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Dr Sardonicus 2017-08-02 12:54

[QUOTE=wombatman;464671]Two opposition leaders were arrested within hours of the vote. Sounds dictatorial to me.

[url]http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/08/01/540790886/venezuela-agents-arrest-opposition-leaders-in-midnight-raids[/url][/QUOTE]

Official statement from Steven "the foreclosure king" Mnuchin announcing sanctions [url=https://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/sm0137.aspx]here[/url].[quote]These sanctions come a day after the Maduro government held elections for a National Constituent Assembly (Asamblea Nacional Constituyente, or ANC) that aspires illegitimately to usurp the constitutional role of the democratically elected National Assembly, rewrite the constitution, and impose an authoritarian regime on the people of Venezuela.[/quote]I would think the Trump Administration would be standing up and cheering those objectives. Perhaps they're envious because they can't use the same means to achieve them. Or perhaps they're miffed because they thought it was the CIA's job. At any rate, [i]this[/i] Administration sanctioning another for antidemocratic actions is risible.

Of course, "electing" a constituent assembly to dismiss the legislature, any other troublesome public officials, and to rewrite the constitution is an obvious power grab. The Venezuelan government is desperately trying to pad the totals to obscure the fact that most voters sat this one out.

Here in the good ol' USA, it has been shown time and again that there's no need to rewrite the Constitution in order to achieve unconstitutional objectives. Inconvenient provisions are simply ignored (e.g. the Fifteenth Amendment, for a hundred years following the Civil War, and increasingly again nowadays; the provision in the main body regarding redistricting following the census, from 1920 to 1928; rights of the accused in the Sixth Amendment many times and places; and the Fourth Amendment in modern times). Well, the Bill of Rights is just a bunch of unfunded mandates, right? Better get rid of them, and save the taxpayers some money!

ewmayer 2017-08-03 21:56

[QUOTE=wombatman;464671]Two opposition leaders were arrested within hours of the vote. Sounds dictatorial to me.

[url]http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/08/01/540790886/venezuela-agents-arrest-opposition-leaders-in-midnight-raids[/url][/QUOTE]

Granted, in my quest to call the US-led regime-change preachers out whenever their murderous tripe gets peddled by the MSM I appear to have given Mr. Maduro too much benefit of the doubt. (Also note the reports of "a million votes magically appearing" came out (or at least that's when I first heard them) after I made my post. However, Dr.S is also spot-on in his "pot, meet kettle" comment.

Let's remember that when it comes to the Art of Propaganda, what is omitted is typically as important, if not more so, that what gets 'reported'. A fine recent example of sins-of-omission occur to me -- Recall that in the wake of the Global Financial Crisis, a global civil protest movement known as Occupy Wall Street sprang up, to protest the government bailouts and legal immunization of the fraud cartels which the world's investment banks had devolved into, said banks having been the perpetrators of what is without doubt the largest banking-sector fraud in human history. Roughly as soon as OWS became large enough and widespread enough to begin to discomfit the bankers, recall that the previous US administration orchestrated a multi-city paramilitary crackdown on the movement, which was quite violently thuggish in numerous places - stun grenades lobbed into crowds of peaceful activists and skulls literally cracked. Now, I don't recall any of our esteemed MSM propaganda media at the time raising a hue and cry about 'dictatorship of Big Finance'. Do you?

More hilarity courtesy of WaPo today: [url=https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/business/batteries/congo-cobalt-mining-for-lithium-ion-battery/]The Cobalt Pipeline[/url]. NC's Lambert Strether comments: [i]Good article on “blood cobalt” in your cell phone, but this: “The worst conditions affect Congo’s ‘artisanal’ miners — a too-quaint name for the impoverished workers who mine without pneumatic drills or diesel draglines.” “Artisanal miners.” I can’t even.[/i]

So following WaPo's stylings here, slaves in the US antebellum deep south would be "artisanal cotton pickers"?

wombatman 2017-08-03 23:48

I'm not defending the MSM as perfect arbiters of the truth. They will absolutely commit sins of omission, as you've noted in your post and documented elsewhere on the forum, and the US certainly does not have a monopoly on antidemocratic actions.

I wanted to point out that the WaPo generally had it right on Maduro's attempts to move toward a Chavez-esque dictatorship. The two opposition leaders that were arrested following the vote had only recently gotten out of prison after being held on trumped-up charges, so there was plenty of evidence already present that Maduro was eyeing such a move.

Speaking of stun grenades and literally cracking heads, Maduro's forces (police, military, and secret police types) have been doing that to opposition protests for some time now. There are harrowing pictures and videos of such abuse coming out pretty much daily. There are also accusations of people being arrested, tortured, and otherwise disappeared.

Edit: And not for nothing, but I read that "artisanal" moniker as one that's sarcastic, especially in light of the detail the article delves into about the poverty, abuse, and neglect the miners face. Just my opinion, though.

kladner 2017-08-04 00:32

I have no idea whose stories remotely approach the truth. Many axes are being ground.

Dr Sardonicus 2017-08-04 13:29

[QUOTE=wombatman;464803]Speaking of stun grenades and literally cracking heads, Maduro's forces (police, military, and secret police types) have been doing that to opposition protests for some time now. There are harrowing pictures and videos of such abuse coming out pretty much daily. There are also accusations of people being arrested, tortured, and otherwise disappeared.[/QUOTE]Venezuelans have been out in the streets in droves for quite some time now. This is an excellent indicator that they've lost trust in their government. If the good people of Venezuela are willing to risk getting disappeared, tortured, shot, tear gassed, their heads broken, etc, I'd say that they're pretty fed up with their government.

The country is suffering hyperinflation. The government's solution to unemployment was to stop reporting the figures last April, when it was officially 7.3%. Now, it's thought to be more like 20% and rising. Since so many people don't have jobs and can't buy a lot of things, perhaps they're demonstrating in part because they don't have anything else to do. I mean, besides being as mad as hell about losing their jobs, and finding it difficult to get even the bare essentials. And if a medical problem arises -- well, treatment and medicines will likely not be available.

The basic problem is that policies of subsidizing basic goods, appropriating unprofitable industries, etc, depended on revenues from oil to make up the deficits. And the price of oil has been depressed for some time now. Going into the last quarter of 2014 it was over $100.00 a barrel, then it crashed to below fifty. It's around fifty now. That's been great for us in the good ol' USA -- cheap gas, for example -- but not so great for countries (like Venezuela) who depend on oil revenues to finance their governments' policies.

wombatman 2017-08-04 13:43

Yeah, it's been a shitshow for a while. I've been aware of it courtesy of a family friend who actually lives in Venezuela--his family is more well-off and were thus often the targets of first Chavez and now Maduro's actions. As far as I know, they've thus far been the victims of only economic attacks.

Dr Sardonicus 2017-08-04 13:51

[QUOTE=ewmayer;464798]So following WaPo's stylings here, slaves in the US antebellum deep south would be "artisanal cotton pickers"?[/QUOTE]
They weren't slaves at all! They were "immigrants" and "workers." In a story that was reported in the [url=https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2015/10/05/immigrant-workers-or-slaves-textbook-maker-backtracks-after-mothers-online-complaint/]Washington Post[/url] as well as Al-Jazeera (both articles have a [url=https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10208244157447955&set=p.10208244157447955]link[/url] to a picture of the page), [url=http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2015/10/6/publisher-apologizes-for-textbook-calling-slaves-workers.html]Publisher apologizes for textbook calling slaves ‘workers’[/url][quote]The caption in the ninth-grade textbook accompanies a map of the U.S. in a section about [b]immigration[/b]. It reads: “The Atlantic Slave Trade between the 1500s and 1800s brought millions of [b]workers[/b] from Africa to the southern United States to work on agricultural plantations.”
[....]
“We are deeply sorry that the caption was written this way,” McGraw-Hill Education CEO David Levin said in a letter to employees. “While the book was reviewed by many people inside and outside the company, and was made available for public review, no one raised concerns about the caption. Yet, clearly, something went wrong and we must and will do better.”[/quote]

wombatman 2017-08-13 15:02

[URL="https://apnews.com/442d43baabec4fb99c2c6c2b904960af"]https://apnews.com/442d43baabec4fb99c2c6c2b904960af[/URL]

[QUOTE]The government-backed assembly that is recasting Venezuela’s political system appears to be literally taking the place of the opposition-controlled congress.[...]
Government officials have said the assembly should strip lawmakers of their immunity from prosecution — a move intended to hold them accountable for allegedly stirring violence in four months of anti-government protests that have left more than 120 people dead and hundreds more injured or detained.[...]

Venezuela’s new constitutional assembly has passed a decree declaring itself superior to all other branches of government.

The order passed Tuesday bars the opposition-controlled National Assembly and other agencies from taking any action that would interfere with the laws passed by the pro-government super-body.[/QUOTE]

kladner 2017-08-13 22:50

[QUOTE]Now, I don't recall any of our esteemed MSM propaganda media at the time raising a hue and cry about 'dictatorship of Big Finance'. Do you?[/QUOTE]
No.
But hypocritical reporting does not justify repression on [U]any[/U] front, either here, or over yonder somewhere.

only_human 2017-08-13 23:04

More news on Venezuela, The Hill just mentioned that The Miami Herald has obtained a memo about an uncorroborated hit order on Marco Rubio. I'm bailing out of analysing this and just reporting the media data point.
[URL="http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/346417-venezuelan-leader-put-a-hit-on-marco-rubio-report"]Venezuelan leader put a hit on Marco Rubio: report[/URL]

kladner 2017-08-14 00:44

I am dismayed by the encroachment of authoritarian regimes, at home and abroad. It seemed that Chavez enjoyed great popular support, though that impression has been through many filters, one way or the other. Reflecting, now, I think that is easier to be popular in an oil country when oil is high. Still, Hugo had a thousand times the charisma of Maduro. Plus oil is languishing.

I can't help thinking that one of Latin America's curses is of hard choices between fiery revolutionaries and generationally-intrenched elite dynasties.

But then, I guess they are not alone in this dilemma, as at least us USians have a similar situation in progress.


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