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Published: Tue, 12 Dec 2017 00:06:24 +0000

Last Build Date: Tue, 12 Dec 2017 00:06:24 +0000

Copyright: Copyright 2005 - Steal what you want
 



Anti-Capitalist Meetup: War Profiteers Ecstatic at Middle East Mess

Sun, 22 Jun 2014 21:29:17 +0000

US General Smedley Butler detailed in his "War is a Racket" in 1935 the World War I  racket he had served.  It is now much, much worse.

Vice-President Richard Cheney and his fellow Neo-Cons originally lite the barn fires with their factually unjustified invasion of Iraq in 2003.  Bush-Cheney then torched the secular, but Sunni sect based, ruling Baathist Party and applauded the decapitation of its brutal, but anti-al Qaeda leader, Saddam Hussein.  (Saddam himself had originally been put in place by the US CIA in a coup, but thereafter fell out of favor with the US government because he dared to assert exclusive control of Iraq’s oil industry.)  

Up to his ouster, Saddam had successfully kept the radical jihadists out of Iraq, which even the US intelligence agencies have admitted:

 

“There was no al Qaeda-Iraq connection until the war; our invasion made it so. We have known this for nearly a decade, well before the murderous ISIS even appeared. In a September 2006 New York Times article headlined “Spy Agencies Say Iraq War Worsens Terrorism Threat,” reporter Mark Mazetti informed readers of a classified National Intelligence Estimate representing the consensus view of the 16 disparate spy services inside government. Titled “Trends in Global Terrorism: Implications for the United States,’’ the analysis cited the Iraq war as a reason for the diffusion of jihad ideology: “The Iraq war has made the overall terrorism problem worse,’ said one American intelligence official.”
Now jihadist ever more extreme than al-Qaeda, the ISIS, are an hour outside of Baghdad, threatening the capitol city and its Shia sect residents.  Its Sunni sect population, a minority in Baghdad, is seemingly terrified of the reaction of the Shiite majority as well as the blatantly brutal, although Sunni ISIS.  Likely everyone there is arming.  (The NRA must be delighted.)



Venezuela Under Fascist Attack -- with U.S. Help.

Sun, 13 Apr 2014 21:00:29 +0000

American progressives must recognize the urgent need to support and preserve the Venezuelan socialist revolution. The peaceful, democratically elected socialist government serves as a model for the kind of programs that our own country desperately needs.

Look at what Venezuelan socialists have already accomplished and why they have consistently been under attack by Venezuela’s  wealthy classes and their U.S. government, CIA and USAID funders:  (See Eva Golinger’s “Post Cards from the Revolution” archives for details of U.S. funding at http://www.chavezcode.com/)

In 1998, Hugo Chavez was elected president of Venezuela. He was democratically re-elected twice in the following 14 years until his death in March of 2013, even triumphing over a separate right-wing generated national recall referendum in 2004.  

During those years, Chavez and his socialist party, the PSUV, set out to reverse the power relations of the pre-1998 years of capitalist rule and giving voice to the millions of Venezuelans who had previously been poor, hungry, uneducated and ill under those capitalist regimes.  

Chavez and his government created what they termed  "social missions", focused programs to deal with depredations that had previously affected the majority of citizens.  Their literacy mIssion  sent thousands of high school and university students  into the country side to teach reading and writing, virally whipping out illiteracy in the country according to UN statistics.  A similar project provided high school level education to those without previous access, while hundreds of new university and technical programs were created where no tuition was charged and students were actually paid a stipend to go to school.

An early mission, called Mission Adentro, brought free neighborhood medical and dental clinics by the thousands into neighborhoods throughout the country which were previously unserved. A mission to provide good nutritional food provides subsidized markets and restaurants.  

After the extreme flooding throughout the country in 2010, which destroyed thousands of homes, a new Mission to build 2 million new homes began, homes to be given to families at very low interest rates or even free, depending on family income.  

There followed a massive training and employment program for up to two million people, wherein folks received job training and thereafter job placements at government expense.

Since 2003, more than the equivalent of $772 billion  has been invested in the social missions programs.These funds came from the profits of Venezuela’s nationalized oil industry.  

In 2011, five new “great social missions” were launched to build upon the work of previous programs and achieve specific objectives regarding health, employment, housing, social security, and agriculture.  Millions of workers, students, mothers, children and the disabled have received the benefits of these social services while receiving government financial support to utilize these programs.




Anti-Capitalist MeetUp: Surveillance Corps Capture Congress, Courts, Exec.

Sun, 28 Jul 2013 21:59:18 +0000

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Wired.com, in a July 26, 2013 piece by David Cravats, details that not-very-surprising fact that those congressional representatives who received the largest political donations from defense contractors voted last week, 217 to 205, to oppose cuts to NSA’s phone-spying dragnet budget.   Those who opposed the cuts, and thus the “Amash amendment” received 122% more defense contractor funds than those who voted against it, with one Democratic exception of Representative Dennis Moran of Virginia.

An analysis done by the Berkeley non-profit, MapLight for Wired showed that Defense contractor donations averaged $41,635 from the pot, whereas House members who voted to repeal authority averaged $18,765 for the previous two year period.

The only really surprising fact is how very little the defense contractors had to pony-up to buy their contractor-collusive representative over the two year period:  $12.97 million.

In contrast to the billions of dollars these big corporations make each year from their defense contracts in the surveillance industry, the going price for representatives is trifling low.  (Of course, undoubtedly some representatives with committee assignments critical to surveillance budget issues do undoubtedly get lucrative extra perks in the form of post-term jobs, many as lobbyists, should they leave Congress, but still the cost of doing business with friendly congressional representatives is  virtually a rounding error in their corporate budgets.  




Anti-Capitalist Meetup: From Detroit to Honduras and Back: Capitalists Immigrate To Usurp Rights.

Sun, 16 Jun 2013 21:59:33 +0000

From This in Michigan...

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To This in Honduras....
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In Michigan, Republican Governor Rick Snyder has appointed an “emergency manager” to  take over the city of Detroit,  with the powers to over-ride the votes of local citizens and the decisions and contracts made by their locally elected mayor and city council. The manager has the power to abrogate previously signed union contracts with city workers and sell city assets to pay off the city's creditors.  The new emergency manager has ordered the appraisal of the Detroit Art Institute's world class art collection with a view to its sale.  

In Honduras, its post-coup president and legislature has signed a law allowing the government to sell or lease vast tracks of lands in habited by Honduran's indigenous tribes, to private owners to establish "charter cities", feudal-like city states which are to establish their own laws and form of government, free of pre-existing state laws and regulations.  

As a part of Honduras's "public-private partnership", law, capitalist business have been invited to create new business cities in the wilderness, profit paradises to be totally controlled by the businesses which own them. Thus the ese corporate vandals are pillaging the world, its land, art and culture by liquidating previously sovereign states in their favor.

Honduras will now allow consortia of private corporations to set up their own city-states, free of virtually all pre-existing law and regulation by the country’s government.  The "public"  component of this "public-private partnership", the putatively democratically elected Honduran government (post the 2009 Zelaya-coup) have voted to sell (or long term lease) large tracks of their country to private corporations and their agents.  Hondurans living in these feudal city-states will have no democratic control of their environment.  

The rules will be set by private charters, written by the corporate agents who shall decide who shall live in their states and who shall be excluded and where they  will live and work if they allowed in.  (Never mind that the likely territories involved long have belonged to indigenous tribes, who have not been consulted in this massive give-away of their land, but actively oppose it.)

It’s really not much different in Michigan.  




Anti-Capitalist Meet-Up: Are CIA Mockingbirds Still Nesting in Nicaragua?

Sun, 12 May 2013 22:28:08 +0000

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"You could get a journalist cheaper than a good call girl, for a couple hundred dollars a month." - CIA operative discussing with Philip Graham, editor Washington Post, on the availability and prices of journalists willing to peddle CIA propaganda and cover stories. (from "Katherine The Great," by Deborah Davis (New York: Sheridan Square Press, 1991)
Thus Davis chronicles the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency's (CIA) official campaign to turn American newspapers, into conduits for its anti-communist ideology which began after World War II.  It was called "Operation Mockingbird".   Perhaps the operation would have been more accurately named "Operation Cuckoo" as the cuckoo will lay its egg in another bird's nest and steal the original. With this propaganda operation and spying operation, the CIA effectively threw objectivity out of the nest of American journalism and put CIA denominated news in its place.  

The CIA was successful in capturing the nests of the biggest newspapers in the U.S., including the the Washington Post, the N.Y. Times, and the Los Angeles Times, among many others.  They all still seem to be on team.  During the years of the Contra war against the lawful Sandinista government in the 1980's, the CIA employed similar methods here in Nicaragua.  Is it still going on here?




Anti-Capitalist Meetup: Did Chavez and Maduro Evict the U.S. From Its Own Backyard?

Sun, 17 Mar 2013 22:00:19 +0000

Following the ideals of his hero, Simon Bolivar, President Hugo Chávez Friás long had a grand vision of a Bolivarian unity among the countries of South America, Central America, and the Caribbean.  His  long serving foreign minister, Nicolas Maduro, now acting president of Venezuela, was the person who brought that vision to material reality.  In so doing, they may have walked off with some prime real estate -- the U.S.’s own backyard.

As a reported two million people lined the streets to accompany the body of Venezuela’s President Hugo Chávez Friás, to the Military Academy in Caracas where likely millions more stood in line for hours, if not days, to view his face one last time. Fifty-four international delegations, political leaders and heads of state arrived in Venezuela to attend the official state ceremony for the deceased president, 15 of whose countries had declared official days of mourning for him at home.  They were greeted by then vice president and now Acting President Nicolas Maduro.

The South, Central American and Caribbean countries in attendance gave witness to the impact the Chavez Administration has had on forging unity among them.
Representatives of the more than 33 countries belonging to MERCOSUR, UNOSUR, ALBA and CELAC appeared and credited Chavez’s vision and energy with establishing the equivalent of a new regional union, modeled after the European Union, south of the U.S. border, in what the U.S. formerly regarded as virtually its own territory.
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Viva Chavez! Venezuela'™s Chavez, A Revolutionary Empowered By Love and Kindness.

Sun, 23 Dec 2012 19:52:04 +0000

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Viva Hugo Chavez Frias! Long Live the Bolivarian Revolution! We are republishing this piece by Justina written in December 2012 in memorial to Hugo Chavez and in solidarity with the Venezuelan people and revolution!
Here in Nicaragua, where this writer is now living, the news on December 8, 2012 that Venezuelan president, Hugo Chavez Frias was to undergo yet another operation to fight the cancer which has plagued him since 2011 was reported in one of the country'€™s two major newspapers, “El Nuevo Diario”, under massive and thick black headlines, that in announcing his need for a 4th cancer operation, President Chavez had, for the first time, named his preferred successor to the presidency should he be unable to serve.  Chavez asked the country to support  his recently appointed vice president, Nicholas Maduro, should a new election be necessary.

Nicaragua, and much of the rest of Central and South America were stunned by the notion that President Chavez might be unable to serve out the new 6 year term to which he was re-elected on October 7, 2012.  He conducted a physically vigorous campaign against the much younger opposition candidate, Henrique Capriles Radonski, and had bested Capriles 55 + to 44 % with a more than 80% voter turnout.  

The majority of Venezuelans were devastated by the news, and rushed into the streets do demonstrate their support and into the churches to pray for his recovery.  Thousands of people, including many heads of states, in other Latin American countries did the same.

Most of the tattered opposition, including Capriles, had the grace to refrain from showing their glee at Chavez'€™s possible demise, some did not. The hierarchy of the Catholic Church which had long and viciously opposed Chavez, piously pointed out to their laity that Chavez was only a frail human being, like any other man.  They likely highly resented that they had to open their churches and allow masses to be conducted for the heath of this man who had frequently criticized the hierarchy for its support of the wealthy oppositionists, while at the same time calling on Catholic saints for aid during his illness.  Chavez had consistently identified himself as a Christian socialist.




Anti-Capitalist Meetup: Trillions in Capitalist Wealth: Where Does It Come From?

Sun, 28 Oct 2012 22:00:08 +0000

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Workers:  The Source of All Value, All Surplus Value and All  the Resulting Capitalist Looted Wealth.
Recently, Forbes magazine, a major tool of the capitalist class, reported that the "Super Rich" are hiding $21 Trillion dollars in off-shore tax-havens.  A single trillion dollars is a looooooooooo….t of money, and that amount pales besides the trillions the super rich are holding quite openly -- in factories, equipment, office buildings, agribusinesses, stocks, bonds, derivatives and ownership of magazines like Forbes and all our media industries.

Where did all that vast wealth come from?  Why are so many impoverished under our capitalist economic system, while the few gain such tremendous wealth? Karl Marx (1818 - 1883), Hegelian philosopher, political economist and practical revolutionary, asked that basic question and provided the most definitive answer to this very day in his study, Capital published in 1867.

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So why does this old book strike such fear today into the hearts and minds of America's corporate owners that they virtually forbid its teaching in American universities' economics and business schools?  

Some members of our Anti-Capitalist Meet-Up group hope to explore that question and the basics of Marx's theories in a series of once monthly posts, of which this is the first, on surplus value.

We will explore other issues such as wages, profits and the falling rate of profit, accumulation of capital and the means of production, use value versus exchange value of a commodity, money as an intermediary between buying and selling commodities,  alienated labor, private property, private versus state capitalism, finance capitalism and globalization, the role of cooperatives versus unions, finance capitalism and like issues.  We'll break it up into different diaries one a month. Maybe you'll volunteer to write one too?  (Please do!).

Economics Professor Richard D. Wolff (University of Massachusetts and the New School for Social Research) provides, in his four part series of lectures on the basics of Marxian economics analysis available on his web site under "online classes". a solid, readily understandable and thoroughly enjoyable introduction to Marx's economic theories which this writer uses as her departure point.

Wolff shows how Marx discovered, by analyzing its inner-most workings in detail, why capitalism is so de-humanizing and exploitative of its workers and produces such poverty and misery for the vast majority of the population.  Marx's analysis is set forth in his "theory of Surplus Value", which is the secret to where all the trillions of wealth, both hidden and open, came from.




Anti-Capitalist Meet-Up: Venezuelan Workers Run Their Own Factory: Economic Democracy Blooms

Sun, 12 Aug 2012 22:00:04 +0000

In last week's Anti-Capitalist Meet-Up, northsylvania described a wonderful example of non-alienated labor among a community in Britain whose citizens join together freely into neighborhood clubs to create extensive Guy Fawkes Day celebrations, expending hundreds of hours throughout the year in building parade carts for the festival to raise money for local charities.  Democratic decision making rules in these endeavors, and the participants derive great personal satisfaction from their communal creations.

This principal of "freely associated labor" is fundamental to Karl Marx's vision for the truly human, organization of an economic system which liberates all individuals to be able to not only meet their basic survival needs but develop all their talents and skills.

Freely-Associated Labor Made Real.

"Freely associated labor" has been made a reality by the workers at the Grafitos factory in eastern Venezuela.  Here's their story.

When, in 2009, the private owners of the Grafitos factory in eastern Venezuela refused to bargain with its workers' union and threatened to remove the machinery from the factory and close it, the union members physically occupied the plant, stopped the removal of the machinery and won official permission from the Venezuelan government to re-open and run it themselves.

Now the plant, which supplies materials to the large nationalized Sidor Steel factory, is being run by its workers, to the economic and social benefit of themselves, their local community and the larger movement in Venezuela towards a human, egalitarian and socialist economic democracy.

Ewan Robertson, writing in "Revolutionary Democracy in the Economy? Venezuela’s Worker Control Movement and the Plan Socialist Guayana" published by www.venezuelanalysis, reports that:

"A workers council was installed, which from September 2010 debated how to organize the  workers’ control of the factory.  Escalon and the other workers described to me how at first they  had been unprepared for self-management. One of the mistakes that had been made was the attempt to make every decision in a factory assembly with all the workers, which is the “sovereign” decision making body at Grafitos. This proved inefficient and “wore out” workers,  with Escalon emphasising that “holding an assembly to agree to buy a screw, no, that’s falling into the abyss”.  Yet, in the process of debating and trying different models “we learnt as we went along”
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Anti-Capitalist Meet-Up: Mitt And His Fellow Vulture Capitalists See Venezuela As a Threat: It Is.

Sun, 22 Jul 2012 22:00:14 +0000

The likely Republican presidential candidate and quintessential vulture capitalist, Mitt Romney, chided President Obama for not being sufficiently fearful of Venezuela’s socialist president, Hugo Chávez Friás last week.  In the conservative Daily Telegraph Mitt is quoted as saying:

"The idea that this nation, this president, doesn't pose a national security threat is simply naive and an extraordinary admission on the part of this president to be completely out of touch with what is happening in Latin America," Romney said of Chavez in an  interview Wednesday with Fox News.
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Yes, socialist Venezuela, the country which was recently ranked the 5th happiest in the world, following four social democratic countries, presents a threat to Mitt’s vulture business model and his support base, who largely come from the 92,000 wealthy individuals who sequester their wealth in “tax havens” such as Switzerland the Cayman Islands. (See rt. com  for its report on "The Price of Off Shore Revisited".

After President Chavez was elected to office in 1998, Venezuela has had currency controls in place to prevent its national wealth from being looted and sent to extra-territorial banks, a model which defeats the efforts of would-be off shore tax evaders in Venezuela.  Other countries have allowed themselves to be systematically raped of their needed tax revenues.

Venezuela also jailed its criminal banksters for speculating with their depositors money.  Here, Mitt, you would likely be in jail for creating tax-evading investment vehicles in the Cayman Islands.  No, socialist Venezuela, under President Chavez, is definitely not a vulture-capitalist friendly country.  That is why it is now thriving.




Anti-Capitalist Meet-Up: Karl Marx on the Paris Commune and Occupy Wall Street

Wed, 30 May 2012 21:49:45 +0000

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The Occupy movement has sent out a Call to Action for a June 20th   “Global Festival” to celebrate their global demand for a Universal Living Wage:  

The regime of wholesale robbery — what the 1% call “austerity” — is already falling across Europe, and soon will fall across the world. But the inevitable collapse of austerity is not enough. We, the 99%, demand a world beyond Wall Street. We demand a system where everyone can not only survive, but flourish.  To reach this world, we are raising our voices to demand a universal living wage.

We call on all occupies, unions, community organizations, immigrants rights groups,  bodies, religious organizations, environmental groups, anti-poverty activists, and everyone to join us June 20th, 2012 for a new holiday for the 99%: A Global Festival for the Universal Living Wage.

No, Karl Marx, dead since 1883,  is not now able to report on the events of the Occupy Movement, as he did on events of the U.S.’s Civil War for the NY Herald Tribune in the 1860's and the Paris Commune in the 1870’s, but strangely, to this day, the mere mention of his name still strikes terror into the hearts of global capitalists and their media puppets, such as Sean Hannity.  [Link to http://thinkprogress.org/...  

There must be a reason that the capitalist powers of the 21st century tremble at his name 129 years after his death, his writing must have been very dangerous indeed.  How much they must be fear of Tim Poole's live-streaming.  No wonder they arrested him this month in Chicago!.  Read below to understand why Karl Marx, and especially his writing on the Paris Commune, was such a danger to capitalism.




Anti-Capitalist Meet-Up Diary Postponed to Wednesday, the 30th, at 6 PM EDST

Sun, 27 May 2012 21:59:57 +0000

My apologies, but I got very sick in the last two days and was unable to post this evening. The group will publish tonight’s discussion on Wednesday, May 30th, at 6:00 p.m. EDST.

This postponed diary will discuss Karl’s Marx’s analysis of the “Occupy Wall Street” movement of his day – when the people of Paris took over the city, not only the streets of Paris, but the government buildings as well and actually ran the city, its services and its labor laws.  They called themselves the Paris Commune.  Marx saw in their actions the seeds of a new, human society -- even though the Paris Commune only lasted one month!  

Marx described the communards' actions and their significance with great vividness and passion, as you can see from this snippet from his "Civil War in France"

    Here is the beginning of Marx’s address on the Paris Commune to the First International Workingmen’s Association in 1870, written two days after the demise of the commune in an counter-revolutionary bloodbath.  For the entire article see:
http://www.marxists.org/...

The Third Address
May, 1871
[The Paris Commune]
______________

On the dawn of March 18, Paris arose to the thunder-burst of “Vive la Commune!” What is the Commune, that sphinx so tantalizing to the bourgeois mind?
“The proletarians of Paris,” said the Central Committee in its manifesto of March 18, “amidst the failures and treasons of the ruling classes, have understood that the hour has struck for them to save the situation by taking into their own hands the direction of public affairs.... They have understood that it is their imperious duty, and their absolute right, to render themselves masters of their own destinies, by seizing upon the governmental power.”
But the working class cannot simply lay hold of the ready-made state machinery, and wield it for its own purposes.

(See the whole article at marxists.org



Anti-Cap Meet-Up:Dead or Alive, Venezuelans Will Follow Chavez; Americans Would Gain by Joining In!

Sun, 06 May 2012 21:59:03 +0000

With the Chavez Socialist Government, which includes articulate young leaders, many of them women, Venezuelans have these rights, benefits and protections, which the government is mandated to enforce.  Americans Need Them Too:

•    Right to Jobs, Housing, Health Care,Food, Education and Training
•    Right to Equality, Democracy and to Fulfill Human Potential.
•    Right to Adequate Living Wage & Human Working Conditions.
•    Right to Unionize & Bargain Collectively.
•    Strong Labor Laws Favoring Workers, for Occupational Health & Safety, Hours, Pay, Hiring and Dismissals.

•    Guaranteed Minimum Wage, Highest in South America.
•    Guaranteed Paid Vacations & One Month's Pay Christmas Bonus.
•    Government Technical and Financial Assistance to Worker Cooperatives.
•    Democratic Rules for Ownership & Control of Cooperatives.
•    Equal Pay For Equal Work for All.
•    24 Weeks Off, Paid, for New Mothers, 6 Weeks for Fathers.
•    Mandatory Childcare and Nursing Mother Services at Work for Companies with More than 20 Employees.

•    Free Childcare Centers.
•    13 Months Pay for 12 Months Work, Paid Vacations
•    40 Hour Workweek, on the Way to 38 Hours and Below.
•    Free Public Education & Training to Doctoral Level, With Pay
•    Free Laptops Provided to All Students From Second Grade.
•    Free Community Computer/Internet Centers and Training.
•    Free Neighborhood  health care,including Optical and Dental
•    Free Treatment and All Drugs for Cancer and Serious Conditions.
•    Extensive, Free Immunization and Emergency Assistance Programs.
•    Government Assisted Home Ownership and Repairs
•    Paychecks for Single Stay-at Home Moms and Care Givers.
•    Social Security for All Formal and Informal Workers.
•    Special Assistance for Seniors and the Disabled, Including Free or Low Cost Transport and In-home Assistance, including Repairs.

•    Hospice and Assisted Living Programs.
•    Free or Low Cost Social Tourism Programs for Seniors and Disabled.
•    Access to Free or Low Cost Foods & Necessities, Including Appliances, for All.
•    Access to Free Musical Instruction for Youth and Prisoners, including Free Instruments.

•    Extensive Government-Supported Sports, Recreation, Arts, Theater and Dance Programs.

•    Free/Low Cost Land to Farm Cooperatively.
•    Government Loans and Grants to Start Businesses & Cooperatives.
•    Truly Honest and Audited Elections at all Levels.
•    Democratic Neighborhood  Control of Repairs and Improvements.
•    Loans and Grants for Community Repairs & Improvements.
•    Loans and Grants for Individual Owners Home Repairs & Improvements.
•    Government Regulated Prices for Basic Necessities, Including drugs, Utilities and Rents.




Anti-Capitalist Meet-Up: Socialist Venezuela in Top Five of Happiest Countries; Capitalist US is ...

Sun, 08 Apr 2012 22:00:06 +0000

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How is it that a relatively small country (population 28 million), with a Gross National Product (GNP) one-fourth that of the United States ($12,000 vs. $47,000 in 2011 figures) could, as measured by Gallup's global survey, surpass the U.S. in the happiness of its citizens?

Denmark, Sweden, Canada, Australia were the top ranked, with Venezuela and Finland tying for fifth place.  The U.S. placed twelfth.  Chad was in last place in the survey.

Gallup found that:
 

Majorities of residents in 19 countries -- mostly in Europe and the Americas -- rated their lives well enough to be classified this way. Denmark, along with Sweden (69%) and Canada (69%), led the list, which is largely dominated by more developed and wealthier nations, as expected given the links between wellbeing and GDP. The U.S. falls somewhat near the middle of the pack, with 59% of Americans thriving.
Writing as an American who has lived in Venezuela for the last five years, I'm not at all surprised by the seeming anomaly that Venezuelans are very happy people.  Having left Hawaii, where it took me over $3,500 a month to meet my mortgage, utilities, healthcare and other basic expenses by working an average of 50 to 60 hours a week in the always grueling and often bellicose profession of trial lawyering, I came to Venezuela to teach English, where I have been living modestly well on less than $500 dollars a month ever since.

I can attest that happiness is not to be found simply in the pursuit of dollars. I am much happier here, freed of the constant awareness of the increasingly brutal police state which the U.S. has become.




Action Alert: Death Threats to Honduran Journalist & Her Children

Fri, 27 Jan 2012 01:46:53 +0000

As a result of the illegal coup to depose then Honduran President, Manual Zelaya, in 2009, in which the U.S. played an under-handed role, Hondurans have endured multiple assassinations, kidnapping, and brutal suppression of their basic human rights.  The horrors continue in that poor, lawless country, in which unionists, journalists and ordinary citizens who have continued to fight for basic human rights, have been targeted for threats, arrests, kidnapping and outright assassination. Eighteen journalists have already been killed, 25 have received death threats, 4 have been kidnapped and tortured, and 37 other attacks on journalists recorded.

One such journalist, Gilda Silvestrucchi, who hosts a radio program, has, within the last twenty days, been personally threatened.  She dared to interview two opponents of a pending new mining law. Not only have anonymous callers informed her, right after her interviews, that she was to be murdered, but they threatened to kill her children as well.  

The Committee of Relatives of the Detained and Disappeared of Honduras (Cofadeh) has put out an international alert asking the world to demand that she receive protection from Honduran government officials.  Their alert gives details:

On January 3, 2012 while on her way to work at the radio program Gilda was followed. On January 20, 2012, her mother received a phone call from a male voice requesting information regarding the routine of Gilda Carolina  Silvestrucchi including what time she arrived home, where she was during the day and where he could find her. The unknown caller questioned the mother under the pretense of knowing the exact time when she could be found at home.

Today, January 23, 2012 at 9:30 a.m. she received approximately five calls on her cell phone from the number 94 83 42 03. The first question from the unknown caller was if she was the owner of the cell phone, the caller then said “We know that you have three children, that the oldest is 15 years old, that you are on the street with your 7 year old child, and that the oldest is in your home caring for the one year old. We are going to kill you.”

When the call ended, Gilda called her younger daughter who informed her that an unknown person had called asking for Gilda and her whereabouts. The subject then called Gilda’s daughter two more times.

On that day, Gilda Silvestrucchi had hosted Monseñor Luis Alfonso Santos and Pedro Landa on her program as guests to speak about problems related to mining in the Siria Valley and the maneuvers of members of Congress to approve the new Mining Law.  




Anti-Capitalist Meet-Up: U.S. Turns Its Health Problem into Vast Criminal Industries, World-Wide.

Sun, 08 Jan 2012 23:00:03 +0000

Last week, thanks to U.S. drug policy, Colombiareports.com reported that Colombia's Urabeños drug cartel effectively seized and held hostage most of northern Colombia, a massive area. It forced the entire population to abandon all economic activity at the demands of the gang's armed enforcers, who threatened death to any resident who did not comply with their shut-down orders.  Transport between cities and towns was halted, millions of Colombians hid behind shuttered windows and barricaded doors in their homes. Inside virtual ghost towns, the lucrative tourist industries of Colombia's Pacific coast and Caribbean were paralyzed.  (see colombiareports for map of area affected.)

The Urabeños paramilitary gang and drug cartel shut down the country in retaliation for the killing of their leader, Juan de Dios Usuga, alias "Giovanni" by the Colombian government the previous week.  The massive operation to capture the head of the Urabeños gang was a part of its local "War on Drugs", funded, guided and armed by the U.S. government.

U.S. drug policy not only determines and funds massive anti-drug campaigns in developing countries, such as Colombia. It forces compliance with U.S. policies not only to obtain funding, but in order to stay off U.S. blacklists of countries which are not considered sufficiently cooperative with U.S. State Department's objectives. Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador are now on this list, having thrown the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency operatives out of its country for spying and surveillance.  Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador are on their list of supposed "non-cooperators".  

Venezuela threw the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency officials out of their country when they were found to be involved in spying, drug running and corruption.  Thereafter, Venezuela's successful attacks on the organized drug cartels who use their country to transport drugs to the U.S. increased markedly.  In June of 2011, the UN officially acknowledged that Venezuela is free from drug cultivation, nor is it considered a drug consuming nation.  Venezuela is not considered even a drug transiting nation.  It is rated fifth in the world for its levels of illegal drug seizure.

Colombia, however, is a key drug producer. It is the locus for the drug-smuggling routes north to the U.S., the main consuming nation.  It has also been a U.S. cooperator par excellance.  

Colombia's reward for cooperating was billions in armaments to fight the U.S.'s drug war and hundreds of thousands of bloody skirmishes within its own borders, much like the "War on Drugs" affects upon Mexico.

 




Colombia’s Former President, Uribe, Aids U.S. In Attempt to Oust Chavez

Wed, 28 Dec 2011 22:30:03 +0000

In recent weeks, a Colombian news network, C&M, released videos of former Colombian president, Alvaro Uribe, addressing a group of Venezuelan opposition leaders at a meeting organized by Uribe supporters in Colombia. See report.

The video shows Uribe attacking Colombia’s current president, Juan Manual Santos for establishing good relations with Venezuela and urging the Venezuelan opponents of President Hugo Chavez to attack Santos and otherwise try to undermine Venezuelan-Colombian relations.  

Meanwhile, Colombia’s former president is himself under investigation in Colombia for using advanced surveillance technology supplied to his DAS security department by the U.S. Embassy to surveil members of opposition parties, prosecutors and judges of Colombia’s Supreme Court. The entire DAS Department has since been abolished by the current president, Santos.




Alan Grayson Quotes Lincoln: 'Labor Is the Superior of Capital'

Sun, 04 Dec 2011 00:27:43 +0000

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The following article, by Alan Grayon, was sent out, to his mailing list, to be shared with all who support the 99% and our fight to establish equity and equality in our society.

Grayson is running to re-take his U.S. congressional seat from his district in Florida.  In this post, he reminds us that one of our greatest presidents, Abraham Lincoln, was, 150 years ago, struggling with the many of the same corporate interests that are strangling our country today.  He reminds us that it is the working people in this country, not big corporations, whose interests must rule government policies and decisions.




The Real Right To Life: Venezuela Expands Benefits for Elderly while the U.S. Pepper-Sprays Them.

Sun, 20 Nov 2011 23:00:02 +0000

"A nation's greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members." Mahatma Ghandi

In Chicago on November 7, 2011, hundreds of senior citizens joined with Occupy Chicago and their union supporters to protest the Congressional Super Committee's proposed cuts to social security and Medicare.  Forty seven seniors were arrested, along with four persons in wheel chairs for refusing to move from the street.

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In Seattle, Dorli Rainey, age 84 was pepper-sprayed in the face, when she dared to stop to observe Occupy Seattle actions on November 16, 2011,   while 87 year old Francis Goldin was pushed back in a crowd by police during an Occupy Wall Street demonstration in New York City.




Anti-Capitalist Meet-up: Chavez Versus Obama: Whose Policies Are Best For the 99%ers?

Sun, 09 Oct 2011 22:09:45 +0000

One hopes that in the midst of the myriad conversations about “what Is to be done?” that are taking place in the hundreds of “Occupy Wall Street” sit-ins taking place throughout the U.S., at least some of the participants will discuss, with a view to finding solutions to the capitalist corruption in the U.S., what has already been done in one of the few countries in the world where the 99%ers actually rule:  Venezuela.

To aid those discussions, it might be helpful to review a recent article by Professor James Petras, Bartles Professor Sociology at State University of NY at Binghamtom, who, for eleven years, worked with Brazil’s Landless Workers Movement, compares,  in a recent issue of www.venezuelanalysis.com the relative effectiveness of the economic policies undertaken by U.S. President Barack Obama with those of Venezuela’s President, Hugo Chavez.

This writer, an American who has lived and taught in Venezuela for the last four years, has been in a position to observe, at first hand, the effects of Chavez’s socialist policies in meeting the challenge of the Banksters’ s corruption which has caused a world-wide economic crisis.

Chavez dealt with Venezuela’s fraudster bankers by immediately investigating their banks, closing some, nationalizing others and many of the banksters are now sitting in jail.  The bank depositors whose savings were looted were made whole by the Venezuelan government virtually immediately.

Suffice it to say, I am very grateful to be living here in Venezuela right now, and not in the heart of the capitalist beast.  Having dealt quickly with the fraudulent financiers, socialist Venezuela is surviving the world economic crisis with aplomb and is accelerating its economic growth.  Petras explains why, below.




Light Bulbs On, Capitalist Thefts Of Our Labor Exposed.

Sun, 04 Sep 2011 22:00:08 +0000

In the past several weeks, dailykos readers have been kept current on the day-to-day realities in the world of Big Box stores.Lightbulb has been reporting almost daily on the nuts and bolts of his life as an exploited non-unionized laborer in an un-named retail monolith, while Laura Clausen of the AFL-CIO’s Working America has reported on events affecting the labor movement, detailing how the massively big-box Walmart is so vigilant to stop unionization in its stores that it trains its supervisors to squelch even employee baby-showers.

Meanwhile, bobswern has kept us all current on the latest machinations of the big banks, with his discussions of the many excellent analyses from www.nakedcapitalism, for example, see here.




"Some Rob You with a Six-Gun, Some with a Fountain Pen"

Wed, 10 Aug 2011 14:38:25 +0000

London is now filled with young people in the streets looting the shops that line their neighborhoods.  The capitalist economic system has left them without adequate schools or jobs;  their schools are sub-standard, their unemployment rate is up to 40 per cent.  Their parents, families and friends are out of work, losing their homes and apartments.  Even their youth recreation centers have been closed. They have nowhere to go except the streets.  Without hope of a decent future, they loot and burn.

Looting neighborhood shops and fire-bombing residents cars and local buses, such explosions of personal frustration, will provide only momentary pseudo-emotional relief, not solve any of their problems, while causing major problems for their communities.

Meanwhile, the guys who caused their problems are sitting in fancy bank buildings and luxurious residential estates well away from the scruffy burning buildings, untouched. But those guys write the laws and carry out the economic policies which cause the poverty and despair in local neighborhoods.  They send their police forces, carrying their callous attitudes, into poor communities to “enforce” their laws.  No wonder the police are an object of attack; they are the physical embodiment of the rich’s disdain for the poor and they are reachable.




Joining Together With Our Local Neighbors To Effect Global Economic Changes.

Mon, 01 Aug 2011 00:19:19 +0000

I wrote the following comment in "democratic underground" a few days ago in response to a post full of existential despair about the horrors of capitalism.  Rather than remaining in the paralysis of despair, I think we need to focus on the steps we can take now, in our local communities, to counter the horrible effects of our current capitalist reality.

(For a superb history of how the Basque people, starting with a small group of people in a very small town in northern Spain, and working against the constraints of Franco's Fascism, created the most successful worker's cooperative in the world, see TPau's great diary:

Link to the Story of the Mondragon Cooperative)

We can create a new economic system which will abolish the mad drive for profits that drives corporations to strive for constantly increasing profits to justify their CEO's obscene multi-million dollar salaries and bonuses at the expense of the workers who produce the goods we all need to survive.  

We need to be producing goods for their use value -- because people want and need them -- not for the profits they will generate for the corporate CEO's.

The workers who produce the goods and the consumers who need them must, together, make the decisions about what is produced and how it is produced, not a minuscule number of wealthy "managers" at the top.  

The managers/CEO's  current wealth comes from the decades of hard labor they stole from their workers and the excessive profits stolen from the consuming public.  If we take those unearned profits back and put them to social uses we could feed, house, clothe and provide health care to all our citize

Sounds like a big job, I know, but it can be done if we join together in neighborhood and work place groups to decide how we want our society to function and then taking what at first might appear to be small steps to regain control of our economy and our lives.



Being "Anti-Capitalist"Is Not Enough: We Need To Envision A New Society!

Sun, 10 Jul 2011 22:07:07 +0000

Having lived in Venezuela for the past four and a half years, I’ve had many opportunities as an American to observe its president, Hugo Chávez Frias, as he and his party, PSUV (Partido Socialista Unido de Venezuela) carry out the unimaginably difficult task of building a mutually cooperative socialist society in the midst of a world which is totally dominated by ruthlessly cut-throat capitalism.  

Living here, I've come increasingly to believe, partly thanks to the creative thinking and organizing of  Linda Stout, her Spirit in Action/ group and her book, Collective Visioning: How Groups can Work Together for a Just and Sustainable World, Berrett Koehler (2011) that we in the United States need to look at Venezuelan as a possible inspiration to envisioning the type of society we want to live in.  First we need the ideas, the shared visions, and then plans of action to bring them about.  (And, as Stout emphasizes, we must do it in the positive spirit of joy and celebration, rather than solely focus on what is currently unacceptable.)

Chávez and his supporters started by convening a group of visionaries to imagine a new society.  Their vision is incorporated in the Venezuelan Constitution of 1999.  It was arrived at through the election of individuals to a constitutional drafting assembly that was elected individually, not by party identification. Their assignment was to envision a new world.

The elected Constitutional drafting assembly produced a shared vision for a very new society, one that promised its citizens the right to a life of dignity, "with all the material, social and intellectual necessities" (Const. Ve, Chap V, Art. 91), and the government of Venezuela was assigned the responsibility to guarantee the creation and distribution of wealth in such a way as to make those rights a reality. (Const.Ve, Chap. VII, Art. 112).

How Did Such a Vision Come About?

Hugo Chávez Frías, a former military officer from a poor family of elementary school teachers and fruit sellers with indigenous roots,  was democratically elected in 1998, in a popular reaction to decades of corrupt pseudo-democracy in which the two largest parties and one small, quasi-left one, by means of a formal written agreement in 1958 signed at Punto Fijo, Venezuela, exchanged and/or shared control of the government every four years.




Finance Capitalism: Has It Eaten Its Own Entrails in Mortgage Fraud Debacle?

Mon, 20 Jun 2011 22:27:30 +0000

Justice John Levanthal, writing for the unanimous four judge panel  in New York’s  appellate division,  just decided the case of Bank of America v. Silverberg, (Bank of NY v. Silverberg, 2011 NY Slip opinion  05002, App Division, Second Department. June 7, 2011.)  involving an attempt by Bank of  New York, as trustee for a mortgage-backed security trust, to  foreclose on a delinquent mortgage supposedly held in a MBS trust.  The appellate court held that the bank didn't have the right to foreclose because it could not prove that it had legal ownership or physical possession of the promissory note and mortgage signed by the original lender, which was Countrywide Mortgage and the borrowers, the Silverbergs.  Countrywide was absorbed by Bank of American in 2008 when Countrywide was crashing.

Levanthal’s opinion noted, at page 1,  that:

This Court is mindful of the impact that this decision may have on the mortgage industry in New York, and perhaps the nation. Nonetheless, the law must not yield to expediency and the convenience of lending institutions. Proper procedures must be followed to ensure the reliability of the chain of ownership, to secure the dependable transfer of property, and to assure the enforcement of the rules that govern real property

(For the Impact on Michigan mortgages of a similar decision there, see Muskegon Foreclosures Drop 97% after Court Order+* by Muskegon Critic.)




Blind Allegiance: Autopsy of Palin's Pernicious Personality

Fri, 27 May 2011 00:30:02 +0000

A conservative-progressive coalition demolishes the myth of Queen Esther of Wasilla in "Blind Allegiance", published May 24, 2011 by Howard Books.  Reading this book is like watching an autopsy, seeing sickening pieces of putrid flesh pulled from a still breathing corpse, piece by ugly piece.  It is fascinating, ugly and fearsome.  It is also spiritually inspiring.

This extremely well documented and equally well written book chronicles the descent of a once naive and idealistic believer in evangelism and Reagan conservativism, Frank Bailey, into the hell of Sarah Palin's emotionally driven nightmare of self-aggrandizement and ruthless push for power and fame.  He loses his moral integrity and reputation in the process of carrying out the vicious personal attacks on Sarah's perceived enemies at her behest.

Above all, this is a compelling moral saga of how a good man can lose his soul while trying to accomplish a "greater good", unfortunately, as his "greater good", Palin turned out to be a great moral and political disaster.

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Venezuelan Cooperatives Change Human Relations and Furthers Individual Development

Sun, 17 Apr 2011 21:31:01 +0000

Venezuela’s cooperative movement, which has increased a thousand fold since President Hugo Chavez’s first election in 1998,  fosters development of the individual, but not “individualism”, through economic and social community building.  This change in human relations is essential to throwing off  the ideology and mechanism of capitalism which has so corrupted our human community.

In a recent article in www.venezuelanalysis entitled “Cooperatives in Venezuela Promote Solidarity, Equality and Dignity” (April 12, 2011), the radio collective, Radio Al Reves interviews some members of successful cooperatives currently active in Venezuela wherein cooperative members describe the impact of their cooperatives on their lives.

In the words of a cooperative member, Gustavo Salas:

Development of the individual but not of individualism, which are two different things.  There is a saying that goes: we are not individualists nor are we collectivists, because we are trying to develop a collective environment where we are growing all of the time, and each of us developing as people. It’s a balance that’s not easy. You have to continually build it.



Talk by British Economist, Lord Adair Turner, at Soros's Bretton Woods Conference

Tue, 12 Apr 2011 15:00:02 +0000

Just a note to encourage dailykos readers, especially those interested in the Anti-Capitalist group, to check out a talk by British economist, Lord Adair Turner, to the Bretton Woods economic conference recently sponsored by George Soros's Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET).  

Soros gathered together many respected economists to discuss the current economic crisis and its solutions.  There were some not-so-respected thinkers there too, including Larry Summers and former British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown.  Reportedly, both have drastically changed their tunes, singing to the conference about the benefits of government regulation.  A bit late boys. (I guess Summers has now made sufficient money to abandon Milton Friedman, while Brown has been suddenly seized by a workingman's conscience and now regrets he didn't regulate the banks!)

Turner, however, is well worth hearing, and I've just spent a fascinating hour and a half listening to a video tape of his talk to the conference, which includes a valuable question and answer session.  One questioner was, I think, Duncan Black, a long-time contributor to DailyKos.




Helen Keller & Julian Assange Vs. The "Industrially Blind & Socially Deaf” Capitalist Press

Tue, 22 Mar 2011 23:23:01 +0000

Thanks to Kos commentators Pluto and Don Mikulecky for re-introducing me to a great American Socialist of the early 20th century, a woman by the name of Helen Keller.

Keller, although blind and deaf from birth, was neither blind nor deaf to the horrors of the capitalist society in which she lived.  So much so that she has something in common with WikiLeaks Julian Assange.

Assange has been viciously personally attacked in the press for being a potential sexual molester, a paranoid and arrogant narcissist motivated only by self-aggrandizement. Thus does the press work to deflect the world’s attention from Assange’s exposure of video and documents showing the reality of our horrible war in Afghanistan and the dismal diplomatic machinations of the U.S. and the world’s political leaders.

Meanwhile, a hundred years ago, the American press sought to deflect attention from Keller’s socialist critique of capitalist society by attacking her solidarity with America’s socialist movement as being the product of a mind enfeebled by blindness and deafness, who was, thereby, subject to being exploited by the lawless and disreputable socialists.




Venezuela's President Chavez Halts Nuclear Energy Program, Colombia's President Santos Agrees.

Thu, 17 Mar 2011 22:06:52 +0000

On Tuesday, March 15, 2011, President Hugo Chavez announced that he is halting Venezuela’s joint project with Russia to build a nuclear energy plant in Venezuela, an agreement that was signed in October of 2010.  Venezuela currently has no nuclear energy plants.

As reported at venezuelanalysis.com/news/6070 Chavez's announcement came as Japan continues its struggle to contain the fires and radiation leaks from the six nuclear reactors at Fukishima which were damaged by the recent earthquake and tsunami.

In stopping the newly initiated nuclear program, Chavez stated that:

“What has been taking place in the last few hours represents an enormous risk and threat to the entire world... “Even with all of the great technology and advances that the Japanese have…just look at what is happening with some of those nuclear reactors,”

In response, Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos praised Chavez's decision as a “timely preventative gesture”  Santos called on the international community to seek out alternative energies.




Venezuelan Women Seek Abortion Legalization And Review of All Laws for Gender Impact

Fri, 11 Mar 2011 23:42:46 +0000

In recognition of International Women’s Day, more than 20 Venezuelan Women’s Collectives massed in the Venezuelan National Assembly yesterday to request that the Assembly address their proposals to re-examine all laws in Venezuela from the perspective of their affects upon the rights of women to equality.

The women also offered thirty three proposals for new laws in favor of women, including the legalization of abortion.  Legalization of abortion would be a major break-through for women in this country.  Here, 98% of the population self-identify as Catholic and the Catholic Church hierarchy is rabidly reactionary.

The Collectives proposals were received supportably by the President of the National Assembly, Fernado Soto Rojas, and the country’s Second Vice President, Blanca Eekhout, who both promised that the National Assembly would address the proposals offered.

As reported in Correo del Orinoco of March 10, 2011 (Span. and English edition) in addition to the demand for legalization of abortion, the collectives’ thirty three proposals include the demand to for implementation of the 1999 Constitution’s mandate to provide social security benefits to those who work in the home.  




Venezuela Builds Homes for the Homeless on Unused Land of the Rich

Mon, 10 Jan 2011 19:02:58 +0000

Marksist, writing "Pledge to Help the Homeless" in dailykos on Sunday, January 9, 2011, wrote:

Did you know that on any given night in Los Angeles County that two out of every three homeless people sleep on the streets? And that 7,000 veterans are homeless? That an additional 7,000 homeless people are youth, age 24 or younger?
Data is power... and these are staggering numbers. Numbers that tell us that more attention, brain power, stakeholder collaboration and resources need to be brought forward in LA County, statewide and nationally.

Here in Venezuela,homelessness has been a problem for over a hundred years. With the recent floods and landslides, 130,000 more people have joined the homeless. But, under the Chavez administration, we can see what can be accomplished when the needed attention, brain power, funding and other resources are brought to bear on solving the problem.




Venezuela Takes "50 Year Step Backward" To Honesty in Banking.

Tue, 21 Dec 2010 21:00:59 +0000

This week, Venezuela’s National Assembly declared its banking industry to be a public service, requiring banks to contribute to the public good. Now, under the new Law of Banking Institutions, Venezuela's private banks will be regulated in the public interest and required to serve, not only the interests of private stockholders, but the interests of depositors, customers and the public at large. Under U.S. law, U.S. corporations only owe a duty to their stockholders.

Juan Reardon, writing in yesterday's venezuelanalysis.com, reports that the response from some sectors of the opposition Venezuelan financial community has not been favorable:

Opposition economist Alexander Guerrero called the law “a 50 year step backwards” because it “takes away banks’ participation in the non-banking sector, such as stock exchanges, investment institutions, insurance companies, etc.”

While

According to opposition legislator Juan José Molina, the new banking law is an “attack on economic liberty, on the constitutional right that citizens have to compete freely, to commercial incentives.”




WikiLeaks Impacts Venezuela, Exposes Traitor.

Wed, 15 Dec 2010 03:21:49 +0000

Venezuelan newspapers were ablaze yesterday with reports on the seemingly traitorous actions of Venezuela's Archbishop, Baltazar Porras, who heads the Council of Bishops of Venezuela.

A WikiLeaks document (See Cable)  from January, 2005, details a visit to the U.S. Embassy in Caracas on January 6, 2005, by Porras, the highest serving Catholic bishop in Venezuela, Archbishop of Venezuela.  Porras sought the help of then U.S. Ambassador William Brownfield and his government in "containing the aspirations" of Venezuela's president, Hugo Chavez.
 

To this end, the Archbishop offered the U.S. government the use of the Catholic church's infrastructure and programs within Venezuela, and especially those within the barrio or ghetto areas, to strengthen the fight against Chavez and his Bolivarian socialism.

Archbishop Porras told the U.S. Ambassador that the U.S. must be "more explicit" in its criticisms of Chavez, who he referred to as a "large problem" that must be "dealt with rapidly".




Cables Give More Proof of U.S. Attacks on Chavez

Sat, 04 Dec 2010 16:52:24 +0000

U.S. attorney and writer, Eva Golinger, who has published two books detailing the U.S. funding of opposition actions against the democratically elected government of Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez, reports in her blog, "Postcards from the Revolution"  (See also a report from today's edition of Venezuelanalysis.com) some of the Wikileaks documents bearing on U.S. actions and attitudes toward Venezuela's developing socialist state.

Golinger's books detail the involvement of the U.S. and its military in the 2002 coup against President Chavez based on information obtained from extensive Freedom Of Information Act requests.  See  “The Chávez Code: Cracking US Intervention in Venezuela” (2006 Olive Branch Press), “Bush vs. Chávez: Washington’s War on Venezuela” (2007, Monthly Review Press).

Golinger's review of the Wikileaks cables reveal even more extensive anti-Chavez activities eminating from the U.S. Embassy in Caracas and involving our Department of Defense and its Southern Command.




Stop Talking About Obama, Start Talking to Your Neighbors!

Thu, 02 Dec 2010 22:34:18 +0000

Sadly, President Obama has demonstrated that he cannot or will not bring about the changes he promised during his election campaign.  So be it.  We must do it ourselves.

If we put the same energy, devotion and sheer hard work that we put into getting him elected into organizing with our neighbors into small community groups to make the changes we need, we could simultaneously help each other survive the economic crisis and work to create policies and programs that work for average Americans.  This is a question of our basic survival, so we might call the groups Community Survival Councils.

Millions of folks are now unemployed, millions have lost or are losing their homes, millions don't have money for food to feed their families or even enough money to pay for internet access.  We all need help and we can get it by joining together.

As long as folks are isolated from each other, nothing whatever will change.

For real change, we need many, many people -- but not as many as the 67 million who voted for President Obama. (We could start with as few as 3 to 9 people.)




Anti-Capitalism: On The Road To Socialism -- Without Violence

Sun, 31 Oct 2010 22:31:38 +0000

Today, October 31, 2010, Brazil celebrates the election of its first female president,  socialist Dilma Rousseff, while Argentina continues to mourn with its female president, socialist Christina Fernandez, the sudden death of her husband of 35 years, former Argentine president, the socialist Nestor Kirchner.  Latin America is a great place for women these days, machismo and capitalism no longer rule!

Here in Venezuela, where I live, the socialist Chavez government has many women in its highest positions:  the speaker of the National Assembly and vice-president of the ruling PSUV party, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, the chief of the National Electoral Council, and in many, many other power jobs at all levels of government and politics.

Women are a major force in this Bolivarian socialist movement, if not its backbone, and their voices have had a real impact on the lives of millions of Venezuelan women.  Besides labor laws which benefit women and children, such as guaranteed paid maternity leave, women here have a Constitutional right to a life free of discrimination.  




Christine O'Donnell Proposes "Don't Touch, Tell All" Military Policy

Thu, 16 Sep 2010 13:55:34 +0000

At the very moment that the Democrats may move to abolish the military’s anti-gay “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" policy, (see Joan McCartér’s “DADT Repeal Prospects Look Good”), Christine O’Donnell is crafting her first piece of proposed Senate legislation to be introduced in her current U.S. Senate campaign.  

Referred to by O’Donnell insiders as the “Don’t Touch, Tell All” policy, it would require the military to prohibit all sexual self-stimulation, including masturbation, in its ranks on pain of dismissal from the military.

O’Donnell’s proposed regulation would require all military personnel, married and unmarried, to submit to weekly polygraph questioning on the subject of their personal sexual habits, especially instances of self-stimulation.




Anti-Capitalism: Creating The Cavalry For a New, Human Society.

Sun, 22 Aug 2010 19:24:25 +0000

This week in dailykos, in a post entitled “And then he kicked the chair out from underneath his feet.” Debbieleft wrote:
 

He was a machine operator - a factory man. He spent his whole life employed in the factories that made business forms, water pumps, thermoplastic sheeting. After almost forty years as a dependable american worker he was tossed aside and discarded from our society. He managed two years unemployed and over a year with only food stamps to help out. It was obvious he had become very ill, lung cancer? We didn't know. But he was sick, out of money and out of time. Had he called we would have taken him in and helped. But he was a proud man. Yesterday he wrote a note to his children, tied a noose, stepped up on a chair,  placed his neck in the noose and kicked the chair out from underneath his feet.  

Had this unemployed, ill factory worker, Dennis Paul, been living in today's Venezuela, as I am, he would likely still be alive.




Live Well in Venezuela For Under $1200 a Month.

Sat, 24 Jul 2010 04:24:24 +0000

It pains me terribly to read posts reporting the terrible plight of those who are facing involuntary unemployment in the U.S. today due to the lack of jobs, especially for those older workers who, once laid off, may never be able to find another job.  They are effectively being forced to retire.  The majority do not have enough money saved to pay their daily bills, let alone to enjoy a pleasant retirement of travel and worry-free leisure that once was their dream.

Many workers in the U.S., have less than $2000 saved for their retirement and social security payments, which start to kick in at 62 years of age, will not even cover their most basic expenses to maintain a roof over their head and food in their belly. Some folks in that situation might be able to benefit from the visa programs for pensioners offered by some Central and South American countries, which allow those with a verifiable non-local income to live well on what would be a pittance in the U.S. One such country is Venezuela.

I am living well on under $300 a month, a fraction of what I spent before leaving my law practice and moving to Venezuela to teach English.  




Obama: We Need To Abolish Our Economic System.

Wed, 16 Jun 2010 15:42:05 +0000

That's what I wanted to hear from President Obama's latest speech.  And that is something that, no matter how awful the catastrophes wrought by our big capitalist corporations, no matter how vast the destruction of the Gulf of Mexico for decades to come, that is something that Obama will never say because he,like the majority of all our politicians, was bought and paid for by the big money boys who run the corporations which control our economy and our lives.

President Obama is a very well educated, knowledgeable fellow.  He knows that BP, formerly British Petroleum, caused the devastation in the Gulf because they were trying to reduce their costs by ignoring important safety concerns while drilling for the black gold.  Indeed, BP managed to save ten million dollars.  In so doing, they caused billions and billions of dollars in damage -- to human lives, to marine animals and to the livelihood of all who depend upon the Gulf for their existence. But it could equally well have been Shell or Exon or any other big corporation.




Venezuela Seeks Critically Thinking Media Consumers.

Sat, 15 Aug 2009 21:42:43 +0000

Venezuela’s new educational reform law, passed by the National Assembly yesterday and signed today, August 15, 2009,  will require, among other measures, that schools educate students in critical thinking, and specifically that they be educated to critically analyze the content of information provided by the media.  (Projecto de Ley Orgánica De Education, Chapter 1, Article 9,”Educación y Responsabilidad Social de los Medios de Comunicación - Education and Social Responsibility in the Communication Media).  The proposed law was published in full in Panorama/, a Spanish language newspaper from Maracaibo, Zulia state, Ve. August 9, 2009.

Why is Education in Critical Thinking Needed, Not Only in Venezuela, But in the United States?

These Republican-owned media make sure that information they distribute favors their politics and their profit interests.  Concentration of ownership into a few corporate owners has drastically suppressed factual, objective reporting and turned our media into info-tainment with a pervasive, barely cloaked, right wing bias.

 




Urgent E-Mail RE: Kidnapping of Honduran President

Sun, 28 Jun 2009 16:55:00 +0000

I just received this e-mail, marked urgent, from Eva Golinger, a Venezuelano-American Attorney now living in Caracas who is very close to the Chavez government.  She asks that the information be passed on to the English-speaking world.

Eva Golinger writes:

President Zelaya of Honduras has just been kidnapped

Caracas, Venezuela -  The text message that beeped on my cell phone this morning read "Alert, Zelaya has been kidnapped, coup d’etat underway in Honduras, spread the word." It’s a rude awakening for a Sunday morning, especially for the millions of Hondurans that were preparing to exercise their sacred right to vote today for the first time on a consultative referendum concerning the future convening of a constitutional assembly to reform the constitution.




The Internet is Revolutionizing Revolution.

Sun, 21 Jun 2009 17:19:42 +0000

Iran, the BBC's Tehran correspondent gave 24 hours to leave the country. http://bit.ly/... #iranelection #gr88 #Mousavi #tehran #iran

While the professional journalists in Iran have been locked down in their hotels, prohibited from taking photographs or interviewing Iranians, ordered out of the country and even arrested, a new breed of citizen journalists have taken their places, successfully sending news, photographs and videos of Iranian events to the outside world. The camera phone has replaced the Uzzi as a guerilla weapon.

Yesterday, we watched as a beautiful 16 year old girl named Neda was murdered on the streets of Tehran.  She was killed by a government funded and dispatched sharp-shooter as she stood with her father watching a crowd of political demonstrators confront her government's election illegalities.

Neda's shocking death was captured on a camera phone from a few steps away by the non-journalist friend of the doctor who we saw trying desperately to stop the blood flowing from her wounds.




Obama's Personal Doctor Prescribes Medicare for All

Fri, 19 Jun 2009 21:52:19 +0000

President Obama's family physician of 22 years has some strong and much needed medical advice for our president.  He recommends:

"Medicare for  all."

 

reports Forbes.com. Dr. Scheiner supports

a single-payer system where the government would cover everyone and pay for it by cutting out waste in the system. "A neurosurgeon gets paid $20,000 for cutting into the neck of my patient. Have him get paid $1 million a year instead of $2 million or $3 million. He won't starve,"

President Obama is too intelligent not to recognize the wisdom of his own doctor's advice.  The question is whether the private insurance companies will drown out the words of the good doctor -- and millions upon millions of Americans who don't have access to health care -- with their millions upon millions of lobbyists and campaign contributions.




U.S. vs. Ve: Who Benefits From Nationalization?

Wed, 03 Jun 2009 16:40:40 +0000

President Obama announced this week that the U.S. taxpayers, now own 60% of General Motors. Just who will benefit from this investement?  As GM’s bankruptcy was filed this week, President Obama tells us that GM will be "revamped", made leaner and meaner to make it profitable once more.  Blogger "Emptywheel" reports from the White House press conference that Obama announced that the principles behind "fixing GM" would bascically be to :

   * Install the right kind of management
   * End the need for government support as quickly as possible
   * Protect taxpayer investment
   * Do not interfere with day-to-day operations
   * No government employees will serve on the board
   * Only participate on core board issues, such as selection of board members, major events, and transactions

But who will do the installing of the "right kind of management" with no government employees serving on the Board of Directors? Why not allow those with the highest stake in the company's future make those decisions?




Chavez Brings 700% Revolution to Teachers

Sun, 31 May 2009 14:29:04 +0000

In May, 2009, the Chavez government signed a new collective bargaining agreement with the nation's teachers union which gives teachers in Venezuela a raise of 30%.  With this raise, teachers here have seen their salaries and benefits increases by 700% over what they were receiving before Hugo Chavez was elected president in 1998. (See "Venezuela Increases Public Teacher Salaries by 30%" by James Suggett at http://www.venezuelanalysis.com/...

Coupled with recognizing the importance of teachers to Venezuelan progress by increasing their salaries, the Chavez government has begun a nation-wide Reading Campaign to assist the intellectual development of all its citizens by providing thousands of free books, films and live performances throughout the country. Events are taking place in town squares where the government's Cultural Mission, called El Corazon Adentro or "Heart Within [the community]", distributes the free books and provide dance, drama and song presentations related to Venezuelan culture and history:

 




U.S. Invests in Banksters, Venezuela Invests in Food and Jobs.

Sat, 09 May 2009 16:58:10 +0000

As an American living in Venezuela, I read the news that the Obama administration is funneling several trillion dollars of taxpayer's money into the U.S. biggest financial institutions. I see that millions of Americans are losing their jobs, their homes, their health insurance and lining up at charity foodbanks to get food. What good is that government money doing for the vast majority of Americans?

In contrast, here in Venezuela, unemployment decreased last quarter, Chavez increased the minimum wage, already the highest in South America, by 20% on May 1st, and the government is taking strong measures to insure that everyone has their basic needs met.

Living in Venezuela, I now directly benefit from policies of the Chavez government:  I can go to a doctor, at no cost, whenever I need to and I can purchase basic foodstuffs at very low cost at the government-run "Mercals" in my neighborhood.

This week at my local Mercal, I purchased a kilo (2.2 lbs) of rice, a kilo of sugar, a half kilo of coffee, a kilo of powdered milk and two quarts of yogurt, and a two foot loaf of bread for about $6.00 U.S. In my home state of Hawaii, that $6.00 would not have paid for the milk, let alone anything else.




Chomsky on Obama and The Investment Theory of Politics.

Fri, 08 May 2009 01:26:46 +0000

In an April 13, 2009, interview on Democracy Now Amy Goodman asks for his views on Obama’s handling of the bail-out.  Chomsky notes that Obama, as a centrist Democrat, is relying on exactly the same people who crashed our economy to fix it.  He quotes an article from Bloomberg News in which they analyzed the past histories of Obama’s economic team and those he invited to his economic summit in December, 2008:

They just reviewed the record. I think there were a couple dozen of them. People on the—you know, people like, say, Stiglitz, Krugman, they were never even allowed close to it, let alone anyone from the left or labor and so on, given token representation. So they went through the records, and they concluded that these people should not be invited to fix up the economy. Most of them should be getting subpoenas because of their record of accounting fraud, malpractice and so on, and helping bring about the current crisis

.

The people he is referring to are Geithner, Summers and Robert Rubin, all of whom participated in the push to abolish Glass-Steagall restrictions on banks and to otherwise deregulate the financial economy.




Economic Hit Man Refuses To Take Out Chavez

Sun, 05 Apr 2009 22:17:34 +0000

John Perkins, author of "The Confessions of an Economic Hitman", has an interesting perspective on Hugo Chavez's contributions to progress in Latin America.  Perkins, an economist, worked for the big transnational corporations and the IMF to wrest control of the economies of developing nations by convincing them, frequently through well placed bribes, to accept loans carrying conditions extremely favorable to the multi-nationals corporations. When, as anticipated, they defaulted, the IMF virtually owned the countries and their economies.  

If the leadership of third world countries didn't cooperate with the corporatists' plans, then, according to Perkins, the Jackals (the assassins and coup fomenters) were sent in. Perkins, in an interview with
Howard Riell, in Smoking Argus Daily"Smoking Argus Daily" points to Ecuador’s Jaime Roldos and Panama’s Omar Torrijos, both of whom were populist leaders whose planes mysteriously exploded in 1981,mysteries widely attributed to the CIA. More recently, Perkins points to the 2002 coup against President Chavez in Venezuela.