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Saker Interview with Michael Hudson on Venezuela
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Introduction: There is a great deal of controversy about the true shape of the Venezuelan economy and whether Hugo Chavez’ and Nicholas Maduro’s reform and policies were crucial for the people of Venezuela or whether they were completely misguided and precipitated the current crises. Anybody and everybody seems to have very strong held views about this. But I don’t simply because I lack the expertise to have any such opinions. So I decided to ask one of the most respected independent economists out there, Michael Hudson, for whom I have immense respect and whose analyses (including those he co-authored with Paul Craig Roberts) seem to be the most credible and honest ones you can find. In fact, Paul Craig Roberts considers Hudson the “best economist in the world“!

I am deeply grateful to Michael for his replies which, I hope, will contribute to a honest and objective understanding of what really is taking place in Venezuela.

The Saker

The Saker: Could you summarize the state of Venezuela’s economy when Chavez came to power?

Michael Hudson: Venezuela was an oil monoculture. Its export revenue was spent largely on importing food and other necessities that it could have produced at home. Its trade was largely with the United States. So despite its oil wealth, it ran up foreign debt.

From the outset, U.S. oil companies have feared that Venezuela might someday use its oil revenues to benefit its overall population instead of letting the U.S. oil industry and its local comprador aristocracy siphon off its wealth. So the oil industry – backed by U.S. diplomacy – held Venezuela hostage in two ways.

First of all, oil refineries were not built in Venezuela, but in Trinidad and in the southern U.S. Gulf Coast states. This enabled U.S. oil companies – or the U.S. Government – to leave Venezuela without a means of “going it alone” and pursuing an independent policy with its oil, as it needed to have this oil refined. It doesn’t help to have oil reserves if you are unable to get this oil refined so as to be usable.

Second, Venezuela’s central bankers were persuaded to pledge their oil reserves and all assets of the state oil sector (including Citgo) as collateral for its foreign debt. This meant that if Venezuela defaulted (or was forced into default by U.S. banks refusing to make timely payment on its foreign debt), bondholders and U.S. oil majors would be in a legal position to take possession of Venezuelan oil assets.

These pro-U.S. policies made Venezuela a typically polarized Latin American oligarchy. Despite being nominally rich in oil revenue, its wealth was concentrated in the hands of a pro-U.S. oligarchy that let its domestic development be steered by the World Bank and IMF. The indigenous population, especially its rural racial minority as well as the urban underclass, was excluded from sharing in the country’s oil wealth. The oligarchy’s arrogant refusal to share the wealth, or even to make Venezuela self-sufficient in essentials, made the election of Hugo Chavez a natural outcome.

The Saker: Could you outline the various reforms and changes introduced by Hugo Chavez? What did he do right, and what did he do wrong?

Michael Hudson: Chavez sought to restore a mixed economy to Venezuela, using its government revenue – mainly from oil, of course – to develop infrastructure and domestic spending on health care, education, employment to raise living standards and productivity for his electoral constituency.

What he was unable to do was to clean up the embezzlement and built-in rake-off of income from the oil sector. And he was unable to stem the capital flight of the oligarchy, taking its wealth and moving it abroad – while running away themselves.

This was not “wrong”. It merely takes a long time to change an economy’s disruption – while the U.S. is using sanctions and “dirty tricks” to stop that process.

The Saker: What are, in your opinion, the causes of the current economic crisis in Venezuela – is it primarily due to mistakes by Chavez and Maduro or is the main cause US sabotage, subversion and sanctions?

Michael Hudson: There is no way that Chavez and Maduro could have pursued a pro-Venezuelan policy aimed at achieving economic independence without inciting fury, subversion and sanctions from the United States. American foreign policy remains as focused on oil as it was when it invaded Iraq under Dick Cheney’s regime. U.S. policy is to treat Venezuela as an extension of the U.S. economy, running a trade surplus in oil to spend in the United States or transfer its savings to U.S. banks.

By imposing sanctions that prevent Venezuela from gaining access to its U.S. bank deposits and the assets of its state-owned Citco, the United States is making it impossible for Venezuela to pay its foreign debt. This is forcing it into default, which U.S. diplomats hope to use as an excuse to foreclose on Venezuela’s oil resources and seize its foreign assets much as Paul Singer hedge fund sought to do with Argentina’s foreign assets.

Just as U.S. policy under Kissinger was to make Chile’s “economy scream,” so the U.S. is following the same path against Venezuela. It is using that country as a “demonstration effect” to warn other countries not to act in their self-interest in any way that prevents their economic surplus from being siphoned off by U.S. investors.

The Saker: What in your opinion should Maduro do next (assuming he stays in power and the USA does not overthrow him) to rescue the Venezuelan economy?

Michael Hudson: I cannot think of anything that President Maduro can do that he is not doing. At best, he can seek foreign support – and demonstrate to the world the need for an alternative international financial and economic system.

ORDER IT NOW

He already has begun to do this by trying to withdraw Venezuela’s gold from the Bank of England and Federal Reserve. This is turning into “asymmetrical warfare,” threatening to de-sanctify the dollar standard in international finance. The refusal of England and the United States to grant an elected government control of its foreign assets demonstrates to the entire world that U.S. diplomats and courts alone can and will control foreign countries as an extension of U.S. nationalism.

The price of the U.S. economic attack on Venezuela is thus to fracture the global monetary system. Maduro’s defensive move is showing other countries the need to protect themselves from becoming “another Venezuela” by finding a new safe haven and paying agent for their gold, foreign exchange reserves and foreign debt financing, away from the dollar, sterling and euro areas.

The only way that Maduro can fight successfully is on the institutional level, upping the ante to move “outside the box.” His plan – and of course it is a longer-term plan – is to help catalyze a new international economic order independent of the U.S. dollar standard. It will work in the short run only if the United States believes that it can emerge from this fight as an honest financial broker, honest banking system and supporter of democratically elected regimes. The Trump administration is destroying illusion more thoroughly than any anti-imperialist critic or economic rival could do!

Over the longer run, Maduro also must develop Venezuelan agriculture, along much the same lines that the United States protected and developed its agriculture under the New Deal legislation of the 1930s – rural extension services, rural credit, seed advice, state marketing organizations for crop purchase and supply of mechanization, and the same kind of price supports that the United States has long used to subsidize domestic farm investment to increase productivity.

The Saker: What about the plan to introduce a oil-based crypto currency? Will that be an effective alternative to the dying Venezuelan Bolivar?

Michael Hudson: Only a national government can issue a currency. A “crypto” currency tied to the price of oil would become a hedging vehicle, prone to manipulation and price swings by forward sellers and buyers. A national currency must be based on the ability to tax, and Venezuela’s main tax source is oil revenue, which is being blocked from the United States. So Venezuela’s position is like that of the German mark coming out of its hyperinflation of the early 1920s. The only solution involves balance-of-payments support. It looks like the only such support will come from outside the dollar sphere.

The solution to any hyperinflation must be negotiated diplomatically and be supported by other governments. My history of international trade and financial theory, Trade, Develpoment and Foreign Debt, describes the German reparations problem and how its hyperinflation was solved by the Rentenmark.

Venezuela’s economic-rent tax would fall on oil, and luxury real estate sites, as well as monopoly prices, and on high incomes (mainly financial and monopoly income). This requires a logic to frame such tax and monetary policy. I have tried to explain how to achieve monetary and hence political independence for the past half-century. China is applying such policy most effectively. It is able to do so because it is a large and self-sufficient economy in essentials, running a large enough export surplus to pay for its food imports. Venezuela is in no such position. That is why it is looking to China for support at this time.

The Saker: How much assistance do China, Russia and Iran provide and how much can they do to help? Do you think that these three countries together can help counter-act US sabotage, subversion and sanctions?

Michael Hudson: None of these countries have a current capacity to refine Venezuelan oil. This makes it difficult for them to take payment in Venezuelan oil. Only a long-term supply contract (paid for in advance) would be workable. And even in that case, what would China and Russia do if the United States simply grabbed their property in Venezuela, or refused to let Russia’s oil company take possession of Citco? In that case, the only response would be to seize U.S. investments in their own country as compensation.

At least China and Russia can provide an alternative bank clearing mechanism to SWIFT, so that Venezuela can by pass the U.S. financial system and keep its assets from being grabbed at will by U.S. authorities or bondholders. And of course, they can provide safe-keeping for however much of Venezuela’s gold it can get back from New York and London.

Looking ahead, therefore, China, Russia, Iran and other countries need to set up a new international court to adjudicate the coming diplomatic crisis and its financial and military consequences. Such a court – and its associated international bank as an alternative to the U.S.-controlled IMF and World Bank – needs a clear ideology to frame a set of principles of nationhood and international rights with power to implement and enforce its judgments.

This would confront U.S. financial strategists with a choice: if they continue to treat the IMF, World Bank, ITO and NATO as extensions of increasingly aggressive U.S. foreign policy, they will risk isolating the United States. Europe will have to choose whether to remain a U.S. economic and military satellite, or to throw in its lot with Eurasia.

However, Daniel Yergin reports in the Wall Street Journal (Feb. 7) that China is trying to hedge its bets by opening a back-door negotiation with Guaido’s group, apparently to get the same deal that it has negotiated with Maduro’s government. But any such deal seems unlikely to be honored in practice, given U.S. animosity toward China and Guaido’s total reliance on U.S. covert support.

The Saker: Venezuela kept a lot of its gold in the UK and money in the USA. How could Chavez and Maduro trust these countries or did they not have another choice? Are there viable alternatives to New York and London or are they still the “only game in town” for the world’s central banks?

Michael Hudson: There was never real trust in the Bank of England or Federal Reserve, but it seemed unthinkable that they would refuse to permit an official depositor from withdrawing its own gold. The usual motto is “Trust but verify.” But the unwillingness (or inability) of the Bank of England to verify means that the formerly unthinkable has now arrived: Have these central banks sold this gold forward in the post-London Gold Pool and its successor commodity markets in their attempt to keep down the price so as to maintain the appearance of a solvent U.S. dollar standard.

Paul Craig Roberts has described how this system works. There are forward markets for currencies, stocks and bonds. The Federal Reserve can offer to buy a stock in three months at, say, 10% over the current price. Speculators will by the stock, bidding up the price, so as to take advantage of “the market’s” promise to buy the stock. So by the time three months have passed, the price will have risen. That is largely how the U.S. “Plunge Protection Team” has supported the U.S. stock market.

The system works in reverse to hold down gold prices. The central banks holding gold can get together and offer to sell gold at a low price in three months. “The market” will realize that with low-priced gold being sold, there’s no point in buying more gold and bidding its price up. So the forward-settlement market shapes today’s market.

The question is, have gold buyers (such as the Russian and Chinese government) bought so much gold that the U.S. Fed and the Bank of England have actually had to “make good” on their forward sales, and steadily depleted their gold? In this case, they would have been “living for the moment,” keeping down gold prices for as long as they could, knowing that once the world returns to the pre-1971 gold-exchange standard for intergovernmental balance-of-payments deficits, the U.S. will run out of gold and be unable to maintain its overseas military spending (not to mention its trade deficit and foreign disinvestment in the U.S. stock and bond markets). My book on Super-Imperialism explains why running out of gold forced the Vietnam War to an end. The same logic would apply today to America’s vast network of military bases throughout the world.

Refusal of England and the U.S. to pay Venezuela means that other countries realize that foreign official gold reserves can be held hostage to U.S. foreign policy, and even to judgments by U.S. courts to award this gold to foreign creditors or to whoever might bring a lawsuit under U.S. law against these countries.

This hostage-taking now makes it urgent for other countries to develop a viable alternative, especially as the world de-dedollarizes and a gold-exchange standard remains the only way of constraining the military-induced balance of payments deficit of the United States or any other country mounting a military attack. A military empire is very expensive – and gold is a “peaceful” constraint on military-induced payments deficits. (I spell out the details in my Super Imperialism: The Economic Strategy of American Empire (1972), updated in German as Finanzimperium (2017).

The U.S. has overplayed its hand in destroying the foundation of the dollar-centered global financial order. That order has enabled the United States to be “the exceptional nation” able to run balance-of-payments deficits and foreign debt that it has no intention (or ability) to pay, claiming that the dollars thrown off by its foreign military spending “supply” other countries with their central bank reserves (held in the form of loans to the U.S. Treasury – Treasury bonds and bills – to finance the U.S. budget deficit and its military spending, as well as the largely military U.S. balance-of-payments deficit.

Given the fact that the EU is acting as a branch of NATO and the U.S. banking system, that alternative would have to be associated with the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, and the gold would have to be kept in Russia and/or China.

The Saker: What can other Latin American countries such as Bolivia, Nicaragua, Cuba and, maybe, Uruguay and Mexico do to help Venezuela?

Michael Hudson: The best thing neighboring Latin American countries can do is to join in creating a vehicle to promote de-dollarization and, with it, an international institution to oversee the writedown of debts that are beyond the ability of countries to pay without imposing austerity and thereby destroying their economies.

An alternative also is needed to the World Bank that would make loans in domestic currency, above all to subsidize investment in domestic food production so as to protect the economy against foreign food-sanctions – the equivalent of a military siege to force surrender by imposing famine conditions. This World Bank for Economic Acceleration would put the development of self-reliance for its members first, instead of promoting export competition while loading borrowers down with foreign debt that would make them prone to the kind of financial blackmail that Venezuela is experiencing.

Being a Roman Catholic country, Venezuela might ask for papal support for a debt write-down and an international institution to oversee the ability to pay by debtor countries without imposing austerity, emigration, depopulation and forced privatization of the public domain.

Two international principles are needed. First, no country should be obliged to pay foreign debt in a currency (such as the dollar or its satellites) whose banking system acts to prevents payment.

Second, no country should be obliged to pay foreign debt at the price of losing its domestic autonomy as a state: the right to determine its own foreign policy, to tax and to create its own money, and to be free of having to privatize its public assets to pay foreign creditors. Any such debt is a “bad loan” reflecting the creditor’s own irresponsibility or, even worse, pernicious asset grab in a foreclosure that was the whole point of the loan.

The Saker: Thank you very much for taking the time to reply to my questions!

 
• Category: Economics, Foreign Policy • Tags: Dollar, Gold, Neoliberalism, Oil, Venezuela 
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  1. kauchai says:

    ” Second, Venezuela’s central bankers were persuaded to pledge their oil reserves and all assets of the state oil sector (including Citgo) as collateral for its foreign debt. This meant that if Venezuela defaulted (or was forced into default by U.S. banks refusing to make timely payment on its foreign debt), bondholders and U.S. oil majors would be in a legal position to take possession of Venezuelan oil assets.”

    Solid proof that it was the empire who invented the practice of “debt trap” and is still flourishing with it.

    • Agree: Tom Welsh
    • Replies: @Tom Welsh
    , @Lot
    , @MEFOBILLS
  2. Main factor here is that US due to fracking become self sufficient, what actually nobody could foresee. Just a bad luck.

  3. hunor says:

    Thank you ! Made it very clear.
    Perfect reflection of the ” Values of Western Civilization ” .
    Reaching to grab the whole universe , with no holds barred .
    And never show of any interest for the ” truth”.
    They are not even pretending anymore , awakening will be very painful for some.

    • Agree: Johnny Walker Read
  4. Biff says:

    These pro-U.S. policies made Venezuela a typically polarized Latin American oligarchy. Despite being nominally rich in oil revenue, its wealth was concentrated in the hands of a pro-U.S. oligarchy that let its domestic development be steered by the World Bank and IMF.

    No amount of needle point proof can pop the ballon that is the collective brains of Americans that have a CIA propaganda(via the media) myth inserted in their head that “it’s because of socialism!” Venezuela is in economic turmoil.
    Other CIA created myths(that happen to work):
    “They need democracy restored”
    “They need our help”
    “They have weapons of mass destruction”
    “They harbor terrorists”
    “They peddle fake news”
    “They hack our elections”
    Etc….
    Collect your own, and trade them with your friends.

    • Agree: bike-anarkist
    • Replies: @Sowhat
    , @Mike G
  5. Miro23 says:

    At least China and Russia can provide an alternative bank clearing mechanism to SWIFT, so that Venezuela can bypass the U.S. financial system and keep its assets from being grabbed at will by U.S. authorities or bondholders. And of course, they can provide safe-keeping for however much of Venezuela’s gold it can get back from New York and London.

    There’s a good general rule here to keep independent country assets and financial transactions away from the US – especially making them non- US dollar based.

    This would confront U.S. financial strategists with a choice: if they continue to treat the IMF, World Bank, ITO and NATO as extensions of increasingly aggressive U.S. foreign policy, they will risk isolating the United States. Europe will have to choose whether to remain a U.S. economic and military satellite, or to throw in its lot with Eurasia.

    Europe would have to make this choice – and it looks like the European public is in fact already starting to make it – which greatly troubles the US’s elite European collaborators.

    Refusal of England and the U.S. to pay Venezuela means that other countries realize that foreign official gold reserves can be held hostage to U.S. foreign policy, and even to judgments by U.S. courts to award this gold to foreign creditors or to whoever might bring a lawsuit under U.S. law against these countries.

    True. Now is reflection time for any country that holds physical gold in New York or London. Also time to think in general about reserves held in US dollars (Treasury bonds).

    Being a Roman Catholic country, Venezuela might ask for papal support for a debt write-down and an international institution to oversee the ability to pay by debtor countries without imposing austerity, emigration, depopulation and forced privatization of the public domain.

    Whatever happens Venezuela is going to get austerity, but it could be a difficult self respecting and self sufficient kind, excluding the US (the primary source of its problems) and taking assistance from any friends that it may have.

    • Replies: @Realist
  6. HiHo says:

    Another Saker article that ignores the elephant in the room completely…

    Looking ahead, therefore, China, Russia, Iran and other countries need to set up a new international court to adjudicate the coming diplomatic crisis and its financial and military consequences. Such a court – and its associated international bank as an alternative to the U.S.-controlled IMF and World Bank – needs a clear ideology to frame a set of principles of nationhood and international rights with power to implement and enforce its judgments.

    A great idea but the world banks are NOT US controlled. They are run by the Rothschilds, and until writers like Saker face up to this fact the problems will not be resolved. Rothschild has to be dealt with, put out of business and closed down permanently.

    • Agree: Rurik, Vojkan
    • Replies: @Realist
    , @Wade
  7. slorter says:

    Good article will certainly spread this one around!

  8. What Mr Hudson’s answers make clear is that Putin is increasingly bogged down in yet another fight, a fight which Mr Hudson tacitly believes to be unwinnable.

  9. Beware those western government criminals. Not only do they print paper money without the backing of a gold standard, they also fake the gold they sell or claim to have in their reserves:

    https://anationbeguiled.wordpress.com/2011/06/14/us-sells-fake-gold-bars-to-china/

    It seems Fort Knox isn’t even worth robbing except in Hollywood movies.

    • Replies: @Anon
    , @annamaria
  10. @Ilyana_Rozumova

    Despite huge increases in domestic oil production in the last years the USA is still the second largest net oil importer in the word (behind China).
    Also the USA is extracting its proven reserves at a much faster rate than any other large producer (a pattern it also had in the past, leading to high fluctuation in its production) so unless new reserves are discovered US production will likely start to decline again within a few years.

    • Replies: @Wally
  11. This interview is a whitewash for the Venezuelan government. While I don’t doubt that the described sabotage and subversion orchestrated by the US the Chavistas are clearly incompetent and corrupt.

    They had 20 years to diversify the Venezuelan economy and failed completely. Instead of decreasing the reliance on oil exports the increased it.
    Most of what was left off the venezuelan agricultural sector got destroyed by handing it to Chavez followers. Similar with almost all other economic sectors. Even the oil production is much lower than it was in 1998 and this is not because of sanctions. They simply didn’t invest enough into replacing equipment that got worn out. They had 20 years to build refineries for venezuelan oil in Venezuela, China or somewhere else out of US influence, they didn’t.

  12. @Matthias Eckert

    Same goes for almost anything else. Why does Venezuela still have gold deposited in the US and Britain? it’s not like these never seized (not to say stole) foreign assets before.

    Just because the Chavistas are enemies of the American oligarchy doesn’t mean the aren’t oligarchs themselves.

    ps. That Anglo habit to start nationalities with a capital letter even when used as adjective is an insult to logic

  13. Anon[246] • Disclaimer says:
    @Commentator Mike

    Please prove that you know anything about the gold standard and aren’t just like those ignoramuses spouting rubbish about “fractional reserve banking”. Wasn’t the most famous and influential economist of the 20th century right in calling the gold standard “A barbarous relic”?.

    PS Do you think government’s should set a fixed price for gold? And does it make any difference if new discoveries lead to much more gold being available? Should private person’s be entitled to hoard gold?

    • Replies: @Tom Welsh
    , @MEFOBILLS
  14. “… need to set up a new international court to adjudicate the coming diplomatic crisis and its financial and military consequences.”

    Yes, as if the US and its allies are going to recognise that court and its judgments. Face it, the gold and money held abroad in the Western countries is gone (see South Park for an illustration).

    I remember paing $0.19 per gallon of AvGas a couple decades ago, and locals wete getting auto fuel for a lot less than that, back in the days when the country was still in Uncle Sugar’s good graces and getting the refined goods from US. Maybe they should earmark a few dollars for a refinery or two to solve that one little problem.

    They might also start expropriating and redistributing the assets and land of the compradors carrying out Uncle Sugar’s current coup attempt; what’s going to happen, a coup?

    And what kind of dictator lets his main rival hold a competing political rival at the same time in the same city? Time for Maduro to man up and personally shoot the guy. The Colombians will get the imagery.

    • Replies: @Tom Welsh
  15. Biff says:

    Do you think government’s should set a fixed price for gold?

    Governments deciding what the value of a commodity is? Yea, good luck with that.

    Should private person’s be entitled to hoard gold?

    That’s the way most of the old world(east Asia) still works – and after many centuries nobody has yet to come along and fuck it up. I’m poor with only about fifty grams, but I know others with a kilo or two.

  16. It is all moving same pieces of capitalistic BS around. Basic imperialistic struggle among former hegemony who is going down due to stupidity and bad choices and newly rising hopefuls. Once USA is safely put out and hopefully down, new great powers will suck lesser powers dry probably by smarter and less aggressive means but nevertheless. Souverenity is being used as a tool now, but truly sovereign can be only few great powers in capitalistic world and Venezuella will never be sovereign. Sacker as usually lacks imagination to go beyond his narrow views. He is also contradictory. Fighting the only successful socialist state in the world which was the only one capable to put his anglozios in place yet defending this pathetic entity pretending to be socialist. If it is socialist how come all those oligarchs and their base is still around to keep creating troubles? They should have gotten rid off long time ago and their all assets and capitals nationalized for common good.

  17. Regarding USA I have never had any illusions about this entity. Not even in 80s. All those birth Mark’s were there from the start. As with every old person they turned into marasm at certain age.

  18. Winston2 says:
    @Ilyana_Rozumova

    Condensate,not oil.Only good for gas or lighter fluid.It may be called oil but that’s a deliberate
    misnomer.Only financial engineering makes it appear profitable.Its a money losing
    psychopaths power play,not a business.Without a heavy real oil to blend it with its useless,
    heavy oil is where Venezuela comes in.

    • Replies: @Ilyana_Rozumova
  19. This just beggars belief. To men with hammers (and sickles), everything looks like a nail.

    Americans couldn’t care less what happens in Venezuela. I’m not even sure the Deep State cares. If any Latin country fails, it has to be a Yanqui conspiracy? It wasn’t the 25 years of Chavista incompetence.

    We’re presently trying to extricate ourselves from Iraq, for f**k’s sake! We haven’t even bothered to stick around and steal Iraq’s lighter, sweeter and more plentiful crude. And that’s after waging a stupid, ill-advised, huge and expensive war.

    So now we’re supposedly ogling Venezuela’s crappy heavy oil and rotting production infrastructure. I call BS. The only thing in Venezuela worth coveting is all the pretty girls. From what I can tell, most of them are moving to Miami anyway.

    Since the Russians are experts in heavy oil (and pretty girls), let them try and fix it. We’ve had enough Iraqs for five lifetimes.

    • Replies: @Johnny Walker Read
  20. This is nothing more than the continuation of America’s foreign policy. Ours has been a policy of the guy with the big stick will beat you senseless until you give him everything he wants at basically no charge. Insider John Perkins lays it all out in this short DOC.

  21. Realist says:
    @Miro23

    There’s a good general rule here to keep independent country assets and financial transactions away from the US – especially making them non- US dollar based.

    Oh god yes….nothing about the US is to be trusted. One of the dumbest, dumb-ass things a country can do is put their gold reserves in a foreign country, especially US or UK.

    • Replies: @Whitewolf
  22. Why would the U. S. based White-Protestant aristocracy care a hoot about the Brown-Catholic elites in the far off land? They don’t! The comprador aristocracy in question isn’t what it seems… It’s the same group that plagues the Americans. The rootless louts, whose only raison d’ê·tre is to milk everything in sight and then retire to coastal cities, i.e. San Francisco, if you are a homosexual or New York City and State, if you are somewhat religious. Poor Venezuelans don’t stand a chance against the shysters!

    • Replies: @Moi
  23. Realist says:
    @HiHo

    Rothschild has to be dealt with, put out of business and closed down permanently.

    Big talk….no ideas.

    • Replies: @Lawrence Boxall
  24. @Captain Willard

    As stated above, Venezuela has no refineries, so its oil must be refined by America. Much money to be made in this operation by American corporations.

    “Venezuela is awash with natural resources such as diamonds, bauxite, gold, iron ore, natural gas and petroleum.”
    https://www.azomining.com/Article.aspx?ArticleID=73

    • Replies: @Captain Willard
    , @/lasse
  25. Tom Welsh says:

    “I spell out the details in my Super Imperialism: The Economic Strategy of American Empire (1972), updated in German as Finanzimperium (2017)”.

    The name of the German edition is actually Finanzimperialismus (according to Amazon).

    • Replies: @John D Welsh
  26. Tom Welsh says:
    @kauchai

    “Solid proof that it was the empire who invented the practice of “debt trap” and is still flourishing with it”.

    Obviously. They have been doing it for more than a century now.

    No one should be fooled by the fact that the Americans are now blaming China for creating “debt traps”. One of their most consistently used “dirty tricks” is to blame others for the crimes they themselves commit.

  27. Tom Welsh says:
    @Ilyana_Rozumova

    “Main factor here is that US due to fracking become self sufficient, what actually nobody could foresee. Just a bad luck”.

    Bad luck for the USA. They have fallen into an elephant trap, because fracking has already become unprofitable and is only being financed by ever-increasing debt.

    Admittedly this gives them some advantage, but only in the very short term.

    Of course, it doesn’t really matter – in the short to medium term – whether fracking is profitable or grossly unprofitable. They can still pay for it by printing more dollars, as long as the “greater fools” (or heavily bribed officials) in other countries go on accepting dollars.

    • Agree: bluedog
    • Replies: @Wally
  28. Tom Welsh says:
    @Anon

    ‘Wasn’t the most famous and influential economist of the 20th century right in calling the gold standard “A barbarous relic””?’

    John Maynard Keynes was making very idealistic assumptions about human altruism and cooperation. Like many good and clever people, he was too prone to think others were like himself.

    Keynes and others of his close acquaintance, such as Bertrand Russell, knew very well that, even in the 1920s, advanced nations could easily function and provide a good standard of living if everyone worked a 30-hour week.

    What they completely failed to recognise was that the rich and powerful would do everything to stop such improvements, so that they could grab as much as possible of the world’s wealth.

    Much like the experimental monkeys who became so addicted to electric stimulation of the pleasure centre that they went on pulling the lever that supplied it until they literally died of thirst or hunger.

    • Replies: @Wizard of Oz
    , @Vidi
    , @map
  29. Tom Welsh says:
    @The Alarmist

    Guiado [sic] should certainly be arrested, prosecuted and presumably punished severely. That is the usual recipe for acts of gross treason in any civilised nation.

  30. @Winston2

    If for Canadians is economical extraction from tar sands, than I do think that Venezuelan oil is more economical to extract..
    When you are talking about Condensate are you talking about fracking?
    Than even Gasoline has a high loss by evaporation.

  31. Venezuela is another case of the Zionist banking kabal proving that it controls the FED and the Bank of England and the IMF and the World Bank etc., etc., ie every central bank in the world is Zionist owned and there in lies the problem as these bastards lie and cheat and steal!

    The Zionist actually own every country that has a central bank which is just about every country in the world and as in the U.S. the Zionist privately owned FED controls the U.S. government and the lives of every American and just as in Venezuela we are slaves of the Zionist banking kabal!

    The U.S. has no right to interfere in Venezuela but that makes no difference to the Zionist banking kabal that rules the world, just look at Afghanistan/ Iraq/ Libya / Syria/ Yemen, they have no right to interfere in these countries, but wars make money for the bankers in fact all wars are banker wars and so the butcher shops were opened and the money flowed in for the Zionist banking kabal!

    Interfering in South America and Central America is nothing new to our Zionist rulers, see the book The Secret Team by L. Fletcher Prouty and War is a Racket by Gen. Smedley Butler and Clinton, Bush and the CIA by Terry Reed , all can be had on Amazon.com , or just read the customer comments of Amazon.

  32. denk says:

    The 5lies keep bleating about their ‘rule based system’ 24×7.

    These are the two rules that determine their ‘foreign policies’,..

    1] The George Kennan’s rule.
    Brook no peer competitors.

    2] The Nixon/Kissinger rule.
    ‘Democracy is too important to leave up to the people to vote’

    Corrollary
    For either of the above offenders, put their economy thru the grinder and make them scream.

    • Replies: @Antiwar7
  33. The US should be wary of unleashing a Latin American Spring. Already the two major countries in the region, Brazil and Mexico, are lining up on opposite side over Venezuela. The consequences of the Arab Spring have been catastrophic for the Middle East – and Europe. A similar ‘plan’ for South America is likely to have the same result. On a global scale, the different regional confrontations are in danger of coalescing into a single conflagration: the South China Sea, Ukraine, Syria, Iran etc. One location might trigger it, but the interconnectedness of the disparate conflicts will drag all into the flames. The demise of the INF Treaty means the big powers are now racing to re-arm like in the 1930s. We are on course for another world war – nuclear war. The pattern of history is clear.
    https://www.ghostsofhistory.wordpress.com/

  34. @Tom Welsh

    Thanks Tom. Dave Welsh who has a son Tom Welsh residing a few blocks from the Pentagon. Works in the field of obtaining govt. contracts.

    • Replies: @Tom Welsh
  35. @Johnny Walker Read

    We just got done conquering Iraq. We haven’t stayed to loot the oil. So now you believe we’re going to Venezuela to take their crappy heavy oil? It would be easier for us just to build a pipeline to Alberta and import all their cheap, shut-in heavy crude. Mr. Hudson apparently doesn’t read Platt’s.

    Afghanistan has more minerals than Venezuela. Why are we leaving then?

    This article has many inaccuracies. You accept them at face value, knowing nothing about the oil business. In fact, Venezuela has 10x the refining capacity of Trinidad. And Texaco gave up on it years ago. Heavy Ven crude takes special refining equipment and usually has to be blended with lighter crudes. Oddly enough, Ven. has to import oil for this reason.

    And in 2008, Ven. produced around 2.4 mmbbls/day. Their stated refining capacity is around 2/3 of this figure. PDVSA has raised all kinds of financing over the years including in the US. To say they’ve been starved of refining capacity or capital is just absolute BS.

    Yes, American foreign policy is a mess. But folks thinking we have designs on Venezuela are just nuts. Meanwhile, Mr. Hudson continues to talk out of his asshole on subjects about which he is manifestly ignorant. Every interview and article is the same : “The US is responsible for all the problems in “fill in the blank””.

    I wish we had the power he ascribes to us. Lately we mess up everything. The best thing that could happen to Ven. is that we invade it bloodlessly, mess it up more and inject $3Trillion into it the way we did in Afghanistan. Sheesh!

  36. Rurik says:

    Excellent article.

    Just the kind of thing I come to Unz to read, and get a glimmer at the man behind the curtain.

    I’ll share an anecdote, for what it’s worth. Some years back I went into the local bank. The (young and attractive) gal who helped me out, was- it turned out, from Venezuela.

    This was when Chavez was still alive, and after he had mocked the chimp at the UN, talking about the smell of sulfur. I remember being impressed by his antics, and thinking ‘wow, there’s a guy who not only hates Dubya almost as much as I do, but has the cajones to call the bitch out in front of the whole world.

    So I was curious what this pretty (many of them are) Venezuelan girl thought of Chavez, and I asked her.

    She did not like him. No effn’ way. It turns out her father was a hard working schlep who came from nothing, but had worked his arse off his entire life, to build a second home, and to rent the first one out, as a retirement income of sorts.

    Well, according to this gal, the Chavez regime had confiscated the rental home because it was exploitation in their view. So I had to re-think my opinion of this guy, if her story is true. Why don’t these commies ever go after the One Percent’s wealth? Why do they always go after the working and middle class?

    Just an anecdote for what it’s worth.

    Also glad someone posted the Economic Hit Man video.

    The last sentence of this article, (in particular) made me think of that video.

    • Replies: @map
  37. Economic hitman Hudson recommends asking the Catholics for help. Clearly the quality of propaganda from the spooks has reached the bottom of the barrel. If you believe the Catholics will get the gold to its rightful owners I have a bridge to sell you with a special price for those paying with gold. The Jesuit liars urged the stupid to vote Trump. Paul Craig Roberts fondly remembers the days when US troops would force the native slaves of Central America to work for US Corporations or die. Trump = Obama = Reagan= CIA meddling in every country with war crimes, not just terrorism. Trump ran on a ticket of ending wars but lied through his teeth. Just another war mongering billionaire. Here comes WWIII to fix the economy with murdering poor people.

  38. Rurik says:
    @Captain Willard

    But folks thinking we have designs on Venezuela are just nuts

    the first thing that’s necessary is to define who “we” are.

    Because there are two Americas, and we should make the distinction.

    First there is the America of the American people. Poor, working class, middle class, and somewhat well-off upper-middle class. These are the “we” that had nothing whatsoever to do with the wars, except to vote relentlessly for politicians to end them, and are always betrayed.

    Which brings us to the other “we”. The Deepstate scumfucks who bomb and loot nations, when they aren’t looting the American working and middle class to fund their Eternal Wars, or selecting cannon fodder from the working class or poor, to act as their Janissaries for globo-domination and rapine.

    Joe the Plumber is the poster boy for the first “we”, and yes, there are lots and lots of butt-hurt arseholes who would like to pin it all on Joe. He’s white, CIS, American and the perfect scapegoat for butt-hurt loser’s (of all stripes) hate.

    John McBloodstain in the perfect (if rotting) poster boy for the other “we”. The Deepstate scumfucks who are just as much the enemy of the American people as they are the enemy of all who don’t bow down to the Fiend.

    So there are two very separate and very distinct “we”s.

    The reason we can be sure the problems being caused in Venezuela are being done so by the Deepstate ‘Americans’, is because Trump appointed one of the worst Deepstate scumfucks to look after “our” interests down there; Eliot Abrams – a scumfuck of the highest order, and an existential enemy of Joe the Plumber and all Americans of good will.

    It would be good if this distinction between the two “we”s, could be made more routinely. IMHO

  39. olde reb says:

    OPEN LETTER TO CON gress
    ******************************
    Dear CONGRESSCRITTER,

    Why is congress allowing the continual buildup of military forces in Syria for an oil pipeline for Wall Street, assisting a coup in Venezuela to have Wall Street acquire control of their oil and gold sources, and continuing the occupation of Afghanistan for the growth of opium—among many other examples ? The death of our sons and daughters for world domination, and the fiscal destruction of our nation, to satisfy the economic objectives of Wall Street is not adequate justification.

    When I see that congress understands and investigates how the Federal Reserve is used by Wall Street to embezzle trillions of dollars from the people [via government] (Ref. https://thedailycoin.org/2018/08/16/a-look-at-the-federal-reserve-through-a-different-lens/) , and how the fraudulent income tax is perpetuated on an uninformed citizenry (http://www.usa-the-republic.com/revenue/liberty/index.html), then I will believe congress is not a disguised deep state minion and extorting the public by taxation and inflation to secure an affluent life style for themselves.

    Your constituent,

  40. anon[228] • Disclaimer says:
    @Captain Willard

    But folks thinking we have designs on Venezuela are just nuts. ”

    How does one prove what is in the mind of someone else?

  41. Here’s an idea. Venezuelan politics is none of our business. We have been sorting out South American polity since the 1800’s — it might be a novel idea to let them figure or fight it out among themselves.

    As for the banking and financial practices, it is my understanding that since BAsel 1 and 2 and 3 —

    we have been following their lead and that of europe — we should leave that alone as well.

  42. Agent76 says:

    Feb 4, 2019 Abby Martin: Hands Off Venezuela

    We need your voice to speak up against another U.S. war for oil.

    Feb 3, 2019 Venezuela’s Oil Enough for World’s 30 Year Energy Needs

    The long bankrupt fiat financial system is pushing the Deep State to target Venezuela for the latter’s natural resources that dwarfs that of its satellite province Saudi Arabia.

    https://geopolitics.co/2019/02/03/venezuelas-oil-enough-for-worlds-30-year-energy-needs/

  43. Wally says:
    @Matthias Eckert

    except:

    The US is sitting on a veritable ocean of oil.

    America’s Oil And Gas Reserves Double With Massive New Permian Discovery
    https://www.forbes.com/sites/arielcohen/2018/12/21/americas-oil-and-gas-reserves-double-with-massive-new-permian-discovery/#60fceb432c91
    exc.:
    “America’s energy security just got a lot more secure. On November 28 The United States Geological Survey (USGS) published an assessment of continuous (unconventional or ‘tight’) resources in a part of the prolific Permian oil and gas basin that straddles Western Texas and Southeastern New Mexico. Located in the Wolfcamp Shale and overlying Bone Spring Formation, the unproven, technically recoverable reserves are officially the largest on the planet.”

    Then add in the rest of the continental US and then Alaska … oil galore.

    • Replies: @Vidi
  44. Wally says:
    @Tom Welsh

    Those that sell it need to do so as much if not more than those that buy it. The world is awash in oil.

    Dollars will continue to be gladly accepted as long as other countries central banks do what ours does, if not worse than what ours does.

    • Replies: @Vidi
    , @Matthias Eckert
  45. annamaria says:
    @Commentator Mike

    Thank you for the link.
    The empire of crooks and fakery: https://anationbeguiled.wordpress.com/2011/06/14/us-sells-fake-gold-bars-to-china/

    “…an admission that the Federal Reserve has been involved with the fake gold bar swaps and that it refuses to disclose any information about its activities!”

  46. /lasse says:
    @Johnny Walker Read

    Natural resources get its value by the knowledge to create something useful out of them. The economy is human activities, the way we create value by using our knowledge and talents.
    As Hudson say Chavez tried to create at mixed economy. Its not an easy task, something that takes long time, e.g. raising the general educational level, infrastructure, health and so on.
    If Chavez and PSUV did approach this task good or bad I do not know.
    As I understand are Venezuela a country riddled with enormous obstacles to achieve this. It probably needs a high amount of social capital. Add on western hostility that third world countries do this.
    The prime example of success in fairly modern times are countries in Asia with national unity and rather authoritarian government.

    • Replies: @MEFOBILLS
  47. Mike P says:
    @Rurik

    But folks thinking we have designs on Venezuela are just nuts

    the first thing that’s necessary is to define who “we” are.

    To which I reply, with Nancy Pelosi: (((that is who we are))) !

  48. mike k says:
    @Matthias Eckert

    Blaming the victims of US aggression.

    • Replies: @Matthias Eckert
  49. annamaria says:
    @Matthias Eckert

    “This interview is a whitewash for the Venezuelan government … They had 20 years …”

    — You are not a child, aren’t you? How about the industrial base in the mighty US?
    There is also the US infrastructure, the improvement of which requires some $4 trillion… “They” (the richest country in the world) had how many years?

    Besides, the main point of the article is in a color graph showing % of votes /% of all registered voters.

    Look again at the graph, carefully. What are the numbers for Mr. Guaido? Have not we seen enough of “democracy on the march” and other US-led “improvements” and “humanitarian interventions” in Iraq, Libya, and Ukraine?

    • Replies: @Matthias Eckert
  50. Anon[424] • Disclaimer says:

    Did they pick Guaido just ecause he looks Obamoid ?

  51. phil says:

    Hudson says that he cannot think of anything Maduro can do that he is not already doing.

    Paul Craig Roberts says that Hudson (University of Missouri-Kansas City) is the best economist in the world.

    Wikipedia says that Hudson calls himself a Marxist economist. He used to teach at the New School.

    Let’s get real. According to the Fraser Institute index, on a scale where ‘0″ is pure, hard-core socialism (think North Korea) and 10 is pure capitalism (Hong Kong is close to ‘9’ and Chile is close to ‘8’), Venezuela is 2.88, a lower figure than China had in 1980, when its average living standards were comparable to those in Nigeria, Kenya, and Mozambique.

    US policymakers may well be nefarious, but Venezuela would not be in crisis if it were governed like Chile.

    The Saker is correct when he admits that he himself knows next to nothing about economics, but The Saker is nevertheless a great read when it comes to Russia, Israel, the Middle East, and Ukraine. Thanks to Ron Unz for making his writings accessible to a broader audience.

    • Replies: @EliteCommInc.
  52. Wade says:
    @HiHo

    I hear this a lot and for all I know it might be entirely true. However, I *never* see anyone reference any proof that the Rothschild family actually controls the IMF or World Bank. Circumstantially, it makes sense. The official history is that the IMF took over the roll of lender of last resort to nations from the Rothschilds sometime I believe after WWII. Being a lender of last resort implies huge amounts of power over nations via influencing their internal political system and economic development. Why would the Rothschild family give up that level of power voluntarily to a democratic body if they weren’t forced to? So, it’s entirely possible that they control the IMF and/or World Bank through some back-channel means.

    Still, I’ve never seen this documented anywhere. Am I missing some crucial book or historical account that convincingly establishes that the Rothschilds (or some other private set of families, Schiffs, Warburgs, Goldman, Sachs, etc.) control the international banking system?

    I feel strongly that the IMF/World Bank, like The Fed, are indeed controlled by private interests. I would appreciate someone pointing me to something that demonstrates the “who” and “how” of this theory though.

  53. Vidi says:
    @Wally

    “America’s energy security just got a lot more secure …. Located in the Wolfcamp Shale and overlying Bone Spring Formation, the unproven, technically recoverable reserves are officially the largest on the planet.”

    None of these breathlessly optimistic articles say how expensive it will be to get this oil. If a dollar’s worth of oil costs you more than a dollar to recover, you are obviously losing in the deal. If you print the dollars, your entire economy loses.

    • Replies: @Wally
  54. Cyrano says:

    You’d think that US and Venezuela have lot in common and that they should build their relationship based on some similar bad experiences that they have suffered in the last few years.

    After all, both countries had their presidents installed by an unfriendly foreign power – in the case of US – that was Russia and in the case of Venezuela – that’s US that did them the favor of choosing the proper president for them.

    It’s common knowledge now that without the Russian interference in the US electoral system – which as we all know works like a clockwork (orange), Trump would have never been elected as president of US – because that’s not who they are.

    And now the US – embittered by that experience -has decided to do the same thing to Venezuela. I see bad Russian influence everywhere. I think that indirectly – Russia is responsible for the crisis in Venezuela. If they hadn’t elected Trump for president in US, it would have never occurred to the Americans that it could be done. That’s not how democracies work.

    • LOL: apollonian
    • Replies: @m___
  55. annamaria says:

    A magical country of Canada, where banderites unite with zionists: https://www.counterpunch.org/2019/02/06/bloody-canada-cheerleading-the-lima-groups-plot-to-overthrow-the-government-of-venezuela/ “Bloody Canada: Cheerleading the Lima Group’s Plot to Overthrow the Government of Venezuela”

    Guaido’s party Voluntad Popular (VP), is the most violent and right wing opposition party in Venezuela. One of its leaders, Maria Corina Machado was interviewed on the public Canadian Broadcasting Company (CBC) on Feb. 1. She has openly, repeatedly, shamelessly and in front of numerous TV and radio cameras, urged mobs to violence and she has most recently publicly threatened the life of President Maduro. She has also been invited to speak with Ottawa politicians.

    Guaidó and his party carried out the terrible street violence of 2014, which they named “La Salida” (The Exit). It resulted in 114 innocent people being killed. Several young men were burned alive suspected of being “Chavistas”. This was the worst street violence ever seen on the streets of Venezuela. The leader of the party, Leopoldo López was jailed, after a long and fair trial with the best lawyers money can buy, sentenced for his responsibility for unleashing this terror and the ensuing 114 deaths.

    Guaidó, a son of Spanish immigrants, is a useful idiot, a thug who will be thrown into the trashcan of history for his treason. He does not command any type of institution, not one policeman, not one ministry, no official agency of any sort. He is a president in his own mind and that of the USA Embassy where he is holed out.

    And who is the ideological leader of Canada? — Certain Chrystia Freeland, a proud progeny of a famous Nazi-collaborator Chernyak and an active banderite herself (and, unsurprisingly, a darling of Jewish Community of Canada and Israel: https://www.cjnews.com/news/canada/chrystia-freeland-discusses-her-trip-to-israel-during-speech-at-toronto-shul).

    Exxon Mobil wants the oil. The international banks want the gold. Colombia wants to control or possess the eastern oil rich area next to its border. Brazil wants carte blanche for its big energy corporation. Guyana wants the Esequivo region on the eastern border handed to them – that is, to Exxon Mobil, and Paraguay wants the huge debt it owes to Venezuela to quietly disappear. And it is not a wild guess to think that Canada obtained its recent Free Trade deal with Trump as a quid-pro-quo: lead the charge against Venezuela and you get your deal. And the oil producers in Canada (mostly USA owned) will shed no tears over the destruction of Venezuelan crude production. Make no mistake about it, these are the modern carpetbaggers.

    • Agree: Robjil
    • Replies: @Lot
  56. @Matthias Eckert

    Suppose everything you say is spot on accurate. I am unclear why I need to support meddling in their affairs.

    I suspect we have plenty of corruption, malfeasance, infair practices right here at home.

    • Replies: @Matthias Eckert
  57. Vidi says:
    @Wally

    Dollars will continue to be gladly accepted as long as other countries central banks do what ours does, if not worse than what ours does.

    In 2015, 52% of international payments used the US dollar (link).
    In 2017, 40% of international payments used the US d0llar (link). Just two years later.

    (Those links are to SWIFT, the system used for international payments; if anyone should know, it’s these people.)

    In other words, countries are using the US dollar less and less, and the need for dollars grows less and less, quite rapidly.

  58. @phil

    I can certainly support a case against intervention without embracing Dr. Hudson’s advocacy for socialist and marxian correction — or rather national economic and social overhaul.

  59. Moi says:
    @Reuben Kaspate

    Americans BS themselves by thinking they are basically nice people. Obviously, they’ve not read their own history.

  60. I’m not familiar with Michael Hudson, but from his answers he is clearly inept as an economist.

    The Saker: What in your opinion should Maduro do next (assuming he stays in power and the USA does not overthrow him) to rescue the Venezuelan economy?

    Michael Hudson: I cannot think of anything that President Maduro can do that he is not doing.

    So, it wouldn’t help for Maduro to eliminate the preposterous centrally-dictated price controls that preclude all profit making enterprise?

    It wouldn’t help to end hyperinflation by not paying government bills with printed money?

    It wouldn’t help to privatize the crony-run government oil industry that can’t even manage to pump free oil out of the ground?

    If Hudson can’t look at the single worst-run economy in the world and come up with at least one positive recommendation for change, he is pretty useless indeed.

    • Replies: @Anon
  61. The US has been working to get to the point of invading Venezuela for a while now. They just needed to wait for 2 things to fall into place. The election of Duque in Colombia and Bolsanado in Brazil. Now that they have these two ultraright wing leaders to provide the brunt of the invasion force, they can begin to execute their plan. There’s a youtuber in Florida that has been on top of this plan for a while now, informing his followers. Here’s a link to his Florida Maquis site:

    10 steps to understand what really happened in Venezuela

    I’ll attach a couple more links about Chavez talking about the Jews and the Assasination of Chavez.

    Shocking! Netanyahu

    The Assasination of Hugo Chavez

    Blackstone Intelligence has an interesting video that focuses on articles from The Economists. I will also attach:

    How NeoCons are helping the Bankers take over Venezuela

    There are also three or four books written by Anna Lilia Perez with regard to the sacking of PEMEX by the previous 4 presidents. She names Blackrock, the Carlyle Group and numerous Banks in the conspiracy. 60% of Mexican oil was being loaded on Tankers and sold in the Black Market. Google her name and you can get a list of her books. There is so much information in her books, information she had to fight in court to get copies. She had to move to Germany because of threats she received.

    Today the new president shut down 26 of the 56 shell companies created under another shell company of PEMEX, PEMEX International. The government is having a hard time investigating these company’s books because they claim to be private companies. They found a refinery in Texas that they didn’t even know existed, that is half owned by Royal Dutch Shell. 200 million dollars a year in buisness and none of it is shown on PEMEX’s books.

    New York Times Article:

    Mexico could press bribery charges, it just hasn’t
    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/11/world/americas/mexico-odebrecht-investigation.html

    • Replies: @Sowhat
  62. McBride says:
    @Michael Kenny

    Putin does not need to win, only impose more pain on the US than he himself suffers. If Maduro stays in power, that is a big win for Russia and further proves their ability to stand up the US of A. Venezuela would prove Syria was not just luck but the start of a changing tide. If Guaido eventually takes power, it will have costed the US much more now that Russia is there. A couple old planes and 400 Russian special forces means that the US needed to put 5000 troops in Colombia. When you stand up to a bully, you don’t need to win, but to prove it’s not worth going after you in the future.

    • Replies: @Matthias Eckert
  63. @Wally

    46 billion barrels of oil sounds a lot but isn’t so much when considered that the US is currently extracting about 13 million and burning about 20 million barrels a day.
    Besides this I second Vidi. It is an assessment. Even when made in good faith it can be far off the mark for bad or worse. If made to reinforce the fracking hype/bubble it is likely higher than the real reserves.

    • Replies: @Wally
  64. @Rurik

    That there have been the likes of Lincoln, Sherman, McKinley, Roosevelt the Elder, Wilson, Rhodes, Churchill, Roosevelt the Younger, Eisenhower, Dulles, Casey, Abrams, Bush the Senator, Poppy Bush, and Junior Bush, Nixon, Johnson, Kennedy, Kristol the Elder, Kristol the Younger, Lodge, Moynihan, Javits, Perles, Wolfowitz, Feith, Krauthammer, Frum, Kagan, Libby, Kissinger, Ford, Reagan, Carter, Turner, Hoover, Colby, Podhoretz the Elder, Podhoretz the Younger, Pipes, Boot, Ashcroft, Carter, Vance, Mika’s dad, Tower, Simpson, Percy, Cranston, Glenn, Rubio, Proxmire, Graham of Florida, Graham the sissy of South Carolina and his top, the “war hero” McCain, Metzenbaum, Humphrey, Mondale, Schwartzkopf, Wilson, DeConcini, Weicher, Ribicoff, Levin, Specter, Kohl, Lieberman, Feinstein, Schumer, Comey, Mueller, Clinton the chubby chaser and his bridezilla, Albright, Kerry, Cohen, Blumenthal, Dole, Sessions, and all of the crony-capitalists of the last 150 years,

    DOES NOT THEREBY MEAN THAT THERE ARE NOT ROTTEN, MURDEROUS SOCIALISTS AND COMMUNITSTS ELSEWHERE.

    • Replies: @EliteCommInc.
    , @Rurik
  65. joe webb says:

    What is the sound of two True Believers in the great sentimental lie, Racial Equality, clucking.

    This article . It is the Colossus of the North….and those damned anglo-zionists exploiting the poor folks, especially if they are coloreds.

    Joe Webb

  66. m___ says:
    @Cyrano

    Appreciating the humor, BMI of the actors, and the elegance of the choir.

  67. @annamaria

    Despite not being a child I don’t know whats wrong with being a child, as long as the child is well mannered and doesn’t resort to name calling when addressing people with different views.

    Nowhere did I blame the Chavistas for not building a first world infrastructure within 20 years. I blamed them for worsening the situation in Venezuela which they, I have visited Venezuela and have contacts there, did. And they did that despite having the blessing of high oil prices and the USA being busy in the “war on terror” for much of the start of this century.
    Taking down such a topic to a graph seems pretty superficially to me. But even if you believe the Venezuelan elections of 2018 weren’t rigged, even by the official numbers the opposition won the parliament elections in 2015 but Maduro simply chose to ignore the parliament.

    Furthermore I never advocated an american intervention in Venezuela. I also oppose foreign interventions in Iraq, Libya or Ukraine, be them American or Russian.

    • Replies: @annamaria
    , @annamaria
  68. tac says:

    Venezuela has claimed to have unveiled a mass conspiracy involving military personnel and politicians trying to unseat the country’s government by force, as well as plans of potential U.S. military action.

    Venezuelan Communications Minister Jorge Rodriguez has alleged that Julio Borges, an opposition politician and former head of the National Assembly, was behind both a failed 2014 coup and an assassination attempt last August against Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro. The information was allegedly gathered by confessions from recently-arrested Colonel Oswaldo García, who was behind another unsuccessful conspiracy to unseat Maduro last year and was seen confessing on video during Thursday’s conference.

    https://www.newsweek.com/venezuela-plot-kill-president-us-action-1322816

    The (un)constitutionality of Juan Guaido’s claim to power

    Labour Party Rejects EU’s Recognition of Guaido, Meddling in Venezuela’s Affairs

  69. George says:

    The Paraguaná Refinery Complex is a crude oil refinery complex in Venezuela. It is considered the world’s third largest refinery complex …

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paraguan%C3%A1_Refinery_Complex

    There might be quality problems, or maybe this article is propaganda.

    Venezuela’s deteriorating oil quality riles major refiners
    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-venezuela-oil-insight/venezuelas-deteriorating-oil-quality-riles-major-refiners-idUSKBN1CN2EO

  70. Vidi says:
    @Captain Willard

    We just got done conquering Iraq. We haven’t stayed to loot the oil.

    The US has NOT successfully conquered Iraq (has not pacified the country). Oil is not like a bag of diamonds, which you can grab and run. In order to steal a worthwhile amount of the greasy stuff, you have to make a substantial investment up front, in wells and shipping terminals. Not even the greediest thief will risk his money if there is even the slightest chance that his wells and terminals will be blown up by righteous nationalists. This is why the US hasn’t stolen much from Iraq.

    So now you believe we’re going to Venezuela to take their crappy heavy oil?

    That the US hasn’t been able to steal much from Iraq tells us little about whether the Americans have larcenous motives with regard to Venezuela. Especially as Trump has been talking loudly about the oil.

    It would be easier for us just to build a pipeline to Alberta and import all their cheap, shut-in heavy crude.

    Never underestimate the greed.

  71. anon[228] • Disclaimer says:
    @Captain Willard

    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/08/world/americas/donald-trump-venezuela-military-coup.html
    The Trump administration held secret meetings with rebellious military officers from Venezuela over the last year to discuss their plans to overthrow President Nicolás Maduro, according to American officials and a former Venezuelan military commander who participated in the talks.

    But one of the Venezuelan military commanders involved in the secret talks was hardly an ideal figure to help restore democracy: He is on the American government’s own sanctions list of corrupt officials in Venezuela.

    American officials eventually decided not to help the plotters, and the coup plans stalled. But the Trump administration’s willingness to meet several times with mutinous officers intent on toppling a presiden

    Beyond the coup plot, Mr. Maduro’s government has already fended off several small-scale attacks, including salvos from a helicopter last year and exploding drones as he gave a speech in August. The attacks have added to the sense that the president is vulnerable.
    Venezuelan military officials sought direct access to the American government during Barack Obama’s presidency, only to be rebuffed, officials said.

    Then in August of last year, President Trump declared that the United States had a “military option” for Venezuela

    In a series of covert meetings abroad, which began last fall and continued this year, the military officers told the American government that they represented a few hundred members of the armed forces who had soured on Mr. Maduro’s authoritarianism.
    The officers asked the United States to supply them with encrypted radios, citing the need to communicate securely, as they developed a plan to install a transitional government to run the country until elections could be held.
    American officials did not provide material support, and the plans unraveled after a recent crackdown that led to the arrest of dozens of the plotters.

    They later planned to take power in March, the former officer said, but that plan leaked.

    It is unclear how many of these details the coup planners shared with the Americans. But there is no indication that Mr. Maduro knew the mutinous officers were talking to the Americans at all.
    For any of the plots to have worked, the former commander said, he and his comrades believed they needed to detain Mr. Maduro and other top government figures simultaneously. To do that, he added, the rebel officers needed a way to communicate securely. They made their request during their second meeting with the American diplomat, which took place last year.

    the Venezuelan plotters could view the meetings as tacit approval of their plans, argued Peter Kornbluh, a historian at the National Security Archive at George Washington University.

    • Replies: @Captain Willard
  72. Anyone with a brain always knew that Maduro is more legitimate than Trump, May, Sanchez, or Macron. Now we have the numbers confirming that. Anyone with a brain knew that the Guaido personage is no more than the puppet of the Empire, a nonentity with zero legitimacy.

    But key point is, the US actions against Venezuela are not about legitimacy, they are about oil and money. A robber takes your valuables not because you are not legitimate enough, but because he is a robber. That’s the whole point, the rest is hot air.

    • Replies: @yurivku
  73. @mike k

    I try to separate the effects of US aggression from that effects of the Venezuelan governments own failures.
    I agree with what another commentator pointed out. US influence in Latin America is often overestimated. In my opinion by both the “left” who see it as cause of most problems and the “right” who tend to see it positive.
    Certain groups in Latin America tend to ally with the US. But they do this so they can easier to pursue their own interests. For example imho Pinochet would have successfully overthrown Allende in Chile even without US support. Latin Americans aren’t mindless puppets that are controlled and played from Washington. Moscow or Beijing.

    • Replies: @anon
  74. Let us not forget the following about Hugo Chavez:

    1. He grew up idolizing Castro and Mao.

    2. Almost all of his adult life was spent in the public sector playing the parasite.

    3. He never made, produced, or traded upon a voluntary, consensual basis.

    4. He attempted seize power in 1992 by violence resulting in the deaths of scores of civilians. Note that he resorted to thuggish, violent means, like all socialists, to achieve his ends.

    5. While visiting the Chi-coms, he admitted that he had been a Maoist all his life.

    6. He seized small businesses, medium sized businesses, and large businesses. He seized radio stations, tee vee stations, banks, trucking companies, sugar plantations, sugar processing plants, cement companies, construction companies, and oil service companies to name a few.

    7. Caracas became the murder capital of the world under him. Sure, some of this is to be attributed to the lesser moral and spiritual stock of black and brown people, but much of it was attributable to Chavez and his gangster state.

    • Replies: @bluedog
  75. Sowhat says:
    @Biff

    Nailed it.
    Why does it continue to work?
    What could Americans do to stop the madness?

  76. @EliteCommInc.

    I don’t advocate and American (supposed you are American or British) intervention in Venezuela. I merely wanted to point out that this article/interview one sided and and therefore not better that the bullshit the Murdoch media and their likes are probably spreading lately.

  77. anon[228] • Disclaimer says:
    @Captain Willard

    A key to Chavez’s current weakness is the decline in the electricity sector. There is the grave possibility that some 70 percent of the country’s electricity grid could go dark as soon as April 2010. Water levels at the Guris dam are dropping, and Chavez has been unable to reduce consumption sufficiently to compensate for the deteriorating industry. This could be the watershed event, as there is little that Chavez can do to protect the poor from the failure of that system. This would likely have the impact of galvanizing public unrest in a way that no opposition group could ever hope to generate. At that point in time, an opposition group would be best served to take advantage of the situation and spin it against Chavez and towards their needs. Alliances with the military could be critical because in such a situation of massive public unrest and rejection of the presidency, malcontent sectors of the military will likely decide to intervene, but only if they believe they have sufficient support. This has been the pattern in the past three coup attempts. Where the military thought it had enough support, there was a failure in the public to respond positively (or the public responded in the negative), so the coup failed.—
    The GiFiles,
    Files released: 5543061
    The GiFiles
    Specified Search

    https://search.wikileaks.org/gifiles/?viewemailid=218642

  78. anon[228] • Disclaimer says:
    @Matthias Eckert

    For example imho Pinochet would have successfully overthrown Allende in Chile even without US support”

    This is called softening of arguments and doubt and making room for possible exoneration of US.

    Tomorrow we will hear that Haiti’s Aristides would have been forced by Haitian to board plane and leave

    Tomorrow we will know that Honduran president would have been anyways sent to the pasture of retirement by some military without Clinton’s ( Mrs this time ).

  79. anon[228] • Disclaimer says:
    @Matthias Eckert

    1 “Soldiers eat out of garbage cans & their families go hungry in Venezuela while Maduro & friends live like kings & block humanitarian aid,” Mr. Rubio wrote. He then added: “The world would support the Armed Forces in #Venezuela if they decide to protect the people & restore democracy by removing a dictator.”

    2

    In a speech in April, when he was still White House policy chief for Latin America, Mr. Cruz issued a message to the Venezuelan military. Referring to Mr. Maduro as a “madman,” Mr. Cruz said all Venezuelans should “urge the military to respect the oath they took to perform their functions. Honor your oath.”

    3
    Roberta Jacobson, a former ambassador to Mexico who preceded Ms. Aponte as the top State Department official for Latin America policy, said that while Washington has long regarded the Venezuelan military as “widely corrupt, deeply involved in narcotics trafficking and very unsavory,” she saw merit in establishing a back channel with some of them

    4. Mr. Tillerson raised the potential for a military coup.
    “When things are so bad that the military leadership realizes that it just can’t serve the citizens anymore, they will manage a peaceful transition,” he said.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/08/world/americas/donald-trump-venezuela-military-coup.html

    what more do you to see or hear or read before you believe that US had been hyper -focused and heavily engaged and entirely illegally to destroy Valenzuela independence form crony capitalism?

  80. @Tom Welsh

    You remind me to see if I can find time to read the book of essays or lectures which recently followed up Keynes’s 1930/31 “Economic Possibilities of our Grandchildren”. I think he clearly overestimated the likelihood of the average human devising and enjoying a modern equivalent of our luckier Paleo ancestors’ 15 hours a week to feed themselves and the rest fun and music, dance, painting and sculpture. Advertisers’ creating wants was only just beginning when he wrote and the ruling classes weren’t so ruthlessly selfish as they now appear to be. But increased life expectancy is another factor. And I have seen it suggested that Keynes wasn’t wrong about the extra leisure, merely about its distribution over a lifetime. I don’t suppose he factored in the pressure to keep education going to the late 20s and, in every case, beyond the age of 14….

  81. @Matthias Eckert

    As to you PS… What do you say about “that’s a typical Labour/Conservative/Liberal policy” or “I prefer Georgian to Victorian furniture”?

  82. bluedog says:
    @Liberty Mike

    And yet that’s Venezuelan choice or problems none of the shinning light upon the hill,but I forget the empire is in decline and some say the decline is much faster than they had thought,and look at it this way how many can say that they saw an empire fade away before their eyes.,Indeed what a blessed day that will be.!!!

    • Agree: Sowhat
    • Replies: @EliteCommInc.
  83. @Matthias Eckert

    I don’t subscribe the socialist agenda, but I am mindful of the critique that the US is exacerbating an issue that is the internal business of Venezuelans. I support this executive, I support the US. I support our military and intelligence community.

    However, I am loathe to stay silent about another needless intervention, that violates the sovereignty of another state, that poses no threat to the US or in violation of some humanitarian wrong being perpetrated — and in that the magnitude of which isn’t a mist drop case for forceful intervention in Venezuela.

  84. @Liberty Mike

    As to your list . . .

    Nonsense. This mish-mash of leaders who engaged a multitude of dynamics is a mighty threadbare case for the very same reasons.

    • Troll: Rurik
  85. @Michael Kenny

    Truly, you are a giant among pygmies.

  86. @anon

    It was in The NY Times, so it must be true

  87. @bluedog

    You have a peculiar notion of “blessed” the departure of the US depending on how abrupt and in what manner will earthquake the planet by several magnitude 9pts plus and it will do so multiple times.

    Anyone hoping for the demise of the US doesn’t comprehend the scale or the dimension of US influence.

    • Replies: @bluedog
  88. @Vidi

    We just got done occupying Iraq for years at great expense. We could’ve easily taken the oil if we were so inclined, especially since a lot of it is in Kurdistan where we have allies who would’ve welcomed our protection.

    Meanwhile Iraq has pipelines, terminals at Basra etc we could have refurbished and operated.

    You’re comically ignorant about the oil business.
    But now give us your insights into Venezuela please.

    • Replies: @Vidi
    , @Biff
  89. @Rurik

    Well said. I’m no fan of our foreign wars or Elliot Abrams. Average Joe Sixpack guys like me have no interest in Venezuela. I haven’t been there in years, or at least since the preChavez days. My friends down there all left. Sad.

    I hope we stay out of it. Even our Deep State can’t be stupid enough to get involved.

    • Replies: @Rurik
  90. Hibernian says:
    @Matthias Eckert

    Every language has its peculiar rules. Condemning them is worthy only of a junior high school kid.

  91. @Vidi

    Iraq currently produces on a daily sustained basis at least 50 percent more oil than it ever did prior to 2003. Fact.

    That oil flows to American allies and China to maintain their economies under the protection of the U.S.Navy.

    The U.S. doesn’t need to steal anything.

    • Replies: @Vidi
  92. ‘Murican Exceptionalist,

    “Democracy means never having to say you’re sorry.”

  93. Vidi says:
    @Captain Willard

    We just got done occupying Iraq for years at great expense. We could’ve easily taken the oil if we were so inclined, especially since a lot of it is in Kurdistan where we have allies who would’ve welcomed our protection.

    So US soldiers or mercenaries aren’t dying in Iraq anymore. Wait, they are still being killed? Securing the wells, pipelines, and shipping terminals needed to steal a substantial amount of oil will be done “easily”?

    Meanwhile Iraq has pipelines, terminals at Basra etc we could have refurbished and operated.

    And they would be blown up, continuously, and the U.S. would have to keep refurbishing them, continuously, to the point that the oil would not be profitable. This is why the US hasn’t been able to steal much from Iraq.

    Something similar will probably happen in Venezuela, but that prospect doesn’t stop Trump from talking very loudly about taking the country’s oil.

    You’re comically ignorant about the oil business.

    Insults are the tactics of losers.

  94. Biff says:
    @Captain Willard

    It’s not always about taking oil – often it is about controlling the spigot, and keeping it out of the hands of other economies and their military.

  95. Vidi says:
    @Tom Welsh

    Keynes and others of his close acquaintance, such as Bertrand Russell, knew very well that, even in the 1920s, advanced nations could easily function and provide a good standard of living if everyone worked a 30-hour week.

    Indeed. In Russell’s 1932 essay In Praise of Idleness (link), he demonstrates this quite convincingly:

    Modern technic has made it possible to diminish enormously the amount of labor necessary to produce the necessaries of life for every one. This was made obvious during the War. At that time all the men in the armed forces, all the men and women engaged in the production of munitions, all the men and women engaged in spying, war propaganda, or government offices connected with the War were withdrawn from productive occupations. In spite of this, the general level of physical well-being among wage-earners on the side of the Allies was higher than before or since.

  96. RI says:
    @Captain Willard

    Then, why don’t you stop messing everywhere?

    • Replies: @Captain Willard
  97. Venezuela–
    Neocons do their rain dance with maracas.
    Reconquista–
    Can’t wait to make a carcass of Caracas.

  98. tac says:
    @Captain Willard

    We just got done conquering Iraq. We haven’t stayed to loot the oil.

    What ignorance displayed in such an assertion!!!

    I’ve posted on this very topic here before so I will not rehash except to provide you with search material so that you can research and learn or (if you are a troll) try a better argument than your fallacious one. The US NEVER needed Iraqi oil …. then why did they risk American soldiers’ lives to do so and invade Iraq? The answer: The elephant in the room=Israel!!!

    U.S. oil expert Gary Vogler discusses the plan for Israel to get Iraqi oil

    Oil insider Gary Vogler writes of the Iraq war: “The oil agenda I discovered and experienced was to supply Iraq oil to Israel.” The players were the neocons in the Bush Administration… Paul Wolfowitz, Douglas Feith, Lewis Libby, Marc Zell, and others

    https://israelpalestinenews.org/oil-for-israel-the-truth-about-the-iraq-war-15-years-later/

    • Replies: @Johnny Rico
    , @tac
  99. tac says:

    Perhaps the [s]election of Trump will hasten what has been in works as a result of US’ foreign policy heretofore–induced by Israel and its fifth column, at the very least least since 9/11: a realization of US hegemony, arrogance and disdain for its own (populace) representative interests.

    The need to get out from this imperious foreign policy disaster has had the side-effect of precipitous collaboration amongst some of unlikely bedfellows, as a result of the inescapable recognition of this pronounced and inevitable fate–sooner-than-later–to form alliances (even against their respective natural distrust in the face to this ever belligerent Goliath).

    The growing multi-polar world is one that will, in the end, be the the best countermeasure to the runaway narcissism of [exceptional–as it believes itself to be ever more so arrogantly] the dominant empires of the world. For a mistake by an empire–any empire henceforth–has a real potential to extinguish life as we know it heretofore. Think of it as the ‘Oded Yinon’ plan for the Earth: the balkanization of [potential] world empires: the US a prima facie evidence thereof!

  100. tac says:
    @tac

    Not sure why the video I posted in conjunction with my reply did not post. Here it is again:

  101. tac says:
    @Johnny Rico

    Convincing argument! TROLL alert…

  102. annamaria says:
    @Matthias Eckert

    “But even if you believe the Venezuelan elections of 2018 weren’t rigged…”

    — Tell us, Matthias Eckert, what Venezuelan elections have been won by certain Mr. Guaido? What exactly makes this miserable puppet into a legitimate contestant to Maduro? http://thesaker.is/venezuela-the-straw-that-breaks-the-empires-back/

    the NED (National Endowment for Democracy), the extended arm of the CIA, has for the last two decades trained funded and infiltrated ‘traitor’ agents into Venezuela, with the goal to assist the opposition to foment unrest, to carry out assassinations and other ‘false flags’, and to simply create chaos and unrest. However, some of these agents are also lodged in Venezuela’s financial institutions, as the Fifth Column, where they sabotage – often with threats – any economic policies that could rescue Venezuela from its economic predicament.

    More:

    Both Chavez and Maduro had very little leeway of doing differently what they have already done. Sanctions, boycotts, outside money manipulations, driving inflation to astronomical levels and constant smear propaganda, these predicaments are biting hard. The US has a firm grip on Venezuela’s dollar dependency.

    Last week, Washington confiscated about US$ 23 billion Venezuela’s reserve money in US banks, blocked them from use by the legitimate Maduro government, and, instead, handed them to their US-appointed, puppet, never elected, “president”, Juan Guaidó. – He is now able to use Venezuela’s money in his US-EU-and Lima-Group supported “shadow” government. Will he dare?

  103. annamaria says:
    @Matthias Eckert

    How come that the most corrupt, amoral, and hypocritical profiteers of all stripes have been making “righteous” noises about “very bad” Maduro while supporting the agnus dei Guaido? The puppet has zero political capital in Venezuela but enjoys the well-established connections to the CIA and State Dept. http://thesaker.is/venezuela-the-straw-that-breaks-the-empires-back/

    It seems that you are perfectly content with the US choice of the pliable and ambitious idiot that has never won Venezuelan elections and thus is protected from the accusations in “rigged elections.”

    • Replies: @tac
  104. Mike G says:
    @Biff

    and they are Russian Agents

    • Replies: @yurivku
    , @annamaria
  105. map says:
    @Tom Welsh

    Nixon got us off the gold standard.

    The economists that recommended that were James Tobin and Milton Friedman.

    The old Breton Woods system and the gold standard worked very well.

    This is crude oil under the gold standard.

  106. map says:
    @Rurik

    Because all communism is war against the bourgeoisie.

    The bourgeoisie is the middle class.

  107. map says:

    I hope someone can explain this to me.

    Venezuela’s oil “industry” was built entirely by US companies. They did not do so as a matter of charity. They did so to turn a profit. The Venezuelans were more than welcome to turn down any of the development if they felt the deal was not in their best interest. They chose not to do so and instead went ahead and took the hard bargain.

    Now, once all of the investment was made and production is up and running, a Chavista comes along and promises to change the deal by seizing all of these American assets so the Venezuelan people could get Free Stuff. The response was an attack by the US government for this blatant theft of US property.

    Why does Michael Hudson see the US response as so unconscionable? If Chavez has a beef with the local oligarchs and he wanted them removed for the abuses against the Venezuelan people, then more power to them. Why not leave the American oil assets alone continue with the deal that existed before and simply redirect that wealth to benefit more Venezuelans?
    Had he left the oil companies alone none of Venezuela’s problems would now exist.

    Instead, there was this blatant attack on American oil assets. Why? And why should Chavez be rewarded for doing so with American credit access and market access and hold access? Every tin pot dictator should just be allowed to seize American assets? What if Chavez took American technicians and engineers hostage to keep the equipment going? Would that change Hudson’s opinion?

    Venezuela always has the simplest solution to this problem: develop petroleum engineering resources locally. Have your people become experts in this area and you will never be dependent on foreigners. Instead, these idiots want to blend comparative advantage theories with a Bolivarian revolution.

    The world is awash in oil. All the oil ever drilled since it’s discovery would fill Lake Mead. The United States is the only country where property rights confer mineral rights, dobthere were huge incentives to develop drilling and mining technologies.

  108. Vidi says:
    @Johnny Rico

    Iraq currently produces on a daily sustained basis at least 50 percent more oil than it ever did prior to 2003. Fact.

    That oil flows to American allies and China to maintain their economies under the protection of the U.S.Navy.

    The U.S. doesn’t need to steal anything.

    The US cannot steal the oil. Exxon is limited to 25% of the West Qurna oilfield, or 25% of the field’s current production of about 400,000 barrels per day, or 100,000 barrels per day, or about 2% of Iraq’s current production.

    This isn’t nearly enough for Trump. Which is why he said (early last year, before he fired Rex Tillerson, former Exxon CEO, now former Secretary of State) that the U.S. “should have kept the oil, but, OK, maybe we’ll have another chance” (link).

    Yes, Trump was clearly thinking of Iraq’s oil. Now the grifter wants to steal Venezuela’s oil.

  109. Lot says:
    @kauchai

    Russia and China also loaned Venezuela a lot of money during the Maduro dictatorship.

    Good luck collecting after his fat butt is locked up Gitmo.

    • Replies: @Curmudgeon
  110. Lot says:
    @annamaria

    This handsome young politician of mostly Jewish ancestry (but practicing Christian) may end up the winner of the country’s free elections:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henrique_Capriles

  111. yurivku says:
    @AnonFromTN

    Please see #62

    Americans BS themselves by thinking they are basically nice people. Obviously, they’ve not read their own history.

    Well said!

  112. yurivku says:
    @Mike G

    and they are Russian Agents

    as anybody else

  113. Like I mentioned before, the Venezuelan parliamentary elections in 2015 were won by the opposition, with Guaido winning a seat in that election. Strangely I never came across those CIA trained traitors in Venezuela, neither did any of the Venezuelans I know. Except you consider everyone opposed to the Chavistas a traitor. BTW isn’t it the task of a government to protect its nation from foreign trained and infiltrated traitors? Isn’t a government that in 20 years wasn’t able to clear the countries financial institutions from foreign agents, incompetent and not worth leading a nation. So thanks for making my point.

    But I don’t expect you to really care about this. Given that after I criticize an article as biased and one sided you link, to support that articles views, to the page of the of the very same author. Who seems to be a Russian nationalist pretending he knows and cares what is best for people from Syria to Ukraine to Latin America. And luckily there is Mother Russia ready to defend these people and their interests. Basically The Saker seems no different than the myriad neocon propagandists, just working for another side.

    Just one more question. With all these Russian superweapons The Saker likes to write about. How come Israel and the USA can attack targets in Syria with impunity? When will the superior Russian missiles go into action sweeping the imperialist planes from the sky?

  114. @McBride

    I agree but think Putin would prefer a US attack on Iran. That would likely be costlier for the US than an attack on Venezuela. Will weaken Iran which really is competing for influence in Syria with Russia and will send oil and natural gas prices up a lot more than an attack on Venezuela will. With Russia as a net exporter profiting from higher prices.

  115. @Sowhat

    Your welcome…I live in Mexico and this shit feels to close for comfort. There is a lot o stuff people in the US don’t know. The majority of the information is in Spanish, I might have to break down and translate and share. I appreciate you looking at it.

  116. Rurik says:
    @Liberty Mike

    …and all of the crony-capitalists of the last 150 years,

    DOES NOT THEREBY MEAN THAT THERE ARE NOT ROTTEN, MURDEROUS SOCIALISTS AND COMMUNITSTS ELSEWHERE.

    Nice list Mike.

    Sure, but there was a time when the people knew what to do about treasonous scum.

    What is wrong with two thirds of the British people?

    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/tony-blair-war-criminal-iraq-trial-convicted-yougov-british-people-uk-prme-minister-wmds-dossier-a7870341.html

    are they daft? Corrupt? Terrorized? Murderous?

    What explains their willingness to tolerate a known and obvious war criminal, whose jet setting around the world is mocking the English people as fools or worse.

    We know the rats at the Hague are zio-stooges and corrupt to the bone, but what about the British people?

    This is not off topic, because again we are witness to the machinations of the Fiend vs. Venezuela and Maduro and all people of good will on the earth.

    Eliot Abrams is all the proof anyone needs for understanding who are the good guys (Maduro, Putin, etc..) and who are the minions of the Beast (Trump, May, Trudeau, etc..)

  117. annamaria says:
    @Mike G

    Absolutely!
    https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-02-07/wikileaks-reveals-us-military-use-imf-world-bank-unconventional-weapons ” US Military Use Of IMF, World Bank As “Unconventional” Weapons”

    The document, officially titled “Field Manual (FM) 3-05.130, Army Special Operations Forces Unconventional Warfare” and originally written in September 2008, was recently highlighted by WikiLeaks …

    …the World Bank and the IMF are listed as both Financial Instruments and Diplomatic Instruments of U.S. National Power as well as integral parts of what the manual calls the “current global governance system.”

    Furthermore, the manual states that the U.S. military “understand[s] that properly integrated manipulation of economic power can and should be a component of UW,” meaning that these weapons are a regular feature of unconventional warfare campaigns waged by the United States. …

    In addition to choosing its president, the U.S. is also the bank’s largest shareholder, making it the only member nation to have veto rights. Indeed, as the leaked unconventional warfare manual notes, “As major decisions require an 85% supermajority, the United States can block any major changes” to World Bank policy or the services it offers. Furthermore, the U.S. Treasury Secretary, former Goldman Sachs banker and “foreclosure king,” Steve Mnuchin, functions as the World Bank’s governor.

    … the U.S.-backed “interim president” Juan Guaidó – has already requested IMF funds, and thus IMF-controlled debt, to fund his parallel government.

  118. @map

    Moron!
    There is not much technology in drilling technology.
    There is technology in refining technology.
    And US did not build any refining complexes in Venezuela.
    So please do not speak crap.

    • Replies: @map
  119. Ovidiu says:
    @Matthias Eckert

    Exactly. How that in 20 years the Chavistas have not build a single refinery ?

    • Replies: @annamaria
    , @Vidi
  120. anon[931] • Disclaimer says:

    12Matthias Eckert says:
    February 7, 2019 at 11:27 am GMT • 100 Words
    @Matthias Eckert
    Same goes for almost anything else. Why does Venezuela still have gold deposited in the US and Britain? it’s not like these never seized (not to say stole) foreign assets before.

    Just because the Chavistas are enemies of the American oligarchy doesn’t mean the aren’t oligarchs themselves.

    ——

    Chavistas can loot But the loot will remain in country and be used inside the country unless US allows and plans with it to loot and deposit in US. I doubt Chavsitas will be looting . In that scenario, US wouldn’t need a coup It already has one . It just needs the money to be deposited which Chavsita would do within a heartbeat because internal Venezuelan safe in the basement is not safe at all.

    Now come back to Panama paper – its where 3rd world countries legalize the loot The loot goes to US UK or Swiss . Pak Pres Nawaz kept billions . Indian corporate looted and stashed billion there. Why does the so called western democrat egalitarian honest just countries dos allows these and profit from it? Will Swiss economy survive oneway without the looted goods? Did Cuba did Chavsta ever use them anyway?

    • Replies: @Matthias Eckert
  121. Rurik says:
    @Captain Willard

    Venezuela. I haven’t been there in years

    When I was there many years ago, our guide had an American flag in the window. I asked him why, and he said because of 9/11, and the sympathy the Venezuelan people had for Americans following such a tragic and horrible crime.

    The irony is that as we drove around the outskirts of Caracas, there were huge boulders resting on crushed cars and houses, and other houses barely visible from the mud that had inundated them.

    Omar, our guide, explained to us that there was a recent mudslide that had killed 20 to 30 thousand people. And we in the ZUSA had not even heard a word about it. I guess such an event just isn’t important to the PTB.

    Even our Deep State can’t be stupid enough to get involved.

    I’d like to hope you’re right about this, but when I saw bb say he supports the Juan Guaidó coup, I knew the stooges of the West would follow suit.

    Hopefully there will be enough of a protest from the right people to prevent a civil war down there.

    https://freebeacon.com/national-security/gabbard-us-should-stay-out-of-venezuela-claims-us-involvement-is-about-the-oil/

  122. annamaria says:
    @Ovidiu

    Send Mnukhin and his children to fight for the democracy on the march in Venezuela: https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-02-07/wikileaks-reveals-us-military-use-imf-world-bank-unconventional-weapons
    https://www.rt.com/news/450993-maduro-us-open-letter/

    …politicians in Washington are ready to send their country’s “sons and daughters to die in an absurd war…

    Again, Ovidiu, who has elected the cocky boy Guaido to Venezuelan presidency? — Ziocons?

    Some people are like bosses of Fed Reserve (which is neither federal nor reserve) — they are always ready for “humanitarian” intervention (by using other people’s children as cannon fodder). This cannibalistic plague has already made an epic bloody mess in the Middle East and, by extension, it messed up Europe. The Cheneys and Mnukhins of this world must learn how to live without cannibalizing other countries.
    Time to return to international law.

  123. bluedog says:
    @EliteCommInc.

    Everyone and anyone with the mentality that the world will stop with the demise of the empire should read about past empire’s as they came and then ended up in the dustbin of history, and this one will be no different except for those who are so in love with death and destruction that they can’t see that there’s a better way.!!!

  124. alan says:

    A hearty “Thank You” to the Saker, and to Mr. Hudson for the ‘telling’ interview, and a lusty “Thank You” to The Unz Review for posting. A follow-up comment, if I may, to the closing quote from Mr. Hudson:

    “Second, no country should be obliged to pay foreign debt at the price of losing its domestic autonomy as a state: the right to determine its own foreign policy, to tax and to create its own money, and to be free of having to privatize its public assets to pay foreign creditors. Any such debt is a “bad loan” reflecting the creditor’s own irresponsibility or, even worse, pernicious asset grab in a foreclosure that was the whole point of the loan.”

    ‘Usury’ is the technical expertise of the jew banking cabal; namely, the Fed, IMF, World Bank, Bank of England, Wall Street, City of London, etc., etc., etc. ‘Usury’ has no conscience. ‘Usury’ is soul-less. ‘Usury’ is the heart of the jew mentality. All of the above provocateurs are owned by the jew banking cabal. Coincidence? Not hardly. And please, before any of you begin to screech ‘anti-semitism’, the jew has nothing in common with the Tribe of Judah, one of the twelve descendants of Jacob, of whom the current international jew community has perverted the name of by calling themselves ‘Israel’. The supplanting process of Jacob to Israel is a heart condition; period. The international zion jew is nothing more than a satanic impostor to honesty. Can anyone say ‘Palestine’? (Actually, ‘Philistia’) And ‘semitism’ doesn’t mean what the international jew has told you it means. ‘Tis time to awaken, Sleepers, and don your righteous identities.

  125. Patricus says:

    Whenever a sordid socialistic regime rises then collapses they are sure to receive suport by the enlightened Russians, Cubans, Chinese, Nicaraguans, North Koreans, etc., etc. America and the West are flawed nations without a doubt but the totalitarians are repulsive.

    • Replies: @annamaria
    , @tac
  126. @Captain Willard

    The best thing that could happen to Ven. is that we invade it bloodlessly, mess it up more and inject $3Trillion into it the way we did in Afghanistan. Sheesh!

    You didn’t inject 3 Trillion into Afghanistan. You injected 3 Trillion into your military-industrial complex.

    • LOL: Mike P
    • Replies: @Mike P
  127. Mike P says:
    @Matthias Eckert

    That “LOL” doesn’t mean disagreement – I very much agree, your pithy response just made me laugh.

  128. @anon

    How does it improve the living of the Venezuelan people when Chavistas use the looted money to buy foreign luxury goods or use looted real estate for their enjoyment? And what makes you believe Chavistas don’t have bank accounts in Switzerland, Cyprus, Panama or even Britain? Britain had no problem hosting Russian oligarchs (and their money) with close connections to Putin while standing on opposing side to Russia regarding Ukraine, Syria and getting hysterical about a Russian aircraft carrier steaming through the channel.
    Do you think a Russian supremacist and imperialist and judging by his articles The Saker and probably several of his followers here are exactly this, have any problem with Venezuela being looted as long as Mother Russia and not their hated Anglo competitors profit.
    How come that the Bolivian economy, living standard and infrastructure improved substantially under Morales despite also being targeted by the US in a very similar manner than Venezuela. For me the conclusion is that the Chavistas have failed the Venezuelan people.
    Of course much of what the US and its media spreads is exaggerated, if Venezuelan soldiers and their families would be starving and 90% of them opposed to Maduro he would have been overthrown by now. But I know people in Venezuela, some critical of Chavez from the start some followers. All agree that the live has been getting harder for many years. The electrical grid and the whole infrastructure has been neglected for at least a decade.

    • Troll: L.K
    • Replies: @annamaria
    , @Vidi
  129. @bluedog

    nothing like ignoring the specifics of what i noted.

    Which indicated in what manner and how abruptly that would have would determine the level of impact.

    No kidding the world will go on. No doubt and no argument, just as the world goes on despite hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, tsunamis, and earthquakes.

    That is not the point, the point is that there will be

    hurricanes, tsunamis, floods, tornadoes and earthquakes . . . the question is only to severity.

    • Replies: @bluedog
  130. Wonderful, Hudson is, like so many others, till this date, unaware that the Iraq War had NOTHING TO DO WITH THE US GOING AFTER OIL. It was a war started by neocons. Wolfowitz, Perle, Frum, Feith, Wurmser, Luti, the same guys who wrote out this strategy in a 1996 policy paper for Benjamin Netanyahu (these are Jewish Zionists, they care about Israel and not oil for the US) basically occupied the Pentagon while you had their neocon compadres Scooter Libby in the White House (former lawyer for MOSSAD agent and Jewish billionaire Marc Rich) and John Bolton in the State Department too, among others.

    The Office of Special Plans producing the BS about Iraqi WMDs, the usage of Judith Miller and other media partners to leak the identity of the CIA officer whose husband was scouting around in Niger to investigate Bush’s SOTU claim that Saddam ‘purchased yellowcake uranium from Africa’, literally all of the stuff that was pulled to bring about the Iraq war came from an Israeli Fifth Column. No special oil interests. Saying ‘Cheney! Cheney!’ is just the kosher way of trying to hide the Likud-specific nature of the push to remove Saddam.

    Which by the way had its roots far prior to 2001. Tom Lantos, dude who arranged the ‘Iraqi soldiers killing Kuwaiti infants’ hoax in 1990 to bring about the attack on Iraq. Ring a bell? Dude was a Zionist and revealed in the early 2000s Sibel Edmonds testimony to also be a spy for Israel. Something Perle and Feith were involved in too.

    There WAS an oil aspect to Iraq, but an Israeli one specifically. Please read this, on Alison Weir’s brilliant website: https://israelpalestinenews.org/oil-for-israel-the-truth-about-the-iraq-war-15-years-later/

    They wanted oil from the Kurds (strategic allies to the Zionists since the 1960s) as well as autonomy for them. They’d go on to stay Israel’s major oil supplier until the fall of Kirkuk to the Iraqi government in late 2017 as well.

    • Agree: Miro23
  131. Vidi says:
    @Ovidiu

    How that in 20 years the Chavistas have not build a single refinery ?

    Because US companies control all the patents on refining Venezuela’s heavy sour crude, and the US has refused to license any of this? (I don’t know if this is what actually happened, but it’s a possibility. Not everything is Chavez’s fault.)

    • Replies: @Matthias Eckert
  132. annamaria says:
    @Patricus

    “…a sordid socialistic regime…”

    Are you talking about the communism of Wall Street/City money changers?

  133. annamaria says:
    @Matthias Eckert

    Venezuelan people have elected Maduro, not the ridiculous and treasonous Guaido.
    If your chosen boy is so good, why did the Venezuelans show no support for him during the legitimate election process? No wonder that the chosen boy Guaido has promptly gone to pledge his allegiance to the zionized international banking cabal.

    • Replies: @tac
  134. @bluedog

    ” . . . except for those who are so in love with death and destruction that they can’t see that there’s a better way.!!!”

    Excuse the expression – nonsense.

    The gradual retraction of Rome’s Empire which had over hauled most of the known world did not need to stop the world to register an impact. The geopolitcal landscape shifted dramatically in response to the power vacuum.

    Th mess that is Africa is largely the result of the collapse of the British Empire. The mere loss of the colonies gave rise to the US which despite not having an empire did in 200 years what no nation has ever accomplished — global dominance minus having US colonies. The debate we are having today about what some claim is global dominance and or damage is the direct result of European global empire collapse or withdrawal.

    Iraq’s global influence was but a fraction of the US and yet toppling her government is having vast regional and global impacts. I did not make any contention that world will stop by the end of the US, but depending on the speed and magnitude of that collapse, millions would hope that the world stopped and they could get off.

    I make no boast of my mentality, but I am keenly aware that the US is a huge player on the global scene and her loss could shatter the world order.

  135. Vidi says:
    @Matthias Eckert

    How does it improve the living of the Venezuelan people when Chavistas use the looted money to buy foreign luxury goods or use looted real estate for their enjoyment?

    What if the “looted” wealth was stolen in the first place? Is it morally wrong to steal from a thief?

    And Chavez was certainly not enjoying the loot: he used it to greatly benefit poor Venezuelans. He was not a wealthy man when he died.

    For me the conclusion is that the Chavistas have failed the Venezuelan people.

    For me, the conclusion is that Chavez didn’t have time to overcome the entrenched oligarchs. It takes many years and generations to educate people and build infrastructure, and it takes longer, far far longer, when the country’s oligarchs are fighting your reforms. Even China needed generations, in spite of having defeated its corrupt elites in a civil war. Fortunately, a unified China was too strong for the West to break. Unfortunately, a divided Venezuela was and is too weak.

    • Replies: @Vidi
    , @tac
    , @Matthias Eckert
  136. bluedog says:
    @EliteCommInc.

    You do have a point, and from all I read they (other countries) are trying to let this empire crash with a whimper rather than a bang,due mostly to the nuts in Washington who think the military is the solution to everything….

    • Replies: @EliteCommInc.
  137. Vidi says:
    @Vidi

    Unfortunately, a divided Venezuela was and is too weak.

    Maduro does have one advantage over Chavez: strong friends in Russia and China.

  138. tac says:
    @annamaria

    LOL, indeed Venezuela has one of the best, most secure elections in the Western world.

    Henri Falcón was the opposition politician who finished a very distant second in that election, over four million votes (47%) behind Maduro. Nobody has shown or even attempted to show that any votes, never mind millions of votes, were stolen from Falcón. In Venezuela’s electoral system, a very small amount of ballot stuffing is detectable in any contested election. That’s why, in 2012, Jimmy Carter said the electoral system was the best in the world.

    That soundness of the electoral system helps to explain the vitriol Falcón received from other Maduro opponents over his decision to run in the election. US officials threatened Falcón with sanctions if he ran. During the campaign, one of Falcón’s top advisors became exasperated enough to publicly ask the opposition party Voluntad Popular (Guaidó’s party) to “stop spreading lies” that a secret pact existed between Maduro and Falcón.
    […]
    First, votes are secret in Venezuela, so offers of a chance at a prize or other inducements at these puntos rojos can, at best, increase turnout, but not the government’s share of the vote. Second, there were four different groups of observers who monitored the election, and they concluded it was clean. Their reports are here, here, here and here. Third, economic sanctions and threats by the US government were a massive attempt to sway the electorate – to send the message that voting for Maduro will bring intensified economic sanctions (which, in addition to being illegal, were already killing people).

    https://venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/14305

  139. Wally says:
    @Vidi

    No it doesn’t mention costs, but why should it? The cost are already established.

    After all, as stated, the US already gets 33% of its oil from that same Permian formation.

    And it certainly cannot be anymore expensive than the absurd cost of taxpayer subsidized solar arrays and windmills …. which still result in higher energy bills in spite of those subsidies.

    • Replies: @Vidi
  140. tac says:
    @Patricus

    Who gets to decide the leadership of a sovereign country? The US Empire?!? How many times over the last twenty years has the CIA tried to assassinate Chavez and then Maduro (see the links I’ve provided up thread)? I see you explicitly included the countries Bolton deemed as the so-called ‘Troika-of-tyranny’. Face it, your puppet Guiado has NO leg to stand on:

    A few weeks before on January 5, Guaidó had been selected as president of Venezuela’s National Assembly, their unicameral legislature. He had been elected to the assembly from a coastal district with 26% of the vote. It was his party’s turn for the presidency of the body, and he was hand-picked for the position. Guaidó, even within his own party, was not in the top leadership.

    Guaidó’s party, Popular Will, is a far-right marginal group whose most enthusiastic boosters are John Bolton, Elliott Abrams, and Mike Pompeo. Popular Will had adopted a strategy of regime change by extra-parliamentary means rather than engage in the democratic electoral process and had not participated in recent Venezuelan elections.

    Although anointed by Trump and company, Guaidó’s Popular Will Party is not representative of the “Venezuelan opposition,” which is a fractious bunch whose hatred of Maduro is only matched by their abhorrence of each other. Leading opposition candidate Henri Falcón, who ran against Maduro in 2018 on a neoliberal austerity platform, had been vehemently opposed by Popular Will who demanded that he join their US-backed boycott of the election.

    The Venezuelan news outlet, Ultimas Noticias, reported that prominent opposition politician Henrique Capriles, who had run against Maduro in 2013, “affirmed during an interview that the majority of opposition parties did not agree with the self-swearing in of Juan Guaidó as interim president of the country.” Claudio Fermin, president of the party Solutions for Venezuela, wrote “we believe in the vote, in dialogue, we believe in coming to an understanding, we believe Venezuelans need to part ways with the extremist sectors that only offer hatred, revenge, lynching.” Key opposition governor of the State of Táchira, Laidy Gómez, has rejected Guaidó’s support of intervention by the US, warning that it “would generate death of Venezuelans.”
    […]
    The Guaidó/Trump cabal’s fig leaf for legitimacy is based on the bogus argument that Article 233 of the Venezuelan constitution gives the National Assembly the power to declare a national president’s “abandonment” of the office. In which case, the president of the National Assembly can serve as an interim national president, until presidential elections are held. The inconvenient truth is that Maduro has shown no inclination to abandon his post, and the constitution says no such thing.

    In fact, the grounds for replacing a president are very clearly laid out in the first paragraph of Article 233 of the Venezuelan constitution and do not include fraudulent or illegitimate election, which is what the cabal has been claiming. In the convoluted logic of the US government and its epigones, if the people elect someone the cabal doesn’t like, the election is by definition fraudulent and the democratically elected winner is ipso facto a dictator.

    https://venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/14308

  141. Wally says:
    @Matthias Eckert

    I suggest that you actually read the report, again;

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/arielcohen/2018/12/21/americas-oil-and-gas-reserves-double-with-massive-new-permian-discovery/#c9f319a2c91e

    That estimate doesn’t even factor in other massive locations like Alaskan & offshore regions which are confidently assumed to hold enormous quantities of oil & gas.

    If oil was getting more rare & truly expensive then rules of economics which insist that the final cost of it reflect that rarity and expense.

    The world is truly awash in oil. Peak Oil is an old, disproven canard.

    https://www.investors.com/politics/commentary/we-are-not-running-out-of-oil-earth-produces-crude/

    • Replies: @bluedog
  142. Anonymous[374] • Disclaimer says:

    I don’t buy it.

    Venezuelan leaders probably screwed things up and/or were corrupt.

    How come other countries with vast amounts of oil can be independent from the US but Venezuela could not?

    What, Venezuelan leaders are stupid?

    They can’t build a single oil refinery?

    No one would build one?

    Nor China or Russia? No European firm?

    Baloney.

    • Replies: @Johnny Rico
  143. @bluedog

    I think we have a long long way to go and certainly have the ability to prevent it.

    But beyond that, I must bite my tongue.

    • Replies: @bluedog
  144. map says:
    @Ilyana_Rozumova

    Then we ask the same question at a deeper level of abstraction:

    Why don’t the Venezuelans develop their own refining capacity? Then they would not have to worry about Western exploitation.

    • Replies: @Vidi
    , @Ilyana_Rozumova
  145. Vidi says:
    @Wally

    No it doesn’t mention costs, but why should it? The cost are already established.

    After all, as stated, the US already gets 33% of its oil from that same Permian formation.

    Yes, the Permian’s costs are established: producers are losing money. According to Forbes (link to “Permian Producers Are Struggling To Make Money”): overall, companies spent $1.13 for every $1 they took in.

    The true situation could be even worse. According to the Wharton business school (link to “Could Fracking Debt Set off Big Financial Tremors?”): “Fracking is a business built on attracting ever-more gigantic amounts of capital investment, while promises of huge returns have yet to bear out,” says an introduction to McLean’s book. In fact, North American exploration and production companies saw their net debt balloon from $50 billion in 2005 to nearly $200 billion by 2015, according to a recent research paper by Amir Azar, fellow at Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy.

    In other words, fracking (in the Permian Basin and elsewhere) is a Ponzi scheme. When it collapses, as all Ponzi schemes eventually do, the US’s economy will tremble.

    There may be a lot of oil in the Permian Basin, but if you’re going to go broke trying to recover the oil, why do it? The breathless articles you like to read never mention that, for some reason.

    • Replies: @Johnny Rico
    , @Wally
  146. Vidi says:
    @map

    Why don’t the Venezuelans develop their own refining capacity? Then they would not have to worry about Western exploitation.

    They probably will — using Chinese technology. I speculate that the U.S. has been refusing to license the patents needed for building a refinery for Venezuela’s heavy sour crude. But the Chinese will probably help.

  147. @map

    It is difficult to explain. They do not have neither intellectual (technical) or manufacturing capacity to do it.
    But there are Ton of countries that could have do it for them.

  148. MEFOBILLS says:
    @kauchai

    Solid proof that it was the empire who invented the practice of “debt trap” and is still flourishing with it.

    So, who is the empire? Hudson cannot name the Jew, but I can.

    Example:

    Salon’s reforms in Greece were a function of silver debts. In effect, Greek farmers were put into debts in a money type they could not access to pay off their loans. To pay silver debts, they had to forfeit their lives, especially in silver mines of Lydia. This then caused bigger Greek city states to starve, which led ultimately to Salon’s reforms.

    A small brown semite would sit in an outdoor market, waiting for Greek citizens to take out a silver loan. Typically it would be a farmer, wanting silver to buy “international” goods, like perfume for their wives or girlfriends. Said farmer would impress upon a clay tablet, with a special stylus, to signify new debt formation. The Jew would then release silver, so Greek farmer could buy luxury goods from international entrepot cities ringed around the Mediterranean. Our Jewish friends were operating slave rings, and laundering pirated goods at the same time, so using shipping and a money type they controlled, probably originated around this time period.

    Usury and rents are closely related, they are schemes -sometimes elaborate, to then get something for nothing.

    In the case of the farmers, silver was made plentiful at onset of loan, but when harvest time came, silver was made dear. Controlling of the silver mines also helped in this usury/rent scheme. When there was no silver to be had at harvest, the farmer would lower his prices desperately to keep from being impressed into slavery. His farm goods rotted, while silver did not.

    These sort of usury schemes repeat throughout history, and if you have a tribal mechanism which promotes and sanctifies this behavior, then it becomes method. If we live in a multiverse, then Jewish usury method may be genetic, and those Jews who break away are special people.

    State sponsored usury using double entry ledgers popped into being in 1694 with the advent of bank of England. Rothschild soon came to control BOE, but the method became implanted into London, and the whole concept of private banks tied to corporations, then controlling a country came into being.

    The cabals “empire” predates BOE event, and its threads go back through our ((freinds)) who on their caravan routes would take usury on exchange rates between silver and gold.

    The better way to look at it is as a parasite host relation. The parasite has infested the body of the west, and in particular America. Like a tic, it jumped off the Jew and into London, and jumped from there to Wall Street, to then infest Washington. The parasite can multiply and infect weak minds of the host, and is now attempting to spread worldwide.

    • Replies: @Rev. Spooner
  149. cassandra says:
    @map

    I hope someone can explain this to me.
    …The Venezuelans were more than welcome to turn down any of the development if they felt the deal was not in their best interest. They chose not to do so and instead went ahead and took the hard bargain.

    Here’s your problem: there are Venezuelans and there are Venezuelans.
    On the one hand were were the “tinhorn dictators”. They did feel the deal was in there best interest, as determined by bribery or coercion by US economic hit men. The dictators chose to take an offer they couldn’t refuse. The companies who engineered the deal actually were the party in a position to chose to risk freely and without coercion.
    The other Venezuelans were neither free, nor welcome to turn down these arrangements, nor really consulted. Until Chavez let them become involved in the decision-making process. Then the companies found that they had overestimated the risk, and by the magic of the the marketplace and democratic choice, lost their shirts. (You wouldn’t want take the risk out of capitalism would you? Then the companies wouldn’t deserve the profits.)

    See?

  150. MEFOBILLS says:
    @Anon

    The gold standard Hudson is referring to is the TRADING GOLD STANDARD, set into place post Breton Woods up until 71.

    If there was a trade imbalance, then said imbalance would be made up with Gold flows. These flows then caused an adjustment in exchange rates.

    For example, if the dollar was made “weaker” though exchange rate adjustment, then that would induce foreign economies to buy more dollar denominated goods, eventually balancing trade of goods.

    This system worked pretty well up until Vietnam deficit spending, as Hudson points out in his book Super Imperialism.

    In my opinion, a better way is Bancor system, which is not money but an accounting device that relates to goods transfer only.

    It took man thousands of years to figure out money’s true nature is law, not metal.

    It would be good to NOT REGRESS in thought, as if we are less intelligent than our forebears.

    • Replies: @Sean
  151. MEFOBILLS says:
    @/lasse

    It probably needs a high amount of social capital. Add on western hostility that third world countries do this.
    The prime example of success in fairly modern times are countries in Asia with national unity and rather authoritarian government.

    Your point is correct about social capital. Look how much trouble Russia is having building an autarkial economy, with Western sanctions helping to that end.

    I might suggest that white Russians with an IQ of around 100 on average, far outstrip Indios and Mestizos of Venezuela.

    If you were running Venezuela, and needed social and intellectual capital to then “make things for yourself” it would also require importing new DNA.

    If you have a low IQ population, it is a killer problem to make a “mixed economy’ that can compete with the world, or even make goods and services for internal consumption.

    Hudson won’t name the Jew nor will he talk about human bio -diversity, but he is still on point with many of his writings.

    In an age of universal deception, the truth teller is seen as a crank. Hudson may think these things, but he doesn’t utter them. It is high time to stop dancing around the truth of things.

  152. anonymous[117] • Disclaimer says:
    @Rurik

    First there is the America of the American people. Poor, working class, middle class, and somewhat well-off upper-middle class. These are the “we” that had nothing whatsoever to do with the wars, except to vote relentlessly for politicians to end them, and are always betrayed.

    Aww, the poor misunderstood saints!!

    So there are two very separate and very distinct “we”s.

    Bullshit!! You say this because you would like to see yourself as the “good” “we.”

    What the “good” “we” really wants is for the “bad” “we” to do their job of plundering others in such a way that it is not so bloody obvious (e.g. through support of dictators wherever possible, and other tools of hegemony like the IMF, etc.), so that your racist lives can be better enriched, and so that you can more easily assuage your rotten consciences. Show me the money, and don’t tell me where it’s from.

    It really is all about the whitey’s greed. You degenerates have built your entire “glorious” (but, spiritually cursed) civilisation on that model.

    Your racist kind’s constant lamenting of a lifestyle long lost, mostly white and prosperous, perhaps of the 60’s or so, is proof of that.

    The life blood of both the “good” and the “bad” “we,” is White Supremacy. You really are no different.

    • Replies: @MEFOBILLS
  153. Ian12345 says:

    How come other countries with vast amounts of oil can be independent from the US but Venezuela could not?

    Other countries?

  154. @Vidi

    What if the “looted” wealth was stolen in the first place? Is it morally wrong to steal from a thief?

    If you take looted or stolen wealth you should give it back to the rightful owner.

    And Chavez was certainly not enjoying the loot: he used it to greatly benefit poor Venezuelans. He was not a wealthy man when he died.

    Many relatives of Hugo Chavez held or hold political positions. For example one of his brothers was or still is Assistant-Secretary, a son in law was or still is Secretary, his father was governor of Barinas another brother of him later had and may still have the same position. The governor brother is known for his modest yet tasteful lifestyle like wearing several expensive watches at the same time and driving a gold colored Hummer SUV. Higher position in the state of Barinas are said to be almost all held by members of the wider Chavez clan.
    But as long as they wave a red banner and oppose the Yanks that seems to be perfectly fine for many here.

    • Replies: @annamaria
    , @Vidi
  155. MEFOBILLS says:
    @anonymous

    It really is all about the whitey’s greed. You degenerates have built your entire “glorious” (but, spiritually cursed) civilisation on that model.

    Beep Boop Beep did you get your latest NPC download?

    rurick is entirely correct. The average electorate ALWAYS voted against the wars.

    News flash: It is plutocrats who maneuver for war, and these people are often psychopaths. Even WW1 was maneuvered by just a few super rich people, mostly from England. American’s voted to stay out of war, yet were dragged into it anyway.

    Certain “industrialists” stood to loose money if England lost, and certain other industrialists stood to make money by buying up the world cheap.

    Beep Boop Beep, keep on blaming average laboring tax paying whitey, while not looking up at the real culprits. They got you thinking just the way you should. Oh and while you are at it, try to get some more gibs from whitey as he is part of an unprotected group and can be demonized.

  156. annamaria says:

    Chrystia Freeland, a passionate neo-Nazi and the best friend of zionists or
    Where holocaustianity meets banderism:
    https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-02-07/how-chrystia-freeland-organized-donald-trumps-coup-venezuela “How Chrystia Freeland Organized Donald Trump’s Coup In Venezuela”

    In mid-December [2019], Guaido quietly traveled to Washington, Colombia and Brazil to brief officials on the opposition’s strategy of mass demonstrations to coincide with Maduro’s expected swearing-in for a second term on January… Playing a key role behind the scenes was Lima Group member Canada, whose Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland spoke to Guaido [9 January 2019] the night before Maduro’s swearing-in ceremony [on 10 January 2019] to offer her government’s support…

    The inevitable emergence of Jeffrey Feltman, Chrystia Freeland’s comrade in arms against ordinary Venezuelans and Ukrainians:

    Four days later … Freeland met privately at the UN, in New York, with the Secretary General, Antonio Guterres. “The title of the meeting is ‘the situation in Venezuela and efforts by regional organizations to resolve the crisis per Chapter VIII of the UN Charter.” She was briefed by Jeffrey Feltman’s Assistant, Miroslav Jenca.

    Jeffrey Feltman [a holocaustian] was the person who, in the secretly recorded 27 January 2014 phone-conversation in which US President Barack Obama’s agent, Victoria Nuland [another holocaustian from a powerful clan of Kagans] — planning and overseeing the February 2014 coup that overthrew Ukraine’s democratically elected President — instructed the US Ambassador to Ukraine, that, after Ukraine’s President is ousted, Arseniy “Yats” Yatsenyuk was to be appointed as Ukraine’s ‘interim’ leader as the new Prime Minister, to replace the President. She also said: “I talked to Jeff Feltman this morning; he had a new name for the UN guy Robert Serry. … He’s now gotten both Serry and Ban ki-Moon to agree that Serry could come in Monday or Tuesday. That would be great, I think, to help glue this thing, and to have the UN help glue it, and, you know, fuck the EU.”

    So, the still Under Secretary General of the U.N, Mr. Feltman, is still America’s fixer there, who “glues” whatever the US President orders the UN to do, and his Assistant was filling in for him that day. Therefore, if Trump and Freeland turn out to be as successful as Obama was, then the UN will “glue” the outcome. Chrystia Freeland happens also to be a friend of Victoria Nuland, and a passionate supporter of her coup in Ukraine.”

    There is no surprise that the progeny of a famous neo-Nazi collaborator has become the closest comrade of the progeny of holo-biz “survivors.” Banderites and Zionists have united in Ukraine & Venezuela against human decency. The ADL and Simon Wiesenthal Center wholeheartedly support the unholy union.

    Chrystia Freeland impeccable pedigree and Canadian rot:

    It was this former Waffen SS soldier-turned University President who created the Ukrainian Studies department at the University of Alberta. …

    Michael Chomiak [granddaddy of Chrystia Freeland], another of these significant Nazis who were never caught, lived out his days after the war as a farmer in Alberta. His Nazi identification documents were uncovered by the Polish Government in the 1960’s. “Chomiak’s records show he was trained in Vienna for German espionage and propaganda operations, then promoted to run the German press machine for the Galician region of Ukraine and Poland during the 4-year occupation. So high-ranking and active in the Nazi cause was Chomiak that the Polish intelligence services were actively hunting for Chomiak until the 1980s

    • Replies: @annamaria
    , @Curmudgeon
  157. annamaria says:
    @annamaria

    Chrystia Freeland is unshakably loyal to [her granddaddy Michael Chomiak] memory and to his far-right beliefs, which she proudly supports. She also is a close friend of George Soros…

    Regardless of whether or not the Trump-Freeland-Luna program for Venezuela succeeds, democracy and human rights won’t be advanced by it; but, if it succeeds, the fortunes of US-and-allied billionaires will be. It’s part of their global privatization program.

    https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-02-07/how-chrystia-freeland-organized-donald-trumps-coup-venezuela

  158. Sean says:
    @MEFOBILLS

    Well the US could not give Germany its gold back in a timeframe that suggested the gold was still there, and many people think it not unlikely America had used the gold in the way Hudson suggests. Germany was not too bothered, probabally because they already knew and the repatriation of all Germany’s gold reserves held abroad was just cover to remove them from France, which Germany wants all the leverage it can get over to preserve the export promotion program for German industry that is known as the EU single market.

    For example, if the dollar was made “weaker” though exchange rate adjustment, then that would induce foreign economies to buy more dollar denominated goods, eventually balancing trade of goods

    That is a bug not a feature for Germany, because a single market with fixed exchange rates they can deindutrialize the other EU countries.

    It took man thousands of years to figure out money’s true nature is law, not metal.

    Thousands of years ago it was already figured out that “Of the gods we believe, and of men we know, that by a necessary law of their nature they rule wherever they can.”

    Anyway, this is Saker’s most interesting post.

    • Replies: @MEFOBILLS
  159. Romanian says: • Website

    Keeping our gold in Russia did not turn out too well. What is to stop China and Russia from playing fast and loose with the gold as well?

  160. bluedog says:
    @Wally

    If oil was so plentiful then why are they spending a billion or so with off-shore drilling, seeing profit is the driving force of any product,one need to be careful off all the artical’s that float around on the internet which also include Forbes for they to more off-times then not nothing but propaganda…

    • Replies: @Wally
  161. bluedog says:
    @EliteCommInc.

    It would be interesting to tap into just how we can prevent it, when the government is controlled by the corporations and the 1%,the GDP is a corrupted tool as the unemployment figure’s put out by the BLS is a corrupted tool simply used to fool the people and the media, which parrots those numbers as if they were fact but mainly used to fuel the stock market as they keek adding another trillion or so to the debt on a yearly basis, while the Fed. parrots the same thing when the truth is the Fed. is the only thing keeping the house of cards going…….

  162. MEFOBILLS says:
    @Sean

    Thousands of years ago it was already figured out that “Of the gods we believe, and of men we know, that by a necessary law of their nature they rule wherever they can.”

    You got that right! Good and Evil run down the middle of every man’s heart, and he has to choose.

    The IMF loan to Greece blew through the Greek economy, and went on to pay German bond-holders, while sticking a debt hook into Greek citizen’s mouths. This is a form of usury mechanism well known to the tribe. Greeks ended up giving away some of their patrimony to Germany – things like airports. There was even talk of giving away islands.

    The Hyperinflation that German’s suffered were due to a similar mechanism, where German debts couldn’t be paid (the triangular flow of war debts from Germany to France/England to U.S. Treasury).

    Germany was attacked starting in 33 when international Zion initiated a boycott on German goods. The attempt was to starve out German’s as they depended on export revenue to buy food.

    The money powers that Germany fought against in the past, are now in control of Germany. Most of today’s Germans have had their history erased and they have been demonized into submission, and are now suffering mass immigration of an indigestible people group, leading to conflict long into the future.

    The “International” always promotes “international” money. The Euro is a non-sovereign “international” project, and the Euro as money is fundamentally flawed, especially with Treaty injunctions that disallow Sovereign governments from deficit spending into infrastructure and to allow private savings.

    Greece would issue sovereign bonds, which were monetized in German private banks to make new Euros, and then those Euros would buy BMW’s in Greece, and then BOTH the bonds and Euro’s would end up in German banks, while Greece would not have any money for commerce.

    Then new bond issuance would incorporate interest from the old bonds as part of principle in the new bonds (IMF loan for example), making Greek payments go exponential in a money type they cannot issue. This sort of money magick is Jewish usurious trickery and now the traitorous German leadership is on board.

    Given German history, they ought to be ashamed of themselves, but then again the average German has been hypnotized with BS and don’t know which way is up or down.

  163. @Rurik

    What you’re describing about the two Americas has merit.

    The media attack and paid-for protesters against the White Male is just that: propaganda. Ditto for these made-up women’s, minority, gender issues.

    The sinister motive behind this propaganda is to Disunify average Americans. This fabricated cleavage is to KEEP average Americans from being a Unified power against both the 1% and the Deep State criminals who maintain the status quo of the 1%.

    But probably the most pathetic mentality, writ-large in America is the vast population of Americans largely uninformed, and tragically illiterate in Who and HOW the 1% Elites have destroyed a society. Americans used to be practical, no-nonsense citizens who easily discerned Fraudulent behavior vs the Real Thing. Now, most Americans have allowed themselves to be enslaved by the banks via their Debt with credit cards, mortgage, auto, and college loans.
    It’s estimated the average American, nationwide is in debt (auto/mortgage/college/credit cards) to the tune of 13 TRILLION $$$s. This IS the real tragedy of the American society.

  164. annamaria says:
    @Matthias Eckert

    This forum is about the ongoing attempts at regime-changing in Venezuela.

    A recent example of the American promotion of “democracy on the march” is Ukraine. https://www.rt.com/op-ed/443447-ukraine-thuggery-corruption-gangsterism/

    No one tried to refute the corrupt character of the former Ukrainian president Mr. Yanukovitch. But he was democratically elected by Ukrainian people. In 2014, the ziocons had won (the same crowd that you seem have no problems with, judging from your posts). What has been going in Ukraine since the zionized/nazified “liberation:”

    Zionists and banderites have (re)established a tight collaboration: https://www.partiantisioniste.com/en/news/the-neo-nazi-ukraine-allied-with-zionism-en.html

    A civil war has been initiated under a criminally competent watch of the former CIA Director Brennan. https://consortiumnews.com/2018/01/21/a-coming-russia-ukraine-war/

    The level of corruption has increased, while Ukraine has been living off the international bank’s tranches and squandering her natural resources to Monsanto and such: https://slavyangrad.org/2015/06/25/black-earth-and-the-struggle-for-ukraines-future/

    The young and educated have been fleeing Ukraine: https://www.stalkerzone.org/mass-emigration-where-ukrainians-go-to-flee-the-consequences-of-the-wests-maidan/

    Old people have been suffering: https://www.stalkerzone.org/ukrainian-pensioners-about-the-fruits-of-post-maidan-ukraine-bury-us-alive-we-have-no-life/

    The Russian language has been banned: https://www.rt.com/news/438852-ukraine-russian-culture-banned/

    Again, what is the source of your infatuation with the chosen boy Guaido?

  165. Vidi says:
    @Matthias Eckert

    If you take looted or stolen wealth you should give it back to the rightful owner.

    What if the wealth was stolen in the first place? Then Chavez did indeed return the wealth to the rightful owner: the Venezuelan 99%.

    Many relatives of Hugo Chavez held or hold political positions.

    The nepotism is nothing compared to what the oligarchs routinely do for their relatives and friends. (Or compared to what Trump does.) Can you name a billionaire among the relatives that Chavez appointed to government positions?

  166. @Vidi

    the US’s economy will tremble

    There is nothing to indicate that would be the case.

    At the end of 2018 there were some estimates suggesting shale-0il accounted for as much as 8 million barrels per day (mbpd) of total US production of 12 or 13 mbpd.

    I’ve looked closely at the state-by-state monthly numbers provided by the EIA.

    It appears that since 2011 roughly 7.5 to 9 billion barrels of shale oil have been produced.

    That comes out to around 3mbpd on average for the last 8 years.

    If each of those barrels sold for $50 a barrel that would be $375 Billion to $450 Billion.

    Let’s say that each of those barrels took a $60 per barrel investment to produce.

    So a loss over 8 years of $75 Billion to $90 Billion.

    Or $11 Billion per year. Tops.

    A loss spread out over and eaten by a lot of investors. Hardly a shock to the economy.

    The supply of that oil on the market would have put downward pressure on the price of gasoline for the last 8 years. Helping the economy.

    • Replies: @Vidi
  167. Wally says:
    @Vidi

    So now ‘Big Oil’ is all about losing money for their stockholders. LOL

    Oh how the left wants it both ways, “Big Oil” is either ‘greedy’ or ‘bleeding money that will ‘crash the economy’.

    Bottom line, oil is everywhere and it’s not going anywhere for a long time.

    BTW, the cited Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy is just another neo-Marxist, fake global warming propaganda center. The Director, Jason Bordoff, is a former special assistant to Obama.
    Ouch!

    Do better next time.

    • Replies: @Vidi
  168. Wally says:
    @bluedog

    asked: “Why a billion or so with off-shore drilling.”

    Why off-shore drilling? Seriously?

    – There’s lots of oil there.

    – West of the Mississippi River, government ‘owns’ 50% of all land.

    – 1 billion dollars is not that big of an investment for a huge industry like oil.

    You have not demonstrated your claimed “propaganda” in the Forbes article, please do so, IF you can.

    Cheers.

    • Replies: @bluedog
  169. Vidi says:
    @Johnny Rico

    You omitted some context from my words in your quotation; I’m restoring the entire paragraph. The bolded part is what you did quote.

    In other words, fracking (in the Permian Basin and elsewhere) is a Ponzi scheme. When it collapses, as all Ponzi schemes eventually do, the US’s economy will tremble.

    There is nothing to indicate that would be the case.

    At the end of 2018 there were some estimates suggesting shale-0il accounted for as much as 8 million barrels per day (mbpd) of total US production of 12 or 13 mbpd.

    You must be joking that a fracking crash would not seriously harm the US’s economy.

    Remember the OPEC oil embargo of 1973. According to the EIA (link), at that time the US was importing 1.2 million barrels per year, or about 3300 barrels per day. Even if we assume that the embargo caused the US to lose all 3300 bpd, that by itself was enough to make oil prices spike from $3 per barrel to $12 (link).

    According to you, fracking could account for as much as 8 million barrels of oil per day. If the loss of a mere 3300 barrels per day could cause the price of oil to quadruple and induce a serious economic crisis, imagine what the loss of 8,000,000 barrels per day would do.

    In fact, the prospect of a fracking crash could be a major reason that Trump so obviously wants to steal Venezuela’s oil.

    • Agree: Ilyana_Rozumova
  170. Vidi says:
    @Wally

    So now ‘Big Oil’ is all about losing money for their stockholders. LOL

    As I said, fracking (in the Permian Basin and elsewhere) is a Ponzi scheme. In such a scheme, most investors do indeed lose, and the few perpetrators of the scheme get rich from all the later suckers.

  171. @Lot

    Apparently you didn’t read the article. Maduro had better election numbers than the people whose arses you want to lick.
    You are stuck in the American mindset of dollar democracy: my dollar only buys the same as your dollar, it’s irrelevant that I have a million and you have ten. In other words, democracy is a commodity like everything else.

  172. @annamaria

    Why does any of this surprise you. The Canadian government, like the US government is (((occupied territory))). Trudeau v2.0 was thoroughly trained by ultra-Zionist Irwin Cotler. Not that any of the other parties are not occupied either.
    The globalist banker elite is still pissed off that Venezuela had the audacity to nationalize a natural resource.

  173. bluedog says:
    @Wally

    Lol now that;s a stupid post now according to you we are awash with all that black gold(*that’s why we buy a few millions of barrels oil from other countries) and a billion is nothing to the oil companies drilling for it, but I;m sure they aren’t telling their stock holders that they are spending a billion on off-shore wells when they could drill one in any ole spot for a fraction of that…

  174. As Venezuelan oil minister and OPEC co-founder Juan Pablo Pérez Alfonzo had presciently warned in 1976: “Ten years from now, twenty years from now, you will see, oil will bring us ruin… It is the devil’s excrement.”

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_Venezuelan_oil_industry

    • Replies: @peterAUS
  175. This is the core of it
    “Paul Craig Roberts has described how this system works. There are forward markets for currencies, stocks and bonds. The Federal Reserve can offer to buy a stock in three months at, say, 10% over the current price. Speculators will by the stock, bidding up the price, so as to take advantage of “the market’s” promise to buy the stock. So by the time three months have passed, the price will have risen. That is largely how the U.S. “Plunge Protection Team” has supported the U.S. stock market.

    The system works in reverse to hold down gold prices. The central banks holding gold can get together and offer to sell gold at a low price in three months. “The market” will realize that with low-priced gold being sold, there’s no point in buying more gold and bidding its price up. So the forward-settlement market shapes today’s market”.

    All those that keep crying ‘Capitalism’ or ‘Free market Economy’ need to get re-educated. There’s so much hidden from the common people and all the so called free press is such ass wipe rag that there is no hope.

    • Agree: bluedog
  176. The second sentence was supposed to be in italics as it’s a quote by Hudson. Anyway, you get the drift.

  177. @MEFOBILLS

    You have it right my friend. Keep posting here and I will always welcome your comments.

  178. peterAUS says:
    @Johnny Rico

    Good finds re corruption, socialist meddling into core economy and the rest.

    It’s sort of tragicomedy to see people, who disagree with the current “globo-homo” paradigm,so eagerly supporting Venezuelan leftist regimes.

    “The enemy of my enemy” doesn’t work in this case.

    • Replies: @Johnny Rico
  179. Brilliant analysis that should resonate with all of us who are feeling as though we’ve been hit with a tsunami of suicidal corruption, and are trembling with the prospects of our grandkids circling the global drain.
    Yeves Engler is the only Canadian exposing a long game of foreign policy that has helped this coups happen mow, when Venezuela is most vulnerable to the shock and awe strategy.
    Michael has rung the bell. Now we’ll see who shows up for the good fight.

  180. Dr Hudson’s replies to the Saker are very instructive. Our politicians would do well to peruse them.
    I was startled, however by his assertion that Venezuela has no oil refineries. There are, in fact, two refineries on the Peninsula Paraguana which juts north from the mainland (Falcon state)within 20 miles or less from Aruba in the Leeward Antilles. (If it were not connected to Falcon by a narrow umbilical cord of land it would be considered one of the Antilles

    The refineries are situated on Punto Fijo at the southwest corner of the major terrestrial area. They are supplied with crude by a pipeline fom the major producing areas of thr Maracaibo Basin. Each has port facilities for loading tankers. Together the Punto Fijo refineries are considered Latin Americas largest oil refinery with a potential output of up to a million barrels per day.

    In addition to these facilities there is the once famous (formerly Royal Dutch Shell) refinery on Curacao near Willemstad which began refining Venezuelan oil in 1908. In 1975 when Venezuela nationalized oil properties the Curacao refinery became independent but was leased by PDVSA and continued to refine Venezuelan oil. Last I heard the refinery, after being shut down for a year because of a fight between Conoco-Phillips and PDVSA started up again. The current capacity of the Curacoa facilities is put at 330,000 per day.

  181. Anon[306] • Disclaimer says:
    @Hypnotoad666

    In real capitalism with competition, profits go to zero. Profits are only possible in capitalism with economic rent. That is, unearned income. Typically some sort of monopoly power. Classical economics.

    Hyperinflation is a FX effect. A tank of gas in Venezuela costs less than a dollar. Inflation??? A MSM fairytale.

    • Replies: @Hypnotoad666
  182. @Anon

    In real capitalism with competition, profits go to zero.

    No. In theory, they go to the market price of capital (approx = interest%), plus whatever premium for risk the venture may require to attract capital. Sometimes economists may use the term “profit” as synonymous with an above-market return (economic rent). But that’s just semantics. Bottom line: capital must be expected to earn a reasonable return or no one will put said capital into a business venture.

    Hyperinflation is a FX effect.

    No. It is true that price inflation in Venezuela (i.e., deflation of the value of its local currency), will naturally cause its exchange value to fall against other currencies. But Venezuelan prices (in local currency) are rising in the local market as well, so its not just a FX effect. It’s a change in nominal local prices.

    It’s true that “real” (inflation-adjusted) prices of everything (by definition) stay the same. But hyperinflation changes the prices so quickly that no one is ever sure what the real price should be. Prices therefore lose much of their ability to signal the relative value of items which causes mass inefficiency.

    A tank of gas in Venezuela costs less than a dollar.

    If the price of gas is really below $1.00, that can only be because the government is subsidizing it, which is a big waste of money since they could sell the gasoline abroad for far more.

    Personally, I think we should leave Venezuela alone. It’s no threat to the U.S. Its economy will eventually fully implode on its own. And in the meantime, its an excellent negative role model for how not to run a country.

  183. You must be joking that a fracking crash would not seriously harm the US’s economy.

    There are so many straw man arguments and ambiguities in that one sentence that I think I should just walk away here and accept that you really don’t understand much about the history of oil as the most important global commodity.

    For God’s sake, you don’t even understand the units involved in the graph you linked to. THOUSANDS of barrels. Not 3300 barrels. 3,300,000 barrels.

    You have not being paying attention to oil literally your entire life. Sorry.

    “Fracking crash”? What does that even mean? The shale-oil business according to virtually every source including the Wall Street Journal has never been profitable overall. Don’t you think it would have “crashed” by now after almost a decade? Might there be some other dynamics that everybody who knows anything about energy supply understands? Just maybe?

    If you want to get up to speed fast, try this.

    Energy and Civilization: A History

    • Replies: @Vidi
  184. Whitewolf says:
    @Realist

    Despite the immense power still wielded by the US and UK neither are serious countries anymore. The US needs constant war just to maintain even minimal credibility.

    • Agree: Realist
  185. @Vidi

    Maybe Chavez and Maduro are really Alien zoologists on a research trip to earth making an experiment on human (they actually classified us as naked apes) social behavior. (I don’t know if this is what actually happened, but it’s a possibility).

    Because US companies control all the patents on refining Venezuela’s heavy sour crude, and the US has refused to license any of this?

    Venezuelan oil has been extracted for over 100 years. Patents last 20 – 30 years in most countries (in the USA it is 21 years).

    • Replies: @Vidi
  186. Vidi says:
    @Johnny Rico

    You are right that the 3.3 thousand barrels per day should be 3.3 million, but you are bolstering my case.

    It actually makes more sense that the loss of as much as 3.3 million barrels per day in the 1973 embargo would trigger the quadrupling of the price of oil and cause a severe economic crisis.

    According to you, fracking is contributing 8 million barrels per day of oil to the American economy. (That is roughly 40% of daily oil consumption, by the way.) Some of this production may survive a crash, but if most of it vanishes, that will be far more than the 3.3 million bpd that disappeared in 1973. The consequences will be horrendous.

    The prospect of a fracking crash could be a major reason that Trump so obviously wants to steal Venezuela’s oil.

    There are so many straw man arguments and ambiguities in that one sentence that I think I should just walk away here and accept that you really don’t understand much about the history of oil as the most important global commodity.

    In other words, you have no response, only insults.

    • Replies: @Johnny Rico
    , @Johnny Rico
  187. L.K says:

    Great interview!

    Thanks for sharing.

  188. Vidi says:
    @Matthias Eckert

    Venezuelan oil has been extracted for over 100 years. Patents last 20 – 30 years in most countries (in the USA it is 21 years).

    That says nothing about whether the critical patents were still active in Chavez’s time. If they were, it would have been easy for the US to prevent him from building the desulfurizing oil refineries.

    (Clearly, the previous Venezuelan oligarchs were too greedy and lazy to do it. Or perhaps the deal was for the US to let the oligarchs enjoy their ill-gotten wealth, as long as they made no attempt to break Venezuela free from being exploited by the US.)

    Maybe Chavez and Maduro are really Alien zoologists on a research trip to earth making an experiment on human (they actually classified us as naked apes) social behavior. (I don’t know if this is what actually happened, but it’s a possibility).

    Certainly, but clearer thinkers know that some hypotheses are more probable than others.

  189. @Vidi

    Would you please stop. I’m not trying to insult you. You are just out of your league. I’m sorry. You don’t have a case. Nothing you say is going to happen. This is the doom-mongering about oil that has been going on for a very long time on the internet.

    The situation with shale-oil bears little resemblance to 1973.

    8 million barrels per day are not going to “disappear.” It is crucial that you understand this. There is so much oil in pipelines, refinery storage, and on tankers, and in strategic reserve – that the gradual decline of shale-production will not be noticed. It will happen over years. Possibly decades.

    High oil prices are their own cure. They dampen demand – driving down the price.

    Your repetitive chants of Trump wanting to “steal” Venezuela’s oil is lame trolling.

    Here’s another book for you.

    Not an insult. Just a book.

    • Replies: @Vidi
  190. @Vidi

    You know what. I’m going to step back here and take a breath. Perhaps I’m being a little defensive. I don’t like my tone. I apologize. I don’t mean to come off as insulting. But clearly I am.

    I can actually see your concerns, I just don’t personally feel they are justified given my point of view of the global oil industry.

    You might enjoy this:

    http://kunstler.com/clusterfuck-nation/mistaken-futures/

    If you haven’t read Jim Kunstler’s Clusterfuck Nation blog before, he writes every Monday and Friday and I know that at least three times in the last two months he has talked about the end of the scam that is the shale business. Scroll through recent past entries. There is some good stuff there.

  191. Vidi says:
    @Johnny Rico

    Would you please stop. I’m not trying to insult you. You are just out of your league. I’m sorry. You don’t have a case. Nothing you say is going to happen.

    Then answer my arguments. Your efforts (see below) are too feeble to convince any but the true suckers.

    8 million barrels per day are not going to “disappear.” It is crucial that you understand this. There is so much oil in pipelines, refinery storage, and on tankers, and in strategic reserve – that the gradual decline of shale-production will not be noticed. It will happen over years. Possibly decades.

    You do realize, don’t you, that US oil consumption is something like 20 million barrels per day, every day? When the 8 million bpd from fracking stops, the stuff held in pipelines, storage, et cetera, will be gone almost before you can blink. The decline will NOT be gradual; it’ll be sudden and brutal.

    As I wrote (and you ignored), “Some of [the 8 million bpd] may survive a crash, but if most of it vanishes, that will be far more than the 3.3 million bpd that disappeared in 1973 [and caused the price of oil to quadruple, triggering an economic crisis]. The consequences will be horrendous.”

    I understand why some people want to play to all the suckers. Fracking is a Ponzi scheme; like all the Ponzi schemes in history, it needs an exponentially growing population of new suckers to keep the scheme going.

    Your repetitive chants of Trump wanting to “steal” Venezuela’s oil is lame trolling.

    Not only is that an insult, it is also false. We know that Trump wants to steal Venezuela’s oil, because he has been saying so, very loudly — a year after letting slip that he wished the US had “kept” (i.e. stolen) Iraq’s oil. So it’s clear that the oil supply has been on The Donald’s mind for a long time — likely because a fracking crash is as probable to him as it is to me.

    • Replies: @Johnny Rico
    , @Johnny Rico
  192. @Vidi

    I think I can do that. But we need to agree on some terms or definitions of things so we can be on the same page.

    What exactly do you mean by “crash”? When you use terms like “disappear” you imply that shale production in the US will drop from 6-8 mbpd to 1-2 mbpd or less virtually overnight. The magnitude and timeframe of this proposed/predicted decline is important. Because you are going to have to demonstrate its probability and, most importantly, why it would occur. With historical examples, of course.

    I’d be willing to define this as a drop of 4-5 mbpd in American production over a one-year period to make this a semi-believable possibility…the problem with that is the reality that that is not really a shock that the American economy can’t weather. And I can demonstrate that.

    I could be wrong, but I’m guessing you had more of an 8 mbpd drop in 60 days. That’s of course more apocalyptic, but then you’ve got to show how it is possible.

    See, what is happening in Venezuela is completely related to shale oil, or all unconventional, hard to produce, expensive to produce forms of oil that are becoming more and more a part of daily life as conventional production has plateaued or even peaked.

    Venezuela was only able to classify 200 billion barrels of those “largest reserves in the world” as actual reserves when the price of oil was over $100 prior to 2013. At prices below $70 or some number that is anybody’s guess Venezuelan heavy oil is literally not producable. Because it is not profitable and nobody, including the Chinese, believes anything any Venezuelan says about oil or the oil industry because they have screwed their industry up so badly.

    Nobody is willing to invest in the Venezuelan oil industry because Venezuela has burned everybody so many times.

    Nobody that understands this history buys this line of thinking from The Saker and Michael Hudson that Venezuela’s problems are all a result of United States.

    In the United States, at least for the time being, the so-far unprofitable shale industry continues to exist because of the expectation and hope that it will be profitable not too far off. Remember, shale-production started in earnest about 2011 when oil was about $100 on average. Had oil remained there. Shale would have been profitable by 2014. But in 2014 the price dropped.

    Shale is not so much a Ponzi scheme as it is many speculative bets that are waiting and praying for the price of oil to rise. From my point of view, it doesn’t look good. The price of oil has been very stable between $50 and $65 for most of three years now, but oil moves quickly when it does and it is impossible to predict.

    Which leads to the issue of prediction.

    You are suggesting that a crash in shale production due to the dawning realization that it is a Ponzi scheme will cause an economic shock in the United States. This is in fact predicting three separate events and using a narrative device to relate them.

    But for simplicity’s sake I’ll limit it to the two main ones: Oil crash and economic turmoil.

    Read the works of Nicholas Taleb to see the pitfalls with this.

    The basics are this. Either event is improbable. Both together are even more improbable. That you think both are more probable is a trick your mind is playing on you. Humans like stories.

    Reality: Negative economic events happen about once every tens years in the United States. The likelihood of one happening in any given year is like 1 in 10, so improbable.

    The liklihood of a major supply disruption in the shale industry in particular happening in 2019 even more improbable. There is a whole class of energy-related apocalypse, peak-oil writers and journalists who have been predicting this implosion of the shale-scam almost every week since 2014. They have a perfect track record of predictive failure. Some of them even admit when they commit their predictions to paper (the blogosphere) that they are always wrong.

    But a major supply disruption hurting the US economy in the near-future is not going to happen. The economy can certainly dip and badly and there are a whole host of isssues the US has that can conspire to make that happen.

    Shale-oil may be involved, but it is unlikely to be the particular catalyst or cause.

    My record predicting the non-occurence of this event as well as the non-occurence of an attack on Iran for the last 20 years is perfect. 🙂

    …hmmm, which reminds me, haven’t heard the Saker talk about Iran much lately, gonna have to wait until this Venezuela thing blows over, probably a week from now. I can’t believe it has lasted this long.

  193. @Vidi

    Yes. I understand all the numbers involved. American consumption of 20 mbpd out of a total global consumption of around 95 mbpd is roughly at the same level it was in 1997 when global consumption was probably only 80 mbpd.

    American energy use is both extremely intense and efficient.

    Only 10 mbpd of that 20 is transportation gasoline. In a crisis, we could probably knock 3 mbpd off of that easily at the expense of curtailing our happy-motoring lifestyles a tad.

    It is China’s rapidly rising consumption that is of concern.

    The decline will NOT be gradual; it’ll be sudden and brutal.

    I don’t take that on faith. You are going to have to demonstrate why both sudden and brutal would be the case.

  194. Tom Welsh says:
    @John D Welsh

    Hi, Dave! There seem to be quite a few Welshes, and even Tom Welshes, around if you Google.

    I’m a retired computer technician living in England.

  195. Gringo says:

    Michael Hudson: Venezuela was an oil monoculture. Its export revenue was spent largely on importing food and other necessities that it could have produced at home. …Chavez sought to restore a mixed economy to Venezuela…..
    When Chávez was elected in 1998, petroleum and petroleum products accounted for 71.7% of Venezuela’s exports. by 2013, the year Chávez died, petroleum and petroleum products accounted for 97.8% of Venezuela’s exports. By 2013, Venezuela was more of an oil monoculture than before he was elected in 1998.Chávez talked a good game, but wasn’t very good at producing results.

    Michael Hudson: What he was unable to do was to clean up the embezzlement and built-in rake-off of income from the oil sector.
    When Chávez campaigned in 1998 , he stressed clamping down on corruption. That stance against corruption help gain him votes. When he was in office, he had a rather different attitude towards corruption. From Rory Carroll’s Comandante: Hugo Chávez’s Venezuela.

    His longtime comrade and fellow coup conspirator General Jesús Urdaneta was unhappy. Chávez had appointed his friend, typically blunt and outspoken like people from the western state of Zulia, to head DISIP, the intelligence service. Urdaneta received reports that two of the president’s most important civilian allies, Luis Miquilena, head of the National Assembly, and José Vicente Rangel, the foreign minister, were lining their pockets…..
    Urdaneta complained to Chávez that they were bringing the old, corrupt habits into the fledgling Fifth Republic. According to the general, the president acknowledged the duo’s corruption but said he needed their dark arts to consolidate power. The feud spilled into the Vargas aftermath when security forces were accused of executing looters. Of eight thousand men in the field, only sixty were from DISIP, but Urdaneta found his agency singled out and pilloried—allegedly due to Miquilena and Vicente Rangel pulling their invisible strings. (Years later Miquilena fell out with Chávez and was charged but acquitted of corruption. Vicente Rangel was never charged with any crime.) Chávez barred Urdaneta from speaking to the press. His old friend claimed he had been set up and resigned in protest, the revolution’s first major defection.

    When given an opportunity early in his term, in 2000, to crack down on corruption, Chávez chose to tolerate it. “Unable to crack down on corruption” is very inaccurate. Chávez was given a chance to crack down on corruption, and chose to tolerate it.

    Once again, Chávez talked a good game, but didn’t produce results.

    https://data.worldbank.org/country/venezuela-rb?view=chart Fuel exports (% of merchandise exports)

  196. Gringo says:

    Over the longer run, Maduro also must develop Venezuelan agriculture, along much the same lines that the United States protected and developed its agriculture under the New Deal legislation of the 1930s –

    Chávez was elected in 1998.
    From 1998 to 2016, Venezuela’s net per capita Crops (PIN) production has fallen 35.7%.
    From 1998 to 2016, Venezuela’s net per capita Cereals,Total production has fallen 46.9%.
    That is what Chavismo has done to Venezuela.
    Rather similarly, Cuba’s net per capita Crops (PIN) production has fallen 32.2% from 1961 to 2016. Oh, the glories of Socialism Latin style!

    http://www.fao.org/faostat/en/#data/QI Net per capita Production Index Number (2004-2006 = 100)
    Cereals,Total
    Crops (PIN)

  197. Why don’t Russia or China, or both in joint partnership, build a Venezuelan refinery to deal with that grade of crude? That would solve a lot of problems and would seem to be a profitable investment for all concerned.

  198. @Realist

    Sound like anti-Semitism. Rothschild is nothing without state support.

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