Which tends to make it sound more as if it is his backers doing it.

I would say he is well on his way to making himself the most hated man in Venezuela, at least barring those who hope to sweep him into power.

yalensis April 2, 2019 at 3:38 pm
I know. How can you even imagine being that guy? Who deprives your neighbors of their electricity and then asks them to vote for you, so you would turn it on again?
A person like that would be lynched!
Jen April 2, 2019 at 5:31 pm
There have already been some reports of people attacking Guaido's car in Caracas when they see it and the occupants inside (Guaido doesn't travel on his own).
https://www.rt.com/news/455308-guaido-police-caracas-rally-venezuela/

As Grayzone Project's Max Blumenthal says, the irony is that Nicolas Maduro's government is protecting Guaido and his freedom to travel around Caracas through the police. So much for Maduro being a tyrannical dictator

[Apr 07, 2019] What Monroe Doctrine

Apr 07, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

What Monroe Doctrine?

by Tyler Durden Sun, 04/07/2019 - 08:10 94 SHARES Authored by Philip Giraldi via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

Because there is a presidential election coming up next year, the Donald Trump Administration appears to be looking for a country that it can attack and destroy in order to prove its toughness and willingness to go all the way in support of alleged American interests. It is a version of the old neocon doctrine attributed to Michael Ledeen, the belief that every once in a while, it is necessary to pick out some crappy little country and throw it against the wall just to demonstrate that the United States means business.

"Meaning business" is a tactic whereby the adversary surrenders immediately in fear of the possible consequences, but there are a couple of problems with that thinking.

The first is that an opponent who can resist will sometimes balk and create a continuing problem for the United States, which has a demonstrated inability to start and end wars in any coherent fashion.

This tendency to get caught in a quagmire in a situation that might have been resolved through diplomacy has been exacerbated by the current White House's negotiating style, which is to both demand and expect submission on all points even before discussions begin. That was clearly the perception with North Korea, where National Security Advisor John Bolton insisted that Pyongyang had agreed to American demands over its nuclear program even though it hadn't and would have been foolish to do so for fear of being treated down the road like Libya, which denuclearized but then was attacked and destroyed seven years later. The Bolton mis-perception, which was apparently bought into by Trump, led to a complete unraveling of what might actually have been accomplished if the negotiations had been serious and open to reasonable compromise right from the beginning.

Trump's written demand that Kim Jong Un immediately hand over his nuclear weapons and all bomb making material was a non-starter based on White House misunderstandings rooted in its disdain for compromise. The summit meeting with Trump, held in Hanoi at the end of February, was abruptly canceled by Kim and Pyongyang subsequently accused Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo of making "gangster-like" demands.

The second problem is that there are only a few actual casus belli situations under international law that permit a country to attack another preemptively, and they are usually limited to actual imminent threats. The current situation with Venezuela is similar to that with North Korea in that Washington is operating on the presumption that it has a right to intervene and bring about regime change, using military force if necessary, because of its presumed leadership role in global security, not because Caracas or even Pyongyang necessarily is threatening anyone. That presumption that American "exceptionalism" provides authorization to intervene in other countries using economic weapons backed up by a military option that is "on the table" is a viewpoint that is not accepted by the rest of the world.

In the case of Venezuela, where Trump has dangerously demanded that Russia withdraw the hundred or so advisors that it sent to help stabilize the country, the supposition that the United States has exclusive extra-territorial rights is largely based on nineteenth and early twentieth century unilaterally declared "doctrines." The Monroe Doctrine of 1823 and the Roosevelt Corollary of 1904 de facto established the United States as the hegemon-presumptive for the entire Western Hemisphere, stretching from the Arctic Circle in the north to Patagonia in the south.

John Bolton has been the leader in promoting the Monroe Doctrine as justification for Washington's interference in Venezuela's politics, apparently only dimly aware that the Doctrine, which opposed any attempts by European powers to establish new colonies in the Western Hemisphere, was only in effect for twenty-two years when the United States itself annexed Texas and then went to war with Mexico in the following year

[Apr 02, 2019] Guaido Set to Enact Uprising Rooted in US Regime-Change Operations Manual

EuroMaydan scenario for Venezuela?
Notable quotes:
"... Putin understands that both the loser and the winner lose in the confrontation. Therefore, he always offers a compromise for a long time, almost to the last opportunity, even to those who clearly do not deserve it, moving to other solutions only after the opponent has clearly crossed all possible red lines and can pose a threat to the vital interests of Russia. An agreement based on consideration of each other's interests is always stronger than any short-term 'victories', which tomorrow will result in the need to reaffirm their status of the winner again and again. It seems to me that Putin understands this well. Hence the effectiveness of his actions. ..."
Apr 02, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Grieved , Apr 1, 2019 2:16:53 PM | link

@73 karlof1

That's a great piece by Escobar, and it contains snippets from his talk with Ishchenko, which I recall he said was coming but which I don't think I ever saw anywhere until now.

I have to quote this perfect illustration of Putin from Ishchenko:

Putin understands that both the loser and the winner lose in the confrontation. Therefore, he always offers a compromise for a long time, almost to the last opportunity, even to those who clearly do not deserve it, moving to other solutions only after the opponent has clearly crossed all possible red lines and can pose a threat to the vital interests of Russia. An agreement based on consideration of each other's interests is always stronger than any short-term 'victories', which tomorrow will result in the need to reaffirm their status of the winner again and again. It seems to me that Putin understands this well. Hence the effectiveness of his actions.

As to Pepe's main theme, that the Pentagon is hardening its stances, it's well reported, and fits nicely with the latest piece from Whitney Webb, which Escobar linked form his Facebook page, by the way (I get a lot of good "heads-up" links from there). I'll post it in the next comment.

Grieved , Apr 1, 2019 2:24:53 PM | link

more from #75

Speaking of hardening, Whitney Webb's latest shows exactly how the US plans to act in Venezuela:

Guaido Set to Enact Uprising Rooted in US Regime-Change Operations Manual

Webb's story is about the newly developed RED team, the "sole contractor" to USAID with regard to Venezuela. The piece illustrates both the exact playbook to be used in Venezuela and a hardening of stance in the covert activity sphere equal with the military sphere's hardening that karlof1 cites @73:

For instance, one respondent asserted that the RED Team system would "restore the long-lost doing capacity of USAID." Another USAID official with 15 years of experience, including in "extremely denied environments," stated that:

"We have to be involved in national security or USAID will not be relevant. Anybody who doesn't think we need to be working in combat elements or working with SF [special forces] groups is just naïve. We are either going to be up front or irrelevant USAID is going through a lot right now, but this is an area where we can be of utility. It must happen."

This seems to speak a lot of the Trump administration's true ambitions in the Rambo theater of fantasy and cruelty. This RED team is armed with cash and weaponry for offensive violence, along with an entire vocabulary of institutional words that almost seem harmless until you explore the implications, as Webb does.

I have to say in passing that I just don't know if we've ever been able to see so clearly before - i.e. at the level of one magazine article citing the published declarations of the actors - the exact and precise methods by which regime change will attempt to be imposed on a target country.

Presumably Gerasimov and the rest of the Russia team are hip to every one of these moves, and will counter effectively and creatively.


[Apr 02, 2019] Juan Guaid Confesses Being Behind the Sabotage of Venezuela's Electric System

Apr 02, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

linda gentsch , Apr 1, 2019 5:48:26 PM | link

Juan Guaidó Confesses Being Behind the Sabotage of Venezuela's Electric System

https://www.globalresearch.ca/juan-guaido-confesses-being-behind-the-sabotage-of-venezuelas-electric-system/5673104

Just say it like it is. Follow Bolton, Abrams, Pompeo and Trump's examples. I don't think the VZ people will be intimidated.

karlof1 , Apr 1, 2019 5:50:08 PM | link

Random Dude's legal troubles escalate:

"The Supreme Court of Justice of #Venezuela ratifies precautionary measures to Juan #Guaidó: prohibition to exit the country, prohibition to transfer his property, blockade and immobilization of bank accounts or any other financial instrument in Venezuela."

"The Supreme Court of Justice imposes a fine on Juan #Guaidó and asks the National Constituent Assembly to lift the parliamentary immunity after Guaidó broke the prohibition of leaving the country."

What will be the next "Or Else" utterance by the Naked Emperor's Agents be? Will they threaten to throw the table holding all those possibilities? Perhaps also add the chairs?

Meanwhile, China delivers another freighter full of medical supplies.

[Apr 02, 2019] 'Yats' Is No Longer the Guy by Robert Parry

Highly recommended!
This article by late Robert Parry is from 2016 but is still relevant in context of the current Ukrainian elections and the color revolution is Venezuela. The power of neoliberal propaganda is simply tremendous. For foreign events it is able to distort the story to such an extent that the most famous quote of CIA director William Casey "We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false" looks like constatation of already accomplished goal.
Apr 11, 2016 | consortiumnews.com

Exclusive: Several weeks before Ukraine's 2014 coup, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Nuland had already picked Arseniy Yatsenyuk to be the future leader, but now "Yats" is no longer the guy, writes Robert Parry.

In reporting on the resignation of Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, the major U.S. newspapers either ignored or distorted Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland's infamous intercepted phone call before the 2014 coup in which she declared "Yats is the guy!"

Though Nuland's phone call introduced many Americans to the previously obscure Yatsenyuk, its timing – a few weeks before the ouster of elected Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych – was never helpful to Washington's desired narrative of the Ukrainian people rising up on their own to oust a corrupt leader.

Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland, who pushed for the Ukraine coup and helped pick the post-coup leaders.

Instead, the conversation between Nuland and U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt sounded like two proconsuls picking which Ukrainian politicians would lead the new government. Nuland also disparaged the less aggressive approach of the European Union with the pithy put-down: "Fuck the E.U.!"

More importantly, the intercepted call, released onto YouTube in early February 2014, represented powerful evidence that these senior U.S. officials were plotting – or at least collaborating in – a coup d'etat against Ukraine's democratically elected president. So, the U.S. government and the mainstream U.S. media have since consigned this revealing discussion to the Great Memory Hole.

On Monday, in reporting on Yatsenyuk's Sunday speech in which he announced that he is stepping down, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal didn't mention the Nuland-Pyatt conversation at all. The New York Times did mention the call but misled its readers regarding its timing, making it appear as if the call followed rather than preceded the coup. That way the call sounded like two American officials routinely appraising Ukraine's future leaders, not plotting to oust one government and install another.

The Times article by Andrew E. Kramer said: "Before Mr. Yatsenyuk's appointment as prime minister in 2014, a leaked recording of a telephone conversation between Victoria J. Nuland, a United States assistant secretary of state, and the American ambassador in Ukraine, Geoffrey R. Pyatt, seemed to underscore the West's support for his candidacy. 'Yats is the guy,' Ms. Nuland had said."

Notice, however, that if you didn't know that the conversation occurred in late January or early February 2014, you wouldn't know that it preceded the Feb. 22, 2014 coup. You might have thought that it was just a supportive chat before Yatsenyuk got his new job.

You also wouldn't know that much of the Nuland-Pyatt conversation focused on how they were going to "glue this thing" or "midwife this thing," comments sounding like prima facie evidence that the U.S. government was engaged in "regime change" in Ukraine, on Russia's border.

The 'No Coup' Conclusion

But Kramer's lack of specificity about the timing and substance of the call fits with a long pattern of New York Times' bias in its coverage of the Ukraine crisis. On Jan. 4, 2015, nearly a year after the U.S.-backed coup, the Times published an "investigation" article declaring that there never had been a coup. It was just a case of President Yanukovych deciding to leave and not coming back.

That article reached its conclusion, in part, by ignoring the evidence of a coup, including the Nuland-Pyatt phone call. The story was co-written by Kramer and so it is interesting to know that he was at least aware of the "Yats is the guy" reference although it was ignored in last year's long-form article.

Instead, Kramer and his co-author Andrew Higgins took pains to mock anyone who actually looked at the evidence and dared reach the disfavored conclusion about a coup. If you did, you were some rube deluded by Russian propaganda.

"Russia has attributed Mr. Yanukovych's ouster to what it portrays as a violent, 'neo-fascist' coup supported and even choreographed by the West and dressed up as a popular uprising," Higgins and Kramer wrote . "Few outside the Russian propaganda bubble ever seriously entertained the Kremlin's line. But almost a year after the fall of Mr. Yanukovych's government, questions remain about how and why it collapsed so quickly and completely."

The Times' article concluded that Yanukovych "was not so much overthrown as cast adrift by his own allies, and that Western officials were just as surprised by the meltdown as anyone else. The allies' desertion, fueled in large part by fear, was accelerated by the seizing by protesters of a large stock of weapons in the west of the country. But just as important, the review of the final hours shows, was the panic in government ranks created by Mr. Yanukovych's own efforts to make peace."

Yet, one might wonder what the Times thinks a coup looks like. Indeed, the Ukrainian coup had many of the same earmarks as such classics as the CIA-engineered regime changes in Iran in 1953 and in Guatemala in 1954.

The way those coups played out is now historically well known. Secret U.S. government operatives planted nasty propaganda about the targeted leader, stirred up political and economic chaos, conspired with rival political leaders, spread rumors of worse violence to come and then – as political institutions collapsed – watched as the scared but duly elected leader made a hasty departure.

In Iran, the coup reinstalled the autocratic Shah who then ruled with a heavy hand for the next quarter century; in Guatemala, the coup led to more than three decades of brutal military regimes and the killing of some 200,000 Guatemalans.

Coups don't have to involve army tanks occupying the public squares, although that is an alternative model which follows many of the same initial steps except that the military is brought in at the end. The military coup was a common approach especially in Latin America in the 1960s and 1970s.

' Color Revolutions'

But the preferred method in more recent years has been the "color revolution," which operates behind the façade of a "peaceful" popular uprising and international pressure on the targeted leader to show restraint until it's too late to stop the coup. Despite the restraint, the leader is still accused of gross human rights violations, all the better to justify his removal.

Later, the ousted leader may get an image makeover; instead of a cruel bully, he is ridiculed for not showing sufficient resolve and letting his base of support melt away, as happened with Mohammad Mossadegh in Iran and Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala.

But the reality of what happened in Ukraine was never hard to figure out. Nor did you have to be inside "the Russian propaganda bubble" to recognize it. George Friedman, the founder of the global intelligence firm Stratfor, called Yanukovych's overthrow "the most blatant coup in history."

Which is what it appears if you consider the evidence. The first step in the process was to create tensions around the issue of pulling Ukraine out of Russia's economic orbit and capturing it in the European Union's gravity, a plan defined by influential American neocons in 2013.

On Sept. 26, 2013, National Endowment for Democracy President Carl Gershman, who has been a major neocon paymaster for decades, took to the op-ed page of the neocon Washington Post and called Ukraine "the biggest prize" and an important interim step toward toppling Russian President Vladimir Putin.

At the time, Gershman, whose NED is funded by the U.S. Congress to the tune of about $100 million a year, was financing scores of projects inside Ukraine training activists, paying for journalists and organizing business groups.

As for the even bigger prize -- Putin -- Gershman wrote: "Ukraine's choice to join Europe will accelerate the demise of the ideology of Russian imperialism that Putin represents. Russians, too, face a choice, and Putin may find himself on the losing end not just in the near abroad but within Russia itself."

At that time, in early fall 2013, Ukraine's President Yanukovych was exploring the idea of reaching out to Europe with an association agreement. But he got cold feet in November 2013 when economic experts in Kiev advised him that the Ukrainian economy would suffer a $160 billion hit if it separated from Russia, its eastern neighbor and major trading partner. There was also the West's demand that Ukraine accept a harsh austerity plan from the International Monetary Fund.

Yanukovych wanted more time for the E.U. negotiations, but his decision angered many western Ukrainians who saw their future more attached to Europe than Russia. Tens of thousands of protesters began camping out at Maidan Square in Kiev, with Yanukovych ordering the police to show restraint.

Meanwhile, with Yanukovych shifting back toward Russia, which was offering a more generous $15 billion loan and discounted natural gas, he soon became the target of American neocons and the U.S. media, which portrayed Ukraine's political unrest as a black-and-white case of a brutal and corrupt Yanukovych opposed by a saintly "pro-democracy" movement.

Cheering an Uprising

The Maidan uprising was urged on by American neocons, including Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Nuland, who passed out cookies at the Maidan and reminded Ukrainian business leaders that the United States had invested $5 billion in their "European aspirations."

A screen shot of U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland speaking to U.S. and Ukrainian business leaders on Dec. 13, 2013, at an event sponsored by Chevron, with its logo to Nuland's left.

Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, also showed up, standing on stage with right-wing extremists from the Svoboda Party and telling the crowd that the United States was with them in their challenge to the Ukrainian government.

As the winter progressed, the protests grew more violent. Neo-Nazi and other extremist elements from Lviv and other western Ukrainian cities began arriving in well-organized brigades or "sotins" of 100 trained street fighters. Police were attacked with firebombs and other weapons as the violent protesters began seizing government buildings and unfurling Nazi banners and even a Confederate flag.

Though Yanukovych continued to order his police to show restraint, he was still depicted in the major U.S. news media as a brutal thug who was callously murdering his own people. The chaos reached a climax on Feb. 20 when mysterious snipers opened fire, killing both police and protesters. As the police retreated, the militants advanced brandishing firearms and other weapons. The confrontation led to significant loss of life, pushing the death toll to around 80 including more than a dozen police.

U.S. diplomats and the mainstream U.S. press immediately blamed Yanukovych for the sniper attack, though the circumstances remain murky to this day and some investigations have suggested that the lethal sniper fire came from buildings controlled by Right Sektor extremists.

To tamp down the worsening violence, a shaken Yanukovych signed a European-brokered deal on Feb. 21, in which he accepted reduced powers and an early election so he could be voted out of office. He also agreed to requests from Vice President Joe Biden to pull back the police.

The precipitous police withdrawal opened the path for the neo-Nazis and other street fighters to seize presidential offices and force Yanukovych and his officials to flee for their lives. The new coup regime was immediately declared "legitimate" by the U.S. State Department with Yanukovych sought on murder charges. Nuland's favorite, Yatsenyuk, became the new prime minister.

Throughout the crisis, the mainstream U.S. press hammered home the theme of white-hatted protesters versus a black-hatted president. The police were portrayed as brutal killers who fired on unarmed supporters of "democracy." The good-guy/bad-guy narrative was all the American people heard from the major media.

The New York Times went so far as to delete the slain policemen from the narrative and simply report that the police had killed all those who died in the Maidan. A typical Times report on March 5, 2014, summed up the storyline: "More than 80 protesters were shot to death by the police as an uprising spiraled out of control in mid-February."

The mainstream U.S. media also sought to discredit anyone who observed the obvious fact that an unconstitutional coup had just occurred. A new theme emerged that portrayed Yanukovych as simply deciding to abandon his government because of the moral pressure from the noble and peaceful Maidan protests.

Any reference to a "coup" was dismissed as "Russian propaganda." There was a parallel determination in the U.S. media to discredit or ignore evidence that neo-Nazi militias had played an important role in ousting Yanukovych and in the subsequent suppression of anti-coup resistance in eastern and southern Ukraine. That opposition among ethnic-Russian Ukrainians simply became "Russian aggression."

Nazi symbols on helmets worn by members of Ukraine's Azov battalion. (As filmed by a Norwegian film crew and shown on German TV)

This refusal to notice what was actually a remarkable story – the willful unleashing of Nazi storm troopers on a European population for the first time since World War II – reached absurd levels as The New York Times and The Washington Post buried references to the neo-Nazis at the end of stories, almost as afterthoughts.

The Washington Post went to the extreme of rationalizing Swastikas and other Nazi symbols by quoting one militia commander as calling them "romantic" gestures by impressionable young men. [See Consortiumnews.com's " Ukraine's 'Romantic' Neo-Nazi Storm Troopers ."]

But today – more than two years after what U.S. and Ukrainian officials like to call "the Revolution of Dignity" – the U.S.-backed Ukrainian government is sinking into dysfunction, reliant on handouts from the IMF and Western governments.

And, in a move perhaps now more symbolic than substantive, Prime Minister Yatsenyuk is stepping down. Yats is no longer the guy.

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America's Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com ).


Khalid Talaat , April 16, 2016 at 20:39

Is it too far fetched to think that all these color revolutions are a perfection of the process to unleash another fake color revolution, only this time it is a Red, White and Blue revolution here at home? Those that continue to booze and snooze while watching the tube will not know the difference until it is too late.

The freedom and tranquility of our country depends on finding and implementing a counterweight to the presstitutes and their propaganda. The alternative is too destructive in its natural development.

Abe , April 15, 2016 at 18:49

Yats and Porko are the guys who broke Ukraine. By the end of December 2015, Ukraine's gross domestic product had shrunk around 19 percent in comparison with 2013. Its decimated industrial sector needs less fuel. Yatsie did a heck of a job.

Abe , April 15, 2016 at 18:35

Carl Gershman: "Ukraine is the biggest prize" -- Paragraph 6 of https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/former-soviet-states-stand-up-to-russia-will-the-us/2013/09/26/b5ad2be4-246a-11e3-b75d-5b7f66349852_story.html

David Smith , April 12, 2016 at 13:51

The timing of "Yats" departure is ominous. Mid-April, six weeks from now would be the first chance to renew the invasion of DPR Donesk/Lugansk."Yats" failed in 2014, and didn't try in 2015. Who is "the new guy"? Will the new Prime Minister begin raving about renewing the holy war to recover the lost oblasts? 2016 is really Ukraine's last chance. Ukraine refuses to implement Minsk2, and they have been receiving lots of new weapons. I believe President Putin put the Syrian operation on " standby" not only to avoid approaching the border, provoking a Turkish intervention, but also so he can give undistracted attention to DPR Donesk/Lugansk.

Bill Rood , April 12, 2016 at 11:50

I guess I must be inside the Russian propaganda bubble. It was obvious to me when I looked at the YouTube videos of policemen burning after being hit with Molotov cocktails.

We played the same game of encouraging government "restraint" in Syria, where we demanded Assad free "political prisoners," but we now accuse him of deliberately encouraging ISIS by freeing those people, so that he can point to ISIS and ask, "Do you want that?" Targeted leaders are damned if they do and damned if they don't.

Andrei , April 12, 2016 at 10:26

"the Ukrainian coup had many of the same earmarks as such classics as the CIA-engineered regime changes in Iran in 1953 and in Guatemala in 1954", Romania 1989 Shots were fired by snipers in order to stirr the crowds (sounds familiar?) and also by the army after Ceasescu ran away, which resulted in civilians getting murdered. Could it possibly be that it was said : "Iliescu (next elected president) is the guy!" ?

Joe L. , April 12, 2016 at 11:00

Check out the attempted coup against Hugo Chavez in Venezuela 2002, that is very similar with protesters, snipers on rooftops, IMF immediately offering loans to the new coup government, new government positions for the coup plotters, complacency with the media – propaganda, funding by USAID and the National Endowment for Democracy etc. John Pilger documents how the coup occurred in his documentary "War on Democracy" – https://vimeo.com/16724719 .

archaos , April 12, 2016 at 09:45

It was noted in the minutes of Verkhovna Rada almost 2 years before Maidan 2 , that Geoffrey Pyatt was fomenting and funding destabilisation of Ukraine.
All of Svoboda Nazis in parliament (and other fascisti) then booed the MP who stated this.

Mark Thomason , April 12, 2016 at 06:57

Also, the Dutch voted "no" on the economic agreement the coup was meant to force through instead of the Russian agreement accepted by the President it overthrew. Now both "Yats" and the economic agreement are gone. All that is left is the war. Neocons are still happen. They wanted the war. They really want to overthrow Putin, and Ukraine was just a tool in that.

Realist , April 12, 2016 at 05:51

You're right, it doesn't have to be the military that carries out a coup by deploying tanks on the National Mall. In 2000, it was the United States Supreme Court that exceeded its constitutional authority and installed George W. Bush as president, though in reality he had lost that election. I wonder when that move will rightfully be characterized as a coup by the historians.

Bryan Hemming , April 12, 2016 at 04:00

"On Sept. 26, 2013, National Endowment for Democracy President Carl Gershman, who has been a major neocon paymaster for decades, took to the op-ed page of the neocon Washington Post and called Ukraine "the biggest prize" and an important interim step toward toppling Russian President Vladimir Putin."

It should be remembered that Victoria Nuland took up the post of Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs in Washington on September 18, 2013.

Coincidentally, two other women closely connected to events in Ukraine were also in Washington during September 2013.

Friend of Nuland and boss of the IMF, which has its own HQ in Washington, Christine Lagarde was swift to respond to a Ukraine request for IMF loans on February 27th 2014, just five days after the removal of Yanukovych on February 22nd. Lagarde is pictured with Baronness Catherine Ashton in Washington in a Facebook entry dated September 30th 2013. Ashton was High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy at the time.

Though visiting Kiev at the same time as Nuland in February 2014 Catherine Ashton never appeared in public with her, which seems a little odd considering the women were on the same mission, and talking to the same people. Nevertheless, despite appearing shy of being photographed with each other the two women weren't quite so shy of being pictured with leaders of the coup, including the right wing extremist, Oleh Tyahnybok.

Ashton refused to be drawn into commenting on Nuland's "Fuck the E.U.!" outburst, describing Nuland as "a friend of mine." The two women certainly weren't strangers, they had worked closely together before. September 2012 saw them involved in discussions with Iran negotiator Saeed Jalili over the country's supposed nuclear arms ambitions.

The question is not so much whether the three women talked about Ukraine's future – it would be ridiculous to think they did not – but how closely they worked together, and exactly how closely they might have been involved in events leading up to the overthrow of the legitimate government in Kiev. More on this here:

https://bryanhemming.wordpress.com/2015/04/01/double-double-toil-and-trouble-the-cauldron-of-kiev/

Pablo Diablo , April 11, 2016 at 22:56

Another failed "regime change". Aren't these guys (Neoconservatives) great. They fail, piss off/kill millions, yet seem to keep making money and retaining power. Time to WAKE UP AMERICA.

Skip Edwards , April 11, 2016 at 20:06

Read "The Devil'Chessboard" by David Talbot to understand what has been occurring as a result of America's Dark, Shadow government, an un-elected bunch of vicious psychopaths controlling our destiny; unless stopped. Get a clue and realize that "Yats is our guy" Victoria Nuland was Hillary Clinton's "gal." Hillary Clinton is Robert Kagen's "gal." Time to flush all these rats out of the hold and get on with our lives.

Joe L. , April 11, 2016 at 18:40

Mr. Parry thank you for delving into the proven history of coups and the parallels with Ukraine. It amazes me how anyone can outright deny this was a coup especially if they know anything about US coups going back to WW2 (Iran 1953, Guatemala 1954, Chile 1973, attempt in Venezuela 2002 etc. – and there are a whole slew more). I read before, as you have rightly pointed out, that in 1953 the CIA led a propaganda campaign in Iran against Mossadegh as well as financing opposition protesters and opposition government officials. Another angle, as well, is looking historically back to what papers such as the New York Times were reporting around the time of the coup in Iran – especially when we know that the US/Britain overthrew the democratically elected Mossadegh for their own oil interests (British Petroleum):

New York Times: "Mossadegh Plays with Fire" (August 15, 1953):

The world has so many trouble spots these days that one is apt to pass over the odd one here and there to preserve a little peace of mind. It would be well, however, to keep an eye on Iran, where matters are going from bad to worse, thanks to the machinations of Premier Mossadegh.

Some of us used to ascribe our inability to persuade Dr. Mossadegh of the validity of our ideas to the impossibility of making him understand or see things our way. We thought of him as a sincere, well-meaning, patriotic Iranian, who had a different point of view and made different deductions from the same set of facts. We now know that he is a power-hungry, personally ambitious, ruthless demagogue who is trampling upon the liberties of his own people. We have seen this onetime champion of liberty maintain martial law, curb freedom of the press, radio, speech and assembly, resort to illegal arrests and torture, dismiss the Senate, destroy the power of the Shah, take over control of the army, and now he is about to destroy the Majlis, which is the lower house of Parliament.

His power would seem to be complete, but he has alienated the traditional ruling classes -the aristocrats, landlords, financiers and tribal leaders. These elements are anti-Communist. So is the Shah and so are the army leaders and the urban middle classes. There is a traditional, historic fear, suspicion and dislike of Russia and the Russians. The peasants, who make up the overwhelming mass of the population, are illiterate and nonpolitical. Finally, there is still no evidence that the Tudeh (Communist) party is strong enough or well enough organized, financed and led to take power.

All this simply means that there is no immediate danger of a Communist coup or Russian intervention. On the other hand, Dr. Mossadegh is encouraging the Tudeh and is following policies which will make the Communists more and more dangerous. He is a sorcerer's apprentice, calling up forces he will not be able to control.

Iran is a weak, divided, poverty-stricken country which possesses an immense latent wealth in oil and a crucial strategic position. This is very different from neighboring Turkey, a strong, united, determined and advanced nation, which can afford to deal with the Russians because she has nothing to fear -and therefore the West has nothing to fear. Thanks largely to Dr. Mossadegh, there is much to fear in Iran.

http://www.mohammadmossadegh.com/news/new-york-times/august-15-1953/

My feeling is that the biggest sin that our society has is forgetting history. If we remembered history I would think that it would be very difficult to pull off coups but most media does not revisit history which proves US coups even against democracies. I actually think that the coup that occurred in Ukraine was similar to the attempted coup in Venezuela in 2002 with snipers on rooftops, immediate blame for the deaths on Hugo Chavez where media manipulated the footage, immediate acceptance of the temporary coup government by the US Government, immediately offering IMF loans for the new coup government, government positions for many of the coup plotters, and let us not leave out the funding for the coup coming from USAID and the National Endowment for Democracy. I also remember seeing the New York Times immediately blaming Chavez and praising the coup but when the coup was overturned and US fingerprints started to become revealed (with many of the coup plotters fleeing to the US) then the New York Times wrote a limited retraction buried in their paper. Shameless.

SFOMARCO , April 11, 2016 at 15:16

How was NED able to finance "scores of projects inside Ukraine training activists, paying for journalists and organizing business groups", not to mention to host such dignitaries as Cookie Nuland, Loser McCain and assorted Bidens? Seems like a recipe for a coup "hidden in plain sight".

Bob Van Noy , April 11, 2016 at 14:36

Ukraine, one would hope, represents the "Bridge Too Far" moment for the proponents of regime change. Surely Americans must be catching on to what we do for selected nations in the name of "giving them their freedoms". The Kagan Family, empowered by their newly endorsed candidate for President, Hillary Clinton, will feel justified in carrying on a new cold war, this time world wide. Of course they will not be doing the fighting, they, like Dick Cheney are the self appointed intellects of geopolitical chess, much like The Georgetown Set of the Kennedy era, they perceive themselves as the only ones smart enough to plan America's future.

Helen Marshall , April 11, 2016 at 17:11

I wish. How many Americans know ANYTHNG about what has happened in Ukraine, about Crimea and its history, and/or could even locate them on a map?

Pastor Agnostic , April 12, 2016 at 04:11

Nuland is merely the inhouse, PNAC female version of Sidney Blumenthal. Which raises the scary question. Who would she pick to be SecState?

[Mar 31, 2019] Guaido Set To Enact Uprising Rooted In US Regime-Change Operations Manual

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Given that Guaidó was trained by a group funded by USAID's sister organization, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) -- and is known to take his marching orders from Washington, including his self-proclamation as "interim president" and his return to Venezuela following the "humanitarian aid" showdown -- it is worth considering that this USAID document may well serve as a roadmap to the upcoming and Guaidó-led "tactical actions" that will comprise "Operation Freedom." ..."
"... Titled "Rapid Expeditionary Development (RED) Teams: Demand and Feasibility Assessment," the 75-page document was produced for the U.S. Global Development Lab, a branch of USAID. It was written as part of an effort to the "widespread sentiment" among the many military, intelligence, and development officials the report's authors interviewed "that the USG [U.S. government] is woefully underperforming in non-permissive and denied environments," including Venezuela. Notably, some of the military, intelligence and development officials interviewed by the report's authors had experience working in a covert capacity in Venezuela. ..."
"... The report goes on to state that "RED Team members would be catalytic actors, performing development activities alongside local communities while coordinating with interagency partners." It further states that "[i]t is envisioned that the priority competency of proposed RED Team development officers would be social movement theory (SMT)" and that "RED Team members would be 'super enablers,' observing situations on the ground and responding immediately by designing, funding, and implementing small-scale activities." ..."
"... Also raising the specter of a Venezuela link is the fact that the document suggests Brazil as a potential location for a RED Team pilot study. Several of those interviewed for the report asserted that "South American countries were ripe for pilots" of the RED Team program, adding that "These [countries were] under-reported, low-profile, idiot-proof locations, where USG civilian access is fairly unrestrained by DS [Diplomatic Security] and where there is a positive American relationship with the host government." ..."
"... This January, Brazil inaugurated Jair Bolsonaro as president, a fascist who has made his intention to align the country close to Washington's interests no secret. During Bolsonaro's recent visit to Washington, he became the first president of that country to visit CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia. President Donald Trump said during his meeting with Bolsonaro that "We have a great alliance with Brazil -- better than we've ever had before" and spoke in favor of Brazil joining NATO. ..."
"... This is supported by the troubling correlation between a document produced by the NED-funded group CANVAS and the recent power outages that have taken place throughout Venezuela, which were described as U.S.-led "sabotage" by the country's government. A recent report by The Grayzone detailed how a September 2010 memo by CANVAS -- which trained Juan Guaidó -- described in detail how the potential collapse of the country's electrical infrastructure, like that recently seen in Venezuela, would be "a watershed event" that "would likely have the impact of galvanizing public unrest in a way that no opposition group could ever hope to generate." ..."
"... The document specifically named the Simon Bolivar Hydroelectric Plant at Guri Dam, which failed earlier this month as a result of what the Venezuelan government asserted was "sabotage" conducted by the U.S. government. That claim was bolstered by U.S. Senator Marco Rubio's apparent foreknowledge of the power outage. Thus, there is a precedent of correlation between these types of documents and actions that occur in relation to the current U.S. regime-change effort in Venezuela. ..."
Mar 31, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Guaido Set To Enact Uprising Rooted In US Regime-Change Operations Manual

by Tyler Durden Sat, 03/30/2019 - 21:30 184 SHARES Authored by Whitney Webb via MintPressNews.com,

With its hands tied when it comes to military intervention, only covert actions - such as those described in the RED Team document - are likely to be enacted by the U.S. government, at least at this stage of its ongoing "regime change" effort in Venezuela.

Juan Guaidó, the self-proclaimed "interim president of Venezuela" who is supported by the United States government, recently announced coming "tactical actions" that will be taken by his supporters starting April 6 as part of " Operation Freedom ," an alleged grassroots effort to overthrow Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro.

That operation, according to Guaidó, will be led by "Freedom and Aid Committees" that in turn create "freedom cells" throughout the country -- "cells" that will spring to action when Guaidó gives the signal on April 6 and launch large-scale community protests. Guaidó's stated plan involves the Venezuelan military then taking his side, but his insistence that "all options are still on the table" (i.e., foreign military intervention) reveals his impatience with the military, which has continued to stay loyal to Maduro throughout Guaidó's "interim presidency."

However, a document released by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in February, and highlighted last month in a report by Devex, details the creation of networks of small teams, or cells, that would operate in a way very similar to what Guaidó describes in his plan for "Operation Freedom."

Given that Guaidó was trained by a group funded by USAID's sister organization, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) -- and is known to take his marching orders from Washington, including his self-proclamation as "interim president" and his return to Venezuela following the "humanitarian aid" showdown -- it is worth considering that this USAID document may well serve as a roadmap to the upcoming and Guaidó-led "tactical actions" that will comprise "Operation Freedom."

RED Teams

Titled "Rapid Expeditionary Development (RED) Teams: Demand and Feasibility Assessment," the 75-page document was produced for the U.S. Global Development Lab, a branch of USAID. It was written as part of an effort to the "widespread sentiment" among the many military, intelligence, and development officials the report's authors interviewed "that the USG [U.S. government] is woefully underperforming in non-permissive and denied environments," including Venezuela. Notably, some of the military, intelligence and development officials interviewed by the report's authors had experience working in a covert capacity in Venezuela.

The approach put forth in this report involves the creation of rapid expeditionary development (RED) teams, who would "be deployed as two-person teams and placed with 'non-traditional' USAID partners executing a mix of offensive, defensive, and stability operations in extremis conditions." The report notes later on that these "non-traditional" partners are U.S. Special Forces (SF) and the CIA.

The report goes on to state that "RED Team members would be catalytic actors, performing development activities alongside local communities while coordinating with interagency partners." It further states that "[i]t is envisioned that the priority competency of proposed RED Team development officers would be social movement theory (SMT)" and that "RED Team members would be 'super enablers,' observing situations on the ground and responding immediately by designing, funding, and implementing small-scale activities."

In other words, these teams of combined intelligence, military and/or "democracy promoting" personnel would work as "super enablers" of "small-scale activities" focused on "social movement theory" and community mobilizations, such as the mobilizations of protests.

The decentralized nature of RED teams and their focus on engineering "social movements" and "mobilizations" is very similar to Guaidó's plan for "Operation Freedom." Operation Freedom is set to begin through "Freedom and Aid committees" that cultivate decentralized "freedom cells" throughout the country and that create mass mobilizations when Guaidó gives the go ahead on April 6. The ultimate goal of Operation Freedom is to have those "freedom cell"-generated protests converge on Venezuela's presidential palace, where Nicolás Maduro resides. Given Guaidó lack of momentum and popularity within Venezuela, it seems highly likely that U.S. government "catalytic actors" may be a key part of his upcoming plan to topple Maduro in little over a week.

Furthermore, an appendix included in the report states that RED Team members, in addition to being trained in social movement theory and community mobilization techniques, would also be trained in "weapons handling and use," suggesting that their role as "catalytic actors" could also involve Maidan-esque behavior. This is a distinct possibility raised by the report's claim that RED Team members be trained in the use of both "offensive" and "defensive" weaponry.

In addition, another appendix states that RED Team members would help "identify allies and mobilize small amounts of cash to establish community buy-in/relationship" -- i.e., bribes -- and would particularly benefit the CIA by offering a way to "transition covert action into community engagement activities."

Feeling Bolsonaro's breath on its neck

Also raising the specter of a Venezuela link is the fact that the document suggests Brazil as a potential location for a RED Team pilot study. Several of those interviewed for the report asserted that "South American countries were ripe for pilots" of the RED Team program, adding that "These [countries were] under-reported, low-profile, idiot-proof locations, where USG civilian access is fairly unrestrained by DS [Diplomatic Security] and where there is a positive American relationship with the host government."

This January, Brazil inaugurated Jair Bolsonaro as president, a fascist who has made his intention to align the country close to Washington's interests no secret. During Bolsonaro's recent visit to Washington, he became the first president of that country to visit CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia. President Donald Trump said during his meeting with Bolsonaro that "We have a great alliance with Brazil -- better than we've ever had before" and spoke in favor of Brazil joining NATO.

Though Bolsonaro's government has claimed late in February that it would not allow the U.S. to launch a military intervention from its territory, Bolsonaro's son, Eduardo Bolsonaro -- an adviser to his father and a Brazilian congressman -- said last week that "use of force will be necessary" in Venezuela "at some point" and, echoing the Trump administration, added that "all options are on the table." If Bolsonaro's government does allow the "use of force," but not a full-blown foreign military intervention per se, its closeness to the Trump administration and the CIA suggests that covert actions, such as those carried out by the proposed RED Teams, are a distinct possibility.

Frontier Design Group

The RED Team report was authored by members of Frontier Design Group (FDG) for USAID's Global Development Lab. FDG is a national security contractor and its mission statement on its website is quite revealing:

Since our founding, Frontier has focused on the challenges and opportunities that concern the "3Ds" of Defense, Development and Diplomacy and critical intersections with the intelligence community. Our work has focused on the wicked and sometimes overlapping problem sets of fragility, violent extremism, terrorism, civil war, and insurgency. Our work on these complex issues has included projects with the U.S. Departments of State and Defense, USAID, the National Counterterrorism Center and the U.S. Institute of Peace."

FDG also states on is website that it also regularly does work for the Council on Foreign Relations and the Omidyar Group -- which is controlled by Pierre Omidyar, a billionaire with deep ties to the U.S. national security establishment that were the subject of a recent MintPress series. According to journalist Tim Shorrock, who mentions the document in a recent investigation focusing on Pierre Omidyar for Washington Babylon , FDG was the "sole contractor" hired by USAID to create a "new counterinsurgency doctrine for the Trump administration" and the fruit of that effort is the "RED Team" document described above.

One of the co-authors of the document is Alexa Courtney , FDG founder and former USAID liaison officer with the Department of Defense; former manager of civilian counterterrorism operations in Afghanistan for USAID; and former counterinsurgency specialist for U.S. intelligence contractor Booz Allen Hamilton.

In addition, according to Shorrock, Courtney's name has also been found "on several Caerus [Associates] contracts with USAID and US intelligence that were leaked to me on a thumb drive, including a $77 million USAID project to track 'licit and illicit networks' in Honduras." Courtney, according to her LinkedIn account, was also recently honored by Chevron Corporation for her "demonstrated leadership and impact on development results." MintPress recently reported on the role of Chevron in the current U.S.-led effort to topple Maduro and replace him with Guaidó.

Send in the USAID

Though Devex was told last month that USAID was "still working on the details in formulating the Rapid Expeditionary Development (RED) Teams initiative," Courtney stated that the report's contents had been "received really favorably" by "very senior" and "influential" former and current government officials she had interviewed during the creation of the document.

For instance, one respondent asserted that the RED Team system would "restore the long-lost doing capacity of USAID." Another USAID official with 15 years of experience, including in "extremely denied environments," stated that:

We have to be involved in national security or USAID will not be relevant. Anybody who doesn't think we need to be working in combat elements or working with SF [special forces] groups is just naïve. We are either going to be up front or irrelevant USAID is going through a lot right now, but this is an area where we can be of utility. It must happen."

Given that the document represents the efforts of the sole contractor tasked with developing the current administration's new counterterrorism strategy, there is plenty of reason to believe that its contents -- published for over a year -- have been or are set to be put to use in Venezuela, potentially as part of the upcoming "Operation Freedom," set to begin on April 6.

This is supported by the troubling correlation between a document produced by the NED-funded group CANVAS and the recent power outages that have taken place throughout Venezuela, which were described as U.S.-led "sabotage" by the country's government. A recent report by The Grayzone detailed how a September 2010 memo by CANVAS -- which trained Juan Guaidó -- described in detail how the potential collapse of the country's electrical infrastructure, like that recently seen in Venezuela, would be "a watershed event" that "would likely have the impact of galvanizing public unrest in a way that no opposition group could ever hope to generate."

The document specifically named the Simon Bolivar Hydroelectric Plant at Guri Dam, which failed earlier this month as a result of what the Venezuelan government asserted was "sabotage" conducted by the U.S. government. That claim was bolstered by U.S. Senator Marco Rubio's apparent foreknowledge of the power outage. Thus, there is a precedent of correlation between these types of documents and actions that occur in relation to the current U.S. regime-change effort in Venezuela.

Furthermore, it would make sense for the Trump administration to attempt to enact such an initiative as that described in the document, given its apparent inability to launch a military intervention in Venezuela, despite its frequent claims that "all options are on the table." Indeed, U.S. allies -- including those close to Venezuela, like Colombia -- have rejected military intervention, given the U.S.' past role in bloody coups and civil wars throughout the region.

Thus, with its hands tied when it comes to military intervention, only covert actions -- such as those described in the RED Team document -- are likely to be enacted by the U.S. government, at least at this stage of its ongoing "regime change" effort in Venezuela.

[Mar 31, 2019] Putin To Trump Mind Your Own Business On Venezuela; Russian Troops Will Stay As Long As Needed

Notable quotes:
"... On Wednesday while meeting with the wife of opposition leader Juan Guaidó, President Trump called on Russia to pull its troops out of Venezuela, warning that "all options" were on the table to make that happen. ..."
Mar 31, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Days after Trump's Secretary of State Mike Pompeo demanded that Russia " cease its unconstructive behavior " by landing a transport plane full of Russian troops in Caracas last Saturday, the Kremlin has responded - essentially telling Washington to pound sand - and that their troops will remain in Venezuela "for as long as needed " according to the Independent .

In the latest indication the crisis in Venezuela is taking on elements of a proxy battle between the former Cold War rivals, a spokeswoman for Russia's foreign ministry said the troops had been dispatched to fulfil "military contracts".

" They are involved in the implementation of agreements in the sphere of military and technical cooperation ," said Maria Zakharova, according to the AFP, adding that the troops would stay there " for as long as needed ".

" Russia is not changing the balance of power in the region, Russia is not threatening anyone ," she said. - Independent

Last week we also noted that new satellite images reveal a major deployment of S-300 air defense missile systems to a key air base south of Caracas shortly after Russia arrived.

On Wednesday while meeting with the wife of opposition leader Juan Guaidó, President Trump called on Russia to pull its troops out of Venezuela, warning that "all options" were on the table to make that happen.

[Mar 31, 2019] Without police presence, the Yankee puppet would in all likelihood end up lynched and hanging from lamppost.

Mar 31, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Augustin L , Mar 30, 2019 8:37:24 PM | link

Juan Guaido getting a ''warm'' welcome from population in El Valle. Apparently, Venezuelan masses have had enough of comprador sellouts backed by European powers.

Without police presence, the Yankee puppet would in all likelihood end up lynched and hanging from lamppost.

Exceptionals are in for a rude awakening, if they attempt to overthrow Chavistas using direct kinetic operations.

Any invasion will be met with fierce resistance. No volveran to Pre-Chavez years. Orange dotard and his neo-confederates in the white house fancy themselves crushing ''subhuman'' resistance from shitholes and securing the hemisphere for wall street looters. The gambit will backfire, and could end up kickstarting hostilites that will span the Continent from Patagonia to Rio Grande. MAGA the gift that keeps on giving. #winning... https://www.facebook.com/venesolidarite/videos/814971605532561/

[Mar 31, 2019] Seems to me what that BigLie's of Us propaganda is this tale: Relations with Russia during the post-USSR age were going along swell until Russia began involved in the Venezuelan Crisis.

Mar 31, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 , Mar 30, 2019 7:15:26 PM | link

b--

Seems to me what that BigLie's about is this tale: Relations with Russia during the post-USSR age were going along swell until Russia began involved in the Venezuelan Crisis.

The attempt is to try a new narrative using a different angle to blame Russia which is the goal of the BigLie. Signal a new line of approach in dealing with the attitude toward Russia to the trusty echoers of His Master's Voice.

That's what it seems, b.

[Mar 30, 2019] The US desperately needs Venezuelan oil

Highly recommended!
Mar 30, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

dh-mtl , Mar 30, 2019 5:00:04 PM | link

The U.S. desperately needs Venezuelan oil.

They lost control of Saudi Arabia, after trying to take down MBS and then betraying him by unexpectedly allowing waivers on Iranian oil in November.

The U.S. cannot take down Iran without Venezuelan oil. What is worse, right now they don't have access to enough heavy oil to meet their own needs.

Controlling the world oil trade is central to Trump's strategy for the U.S. to continue its empire. Without Venezuelan oil, the U.S. is a bit player in the energy markets, and will remain so.

Having Russia block the U.S. in Venezuela adds insult to injury. After Crimea and Syria, now Venezuela, Russia exposes the U.S. as a loud mouthed-bully without the capacity to back up its threats, a 'toothless tiger', an 'emperor without clothes'.

If the U.S. cannot dislodge Russia from Venezuela, its days as 'global hegemon' are finished. For this reason the U.S. will continue escalating the situation with ever-riskier actions, until it succeeds or breaks.

In the same manor, if Russia backs off, its resistance to the U.S. is finished. And the U.S. will eventually move to destroy Russia, like it has been actively trying to do for the past 30 years. Russia cannot and will not back off.

Venezuela thus becomes the stage where the final act in the clash of empires plays out. Will the world become a multi-polar world, in which the U.S. becomes a relatively isolated and insignificant pole? Or will the world become more fully dominated by a brutal, erratic hegemon?

All options are on the table. For both sides!

[Mar 29, 2019] Stay Out Of Western Hemisphere! Bolton Warns Russia Over Troops In Venezuela

Mar 29, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Stay Out Of Western Hemisphere! Bolton Warns Russia Over Troops In Venezuela

by Tyler Durden Fri, 03/29/2019 - 18:25 162 SHARES

The White House has dramatically stepped up its rhetoric threatening action against Russia's military presence in Venezuela after the Kremlin deployed a troop contingency to Caracas last Saturday.

Trump's national security adviser John Bolton took tensions to a new level, on Friday issuing a new Monroe doctrine of sorts, telling Moscow any attempt to establish or expand military operations in the western hemisphere constitutes a "provocative" and "direct threat" to international peace and security in the region. "We strongly caution actors external to the Western Hemisphere against deploying military assets to Venezuela, or elsewhere in the Hemisphere, with the intent of establishing or expanding military operations," Bolton said in a statement .

"We will consider such provocative actions as a direct threat to international peace and security in the region," he added. This follows the president's own warning on Wednesday that "all options" are on the table regarding potential expanding Russian presence in Venezuela.

Two Russian aircraft carrying about 100 servicemen and 35 tons of cargo arrived in Caracas last Saturday, led by Russian General Vasily Tonkoshkurov, identified as chief of the Main Staff of the Ground Forces and First Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the Land Forces of Russia.

This prompted Trump's Wednesday warning to Russia against involvement in the Latin American nation; he told reporters in the Oval Office that :

" Russia has to get out."

Kremlin officials responded by explaining that it deployed military specialists merely to service preexisting arms contracts with Venezuela, and that Russia is not interfering in the Latin American country's internal affairs.

Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said at a press briefing on Thursday when asked how long the Russian troop contingency led by a high ranking general will stay:

"How long? As long as they need to, and as long as the Venezuelan government needs them. It all is being done based on bilateral agreements."

Russia's position is that it is not interfering in Venezuela's internal affairs by merely cooperating on legal and existing service contracts, and that no other country should do so either. It said that only "specialists" had entered Venezuela under a pre-existing agreed upon military cooperation deal .

However, the White House isn't buying it, as Bolton's Friday statement further condemned Maduro's "use of foreign military personnel in his attempt to remain in power, including the introduction of Russian military personnel and equipment into Venezuela."

"Maduro will only use this military support to further repress the people of Venezuela; perpetuate the economic crisis that has destroyed Venezuela's economy; and endanger regional stability," Bolton said .

All of this also comes as the Maduro government stripped US-backed opposition leader Juan Guaido of his position in the National Assembly, further barring him from holding public office for 15 years .

[Mar 29, 2019] Escobar Empire Of Chaos In Hybrid War Overdrive

Notable quotes:
"... When we mix this with the recent India-Pakistan scuffle, a wider message emerges. There was absolutely no interest by Prime Minister Imran Kahn, the Pakistani Army and the Pakistani intelligence, ISI, to launch an attack on India in Kashmir. Pakistan was about to run out of money and about to be bolstered by the U.S., via Saudi Arabia with $20 billion and an IMF loan. ..."
"... At the same time, there were two almost simultaneous terrorist attacks launched from Pakistan – against Iran and against India in mid-February. There's no smoking gun yet, but these attacks may have been manipulated by a foreign intelligence agency. ..."
"... Lavrov explained how Washington was engaged in acquiring mortars and portable air defense systems "in an East European country, and mov(ing) them closer to Venezuela by an airline of a regime that is rather absolutely obedient to Washington in the post-Soviet space." ..."
"... That leaves Plan D – which is essentially to try to starve the Venezuelan population to death via viciously lethal additional sanctions. Sanctioned Syria and sanctioned Iran didn't collapse. Even boasting myriad comprador elites aggregated in the Lima group, exceptionalists may have to come to grips with the fact that deploying the Monroe doctrine essentially to contain China's influence in the young 21stcentury is no "cakewalk." ..."
Mar 29, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

A hefty case can be made that the Empire of Chaos currently has no allies; it's essentially surrounded by an assortment of vassals, puppets and comprador 5thcolumnist elites professing varied degrees of – sometimes reluctant – obedience.

The Trump administration's foreign policy may be easily deconstructed as a crossover between The Sopranos and late-night comedy – as in the whole episode of designating State Department/CIA regime change, lab experiment Random Dude as President of Venezuela. Legendary cultural critic Walter Benjamin would have called it "the aestheticization of politics," (turning politics into art), as he did about the Nazis, but this time it's the Looney Tunes version.

To add to the conceptual confusion, despite countless "an offer you can't refuse" antics unleashed by psychopaths of the John Bolton and Mike Pompeo variety, there's this startling nugget . Former Iranian diplomat Amir Moussavi has revealed that Trump himself demanded to visit Tehran, and was duly rebuffed. "Two European states, two Arab countries and one Southeast Asian state" were mediating a series of messages relayed by Trump and his son-in-law Jared "of Arabia" Kushner, according to Moussavi.

Is there a method to this madness? An attempt at a Grand Narrative would go something like this: ISIS/Daesh may have been sidelined – for now; they are not useful anymore, so the U.S. must fight the larger "evil": Tehran. GWOT has been revived, and though Hamza bin Laden has been designated the new Caliph, GWOT has shifted to Iran.

When we mix this with the recent India-Pakistan scuffle, a wider message emerges. There was absolutely no interest by Prime Minister Imran Kahn, the Pakistani Army and the Pakistani intelligence, ISI, to launch an attack on India in Kashmir. Pakistan was about to run out of money and about to be bolstered by the U.S., via Saudi Arabia with $20 billion and an IMF loan.

At the same time, there were two almost simultaneous terrorist attacks launched from Pakistan – against Iran and against India in mid-February. There's no smoking gun yet, but these attacks may have been manipulated by a foreign intelligence agency. The Cui Bono riddle is which state would profit immensely from a war between Pakistan and Iran and/or a war between Pakistan and India.

The bottom line: hiding in the shadow of plausible deniability – according to which what we understand as reality is nothing but pure perception – the Empire of Chaos will resort to the chaos of no-holds-barred Hybrid War to avoid "losing" the Eurasian heartland.

Show Me How Many Hybrid Plans You Got

What applies to the heartland of course also applies to the backyard.

The case of Venezuela shows that the "all options on the table" scenario has been de facto aborted by Russia, outlined in an astonishing briefing by Maria Zakharova, spokeswoman of the Russian Foreign Ministry, and then subsequently detailed by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

Meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj at a crucial RIC (part of BRICS) summit in China, Lavrov said, "Russia keeps a close eye on brazen US attempts to create an artificial pretext for a military intervention in Venezuela The actual implementation of these threats is pulling in military equipment and training [US] Special Forces."

Lavrov explained how Washington was engaged in acquiring mortars and portable air defense systems "in an East European country, and mov(ing) them closer to Venezuela by an airline of a regime that is rather absolutely obedient to Washington in the post-Soviet space."

The U.S. attempt at regime change in Venezuela has been so far unsuccessful in several ways.

  • Plan A – a classic color revolution -has miserably failed, in part because of a lack of decent local intelligence.
  • Plan B was a soft version of humanitarian imperialism, with a resuscitation of the nefarious, Libya-tested responsibility to protect (R2P) ; it also failed, especially when the American tale that the Venezuelan government burnt humanitarian aid trucks at the border with Colombia was a lie exposed, no less, than by The New York Times.
  • Plan C was a classic Hybrid War technique: a cyberattack , replete with a revival of Nitro Zeus , which shut down 80 percent of Venezuela's electricity.

That plan had already been exposed by WikiLeaks, via a 2010 memo by a U.S.-funded, Belgrade-based color revolution scam that helped train self-proclaimed "President" Random Dude, when he was just known asJuan Guaidó. The leaked memo said that attacking the Venezuelan power grid would be a "watershed event" that "would likely have the impact of galvanizing public unrest in a way that no opposition group could ever hope to generate."

But even that was not enough.

That leaves Plan D – which is essentially to try to starve the Venezuelan population to death via viciously lethal additional sanctions. Sanctioned Syria and sanctioned Iran didn't collapse. Even boasting myriad comprador elites aggregated in the Lima group, exceptionalists may have to come to grips with the fact that deploying the Monroe doctrine essentially to contain China's influence in the young 21stcentury is no "cakewalk."

Plan E -- for extreme -- would be U.S. military action, which Bolton won't take off the table.

Show Me the Way to the Next War Game

So where do all these myriad weaponizations of chaos theory leave us? Nowhere, if they don't follow the money. Local comprador elites must be lavishly rewarded, otherwise you're stuck in hybrid swamp territory. That was the case in Brazil – and that's why the most sophisticated hybrid war case history so far has been a success.

In 2013, Edward Snowden and WikiLeaks revealed how the NSA was spying on Brazilian energy giant Petrobras and the Dilma Rousseff government beginning in 2010. Afterwards, a complex, rolling judicial-business-political-financial-media coup ended up reaching its two main objectives; in 2016, with the impeachment of Rousseff, and in 2018, with Lula thrown in jail.

Now comes arguably the juiciest piece of the puzzle. Petrobras was supposed to pay $853 million to the U.S. Department of Justice for not going to trial for crimes it was being accused of in America. But then a dodgy deal was struck according to which the fine will be transferred to a Brazilian fund as long as Petrobras commits to relay confidential information about its businesses to the United States government.

Mattis: Wrote on hybrid war in 2005.

Hybrid war against BRICS member Brazil worked like a charm, but trying it against nuclear superpower Russia is a completely different ball game. U.S. analysts, in another case of culture jamming, even accuse Russia itself of deploying hybrid war – a concept actually invented in the U.S. within a counter-terrorism context; applied during the occupation of Iraq and later metastasized across the color revolution spectrum; and featuring, among others, in an article co-authored by former Pentagon head James "Mad Dog" Mattis in 2005 when he was a mere lieutenant general.

At a recent conference about Russia's military strategy, Chief of General Staff Gen. Valery Gerasimov stressed that the Russian armed forces must increase both their "classic" and "asymmetrical" potential. In the U.S. this is interpreted as subversion/propaganda hybrid war techniques as applied in Ukraine and in the largely debunked Russia-gate. Instead, Russian strategists refer to these techniques as "complex approach" and "new generation war".

Santa Monica's RAND Corporation still sticks to good ol' hot war scenarios. They have been holding "Red on Blue" war games simulations since 1952 – modeling how the proverbial "existential threats" could use asymmetric strategies. The latest Red on Blue was not exactly swell. RAND analyst David Ochmanek famously said that with Blue representing the current U.S. military potential and Red representing Russia-China in a conventional war, "Blue gets its ass handed to it."

None of this will convince Empire of Chaos functionary Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who recently told a Senate Armed Services Committee that the Pentagon will continue to refuse a "no first use" nuclear strategy. Aspiring Dr. Strangeloves actually believe the U.S. can start a nuclear war and get away with it.

Talk about the Age of Hybrid Stupidity going out with a bang.

[Mar 24, 2019] One of warnings delivered by Ryabkov is understood to have been that no American military intervention in Venezuela will be tolerated by Moscow.

Mar 24, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

JohninMK , Mar 24, 2019 2:09:42 PM | link

Suddenly everything has changed in Venezuela.

Following the 'red lines' meeting between Ryabkov and Elliot Abrams in Rome a couple of days ago, after which Ryabkov said bluntly:

"We assume that Washington treats our priorities seriously, our approach and warnings."

One of those warnings delivered by Ryabkov is understood to have been that no American military intervention in Venezuela will be tolerated by Moscow.

For his part, Abrams sounded as if he had emerged from the meeting after having been given a severe reprimand.

"No, we did not come to a meeting of minds, but I think the talks were positive in the sense that both sides emerged with a better understanding of the other's views," he told reporters.

"A better understanding of the other's views," means that the American side was given a red line to back off.

So, the Russian Army advanced party has arrived today, 99 in an Il-62 and goodness knows what in an An-124 on a direct flight from Syria.

And now, according to journalist Javier I. Mayorca, Colonel General Vasily Tonkoshkurov, chief of the Main Staff of the Ground Forces - First Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the Land Forces of Russia, arrived in Venezuela.

So we have one of the most significant Russian Generals now in Venezuela with his staff and protection teams with their equipment coming out the back of the Antonov and I think we can be certain that there is no beachware included.

This is looking more like the start up of Russian ops in Syria. This is the 'what do you need, how can we help' team.

This could be Venezuela transforming from a hedgehog into a porcupine.

karlof1 , Mar 24, 2019 5:01:42 PM | link

JohninMK @1--

I bet the An-124 was filled with captured NATO arms, particularly TOWs, of which there're many warehouses in Syria packed to the rafters--$billions$ in armaments at no charge! In contrast with France, every Saturday there's a massive Solidarity March in Caracas and other Venezuelan cities in support of Maduro, the government and the Bolivarian Constitution. One of the most important differences between Venezuela and other South-of-the-border regime changes is that an entire generation has grown up under Chavezismo, the Bolivarian Constitution, and the great social changes--literacy and education for the masses being #1--that have occurred over the past 20+ years. Those coming of age now will be even more Anti-USA and Anti-OAS than ever before. This chart shows almost 50% of the current population's coming of age During the Bolivarian/Chavista Age proves that point.

As with Iran and Cuba, the Bolivarian Revolution's ingrained into the government's structure, and perpetuated by society and culture. The penchant for the Outlaw US Empire to task its vassals with killing off the entire Leftist political spectrum leaving only reactionaries and their kin has always been genocidal in scope, and in Venezuela's case would amount to @22 million requiring purging. And let's not kid ourselves--A world filled with docile reactionaries is exactly the sort of prole-based planet the Outlaw US Empire craves.

[Mar 20, 2019] Venezuela - Journalists Doubt Guaid 's Legitimacy - Regime Change Plans Continue

Guado looks more and more like Russian Navalny -- another color revolution Trojan Horse.
Notable quotes:
"... Half a BILLION dollars to be spent to overthrow Maduro, and they spent how much time making claims like Putin hacked the election.... Lies, More lies, Damn lies..... Same as it ever was. ..."
"... "The first round of the U.S. 'regime change' change attempt in Venezuela failed but it is far from over. The State Department alone foresees to spend $500 million more on it: ..."
"... The Fiscal Year 2020 budget request includes funding to support democracy in Venezuela and provides the flexibility to make more funds available to support a democratic transition, including up to $500 million in transfer authority." ..."
"... Given the results of the last 70 years of US policies I would say that quote should now be updated to "Trillions for war, but not one cent for the people." ..."
Mar 19, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

On February 23 the U.S. created a 'humanitarian aid' stunt at the border between Colombia and Venezuela. The stunt ended in a riot during which the supporters of the self declared 'president' Guaidó burned the trucks that where supposed to transport the 'aid'. Even the New York Times had to admit that.

The riots also marked the day that Guaidó lost the legal argument he had used to make himself 'interim president'.

Guaido also lost his original legal position. He claimed the presidency on January 23 under this paragraph of article 233 of the Venezuelan constitution :
When an elected President becomes permanently unavailable to serve prior to his inauguration, a new election by universal suffrage and direct ballot shall be held within 30 consecutive days . Pending election and inauguration of the new President, the President of the National Assembly shall take charge of the Presidency of the Republic.
That the "elected President becomes permanently unavailable" was never the case to begin with. But if article 233 would apply Guaido would have had 30 days to hold new elections. The 30 days are over and Guaido did not even call for elections to be held. He thereby defied the exact same paragraph of the constitution that his (false) claim to the presidency is based on.

The hapless coup plotters in Washington DC were finally put on notice that the issue creates a legal problem for them. During a March 15 press briefing Elliott Abrams, the U.S. Special Representative for Venezuela, was asked about the issue:

QUESTION: [C]ould you explain to us the article under which Mr. Guaido declared himself president? It is said that it has expired last month. Could you explain that to us? What is the --
MR ABRAMS: As to the Venezuelan constitution, the National Assembly has passed a resolution that states that that 30-day period of interim presidency will not start ending or counting until the day Nicolas Maduro leaves power. So the 30 days doesn't start now, it starts after Maduro. And they – that's a resolution of the National Assembly.

A resolution of the National Assembly, which the Supreme Court of Venezuela holds in contempt over the seating illegally elected persons, can change the country's constitution? That does not sound convincing to me. The journalists in the briefing were equally curious of how the rules could be changed like that during the ongoing game:

Cont. reading: Venezuela - Journalists Doubt Guaidó's Legitimacy - Regime Change Plans Continue


Kadath , Mar 19, 2019 2:37:16 PM | link

Posted by b at 02:18 PM | Comments (84)

During Bosonaro's visit to the US Trump also announced his support for Brazil's entrance into the NATO alliance, if I was Germany I'd veto that idea outright, the last thing NATO needs is a basket case like Brazil.

But I imagine the Pentagon is already counting all the additional arms they can sell to Brazil as a member of NATO without having to go through all the additional hoops they would while it's just an ally of NATO

Never Mind the Bollocks , Mar 19, 2019 2:39:09 PM | link

The underground war between Venezuela and the US big oil cartel confirmed through WikiLeaks
Kadath , Mar 19, 2019 2:43:29 PM | link
Random Guy also appointed an ambassador, Carlos Vecchio, to the US who just took over the Venezuela's diplomatic buildings (empty since Venezuela broke off relations with the US over the attempted coup), including the consular building in New York.

So far it doesn't look like the US has succeed in replacing Venezuela's representative to the UN with a US stooge, but I imagine the US is working hard on that front as well.

The US looks just ridiculous doing a stunt this, but B is right, the US always doubles down, especially on a losing plan.

Masher1 , Mar 19, 2019 2:43:40 PM | link
Half a BILLION dollars to be spent to overthrow Maduro, and they spent how much time making claims like Putin hacked the election.... Lies, More lies, Damn lies..... Same as it ever was.
james , Mar 19, 2019 3:08:40 PM | link
thanks b... some crazy talk in that daily press briefing with abrams...

"Q: So Juan Guaido is the interim president of an interim that doesn't exist yet?

A: The 30-day end to his interim presidency starts counting. Because he's not in power, that's the problem. Maduro is still there. So they have decided that they will count that from when he actually is in power and Maduro's gone. I think it's logical.

Q: So then he really isn't interim president, then?

A: He is interim president, but he's not --

Q: With no power."

that sounds about par fe the course for the usa... as kadath says - they always double down on losing plans!

i am a bit mystified as to the plan of maduros to get the cabinet to resign.. what is the concept there? does he have a number of members that could be persuaded by the logic of abrams? with a little bribery money, no doubt..

i wonder how brazilians are looking at the stooge they have in power now, sucking up to the usa-cia..

worldblee , Mar 19, 2019 3:20:54 PM | link
Random Guiado, the President who wasn't There. The longer this goes on, the stronger the Bay of Pigs smell grows.
Cesare , Mar 19, 2019 3:31:54 PM | link
The optics of groveling to the US and Israel, and military opposition, are not good for our friend Jair. It's only a matter of time until Bolsonaro starts hemorrhaging support and Brazilian nationalism abandons him.
vk , Mar 19, 2019 3:33:55 PM | link
- If Maduro is in power, then the office is not vacant. Therefore, Guaidó cannot be interim president.
- If the office is vacant, then there is no president. Therefore, Guaidó either is or isn't the interim president (i.e. he can't be the interim president of the interim president, which in this case is nobody).

If you want to suspend the Constitution, declare a civil war. If you win the civil war, then you can do whatever you please (including obeying and/or reinterpreting the old Constitution). In the strict legal sense, Guaidó's position is untenable. Even the counting of days was wrong: January has 31 days, not 30, therefore his alleged 30-day mandate was over at the 21st of February, not at the 23rd.

Kadath , Mar 19, 2019 3:43:58 PM | link
Re:#6 James, normally when you request that your own cabinet resigns it means that you've either lost faith in their ability to perform their jobs - OR - your making a drastic change in direction for your government and you need people with a different skill set to run the various government departments. I imagine Maduros's decision is a mixture of needing to create a "war government" to fight the economic war the US is waging against him and ensuring the loyalty of powerful political rivals by giving them cabinet posts. Maduro will probably announce some major new policies in the coming weeks aimed at 1) resisting US economic pressure 2) increase Maduro's support among the population (maybe some policies aimed at the urban middle class to split them off from Random Guy) and 3) announce some foreign relationship drive to hopefully block more countries from supporting random guy's pseudo-government and hopefully win some countries back. economic advisors from Russia, Cuba, China and maybe Iran & Syria will be providing vital support for any economic policies aimed at avoid US sanctions
ken , Mar 19, 2019 3:59:29 PM | link
[The far-right President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil supported that but the military of Brazil, which holds significant power in the cabinet, vetoed it]

Too bad the federal military in the exceptional and indispensable democracy doesn't have the same common sense option.

lgfocus , Mar 19, 2019 4:03:51 PM | link
"The first round of the U.S. 'regime change' change attempt in Venezuela failed but it is far from over. The State Department alone foresees to spend $500 million more on it:

The Fiscal Year 2020 budget request includes funding to support democracy in Venezuela and provides the flexibility to make more funds available to support a democratic transition, including up to $500 million in transfer authority."

Tell me again how much it will cost to bring clean water to Flint, MI and our other cities with water problems. You know, the things we don't have money for.

psychohistorian , Mar 19, 2019 4:13:47 PM | link
@ lgfocus who asked
"
Tell me again how much it will cost to bring clean water to Flint, MI and our other cities with water problems. You know, the things we don't have money for.
"

Keep asking those questions and maybe Americans will grow the sentiments necessary to stand up.

Where are the Bernie crowd that are going to make so much difference in the coming (s)election?

so much fail , Mar 19, 2019 4:15:01 PM | link
Even the counting of days was wrong: January has 31 days, not 30, therefore his alleged 30-day mandate was over at the 21st of February, not at the 23rd.

Posted by: vk | Mar 19, 2019 3:33:55 PM | 10

They made their general ops to produce public results specifically at 23 of this month or for several more months. They obviously wanted to make a point like they were doing at least since 2016 for almost each consequtive month, only for that period favorable date number was 11. Check events for every 11th of each month since 2016 and check what dominated US and EU news.

Yet in current Venezuela events there seem to be so much FAIL regarding the US clandestine strategies.

karlof1 , Mar 19, 2019 4:20:40 PM | link
There's also rising domestic pushback within the Outlaw US Empire while the hypocrisy of Russiagate rises like a massive iceberg on the horizon. This also puts additional pressure on Vassal EU governments whose publics see through the Empire's lies and thus further delegitimizes their national governments.

French Yellow Vests will not surrender until Macron and his backing Establishment does, and they're motivating other nation's citizens.

Will Poroshenko get reelected in 12 days or ?

IMO, both Trump and Bolsonaro will be ousted before Maduro. It appears the Truth Brigades outnumber the liebots thanks to b and a host of other genuine journalists.

Guy Thornton , Mar 19, 2019 4:22:12 PM | link
Merkel might say:

"There is definitely a place for Brazil in NATO. They can have ours."

testing , Mar 19, 2019 4:22:21 PM | link
psychohistorian so Bernie is a jewish guy that current Israeli gov would very much hate to see becoming a US president in 2020?
Peter VE , Mar 19, 2019 4:22:48 PM | link
Did anyone else wonder at the sudden pair of refinery fires in Houston?
james , Mar 19, 2019 4:22:50 PM | link
@11 kadath.. thanks for the response to my question.. we will have to wait and see how this unfolds.. it reminds me a bit of the ukraine 2014 scenario, but different too... in ukraines case, they already had a split dynamic in the country itself.. here, i don't see it.. the split seems to be along economics - who are the upper class, with some middle class in tow, verses everyone else..
Kadath , Mar 19, 2019 4:26:41 PM | link
@13 lgfocus - that sounds suspiciously like something a COMMUNIST would say!!!!!!! During the 1797 XYZ scandal C.C. Pinckney reportedly said "Millions for defense, but not one cent for tribute." which has been quoted by the Military Industrial Complex ad nauseam for the last 70 years to justify massive military budgets to fight the forever wars.

Given the results of the last 70 years of US policies I would say that quote should now be updated to "Trillions for war, but not one cent for the people."

JOHN CHUCKMAN , Mar 19, 2019 5:02:07 PM | link
"Journalists Doubt Guaidó's Legitimacy - Regime Change Plans Continue"

Doubt?

What does it take?

Swore himself in. Likly over the sink as he shaved.

Didn't even run for the office in election.

From polling, virtually unknown to most of the country.

Someone else ran, and he won big.

Jen , Mar 19, 2019 5:14:19 PM | link
So if Elliott Abrams is correct, the Venezuelan National Assembly (a now illegitimate entity by the way) has passed a resolution that Juan Guaido's "interim presidency" only begins AFTER Nicolas Maduro leaves the presidency? Is that not admitting that Maduro is the legitimate president?

That Jair Bolsonaro is visiting the CIA to discuss overthrowing Maduro may alarm quite a few people even among the top tiers of the Brazilian military who otherwise support him. What's to stop Bolsonaro from discussing with the CIA how to get rid of more than a few top Brazilian generals who disagree with overthrowing the government of a neighbouring country?

Kadath , Mar 19, 2019 5:34:17 PM | link
Re#26 Jen

Now let's all imagine what would happen if Brazil was accepted into NATO like Trump & the MIC wants and the Brazilian Generals decided to continue their time-honoured tradition of toppling the current Brazilian President. NATO has no means of ejecting or even suspending a member so any such crisis in Brazilian leadership would immediately trigger a crisis within NATO itself on how to respond and accepting a coup government into NATO would kill the illusion that NATO is some sort of league of Democracies that Bolton hopes to promote as a replacement to the UN assembly.

Miranda , Mar 19, 2019 5:34:45 PM | link
Well, Bolsonaro's complete and absolute submission to Donald Trump and the US is probably surprising even the most optmistic hawks in the White House. The golden shower president will probably accept anything the US tries to push to Brazil.
Jackrabbit , Mar 19, 2019 6:11:57 PM | link
Taking this to the logical conclusion: All Venezuelan assets that were given to Guaidó were stolen.
mourning dove , Mar 19, 2019 6:13:43 PM | link
It strikes me that the futility of trying to stir up a revolution with an elite constituency seems completely lost on the coup planners. The Venezuelan elite might want the government overthrown but there is no way that they'll put their own blood on the line for it. It's really puzzling trying to understand how they see this playing out. And what will their elite supporters think if US sanctions mean they can't use their Visa or MasterCard? And the businesses that cater to the elite?
Jackrabbit , Mar 19, 2019 6:18:49 PM | link
Kadath @1: Brazil and NATO

The plan is probably for Brazil to become a NATO partner like Columbia .

A 'partner' has a lesser status than a 'member'.

Cortes , Mar 19, 2019 6:46:47 PM | link
The Brazil to NATO call sounds awfully like a forecast of significant cross-border provocations by Brazil which, if responded to by the Venezuelans, could trigger the old Article 5 musketeers to intervene militarily. Just as ludicrous (and dangerous) as the UK 's FCE attempt to confer diplomatic status on the BBC Farsi woman jailed in Iran. Student union politics.
Yeah, Right , Mar 19, 2019 7:00:12 PM | link
Abrams is attempting to claim that Random Guy is "interim President-in-waiting".

Q: What is that Interim President-in-waiting actually waiting for?
A: He's waiting for the position of President to become vacant.

THAT is the fatal flaw in all of Abrams legal mumbo-jumbo i.e. the articles of the Venezuelan Constitution that Random Guy invoked to claim the title of Interim President are only applicable when the office of President (and also Vice President) are VACANT.

Then and only then can the leader of the National Assembly take on the role of "interim President" until elections take place 30 days later.

Abrams is admitting that the office of President isn't vacant.

This is an important legal point, so it bears repeating: Abrams accepts that someone holds that position, albeit he is insisting that the current office-holder's claim to that chair is illegitimate (in Constitutional terms, Maduro is "unfit" to be President).

Again, that exposes Abrams argument as legal mumbo-jumbo, precisely because the leader of the National Assembly does not possess the authority to declare that a sitting President is "unfit" for the office. The Venezuelan Constitution is quite clear on that point: that authority rests with the supreme court, who are perfectly satisfied with Madura's fitness to be President.

Abrams argument is therefore fraught with danger for Random Guy.

The Constitution clearly states that he can not claim the "interim Presidency" unless the position is already vacant, which it clearly is not.

The Constitution also clearly states that he does not have the authority to declare the position to be vacant.

Yet Guaido has done both, and done so at the acknowledged urging of a foreign power.

At the very least that amounts to insurrection, if not treason.

Sunny Runny Burger , Mar 19, 2019 7:11:11 PM | link
1. Counterpunch
I want to add extra focus on the excellent interview b linked to over at Counterpunch which was also posted over at Zerohedge.
CG: There's not the chaos US and Trump were expecting. (Opposition leader and self-proclaimed president Juan) Guaidó is the most hated guy in Venezuela. He has to stay in luxury hotel in La Mercedes, an expensive neighbourhood of Caracas. They have electricity there, as they were prepared, so bought generators. That is why Guaidó went there, and has a whole floor of a luxury hotel for him and his family. While people are suffering Guaidó is trying on suits for his upcoming trip to Europe. It is a parallel world.

AG: You think Guaidó will fail?

CG: Venezuelans are making so many jokes with his name, as there's a word similar to stupid in Spanish – guevon. And look at the demonstration in La Mercedes the other day (12 March), the crowds didn't manifest. It is becoming a joke in the country. The more the Europeans and the US make him a president, the more bizarre the situation becomes, as Guaidó is not president of Venezuela! Interestingly, Chavez predicted what is happening today, he wrote about it, so people are going back to his works and reading him again.

Links to both the original and the copy for convenience:
Counterpunch original
ZH copy


2. Military Times
It could well have been me making b's conclusion on the following as well but since it isn't it gives me an opportunity to warn about and completely disagree when it comes to the content at Military Times and the conclusions drawn from it: that content if anything is circumstantial proof that a decision has already been made in favor of a larger war (technically the US has already launched a war by its actions, or at least according to its own definitions as it applies it to others attacking them, if I remember correctly they would even allow themselves to respond with nuclear weapons in such a scenario).

It might not have been the intent of Military Times (I do not know them) but everything about their content at that link screams war is coming.

Notice how the US congress etc. portrays themselves as unwilling to go to war. We all know this is untrue.
Notice how "everyone" portray themselves as more or less being forced against their will to get involved. We all know this is untrue.

"They" love to do this, to wallow in "reluctance", to play innocent, to further the narrative of "the good guys", because doing so preys on those who still believe they are on the side of good (or in this case preys on anybody's remaining hope that they have some shred of sanity left or that they've run out of bloodlust) and more or less guarantees their support or silent acceptance in the general public. I recognize this all to well because I fell for it myself in the past. It is a large part of their cherished narrative and has self-reinforcing properties. They would say it even if no one listened but it is still completely untrue.

Notice how they constantly hint at what amounts to "if we had to we would".
Notice that despite how every US action mentioned (except for some nebulous bill that might as well be a unicorn fart) goes against avoiding a war they quote some ex-CIA person on all of it being the exact opposite and a way to avoid war (but still meet their objective consisting of unconditional demands).
Notice how at first they claim to believe it would be hard and thus something they obviously wouldn't want to choose and thus if given no choice then it can't be their fault.

Nevertheless, the crisis is deteriorating rapidly.

Yeah of course it is, as planned and as caused by themselves.

Notice the laundry list of "bad stuff happening".
Notice the appeal to military solutions.
Notice how they then claim it might not be so hard after all, or at least necessary or worth it.
Notice how they list military options to choose between.

It has already been decided and has already started.

3. Refinery fires

Did anyone else wonder at the sudden pair of refinery fires in Houston?

Posted by: Peter VE | Mar 19, 2019 4:22:48 PM | 19

Yes, since the second larger one went off because I didn't hear about the first one until then and don't know anything more than that there was one. These things do happen during normal operation of plants and refineries because every day it doesn't happen unavoidably breeds some false sense of security and familiarity with the potential energies involved.

And if that's not what happened then it will be a very hot US summer.

For those who didn't catch it here's all I've got (two measly links).
RT (2nd one)
ZH today (2nd one is now bigger):

Hoarsewhisperer , Mar 19, 2019 7:27:55 PM | link
It's mildly amusing that The Great Satan's Special Representative for Venezuela looks like one of those popular Christian images of Satan.
karlof1 , Mar 19, 2019 7:33:36 PM | link
This Moderate Rebels Transcript contains excellent revelatory points about Bolsonaro, the rise of Brazilian Fascism and its connections to the Outlaw US Empire and its ally Zionistan. I'm uncertain if b linked to it previously as I just stumbled across it.
El Cid , Mar 19, 2019 8:07:45 PM | link
After the people of Brazil got a taste of power with Lula, their social and national conscience has risen. A Brazilian military aggression in Venezuela on behalf of American Imperialism will be viciously opposed by the peoples of Latin America and Spain and Portugal. The Colombian ELN and Venezuela's Bolivarian militias will unite and begin to attack the US military in Colombia and fight the vassal state of Colombia. These militias will fight to the death. Ecuador will catch on fire as well since traitor Moreno backs the US invasion. This will get ugly.
Б , Mar 19, 2019 8:18:09 PM | link
US will just make up another excuse. These guys don't follow any laws so there is no point interpreting them. Raw power and a good defense strategy is what it counts now for Venezuela. They need more S-300, Buk, coastal defense and allies. This is the key for survival of Venezuela. US will then back down or nuke Venezuela into democracy and freedom of press.
Don Task , Mar 19, 2019 8:28:17 PM | link
The always interesting Florida Maquis YT channel covers S. America extensively and mentioned today Trump is putting Brazil forward for OECD membership which may give leverage to their fascist leader.
bevin , Mar 19, 2019 8:34:12 PM | link

The news that Maduro is making a new cabinet could be very important. The current cabinet was chosen to implement policies designed to prevent a coup by compromising with moderate elements of the bourgeoisie. Such policies involved the watering down of the revolutionary policies of 21st Century Socialism, which has led to the erosion of political support for Maduro without making any perceptible difference the bourgeois commitment to coups and other antidemocratic measures.

If the revolution is to survive it must continue to deepen, bringing gains to the masses besides which the inconveniences of sanctions/sabotage are pinpricks which only serve to deepen popular support of national independence and socialist reform.
If the revolution deepens it will not only increase the strength of the popular movement but broaden the appeal of Venezuela's policies to the millions of Latin Americans currently watching in dismay as neo-liberalism cuts into their living standards and aspirations of security. Nowhere are there millions more sympathetic to revolutionary programmes than in Colombia, a byword for bad government and inequality and Brazil where the current Presidency is completely illegitimate.

It will be interesting to see whether Maduro's new cabinet is more attuned to the revolution and less interested in compromises with a comprador class whose alliance with the US is based as much on racism and hatred of its own countrymen as it is on greed. Anbd that is saying something.

Sunny Runny Burger , Mar 19, 2019 9:25:15 PM | link
Thank you Karlof1 and Zachary Smith, I'll do my best to remember not to go "link crazy" in the future :D

Aside from all that and on the comments here on Colombia it makes me reconsider if there was any positive value at all in the mediation by Norway (and others? I think the current "social democrat" secretary general of NATO was prime minister there at the time...) to curtail or end the civil war or if it was all a ploy in bad faith. I could be wrong about this.

Sunny Runny Burger , Mar 19, 2019 9:42:57 PM | link
I was wrong but I've found out where the confusion stems from; Norway was the second "guarantor country" after Cuba.
Once the negotiators had been agreed upon, the two sides moved to designate foreign guarantor countries. Cuba, host to previous encounters, was a logical choice, while Norway was chosen as the second guarantor country for its active role in international conflict mediation. Additionally, two facilitator or 'accompanying countries' were also designated. The FARC chose Venezuela, while the Colombian government chose Chile.[14] Exploratory meetings continued in Havana in February 2012, with limited [...]

From Wikipedia on Colombian peace process

frances , Mar 19, 2019 10:09:01 PM | link
reply to:psychohistorian 23
  • "With more candidates early on, it takes all that energy and diffuses it for petty warfare instead of a firmly focused "machine" that would take over Congress through the Dem party."
  • Well, when your strategy is identity politics you do need a crowd; so all of your supporters can "identify" with their own special someone and be sad and upset when they lose.
  • Keep them divided, keep it about race/sexual identity/religion/favorite vegetable if need be, oh, and of course that favorite mantra; hatred of the "other(s)."

The Dem party is gone, what is left is a divisive machine whose sole purpose seems to be to separate people into separate boxes with separate identities only united by their hatred of "other" parties and always completely blind to what is being done in the world in their (US) name.

Piotr Berman , Mar 19, 2019 10:12:20 PM | link
Nowhere are there millions more sympathetic to revolutionary programmes than in Colombia, a byword for bad government and inequality ... bevin | Mar 19, 2019 8:34:12 PM

Current president was elected with rather thin majority -- not as thin as Trump -- and while economy is "thriving" according to some measures, the fruits of it are even less evenly distributed than in USA, and the resurgence of the left is fully possible. Importantly, Colombian society is still very divided in the aftermath of La Violencia of 1950-s, violence that never truly went away. Colombia and Venezuela are closely connected since colonial times and troubles easily cross the border. In turn, Venezuelans seems to be easy going bunglers.

Chavista have "the heart in right place", but even in easier times they had troubles with the economy. The opposition is all thumbs. The freedom fighters who defected into Colombia seem to be a bunch of loosers, correctly evicted from a homeless shelter once found useless. Their putative paymasters seem particularly egregious, good for them to manage to get rid of the traitors before the latter found a nerve to unionize, but what was the plan anyway?. Sic sempter traditoribus.

frances , Mar 19, 2019 10:25:18 PM | link
reply to El Cid 42

"The Colombian ELN and Venezuela's Bolivarian militias will unite and begin to attack the US military in Colombia and fight the vassal state of Colombia. These militias will fight to the death. Ecuador will catch on fire as well since traitor Moreno backs the US invasion. This will get ugly."

You left out the elephant or rather landmass in the room; Latin America is connected to the US by land. This US misadventure will come home to roost, it will explode everywhere and anywhere, finally and at long last IMO the US will reap what it has sown.

ben , Mar 19, 2019 10:58:01 PM | link
lgfocus @ 13 said in part;"Tell me again how much it will cost to bring clean water to Flint, MI and our other cities with water problems. You know, the things we don't have money for."

This would be a excellent point for all the Dems chasing the POTUS, but, even if they did, it probably wouldn't get any play on the corporate MSM.

It makes too much sense! kudos for the relevant mention......

Nionde , Mar 19, 2019 11:38:14 PM | link
German foreign policy disaster. German freelancer journalist Billy Six jailed in Venezuela, now back in Germany after intervention by Russian foreign minister Lawrov.

Press conference with Billy after his arrival in Germany. Must see (German) Germany is accused in the participation of the drone attack against Maduro. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tsg5Jx5xzrU

Peter AU 1 , Mar 20, 2019 2:58:31 AM | link
Abrams trying to explain Guano and Venezuelan law is a bit like trying to explain western democracy VS 'non democratic' Assad and Putin and Maduro. Doesn't matter the majority of people have voted for them. That's not 'democratic'. A lot of Guano in western so called democracy.
virgile , Mar 20, 2019 3:57:44 AM | link
Russia ad Maduro should stir the rebels in Columbia. The destabilization of Columbia would create serious problem for the USA and could help Maduro.

https://www.voanews.com/a/as-venezuela-crisis-deepens-us-sharpens-focus-on-colombia-rebel-threat/4837258.html

Peter AU 1 , Mar 20, 2019 4:07:46 AM | link
virgile

US will create its own problem. All Russia has to do is tread the straight and narrow keeping a big stick by their side.

michaelj72 , Mar 20, 2019 4:55:47 AM | link
"The far-right President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil supported that but the military of Brazil, which holds significant power in the cabinet, vetoed it..."

I would be willing to bet that one of the purposes of Bolsonaro's visit to the CIA and DC was to see how he could remedy that situation, perhaps by getting rid of just a few of these troublesome military generals who are opposed to his using the Brazilian military, overt and covert, against Venezuela....

not to mention of course the usual and disgusting CIA options of subversion and other covert operations agasint Venezuelan democracy

snedly arkus , Mar 20, 2019 5:43:01 AM | link
Maybe Maduro is changing his cabinet to get people in who are not under US sanctions. The US claims most of it's sanctions are against bad guys but the reality is naming individuals is a propaganda ruse as the sanctions go far deeper than the individuals. People who don't look past the headlines believe it's only individuals so they fall for the US line it's Maduro and his polices not the US that's causing the economic problems in Venezuela. Thus a new cabinet could give Maduro some breathing room until the US can sanction the new guys.

If the US does shut off Mastercard and Visa it will be huge mistake as I doubt very few of the governments supporters have credit cards. Those the US claims to be hitting with this action can get a Russian credit card if it's possible. The upper class Gweedo lovers will be the ones hardest hit which doesn't bode well for Gweedo boy who spouts guano and promises he can't keep every time he opens his mouth.

Lots of blather of the citizens of the US should stand against the governments actions in Venezuela. The US government and it's lap dog press control the narrative thus it won't happen. But if it came to a military invasion the citizens will come out of cocoons and say hell no like they did with Syria when Obama wanted to bomb that country into the stone age when Assad, it was the rebels that used gas, crossed his red line. A military invasion and resulting guerilla warfare in Venezuela will send American boys and girls home in body bags and Trump can kiss his reelection goodbye and he knows it. Thus no invasion by the US but that doesn't rule out covert commando raids and sabotage by US personnel inside the country.

Sunny Runny Burger , Mar 20, 2019 7:02:28 AM | link
This is another story that might be nothing at all despite the catchy headline.

Brazilian Uranium convoy attacked March 19th

The attack took place when vehicle traffic was stopped at a train crossing, but whether the raiders indeed had intended to steal the uranium shipment has yet to be determined. Civil Police are now trying to establish the motive behind the incident. The attackers have managed to flee the scene, but police have recovered a 9mm pistol which they are now trying to trace back to the armed group.

I don't speak Portuguese or Brazilian Portuguese but those that do will likely find more information in the Globo article .

joaopft , Mar 20, 2019 7:39:44 AM | link
The Globo article says an enriched Uranium convoy, sent to the Angra dos Reis nuclear power plant, was attacked by local criminal gangs. The area of Angra dos Reis, renowned for its beautiful coastline and luxury resorts, is now roamed by criminal gangs that threaten the population and overtly defy law enforcement forces. Police forces and armed convoys moving along the highway are frequently ambushed.

Despite Bolsonaro's campaign promises, gangs seems to remain in charge, even in Angra dos Reis! From the Globo article:

"One of the most beautiful places of the State of Rio, the county of Angra dos Reis has experienced an increase in violence, with the presence of fire-armed drug dealers inside communities that were previously considered peaceful."

vato , Mar 20, 2019 7:51:13 AM | link
@Nionde 54:

There is also an extended version of the press conference where Billy Six answers some more questions. One is particulary interesting as he points out the economic interests of the German government in Venezuela. He mentions explicitly SIEMENS, Linde, Lufthansa and DHL which are excluded from free-convertability into Dollar-reserves since Chavez established currency controls in 2003.

He also claims that the Federal Government in the person of the now expelled German ambassador to Venezuela Daniel Kriener has met with the father of Juan Requesens who is/was member of the National Assembly, associated to the student protest newtwork of 'Generation 2007' to which Juan Guaido belongs, and whose party Primero Justicia is the party of Julio Borges - the former president of the National Assembly and co-plotter of the 2002 coup on Chavez. Juan Requesens is under arrest and accused to be part of the drone attack on Maduro in August last year along with 16 other conspirators. According to Six - who had contact with several of these plotters in prison - the coup in effect did happen and failed because the Maduro government was pre-informed about the plot and an anti-drone shield could prevent the assault.

What made it even worse for Six, according to what was told to him by SEBIN (political police force of Venezuela), was that the German government was aware of this drone in advance which is why the German embassy had taken such a stand for Juan Requesens to get him out of prison. This, however, is suppose to be one of the reasons why, of those foreign ambassadors of Venezuela who received Guaido at the airport two weeks ago, German ambassador Kriener was the only one who was to leave the country upon the advice of the Bolivarian Government.

There is certainly more to follow and it is perhaps not wrong to keep an eye on this

vk , Mar 20, 2019 8:19:09 AM | link
I would not trust the Brazilian people or the Brazilian left to take care of the issue.

The non-Venezuelan Latin American left is one of the most innofensive, docile and innefective lefts of the Third World. This is specially the case of the Brazilian left, which is also deeply balkanized, torn down in inumerous factions -- from the social liberals to communists.

Besides, the far-right has genuine and huge popular support in Brazil. Bolsonaro's is not a political giant by any means, nor is he the novelty/outsider e.g. Trump is (he was a Congressman for 28 consecutive years before becoming president). The far-right is at least 25% of the voting adult population, most probably around 40%, and this mass will go until the end with their design. Bolsonaro is no Temer.

dh-mtl , Mar 20, 2019 9:32:12 AM | link
Excellent post B. Thanks for keeping Venezuela front and center in your blogs.

From my perspective, it looks like Russia is effectively running Venezuela.

What are the indicators:
- Russia is handling Venezuelan oil sales
- Russia is handling Venezuelan international banking
- Maduro has made no strategic mistakes during the coup attempt. Every U.S. move has been effectively thwarted.
- With few exceptions, military discipline has been maintained.
- The new government realignment looks like something that Maduro would not have come up with on his own. It is probably a part of the economic plan the Russia prepared for Venezuela over the past couple of months.

Venezuela is starting to look a lot like Crimea. The U.S. wanted Crimea in order to take over the Russian naval base and effectively neutralize Russia's Black Sea Fleet. But Russia was there first, thwarted the U.S.' every move, and now the U.S., in the Black Sea, is in a much weaker position than before 2014.

In Venezuela, the U.S. wanted Venezuelan oil. But Russia was there first. So far every U.S. move has been thwarted and the U.S. is starting to suffer from a scarcity of heavy crudes. If past is prologue, the U.S. will have no more success in Venezuela than it did in Crimea. It will not dare to take on Venezuela militarily, as this would mean to take on Russia militarily.

Venezuela will represent another watershed moment in separating the world into those who are with the U.S., and those who are against. And the U.S. side will be somewhat smaller than it was before their Venezuelan adventure started.

arby , Mar 20, 2019 9:50:54 AM | link
Canada disgrace IMO. http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/51289.htm
bevin , Mar 20, 2019 11:32:21 AM | link
This is an excellent article based on an interview with a Trade Unionist and militant socialist in Venezuela:
https://www.greanvillepost.com/2019/03/19/a-venezuela-union-leaders-analysis-of-crisis/
BM , Mar 20, 2019 11:35:21 AM | link
There's a mind-boggling Extortiongate scandal going on in Argentina - with links throughout Latin America including Venezuela, and to Elliot Abrams: Don't Spy for Me Argentina In fact, it connects with virtually everything!
dahoit , Mar 20, 2019 11:54:46 AM | link
GG has article about bolsonaro at intercept.
Harry Law , Mar 20, 2019 12:14:11 PM | link
Abrams to media....."Constitutional rules? We ain't got no rules! We don't need no rules!

I don't have to show you any stinking rules!" The US cannot be serious, $500 million to take over Venezuela with the greatest oil reserves on the planet. Victoria Nuland said the US spent $5 Billion on regime change in Ukraine.. F-----g cheapskates. They will double down, wait for the secondary sanctions, it is so important that Venezuela keeps its oil markets, especially Russia and China.

vk , Mar 20, 2019 12:35:12 PM | link
Bolsonaro authorizes imports of 750,000 metric tons of American wheat:

Bolsonaro trai ruralistas e libera trigo dos EUA

Contrary to what the article states, Brazil has a negligible wheat production. However, Argentina has, and its main importer until now was Brazil. A huge blow to the Argentinian economy, whose trade balance will fall even more. The situation in Brazil so calamitous that it produced an extremely rare Chinese manifestation about the country:

Brazil should seek industrial upgrade, not US approval

SteveInNC , Mar 20, 2019 12:47:33 PM | link
to mourning dove at 30 and snedly at 60

It looks like the US is having to rescue some of the Venezuelan oligarchs from the effect of the sanctions. This being Fox, it blames socialism, which is utterly backwards, but the facts are there. US lifts sanctions on wives of Venezuela TV magnates Oh the poor dears. How they must have suffered.

Also, it looks like they (US) are thinking about cutting off credit cards, which as you've opined, would hurt the middle and upper classes much more than the typical Chavista. Credit card sanctions?

quixotic1 , Mar 20, 2019 1:12:23 PM | link
That whole press conference exchange has a faintly Mad Hatter Tea Party quality to it.

At one point Abrams says the interim presidency doesn't start counting until "after Maduro", but the whole raison d'etre of article 233 in the first place is to ensure a constitutional transition of power in the event that the president becomes unavailable. So that (the president becoming unavailable) would had to have happened FIRST -- prior to the implementation of (the relevant passage of) article 233. In other words, that would have to be the triggering event.

If this seems a bit like stating the obvious -- it is. As the article states,'That the "elected President becomes permanently unavailable" was never the case to begin with.' That's end of discussion right there. It never happened. And they have everybody talking in circles about whether or not the thirty day election requirement was fulfilled? It's absurd.

One thing I'll give the neo-cons credit for is their ability to take obvious lies/complete fabrications and somehow get people to discuss them as if there was any reality to it. Like in the case of Iraq they had the whole world discussing the threat of non-existent WMDs. All these "serious" pundits would prattle on endlessly about the pros and cons of an issue for which there was not a scintilla of evidence. I think even Goebbels would have to stand back in awe of what they do.

karlof1 , Mar 20, 2019 1:13:02 PM | link
Telling Rubio the truth :

"*Puerto Rico didn't have power for 11 months.

"The #TrumpRegime is not a government that can provide services. It is a transnational criminal organization which should be designated as a terrorist group."

Rubio needs to be bathed in Roundup.

AntiSpin , Mar 20, 2019 1:20:13 PM | link
@ BM | Mar 20, 2019 11:35:21 AM | 69

Holy crap on a cracker, Batman! Half of all the evil entities in the world are crawling about within this massive web of crime and treason.

I would beg to make one small change to the exposé; instead of --

" The CIA, under 'extraordinary rendition' proponent Gina Haspel, has become a foot soldier army for Trump's whims and Bolton's and Pompeo's neo-con dark policies, "

-- I would say that Trump, Bolton, Pompeo and Haspel have become foot-soldiers for the CIA's neo-con dark policies.

arby , Mar 20, 2019 1:36:52 PM | link
Venezuela: Guaido loyalists seize diplomatic properties in US

Envoys loyal to Venezuela's interim president have taken control of diplomatic buildings and a consulate. Caracas has severed ties with the US, accusing it of staging a coup against acting President Maduro.

Xolotl , Mar 20, 2019 1:53:41 PM | link
Don't Spy for Me Argentina. In fact, it connects with virtually everything!

Posted by: BM | Mar 20, 2019 11:35:21 AM | 69

The CIA, under "extraordinary rendition" proponent Gina Haspel, has become a foot soldier army for Trump's whims and Bolton's and Pompeo's neo-con dark policies. It is clear that Abrams, Bolton, Pompeo, Rubio, Bannon, and their cohorts, including Macri and Bolsonaro, are attempting to re-create OPERATION CONDOR, the 1960s, 70s, and 80s alliance of the intelligence services of the Latin American military dictatorships of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay, which were full members, with Ecuador and Peru as associate partners. Tens of thousands of leftist dissidents were tracked down and executed during CONDOR, which operated with the full approval and involvement of the CIA.

They lost so many opportunities during the 70's. USSR was in their way in so many places. But now happy days are here again, with Russia, China containment strategies and Trump and other supremacist leaders being installed everywhere in the West and Americas.

It's about opening Pandora's Box though. 0 latency networks, even negative time ...with whatever that implicates and a space programe but not the one you see in plain view.

Krollchem , Mar 20, 2019 2:43:45 PM | link
There is a three part video of the UN conference featuring Anya Parampil, Alfred de Zayas and Max Blumenthal which has debunked the US propaganda on Venezuela at a United Nations Human Rights Council session in Geneva on March 19.

(1) The Grayzone testifies at the UN - 'Humanitarian crisis in Venezuela: Propaganda vs. reality' https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ak3eQwE9JxI
(2) Max Blumenthal debunks corporate media lies about Venezuela at United Nations https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WZ1vFlX5jEw
(3) 'The mask of the US is off': At UN, Anya Parampil speaks on Venezuela regime change war https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F9JRD_jCNp8

See also "The Visible Hand of the Market- Economic War in Venezuela" by Pasqualina Curcio.


Perhaps random guy Guaidó will join other collaborators with the US are just seen as throw-away pawns by the Empire:
"The Venezuelan military deserters who crossed over to Colombia on February 23, 2019, now find themselves abandoned both by Colombia and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees. The UNCHR and the Colombian Government have given the soldiers 4 days to leave the refugee camp"

https://www.counterpunch.org/2019/03/19/venezuela-beneath-the-skin-of-imperialism/

The good news is that the health of Venezuelans is improving due to a more healthy diet due to US led sanctions. Everyone has been forced to have a vegetarian diet substituting vegetables, lentils, and black beans for meat. Seems that lots of people are growing their own (organic) vegetables.

From a sociological point of view even the electrical blackouts are bringing the people together as they spend the time sharing:

"During blackouts, people told stories, played music, or went out and talked on the streets. It was a paradise, no TVs, smartphones, but real human contact. People cook together. During the day they're playing board games, dominoes, and kids are having fun."

https://www.counterpunch.org/2019/03/18/on-the-ground-in-venezuela-vs-the-media-spectacle/

karlof1 , Mar 20, 2019 4:14:56 PM | link
Krollchem @83--

Thanks for your report! The unintended consequences as you note can be powerful allies for those being attacked. The well stated case at the UN will also have consequences and generate more solidarity for Venezuela and condemnation of the Outlaw US Empire, Pompeo, Rubio, Abrams, Bolton, and Trump.

[Mar 20, 2019] Wasserman Schultz Proves She's A Sociopath - Lies About Venezuela

Mar 20, 2019 | www.unz.com

Tina Smith 3 days ago Only reason she's not already in prison is because she's a useful Military Industrial Complex tool.

Cant_Touch_This 3 days ago DWS rigged in order to win her district just like she rigged against Bernie Sanders on behalf of Hilary Clinton.

Daniel Clint 3 days ago Remove the sanctions you psychopaths. DWS belongs in jail.

[Mar 16, 2019] Never believe anything until it has been officially denied. it surely is just a coincidence that their blackout occurred at a point in time when a foreign coup attempt was underway, rather than 9 or 6 or 3 months ago.

Mar 16, 2019 | peakoilbarrel.com

ProPoly

x Ignored says: 03/14/2019 at 4:30 pm
Venezuela production is not only being hit by the blackout – which seems to have damaged their overall grid capacity – but by new sanctions. Their diluent supplier has just stated they will stop business.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-india-reliance/reliance-halts-diluents-export-to-venezuela-not-raised-oil-buying-idUSKBN1QU240

Watcher x Ignored says: 03/15/2019 at 2:35 am
Perhaps useful to note that Maduro was just as incompetent 6 months ago as presumably he is now. He was just as incompetent 9 months ago as presumably he is now. And indeed, he was just as incompetent three months ago as he is now. In fact we could take it back years.

Thus, it surely is just a coincidence that their blackout occurred at a point in time when a foreign coup attempt was underway, rather than 9 or 6 or 3 months ago. Sabotage could not be involved because we're told that incompetence and corruption is responsible, of the sort that just happened to manifest itself at this point in time.

The 20 folks who are alleged to have died in hospitals from lack of power just coincidentally died at this particular point in time. Because it is merely coincidence, the saboteurs probably cannot be tried for murder.

Power has apparently been restored. Oil will resume its flow at whatever magnitude.

ProPoly x Ignored says: 03/15/2019 at 10:29 am
Rust doesn't sleep. You ignore something long enough it's gonna fail.

This is just their worst grid failure, far from the first.

Watcher x Ignored says: 03/15/2019 at 11:43 am
Ahh, rust has a feel for coincidence, too.
Brazilian Guy (in ironic mode) x Ignored says: 03/15/2019 at 12:44 pm
Of course there are no coincidences, just the things that the CIA, the Illuminati, the freemasons, the jewish bankers and the Martians wanted to happen.
TechGuy x Ignored says: 03/16/2019 at 12:48 am
"Thus, it surely is just a coincidence that their blackout occurred at a point in time when a foreign coup attempt was underway, rather than 9 or 6 or 3 months ago. Sabotage could not be involved because we're told that incompetence and corruption is responsible, of the sort that just happened to manifest itself at this point in time."

I am sure the US is trying to speed up the process. After all, those Aid buses were not torched by Mo or his supporters but by Western agents. Its difficult to know who is really to blame for the blackout, but the US has an agenda to take control over VZ. I would not rule out the US causing it.

Hightrekker x Ignored says: 03/16/2019 at 9:38 am
"Never believe anything until it has been officially denied".
– Claud Cockburn

[Mar 15, 2019] Venezuela Facts You Don't Hear from the Mainstream Media

Mar 15, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Alpi57 , Mar 14, 2019 6:27:37 PM | link