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'Philanthropist’ Rockefeller and the Hoax of ‘enlightened Capitalism’
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The undeniable success of Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez must have been especially aggravating to the world’s oldest billionaire, David Rockefeller, who died in his sleep last week at 101.

The Rockefellers and their Standard Oil essentially ran Venezuela for decades, deciding on not just US ambassadors but Venezuela’s national policies. Until 1951 Standard Oil’s Venezuela branch was the world’s number one oil producer.

But instead of doing what oil normally does – create a small tribe of rich sheiks and Rockefellers – Chavez did the opposite: his Communist-inspired policies produced the most equal distribution of income in the region, and dropped extreme poverty from 23% to 8%. I could go on and on with such facts, but it was all thanks to the repudiation of neoliberal capitalism so currently (un)popular in Europe.

Chavez’s success was also a direct repudiation of the Rockefeller family’s “enlightened capitalist” doctrine. David, in particular, was a leading preacher of globalization, the system which funnels profits back to the New York Rockefellers and not to the poor natives.

And yet when Rockefeller died the lead descriptor in The New York Times’ obituary/hagiography was “philanthropist”. When Chavez died they described him as a strutting “strongman” and “caudillo”.

How much did Rockefeller really give?

David Rockefeller’s foundation is alleged to have given over $530 million to charity (no word on how much this was offset by personal tax breaks for Rockefeller); his final worth was alleged to have been $3.3 billion (no word on how much he held in tax havens).

That left him with a cool $2.77 billion to play with. Rockefeller certainly did not, “give until it hurts”.

I can go on and on talking about Rockefeller and his family’s hypocrisies and crimes. Like the fact that their obsession with eugenics and the genetic superiority of the aristocrat class led them to help found the German eugenics program and support Josef Mengele before he went to Auschwitz.

Or I could discuss his role in “Anglo-balization”: in his autobiography Rockefeller himself declared he was proud to be “guilty” of “conspiring with others around the world to build a more integrated global political and economic structure.”

We all know, whether you admit it or not, that Chavismo was more effective, more efficient and thoroughly debunked the billionaire’s model of “enlightened capitalism”.

But what’s more important is to remember that so-called “enlightened capitalism” is still a trap being set for you, me and the average person.

The forced ‘enlightenment’ of the Average Joe

Why aren’t you driving an electric car yet?! Not even a hybrid?

Do you really buy that brand of coffee?! Don’t you know their environmental record?

You know that by supporting Apple you are keeping Chinese workers in hovels, right?

“Enlightened” or “conscious capitalism” is a term and a trend which doesn’t mean what it should. What it should mean in 2017 is: “I am conscious that capitalism brutally and repeatedly creates inequality, and therefore I support communism.”

Instead what it means is that, with enough cajoling, we can get corporations to become good citizens, and if we’d just be smarter shoppers, we’d put the bad businessmen out of business.

So the heart of the movement is its view of a corporation’s role, and its view of the consumer’s role.

Because America is a country whose historical and mythical structures are based on the virtues of commerce, there is a uniquely American belief that businessmen are essentially good.

Most people reject this nonsense out of hand for obvious reasons, and not just the Pink Wave countries of Latin America. In Confucian China merchants were the lowest level in the social hierarchy. They had money and thus influence, of course, but their social standing corresponded to the fact that they are fundamentally the exploiters of other peoples’ creations.

But the “conscious capitalism” movement is a rare case where American exceptionalism which is actually true.

Trying to humanize “superhuman” corporations

American corporations have all the rights of citizens, but none of the responsibilities.

But in the US corporations have been merely “people” since the 14th Amendment, long before Mitt Romney shot his election in the foot in 2011 by reminding an Iowan voter of this historical reality.

Now if I spill a bunch of toxic chemicals anywhere, including my own private property, I go to jail. If I don’t pay my debts, there is no taxpayer bailout. You see the difference between me and corporations? So the first step is not to make corporations better citizens, but to roll back the “super-citizen” status that corporations currently enjoy.

That would be a huge step, and this is what “conscious capitalism” basically aspires to: persuading corporations to follow the damn laws of a democracy, just as we regular citizens have to.

The problem is that corporations will never embrace the laws of democracy. History proves that they systematically avoid, buy off, rewrite or break the laws written by humans.

What’s more, thanks to globalization, corporations can simply ride out any legal challenges as they pick up stakes and move to a place which isn’t going to raise such a bother about acting responsibility.

Of course, corporations are not only not “superhuman” they are not even human: They are tools which should be manipulated to serve all humans, and absolutely nothing else.

This idea, so clear in communism, is totally absent from “conscious capitalism”, which only wishes for a better master, and not to make the average person the master.

What is the only role of corporations in “conscious capitalism”? It is to listen…and perhaps change their deadly, abusive habits.

Man…talk about the “soft sell” sales technique! Let’s head down to the local prison and use the same approach with other unrepentant lawbreakers, eh?

You are to blame for sweatshop fires and farmers switching to cocaine

So if corporations lay back and are feted like kings as we plead for mercy on our societies, land and health, then everything necessarily falls on the other part of this relationship: the consumer.

The role of the consumer in this “conscious capitalism” philosophy is appalling not in its brutality, but in its infinite endlessness. The philosophy posits that, instead of shifting from capitalism to communism, we all just need to be “ethical consumers”.

If corporations act badly and we still support them, then it is our fault. The only choice, apparently, is for us consumers to do all the work and make all the changes.

We have to endlessly research the practices, inner workings and production methods for any product we want to buy. If they aren’t sustainable, environmentally-friendly, worker-friendly, gender-friendly, animal-friendly or whatever, then we…put that one particular product back on the shelf, and repeat the process with an extremely similar product from a different corporation.

And we repeat ad nauseum.

Inherent in this idea is that only a few corporations are truly evil, and that all we have to do is avoid them. I have read that Nike regularly abuses human rights, but do you believe that Adidas, Reebok, Converse, Puma, Under Armour, Jordan, Asics, Vans and New Balance are all paragons of civic virtue?

Being a “conscious consumer” is great for capitalism because it makes the average person even more committed to upholding the capitalist model. It makes their life revolve even more around materialism, purchasing and objects. It allows people to feel virtuous by shopping, and it encourages them to define themselves by the products they buy to an even greater degree than American society already does.

“Just be willing to pay more to the right companies,” is another tenet of this supposedly revolutionary philosophy. The idea is that we should sacrifice our wages in order to pay the higher prices of the “right” companies.

This is…something only upper-middle class people would think is a sustainable idea.

I, and almost everyone else, simply do not make enough money so that I can spend extra with every single purchase. Asking an average family of 4 to do this – with all their expenses today and looming in the future – is to ask them to go further into debt than they probably already are.

Buying free-trade chocolate or whatever is a great idea, but how many years will it take (or will it be decades) before the non-free trade chocolatiers are put out of business by the ethical companies? Can I even hope that in just in one commodity – say, chocolate – those farmers and those certain regions which produce chocolate are going to get their just desserts…sometime before I die?

Our best and brightest – the enlightened stockholder & CEO

“Socially responsible stockholders” are another part of “enlightened capitalism”. The idea is that small groups of “socially responsible stockholders” can and will overcome the rabid capitalists who are committed to profits and thus stop corporate deviance.

What’s more, this idea believes they can produce the immediate change required to help those in poverty today, and to help a planet affected by global warming.

I would love to see any sort of study – though I’m sure none exist – which shows the success rate of “socially responsible stockholder efforts”.

What I’m certain of is that both capitalists and fake-leftist activists are more than willing to endlessly promote a few anecdotal examples in order to convince people that this represents an effective, repeatable plan, instead of just a few outliers.

Do not believe that this is somehow a pro-democratic practice simply because there is voting involved. It’s no more “democratic” then when only the landed gentry could vote, or only men, or only whites, etc. “Socially responsible stockholding” is also inherently elitist because you have to be rich enough to own stock in the first place.

Of course, “socially responsible stockholding” can do no good in private companies.

Cargill can maintain their truly nefarious practices to dominate third-world farming, good luck getting the Koch brothers of Koch Industries to start being progressive and I highly doubt building giant Bechtel is going to stop building extravagantly wasteful nonsense for Saudi princes.

The best of the best are, of course and still, our godly CEOs.

The entire concept of “conscious capitalism” when applied to private companies is essentially reduced to the idea – so prevalent in fascism and so absent from so many forms of non-Stalinist communism – that only the “great” should be leading society. This is the opposite of democracy.

Our role, as “enlightened consumers” is simply to beg and plead the heads of big business, who are our “enlightened despots”.

This has not worked out very well.

Conscious capitalism’ has long been tried…it failed

Rockefeller, despite his alleged philanthropy, retained his billions and applied his bogus theories for more than a century. His grandfather – often called the richest man in history – was also a proponent of “enlightened capitalism”, so this concept is not at all new.

And yet the standards of living in the Third World are no better today than in the late 19th century. $2.50 per day – the wages of half the world – earned in an Indonesian sweatshop does not, contrary to popular belief, go a long way over there. For the brutally oppressed workers it comes down to the choice of food or soap, or food and heat.

Such standards are no better than when Western Europeans began taking the silver from Peru. The “conscious capitalist” movement is basically untouched by modernity: this is a 16th century idea with a moralist bent, and no more.

Prod the idea of “enlightened capitalism” and you get not just the status quo, but no future as well.

For those good-hearted activists committed to “conscious capitalism”, I suggest you stop capitulating. You are like the victim who keeps going back to their abuser, thinking their love is enough to change them.

I will give no applause to Amnesty International’s Business and Human Rights program, which actually sent Valentine’s Day cards to CEOs who asked them to “have a heart for human rights”. What nonsense that such a campaign could be an effective way to win human rights! It sounds like it was thought up by an 11-year old girl from the suburbs!

Working within the capitalist system is never going to work out. Ending the capitalist system, however, is guaranteed to provide the opportunities for the fundamental changes which are needed, and needed now. There is no “enlightened capitalism” on a corporate scale.

You would do much better – for absolutely everybody living today and in the future – to embrace modernity and demand the fundamental shift from capitalism to communism.

For anyone truly paying attention, there truly is no alternative.

Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. His work has appeared in various journals, magazines and websites, as well as on radio and television.

 
• Category: Economics • Tags: Capitalism, Neoliberalism 
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  1. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    Sorry, not going to accept the egalitarian nonsense of communism. Communists deny race, one of their numerous problems.

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    • Replies: @JeRK
    But what does race matter in a communist state?
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  2. 1/ Gonna be fun to watch Unz.com commenters agree with this Iranian government employee and try to figure a way not to praise Chavez.

    2/ ‘… You would do much better – for absolutely everybody living today and in the future – to embrace modernity and demand the fundamental shift from capitalism to communism…’

    You go first, Iran.

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    • Replies: @jimbojones
    Just because he is Iranian doesn't mean he is wrong.

    That said, I'm not sure Chavez deserves such ebullient praise. I mean he didn't actually build an economy with some manufacturing. (Which is what a nation really needs if it wants to be prosperous.) As far as I can tell, all Chavez did was redistribute the oil money a little bit. During one of the great oil booms of the last century. Which may have been a good and perhaps even just idea - but hardly a solution to Venezuela's long-term problems. Now that oil prices fell, Venezuela is in dire straits. This week's headlines say the country's government is collapsing.

    Doesn't sound so awesome to me.

    The author's other claim - that the Rockefellers are a real piece of work and did much damage during the 20th century - is hardly disputed in alt-right or alt-left circles. As they say, the road to Hell is paved with good intentions. And the Rockefellers didn't even always have good intentions.
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  3. Ace says:

    Until this very day and hour I had never heard of “enlightened capitalism” or “conscious capitalism.” Now I know these terms and what they mean.

    It’s a good thing Chavez ran things in Venezuela. It worked out well for people there when the government did away with capitalism. No more abuses. Simple!

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    • Replies: @Jus' Sayin'...
    You need to add a /sarc/. Progs aren't good at irony.
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  4. Parbes says:

    Try to refute any of his points, if you can, instead of denigrating by attacking his background. I notice that you didn’t even try to address any of what he said. So if an “Iranian government employee” says that 2+2=4, you’re gonna argue that no, it isn’t, because he’s an Iranian government employee? This guy is obviously an Iranian communist, and his writing reflects his own independent views, not those of the Iranian regime. The fact that he is a correspondent for Iranian Press TV is neither here nor there – everyone needs paid employment somewhere to make a living (and he lives and works in Europe, not in Iran). This actually shows that there is MORE room for ideologically independent journalism on an Iranian government-owned media channel than in the Western corporate MSM owned by the likes of David Rockefeller and controlled by the CIA, which speaks with a “single voice” in all important ideological, political and geopolitical matters.

    And if this was a journalist on Qatari government-owned Al Jazeera or some Saudi or Pakistani channel singing the praises of neoliberal capitalism and globalism, you would be equally dismissive…right? (!)

    Cold War “anti-commie” shitheads like you need to go ahead and CROAK already. You’re just parasites at this point.

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    • Agree: Cyrano
    • Replies: @Jus' Sayin'...
    All one need do to refute this nonsense is to link to news stories about the steady decline of a once vibrant country since Chavez took power. Venezuela's oil industry infrastructure began decaying immediately after Chavez began replacing trained managers and technicians with ignorant and incompetent political allies. Before Chavez, Venezuela produced such agricultural surpluses that all its population had abundant and cheap food including vegetable, dairy and meat products. Agricultural surpluses were great enough that food exports were a significant source of foreign income. Now Venezuelans are slowly starving to death on restricted diets with calorie levels below WHO recommendations.
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  5. Ron Unz is holding to his pledge in publishing controversial material that will not make it into the mainstream media.

    So thank you, Ron – there isn’t a narrative being incessantly crammed down our throats and we are free to discuss controversial ideas.

    The problem with these kinds of tracts is incoherency. Capitalism is private property. In Texas, the land is owned by private citizens so an oil company has to make a contract with the rancher or whomever to extract the oil underneath his land.

    In Venezuela, and so many other countries, the government owns the oil under the surface, not the farmer, rancher or whomever. So we begin with socialism in Venezuela and not capitalism. Capitalism would require granting the ownership of oil to the rancher, farmer, or other surface property owner.

    Governments contract with the oil companies to do the extraction in these countries, and that’s the problem. The government gets all the money, not the people, and it costs a lot less for the oil companies to pay off a government than it does to contract individually with all the landowners.

    Anything you claim about “capitalism” is just bunk in this situation. It also isn’t “free market” even in the extraction end of it unless there is competitive bidding.

    I don’t know what the hell “enlightened” capitalism is when it is not capitalism to begin with. On the land and resource ownership, it is the exact opposite of capitalism and that is by far the most important place where the property rights need to be private: the oil itself. In situ.

    Chavez, in seizing the property of the oil companies and taking 100% of the revenues rather than a royalty arrangement got a lot of dough in the short run. He subsidized a lot of consumer goods, fixing prices below market and using the oil money to pay the difference to sellers.

    But now the money for subsidies is gone with the inevitable inefficiency of state ownership and lack of price signals and incentives.

    Venezuelans are starving, sick, and desperate. That’s what Chavez has left them.

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    • Replies: @woodNfish

    I don’t know what the hell “enlightened” capitalism is when it is not capitalism to begin with.
     
    It is communist propaganda, which is what this article is.
    , @Wizard of Oz
    I merely note that it is an odd idea of capitalism as it had been and grown for 600 years or so that the land and/or oil resources need to be privately owned for the economic system to be capitalìst rather than socialist. Try thinking about inventions in public funded institutions which take out patents and then license their use to big and small non-government businesses which raise the capital, invest in factories and market the producf.
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  6. Wally says: • Website

    Ron Unz certainly has a sense of humor.

    Where did this communist clown, Ramin Mazaheri, come from? Oh wait, I see, he “has reported from Cuba”.

    His Mengele propaganda is laughable theater. There is not a bit of proof that Josef Mengele did those Zionist alleged, bizarre ‘experiments’. The claims about those false, perverse ‘experiments’, say a lot about those who conjured them up and nothing about the facts.

    Search Josef Mengele here and learn:

    http://codoh.com

    and:

    http://forum.codoh.com

    The ’6M Jews, 5M others, & gas chambers’ are scientifically impossible frauds.
    see the ‘holocaust’ scam debunked here:

    http://codoh.com

    No name calling, level playing field debate here:

    http://forum.codoh.com

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  7. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    Third World man advocates communism. Weather at 11.

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    • Replies: @Ace
    No. I think it's anti-Russia hysteria at 11; weather at 11:20.
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  8. Anon says: • Disclaimer

    Chavez and Castro were both patriotic leaders who sought independence for their respective countries. On that point, many Americans might agree despite the policy of their government. But to resurrect communism to replace American capitalism, that’s pure fantasy. I cannot figure out why Mr. Unz would feature such an article other than for its silliness.

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  9. But what’s more important is to remember that so-called “enlightened capitalism” is still a trap being set for you, me and the average person.

    Amen.

    However, Orwell was right; in the end there is no effective difference between communism and capitalism from the point of view of either the slaves or the slave-masters.

    Either way, the man-pigs still get fat, while the rest of the( m)animals take it in the shorts, and there is neither a capitalist nor a communist messiah. Sorry. At best it’s a transparently false dichotomy.

    “The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.”

    ― George Orwell, Animal Farm

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    • Replies: @Clearpoint
    No doubt. All these systems share one commonality---they are all elitist controlled. Chavez and Castro's greatest crimes were that they bucked the US elite controlled system. Whatever poverty the people of these countries faced was not the result of communism being an inferior system compared to capitalism. It was because of the trade embargoes and government and societal destabilization activities engineered by the US elites in retaliation to what Chavez and Castro did.
    , @englishmike
    David Rockefeller, to the Bilderberg meeting in Baden, Germany, June, 1991:

    “We are grateful to the Washington Post, the New York Times, Time Magazine and other great publications whose directors have attended our meetings and respected their promises of discretion for almost forty years.

    It would have been impossible for us to develop our plan for the world if we had been subjected to the lights of publicity during those years. But, the world is more sophisticated and prepared to march towards a world government. The supranational sovereignty of an intellectual elite and world bankers is surely preferable to the national autodetermination practiced in past centuries.”
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  10. LAGO says:

    ??? Comunism is the Best and working beutifully in Venezuela, and Chavez nationalizing the oil somehow affected Rockefeller because he own it 50 years earlier…. ok…
    Comunism is the worst, is a failed and stupid theorie clearly debunked both in theory and in practice, it never works, is kills the sociaty that contracts it, is just a slow death… is so bad that not even the Germans were able to make it work…
    Venezuela is a failed state, there is extreme violence in the streets and the goverment is blaming backeries because there is not even bread to eat…
    I dont even care for this Rockefeller guy but the reasoning of this guy is stupid.
    Marx ideas have been a recepy for goverment control and underdevelopment in latinamerica and laslty i would like to say to this writer..

    ANDATE A LA PUTA MADRE QUE TE PARIO

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    • Replies: @daniel le mouche
    oh caca, it looks like another miami cuban or venezuelan.
    'not even the germans could make it work'. what, with fascism? or is it socialism because they called it national socialism?
    as so many truly thoughtful people believe, socialism/communism was most definitely not debunked--the stalinist murderous corruption had absolutely nothing to do with the spirit of true socialists, sartre for example.
    another crybaby from the exploiting class filled with hate for the struggling masses--burn in hell, porco!
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  11. You would do much better – for absolutely everybody living today and in the future – to embrace modernity and demand the fundamental shift from capitalism to communism.

    I agree with the general sentiment, but the devil is in the detail: what sort of communism? How do you demand this ‘fundamental shift’? You know, this shift would involve taking ‘property’ (power) from very, very powerful people and institutions. You can demand till blue in the face, but I don’t see them relinquishing their power…

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    • Replies: @utu

    "this shift would involve taking ‘property’ (power) from very, very powerful people and institutions. "
     
    In the end it will have to be done.
    , @Wizard of Oz
    And have you invented a way to shift power to clever, shrewd, highminded and supremely sltruistic people to the exclusion of sanctimonious, greedy, time serving, sycophantic mediocrities?
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  12. bluedog says:

    I can understand and you should to why Mr. Unz put these article’s on the site, for its for discussion as all thing need to be discussed all things have there good points and there bad points,what the hell capitalism has its bad points well if you live in a foreign country that is where American corporations have a stake, and South America full well knows that, ask the countries where the death squads operated or GUATEMALA and United Fruit or Iran when they elected a president who thought their oil belonged to the people and our history is full of case’s like that…

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  13. Alfa158 says:

    The Chinese government seems to have successfully shifted their system from Communism to National Socialism, even though the Party still labels itself as Communist. History has proven that very very powerful and wealthy people and institutions exist in every single society. They will always arise in every human society. All that changes is who they are and how they got to where they are. The Chinese seem to be figuring out how to incentivize and control those entities so they can be used to drive rising levels of material progress for their society.
    No-one is going to shift our society from Capitalism to Communism. The present trend being driven by both ends of our poltical system is towards National Socialism. The difference is that the Left is pushing for a multi-racial proposition nation country, while the Right is advocating for a racially based nation. It is no coincidence that Bernie Sanders and Richard Spencer are both advocating for policies such as activist government and national health care.

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    • Replies: @Joe Franklin

    The difference is that the Left is pushing for a multi-racial proposition nation country, while the Right is advocating for a racially based nation.
     
    This claim is utter nonsense.

    The real left in the US is pushing for more emulation of Israel, a nation with a super-majority of entitled-by-law anti-white-Christian victim cultists that are conditioned to regularly vote for themselves never ending centralized government group entitlements.

    The real right in the US is pushing for CONSTITUTIONAL government, with a federal government with very limited delegated powers. All un-delegated powers are reserved by the people and state governments.

    Read the 10th amendment to alleviate your confusion.
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  14. Alden says:

    I like what he wrote about rich liberals whose status symbol is virtuous moralistic foods that just happens to cost 3 times more than the supermarket foods that us ignorant proletarian Trump voters buy.

    The wealthy have always bought meat and fish from expensive specialized stores. They bought greenhouse fruit in the middle of winter etc.

    But this virtue preening is the epitome of liberalism. They are like medieval cloistered monks and nuns who prayed every 4 hours. But rich liberals, every bit of food in their shopping cart is like a prayer to their Gods of the latest liberal diktats.

    The liberal mind is like a sink. Every few years the liberal control center opens the plug, drains out the cause, then shuts the plug, opens the faucet and pours in the newest liberal insanity

    I’ve noticed that liberals will believe anything as long as it is presented as moralistic, virtuous and superior to ways of the proles and peons.

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    • Replies: @JeRK
    You believe what you want to believe. It's the same for all people regardless of political stance.
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  15. The old communism/ capitalism controversy is obsolete. It’a a false dichotomy and represents stilted thinking at best. Time to bury the idea.

    For those who may disagree, there is plenty of historical evidence that there is a lot of overlap and flip flopping between the two. The labels and rhetoric may appeal to different constituencies, but in the end the same type of scum rise to positions of power inevitably if not immediately.

    Once there, they seem to abuse it with impunity or worse, i.e., to get rewarded handsomely.

    If there are political solutions for economic and spiritual difficulties I’d like to know what they would be, and how long they’d remain effective for the masses.

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    • Replies: @Alden
    Old French saying: Society is like a stew. The scum rises to the top, the dregs fall to the bottom and in between are the nutritious meat and vegetables.
    , @Ace
    The communism/ capitalism controversy is a diversion from a healthy focus on the correct political spectrum that has total state power at the left end and voluntary association, free markets, and private property at the right end. The latter spectrum embodies a focus on the essential element - liberty.

    That's as fresh as the morning dew in every age, proof of which is the left's persistent and dedicated campaign to obscure it and locate fascism on the "right," thereby preventing any focus on the equivalence of communism and fascism.
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  16. JamesG says:

    “You would do much better – for absolutely everybody living today and in the future – to embrace modernity and demand the fundamental shift from capitalism to communism.”

    Thanks for the laugh.

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  17. We have an extractive relationship/policy with all the countries in the latin america sphere. The same applies to africa and most parts of middle east.

    It is why we live so well as a nation.

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    • Replies: @bluedog
    No lets change that to what it really is gunpoint diplomacy,,,
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  18. That’s why today Venezuela has the most productive and prosperous economy in the Western Hemisphere! Venceremos, suckers!

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  19. Alden says:
    @jacques sheete
    The old communism/ capitalism controversy is obsolete. It'a a false dichotomy and represents stilted thinking at best. Time to bury the idea.


    For those who may disagree, there is plenty of historical evidence that there is a lot of overlap and flip flopping between the two. The labels and rhetoric may appeal to different constituencies, but in the end the same type of scum rise to positions of power inevitably if not immediately.

    Once there, they seem to abuse it with impunity or worse, i.e., to get rewarded handsomely.

    If there are political solutions for economic and spiritual difficulties I'd like to know what they would be, and how long they'd remain effective for the masses.

    Old French saying: Society is like a stew. The scum rises to the top, the dregs fall to the bottom and in between are the nutritious meat and vegetables.

    Read More
    • Replies: @another fred

    Old French saying: Society is like a stew. The scum rises to the top, the dregs fall to the bottom and in between are the nutritious meat and vegetables.
     
    And thus it will always be.
    , @Astuteobservor II
    damn, that is just too fucking good.
    , @Mao Cheng Ji

    The scum rises to the top...
     
    Well, the trick is, then, to get rid of hierarchy, of any hierarchical structure. Anarcho-communism.
    , @jacques sheete
    Here's another French dude...

    Behind every great fortune lies a great crime.

    Honore de Balzac, attributed
     
    And a couple of Americans...

    “…wealth is no proof of moral character; nor poverty of the want of it. On the contrary, wealth is often the presumptive evidence of dishonesty; and poverty the negative evidence of innocence.”

    THOMAS PAINE, DISSERTATION ON FIRST-PRINCIPLES OF GOVERNMENT, 1795
     

    In Rivers and bad Governments, the lightest Things swim at top.

    - Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard Improved; 1754March. III Month.

    http://franklinpapers.org/franklin/framedVolumes.jsp?vol=5&page=181a

     

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  20. bjondo says:

    Chavez was a great leader who served his countrymen better than any, any American president.

    Iranians are treated by their govt better than the 95% in fascist America.

    Iranian minds are less propagandized, freer. They dont wake up and go to sleep and exist every minute in between with bullshit. Minds turned to mush.

    Venezuela is suffering now due to some 15 years of American black ops and S. Arabia’s war-waging (SA a tool of USA and Israel) against Iran, Russia, and Venezuela by flooding the oil market to crash prices.

    America uses the Gulf countries. Israel uses America.

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    • Replies: @daniel le mouche
    'iranian minds are less propagandized, freer. they don't wake up and go to sleep ... with bullshit. minds turned to mush.'
    from the little i've heard of iran, this is true. the people there are far from stupid, unlike today's average american, whose brain is 'mushed' by being both worked to death and tv'd/kultured to death--yeah, g! mutha f%&ka. it's all tv and pop references, and an inconceivably stupid vernacular, coupled (like certainly the english speaking countries and many more) with guardian/bbc-style brainwashing. true mush.
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  21. @Ace
    Until this very day and hour I had never heard of “enlightened capitalism” or “conscious capitalism." Now I know these terms and what they mean.

    It's a good thing Chavez ran things in Venezuela. It worked out well for people there when the government did away with capitalism. No more abuses. Simple!

    You need to add a /sarc/. Progs aren’t good at irony.

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    • Replies: @Ace
    Good point. :-)
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  22. @Parbes
    Try to refute any of his points, if you can, instead of denigrating by attacking his background. I notice that you didn't even try to address any of what he said. So if an "Iranian government employee" says that 2+2=4, you're gonna argue that no, it isn't, because he's an Iranian government employee? This guy is obviously an Iranian communist, and his writing reflects his own independent views, not those of the Iranian regime. The fact that he is a correspondent for Iranian Press TV is neither here nor there - everyone needs paid employment somewhere to make a living (and he lives and works in Europe, not in Iran). This actually shows that there is MORE room for ideologically independent journalism on an Iranian government-owned media channel than in the Western corporate MSM owned by the likes of David Rockefeller and controlled by the CIA, which speaks with a "single voice" in all important ideological, political and geopolitical matters.

    And if this was a journalist on Qatari government-owned Al Jazeera or some Saudi or Pakistani channel singing the praises of neoliberal capitalism and globalism, you would be equally dismissive...right? (!)

    Cold War "anti-commie" shitheads like you need to go ahead and CROAK already. You're just parasites at this point.

    All one need do to refute this nonsense is to link to news stories about the steady decline of a once vibrant country since Chavez took power. Venezuela’s oil industry infrastructure began decaying immediately after Chavez began replacing trained managers and technicians with ignorant and incompetent political allies. Before Chavez, Venezuela produced such agricultural surpluses that all its population had abundant and cheap food including vegetable, dairy and meat products. Agricultural surpluses were great enough that food exports were a significant source of foreign income. Now Venezuelans are slowly starving to death on restricted diets with calorie levels below WHO recommendations.

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    • Replies: @Parbes
    Where you employed at, the CATO Institute or something? All this is just a repetition of the same tired old U.S. neoliberal right-wing tropes aimed at the Venezuelan Bolivarian leadership for ages; and you sound like a trained propagandist/info warrior. Venezuela was doing fine in terms of economic development under Chavez (DESPITE all the U.S. efforts in collusion with the local rich comprador elites to sabotage his regime, and an attempted coup) until the 2008 global financial crash, which was caused by U.S. finance capitalists, NOT Chavez. Even after that they managed OK - so much so that, at the time of Chavez' death in 2012, nearly all halfway-objective international economic assessments of Venezuela spoke in generally sanguine terms about his period in power. Under Chavez Venezuela's main socio-economic indicators (health, education, income inequality etc.) showed huge improvements; large masses of the population were lifted out of poverty. But the Venezuelan economy was always brittle, being overreliant on oil exports and having underdeveloped agricultural and industrial sectors - problems that LONG PREDATED the Chavez Bolivarian regime. The Venezuelan economy hit the rocks post-Chavez when, in 2014-2015, the U.S. and Saudi Arabia in collusion deliberately engineered the oil price crash to harm Russia, Iran and Venezuela (which, ironically, helped China, that other great declared "enemy" of the U.S. globo-imperialist elites).

    Also, Chavez' successor, Maduro, has veered to the RIGHT economically, tried to "compromise" with the country's U.S.-collaborating, regime-sabotaging rich comprador bourgeois class, and carried out badly mismanaged monetary policies.

    "...the steady decline of a once vibrant country since Chavez took power...Venezuela’s oil industry infrastructure began decaying immediately after Chavez....Before Chavez, Venezuela produced such agricultural surpluses that all its population had abundant and cheap food... Agricultural surpluses were great enough that food exports were a significant source of foreign income..."

    Barefaced bullshit-bollocks. In 1998 when Chavez took power, Venezuela IMPORTED 70% of its food (the figure was 90% in 1980); 21% of the population were chronically malnourished (MALNOURISHED, not just "undernourished); and huge chunks of the country's people were living in poverty. I guess Venezuela could be said to be "vibrant" (!) for you if you were a member of the small rich coddled comprador elite/landowner class - otherwise, not so much. At the end of the Chavez period, the percentage of Venezuelan food imports was NOT higher than when he assumed power (and considerably lower, depending on whose figures you believe), DESPITE population growth, increased consumption resulting from poverty alleviation, and ceaseless U.S. efforts to sanction, economically undermine and destroy his regime in collusion with the local "anti-Chavist" rich opposition elites.
    , @Gringo
    Before Chavez, Venezuela produced such agricultural surpluses that all its population had abundant and cheap food including vegetable, dairy and meat products.
    Imports were favored over domestic production. Price controls didn't help domestic production. FAO stats on calorie consumption show that food consumption increased during Chavismo, at least through 2013. FAO data on calorie consumption after 2013 is suspect. Calorie consumption has gone way down in recent years.

    Agricultural surpluses were great enough that food exports were a significant source of foreign income.
    While Venezuela did import food before 1999, the year that Chavez took office, Venezuela also exported some agricultural products. In 1998, agricultural exports accounted for 3.9% of merchandise exports. In 2013, agricultural exports had fallen to 0.04% of merchandise exports. (see previous comment for source- World Bank)) The FAO has volumetric data on Venezuelan food and agricultural exports.

    Item/Year/Exports, in Thousand Metric Tons
    Beer 1998 49
    Beer 2013 7
    Cocoa Beans and products 1998 8
    Cocoa Beans and products 2013 3
    Coconuts - Incl Copra 1998 29
    Coconuts - Incl Copra 2013 7
    Coffee and products 1998 14
    Coffee and products 2013 0
    Demersal Fish 1998 10
    Demersal Fish 2013 0
    Fruits, Other 1998 32
    Fruits, Other 2013 2
    Maize and products 1998 98
    Maize and products 2013 0
    Milk - Excluding Butter 1998 35
    Milk - Excluding Butter 2013 0
    Oilcrops, Other 1998 111
    Oilcrops, Other 2013 0
    Oranges, Mandarines 1998 18
    Oranges, Mandarines 2013 0
    Pelagic Fish 1998 31
    Pelagic Fish 2013 5
    Rice (Milled Equivalent) 1998 76
    Rice (Milled Equivalent) 2013 0
    Sorghum and products 1998 26
    Sorghum and products 2013 0
    Sugar (Raw Equivalent) 1998 15
    Sugar (Raw Equivalent) 2013 0
    Wheat and products 1998 41
    Wheat and products 2013 0
     
    One consequence of Chavismo was the collapse of agricultural exports. BTW, Venezuelan coffee and cocoa were considered to be of excellent quality.

    http://www.fao.org/faostat/en/#home
    , @daniel le mouche
    'All one need do to refute this nonsense is to link to news stories about the steady decline of a once vibrant country since Chavez took power. '
    sure. that's why all of latin america was worked into a passion for 'bolivarian revolution'. why not try to see what's actually going on? you actually believe the 100% garbage propaganda shoveled down your throat 24/7? why not turn off the tv, forever, and try to learn the truth? the man was hugely popular, and made giant improvements--and he was just beginning before the cia offed him.
    also, the usa/britain will never rest till they've got their old corporate fascist state back. they've got every sort of black op operating at full tilt as we speak, propaganda great and small, intimidating air force flyovers into venezuelan sovereign airspace (from one of their 8 new mega bases in colombia), the ever ongoing coup planning....
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  23. “The undeniable success of Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez…”

    Has this moron read the news coming out of Venezuela over the last few decades. Venezuela was once one of South America’s most vibrant economies. It began the decline into it’s current impoverished and crippled economic state almost immediately after Chavez took power. Now it’s a basket case.

    The country’s people are slowly starving to death if they do not die first from illnesses brought on by a decaying public health infrastructure and a lack of medical supplies and facilities to treat even the most basic injuries and illnesses. Of course, the situation is somewhat ameliorated since Maduro and his Bolivarian inner circle still manage to live quite high off the hog. I understand that pampering of the party elite is a feature of all such commie regimes.

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    • Replies: @Inertiller
    Sure, what we really need in Venezuela are "protégé’s of US financial and banking institutions". Hillary Clinton's all for regime change, attempted coups and neoliberal economic warfare - maybe she would have made a better President. Sometimes it takes a woman to machine gun the peasants in "America's backyard" and frontyard at the same time.
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  24. Logan says:

    “And yet the standards of living in the Third World are no better today than in the late 19th century. ”

    This is quite simply untrue. 150 years ago the vast majority of humans lived below the “absolute poverty” line. As late as 1990, more than 40% did. Today, the percentage is only slightly above 10% and dropping.

    Which is not to say that most of these people have become comfortably well-off. They are still brutally poor by our standards. But there has in recent decades been astonishing reductions in poverty over most of the world.

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  25. @Alden
    Old French saying: Society is like a stew. The scum rises to the top, the dregs fall to the bottom and in between are the nutritious meat and vegetables.

    Old French saying: Society is like a stew. The scum rises to the top, the dregs fall to the bottom and in between are the nutritious meat and vegetables.

    And thus it will always be.

    Read More
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  26. Logan says:

    Have seen the “above the law” aspects of corporations in my own line of work, which is related to insurance.

    If I, as an insured, file a claim I know to be inaccurate, I am guilty of insurance fraud and may very well wind up in jail.

    If an insurance company denies a claim it knows, or should have known, is valid, nothing happens to anybody who works there. In particular egregious cases, the company might be fined, but nobody goes to jail.

    IMO the biggest problem with corporations, though it is even worse with governments, is the diffusion of responsibility.

    Take the issue of torture. Bush asked attorneys to define a line between torture and not-torture. Then his administration instructed the interrogators on how to go right up to this line without stepping over it.

    When this all came out, the attorneys all said, “I’m not responsible, I just produced a legal opinion.”

    The policymakers said, “We just followed legal advice.”

    The interrogators said, “We just implemented policy.”

    So nobody at all was responsible for the pain inflicted on those being interrogated.

    Note: This applies whether the lawyers were correct in their opinions as to what does and does not constitute torture in the legal sense, and for that matter whether torture, however defined, should be used.

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    • Replies: @englishmike
    'Bush asked attorneys to define a line between torture and not-torture'.
    Edward Kennedy asked: Would you call it torture if it was done to you?
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  27. bluedog says:
    @Astuteobservor II
    We have an extractive relationship/policy with all the countries in the latin america sphere. The same applies to africa and most parts of middle east.

    It is why we live so well as a nation.

    No lets change that to what it really is gunpoint diplomacy,,,

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  28. berserker says:

    ‘Conscious capitalism’ has long been tried…it failed

    - And Communism? Has it been tried? Did it fail or succeed? Try running a small commune on communist principles and get back to me.

    What is exactly “non-Stalinist Communism”?

    - Mao?: Did he succeed? Perhaps you should have also added non-Maoist Communism. One way to get past the millions of dead bodies.

    “yet the standards of living in the Third World are no better today than in the late 19th century. $2.50 per day – the wages of half the world ”
    - Is that true?

    Chavez is mentioned but post-Chavez Venezuela is not. Why? Did the Venezuelans abandon their Chavez experiment? Is that why they are worse off than Rockefeller-Venezuela?

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  29. @Alfa158
    The Chinese government seems to have successfully shifted their system from Communism to National Socialism, even though the Party still labels itself as Communist. History has proven that very very powerful and wealthy people and institutions exist in every single society. They will always arise in every human society. All that changes is who they are and how they got to where they are. The Chinese seem to be figuring out how to incentivize and control those entities so they can be used to drive rising levels of material progress for their society.
    No-one is going to shift our society from Capitalism to Communism. The present trend being driven by both ends of our poltical system is towards National Socialism. The difference is that the Left is pushing for a multi-racial proposition nation country, while the Right is advocating for a racially based nation. It is no coincidence that Bernie Sanders and Richard Spencer are both advocating for policies such as activist government and national health care.

    The difference is that the Left is pushing for a multi-racial proposition nation country, while the Right is advocating for a racially based nation.

    This claim is utter nonsense.

    The real left in the US is pushing for more emulation of Israel, a nation with a super-majority of entitled-by-law anti-white-Christian victim cultists that are conditioned to regularly vote for themselves never ending centralized government group entitlements.

    The real right in the US is pushing for CONSTITUTIONAL government, with a federal government with very limited delegated powers. All un-delegated powers are reserved by the people and state governments.

    Read the 10th amendment to alleviate your confusion.

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    • Replies: @Alfa158
    At present what the 10th amendment and the rest of the Constitution says does not apply to the America we live in today. Read recent judicial decisions and what they have done to our country. The Constitution has been declared obsolete because it has not "evolved" to fit current doctrine. The 10th amendment as well as the rest the Constitution has effectively been turned into whatever it is convenient for the current crop in black robes wants it to mean. The real right. by which I'm guessing you mean the classical Jeffersonian liberals, have failed to reign in unconstitutional government. Look at all the years that the establishment right has had the White House and Congress. Has there ever been any serious attempt to push for constitutional government again? To slash spending? To reduce the power of the entitled-by-law anti-Christian victim cultists?
    The left isn't pushing for an emulation of Israel. Israel is a closed border nation run a by a dominant, majority ethnicity, for that dominant majority ethnicity. The left is pushing for an emulation of Brazil. A nation with a super majority of brown, impoverished, mixed people, with a tiny wealthy elite ruling the mob from behind broken glass topped walls.
    Sadly, the real right of which you speak, the classical liberals, are too few in numbers and influence. This has caused the rise of the Alt-Right which now claims they are real Right and want to have their chance after the failure of the old Republican, National Review Right. They have decided to stop playing the game and revert to tribal loyalties.
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  30. @Alden
    Old French saying: Society is like a stew. The scum rises to the top, the dregs fall to the bottom and in between are the nutritious meat and vegetables.

    damn, that is just too fucking good.

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  31. @anony-mouse
    1/ Gonna be fun to watch Unz.com commenters agree with this Iranian government employee and try to figure a way not to praise Chavez.

    2/ '... You would do much better – for absolutely everybody living today and in the future – to embrace modernity and demand the fundamental shift from capitalism to communism...'

    You go first, Iran.

    Just because he is Iranian doesn’t mean he is wrong.

    That said, I’m not sure Chavez deserves such ebullient praise. I mean he didn’t actually build an economy with some manufacturing. (Which is what a nation really needs if it wants to be prosperous.) As far as I can tell, all Chavez did was redistribute the oil money a little bit. During one of the great oil booms of the last century. Which may have been a good and perhaps even just idea – but hardly a solution to Venezuela’s long-term problems. Now that oil prices fell, Venezuela is in dire straits. This week’s headlines say the country’s government is collapsing.

    Doesn’t sound so awesome to me.

    The author’s other claim – that the Rockefellers are a real piece of work and did much damage during the 20th century – is hardly disputed in alt-right or alt-left circles. As they say, the road to Hell is paved with good intentions. And the Rockefellers didn’t even always have good intentions.

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    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
    It is interesting that any of the Americans commenting here could be ignorant of just how bad a basket case Chavez and his chosen successor have created out of the Venezuelan economy and the consequences including soaring rates of violent crime.
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  32. Olorin says:

    Hm, I guess it’s April Fools’ Day somewhere.

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    • LOL: Ace
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  33. peterike says:

    Like the fact that their obsession with eugenics and the genetic superiority of the aristocrat class led them to help found the German eugenics program and support Josef Mengele before he went to Auschwitz.

    At last! A reason to admire these globalist vermin.

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  34. @Jus' Sayin'...

    "The undeniable success of Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez..."
     
    Has this moron read the news coming out of Venezuela over the last few decades. Venezuela was once one of South America's most vibrant economies. It began the decline into it's current impoverished and crippled economic state almost immediately after Chavez took power. Now it's a basket case.

    The country's people are slowly starving to death if they do not die first from illnesses brought on by a decaying public health infrastructure and a lack of medical supplies and facilities to treat even the most basic injuries and illnesses. Of course, the situation is somewhat ameliorated since Maduro and his Bolivarian inner circle still manage to live quite high off the hog. I understand that pampering of the party elite is a feature of all such commie regimes.

    Sure, what we really need in Venezuela are “protégé’s of US financial and banking institutions”. Hillary Clinton’s all for regime change, attempted coups and neoliberal economic warfare – maybe she would have made a better President. Sometimes it takes a woman to machine gun the peasants in “America’s backyard” and frontyard at the same time.

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    • Replies: @Jus' Sayin'...
    The choice is not between incompetent corruption and US vassalage. Venezuela ran an independent, free market economy and had a relatively stable constitutional democracy before Chavez got elected. It's also worth noting that before Chavez the country's foreign and domestic policy was fiercely independent of US influence. The majority who voted in Chavez have gotten exactly what they should have expected and without any US intervention. The economy tanked after Chavez destroyed it with insanely stupid economic policies. Within the last several weeks his handpicked successor, Maduro, has responded to the discontent of a starving population by imposing what is in effect a dictatorship.

    It's always the same story. History suggests that a constitutional democracy is hard to maintain when the average IQ of the electorate hovers around 85. Voters with this level of intellectual capacity always fall for the impossible, demagogic promises of progs like Chavez. When disaster later ensues they are intellectually incapable of drawing the causal connection between whom they elected and the misery that follows. Most end up blaming their problems on some imaginary conspiracy and this usual leads to a political dictatorship. Venezuela is just the latest example.

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  35. @Alden
    Old French saying: Society is like a stew. The scum rises to the top, the dregs fall to the bottom and in between are the nutritious meat and vegetables.

    The scum rises to the top…

    Well, the trick is, then, to get rid of hierarchy, of any hierarchical structure. Anarcho-communism.

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    • Replies: @JeRK
    Or leave the hierarchy and remove our current hierarchical standards. If success wasn't about money and hierarchy wasn't based on wealth we would have fewer people striving to screw people over for their place on the pyramid. Currently, it's popular to flash wealth around, social media is full of people flashing their wealth and encouraging others to strive to own more "stuff". I don't have a problem with people having the freedom to do that but as a society, we shouldn't be celebrating it.

    No one wins when everyone is in it for themselves.
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  36. woodNfish says:
    @Backwoods Bob
    Ron Unz is holding to his pledge in publishing controversial material that will not make it into the mainstream media.

    So thank you, Ron - there isn't a narrative being incessantly crammed down our throats and we are free to discuss controversial ideas.

    The problem with these kinds of tracts is incoherency. Capitalism is private property. In Texas, the land is owned by private citizens so an oil company has to make a contract with the rancher or whomever to extract the oil underneath his land.

    In Venezuela, and so many other countries, the government owns the oil under the surface, not the farmer, rancher or whomever. So we begin with socialism in Venezuela and not capitalism. Capitalism would require granting the ownership of oil to the rancher, farmer, or other surface property owner.

    Governments contract with the oil companies to do the extraction in these countries, and that's the problem. The government gets all the money, not the people, and it costs a lot less for the oil companies to pay off a government than it does to contract individually with all the landowners.

    Anything you claim about "capitalism" is just bunk in this situation. It also isn't "free market" even in the extraction end of it unless there is competitive bidding.

    I don't know what the hell "enlightened" capitalism is when it is not capitalism to begin with. On the land and resource ownership, it is the exact opposite of capitalism and that is by far the most important place where the property rights need to be private: the oil itself. In situ.

    Chavez, in seizing the property of the oil companies and taking 100% of the revenues rather than a royalty arrangement got a lot of dough in the short run. He subsidized a lot of consumer goods, fixing prices below market and using the oil money to pay the difference to sellers.

    But now the money for subsidies is gone with the inevitable inefficiency of state ownership and lack of price signals and incentives.

    Venezuelans are starving, sick, and desperate. That's what Chavez has left them.

    I don’t know what the hell “enlightened” capitalism is when it is not capitalism to begin with.

    It is communist propaganda, which is what this article is.

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  37. utu says:
    @Mao Cheng Ji

    You would do much better – for absolutely everybody living today and in the future – to embrace modernity and demand the fundamental shift from capitalism to communism.
     
    I agree with the general sentiment, but the devil is in the detail: what sort of communism? How do you demand this 'fundamental shift'? You know, this shift would involve taking 'property' (power) from very, very powerful people and institutions. You can demand till blue in the face, but I don't see them relinquishing their power...

    “this shift would involve taking ‘property’ (power) from very, very powerful people and institutions. “

    In the end it will have to be done.

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  38. Dolores says:

    Capitalism and Communism are both the same…
    Both under the same Masters..don’t believe me? Pay attention to historical books on both ideas and you will find out who’s running them

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    • Agree: jacques sheete, bluedog
    • Replies: @bluedog
    Communism and capitalism are twin sisters in the respect that they create poverty for far to many.I read a book oh long ago written by one who had worked in British intelligence, after the end of the cold war he went to the manor of the one running the agency to turn in his resignation, he ask me if I would like a tour of the manor and so he showed me his wine cellar and in a small room off to the side were a number of chains hanging from the wall, I ask him what they had been for and he said for the slaves that built the manor, then it dawned on me that we had destroyed the one great evil communism and now we must destroy the other great evil capitalism,and he was probably right...
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  39. @Inertiller
    Sure, what we really need in Venezuela are "protégé’s of US financial and banking institutions". Hillary Clinton's all for regime change, attempted coups and neoliberal economic warfare - maybe she would have made a better President. Sometimes it takes a woman to machine gun the peasants in "America's backyard" and frontyard at the same time.

    The choice is not between incompetent corruption and US vassalage. Venezuela ran an independent, free market economy and had a relatively stable constitutional democracy before Chavez got elected. It’s also worth noting that before Chavez the country’s foreign and domestic policy was fiercely independent of US influence. The majority who voted in Chavez have gotten exactly what they should have expected and without any US intervention. The economy tanked after Chavez destroyed it with insanely stupid economic policies. Within the last several weeks his handpicked successor, Maduro, has responded to the discontent of a starving population by imposing what is in effect a dictatorship.

    It’s always the same story. History suggests that a constitutional democracy is hard to maintain when the average IQ of the electorate hovers around 85. Voters with this level of intellectual capacity always fall for the impossible, demagogic promises of progs like Chavez. When disaster later ensues they are intellectually incapable of drawing the causal connection between whom they elected and the misery that follows. Most end up blaming their problems on some imaginary conspiracy and this usual leads to a political dictatorship. Venezuela is just the latest example.

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    • Replies: @Verymuchalive
    You've hit the nail on the head, boy.
    Lynn and Vanhanen, "IQ and the Wealth of Nations" (2006 ) determined the average IQ of adult Venezuelans as being 84, the same as black Americans. Many researchers consider an average national IQ of 90 or more as necessary to maintain civilisation.
    Venezuela has just been thrown off the last bus. Its prospects are bleak.
    , @bluedog
    Yep they sure did no doctors no schools well for the peons that is, but after all why should peons be educated after all look what we turn out brainwashed to the core where black is white and white is black..
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  40. Mit says:

    Your right jacques, Capitalism Communism…any “ism” you want… they all depend on the benevolence of those at the top or those in charge. Because of the inherent faults of human nature and our inability to transcend to a higher level of consciousness it doesn’t really matter which system we employ…they are all doomed to failure from massive explotation. The more psychopathic a person is in our current society…the more likelyhood they will be “successful”

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  41. @Alden
    Old French saying: Society is like a stew. The scum rises to the top, the dregs fall to the bottom and in between are the nutritious meat and vegetables.

    Here’s another French dude…

    Behind every great fortune lies a great crime.

    Honore de Balzac, attributed

    And a couple of Americans…

    “…wealth is no proof of moral character; nor poverty of the want of it. On the contrary, wealth is often the presumptive evidence of dishonesty; and poverty the negative evidence of innocence.”

    THOMAS PAINE, DISSERTATION ON FIRST-PRINCIPLES OF GOVERNMENT, 1795

    In Rivers and bad Governments, the lightest Things swim at top.

    - Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard Improved; 1754March. III Month.

    http://franklinpapers.org/franklin/framedVolumes.jsp?vol=5&page=181a

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    • Replies: @Verymuchalive
    Be careful whom you quote, (((Monsieur Sheetey.)))
    Balzac was a well known reactionary and snob. When he married his wife, the Polish Countess Hanska, one of the important points of attraction was that his wife had 50,000 serfs!
    The quote, "Behind every great fortune lies a great crime " refers, of course, to Jews and their methods of doing business.
    , @denk
    William Blum,
    'There's a sort of Peter Principle at work here. Laurence Peter wrote that in a hierarchy every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence. Perhaps we can postulate that in a foreign policy establishment committed to imperialist domination by any means necessary, employees tend to rise to the level of cruelty they can live with.'
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  42. Tulip says:

    Great critical essay. “Socially conscious capitalism” is BS to make upper middle class goodwhites feel good about their amoral and rapacious global political and economic system.

    However, what is this “communism” he speaks of? Chavez did a nice job (while oil prices were high) of transferring profits to his people, but he did a terrible job of reinvesting capital into oil infrastructure. Now oil prices have dropped and the oil infrastructure is terrible, and you can’t get toilet paper. Sounds like killing the goose to me.

    When communists historical have taken their “great leaps forward”, investing national wealth into infrastructure spending, the results, whether in China or Ukraine have been much more horrific than anything a fat smelly capitalist businessman has ever accomplished.

    Further, where does identity figure into all this? Is the point of the State really only to rob Peter to pay Paul?

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    • Replies: @daniel le mouche
    a decent comment. but never underestimate the west's meddling in these countries. our rulers without the slightest doubt want famine, disease, chaos, mahem in commie countries from cuba to north korea. what about the accomplishments of cuba? i once saw a documentary on the old yugoslavia where a guy was interviewed who said clinton bombed it because it was the only communist (or 'mixed economy') that actually worked--the vast majority, according to him, were happy and prosperous. who knows of this? who studies it? who can imagine it?
    i somewhat disagree with your statement that no 'fat smelly capitalist businessman' has accomplished anything on the scale of the big 'communist' states. if you're a more paranoid type like me, you'll fear the worst sort of hellish world state just, and we're just at the beginning stages of it. we've already got the drones (human variety), the robotic, unreal existence (all tv, movies, the lives of others--most not even real people of course--through whom we are supposed to and do live vicariously). microchips seem to be coming soon. what of the kinds of things the cia is up to, the psyops? these of course were practised by 'communist' countries too, true. (here one can defer back to an earlier comment on communists and capitalists being virtually the same.) but it is true hell in store for our species, it seems. many would say it's true hell now. i agree, but think it's going to get far worse.
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  43. Cindy says:

    Tomorrow is April first. Somebody hit publish too soon?

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  44. Tulip says:

    Deng Xiaoping managed to lift his people out of poverty–many times over.

    Deng Xiaoping and Lee Kuan Yew present a real political model, beyond communism, which is arguably superior to Western Democracy and Capitalism. Much more solid than trying to resurrect communism from the dead.

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  45. @Jus' Sayin'...
    The choice is not between incompetent corruption and US vassalage. Venezuela ran an independent, free market economy and had a relatively stable constitutional democracy before Chavez got elected. It's also worth noting that before Chavez the country's foreign and domestic policy was fiercely independent of US influence. The majority who voted in Chavez have gotten exactly what they should have expected and without any US intervention. The economy tanked after Chavez destroyed it with insanely stupid economic policies. Within the last several weeks his handpicked successor, Maduro, has responded to the discontent of a starving population by imposing what is in effect a dictatorship.

    It's always the same story. History suggests that a constitutional democracy is hard to maintain when the average IQ of the electorate hovers around 85. Voters with this level of intellectual capacity always fall for the impossible, demagogic promises of progs like Chavez. When disaster later ensues they are intellectually incapable of drawing the causal connection between whom they elected and the misery that follows. Most end up blaming their problems on some imaginary conspiracy and this usual leads to a political dictatorship. Venezuela is just the latest example.

    You’ve hit the nail on the head, boy.
    Lynn and Vanhanen, “IQ and the Wealth of Nations” (2006 ) determined the average IQ of adult Venezuelans as being 84, the same as black Americans. Many researchers consider an average national IQ of 90 or more as necessary to maintain civilisation.
    Venezuela has just been thrown off the last bus. Its prospects are bleak.

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  46. Alfa158 says:
    @Joe Franklin

    The difference is that the Left is pushing for a multi-racial proposition nation country, while the Right is advocating for a racially based nation.
     
    This claim is utter nonsense.

    The real left in the US is pushing for more emulation of Israel, a nation with a super-majority of entitled-by-law anti-white-Christian victim cultists that are conditioned to regularly vote for themselves never ending centralized government group entitlements.

    The real right in the US is pushing for CONSTITUTIONAL government, with a federal government with very limited delegated powers. All un-delegated powers are reserved by the people and state governments.

    Read the 10th amendment to alleviate your confusion.

    At present what the 10th amendment and the rest of the Constitution says does not apply to the America we live in today. Read recent judicial decisions and what they have done to our country. The Constitution has been declared obsolete because it has not “evolved” to fit current doctrine. The 10th amendment as well as the rest the Constitution has effectively been turned into whatever it is convenient for the current crop in black robes wants it to mean. The real right. by which I’m guessing you mean the classical Jeffersonian liberals, have failed to reign in unconstitutional government. Look at all the years that the establishment right has had the White House and Congress. Has there ever been any serious attempt to push for constitutional government again? To slash spending? To reduce the power of the entitled-by-law anti-Christian victim cultists?
    The left isn’t pushing for an emulation of Israel. Israel is a closed border nation run a by a dominant, majority ethnicity, for that dominant majority ethnicity. The left is pushing for an emulation of Brazil. A nation with a super majority of brown, impoverished, mixed people, with a tiny wealthy elite ruling the mob from behind broken glass topped walls.
    Sadly, the real right of which you speak, the classical liberals, are too few in numbers and influence. This has caused the rise of the Alt-Right which now claims they are real Right and want to have their chance after the failure of the old Republican, National Review Right. They have decided to stop playing the game and revert to tribal loyalties.

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  47. @jacques sheete
    Here's another French dude...

    Behind every great fortune lies a great crime.

    Honore de Balzac, attributed
     
    And a couple of Americans...

    “…wealth is no proof of moral character; nor poverty of the want of it. On the contrary, wealth is often the presumptive evidence of dishonesty; and poverty the negative evidence of innocence.”

    THOMAS PAINE, DISSERTATION ON FIRST-PRINCIPLES OF GOVERNMENT, 1795
     

    In Rivers and bad Governments, the lightest Things swim at top.

    - Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard Improved; 1754March. III Month.

    http://franklinpapers.org/franklin/framedVolumes.jsp?vol=5&page=181a

     

    Be careful whom you quote, (((Monsieur Sheetey.)))
    Balzac was a well known reactionary and snob. When he married his wife, the Polish Countess Hanska, one of the important points of attraction was that his wife had 50,000 serfs!
    The quote, “Behind every great fortune lies a great crime ” refers, of course, to Jews and their methods of doing business.

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    • Replies: @jacques sheete

    Be careful whom you quote, (((Monsieur Sheetey.)))

     

    I trust these will be granted decrees of imprimatur and nihil obstat?: (Yes, yes, I know all about Diogenes...and Macchiavelli) ;)

    Virtue cannot dwell with wealth either in a city or in a house.

    -Diogenes of Sinope, quoted by Stobaeus, iv. 31c. 88
     



    But if you will take note of the mode of proceedings of men, you will see that all those who come to great riches and great power have obtained them either by fraud or by force; and afterwards, to hide the ugliness of acquisition, they make it decent by applying the false title of earnings to things they have usurped by deceit or by violence.

    -Niccolò Machiavelli, Florentine Histories,trans. Laura F. Brandel and Harvey C. Mansfield (Princeton: Princeton, 1988), III 13, p. 123

     

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  48. bluedog says:
    @Dolores
    Capitalism and Communism are both the same...
    Both under the same Masters..don't believe me? Pay attention to historical books on both ideas and you will find out who's running them

    Communism and capitalism are twin sisters in the respect that they create poverty for far to many.I read a book oh long ago written by one who had worked in British intelligence, after the end of the cold war he went to the manor of the one running the agency to turn in his resignation, he ask me if I would like a tour of the manor and so he showed me his wine cellar and in a small room off to the side were a number of chains hanging from the wall, I ask him what they had been for and he said for the slaves that built the manor, then it dawned on me that we had destroyed the one great evil communism and now we must destroy the other great evil capitalism,and he was probably right…

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  49. bluedog says:
    @Jus' Sayin'...
    The choice is not between incompetent corruption and US vassalage. Venezuela ran an independent, free market economy and had a relatively stable constitutional democracy before Chavez got elected. It's also worth noting that before Chavez the country's foreign and domestic policy was fiercely independent of US influence. The majority who voted in Chavez have gotten exactly what they should have expected and without any US intervention. The economy tanked after Chavez destroyed it with insanely stupid economic policies. Within the last several weeks his handpicked successor, Maduro, has responded to the discontent of a starving population by imposing what is in effect a dictatorship.

    It's always the same story. History suggests that a constitutional democracy is hard to maintain when the average IQ of the electorate hovers around 85. Voters with this level of intellectual capacity always fall for the impossible, demagogic promises of progs like Chavez. When disaster later ensues they are intellectually incapable of drawing the causal connection between whom they elected and the misery that follows. Most end up blaming their problems on some imaginary conspiracy and this usual leads to a political dictatorship. Venezuela is just the latest example.

    Yep they sure did no doctors no schools well for the peons that is, but after all why should peons be educated after all look what we turn out brainwashed to the core where black is white and white is black..

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  50. Venezuela is under attack basically. Unfettered exploitation by the American oil companies is one of the prizes up for grabs here. One of Obama’s last acts as president was the early renewal of an executive order declaring a national emergency due to the “unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States” posed by Venezuela. The Senate just passed a resolution calling on Trump to expedite regime change. The US wants the prizes, they don’t give a shit that people are lining up for toilet paper. International capital and the native Venezuelan capitalists along with the usual CIA assests, NED/OAS front group(s), et al are what is destroying the country. No one leads the US in delivering pain and suffering, not even Maduro’s brutal put downs of social protests. Not a day goes by where the Washington Post et al are calling for regime change. What infuriates the US now more than ever is Venezuela is stepping up trade with China. ExxonMobil wants in. The term free market has little meaning here unless the context is in pirates fighting over treasure.

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    • Replies: @daniel le mouche
    thank you very much, that's exactly right. the main reason, i suspect, that maduro puts down 'social protests' is because they're totally bogus, just more regime change weapons of the enemy (the u.s.).
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  51. If you want to persuade us to go communist, first you need to explain why Chavez’ socialism was not sustainable.

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  52. Related topic, my proposal for funding campaigns:

    1) Unlimited funding.
    2) Absolute transparency of donors.
    3) ONLY REGISTERED VOTERS PERMITTED TO DONATE/FUND CAMPAIGNS.

    Corporations, unions, PACs, NGOs, etc. would be barred from funding.

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  53. @jacques sheete

    But what’s more important is to remember that so-called “enlightened capitalism” is still a trap being set for you, me and the average person.
     
    Amen.

    However, Orwell was right; in the end there is no effective difference between communism and capitalism from the point of view of either the slaves or the slave-masters.

    Either way, the man-pigs still get fat, while the rest of the( m)animals take it in the shorts, and there is neither a capitalist nor a communist messiah. Sorry. At best it's a transparently false dichotomy.

    “The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.”

    ― George Orwell, Animal Farm
     

    No doubt. All these systems share one commonality—they are all elitist controlled. Chavez and Castro’s greatest crimes were that they bucked the US elite controlled system. Whatever poverty the people of these countries faced was not the result of communism being an inferior system compared to capitalism. It was because of the trade embargoes and government and societal destabilization activities engineered by the US elites in retaliation to what Chavez and Castro did.

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    • Agree: jacques sheete
    • Replies: @Wally
    Yawn.

    Proof of all that is where exactly?
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  54. joe webb says:

    did the author or complainers here note that Venezuelans are storming grocery stores , more or less. V. is on the ropes . Low IQ browns, about over half injuns or largely injun. IQs well below 90 and Lynn gives it 84. Imagine a country of US blacks only, somewhat better than Africa.

    Capitalism or communism only a factor. Take China, please, the capitalist-communist-grifters.

    I remember the nice V. peasant lady interviewed. She said that Hugo was going to build her a house…

    Joe Webb

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  55. Sorry if this has already been posted. If you have not seen the (accidental) documentary - The Revolution Will Not Be Televised - here is a link to the U-tube:

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  56. Kudzu Bob says:

    That SOB Chavez died owing me twenty bucks.

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  57. denk says:
    @jacques sheete
    Here's another French dude...

    Behind every great fortune lies a great crime.

    Honore de Balzac, attributed
     
    And a couple of Americans...

    “…wealth is no proof of moral character; nor poverty of the want of it. On the contrary, wealth is often the presumptive evidence of dishonesty; and poverty the negative evidence of innocence.”

    THOMAS PAINE, DISSERTATION ON FIRST-PRINCIPLES OF GOVERNMENT, 1795
     

    In Rivers and bad Governments, the lightest Things swim at top.

    - Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard Improved; 1754March. III Month.

    http://franklinpapers.org/franklin/framedVolumes.jsp?vol=5&page=181a

     

    William Blum,
    There’s a sort of Peter Principle at work here. Laurence Peter wrote that in a hierarchy every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence. Perhaps we can postulate that in a foreign policy establishment committed to imperialist domination by any means necessary, employees tend to rise to the level of cruelty they can live with.’

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  58. @Backwoods Bob
    Ron Unz is holding to his pledge in publishing controversial material that will not make it into the mainstream media.

    So thank you, Ron - there isn't a narrative being incessantly crammed down our throats and we are free to discuss controversial ideas.

    The problem with these kinds of tracts is incoherency. Capitalism is private property. In Texas, the land is owned by private citizens so an oil company has to make a contract with the rancher or whomever to extract the oil underneath his land.

    In Venezuela, and so many other countries, the government owns the oil under the surface, not the farmer, rancher or whomever. So we begin with socialism in Venezuela and not capitalism. Capitalism would require granting the ownership of oil to the rancher, farmer, or other surface property owner.

    Governments contract with the oil companies to do the extraction in these countries, and that's the problem. The government gets all the money, not the people, and it costs a lot less for the oil companies to pay off a government than it does to contract individually with all the landowners.

    Anything you claim about "capitalism" is just bunk in this situation. It also isn't "free market" even in the extraction end of it unless there is competitive bidding.

    I don't know what the hell "enlightened" capitalism is when it is not capitalism to begin with. On the land and resource ownership, it is the exact opposite of capitalism and that is by far the most important place where the property rights need to be private: the oil itself. In situ.

    Chavez, in seizing the property of the oil companies and taking 100% of the revenues rather than a royalty arrangement got a lot of dough in the short run. He subsidized a lot of consumer goods, fixing prices below market and using the oil money to pay the difference to sellers.

    But now the money for subsidies is gone with the inevitable inefficiency of state ownership and lack of price signals and incentives.

    Venezuelans are starving, sick, and desperate. That's what Chavez has left them.

    I merely note that it is an odd idea of capitalism as it had been and grown for 600 years or so that the land and/or oil resources need to be privately owned for the economic system to be capitalìst rather than socialist. Try thinking about inventions in public funded institutions which take out patents and then license their use to big and small non-government businesses which raise the capital, invest in factories and market the producf.

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    • Replies: @NoseytheDuke
    Always with the incessant questions, you're like a troll with autism. Before you ask any more questions of anyone why not answer the ONE question that you've been avoiding? Jonathan Revusky has asked you repeatedly to cite what specific evidence you think supports the official theory about 9/11? and you keep avoiding the question. You're ducking and weaving, bobbing up and down, like Barney Frank at a Democratic fundraiser, so answer it please. You go on and on about aluminium and water causing the collapse and always more questions of anyone and everyone but never an answer to this one question. Now is as good a time as any...
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  59. @jimbojones
    Just because he is Iranian doesn't mean he is wrong.

    That said, I'm not sure Chavez deserves such ebullient praise. I mean he didn't actually build an economy with some manufacturing. (Which is what a nation really needs if it wants to be prosperous.) As far as I can tell, all Chavez did was redistribute the oil money a little bit. During one of the great oil booms of the last century. Which may have been a good and perhaps even just idea - but hardly a solution to Venezuela's long-term problems. Now that oil prices fell, Venezuela is in dire straits. This week's headlines say the country's government is collapsing.

    Doesn't sound so awesome to me.

    The author's other claim - that the Rockefellers are a real piece of work and did much damage during the 20th century - is hardly disputed in alt-right or alt-left circles. As they say, the road to Hell is paved with good intentions. And the Rockefellers didn't even always have good intentions.

    It is interesting that any of the Americans commenting here could be ignorant of just how bad a basket case Chavez and his chosen successor have created out of the Venezuelan economy and the consequences including soaring rates of violent crime.

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    • Replies: @bluedog
    You must live in a gated community if you haven't noticed the soaring rate of violence/crime/drugs in this country where even the deputy up the road tells us to bar and grate every window and stay well armed and that's in a small rural community while, the cities are battleground it seems and its getting worse instead of better, and I'm sure its only the beginning as the country and society continues down the long path to the coming depression....
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  60. @Mao Cheng Ji

    You would do much better – for absolutely everybody living today and in the future – to embrace modernity and demand the fundamental shift from capitalism to communism.
     
    I agree with the general sentiment, but the devil is in the detail: what sort of communism? How do you demand this 'fundamental shift'? You know, this shift would involve taking 'property' (power) from very, very powerful people and institutions. You can demand till blue in the face, but I don't see them relinquishing their power...

    And have you invented a way to shift power to clever, shrewd, highminded and supremely sltruistic people to the exclusion of sanctimonious, greedy, time serving, sycophantic mediocrities?

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    • Replies: @Mao Cheng Ji
    You missed my comment 35. 'Communism' doesn't mean 'shifting the power to altruistic people'. It means (to me anyway) shifting the paradigm, achieving a model where no one has control over others.

    That would most likely require, however, a dramatic simplification of economic activities, and lowering of what we call 'the standard of living' for many. No smartphones, probably. Simple life.

    Check out The Dispossessed, or something.
    , @daniel le mouche
    'And have you invented a way to shift power to clever, shrewd, highminded and supremely sltruistic people to the exclusion of sanctimonious, greedy, time serving, sycophantic mediocrities?'
    who's that supposed to be, chavez? i can't decide whether you're just a liar, or an idiot.
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  61. Gringo says:

    But instead of doing what oil normally does – create a small tribe of rich sheiks and Rockefellers – Chavez did the opposite: his Communist-inspired policies produced the most equal distribution of income in the region, and dropped extreme poverty from 23% to 8%

    Venezuela had a populist petrostate distributing petrodollars to the population before Chavez.

    In order to distribute more money, you need more money for you to distribute. You need some economic growth so you have more money to distribute. In 1998, when Chavez was elected, the export price of Venezuelan oil was around $11/BBL. In 2013, the year Chavez died, the export price of Venzuelan oil was around $100/BBL. How did Chavez do in using the oil bonanza to foster economic growth?

    GDP per capita, PPP (constant 2011 international $) % growth 1998-2013
    East Asia & Pacific (excluding high income) 189.4%
    Upper middle income 108.7%
    South Asia 102.8%
    Middle income 95.3%
    Lower middle income 82.0%
    Peru 76.5%
    Least developed countries: UN classification 57.3%
    World 44.2%
    Low income 37.8%
    Latin America & Caribbean 30.2%
    OECD members 19.3%
    Venezuela 15.2%

    Compared to the rest of the world, Chavista Venezuela’s economy did not do well at all- and this was with an oil price bonanza. Peru, like Venezuela, is a commodity-exporting nation, and like Venezuela, had an export price boom until recently. Peru’s economy uses more free-market principles than Venezuela’s economy, and the results are rather damning for Venezuela. From 1998 to 2013, Peru’s per capita income in constant terms increased 76.5% compared to Venezuela’s 15.2%.

    Given the collapse in Venezuela’s economy, Venezuela’s per capita income in constant dollars is probably less than it was in 1998.

    From 1999 to 2013, extreme poverty in Peru fell from 20.5% to 4.4%- and 4% in 2014. From 1999 to 2013, extreme poverty in Venezuela fell from 20.9% t0 9.4%. With the collapse in the price of oil since 2014, poverty in Venezuela has gone through the roof- which is why the government is reluctant to disclose current poverty statistics. The poverty rate in Venezuela in 1998, with $11 oil, was much lower than it is today, with $40 oil. (or whatever the price is now.)

    For another indication of Peru’s superior performance compared to Venezuela, consider Infant Mortality. From 1998 to 2015, Infant Mortality in Peru fell from 34.3 to 13.1 deaths per 1,000 infant births. From 1998 to 2015, Infant Mortality in Venezuela fell from 20.1 to 12.9 deaths per 1,000 infant births.
    Peru’s Capitalist-inspired economy and government has done much better than Venezuela’s Communist-inspired economy and government.

    Extreme poverty and poverty by geographical area

    World Development Indicators Databank (World Bank)

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  62. @Wizard of Oz
    And have you invented a way to shift power to clever, shrewd, highminded and supremely sltruistic people to the exclusion of sanctimonious, greedy, time serving, sycophantic mediocrities?

    You missed my comment 35. ‘Communism’ doesn’t mean ‘shifting the power to altruistic people’. It means (to me anyway) shifting the paradigm, achieving a model where no one has control over others.

    That would most likely require, however, a dramatic simplification of economic activities, and lowering of what we call ‘the standard of living’ for many. No smartphones, probably. Simple life.

    Check out The Dispossessed, or something.

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    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
    A charming dream. In an alternative life you could be a happy prosperous guru :-)
    , @Ace
    Your view of communism as a political system where no one has control over others is, um, interesting.

    That's like saying that the history of the Catholic Church has been all about disco dancing.

    There seems to be an inability to identify certain distinguishing features in both instances.
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  63. @Wizard of Oz
    I merely note that it is an odd idea of capitalism as it had been and grown for 600 years or so that the land and/or oil resources need to be privately owned for the economic system to be capitalìst rather than socialist. Try thinking about inventions in public funded institutions which take out patents and then license their use to big and small non-government businesses which raise the capital, invest in factories and market the producf.

    Always with the incessant questions, you’re like a troll with autism. Before you ask any more questions of anyone why not answer the ONE question that you’ve been avoiding? Jonathan Revusky has asked you repeatedly to cite what specific evidence you think supports the official theory about 9/11? and you keep avoiding the question. You’re ducking and weaving, bobbing up and down, like Barney Frank at a Democratic fundraiser, so answer it please. You go on and on about aluminium and water causing the collapse and always more questions of anyone and everyone but never an answer to this one question. Now is as good a time as any…

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    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
    You are so sloppy you don't even notice that I don't "support the official theory". I have no theory, but occasionally I can't resist a few jabs at the absurdities of literate (especially) obsessives, though the JR subjects hardly rate on my list of interests. C'mon, he is a sad joke - and so are you as his acolyte - when he spends all this time on UR (and God knows what other blogs) and can't show a record of persuasion of, or just advocacy to, people that matter.
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  64. Gringo says:

    The undeniable success of Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez ..
    The “undeniable success” of Chávez was in acquiring and maintaining power. He was very good at that. Regarding what Chávez actually accomplished with that power, in terms of actual policy accomplishments, we are left with mostly smoke and mirrors.
    For example, when one looks at the price of oil and extreme poverty, we see that reduction in poverty is basically a function of oil exports and oil price.

    1997-1999 Extreme poverty 19.7%-20.9%
    1997-1999 Average Annual Export price /BBL $11.38-$17.32 (current dollars)

    2013 Extreme poverty 9.4%
    2013 Export Sales price $98.08
    2014 Export Sales price $88.42
    2015 Export Sales price $44.65
    2016 Export Sales price $35.15
    2017 Predicted $45

    Wonder why the Chavista government isn’t publishing poverty stats? When the price of oil hit $11 in 1998, Venezuela didn’t have the problems in food supply that it does now.
    Smoke and mirrors, that’s what Chavismo is.

    http://laht.com/article.asp?CategoryId=10717&ArticleId=2431005

    https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/906424/000091205701521415/a2052795z20-f.htm

    Read More
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  65. Gringo says:

    The undeniable success of Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez ..

    Maduro is Chávez’s hand-picked heir. Maduro is continuing the policies of Chávez with very little change. Chavismo is still in charge. The only difference between Maduro and Chávez is the price of oil. Please note that the price of oil was ~$11/BBL when Chávez was elected. It rose to around $100/BBL by the time Chávez died four years ago. It is currently around $45.
    Caracas Chronicles: How long is it going to take to crawl out of this hole?

    If we add the 18.6% fall in GDP that was leaked to the press in 2016 to the official data that Central Bank (BCV) stopped releasing in 2015, Venezuela will have lost 29.2% of its economic activity per capita in just three years.

    A fall in per capita income of 29.2% in three years:
    Undeniable success
    Undeniable success
    Undeniable success
    Undeniable success.

    If you repeat it long enough, you might believe it.
    Undeniable success
    Undeniable success
    Undeniable success….
    How much is poverty reduced with a fall of 29.2% in per capita income?
    How much is income inequality reduced with a fall of 29.2% in per capita income? Just sayin’.

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  66. bluedog says:
    @Wizard of Oz
    It is interesting that any of the Americans commenting here could be ignorant of just how bad a basket case Chavez and his chosen successor have created out of the Venezuelan economy and the consequences including soaring rates of violent crime.

    You must live in a gated community if you haven’t noticed the soaring rate of violence/crime/drugs in this country where even the deputy up the road tells us to bar and grate every window and stay well armed and that’s in a small rural community while, the cities are battleground it seems and its getting worse instead of better, and I’m sure its only the beginning as the country and society continues down the long path to the coming depression….

    Read More
    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
    I dispute very little of what you say except the presumption that I live in America.
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  67. Parbes says:
    @Jus' Sayin'...
    All one need do to refute this nonsense is to link to news stories about the steady decline of a once vibrant country since Chavez took power. Venezuela's oil industry infrastructure began decaying immediately after Chavez began replacing trained managers and technicians with ignorant and incompetent political allies. Before Chavez, Venezuela produced such agricultural surpluses that all its population had abundant and cheap food including vegetable, dairy and meat products. Agricultural surpluses were great enough that food exports were a significant source of foreign income. Now Venezuelans are slowly starving to death on restricted diets with calorie levels below WHO recommendations.

    Where you employed at, the CATO Institute or something? All this is just a repetition of the same tired old U.S. neoliberal right-wing tropes aimed at the Venezuelan Bolivarian leadership for ages; and you sound like a trained propagandist/info warrior. Venezuela was doing fine in terms of economic development under Chavez (DESPITE all the U.S. efforts in collusion with the local rich comprador elites to sabotage his regime, and an attempted coup) until the 2008 global financial crash, which was caused by U.S. finance capitalists, NOT Chavez. Even after that they managed OK – so much so that, at the time of Chavez’ death in 2012, nearly all halfway-objective international economic assessments of Venezuela spoke in generally sanguine terms about his period in power. Under Chavez Venezuela’s main socio-economic indicators (health, education, income inequality etc.) showed huge improvements; large masses of the population were lifted out of poverty. But the Venezuelan economy was always brittle, being overreliant on oil exports and having underdeveloped agricultural and industrial sectors – problems that LONG PREDATED the Chavez Bolivarian regime. The Venezuelan economy hit the rocks post-Chavez when, in 2014-2015, the U.S. and Saudi Arabia in collusion deliberately engineered the oil price crash to harm Russia, Iran and Venezuela (which, ironically, helped China, that other great declared “enemy” of the U.S. globo-imperialist elites).

    Also, Chavez’ successor, Maduro, has veered to the RIGHT economically, tried to “compromise” with the country’s U.S.-collaborating, regime-sabotaging rich comprador bourgeois class, and carried out badly mismanaged monetary policies.

    “…the steady decline of a once vibrant country since Chavez took power…Venezuela’s oil industry infrastructure began decaying immediately after Chavez….Before Chavez, Venezuela produced such agricultural surpluses that all its population had abundant and cheap food… Agricultural surpluses were great enough that food exports were a significant source of foreign income…”

    Barefaced bullshit-bollocks. In 1998 when Chavez took power, Venezuela IMPORTED 70% of its food (the figure was 90% in 1980); 21% of the population were chronically malnourished (MALNOURISHED, not just “undernourished); and huge chunks of the country’s people were living in poverty. I guess Venezuela could be said to be “vibrant” (!) for you if you were a member of the small rich coddled comprador elite/landowner class – otherwise, not so much. At the end of the Chavez period, the percentage of Venezuelan food imports was NOT higher than when he assumed power (and considerably lower, depending on whose figures you believe), DESPITE population growth, increased consumption resulting from poverty alleviation, and ceaseless U.S. efforts to sanction, economically undermine and destroy his regime in collusion with the local “anti-Chavist” rich opposition elites.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Wally
    All just Marxist fake news, no proof.

    Were you employed by Che or something?
    , @Gringo
    Under Chavez Venezuela’s main socio-economic indicators (health, education, income inequality etc.) showed huge improvements

    Consider health. Infant mortality and Life Expectancy are the gold standards by which governments are judged on health care performance. In 1998, the year Chávez was elected, Venezuela's Life Expectancy ranked 9th in Latin America. By 2014, Venezuela's Life Expectancy ranked 12th in Latin America. In 1998, the year Chávez was elected, Venezuela's Infant Mortality ranked 6th in Latin America. By 2014,Venezuela's Infant Mortality ranked 7th in Latin America. Conclusion: the "huge improvements" in Chavista Venezuela's health care were average to slightly below average compared to the rest of Latin America.

    In 1998, Venezuela ranked 19th in Health expenditure, public (% of GDP) in Latin America. By 2007, Venezuela ranked 15th in Latin America, and in 2013, when the price of oil was around $100/BBL, it ranked 20th, behind Haiti.

    "Huge improvements" in Chavista Venezuela's health care compared to Latin America? Not when most other countries made greater improvements. Smoke and mirrors. (Source: World Bank link, as in Comment #61)

    Consider education. Freed From Illiteracy? A Closer Look at Venezuela's Robinson Campaign . The Venezuelan government made the following claim.


    On October 28, 2005, the Venezuelan government announced that the country had been declared “Illiteracy-Free Territory”1, marking the success of the two-year old national literacy campaign Misión Robinson
     
    The reality of the claim was as follows.

    We evaluate the success of the Venezuelan government’s latest nation-wide literacy program, Misión Robinson, using official Venezuelan government survey data. Controlling for existing trends in literacy rates by age groups over the period 1975 to 2005, we find at most a small positive effect of Robinson on literacy rates, and in many specifications the program impact is statistically indistinguishable from zero. This main result is robust to time series analysis by birth cohort, and to state-level difference-in-differences estimation. The results appear to be inconsistent with recent official claims of the complete eradication of illiteracy in Venezuela, but resonate with existing research on other adult literacy programs, which have usually been expensive failures.
     
    Also: UNESCO denies Venezuela literacy claim.
    Smoke and mirrors. What a surprise.


    large masses of the population were lifted out of poverty.
    As I pointed out in comment #61, Venezuela's anemic economic growth from 1998-2013 compared to the rest of the world did not assist people leaving poverty. The biggest assistance in getting out of poverty is a vibrant economy. It is no accident that Peru, which like Venezuela has an economy based on export of commodities, did better than Venezuela in from 1998-2013 in reducing poverty while it also had a much more vibrant economy than Venezuela's.

    The fall in Venezuela's poverty rate and "huge improvements" in income inequality were statistical chimera that disappeared when the price of oil fell from 2014 on. Currently, with the price of oil around $45/BBL, Venezuela's poverty situation and food supply are in much worse condition than they were in 1998, when the price of oil was around $11. What is the current poverty rate? When per capita income falls 29.2% in three years, as pointed out in my comment #65, the effect on the poverty rate is rather devastating- which explains why the Chavista government no longer publishes poverty statistics.

    , @Gringo
    Barefaced bullshit-bollocks. In 1998 when Chavez took power, Venezuela IMPORTED 70% of its food.
    Source? Agreed, however, that whatever the percent of food imports, the petrostate of Venezuela has long imported food.


    At the end of the Chavez period, the percentage of Venezuelan food imports was NOT higher than when he assumed power.
    That isn't what the FAO says, and as the FAO has gained a reputation in some circles of shilling for Chavismo, I doubt that these statistics are inaccurately biased against Chavismo.

    Item/ Year /Import Percentage of Venezuelan Food Supply
    Bovine Meat 1998 0.7%
    Bovine Meat 2013 29.3%
    Butter 1998 33.3%
    Butter 2013 75.0%
    Coffee and products 1998 1.6%
    Coffee and products 2013 30.3%
    Maize and products 1998 47.6%
    Maize and products 2013 61.9%
    Palm Oil 1998 12.5%
    Palm Oil 2013 88.1%
    Poultry Meat 1998 0.0%
    Poultry Meat 2013 23.4%
    Rice (Milled Equivalent) 1998 0.0%
    Rice (Milled Equivalent) 2013 46.9%
    Sugar (Raw Equivalent) 1998 42.7%
    Sugar (Raw Equivalent) 2013 77.1%
     
    Conclusion: the percentage of Venezuelan food supply covered by imports increased under Chavismo.

    Where Import Quantity is divided by Domestic supply quantity.
    For example, in 2013, Import Quantity for Coffee and products is 61,000 tonnes, and Domestic supply quantity for Coffee and products is 89,000 tonnes, leading to (61/89)X100 =30.3%



    http://www.fao.org/faostat/en/#home
    , @Gringo
    But the Venezuelan economy was always brittle, being overreliant on oil exports and having underdeveloped agricultural and industrial sectors – problems that LONG PREDATED the Chavez Bolivarian regime.


    While these problems LONG PREDATED the Chavez regime, these problems were exacerbated during Chavismo.


    Fuel exports (% of merchandise exports)
    1998 71.7%
    2013 97.7%
     
    Chavismo was supposed to solve things, not make them worse. As reliance on oil exports has INCREASED during Chavismo, your bringing this point up doesn't exactly help your attempt to defend Chavismo.

    Food exports (% of merchandise exports)
    1998 3.9%
    2013 0.04%
     
    Ditto.


    In addition:


    Manufactures exports (% of merchandise exports)
    1998 18.5%
    2013 1.8%
     
    Say no more.

    World Bank: World Development Indicators

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  68. @Verymuchalive
    Be careful whom you quote, (((Monsieur Sheetey.)))
    Balzac was a well known reactionary and snob. When he married his wife, the Polish Countess Hanska, one of the important points of attraction was that his wife had 50,000 serfs!
    The quote, "Behind every great fortune lies a great crime " refers, of course, to Jews and their methods of doing business.

    Be careful whom you quote, (((Monsieur Sheetey.)))

    I trust these will be granted decrees of imprimatur and nihil obstat?: (Yes, yes, I know all about Diogenes…and Macchiavelli) ;)

    Virtue cannot dwell with wealth either in a city or in a house.

    -Diogenes of Sinope, quoted by Stobaeus, iv. 31c. 88

    But if you will take note of the mode of proceedings of men, you will see that all those who come to great riches and great power have obtained them either by fraud or by force; and afterwards, to hide the ugliness of acquisition, they make it decent by applying the false title of earnings to things they have usurped by deceit or by violence.

    -Niccolò Machiavelli, Florentine Histories,trans. Laura F. Brandel and Harvey C. Mansfield (Princeton: Princeton, 1988), III 13, p. 123

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  69. Wally says:
    @Clearpoint
    No doubt. All these systems share one commonality---they are all elitist controlled. Chavez and Castro's greatest crimes were that they bucked the US elite controlled system. Whatever poverty the people of these countries faced was not the result of communism being an inferior system compared to capitalism. It was because of the trade embargoes and government and societal destabilization activities engineered by the US elites in retaliation to what Chavez and Castro did.

    Yawn.

    Proof of all that is where exactly?

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  70. Wally says:
    @Parbes
    Where you employed at, the CATO Institute or something? All this is just a repetition of the same tired old U.S. neoliberal right-wing tropes aimed at the Venezuelan Bolivarian leadership for ages; and you sound like a trained propagandist/info warrior. Venezuela was doing fine in terms of economic development under Chavez (DESPITE all the U.S. efforts in collusion with the local rich comprador elites to sabotage his regime, and an attempted coup) until the 2008 global financial crash, which was caused by U.S. finance capitalists, NOT Chavez. Even after that they managed OK - so much so that, at the time of Chavez' death in 2012, nearly all halfway-objective international economic assessments of Venezuela spoke in generally sanguine terms about his period in power. Under Chavez Venezuela's main socio-economic indicators (health, education, income inequality etc.) showed huge improvements; large masses of the population were lifted out of poverty. But the Venezuelan economy was always brittle, being overreliant on oil exports and having underdeveloped agricultural and industrial sectors - problems that LONG PREDATED the Chavez Bolivarian regime. The Venezuelan economy hit the rocks post-Chavez when, in 2014-2015, the U.S. and Saudi Arabia in collusion deliberately engineered the oil price crash to harm Russia, Iran and Venezuela (which, ironically, helped China, that other great declared "enemy" of the U.S. globo-imperialist elites).

    Also, Chavez' successor, Maduro, has veered to the RIGHT economically, tried to "compromise" with the country's U.S.-collaborating, regime-sabotaging rich comprador bourgeois class, and carried out badly mismanaged monetary policies.

    "...the steady decline of a once vibrant country since Chavez took power...Venezuela’s oil industry infrastructure began decaying immediately after Chavez....Before Chavez, Venezuela produced such agricultural surpluses that all its population had abundant and cheap food... Agricultural surpluses were great enough that food exports were a significant source of foreign income..."

    Barefaced bullshit-bollocks. In 1998 when Chavez took power, Venezuela IMPORTED 70% of its food (the figure was 90% in 1980); 21% of the population were chronically malnourished (MALNOURISHED, not just "undernourished); and huge chunks of the country's people were living in poverty. I guess Venezuela could be said to be "vibrant" (!) for you if you were a member of the small rich coddled comprador elite/landowner class - otherwise, not so much. At the end of the Chavez period, the percentage of Venezuelan food imports was NOT higher than when he assumed power (and considerably lower, depending on whose figures you believe), DESPITE population growth, increased consumption resulting from poverty alleviation, and ceaseless U.S. efforts to sanction, economically undermine and destroy his regime in collusion with the local "anti-Chavist" rich opposition elites.

    All just Marxist fake news, no proof.

    Were you employed by Che or something?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Parbes
    All the proof is available at the fingertips of anyone who is interested in actual truth - which, of course, does not include basement-dwelling retarded neo-Nazi snark artists like you.

    I think the real sad thing is that your biological father neglected to use a condom ***that*** time; as a result of which a tiny part of the planet's oxygen is being wasted on your useless lump.
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  71. @NoseytheDuke
    Always with the incessant questions, you're like a troll with autism. Before you ask any more questions of anyone why not answer the ONE question that you've been avoiding? Jonathan Revusky has asked you repeatedly to cite what specific evidence you think supports the official theory about 9/11? and you keep avoiding the question. You're ducking and weaving, bobbing up and down, like Barney Frank at a Democratic fundraiser, so answer it please. You go on and on about aluminium and water causing the collapse and always more questions of anyone and everyone but never an answer to this one question. Now is as good a time as any...

    You are so sloppy you don’t even notice that I don’t “support the official theory”. I have no theory, but occasionally I can’t resist a few jabs at the absurdities of literate (especially) obsessives, though the JR subjects hardly rate on my list of interests. C’mon, he is a sad joke – and so are you as his acolyte – when he spends all this time on UR (and God knows what other blogs) and can’t show a record of persuasion of, or just advocacy to, people that matter.

    Read More
    • Replies: @NoseytheDuke
    So it is as I said, that you are a troll. An autistic troll.
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  72. @bluedog
    You must live in a gated community if you haven't noticed the soaring rate of violence/crime/drugs in this country where even the deputy up the road tells us to bar and grate every window and stay well armed and that's in a small rural community while, the cities are battleground it seems and its getting worse instead of better, and I'm sure its only the beginning as the country and society continues down the long path to the coming depression....

    I dispute very little of what you say except the presumption that I live in America.

    Read More
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  73. @Mao Cheng Ji
    You missed my comment 35. 'Communism' doesn't mean 'shifting the power to altruistic people'. It means (to me anyway) shifting the paradigm, achieving a model where no one has control over others.

    That would most likely require, however, a dramatic simplification of economic activities, and lowering of what we call 'the standard of living' for many. No smartphones, probably. Simple life.

    Check out The Dispossessed, or something.

    A charming dream. In an alternative life you could be a happy prosperous guru :-)

    Read More
    • Replies: @Mao Cheng Ji

    A charming dream.
     
    Shrug. No more than expecting a bright future of a system based on constant expansion and rewarding/promoting sociopaths. Something's gotta give... Of course a massive nuclear war followed by a new cycle is also an option...
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  74. Gringo says:
    @Parbes
    Where you employed at, the CATO Institute or something? All this is just a repetition of the same tired old U.S. neoliberal right-wing tropes aimed at the Venezuelan Bolivarian leadership for ages; and you sound like a trained propagandist/info warrior. Venezuela was doing fine in terms of economic development under Chavez (DESPITE all the U.S. efforts in collusion with the local rich comprador elites to sabotage his regime, and an attempted coup) until the 2008 global financial crash, which was caused by U.S. finance capitalists, NOT Chavez. Even after that they managed OK - so much so that, at the time of Chavez' death in 2012, nearly all halfway-objective international economic assessments of Venezuela spoke in generally sanguine terms about his period in power. Under Chavez Venezuela's main socio-economic indicators (health, education, income inequality etc.) showed huge improvements; large masses of the population were lifted out of poverty. But the Venezuelan economy was always brittle, being overreliant on oil exports and having underdeveloped agricultural and industrial sectors - problems that LONG PREDATED the Chavez Bolivarian regime. The Venezuelan economy hit the rocks post-Chavez when, in 2014-2015, the U.S. and Saudi Arabia in collusion deliberately engineered the oil price crash to harm Russia, Iran and Venezuela (which, ironically, helped China, that other great declared "enemy" of the U.S. globo-imperialist elites).

    Also, Chavez' successor, Maduro, has veered to the RIGHT economically, tried to "compromise" with the country's U.S.-collaborating, regime-sabotaging rich comprador bourgeois class, and carried out badly mismanaged monetary policies.

    "...the steady decline of a once vibrant country since Chavez took power...Venezuela’s oil industry infrastructure began decaying immediately after Chavez....Before Chavez, Venezuela produced such agricultural surpluses that all its population had abundant and cheap food... Agricultural surpluses were great enough that food exports were a significant source of foreign income..."

    Barefaced bullshit-bollocks. In 1998 when Chavez took power, Venezuela IMPORTED 70% of its food (the figure was 90% in 1980); 21% of the population were chronically malnourished (MALNOURISHED, not just "undernourished); and huge chunks of the country's people were living in poverty. I guess Venezuela could be said to be "vibrant" (!) for you if you were a member of the small rich coddled comprador elite/landowner class - otherwise, not so much. At the end of the Chavez period, the percentage of Venezuelan food imports was NOT higher than when he assumed power (and considerably lower, depending on whose figures you believe), DESPITE population growth, increased consumption resulting from poverty alleviation, and ceaseless U.S. efforts to sanction, economically undermine and destroy his regime in collusion with the local "anti-Chavist" rich opposition elites.

    Under Chavez Venezuela’s main socio-economic indicators (health, education, income inequality etc.) showed huge improvements

    Consider health. Infant mortality and Life Expectancy are the gold standards by which governments are judged on health care performance. In 1998, the year Chávez was elected, Venezuela’s Life Expectancy ranked 9th in Latin America. By 2014, Venezuela’s Life Expectancy ranked 12th in Latin America. In 1998, the year Chávez was elected, Venezuela’s Infant Mortality ranked 6th in Latin America. By 2014,Venezuela’s Infant Mortality ranked 7th in Latin America. Conclusion: the “huge improvements” in Chavista Venezuela’s health care were average to slightly below average compared to the rest of Latin America.

    In 1998, Venezuela ranked 19th in Health expenditure, public (% of GDP) in Latin America. By 2007, Venezuela ranked 15th in Latin America, and in 2013, when the price of oil was around $100/BBL, it ranked 20th, behind Haiti.

    “Huge improvements” in Chavista Venezuela’s health care compared to Latin America? Not when most other countries made greater improvements. Smoke and mirrors. (Source: World Bank link, as in Comment #61)

    Consider education. Freed From Illiteracy? A Closer Look at Venezuela’s Robinson Campaign . The Venezuelan government made the following claim.

    On October 28, 2005, the Venezuelan government announced that the country had been declared “Illiteracy-Free Territory”1, marking the success of the two-year old national literacy campaign Misión Robinson

    The reality of the claim was as follows.

    We evaluate the success of the Venezuelan government’s latest nation-wide literacy program, Misión Robinson, using official Venezuelan government survey data. Controlling for existing trends in literacy rates by age groups over the period 1975 to 2005, we find at most a small positive effect of Robinson on literacy rates, and in many specifications the program impact is statistically indistinguishable from zero. This main result is robust to time series analysis by birth cohort, and to state-level difference-in-differences estimation. The results appear to be inconsistent with recent official claims of the complete eradication of illiteracy in Venezuela, but resonate with existing research on other adult literacy programs, which have usually been expensive failures.

    Also: UNESCO denies Venezuela literacy claim.
    Smoke and mirrors. What a surprise.

    large masses of the population were lifted out of poverty.
    As I pointed out in comment #61, Venezuela’s anemic economic growth from 1998-2013 compared to the rest of the world did not assist people leaving poverty. The biggest assistance in getting out of poverty is a vibrant economy. It is no accident that Peru, which like Venezuela has an economy based on export of commodities, did better than Venezuela in from 1998-2013 in reducing poverty while it also had a much more vibrant economy than Venezuela’s.

    The fall in Venezuela’s poverty rate and “huge improvements” in income inequality were statistical chimera that disappeared when the price of oil fell from 2014 on. Currently, with the price of oil around $45/BBL, Venezuela’s poverty situation and food supply are in much worse condition than they were in 1998, when the price of oil was around $11. What is the current poverty rate? When per capita income falls 29.2% in three years, as pointed out in my comment #65, the effect on the poverty rate is rather devastating- which explains why the Chavista government no longer publishes poverty statistics.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Verymuchalive
    Excellent, Sir.
    Your replies have comprehensively debunked the article. Mr Unz, please withhold Mazaheri's fee and give it to Sr Gringo.
    In fact, Mr Unz, wouldn't you be better employing Sr Gringo rather than a useless hack like Mazaheri.
    , @Parbes
    It seems that they are outfitting you guys with pre-prepared tables and "knowledgeable"-sounding talking points nowadays, before sending you out to these websites...

    What you have here is a collection of cherry-picked figures with no source to back them up; "links" that are actually the main pages of organizations, not links to the "data" that you present; irrelevant trivialities; and apple-to-orange comparisons. NONE of this in any way disproves my statements about Chavez' poverty reduction or socioeconomic improvements. It is all dishonest propaganda meant to obfuscate, confuse and waste time, behind a facade of bogus "facts".

    Which is exactly what a disingenuous propaganda troll would do.
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  75. @Wizard of Oz
    A charming dream. In an alternative life you could be a happy prosperous guru :-)

    A charming dream.

    Shrug. No more than expecting a bright future of a system based on constant expansion and rewarding/promoting sociopaths. Something’s gotta give… Of course a massive nuclear war followed by a new cycle is also an option…

    Read More
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  76. Parbes says:
    @Wally
    All just Marxist fake news, no proof.

    Were you employed by Che or something?

    All the proof is available at the fingertips of anyone who is interested in actual truth – which, of course, does not include basement-dwelling retarded neo-Nazi snark artists like you.

    I think the real sad thing is that your biological father neglected to use a condom ***that*** time; as a result of which a tiny part of the planet’s oxygen is being wasted on your useless lump.

    Read More
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  77. Gringo says:
    @Parbes
    Where you employed at, the CATO Institute or something? All this is just a repetition of the same tired old U.S. neoliberal right-wing tropes aimed at the Venezuelan Bolivarian leadership for ages; and you sound like a trained propagandist/info warrior. Venezuela was doing fine in terms of economic development under Chavez (DESPITE all the U.S. efforts in collusion with the local rich comprador elites to sabotage his regime, and an attempted coup) until the 2008 global financial crash, which was caused by U.S. finance capitalists, NOT Chavez. Even after that they managed OK - so much so that, at the time of Chavez' death in 2012, nearly all halfway-objective international economic assessments of Venezuela spoke in generally sanguine terms about his period in power. Under Chavez Venezuela's main socio-economic indicators (health, education, income inequality etc.) showed huge improvements; large masses of the population were lifted out of poverty. But the Venezuelan economy was always brittle, being overreliant on oil exports and having underdeveloped agricultural and industrial sectors - problems that LONG PREDATED the Chavez Bolivarian regime. The Venezuelan economy hit the rocks post-Chavez when, in 2014-2015, the U.S. and Saudi Arabia in collusion deliberately engineered the oil price crash to harm Russia, Iran and Venezuela (which, ironically, helped China, that other great declared "enemy" of the U.S. globo-imperialist elites).

    Also, Chavez' successor, Maduro, has veered to the RIGHT economically, tried to "compromise" with the country's U.S.-collaborating, regime-sabotaging rich comprador bourgeois class, and carried out badly mismanaged monetary policies.

    "...the steady decline of a once vibrant country since Chavez took power...Venezuela’s oil industry infrastructure began decaying immediately after Chavez....Before Chavez, Venezuela produced such agricultural surpluses that all its population had abundant and cheap food... Agricultural surpluses were great enough that food exports were a significant source of foreign income..."

    Barefaced bullshit-bollocks. In 1998 when Chavez took power, Venezuela IMPORTED 70% of its food (the figure was 90% in 1980); 21% of the population were chronically malnourished (MALNOURISHED, not just "undernourished); and huge chunks of the country's people were living in poverty. I guess Venezuela could be said to be "vibrant" (!) for you if you were a member of the small rich coddled comprador elite/landowner class - otherwise, not so much. At the end of the Chavez period, the percentage of Venezuelan food imports was NOT higher than when he assumed power (and considerably lower, depending on whose figures you believe), DESPITE population growth, increased consumption resulting from poverty alleviation, and ceaseless U.S. efforts to sanction, economically undermine and destroy his regime in collusion with the local "anti-Chavist" rich opposition elites.

    Barefaced bullshit-bollocks. In 1998 when Chavez took power, Venezuela IMPORTED 70% of its food.
    Source? Agreed, however, that whatever the percent of food imports, the petrostate of Venezuela has long imported food.

    At the end of the Chavez period, the percentage of Venezuelan food imports was NOT higher than when he assumed power.
    That isn’t what the FAO says, and as the FAO has gained a reputation in some circles of shilling for Chavismo, I doubt that these statistics are inaccurately biased against Chavismo.

    Item/ Year /Import Percentage of Venezuelan Food Supply
    Bovine Meat 1998 0.7%
    Bovine Meat 2013 29.3%
    Butter 1998 33.3%
    Butter 2013 75.0%
    Coffee and products 1998 1.6%
    Coffee and products 2013 30.3%
    Maize and products 1998 47.6%
    Maize and products 2013 61.9%
    Palm Oil 1998 12.5%
    Palm Oil 2013 88.1%
    Poultry Meat 1998 0.0%
    Poultry Meat 2013 23.4%
    Rice (Milled Equivalent) 1998 0.0%
    Rice (Milled Equivalent) 2013 46.9%
    Sugar (Raw Equivalent) 1998 42.7%
    Sugar (Raw Equivalent) 2013 77.1%

    Conclusion: the percentage of Venezuelan food supply covered by imports increased under Chavismo.

    Where Import Quantity is divided by Domestic supply quantity.
    For example, in 2013, Import Quantity for Coffee and products is 61,000 tonnes, and Domestic supply quantity for Coffee and products is 89,000 tonnes, leading to (61/89)X100 =30.3%

    http://www.fao.org/faostat/en/#home

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    • Replies: @Parbes
    "In 1998 when Chavez took power, Venezuela IMPORTED 70% of its food.
    Source?"

    www.counterpunch.org/2008/02/21/land-and-food-in-venezuela/ (Among many many others)

    The handful of cherry-picked items in your table are not ALL the "food supply" there is - not even close. And anyway, their source is unclear. Your FAO link is to the FAO main page - NOT to this "information" which you put together who knows how (!) And actually even a cursory look at the FAO Venezuela page contradicts your claims about the performance of the Chavez years, showing clearly that during the Chavez period the main socioeconomic indicators improved significantly and agricultural production of most items on the upswing.

    "...as the FAO has gained a reputation in some circles of shilling for Chavismo..."

    Translation: When the stats of a reputable organization don't fit your own propaganda purposes and ideological biases, smear the source as "shills" - but when a few of the same organization's stats can be twisted to suit your propaganda aims, jump on them as "proof" of your position.

    In other words: you still remain a dishonest propagandist troll.
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  78. @Gringo
    Under Chavez Venezuela’s main socio-economic indicators (health, education, income inequality etc.) showed huge improvements

    Consider health. Infant mortality and Life Expectancy are the gold standards by which governments are judged on health care performance. In 1998, the year Chávez was elected, Venezuela's Life Expectancy ranked 9th in Latin America. By 2014, Venezuela's Life Expectancy ranked 12th in Latin America. In 1998, the year Chávez was elected, Venezuela's Infant Mortality ranked 6th in Latin America. By 2014,Venezuela's Infant Mortality ranked 7th in Latin America. Conclusion: the "huge improvements" in Chavista Venezuela's health care were average to slightly below average compared to the rest of Latin America.

    In 1998, Venezuela ranked 19th in Health expenditure, public (% of GDP) in Latin America. By 2007, Venezuela ranked 15th in Latin America, and in 2013, when the price of oil was around $100/BBL, it ranked 20th, behind Haiti.

    "Huge improvements" in Chavista Venezuela's health care compared to Latin America? Not when most other countries made greater improvements. Smoke and mirrors. (Source: World Bank link, as in Comment #61)

    Consider education. Freed From Illiteracy? A Closer Look at Venezuela's Robinson Campaign . The Venezuelan government made the following claim.


    On October 28, 2005, the Venezuelan government announced that the country had been declared “Illiteracy-Free Territory”1, marking the success of the two-year old national literacy campaign Misión Robinson
     
    The reality of the claim was as follows.

    We evaluate the success of the Venezuelan government’s latest nation-wide literacy program, Misión Robinson, using official Venezuelan government survey data. Controlling for existing trends in literacy rates by age groups over the period 1975 to 2005, we find at most a small positive effect of Robinson on literacy rates, and in many specifications the program impact is statistically indistinguishable from zero. This main result is robust to time series analysis by birth cohort, and to state-level difference-in-differences estimation. The results appear to be inconsistent with recent official claims of the complete eradication of illiteracy in Venezuela, but resonate with existing research on other adult literacy programs, which have usually been expensive failures.
     
    Also: UNESCO denies Venezuela literacy claim.
    Smoke and mirrors. What a surprise.


    large masses of the population were lifted out of poverty.
    As I pointed out in comment #61, Venezuela's anemic economic growth from 1998-2013 compared to the rest of the world did not assist people leaving poverty. The biggest assistance in getting out of poverty is a vibrant economy. It is no accident that Peru, which like Venezuela has an economy based on export of commodities, did better than Venezuela in from 1998-2013 in reducing poverty while it also had a much more vibrant economy than Venezuela's.

    The fall in Venezuela's poverty rate and "huge improvements" in income inequality were statistical chimera that disappeared when the price of oil fell from 2014 on. Currently, with the price of oil around $45/BBL, Venezuela's poverty situation and food supply are in much worse condition than they were in 1998, when the price of oil was around $11. What is the current poverty rate? When per capita income falls 29.2% in three years, as pointed out in my comment #65, the effect on the poverty rate is rather devastating- which explains why the Chavista government no longer publishes poverty statistics.

    Excellent, Sir.
    Your replies have comprehensively debunked the article. Mr Unz, please withhold Mazaheri’s fee and give it to Sr Gringo.
    In fact, Mr Unz, wouldn’t you be better employing Sr Gringo rather than a useless hack like Mazaheri.

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    • Replies: @Parbes
    He didn't "debunk" anything; so quit your idiotic backslapping and backrubbing. What he has in his post is a collection of cherry-picked figures with no source to back them up; “links” that are actually the main pages of organizations, not links to the “data” that he purports to present; irrelevant trivialities; and apple-to-orange comparisons. NONE of which disproves my statements, or any statements in the article about the Chavez regime. It is all dishonest propaganda meant to obfuscate, confuse and waste time, behind a facade of bogus “facts”.

    If there is a "useless hack", it is you and the paid 'tank shill "Gringo" (who cannot even use his real name) - not Mazaheri.

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  79. @Logan
    Have seen the "above the law" aspects of corporations in my own line of work, which is related to insurance.

    If I, as an insured, file a claim I know to be inaccurate, I am guilty of insurance fraud and may very well wind up in jail.

    If an insurance company denies a claim it knows, or should have known, is valid, nothing happens to anybody who works there. In particular egregious cases, the company might be fined, but nobody goes to jail.

    IMO the biggest problem with corporations, though it is even worse with governments, is the diffusion of responsibility.

    Take the issue of torture. Bush asked attorneys to define a line between torture and not-torture. Then his administration instructed the interrogators on how to go right up to this line without stepping over it.

    When this all came out, the attorneys all said, "I'm not responsible, I just produced a legal opinion."

    The policymakers said, "We just followed legal advice."

    The interrogators said, "We just implemented policy."

    So nobody at all was responsible for the pain inflicted on those being interrogated.

    Note: This applies whether the lawyers were correct in their opinions as to what does and does not constitute torture in the legal sense, and for that matter whether torture, however defined, should be used.

    ‘Bush asked attorneys to define a line between torture and not-torture’.
    Edward Kennedy asked: Would you call it torture if it was done to you?

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    • Replies: @Logan
    A reasonable comment. One which is, however, irrelevant to determining an objective legal standard.
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  80. J.Ross says: • Website

    This piece is very valuable as an illustration of leftist cognitive dissonance.
    I always admire the confidence of foreigners, who want to talk about what American values are really about, but have never heard of English common law tradition or negative rights.

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  81. Gringo says:
    @Parbes
    Where you employed at, the CATO Institute or something? All this is just a repetition of the same tired old U.S. neoliberal right-wing tropes aimed at the Venezuelan Bolivarian leadership for ages; and you sound like a trained propagandist/info warrior. Venezuela was doing fine in terms of economic development under Chavez (DESPITE all the U.S. efforts in collusion with the local rich comprador elites to sabotage his regime, and an attempted coup) until the 2008 global financial crash, which was caused by U.S. finance capitalists, NOT Chavez. Even after that they managed OK - so much so that, at the time of Chavez' death in 2012, nearly all halfway-objective international economic assessments of Venezuela spoke in generally sanguine terms about his period in power. Under Chavez Venezuela's main socio-economic indicators (health, education, income inequality etc.) showed huge improvements; large masses of the population were lifted out of poverty. But the Venezuelan economy was always brittle, being overreliant on oil exports and having underdeveloped agricultural and industrial sectors - problems that LONG PREDATED the Chavez Bolivarian regime. The Venezuelan economy hit the rocks post-Chavez when, in 2014-2015, the U.S. and Saudi Arabia in collusion deliberately engineered the oil price crash to harm Russia, Iran and Venezuela (which, ironically, helped China, that other great declared "enemy" of the U.S. globo-imperialist elites).

    Also, Chavez' successor, Maduro, has veered to the RIGHT economically, tried to "compromise" with the country's U.S.-collaborating, regime-sabotaging rich comprador bourgeois class, and carried out badly mismanaged monetary policies.

    "...the steady decline of a once vibrant country since Chavez took power...Venezuela’s oil industry infrastructure began decaying immediately after Chavez....Before Chavez, Venezuela produced such agricultural surpluses that all its population had abundant and cheap food... Agricultural surpluses were great enough that food exports were a significant source of foreign income..."

    Barefaced bullshit-bollocks. In 1998 when Chavez took power, Venezuela IMPORTED 70% of its food (the figure was 90% in 1980); 21% of the population were chronically malnourished (MALNOURISHED, not just "undernourished); and huge chunks of the country's people were living in poverty. I guess Venezuela could be said to be "vibrant" (!) for you if you were a member of the small rich coddled comprador elite/landowner class - otherwise, not so much. At the end of the Chavez period, the percentage of Venezuelan food imports was NOT higher than when he assumed power (and considerably lower, depending on whose figures you believe), DESPITE population growth, increased consumption resulting from poverty alleviation, and ceaseless U.S. efforts to sanction, economically undermine and destroy his regime in collusion with the local "anti-Chavist" rich opposition elites.

    But the Venezuelan economy was always brittle, being overreliant on oil exports and having underdeveloped agricultural and industrial sectors – problems that LONG PREDATED the Chavez Bolivarian regime.

    While these problems LONG PREDATED the Chavez regime, these problems were exacerbated during Chavismo.

    Fuel exports (% of merchandise exports)
    1998 71.7%
    2013 97.7%

    Chavismo was supposed to solve things, not make them worse. As reliance on oil exports has INCREASED during Chavismo, your bringing this point up doesn’t exactly help your attempt to defend Chavismo.

    Food exports (% of merchandise exports)
    1998 3.9%
    2013 0.04%

    Ditto.

    In addition:

    Manufactures exports (% of merchandise exports)
    1998 18.5%
    2013 1.8%

    Say no more.

    World Bank: World Development Indicators

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    • Replies: @Parbes
    See my post #99 about your "facts" and "sources" - then "say no more" (!) in this fashion.

    Dishonest propagandist.
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  82. @jacques sheete

    But what’s more important is to remember that so-called “enlightened capitalism” is still a trap being set for you, me and the average person.
     
    Amen.

    However, Orwell was right; in the end there is no effective difference between communism and capitalism from the point of view of either the slaves or the slave-masters.

    Either way, the man-pigs still get fat, while the rest of the( m)animals take it in the shorts, and there is neither a capitalist nor a communist messiah. Sorry. At best it's a transparently false dichotomy.

    “The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.”

    ― George Orwell, Animal Farm
     

    David Rockefeller, to the Bilderberg meeting in Baden, Germany, June, 1991:

    “We are grateful to the Washington Post, the New York Times, Time Magazine and other great publications whose directors have attended our meetings and respected their promises of discretion for almost forty years.

    It would have been impossible for us to develop our plan for the world if we had been subjected to the lights of publicity during those years. But, the world is more sophisticated and prepared to march towards a world government. The supranational sovereignty of an intellectual elite and world bankers is surely preferable to the national autodetermination practiced in past centuries.”

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  83. Gringo says:
    @Jus' Sayin'...
    All one need do to refute this nonsense is to link to news stories about the steady decline of a once vibrant country since Chavez took power. Venezuela's oil industry infrastructure began decaying immediately after Chavez began replacing trained managers and technicians with ignorant and incompetent political allies. Before Chavez, Venezuela produced such agricultural surpluses that all its population had abundant and cheap food including vegetable, dairy and meat products. Agricultural surpluses were great enough that food exports were a significant source of foreign income. Now Venezuelans are slowly starving to death on restricted diets with calorie levels below WHO recommendations.

    Before Chavez, Venezuela produced such agricultural surpluses that all its population had abundant and cheap food including vegetable, dairy and meat products.
    Imports were favored over domestic production. Price controls didn’t help domestic production. FAO stats on calorie consumption show that food consumption increased during Chavismo, at least through 2013. FAO data on calorie consumption after 2013 is suspect. Calorie consumption has gone way down in recent years.

    Agricultural surpluses were great enough that food exports were a significant source of foreign income.
    While Venezuela did import food before 1999, the year that Chavez took office, Venezuela also exported some agricultural products. In 1998, agricultural exports accounted for 3.9% of merchandise exports. In 2013, agricultural exports had fallen to 0.04% of merchandise exports. (see previous comment for source- World Bank)) The FAO has volumetric data on Venezuelan food and agricultural exports.

    [MORE]

    Item/Year/Exports, in Thousand Metric Tons
    Beer 1998 49
    Beer 2013 7
    Cocoa Beans and products 1998 8
    Cocoa Beans and products 2013 3
    Coconuts – Incl Copra 1998 29
    Coconuts – Incl Copra 2013 7
    Coffee and products 1998 14
    Coffee and products 2013 0
    Demersal Fish 1998 10
    Demersal Fish 2013 0
    Fruits, Other 1998 32
    Fruits, Other 2013 2
    Maize and products 1998 98
    Maize and products 2013 0
    Milk – Excluding Butter 1998 35
    Milk – Excluding Butter 2013 0
    Oilcrops, Other 1998 111
    Oilcrops, Other 2013 0
    Oranges, Mandarines 1998 18
    Oranges, Mandarines 2013 0
    Pelagic Fish 1998 31
    Pelagic Fish 2013 5
    Rice (Milled Equivalent) 1998 76
    Rice (Milled Equivalent) 2013 0
    Sorghum and products 1998 26
    Sorghum and products 2013 0
    Sugar (Raw Equivalent) 1998 15
    Sugar (Raw Equivalent) 2013 0
    Wheat and products 1998 41
    Wheat and products 2013 0

    One consequence of Chavismo was the collapse of agricultural exports. BTW, Venezuelan coffee and cocoa were considered to be of excellent quality.

    http://www.fao.org/faostat/en/#home

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  84. @Wizard of Oz
    You are so sloppy you don't even notice that I don't "support the official theory". I have no theory, but occasionally I can't resist a few jabs at the absurdities of literate (especially) obsessives, though the JR subjects hardly rate on my list of interests. C'mon, he is a sad joke - and so are you as his acolyte - when he spends all this time on UR (and God knows what other blogs) and can't show a record of persuasion of, or just advocacy to, people that matter.

    So it is as I said, that you are a troll. An autistic troll.

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    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
    I don't think I should bother to inquire whether you have any qualification to assess autism other than in dome personal Humpty Dumpty sense peculiar to you but can I think finish this with the clever words of the cleverest person I have ever been close to, let alone met on a Comment thread: "All right, you have the last word as usual".
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  85. @NoseytheDuke
    So it is as I said, that you are a troll. An autistic troll.

    I don’t think I should bother to inquire whether you have any qualification to assess autism other than in dome personal Humpty Dumpty sense peculiar to you but can I think finish this with the clever words of the cleverest person I have ever been close to, let alone met on a Comment thread: “All right, you have the last word as usual”.

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    • Replies: @NoseytheDuke
    And with that the Wiz waltzes away, still not having answered that one simple question asked of him repeatedly and he's off free to pepper the commenters on this site with his idiotic questions and misspelled blather. Another rinse and repeat cycle for a HIQI troll.

    His "theory" that the mixture of hot aluminium and water caused the collapses of the twin towers doesn't explain why NIST, the 911 "investigators" and lying, traitorous media didn't seize upon this "gift" of a logical explanation. Perhaps they wisely concluded that even the average American (not Unz reader) couldn't be anywhere close to being as stupid as the Wiz.

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  86. What Chavez represents is resistance to neoliberalism and repression. A clear signal to the greedy elites in Latin America (and everywhere) that when they push too far there’s a breakpoint.

    And in this respect, whatever positive socioeconomic trends have taken place in the region, it should be credited to the Bolivarian Revolution… Viva Chavez. Viva Venezuela.

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  87. Socialism and Capitalism are just ideas. Ideals if you prefer. Real national economies are a mix of public financing for public needs and private financing for private needs. Depending on how you do the mixing the economy will lean one way or the other. The dominant aspect of national economies is graft and corruption. And especially in South and Central America one must take into account interference from the absolutely corrupt Imperial Washington.

    The people who blame Chavez and Socialism for the troubles in Venezuela apparently believe that before Chavez everything there was fine and dandy and that since Chavez Socialism has been the only force active in the country. They like to crow about the failure of a Socialist Paradise. Supposedly before the revolution Venezuela was a Capitalist Paradise.

    If you are a social Darwinist. If every man for himself is your credo. If you are awake at nite worrying that somewhere someone is getting something they don’t deserve. You might be a Capitalist in the same sense that one might be a Baptist or a Buddhist.

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    • Replies: @Gringo
    The people who blame Chavez and Socialism for the troubles in Venezuela apparently believe that before Chavez everything there was fine and dandy.

    You are setting up a strawman. Those who know Venezuela never made any such claim. Around the time of the 2004 Recall Referendum, I worked in a small company that employed some Venezuelans. In discussing Chávez's being elected in 1998, I pointed out that corruption had been rampant in Venezuela. My Venezuelan co-workers replied that under Chávez's government, corruption was worse. Subsequent years- Diosdado & Derwick brothers etc.- have proven that reply to be correct.

    I later found out that one of Chávez's campaign points in 1998 had been to put an end to corruption. :)


    The people who blame Chavez and Socialism for the troubles in Venezuela apparently believe ....that since Chavez Socialism has been the only force active in the country.

    Just wondering: when you write "since Chavez," do you mean since Chávez was elected in 1998, or since Chávez died in 2013?
    Chavismo has been running the country for 18 years. Pitiyanquis are not responsible for such fiascos as gasoline that costs 5 cents US a gallon (or whatever it costs depending on what exchange rate you use), or lack of investment in electricity generating facilities which has led to electricity shortages. Those are Chavista policies. Chavismo is thus responsible.

    Consider the tripling - or more- of the murder rates in the 18 years of Chavismo. This occurred under Chavismo's watch. Chavismo is responsible.

    No fui yo. (Very common phrase of Hugo Chávez.) Decime otro de vaqueros. Tr. It wasn't me! Tell me another cowboy story/fish tale.

    They like to crow about the failure of a Socialist Paradise.
    Before Chávez assumed office in 1999, Venezuela already had a number of government-owned business producing oil, steel, aluminum and more, so he took office in a country that was already at least part Socialist. Be that as it may, Chavismo has run Venezuela into the ground while nationalizing businesses left and right, and shouting to the heavens about the virtues of Socialism. When a government that nationalizes left and right and proclaims the virtues of socialism while simultaneously running the country into the ground, it should come as no surprise that opponents of the GOV will "crow about the failure of a Socialist Paradise."


    Supposedly before the revolution Venezuela was a Capitalist Paradise.
    Once more, you are setting up a strawman. Those who know Venezuela never made any such claim. For one point- under the Fourth Republic- you DO know that the Fourth Republic refers to don't you- the Venezuelan government produced oil, steel, and aluminum- and more.
    For another point: whatever problems Venezuela had in 1998, 18 years of Chavismo have exacerbated those problems. Venezuela with a current oil price around $45/BBL is much worse off than Venezuela was in 1998, when Venezuelan oil sold for around $11/BBL.

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  88. Capitalism and communism are both bad systems.

    They both are 19th century skeletons.

    We desperately need an alternative system.

    How about factories, stores, etc. owned and run by by the emploees who work there.

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    • Replies: @daniel le mouche
    'Capitalism and communism are both bad systems. They both are 19th century skeletons. We desperately need an alternative system.How about factories, stores, etc. owned and run by by the emploees who work there.'

    that is a super idea! but isn't that called communism/socialism?
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  89. @LAGO
    ??? Comunism is the Best and working beutifully in Venezuela, and Chavez nationalizing the oil somehow affected Rockefeller because he own it 50 years earlier.... ok...
    Comunism is the worst, is a failed and stupid theorie clearly debunked both in theory and in practice, it never works, is kills the sociaty that contracts it, is just a slow death... is so bad that not even the Germans were able to make it work...
    Venezuela is a failed state, there is extreme violence in the streets and the goverment is blaming backeries because there is not even bread to eat...
    I dont even care for this Rockefeller guy but the reasoning of this guy is stupid.
    Marx ideas have been a recepy for goverment control and underdevelopment in latinamerica and laslty i would like to say to this writer..

    ANDATE A LA PUTA MADRE QUE TE PARIO

    oh caca, it looks like another miami cuban or venezuelan.
    ‘not even the germans could make it work’. what, with fascism? or is it socialism because they called it national socialism?
    as so many truly thoughtful people believe, socialism/communism was most definitely not debunked–the stalinist murderous corruption had absolutely nothing to do with the spirit of true socialists, sartre for example.
    another crybaby from the exploiting class filled with hate for the struggling masses–burn in hell, porco!

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  90. Refuting communism to a communist is akin to attempting logic with the retarded.

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  91. @bjondo
    Chavez was a great leader who served his countrymen better than any, any American president.

    Iranians are treated by their govt better than the 95% in fascist America.

    Iranian minds are less propagandized, freer. They dont wake up and go to sleep and exist every minute in between with bullshit. Minds turned to mush.

    Venezuela is suffering now due to some 15 years of American black ops and S. Arabia's war-waging (SA a tool of USA and Israel) against Iran, Russia, and Venezuela by flooding the oil market to crash prices.

    America uses the Gulf countries. Israel uses America.

    ‘iranian minds are less propagandized, freer. they don’t wake up and go to sleep … with bullshit. minds turned to mush.’
    from the little i’ve heard of iran, this is true. the people there are far from stupid, unlike today’s average american, whose brain is ‘mushed’ by being both worked to death and tv’d/kultured to death–yeah, g! mutha f%&ka. it’s all tv and pop references, and an inconceivably stupid vernacular, coupled (like certainly the english speaking countries and many more) with guardian/bbc-style brainwashing. true mush.

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  92. @Jus' Sayin'...
    All one need do to refute this nonsense is to link to news stories about the steady decline of a once vibrant country since Chavez took power. Venezuela's oil industry infrastructure began decaying immediately after Chavez began replacing trained managers and technicians with ignorant and incompetent political allies. Before Chavez, Venezuela produced such agricultural surpluses that all its population had abundant and cheap food including vegetable, dairy and meat products. Agricultural surpluses were great enough that food exports were a significant source of foreign income. Now Venezuelans are slowly starving to death on restricted diets with calorie levels below WHO recommendations.

    ‘All one need do to refute this nonsense is to link to news stories about the steady decline of a once vibrant country since Chavez took power. ‘
    sure. that’s why all of latin america was worked into a passion for ‘bolivarian revolution’. why not try to see what’s actually going on? you actually believe the 100% garbage propaganda shoveled down your throat 24/7? why not turn off the tv, forever, and try to learn the truth? the man was hugely popular, and made giant improvements–and he was just beginning before the cia offed him.
    also, the usa/britain will never rest till they’ve got their old corporate fascist state back. they’ve got every sort of black op operating at full tilt as we speak, propaganda great and small, intimidating air force flyovers into venezuelan sovereign airspace (from one of their 8 new mega bases in colombia), the ever ongoing coup planning….

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  93. Gringo says:
    @WorkingClass
    Socialism and Capitalism are just ideas. Ideals if you prefer. Real national economies are a mix of public financing for public needs and private financing for private needs. Depending on how you do the mixing the economy will lean one way or the other. The dominant aspect of national economies is graft and corruption. And especially in South and Central America one must take into account interference from the absolutely corrupt Imperial Washington.

    The people who blame Chavez and Socialism for the troubles in Venezuela apparently believe that before Chavez everything there was fine and dandy and that since Chavez Socialism has been the only force active in the country. They like to crow about the failure of a Socialist Paradise. Supposedly before the revolution Venezuela was a Capitalist Paradise.

    If you are a social Darwinist. If every man for himself is your credo. If you are awake at nite worrying that somewhere someone is getting something they don't deserve. You might be a Capitalist in the same sense that one might be a Baptist or a Buddhist.

    The people who blame Chavez and Socialism for the troubles in Venezuela apparently believe that before Chavez everything there was fine and dandy.

    You are setting up a strawman. Those who know Venezuela never made any such claim. Around the time of the 2004 Recall Referendum, I worked in a small company that employed some Venezuelans. In discussing Chávez’s being elected in 1998, I pointed out that corruption had been rampant in Venezuela. My Venezuelan co-workers replied that under Chávez’s government, corruption was worse. Subsequent years- Diosdado & Derwick brothers etc.- have proven that reply to be correct.

    I later found out that one of Chávez’s campaign points in 1998 had been to put an end to corruption. :)

    The people who blame Chavez and Socialism for the troubles in Venezuela apparently believe ….that since Chavez Socialism has been the only force active in the country.

    Just wondering: when you write “since Chavez,” do you mean since Chávez was elected in 1998, or since Chávez died in 2013?
    Chavismo has been running the country for 18 years. Pitiyanquis are not responsible for such fiascos as gasoline that costs 5 cents US a gallon (or whatever it costs depending on what exchange rate you use), or lack of investment in electricity generating facilities which has led to electricity shortages. Those are Chavista policies. Chavismo is thus responsible.

    Consider the tripling – or more- of the murder rates in the 18 years of Chavismo. This occurred under Chavismo’s watch. Chavismo is responsible.

    No fui yo. (Very common phrase of Hugo Chávez.) Decime otro de vaqueros. Tr. It wasn’t me! Tell me another cowboy story/fish tale.

    They like to crow about the failure of a Socialist Paradise.
    Before Chávez assumed office in 1999, Venezuela already had a number of government-owned business producing oil, steel, aluminum and more, so he took office in a country that was already at least part Socialist. Be that as it may, Chavismo has run Venezuela into the ground while nationalizing businesses left and right, and shouting to the heavens about the virtues of Socialism. When a government that nationalizes left and right and proclaims the virtues of socialism while simultaneously running the country into the ground, it should come as no surprise that opponents of the GOV will “crow about the failure of a Socialist Paradise.”

    Supposedly before the revolution Venezuela was a Capitalist Paradise.
    Once more, you are setting up a strawman. Those who know Venezuela never made any such claim. For one point- under the Fourth Republic- you DO know that the Fourth Republic refers to don’t you- the Venezuelan government produced oil, steel, and aluminum- and more.
    For another point: whatever problems Venezuela had in 1998, 18 years of Chavismo have exacerbated those problems. Venezuela with a current oil price around $45/BBL is much worse off than Venezuela was in 1998, when Venezuelan oil sold for around $11/BBL.

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  94. @Tulip
    Great critical essay. "Socially conscious capitalism" is BS to make upper middle class goodwhites feel good about their amoral and rapacious global political and economic system.

    However, what is this "communism" he speaks of? Chavez did a nice job (while oil prices were high) of transferring profits to his people, but he did a terrible job of reinvesting capital into oil infrastructure. Now oil prices have dropped and the oil infrastructure is terrible, and you can't get toilet paper. Sounds like killing the goose to me.

    When communists historical have taken their "great leaps forward", investing national wealth into infrastructure spending, the results, whether in China or Ukraine have been much more horrific than anything a fat smelly capitalist businessman has ever accomplished.

    Further, where does identity figure into all this? Is the point of the State really only to rob Peter to pay Paul?

    a decent comment. but never underestimate the west’s meddling in these countries. our rulers without the slightest doubt want famine, disease, chaos, mahem in commie countries from cuba to north korea. what about the accomplishments of cuba? i once saw a documentary on the old yugoslavia where a guy was interviewed who said clinton bombed it because it was the only communist (or ‘mixed economy’) that actually worked–the vast majority, according to him, were happy and prosperous. who knows of this? who studies it? who can imagine it?
    i somewhat disagree with your statement that no ‘fat smelly capitalist businessman’ has accomplished anything on the scale of the big ‘communist’ states. if you’re a more paranoid type like me, you’ll fear the worst sort of hellish world state just, and we’re just at the beginning stages of it. we’ve already got the drones (human variety), the robotic, unreal existence (all tv, movies, the lives of others–most not even real people of course–through whom we are supposed to and do live vicariously). microchips seem to be coming soon. what of the kinds of things the cia is up to, the psyops? these of course were practised by ‘communist’ countries too, true. (here one can defer back to an earlier comment on communists and capitalists being virtually the same.) but it is true hell in store for our species, it seems. many would say it’s true hell now. i agree, but think it’s going to get far worse.

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  95. @Inertiller
    Venezuela is under attack basically. Unfettered exploitation by the American oil companies is one of the prizes up for grabs here. One of Obama’s last acts as president was the early renewal of an executive order declaring a national emergency due to the “unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States” posed by Venezuela. The Senate just passed a resolution calling on Trump to expedite regime change. The US wants the prizes, they don't give a shit that people are lining up for toilet paper. International capital and the native Venezuelan capitalists along with the usual CIA assests, NED/OAS front group(s), et al are what is destroying the country. No one leads the US in delivering pain and suffering, not even Maduro's brutal put downs of social protests. Not a day goes by where the Washington Post et al are calling for regime change. What infuriates the US now more than ever is Venezuela is stepping up trade with China. ExxonMobil wants in. The term free market has little meaning here unless the context is in pirates fighting over treasure.

    thank you very much, that’s exactly right. the main reason, i suspect, that maduro puts down ‘social protests’ is because they’re totally bogus, just more regime change weapons of the enemy (the u.s.).

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  96. @Wizard of Oz
    And have you invented a way to shift power to clever, shrewd, highminded and supremely sltruistic people to the exclusion of sanctimonious, greedy, time serving, sycophantic mediocrities?

    ‘And have you invented a way to shift power to clever, shrewd, highminded and supremely sltruistic people to the exclusion of sanctimonious, greedy, time serving, sycophantic mediocrities?’
    who’s that supposed to be, chavez? i can’t decide whether you’re just a liar, or an idiot.

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  97. @Thales the Milesian
    Capitalism and communism are both bad systems.

    They both are 19th century skeletons.

    We desperately need an alternative system.

    How about factories, stores, etc. owned and run by by the emploees who work there.

    ‘Capitalism and communism are both bad systems. They both are 19th century skeletons. We desperately need an alternative system.How about factories, stores, etc. owned and run by by the emploees who work there.’

    that is a super idea! but isn’t that called communism/socialism?

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  98. @Wizard of Oz
    I don't think I should bother to inquire whether you have any qualification to assess autism other than in dome personal Humpty Dumpty sense peculiar to you but can I think finish this with the clever words of the cleverest person I have ever been close to, let alone met on a Comment thread: "All right, you have the last word as usual".

    And with that the Wiz waltzes away, still not having answered that one simple question asked of him repeatedly and he’s off free to pepper the commenters on this site with his idiotic questions and misspelled blather. Another rinse and repeat cycle for a HIQI troll.

    His “theory” that the mixture of hot aluminium and water caused the collapses of the twin towers doesn’t explain why NIST, the 911 “investigators” and lying, traitorous media didn’t seize upon this “gift” of a logical explanation. Perhaps they wisely concluded that even the average American (not Unz reader) couldn’t be anywhere close to being as stupid as the Wiz.

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    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
    For anyone interested still in the childish obsession with theories about 9/11 that none of the obsessives have managed to persuade anyone who matters (not including anyone on UR except perhaps Ron Unz) to accept, or even to make a serious effort st such persuasion, I invite attention to the date of the aluminium and water theory being put forward. Was it not well after official bodies had given up bothering with theories which, even if some were credible, had been so discredited by the cranks, some of whom even denied that passenger (or any!) planes hit the Twin Towers? Maybe someone has watched the video and folloeed up with some reading. I doubt if NtD ever knew what problems the theory wss supposed to solve, and I no longer remember that so it would be good to hear from anyone who knows. .

    BTW the simplest question is why the obsessives go on filling up blogs like UR but fail to prove their cases to people who could do something about importsnt concealed truths.
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  99. Parbes says:
    @Gringo
    Under Chavez Venezuela’s main socio-economic indicators (health, education, income inequality etc.) showed huge improvements

    Consider health. Infant mortality and Life Expectancy are the gold standards by which governments are judged on health care performance. In 1998, the year Chávez was elected, Venezuela's Life Expectancy ranked 9th in Latin America. By 2014, Venezuela's Life Expectancy ranked 12th in Latin America. In 1998, the year Chávez was elected, Venezuela's Infant Mortality ranked 6th in Latin America. By 2014,Venezuela's Infant Mortality ranked 7th in Latin America. Conclusion: the "huge improvements" in Chavista Venezuela's health care were average to slightly below average compared to the rest of Latin America.

    In 1998, Venezuela ranked 19th in Health expenditure, public (% of GDP) in Latin America. By 2007, Venezuela ranked 15th in Latin America, and in 2013, when the price of oil was around $100/BBL, it ranked 20th, behind Haiti.

    "Huge improvements" in Chavista Venezuela's health care compared to Latin America? Not when most other countries made greater improvements. Smoke and mirrors. (Source: World Bank link, as in Comment #61)

    Consider education. Freed From Illiteracy? A Closer Look at Venezuela's Robinson Campaign . The Venezuelan government made the following claim.


    On October 28, 2005, the Venezuelan government announced that the country had been declared “Illiteracy-Free Territory”1, marking the success of the two-year old national literacy campaign Misión Robinson
     
    The reality of the claim was as follows.

    We evaluate the success of the Venezuelan government’s latest nation-wide literacy program, Misión Robinson, using official Venezuelan government survey data. Controlling for existing trends in literacy rates by age groups over the period 1975 to 2005, we find at most a small positive effect of Robinson on literacy rates, and in many specifications the program impact is statistically indistinguishable from zero. This main result is robust to time series analysis by birth cohort, and to state-level difference-in-differences estimation. The results appear to be inconsistent with recent official claims of the complete eradication of illiteracy in Venezuela, but resonate with existing research on other adult literacy programs, which have usually been expensive failures.
     
    Also: UNESCO denies Venezuela literacy claim.
    Smoke and mirrors. What a surprise.


    large masses of the population were lifted out of poverty.
    As I pointed out in comment #61, Venezuela's anemic economic growth from 1998-2013 compared to the rest of the world did not assist people leaving poverty. The biggest assistance in getting out of poverty is a vibrant economy. It is no accident that Peru, which like Venezuela has an economy based on export of commodities, did better than Venezuela in from 1998-2013 in reducing poverty while it also had a much more vibrant economy than Venezuela's.

    The fall in Venezuela's poverty rate and "huge improvements" in income inequality were statistical chimera that disappeared when the price of oil fell from 2014 on. Currently, with the price of oil around $45/BBL, Venezuela's poverty situation and food supply are in much worse condition than they were in 1998, when the price of oil was around $11. What is the current poverty rate? When per capita income falls 29.2% in three years, as pointed out in my comment #65, the effect on the poverty rate is rather devastating- which explains why the Chavista government no longer publishes poverty statistics.

    It seems that they are outfitting you guys with pre-prepared tables and “knowledgeable”-sounding talking points nowadays, before sending you out to these websites…

    What you have here is a collection of cherry-picked figures with no source to back them up; “links” that are actually the main pages of organizations, not links to the “data” that you present; irrelevant trivialities; and apple-to-orange comparisons. NONE of this in any way disproves my statements about Chavez’ poverty reduction or socioeconomic improvements. It is all dishonest propaganda meant to obfuscate, confuse and waste time, behind a facade of bogus “facts”.

    Which is exactly what a disingenuous propaganda troll would do.

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    • Replies: @Gringo
    Reply to my comment #74
    What you have here is a collection of cherry-picked figures with no source to back them up;

    I didn't put links for every statement because my experience is that too many links result in a comment going to the spam folder. For that reason, I referenced comments that already had links in them, such as:

    (Source: World Bank link, as in Comment #61).
     
    All of my previous statements in comment 74 about Life Expectancy, Infant Mortality, and Health expenditure, public (% of GDP) can be referenced at World Bank Development Indicators.
    You apparently use "cherry-picked" to indicate data you do not like. For example, I am quite correct to point out that "Infant mortality and Life Expectancy are the gold standards by which governments are judged on health care performance." Unfortunately for Chavismo, these gold standards point out that the so-called great accomplishments of Chavismo in health are more alleged than actual. Smoke and mirrors.
    I provided links for my statements about alleged great Chavista accomplishments in literacy. I deliberately included more than one source.

    I again referred to a previous comment for a link, to avoid the risk of the spam folder:

    As I pointed out in comment #61.
     
    Links to ECLA: Extreme poverty and poverty by geographical area and to World Bank World Development Indicators Databank (World Bank)

    Once again I referenced link in a comment:

    as pointed out in my comment #65.
     
    There was a link back to a Caracas Chronicles article, which provided further links. BTW, I once went back to the links that CC provided, compared the info the links gave with World Bank info which was up through only 2015. and got a good fit.

    “links” that are actually the main pages of organizations, not links to the “data” that you present;
    From the ECLA link, I typed in "poverty." after which I accessed the spreadsheet titled"Extreme poverty and poverty by geographical area."
    For World Bank Development Indicators, I went to the link and got the data by downloading the Excel/CSV zip file. I then added it to a database. If that is not the way you do things, I would suggest the following links.

    http://databank.worldbank.org/data/faq/html/databank-faq.html

    http://data.worldbank.org/?locations=VE-ZJ download for Latin America and Venezuela

    irrelevant trivialities; and apple-to-orange comparisons
    What would they be?

    NONE of this in any way disproves my statements about Chavez’ poverty reduction or socioeconomic improvements.
    Socioeconomic improvements like the tripling -or more-of the murder rate? I doubt that the money that Diosdado and other have appropriated for themselves is reflected in the official GINI/Inequality rates. All those Boli-millionaires like Diosdado would increase the GINI, were the money reported.

    You may shout all you want about the 2013 poverty figure, but the poverty figure from 2013 in no way describes current-day Venezuela- which is why the Chavista government has been extremely reticent about publishing poverty figures after 2013. Even before the fall of the price of oil in 2014, poverty reduction in Chavista Venezuela didn't compare well to poverty reduction in Peru. I have provided documentation from ECLA.

    As any adult Venezuelan can tell you, the price of oil goes up and goes down. In 1973 it went from $3 to above $10, to nearly $40 in '81, down to $10 in '86, back up to $20-25, then to $11/BBL in 1998, when Chávez was elected, went up near $100 and down in 2008, went back up to around $100, where it was when he died. Chávez made the assumption that the price of oil would never go down again, which was a rather rash assumption given the above price history. The Chávez legacy is to be judged not only how Venezuela performed during high oil prices, but also during low oil prices- just as the Venezuelan populace judged AD and COPEI during low oil prices. What we see today is the legacy of Chávez.


    The data is there. Either you lack the competence to access it or you refuse to access it.



    It is all dishonest propaganda meant to obfuscate, confuse and waste time, behind a facade of bogus “facts”.
    I wish that you could live in Chavista Venezuela so that your ardor could connect with reality. Clifton Ross has written a good book about his collision with reality: Home from the Dark Side of Utopia: A Journey through American Revolutions.
    :)

    Ciao.
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  100. Parbes says:
    @Gringo
    Barefaced bullshit-bollocks. In 1998 when Chavez took power, Venezuela IMPORTED 70% of its food.
    Source? Agreed, however, that whatever the percent of food imports, the petrostate of Venezuela has long imported food.


    At the end of the Chavez period, the percentage of Venezuelan food imports was NOT higher than when he assumed power.
    That isn't what the FAO says, and as the FAO has gained a reputation in some circles of shilling for Chavismo, I doubt that these statistics are inaccurately biased against Chavismo.

    Item/ Year /Import Percentage of Venezuelan Food Supply
    Bovine Meat 1998 0.7%
    Bovine Meat 2013 29.3%
    Butter 1998 33.3%
    Butter 2013 75.0%
    Coffee and products 1998 1.6%
    Coffee and products 2013 30.3%
    Maize and products 1998 47.6%
    Maize and products 2013 61.9%
    Palm Oil 1998 12.5%
    Palm Oil 2013 88.1%
    Poultry Meat 1998 0.0%
    Poultry Meat 2013 23.4%
    Rice (Milled Equivalent) 1998 0.0%
    Rice (Milled Equivalent) 2013 46.9%
    Sugar (Raw Equivalent) 1998 42.7%
    Sugar (Raw Equivalent) 2013 77.1%
     
    Conclusion: the percentage of Venezuelan food supply covered by imports increased under Chavismo.

    Where Import Quantity is divided by Domestic supply quantity.
    For example, in 2013, Import Quantity for Coffee and products is 61,000 tonnes, and Domestic supply quantity for Coffee and products is 89,000 tonnes, leading to (61/89)X100 =30.3%



    http://www.fao.org/faostat/en/#home

    “In 1998 when Chavez took power, Venezuela IMPORTED 70% of its food.
    Source?”

    http://www.counterpunch.org/2008/02/21/land-and-food-in-venezuela/ (Among many many others)

    The handful of cherry-picked items in your table are not ALL the “food supply” there is – not even close. And anyway, their source is unclear. Your FAO link is to the FAO main page – NOT to this “information” which you put together who knows how (!) And actually even a cursory look at the FAO Venezuela page contradicts your claims about the performance of the Chavez years, showing clearly that during the Chavez period the main socioeconomic indicators improved significantly and agricultural production of most items on the upswing.

    “…as the FAO has gained a reputation in some circles of shilling for Chavismo…”

    Translation: When the stats of a reputable organization don’t fit your own propaganda purposes and ideological biases, smear the source as “shills” – but when a few of the same organization’s stats can be twisted to suit your propaganda aims, jump on them as “proof” of your position.

    In other words: you still remain a dishonest propagandist troll.

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  101. Parbes says:
    @Verymuchalive
    Excellent, Sir.
    Your replies have comprehensively debunked the article. Mr Unz, please withhold Mazaheri's fee and give it to Sr Gringo.
    In fact, Mr Unz, wouldn't you be better employing Sr Gringo rather than a useless hack like Mazaheri.

    He didn’t “debunk” anything; so quit your idiotic backslapping and backrubbing. What he has in his post is a collection of cherry-picked figures with no source to back them up; “links” that are actually the main pages of organizations, not links to the “data” that he purports to present; irrelevant trivialities; and apple-to-orange comparisons. NONE of which disproves my statements, or any statements in the article about the Chavez regime. It is all dishonest propaganda meant to obfuscate, confuse and waste time, behind a facade of bogus “facts”.

    If there is a “useless hack”, it is you and the paid ‘tank shill “Gringo” (who cannot even use his real name) – not Mazaheri.

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    • Replies: @Verymuchalive
    You don't use your real name, so you're in no moral position to call out Gringo for not using his.
    Also, you don't use sources to back up your claims or use sources that cite evidence to back the claims.
    By contrast, Gringo uses credible, reliable sources to back his claims.
    You're just an ignorant, left wing bigot. Learnt nothing, forgot nothing. Stew in your own ignorance.
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  102. Parbes says:
    @Gringo
    But the Venezuelan economy was always brittle, being overreliant on oil exports and having underdeveloped agricultural and industrial sectors – problems that LONG PREDATED the Chavez Bolivarian regime.


    While these problems LONG PREDATED the Chavez regime, these problems were exacerbated during Chavismo.


    Fuel exports (% of merchandise exports)
    1998 71.7%
    2013 97.7%
     
    Chavismo was supposed to solve things, not make them worse. As reliance on oil exports has INCREASED during Chavismo, your bringing this point up doesn't exactly help your attempt to defend Chavismo.

    Food exports (% of merchandise exports)
    1998 3.9%
    2013 0.04%
     
    Ditto.


    In addition:


    Manufactures exports (% of merchandise exports)
    1998 18.5%
    2013 1.8%
     
    Say no more.

    World Bank: World Development Indicators

    See my post #99 about your “facts” and “sources” – then “say no more” (!) in this fashion.

    Dishonest propagandist.

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  103. @NoseytheDuke
    And with that the Wiz waltzes away, still not having answered that one simple question asked of him repeatedly and he's off free to pepper the commenters on this site with his idiotic questions and misspelled blather. Another rinse and repeat cycle for a HIQI troll.

    His "theory" that the mixture of hot aluminium and water caused the collapses of the twin towers doesn't explain why NIST, the 911 "investigators" and lying, traitorous media didn't seize upon this "gift" of a logical explanation. Perhaps they wisely concluded that even the average American (not Unz reader) couldn't be anywhere close to being as stupid as the Wiz.

    For anyone interested still in the childish obsession with theories about 9/11 that none of the obsessives have managed to persuade anyone who matters (not including anyone on UR except perhaps Ron Unz) to accept, or even to make a serious effort st such persuasion, I invite attention to the date of the aluminium and water theory being put forward. Was it not well after official bodies had given up bothering with theories which, even if some were credible, had been so discredited by the cranks, some of whom even denied that passenger (or any!) planes hit the Twin Towers? Maybe someone has watched the video and folloeed up with some reading. I doubt if NtD ever knew what problems the theory wss supposed to solve, and I no longer remember that so it would be good to hear from anyone who knows. .

    BTW the simplest question is why the obsessives go on filling up blogs like UR but fail to prove their cases to people who could do something about importsnt concealed truths.

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  104. Gringo says:

    Your FAO link is to the FAO main page – NOT to this “information” which you put together who knows how (!)
    I assumed you had some familiarity with FAO data. I didn’t realize you needed to be led by the hand. Go to FAO Stat Food Balance Sheets.

    http://www.fao.org/faostat/en/#data/FBS

    There are four fields to choose from:

    Countries
    Elements: Import Quantity & Domestic Supply Quantity.If you like, you can also choose Production Quantity
    Items For example, Rice (Milled Equivalent)
    Years 1998 or 2013

    For 2013 figures for milled Rice:

    Production 583
    Import Quantity 478
    Stock Variation -42
    Export Quantity 0
    Domestic supply quantity 1019

    For 1998 figures for Milled Rice:

    Production 468
    Import Quantity 0
    Stock Variation 7
    Export Quantity 76
    Domestic supply quantity 399

    Do the math. Recall your previous claim:

    At the end of the Chavez period, the percentage of Venezuelan food imports was NOT higher than when he assumed power (and considerably lower, depending on whose figures you believe),

    Are you going to inform me that is so for rice, bovine meat, butter, coffee and coffee products, maize and products, palm oil, poultry meat, and Sugar (Raw Equivalent)? There are over 90 different food categories listed. There are approximately 34 products which were not imported in 2013, such as citrus fruits or bananas.

    The figures are there. If you lack the competence to extract data from online databases and perform calculations such as import dependence, which I calculated as [Import Quantity]/[Domestic supply quantity] - I performed that calculation myself- that is not my problem.

    “In 1998 when Chavez took power, Venezuela IMPORTED 70% of its food.
    Source?”

    You provided a link to a Counterpunch article, which has no link whatsoever regarding from where or how it came up with that figure, yet you complain when I provide a link but you lack the competence to pursue it without more hand-holding. I have provided you with much more documentation than that Counterpunch article.

    The handful of cherry-picked items in your table are not ALL the “food supply” there is – not even close.
    There are over 90 items listed in the FAO Food Balance table. I came up with 9604 thousand metric tons of food imports for 2013. I came up with 28 items which had a higher proportion of imports in 2013 compared to 1998, as calculated by [Import Quantity]/[Domestic supply quantity] , which accounted for 8517 thousand metric tons of food imports for 2013. By gross tonnage, I am correct, as approximately 89% of imports by tonnage figure in the higher percentage of imports.

    Also bear in mind that the 28 items include higher value items such as beef and poultry meat.
    Or, you can look at it in terms of total food supply. In 2013, Venezuela had a total domestic food supply of 32,287 thousand metric tons. The 28 food items which had a higher proportion of imports in 2013 compared to 1998 accounted for 23,789 thousand metric tons of the domestic food supply, which is about 74% of the domestic food supply. Again, I am correct. Your claim that

    At the end of the Chavez period, the percentage of Venezuelan food imports was NOT higher than when he assumed power (and considerably lower, depending on whose figures you believe)

    is not supported by FAO data- data which it gets from the Government of Venezuela.

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  105. Gringo says:
    @Parbes
    It seems that they are outfitting you guys with pre-prepared tables and "knowledgeable"-sounding talking points nowadays, before sending you out to these websites...

    What you have here is a collection of cherry-picked figures with no source to back them up; "links" that are actually the main pages of organizations, not links to the "data" that you present; irrelevant trivialities; and apple-to-orange comparisons. NONE of this in any way disproves my statements about Chavez' poverty reduction or socioeconomic improvements. It is all dishonest propaganda meant to obfuscate, confuse and waste time, behind a facade of bogus "facts".

    Which is exactly what a disingenuous propaganda troll would do.

    Reply to my comment #74
    What you have here is a collection of cherry-picked figures with no source to back them up;

    I didn’t put links for every statement because my experience is that too many links result in a comment going to the spam folder. For that reason, I referenced comments that already had links in them, such as:

    (Source: World Bank link, as in Comment #61).

    All of my previous statements in comment 74 about Life Expectancy, Infant Mortality, and Health expenditure, public (% of GDP) can be referenced at World Bank Development Indicators.
    You apparently use “cherry-picked” to indicate data you do not like. For example, I am quite correct to point out that “Infant mortality and Life Expectancy are the gold standards by which governments are judged on health care performance.” Unfortunately for Chavismo, these gold standards point out that the so-called great accomplishments of Chavismo in health are more alleged than actual. Smoke and mirrors.
    I provided links for my statements about alleged great Chavista accomplishments in literacy. I deliberately included more than one source.

    I again referred to a previous comment for a link, to avoid the risk of the spam folder:

    As I pointed out in comment #61.

    Links to ECLA: Extreme poverty and poverty by geographical area and to World Bank World Development Indicators Databank (World Bank)

    Once again I referenced link in a comment:

    as pointed out in my comment #65.

    There was a link back to a Caracas Chronicles article, which provided further links. BTW, I once went back to the links that CC provided, compared the info the links gave with World Bank info which was up through only 2015. and got a good fit.

    “links” that are actually the main pages of organizations, not links to the “data” that you present;
    From the ECLA link, I typed in “poverty.” after which I accessed the spreadsheet titled”Extreme poverty and poverty by geographical area.”
    For World Bank Development Indicators, I went to the link and got the data by downloading the Excel/CSV zip file. I then added it to a database. If that is not the way you do things, I would suggest the following links.

    http://databank.worldbank.org/data/faq/html/databank-faq.html

    http://data.worldbank.org/?locations=VE-ZJ download for Latin America and Venezuela

    irrelevant trivialities; and apple-to-orange comparisons
    What would they be?

    NONE of this in any way disproves my statements about Chavez’ poverty reduction or socioeconomic improvements.
    Socioeconomic improvements like the tripling -or more-of the murder rate? I doubt that the money that Diosdado and other have appropriated for themselves is reflected in the official GINI/Inequality rates. All those Boli-millionaires like Diosdado would increase the GINI, were the money reported.

    You may shout all you want about the 2013 poverty figure, but the poverty figure from 2013 in no way describes current-day Venezuela- which is why the Chavista government has been extremely reticent about publishing poverty figures after 2013. Even before the fall of the price of oil in 2014, poverty reduction in Chavista Venezuela didn’t compare well to poverty reduction in Peru. I have provided documentation from ECLA.

    As any adult Venezuelan can tell you, the price of oil goes up and goes down. In 1973 it went from $3 to above $10, to nearly $40 in ’81, down to $10 in ’86, back up to $20-25, then to $11/BBL in 1998, when Chávez was elected, went up near $100 and down in 2008, went back up to around $100, where it was when he died. Chávez made the assumption that the price of oil would never go down again, which was a rather rash assumption given the above price history. The Chávez legacy is to be judged not only how Venezuela performed during high oil prices, but also during low oil prices- just as the Venezuelan populace judged AD and COPEI during low oil prices. What we see today is the legacy of Chávez.

    The data is there. Either you lack the competence to access it or you refuse to access it.

    It is all dishonest propaganda meant to obfuscate, confuse and waste time, behind a facade of bogus “facts”.
    I wish that you could live in Chavista Venezuela so that your ardor could connect with reality. Clifton Ross has written a good book about his collision with reality: Home from the Dark Side of Utopia: A Journey through American Revolutions.
    :)

    Ciao.

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  106. @Parbes
    He didn't "debunk" anything; so quit your idiotic backslapping and backrubbing. What he has in his post is a collection of cherry-picked figures with no source to back them up; “links” that are actually the main pages of organizations, not links to the “data” that he purports to present; irrelevant trivialities; and apple-to-orange comparisons. NONE of which disproves my statements, or any statements in the article about the Chavez regime. It is all dishonest propaganda meant to obfuscate, confuse and waste time, behind a facade of bogus “facts”.

    If there is a "useless hack", it is you and the paid 'tank shill "Gringo" (who cannot even use his real name) - not Mazaheri.

    You don’t use your real name, so you’re in no moral position to call out Gringo for not using his.
    Also, you don’t use sources to back up your claims or use sources that cite evidence to back the claims.
    By contrast, Gringo uses credible, reliable sources to back his claims.
    You’re just an ignorant, left wing bigot. Learnt nothing, forgot nothing. Stew in your own ignorance.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Mao Cheng Ji

    By contrast, Gringo uses credible, reliable sources to back his claims.
     
    I wasn't reading all that brouhaha, but I thought I noticed World Bank in the 'sources', several times. World Bank is an organization controlled by the US government, pretty much officially controlled by it. Do you really expect anyone to be convinced by such "credible, reliable sources"? It just exposes the agenda, and that's all it does.
    , @Parbes
    "Gringo uses credible, reliable sources to back his claims"

    Did you even try to look at any of his sources and links? I bet you didn't, did you? No, of course not - you just accepted what he wrote about what was there, at face value, without bothering to check for yourself. His FAO link, for example, contains loads of info about the Venezuelan economy that flatly contradicts his claims about the Chavez years' socioeconomic performance.

    "you don’t use sources to back up your claims or use sources that cite evidence to back the claims"

    I normally don't add a source link to everything I write on a blog comment because these are supposed to be BLOG COMMENTS, not journal or Wikipedia articles. Propaganda trolls like this guy, on the other hand, are here to spin, obfuscate, construct outright lies based on bogus "facts" and cherry-picked statistics leading to logically faulty conclusions, and waste people's time sending them on goose chases through selected "links" in order to "refute" their fraudulent biased crap.

    "Stew in your own ignorance."

    Hah hah hah, that's funny. You knuckledragging brainwashed unreconstructed Cold War "fast anti-commie" types INVENTED that stew, ignoramus. Continue singing the praises of neoliberal capitalism and worshipping at the feet of your globo-capitalist, globo-corporatist, globo-imperialist masters like a good slave; while simultaneously whining non-stop about "Jewish control of this-and-that", "immigrants", "too much diversity", "blacks", "libruls", "commies", "cultural Marxism" etc.

    Idiot.
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  107. @Verymuchalive
    You don't use your real name, so you're in no moral position to call out Gringo for not using his.
    Also, you don't use sources to back up your claims or use sources that cite evidence to back the claims.
    By contrast, Gringo uses credible, reliable sources to back his claims.
    You're just an ignorant, left wing bigot. Learnt nothing, forgot nothing. Stew in your own ignorance.

    By contrast, Gringo uses credible, reliable sources to back his claims.

    I wasn’t reading all that brouhaha, but I thought I noticed World Bank in the ‘sources’, several times. World Bank is an organization controlled by the US government, pretty much officially controlled by it. Do you really expect anyone to be convinced by such “credible, reliable sources”? It just exposes the agenda, and that’s all it does.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Gringo
    I thought I noticed World Bank in the ‘sources’, several times. World Bank is an organization controlled by the US government, pretty much officially controlled by it. Do you really expect anyone to be convinced by such “credible, reliable sources”? It just exposes the agenda, and that’s all it does.

    From World Bank: World Development Indicators , I present to you GDP (constant LCU). That would be "GDP in constant Local Currency Units," which would be "GDP in constant Bolívares."

    World Bank: GDP (constant LCU)
    1998 42,066,487,000
    2010 55,807,510,000
    2011 58,138,269,000
    2012 61,409,103,000
    2013 62,233,885,000
    2014 59,810,257,000
     
    From the website of Venezuela's Central Bank: Banco Central de Venezuela:Información Estadística:Indicadores . We go down to AGREGADOS MACROECONÓMICOS Going into AGREGADOS MACROECONÓMICOS, we choose

    Producto interno bruto
    Por clase de actividad económica
    A precios constantes de 1997
    (Miles de Bolívares)

     
    Translated into English, that would be "Gross National Product by type of economic activity, at thousands of constant 1997 Bolívares). "

    Banco Central de Venezuela: PIB a precios constantes de 1997(Miles de Bolívares) :Consolidado
    1998 42,066,487
    2010 55,807,510
    2011 58,138,269
    2012 61,409,103
    2013 62,233,885
    2014 59,810,257
     
    The only difference in the data is that the BCV data is in thousands of constant Bolívares, which means that BCV data has 3 fewer zeroes than World Bank data. The World Bank got its data for Venezuela from the Government of Venezuela.

    I do not recommend trying to get the data from Venezuelan government websites. Even if one speaks Spanish, GOV websites are not easy to navigate. Te lo juro. I'm telling you.

    ¿Me entendés, pana? You unnerstan?
    , @Gringo
    I thought I noticed World Bank in the ‘sources’, several times. World Bank is an organization controlled by the US government, pretty much officially controlled by it. Do you really expect anyone to be convinced by such “credible, reliable sources”? It just exposes the agenda, and that’s all it does.

    Let's take a look at how the World Bank and the Bolivarian Government of Venezuela have reported inflation data.

    From World Bank: World Development Indicators, we get Inflation, consumer prices (annual %).


    World Bank: Inflation, consumer prices (annual %)
    2008 31.4
    2009 27.1
    2010 28.2
    2011 26.1
    2012 21.1
    2013 40.6

     
    Now we look at what the Banco Central deVenezuela, the Central Bank of Venezuela, has reported for inflation. Banco Central de Venezuela:Información Estadística:Indicadores. We go to INDICE NACIONAL DE PRECIOS AL CONSUMIDOR, click on it and select Variaciones Acumuladas_Serie Desde 2008 (anual). We download a spreadsheet. The title in the spreadsheet is INDICE NACIONAL DE PRECIOS AL CONSUMIDOR/ Variaciones Acumuladas/( BASE Diciembre 2007 = 100 ), which can be translated as "Annual Inflation Rate for Consumer Prices- December to December."

    Venezuelan Central Bank: Annual Inflation Rate for Consumer Prices, December to December
    Años VARIACIONES ACUMULADAS (%)DIC. / DIC.
    2008 30.9
    2009 25.1
    2010 27.2
    2011 27.6
    2012 20.1
    2013 56.2

     
    World Bank data and Venezuelan Central Bank data agree fairly well. One difference is probably which month is used for the base month, which would help explain the large difference in reported inflation for 2013. In any event, for 2013 the World Bank reports substantially lower inflation than does the Venezuelan Central Bank, which puts paid to the claim that the World Bank fudges data at the behest of the US Government to make Venezuela look bad.
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  108. Gringo says:
    @Mao Cheng Ji

    By contrast, Gringo uses credible, reliable sources to back his claims.
     
    I wasn't reading all that brouhaha, but I thought I noticed World Bank in the 'sources', several times. World Bank is an organization controlled by the US government, pretty much officially controlled by it. Do you really expect anyone to be convinced by such "credible, reliable sources"? It just exposes the agenda, and that's all it does.

    I thought I noticed World Bank in the ‘sources’, several times. World Bank is an organization controlled by the US government, pretty much officially controlled by it. Do you really expect anyone to be convinced by such “credible, reliable sources”? It just exposes the agenda, and that’s all it does.

    From World Bank: World Development Indicators , I present to you GDP (constant LCU). That would be “GDP in constant Local Currency Units,” which would be “GDP in constant Bolívares.”

    World Bank: GDP (constant LCU)
    1998 42,066,487,000
    2010 55,807,510,000
    2011 58,138,269,000
    2012 61,409,103,000
    2013 62,233,885,000
    2014 59,810,257,000

    From the website of Venezuela’s Central Bank: Banco Central de Venezuela:Información Estadística:Indicadores . We go down to AGREGADOS MACROECONÓMICOS Going into AGREGADOS MACROECONÓMICOS, we choose

    Producto interno bruto
    Por clase de actividad económica
    A precios constantes de 1997
    (Miles de Bolívares)

    Translated into English, that would be “Gross National Product by type of economic activity, at thousands of constant 1997 Bolívares). ”

    Banco Central de Venezuela: PIB a precios constantes de 1997(Miles de Bolívares) :Consolidado
    1998 42,066,487
    2010 55,807,510
    2011 58,138,269
    2012 61,409,103
    2013 62,233,885
    2014 59,810,257

    The only difference in the data is that the BCV data is in thousands of constant Bolívares, which means that BCV data has 3 fewer zeroes than World Bank data. The World Bank got its data for Venezuela from the Government of Venezuela.

    I do not recommend trying to get the data from Venezuelan government websites. Even if one speaks Spanish, GOV websites are not easy to navigate. Te lo juro. I’m telling you.

    ¿Me entendés, pana? You unnerstan?

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  109. Gringo says:
    @Mao Cheng Ji

    By contrast, Gringo uses credible, reliable sources to back his claims.
     
    I wasn't reading all that brouhaha, but I thought I noticed World Bank in the 'sources', several times. World Bank is an organization controlled by the US government, pretty much officially controlled by it. Do you really expect anyone to be convinced by such "credible, reliable sources"? It just exposes the agenda, and that's all it does.

    I thought I noticed World Bank in the ‘sources’, several times. World Bank is an organization controlled by the US government, pretty much officially controlled by it. Do you really expect anyone to be convinced by such “credible, reliable sources”? It just exposes the agenda, and that’s all it does.

    Let’s take a look at how the World Bank and the Bolivarian Government of Venezuela have reported inflation data.

    From World Bank: World Development Indicators, we get Inflation, consumer prices (annual %).

    World Bank: Inflation, consumer prices (annual %)
    2008 31.4
    2009 27.1
    2010 28.2
    2011 26.1
    2012 21.1
    2013 40.6

    Now we look at what the Banco Central deVenezuela, the Central Bank of Venezuela, has reported for inflation. Banco Central de Venezuela:Información Estadística:Indicadores. We go to INDICE NACIONAL DE PRECIOS AL CONSUMIDOR, click on it and select Variaciones Acumuladas_Serie Desde 2008 (anual). We download a spreadsheet. The title in the spreadsheet is INDICE NACIONAL DE PRECIOS AL CONSUMIDOR/ Variaciones Acumuladas/( BASE Diciembre 2007 = 100 ), which can be translated as “Annual Inflation Rate for Consumer Prices- December to December.”

    Venezuelan Central Bank: Annual Inflation Rate for Consumer Prices, December to December
    Años VARIACIONES ACUMULADAS (%)DIC. / DIC.
    2008 30.9
    2009 25.1
    2010 27.2
    2011 27.6
    2012 20.1
    2013 56.2

    World Bank data and Venezuelan Central Bank data agree fairly well. One difference is probably which month is used for the base month, which would help explain the large difference in reported inflation for 2013. In any event, for 2013 the World Bank reports substantially lower inflation than does the Venezuelan Central Bank, which puts paid to the claim that the World Bank fudges data at the behest of the US Government to make Venezuela look bad.

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  110. Ace says:
    @Mao Cheng Ji
    You missed my comment 35. 'Communism' doesn't mean 'shifting the power to altruistic people'. It means (to me anyway) shifting the paradigm, achieving a model where no one has control over others.

    That would most likely require, however, a dramatic simplification of economic activities, and lowering of what we call 'the standard of living' for many. No smartphones, probably. Simple life.

    Check out The Dispossessed, or something.

    Your view of communism as a political system where no one has control over others is, um, interesting.

    That’s like saying that the history of the Catholic Church has been all about disco dancing.

    There seems to be an inability to identify certain distinguishing features in both instances.

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    • Replies: @Mao Cheng Ji

    Your view of communism as a political system where no one has control over others is, um, interesting.
     
    It's not my view, it's the standard anarcho-communist doctrine.

    Theory comes from Kropotkin, but yes, there are historical examples: early Christian communities, Mazdakism in ancient Persia, the Spanish republic in the 1930s, Makhnovshchina in Novorossia, and various smaller experiments in Germany (Anabaptist communities), the US, and elsewhere. Anyway, google is your friend.

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  111. Ace says:
    @Jus' Sayin'...
    You need to add a /sarc/. Progs aren't good at irony.

    Good point. :-)

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  112. JeRK says:
    @Anonymous
    Sorry, not going to accept the egalitarian nonsense of communism. Communists deny race, one of their numerous problems.

    But what does race matter in a communist state?

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  113. Ace says:
    @Anonymous
    Third World man advocates communism. Weather at 11.

    No. I think it’s anti-Russia hysteria at 11; weather at 11:20.

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  114. JeRK says:
    @Alden
    I like what he wrote about rich liberals whose status symbol is virtuous moralistic foods that just happens to cost 3 times more than the supermarket foods that us ignorant proletarian Trump voters buy.

    The wealthy have always bought meat and fish from expensive specialized stores. They bought greenhouse fruit in the middle of winter etc.

    But this virtue preening is the epitome of liberalism. They are like medieval cloistered monks and nuns who prayed every 4 hours. But rich liberals, every bit of food in their shopping cart is like a prayer to their Gods of the latest liberal diktats.

    The liberal mind is like a sink. Every few years the liberal control center opens the plug, drains out the cause, then shuts the plug, opens the faucet and pours in the newest liberal insanity

    I've noticed that liberals will believe anything as long as it is presented as moralistic, virtuous and superior to ways of the proles and peons.

    You believe what you want to believe. It’s the same for all people regardless of political stance.

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  115. JeRK says:
    @Mao Cheng Ji

    The scum rises to the top...
     
    Well, the trick is, then, to get rid of hierarchy, of any hierarchical structure. Anarcho-communism.

    Or leave the hierarchy and remove our current hierarchical standards. If success wasn’t about money and hierarchy wasn’t based on wealth we would have fewer people striving to screw people over for their place on the pyramid. Currently, it’s popular to flash wealth around, social media is full of people flashing their wealth and encouraging others to strive to own more “stuff”. I don’t have a problem with people having the freedom to do that but as a society, we shouldn’t be celebrating it.

    No one wins when everyone is in it for themselves.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Ace
    ** No one wins when everyone is in it for themselves. **

    The exact opposite of Adam Smith's view.
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  116. Ace says:
    @jacques sheete
    The old communism/ capitalism controversy is obsolete. It'a a false dichotomy and represents stilted thinking at best. Time to bury the idea.


    For those who may disagree, there is plenty of historical evidence that there is a lot of overlap and flip flopping between the two. The labels and rhetoric may appeal to different constituencies, but in the end the same type of scum rise to positions of power inevitably if not immediately.

    Once there, they seem to abuse it with impunity or worse, i.e., to get rewarded handsomely.

    If there are political solutions for economic and spiritual difficulties I'd like to know what they would be, and how long they'd remain effective for the masses.

    The communism/ capitalism controversy is a diversion from a healthy focus on the correct political spectrum that has total state power at the left end and voluntary association, free markets, and private property at the right end. The latter spectrum embodies a focus on the essential element – liberty.

    That’s as fresh as the morning dew in every age, proof of which is the left’s persistent and dedicated campaign to obscure it and locate fascism on the “right,” thereby preventing any focus on the equivalence of communism and fascism.

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  117. @Ace
    Your view of communism as a political system where no one has control over others is, um, interesting.

    That's like saying that the history of the Catholic Church has been all about disco dancing.

    There seems to be an inability to identify certain distinguishing features in both instances.

    Your view of communism as a political system where no one has control over others is, um, interesting.

    It’s not my view, it’s the standard anarcho-communist doctrine.

    Theory comes from Kropotkin, but yes, there are historical examples: early Christian communities, Mazdakism in ancient Persia, the Spanish republic in the 1930s, Makhnovshchina in Novorossia, and various smaller experiments in Germany (Anabaptist communities), the US, and elsewhere. Anyway, google is your friend.

    Read More
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  118. Parbes says:
    @Verymuchalive
    You don't use your real name, so you're in no moral position to call out Gringo for not using his.
    Also, you don't use sources to back up your claims or use sources that cite evidence to back the claims.
    By contrast, Gringo uses credible, reliable sources to back his claims.
    You're just an ignorant, left wing bigot. Learnt nothing, forgot nothing. Stew in your own ignorance.

    “Gringo uses credible, reliable sources to back his claims”

    Did you even try to look at any of his sources and links? I bet you didn’t, did you? No, of course not – you just accepted what he wrote about what was there, at face value, without bothering to check for yourself. His FAO link, for example, contains loads of info about the Venezuelan economy that flatly contradicts his claims about the Chavez years’ socioeconomic performance.

    “you don’t use sources to back up your claims or use sources that cite evidence to back the claims”

    I normally don’t add a source link to everything I write on a blog comment because these are supposed to be BLOG COMMENTS, not journal or Wikipedia articles. Propaganda trolls like this guy, on the other hand, are here to spin, obfuscate, construct outright lies based on bogus “facts” and cherry-picked statistics leading to logically faulty conclusions, and waste people’s time sending them on goose chases through selected “links” in order to “refute” their fraudulent biased crap.

    “Stew in your own ignorance.”

    Hah hah hah, that’s funny. You knuckledragging brainwashed unreconstructed Cold War “fast anti-commie” types INVENTED that stew, ignoramus. Continue singing the praises of neoliberal capitalism and worshipping at the feet of your globo-capitalist, globo-corporatist, globo-imperialist masters like a good slave; while simultaneously whining non-stop about “Jewish control of this-and-that”, “immigrants”, “too much diversity”, “blacks”, “libruls”, “commies”, “cultural Marxism” etc.

    Idiot.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Ace
    You seem perturbed.
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  119. Gringo says:

    At the end of the Chavez period, the percentage of Venezuelan food imports was NOT higher than when he assumed power (and considerably lower, depending on whose figures you believe),

    The following is probably the best way to deal with your claim. I apologize for not having come up with it sooner. For your claim to be correct, food imports would have to increase proportionately with food production. If Food item X had 16 tons of production and 4 tons of imports in 1998, for your claim to be correct, both imports and production would have to increase proportionately. For example, Food item X having 24 tons of production in 2013 and 6 tons of imports in 2013 would satisfy your criteria, as both production and imports increased by 50%- and in both 1998 and 2013, imports were 25% of production.

    From the FAO site we can obtain total tonnage, where we sum up tonnage for all 90-odd items, for Production Quantity and also for Import Quantity. As I have summed up tonnage for ALL items, you can hardly accuse me of “cherry-picking.” :)

    Total for food imports and total for food production:

    Import Quantity 1000 tonnes
    1998 4,946
    2013 9,604

    Production Quantity 1000 tonnes
    1998 21,871
    2013 23,868

    Did Food Imports and Food Production increase proportionately from 1998 to 2013?
    Decidedly not, as Food Imports increased by 94.8% (from 4,946 to 9,604 KMT), while Food Production increased by 8.3% (from 21,871 to 23,868 KMT).

    Your comments have spurred me to make better arguments.

    http://www.fao.org/faostat/en/#data/FBS

    The FAO gets its data from the Venezuelan government.

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  120. Ace says:
    @JeRK
    Or leave the hierarchy and remove our current hierarchical standards. If success wasn't about money and hierarchy wasn't based on wealth we would have fewer people striving to screw people over for their place on the pyramid. Currently, it's popular to flash wealth around, social media is full of people flashing their wealth and encouraging others to strive to own more "stuff". I don't have a problem with people having the freedom to do that but as a society, we shouldn't be celebrating it.

    No one wins when everyone is in it for themselves.

    ** No one wins when everyone is in it for themselves. **

    The exact opposite of Adam Smith’s view.

    Read More
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  121. Ace says:
    @Parbes
    "Gringo uses credible, reliable sources to back his claims"

    Did you even try to look at any of his sources and links? I bet you didn't, did you? No, of course not - you just accepted what he wrote about what was there, at face value, without bothering to check for yourself. His FAO link, for example, contains loads of info about the Venezuelan economy that flatly contradicts his claims about the Chavez years' socioeconomic performance.

    "you don’t use sources to back up your claims or use sources that cite evidence to back the claims"

    I normally don't add a source link to everything I write on a blog comment because these are supposed to be BLOG COMMENTS, not journal or Wikipedia articles. Propaganda trolls like this guy, on the other hand, are here to spin, obfuscate, construct outright lies based on bogus "facts" and cherry-picked statistics leading to logically faulty conclusions, and waste people's time sending them on goose chases through selected "links" in order to "refute" their fraudulent biased crap.

    "Stew in your own ignorance."

    Hah hah hah, that's funny. You knuckledragging brainwashed unreconstructed Cold War "fast anti-commie" types INVENTED that stew, ignoramus. Continue singing the praises of neoliberal capitalism and worshipping at the feet of your globo-capitalist, globo-corporatist, globo-imperialist masters like a good slave; while simultaneously whining non-stop about "Jewish control of this-and-that", "immigrants", "too much diversity", "blacks", "libruls", "commies", "cultural Marxism" etc.

    Idiot.

    You seem perturbed.

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  122. Parbes says:

    Yes, I am – perturbed by lies, idiocy, biased propaganda, demagoguery and fraudulent analyses being presented as “truth”, all of which you and your ilk revel in.

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    • Replies: @Jus' Sayin'...
    Parboy:

    I notice that you haven't replied to comment #119, based on Venezuela's official statistic.

    Do you take the position that the Chavez/Maduro government deliberately produced "lies, idiocy, biased propaganda, demagoguery and fraudulent analyses" in order to demonstrate what a disaster the Bolivarian Revolution was for Venezuela and its people?

    BTW, I enjoy how you lose it when presented with facts that upset your Weltanscaung. I've sent several quotes to friends and the usual response is LOL.
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  123. @Parbes
    Yes, I am - perturbed by lies, idiocy, biased propaganda, demagoguery and fraudulent analyses being presented as "truth", all of which you and your ilk revel in.

    Parboy:

    I notice that you haven’t replied to comment #119, based on Venezuela’s official statistic.

    Do you take the position that the Chavez/Maduro government deliberately produced “lies, idiocy, biased propaganda, demagoguery and fraudulent analyses” in order to demonstrate what a disaster the Bolivarian Revolution was for Venezuela and its people?

    BTW, I enjoy how you lose it when presented with facts that upset your Weltanscaung. I’ve sent several quotes to friends and the usual response is LOL.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Parbes
    “I notice that you haven’t replied to comment #119, based on Venezuela’s official statistic.”

    I didn’t reply to the worthless comment because:

    1. There’s nothing behind it – it’s fake.
    2. I have better things to do with my time, than waste it endlessly on a goose chase of made-up “data tables” and false links and cherry-picked/spun “stats” thrown in my face like some maniacal headmaster giving homework to a pupil, by a thoroughly dishonest trained ‘tank shill propagandist – your colleague? – who has the sole aim of “proving” that the Chavez government was “bad” for Venezuela by selectively focusing on import figures of a handful of agricultural products; without answering any of the salient points raised by myself, other commenters or the author of the article, or making the slightest effort in his fraudulent “analysis” to take into consideration the all-important elephant-in-the-room facts that:

    1. Throughout the entire Chavez period, the U.S. government conspired and worked incessantly, with the aim of regime-changing and IN COLLUSION WITH THE LOCAL VENEZUELAN RICH COMPRADOR ELITE/LANDOWNER CLASS WHO HELD A LOT OF ECONOMIC POWER, to undermine the Chavez regime economically and politically and hamper all its plans and policies – up to and including an actual coup attempt and all kinds of economic sabotage;
    2. The Venezuelan population increased naturally in the 1998-2013 period, thus increasing food consumption and demand;
    3. Large masses of people were lifted out of poverty during the Chavez years, thus increasing food consumption and demand, and;
    4. The U.S. conspired with Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Gulf Wahhabi vermin to crash oil prices in 2014 with the SOLE PURPOSE of harming Venezuela, Russia and Iran, thus depriving the Chavist regime of its main source of export earnings.

    By the way, idiot – did you even BOTHER TO CHECK the link that your liar shill buddy gave in comment # 119? If you had, you would have seen that it contains nothing like what he claims it does – i.e., there is no “total production and import quantity” figures or tables in that link; and “summing up all the individual items on the list” like he says he did makes no sense because the list of items on that page contains many overlapping items and categories, rendering a simple addition meaningless. In addition both the FAO and the World Bank link have a load of figures and graphs showing improvements in socioeconomic indicators during the Chavist period on their Venezuela main page.

    Here’s an article for you with lots of links to facts and figures about Venezuelan improvements during the Chavez era, since you seem to be so interested. Don’t open your stinky mouth again until you read and digest all this information: http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/12/14/the-achievements-of-hugo-chavez/

    P.S.: Yesterday the U.S. started naked military aggression against Syria in support of ISIS and Al Qaida - you know, the same Al Qaida that carried out 9/11. Something FAR more important than Venezuelan agricultural imports of a decade ago. How does that make you feel, you neocon/anti-commie/U.S. jingo patriot/MIC lover/whatever scumbag?
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  124. Parbes says:

    “I notice that you haven’t replied to comment #119, based on Venezuela’s official statistic.”

    I didn’t reply to the worthless comment because:

    1. There’s nothing behind it – it’s fake.
    2. I have better things to do with my time, than waste it endlessly on a goose chase of made-up “data tables” and false links and cherry-picked/spun “stats” thrown in my face like some maniacal headmaster giving homework to a pupil, by a thoroughly dishonest trained ‘tank shill propagandist – your colleague? – who has the sole aim of “proving” that the Chavez government was “bad” for Venezuela by selectively focusing on import figures of a handful of agricultural products; without answering any of the salient points raised by myself, other commenters or the author of the article, or making the slightest effort in his fraudulent “analysis” to take into consideration the all-important elephant-in-the-room facts that:

    1. Throughout the entire Chavez period, the U.S. government conspired and worked incessantly, with the aim of regime-changing and IN COLLUSION WITH THE LOCAL VENEZUELAN RICH COMPRADOR ELITE/LANDOWNER CLASS WHO HELD A LOT OF ECONOMIC POWER, to undermine the Chavez regime economically and politically and hamper all its plans and policies – up to and including an actual coup attempt and all kinds of economic sabotage;
    2. The Venezuelan population increased naturally in the 1998-2013 period, thus increasing food consumption and demand;
    3. Large masses of people were lifted out of poverty during the Chavez years, thus increasing food consumption and demand, and;
    4. The U.S. conspired with Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Gulf Wahhabi vermin to crash oil prices in 2014 with the SOLE PURPOSE of harming Venezuela, Russia and Iran, thus depriving the Chavist regime of its main source of export earnings.

    By the way, idiot – did you even BOTHER TO CHECK the link that your liar shill buddy gave in comment # 119? If you had, you would have seen that it contains nothing like what he claims it does – i.e., there is no “total production and import quantity” figures or tables in that link; and “summing up all the individual items on the list” like he says he did makes no sense because the list of items on that page contains many overlapping items and categories, rendering a simple addition meaningless. In addition both the FAO and the World Bank link have a load of figures and graphs showing improvements in socioeconomic indicators during the Chavist period on their Venezuela main page.

    Here’s an article for you with lots of links to facts and figures about Venezuelan improvements during the Chavez era, since you seem to be so interested. Don’t open your stinky mouth again until you read and digest all this information: http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/12/14/the-achievements-of-hugo-chavez/

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  125. Parbes says:
    @Jus' Sayin'...
    Parboy:

    I notice that you haven't replied to comment #119, based on Venezuela's official statistic.

    Do you take the position that the Chavez/Maduro government deliberately produced "lies, idiocy, biased propaganda, demagoguery and fraudulent analyses" in order to demonstrate what a disaster the Bolivarian Revolution was for Venezuela and its people?

    BTW, I enjoy how you lose it when presented with facts that upset your Weltanscaung. I've sent several quotes to friends and the usual response is LOL.

    “I notice that you haven’t replied to comment #119, based on Venezuela’s official statistic.”

    I didn’t reply to the worthless comment because:

    1. There’s nothing behind it – it’s fake.
    2. I have better things to do with my time, than waste it endlessly on a goose chase of made-up “data tables” and false links and cherry-picked/spun “stats” thrown in my face like some maniacal headmaster giving homework to a pupil, by a thoroughly dishonest trained ‘tank shill propagandist – your colleague? – who has the sole aim of “proving” that the Chavez government was “bad” for Venezuela by selectively focusing on import figures of a handful of agricultural products; without answering any of the salient points raised by myself, other commenters or the author of the article, or making the slightest effort in his fraudulent “analysis” to take into consideration the all-important elephant-in-the-room facts that:

    1. Throughout the entire Chavez period, the U.S. government conspired and worked incessantly, with the aim of regime-changing and IN COLLUSION WITH THE LOCAL VENEZUELAN RICH COMPRADOR ELITE/LANDOWNER CLASS WHO HELD A LOT OF ECONOMIC POWER, to undermine the Chavez regime economically and politically and hamper all its plans and policies – up to and including an actual coup attempt and all kinds of economic sabotage;
    2. The Venezuelan population increased naturally in the 1998-2013 period, thus increasing food consumption and demand;
    3. Large masses of people were lifted out of poverty during the Chavez years, thus increasing food consumption and demand, and;
    4. The U.S. conspired with Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Gulf Wahhabi vermin to crash oil prices in 2014 with the SOLE PURPOSE of harming Venezuela, Russia and Iran, thus depriving the Chavist regime of its main source of export earnings.

    By the way, idiot – did you even BOTHER TO CHECK the link that your liar shill buddy gave in comment # 119? If you had, you would have seen that it contains nothing like what he claims it does – i.e., there is no “total production and import quantity” figures or tables in that link; and “summing up all the individual items on the list” like he says he did makes no sense because the list of items on that page contains many overlapping items and categories, rendering a simple addition meaningless. In addition both the FAO and the World Bank link have a load of figures and graphs showing improvements in socioeconomic indicators during the Chavist period on their Venezuela main page.

    Here’s an article for you with lots of links to facts and figures about Venezuelan improvements during the Chavez era, since you seem to be so interested. Don’t open your stinky mouth again until you read and digest all this information: http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/12/14/the-achievements-of-hugo-chavez/

    P.S.: Yesterday the U.S. started naked military aggression against Syria in support of ISIS and Al Qaida – you know, the same Al Qaida that carried out 9/11. Something FAR more important than Venezuelan agricultural imports of a decade ago. How does that make you feel, you neocon/anti-commie/U.S. jingo patriot/MIC lover/whatever scumbag?

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  126. Gringo says:

    a thoroughly dishonest trained ‘tank shill propagandist – your colleague? – who has the sole aim of “proving” that the Chavez government was “bad” for Venezuela by selectively focusing on import figures of a handful of agricultural products.

    Who was it who initially brought up the issue of food imports? You did, in comment #67.

    At the end of the Chavez period, the percentage of Venezuelan food imports was NOT higher than when he assumed power (and considerably lower, depending on whose figures you believe),

    My comments merely documented that your claim was not correct, given FAO data which the FAO Metadata page informs us comes from the Venezuelan government.

    The main source is official statistics from FAO member countries. Exceptionally, unofficial data are also used as well as estimated/imputed data. In both cases this is “flagged”. Data are recorded as countries report them, except for eliminating obvious errors. The source data can originate from surveys, administrative data and estimates based on expert observations. Which type of source is used by countries affect significantly reliability and comparability of data.

    When I summed gross tonnage for all 90-odd agricultural/food products in comment #119, I can hardly be accused of “selectively focusing on import figures of a handful of agricultural products.” When from 1998 to 2013, total import tonnage increases 94.8%, and total production tonnage increases 8.3%, your claim that “the percentage of Venezuelan food imports was NOT higher than when he assumed power” is absurd.

    By the way, idiot – did you even BOTHER TO CHECK the link that your liar shill buddy gave in comment # 119? If you had, you would have seen that it contains nothing like what he claims it does – i.e., there is no “total production and import quantity” figures or tables in that link/
    Yes, you can obtain “total production and import quantity figures or tables” IF you know how to navigate the FAO Food Balance webpage. For example, to obtain imports from the FAO Food balance webpage:

    Countries/Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of)
    Elements/Import Quantity
    Year: 1998 and/or 2013
    Items/Select all OR Items Aggregated/Grand Total>(List)
    (will give same results)
    Download data

    After you have chosen the appropriate parameters and click “Download Data,” a spreadsheet appears w 90-odd items for each year ( I get a MS CSV spreadsheet). You then sum up the column “Value” to get a total figure. You will need to make sure you are summing for only one year and one Element (such as Import Quantity). I assume that you have the capability to sum up a column of figures from a spreadsheet, or is that asking too much of you? You could click on “Show Data,” instead of “Download Data,” but you would still have to download the data to a spreadsheet.

    the list of items on that page contains many overlapping items and categories ,rendering a simple addition meaningless.
    Please inform us what items are overlapping. I would also suggest that if you discover overlapping items, you inform the FAO, as I doubt that the FAO intended to have overlapping items.
    In addition, this is FAO data. In comment #61, you stated that the FAO was a reputable organization. I very much doubt that a “reputable organization” would have such “overlapping items.”
    When you choose Items/Select All for Import Quantity for 2013, you get 9604 KMT. When you choose Items Aggregated/Grand total>(List), you also get 9604 KMT . That suggests to me a clean database without overlapping items.

    In any event, when we have only two items, your argument is moot, as follows. Another way of looking at the data is from ITEMS AGGREGATED, to choose Animal Products>(List) or Vegetal Products>(List). Results will be similar: imports increased faster than production.

    Animal Products>(List) , KMT
    1998 imports 1,013
    2013 imports 2,361

    1998 production 3,364
    2013 production 4,303

    Vegetal Products>(List), KMT
    1998 imports 3,933
    2013 imports 7,243

    1998 production 18,417
    2013 production 19,565

    Animal Products>(List)
    From 1998 to 2013, Imports increased 133%, (1,013 KMT to 2,361 KMT)
    From 1998 to 2013, Production increased 27.9%, (3,364 KMT to 4,303 KMT)

    Vegetal Products>(List):
    From 1998 to 2013, Imports increased 84%, (3364 KMT to 7243 KMT)
    From 1998 to 2013, Production increased 6.2%, (18,417 KMT to 19,565 KMT)

    The math is rather simple: when imports increase faster than production, as was the case for both Animal Products and Vegetal Products from 1998 to 2013, imports take up a higher proportion of Venezuela’s food supply. Your claim that “At the end of the Chavez period, the percentage of Venezuelan food imports was NOT higher than when he assumed power” is absurd, given that imports for both Animal and Vegetable products increased faster than production.

    No matter h0w you slice it, overall food imports increased faster than overall food production in Chavista Venezuela. FAO data says that in multiple ways- data which the FAO obtained from the Venezuelan government.

    Since you apparently don’t know how to navigate the FAO website, I suggest you contact the FAO for assistance in learning how to navigate the FAO webpage and get data from the website: FAO-HQ@fao.org.

    http://www.fao.org/faostat/en/#data/FBS FAO Food Balance Webpage

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  127. Parbes says:

    I am still waiting for you to attempt to address these critically important basic issues regarding Venezuelan society, economy and recent political history, which I have mentioned in several posts on this thread already:

    1. Throughout the entire Chavez period, the U.S. government conspired and worked incessantly, with the aim of regime-changing and IN COLLUSION WITH THE LOCAL VENEZUELAN RICH COMPRADOR ELITE/LANDOWNER CLASS WHO HELD A LOT OF ECONOMIC POWER, to undermine the Chavez regime economically and politically and hamper all its plans and policies – up to and including an actual coup attempt and all kinds of economic sabotage;
    2. The Venezuelan population increased naturally in the 1998-2013 period, thus increasing food consumption and demand;
    3. Large masses of people were lifted out of poverty during the Chavez years, thus increasing food consumption and demand, and;
    4. The U.S. conspired with Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Gulf Wahhabi vermin to crash oil prices in 2014 with the SOLE PURPOSE of harming Venezuela, Russia and Iran, thus depriving the Chavist regime of its main source of export earnings.
    5. Both the FAO and the World Bank link have a load of figures and graphs showing significant improvements in socioeconomic indicators during the Chavist period on their Venezuela main page.

    Also, the following link with facts and data from my last post:

    http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/12/14/the-achievements-of-hugo-chavez/

    But being a disingenuous, selectively cherry-picking analyst whose aim is propaganda, not objective assessment of the truth, I know that you won’t do so (not in an honest manner, anyway…)

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    • Replies: @Gringo
    But being a disingenuous, selectively cherry-picking analyst whose aim is propaganda, not objective assessment of the truth, I know that you won’t do sp

    I was evaluating the Counterpunch article before I saw your most recent comment.

    Here’s an article for you with lots of links to facts and figures about Venezuelan improvements during the Chavez era, since you seem to be so interested. Don’t open your stinky mouth again until you read and digest all this information.
    Ah yes, good old Counterpunch. For example:


    UNESCO has recognized that illiteracy been eliminated.
     
    That was Chavista misinformation which was debunked years ago. From my comment #74 there are two links regarding the above claim. To save the effort of going to #74, I will provide you with one of the links.UNESCO denies Venezuela literacy claim.

    I spoke to Sue Williams, UNESCO's Chief of Section of Bureau of Public Information in Paris, and this is what she had to say in that respect: "UNESCO has not endorsed or made any statement to the effect that Venezuela is free of illiteracy."
     
    One more gem from Counterpunch, the gift that keeps on giving:

    Economists who studied in detail the Venezuelan economy for years indicate that, “The predictions of economic collapse, balance of payments or debt crises and other gloomy prognostications, as well as many economic forecasts along the way, have repeatedly proven wrong… Venezuela’s current economic growth is sustainable and could continue at the current pace or higher for many years.
     
    Given Venezuela's current economic condition, that prediction hasn't stood up very well, has it? As they say in Venezuela, tell me another cowboy story. Dime/Decime otro de vaqueros. Tell me another fish story.

    Another gem from Counterpunch:


    But none of them can dispute that the UN Human Development Index situates Venezuela in place #61 out of 176 countries having increased 7 places in 10 years. :
     
    Nor can anyone dispute that by 2015, Venezuela has fallen 10 places to 71st in the UN-HDI ranking. The above Counterpunch data is data that no longer accurately describes Venezuela - how much of an "accomplishment" is it if the "accomplishment" disappears in several years- or data which was misinformation to begin with (the UNESCO illiteracy claim).
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  128. Gringo says:
    @Parbes
    I am still waiting for you to attempt to address these critically important basic issues regarding Venezuelan society, economy and recent political history, which I have mentioned in several posts on this thread already:

    1. Throughout the entire Chavez period, the U.S. government conspired and worked incessantly, with the aim of regime-changing and IN COLLUSION WITH THE LOCAL VENEZUELAN RICH COMPRADOR ELITE/LANDOWNER CLASS WHO HELD A LOT OF ECONOMIC POWER, to undermine the Chavez regime economically and politically and hamper all its plans and policies – up to and including an actual coup attempt and all kinds of economic sabotage;
    2. The Venezuelan population increased naturally in the 1998-2013 period, thus increasing food consumption and demand;
    3. Large masses of people were lifted out of poverty during the Chavez years, thus increasing food consumption and demand, and;
    4. The U.S. conspired with Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Gulf Wahhabi vermin to crash oil prices in 2014 with the SOLE PURPOSE of harming Venezuela, Russia and Iran, thus depriving the Chavist regime of its main source of export earnings.
    5. Both the FAO and the World Bank link have a load of figures and graphs showing significant improvements in socioeconomic indicators during the Chavist period on their Venezuela main page.

    Also, the following link with facts and data from my last post:
    http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/12/14/the-achievements-of-hugo-chavez/

    But being a disingenuous, selectively cherry-picking analyst whose aim is propaganda, not objective assessment of the truth, I know that you won't do so (not in an honest manner, anyway...)

    But being a disingenuous, selectively cherry-picking analyst whose aim is propaganda, not objective assessment of the truth, I know that you won’t do sp

    I was evaluating the Counterpunch article before I saw your most recent comment.

    Here’s an article for you with lots of links to facts and figures about Venezuelan improvements during the Chavez era, since you seem to be so interested. Don’t open your stinky mouth again until you read and digest all this information.
    Ah yes, good old Counterpunch. For example:

    UNESCO has recognized that illiteracy been eliminated.

    That was Chavista misinformation which was debunked years ago. From my comment #74 there are two links regarding the above claim. To save the effort of going to #74, I will provide you with one of the links.UNESCO denies Venezuela literacy claim.

    I spoke to Sue Williams, UNESCO’s Chief of Section of Bureau of Public Information in Paris, and this is what she had to say in that respect: “UNESCO has not endorsed or made any statement to the effect that Venezuela is free of illiteracy.”

    One more gem from Counterpunch, the gift that keeps on giving:

    Economists who studied in detail the Venezuelan economy for years indicate that, “The predictions of economic collapse, balance of payments or debt crises and other gloomy prognostications, as well as many economic forecasts along the way, have repeatedly proven wrong… Venezuela’s current economic growth is sustainable and could continue at the current pace or higher for many years.

    Given Venezuela’s current economic condition, that prediction hasn’t stood up very well, has it? As they say in Venezuela, tell me another cowboy story. Dime/Decime otro de vaqueros. Tell me another fish story.

    Another gem from Counterpunch:

    But none of them can dispute that the UN Human Development Index situates Venezuela in place #61 out of 176 countries having increased 7 places in 10 years. :

    Nor can anyone dispute that by 2015, Venezuela has fallen 10 places to 71st in the UN-HDI ranking. The above Counterpunch data is data that no longer accurately describes Venezuela – how much of an “accomplishment” is it if the “accomplishment” disappears in several years- or data which was misinformation to begin with (the UNESCO illiteracy claim).

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  129. Parbes says:

    Just as I expected, you are still evading answering the points I posed – and ESPECIALLY points #1&4 in my last comment, which are the heart of the matter – because you SIMPLY CANNOT DO SO in an objective and credible way without having to abandon your anti-Chavist, anti-Bolivarian, anti-democratic socialist, pro-elitist, pro-imperialist, pro-neocon, pro-neolib ideological animus. Instead you try to divert attention with some non-sequitur about how the Chavez government education ministry’s failure to “totally eradicate illiteracy” (i.e., increase literacy from the 90% that it already was beforehand to a “perfect score” of 100%) within a few years, supposedly “proves” that the Bolivarian revolution was “bad”.

    You are a textbook example of a disingenuous spinmaster propagandist posing as a “scholar”. I am done wasting any more time debating with you. Get lost, if you please.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Gringo
    Also, the following link with facts and data from my last post:
    http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/12/14/the-achievements-of-hugo-chavez/
    But being a disingenuous, selectively cherry-picking analyst whose aim is propaganda, not objective assessment of the truth, I know that you won’t do so (not in an honest manner, anyway…)

    I made a partial evaluation of that link. Your response:


    Instead you try to divert attention with some non-sequitur about how the Chavez government education ministry’s failure to “totally eradicate illiteracy” (i.e., increase literacy from the 90% that it already was beforehand to a “perfect score” of 100%) within a few years, supposedly “proves” that the Bolivarian revolution was “bad”.
     
    If you don't like my commenting regarding a bogus claim about "eradicating illiteracy," then you would be advised to not suggest to me that I go to a link which makes a bogus claim about "eradicating illiteracy." ¿Me entendés, pana? You unnerstan'?

    BTW, that wasn't the only bogus claim in the Counterpunch article. I am not talking about a claim that was once true but is no longer true, such as poverty statistics or Venezuela's rank in the UN-HDI index, but about a claim that was false the day it was made.


    #1... THE LOCAL VENEZUELAN RICH COMPRADOR ELITE/LANDOWNER CLASS WHO HELD A LOT OF ECONOMIC POWER,
    Have you ever heard of the Boliburgués- rich Chavistas? A neighbor of mine lived in Panama from 2008-2015. He told me that the poshest mall in Panama City made its money off rich Venezuelans- who by that time included a lot of the aforementioned Boliburgués- maybe most. Have you never heard of the Derwick brothers? Or how much Godgiven Hair has accumulated? Or about wealthy media owners who were permitted to hold onto their businesses provided that they become government-compliant? Chávez had no problem with rich people- provided that they were compliant.


    #1... up to and including an actual coup attempt
    What you apparently fail to realize is that for Chavismo, there are "good" coups and there are "bad" coups. Chavez celebrates 20th anniversary of coup attempt. That would be HIS coup attempt. 2014: Venezuela Celebrates “Glory” of Failed Military Coup.

    #4. The U.S. conspired with Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Gulf Wahhabi vermin to crash oil prices in 2014 with the SOLE PURPOSE of harming Venezuela, Russia and Iran, thus depriving the Chavist regime of its main source of export earnings.
    Yes, Maduro has made that claim. His making the claim doesn't make it true. The frackers in the US were hardly thinking about geopolitics when they were drilling. Obama was never a fan of more drilling- nor did he believe that drilling would bring down prices ("We can't drill our way to lower gas prices.").

    While over the years, Saudi Arabia has turned its oil spigot on and off in attempts to control the price of oil and to increase market share, it has been dipping into its reserve funds for several years, so it is not exactly in a fortunate situation, either. Though Saudi Arabia is in a more fortunate situation than Venezuela, as it would appear that Venezuela has spent much or most or nearly all of its reserve funds.

    A further point against your conspiracy theory is that in large part Saudi Arabia turned the spigot on to destroy the frackers in the US . To the chagrin of both Maduro and the Saudis, the frackers responded with cost-cutting technological improvements that lowered the price at which they could profitably produce.

    I refer you to my comment #105.


    As any adult Venezuelan can tell you, the price of oil goes up and goes down. In 1973 it went from $3 to above $10, to nearly $40 in ’81, down to $10 in ’86, back up to $20-25, then to $11/BBL in 1998, when Chávez was elected, went up near $100 and down in 2008, went back up to around $100, where it was when he died. Chávez made the assumption that the price of oil would never go down again, which was a rather rash assumption given the above price history. The Chávez legacy is to be judged not only how Venezuela performed during high oil prices, but also during low oil prices- just as the Venezuelan populace judged AD and COPEI during low oil prices. What we see today is the legacy of Chávez.
     
    I only wish that you were able to live in Venezuela to encounter the miracles of Chavismo. :)

    I would agree with you that there is no point in continuing this discussion. I know too much about Venezuela to be convinced by your ignorant rants. If you actually knew what you were writing about, you wouldn't have had to resort to so many ad hominem attacks. When it comes to knowledge about Venezuela, you wouldn't know an arepa from an aardvark. You are using Venezuela as a place to project your ideology. Your repeated denials of the points I make about Venezuela indicate that you refuse to acknowledge facts that do not support your ideology. Ciao.

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  130. Gringo says:
    @Parbes
    Just as I expected, you are still evading answering the points I posed - and ESPECIALLY points #1&4 in my last comment, which are the heart of the matter - because you SIMPLY CANNOT DO SO in an objective and credible way without having to abandon your anti-Chavist, anti-Bolivarian, anti-democratic socialist, pro-elitist, pro-imperialist, pro-neocon, pro-neolib ideological animus. Instead you try to divert attention with some non-sequitur about how the Chavez government education ministry's failure to "totally eradicate illiteracy" (i.e., increase literacy from the 90% that it already was beforehand to a "perfect score" of 100%) within a few years, supposedly "proves" that the Bolivarian revolution was "bad".

    You are a textbook example of a disingenuous spinmaster propagandist posing as a "scholar". I am done wasting any more time debating with you. Get lost, if you please.

    Also, the following link with facts and data from my last post:

    http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/12/14/the-achievements-of-hugo-chavez/

    But being a disingenuous, selectively cherry-picking analyst whose aim is propaganda, not objective assessment of the truth, I know that you won’t do so (not in an honest manner, anyway…)

    I made a partial evaluation of that link. Your response:

    Instead you try to divert attention with some non-sequitur about how the Chavez government education ministry’s failure to “totally eradicate illiteracy” (i.e., increase literacy from the 90% that it already was beforehand to a “perfect score” of 100%) within a few years, supposedly “proves” that the Bolivarian revolution was “bad”.

    If you don’t like my commenting regarding a bogus claim about “eradicating illiteracy,” then you would be advised to not suggest to me that I go to a link which makes a bogus claim about “eradicating illiteracy.” ¿Me entendés, pana? You unnerstan’?

    BTW, that wasn’t the only bogus claim in the Counterpunch article. I am not talking about a claim that was once true but is no longer true, such as poverty statistics or Venezuela’s rank in the UN-HDI index, but about a claim that was false the day it was made.

    #1… THE LOCAL VENEZUELAN RICH COMPRADOR ELITE/LANDOWNER CLASS WHO HELD A LOT OF ECONOMIC POWER,
    Have you ever heard of the Boliburgués- rich Chavistas? A neighbor of mine lived in Panama from 2008-2015. He told me that the poshest mall in Panama City made its money off rich Venezuelans- who by that time included a lot of the aforementioned Boliburgués- maybe most. Have you never heard of the Derwick brothers? Or how much Godgiven Hair has accumulated? Or about wealthy media owners who were permitted to hold onto their businesses provided that they become government-compliant? Chávez had no problem with rich people- provided that they were compliant.

    #1… up to and including an actual coup attempt
    What you apparently fail to realize is that for Chavismo, there are “good” coups and there are “bad” coups. Chavez celebrates 20th anniversary of coup attempt. That would be HIS coup attempt. 2014: Venezuela Celebrates “Glory” of Failed Military Coup.

    #4. The U.S. conspired with Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Gulf Wahhabi vermin to crash oil prices in 2014 with the SOLE PURPOSE of harming Venezuela, Russia and Iran, thus depriving the Chavist regime of its main source of export earnings.
    Yes, Maduro has made that claim. His making the claim doesn’t make it true. The frackers in the US were hardly thinking about geopolitics when they were drilling. Obama was never a fan of more drilling- nor did he believe that drilling would bring down prices (“We can’t drill our way to lower gas prices.”).

    While over the years, Saudi Arabia has turned its oil spigot on and off in attempts to control the price of oil and to increase market share, it has been dipping into its reserve funds for several years, so it is not exactly in a fortunate situation, either. Though Saudi Arabia is in a more fortunate situation than Venezuela, as it would appear that Venezuela has spent much or most or nearly all of its reserve funds.

    A further point against your conspiracy theory is that in large part Saudi Arabia turned the spigot on to destroy the frackers in the US . To the chagrin of both Maduro and the Saudis, the frackers responded with cost-cutting technological improvements that lowered the price at which they could profitably produce.

    I refer you to my comment #105.

    As any adult Venezuelan can tell you, the price of oil goes up and goes down. In 1973 it went from $3 to above $10, to nearly $40 in ’81, down to $10 in ’86, back up to $20-25, then to $11/BBL in 1998, when Chávez was elected, went up near $100 and down in 2008, went back up to around $100, where it was when he died. Chávez made the assumption that the price of oil would never go down again, which was a rather rash assumption given the above price history. The Chávez legacy is to be judged not only how Venezuela performed during high oil prices, but also during low oil prices- just as the Venezuelan populace judged AD and COPEI during low oil prices. What we see today is the legacy of Chávez.

    I only wish that you were able to live in Venezuela to encounter the miracles of Chavismo. :)

    I would agree with you that there is no point in continuing this discussion. I know too much about Venezuela to be convinced by your ignorant rants. If you actually knew what you were writing about, you wouldn’t have had to resort to so many ad hominem attacks. When it comes to knowledge about Venezuela, you wouldn’t know an arepa from an aardvark. You are using Venezuela as a place to project your ideology. Your repeated denials of the points I make about Venezuela indicate that you refuse to acknowledge facts that do not support your ideology. Ciao.

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  131. Logan says:
    @englishmike
    'Bush asked attorneys to define a line between torture and not-torture'.
    Edward Kennedy asked: Would you call it torture if it was done to you?

    A reasonable comment. One which is, however, irrelevant to determining an objective legal standard.

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