Saturday, February 16, 2019

Horrifying Lack of Democracy At Root of Venezuela Crisis!

Candidate            % of votes       % of reg.

Trump (USA)             46%                 27%
May (Britain)             42.3%              29%
Sanchez (Spain)         22.6%              15%
Macron (France)        24%                 11.69%
Maduro (Venezuela)   67.84%            31.7%
Guaidó (opposition)    0%                  0%

Source: Doug Nicholls, Venezuela Solidarity Campaign (London), quoted on Telesur English, "The World Today With Tariq Ali - No War in Venzuela," You Tube, 2/15/19

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Why We Need A New Political Party

Seven Major Ways that Progressives have Sought to Reform the Democratic Party Since 2016. And how the Party has Thwarted them All

Alan Benjamin, Editorial Board of The Organizer, interviews Nick Brana, national director of the Movement for a People’s Party and organizer with the Labor-Community Campaign for an Independent Party. Brana lobbied the Democratic superdelegates for Sen. Bernie Sanders on his 2016 presidential campaign. He went on to help found Our Revolution as its first Electoral Manager. Originally printed in The Organizer.

Alan Benjamin: Three months ago, the Democratic Party took back the House of Representatives. Now the media is full of stories about how the Democrats have “shifted to the left” and how “progressives” are poised to take back the party from the “establishment Democrats.” What is the reality behind these stories?

Nick Brana: There is a lot of ground to cover from the past three years, all indicative of how much the Democratic Party has been doing to undermine progressives and working people.

Let me begin with the bigger picture going back to the 2016 election:

As generations of progressives have done before them, Bernie supporters embarked on a renewed mission to reform the Democratic Party after it rigged the presidential primary election. Their first thought was, “What if we try to get a strong platform out of the Democratic Party?"

It turns out that the platform is nonbinding and meaningless. That is why the Party just scrapped the platform passed by the delegates the following year and replaced it with a more conservative one called the “Better Deal.”

Well, next, progressives said, “What if we try to elect a DNC chair to take over the Party apparatus?” It turns out again that the Democratic Party’s members and voters have nothing to do with selecting the leadership of the Party. The DNC members (corporate lobbyists, consultants, and superdelegates) get to pick the Democratic National Committee chair. The Party donors supported Tom Perez, so that’s who we got. Once again the progressives were thwarted by the Party.

So progressives then said, “How about if we replace the DNC members and get a majority?” Well at the DNC’s fall meeting in 2017, the Party simply picked out the progressives and purged them from the National Committee.

The shocked progressives then said, “What if we try to reform the presidential primary process ahead of 2020?” So they pushed for the elimination of superdelegates, open primaries, same-day party registration, and progressive influence on the key Rules Committee, which oversees the primary process. And the DNC Unity Reform Commission was put together to level the playing field and create a fair primary process.

But right from the start, the Democratic Party rigged the commission itself. The Party stacked it with a bunch of consultants, corporate lobbyists and people who participated in rigging the 2016 primary (like Donna Brazile). It also gave all 30 seats on the Rules and Bylaws Committee to establishment loyalists. Not surprisingly, the DNC ended up expanding its control over the primary process.

It kept closed primaries to shut out independent voters who lean progressive. It kept joint fundraising agreements between the DNC and presidential campaigns, which allow establishment candidates to control the Party throughout the primaries like Hillary Clinton did. It slashed the number of states that hold caucuses, which favor progressive candidates. It refused to eliminate superdelegates, moving them to the second ballot at the convention but reserving the right to force a second ballot if they choose.

It introduced a loyalty oath that allows the DNC chair to deny progressives access to the ballot if he deems that the candidate has been insufficiently “faithful” to the Party during their life. And most important, it did nothing to remove corporate and billionaire money from the primary or the Party, ensuring that Wall Street can continue purchasing its politicians.

These rules will have a huge impact on the 2020 Democratic primary. Take the caucuses for instance. Bernie won two-thirds of the caucus states in 2016, while Hillary won three-quarters of the primary states. Bernie was competitive thanks to the caucuses. So the Party leadership said, hey, let’s get rid of them. And that’s what they’re doing.

Undeterred, some of the most hard-core individuals trying to reform the Democratic Party thought, “Well now we’re at the midterms so let’s try to elect some progressive Democrats and take power legislatively.”

When the dust settled in November of 2018, it turned out that the “Blue Wave” had been a corporate wave. The party establishment had successfully blocked all but two of the progressives who challenged incumbent Democrats. Only two progressives unseated House Democrats in all of 2018: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ayanna Pressley. There are 435 members of Congress.

The other two progressives who are often discussed in the media basically swapped seats with progressives who used to sit there: Rashid Tlaib took John Conyers’ seat and Ilhan Omar took Keith Ellison’s seat.

Dejected progressives thought, “In that case, let’s replace Pelosi as speaker of the House. She is deeply in the pockets of Wall Street and has enriched herself to the tune of $100 million in the course of her public service.”

The Party responded to the dissension by threatening to pick an even more conservative Speaker of the House than Pelosi, someone from the Blue Dog Caucus, for example. This needs to be understood: The opposition to Pelosi becoming Speaker of the House was coming from the right wing of the Party. The majority of the Democratic House Caucus considers Pelosi to be out of step with the Party because she is too far to the left. The Democratic Party is so conservative that Pelosi is now left of center.

As a result, the progressives capitulated and voted to make Nancy Pelosi Speaker again. But they went beyond endorsing her reluctantly. The handful of new progressives launched a campaign to rebrand her as a progressive.

“Pelosi comes from a space of activism and organizing,” said Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. “No one can really doubt Pelosi’s progressive chops,” stated Pramila Jayapal. “Pelosi has a progressive track record,” added Rashida Tlaib. “Pelosi will play an important role in advancing the agenda of progressives,” said Ilhan Omar.

Over the past three years, progressives have engaged in various efforts to gain influence in the Democratic Party, democratize the Party, and elect progressives to office — and the Party has thwarted them and consolidated its power at every step of the way.

In the midterms, the Party that came back to Washington looks virtually indistinguishable from the one that existed before the midterms. In fact, there the Democrats are more corporate than ever, as they were the ones that the DCCC picked to run. The DCCC in turn worked with the finance-friendly Blue Dog Democrats on candidate recruitment.

The “Blue Wave” was another corporate wave.

So here we are three years after progressives embarked on this venture to try to reform the Democratic Party, and we’re back to square one essentially, with many saying, “Well, let’s try and run a presidential candidate again and hope for the best.”

That’s why the work we are doing as the Labor-Community Campaign for an Independent Party (LCCIP) is so important. We and working people are saying, enough is enough, we’ve learned our lesson: What we need in this country is a major new party, a mass-based party of working people, in order to make change.

Alan Benjamin: Since the midterms, the Democrats have put forward a number of policy positions which, yet again, show their true corporate colors. Could you tell us about PayGo, for example.

Nick Brana: The issue of PayGo is critical. It’s a balanced-budget austerity policy. It stipulates that the government has to offset any increase in spending with an increase in revenue. PayGo makes it virtually impossible to pass progressive legislation, including Medicare for All, free public college, a Green New Deal, and a federal jobs program.

The Democrats pushed to institute this as a rule in Congress. On January 3, the House of Representatives approved PayGo. Only three members of the House Democratic Caucus voted against PayGo, that is one percent of the House Caucus.

All of the new freshmen “progressives,” with the exception of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, voted for PayGo. They voted against their own agenda on their first day in office.

Many House Democrats have been saying they support Medicare for All or a Green New Deal — and yet all of them voted to adopt a set of rules that ensures those policies will never see the light of day.

This shows that the Democratic Party is playing the same game it has always played: When it is out of power, as it was after 2016, the Democratic Party turns to Single Payer and other rhetorical progressive promises to win its way back into government. The minute they get into office, they toss those commitments out the window.

Obama and congressional Democrats did the same thing when they were out of power during George W. Bush’s administration. They promised to pass Single Payer and the Employee Free Choice Act, cap carbon emissions, bring the troops home, end mass surveillance, and get money out of politics. Voters put them back into office with a filibuster-proof majority. They reneged on everything.

Alan Benjamin: What ever happened with the Green New Deal Committee?

Nick Brana: That’s another case in point. Nancy Pelosi promised a Green New Deal Committee to the progressive freshmen in exchange for their support of her nomination as House Speaker.

The Democratic Party, however, reduced the much-anticipated committee to a public relations stunt for the fossil fuel industry. It was stripped of the power to pass bills or subpoena speakers, which are the basic powers of any committee. It was reduced to a gimmick.

The Democrats went further. They packed this new committee with corporate Democrats who take fossil fuel money. When progressives objected, the establishment chair of the committee replied that it would be a violation of their First Amendment rights to ask Democratic members of the committee to not take oil and fracking money. In the spirit of Citizens United, she basically said that it’s their right to be bought off.

This novel Democratic precedent states that elected officials can never be asked to relinquish their Wall Street cash — which is important because studies have shown that virtually all of the Congressional Progressive Caucus members take corporate money, as does the rest of the Party.

It is worse than nothing to have a committee that pretends to be doing something, while ensuring that nothing gets done to address climate change and other urgent environmental crises. The fossil fuel companies were quite pleased.

Alan Benjamin: Let’s talk a bit about the Democrats and U.S. foreign policy. There was a vote in the House of Representatives in mid-January on U.S. support for NATO, one of the U.S. government’s major war instruments not only in Europe but across the Middle East. And not a single Democrat voted to oppose NATO. There were 208 votes in favor of NATO, with 26 not voting. All the supposedly militant “progressives” — including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — voted to support NATO.

This is one more sign of the militarism that carries the day in the Democratic Party. In 2017, the Democrats authorized more money for war spending than Trump had requested. And there are enormous repercussions for social spending here at home. The war budget, euphemistically called “defense budget,” siphons billions of dollars away from schools, infrastructure, hospitals, and other vital programs.

Now the Trump administration, with full bipartisan support, has orchestrated a coup d’etat in Venezuela and is poised to send 5,000 U.S. troops — in addition to proxy troops from Brazil and Colombia — into Venezuela in the name of “restoring democracy” and “ensuring the delivery of humanitarian aid.” The hypocrisy of it all is sickening.

Nick Brana: Accepting militarism is the price of admission into the Democratic Party. The Party will not allow you to operate if you challenge this.

The war budget consumes 56 percent of federal discretionary spending, a figure that is rising and hollowing out the U.S. economy thanks to bipartisan support. It’s also making the world a much more dangerous place. Just two weeks ago the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists put humanity at 2 minutes to midnight. Swept up in the new McCarthyism, the U.S. is withdrawing from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, a centerpiece of Cold War arms control. Prior to Trump’s withdrawal from the treaty, Obama and the Democrats had already announced plans to spend more than a trillion dollars modernizing U.S. nuclear weapons.

The support for NATO, a military alliance outside of the global U.N. framework, is particularly distressing given that its counterpart, the Warsaw Pact, dissolved with the Soviet Union. Its encroachment on Russia over the past three decades is at the heart of rising international tensions. The bill that recently got unanimous support from the Democrats went beyond expressing support for NATO, it called for an increase in military funding from member countries.

In Venezuela, this is the second coup that the U.S. has orchestrated against the government in the past couple decades. Venezuela has the largest oil reserves in the world and Western companies want to take those resources out of the country’s hands like they did in Iraq. The U.S. and Wall Street have engaged in sanctions and economic warfare to starve the country and provoke a coup, one that they finally orchestrated last month. The coup has not been as successful as Washington hoped, seeing as millions of working poor are loyal to the government, which has dramatically improved their standards of living over the past couple decades. The U.S. corporate parties have celebrated the coup with near-unanimous bipartisanship.

Alan Benjamin: Is there anything else you would like to add to this discussion?

Nick Brana: Yes. I want to emphasize one of the points I made earlier. Many progressives aiming to reform the Democratic Party are trying to get Nancy Pelosi and the current Party leadership out of the way in the hope that they can get a fresh new progressive generation of Democrats to take their place.

But it’s important to understand that the successors to Pelosi and the Party leadership have already been groomed and decided, and they are more right-wing than Pelosi. This includes Ben Ray Lujan, a Democratic Representative from New Mexico who was just made Assistant Speaker of the House. He ran the DCCC for the past four years, where he turned over candidate recruitment and mentoring to the ultra-conservative Blue Dog Democratic Caucus.

It also includes Hakeem Jeffries, a Representative from New York who is now the Chair of the House Democratic Caucus and who got his start as a corporate lawyer for Viacom and CBS.

Also in line for Party leadership is Illinois Representative Cheri Bustos, who received the DCCC Chair post and was an executive in the healthcare industry before she came to Congress.

The next generation of congressional Democratic Party leaders is more conservative than Pelosi, Steny Hoyer and the sitting leadership. They are in their 40s and will literally run the party into the 2050s.

Alan Benjamin: You have talked about the need to have a dynamic Labor-Community Campaign for an Independent Party so that when the 2020 election comes and goes, with yet again another primary rigged against “progressives,” there is something in place so that people can gravitate toward a new mass-based independent party of working people. Why is this so important today?

Nick Brana: We’re on the brink of two major crises. One of them is the fact that the Democratic Party presidential primary has already been rigged, again. The other is that, as many economists are predicting, we are due for another recession. The signs are there, beginning with the recent extreme volatility and loss of confidence in the stock market.

That means there will be these great shocks that will lead to a greater erosion of confidence in the establishment parties that have pushed people to the brink since the Great Recession. Eighty percent of Americans live paycheck to paycheck with little to no savings. So it is vitally important that those of us who understand this history with the Democratic Party be prepared to create a mass-based and corporate-free party of working people. That is the work that LCCIP is engaged in, with 14 union and community organizations representing more than 100,000 members.

The majority of Americans already want a major new party, including an even greater number of young and working people. A large plurality of Americans are also independent, with millions having left the Democratic and Republican parties over the past 15 years. This has happened before another recession and rigged primary rock the country.

Neglecting to form a left alternative to the establishment parties leaves a rapidly widening void in political representation that the far right happily fills. That’s how we got Trump. As horrific as he is, the public’s desperation and rage will only grow as their lives descend further into precarity and distress.

I’ll finish by saying this.

America’s unions have spent billions of worker dollars propping up the Democratic Party over the past several decades. In return the Party has given us plummeting wages, skyrocketing healthcare costs, crushing student debt, job-killing trade deals, and inequality surpassing the Gilded Age. The corporate bosses would never tolerate that kind of return on investment, and neither should we.

Unions couldn’t take over the Democratic Party when 35 percent of the workforce was unionized in the 1940s and 50s. But they have always held a far greater, untapped power — the strength to replace it entirely with a labor-based party. From child labor laws to the 40-hour workweek, America’s greatest victories have been won when unions and social movements joined forces to declare their independence from the parties of Wall Street.

Friday, February 8, 2019

Murder Inc. = U.S. Foreign Policy

The Mafia, a Sicilian-Italian criminal gang that moved to the USA in the late 19th century along with much larger numbers of law abiding immigrants, has become the stuff of romantic Hollywood glorification and demonic media fables. These are a part of grossly over-simplified American mythology about immigrant minorities bringing crime and violence to America’s shores, or delightful multi-cultural social excitement, while avoiding the fact that the overwhelming majority provided cheap foreign labor far more profitable to capital than an American working class. But just as all stereotypes are based on verifiable facts which are then grossly exaggerated, the existence of this crime cartel, especially its subsidiary called “Murder Inc”, has become a synonym used for governments or enemies likened to a “mafia” as though that label settled the case that they must be evil and therefore worthy of American disdain or worse. But a global Murder Inc existed long before these immigrants arrived on our shores and has been infinitely more menacing than this over-dramatized small crime business, relative to the worldwide massacres of conquest and exploitation of its mother country: The USA.

The men in what was called Murder Inc were cold-blooded killers who didn't mind getting rid of anyone who might stand in the way of their pursuit of profit. Sound familiar? But where these criminals,and contrary to much folklore they were Jewish as well as Italian, were limited to local and at best national domination of only some businesses, the nation to which they or their parents had migrated was about much bigger victims. More important, when it comes to inflicting violence the actual Mafia amounts to a pacifist humanitarian NGO by comparison to the massive bloodletting of capital’s greatest organized crime syndicate: the U.S.A.

It began with the nation’s origins as a colonial outpost of foreign wealth, an unexpected result of an early capital financed voyage to find trade routes to the east stumbling upon an entire continent previously unknown to Europeans.The Chinese had arrived years earlier, glanced about and left without disturbing the inhabitants or the terrain.

It continued through the establishment of a land that became a colossus among nations and a homeland to first Europeans, later Africans, Asians and others, all arrivals after being dumped by their native lands as poor and rejected masses, or sold in markets and arriving in physical chains as well as economic bondage. The upside was the progress that resulted to the wealthy owners, some of which was then “trickled down” to the previous poor so that they eventually became a working class of people able to survive at higher material standards than any previous generations, though never remotely close to achieving the comfort level of their rulers.

That situation of having enough survival material, or at least enough  drugs, meds, alcohol or debt, to enable dreams of slightly better life for common folk, has presently reached a point of no return both in America and in the wider world. The system treating earth and its people as simple commodities of profit and loss at something called a “free” market where nothing is available for free nears its end; or humanity’s, which ever comes first.

The massive slaughter of the indigenous people who’d lived here for thousands of years, followed by conquests of the rest of the continent, killed more people in a day than Murder Inc amassed during their brief careers in the crime market. And it got worse as our warlords were given mightier tools to conduct mass murders beyond the imaginations of all but some of the inventors, agents and perpetrators of these crimes.

After two world wars of the 20th century which left most of Europe and Asia in varying stages of destruction, the USA was placed in a position of global dominance, actually having prospered from both those massive international massacres by remaining totally free of their dreadful carnage at home. It remained in that position only by constant subversion of dominated nations which proposed to break from its control, doing so militarily or politically and keeping a majority of ruling powers in foreign countries under its domain. On the one hand, helping wrecked societies by financing – at great profit – their rebuilding, and on the other by collecting interest and resource payments from colonial properties and helping fake democracies elect, in pretense of our own minority rule, a class of leaders performing as puppets and lap dogs, while selling out the interest of their own people in obedience to a global minority getting richer while most of the world and especially their nations grew poorer.

The death toll inflicted on humanity in all wars may amount to astronomical, if unknown numbers, but we can arrive at close to real results of massive bloodlettings like our own 19th century “civil” war, which, we are told, killed some 500,000 of us under the direction of a great man named Abraham Lincoln. This, as opposed to an alleged 500,000 murdered in a 21st century “civil” war in Syria, we are told, led by a terrible monster named Bashir Al Assad. Who runs the nation doing the killing and whether it commits positive or negative murder is decided by those that rulers employ in the labeling class who are of the scholar - propagandist job title. However we may have been led to think of past mass murders and mindful of the fact that distortion of reality is the job of a stenographer class employed by ruling wealth to control mass consciousness, we can compare numbers from many sources and arrive at something close to what actually happened. In the Second World War, for instance, and counting only three bombing raids, we killed more than 200,000 in Dresden, Hiroshima and Nagasaki. We had British accomplices in Dresden while we performed the slaughter of the Japanese all by ourselves. And we only dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima in order to save lives, since the invasion of Japan would have killed many more people. Or so we were told by the propagandist-scholars. In fact, when we saw how many lives we’d saved by killing 85,000 in Hiroshima, we dropped another bomb on Nagasaki only three days later and killed another 50,000. Since we only had two atomic bombs at the time, who’s to say how many lives we could have saved by dropping still more bombs and killing more evil Japanese? Who later turned into great friends and profit makers for our banks as we loaned them money to finance their rebuilding, along with Germany’s.

America’s participation was in that collective war which is said to have killed as many as 60 million but we went on conducting massive blood baths mostly on our own in Korea, Viet Nam and currently in the Middle East where millions more lives were taken. And billions in profits were accrued.

At the present moment, when some liberals surpass conservatives in foaming at the mouth over an alleged threat to our freedom originating in Russia and China, two nations which lost more than 40 million lives in War Two and whose combined military spending at present is less than half of our own, we place weapons and finance troops on Russia’s borders and parade our warships off the coast of China, complaining of their alleged menace while doing so. The USA lost nearly a half of one percent of lives compared to Russia and China in that massive massacre so we can well understand its sensitivity.

The cold-blooded killers of Murder Inc, were they alive now, might become hysterical and need a priest, rabbi or secular therapeutic helper at confronting the monstrous crimes committed by their adopted country, our great democracy. They could probably never conceive of such massive brutality as destroying entire cities and hundreds of thousands of people. But they were just ordinary small time killers who knew nothing about the defense of freedom , justice , and most importantly, the profit margin, on a national, let alone global basis.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Venezuela: It's About Democracy. No, Wait, It's Something Else

“It will make a big difference to the United States economically if we could have American oil companies invest in and produce the oil capabilities in Venezuela.”

---U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton, 1/28/19, on Trish Regan Prime Time, Fox Business Report 

Monday, January 28, 2019

Bulletins From The Garlic!. Stolen From Major Media Mind Molesters!

Homer Simpson To Join Democratic Candidate List For 2020.

“OMG! We have a reality TV president and now it’s time for a cartoon TV president,” said campaign coordinator Hilary D. Plorable.

“OMG! Homer can help bring white working class voters back to the party and family photos of The Simpsons along with their gay, black, Indian and other supporting cartoon characters from the cast will charm the millions who still love the show. OMG! It’s  going to take lots of money, even with the family’s great name recognition, so can you donate ten, twenty or thirty dollars now, with more to come later? OMG! Are you as excited as we are? OMG!

Trump Charged With Treason: This Time It’s China!

Observers claim the president was seen in close conversation with a waiter at a Chinese restaurant in Georgetown and the Washington Police, the FBI, the CIA, the NSA and Girl Scouts of America were all immediately notified of this possible act of treachery if any part of their conversation was about computer electronics and not the Dumpling Special at Danny's Dim Sum Diner.

Trump Farts in Central Park: Times/CNN/MSNBC Charge Lethal Gas Attack: NY Jews Fear Second Holocaust!

Trump spokesperson claims he is the greatest most brilliant friend Israel and Zionist American Jews have ever had and fart was innocent result of eating too much Chinese Food.

Southern Poverty Law Center charges anti-Asian bigotry and threatens multi-billion dollar lawsuit. ACLU offers to defend Trump, immediately suffers loss of most donors and files for bankruptcy. Russian and Chinese billionaires offer help. Liberals call for impeachment. Conservatives call for lunch at Chinese Restaurants. Moderates order pastrami from delis in support of Jews suffering anti-Semitic Trump attacks.

In an unrelated culinary identity group ploy, People of Color Inc. join with Gay Inc. and Gender Fluidity Inc. to demand Taco-Pizza-Burger stands owned by Muslims on Wall Street and in front of all banks.

As the only people without color in the human race, Albinos demand equal rights, claim corn dog, hot dog and running dog wagons should be dispensing free food to all people of no color.

All global humans of color (99.9% of race) protest exclusion of Albinos, chant “me too” and join forces to rid the planet of liberal, progressive, populist, conservative, right wing, no wing, brain dead and upper class college graduate Americans.

OMG! Stay Tuned! OMG!

Venezuela - Capitalist Success, Not Socialist Failure

A "democratic" U.S. government legally elected by a minority of the vote is now calling for democracy in Venezuela by attempting to overthrow its government,  which was recently elected by a more than two-thirds vote after a highly-fragmented political opposition abstained from participation (on U.S. instructions) because it lacked popular support and felt that it was unlikely to win. The point man for the regime change operation is Elliott Abrams, whose biography tells us everything we need to know to evaluate the alleged democratic intentions of the Trump administration.

A fire-breathing fanatic for imperial Israel who championed the invasion and destruction of Iraq, Abrams was formerly Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights for the Reagan administration, and famously called U.S./Salvadorean death-squad operations that produced tens of thousands of mutilated civilian corpses (1979-1994) a "fabulous achievement." He also claimed that the Nicaraguan contras, famous for torture, rape, and murder in a campaign to overthrow the socialist government of Nicaragua, would one day  be fondly remembered as "folk heroes." Today he is a member of the board of directors of the National Endowment for Democracy, which was created to be a continuation of CIA skullduggery by other means, and currently finances Washington's destabilization efforts not only in Venezuela, but also in Nicaragua, Bolivia, and Cuba. Convicted of lying to Congress about Iran-Contra, Abrams called his prosecutors "filthy bastards," dismissed the proceedings as "Kafkaesque," and denounced the members of the Senate Intelligence Committee as "pious clowns." After hearing Abrams' testimony, then Missouri Senator Thomas Eagleton expressed a common reaction: "I want to puke." 

So much for Washington seeking democracy, as though we didn't already know. For the plain fact is that there is more democracy in Venezuela now, where members of the vast poor majority can be routinely found in animated political discussion of the events that shape their lives, than there has ever been in the United States, where the poor are deliberately excluded from representation or even consideration, and have therefore long since dismissed politics as a sensible concern.

But if not democracy, what then is the U.S.'s motivation in Venezuela? Well, Venezuela has large gold and nickel reserves, along with the largest oil supply in the world. Gaining control of such resources is an attractive prospect for any U.S. president, but especially for one under siege from multiple investigations and constant media questioning of his legitimacy. Making America great again by plundering Venezuela oil supplies would be an imperial achievement that the entire U.S. political class would admire. Witness Nancy Pelosi reaching across the aisle to tweet support for the coup right off the bat, to wit: "America stands by the people of #Venezuela as they rise up against authoritarian rule and demand respect for human rights and democracy." Who says Trump and the Democrats can't get along?

Though the current coup in Venezuela has roots going back to 2002 (when President Chavez was kidnapped and nearly killed by the U.S. backed "opposition"), long before any economic crisis was even on the horizon, giddy triumphalists of American Empire stridently declare that the Venezuelan crisis proves nothing more than the "failure of socialism." Ignoring the deliberate U.S. policy of sowing economic chaos, they denounce the Bolivarian Revolution as  a sham on the grounds that its supposed beneficiaries are now allegedly suffering mass starvation due to lunatic Marxist policies run amok. 

Except that there is no mass starvation, the mass Chavista base remains intact, and the Venezuelan economy is overwhelmingly in private hands.

In other words, the entire thesis of "socialism has failed" is a propaganda offensive, not a news story. And those who try to make Venezuela a news story by getting out the real facts on the ground are regularly threatened with being burned alive by the U.S.-led political opposition now claiming it wants to re-establish democracy in Venezuela. In recent years it has attacked and killed dozens of poor black Chavistas in the streets (often torched), attempting to provoke police responses that can subsequently be denounced as socialist "authoritarianism." Imagine the reaction in the United States if a foreign power were sowing arson and murder in the U.S. in an effort to force Trump out of office for having lost the popular vote in 2016. We'd launch a nuclear war.

There are, of course, real economic issues, such as hyper-inflation and food shortages. However, the shortages are often of staple items produced by a handful of companies that withhold them from the market as a form of class warfare. In any case, the crippling sanctions imposed by the Obama administration in 2015 on the ludicrous pretext that Venezuela represents a national security threat to the United States have made the situation worse, not better (as intended). 

With the Trump administration now extending the sanctions to the energy sector, a solution could become outright impossible. About one-third of Venezuelan exports are to the United States, and Venezuela meets about 40% of its economic needs through the foreign exchange it earns by exporting. If it can't export to the U.S. it suffers a huge loss of income that previously went for purchasing imports. This is the heart of Washington's longstanding "make the economy scream" strategy previously successfully employed in Chile (1973) to overthrow a socialist government and install a dictator (Augusto Pinochet), who promptly initiated a bloodbath.  

To make a long story short, the current crisis has been meticulously planned, nurtured, and yearned for for years by U.S. imperial strategists, who are now perfectly delighted, not appalled, by the crisis. For them to call the situation a failure of socialism is like the Boston strangler pronouncing his strangled female corpses a failure of feminism.

There is nothing to discuss with the Venezuelan opposition, which is obviously only interested in the complete eradication of the Bolivarian Revolution, the detested policy of meeting the needs of Venezuela's poor black and Indian majority with Venezuelan oil revenue. It would be nothing less than treason to collaborate with these right-wing demagogues. At the same time, however, it would be suicidal to pretend that the U.S. is not exploiting real popular disenchantment with Chavez and Maduro's economic policies, especially Maduro's exchange controls.

But let's let Venezuelans solve their problems for themselves, not force them to submit to imperial ultimatums.

Postscript: With John Bolton talking about privatizing Venezuelan oil, it is clear that more is at stake than just overturning the entire Bolivarian revolution. Venezuelan oil was nationalized in 1976, so Bolton's plans are to reverse the last 43 years of history.

Sources for this article:

Terry J. Allen, "Public Serpent: Iran Contra Villain Elliott Abrams Is Back," In These Times, August 2001

Abby Martin, Greg Wilpert, and  Paul Jay,"Attempted Coup in Venezuela" Real News Network, January 25, 2019 

William Blum, "Trojan Horse: The National Endowment For Democracy,"

William Blum,"Killing Hope: U.S. Military And CIA Interventions Since World War II,"  Common Courage Press, 1995

Brendan O'Brien, "Venezuela's opposition is not so innocent," The Guardian, August 18, 2017

Interview with Maduro, Ignacio Ramonet and President Nicolas Maduro, The Greanville Post, January 24, 2019, reprinted by The Axis of Logic

"Venezuela Propaganda Debunked - People Are Against Coup," Jimmy Dore Show, January 27, 2019 

Aram Aharonian, "In Spite of Its Failures, The United States Continues International Offensive Against Venezuela," January 28, 2019, (Spanish)

Argumentum Ad Venezuelum, BadMouseProductions, You Tube, August 30, 2017

For more on Venezuela, see:

"Imperial Demon Watch:  Hugo Chavez", Legalienate, August 4, 2007

"Hugo Chavez, Lion of the Left," Legalienate, March 8, 2013

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

We Don’t Need A New Deal: We Need A Whole New Deck

We Don’t Need A New Deal: We Need A Whole New Deck

The gap between the earth’s wardens of wealth and the nearly eight billion humans under their control has grown wider and more dangerous but is beginning to be understood by some as a systemic problem and not simply a matter of evil leaders and villainous followers. When people see and feel their futures ranging from problematic at best to non-existent at worst, we get the resultant turmoil and changes taking place in nations moving in many directions at once but all of them against established power over things as they are.

Whether votes are cast in elections labeled democratic though still under minority control, or issues are subject to mob rule of one extreme or another, they are producing governments at least rhetorically dedicated to change even if often dangerously confused or in merely cosmetic form. Nevertheless, those demanding change beyond simply continuing the rule of market forces under minority control are starting to move up and into more commanding roles in governments. Unfortunately, and especially in America, many still operate as though political change amounts to the candidates skin tone, religion or sex, neglecting the philosophy between their ears by concentrating more on the genitals between their thighs.

Thus we have working people going to the polls and electing representatives of wealth operating against their interest but rhetorically speaking of change, which may mean reverting to earlier forms of capital private profit which still leave the public good in poor condition, or worse, sinking into megalomaniacal rule under populists (?) promising to dump even more wrath on those at or near the bottom. Meanwhile, more social democratic forms of capital rule which see the need for avoiding revolution by sharing a little more with the multitudes beginning to loudly complain, are also moving into positions of governmental power. This lesser evil of earlier stages, once called a “new deal” at capitalism’s last sign of collapse, is now dubbed a “green” new deal, in the face of   massive environmental threats only denied by the brain dead among private profiteers, as in the old days when realistic capital supported social democracy even while the troglodytes of capital insisted it was dreadful socialism.

This dichotomy still exists between those who would save the system that most benefits a minority rather than transform it into truly expressing the desires and needs of the majority. Neo-liberal-conservative elements panic at the thought of real democracy enabling all people to survive without having personal trust funds, family inheritance, or earning the salary rewards of work performed on behalf of those with personal trust funds and family inheritance. Rhetorical rule has managed minds into believing in ideals of democracy while materially accepting imitations that don’t even come close.

While national uprisings against despotic tyranny are important parts of past history, the present situation in which a global consciousness is growing that humanity and not just one or another national or identity group must move in the direction of taking control is a new experience for the race. It is being opposed more strongly by the beneficiaries of market forces under the control of creatures akin to gods by comparison to ordinary mortals as the dangers grow more serious. Among the brighter signs are progress towards ending the empire of the west but weaponry beyond imagination controlled by warriors beyond belief threatens humanity as never before.

The reactions coming from global GHQ of international capital are indicative of hysteria bordering on dementia tending towards stark raving insanity. And this from both sides of the ruling coin, with conservatives blathering about socialism and genocidal democracy resulting from wimpy policies merely asking how so few can be so rich while so many are so poor, and what passes for a liberal left more concerned for scandalizing a president and whining about an alleged Russian menace while debt approaches 22 trillion and Israel all but owns the white house and congress. Almost daily screeching about the alleged treachery of the present occupant at the white house, intrigue emanating from the Kremlin endangering all of humanity, and other stories captivating to prisoners of consciousness control threaten to create lynch mobs out of decent people and mass murderers out of frightened crowds.

The solutions offered by many in the face of environmental degradation are all to often connected to the political economics that have created that condition, hoping to somehow clean up filth by covering it with nicer dirt. Thus we have solutions to carbon pollution proposed that charge a price for creating it to somehow limit its production, which is like combating rape by charging a fee for its performance. When we need to totally transform the environment from one dependent on fossil fuel to one running on natural forces like air, wind, water and the sun, too often private profit is expected to do the job when that fanatic focus is already threatening the public good more than at any time in the past.

Back in the 19th century, many social critics warned of what might happen to the earth and its people if the social system of industrial capital continued. Karl Marx was foremost among them and his analysis went beyond anyone else’s and still holds true. They all understood that minority rule based on inherited power and the wealth it controlled was a menace but its newest form, not yet labeled capitalism, was the most malevolent yet. We live in the age in which it has become more obvious to hundreds of millions whose everyday lives are filled with misery and deprivation while a tiny group absorbs most of society’s wealth and shares a bit of it with a class of well paid servants who play the role of pacifying the populace from taking any political action or destroying it in wars when it does.

Whether at Vegas, on the Riviera, or at card tables run by religious groups, when the house seems to be winning even more than usual, one of the gamblers will call for a new deal. This simply means re-shuffling the deck so that cards appear in a slightly different order. At extremes, someone will demand a new deck, but even this only means new cards will be used, but with all of the same suits and numerations as the old. This is the problem with allegedly trying to call for “new” proposed solutions but without moving from a private profit first system to one that demands the public good as primary. Society needs to demand a new deck with different cards, removing the old ones like poverty, war, and racism and replacing them with peace, humanity and the common good. Continuing to reshuffle the old or even replacing it only with new forms that change immaterial labels but maintain material substance will only work to appease some until the next breakdown.

The one coming may be worse than any before, and global action needs to be taken with humanity connected as never before. It is not only possible but necessary, which is why the owners of the Casino are working hard to see to it that all dealers remain under their employ, in governments all over the world, and why citizens and nations must ultimately cross boundaries not simply to escape poverty and war in one place by hiding in another, but to live together in another kind of world which will only arrive if we create it. The next period will hopefully show that we are capable.