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Peace Patriot

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That was my reaction as well. Brazil is also defying the U.S. on Iran.

And that makes a very big region of South America which is making ITS OWN foreign policy and DOESN'T CARE what the U.S. thinks about it. It is a point of sovereignty, as well as being an anti-war and world peace policy. And WHO has violated world peace with unjust, horrible war? NOT Iran. Not Brazil. Not Venezuela. Not Bolivia. Not Ecuador.

Us. It was us. Or, rather, our masters slaughtering a hundred thousand innocent people in the first weeks of "shock and awe" bombing alone, in OUR NAME, right next door to Iran, which watched this horror unfold on their border and decided that they had better develop a nuclear defense or they were next!

Most of Latin America thinks that, when it comes to cultural and political conflicts, trade and friendly cultural exchanges are the way to go--and that war really, really, REALLY sucks.

They are right--but our masters don't care about working out cultural and political differences. In fact, they readily install real shit-heads to do their bidding. As for trade, they do NOT believe in "free trade" at all. They believe in corporate MONOPOLIES, and they don't care how those corporate monopolies are imposed. Truth is, they PREFER dictators or dictatorial oligarchies to any other form of government, to GUARANTEE their monopolies and to smash local rivals and dissenters. They seek control of all resources and they seek cheap, unprotected labor, the more like slaves the better.

Brazil, Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador--and other allies of theirs, including Argentina--seek FAIR trade--a "level playing field"--worker empowerment (so evident in their governments' policies and leaders) and PEACE, in all of its manifestations, including a peaceful attitude toward other cultures, peaceful change, and painstaking diplomacy rather than bullying, threats, covert dirty tricks and war.

The great irony is that, if Iran needs changing, positive change is much more likely to be produced by Brazil's, Venezuela's, Bolivia's, Ecuador's and Argentina's approach, than by U.S. bullying, threats, covert dirty tricks and war. Oh, yes, the U.S. might change Iran--as it did in 1954, by destroying Iran's first democracy (because its first president nationalized the oil) and installing the horrible "Shah of Iran" who inflicted the Iranian people with 25 years of torture and oppression, in service to U.S. and U.K. oil interests. But POSITIVE change--welcoming Iranians (who are Persians, not Arabs) into the modern world--encouraging their republic, encouraging more democracy, encouraging human rights (truly encouraging human rights, not faking it, as the U.S. does)--requires RESPECT, requires an understanding of their legitimate fears, requires finding mutual interests, mutual points of culture and healthy trade and contact.

The masters of the U.S. can--and probably will--throw the U.S. war machine at Iran, as it did to Iraq, and might get Exxon Mobil and BP signed oil contracts in a hell hole with millions of radiation-burned or starving, displaced people wandering around, and with highly paid mercenaries having fun "turkey shoots" when they wander into the wrong places--the absolutely perfect setting for U.S. oil operations--hell--then, in addition to paying for this war, we'll get another couple of dollars tacked onto the price of gasoline, and half of us will have to give up our jobs because we can't afford to drive there (already happening in the U.S.A.), and eventually the Iranians will REALLY become radicalized, like they AREN'T now, and join the jihadists in blowing up anything with a U.S. flag on it. We will have turned this potentially great and brilliant people INTO Al Qaeda--and that serves the other evildoers among us, the U.S. military and all of its private contractors, who live off "enemies." It's their gravy train!

This is what Brazil, Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Argentina and others are trying to prevent. They are asserting the foreign policy that the U.S. once stood for, as the expression of the form of government--democracy--that the U.S. once was. Oh, the irony!

These !@#$-ers in the U.S. foreign policy establishment and the U.S. "military-industrial complex" and the U.S. police state want to ERADICATE this South American foreign policy and the governments that advocate it. That is very clear. And they are going to do it with subversion, spying and dirty rotten CIA tricks, as this latest bullshit from the Diebold Congress makes clear--and, if that fails, they will turn the U.S. war machine on South America--where most of the oil is, in the western hemisphere, in these very same countries.

South America as the U.S. "backyard." South America as the U.S. "doormat." South America with heinous, installed dictators all over the landscape, torturing and murdering their own people for U.S. corporate interests. That's what our transglobal corporate masters want, but, believe me, the South Americans are not going to take it anymore. They don't want U.S. advice on ANY matter, including Iran. They are sick to death of U.S. war and U.S. dictation. They are very strongly committed to democracy, fairness and world peace. And if the Obama administration doesn't get smart on this matter, an unbreachable gulf is going to develop, between the two halves of the western hemisphere. They have the resources, the people and the passionate democratic momentum to go it alone, and they will. U.S. policy on this matter is not only wrong, it is stupid--and it is all too typical of what we have become: a corrupt, bankrupt, dangerous and deluded, gigantic military power with NO democratic controls on that power and with absolute vultures unleashed upon our own people to suck our entrails dry. Between the banksters and the "military-industrial conplex," we are a mere carcass of what we once were.

BUT, Latin America was in as much trouble as we are, a decade ago, and for many decades before that, and they are dramatically turning things around--politically, economically, socially, in every way, in a very short time. It started in Venezuela, in 2002, when the Venezuelan people reversed the U.S.(Bushwhack)-supported coup d'etat, and quickly spread to Argentina and Brazil, and soon to Bolivia, Ecuador, Uruguay and even Paraguay (though they have had a serious setback--with a coup government that has invited the U.S. back in), and now Peru, as well, has elected a new leftist government, and Chile will likely do so in the next election cycle. A few months after South America formed UNASUR (all SA governments, of whatever political stripe--June 2008), the U.S. (Bushwhacks) tried a coup in Bolivia but a united South America stopped them. LatAm was not so successful in Honduras, where a Bushwhack-designed rightwing coup d'tat shot up the leftist president's house, kidnapped him and flew him out of Honduras at gunpoint, with a re-fueling stop at the U.S. air base in Honduras. (Obama was president, but I'm not sure if he was in charge.) There have been set-backs--invariably the result of U.S. interference--but the trend is overwhelmingly democratic and leftist, and assertive of independence overall (including some rightwing leaders, or some actions of some rightwing leaders).

They are NOT going back to a state of servitude. Once people smell freedom, democracy and independence--and begin to reap the benefits of these things (as Latin Americans in countries with leftist governments certainly are doing)--there is no going back, and the new unity, cooperation, and "south-south" trade that is developing, with entities like UNASUR (all South America), CELAC (all Latin America), Mercosur and ALBA (trade groups) and the Bank of the South, is yet more evidence that they are not going back.

They will trade with whomever they damn please--just as the U.S. does. The U.S. trades with Saudi Arabia, China and other shitty governments, with barely a hypocritical thought about human rights or democracy. Why shouldn't LatAm countries trade with Iran? Really, why shouldn't they? Cuz our corporate masters don't like it? Ha!

None of it is going to work this time--not U.S. billions in aid to rightwing causes, not billions for the corrupt, murderous, failed U.S. "war on drugs," not CIA-FBI-DEA-AFT-Homeland Security spying and dirty tricks, nor the machinations of the Pentagon's "Southern Command," nor U.S. military training of torturers and assassins, not this Diebold Congress bill nor any other such crappy law, nor any of the devilish and paranoid shit that our government gets up to, is going to turn Latin America back into a U.S. pawn. And if they instigate another war in LatAm (besides the "war on drugs"), it is going to be the death knell of the U.S.A. We will be evicted from the region altogether and will descend into chaos here at home.

As I said, if the Latin Americans can arise from 50 years of U.S.-instigated fascism, and create democracy and social justice, so can we. And it can happen very quickly, once we get a few things straightened out (starting with vote counting in the PUBLIC VENUE!). It won't happen without struggle and pain, but it CAN happen. Latin America, and especially South America, is proving it.
Posted by Peace Patriot | Sat Dec 29, 2012, 03:47 AM (2 replies)

"JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters" is the best book

on the JFK assassination, as mentioned by DUer Jim Warren (comment #41, above). It draws upon all the other books and previous research and goes further, with new research and meticulous disentangling of the assassination plot, and into the very soul of history--WHY it happened and WHY it is still with us, today.

Its author, James Douglass, is not a "moron." Someone above says that anyone who believes that Oswald did not act alone is a "moron." More than any other author on the JFK assassination, Douglass addresses the psychological condition of those who would call people like Douglass--an extremely intelligent man, a topnotch researcher, an excellent and cautious writer who asserts nothing that he cannot prove, and also a man with a deep soul--a "moron."

James Douglass proves--to my mind, beyond any question--that the CIA assassinated President Kennedy. He nails the CIA up to Richard Helms (Director of Operations). It is likely that Allen Dulles, whom JFK had fired as CIA Director over the disastrous "Bay of Pigs" invasion of Cuba, was behind the plot, but there is not enough evidence to nail him directly, so Douglass doesn't do so. He does not go outside of the evidence. He is also cautious about LBJ. The evidence suggests that LBJ was NOT involved in the assassination plot, but WAS involved in the coverup and had some weighty reasons (from his own point of view) for the latter.

Very importantly, Douglass disentangles the CIA's misdirections--for instance, their attempt to point blame for the assassination at Soviet Russia--and, most important of all--explains and documents WHY they did this. JFK had refused to nuke Russia during the Cuban Missile Crisis--with the entire "military-industrial complex" (all of the Joint Chiefs, the CIA and everybody in his cabinet except Bobby) strongly pressuring him to do so. By pointing to Soviet Russia on the assassination, the CIA was trying to force JFK's successor, LBJ, to nuke Russia in retaliation. They wanted to nuke Russia--to wipe it off the face of the earth--while the U.S. had missile superiority. JFK wouldn't do it. (He did a backchannel deal with Krushchev to avoid it.) They thought LBJ would do it--or that they could force him to do it. And THIS is why LBJ, three days after the assassination, said, "Now they can have their war." He was speaking of the CIA and Vietnam!

"Now" meaning that, now that the coverup was in train, and the tracks to Russia were being muddied over, they "could have their war" with Communism elsewhere--without, for instance, hundreds of thousands of deaths on the east coast of the U.S. from a nuclear war with Russia.

When you see the events leading up to the JFK assassination IN CONTEXT, in a coherent narrative of the times, in a coherent narrative of JFK's presidency and in a coherent narrative of JFK's life--his in-progress transformation from a "cold warrior" into an advocate of world peace--then the facts of the assassination and its muddled coverup fall into place like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, and it becomes VERY CLEAR who did it, why they did it and WHY IT STILL MATTERS.

Focus on the assassination itself IS NOT ENOUGH. You have to focus on those facts--really focus on them, in a disentangling process--AND on the Bay of Pigs, the firing of Dulles, the Cuban Missile Crisis, Kennedy's backchannel communications with Krushchev and Castro, the Russian Wheat Deal, the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, JFK's executive order withdrawing U.S. troops from Vietnam--and, also, a vital factor for which Douglass provides original research--Kennedy's religion (for instance, his contact through Ethel Kennedy with the anti-nuke Trappist monk Thomas Merton). Kennedy had become a threat to the U.S. "military-industrial complex." He wouldn't take their dictates--even if it meant him standing against them all alone, with his brother as his only ally. In 1960, when he ran for president, he spoke like a "cold warrior." In late 1962 and 1963, he was a very changed leader (as a result of the Cuban Missile Crisis) and was seeing beyond the "Cold War" and intending to END the "Cold War" (the MIC's, the CIA's and the Joint Chiefs' gravy train).

NOW you begin to understand WHY the CIA sent their very duped, Navy spy-trained asset, Lee Harvey Oswald, to Russia--and then readmitted him to the U.S.A. to create the "Fair Play For Cuba Committee."

This is a very great book--"JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters." It is must reading for every American--whether you "believe" that Oswald did not act alone or whether you think that those who "believe" this are "morons." To the latter, I say this: I'm sorry but James Douglass is NOT a "moron." He is one of the most brilliant historians that I have ever read, for his depth of understanding, not only of the details of history but of the soul of history--its meaning, that which remains among us, influencing future generations, to the end of time and certainly a mere half a century later. You owe this man a reading especially if you think he is a "moron." He spent ten years of his life doing nothing but this book. It is thoroughly researched and beautifully written. You owe him. We all do.

The MIC is still with us, creating "gravy train" wars all over the planet. The CIA is still with us, now arming the "rebels" in Syria, as they armed the fascists in South Vietnam, or summarily executing anonymously targeted "terrorists" all over the planet. These forces that are draining our treasury and destroying our democracy are still in charge. They are reaping the benefits of the JFK assassination to this day.

That is "why it matters."
Posted by Peace Patriot | Fri Dec 28, 2012, 12:56 PM (5 replies)

Why Chavez won re-election and why his VP Nicholas Madura will be elected if...

...Chavez is too ill to be sworn in for his third term or dies prior to his inauguration (in which case there will be a new election for president in 30 days).

-----------------------------

The Achievements of Hugo Chavez: An Update on the Social Determinants of Health in Venezuela

By CARLES MUNTANER, JOAN BENACH, MARIA PAEZ VICTOR - COUNTERPUNCH, December 20th 2012


(SNIP)

...Venezuela is now the country in the region with the lowest inequality level (measured by the Gini Coefficient) having reduced inequality by 54%, poverty by 44%. Poverty has been reduced from 70.8% (1996) to 21% (2010). And extreme poverty reduced from 40% (1996) to a very low level of 7.3% (2010). About 20 million people have benefited from anti-poverty programs, called “Misiones” (Up to now, 2.1 million elderly people have received old-age pensions – that is 66% of the population while only 387,000 received pensions before the current government.

... the Bolivarian government has placed a particular emphasis on education allotting it more than 6% of GDP. UNESCO has recognized that illiteracy been eliminated furthermore, Venezuela is the 3rd county in the region whose population reads the most. There is tuition free education from daycare to university; 72% of children attend public daycares and 85% of school age children attend school. There are thousands of new or refurbished schools, including 10 new universities. The country places 2nd in Latin America and 5th in the world with the greatest proportions of university students. In fact, 1 out of every 3 Venezuelans are enrolled in some educational program.(2) . It is also a great achievement that Venezuela is now tied with Finland as the 5th country with the happiest population in the world.(3) .

Before the Chavez government in 1998, 21% of the population was malnourished. Venezuela now has established a network of subsidized food distribution including grocery stores and supermarkets. While 90% of the food was imported in 1980, today this is less than 30%. Misión Agro-Venezuela has given out 454,238 credits to rural producers and 39,000 rural producers have received credit in 2012 alone. Five million Venezuelan receive free food, four million of them are children in schools and 6,000 food kitchens feed 900,000 people. The agrarian reform and policies to help agricultural producers have increased domestic food supply. The results of all these food security measures is that today malnourishment is only 5%, and child malnutrition which was 7.7% in 1990 today is at 2.9%. This is an impressive health achievement by any standards.

Some of the most important available data on health care and public health are as following (4),(5),(6):

*infant mortality dropped from 25 per 1000 (1990) to only 13/1000 (2010);

*An outstanding 96% of the population has now access to clean water (one of the goals of the revolution);

*In 1998, there were 18 doctors per 10,000 inhabitants, currently there are 58
(doctors per 10,000 inhabitants), and the public health system has about 95,000 physicians;

*It took four decades for previous governments to build 5,081 clinics, but in just 13 years the Bolivarian government built 13,721 (a 169.6% increase);

*Barrio Adentro (i.e., primary care program with the help of more than 8,300 Cuban doctors) has approximately saved 1,4 million lives in 7,000 clinics and has given 500 million consultations;

*In 2011 alone, 67,000 Venezuelans received free high cost medicines for 139 pathologies conditions including cancer, hepatitis, osteoporosis, schizophrenia, and others; there are now 34 centres for addictions,

*In 6 years 19,840 homeless have been attended through a special program; and there are practically no children living on the streets.

*Venezuela now has the largest intensive care unit in the region.

*A network of public drugstores sell subsidized medicines in 127 stores with savings of 34-40%.

*51,000 people have been treated in Cuba for specialized eye treatment and the eye care program “Mision Milagro”; has restored sight to 1.5 million Venezuelans

An example of how the government has tried to respond in a timely fashion to the real needs of its people is the situation that occurred in 2011 when heavy tropical rains left 100,000 people homeless. They were right away sheltered temporarily in all manner of public buildings and hotels and, in one and a half years, the government built 250,000 houses. The government has obviously not eradicated all social ills, but its people do recognize that, despite any shortcomings and mistakes, it is a government that is on their side, trying to use its resources to meet their needs. Part of this equation is the intense political participation that the Venezuelan democracy stands for, that includes 30,000 communal councils, which determine local social needs and oversee their satisfaction and allows the people to be protagonists of the changes they demand.(7)

The Venezuelan economy has low debts, high petroleum reserves and high savings, yet Western economists that oppose President Chávez repeat ad nauseam that the Venezuelan economy is not “sustainable” and predict its demise when the oil revenues stop. Ironically they do not hurl these dire predictions to other oil economies such as Canada or Saudi Arabia. They conveniently ignore that Venezuela’s oil reservoir of 500 billion barrels of oil is the largest in the world and consider the social investment of oil revenues a waste or futile endeavour. However these past 13 years, the Bolivarian government has been building up an industrial and agricultural infrastructure that 40 years of previous governments had neglected and its economy continues to get stronger even in the face of a global financial crisis.

An indication of the increasing diversification of the economy is the fact that the State now obtains almost as much revenue from tax collection as from the sale of oil, since it strengthened its capacity for tax collection and wealth redistribution. In just one decade, the State obtained US$ 251,694 million in taxes, more than its petroleum income per annum. Economic milestones these last ten years include reduction in unemployment from 11.3% to 7.7%; doubling the amount of people receiving social insurance benefits, and the public debt has been reduced from 20.7% to 14.3% of GNP and the flourishing of cooperatives has strengthen local endogenous economies. In general, the Venezuelan economy has grown 47.4% in ten years, that is, 4.3% per annum. (8). Today many European countries would look jealously at these figures. Economists who studied in detail the Venezuelan economy for years indicate that, “The predictions of economic collapse, balance of payments or debt crises and other gloomy prognostications, as well as many economic forecasts along the way, have repeatedly proven wrong… Venezuela’s current economic growth is sustainable and could continue at the current pace or higher for many years.”(9) .

According to Global Finance and the CIA World Factbook ,the Venezuelan economy presents the following indicators.(10): unemployment rate of 8%; 45,5% government (public) debt as a percent of GDP (by contrast the European Union debt/GDP is 82.5%); and a real GDP growth: GDP per capita is $13,070. In 2011, the Venezuelan economy defied most forecasts by growing 4.2 percent, and was up 5.6 percent in the first half of 2012. It has a debt-to-GDP ratio comfortably below the U.S. and the UK, and stronger than European countries; an inflation rate, an endemic problem during many decades, that has fallen to a four-year low, or 13.7%, over the most recent 2012 quarter. Even The Wall Street Journal reports that Venezuela’s stock exchange is by far the best-performing stock market in the world, reaching an all-time high in October 2012, and Venezuela’s bonds are some of the best performers in emerging markets.

Hugo Chavez’s victory had an impact around the world as he is recognized as having spearheaded radical change not only in his own country but in all Latin America where progressive governments have also been elected, thereby reshaping the global order. The victory was even more significant considering the enormous financial and strategic help that the USA agencies and allies gave to the opposition parties and media. Since 2002, Washington channeled $100 million to opposition groups in Venezuela and this election year alone, distributed US$ 40-50 million there. (11) But the Venezuelan people disregarded the barrage of propaganda unleashed against the president by the media that is 95% privately owned and anti-Chavez. (12) The tide of progressive change in the region has started to build the infrastructure for the first truly independent South America with political integration organizations such as Bank of the South, CELAC, ALBA, PETROSUR, PETROCARIBE, UNASUR, MERCOSUR, TELESUR and thus have demonstrated to the rest of the world that there are, after all, economic and social alternatives in the 21st century.(13). Following a different model of development from that of global capitalism in sharp contrast to Europe, debt levels across Latin America are low and falling.

The changes in Venezuela are not abstract. The government of President Chávez has significantly improved the living conditions of Venezuelans and engaged them in dynamic political participation to achieve it (14). This new model of socialist development has had a phenomenal impact all over Latin America, including Colombia of late, and the progressive left of centre governments that are now the majority in the region see in Venezuela the catalyst that ... has brought more democracy, national sovereignty and economic and social progress to the region.(15) . No amount of neoliberal rhetoric can dispute these facts. Dozens of opinionated experts can go on forever on whether the Bolivarian Revolution is or is not socialist, whether it is revolutionary or reformist (it is likely to be both ), yet at the end of the day these substantial achievements remain. This is what infuriates its opponents the most both inside Venezuela and most notable, from neocolonialist countries. The “objective” and “empiricist” The Economist will not publicize this data, preferring to predict once again the imminent collapse of the Venezuelan economy and El Pais, in Spain, would rather have one of the architects of the Caracazo (the slaughter of 3000 people in Caracas protesting the austerity measures of 1989), the minister of finance of the former government Moises Naim, go on with his anti-Chávez obsession. But none of them can dispute that the UN Human Development Index situates Venezuela in place #61 out of 176 countries having increased 7 places in 10 years.

And that is one more reason why Chavez’s Bolivarian Revolution will survive Venezuela’s Socialist leader.


----

(Authors)

Carles Muntaner is Professor of Nursing, Public Health and Psychiatry at the University of Toronto. He has been working on the public health aspects of the Bolivarian Revolution for more than a decade including Muntaner C, Chung H, Mahmood Q and Armada F. “History Is Not Over. The Bolivarian Revolution, Barrio Adentro and Health Care in Venezuela.” In T Ponniah and J Eastwood The Revolution in Venezuela. Harvard: HUP, 2011

María Páez Victor is a Venezuelan sociologist, specializing in health and medicine.

Joan Benach is a professor of Public Health at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona. He has collaborated in a number of studies on the public health policies of the Bolivarian Revolution.

(Notes)

1. Páez Victor, Maria. “Why Do Venezuelan Women Vote for Chavez?” Counterpunch, 24 April 2012

http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/04/24/why-do-venezuelan-women-vote-for-chavez/print

2. Venezuela en Noticias, Venezuela en Noticias <venezuelaennoticias@minci.gob.ve> Venezuela en Noticias, Venezuela en Noticias venezuelaennoticias@minci.gob.ve

3. Gallup Poll 2010

4. Muntaner C, Chung H, Mahmood Q and Armada F. “History Is Not Over. The Bolivarian Revolution, Barrio Adentro and Health Care in Venezuela.” In T Ponniah and J Eastwood The Revolution in Venezuela. Harvard: HUP, 2011 pp 225-256; see also 4, Muntaner et al 2011, 5, Armada et al 2009; 6, Zakrison et al 2012

5. Armada, F., Muntaner, C., & Navarro, V. (2001). “Health and social security reforms in latin america: The convergence of the world health organization, the world bank, and transnational corporations.” International Journal of Health Services, 31(4), 729-768.

6. Zakrison TL, Armada F, Rai N, Muntaner C. ”The politics of avoidable blindnessin Latin America–surgery, solidarity, and solutions: the case of Misión Milagro.”Int J Health Serv. 2012;42(3):425-37.

7. Ismi, Asad. “The Bolivarian Revolution Gives Real Power to the People.” The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives Monitor , December 2009/January.http://www.policyalternatives.ca/publications/monitor/latin-american-revolution-part-iv

8. Carmona, Adrián. “Algunos datos sobre Venezuela”, Rebelión, March 2012

9. Weisbrot, Mark and Johnston, Jake. “Venezuela’s Economic Recovery: Is It Sustainable?” Center for Economic and Policy Research, Washington, D.C., September 2012.

10. Hunziker , Robert. “Venezuela and the Wonders of Equality”. October 15th, 2012

11. Golinger, Eva. “US$20 million for the Venezuelan Opposition in 2012”, http://www.chavezcode.com/2011/08/us-20-million-for-venezuelan-opposition.html

12. Páez Victor, Maria. “Chavez wins Over Powerful Foreign Conglomerate Against Him”, Periódico América Latina, 11 October, 2012

13. Milne,Seumas. “The Chávez Victory Will be Felt Far Beyond Latin America” , Associate Editor, The Guardian, October 9, 2012:

14. Alvarado, Carlos, César Arismendi, Francisco Armada, Gustavo Bergonzoli, Radamés Borroto, Pedro Luis Castellanos, Arachu Castro, Pablo Feal, José Manuel García, Renato d´A. Gusmão, Silvino Hernández, María Esperanza Martínez, Edgar Medina, Wolfram Metzger, Carles Muntaner, Aldo Muñoz, Standard Núñez, Juan Carlos Pérez, and Sarai Vivas. 2006. “Mission Barrio Adentro: The Right to Health and Social Inclusion in Venezuela”. Caracas: PAHO/Venezuela.

15. Weisbrot, Mark.”Why Chávez Was Re-elected”. New York Times. Oct 10th 2012

Source: CounterPunch
This work is licensed under a Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives Creative Commons license


http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/12/14/the-achievements-of-hugo-chavez/
found at: http://venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/7568

-------------------------------------------

These authors repeatedly make the point that the corporate-controlled press DOES NOT REPORT these extremely important facts about Venezuela's remarkable economic success and dramatic social improvements. It is a point that I have also repeatedly made. The corporate media fails to give their "news consumers" any understanding of the Chavez government's continued electoral victories. They give people the impression that Chavez elects himself. They also, of course, fail to report that Venezuela has an honest, transparent election system ("the best in the world," Jimmy Carter recently said). They want you to believe that Chavez is "a dictator" when, in fact, he has been honestly elected and is doing the will of the people which is WHY he gets re-elected (like our own FDR), and he has NOT "dictated" to ANYONE. He and his government have, instead, by intelligent, far-thinking policy, served the people who elected them, whether by vastly expanded health care, or vastly expanded educational opportunity, or high employment and good wages, or responsible money management.

The authors also stress the contradiction between the corporate media LIE that Venezuela is not doing well economically and the REALITY that it IS doing well by almost any indicator you could name. They DON'T WANT it to do well and they entirely INVENT a newsstream about Chavez and his government that fulfills their own WISHES. They DON'T LIKE a government succeeding at making wealth FAIRER. They hate it. So they create another reality--that, THIS YEAR it is GOING TO fail. All their past predictions of failure are wrong--grossly wrong--but, hey, "trust them" that, unless you give the 1% all the money and power, you WILL fail. They are pathological liars on Venezuela.
Posted by Peace Patriot | Fri Dec 28, 2012, 01:59 AM (14 replies)

The connection between the Aymara and Thor Heyerdahl is fascinating.

I'd never heard of it before, nor of the reed boats of Lake Titicaca. And Evo Morales, the most original politician to come along...I was going to say, in many moons, but, really, ever...OF COURSE would turn peoples' fears into hope with a beautiful ceremony!

But the Guardian--which is generally rotten on the Latin American Left--can't help but take a gratuitous swipe at these resource-dependent countries and vastly Europe-U.S. exploited and impoverished people--to wit:

"The Bolivian government has hailed the solstice as the start of an age in which community and collectivity will prevail over capitalism and individuality. Those themes have long been present in Morales's discourse, especially in the idea of vivir bien, or living well. He has stressed the importance of a harmonious balance between human life and the planet, though some people question its application in Bolivia, where the economy depends heavily on mining, oil and gas industries." --from the OP

It's one of those cheap and easy assertions, often seen in the corpo-fascist press, to stop thought--to make 'news' consumers stupid--and to paint all of us as inherently greedy and selfish and in vicious competition with each other, while transglobal corporations and banksters rob us all. They wouldn't say this--that harmonious balance is inapplicable in Bolivia--if Exxon Mobil and BP were pocketing all the profits from Bolivia's mining, oil and gas (and lithium!).

But Bolivians, in electing Evo Morales, have asserted their right to "vivir bien"--to food on the table, to health care, to educational opportunity, to pensions for the elderly, to decent wages--by controlling their own natural resources and using the profits for the common good. What the Guardian, as corpo-fascist propagandist, really wants us to believe is that this "harmonious balance" between people and profit is impossible in Bolivia and everywhere else. It is also a "Wall Street" Big Lie "talking point" that "harmonious balance" between people and nature is impossible and should not be attempted--because that high goal is an impediment to Exxon Mobil, BP, et al. Evo Morales has often spoken of it, at "climate change" summits and everywhere else, throughout his career. In fact, he is the major voice on "harmonious balance" among world leaders.

This paragraph is a knife in his back--and a warning that well-funded secret dirty rotten tricks agencies of the U.S./U.K. governments, that serve Exxon Mobil, BP, et al, have identified their 'wedge' issue in Bolivia and South America, and are no doubt working overtime to acquire 'assets' within dissident indigenous and environmental groups, to cause maximum trouble to leftist leaders like Morales in Bolivia, Correa in Ecuador and others. I rather think that Morales, and leaders allied to Morales, know this already. It's not likely news to them. But the Guardian reminds them of it here.

I don't know if the article's author is aware that she is delivering a warning and yet another bit of corporate propaganda, but her editors certainly are. They never tire of publishing hit pieces on Latin American leftists.
Posted by Peace Patriot | Sun Dec 23, 2012, 01:09 PM (1 replies)

Tell me again why the U.S. is doing this to Cuba?

Cuz, um, they have the best medical system in the world there, and it's free?

Cuz you can go to medical school there, or any school, through graduate degrees, and it's free?

Cuz there are no homeless people there--everybody has shelter, food on the table, employment, a decent life?

Can't be that, no...

I know...it's cuz Cuba invaded Haiti, and slaughtered a hundred thousand innocent people there with "shock and awe" bombing, and rounded up Haitians and imprisoned them, and stripped them of clothing, and forced them into naked pyramids of bodies, and suffocated and beat some of them to death, and imposed a puppet government and forced the puppet government to sign contracts with Cuban transglobal corporations giving Haiti's resources away?

No, wait! Cuba didn't do that to Haiti--Venezuela did!

And that's another reason the U.S. is imposing "sanctions" on Cuba and fining banks billions of dollars for doing business with Cuba--cuz they're friends with Venezuela and we hate Venezuela cuz...um...

They have honest, transparent elections and we don't, and we're jealous?

No, wait! That's why we hate them! Also, cuz they not only invaded Haiti, they invaded Colombia and murdered thousands of labor union leaders and other advocates of the poor and brutally displaced FIVE MILLION peasant farmers to give their lands to drug lords, Monsanto and other bad actors!

No, wait! That was the U.S.-funded and trained Colombia military, and the U.S. supported mafia boss, Alvaro Uribe, and his rightwing death squads! Hm-m.

But back to Cuba. Why is the U.S. "sanctioning" Cuba? I know, it's cuz they're sending anonymously "piloted" drone aircraft to kill anonymously chosen "terrorists" and anybody else standing around, in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Libya, Syria...

No, wait! That's Ecuador! But, see, Cuba's also friends with Ecuador which is harboring that terrorist Julian Assange while dropping drone bombs on anybody they please...

OK, here's the deal. Cuba toppled the elected government of Honduras, kidnapped its president, put him on a plane that refueled at a Cuban air base in Honduras, and installed a puppet government to oppress the Honduran people and stomp on their rights in favor of Cuban transglobal corporations. And Cuba is now building yet more military bases in Honduras to entrench its position...

No, wait!

Cuba and its nefarious allies are militaristic pigs, invading other countries, bombing people, torturing people, destroying their societies and stealing their resources in order to enrich the Castro Brothers!

It's those Castro Brothers--who dared to export...their medical system!

Now THAT merits billions of dollars in "sanctions" to anyone who helps Cuba! THAT is dastardly!

No, wait! Now get this! Cuba is exporting doctors to provide health care to POOR VOTERS in Venezuela, so they can get off their sick beds and go vote for free health care and free education in Venezuela! And not only that, Cuba has a medical EYE program, so they can SEE the ballot, and a LITERACY program, so they can READ it!

Now THAT cumulative evil merits "sanctions"--merits punishing banks, businesses, traders, shipping for daring to trade with Cuba!

No, wait! No, wait! It's DEMOCRACY! That's it! The U.S. wants to see Diebold in Cuba!

Ah! Ah! They want Cuba to have all that wonderful looting of Social Security and Medicare, all those firings of teachers and firefighters, all that downsizing and outsourcing, and union busting, and "privatization" and filthy lobbying, and humongous, unquestioned military budgets, and secret budgets and 'TRADE SECRET' vote counting, and corpo-fascist 'news' propaganda, and endless war that WE enjoy. They want to bring, um...freedom to Cuba!



It's not really all that funny but, jeez, you gotta laugh sometimes at U.S. government-transglobal corporate-war profiteer INSANITY. It makes sense to them if to no one else in their right minds. And we don't have nuttin to say about it. That's the funny part.
Posted by Peace Patriot | Fri Dec 21, 2012, 12:05 PM (4 replies)

1% is an interesting number...

It was ikonized by the Occupy movement, meaning the 1% of multi-billionaires who run things here and everywhere else where they can get U.S. boots on the ground in their interest. Then there are the rest of us--the 99%--who get to have "austerity."

But I was thinking that 1% is also how much "we the people" are permitted know about what is really happening within "our" government.

And, boy, is Benghazi a good example of it.

This bullshit about whether Benghazi was a riot or a terrorist plot is a sort of macabre dance that is played before the cameras, and I don't think it represents even 1% of what that incident was about.

For instance, for John McCain to complain about an administration LYING to the public, after what the Bush Junta did to us--those non-existent WMDs and all--is excruciatingly FUNNY, in a very dark sort of way.

In any case, since when are secretaries of state expected NOT to lie? Lying is pretty much their job description. Lying for the "military-industrial complex." Lying for the 1% behind the "military-industrial complex."

Lies, distortions, disinformation. That's what secretaries of state DO.

So part of the dance macabre here is that this matters to John McCain AT ALL. It doesn't. He does not in the least care about a secretary of state lying to "the American people."

What, then, is really going on? That's the 99% that "we the people" are forced to guess at--cuz "our" government is so out of our control that nobody bothers about us any more except to keep us ignorant, confused and supine.

Then their corporate news propagandists ridicule us for inventing "conspiracy theories."

Ah, me. Well, here's mine. First of all, a caveat. I understand that, on the surface, this is a political fight--newly re-elected president, Obama, vs. the rat bastards who lost. And I do understand partisan feeling about this among Democrats. I am a Democrat. I voted for Obama. But that doesn't mean that I have to believe how the Obama White House portrays everything--for instance, in the matter of the Rice nomination.

Also, it's very clear to me that it DOESN'T MATTER that Susan Rice portrayed the Benghazi incident as a riot and didn't reveal intelligence that it was a terrorist plot. The incident was a national security crisis and to expect the U.S. government to be 100% truthful in a national security crisis is ridiculous.

Conspiracy theory: There was a plot involving General Petraeus and Puke candidate Mitt Romney to pull an "October Surprise" on Obama, using intelligence that Betray-Us cadged from the CIA. I wouldn't go so far as to say that the Benghazi incident was LIHOP ("let it happen"--i.e., Betray-Us knew of the plot to attack the embassy and didn't stop it)--not yet anyway (too many unknowns)--but he most certainly knew that the CIA was detaining and torturing Libyans nearby (cuz that's what his girlfriend leaked) and that a plan to rescue those people would occur. He may have known plan and date and couldn't stop it. Or maybe there was a CIA/Petraeus operative within the targeted group who misdirected the group to the embassy and away from the CIA building. There is a lot of room for both treachery and opportunism in my theory. Maybe it was merely opportunism.

Here was the "out" faction within the "military-industrial complex" who want more wars--the over-the-top fascists--with whom Betray-Us had aligned himself for future gain. He tips Romney to the coming "Surprise." Romney gets his "talking points" ready--and the moment that the attack in Benghazi occurs, he's ON it--portraying Obama as incompetent on national security. It struck me as treason, at the time--what Romney did. He himself put U.S. government personnel at risk all over the world, by politicizing a national security crisis right in the middle of the crisis.

A further twist in this theory may be Karl Rove. They not only had a contrived national security issue, they had tech operatives fiddling with the 'TRADE SECRET' code voting machines in Ohio? Rove flipped out on Faux News when Ohio didn't go to Romney. Was that flip-out genuine, in the sense that Rove thought he had it rigged and his plan failed? (And, if it failed, was it really Anonymous who made it fail?) (And who is Anonymous? An interesting question.)

So, what's Obama--and, importantly, Leon Panetta--going to do about this attempted coup d'etat? For damn sure, they're not going to tell the American people. (It's a subtheory of mine that THIS is why Obama couldn't look at Romney in the first debate--kept looking down, for which Obama was criticized. He couldn't believe what this rat bastard was involved in?) Panetta (sidebar: he is a close bud of Bush Sr.--member of Bush Sr.'s "Iraq Study Group" that, in my opinion, took down Rumsfeld--and of course was sent to head the CIA for a year, to heal the wounds from the war between the Pentagon and the CIA that Cheney/Rumsfeld had started--now heading the Pentagon and considered the most powerful man in the world, by some)...Panetta takes down Petraeus over his girlfriend (and his weird friends in Florida, for "color"). Swift justice.*

And "somebody" foils Rove's tech team.

NOW what can John McCain say? They've gotta back down cuz Panetta and his protege Obama have the goods on them.

Obama wants Rice for secretary of state because, among other things, she DOESN'T reveal sensitive intelligence in the midst of a national security crisis! (Jeez.) McCain, furious about the failure of the two-pronged internal U.S. plot outlined above (Benghazi, Rove), can only jump up and down, like Rumpelstiltskin, and tear himself in two, over Rice NOT revealing sensitive information ('terrorist plot') that McCain and his rat bastard allies had intended to use to take down Obama!

Too bad that McCain and Rice are going to meet in secret. I'd sure like to be a fly on the wall at that meeting. Too bad we're never told 99% of what happens--that we have to pay for, and that we have to suffer "austerity" for. We the People.

Ain't that a classy "conspiracy theory"? Being a no-account, tax-paying, hard-working mere U.S. citizen, excluded from 99% of what is going on in my name with my money, has its fun side.

--------------------------

*(Note: The story about the FBI agent "stumbling upon" the CIA Director's mistress is hilarious.)

Posted by Peace Patriot | Tue Nov 27, 2012, 10:04 AM (1 replies)

I held my nose and clicked on this New York Slimes article to sniff out the strategy...

...that the U.S. and its transglobal corporate/ war profiteer masters are going to take with Ecuador, generally and with regard to the Assange asylum.

It occurs to me that this Juan José Illingworth is a good candidate for "great white hope" of said transglobals and war profiteers, rather like Capriles in Venezuela--an airbrushed leader with even better creds than Capriles. The Slimes make much of Illingworth and his noble ancestors--including one who fought with Simon Bolivar for Latin American independence--and his "English bona fides" (born in Manchester). They don't do this for just anybody. I strongly sense that he is being "groomed," as they say.

Look how they do go on about Illingworth:

---

"The family has a strong sense of history and its place in it. Its members walk through a city that has an Illingworth Street and an Illingworth Passage.

There are at least two statues and a bust of the Admiral, as their famous forebear is usually called. (The base of the statue in Navy Park contains a coffer with the Admiral’s remains. Mr. Illingworth was present a few years ago at the exhumation and was happy to see that, more than 150 years later, 'his skull was in perfect condition,' he said.)"
--The Slimes (from the OP)
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/11/world/americas/in-standoff-over-assange-ecuadoreans-close-ranks.html?pagewanted=all&_moc.semityn.www

---

That's one possible bit of strategy with which to undermine and destroy the hugely popular Correa and his leftist government--if Illingworth is buyable. Don't know that he is but that doesn't mean they aren't trying. They used him here (and he allowed himself to be used) to start off on a negative tack against Correa ("Mr. Illingworth is no fan of Ecuador’s president...blah, blah, blah...") that pretty much drips slime on Correa throughout the article with only one exception--the "Miriam Vilela, 40, a seamstress" section--but then they dis her as not well informed and they managed to capture a statement from her that makes the poor sound like "little Ayn Rands," all greedy and self-interested, knitting names for the Guillotine. (“Never retreat. What’s ours is ours.”)

In total, the article quotes four anti-Correa Ecuadorans and two vaguely described groups with anti-Correa criticisms, and only one Correa supporter and one Assange supporter. 6 to 2. That is the OPPOSITE of how things stand in Ecuador, as to Correa's popularity. And the only pro-Correa statement is that of the seamstress, above, who is dissed. This is a strategy of propaganda--falsely portraying a hugely popular, democratically elected, leftist president as, somehow, illegitimate, because all the people that New York Slimes stringers hang out with at the country clubs think so. Get this paragraph (which could be a USAID-written Capriles paragraph):

---

"Mr. Correa has made many broadly popular changes, improving health care, education, roads and social services. But he is a lightning rod and delights in in picking fights and taunting his opponents. He has been criticized by human rights groups for cracking down on popular protests and by dissident groups for seeking to intimidate and restrict the press." --The Slimes (from the OP) (my emphasis)

---

"A lightning rod"? "Delights in picking fights?" That's "colorful language"--very, very biased and presented, by the reporter, as reality. Go back and read it. Who is saying this? The reporter! And no one is asked to reply to this reporter's editorializing. The 70% of Ecuadorans who support Correa likely have a very different view of Correa's strong character and wouldn't call it "picking fights" and "taunting his opponents." But none of his many supporters is asked to respond to this view of his character, nor any of his aides or political allies, nor Correa himself. It is the unchallenged opinion of the reporter that Correa's championing of the poor (health care, education) and development of Ecuador (roads, social services) is being perpetrated by a bully and a loudmouth who has only his own political interest in mind. The reporter quotes several people questioning Correa's "political motives" with regard to Assange's asylum, starting with the Admiral's descendant. The conflation is plain. Correa has no good motives at all. He is a bad dude. Get it?

This isn't the worst reporting I've seen on the Latin American Left, but it's close. The Slimes tend to put a slick veneer on their character assassinations. Beware!

As for "seeking to intimidate and restrict the press": As with Chavez in Venezuela, the Corporate Press screams bloody murder when their monopolistic, propagandistic, so-called journalism gets challenged by democratic notions akin to our late, lamented "Fairness Doctrine." Both Chavez and Correa have done more for REAL "free speech"--the speech of ordinary people, the speech of excluded groups, the speech of the poor majority, the speech that the founders of our own country intended to protect with the 1st Amendment--than any political leaders in history, except maybe Thomas Jefferson and Tom Paine, and certainly than any political leaders in Latin American history. Both countries are now characterized by extremely high levels of public participation. Both countries are now characterized by intense, widespread political debate about substantive issues. The people of both countries wrote their own constitutions, debated every provision of their constitutions and put their constitutions to a vote of the people (both of which won, hands down), and that intense involvement with their own public life continues--and it puts our public life to shame.

What the New York Slimes means by "the press" is the corporate press. And, by "free speech," they mean corporate speech! They really, really don't want what the 1st Amendment was written to protect: the speech of ordinary citizens.

The strategy of punishing Ecuador for its independent stance on Assange and other matters (including, for instance, a recent Ecuadoran court ruling against Chevron-Texaco for its vast pollution of the Amazon rainforest, and Correa kicking the U.S. military out of Ecuador) emerges in the final paragragh. They found one guy, in all of Ecuador, who would criticize Correa for the Assange asylum decision. I wonder how many phone calls they had to make to get this:

---

"Enrique Ayala, the president of Simón Bolívar Andean University in Quito, said he believed that Mr. Assange had been politically persecuted and ran the risk of being accused of a crime by the United States for the release of secret documents and diplomatic cables. But he said that granting asylum was a mistake.

“'It isn’t in the best interests of Ecuador to have taken this step, which creates conflict with various countries,' Mr. Ayala said. 'The country doesn’t gain anything. I think it loses.'"
--The Slimes (from the OP)

---

You are left to wonder what Washington is cooking up to make Ecuador "lose." Maybe Ayala knows, maybe not. What about his political motives in his criticism of Correa for doing what Ayala admits is the right thing but shouldn't have been done because it creates "conflict." Conflict with whom? The U.S., of course, and its poodle, England. What is his agenda that he would tolerate persecution of a journalist by these governments? Hm?

Finally, I am sick to death of this typical character assassination of Julian Assange:

---

"Mr. Assange, who has taken refuge in the embassy since June 19 to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning on allegations that he sexually assaulted two women...". --the Slimes (from the OP)

---

Let's get this straight. Julian Assange is NOT really wanted for questioning in Sweden. He has three times made himself available for questioning on these absurd "sexual assault" charges, and Swedish prosecutors have refused to question him. There are no charges against him. The first prosecutor in this case dropped the case because the charges were so flimsy. That prosecutor was replaced with someone with more political ambition. Talk about "political motives"! What they want is to get Assange INTO CUSTODY--in any way that they can--so they can turn him over to the U.S. to be "buried" in a deep dungeon with Bradley Manning!

The "sexual assault" charges are a mockery of every woman who has ever been genuinely assaulted. And this warrant for Assange is a mockery of justice. He is wanted for the crime of journalism. That is the truth. And, if the New York Slimes had any self-respect left, as journalists, they would not perpetuate this slanderous coupling of Assange's name with "sexual assault." He has NOT been charged with ANY "assault." And he has NOT avoided questioning about the allegations. They were so NOT going to charge him with these flimsy allegations that they told him he could leave Sweden! THEN they chased him with a warrant. THEN. Why? Because they want him in custody" NOT for "questioning" but for extradition to the U.S.

I don't call them the New York Slimes for nothing. This slimebag article is all too typical of what this once great newspaper--the publisher of the Pentagon Papers--has become.
Posted by Peace Patriot | Tue Sep 11, 2012, 01:41 AM (0 replies)

Anything to smear FDR and the "New Deal" at election time in the U.S.--the Associated Pukes

And do notice the colorful and/or iffy language....

"some scholars believe..."

"mysteriously vanished into the heart of American power..."

"The long-held suspicion is that..."

"lend weight to the belief that..."

"Historians" describe the new archive material as "important"...nay, as...

"potentially explosive"!

---------------------------

Bush Jr. and his pals slaughter a hundred thousand innocent people in the "shock and awe" bombing of Baghdad, to steal their oil, torture prisoners for reasons unknown, in violation of the Geneva Conventions, the UN Charter, the U.S. Constitution, the Uniform Code of Military Justice and all manner of laws and civilized norms, out CIA agents and an entire WMD counter-proliferation project--putting U.S. agents and contacts around the world in peril of their lives--"lose" billions of dollars in Iraq, and entirely bust the U.S. economy--not to mention ignoring dire warnings and going on vacation in August 2001--and the Associated Pukes couldn't care less and subsume all this and more into the corporate news "river of forgetfulness"...

...but let FDR lose, overlook or deliberately ignore one coded message in obscure circumstances (Russians marching out, Nazis marching in) on the eve of world war and that is...um..."important" and those ace reporters at AP really got on it, "days before" it was released, speed-dialing their academic contacts to find out if there was any dirt on Roosevelt.

They even quote one of their experts as saying that it is "potentially explosive." I mean, come on. Something that happened in 1940 is "potentially explosive"? "Explosive" in what way? I'll tell you what's explosive. Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld NOT being at the Puke convention is explosive. U.S. taxpayer money developing drones now being sold on the open market is explosive. Drone bombings of "suspected" this and "suspected" that ("suspected insurgents," "suspected terrorists," "suspected drug traffickers," et al) all over the world is explosive. The State Department's "fine" of Blackwater, about two years ago, for "unauthorized" "trainings" of "foreign persons" IN COLOMBIA "for use in Iraq and Afghanistan" is explosive.

FDR "laundering" a critically needed ally, back in 1940, in order to defeat Hitler, is NOT "explosive." It is not even new news.

The more I contemplate this article, the more suspicious do I become--of its timing, of the reporters and academics involved and of the motives of Associated Pukes owners and editors. The article is a very long one--unusual for AP--goes way back into the whole long history of this issue (congressional hearings, Gorbachev admission, the lot) and its point seems to be to associate FDR with Stalin's brutality and tyranny--as if these were FDR's fault--when what FDR was looking at was the consequences of LOSING WW II without Russian help. That is very arguably what would have happened, if the Russians hadn't joined the Allies against Hitler. At the least, tens of thousands more Americans and other allies would have died--rather than millions of Russians--trying to defeat Hitler. Bloody as it was, it could have been a lot bloodier and a lot longer than it was, and we could well have lost the war. To this day, we do not give enough credit to the Russians who fought and died, and suffered so incredibly, to defeat Hitler.

It is also absurd to believe that, had the truth about Katyn been publicly known at the time (that the Russians committed this massacre) that it would have made any difference at all to the fate other Poles or other peoples during WW II and afterward. It would very likely have made no difference at all. Indeed, disclosing Soviet guilt could have turned the course of the war toward a Nazi victory, and it furthermore could EASILY have led to the U.S. nuclear war madmen of the 1950s/early 1960s nuking Russia--wiping Russia and its people off the map--in a preemptive strike, which they so dearly wanted to do (and almost succeeded in forcing JFK to do). The world was a tinderbox at the end of WW II and the last thing in the world that was needed was lighting a match to it! Literally, the last thing in the world.

So, what is the point of this LENGTHY article dissing FDR--from a news organization whose news articles are usually "sound bite" length and most often contain no context and no historical background? All of a sudden they're deep into history and the exigencies of PAST war?

Nope. There is an agenda here, and I think it's ECONOMIC and very election oriented. It is an anti-New Deal article. It says, subliminally, that "liberals" love "communists," especially insane communist tyrants--the same old shit we heard from the McCarthyites of the 1950s, and are hearing ominous echoes of today, and, believe me, it is all about money--looting the social programs of the New Deal, privatizing everything, the rich getting ever richer, and kicking the elderly, the sick, the poor and even workers "off the island."

This article almost REGRETS that it was liberals--New Dealers--WHO WON WW II! But I'll tell you what I think Bush Jr. and his ilk would have done. They would have allied with Hitler to conquer Russia--with the rightwing press--the Associated Pukes of that day--applauding them all the way. (And it would have been the Holocaust that was suppressed!) That I truly believe, if you want to speculate about the past and gainsay decisions of the people who won WW II. It was LIBERALS who won WW II, by NOT being Bushwhacks and stupid, asshole redbaiters and "Tea Partyers."

The U.S. could not have taken on both Hitler and Soviet Russia! It was NOT possible. So Roosevelt had to choose, and it is very clear that he was not happy about that choice, but he had no other. Period. End of story. And, once both sides had nuclear weapons, world war became unthinkable to reasonable human beings and provoking such a war the most unpardonable of crimes--the war crime to end all war crimes, literally.

I am not saying that the truth about Katyn should have been suppressed--then, now, or in between. In an ideal world, there would be no such secrets. But the Associated Pukes is, here, very cynically positing an ideal world in which they are the champions of openness. I've been AP-watching for some time, and nothing could be further from the truth. They are the champions of transglobal corporations, banksters and war profiteers. They are NOT in the business of creating an informed public. Their business is propaganda. They are NOT INTERESTED in Bush Junta secrets or crimes. So, WHY do they give such cache--an unusual in-depth report--to this tiny blip of info on Roosevelt's horrible dilemmas and choices in WW II, which have long been known?

Only one reason: the New Deal. They couldn't care less about U.S. massacres and other war crimes, current era. They couldn't care less about all sorts of grand scale crimes--by the banksters, by the war profiteers, by the rich and the corporate. But, boy, give them a bit of redundant news about FDR and they "stop the presses" to give you an "AP Exclusive"!

It makes you want to puke.

------------------------------

(Link to the full OP source: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/ap-exclusive-memos-show-us-hushed-soviet-crime )
(Link back to this thread: http://www.democraticunderground.com/1014224613 )



Posted by Peace Patriot | Mon Sep 10, 2012, 03:55 PM (1 replies)

The Venezuelan election commission is non-partisan...

...and enforces one of the best election regulation systems in the world, which has been repeatedly monitored and certified by all the major election monitoring groups in the world (the Carter Center, the OAS, the EU, etc.) Opposition parties have been a part of the commission from the beginning and helped formulate, and agreed to, the rules.

Venezuela's election rules include a ban on political ads in the weeks before the vote (to prevent last minute "hit and run" political ads), rules on content aimed at preventing "hit and run" political ads prior to that period, no exit polls released until the official results are in (to prevent false reporting that, say, might be part of a plot to overthrow the real results), no foreign money in political campaigns (which the opposition blatantly violated in the 2004 recall campaign, with USAID money, and got caught) and other "best practices." And the overall voting system is honest and transparent on the face of its details (one of the best, in my study of it) as well as in the opinion of election experts.

So this crybaby stuff by the opposition, when they can't get their "hit piece" onto the public airwaves just under the wire for the ad ban, is absurd, not to mention typical--and the Washington Psst picking it up as a "Chavez is against free speech" headline is also typical and typically loathesome.

There has never been more free speech in Venezuela than there is now and has been over the last decade. There has never been higher voter turnouts nor more active public participation in government and politics. There has never been more diversity of opinion, which has been enhanced, not curtailed, by government efforts to get some fairness on the public airwaves--such as we had here prior to Reagan, during the "Fairness Doctrine" era--and to improve access to the media by the poor majority and excluded groups. That is the truth of the matter.

What the Washington Psst and other corporate news monopolists object to is FAIRNESS. They DON'T WANT free speech for everybody. They want free speech for transglobal corporations and war profiteers. They are control freaks to the max. And their highlighting of this bullshit by the rightwing opposition in Venezuela, and treating it as a "he said/she said" matter rather than a matter of the agreed upon rules, and failing to point out--after so much "Big Lie" propaganda about Chavez--that Chavez has absolutely no power over the National Electoral Commission--is foul play, just like this opposition ad itself is foul play (from the description of it).

What is really going on here? The rightwing opposition in Venezuela is going to lose another election and so they are seeding the corporate media with "talking points" that the reason that they lost is that "Chavez is a dictator," not that the great majority of Venezuelans approve of the Chavez government and, by means of the Chavez government, have voted themselves a "New Deal." THAT's what the rightwing opposition and their corporate media campaign staff and their USAID "trainers" DON'T WANT US TO KNOW. They want us to think that, say, universal free medical care, or good wages and benefits amidst very low unemployment, is only possible by dictatorial decree and are not the rights of a free people freely electing a government that agrees to do their will, in a democratic system where everybody--not just the rich, not just Exxon Mobil & brethren, not just the USAID--gets a say!

A "New Deal" for Venezuelans, or for us, is not thinkable. That's what the Washington Psst and the rest of the lying, dictatorial, monopolist, propagandistic, disinformationist, anti-democratic corporate media want us to believe. 'A New Deal can't happen for you. Don't even think it.'

This article is yet another example of this mind-boggling "Big Lie" campaign, which twists and distorts every bit of news that comes out of Venezuela against the Chavez government, and never ever--EVER!--prints even one--EVEN ONE!--mention of the Chavez government's significant achievements (the REASONS why Venezuelans vote for the Chavez government).

The characteristics of "the Big Lie"--a propaganda technique that Joseph Stalin brought to perfection--are the lie itself then the repetition of the lie over and over and over again--a monotonous, mind-numbing bludgeon that turns the human brain to mush--while suppressing all information that contradicts or questions the lie. THAT is what the corporate media have done to the Chavez government AND to the great majority of Venezuelans (who, when they are mentioned at all--which is almost never--are treated like stupid peasants, rather than like the savvy, politically engaged, activist citizens that they are, who see through the corporate bullshit which remains rampant on Venezuelan TV and keep voting for their "New Deal").

A supreme irony, indeed, that it's the corporate media that have become like Josef Stalin, in their brain-destroying "Big Lie" campaigns (about Chavez, about war, about the banksters, about our mind-bogglingly rigged election system--you name it), while the people of Venezuela and Latin America have created real democracy for themselves, despite the non-stop bad-mouthing of those who would steal their resources and smash their democracies, their free speech and all of their civil and human rights to smithereens (not to mention torturing and murdering them--as in the U.S. client states of Colombia and Honduras today, and all over Latin America in the past).

Many, many ironies. Latin Americans are achieving democracy, at long last, while we, who once could boast of creating it--and of inspiring it and defending it--in the modern world--are fast losing it, along with our own "New Deal." The saddest irony of all.
Posted by Peace Patriot | Sat Sep 1, 2012, 12:56 PM (1 replies)

Venezuela: RW plan to cut social programs, deregulate banks and privatize...

...privatize, privatize.

This analysis of what the rightwing in Venezuela would do--a platform that was not part of the public record but was leaked--indicates, in reverse, what Venezuelans' "New Deal" is all about--what they have voted FOR over the last decade--for instance, everybody gets food, housing and health care, banks are strictly regulated and required to serve the society and the most vulnerable groups get extra help, for instance, children under 4 and the elderly ride free on buses, and all elderly people get pensions (even if they worked in the informal sector before--say, as street vendors--and were excluded from the pension system). These and other Chavez government policies not only created sizzling economic growth (10%) during the 2003 to 2008 period, and a quick recovery from the Bushwhack-induced worldwide depression (Venezuela economic growth has climbed back to over 5%), they have created "THE most equal country" in Latin America (UN Economic Commission on Latin America and the Caribbean).

Venezuela's rightwing--like the Reaganites and Bushwhacks and our own Democratic "neoliberals"--want to END Venezuela's "New Deal," create banks like we have here, that speculate unconscionably then hit the poor with their trillion dollar 'shortfall,' and kick the poorest people "off the island" in a sickening binge of greed, also like we have here.

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Venezuelan Opposition Economic Plan to Roll Back Public Services Revealed

8/24/2012

Barinas, August 23 2012 (Venezuelanalysis.com) – An internal document has been leaked to Venezuelan press revealing the economic policy of Venezuela's political opposition, the Roundtable of Democratic Unity (MUD), should they win the presidential elections in October. The plan includes the deregulation of banks, opening up the economy to private investment and the reduction of state funding for public services and communal council projects.

MUD candidate Henrique Capriles Radonski is standing against two-time incumbent President Hugo Chavez, with voting set for 7 October.

Referring to the current global financial crisis, the MUD document states that it would be unable to maintain the current social spending levels of the Chavez administration and predicts a decrease in the demand for oil from countries such as China and the USA – Venezuela’s largest trading partner.

The opposition document states that based on current spending levels, the government’s public sector deficit as a proportion of GDP (gross domestic product) will be 8% in 2013. The document classifies this figure as potentially dangerous in the event of a global economic downturn and states that the MUD would aim to reduce this figure to 3-4%.

In order to respond to the “crisis” caused by a potential decrease in the global demand for oil, the opposition says that it would take “concrete steps to decrease, in the medium and long term, the heavy load of goods and services” provided by the current government in a bid to reduce its social spending budget and in turn the public deficit.

Other steps to decrease the government budget for social spending would include the decentralisation of the provision of social services to municipal governments, who the MUD argues would make services “more efficient”.

The government’s social missions, including the Barrio Adentro health program and the children’s educational centers knows as “Simoncitos,” would also be transferred over to municipal government. Health and education missions, including the maintenance of school and hospital infrastructure and the provision of food, would be opened up to “private initiative”.

Charges for some of these services would also be implemented in a “controlled” manner, an action that the opposition argues would allow the new government to reduce the financial burden on the state.

This process of decentralisation would reverse actions carried out by the Chavez government to put the administration of services under the control of central government. The government argues that it has done this in order to minimise the possibility of corruption and to ensure that access to health and education is universal, regardless of geographical location or local government politics.

Ex-governor of Anzoátegui state, David de Lima, was one of those who received a copy of the document.

In comments to Venezuelan television on Wednesday, the political independent said “there are two discourses , there is the economic discourse that’s used to get votes, and the real one, that aims to place the economic policy of the country back in the hands of the two or three sectors that always controlled it”.

Other areas that would be affected by the opposition's proposed cutbacks are food, housing and transport. The document states that a governing MUD administration would put an end to current government subsidies on housing built as part of the Great Housing Mission, although those already receiving the subsidised housing benefit would not be affected by the measures.

Subsidised food sold through the government´s MERCAL scheme would be provided and delivered by private companies, whilst funding available to communal councils for the construction and renovation of housing would also be “gradually reduced”.

Overall, the opposition states that it would aim to decrease the amount of government food subsidies by 60% over the next 3 years or potentially sooner.

Equally, subsidised transport would be eliminated. The price of travel on the Metro in Caracas, Valencia, the Ferrocaril del Tuy and Maracaibo would be raised by 5% every 4 months, at least until the service is able to meet its running costs. According to the document, the same policy would also be applied to other forms of transport such as buses, where children under 4 and adults over 65 can currently travel for free.

Current government policies, such as universal access to social security, would be rolled back. Social security for old age pensioners, currently pegged to the national minimum wage and tending to increase each year, would be frozen from 2013.

Likewise, the new government would retract the current government policy which allows old age pensioners to access social security regardless of whether they have paid their social security contributions in full.

All expropriated land and property would be returned to their previous owners within a maximum of 2 years.

Energy, Oil and Mining Policy

Whilst there are few details relating to the opposition's proposed oil and mining policy, the document states that the MUD would create a new framework for these areas which would no longer be based on a “nationalist ideology”. The subsidised provision of electricity would also be cut and opened up to the private sector, and electricity rates would be raised.

At the end of the document, the MUD states that it will release a separate document outlining its new oil policy.

Banking and Price Controls

The document, titled First Ideas of Economic Actions to Take by the National Unity Government (2013), strongly criticises the current government for its “excessive regulation” of banks and interest rates, as well as a policy which requires banks to designate a certain amount of their profits to social programs.

The opposition argue that current regulation, which states that 25% of a bank’s profits must go towards agricultural projects, 15% towards housing, 3% to micro-businesses, 10% towards manufacturing activities and 2.5% towards investment in national tourism, adversely affects the profitability of banks and their ability to allocate credit to “profitable activities”.

MUD policy recommends the immediate establishment of a “Committee for Banking Sector Reform” in order to begin the process of eliminating the banks’ obligatory social contributions, with the possible exception of regulations on mortgages, which would be made more flexible.

The government’s price control measures, implemented in 2011 in order to combat the adverse effects of inflation and hoarding are described as “absurd” in the document, which states that the measures produce “fear and anxiety in the productive private sector”. All price control mechanisms would be eliminated within a year.

Finally, the plan says that it would consider using the power of presidential decree* in order to “dismantle the socialised and collectivised state model that has been created by the so-called revolution”.

Private bankers and members of Venezuela’s business association, FEDECAMARAS, will be invited to the next MUD meeting to discuss the party’s potential economic policy further.

The document can be read in full in Spanish here
(LINK--see original).

http://venezuelanalysis.com/news/7198
(Creative Commons License. My emphasis.)

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*"using the power of presidential decree."

Funny, how the wingnuts get all nutty when Chavez uses powers of decree to build housing for the poor or to rebuild a town destroyed by floods, but intend to use it themselves to undo the equitable society that Venezuelans have voted for, by big margins, over the last decade.

For the record: presidential powers of decree are discussed and voted on by the National Assembly, are time- and issue-limited and are a common practice in Latin America. (Brazil's president, for instance, used powers of decree to protect a wide swath of the Amazon rainforest for an uncontacted Indigenous tribe.) These are beneficial and democratically conveyed powers--that is, if they are used lawfully, as Chavez has done.

The wingnuts in Venezuela are not great respecters of the law, however. In fact, in their coup attempt in 2002, they suspended the Constitution, the courts, the National Assembly and all civil rights--measures that were thought to be quite efficacious by the corporate media in Venezuela and by the Bush Junta. Venezuelans know all this--no thanks to the corporate media--and are not at all likely to put these fascists in power, in the coming elections, to undo everything. (Chavez is way ahead in the polls.) I point out the corporate media's role in the lawless, thieving, mind-boggling greed of those behind frontmen like Reagan, Bush Jr. and Capriles, to help the uninformed understand why Chavez has also sought to regulate the corporate media's use of the public airwaves--akin to our "Fairness Doctrine" regulation here, that the Reaganites dismantled.

Corporate media is how really bad leaders like Reagan get into power, without directly stealing elections, and how potentially good leaders like Clinton get blackmailed into ruinous policy (such as deregulating the banks). They also assist with outright election theft, here--but that is not a problem in Venezuela (which has an election system that is far, FAR more honest and transparent than our own). The corporate media in Venezuela has helped "launder" this rightwing candidate, Capriles, and won't be telling Venezuelans what he is really all about--dismantling their "New Deal." This is so similar to what happened with Reagan, here, that I thought I'd point it out. Venezuelan voters are not as clueless as our own, though, who got fooled, big time, by Reagan, which is how both our "New Deal" and our very democracy itself began to be dismantled.
Posted by Peace Patriot | Mon Aug 27, 2012, 01:03 PM (12 replies)
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