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John Pilger: The War on Venezuela Is Built on Lies

Venezuela | pro-government demonstration

John Pilger: The War on Venezuela Is Built on Lies 

Should the CIA stooge Guaido and his white supremacists grab power, it will be the 68th overthrow of a sovereign government by the United States, most of them democracies, argues John Pilger.

Travelling with Hugo Chavez, I soon understood the threat of Venezuela.  At a farming co-operative in Lara state, people waited patiently and with good humour in the heat. Jugs of water and melon juice were passed around. A guitar was played; a woman, Katarina, stood and sang with a husky contralto.

“What did her words say?” I asked.

“That we are proud,” was the reply.

The applause for her merged with the arrival of Chavez. Under one arm he carried a satchel bursting with books.  He wore his big red shirt and greeted people by name, stopping to listen. What struck me was his capacity to listen.

But now he read. For almost two hours he read into the microphone from the stack of books beside him: Orwell, Dickens, Tolstoy, Zola, Hemingway, Chomsky, Neruda: a page here, a line or two there. People clapped and whistled as he moved from author to author.

Then farmers took the microphone and told him what they knew, and what they needed; one ancient face, carved it seemed from a nearby banyan, made a long, critical speech on the subject of irrigation; Chavez took notes.

Wine is grown here, a dark Syrah type grape. “John, John, come up here,” said El Presidente, having watched me fall asleep in the heat and the depths of Oliver Twist.

“He likes red wine,” Chavez told the cheering, whistling audience, and presented me with a bottle of “vino de la gente”. My few words in bad Spanish brought whistles and laughter.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Interview: Ron Paul and the Never-Ending Story of Empire

Interview: Ron Paul and the Never-Ending Story of Empire

The other day was felt like the fulfillment of a life goal. Sitting down to talk politics, economics, and climate with the irreplaceable Ron Paul was beyond a thrill, it was an honor.

It’s been a long time coming. This blog and the content I produce is the culmination of a fifteen year journey towards this. It began innocently enough with reading one article at Lewrockwell.com back in 1999, right after the site went live. 

Then I read the rest of them. That day and pretty much every day for years. It took me six years to get up the courage to submit a piece to Lew for publication.

For me discovering LRC, the Mises Institute and Dr. Paul were like a lot of young men today discovering Jordan Peterson. 

It was life-affirming. And it gave the next phase of my life something it was missing to that point — direction, shape and purpose. 

I was there in 2008 when Ron Paul did the bravest thing I’ve seen a politician ever do, stand up to the bully Guiliani on the world’s biggest stage and criticize our foreign policy. It was the spark that lit the fire that led to where we are today.

It showed a strength and depth of character that leapt off the screen and galvanized the silent majority to be silent no longer. And the rest was a refutation of the end of history.

Today we stand on a point in the continuum, a possible inflection point in the direction the world will go. Embrace the tired and ugly Marxist filth that destroyed hundreds of millions of people in the twentieth century (and altered the trajectory of history) or reject it whole cloth and build new institutions learning from those incalculable mistakes and horrors.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Utterly Unbelievable Scale of U.S. Debt Right Now

The Utterly Unbelievable Scale of U.S. Debt Right Now 

– Last week, the United States national debt ticked above US$22 trillion for the first time, an amount equivalent to $67,000 per U.S. citizen

– The U.S. federal government owes more money than any other institution in the history of human civilization and it’s just getting worse

– Below, a few factoids about just how eye-wateringly, bone-chillingly large the U.S. debt has become

– The U.S. debt is now higher than the combined market value of the Fortune 500 and just with the money it spends on interest, the U.S. could run Canada or Mexico

– Debt from one Trump term could pay for another WWII and all the gold ever mined would only pay off the debt accumulated under Obama

– All the gold in the world mined since the dawn of time adds to about 190,040 tonnes or 6.7 billion ounces. At the current per-ounce price of about $1,300, the world’s goal hoard worth over $8.5 trillion would be not enough to pay off the U.S. debt accumulated between 2009 and 2016

by Tristan Hopper in National Post


Gold bars worth a small fortune that would only cover a few hours’ worth of U.S. debt accumulation

U.S. debt is now higher than the combined market value of the Fortune 500

The Fortune 500 list includes all the recognizable titans of American business from Apple to Amazon to Exxon-Mobil to the list’s ranking 500th spot, the uniform and laundry company Cintas. Taken together, they basically constitute every major consumer, media, industrial and entertainment product in the United States. If you are the average westerner, the Fortune 500 is responsible for most of your wardrobe, your diet, your home and your leisure pursuits.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Planning of a Coup against Venezuela: Chile, September 11, 1973: The Ingredients of a Military Coup. The Imposition of a Neoliberal Agenda

The Planning of a Coup against Venezuela: Chile, September 11, 1973: The Ingredients of a Military Coup. The Imposition of a Neoliberal Agenda

Chicago Economics: Neoliberal Dress Rehearsal of the Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP)

The main objective of the US-supported military coup in Chile was to impose the neoliberal economic agenda. “Regime change” was enforced through a covert military intelligence operation. Sweeping macro-economic reforms (including privatization, price liberalization and the freeze of wages) were implemented in early October 1973. 

Barely a few weeks after the military takeover, the military Junta headed by General Augusto Pinochet ordered a hike in the price of bread from 11 to 40 escudos, a hefty overnight increase of 264%. This “economic shock treatment” had been designed by a group of economists called the “Chicago Boys.” “While food prices had skyrocketed, wages had been frozen.  From one day to the next, an entire country had been precipitated into abysmal poverty.

In 1973, I was teaching economics at the Catholic University of Chile. I lived through two of the most brutal US sponsored military coups in Latin America’s history: Chile, September 11, 1973 and less than three years later, Argentina, March 24, 1976 under Operation Condor, which initiated Argentina’s Dirty War: “La Guerra Sucia”.

And today, the Trump administration is threatening to invade Venezuela with a view to “restoring democracy”, replacing an elected president (casually described by the Western media as a “dictator”) by a US proxy, speaker of Venezuela’s National Assembly. 

***

Author’s Introduction

More than forty-five years ago on September 11, 1973, the Chilean military led by General Augusto Pinochet, crushed the democratically elected Unidad Popular government of Salvador Allende.

The objective was to replace a progressive, democratically elected government by a brutal military dictatorship.

The military coup was supported by the CIA. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger played a direct role in the military plot.   

Is Washington’s ongoing initiative directed against Venezuela modelled on Chile?

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Peter Schiff: “The Real National Emergency Isn’t At The Border. It’s The National Debt!”

Peter Schiff: “The Real National Emergency Isn’t At The Border. It’s The National Debt!”

Peter Schiff, the CEO and chief global strategist of Euro Pacific Capital Inc. says that the real national emergency is not at the southern border.  The real ticking time bomb is the national debt.

We are headed for a train wreck in this country because of the national debt and yet nobody seems concerned about it.  In fact, many Americans have taken to emulating the federal government by getting themselves buried in massive amounts of debt as well, compounding the issue. According to Seeking Alpha‘s report by Schiff Gold, we should all we wary of the government’s overspending and desire to tax more to make up for it. Just because we haven’t suffered a crisis – YET- based on this debt doesn’t mean that one isn’t coming.

On Friday, President Donald Trump declared a national emergency so he could build a wall at the southern border. Based on that declaration, the president will reallocate $6.5 billion from other government programs to fund a border wall. But the problem isn’t that we don’t have a wall, says Schiff.  The problem is we’ve already built a wall of debt.

“Of course, the real national emergency is not the lack of a wall, the failure to build a wall, but building up the national debt.” –Peter Schiff via Seeking Alpha

The United States debt surpassed the $22 trillion mark just last week and continues to rocket upward with no end in sight and this is just the very tip of the iceberg.

This is just a funded portion of the debt. This is where the US government sells a bond and somebody owns that bond.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Iran Navy Begins “Massive Drill” Stretching Across World’s Key Oil Chokepoints

Iran Navy Begins “Massive Drill” Stretching Across World’s Key Oil Chokepoints

Iran’s navy has begun a three day war game exercise on Friday in the Persian Gulf, in an expansive area encompassing Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf, to the Sea of Oman and even stretching to northern parts of the Indian Ocean, state media reports. Some reports indicate the games could go on for as much as a week, but all emphasized the “large-scale” nature of the drills in which Iran’s navy will showcase the Fateh-class submarine — a domestically built sub carrying cruise missiles and torpedoes, as well as its Sahand destroyer.

The cruise missile-firing capable Fateh, or “Conqueror”, was launched for the first time at the start of this week and has been touted as “state-of-the-art” and with the ability to stay underwater for five weeks at a time. Crucially, the large exercises come after last week’s US-sponsored Warsaw conference in which both Israeli and US officials made threats of war with Tehran. Indeed during the conference Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu openly stated that he was attending the summit with an aim to “advance the common interest of war with Iran.”

Iran state media montage from the first day of the military games. 

The games also come at a time when even foreign policy establishment insiders, such as the Council on Foreign Relation’s Steven Cook, increasingly acknowledge that the White House’s “march to war against Iran” is now “echoing the drumbeats” of the lead up to the 2003 Iraq invasion.

Writing in Foreign Policy, Cook warns

Taken together—the Warsaw conference, Pence’s bullying of the Europeans, Bolton’s threatening video, and the broader background noise in Washington—the events of the past week were familiar in a foreboding way. The chatter about Iran has not become the war fever that gripped Washington in 2002 over Iraq, but the echoes of that year are not hard to miss in the Trump administration’s effort to shape the domestic and international debate about Iran.

Iran’s drills in the coming days will further involve battleship exercises and amphibious and anti-amphibious warfare maneuvers, according to Iranian military statements. 

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

US Cities Face “Moment Of Reckoning” As China Halts Trash Imports

US Cities Face “Moment Of Reckoning” As China Halts Trash Imports

In the Trump era, the American garbage business is changing in ways that Tony Soprano never could have anticipated. And it’s creating serious problems for American cities, who might soon find themselves with nowhere to turn to export their trash and recyclables (most of which have almost no value above rubbish due to contamination, and are typically disposed of in the same fashion).

And while an unrelenting river of garbage with nowhere to go might be a mafioso’s dream, small towns like Chester City, PA., a small town in Delaware County that is best known as Philly’s waste pit, is demanding that something be done since China’s sleeper ban on recycling imports – which arose from Beijing’s desire “not to be the world’s landfill” – has led to a host of new deadly contaminants polluting the impoverished town’s air as its incinerators now burn more of the plastics that China will no longer accept.

As we explained last year, since 1992, China and Hong Kong have taken in approximately 72% of global plastic waste according to a study in the journal Science Advances. However, since January 2018, Beijing stopped accepting most paper and plastic waste in accordance with new environmental policies.

Garbage

What they do still accept: cardboard and metal, now has an extremely low contamination threshold of just 0.5% – a level far too low for current US recycling technology to handle. Where China used to take 40% of the US’s paper plastics and other trash, that trade has now ground to a halt.

It is “virtually impossible to meet the stringent contamination standards established in China”, according to a spokeswoman for the Philly city government. Because of this, the city’s garbage problem has become a “major impact on the city’s budget”, at around $78 a ton. Now, half of the city’s recycling is going to the Covanta plant.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Everyone Has Fallen for the Lies About Venezuela

Everyone Has Fallen for the Lies About Venezuela

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There are three things I know for sure in this fanciful, sometimes inglorious experience we call life:

  1. You will never have a safety pin when you need one, and you will have thousands when you don’t need one.
  2. Wild animals are breathtakingly majestic until they’re crawling up your pant leg.
  3. A U.S. presidential administration will never admit that it invaded another country or backed a coup attempt in order to essentially steal the natural resources (oil) of said country.

This is why it was so very shocking last week when members of the Trump administration admitted they were backing a coup attempt in order to essentially steal the natural resources (oil) of another country.

That country is Venezuela. I’ll get back to this in a moment.

Let’s take a second to go over the big three. There are three things that seem to provoke the ornery United States into overthrowing or bringing down a foreign government, no matter how many innocent civilians may die in the process. (If enough die, the perpetrators often get nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.) If your country has one of these things, the U.S. might screw with you. If your country has two of these things, the U.S. will definitely screw with you. If your country has three of these things, then look behind you, because the U.S. is currently screwing you:

1. Being socialist.

Pretty self-explanatory. If you don’t have the same economic system as we do, we treat it like you have candy and we’re not allowed to have any, so we slip razor blades in yours and tell everyone your candy kills people.

2. Dropping the U.S. dollar.

Iraq dropped the dollar. We invaded.
Syria dropped the dollar. We invaded.
Iran dropped the dollar. We want to invade.
Libya dropped the dollar. We invaded.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Here is what experts say about Putin’s threat to aim missiles at US

Here is what experts say about Putin’s threat to aim missiles at US

His fiery speech was more about creating headlines in Russia, but that doesn’t mean that there’s no reason to worry.

“Russia will be forced to create and deploy types of weapons which can be used not only in respect of those territories from which the direct threat to us originates, but also in respect of those territories where the centers of decision-making are located,” said Putin, in his annual address.

While U.S. missiles already target Russia (whose weapons, in turn, target the United States), placing missiles closer, in Europe, would allow them to reach their targets in 10 – 12 minutes, a shorter strike time Putin noted as a threat.

But aside from sounding like an extended Moscow remix of “Fire & Fury” (President Trump’s own threat against North Korea), Putin’s speech didn’t actually signify a dangerous shift in U.S.-Russia relations, according to experts.

The speech, said Yuval Weber, an associate professor at Daniel Morgan Graduate School and a global fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center, is one of a trio of major set-piece addresses by the Russian president, which included a call-in show and a Q&A with reporters “that are both very theatrical, and akin to a ‘State of the Union’ address.”

Weber said it’s important to note the domestic content of the speech. Putin’s approval ratings are dropping in the country, which has also seen “limited positive economic news.”

President Putin, he said, “needed something to create headlines and especially headlines focused on his comparative advantage, or core strength, security.”

Although Russia has been violating the the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) and also wanted out, the United States’ withdrawal provided the perfect “ex post justification because they get to claim that they follow the rules while their opponents are dangerous and erratic,” said Weber, answering questions via e-mail.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Russia and China Are Containing the US to Reshape the World Order

Russia and China Are Containing the US to Reshape the World Order

Russia and China Are Containing the US to Reshape the World Order

Fortunately the world today is very different from that of 2003, Washington’s decrees are less effective in determining the world order. But in spite of this new, more balanced division of power amongst several powers, Washington appears ever more aggressive towards allies and enemies alike, regardless of which US president is in office.

China and Russia are leading this historic transition while being careful to avoid direct war with the United States. To succeed in this endeavor, they use a hybrid strategy involving diplomacy, military support to allies, and economic guarantees to countries under Washington’s attack.

The United States considers the whole planet its playground. Its military and political doctrine is based on the concept of liberal hegemony, as explained by political scientist John Mearsheimer. This imperialistic attitude has, over time, created a coordinated and semi-official front of countries resisting this liberal hegemony. The recent events in Venezuela indicate why cooperation between these counter-hegemonic countries is essential to accelerating the transition from a unipolar to a multipolar reality, where the damage US imperialism is able to bring about is diminished.

Moscow and Beijing lead the world by hindering Washington

Moscow and Beijing, following a complex relationship from the period of the Cold War, have managed to achieve a confluence of interests in their grand objectives over the coming years. The understanding they have come to mainly revolves around stemming the chaos Washington has unleashed on the world.

The guiding principle of the US military-intelligence apparatus is that if a country cannot be controlled (such as Iraq following the 2003 invasion), then it has to be destroyed in order to save it from falling into Sino-Russian camp. This is what the United States has attempted to do with Syria, and what it intends to do with Venezuela.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The International Rogue Nation: America

The International Rogue Nation: America 

In 2003, America (and its lap-dog UK) invaded and destroyed Iraq on the basis of lies to the effect that the U.S. (and UK) regime were certain that Saddam Hussein had and was developing weapons of mass destruction. These U.S. allegations were based on provable falsehoods when they were stated and published, but the regime’s ‘news’-media refused to publish and demonstrate (or “expose”) any of these lies. That’s how bad the regime was — it was virtually a total lock-down against truth, and for international conquest (in that case, of Iraq): it was mass-murder and destruction on the basis of sheer lies.

That’s today’s U.S. Government — that’s its reality, not its ‘pro-democracy’ and ‘human rights’ myth. (After all: its main ally is the Saud regime, which the U.S. regime is now helping to starve and kill by cholera perhaps millions of Houthis to death.)

In 2011, the U.S. regime, then under a different nominal leader than in the Iraq invasion, invaded and destroyed Libya — also on the basis of lies that its press (which is controlled by the same billionaires who control the nation’s two political Parties) stenographically published from the Government and refused ever to expose as being lies.

In 2011-2019 (but actually starting undercover in 2009), the U.S. regime (and its then allies King Saud and Tayyip Erdogan, and the Thanis who own Qatar) hired tens of thousands of jihadis from around the world to serve as foot-soldiers (the U.S. regime calls them ‘rebels’), in order to bring down Syria’s secular, non-sectarian, Government, and thereby, via these jihadist proxy-forces, they invaded and destroyed Syria — likewise on the basis of lies that the ‘news’-media hid, secreting from the public such facts as that “The US Government’s Interpretation of the Technical Intelligence It Gathered Prior to and After the August 21 Attack CANNOT POSSIBLY BE CORRECT.” But the lies are never publicly acknowledged by any of the participating regimes and their press.This is an international empire of death and destruction based upon lies.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The failing engines of global growth

The failing engines of global growth

The global slowdown has been much discussed lately. A slowdown in Europe and China was considered to be the main reason for the December stock market rout combined with the balance sheet normalization (QT) program of the Federal Reserve. What is behind the slowdown?

No satisfactory answer has emerged, though China’s efforts to curb excessive lending are a natural candidate, in addition to the fact that central banks have been removing stimulus. The answer, however, goes deeper into the structure of modern economies.

We will show in the March issue of our Q-review that the world economy never actually recovered from the financial crisis, and explain the reasons why. The failure of the economic drivers of global growth, China, the Eurozone and the US, is at the heart of the non-recovery. We will delve into that here.

Killing the spirit 

In June 2017, we noticed that something strange was going on in the global economy. The growth of total factor productivity (TFP) had stagnated starting in 2011. This is something that should not happen in a growing economy.

TFP is the measure of that part of GDP growth that changes in the quality and quantity of investments and work force cannot explain. It’s generally thought to be the measure of technological change driving economic growth. If it stagnates, it means that production is not becoming more efficient. That is, the achieved production is just the sum of capital and labor. Stagnation thus implies that our ability to create productive innovations has halted. A serious omen, and yet this is exactly what has happened since 2011. Why?

Figure 1. Regional and global growth rates of total factor productivity (TFP) in percentage points. Source: GnS Economics, Conference Board

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

IMF Discreetly Preps Massive Aid Package For “Day After” Maduro’s Fall

IMF Discreetly Preps Massive Aid Package For “Day After” Maduro’s Fall

The International Monetary Fund is reportedly making plans for the “day after” embattled President Nicolas Maduro’s fall, according to Bloomberg. Though there’s been little momentum in military defections following US-backed opposition leader Juan Guaido’s offer of amnesty to any army officer that switches loyalties, Washington sanctions have effectively strangled state-owned PDVSA’s access to global markets. News of IMF maneuvering also comes amidst fresh reports the US is amassing aircraft, troops and armored vehicles on the Venezuelan border under the pretext of getting humanitarian aid into the country. 

The only significant cash flow that remains after the oil sanctions is through India, Venezuela’s second-biggest oil market after the United States, which still recognizes the Maduro government, and is now reportedly seeking to avoid purchases through US banks and even financial institutions with a heavy US presence. According to a Reuters report on Friday, “India has asked one buyer of Venezuelan oil to consider paying the South American nation’s national oil company PDVSA in a way that avoids the U.S. financial system, an Indian government source said, after Washington imposed fresh sanctions on Venezuela last month.”

Image source: Bloomberg

If oil buyers pay PDVSA through American institutions, US authorities can seize the funds. But the IMF reportedly sees cash dwindling from oil sales at such a rapid pace that Maduro can’t possibly hold on, even with the staying power of his loyal armed forces. This also comes as the White House mulls a possible next step of blocking foreign entities all together from dealing with the PDVSA. 

Citing an anonymous official due to the sensitivity of the matter, Bloomberg reports the IMF is planning for a near-term Maduro exit bydiscreetly preparing a massive financial aid package to rescue the nosediving economy, for years choked by US-led sanctions and corrupt socialist leadership, following transition of power.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Russians Told To “Prepare For Worst Outcome” As US Prepares New Sanctions

Russians Told To “Prepare For Worst Outcome” As US Prepares New Sanctions

A bipartisan team of US senators is preparing to hit Russia with additional sanctions over its 2016 US election interference and military operations in Syria and Ukraine.

Sens. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) are spearheading the measure, called the Defending American Security from Kremlin Aggression Act, which includes a wide range of financial penalties targeting Russia’s energy complex, financial industry and “political figures, oligarchs, and family members and other persons that facilitate illicit and corrupt activities, directly or indirectly, on behalf of Vladimir Putin,” reported The Independent.

Threats of the sanctions rocked Russian stock and government bond markets at the end of the week, and the country’s debt insurance costs jumped alongside FX volatility.

Moscow has responded to the prospect of new sanctions with anger.

A former minister told Russians to prepare for the worst outcome; the Kremlin accused the US of “racketeering.”

“We see clear symptoms of emotional Russophobia,” Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told journalists. “But behind the emotions … is an entirely pragmatic, assertive trade calculation, and … nothing less than an attempt to engage in dishonest competition.”

Frants Klintsevich, a member of the Defence and Security Committee of Russia’s upper house, described the new sanctions as a “dangerous habit” similar to “smoking a pipe before breakfast, poisoning all those around.”

The head of Russia’s largest bank and its former economics minister, Herman Gref, warned that the sanctions could damage the already slowing economy.

 “We need to prepare for the very worst of situations,” Gref warned.

The sanction also includes support for NATO, including requiring a two-thirds majority in the Senate for the US to leave the alliance. It includes plans to make it easier to transfer military hardware to NATO countries to reduce their dependences on Russian arms.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Understanding Why Iranians Bash the U.S. Government

Understanding Why Iranians Bash the U.S. Government

Two days ago, the New York Times carried an article by Times’ journalist Thomas Erdbrink entitled, “For Iran, a Grand Occasion to Bash the U.S.,” which was about Iran’s celebration of the 40th anniversary of its revolution in 1979. The article included the following sentence, “And like some evil doppelgänger, the United States was omnipresent, despite having broken all ties with Iran in 1981.”

Unfortunately, Erdbrink failed to point out two things: One, it is understandable why the Iranian people bash the U.S. government, and, two, while the U.S. government may have broken diplomatic ties with Iran, it has nonetheless continued to use economic sanctions to target the Iranian people with impoverishment and death as a way of hopefully effecting another regime change within the country.

The distinction is important because the Iranian people love Americans. They just hate the U.S. government. And when one considers what the U.S. government has done to Iranians and continues to do to Iranians, which, unfortunately, many Americans don’t like to think about, it is not difficult to understand the deep enmity that Iranians have toward the U.S. government.

First things first though. When the Times refers to “bashing the U.S.,” it makes a common mistake by conflating the U.S. government and our nation. Actually, they are two separate and distinct entities, a phenomenon best reflected by the Bill of Rights, which expressly protects the citizenry (i.e., our country) from the U.S. government. 

In 1953, the CIA, which is one of three principal parts of the national-security branch of the federal government, secretly initiated a regime-change coup in Iran, one that not only ousted from power the democratically elected prime minister of the country, Mohammed Mossadegh, but also destroyed Iran’s experiment with democracy. That’s ironic, of course, given that U.S. officials are always reminding people how enamored they are with “democracy.”

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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Olduvai
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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Olduvai III: Cataclysm
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