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Catherina

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Name: Catherina
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Member since: Mon Mar 3, 2008, 02:08 PM
Number of posts: 35,568

About Me

There are times that one wishes one was smarter than one is so that when one looks out at the world and sees the problems one wishes one knew the answers and I don\'t know the answers. I think sometimes one wishes one was dumber than one is so one doesn\'t have to look out into the world and see the pain that\'s out there and the horrible situations that are out there, and not know what to do - Bernie Sanders http://www.democraticunderground.com/128040277

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Venezuela Regional Leader in Human Development, According to UNDP

Venezuela Regional Leader in Human Development, According to UNDP

By RYAN MALLETT-OUTTRIM - CORREO DEL ORINOCO INTERNATIONAL
PUBLISHED ON MAR 24TH 2013 AT 9.13PM


Venezuela is a regional leader in human development, according to a new report from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).

Titled “Rise of the South”, the 2013 UNDP Human Development Report categorizes Venezuela as exhibiting a “high” score on the Human Development Index (HDI), in a context of rapid economic growth in the global south.

Only two South American nations were categorized as “very high” developers: Chile with a score of 0.819, and Argentina with 0.811.

With a score of 0.792, Uruguay was the only South American nation in the “high” HDI category to fare better than Venezuela.

Venezuela’s score of 0.748 was above other South American states in the “high” HDI category, including Peru, Brazil, Ecuador and Colombia.

According to the report, economic growth in the developing world constitutes a “global rebalancing [sic]”.

“The South as a whole is driving global economic growth and societal change for the first time in centuries”.

In a ceremony on Saturday, UNDP representative Niky Fabiancic praised Venezuela’s achievements in poverty alleviation and equality promotion.

“Venezuela when compared to neighboring countries such as Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, shows the effort that has been made to achieve a further reduction of inequality and poverty, as well as the achievements in education, health and employment”, AVN reported Fabiancic as stating.

Held at the Catia Theater in Caracas, the ceremony honored former President Hugo Chavez. Recognizing human development as “an issue close to the heart of President Chavez”, Fabiancic presented acting president Nicolas Maduro with a copy of the report.

“[H]e fought all his life... for human progress in a diverse world, including his tireless struggle for the welfare of his people, protecting the poor and promoting the cause of unity of the peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean”, AVN reported Fabiancic as stating.

The UNDP 2013 report was first released last Thursday in Mexico City, Mexico. According to a press release from the launch, the “[r]eport argues that ambitious, well-conceived policies can sustain this human development progress...”

The report itself states that, “More important than getting prices right, a developmental state must get policy priorities right”.

“They should be people-centered, promoting opportunities while protecting against downside risks”.

Since 1998, the Venezuelan government has undertaken far-reaching poverty alleviation projects, largely encompassed by the Bolivarian missions.

These initiatives range from welfare, to education and land reform. The UNDP isn’t alone in recognizing Venezuela’s human development achievements.

The Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR), based in Washington, has documented a drop in poverty by more than half during the Chavez years.

CEPR has also noted a decline in extreme poverty by 72% since Chavez first came to office in 1998.

http://venezuelanaPUBLISHED ON MAR 24TH 2013 AT 9.13PMlysis.com/news/8355



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Jalics: "false information was spread" "Orlando Yorio and I were not denounced by Father Bergoglio."

...

He (Jalics) elaborated on Wednesday, saying: "The fact is: Orlando Yorio and I were not denounced by Father Bergoglio."

Jalics said "false information was spread" at the time that he and Yorio had gone to the slums because they were part of a guerrilla movement — and he suspects those rumors were the reason why the priests weren't freed immediately.

"I myself was once inclined to believe that we were the victims of a denunciation," Jalics said. But "at the end of the 90s, after numerous conversations, it became clear to me that this suspicion was unfounded. It is therefore wrong to assert that our capture took place at the initiative of Father Bergoglio."

...

http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/priest-kidnapped-junta-denounced-pope-18774266#.UU39yRzXh8E


This is hopefully the last time I add anything to this.

Sins of Omission

Sins of Omission

By JASON HIRTHLER – NEW YORK TIMES EXAMINER, March 22nd 2013
TAGS: Hugo Chavez legacy, New York Times

The New York Times coverage of Hugo Chavez’ death was a bunker buster of misinformation.

The socialist left was plunged into a state of crisis last week when its leading advocate was felled by cancer. The death of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez dealt a potentially crippling blow to the Bolivarian revolution’s hold on the Venezuelan nation. With their leader gone, Chavistas are scrambling to align their ranks behind Nicolas Maduro, an unimposing background figure in the Chavez narrative. And despite the stunning successes of the Chavez government—from a vertiginous drop in poverty to an equally dramatic rise in literacy, the establishment of a legislative apparatus designed to benefit the nation’s majority, and the nationalization of Venezuelan oil—the opposition is poised to renew its attack on the socialist experiment of the last decade and a half. Furious over repeated humiliations at the ballot box, the Venezuelan right, led by Henrique Capriles, is anxious to steer the country back to failed prescriptions of neoliberal economics, hoping to seize on an unexpected election to reclaim the presidency.


Naturally, few if any of the Bolivarian triumphs were mentioned in The New York Times ungenerous lead on the demise of the Venezuelan leader. Already, our leading propaganda daily has begun its historical revision of Chavez’ legacy. Its prejudiced coverage of the El Commandante’s death was remarkable only it what it elided from view—namely any of the progressive transformations the Bolivarian socialist engendered. Regarding the state of the nation, only a few conditions were noted. While vague mention was made that Chavez had “empowered and energized” millions of poor people, the print edition headline said Venezuela was a nation in “deep turmoil.” The digital edition brusquely mentioned, “high inflation and soaring crime,” as well as, “soaring prices and escalating shortages of basic goods.” While there is some truth to these claims—particularly in relation to crime—none of Chavez’ achievements were noted, an astonishing array of programmatic successes that have dwarfed the failures of his tenure.

But before adding anything else, let’s briefly look at the indictments delivered by the Times:

~After devaluing its currency in 2010, pundits predicted massive inflation. Instead, inflation declined for two years, while economic growth topped four percent both years. This is ignored. Nor does the article note Venezuela’s spiraling rate of inflation before Chavez took office—or that he has actually significantly reduced it. While prices rise with inflation, the government offers subsidized goods through weekly Mercal and also regularly adjusts minimum wage to match or exceed inflation, which increases consumer purchasing power, which itself has increased 18 percent in Chavez’ first decade in office.

~In stark contrast to improving economic numbers, Venezuela’s murder rate increased threefold during Chavez’ three terms in office, now third highest in the Americas, calling into question the effectiveness of police training. A new training program was launched in 2009, but has yet to produce results. The Bolivarian National Police, also launched in 2009, has lowered rates where it is active, but chronic problems continue to plague the country, particularly Caracas, including police corruption, biased judiciaries, the likelihood of not being prosecuted, the presence of millions of weapons, and the fact that Venezuela is a main thoroughfare for illegal drugs on their way to the United States.

~Food shortages are also present, another surprising condition in a country of declining poverty. Western critics naturally point to price controls as the cause, providing a typically ideological explanation for a problem that appears to have a more nuanced answer. Food consumption in Venezuela has exploded since Chavez took office in 1999. The population consumed 26 million tons of food in 2012, double the 13 million tons they consumed in 1999. The government suggests the shortages are a consequence of rapidly increasing consumption. Food production is up 71 percent since Chavez took office, but consumption is up 94 percent.


Claims without Context

A day later, the Times decided that its stinting initial coverage was too generous: it had merely listed the flaws in Venezuelan society. What it had failed to do was pepper the pot with a heavy dose of falsification. It then released a factless catalogue of misinformation that, when it wasn’t quoting louche academics, was irrigating the column with toxic dogma. It began, in its home page tout, with a headline about “Debating Chavez’s Legacy,” by author William Neuman. The sub-line anxiously opened the festivities with an elephantine distortion: “Venezuela had one of the lowest rates of economic growth in the region during the 14 years that Hugo Chavez was president.”

Well, after that opener, why bother writing a column? The case has already been made. Best to have the tout lead to a broken link, or redirect to Thomas Friedman hyperventilating about the glories of globalization on display in Indonesian sweatshops. But no, the Times were out for blood. This was no ordinary socialist. Chavez deserved a double-barreled dose of disinformation.

Regarding its initial claim that Venezuela had one of the “lowest rates of economic growth in the region during the 14 years that Hugo Chavez was president.” This statistic is taken from the World Bank. It is true. What it fails to mention is the nosedive the Venezuelan economy fell into when U.S.-backed, right-wing elites overthrew the democratically-elected Chavez in 2002. The economy fell at nine percent into 2003. Then there were devastating oil production shutdowns engineered by the same cadre of oppositionists when Chavez moved to nationalize the oil industry.

Despite this and other opposition attempts to sabotage the economy through food hoarding, price speculation, and other noble measures, the Times neither bothers to contextualize their claim nor balance it against the significant achievements of the Bolivarian government. If elements of socialism actually work, don’t the Times readers deserve to know about them? Evidently not, according to the editors, who see it as their duty to shelter their gullible readership from the facts. But consider these facts about Venezuela’s socialist experiment:

~Per capita GDP in Venezuela is up 50 percent since the coup.
~The Venezuelan economy was among the fastest growing Latin nations in 2012.
~Its economy has grown steadily for nine consecutive quarters.
~Inflation has been cut nearly in half since Chavez took office, when it was spiraling out of control thanks to the ever-efficient neoliberal private sector leadership.


A Legacy Belittled

The article then claims that Chavez’ massively attended funeral was “a tribute to the drawing power of the charismatic leftist leader, although perhaps not to the lasting influence of his socialist-inspired policies.” This line nicely inverts the obvious truth—the masses turned out precisely because of Chavez’ socialist-inspired policies. The policies the paper had given an unfair drubbing in the opening tout have driven consistent growth in society’s most impoverished sectors. Poverty has been reduced by 70 percent since Chavez won the presidency. Nutritional measures among the poor are up across the board, while strengthened pension programs, freely available healthcare, and an inflation-linked minimum wage are helping produce a viable workforce with growing purchasing power—a prerequisite of demand and economic expansion.

The paper then says Chavez’ revolution “remains more limited than he would have liked,” a spurious attempt to cast the Bolivarian revolution as a failure, when in fact, against most significant social and economic metrics, the socialist experiment exceeded itself. To reinforce this portrait of another foreclosed attempt to establish a socialist state, the Times trots out Alejandro Toledo, a former president of Peru. Toledo replaced the Peruvian strongman Alberto Fujimori, and was so unpopular—even though he succeeded one of the continent’s most vile authoritarians—that his approval rating dropped to six percent in 2004, when street rioting briefly paused to permit the survey. Here is Toledo:

“The important thing is that Mexico has not followed his example, Chile has not followed his example, Peru has not followed his example, Colombia has not followed his example, Brazil has not followed his example. I’m talking about big countries with large, sustained economic growth.”

Toledo, like the paper, obviates Chavez’ stunning impact on continental politics, an influence that has encouraged similar leftist triumphs in Ecuador, Argentina, Paraguay, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and others. Chavez convinced many of his regional colleagues of the dangers of forging discrete trade agreements with the United States—with NAFTA as the ne plus ultra in the category—and then promoted regional agreements among his Latin counterparts. Chavez worked to expand Mercosur into a continental trade platform, not simply that of South America’s southern cone. Then he established such inter-continental co-operatives as Telesur, PetroCaribe, and Petrosur, as well as the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (ALBA).

Sidelining Socialism

With little left to criticize, and plenty of column width to fill, the author resorts to repetition and veiled attacks on socialism. The claim about Venezuela’s low rates of growth is repeated. Then the social flaws from the previous day’s coverage are hurried back into commission: high inflation, shortages of basic goods. High crime, bitter political divisions.

Then, in a turn both sour and childish, the Times concedes that “poverty went down significantly,” but quickly adds that, “other countries…made progress in reducing poverty while following paths very different from that of Mr. Chavez.”

A Brazilian academic then claims that governments in countries like Brazil have “a more balanced position” and that unnamed left-leaning governments are looking to its model and not Venezuela’s for guidance.

No evidence is offered for this claim. Nor does the Carioca academic mention what precisely is “balanced” about a Brazilian society in which the household income of the top one percent is equal to that of the bottom 50 percent of society.

After a short series of additional points—including the passing notation that masses of citizens marched for hours alongside Chavez’ casket—much is made of Chavez’ use of oil resources to build relations with other South American governments. The unstated claim: that Chavez bought his friends. An “energy fellow” at the Council on Foreign Relations, notes rather peevishly that “Venezuela’s influence in Latin America was built on the back of oil exports,” as if it is somehow bad form to play one’s cards in international affairs. And as if the United States hadn’t been bribing its way across the Middle East for the last decade.

Disarming Protest

There you have it: the disingenuous reality of The New York Times, a paper that disguises its bias behind a thin veneer of cool detachment and a studied use of non-inflammatory language, much like the paper’s bedmate in neoliberal apologetics, The Economist. The lengths to which the paper will go to discredit the creditable would be laughable if the paper weren’t so popular among self-proclaimed progressives. It is a powerful tool by which corporate power softens the blunt edges of austerity and disarms mainstream liberals with soothing messaging about good intentions and “balanced” approaches to economic development.

By rehearsing the standard refrains of American exceptionalism—a love of democracy, an abiding concern for the voiceless inhabitants of the developing world and the scourge of tyrants that seem forever to afflict them, and a noble need to extend our love of freedom to points south as well as the backward caliphates of the East—the Times tranquilizes would-be progressive protestors with the gentle rationalizations of corporate life—the ultimate virtue of which is the appearance of even-handedness. The kind of professorial restraint best represented by Obama, a façade the opposite of which—the dangerous passions of the oppressed—is frowned upon as “counterproductive” and known to be the bane of respectable men. And by respectable one may read fatally compromised.

Jason Hirthler is a writer, strategist, and 18-year veteran of the communications industry. He has written for Counterpunch, Open Democracy, and other political communities. He lives and works in New York City.

http://venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/8330

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RIP Commandante

The Killing Of America (Uncut)



A documentary of the decline of America. It features a lot a footage (most exclusive to this film) from race riots to serial killers and much-much more. While this documentary is easily available everywhere else, it has never been released, distributed, televised nor made available for sale in the USA. This documentary argues that the turning point was when John Kennedy was assassinated in Texas 1963 combined with poverty, racism, the Vietnam war, and gun violence.

Opposition Intensifies Campaign against Venezuelan Electoral System

Opposition Intensifies Campaign against Venezuelan Electoral System

By EWAN ROBERTSON

Mérida, 22nd March 2012 (Venezuelanalysis.com) – Police, pro-government and opposition students clashed on the streets of Caracas yesterday amid a growing opposition campaign against Venezuela’s National Electoral Council (CNE).

...

In recent days opposition media and politicians have stepped up a campaign of criticism against the CNE and its president, Tibisay Lucena, alleging that the upcoming election will not be held under “fair” conditions.

Yesterday, opposition students presented CNE officials with a list of demands for a “transparent and fair” election. These included scrapping Venezuela’s automated SAE voting system, eliminating the use of fingerprints in the voting process, and ending the involvement of civilian militias in the election-day public security operation.

...

Also yesterday, representatives of Henrique Capriles’ campaign met with CNE officials to discuss thirteen proposals the opposition argues are necessary for a “fair” presidential election. Four of these proposals were accepted by the CNE.

Opposition spokesperson, Carlos Vecchio, said that the deal was “not enough” for the presidential election to be “fair and transparent”. The CNE has since agreed to further study the remaining proposals.

The criticisms of the CNE build upon previous declarations by opposition candidate Henrique Capriles, who accused the CNE’s president, Tibisay Lucena, of being favourable to the government. “We’re not being herded anywhere,” he warned her in relation to CNE rules on presidential candidate registrations.

Further, on Tuesday conservative daily El Nacional published a stinging editorial on Lucena titled “Lady Liar”, in which the CNE head was branded as “foolish” and “absent minded,” while public attention was drawn to her state of health.

The editorial, written by far-right journalist Miguel Henrique Otero, also called the CNE “a team chosen and armed by power [the government] to ambush the voter at every bend in the road”.

The opposition’s discourse toward the CNE in recent weeks is similar to comments made last Friday by the US’s Assistant Secretary of State Roberta Jacobson, who said that it would be “a little difficult” for “open, fair, and transparent elections” to be held on 14 April.

The comments from the opposition, in particular El Nacional’s editorial, have generated anger and condemnation by pro-government and more moderate circles of opinion.

Top CNE official Vicente Diaz, considered to be favourable to the opposition, called El Nacional’s editorial “deplorable and inconsiderate”.

During the presidential election last October the CNE received glowing praise from international electoral observation groups.

Former US president Jimmy Carter, head of the Carter Centre NGO, commented at the time, “Of the 92 elections that we’ve monitored, I would say the election process in Venezuela is the best in the world”.

He also praised Venezuela’s automated SAE voting system, which utilises manual and electronic security checks to prevent fraudulent voting.

Meanwhile, the electoral observation mission from the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) strongly endorsed Venezuela’s electoral system after the 7 October vote.

“Venezuela has given an exemplary demonstration of what the functioning of democracy is and has taught a lesson to the world, and this is important,” said the mission’s head, Argentine Carlos Alvarez.

Regarding the opposition’s recent criticisms of the CNE and Venezuela’s electoral system, pro-government media expert Oscar Lloreda claimed that this formed part of the opposition’s strategy due to the unlikelihood of them winning on 14 April.

Speaking on Latin American news channel Telesur, he argued, “They [the opposition] are calling on people to vote, but on the other hand they’re creating the conditions to not recognise the results in the case of a defeat”.

http://venezuelanalysis.com/news/8329


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Who didn't see this shit coming?

The fight continues "in countries where Chevron's assets can be lawfully seized" (Venezuela)

Minute 4:28

"Chevron has shifted its assets from Ecuador and has announced that it will not pay the judgment. It is doing everything in its power to avoid responsibility... So now that Chevron broke the rainforest in Ecuador, what is it going to do to fix it? To this day Chevron continues to claim it bears no responsibility for the destruction and deaths its operational practices have caused.... Numerous soil samples taken from Chevron's well sites still show they contain high levels of cancer-causing toxins. Meanwhile acting like a fugitive from justice, the people of Ecuador's Amazon are being forced to continue their fight in countries where Chevron's assets can be lawfully seized and used to pay for a clean-up, safe drinking water and medical care"



"It's the end of sovereignty, the end of our independence; we have become colonies with these rulings from international courts."

There has been a growing trend of transnational corporations capitalizing on investment treaties to subvert the sovereignty of the countries in which they operate. The Transnational Institute recently documented that a small circle of corporate lawyers that some refer to as an "inner mafia" – just 15 lawyers have decided 55% of all disputes – receive up to $1,000 per hour per lawyer to sit on the panels.

Over the last 15 years these arbitrations have increased more than tenfold with 38 in 1996 and 450 in 2011. In over a third of those cases corporations have sued countries for over $100 million. Some of these arbiters are former board members of multinational corporations that have sued developing nations. They are agents of what writer Naomi Klein has dubbed "disaster capitalism," targeting countries in the Global South and capitalizing on nations in the midst of crisis. They sue governments when corporations believe that governments have treated them unfairly by adopting environmental protections or public health laws.

However, the Chevron panel is going even further and taking the unprecedented step of trying to use an investment treaty to nullify the ruling of a sovereign domestic court that Chevron delayed for years. What makes the attempt even more shameless is that Ecuador was not even party to the 19-year court case; the plaintiffs were the 30,000 indigenous and campesino people who are still suffering from the toxic consequences of Chevron's contamination in the Amazon.

Chevron is asking the panel to demand that Ecuador pays the $19 billion judgment as a punishment for not ruling in Chevron's favor. As an earlier Amazon Watch publication noted, "one of the wealthiest corporations on the planet with revenues of $240 billion in 2011 is seeking a taxpayer-funded bailout in Ecuador where the per capita income is $4,000 per annum. In other words, it wants the victims of its contamination to pay for the clean-up of their ancestral lands – sort of like executing someone before a firing squad and sending their family an invoice for the bullets."

...

If Citizens United has given corporations an oversized voice, then corporate arbitration panels ensure that they are the only voice. In short, corporate arbitration panels are Citizens United on steroids, uprooting the executive, legislative, and – in the case of Chevron – even the judicial sovereignty that define an independent state.

...

http://amazonwatch.org/news/2013/0304-chevrons-kangaroo-court-citizens-united-on-steroids


Chevron Corporation : Ecuador To Host ALBA Meeting On Opposing Corporate Lawsuits
03/01/2013| 01:37pm US/Eastern
By Mercedes Alvaro

QUITO, Ecuador--Ecuador's Foreign Ministry said Friday that a number of Socialist nations grouped in an organization known as ALBA will hold an April meeting in Ecuador to discuss strategies on how to contest lawsuits made by multinational corporations.

...

Ecuador's President Rafael Correa has called several times for Latin-American unity to avoid what he calls "abuses of the multinational corporations." He has charged that the corporations view Latin American countries as "colonies."

A meeting of the ALBA political council this week in Caracas called on governments in the region to show solidarity with Ecuador in its multibillion-dollar legal battle with Chevron Corp. (CVX) over environmental issues.

A report on Ecuador's state newswire Andes said that Venezuela's Vice President Nicolas Maduro has offered support to Ecuador in its legal battle with Chevron.

http://www.4-traders.com/CHEVRON-CORPORATION-12064/news/Chevron-Corporation-Ecuador-To-Host-ALBA-Meeting-On-Opposing-Corporate-Lawsuits-16375231/


Interesting...

The fight continues "in countries where Chevron's assets can be lawfully seized" (Venezuela)

Minute 4:28

"Chevron has shifted its assets from Ecuador and has announced that it will not pay the judgment. It is doing everything in its power to avoid responsibility... So now that Chevron broke the rainforest in Ecuador, what is it going to do to fix it? To this day Chevron continues to claim it bears no responsibility for the destruction and deaths its operational practices have caused.... Numerous soil samples taken from Chevron's well sites still show they contain high levels of cancer-causing toxins. Meanwhile acting like a fugitive from justice, the people of Ecuador's Amazon are being forced to continue their fight in countries where Chevron's assets can be lawfully seized and used to pay for a clean-up, safe drinking water and medical care"



"It's the end of sovereignty, the end of our independence; we have become colonies with these rulings from international courts."

There has been a growing trend of transnational corporations capitalizing on investment treaties to subvert the sovereignty of the countries in which they operate. The Transnational Institute recently documented that a small circle of corporate lawyers that some refer to as an "inner mafia" – just 15 lawyers have decided 55% of all disputes – receive up to $1,000 per hour per lawyer to sit on the panels.

Over the last 15 years these arbitrations have increased more than tenfold with 38 in 1996 and 450 in 2011. In over a third of those cases corporations have sued countries for over $100 million. Some of these arbiters are former board members of multinational corporations that have sued developing nations. They are agents of what writer Naomi Klein has dubbed "disaster capitalism," targeting countries in the Global South and capitalizing on nations in the midst of crisis. They sue governments when corporations believe that governments have treated them unfairly by adopting environmental protections or public health laws.

However, the Chevron panel is going even further and taking the unprecedented step of trying to use an investment treaty to nullify the ruling of a sovereign domestic court that Chevron delayed for years. What makes the attempt even more shameless is that Ecuador was not even party to the 19-year court case; the plaintiffs were the 30,000 indigenous and campesino people who are still suffering from the toxic consequences of Chevron's contamination in the Amazon.

Chevron is asking the panel to demand that Ecuador pays the $19 billion judgment as a punishment for not ruling in Chevron's favor. As an earlier Amazon Watch publication noted, "one of the wealthiest corporations on the planet with revenues of $240 billion in 2011 is seeking a taxpayer-funded bailout in Ecuador where the per capita income is $4,000 per annum. In other words, it wants the victims of its contamination to pay for the clean-up of their ancestral lands – sort of like executing someone before a firing squad and sending their family an invoice for the bullets."

...

If Citizens United has given corporations an oversized voice, then corporate arbitration panels ensure that they are the only voice. In short, corporate arbitration panels are Citizens United on steroids, uprooting the executive, legislative, and – in the case of Chevron – even the judicial sovereignty that define an independent state.

...

http://amazonwatch.org/news/2013/0304-chevrons-kangaroo-court-citizens-united-on-steroids


Chevron Corporation : Ecuador To Host ALBA Meeting On Opposing Corporate Lawsuits
03/01/2013| 01:37pm US/Eastern
By Mercedes Alvaro

QUITO, Ecuador--Ecuador's Foreign Ministry said Friday that a number of Socialist nations grouped in an organization known as ALBA will hold an April meeting in Ecuador to discuss strategies on how to contest lawsuits made by multinational corporations.

...

Ecuador's President Rafael Correa has called several times for Latin-American unity to avoid what he calls "abuses of the multinational corporations." He has charged that the corporations view Latin American countries as "colonies."

A meeting of the ALBA political council this week in Caracas called on governments in the region to show solidarity with Ecuador in its multibillion-dollar legal battle with Chevron Corp. (CVX) over environmental issues.

A report on Ecuador's state newswire Andes said that Venezuela's Vice President Nicolas Maduro has offered support to Ecuador in its legal battle with Chevron.

http://www.4-traders.com/CHEVRON-CORPORATION-12064/news/Chevron-Corporation-Ecuador-To-Host-ALBA-Meeting-On-Opposing-Corporate-Lawsuits-16375231/


Interesting...

Chevron Using 60 Law Firms and 2,000 Legal Personnel To Evade Ecuador Environmental Liability

CSR Press Release

Submitted by: Amazon Defense Coalition
Categories:Business Ethics, Environment
Posted: Mar 04, 2013 – 03:45 PM EST

Chevron Using 60 Law Firms and 2,000 Legal Personnel To Evade Ecuador Environmental Liability, Company Reports

NEW YORK, Mar. 04 /CSRwire/ - Chevron is deploying at least 2,000 lawyers and legal professionals from more than 60 law firms – including 114 lawyers from the single U.S. firm of Gibson Dunn & Crutcher – in an attempt to deny a fair trial to Ecuadorian villagers in New York as the oil giant furiously tries to contain the growing international fallout from its $19 billion Ecuador environmental liability, according to recent court filings in New York.

The new information was revealed in a U.S. court filing in New York, where Chevron has launched a “fraud” case against the indigenous and farmer villagers who brought suit against the company and two of their lawyers. In response, Chevron faces counterclaims accusing the company of using the fraud case as a smokescreen to distract attention from judicial findings in Ecuador that it committed environmental crimes, conducted a fraudulent remediation, and launched an intimidation campaign against judges in Ecuador.

Since an Ecuador court in 2011 found Chevron liable for $19.04 billion for the deliberate dumping of toxic waste when it operated in the country in the 1970s and 1980s, the affected indigenous and farmer communities have filed seizure lawsuits targeting roughly $15 billion in company assets in Canada, Argentina, and Brazil (see here) – something Chevron describes as causing “irreparable harm” (http://chevrontoxico.com/assets/docs/2011-02-15-mitchell-declaration.pdf) to its global operations. Additional seizure actions are slated soon for Colombia and other countries because Chevron refuses to comply with its legal obligations in Ecuador, according to Pablo Fajardo, lead counsel in the lawsuit.

Chevron is also under growing diplomatic pressure in Latin America over the Ecuador lawsuit. In recent days, a regional diplomatic body started by Venezuela in 2009 – the Boliviarian Alliance for the Americas, or ALBA – decided to take up the issue of Chevron’s campaign to undermine the rule of law in Ecuador at the request of Ecuador President Rafael Correa. Venezuela Vice President Nicolas Maduro – whose country holds billions of dollars of Chevron assets – recently called for a regional meeting to address Chevron’s “aggression” against Ecuador. (See article here http://www.europapress.es/latam/politica/noticia-ecuador-alba-rechaza-campana-sistematica-agresion-desprestigio-contra-ecuador-parte-chevron-20130301054104.html).

In a letter directed to U.S. Judge Lewis A. Kaplan, who is overseeing the New York proceeding, the lawyers fighting the case accused Chevron of trying to “inundate the Court and counsel with an avalanche of motions, papers, and complaints” as part of its campaign to mount a “show trial” designed “to bulldoze” its way to a judgment.

“This rush to judgment, this mismatch of resources, this abuse of the civil litigation system to bulldoze a result must stop,” said the letter, which was signed by John Keker of Keker & Van Nest in San Francisco and Craig Smyser of Smyser, Kaplan & Veselka in Houston.

“Let there be no mistake: this is not about delay,” the letter continued. “We look forward to a trial to a jury hearing our evidence. We ask for a fair trial, however, not a show trial.”

Evidence of Chevron’s avalanche of legal filings in the case, which is scheduled for trial in October, includes:

**The disclosure by Chevron that an estimated 2,000 legal personnel have worked on the case – “more people that inhabit many of the towns in the rain forest” where toxic waste was dumped for 30 years, said the letter.

**Chevron submitted a privilege log to the court that was 15,000 pages long, made 224 legal filings just in the last three months, and produced some 6 million pages of discovery documents knowing the defendants could not review them in the short time allowed.

**Over the last 30 days alone, Chevron has served the defendants with more than 10,000 pages of motions, briefs, letters and notices.

**Chevron recently filed another baseless “fraud” lawsuit against a key supporter in Europe in a desperate effort to dry up funding for the case.

**Chevron listed 114 lawyers from Gibson Dunn as working on the case – more than 10% of the lawyers in the entire firm, one of the largest in the world.

**Chevron has identified more than 60 law firms that have worked on the case – including the prominent U.S. law firms King & Spalding, Jones Day, and Boies Schiller & Flexner.

The letter also noted that Judge Kaplan – who has been accused of bias (see here link:http://thechevronpit.blogspot.ca/2013/01/for-us-judge-lewis-kaplan-show-trial_11.html) and mandamus petition here http://chevrontoxico.com/assets/docs/2011-petition-writ-mandamus.pdf ) against the Ecuadorians and who was unanimously overturned on appeal (http://chevrontoxico.com/assets/docs/2012-01-26-2nd-circuit-final-ruling.pdf) in an earlier phase of the case – is permitting dozens of depositions to proceed before first ruling on basic pre-trial issues that will set the scope of the underlying claims.

Kaplan’s management of the case is leading to a massive waste of resources which is designed to benefit Chevron, the third-largest American company with gross revenue in 2012 of nearly $250 billion, said Humberto Piaguaje, the coordinator of the litigation for the rainforest communities and a leader of the Secoya indigenous group.

“Chevron knows it can’t defend itself on the merits, so it is trying to use its unlimited resources to try to crush the lawyers who have bravely defended our rights,” he said. “Chevron’s goal is to get rid of the lawyers so we will be defenseless in the face of the company’s contamination of our ancestral lands.”

Kaplan has not ruled on counterclaims filed more than six months ago by a U.S. lawyer for the Ecuadorians, Steven R. Donziger, or on different counterclaims asserted against Chevron by Stratus, an environmental consulting firm. He also has yet to rule on whether Chevron can assert a claim of unjust enrichment against the Ecuadorians, and has failed to resolve two Chevron motions for summary judgment that the Ecuadorians say are premature given that discovery is just beginning.

“Absent a settling of the issues raised… the parties cannot know what witnesses to depose, what additional discovery might be needed, and what experts would be necessary” even though the expert deadline set by Kaplan already has passed, said the letter.

“Chevron’s intent is to leverage its huge advantage in money to bury the [Ecuadorian plaintiffs], Donziger and Stratus under wave after wave of motions and discovery manoeuvring to make it impossible for Defendants to mount a coherent defense,” said the letter.

To underscore its point, the letter cited a recent comment by Chevron CEO John Watson to Forbes saying the case ends only “when the plaintiffs’ lawyers give up”. It also cited a comment by the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals that Chevron had “bombard[ed] this Court with distracting and irrelevant documents” during a recent appeal of certain issues in the case.

In January of last year, the Ecuador appellate court also blasted Chevron for trying to flood its chambers with duplicative and irrelevant filings and accused the company of some of the most unethical behavior it had seen in the history of the country’s judicial system.

In the Ecuador trial, which lasted eight years due in part to Chevron’s delaying tactics, the oil giant was found to have discharged billions of gallons of toxic waste into the Amazon when it operated in the country from 1964 to 1992 under the Texaco brand, decimating indigenous groups and causing an outbreak of cancer and other oil-related diseases. (For a summary of the evidence, see here (http://chevrontoxico.com/assets/docs/2012-01-evidence-summary.pdf) and view this video.



The company is now spending a whopping $400 million annually on legal costs to try to evade its obligation to pay the judgment, according to estimates from representatives of the communities in Ecuador who brought the lawsuit. “This is probably the most money any company in history has spent defending itself on environmental claims,” said Aaron Page, a U.S. lawyer for the Ecuadorians. “The total legal cost for Chevron shareholders is likely approaching $2 billion and it is rising fast.”

SKV represents the Ecuadorians Hugo Gerardo Camache and Javier Piaguaje, two of the 47 named plaintiffs in the underlying case. Keker represents Donziger, who lives in Manhattan. Donziger filed counterclaims accusing Chevron of fraud, extortion, and of mounting an espionage campaign (http://chevrontoxico.com/news-and-multimedia/2012/0315-chevron-using-espionage-against-lawyers) against him and his family.

The underlying environmental lawsuit was filed in 1993 in U.S. federal court before it was shifted to Ecuador in 2002 at Chevron’s request. At the time, Chevron filed 14 sworn affidavits in U.S. court praising the fairness of Ecuador’s judicial system.

For more information, please contact:

Karen Hinton
Phone: (at link)
Twitter: @ChevronPit

http://www.csrwire.com/press_releases/35294-Chevron-Using-60-Law-Firms-and-2-000-Legal-Personnel-To-Evade-Ecuador-Environmental-Liability-Company-Reports

Edited because embedded links weren't showing.

Even the choir needs a kick in the rear.

Even the choir needs a kick in the rear.

Written by Sierra Salin
Friday, 22 March 2013 00:14
Someone suggested "be patient," to my last verbiagal meanderant.

Be Patient?
We ARE the patient.

Personally, I prefer shopping around for and supporting a worthy doctor, to do the operating, such as

Dr King
(I have a Dream)

Dr Gandhi
, (Power of the universe)

and Dr Lennon
(Imagine)

Be patient? While Drs Politic, Drs Corruption, Dr Monsanto, Dr Endless Wars, Dr Fracking, Dr Nuke, Dr $$$ and Dr Profiteer are all holding court? Squeezing all life into lifeless wastelands of Homeland Insecurity?

Be patient you say, while the Natural world is assaulted with every purchase we dispose of? Be patient while the fire is raging?

Ignore the folks behind the curtain, at all's peril, and,
it's just us,
behind the curtain, saying,
be patient.

...

How and why DO we accept endless wars, the Nukes- toxic, and to be contained for a MILLION years (Ha Ha, and sure bub,) Fracking, or the mindless altercating of life/GMO's, as "nuthin we can do about it?" Why, why, WHY? What a crock of .... and lazy abdication of any duty to any future worth living in.

...

http://readersupportednews.org/pm-section/27-27/16595-even-the-choir-needs-a-kick-in-the-rear-someone-suggested-qbe-patientq-to-my-last-meanderant-yes-be-patient-while-we-burn-down-the-world-have-patience-well-come-for-you-next

The end of Chavismo

The end of Chavismo
- Michael Roberts
Wednesday, 06 March 2013 03:32

The international media that supports the strategists of capital have been delighted at the news of the death of Venezuela's socialist president Hugo Chavez. And they are now predicting the quick demise of Chavez's government and political movement, either by defeat in the ensuing presidential elections or by some 'popular' uprising against his 'autocratic' and 'dictatorial' rule. We'll see.

The pro-capitalist media both inside and outside Venezuela has been unending in its claim that Chavez was a dictator and yet, as one commentator put it, "Every sin that Chávez was accused of committing—governing without accountability, marginalizing the opposition, appointing partisan supporters to the judiciary, dominating labor unions, professional organizations and civil society, corruption and using oil revenue to dispense patronage—flourished in a system the United States held up as exemplary."

Over the last 14 years, Chávez submitted himself to fourteen national votes, winning thirteen of them by large margins, in polling deemed by Jimmy Carter to be “best in the world” out of the ninety-two elections that he has monitored. And in the last presidential ballot, which Chávez won with the same percentage he did his first election yet with a greatly expanded electorate,even his opponents have admitted that a majority of Venezuelans liked, if not adored, the man. And why was that?

Well, we have to go back to before Chavez. Venezuela’s economic fortunes are tied to world oil prices. Petroleum prices began to fall in the mid-1980s. Venezuela had grown lopsidedly urban, with 16 million of its 19 million citizens living in cities, well over half of them below the poverty line, many in extreme poverty. In Caracas, as in many other Latin American countries, poor people lived, cut off from municipal services. The spark came in February 1989, when a recently inaugurated president who had run against the IMF said that he no choice but to submit to its dictates. He announced a plan to abolish food and fuel subsidies, increase gas prices, privatize state industries and cut spending on health care and education. That's when opposition to the rule of Venezuela's rich, in league with American imperialism and the IMF, began.

Read the rest at http://readersupportednews.org/pm-section/104-104/16349-the-end-of-chavismo

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