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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.
.

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.

But other countries are being systematically robbed.  Thus, in a study commissioned  by the The Tax Justice Network campaign group, leaked to The Guardian, and reprinted by today’s rt.com news cited above, we discover that:
 

Wealthy tax evaders, aided by private banks have exploited loopholes in tax legislation and stashed over $21 tn in offshore funds, says a report. The capital drained from some developing countries since 1970 would be enough to pay off national debts. The findings show the gap between the haves and the have-nots is much larger than previously thought...

The report provides the most detailed valuation of the offshore economy to date. The document cites the world’s leading private banks as cherry-picking from the ranks of the uber-rich and siphoning their fortunes into tax-free havens such as Switzerland and the Cayman Islands.

The wealth of the super-rich is "protected by a highly paid, industrious bevy of professional enablers in the private banking, legal, accounting and investment industries taking advantage of the increasingly borderless, frictionless global economy."
Henry writes that a large part of the trillion dollar hoard belongs to around 92,000 individuals, an elite class of super-rich who make up 0.001 percent of the global population.

Romney, the consummate professional enabler, who has bragged about the efficiency with which his Bain companies have served his financial interests and those of his wealthy investors, has also been quoted as admitting that Bain created investment vehicles in the Cayman Islands, protected from U.S. taxes, in order to attract wealthy foreign investors, like those from El Salvador.

Indeed, Romney founded his vulture capitalist private equity investment firm, Bain Capital, largely on the wealth of elite foreign investors from impoverished South and Central American third world countries.  

Some 40% of his firm’s initial funding came from the oligarchs of South and Central American dictatorships, those who with the help of U.S. funding, helped themselves to the resources of their fellow countrymen and countrywomen by using U.S. trained death squads (many graduates of the U.S.’s infamous “School of the Americas”) to kill off those in their countries who sought the equitable allocations of their countries’ resources and thus to terrorize the rest of the population into meek submission to their iron-handed rule.  

Tanfani, Mason and Gold report in a recent L.A. Times article that some of these Bain funders were the “powers that be” in El Salvador, well connected with the right-wing government, whose activities they funded:

The group (of Bain investors) included some of El Salvador's wealthiest people: coffee grower Miguel A. Dueñas; members of the De Sola family, also coffee exporters; and Ricardo Poma, whose family conglomerate now owns car dealerships and luxury hotels across Central America. [...]  Most of the money they put into Bain Capital was through corporations set up in Panama ... Among the Bain investors were Francisco R.R. de Sola and his cousin Herbert Arturo de Sola, whose brother Orlando de Sola was suspected by State Department officials and the CIA of backing the right-wing death squads, according to now-declassified documents. Orlando de Sola, who has denied supporting the death squads, is now serving a four-year prison  term for unrelated fraud charges.

Jon Wiener, writing in “Bain Capital's Ties to Salvadoran Death Squads” in The Nation. reports that:
 

When Bain Capital was founded in 1984, Romney and his partners had trouble raising funds for their initial investments. “$9 million came from rich Latin Americans,” the Times reports, “including powerful Salvadoran families living in Miami.… At the time, U.S. officials were publicly accusing some exiles in Miami of funding right-wing death squads in El Salvador. Some  family members of the first Bain Capital investors were later linked to groups responsible for killings...

The civil war in El Salvador lasted from 1980 to 1992 and killed more than 70,000 Salvadorans. It started after Archbishop Óscar Romero was assassinated while giving a mass shortly after he published an open letter to President Carter asking him to cut off US military aid to the Salvadoran military regime.

.

Four members of the de Sola family were among the original Bain investors, or “limited partners” in the company, the Boston Globe reported. Their relative and “one-time business partner,” Orlando de Sola, was an important figure in El Salvador. A well-known right-wing coffee grower with an (in his words) “authoritarian” vision for the country, de Sola spent time living in Miami but was also a founding member of the right-wing Arena party, led by a U.S.-trained former intelligence officer named Roberto D’Aubuisson, also known as "Blowtorch Bob", due to his frequent use of a blowtorch in interrogation sessions.
Justin Elliott, writing in the July 20, 2012 article,“The roots of Bain Capital in El Salvador’s civil war”, notes that:

The war, which pitted leftist guerrillas against a right-wing government backed by the Reagan administration, ultimately left over 70,000 people dead in the tiny nation before a peace deal was brokered by the United Nations in 1992. The vast majority of violence, a UN truth commission later found, was committed by rightist death squads and the military, which received U.S. training and $6 billion in military and economic aid.
Bain investor, Richard Poma, owner of the Roble Group, was likewise implicated in a series of tourist area bombings in Cuba in 1997 when his security chief was arrested for a series of bombings there. The bombings were planned by Luis Posada Carriles, 70, U.S. former CIA operative and longtime militant anti-Cuban exile, who openly admitted arranging the bombings.  Posada was then living in El Salvador, which refused to deport him back to Cuba.

Thus Romney’s founding El Salvadoran investors, who likely had reached their power and wealth before 1984 by originally extracting it from the blood, sweat and tears of poor El Salvordoran workers, who used that wealth to gain political power and to remain in power by funding their chosen right-wing politicians, protected by military assistance and training from the U.S., including the U.S.’s “School of the Americas” (otherwise known as “School of the Assassins” and still in operation under a new, more neutral name), likewise funded the cruel “Death Squads” that tortured and assassinated anyone who dared to demand equitable distribution of their countries’ wealth.

Thus these founders were appropriate models for the cut-throat business decisions taken by Mitt Romney on behalf of his Bain companies, who bought up American companies, looted them, threw their workers into the street, and collected massive fees for Romney and Bain for their efforts.

True, Mitt’s efficient army of enablers, the lawyers, accountants and managers who comprised his “assassination squads”, didn’t have to stoop to using chain saws to decapitate and draw and quarter rebellious workers, as did the El Salvadorian death squads,  they simply worked them long hours for low pay, raided their pension funds and then terminated them, leaving the U.S. taxpayers to clean up their deadly but bloodless mess by supplying the missing pension money.

Little wonder, with the biggest banks engaging in laundering the money from drug cartels, while the private equity funds like Bain, make vast profits for their tax-evading investors, that the U.S. has come to look just like the third world countries such as El Salvador.

The Washington Post reports:
 

The Associated Press surveyed more than a dozen economists, think tanks and academics, both  nonpartisan and those with known liberal or conservative leanings, and found a broad consensus: The official poverty rate (In the U.S.) will rise from 15.1 percent in 2010, climbing as high as 15.7 percent. Several predicted a more modest gain, but even a 0.1 percentage point increase would put poverty at the highest since 1965.

Poverty is spreading at record levels across many groups, from underemployed workers and suburban families to the poorest poor. More discouraged workers are giving up on the job market, leaving them vulnerable as unemployment aid begins to run out. Suburbs are seeing increases in poverty, including in such political battlegrounds as Colorado, Florida and Nevada, where voters are coping with a new norm of living hand to mouth.

“I grew up going to Hawaii every summer. Now I’m here, applying for assistance because it’s hard to make ends meet. It’s very hard to adjust,” said Laura Fritz, 27, of Wheat Ridge, Colo., describing her slide from rich to poor as she filled out aid forms at a county center. Since 2000, large swaths of Jefferson County just outside Denver have seen poverty nearly double.

In contrast, the people in Socialist Venezuela are seeing vast improvements in their living conditions.

Thus Eva Golinger, writing in today's venezuelanalysis:

Poverty has been reduced by more than 50% since Chavez came to power in 1998. The inclusionary policies of his government have created a society with mass participation in economic, political and social decisions. His social programs – called missions – have guaranteed free medical care and education, from basic to advanced levels, and provided basic food items at affordable costs, along with tools to create and maintain cooperatives, small and medium businesses, community organizations and communes. Venezuelan culture has been rescued and treasured, recovering national pride and identity, and creating a sentiment of dignity instead of inferiority. Communication media have proliferated during the last decade, assuring spaces for the expression of all.

The oil industry, nationalized in 1976 but operating as a private company, has been recuperated for the benefit of the country, and not for multinationals and the elite. Over 60% of the annual budget is dedicated to social programs in the country, with the principal focus on eradicating poverty.

Caracas, the capital, has been beautified. Parks and plazas have turned into spaces for gatherings, enjoyment and safety for visitors. There’s music in the streets, art on the walls and a rich debate of ideas amongst inhabitants. The new communal police works with neighborhoods to battle crime and violence, addressing problems from the root cause.

As a five year resident of Venezuela, I have see that the government has invested billions of dollars from its oil resources into providing universal medical care, public education to the post-doctoral university level, subsidized food markets and restaurants, low (or no) interest loans to purchase new housing (the government is building two million new homes for those who are inadequately housed), financial assistance in starting worker-owned cooperatives and small business, government paid job training and placement, and massive programs to assist the elderly and disabled with a variety of social services, including in-home doctor visits, nursing assistance and home renovations and repairs.

All school children receive one or two free meals a day, and even government-provided computers and internet training. Stay-at home care-takers receive stipends and women are now protected under an extensive anti-domestic violence law which provides for psychiatric care and job training for abused household members.  Social security has been extended to hundreds of thousands of people who did not previously qualify.

Yes, Venezuela is a real danger to Mitt and his fellow vulture capitalists.  It presents a replicable model of a society that cares about the needs and aspirations of its members, rather than stealing labor from its people to generate profits for a few already wealthy individuals, those 92,000 people, the 0.001 percent who, like Mitt, make their wealth by stealing it from the vast majority of the world’s population.

7:14 PM PT: Readers might be interested in listening to Thom Hartmann (July 19, 2012) Bain Capital and El Salvador death squads.

 (Link at: http://www.democraticunderground.com/...)

From hour 2 of the July 19, 2012 show. Thom Hartmann describes how Mitt Romney founded
Bain Capital with the help of wealthy families from El Salvador tied with the right-wing,
Reagan administration-backed death squads.

Also, the Vanderbilt University has a film in its archive which can be borrowed for a fee.

http://tvnews.vanderbilt.edu/...

NBC Evening News for
Monday, Oct 10, 1983
Headline: Special Segment (El Salvador)
Abstract:   
(Studio) Report introduced
REPORTER: Tom Brokaw

(San Salvador, El Salvador) Role of alleged terrorist and leader of right- wing Roberto D'Aubuisson and his death squads in El Salvador government's efforts to unify nation examined. [D'AUBUISSON - (thru translator) praises President Reagan.] Rel. between government reforms and extent of United States economic aid discussed. [D'AUBUISSON - (thru translator) discusses issue of who actually holds power here.] President Alvaro Magana's lack of control of army and inability to halt right-wing murders noted. Implications of return of many of nation's wealthy considered; possibility of upcoming pres. election pitting D'Aubuisson against Jose Duarte noted. Reagan administration `s concern over either candidate winning explained. [D'AUBUISSON - (thru translator) anticipates winning; comments on possible Duarte victory.]
REPORTER: Garrick Utley

(Studio) Tomorrow's Special Segment announced.
REPORTER: Tom Brokaw

Originally posted to Anti-Capitalist Meetup on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 03:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by The Bain Files and Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (167+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Shawn Russell, TPau, DavidW, annieli, karmsy, cassandracarolina, PatriciaVa, Geminijen, pollbuster, NY brit expat, kevinpdx, Gooserock, Pluto, Azazello, SpecialKinFlag, arlene, triv33, Chi, priceman, gooderservice, freerad, The Wizard, psnyder, lcrp, banjolele, bnasley, Cassiodorus, shaharazade, Orinoco, Nulwee, Mighty Ike, joynow, Eikyu Saha, LamontCranston, SherwoodB, fixxit, uciguy30, CherryTheTart, ZhenRen, hubcap, thomask, tobendaro, ctsteve, Eddie C, jasan, humphrey, cany, SteveLCo, elengul, Steve15, cybersaur, Aaa T Tudeattack, MBishop1, JonBarleycorn, cynndara, Panacea Paola, DaleA, congenitalefty, ZenTrainer, Hiranyagarbha, howd, NJpeach, rogerdaddy, devis1, LillithMc, Late Again, muddy boots, chimene, yoduuuh do or do not, outragedinSF, Funkygal, Youffraita, diomedes77, fumie, deepeco, truong son traveler, reflectionsv37, elwior, northsylvania, AnnCetera, WB Reeves, UniC, agincour, DRo, Matt Z, carpunder, MaryinHammondsport, dkmich, run around, Actbriniel, DeminNewJ, cordgrass, rat racer, irate, semiot, deviant24x, TheMomCat, MartyM, Matthew D Jones, jhop7, BlackBandFedora, Robynhood too, samanthab, tomephil, Gustogirl, Richard Cranium, Dr Erich Bloodaxe RN, FreeSpeaker, SherriG, lotlizard, stratocasterman, Carol in San Antonio, gulfgal98, emal, chipmo, ChemBob, CanadaGoose, One Pissed Off Liberal, greenbastard, Hohenzollern, RuralLiberal, No one gets out alive, Wolf10, jhecht, spunhard, opinionated, Only Needs a Beat, coolbreeze, Meteor Blades, native, Diane Gee, PBen, timethief, cpresley, Hirodog, bluedust, The Hindsight Times, MsGrin, RagingGurrl, cotterperson, DianeNYS, helpImdrowning, UnaSpenser, Mentatmark, Arahahex, raincrow, socal altvibe, babaloo, GreyHawk, US Blues, Brian82, Anthony Page aka SecondComing, cececville, ColoTim, harlinchi, splintersawry, JanetT in MD, Bill Roberts, JesseCW, Hastur, pot, Blueslide, Larsstephens, mkor7, slatsg, certainot, bigjacbigjacbigjac

    Convict Bush, Cheney and their torture cabal. Support universal health care,unions, WikiLeaks and Occupy Wall Street! Time for a totally new, democratic economic system. Turn the corporations into worker cooperatives!

    by Justina on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 03:00:14 PM PDT

  •  As I said in another comment. I support the (64+ / 0-)

    Bolivarian Revolution.

    The “Bolivarian Revolution” refers to a leftist social movement and political process in Venezuela led by Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez, the founder of the Fifth Republic Movement (replaced by the United Socialist Party of Venezuela in 2007). The "Bolivarian Revolution" is named after Simón Bolívar, an early 19th century Venezuelan and Latin American revolutionary leader, prominent in the Spanish American wars of independence in achieving the independence of most of northern Latin America from Spanish rule. According to Chávez and other supporters, the "Bolivarian Revolution" seeks to build a mass movement to implement Bolivarianism - popular democracy, economic independence, equitable distribution of revenues, and an end to political corruption - in Venezuela. They interpret Bolívar's ideas from a socialist perspective.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/.
    The attacks on Chavez as an opponent of democracy and are by propagandists and oligarchs.
    As Tariq Ali notes:
    Some foreign correspondents in Caracas have convinced themselves that Chavez is an oppressive caudillo and they are desperate to translate their own fantasies into reality.. They provide no evidence of political prisoners, leave alone Guantanamo-style detentions or the removal of TV executives and newspaper editors (which happened without too much of a fuss in Blair’s Britain).
    http://www.counterpunch.org/....
    Furthermore,
    Chavez’ aims are regarded as revolutionary, even though the measures proposed are no different to those of the post-war Attlee government in Britain. Some of the oil-wealth is being spent to educate and heal the poor.
    Just under a million children from the shanty-towns and the poorest villages now obtain a free education; 1.2 million illiterate adults have been taught to read and write; secondary education has been made available to 250,000 children whose social status excluded them from this privilege during the ancien regime; three new university campuses were functioning by 2003 and six more are due to be completed by 2006.
    So of course Romney and all oligarchs and plutocrats for that matter will be afraid.
    •  Thanks for Your Excellent Comment and Quotes. (32+ / 0-)

      Your comment is very helpful in putting Chavez and the Bolivarian Revolution in its proper perspective.  Thanks for adding important points to this diary!

      Convict Bush, Cheney and their torture cabal. Support universal health care,unions, WikiLeaks and Occupy Wall Street! Time for a totally new, democratic economic system. Turn the corporations into worker cooperatives!

      by Justina on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 03:29:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  From Romney, it's the usual shit smear. (15+ / 0-)

      Fact-free mischaracterizations of the President as naive (while Romney, by implied contrast, is a fount of fucking wisdom) and out of touch (again, by contrast, Romney is totally plugged in to the vox populi. No irony there!).

      American Exceptionalism: 10 percent of the people have 74.5 percent of the wealth.

      by psnyder on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 06:29:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  as a leftist (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JohnnySacks

      I don't have too many problems with the use of oil wealth to help the poor.

      However, I do have a major problem with leaders changing electoral rules mid-term to their own benefit and subsequently indicating that they hope to rule for decades.

      That latter link is to the Guardian, not exactly a right-wing rag. Here's more from them:

      Voters had narrowly rejected a referendum to abolish presidential term limits in December 2007.

      Chávez learned lessons from that defeat, this time widening the terms of the referendum to allow mayors and governors to run indefinitely, giving them an incentive to mobilise support.

      The government's "red machine" waged a formidable campaign. Posters urging a "yes" vote saturated the country, state TV networks cheered for the "si" and civil servants were sent out to canvass.

      A flyer gave 10 reasons for voting yes. Number one said: "Chávez loves us and love is repaid with love", and the second stated: "Chávez is incapable of doing us harm".

      The opposition, a fragmented coalition of small political parties and university students, accepted defeat but complained that the government had hijacked state resources and hobbled the "no" campaign.

      "There was an abuse of power," David Smolanksy, a student leader, said.

      If you can't do it without sketchy autocratic maneuvers, then maybe you're doing leftism wrong...

      "You try to vote or participate in the government/ and the muh'fuckin' Democrats is actin' like Republicans" ~ Kweli -8.00, -6.56

      by joey c on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 10:32:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Your Facts Are a Bit Screwy. (0+ / 0-)

        Check your source. There were 69 different propositions on the 2007 referendum, which caused a great deal of confusion, as a voter might agree with one thing and disagree with others.  It was a very poorly designed referendum.  Preident Chavez originally proposed 33 articles, the National Assembly added the rest, and confusion reigned.

        In fact, Chavez lost this referendum, by less than 2 % of the votes.  Rather than demand a recount, Chavez immediately recognized the election results, congratulated the opposition on their victory and accepted his loss.

        For more, see http://en.wikipedia.org/...

        (So much for allegations about him being a dictator!)

        Convict Bush, Cheney and their torture cabal. Support universal health care,unions, WikiLeaks and Occupy Wall Street! Time for a totally new, democratic economic system. Turn the corporations into worker cooperatives!

        by Justina on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 12:18:16 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  right back at you: 2009 referendum (0+ / 0-)

          I can't believe you posted that comment. It clearly indicates that you did not refer to the links I posted and that you misread my comment.

          The links I posted and the excerpt I included were about how Mr. Chavez learned from his 2007 referendum defeat and went on to call for and win a 2009 referendum that eliminated term limits.  

          So for you to tell me about the details of the 2007 referendum that he lost completely misses the point.

          I also never said he was a dictator, but I do think that if you get elected President and the rules when you are elected say "Presidents can only serve two terms" and then you work to overturn that rule for your own benefit, that is not the action of a democratic leader. Michael Bloomberg did the same thing I NYC and I fought bitterly against it.

          "You try to vote or participate in the government/ and the muh'fuckin' Democrats is actin' like Republicans" ~ Kweli -8.00, -6.56

          by joey c on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 01:11:33 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  My Apologies, I Mis-Read Your Post. (0+ / 0-)

            I was obviously reading too quickly and assumed you were referring to the 2007 referendum rather than the 2009 one.  I stand corrected.

            But lets look at the question of national referendums, which Chavez's socialist party asked the nation to include in their 1999 Constitution.

            Wouldn't it be nice of the U.S. had national referendums to vote on such questions as marriage equality and decriminalization of marijuana, to say nothing about going to war in Iraq, governmental surveillance and prosecuting the criminal banksters.  Oh, and what about voting to change the law to  allow students to declare bankruptcy on their student loans!

            (Here in Venezuela, university students don't need loans, its free and they all get stipends to attend.)

            The U.S. did fine without term limits until FDR keep getting re-elected.  The Republicans panicked at that, and introduced term limits in the 1950's.  Democracy doesn't rise or fall on the question of term limits, especially when they are subject to a vote by national referendum.

            Convict Bush, Cheney and their torture cabal. Support universal health care,unions, WikiLeaks and Occupy Wall Street! Time for a totally new, democratic economic system. Turn the corporations into worker cooperatives!

            by Justina on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 01:46:47 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  you make valid points, but... (0+ / 0-)

              I would not argue against the referendum process, necessarily, but it also allows for tyranny of the majority. If we had referendums, the Christian majority might enact scripture-based rules, or a majority of bigots could otherwise repress a vulnerable minority.

              I am similarly not certain whether term limits are a good or bad idea. What I am certain of is that anyone seeking to change a term limit law while in office should first make it a condition of the change in law that it does not benefit them personally. When Bloomberg extended term limits in NYC, I would have been fine with it if he had made the law so that for everyone elected in the future the maximum number of terms was 3, but for him and the other already-serving officials the rules would remain the same as those under which they were elected.

              By the same token, if Chavez thought that term limits should not exist for the good of Venezuela in general, fine, he should try to get rid of them. But when his own personal power is at stake (i.e. if term limits aren't removed, he has to step down) then he loses any claim to be acting for the benefit of his constituents and clearly is only seeking to extend his own power.

              "You try to vote or participate in the government/ and the muh'fuckin' Democrats is actin' like Republicans" ~ Kweli -8.00, -6.56

              by joey c on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 01:55:28 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  This doesn't follow (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Justina
                But when his own personal power is at stake (i.e. if term limits aren't removed, he has to step down) then he loses any claim to be acting for the benefit of his constituents and clearly is only seeking to extend his own power.
                By this logic anyone who ran for re-election, or who ran for election in the first place, could be condemned for seeking personal power.

                Public good and political advantage aren't mutually exclusive. If they were, representative government would be an impossibility.

                Btw, your argument assumes that Chavez was certain to be re-elected. If such were the will of Venezuelan people, how could thwarting them be justified in the name of democracy?

                Nothing human is alien to me.

                by WB Reeves on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 04:32:04 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  Not My Favorite Guy... But... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Shawn Russell, WB Reeves, Justina

        Took a lesson well learned from the economic terrorist treatment of Chile's Allende.  Chavez might not be an ideal leader (who is?), but the question revolves around Venezuela being better off with Chavez, or being under the US's thumb as some corporate bitch puppet.

    •  mmmm-kay (0+ / 0-)

      These have been reported for many many years, and the impacts of the Chavez regime on the state apparatus and media is very well documented....

      but yep, it's a conspiracy of the foreign media.

      Let me guess, Cuba and North Korea are glorious workers' paradises that are unfairly slandered too?

      (if you want to support a leftist regime with actual decent democratic credentials, you might have gone for Pres. Da Silva instead.)

      Courtesy Kos. Trying to call on the better angels of our nature.

      by Mindful Nature on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 04:37:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The return of Zombie Reagan / Iran-Contra and (42+ / 0-)

    Grenada/Panama all over again

    Präsidentenelf-maßschach"Nous sommes un groupuscule" (-9.50; -7.03) "Ensanguining the skies...Falls the remorseful day".政治委员, 政委‽ Warning - some snark above ‽

    by annieli on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 03:20:58 PM PDT

  •  Thank you for this diary. (30+ / 0-)

    Yes, Chavez hardly gets a fair shake in our corporate media here, which vilifies him as a "communist dictator" rather than taking seriously Venezuelan social advances the U.S. hasn't been able to duplicate--e.g., cost-effective, universal healthcare, affordable higher education, affordable childcare, and so forth.

    Forgive me, I'm having to run off, and I'm not able to read your whole diary. Perhaps you mentioned the documentary film about Venezuela, "This Revolution Will Not Be Televised," about Chavez's rule and ensuing social progress.  If not, it's a wonderful film, and I'd think it would be required viewing for anyone interested in changes coming down the pike in Latin America.

    It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

    by karmsy on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 03:24:53 PM PDT

  •  Chavez far from perfect, but a HUGE improvement... (7+ / 0-)

    ...over that country's previous leaders.  And he's far better for the Venezuelan people over his current opponent for the presidency.

    I'll also say that while I agree with President Obam'a campaign strategy of demonizing private equity firms, public servants have much to thank PE firms for.

    If you glance at Calpers (California public employee pension fund), it's clear that without PE (buyout firms and venture capital), its returns would have been negative over the last year.  And the LT returns would have been weaker than they actually are.

    In fact, if you glance at the institutions increasing their bets on private equity funds, you'll see that public employee pension funds are at the top.  These funds have 10-year targets of about 7.5%, and with Bernanke's fed funds rate anchoring the 10-year risk-free Treasury at 1.45%, the only way to approximate that 7.5% is via private equity investments.

    Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project. www.hamiltonproject.org

    by PatriciaVa on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 03:31:04 PM PDT

  •  Justina, what a great post! (25+ / 0-)

    If only every American had access to this sort of information when they voted.

    I am always in awe of what is happening in S. America and how they are taking a different route than the rest of the world.

    De air is de air. What can be done?

    by TPau on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 03:32:22 PM PDT

  •  Great doiary Justina. I was totally unaware of (31+ / 0-)

    VeneZuela's policies re tax havens.  It is truly amazing what a country can do when it has the will and the backing of the people.

    Unfortunately, it is equally amazing how deluded and brainwashed a population (american) ca be when it is constantly barraged by false information through a totally capitalist controlled media(heightened by the oligarchy's use of racism and sexism to continue to divide and conquer).  That a Mitt romney might actually win the election (not that Obama is the total savior!) in this country after all that has happened, can only be a delusional dream.  I feel like I fell down the rabbit hole in Alice in Wonderland.

  •  Once again, an absolutely excellent piece (21+ / 0-)

    drawing together all the threads and links between Bain capital and graduates of the SOAs which are some of the most vicious and vile men in South and Central America. Honestly, so much of vulture capitalism like this reminds me of money laundering schemes.

    You are right, Venezuela is a threat! It is a threat to the interests of these tiny group of wealthy men that will do anything to retain their money and their power.

    I read something on the bbc today which said that the:

    A global super-rich elite had at least $21 trillion (£13tn) hidden in secret tax havens by the end of 2010, according to a major study.

    The figure is equivalent to the size of the US and Japanese economies combined http://www.bbc.co.uk/...7).

    The information comes out of this research paper by the tax justice network:

    http://www.taxjustice.net/...

    "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

    by NY brit expat on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 03:49:07 PM PDT

  •  I Had the Feeling We Had an Anti Chavez Squad (23+ / 0-)

    here some time back. I wonder if they'll appear in this diary or maybe they're not still around.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 03:49:12 PM PDT

    •  Maybe They Lost Their Job or Their House and Are.. (19+ / 0-)

      reconsidering the merits of a socialist society which cares about the welfare of its people.

      Convict Bush, Cheney and their torture cabal. Support universal health care,unions, WikiLeaks and Occupy Wall Street! Time for a totally new, democratic economic system. Turn the corporations into worker cooperatives!

      by Justina on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 03:54:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  ah, if only some people learned from experience (11+ / 0-)

        if they are still here on dkos, they will be around. People like that are trapped in their opinions and ideology and do not want to hear opinions besides those that they have gotten from the mainstream media (although they would deny the impact of the mainstream media upon them vigorously).

        "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

        by NY brit expat on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 03:58:12 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  No, Objective Conditions Can Change Attitudes.... (10+ / 0-)

          at least sometimes.

          (Of course, Tea Partiers are unlikely to change their views, but saner folks can see the light, if they have the opportunity to see it.  A major problem, as Geminijen points out, is that the light does not shine from our existing corporate media, and most folks lack information about alternatives.  But that is why we published "Anti-Capitalist Meet-Up"!

          Convict Bush, Cheney and their torture cabal. Support universal health care,unions, WikiLeaks and Occupy Wall Street! Time for a totally new, democratic economic system. Turn the corporations into worker cooperatives!

          by Justina on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 04:04:54 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Whoops, TPau Hit That Nail on the Head Too! (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            NY brit expat, Only Needs a Beat

            Convict Bush, Cheney and their torture cabal. Support universal health care,unions, WikiLeaks and Occupy Wall Street! Time for a totally new, democratic economic system. Turn the corporations into worker cooperatives!

            by Justina on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 04:11:05 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  agreed Justina or I would not be helping or (8+ / 0-)

            publishing in the anti-capitalist meetup. But I think that we can change people's minds, just not those that refuse to listen. But they are not whom we are writing for, we are writing for those looking for new ways of addressing things and trying to build a better future in any way possible. Agreed, that large part of the lack of looking for alternatives is due to lack of information and propaganda that we are living in the best of all possible worlds or that change does not work. More and more people will be looking for these ideas as the situation starts biting and it will do so. I am just in a grumpy mood as I have been revising something on reproductive rights and the attack on women and that has made me very very grumpy!

            "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

            by NY brit expat on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 04:50:22 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  In my experience, when the going gets tough, (10+ / 0-)

            people polarize to the left and the right.  Unfortunately, the States has such a strongly polarized racial history, that the "alternative" when we lose our own power to the rich is to continue to feel more powerful than another group (in our country folks from a slave heritage).  Too many are willing to cut of their nose to spite their face.

      •  LOL...It would not surprise me. (3+ / 0-)

        De air is de air. What can be done?

        by TPau on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 04:07:28 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Not part part of a squad at all, but (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          native, cotterperson, Araguato, LeoQ

          I am anti-Chavez owing to the real life experiences of a dear friend who lives in Puerto Ordaz/Ciudad Guayana. She was a middle class professional, an urban planner and community activist -- fundamentally marxist/socialist by politics.  Her life has changed hugely, she now makes and sells jams in her kitchen and runs a little lunch wagon near a local factory to pay her rent. She's no oligarch, just a single woman in her 50's trying to make a living, and it's a terrific struggle. She has always been politically active and aware, and always progressive and community oriented. She believes that Chavez exploits the needs and dreams of the poor and only pretends to actually meet them using big displays of generosity to a handful that substitutes for real improvements in the lives of the many. She has never been a friend of the wealthy. I have to believe her experience and perspective. I know her to a wise and caring person with a deep level of political awareness. Chavez, on the other hand, appears to me to be crazy and dangerous.

          The good we secure for ourselves is precarious and uncertain, is floating in mid-air, until it is secured for all of us and incorporated into our common life. Jane Addams

          by Alice Olson on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 04:19:54 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  P.S. None of this means that I believe (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            native, Hirodog, cotterperson, Araguato

            Chavez is a threat to the US or that the US should engage with VE in any threatening way. I actually believe he's pretty ineffectual and that he's not the least ambitious to take on the US. I also believe that the Venezuelans can take care of their own business.

            The good we secure for ourselves is precarious and uncertain, is floating in mid-air, until it is secured for all of us and incorporated into our common life. Jane Addams

            by Alice Olson on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 04:25:43 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Venezuela Not Perfect, At Least Not Yet. (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            native, Hirodog, cotterperson, UnaSpenser

            So sorry for your friend's unfortunate experiences.  Running a vast country of almost 30 million people is an enormously complex task under the best of conditions and, even with the greatest of visions, human beings fuck up.  Even great ones.

            One has to rely on hundreds of thousands of others to carry out tasks and responsibilities to keep things going, and those who do so, no matter how well-intentioned, don't always perform according to plan.  

            I've run into injustices with bureaucracies here which were clearly contrary to the wonderful written labor laws, but the human beings in the bureaucracy chose to ignore the law because they just couldn't be bothered doing more work; a few others were just downright malicious. And there was no accessible appeal to question their decisions.

            As an urban planner, I suspect your friend had to deal with a lot of bureaucratic problems.  I sympathize. There is a real need for deep revolutionary changes in the bureaucracy, but that will take time and very serious changes in attitude.  May need to start with kindergartners I suspect.  

            Convict Bush, Cheney and their torture cabal. Support universal health care,unions, WikiLeaks and Occupy Wall Street! Time for a totally new, democratic economic system. Turn the corporations into worker cooperatives!

            by Justina on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 07:20:38 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Her problem has nothing to do with the (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              native

              bureaucracy.  Chavez himself fired her -- by name, on television, during the first year of his presidency.  Pretty much at the same time that he was dissolving the national congress and canceling local elections.

              The good we secure for ourselves is precarious and uncertain, is floating in mid-air, until it is secured for all of us and incorporated into our common life. Jane Addams

              by Alice Olson on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 07:53:58 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Goodness, What Had She Done To Deserve That? (0+ / 0-)

                I suspect that many more facts would be needed to make conclusions based on your friend's situation.  In any case, I am sorry that she has suffered.

                Convict Bush, Cheney and their torture cabal. Support universal health care,unions, WikiLeaks and Occupy Wall Street! Time for a totally new, democratic economic system. Turn the corporations into worker cooperatives!

                by Justina on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 12:23:51 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

  •  Great post, but I hate the term vulture capitalism (26+ / 0-)

    I hate when Mitt Romney and his friends at Bain Capital are referred to as "vulture capitalists."  It gives a bad name to vultures, who usually wait to feed ravenously off the rotting carcasses of their "prey" until they are actually dead. What Mitt Romney/Bain should actually be called are vampire or parasitic capitalists, since they took healthy companies and drained all the life out of them while enriching themselves in the process.

    •  Parasites Usually Don't Kill Their Hosts. (7+ / 0-)

      Never having seen a vampire, I'm not sure exactly what they do.

      We have vultures (called Zamoros here in Ve) around the garbage bins in my parking lots.  They are ugly birds, about the size of turkeys.  Your right, the animal vultures usually eat stuff after it is already dead.  Vulture capitalists attack healthy companies and pick them to death, then sell the carcasses.

      At any rate, both human and animal varieties are both very ugly birds, so I prefer to stick with "vulture capitalists".

      Convict Bush, Cheney and their torture cabal. Support universal health care,unions, WikiLeaks and Occupy Wall Street! Time for a totally new, democratic economic system. Turn the corporations into worker cooperatives!

      by Justina on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 04:51:46 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Vultures are an essential part of the environment. (13+ / 0-)

        they clean up dead bodies. Besides, Marx used the vampire metaphor:

        "Capital is dead labour, that, vampire-like, only lives by sucking living labour, and lives the more, the more labour it sucks. The time during which the labourer works, is the time during which the capitalist consumes the labour-power he has purchased of him." Capital, Chapter 10.

      •  In Colombia, The Poor Are Eating Vultures. (8+ / 0-)

        Read a news story recently that reported that a group of people in the outskirts of Bogota, Colombia, are so hungry that they have begun baiting and eating vultures.  They build neighborhood garbage piles, designed to attract the birds, then kill them with stones or pea-shooters and eat them.

        Unfortunately, the article was in Spanish, so won't link to it, but I can't imagine that they find much meat on those ugly, turkey-like birds.

        Haven't heard about anyone eating vultures here in Venezuela, where there are very low cost government subsidized markets and restaurants readily available.  Haven't seen anyone involuntarily sleeping on the street either.  

        Periodically, there are groups of social work and medical students who go around looking for addicts and the mentally disturbed to offer them homes and medical and dental care.   It is very different here from Colombia, where there is a lot of serious poverty and hunger.

        There are also more than a million Colombians who have fled into Venezuela, seeking refuge from the paramilitary violence there.  No one here seems to object to their presence, and only those who commit crimes in Ve face possible deportation back to Colombia.

        Convict Bush, Cheney and their torture cabal. Support universal health care,unions, WikiLeaks and Occupy Wall Street! Time for a totally new, democratic economic system. Turn the corporations into worker cooperatives!

        by Justina on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 08:43:22 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  European vultures (4+ / 0-)

        are actually rather attractive but they regard you with a knowing, ironic look. I think the regard living beings as storage units. Since people like Romney consider almost all of us as potential suckers, the comparison is legit.

        "There's a crack in everything; that's how the light gets in". Leonard Cohen

        by northsylvania on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 01:36:25 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  yeah, it is an insult to vultures who play an (4+ / 0-)

      important role in the ecosystem. All capitalists are parasites at this point due to the triumph of financial capitalism and globalisation; so a better term needs to be found than parasites. :) how about slug capitalists, slugs are disgusting, carry disease and live off your hard work to grow a garden; I like slug capitalists ...

      "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

      by NY brit expat on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 04:53:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  As noted Parasitic Capitalist works well (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Justina, Only Needs a Beat

        This April Village Voice article surely wasn't the first to use the term
        But oh the term fits

        Mitt Romney, American Parasite

        •  except the problem with that is that (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Justina, Only Needs a Beat, chipmo

          people seem to think that there are only a few capitalists that are parasites, they are all parasites. By concentrating on some of them, you let the rest off the hook. Hence my comment on the fact that a slug would be a better choice ...

          "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

          by NY brit expat on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 05:12:01 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  How Right You Are! (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Only Needs a Beat, chipmo

            All capitalists, by the very nature of the capitalist production system which demands that labor be stolen from its workers, are blood-sucking parasites on others, even the personally nice ones!

            But it is the production system itself which writes the roles for its players as exploited and exploiter, that is what must be totally changed.  Time to establish human, cooperative relations at the very point of production to establish the dignity and respect of all human beings.

            Convict Bush, Cheney and their torture cabal. Support universal health care,unions, WikiLeaks and Occupy Wall Street! Time for a totally new, democratic economic system. Turn the corporations into worker cooperatives!

            by Justina on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 07:27:17 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  LOL...great observation. Vampire Capitalism then. (5+ / 0-)

      De air is de air. What can be done?

      by TPau on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 05:04:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  It's wrong to call Mitt a vulture capitalist (4+ / 0-)

      "Cannibalistic zombie who feasts on living flesh"seems more appropriate.

      Nothing human is alien to me.

      by WB Reeves on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 02:24:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  One of the contradictions of the Democratic Party (15+ / 0-)

    The right response to Willard's bellicosity is that Chavez is making important progress for the people of Venezuela. The problem here is that Democrats are Republican Light when it comes to rabid anti-socialism.

    Romney has laid a trap. If Obama disagrees then he is soft on defense, where defense means destroying any left leaning government in the world. We are a long way from being the country that we should be, and because of this the Democratic Party can't position itself where many of its member know that it should be.

    Not good.

  •  Hands off Venezuela! (9+ / 0-)

    Very good post, Justina. I have thought for the past few years that when the U.S. starts its next war it probably will be against Venezuela. Iran can fight back and has some very big friends, but Venezuela would be on its own. Once the war starts corporate media propaganda will fall right in line.

    •  Not sure I agree with "war" (6+ / 0-)

      against Venezuela. Perhaps another attempted coup/regime change as we saw in 2002, which turned out to be a failure. Most recently Uruguay, and also Honduras in 2009, suffered coups supported by US interests. And of course numerous other Latin American coups in the past century.

      I would hope Venezuela has learned to beware of NGOs such as NED which function as see eye a fronts with a mission to destabilize governments which are seen to undermine US interests by not allowing them unencumbered access to their resources, their markets and their (relatively) cheap labor.

      Orwell - "Political language ... is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable"

      by truong son traveler on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 01:33:34 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Death Squads (12+ / 0-)

    in El Salvador--and in Guatemala.  It is uncanny how much Republicans uniformly supported the Death Sqauds.

  •  So, then, how can I immigrate to Venezuela? (7+ / 0-)

    For real, after I sell my house I need some place to go. I was planning on moving to Toronto, but you are making Venezuela sound very nice. I do freelance writing and web development from home, so I wouldn't even need to take a job from a Venezuelan.

    •  . (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Justina, Only Needs a Beat

      well, I guess I should say I try to do that freelance from home. I haven't been getting much work lately, but by the time I sell my house I should be doing much better. knocks on Mitt Romney

    •  Contact a Ve Consulate Near You for Visa Docs. (8+ / 0-)

      All US and most European tourists here get an automatic 90 day visa.  Permanent resident visas need to be obtained before you arrive.

      Be warned though, the revolution has not seeped through to the bureaucracy here yet.  The Spanish evidently brought a complicated bureaucratic system with them when they invaded in the 1500's, and it hasn't changed appreciably to date.  

      The bureaucrats are tenacious about hanging on to their old procedures, no matter what a new law may say.

      Good luck!

      Convict Bush, Cheney and their torture cabal. Support universal health care,unions, WikiLeaks and Occupy Wall Street! Time for a totally new, democratic economic system. Turn the corporations into worker cooperatives!

      by Justina on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 08:49:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Hmm.. that's weird (0+ / 0-)

        I just read that you already have to be in Venezuela to get residency. I wonder if the rules have changed or if the site was wrong. It said you have to have either a student or business Visa and then apply for a state ID with some kind of e-number.  

        I have a few months to figure it out.

        •  Get It In Writing From the Consulate. (0+ / 0-)

          It can be very hard to get useful information from the bureaucracies here, contradictory answers abound.

          Convict Bush, Cheney and their torture cabal. Support universal health care,unions, WikiLeaks and Occupy Wall Street! Time for a totally new, democratic economic system. Turn the corporations into worker cooperatives!

          by Justina on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 07:32:55 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  You might also want to consider Vanuatu (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Justina, Only Needs a Beat

      Everyone speaks English and it a wonderful, wonderful place. When I become to old to continue sailing, I plan to come back here to spend the rest of my life. I love it here!

      Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.

      by reflectionsv37 on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 01:26:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  It isn't just Romney and friends who (15+ / 0-)

    see Venezuela as a threat.

    The entire political culture of both parties in the U.S. see Venezuela as a threat.

    It could be argued that Democrats are far more responsible and complicit in the survival of capitalism in the U.S. than the Republicans, since if it weren't for mixed capitalism, which provides a few crumbs to the poor and middle class, maybe socialism would not have declined so much in popularity as it did in the last century.

    Most Democrats are die hard capitalists... and mixed capitalism is still capitalism, still exploitation, still thieves wealth from the people. It simply does it with a smile on its face.

    "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act". -George Orwell

    by ZhenRen on Sun Jul 22, 2012 at 07:57:11 PM PDT

    •  Reform is the enemy of revolution. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Only Needs a Beat, ZhenRen

      And change that is comfortable for the privileged is no change at all.

      Obama 2012: For More Wars!

      by chipmo on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 06:49:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I Totally Agree! n/t (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Only Needs a Beat, ZhenRen, chipmo

      Convict Bush, Cheney and their torture cabal. Support universal health care,unions, WikiLeaks and Occupy Wall Street! Time for a totally new, democratic economic system. Turn the corporations into worker cooperatives!

      by Justina on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 07:36:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  please define (0+ / 0-)

      does modern socialism entail government directed production and disallow private business/entrepreneurship?

      The most left-wing of developed countries are the social democracies of Scandinavia. They are mixed capitalist economies. Are you saying their systems are no good either? Because from where I'm standing they'd be a dramatic improvement on our current model.

      "You try to vote or participate in the government/ and the muh'fuckin' Democrats is actin' like Republicans" ~ Kweli -8.00, -6.56

      by joey c on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 10:41:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm saying... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Justina

        That mixed capitalism in the U.S. was devised, in the early 1900's, to save capitalism from the threat of growing numbers of Americans who were turning to socialism.

        The motives were more about stabilizing the economy than rectifying economic inequality. A stable economy makes the poor less restless. But a stable economy doesn't end poverty. Mixed capitalism thus exists to excuse the inherent injustice that is part and parcel of capitalism.

        But here we are, a century later, with growing economic inequality, with more and more people declining into poverty, with education costs beyond the reach of more and more Americans, with wages that often can't sustain a family, no matter how hard they work.

        It's time to take another hard look at other economic systems. It's time to realize capitalism leads to exploitation of people, of resources, of the electoral process. Capitalism has failed.

        "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act". -George Orwell

        by ZhenRen on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 11:22:53 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  you didn't answer my question AND you lied (0+ / 0-)

          I asked specifically if the flavor of socialism you'd like to see would " government directed production and disallow private business/entrepreneurship?"

          You did not answer this question. Instead you recapitulated an argument I am already familiar with - one that has certain accurate aspects but is not nuanced enough for me to endorse it in it's entirety.

          You also wrote total bullshit:

          "Mixed capitalism thus exists to excuse the inherent injustice that is part and parcel of capitalism."
          No. Maybe if you wanted to qualify that assertion with "in the US" I might have let it slide, but the mixed economic models in place in Scandinavia have ameliorated poverty to an impressive level, and they didn't invent their programs to "excuse the inherent injustice that is part and parcel of capitalism," they did it because they wanted a system that might work. Since their system is working better than anything else in evidence right now, I don't see why you're knocking it so hard, unless you'd rather move to Cuba than Denmark.  

          Furthermore, the reality is that economic systems exist on a series of spectra. On the capitalist-to-socialist spectrum, there has never been a nation state which adhered to 100% one strategy or the other, and so to insist that "capitalism has failed" is hooey.  

          So how about you abandon the specious assertions and engage in some actual dialogue?

          "You try to vote or participate in the government/ and the muh'fuckin' Democrats is actin' like Republicans" ~ Kweli -8.00, -6.56

          by joey c on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 12:05:44 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Where's the lie? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Justina

            You may, if you wish, argue that Capitalism hasn't failed because it has never existed in a pure, ideal form but by that criteria no political economic theory can be said to have failed, since nothing in this world exists in a pure ideal form.

            Nothing human is alien to me.

            by WB Reeves on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 01:26:21 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  no, the lie was block-quoted (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              WB Reeves

              like I said, if he wants to make that assertion with regard to the US that's his choice.

              But to argue that the mixed models that are in place in Scandinavia, which have literally the best results in the world on economic and personal well-being measures, are all a scheme perpetrated to make the world safe for rich people,  that's not even within the realm of argument. It's blatantly false.

              "You try to vote or participate in the government/ and the muh'fuckin' Democrats is actin' like Republicans" ~ Kweli -8.00, -6.56

              by joey c on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 01:59:32 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I answered you below (0+ / 0-)

                a full ten minutes before you posted this. Did you miss the reply?

                "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act". -George Orwell

                by ZhenRen on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 03:14:15 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  That's not a lie (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Justina

                That's Zhen's opinion. It might be simplistic or flat out wrong but calling it a lie is over the top.

                I understand why it might piss you off since, as you point out, it seemingly assumes bad faith on the part of those who struggled to build these systems. Nevertheless, it doesn't help matters to assume bad faith on Zhen's part in response. That just reduces the discussion to the level "you,re another one!".

                Better, I think, to demonstrate the falsity of the view presented rather than resorting to insult.

                Nothing human is alien to me.

                by WB Reeves on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 03:37:57 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Indeed... (0+ / 0-)

                  My view could well be simplistic (although some highly respected thinkers have the same view) but it certainly was not a lie. I was referring to just the U.S., as I've made clear.

                  I could just as easily say that the naysayers are naive. Do people really think capitalists, these geniuses of profiteering, didn't realize at some point that throwing a bone or two to the middles class and poor wouldn't' benefit them in the long run by making capitalism more palatable to the poor? Naive to think this would not have been considered.

                  No matter... there is no need for this discussion to devolve into nothing more than insults.

                  "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act". -George Orwell

                  by ZhenRen on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 09:27:34 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

          •  Whoa there... (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Justina, joanneleon, Agathena

            My god, the hostility is jumping off the page in your reply. I'm working at the moment, so my posts are often brief, and I can't go on at length in these discussions.

            You asked what I was "saying" and I answered. Now you're going on the attack to my honest answer.

            I was, in fact, referring to U.S. history, not that of Scandinavia, and I did specifically refer to the U.S.

            Certainly some of the Scandinavian countries are an improvement over the U.S. brand of capitalism.

            And equally as certain is that they, too, have their Donald Trumps at one end of the spectrum, and poor people at the other.

            As someone who is experiencing poverty at the moment, I am hard pressed to find any rationale that explains why some persons, through business scheming and profiteering at the expense of the rest of us (who pay the owner class rents, interest, or work as wage slaves to basically gift them surplus profit), are allowed to own a massive villa on the beach, while the majority must rent or pay interest to these wealthy people, and end up pushed by the minority of the ruling class to live in cramped dwellings located in noisy, congested urban areas (or even slums), with increased pollution, crime, stress, far from the beauty of the natural world in which we evolved, and reduced to begging to get a new carpet, paint the walls, or get a shiny new toilet seat to replace that decrepit old one, forever in hock to someone further up the economic ladder.

            No fucking thanks. Not acceptable.

            As Kropotkin said, (paraphrasing) "the poverty of the poor always derives from the wealth of the wealthy."

            And such inequality will exist in all forms of capitalism, even with attempts to balance the inequities, no matter how noble or ignoble the actual intent, because as long as people are allowed to own the natural resources and tools of productivity and sell them back to others, thus insuring unequal power relationships (which is a hallmark of capitalism), injustice will prevail.

            So the answer is yes, I do want the means of production to be publicly held in most cases. I don't believe in absolute ownership of property by private individuals, especially when it exists at the expense of the poor at the other end of the spectrum. We all have a right to live, a right to enjoy the fruits of our labor, and a right to a share in the resources. The concept of private property dates back to feudal lords (landlord is a legal term still used), monarchs, the various strongmen of history who simply drove a flag in the ground and declared it to be theirs.

            I think the creativity of the entrepreneurial spirit can still be captured and put to good effect by local collectives run by workers. The notion that selfishness and greed in a system of every-man-for-himself is, overall, better for our world than collectives based on mutual aid is not acceptable to me and I reject the premise.

            All one need do is look around. It isn't working.

            "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act". -George Orwell

            by ZhenRen on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 01:49:42 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  I Wholeheartedly Agree, Scandinavia Is Better. (0+ / 0-)

        But removing the profit motive and returning control of production to those that do the work is ultimately what is needed.

        Convict Bush, Cheney and their torture cabal. Support universal health care,unions, WikiLeaks and Occupy Wall Street! Time for a totally new, democratic economic system. Turn the corporations into worker cooperatives!

        by Justina on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 12:28:55 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Excellent work (15+ / 0-)

    Loved the part about how the "5th happiest in the world" is a threat to Romney's version of national security.

    Tipped, recommended and hotlisted so I can dig deeper later.

    Thank you.  

  •  come on (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Alice Olson, Araguato

    Romney going on about Chavez being a threat is silly demagoguery, but to hold his Venezuela up as a socialist paradise is just sad. Chavez is a crackpot totalitarian who supports and befriends other totalitarians, including Iran's leadership. Both countries that would be nowhere without their oil wealth. I know it's less flashy, but use an example in northern Europe next time. They take care of their people while allowing them to actually have free speech and free thought, and based on a more sustainable model.

  •  Venezuela is built on a house of cards. (10+ / 0-)

    Venezuela has a very unique situation in the world and they are probably more dependent on the export of oil than any other petrostate in the world. Put simply whatever prosperity that they have depends entirely on high oil prices and that is something that neither Chavez nor any of his predecessors could completely control. The vast majority of the tax revenue that Venezuela collects comes from PDVSA which places Chavez's ability to fund the welfare state on the price of oil. Additionally the very high rate of inflation they've had under Chavez has made it difficult for them to borrow money through bonds which they would have to do heavily if oil prices fell suddenly for any significant amount of time.

    Now Hugo Chavez has certainly done good things for Venezuela some of which I would like seen done in America. However, I firmly believe that a social safety net should have a very stable and reliable source of funding like income taxes paid by individuals and businesses. In Venezuela today it is said that only idiots pay taxes and that is something that has to change. Venezuela also has to try to build a manufacturing base that can produce exports that are competitive in world markets and that is something that hasn't happened under Chavez.

    Venezuela has seen this story before. They had enormous growth and development in the 1970s with high oil prices and had untold amounts of suffering in the 1980s. When the Middle Eastern embargo ended, the bottom fell out of Venezuela's economy and poverty skyrocketed and the government ran out of money to fund their social services. I don't think that enough has changed in Venezuela to prevent that from happening again. If you want to find a better story of equitable, and sustainable development in Latin America look to countries like Costa Rica and Uruguay.

    •  I think you're right but other petrostates such (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      northsylvania, ChemBob, native

      as Russia and Belarus (it has been for practical purposes a petrostate since it became independent) have the same problems. And you have to give some credit to Chavez for not stealing all the oil money.

      •  How do you know he hasn't stolen (0+ / 0-)

        the oil money?  This is a serious question, not rhetoric.

        The good we secure for ourselves is precarious and uncertain, is floating in mid-air, until it is secured for all of us and incorporated into our common life. Jane Addams

        by Alice Olson on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 04:29:56 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  He and his buddies must have stolen some. Probably (0+ / 0-)

          mostly his buddies. But look at all the money he uses for poverty reduction and other things. That certainly comes from oil. It could have been stolen instead.

          •  They 'must' have stolen some? Because........? n/t (0+ / 0-)
            •  Well, that same index that puts Venezuela (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              FG, Frank Knarf, billyleeblack16

              among the happiest nations also puts it among the most corrupt.  

              But, then, there are a half dozen or so happiness indexes. The US is number eleven in one of them, number 107 in another. So, you can dismiss that, too, if you're of a mind.

              The good we secure for ourselves is precarious and uncertain, is floating in mid-air, until it is secured for all of us and incorporated into our common life. Jane Addams

              by Alice Olson on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 07:59:27 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  It's a poor country that has a lot of oil. Some (0+ / 0-)

              oil money is bound to be stolen. The question is how much. Also, Gini coefficient for Venezuela is fairly high, this inequality must come from somewhere.

              •  GINI Figures May Be Imprecise. (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                FG, billyleeblack16

                I don't know for sure, but I don't think the GINI figures include the free and low cost services provided by Venezuela to its citizens.  If you could quantify the value of free medical care available around the corner, free education to the post-doc level, with stipends to the students for attending, low cost markets and restaurants, very well funded sports programs and excellent, free music lessons, as well as low or no-interest loans for building or repairing buildings and starting new businesses or cooperatives, etc.  Venezuela's GINI co-efficient might be considerably lower.

                Convict Bush, Cheney and their torture cabal. Support universal health care,unions, WikiLeaks and Occupy Wall Street! Time for a totally new, democratic economic system. Turn the corporations into worker cooperatives!

                by Justina on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 05:10:58 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

    •  Here Oil Profits Go To Social Development. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      native, chipmo, billyleeblack16

      I think more than 60% of the oil profits are invested in social programs which directly benefit the majority of the people.  You won't find that in Saudi Arabia, etc., or indeed in any capitalist country where the profits go directly into the pockets of the wealthy elites.

      No, Venezuela is not perfect, but it is a hell a lot better than any capitalist country for the majority of its people.  Here people are eating well, getting free access to the highest educational levels, getting  new housing and, most important to those in the U.S., have immediate access to good, free medical care.

      Those are the basics to a truly free society, and Venezuela is well on the way there.

      Convict Bush, Cheney and their torture cabal. Support universal health care,unions, WikiLeaks and Occupy Wall Street! Time for a totally new, democratic economic system. Turn the corporations into worker cooperatives!

      by Justina on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 07:43:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  better, eh? depends on your definitions (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Araguato

        You write,

        "Venezuela is not perfect, but it is a hell a lot better than any capitalist country for the majority of its people."
        According to most economists, the Nordic Model of economy is a mixed market economy, aka a form of capitalism. The universalist welfare states that use this model have extremely high standards of living, plus they allow their citizens personal, economic and political freedom while making sure that virtually nobody suffers wants, and to top it off their politicians have not amended the constitution in order to extend their stay in power indefinitely while making noises about staying in charge for 30 years.

        I'm not saying Venezuela is bad, and I certainly don't think they're a threat to the US, but to claim it's better for its people than Denmark or Norway is just not true.

        Now if you want to argue that those countries are socialist, that's your prerogative, but it's an easily dismantled argument.

        "You try to vote or participate in the government/ and the muh'fuckin' Democrats is actin' like Republicans" ~ Kweli -8.00, -6.56

        by joey c on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 10:57:29 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I'm not disputing the good in social development. (0+ / 0-)

        But what I am saying is that the source of their funding is not a stable one. Venezuela's economy and tax revenue are tied to the price of a single commodity and that is a very dangerous basket to put all of your eggs into. The ability of Chavez to keep his social development programs intact is ultimately governed by something that he cannot completely control. They have an extremely narrow tax base and no other major exports except crude oil and Chavez hasn't done much to try to change that. Chavez is doing the equivalent of building a city of wooden buildings in an area that's prone to forest fires. If oil prices slump for a few years, Venezuela's going to be in a world of pain and there won't be much that Hugo can do to help.

  •  Three top moments of the Bush presidency (4+ / 0-)

    (1) When Chavez smelled sulphur at the UN.
    (2) When Colbert dressed Bush down at the Press Club.
    (3) When the Iraqi reporter threw shoes at Bush.

  •  Oliver Stone (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    northsylvania, Justina, ChemBob

    South of the Border.  Stone interviews heads of several countries who explain how the WTO, IMF, US etc. did predatory lending and how they will not let them do it again.  What they went through is the same as what the EU and US are going through today.  Romney is the perfect example as well as Bush.  Both silver spoons who knew how the game was played.  Great diary.  Thanks so much.

  •  Chavez has maybe emerged as the most (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Justina

    important personality of the last decade.  I dont like that he supports the Iranian regime, which I despise.   But beyond that, he has been a transformation force in South America and the world.  A real hope for socialism.

    •  Agree About Iran, But Don't Think It Is a Threat. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      native

      The great Iranian revolution in 1979 was perverted when the orthodox Muslims wrested power from the left and proceeded to annihilate them, along with such peaceful groups as the Bai Hais.   But the same thing could be said about Israel.

      The religious extremists severely retrogressed the position of Iranian women, who had been relatively free under the Shah's policies.  For that, I wholeheartedly dislike the current orthodox religious leadership there.  

      But I do believe that U.S.- Israeli allegations about them building atomic weapons are false.  Just as Iraq was invaded, not because of "weapons of mass destruction" but because Saddam refused to sell oil to Israel and dared to violate the U.S. dollar denominated oil sales rules, so is Iran a victim of totally false propaganda about atomic weapons to justify taking control of that country as well.  

      Saddam didn't have weapons of mass destruction (other than those chemicals sold to him by the U.S.) and Iran does not have atomic weapons, although Israel surely does, but tries to hide them.

      Given the U.S. dominated world political reality and the danger of U.S. attempts at wresting Ve's oil reserves from socialist Venezuela, I'm not sure Chavez has a free choice in making allies, such as Iran.  Don't like it, but recognize necessity.

      Convict Bush, Cheney and their torture cabal. Support universal health care,unions, WikiLeaks and Occupy Wall Street! Time for a totally new, democratic economic system. Turn the corporations into worker cooperatives!

      by Justina on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 08:07:05 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I agree with you.... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Justina

        Iran is not a threat to anyone in terms of nuclear weapons, etc.   As you say the mullahs overtook the left, unfortunately, after the Iranian revolution and that was a horrible outcome.   Although I understand the need of Chavez to have allies, this particular alliance really bothers me.   Iran is not any better than the Saudis.   They are both horrendous religious theocracies.  

        In any case, independently of the Iran issue, Chavez has accomplished a real lot.   He has unified and strengthened the left in South America and has influence all over the world.   His model of socialism is probably the only realistic option left these days.   I am just worried what would happen in Venezuela if he is not around.   I am afraid that he will not live long.   Unfortunately, I am not convinced at all his cancer is "cured".   Hopefully he has succession plans in place.    

        •  Many Good Younger Leaders Developed. (0+ / 0-)

          The Chavez movement has developed many outstanding younger leaders who could take over if something happens to President Chavez.  He is a visionary and would be sorely missed, but he is also a born teacher, who has taught some of the younger leaders and the whole population very well.  I am not worried about this.  Chavez's ideas will have a very long half-life here.

          Convict Bush, Cheney and their torture cabal. Support universal health care,unions, WikiLeaks and Occupy Wall Street! Time for a totally new, democratic economic system. Turn the corporations into worker cooperatives!

          by Justina on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 05:15:20 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Really? Important to anyone outside (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      native, Araguato

      Venezuela?  If that were true, then Romney would be right to be afraid of him.  Personally, I don't think Romney and his ilk are the least afraid of Chavez.  They just need a devil around whom to build a campaign of fear and now that he's found out the Soviet Union doesn't exist any more, he had to look elsewhere.

      But, really?  More important than George Bush whose Presidency and venality brought the world to economic collapse?  More important than Barack Obama who broke the racial barrier to leadership in the richest and most powerful country in the world and through in (almost) universal health care for its citizens to boot? More important than Angela Merkel who has presided over the near collapse of several European countries and the Union itself?

      No, not that important. He's presided over a hopelessly inflationary economy propped up only by oil riches. Venezuela is not a model for any other country -- what he's said to be doing there would be impossible in other countries of Latin America, if in fact he's doing it at all.  I know that he has passionate fans and some of those in his administration are my friends, but I've thought, from the beginning, that they are misguided and I think it still.

      The good we secure for ourselves is precarious and uncertain, is floating in mid-air, until it is secured for all of us and incorporated into our common life. Jane Addams

      by Alice Olson on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 08:13:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I wish I could recommend this diary... (9+ / 0-)

    more than once. I'm glad to see it on the recommended list. If only more Americans travelled abroad, more would understand that the US is not the nation that it claims to be.

    You stated that Venezuela was number 5 on the happiest places on earth. I'm currently in Vanuatu which has ranked number 1 multiple times. Not sure where they stand now, but I'm damn happy I'm here and not in the US.

    Thanks so much for posting this! Venezuela has become a target because it shows how effectively, and quickly, a country can be transformed. I may not agree with everything President Chavez has done, but overall I applaud what he has accomplished. Can you just imagine how happy the people of the US would be if the same transformations could happen in our own country?

    Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.

    by reflectionsv37 on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 01:22:32 AM PDT

  •  Brilliant diary (8+ / 0-)

    tying Bain to South American politics. That was something I did not know and the knowledge is important in terms of what Romney would do if elected.
    Your on the ground reporting is also much appreciated.

    "There's a crack in everything; that's how the light gets in". Leonard Cohen

    by northsylvania on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 01:54:05 AM PDT

    •  Thanks for All Your Comments, northsylvania! n/t (0+ / 0-)

      Convict Bush, Cheney and their torture cabal. Support universal health care,unions, WikiLeaks and Occupy Wall Street! Time for a totally new, democratic economic system. Turn the corporations into worker cooperatives!

      by Justina on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 08:08:05 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Great diary (5+ / 0-)

    The simple matter is this:

    Mitt's class makes money off of moving ownership pieces and bids of companies that create products and refine resources. They rely upon these companies always and forever being for sale and all commodities and labor being for sale to the highest bidder, without any national, regional, or ethical impediment. As a class, they take percentages on each exchange.

    Chavez wanted to escape IMF and other issues and invoked Bolivar, but what he did that is a threat, a deep threat to Mitt, is the simple thing: he nationalized oil. This is the only way to "drill here, drill now" and have lower prices, by the way. It is the only way to escape natural resources being "fungible."

    Now me? I think Chavez himself wastes, inflates, and has problems of the cult of personality, and I think he uses false nostalgia to mask and thus misdirect what is a proper socialist response to globalism. (I.e. I'm not sure that colonialism is at all the proper model for thinking of capitalism today. On the exchange level, that's how it works, but on the macro-level, there is no loyalty or nationality.) I think nationalizing what is local and reinventing the nation, on the other hand, may be the right intermediary response to the dissolution of borders in globalism.

    Every reductio ad absurdum will seem like a good idea to some fool or another.

    by The Geogre on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 02:11:34 AM PDT

    •  No, Definitely Not Mere "false Nostalgia" (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      The Geogre, native, WB Reeves

      I wish the U.S. Left would weave American revolutionary history as integrally into socialist ideas as Chavez does.  Chavez has done this brilliantly.  It is very important to building social consciousness.

      In fighting for revolutionary changes, we need to use our own revolutionary history far more intensely.  Professor Howard Zinn has really provided us with all we need, but we need to use it!  How I wish he were alive to show us how to do it!

      Convict Bush, Cheney and their torture cabal. Support universal health care,unions, WikiLeaks and Occupy Wall Street! Time for a totally new, democratic economic system. Turn the corporations into worker cooperatives!

      by Justina on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 08:19:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'll explain (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        native, Araguato, Justina

        I don't want to be all "non-orthodox Marxist" stuff or take away from the diary. It seems to me that invoking the Bolivarian model is to try to cast Venezuela's current situation as one of colonialism and imperialism. It isn't.

        Cuba faced that position, but Venezuela had been post-colonial already. His nationalization repatriated, as the diarist notes, the wealth of the nation. In a sense, he reinstituted a nation-state against the effects of the multinational corporation and the transnational millionaire. There is an antagonism inherent in the anti-colonial discourse that's necessary when an oppressed minority or indigenous population has to fight against an invader. Maintaining that language and metaphor after the base economic conditions have changed can lead to nationalism and leader cults.

        The nation state, no more than ethnicity, should be allowed to become a wedge for differential treatment. The more either one leads to accumulations of power, the more dangerous it is.

        Every reductio ad absurdum will seem like a good idea to some fool or another.

        by The Geogre on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 08:49:27 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Ethics of Capitalism Pervade the World. (0+ / 0-)

          The U.S.'s oil industry controlled Venezuela through its puppets for many years, and the ethics (or competitive, anti-human non-ethics) still rules in many sectors of Venezuelan society, not merely in the still operational capitalist companies that operate here.

          Changing a mentality from "What's in it for me?" to "What's in it for me and the whole community" takes decades.  Venezuela is simply not there there.

          Meanwhile, the U.S.'s imperialist military surrounds Venezuela, much like it surrounds Iran.  The U.S. even resurrected its 4th Fleet, in month balls since the 1950's, to threaten Venezuela on its Caribbean and Atlantic Coasts.

          It recently tried to erect 7 new military bases in Colombia, one virtually on Venezuela's western border, right near one of its major oil fields.  Fortunately, this was stopped by Colombia's Supreme Court.

          The U.S. actively girded former President Uribe to send paramilitaries into Venezuela to assassinate President Chavez and to try to create havoc here. Uribe is still trying to bring President Chavez down by his anti-Chavez antics at the Colombia-Venezuelan border with the local anti-Chavez opposition.

          So Venezuela will be a military threat to the U.S., but the U.S. currently is a major threat to Venezuela.  After all, it funded the 2002 coup and the 2002-03 oil strike, as well as still providing funds to opposition parties here in hopes of ousting the Chavez government.

          Convict Bush, Cheney and their torture cabal. Support universal health care,unions, WikiLeaks and Occupy Wall Street! Time for a totally new, democratic economic system. Turn the corporations into worker cooperatives!

          by Justina on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 12:45:11 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Whoops, I Left Out a "Not". (0+ / 0-)

            Should be:  "So Venezuela will not be a military threat to the U.S., but..."

            Convict Bush, Cheney and their torture cabal. Support universal health care,unions, WikiLeaks and Occupy Wall Street! Time for a totally new, democratic economic system. Turn the corporations into worker cooperatives!

            by Justina on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 05:18:14 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Carefully... (0+ / 0-)

            Yes, the U.S. has been stupidly belligerant toward Venezuela. No, the oil industry was not solely American in its culture, as the "American" oil companies were not American in culture post US peak in 1974. However, what you reiterate after that is the very worrisome charge of conspiracy for explanation that serves to bolster the person rather than the system. That's what I do not like about Chavez.

            I would rather Evo Morales, who did represent indigenous peoples and who did not build up a personality based system. Democracy and socialism are partners, and that's why the essentially nostalgic gesture of invoking the Cuban experience for Venezuela is wrong: it has inherent in it a set of enemies and a justification for . . . almost anything.

            Has the U.S. continued its Reaganesque nonsense? I don't believe it has. I know that Chavez has claimed that there are assassination attempts against him, but I believe that a U.S. effort would be both more and less successful than this. (More violence would occur, and there would be a lot more evidence. It would not be one person saying it. It would not be even the non-aligned coalition, such as it is, skeptical.) Let's be loyal to socialism and democracy.

            Every reductio ad absurdum will seem like a good idea to some fool or another.

            by The Geogre on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 05:31:34 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Ah Yes, the Efficient U.S. CIA... (0+ / 0-)

              The George wrote:

              I know that Chavez has claimed that there are assassination attempts against him, but I believe that a U.S. effort would be both more and less successful than this. (More violence would occur, and there would be a lot more evidence.
              Er... have you forgotten about the disastrous Bay of Pigs attack, the 59 or more documented failed CIA attempts on the life of Castro, the exploding cigar, the poisoned diving suit.  Please, the CIA's screw-ups are legion.

              Over a hundred paramilitaries with Colombian IDs were arrested on a farm outside Caracas belonging to a well-known opposition supporter, complete with guns, granades and admitted plans to assassinate Chavez and to "start a revolution" in Caracas.  And there have been more attempts, just not publicized by the western media.

              Then there are the Wikileaks State Department documents suggesting U.S. complicity with Uribe's Colombia in fomenting problems in Colombia-Venezuelan border areas.

              Ex- Colombia president, Uribe, U.S. puppet par excellance is still trying to foment trouble in Venezuela with his forays to the middle of the bridge between the Cúcuta (Co) - St. Antonio de Tachira (Ve) border within the last two weeks, demanding Chavez's removal.

              Convict Bush, Cheney and their torture cabal. Support universal health care,unions, WikiLeaks and Occupy Wall Street! Time for a totally new, democratic economic system. Turn the corporations into worker cooperatives!

              by Justina on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 08:30:35 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  Excellent work Justina (4+ / 0-)

    We need more stuff like this to dramatize the international character of the monied elites. I'm getting a glimmer as to why Romney is stonewalling on his tax returns. Blow Torch Bob for chrissakes! There's literally no telling what this guy could be into.

    You should forward a copy of this to SOA Watch.

    Nothing human is alien to me.

    by WB Reeves on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 02:42:37 AM PDT

  •  Actually their reason for lowering taxes for rich (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Alice Olson, Justina

    ---So those money coming back

    wall Street Casino is the root of the problem. Don't call them banks.

    by timber on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 03:09:48 AM PDT

    •  Yes, More Money for The Vultures to Play With. nt (0+ / 0-)

      Convict Bush, Cheney and their torture cabal. Support universal health care,unions, WikiLeaks and Occupy Wall Street! Time for a totally new, democratic economic system. Turn the corporations into worker cooperatives!

      by Justina on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 08:26:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Let me say it again - this country sucks. (0+ / 0-)

    Capitalism run amok is what this country is all about.

    "bin Laden's dead, and GM is alive" ~ Biden

    by dkmich on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 03:18:38 AM PDT

    •  Let me say this again...this isn't capitalism (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Alice Olson, native

      Remember the W.C. Fields line when he was teaching someone to play poker. He's asked "Is this a game of chance?" His response "Not the way I play it". This isn't capitalism. It's cheating. And when you add the government's involvement, than it's fascism. Blame capitalism when truly competeive and fair markets fail. This isn't what happened or what's happening.

      I'm no philosopher, I am no poet, I'm just trying to help you out - Gomez (from the song Hamoa Beach)

      by jhecht on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 07:41:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  "Cheating" Is Integral to Capitalism. (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        dkmich, chipmo, Cassiodorus, pot

        In the very act of commodity production, labor is stolen from the workers, as they are paid a fraction of the value they produce in the working day.  The owner takes the profits from the surplus value extracted from the workers.  That is theft, and the alienation of the worker from his product is the essence of capitalist production, which spreads throughout the whole of the society.

        Production for private profits must be abolished and the workers must control what they produce, how they produce it, and how the value they produce  is distributed.

        War is a racket and capitalism is theft!

        Convict Bush, Cheney and their torture cabal. Support universal health care,unions, WikiLeaks and Occupy Wall Street! Time for a totally new, democratic economic system. Turn the corporations into worker cooperatives!

        by Justina on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 08:25:33 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  No Capitalism Sucks, Our Country is a Victim! n/t (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dkmich

      Convict Bush, Cheney and their torture cabal. Support universal health care,unions, WikiLeaks and Occupy Wall Street! Time for a totally new, democratic economic system. Turn the corporations into worker cooperatives!

      by Justina on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 08:21:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Such dirty, dirty secrets (0+ / 0-)

    NOW SHOWING
    Progressive Candidate Obama (now - Nov 6, 2012)
    Bipartisan Obama returns (Nov 7, 2012)

    by The Dead Man on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 03:38:53 AM PDT

  •  Venezuela's gift to the U.S. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Justina

    Gustavo Dudamel made the Venezuela Simon Bolivar orchestra into a world class symphonic orchestra.  He is now working in sunny California for the LA Philharmonic.

    Enjoy some musical heavyweights playing an American classic.

    Don't look back, something may be gaining on you. - L. "Satchel" Paige

    by arlene on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 05:00:15 AM PDT

    •  Perhaps VE's Most Revolutionary Program! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Alice Olson, native

      Frankly, I think that one of the best things President Chavez has done for the country is to vastly increase funding for the National Youth Orchestra Program, also known as El Sistema, started by its founder, Maestro José Antonio Abreu in a Caracas garage in 1975, where he taught street kids to play classical instruments for free.  Abreu provided the instruments.  Hear him on TED.

      Maestro Abreu's efforts grew into a 102 youth orchestras throughout Venezuela, with a degree of professionalism, discipline, energy and enthusiasm  that is  almost beyond belief.  President Chavez recognized the importance of this program and has given it massive government funding to reach throughout Venezuela.

      Thousands and thousands of poor kids have, through participation in the youth orchestra, freed themselves from more restricted lives in the ghettos.  

      Conductor, Gustavo Dudamel, now music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic in Los Angeles, California, remains the artistic director of the Orquesta Sinfónica Simón Bolívar in Caracas, Venezuela, where he got his own start and his superb training.  He is now the leading world ambassador of the youth orchestra program, and has started one in the United States.

      Convict Bush, Cheney and their torture cabal. Support universal health care,unions, WikiLeaks and Occupy Wall Street! Time for a totally new, democratic economic system. Turn the corporations into worker cooperatives!

      by Justina on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 06:42:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Criime? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Alice Olson

    I keep reading that crime in Venezuela, particularly violent crime, has skyrocketed in recent years, and that Caracas is in the running to be the Murder Capital of the World. So, how does this affect the idea of living there?

    •  And the perception that the poor (0+ / 0-)

      are being cared for there?

      The good we secure for ourselves is precarious and uncertain, is floating in mid-air, until it is secured for all of us and incorporated into our common life. Jane Addams

      by Alice Olson on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 08:16:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Noted that no details are cited in the diary. nt (0+ / 0-)
    •  No Getting Around It, Crime Is a Problem. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      native, Cassiodorus, UnaSpenser

      But it was a problem in Detroit, once "Murder Capital" of the world, when I lived there, but I was never assaulted,  robbed, or murdered in Detroit,  the people were great!  

      Crime was also bad  in Chicago, D.C., etc. etc. in the U.S., but the U.S. media likes to demonize Venezuela so they play it up in the news as if it defines Venezuela.  It certainly does not.  Here in Mérida I live very safely in what is considered by suburbanites a "rough" area, but I feel safe here.

      The Chavez government, coming to power in 1999, inherited a very corrupt police force, locally based and frequently alleged to be the origin of much city crime.

      Chavez has inaugurated a new national police force, one step to eliminating local corruption, and is putting a great deal of money into social programs (such as the Youth Orchestra system, which is now in prisons as well.), community involvement and control over local policing, via the consejo comunals (community councils), job training (in and out of prisons), prison condition reform to wrest prison control from the hands of the local drug cartels who have run them for decades, increasing police pay, training and professionalism and the like.

      If Chavez can conquer the local street crime problems, I bet even the reactionary Catholic Church here would "saint" him.

      Meanwhile, I stay out of Caracas as much as possible, as it is a dangerous place for everyone, not just extranjeros (foreigners), but the steps Chavez has taken are showing results, so there is real hope of ending the "crime" reputation.

      Convict Bush, Cheney and their torture cabal. Support universal health care,unions, WikiLeaks and Occupy Wall Street! Time for a totally new, democratic economic system. Turn the corporations into worker cooperatives!

      by Justina on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 08:45:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  some things take time. One should expect (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Justina

        decades, perhaps two to three generations to see the profound kind of changes that are being put in place in Venezuela.

        I find it amazing that with all the good that is happening there, people want to invalidate all that with one problem which is likely an extension of what was already there and is perhaps exacerbated because change is always volatile.

        •  Your Comment is Very Perceptive! (0+ / 0-)

          As you point out, it is very easy to criticize things, much more difficult to take on the job of changing them.  Transforming a society from capitalism to socialism is a huge, huge job, and will, as you say, take decades.

          Convict Bush, Cheney and their torture cabal. Support universal health care,unions, WikiLeaks and Occupy Wall Street! Time for a totally new, democratic economic system. Turn the corporations into worker cooperatives!

          by Justina on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 12:49:45 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Guess Pres Romnie will bomb Venezuela next. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Justina

    To save its well meaning but simple minded brown people from the evilz of Gawdless socialism. And re-introduce them to the miracles of vulture capitalism.
    Right after we destroy Tehran.

  •  Little known fact - Seamus moved to Caracas (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Alice Olson, Justina

    after the 'incident' on the car roof.

    Venezuela's a national security threat?
    Because Hugo Chavez might do what exactly?
    Sell us more oil?
    Say something mean about Mitt Romney at the UN?

  •  This diary REALLY doesn't belong here, imo (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    robertlewiws

    For one thing, Chavez has a mixed record and seems confused about what "socialism" means. He seems to conflate it with Communism, not the more benevolent and wiser European democratic socialism. So if Democrats really don't mind not distancing themselves from dictators and Communists (the way Chavez doesn't mind it), then they should talk about Chavez in the same un-nuanced terms he talks about himself, as this diary does.

    Chavez has done some things that are obviously anti-democratic and it may be appropriate that he pals around with Castro, Putin, Ahmadinejad and the now deceased Gaddafi. Obama, on the other hand, was embarrassed by him and distanced himself from Chavez. It's irresponsible not to point things like this out when talking about Chavez.

    Really, Daily Kos and the Democratic Party in the United States isn't about "anti-capitalism" is it? The Democrats in the U.S. sure aren't and wouldn't want to be thought of that way.

    Obama said most recently, "But overall my sense is that what Mr. Chávez has done over the last several years has not had a serious national security impact on us. We have to be vigilant. My main concern when it comes to Venezuela is having the Venezuelan people have a voice in their affairs, and that you end up ultimately having fair and free elections, which we don't always see."

    You see, that's not a ringing endorsement. It says we have to watch this guy. He's a bit of a security threat but not a great threat and he is not all that democratic.

    Like Obama, I should think the Daily Kos community would feel embarrassed by this diary with all its lack of subtlety.

    It only HELPS Romney and his misguided attack on Obama. Chavez may be pro-Obama (at the moment!) but Obama is NOT pro-Chavez.

    Remember, Chavez called our President a "poor ignoramus" for saying this:

    Obama: "We need to be firm when we see this news, that Venezuela is exporting terrorist activities or supporting malicious entities like the FARC. This creates problems that are not acceptable."

    I don't mean to say Chavez has been all bad for Venezuela but he sure hasn't been GREAT for Venezuela (or the rest of the world) either.

    •  You Have Obviously Bought State Dept. B.S. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      chipmo, Cassiodorus, UnaSpenser, pot

      Enjoy it if you like, but please don't try to censor my writing or DailyKos.

      Convict Bush, Cheney and their torture cabal. Support universal health care,unions, WikiLeaks and Occupy Wall Street! Time for a totally new, democratic economic system. Turn the corporations into worker cooperatives!

      by Justina on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 08:50:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Open and fair elections? (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Cassiodorus, UnaSpenser, Justina, pot

      You mean, like the elections in the States, in which half of congress are wealthy? And where money drives the entire electoral process?

      We don't have fair elections here. We just pretend that we do.

      As to terrorism, we are a very good example ourselves, with the drone bombing of funerals, and killing woman and children, and with our multitude of immoral and illegal wars that make up a large part of our history.

      War is terrorism, as far as its victims are concerned. In fact, it is the ultimate form of terrorism. Would you like to revisit our history a bit? Vietnam, for example? Iraq?

      Venezuela may have a ways to go to improve its affairs, but holding up the U.S. as some sort of paragon of integrity creating a soabbox from which to preach to other countries, is a weak argument.

      "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act". -George Orwell

      by ZhenRen on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 09:46:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Chavez seems to be trying to do the right thing (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    native, UnaSpenser, Justina

    I have admired his efforts to improve the lives of the poor.  I have admired his efforts to resist the worlds greedy 1% from stripping the people of Venezuela  of its oil wealth.  He has given the majority of Venezuelan people a better life. He is inspiring efforts within South America to do the same.  I say Bravo.  good diary.  

  •  Thank you for this excellent diary. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Justina

    Well written, well cited, informative, great subject.  Well done!

    "Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought." - John F. Kennedy

    by helpImdrowning on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 09:58:36 AM PDT

    •  Thanks so Much For Liking It! n/t (0+ / 0-)

      Convict Bush, Cheney and their torture cabal. Support universal health care,unions, WikiLeaks and Occupy Wall Street! Time for a totally new, democratic economic system. Turn the corporations into worker cooperatives!

      by Justina on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 12:51:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Venezuela, new Axis of Evil (0+ / 0-)

    OFFS.

    •  Sorry, I Don't Understand Your Coment. (0+ / 0-)

      What is OFFS?

      Convict Bush, Cheney and their torture cabal. Support universal health care,unions, WikiLeaks and Occupy Wall Street! Time for a totally new, democratic economic system. Turn the corporations into worker cooperatives!

      by Justina on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 12:52:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  OFFS = oh for fuck's sake (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Justina

        The chickenhawks have been doing their damnedest for years to establish the meme that Chavez The Great And Powerful is a threat to our pitiful, unsuspecting, weak nation because he is A EBIL SOSHULIST. You can bet he's an even greater threat because he wants to sell more oil to China because he wants Venezuela (the world's 5th largest oil exporter) to be less dependent on the U.S.

        And THAT, kiddies, makes this another job for the U.S. military (y naturalmente Halliburton).

        •  Thanks for Explaining, Now I Understand! n/t (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          raincrow

          Convict Bush, Cheney and their torture cabal. Support universal health care,unions, WikiLeaks and Occupy Wall Street! Time for a totally new, democratic economic system. Turn the corporations into worker cooperatives!

          by Justina on Mon Jul 23, 2012 at 08:32:47 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  I think Chavez is a fraud, a sick, ego-maniacal (0+ / 0-)

    fraud who despises freedom of speech except his own endless diatribes against anyone who disagrees with him. He does not believe in representative democracy as he claims and the only way he will leave office is by force.

    He has shut down independent media outlets while using his own V-TV to broadcast pro-Chavez propaganda 24/7.
    http://www.nytimes.com/...

    Crime in Venezuela is horrendous: http://www.economist.com/...

    The pretro based economy ought to afford Venezuela some energy independence but because of gross incompetence and mismanagement (post nationalization of the oil industry) Venezuela is buying 40,000 barrels of refined petro products daily from the U.S. http://www.eluniversal.com/...

    I always read your pro-Chavez diaries Justina. I look forward to the day when you are able to write one that shows more than one side of Venezuela's heroic president.

  •  As a latin american, (0+ / 0-)

    with close marxist/socialist contacts and pretty much involved in the social movements of the region, I find Chavez a very dangerous man.

    "Anti-capitalism" by itself is a revolutionary term, and, as usual with revolutions, opens itself to be abused by the people in power.

    Make no mistake: power corrupts, everywhere. It's the same if you're a vulture capitalist or an ego-maniac with a hobby for closing media companies and nationalizing  businesses.

    It's amazing how people can't see failures as long as they listen what they want to hear ("capitalists are bad!").

    p.s.: This "5th happiest country in the world" thing is annoying. I live in Costa Rica, "1st happiest country in the world", which is center-right. Does that mean that center-right countries thrive more than "socialist" countries? Reality's not so simple.

  •  at first glance it seems a bit weird for Romney to (0+ / 0-)

    end up in el saldavor like those death squaders were just on some list of prospect.i'd say there was a better than 50 50 chance that he was doing it with the blessing and aid of the US govt and in particular those in it that were aiding the death squads. we know the CIA was in it and the reagan bunch were using tycoons here in the states to aid them- why not romney.

    i wish someone like greg palast would get on that. or any investigative journalist.

    This is a list of 76 universities for Rush Limbaugh that endorse global warming denial, racism, sexism, and partisan lying by broadcasting sports on Limbaugh radio stations.

    by certainot on Tue Jul 24, 2012 at 04:51:32 PM PDT

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