The US government is basically following the blueprint it laid out in Ukraine and Syria. Unfortunately, neither of those has turned out particularly well, and prospects don’t look any better in Venezuela. From Whitney Webb at theantimedia.org:
Since the decision of the Trump administration on Wednesday to recognize a member of the Venezuelan opposition, Juan Guaidó, as an unelected “interim president,” the situation in the South American country has become increasingly tense, with efforts to force the current government of Venezuela — led by Nicolás Maduro — out of power having grown in intensity over the past few days.
Despite the enormous pressure, his government faces from both local and international sources, Maduro has managed to maintain his position thanks to a combination of factors. These include the loyalty of the country’s well-armed military, in addition to popular support from Venezuelans who recently voted for Maduro, as well as Venezuelans who may not like Maduro but prefer him to a politician hand-picked and foisted upon them by the United States.
Yet, the long-standing campaign of the United States to effect regime change in Venezuela — a campaign that has been ongoing ever since Hugo Chávez, Maduro’s predecessor and mentor, was elected in 1998 — has shown time and again that the U.S. is unwilling to let go of its dream of installing a “friendly” government in the world’s most oil-rich country.
For that reason, if the Trump administration’s attempt to simply install a Venezuelan president fails to produce the intended result (regime change), there is substantial concern that the U.S. will turn to other means to bring about a change in government, including the instigation of a new proxy war.
Posted in Business, Civil Liberties, Collapse, Crime, Currencies, Debt, Economics, Economy, Foreign Policy, Geopolitics, Governments, History, Imperialism, Insurrection, Media, Military, Politics
Tagged China, Marco Rubio, Nicolas Maduro, Russia, Venezuela
Marco Rubio is a neocon wind-up doll who was humiliated last year when his battery ran down during one of the Republican debates. From Shane Kastler at shanekastler.typepad.com:
In a truly “free” society, no one gets beaten up for their political views. Laws cannot be passed against thoughts or symbols. And mob violence is not allowed to rule the day. But Florida Senator Marco Rubio, like most establishment political hacks, is not interested in a free society. He’s interested in seizing power in any way possible. And if that means excusing and encouraging mob violence, to achieve his political ends, then so be it. While Rubio may rail against dictators, his statements sound eerily like the late Fidel Castro, and other tyrants like him.
Rubio’s statement came in the form of a series of tweets he posted in response to the Charlottesville circus. Here are his exact words: “When entire movement built on anger & hatred towards people different than you, it justifies & ultimately leads to violence against them.” While the trained seals who follow hucksters like Rubio will bark their approval for his “brave words”; those who love liberty will shudder at the true ramifications of what he is saying. But let’s begin by trying to parse who exactly he is saying it about.
Like a good political opportunist, he speaks in vague terms. One might surmise that his reference to an “entire movement” is a shot at Donald Trump and his supporters. Myriads of establishment politicians have accused Trump of “anger & hatred”; yet examples of this are never forthcoming, other than disagreements over something like immigration policy. So, is Rubio saying it’s OK to physically attack any who belong to “the movement” that elected Trump? And if so, then is Rubio also saying it’s OK to physically attack Trump? The supposed leader of this “movement?” The political vagaries allow Rubio to deny this, and perhaps say that he is talking about white supremacists, neo-Nazis, or the KKK. But even if he is talking about these groups…. Is he correct in saying it’s “justifiable” to physically attack them for their views? If so, then he is no friend to freedom in general, nor to free speech in specific.
To continue reading: Marco Rubio (AKA “Little Castro”) Says It’s OK To Beat People For Their Thoughts
From Karl Denninger, on a guest post at theburningplatform.com:
Last night was quite-amusing. I met a friend for a brewski and managed to get home in time to catch nearly all of it.
You have to sit back with amazement at the complicity of the media in going along with whatever political winds certain parts of a party wish to unfurl their sails into. In this case it was “Rubio and Cruz attack Trump” night, an agenda that those two candidates declared but the moderators did not have to oblige, ignoring (for the most part) Kascich and Carson while giving all the questions to the other three.
They did, however, so-oblige, which simply underlines that these are not “debates” at all.
A debate, my friends, is not driven by the agendas of the participants. The moderator(s) are supposed to be neutral parties and debates are conducted under fairly-specific and formal sets of rules — something that never happens in the political sphere, but if you ever actually participated in the scholarly version of a debate you know how they work.
The result was that Kascich and Carson might as well not have showed up; they were really just ornaments on the stage. Maybe that’s appropriate given their poll numbers and maybe not, but if you’re going to do that then don’t invite them at all, instead of pretending that they’re participants. I suppose there was some value there in that Carson refused to defend his participation, and if you can’t do that then what are you doing on the national stage? Kascish at least tried. In short it’s time for Ben Carson to go home; he simply never had the stomach for either the fight or the job, and while both were obvious from the outset there’s a point at which it becomes painful to watch. We’re there.
Kascich is being beaten, badly, and will probably lose Ohio. At that point he’s done and will probably mortally wound himself as a governor too. Good; he has it coming.
Now on to Rubio, Cruz and Trump.
To continue reading: The 10th Inning
From Neal Gabler at theantimedia.com:
So here is how you play the media like an accordion. First, you deliver a debate performance so notably bad, so mechanical and unthinking, that you have everyone buzzing about it, even those in the media who gush over you. Then you take responsibility for being awful because, after all, you don’t want to give the impression that you might not really be responsible for uttering the words you uttered – four times.
Then you invite a bunch of reporters on your campaign plane to show what a personable fellow Marco Rubio is, how unrehearsed and natural, and they take the bait, basically writing mash notes about how unrehearsed and natural you are. Note Sean Sullivan of The Washington Post: “His hour-long charter flight interview also did not begin with an emphasis on his ‘new American century’ theme, as is often the case. Instead, it started with Twix bars: Rubio wanted to demonstrate how cold and hard they were after explaining at breakfast that he had cracked a molar biting into one.” What a normal, unrobotic guy!
And then the piece de resistance. You don’t repeat yourself mindlessly at the next debate. You give exactly the same kind of debate performance you gave before Gov. Chris Christie called you out, sounding like a polished kid in a high school debate club. And guess what? Surprise of surprises, the media declare you the winner because you didn’t make the same idiotic mistake you made the last time out. Chris Cillizza of the Post found him “thoughtful, nuanced and convincing.” (Whatever else one might say about them, nuanced is about the last thing any of these Republicans is.) The reliable Republican booster, Jennifer Rubin, in the same paper called his performance a “strong comeback.” CNN: “Rubio turned in a notably better performance than he did the last time.” Charles Krauthammer: “I think he was number one, Rubio.” And, best of all, from the Washington Examiner: “The narrative coming out of this debate will be about Rubio redeeming himself.”
Exactly. The narrative the press comes away with – the narrative they just happen to be writing — is that Rubio is back. But, let’s face it. He isn’t back because he was so brilliant last Saturday night, wielding some sort of rapier wit or intellectual superiority or a plethora of ideas. The New York Times, which hasn’t had much of a Rubio crush, save for a small post-Iowa lapse, found him lackluster. No. He’s back because the media desperately need him to come back to save the Republic from Trump and Cruz. The media, who are usually just content to stir up some trouble so that they can cover it, have got a horse in this race, and they are going to keep whipping him to the finish line, even after he stumbles.
To continue reading: The Mainstream Media Wants Marco Rubio to Be Your Next President
From James Howard Kuntsler at kunstler.com:
The remaining Americans sound-of-mind must view the primary election spectacle with mounting sensations of wonder, nausea, and panic. It’s one thing for the financial system to crack up, and another thing for social norms to disintegrate, and still another for the political system to become a locked ward of obvious psychopathology. Even the neurosurgeon on duty went narcoleptic the other night when his name was called to take the stage.
Last week’s candidate “debates” (or boasting contests) only underscored the human frailty on display. Marco Rubio was unmasked as an android with a broken flash drive. For a few moments I thought I was seeing an clip from the old movie Alien. In fact, the Republican melodrama more and more echoes the tone and plot of that story: a hapless, bumbling crew lost in space. One of these nights, something unspeakable is going to shoot out of Donald Trump’s mouth and there will be blood all over the podiums.
The Democratic boasting contest was not more reassuring. Bernie blew his biggest chance yet to harpoon the white whale known as Hillary when he cast some glancing aspersions on Mz It’s-My-Turn’s special side-job as errand girl of the Too-Big-To-Fail banks. Together, Bill and Hillary racked up $7.7 million on 39 speaking gigs to that gang, with Hillary clocking $1.8 million of the total for eight blabs. When Bernie alluded to this raft of grift, MzIMT retorted, “If you’ve got something to say, say it directly.”
There was a lot Bernie could have said, but didn’t. Such as: what did you tell them that was worth over $200,000 a pop? Whatever it was, it must have made them feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Did it occur to you that this might look bad sometime in the near future? Is there any way that this might not be construed as bribery? And how is some formerly middle-class out-of-work average voter supposed to feel about you getting paid more for 45 minutes of flapping your gums than he or she has earned in the past five years?
Bernie could have found a gentlemanly way to say that directly, but perhaps he experienced a sickening precognitive vision of his jibes being used against the party establishment’s candidate in the fall general election. Of course, if it looked like Hillary was going to get elected, the remaining sound-of-mind in this country might be falling over each other to apply for citizenship in Uruguay.
To continue reading: Notes from the Locked Ward
From Sheldon Richman at antiwar.com:
I see no point splitting hairs over whether Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio is the more egregious warmonger. Both love the bloody and costly U.S. empire. Both believe in American exceptionalism. (Rubio arrogantly calls for a “New American Century.”) Both want to make war in the Middle East (and beyond) and “stand behind Israel,” though such policies provoked the 9/11 attacks. Both want to pour money into the military, as though America were militarily threatened. (The US military budget equals the budgets of the next seven highest spending nations.) Both want to prevent détente with Iran, which poses no danger. Both hype terrorism as an existential threat. Both want the government to spy on Americans, especially Muslim Americans. Both want to “control the border,” code for violating the natural right of people to move freely and make better lives without government permission.
On the Middle East, admittedly, we see a difference. Rubio, having learned nothing from the Iraq and Libya interventions, would overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad while also attacking the Islamic State. Cruz, to his credit, realizes that regime-change would leave Syria in the hands of bin Ladenites or worse, so he’d “carpet bomb” ISIS only. Thus Rubio toes the neoconservative line more faithfully. The neocons, who front for Israel’s ruling interests, want Assad ousted because he’s an ally of Iran and weakening Iran is the priority. After all, without this manufactured threat, how could Israel continue, with America’s blessing, to crush the Palestinians’ independence aspirations or have its way in southern Lebanon and the Golan Heights?
But this difference between Rubio and Cruz should not be exaggerated. Cruz’s website declares he would be all-in for Israel: “We must make clear to the world that the U.S.-Israel alliance is once again a strategic bedrock for the United States. America’s security is significantly enhanced by a strong Israel. Israel has been, is, and always will be the Middle East bulwark in defense of the West. Our American-Israeli alliance is something to celebrate.” Rubio agrees.
To continue reading: Cruz and Rubio: Heirs to Bush-Obama Militarism
From Justin Raimondo at antiwar.org:
The War Party holds on, but for how much longer?
The good news for anti-interventionists out of Iowa is that Bernie Sanders has defied the conventional wisdom and effectively delayed the coronation of Hillary Rodham Clinton. In spite of a ramped up effort to isolate the Vermont socialist from the Democratic mainstream, Hillary is in for a bruising fight that will only get bloodier when Sanders smashes her in New Hampshire, as seems likely.
On the Republican side of the aisle, the news from Iowa is decidedly mixed. There are glad tidings in the fact that the two candidates not wholly-owned subsidiaries of the neocons came in first (Cruz) and second (Trump). Yet the unexpectedly strong third place finish by
the War Twink Marco Rubio has the War Party celebrating. Not that we didn’t know Rubio was going to come in third all along: that’s what the polls told us, and they were right. Yet we were being primed in the run up to the actual balloting with the narrative that third place was actually a “victory” for the Cuban Bombshell. And we have the “mainstream” media chiming in with the usual neocon suspects when it comes to pushing this line.
Ideologically, Rubio is the perfect neocon vehicle. He is not only opposed to the Iran deal, he has also suggested war with Tehran is practically inevitable. He avers that we should’ve been arming the Syrian Islamist rebels from the very beginning, a view he shares with Hillary Clinton. He has run ads complaining that the US spies on Israel – but hasn’t said a word about extensive Israeli spying on the US. He wants to add $1 trillion to the military budget: he wants to shoot down Russian aircraft over Syria and confront Moscow in Ukraine. And his dog whistle to the neocons is his campaign theme: he touts “a new American century,” limning the battle-flag of the old Project for a New American Century that did so much to give us the invasion of Iraq.
The Rubio campaign, in essence, is the GOP Establishment’s last stand against the roiling tides of populist backlash that threaten to bring it down. Which is why the donor class is rapidly moving into Rubio’s camp. The Cruz campaign is an attempt to straddle the fence: while the Canadian-born Senator has been critical of the neocons, he’s such a consummate opportunist that he isn’t above placating them as long as he gains some political benefit. And his foreign policy stance contains elements of neoconservatism, as well as a somewhat attenuated realism. Trump, as this perceptive piece on his foreign policy team makes clear, is an unambiguous realist, which is why the neocons have pulled out all the stops in their effort to derail the Trump Train.
To continue reading: The Establishment’s Last Stand