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Peace Patriot

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Why do hunters and self-defenders need assault rifles and fast-action clips that...

...can shoot dozens of bullets in seconds?

The lethality of the weapons that this shooter legally purchased gave the victims--a packed theater audience--little chance to escape or evade, and of course, no chance for those who died and will die from their injuries. His ability to kill many people quickly is why there are so many dead and injured.

It seems to me that--given a real democracy, not this "TRADE SECRET" code-in-all-the-voting-machines, corporate-run sham we're looking at--this could be the basis of a compromise as to regulating guns. You don't need an assault rifle to kill a deer. And you don't need multiple, high-powered weapons to defend yourself.

I've been in despair about this issue since I lost a loved one in the first such "senseless" mass shooting in this country--the Texas Tower sniper in 1966. NOTHING HAS BEEN DONE to prevent such horrors happening again and again--not as to the availability of mass murder weapons, nor as to health care especially for the young, nor on any other front including government/corporate fostering of a climate of fear, alienation, militarism and war, with the war on Iraq the most obvious example but perhaps the "war on drugs" the most sneaky--and yet more socially destructive--aspect of this propaganda.

Anyway, I put this forward as a basis for discussion, and--if we ever get our democracy back--a basis for serious, anti-mass murder regulation, between gun advocates and gun haters. I am in the latter camp. I want all guns and all weapons--and of course war--banned worldwide. But I have had at least one family member who disagrees (he lived in a violent urban area) and I live in a rural area where hunting is part of the culture for some and I cannot say that hunting with bullets is immoral and leads to mass murder although I wish they would use bows and arrows and other skilled means that give their game a chance. Why assault rifles? Why high-powered, mass killing cartridges? Why multiple, high-powered guns and rifles? Why scopes and other sophisticated technology that give the hunted no chance?

I also have some sympathy with 2nd Amendment arguments, although I think that our Founders would be absolutely appalled at what their approval of a "citizen militia" has turned into--the loss of civilization itself. They did not intend THIS.
Posted by Peace Patriot | Sat Jul 21, 2012, 01:41 PM (1 replies)

The "framing" of this article's argument is odd.

Here is where it begins to go...strange.

"The specter of fraud looms especially large this year because the party that perfected the buying of votes and rigging of elections...," the PRI, "...is favored to return to the presidency...".

I expected the sentence to read, "The specter of fraud looms especially large this year because" millions of Mexicans protested the vote rigging of the last presidential election, when leftist Lopez Obrado was denied the presidency by only 0.05% of the vote. Indeed, the country almost came apart because of that fraud, which apparently was engineered at the top with electronic tabulators that were brought in allegedly with the help of the Bush Junta (which desperately wanted an administration in Mexico that would welcome the ruination of Mexico--an overly democratic people who have stubbornly resisted 'privatization' of their oil--by the corrupt, failed, murderous U.S. "war on drugs.")

Uh, it ain't the PRI's "old ways" (corruption, cronyism) that is the main problem in Mexico these days--the problem is NEW; it is ELECTRONIC; and, just as here, control of the electronic tabulation makes it EASY, not only to steal elections but also to write pre-election "narratives" that fit the fraudulent results.

"Narratives" like this one--alleged news articles that slip in the corporate editors/owners view of leftist Lopez Obrador as "an unreformed erratic" by attributing this opinion to "numerous Mexicans" as follows:

"Numerous Mexicans have expressed near-existential dismay over the choices they have in this election; they chafe at the prospect of the PRI's return, can't stomach more of the current, discredited government, and see Lopez Obrador as an unreformed erratic." --from the OP

These are the 1%-ers having cocktails in their villas--these so-called "numerous Mexicans" in their "near-existential dismay." They (the rich, the corporate) have no candidate. PAN/Calderon (the Bush Junta's choice) has been discredited and was a disaster for Mexico on many fronts. The vast majority of Mexicans (the real "numerous Mexicans") nominated the two candidates that THEY wanted to choose between--the PRI representing the old system that was corrupt but worked versus the Left (Lopez Obrador) representing the new leftist democracy movement that has swept through South America into Central America and avows social justice and independence from the U.S. and its corporate/war profiteer masters.

What is odd is that the L.A. Times would dwell on election fiddling of long ago and ignore much more recent, massive and massively disruptive election theft--against Lopez Obrador! They describe Lopez Obrador's (and multi-millions of Mexicans') objection to that fraudulent count as "political grandstanding." But, by God, if those millions of people had been able to get their votes counted, Mexico would never have allowed the Bushification of the "war on drugs" and the horrible, bloody disaster that it has been and would be making progress on social justice to catch up with Brazil, Venezuela, Argentina, Ecuador, Bolivia, Uruguay, Peru, Nicaragua and other countries with leftist governments.*

And this is the problem with this article. The rich and the corporate have no candidate and they are going through paroxysms of no doubt drunken "existential" angst at the parties that corporate reporters attend. These parties are crammed with Mexicans of a particular type (thus, "numerous Mexicans") (was it at the embassy in L.A.?) And the corporate reporters SHARE their "near-existential dismay." The old corrupt regime or good leftist government on behalf of the 99%. Such a regrettable choice!


*(This list would include two more countries with leftist governments--Honduras and Paraguay--but for the U.S.-supported rightwing coups in those countries--Honduras in 2008, Paraguay recently. Though the U.S. has not been nailed yet on the coup in Paraguay, I think we can be sure that it will be. It's what the U.S. does--supports 1%-er rule in Latin America by whatever means--election fraud, USAID funding of rightwing causes and candidates, CIA dirty tricks, vast propaganda and/or outright coup d'etats. The U.S. even personally conducts rigged elections, as in Honduras and Haiti. And when it can't bust a democracy, it sends in the DEA to smash up and bloody the society and make it more malleable.)
Posted by Peace Patriot | Sun Jul 1, 2012, 11:08 AM (1 replies)

"Manufacturing Contempt" (the corporate press on Chavez vs. Capriles)

Excellent analysis of the totally screwed up, unreliable corpo-fascist press coverage of the Venezuelan presidential election.

The title of the article is actually, "Our Man in Caracas: The U.S. Media and Henrique Capriles," from Keane Bhatt's blog, "Manufacturing Contempt" (which mostly deals with this topic: corporate press vs. Chavez).

Found it at NACLA:

And at Venezuelanalysis:

Both of these sources provide some balancing analysis, information and dissent if you at all wonder why huge numbers of Venezuelan voters keep voting for an incompetent, buffoon dictator.


(Note: I will be unavailable to reply to comments the rest of today, but will check out any replies tomorrow morning. I felt that this article needs immediate circulation--we have so few instances of up-to-the-minute analysis of corporate press bullshit on Venezuela.)
Posted by Peace Patriot | Thu Jun 28, 2012, 01:06 PM (6 replies)

U.S.-backed thugs have tortured several of LatAm's top leftist leaders,

or have imprisoned, kidnapped, beaten and/or threatened them with coups and/or assassination plots.

Michele Batchelet, recent former president of Chile, imprisoned and tortured by U.S.-backed thugs, and her father murdered by them in the course of torture--their crime? being political leftists.

Lula da Silva, recent former president of Brazil, imprisoned and tortured by U.S.-backed thugs for union organizing (steelworkers union).

Dilma Rousseff, current president of Brazil, imprisoned and tortured by U.S.-backed thugs in truly horrible ways, during the same era, for activities related to a leftist guerrilla group who were fighting the U.S.-backed thugs who had taken over their country.

Jose Mujica, current president of Uruguay, imprisoned and tortured by U.S.-backed thugs for activities related to a leftist guerrilla group who were fighting the U.S.-backed thugs who had taken over their country (same era).

Evo Morales, current president of Bolivia, kidnapped and beaten by U.S.-backed thugs in collusion with the DEA, for union organizing (Indigenous coca leaf farmers union). He was also nearly overthrown by U.S.-backed thugs (white separatists) in 2008, organized and funded right out of the U.S. embassy.

Hugo Chavez, current president of Venezuela, kidnapped and his life threatened by U.S.-backed thugs in the 2002 coup attempt.

Daniel Ortega, current president of Nicaragua, never caught by the U.S.-backed thugs (Reagan's henchmen, the "contras") but saw many of his compadres and other lovers of social justice murdered, in their effort to defeat the brutal, hated, U.S.-backed Somoza regime.

Mel Zelaya, president of Honduras, overthrown in 2009, by U.S.-backed thugs who shot up his house, terrifying his family, dragged him out of bed, kidnapped him and flew him out of his own country at gunpoint, with a refueling stopover at the U.S. military base in Honduras.

The above U.S.-backed thugs, in every case, were funded, "trained," equipped and given every support by the U.S. government, most of them part of the "security state" (military, spies/covert operatives, police), and all of them fascists--the only political stance that the U.S. has ever supported in Latin America.

But "the times they are a-changing"! Are they ever! The above leaders of the leftist democracy movement that has swept South America and parts of Central America, have all been elected by their countries' voters, and are all very popular, and furthermore have joined together in individual alliances and in new institutions to assert their common goals of social justice and independence from the fascist-loving U.S. government.

You wonder what's happening in Latin America these days? Start with this: Something like half of the elected presidents of the region were personally brutalized by U.S.-backed thugs in their youths or more recently. And whatever activities of theirs got them noticed by U.S.-backed fascists, and targeted for torture, kidnapping, overthrow or death, those activities are now "badges of courage" in today's Latin America. THEY have been chosen, by big majorities of the voters in these countries, to lead this revolution.

Their commitment to peace is remarkable in the circumstances. But, really, it takes more courage to be peaceful when you have been harmed than when you have little or nothing at risk. These are very, very courageous people, and they are determined, as individuals and as an allied group, to end the horrific U.S. domination of Latin America and the brutal, bloody, monstrous exploitation of the people of Latin America to benefit the 1%, here and there.

Posted by Peace Patriot | Wed Jun 20, 2012, 06:31 PM (0 replies)

The victims of U.S.-backed torture regimes are now running Latin America...

...and THEY know that--as Rousseff's predecessor, Lula da Silva, said, in his final speech as president, "The U.S. has not changed." He himself was jailed and tortured for union organizing during the same era of U.S. "training," funding and support of the torturers, as was the current president of Uruguay, José Mujica, as was the recent former president of Chile, Michele Batchelet (who also lost family members including her father to the U.S.-backed torturers).

Evo Morales, president of Bolivia, was kidnapped and beaten up by state agents in collusion with the DEA--and funded, equipped and "trained" by the U.S.A.--for organizing the Indigenous coca leaf farmers union. Daniel Ortega, president of Nicaragua, though Reagan's thugs never got hold of him, saw myriad compadres in the overthrow of the hated, brutal Somoza regime murdered by U.S. funded/"trained" death squads, in Reagan's illegal war on Nicaragua. Hugo Chavez was jailed for two years (though not tortured) by a U.S.-backed "neo-liberal" regime which had murdered hundreds of poor protestors--the event that launched the Bolivarian Revolution. (Chavez, a young military officer, rebelled against that slaughter, became a hero in prison and went on to be elected president.) He later suffered being kidnapped, as president, and his life threatened, by U.S.-backed rightwing coupsters who suspended the constitution, the national assembly, the courts and all civil rights, in their brief effort, in 2002, to overthrow Venezuela's democracy, peacefully countered by tens of thousands of Venezuelans who flooded the streets and demanded restoration of their constitution and their elected president--the event that launched the continent-wide leftist democracy movement of today in South America.

When Lula da Silva said that "The U.S. has not changed," he was speaking of the Obama administration, which colluded in the overthrow of Honduras' democracy in 2009. Now the rightwing death squads and U.S.-supported state agents--murderers, torturers, rapists--are active in Honduras and the Pentagon is expanding its military bases there--a haunting parallel to Reagan's war on Nicaragua which was launched from Honduras.

It truly is not possible to say that "the U.S. has changed" under Obama. Billions of our tax dollars are pouring into rightwing causes and brutal and oppressive militaries and police forces, in LatAm, as we speak. The U.S. never supports honestly elected leaders in LatAm. Where it can't rig the elections (many LatAm countries, these days, have far, FAR better election systems than our own), it allies with fascists and brutal thugs to plot coups and other disruptions. The only positive thing I can say about Obama, on LatAm, is that, if he has any decent intentions there (a possibility), he doesn't appear to have the power to act on them. U.S. policy on LatAm is run by the Miami mafia on behalf of war profiteers and transglobal monsters like Exxon Mobil. Clinton puts a cosmetic gloss on these brutal policies (for instance, staging a U.S. State Department-run phony election in Honduras, under martial law). And Obama doesn't seem to have anything to do with it. On the contrary, he seems to be dictated to, by the likes of John McCain (telecommunications interests in Honduras) and Jim DeMint (SC-Diebold)--not to mention Otto Reich and John Negroponte, the Bush Cartel and the big, protected drug lords.

Such a bloody shame! What an opportunity lost, to do the right thing, for once--to do the right thing after half a century of doing the wrong things--the worst things. Murder, torture, robbery, filthy oppression, brutal domination. The Latin Americans were ready to forgive--to forgive it all--with the election of the first black man as president of the U.S. Then they saw Honduras unfold--with Brazil in particular fighting like mad to prevent it--and they knew that "The U.S. has not changed." The U.S. is not its people. The U.S. is not even its president. It is something else. A vast, global, criminal gang comes to mind.

I hope that Dilma Rousseff's book gets published here. Perhaps it will begin to explain to our people, here, what is REALLY going on in Latin America. They aren't getting the truth from the Associated Pukes, the New York Slimes and the Miami Hairball, et al. It must be bewildering to people here who rely on the corpo-fascist 'news' organizations for their sense of the world, how/why REAL leftists are getting elected all over LatAm. They have been given little or no notion of what the U.S. did to Latin America for 50 some years and is still trying to do (with diminishing success). They have been particularly fooled by the Reagan-worship of the corpo-fascist press--Reagan, who was not only behind the illegal war on Nicaragua but also the horrendous carnage in Guatemala and other horrors. Latin Americans REMEMBER these horrible things, and their overwhelming desire for independence, sovereignty, social justice, use of their resources to benefit their own people, human and civil rights and REAL democracy, springs from those riveting memories. The U.S. has never meant well, in LatAm, in the modern era (since FDR) and it doesn't mean well now.

But perhaps the saddest part of all, from our point of view, is that, even with a well-informed citizenry, it is probably not possible to remove the malefactors who are actually running our country--or, in any case, it will not be easy. They have their vulture claws to our innards and intend to rip our society--once the most potentially progressive and powerful society on earth--to shreds. Their latest tool is the 'TRADE SECRET' voting machines--all over the U.S., largely controlled by one, private, far rightwing-connected corporation (ES&S, which bought out Diebold). Our people for the most part don't even know about this control tool, so rotten is the corporate press corps.

To change the U.S., whether at home or abroad--to reverse that damning statement by Lula da Silva--"The U.S. has not changed"--we need to start with the 'TRADE SECRET' voting machines and hold a REAL "Boston Tea Party." Yup, the British East India Company would have loved those machines and would have understood perfectly how it is that our taxes paid for them.

Posted by Peace Patriot | Tue Jun 19, 2012, 11:56 AM (0 replies)

Douglass also solves the mystery and nails the CIA up to Richard Helms.

Douglass book is extraordinarily well-documented, well-written and well-argued, and he is extremely cautious about who he points the finger at. He cannot directly nail CIA Director Allen Dulles--the one whom JFK fired over the "Bay of Pigs" (the occasion for JFK's promise to break the CIA "into a thousand pieces")--but he gets as high as Richard Helms (CIA Operations Chief). There is no question in my mind who the perps were, after reading Douglass' book.

You are right that Douglass' particular excellence is that he explains (and fully documents) WHY the CIA murdered JFK. But I thought I would point out that he also solves the crime--in the course of which he disentangles all of the CIA's elaborate misdirections.

He does not finger LBJ, except for involvement in the coverup for which LBJ had some arguably valid reasons, huge mistake though it was. It seems, according to the evidence, that LBJ did not know who did it until a short time afterward when J. Edgar Hoover (FBI) informed him of the CIA misdirection to Russia. The CIA and MIC anti-communist "patriots" were fuming at JFK's refusal to nuke Russia during the Cuban Missile Crisis. The CIA, the Joint Chiefs and the entire MIC were in favor of nuking Russia during that crisis. They believed that they had "missile superiority" and would "win" such a war with "only" 300,000 casualties on the east coast of the U.S. JFK thought they were insane and stood alone against them (with RFK as his only ally).

The CIA designed one of their misdirections to force his successor's hand (LBJ's) to nuke Russia in retaliation for the assassination. LBJ, though much more sympathetic with and tied to the MIC, did not want to be pushed into that horror and got involved in the coverup trying to suppress (false, CIA-planted) details of Russia's involvement. There was no likelihood that he would blow the CIA's cover. He was a "Cold Warrior" (while JFK, who began as a "Cold Warrior," was in the process of turning toward world peace and "detente" when he was assassinated--one of the most brilliant parts of Douglass' book; puts this murder in a whole new light, indeed, floods it with light). As a "Cold Warrior" and friend of war profiteers, LBJ had to satisfy the MIC. Three days after JFK's assassination, and after he was informed of the Russia misdirection, LBJ said, "Now they can have their war." He was speaking of Vietnam.

It is quite heartbreaking--having lived through it all--to contemplate the many ways that JFK was quickly changing from a "Cold Warrior" into peace lover. These included his backchannels to Krushchev and Castro (established to get around the CIA), the Turkey missile deal (withdrawing U.S. missiles from Turkey, which targeted Russia on its border, in exchange for Russia withdrawing its missiles from Cuba), the Russia wheat deal (Russians starving after a failed wheat crop; U.S. came to their aid), the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (first effort to control nuke weapons), his peace speech at American University (rarely cited), his expression of sympathy for Cuba's revolution (against the horrible Batista regime), his signed orders to start withdrawing troops from Vietnam (where the CIA was actively fomenting war and chaos and subverting his orders), and probably the Space Program ("hammering swords into plowshares") and much more--most of it vehemently opposed by the CIA and the MIC. Some of this was visible at the time; some of it not. Certainly JFK's isolation within the MIC was not visible. But the truth is that the American people would have backed JFK's peace platform with a big majority in the 1964 election.

LBJ won the 1964 election with one of the biggest victories in presidential history, running on a peace platform. I remember this well. It was my first vote for president. I voted for peace, like most other Americans. The trouble was that LBJ was lying. And the tragedy is that JFK would not have been lying.

That is OUR tragedy. We had a president who could see past the "Cold War" and who had balked at slaughtering millions of people and poisoning the earth (we now know it would have destroyed the earth) over economic ideology. A young man whose conscience about social justice and about the horror of nuclear warfare was awakening. A leader with a vision of directing the country away from militarism and into a better world. A REALISTIC leader and a POLITICIAN--no starry-eyed idealist--who was responding to the deepest desires of most Americans for peace and social justice. A hugely popular, winning politician.

Bang-bang, shoot-shoot.

Douglass' book is extremely painful to read. But we must face this, however late in the day it is to turn back toward democracy and good government. We, as a people, cannot make that "turn"--so like the turn JFK himself was making--unless we face these facts: who killed JFK and why.

Douglass has a trilogy planned. He has taken on the RFK and MLK assassinations for books 2 and 3. I believe, with the OP poster, that the same perps are lurking there, behind this decapitation of the progressive movement in the U.S. in the space of five years (1963 to 1968). I don't know if Douglass will be able to prove it as well as he does the JFK murder. The CIA had five years to perfect their misdirection techniques and their manipulation of the government, the press and our people. The latter two assassinations are, for me, still a matter of belief (i.e., same perps, the CIA) and many questions, not proof. As for JFK, Douglass proves it beyond any doubt. And that means that this country has been living a lie for half a century. Is it any wonder that we ended up with the horrors of the Bush Junta and the collusion of our political leadership in their many, many crimes?
Posted by Peace Patriot | Mon Apr 30, 2012, 05:17 PM (0 replies)

Like Dracula, the "miracle laptops" keep climbing out of the grave...

Look what the discredited "miracle laptops" have been used for, recently! They are a Rumsfeld-designed (I am convinced) "black ops" gift that keeps on giving....


Venezuela’s Armed Forces Under Fire by Washington


During an event that included the transfer of mandate of several members of the high military command on Tuesday, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said changes to the National Bolivarian Armed Forces (FANB) are important for strengthening democracy.

Chavez was referring specifically to General Henry Rangel Silva, who was sworn in this week as the new Minister of Defense. “May the decent and patriotic officials of our Bolivarian Armed Forces give their full support to our new Minister. Changes in the National Bolivarian Armed Forces are important for our democratic homeland”, declared the President.

Rangel Silva’s designation as the South American nation’s new Minister of Defense has been hyped up and distorted in media outlets throughout Venezuela, Colombia and the United States. In 2008, the US Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), a division of the Treasury Department, included Rangel Silva on its list of foreigners allegedly involved in drug trafficking and/or terrorism under the “Kingpin Act”. However, no evidence was presented to support this serious claim.

OFAC also included the head of Venezuela’s military intelligence, General Hugo Carvajal, and then Minister of Interior and Justice, Ramon Rodriguez Chacin, on the same list with Rangel Silva, who at the time oversaw Venezuela’s civilian intelligence agency, SEBIN. The inclusion of the three heads of Venezuelan intelligence was largely viewed as an attack against the oil nation’s security apparatus, at a time when the US government was considering placing Venezuela on its list of “state sponsors of terrorism”.

The allegations against Rangel Silva, Carvajal and Rodriguez Chacin, were based on unsubstantiated data from laptop computers acquired by the Colombian government during the March 2008 attack on a Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) camp. Using the laptop content, Washington claimed the three Venezuelan officials had “materially assisted the narcotics trafficking activities of the FARC, a narcoterrorist organization”.

INTERPOL later determined the information on the computers could not be authenticated nor could the original source of the data be verified. Colombia’s highest court also ruled that the laptop data could not be used as legal evidence against anyone. Nonetheless, the famous FARC laptops have been used by both the conservative Colombian government, Washington and some media to tarnish Venezuela’s image and accuse it of compliance with drug trafficking and terrorism. The FARC is considered a terrorist group only by Colombia and the United States.

No corroborating evidence has ever been presented to demonstrate Rangel Silva’s or other members of the Venezuelan government’s involvement with the FARC or any illicit activities. President Chavez did hold negotiations with the FARC on several occasions under the direct authorization of the Colombian government. His involvement secured the release of several hostages the FARC had held for years, including Ingrid Betancourt and three US military officers.

On Wednesday, US State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland warned “our concerns about Rangel Silva are well known and of long standing”. But those “concerns” have yet to be substantiated by any legally credible evidence. Rangel Silva has adamantly denied the charges against him. No formal complaints have been brought against him within Venezuela or by Colombia, nor has any other independent evidence been presented to link him to any illegal activities.

Rangel Silva has been a close ally and collaborator of President Chavez for over 20 years. He trained with him as a younger soldier and participated in the Chavez-led military rebellion against the murderous and corrupt government of Carlos Andres Perez on February 4, 1992.

The new Minister of Defense has held high-level positions during the Chavez administration, including head of the intelligence agency SEBIN and Commander of the Strategic Operational Command, which oversees all of Venezuela’s Armed Forces operational activities. At the time of his designation as Minister of Defense, he was the highest ranking officer in the country.

(Creative Commons License - my emphasis)


I figure that Rangel Silva, Carvajal and Rodriguez Chacin have just been too good at defeating CIA plots against Chavez and his government and the fascist forces here can't get over their snit about that. There are also the Pentagon's war plans to worry about. They want to regain control of Venezuela's oil (the biggest oil reserves on earth--twice Saudi Arabia's, according to the USGS) and their fascist/corporate allies want to smash all this stuff about universal free medical care and universal free education, and vast reductions in poverty, and high employment rates and decent wages, etc., in Venezuela (info that is only available in the alternative press) and keep these ideas from spreading north. So they truly hate and fear certain developments in South America, such as intelligence sharing among the many Leftist governments, the strong alliances such as between Venezuela and Brazil and Venezuela and Argentina, new institutions for Latin America cooperation and defense (UNASUR, CELAC), and, in particular, Venezuelan savvy on the intelligence, defense, political and economic fronts.

"The U.S. has not changed," as the outgoing president of Brazil said in his last speech in office, after a year of the Obama administration. That they are using the highly discredited and even laughable "miracle laptops"--more than likely a project of Rumsfeld's "Office of Special Plans"--is profoundly disgusting. There are bits and pieces of evidence that the Obama administration doesn't want to be like this--like the Bush Junta--or, shall I say, has mixed feelings about it. (They and Panetta certainly acted to remove the malefactor in Colombia--Alvaro Uribe--but that may have been merely part of coverup of Bush Junta crime in Colombia--Uribe was landed on a silk cushion--and likely also prep for U.S. "free trade for the rich" by cleaning up Colombia's image). When they do shit like this--still trying to "isolate Chavez," just like Bush Jr. and his massively criminal cronies--you can't help but see that the thrust of their policy is the same: war mongering, corporate corrupt.

You also gotta wonder if they aren't planning to restore mafioso Uribe to power. The "miracle laptops" were his "WMDs in Iraq"--i.e., lying bullshit excuse for warmongering against Venezuela--or at least paving the way for Bush Junta II to do so and for Oil War II to begin, in this hemisphere. Bill Clinton paved the way for Bush Jr in Iraq. Are Obama/Clinton/Panetta paving the way for Jeb in Venezuela?
Posted by Peace Patriot | Sun Jan 22, 2012, 10:59 AM (3 replies)

Venezuela doubles predicted economic growth in 2011

Venezuela GDP Grows 4% in 2011, Predicts Strong 2012


CARACAS: Venezuela's economy grew by an estimated 4 percent in 2011 and will maintain strong growth in 2012, the central bank said Friday, expansion that may help President Hugo Chavez's bid for reelection next year.

But the country's inflation rate remained stubbornly high at 27.6 percent, based on preliminary statistics, the bank said, signaling rising prices will remain a key concern in the OPEC member nation as government spending shows no signs of abating in the run-up to the October vote.

"The recent performance of the economy demonstrates the reactivation of productive sectors, which affirms the expectation that the rhythm of growth will be maintained next year," the bank said in a statement.

Growth was driven by an 11.2 percent expansion in the financial sector, 6.6 percent growth in commerce, and 5.5 percent growth in utilities such as electricity and water.

Government outlays in areas including education and health rose 5.3 percent, the bank said.

The 4 percent growth - double the original estimate of 2 percent - contrasts with a 1.5 percent contraction in 2010 for Venezuela, which was one of only a few countries in the region whose economies shrank that year.

Increased investment in the electricity sector, which suffered rationing in 2010, as well as greater spending on home construction following floods that destroyed houses around the country, also helped spur expansion.

The country this year benefited from higher crude prices that helped its vital oil industry, with the average price of Venezuelan oil reaching a record $101 per barrel in 2011.

That helped the country post a current account surplus of $31.5 billion, but it also reported a capital account deficit of $32.6 billion linked to increased government deposits abroad.

The government's budget estimates 2012 growth at 5 percent with inflation between 22 and 23 percent.

Chavez's high-profile announcements of new housing projects and social spending programs signal the government plans to ramp up outlays in the coming months to shore up complaints among supporters about unemployment and the lack of affordable housing.

Critics say Chavez's campaign of nationalizations and frequent confrontation with businesses, hallmark traits of his "21st century socialism," have scared off private investment and left the country dependent on state spending.

His supporters point to rising standards of living and increased investment in basic services including health and education, which have helped the former soldier win repeated elections over the last 13 years.

(original-NOTE: This is a Rotters article) http://www.brecorder.com/world/global-business-a-economy/40780-venezuela-gdp-grows-4pc-in-2011-sees-strong-2012-.html
(found it at) http://venezuelanalysis.com/news/6716
(Creative Commons License - my emphases.)


At least this article--though it originated with the Reuters' rotten corporate 'news' service--balances its "his critics say..." assertion with "his supporters point to...," in the final paragraphs. Rotters, the Associated Pukes and the rest of the Corporate Press often promulgate the first ("his critics say" and leave out the second (why he has huge support--what his supporters say), making it a complete mystery (and keeping their 'news' consumers ignorant of) why the Chavez government is so popular.

The article, however, contains the usual Wall Street cant about inflation. Wall Street fanatical anti-inflationary ideology and opposition to government spending are what are keeping our own economy in deep recession, aka, depression.

Further, the use of anonymous sources--"his critics say"--is lousy journalism and is easily and often abused to promote the corporate agenda of the 'news' organization's masters, and to hide the sources in the misty back alleys where CIA "talking points" get passed, like old dollar bills, from hand to hand, accumulating germs and graffiti along the way.

I have to laugh at the Rotters' assertion that the Chavez government's spending is tied to the upcoming election. The Chavez government has consistently spent the oil revenues for social programs and other development throughout its tenure. That is WHY it has been elected and re-elected, by big margins. The implication, of course, is that Chavez is "buying votes." But what if the people of Venezuela WANT THE GOVERNMENT TO SPEND MONEY ON THEM? Is doing the will of the people "buying" them? What crazy illogic!

As for Chavez's intention "to shore up complaints among supporters about unemployment and the lack of affordable housing"--aside from the obvious illogic of the sentence ("shoring up complaints"??)--this is a goddamned lie. Venezuela has one of the highest employment rates in the region and was recently designated as "THE most equal country in Latin America" on income distribution by the UN Economic Commission on Latin America and the Caribbean. Venezuelans also rate their country one of the highest in the world on their own financial welfare and future prospects. This is more back alley 'journalism'--finding (paying off?) some disgruntled layabout who can't keep a job or just making it up out of whole cloth. "...shoring up complaints among supporters" is utter bullshit in every sense. It makes no sense and it is not supported with quotation or any kind of attribution.
Posted by Peace Patriot | Wed Jan 4, 2012, 09:52 PM (2 replies)

Venezuela and Brazil tighten ties

Brazil and Venezuela: South American Giants Tighten Ties


Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez received his Brazilian counterpart Dilma Rousseff in the capital of Caracas last Thursday 1 December for an encounter that saw the signing of 11 new bilateral accords in areas ranging from science and technology to housing and energy.

The meeting was Rousseff's first official visit to Venezuela since being sworn in as Brazilian President on January 1 and took place before the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) summit began in Caracas on Friday afternoon.

(NOTE: Nice photo of them at the link.)

Key among the pacts signed last week was the commitment on behalf of Venezuela's state owned airline, Conviasa, to acquire 20 new planes from the Brazilian company Embraer as well as the collaboration of Brazil's Central Bank, the Caixa, in Venezuela's massive new public housing initiative.

With respect to energy, both governments agreed to form a mixed company between a subsidiary of the Venezuelan state oil company Pdvsa and the Brazilian company Odebrecht as well as work to boost the capacity of Venezuela's current electricity output.

During their meeting, the two heads of state also revised the progress of an earlier agricultural accord that has led to the cultivation more than 7,000 hectares (17,000 acres) of land in the central Venezuelan state of Anzoategui.


...the gains made in Anzoategui as well as others made by collaborative projects with Brazil are the direct result of the integrationist policies that have existed between the two countries since the 8-year presidency of Rousseff's predecessor, Lula da Silva.


Officials report that commercial activity between Brazil and Venezuela in the first 10 months of 2011 has grown by more than 20 percent in relation to the same period last year.

(Creative Commons License)
(my emphases)


There is nothing more important to U.S. transglobal corporations and war profiteers (and thus to the U.S. government) than breaking up this critically important alliance between the leftist governments of Venezuela and Brazil. Rightwing posters at DU have been trying to chat up phantom divisions between these leaders for some time as well as downplaying the momentous formalization of UNASUR (all South American countries) in 2008 and, this week, CELAC (all Latin American countries), with the U.S. and Canada not invited to join.

The alliance between Lula da Silva and Hugo Chavez was essential to the formation of both of these new institutions, which reflect the overwhelming trend in Latin America toward economic/political integration, independence, communal strength and social justice. Lula's protege, Dilma Rousseff, is now furthering this alliance. She has much reason to support it, from a social justice and "raise all boats"-prosperity point of view, and also a personal reason. Her first contact with the U.S., as a young woman, was at the hands of torturers in the U.S.-supported fascist regime in Brazil. It is experiences like hers--including half a century of bullying, bloodshed and exploitation by the U.S. and its fascist allies in Latin America--that have driven Latin America's majority to seek independence from the U.S.
Posted by Peace Patriot | Sun Dec 11, 2011, 11:46 PM (4 replies)

Food for thought for the 99%: The Difficult Journey from "Me" to "Us"

Venezuela’s 21st Century Socialism and the Difficult Journey from ‘Me’ to ‘Us’


The Venezuela of today is a nation mobilized in defense of a new ideal – a proposal for the future referred to simply as Socialismo del Siglo 21, or 21st Century Socialism. In short, the Venezuelan people’s permanent struggle for peace and justice has today converged with humanity’s historical pursuit of equality; giving birth to a present day plan of action for human liberation. Thanks to the Venezuelan people, their decision to elect and defend President Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías, and their shared interpretation – and permanent reinterpretation – of socialism as a future worth fighting for, humanity has a new opportunity to consolidate a social, economic, and cultural system that serves to overcome many of the pervasive social relations promoted and reproduced under capitalism. This Venezuelan possibility, however, is dependent on both the Venezuelan people’s ability to overcome their nation’s own internal contradictions, and the people-of-the-world’s ability to control capital’s assault on the Bolivarian Revolution.

Born of a critical view towards the devastating impact capital has on human health, human relations, and on the ecosystems that sustain human life – whether as a result of underconsumption (See LINK: Poverty, Global Majority) or its’ interconnected opposite, overconsumption (See LINK: Obesity, U.S. and Europe) – this analysis seeks to contextualize a few of the guiding principles being used by the Venezuelan people in their struggle to consolidate a socialist society, and takes a brief glimpse at the challenge faced by 21st Century Socialism in the fight against capital’s culture of consumption that remains quite present in the Venezuela of the Bolivarian Revolution.

Defining Socialism of the 21st Century, or Bolivarian Socialism –

Simón Bolívar (1783-1830), also known as “The Liberator” in most of Latin America, once said that “the most perfect system of government is that which produces the greatest possible sum of happiness” for the majority of any nation’s citizens – a notion Bolívar is said to have been exposed to while studying under mentor Simón Rodríguez (1769-1854); influenced strongly, no doubt, by Rousseau (1712-1778).

In Bolívar’s view, “nature makes human beings that are unequal in nature, temperament, force and character.” Because of this innate difference in human beings, Bolívar believed that the social systems developed by the human collective must serve to “correct these differences, placing individuals into a society in which they have equal access to education, economic development, the arts, services and virtues.” Equal access, affirmed Bolívar, was the first and necessary step towards social equality, without which, “all freedoms, all rights, perish.” The Bolivarian equation, made simple, understands equal access (to resources, to culture) as a fundamental condition for social equality, and understands social equality as the only guarantor of peace, justice, and prosperity.

According to Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez the Venezuelan people’s historical pursuit of social equality has always been guided – “warmed” as he puts it – by deep-rooted sentiments of social solidarity, cooperation, and an entrenched anti-imperialism seeded during the anti-colonial independence period of roughly 200 years ago (1806-1825). In order to flourish, asserts Chávez, the Bolivarian Revolution needs these ‘sentiments’ transformed into daily actions by the thousands upon thousands of organized communities that currently make up the Venezuelan landscape. These aforementioned ‘sentiments,’ affirms Chávez, are the basis for an “ethical fight against capitalism’s vices,” including individualism, egoism, privilege and the exploitative consumption model that are destroying Venezuela’s today and Venezuela’s tomorrow.

Borrowing from a speech by Chávez (Aló Presidente 19/02/2006): “the construction of socialism is our reason for being, but this alone is not the entire picture. It is no longer a simple question of a political, moral, ethical or ideological impulse. No, it is much greater than that. It is now about saving the earth, because the capitalist model, the model of development, the consumerist model imposed on the world by those in the Global North; that model is bringing an end to life on the planet.”

The “ethical fight” against capitalism, and the path towards Socialism of the 21st Century, are detailed in Venezuela’s first set of guidelines for socialism’s advance; the Simón Bolívar National Plan 2007 – 2013 (PPSN). In it, Chávez writes of an “ethical and moral refounding” of Venezuelan society, “rooted in the fusion of principles and values born of socialism’s most advanced humanist currents and the historical inheritance of Simón Bolívar’s political program.” Socialism of the 21st Century, according to the PPSN, prioritizes the “supreme happiness of each citizen” within a societal context of social justice, social equality, and social solidarity.

The PPSN singles out capitalism as social equality’s “enemy number one,” pointing to the alienating, anti-social values it promotes as cause for great concern.


Revolutionary Humanism and People’s Power –

Socialism as People’s Power, held (Che) Guevara, becomes reality when a society’s majority has “the total possibility of determining their collective destiny, deciding how much (of society’s wealth) goes to accumulation and how much goes to consumption. Economic strategies/developments are then put into place based on these figures/ allotments, and the people’s consciousness secures their successful completion.”


The Venezuelan Voyage from ‘Me’ to ‘Us’

The voyage beyond egoism in any society is a difficult road to travel, and this is especially true in the case of Venezuela; a nation entrenched in a consumerist model perpetuated by the ability to export millions of barrels of oil and import boatloads of cheap consumer goods on a daily basis. Confronting a ‘culture of consumption’ that goes far beyond the just struggle to secure people access to their basic human needs (food, water, housing, health, education and culture), the Venezuelan people face an ideology that permeates their day-to-day lives and struggles.

Cuba’s José Ramón Fabelo explains how the egocentrism so common in societies dominated by capital is nothing more than the result of a logic perpetuated by society’s elite – an elite, according to Fabelo, that finds itself in a “permanent pursuit of the maximization of profits at the cost of everyone and everything, and which forces others, including the poor, to act in an egocentric way, because for the poor this egocentrism is often the only way to achieve their own survival.” Struggling to survive, Venezuela’s majority has for centuries been forced to fight against itself in an illogical pursuit of a portion of Venezuela’s abundant resources – resources that for centuries had been siphoned off by the upper-crust of Venezuelan society.

And while capitalism’s value system is quite deeply engrained in the collective consciousness of Venezuelan society, renowned eco-socialist Michael Löwy explains how it is far from permanent. Löwy argues, instead, that socialism is a future “founded on a reasonable assumption, already supported by Marx: the predominance of ‘being’ over ‘having’ in a society without social classes or capitalist alienation, i.e. the primacy of free time over the desire to have innumerable objects: personal fulfillment by means of real activities - cultural, sporting, playful, scientific, erotic, artistic and political. Commodity fetishism encourages compulsive buying through the ideology and the advertising that are proper to the capitalist system. Nothing proves that this is part of “eternal human nature”.


(Creative Commons License)
(my emphases)


I am not as "sold" on socialism, per se, as some of those quoted in this article but I DO think that it's time--way past time--for a new re-balancing of society's priorities, away from the "dog eat dog" egotism of predatory capitalism, especially here in the U.S. where the imbalance has become such a threat to world peace and to economic justice everywhere.

That the Corporate Giants spawned in our midst--transformed into transglobal monsters--are intent on looting Social Security and Medicare--the last of the "New Deal" programs of social cooperation and fairness (--we pay into them all our working lives; we get help when we need it)--is a major indicator that the rich capitalists are out of control and that, whatever benefits their ideology may once have had for the rest of us (for instance, job creation or production of clever and desirable products) are over. They are no longer producing anything but disaster for the 99% while enriching the 1% beyond all reason.

Venezuela's socialist model should be closely studied, but more than this, Venezuela's ELECTION SYSTEM should be studied for HOW TO ELECT LEFTIST LEADERS willing to battle the Corporate Powers on our behalf.

---Venezuela has an electronic voting system but it is an OPEN SOURCE system. Anyone may review the code by which the votes are tabulated. Here, we have an electronic 'TRADE SECRET' system--the public IS FORBIDDEN to review the code by which the votes are tabulated--now run largely by one, private, far rightwing-connected corporation (ES&S, which bought out Diebold). Our system is EXTREMELY riggable--which is how the "powers-that-be" have produced this Scumbag Congress and is also, I believe, one of their controls on Obama.

--Venezuela does a whopping 55% audit (comparison of ballots to electronic totals)--more than five times the minimum needed to detect fraud in electronic voting systems. In our system, HALF THE STATES do NO AUDIT AT ALL and the other half do a miserably inadequate 1% audit.

--The above--public as opposed to private vote counting--is how the Venezuelans have been able to vote themselves a "New Deal." The privatized vote counting that we have here is why we can't even hope to get a "New Deal" in the U.S. It has been blockaded.

--There are other stark differences in the two election systems, in Venezuela's favor, which reflect the overall trend in Latin America toward honest elections (restrictions on campaign contributions, on last minute campaign "attack" ads, etc.) but this is the big one--the one causing the most problems for us: private rather than public control of the vote counting.

Without transparent vote counting, we CANNOT elect good leaders--whether they are "New Dealers," or socialists, or favor a mixed socialist/capitalist model, or whatever. We wonder why we seem to have no one in Washington DC representing the interests of the 99%? This. Is. Why.

It was a recent coup d'etat, circa 2002 to 2004, perpetrated on us by the Anthrax Congress in the same month as the Iraq War Resolution (Oct. '02) in the form of a $3.9 billion e-voting boondoggle with NO audit/recount requirements and NO restrictions on lobbying. They did NOT mandate that everybody had to vote on private 'TRADE SECRET' machines. This was accomplished all over the country by corrupt lobbying (and it can therefore still be undone at the state/local level--an important bit of information).

Keep in mind that Venezuela also has terrible Corporate Media--even worse than ours--and multi-millions of our tax dollars have been infused into Venezuelan elections in devious ways to rightwing candidates and causes, through entities like the USAID. The Venezuelan National Assembly has tried to ban this kind of outside interference but it still happens. So, what is the difference between Venezuela and the U.S., as to the people's ability to elect the leaders they want? It is very simple, in my opinion: The voting system!

It is quite notable that we can't even have a DISCUSSION about socialism--or, say, about the value of putting "Me" aside and thinking about "Us"--in this country. We know why that is so. The Corporate Powers control the political discussion. But they also do that in Venezuela and throughout Latin America, where a leftist revolution is taking place in the teeth of Corporate propaganda. "We, the People" CAN create our own networks of news and information and our own organizing tools to elect the best leaders but all this is wasted effort if the Corporate Powers control the vote counting.

That is our situation. Venezuela is one of the best examples of how much bullshit can be overcome if the voting system is an honest one. They have given themselves their version of a "New Deal"--more socialist than ours was. We may not want to go that far. We may settle for securing certain kinds of social programs, pulling some corporate charters and dismantling some of these corporate monsters, defunding the war planners and establishing a peaceful military and other such reformist measures. But first we need to restore honest vote counting in the PUBLIC venue.
Posted by Peace Patriot | Sun Dec 11, 2011, 06:04 PM (2 replies)
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