HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » PufPuf23 » Journal
Page: « Prev 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 Next »


Profile Information

Gender: Do not display
Home country: USA
Member since: Thu Jul 26, 2007, 04:26 PM
Number of posts: 5,877

Journal Archives

Venezuela under Chavez just could not benefit regardless of actions.

Care for the Venezuelan people does not appear to be reciprocal.

The $465 million was just for one year out of at least 8 years heating oil was provided to the poor in the USA.

Venezuela in good faith also provided low cost fuels to a number of other countries.

How much money has the war monger and empire contingent spent to destabilize Venezuela and other countries?

Has the now 18 years invested in Plan Colombia worked out?

Business opportunities and a pending free trade agreement that will penalize the poor and working class in favor of trans-national corporations?

Venezuela has never tried to deliberately destabilize our government and economy.

In 1938 Standard Oil of New Jersey sourced 38% of their oil from Venezuela, 38% of oil from the USA, and the remainder elsewhere, primarily Canada. Venezuela is the richest oil patch in the western hemisphere. Venezuela provided most of the fuel for the Allies in Europe in WWII, much processed at refiners on Aruba and Curacao. The biggest sin of Venezuela was to nationalize the oil sector (much like Gadaffi in Libya, Hussein in Iraq, and farther back Iran).

Neo-liberals want to do to Venezuela what has occurred in Colombia with coal. Our problem with Venezuela has more to do with access to cheap natural resources than humanitarian reasons.


Colombia and coal

Colombia is the world's tenth largest producer of hard coals and the fourth largest exporter of coal, based on 2009 data.[1] The U.S. Geological Survey states that Colombia is the largest coal producer in South America and has the largest reserves in the region. It also states that coal mining for export is booming in Colombia, with production having increased by 80% since 1999.[2][2]

Coal output in 2010 stood at 74.35 million tons, a 2% increase from 2009 but below the government's target of 80 million tons, reportedly due to unusually heavy rains in the last months of the year. Colombia's total coal exports for 2010 came in at 68.14 million tons. Carlos Rodado, Colombia's mining minister, has said coal output will reach 144 million tons in 2020.[3]


August 13, 2014.

Coal imports are rising sharply even as coal mines close throughout the Central Appalachia.

A big reason: Price. It costs $26 a ton to ship coal from Central Appalachia to power plants in Florida compared with $15 a ton to get coal from a mine in Colombia according to research firm IHS Energy.

Labor costs are lower in Colombia, and it's much more cost effective to move coal by ship, which can transport well over 50,000 tons of coal, than by train usually made of over 100 railcars, each carrying only 100 tons of coal. In addition, a global coal glut has weaken prices for Colombian coal.

Coal imports surged 44% to 5.4 million metric tons during the first 6 months of 2014, compared with a year ago, according to Global Trade Information Services. Two-thirds came from Colombia, which ramped up coal production and exported 24% more coal during the first five months, compared with the same period in 2013, the data provider said.

more at link.


What is not said is that there has been violence against union organizers and native people and the USA has established nine military bases in Colombia as well as military based in the Netherlands Antilles just off the coast of Venezuela.

Here are two comprhensive links on Rios Montt.

Montt had a curious link to the Gospel Outreach Church base in Eureka, CA and with missionaries in Guatemala.


When a Guatemalan court on May 10 found former Guatemalan dictator Efrain Ríos Montt guilty of genocide and crimes against humanity while head of state, I like many indigenous Guatemalans was pleased. Officials in that Central American country had for decades committed atrocities with impunity.


General Ríos Montt had been clearly elected president in 1974, but blatant election fraud prevented him from taking office. Quixotically, he then fled to California and joined the Eureka-based Gospel Outreach fundamentalist movement.

After returning to Guatemala, Ríos Montt, along with two other military men seized power in a mostly bloodless coup in 1982 and formed a three-man junta. Less than three months after the coup, however, Ríos Mott dissolved the junta and became dictator.

Helping orchestrate the coup, according to the US liberal group Democratic Underground, were “gringo evangelical cronies [who were] co-founders of the Church of the Word, a Guatemala-based offshoot of Gospel Outreach.”

more at link.


Efraín Ríos Montt

Country: Guatemala.

Kill tally: About 70,000 Mayan peasants and political dissidents.

Background: Guatemala is invaded and colonized by the Spanish early in the 16th Century. The country proclaims its independence in 1821, but real reform is not achieved until 1944 when a civilian is elected president. However, the reformist government is overthrown by a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) backed coup d'état in June 1954.

An outbreak of protests against the now military-aligned government in March and April of 1962 marks the beginning a 34-year civil war between leftist guerrilla groups and the government for control of the country. The Mayan peasants are caught in the middle and suffer the brunt of the violence and killings.

More at link.

Results of the Democratic primaries in 1968

LBJ dropped out after barely defeating McCarthy in New Hampshire

RFK was likely to be the Democratic nominee had he not been murdered the evening he won the California primary.

Wallace did not run as a Democrat in 1968 but had run as a Democrat in 1964.

Not all states has primaries or caucuses as today.

I went to rallies for McCarthy, Humphrey, and Wallace in San Francisco. By fortuitous circumstances I got to meet McCarthy as I stayed in hotel with his entourage. At the Humphrey rally, long hairs / anti-war protesters were sorted and not allowed into the rally itself. I went to the Wallace rally on a high school, field trip and their were more protestors than supporters and Wallace seemed to like the interchange with those who mocked. RFK was not on the ballot in early primaries. Smathers and Young were favorite sons in Ohio and Florida.

Hubert Humphrey won a brokered convention in Chicago. Note there were only 13 states with primaries.

At the moment of Kennedy's death, the delegate totals were:
Hubert Humphrey 561
Robert Kennedy 393
Eugene McCarthy 258

Candidate Primaries Won Popular Vote % of Vote

McCarthy 6 2,914,933 37.3%

RF Kennedy 1 2,305,148 30,6%

Stephen Young 1 549,140 7.3%

LB Johnson 1 383,590 5.1%

George Smathers 1 236,242 3.1%

Hubert Humphrey 0 166,463 2.2%

The Final Ballot

Presidential tally

Hubert Humphrey 1759.25

Eugene McCarthy 601

Not Voting 604.25

Vice Presidential tally:

Edmund S. Muskie 1942.5

George S. McGovern 146.5

Julian Bond 48.5

Channing Phillips 67.5

David Hoeh 4

Daniel K. Moore 17.5

Edward M. Kennedy 12.75

Eugene McCarthy 3.0

Paul E. "Bear" Bryant 1.5

Others 16.25

James H. Gray 0.5

George Wallace 0.5


Is There a Hillary Doctrine?


It has seemed to me, for as long as I’ve been watching Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama make foreign and national-security policy, that the differences in outlook and approach between the two of them are fundamental and dramatic. I would call these differences profound, but I don’t want to be accused of hyperbole. It is not just that Clinton has a bias toward action in the international arena, and that Obama is far more hesitant, far more aware (too aware, in the eyes of critics) of the downside of action; it is that there are basic differences in the way they understand America’s role in the world, and the qualities that make America exceptional. They also differ, to my eye, in their understanding of American indispensability, and of the relationship between power and diplomacy.

The only person I know who spends more time thinking about the dispositional and ideological differences between Obama and Clinton than I do is Mark Landler, the New York Times reporter who has covered the Obama White House and the Clinton State Department and who recently published a book, Alter Egos (its very long and serious subtitle: “Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and the Twilight Struggle Over American Power”), that explores these differences through the prism, mainly, of the Middle East crises that have consumed the Obama administration. Landler has written an excellent book, the definitive examination to date of, among other things, a president who has tried to extract the U.S. from the Middle East (without much success, it goes almost without saying). Alter Egos is also the most authoritative attempt to explain Obama’s complicated relationship with his first-term secretary of state, a thwarted competitor-turned-staffer who, if she wins the presidency this year, will inherit a world that is in some ways as messy as the one Obama himself inherited from George W. Bush.

Hillary Clinton: 'Failure' to Help Syrian Rebels Led to the Rise of ISIS

Landler and I don’t see eye-to-eye on the differences between Obama and Clinton; he thinks that she will make foreign policy in a more cautious manner than I believe she will. I tend to think, most of the time, at least, that her Libya experience did not diminish her ardor for the arena. On Ukraine and Syria, for instance, she thinks in more overtly interventionist terms than does Obama. In an interview I conducted with Clinton two summers ago (one that drew attention for her implicit criticism of Obama’s unofficial foreign-policy slogan, “Don’t do stupid shit”), she convinced me that she, unlike Obama, has the heart of a Cold Warrior. In what I took to be another shot at Obama, she said, “You know, when you’re down on yourself, and when you are hunkering down and pulling back, you’re not going to make any better decisions than when you were aggressively, belligerently putting yourself forward. One issue is that we don’t even tell our own story very well these days.”

I didn’t have much doubt about the identity of the “we” in her statement. I responded to her assertion by saying something I believe deeply, which is that America, in the last century, saved civilization. I thought, I told Clinton, that, “defeating fascism and communism is a pretty big deal.”

more at link.

They Thought They Were Free: The Germans, 1933-45

Author: Milton Mayer

This is a classic book and a quick read that IMO every American should read (I did in junior high grade school back in the 1960s)

From Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/They-Thought-Were-Free-Germans/dp/0226511928/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1463103800&sr=1-1&keywords=they+thought+they+were+free

First published in 1955, They Thought They Were Free is an eloquent and provocative examination of the development of fascism in Germany. Mayer’s book is a study of ten Germans and their lives from 1933-45, based on interviews he conducted after the war when he lived in Germany. Mayer had a position as a research professor at the University of Frankfurt and lived in a nearby small Hessian town which he disguised with the name “Kronenberg.” “These ten men were not men of distinction,” Mayer noted, but they had been members of the Nazi Party; Mayer wanted to discover what had made them Nazis.

“What happened here was the gradual habituation of the people, little by little, to being governed by surprise; to receiving decisions deliberated in secret; to believing that the situation was so complicated that the government had to act on information which the people could not understand, or so dangerous that, even if the people could not understand it, it could not be released because of national security. And their sense of identification with Hitler, their trust in him, made it easier to widen this gap and reassured those who would otherwise have worried about it.”--from Chapter 13, “But Then It Was Too Late”


"Among the many books written on Germany after the collapse of Hitler's Thousand Year Reich, this book by Milton Mayer is one of the most readable and most enlightening."
(Hans Kohn New York Times Book Review)

"It is a fascinating story and a deeply moving one. And it is a story that should make people pause and think—think not only about the Germans, but also about themselves."
(Ernest S. Pisko Christian Science Monitor)

"Writing as a liberal American journalist of German descent and Jewish religious persuasion Mr. Mayer aims—and in the opinion of this reviewer largely succeeds—at scrupulous fairness and unsparing honesty. It is this that gives his book its muscular punch."
(Walter L. Dorn Saturday Review)

"Once again the German problem is at the center of our politics. No better, or more humane, or more literate discussion of its underlying nature could be had than in this book."
(August Heckscher New York Herald Tribune)

Facts about Libya under Gaddafi that you probably did not know about !


Here are some Facts you probably do not know about Libya under Muammar Gaddafi:

• There was no electricity bills in Libya; electricity is free … for all its citizens.
• There was no interest on loans, banks in Libya are state-owned and loans given to all its citizens at 0% interest by law.
• If a Libyan is unable to find employment after graduation, the state would pay the average salary of the profession as if he or she is employed until employment is found.
• Should Libyans want to take up a farming career, they receive farm land, a house, equipment, seed and livestock to kick start their farms –this was all for free.
• Gaddafi carried out the world’s largest irrigation project, known as the Great Man-Made River project, to make water readily available throughout the desert country.
• A home was considered a human right in Libya. (In Qaddafi’s Green Book it states: “The house is a basic need of both the individual and the family, therefore it should not be owned by others.”)
• All newlyweds in Libya would receive 60,000 Dinar (US$ 50,000 ) by the government to buy their first apartment so to help start a family.
• A portion of Libyan oil sales is or was credited directly to the bank accounts of all Libyan citizens.
• A mother who gives birth to a child would receive US $5,000.
• When a Libyan buys a car, the government would subsidizes 50% of the price.
• The price of petrol in Libya was $0.14 per liter.
• For $ 0.15, a Libyan local could purchase 40 loaves of bread.
• Education and medical treatments was all free in Libya. Libya can boast one of the finest health care systems in the Arab and African World. All people have access to doctors, hospitals, clinics and medicines, completely free of charge.
• If Libyans cannot find the education or medical facilities they need in Libya, the government would fund them to go abroad for it – not only free but they get US $2,300/month accommodation and car allowance.
• 25% of Libyans have a university degree. Before Gaddafi only 25% of Libyans were literate. Today the figure is 87%.
• Libya had no external debt and its reserves amount to $150 billion – though much of this is now frozen globally.

Gaddafi wrote, “They want to do to Libya what they did to Iraq and what they are itching to do to Iran. They want to take back the oil, which was nationalized by these country’s revolutions. They want to re-establish military bases that were shut down by the revolutions and to install client regimes that will subordinate the country’s wealth and labor to imperialist corporate interests. All else is lies and deception.”

From wiki: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Libya_under_Muammar_Gaddafi

Normalization of international relations (2003–2010)[edit]

In December 2003, Libya announced that it had agreed to reveal and end its programs to develop weapons of mass destruction and to renounce terrorism, and Gaddafi made significant strides in normalizing relations with western nations. He received various Western European leaders as well as many working-level and commercial delegations, and made his first trip to Western Europe in 15 years when he traveled to Brussels in April 2004. Libya responded in good faith to legal cases brought against it in U.S. courts for terrorist acts that predate its renunciation of violence. Claims for compensation in the Lockerbie bombing, LaBelle disco bombing, and UTA 772 bombing cases are ongoing. The U.S. rescinded Libya's designation as a state sponsor of terrorism in June 2006. In late 2007, Libya was elected by the General Assembly to a nonpermanent seat on the United Nations Security Council for the 2008–2009 term.

The shrinking of the middle class is a product of neo-liberal economics.

So while I consider POTUS Obama a good POTUS having taken office in a very difficult time, POTUS Obama is a neo-liberal and has employed neo-liberal advisors and supported continued (by Reagan Bush Clinton and GWB) neo-liberal legislation, notably ACA.

One way to recognize neo-liberal economic policy is that all economic choices are pigeon holed into monetized, securitized, and privatized business opportunities.

This may work for all in theory but in practice entrenched power and moneyed interests concentrate wealth, income, and assets and mostly this transfer is from the middle and working classes and the elderly and disabled retired.

As an example we get mandated health insurance and guaranteed profits for health insurers rather than guaranteed access to health care.

All the western industrialized nations do health care better (and so did some dictatorships like Gadaffi in Libya)

• Education and medical treatments was all free in Libya. Libya can boast one of the finest health care systems in the Arab and African World. All people have access to doctors, hospitals, clinics and medicines, completely free of charge.


You are wrong and I suspect you know you are wrong but made your statement anyway.

Folks are free to spend their time and monies as they wish, many do not agree with you. People in some states, like myself in California, have yet to primary vote and candidates are still active in campaign mode.

Weak sauce is comparing the finances of Sanders with Clinton. The candidates do not live in the same world of relative wealth.

By law, POTUS candidates cannot use campaign money for personal use.

From: http://www.factcheck.org/2008/11/personal-use-of-campaign-money/

Q: Can the presidential candidates keep their campaign money?

A: No. They can donate any contributions they haven’t spent to charities or political parties, and they can pay leftover campaign bills. The big rule is: no personal use.

As Bob Biersack from the Federal Election Commission points out, most candidates don’t have much left over to begin with. Campaigning is expensive, and “leftover” money gets used for bills and debts first, including expenses incurred while winding down an abandoned campaign or a lost political office.

Candidates do sometimes end up with surplus funds, though, particularly if they’re incumbent members of Congress who decide not to run for another term. State and local governments have their own rules, but those running for federal office – including presidential candidates – must abide by strict FEC guidelines when it comes to their extra campaign money. They can donate an unlimited amount to a charity or political party. They can also, within limits, make contributions directly to other candidates. A campaign committee can give up to $2,000 per election to each candidate. If the committee is converted into a political action committee, the limit jumps to $5,000 – but to be established as a PAC, the committee would have to be in existence for six months, receive contributions from 50 donors, and make contributions to five recipients.

What candidates can’t do with leftover money is use it for personal expenses. Retiring federal lawmakers used to be able to pocket extra cash and use it for cars, vacations, clothes, pet grooming, whatever – but that changed in 1989 with the passage of the Ethics Reform Act.

What Happened When Venture Capitalists Took Over the Golden State Warriors

After racking up a historic N.B.A. season, the team’s owners
— most of them from Silicon Valley — think their
management style deserves some of the credit. Are they right?

MARCH 30, 2016

It was still dark one morning early this year when Joe Lacob, the majority owner of the Golden State Warriors, drove his Mercedes station wagon through the Stanford University campus. He parked near the business school, then walked down a sidewalk through a drizzle to meet a group of Silicon Valley executives. The ex-C.E.O. of OpenTable, now a partner at Andreessen Horowitz, was coming. So were a founder of the online-learning start-up Curious and a managing director of Vanguard Ventures. On another morning, they all might have met at a charity event or a TED Talk. But it was a Tuesday, and that meant basketball.

Lacob, who has worked in venture capital for three decades, has an open, expressive face and broad shoulders. He’s six feet tall but seems taller. The previous night, he watched his Warriors play a home game in Oakland, and now he looked tired. “The Tuesday mornings after we play Monday nights are the hardest,” he said. The basketball court, which is normally used by students and faculty members, has a tidy, corporate look: gleaming hardwood surrounded by plexiglass walls. In his Warriors T-shirt and shorts, Lacob pushed his hands against the glass and stretched his legs. “Honestly, this is my favorite time of the week,” he told me.

One by one, other players arrived. Most have known Lacob for years, since early in his career at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, which is when he helped start this pickup game. There was no reason for anyone to be deferential to him. But owning a basketball team has cachet, especially when that team has come to rank among the best in N.B.A. history. Nobody mentioned his own business affairs, but everyone was eager to talk about Lacob’s. “Joe, good to see Barnes back,” someone said, referring to Harrison Barnes, a Warriors player who had missed games with an injury.

Remainder of article at:


Sacramento Shakedown - Kevin Johnson’s crossover corruption

Back in the fall of 2014, Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson was unstoppable. He’d pushed through a $300 million city subsidy for a new downtown arena for the Sacramento Kings. He’d helped elbow out racist Los Angeles Clippers team owner Donald Sterling, and grabbed a little of the spotlight for himself in the process. He’d been named president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

He and his wife, Michelle Rhee—once the brightest star in the corporate-backed “education reform” movement—showed up at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. An adviser told Johnson’s hometown newspaper, the Sacramento Bee, that the couple was a “modern-day version of Bill and Hillary Clinton.” There was talk about a run for California governor or U.S. Senate.

At his peak, KJ was a figure to behold, an urban policy entrepreneur and brander-in-chief selling #Sacramento 3.0, a “world-class” city where kids would take Uber vehicles instead of buses to their charter schools, “never check out a library book,” and have “more smart devices than toothbrushes.”


Aside from the arena, Johnson’s other legacy is something I call KJ Inc. It’s a particular way of doing public business, and it’s also a political machine: a blended network of nonprofit auxiliary organizations, political cronies, and paid city staff, powered by unlimited donations from downtown developers and corporate benefactors.

Last year, Johnson sued me for filing public records requests for city emails, part of an ongoing project to better understand KJ’s mingling of public resources with his private nonprofits. The suit appears intended to economically damage the small alternative weekly I write for—the only media outlet in town to write critically about Johnson’s arena deal, or his educational reform campaign, or his use of city resources for his private agenda. We’re still in court.

more at: http://thebaffler.com/salvos/sacramento-shakedown
Go to Page: « Prev 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 Next »