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Weekly Update: The Parachute culture, $COTI on Gate.io, Pynk crowdfunding campaign live, Voyager + Sterling Trading Tech…– 22 May - 28 May'20

Weekly Update: The Parachute culture, $COTI on Gate.io, Pynk crowdfunding campaign live, Voyager + Sterling Trading Tech…– 22 May - 28 May'20
Heyo! Continuing with our six-part catch up series to get up to date on the May and June news from Parachute and partners, here’s Part II of VI (22 May - 28 May'20):

If you're in crypto, there's often the random pump/moon/wenBinance talk that props up from time to time in groups. Especially, when someone new joins a project and is unfamiliar with the community culture. At Parachute, we have always made it a point to have more meaningful discussions than price. Cap shared some of his thoughts on this as well. For the #culturalweekend prompt this week, Jason got Parachuters to share about “something weird your family does that is a tradition for them but not a traditional tradition”. Peace Love’s Big Trivia in TTR was quite fun as always. The beta testing group for ParJar swaps was set up this week. Also, Chris organised something amazing this week which will possibly remain a secret amongst Parachute admins (and Doc Vic 😊 ). But if word of it ever goes out, you’ll realise why Parachute is the most wholesome project in all of crypto. Chris also gave out some cool $PAR to folks in the Parachute channel to talk about "something that you didn't spend much money on that had a big impact on your quality of life". This week's Two-for-Tuesday featured music from "female artists, including bands with at least one female member". Click here for the playlist. Thanks Sebastian!
Some good cheer from Alexis all the way from Germany
aXpire’s May recap video covers product updates from Bilr, PayBX etc. To track this week’s 20k $AXPR burn, click here. The team also shared success strategies for law firms. 2gether co-founder Salvador Casquero wrote about best security practices in finance. A new update was pushed to Wednesday Coin’s dApp, WednesdayClub. In this week’s XIO discussions, Citizens talked about ideal time allocation strategies for research and execution. Top Citizens on the Leaderboard stand a chance to win some cool merch. Also, watch out for pesky scams. Voyager announced a partnership with Sterling Trading Tech to launch a crypto trading widget. Proactive Investors covered Voyager in its latest piece chronicling their growing user base. As mentioned in a previous update, CEO Stephen Ehrlich’s crypto investment webinar happened this week. Switch crew did a community AMA just before the $GHOST airdrop snapshot. The team expanded with new dev hires. In preparation for the $GHOST airdrop, ProBit completed its $VSF:$ESH swap and Stex announced support for $ESH/$GHOST airdrop. $ESH was listed on HitBTC and Changelly. Folks who guessed these exchanges correctly won some tokens as well. Founder Josh Case sat down with Mr. Backwards for an interview. Among several updates to the Ghost website, a staking calculator was added. Click here to read the latest technical update from Fantom. $FTM was in the running to be added as a collateral for DAI. Congratulations to Uptrennd for becoming the highest ranked blockchain-based social media platform as per Alexa. They started a SmartLink campaign with 2key Network. The first Uptrennd halvening went live this week. The team is reachable on Discord from now as well. District0x’s latest District Weekly and Dev Updates can be read here and here respectively. Hydro team shared their thoughts on how virtual cards for independent contractors (otherwise referred to as 1099 employees) could improve reimbursement practices. Entries for their Decentralization Ambassador program were opened this week.
These look great, XIO team
This is what is planned for the GHOST ecosystem currently
SelfKey compiled a master list of crypto lending platforms. The Loans Marketplace will feature many of these. Full transcript of the May 12th AMA was released. SelfKey advisor Edmund Lowell spoke at the BlockConf DIGITAL conference this week. Mongolian exchange AIS-X joined the Exchange Marketplace. Pynk’s crowdfunding campaign on Seedrs went live this week. Check out their campaign video here. Amazing production! Plus, this cool feature in City A.M. was the perfect way to close off the week. Wibson hosted a meetup (online of course!) for its Spanish speaking community this week. The crew also introduced the app at an Ethereum event in Buenos Aires. Harmony burned all mainnet tokens mined before Open Staking going public. The latest staking stats and validator data can be seen here and here respectively. That’s right, 3B+ $ONE is already staked. Woohoo! With its latest CoinDCX listing, $ONE got its first INR trading pair. Saweet! The major improvement proposals that were discussed with the community this week were making Open Staking more decentralized and creating a more liquid staking market. This led to the first release after Open Staking. The winners of the effective-median-stake contest were announced. Hope you got a chance to take part in the Flash Quiz. Do you know about all the projects that have been built in the Harmony ecosystem? Here’s a rundown. The team hosted an AMA as well. BitMax changed some of its rules for $ONE staking. Check out COTI’s latest network growth stats here. And super congratulations on winning the Gate.io listing vote! $COTI was also added to Binance’s Locked Savings staking program. Broking platform Troy Trade partnered with COTI to improve its scalability. DoYourTip’s $DYT now has 2500+ HODLers. Neat! Mycro was invited to join BitForex’s app platform CAPP Town. GET Protocol’s GUTS Tickets was covered in Cryptogeeks’ latest blogpost on blockchain-based ticketing.

And with that, it’s a wrap for this week in Parachute and partners! See you again with another update. Cheerio!
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US Venezuela Policy is About Oligarchy, Not Democracy

US Venezuela Policy is About Oligarchy, Not Democracy

The proven oil reserves in Venezuela are recognized as the LARGEST in the world, totaling 297 billion barrels.
While ignoring (and even supporting) the atrocities of authoritarian regimes in places like Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Uzbekistan, US oligarchs have targeted Venezuela for “regime-change” in the name of “democracy”.
Currently, the US is engaging in economic warfare against Venezuela to foment a coup and remove its democratically elected president Nicolás Maduro.
Without providing solid evidence, our corporate-controlled government and mainstream media portray Maduro as a corrupt, repressive, and illegitimate leader with little to no support.

Ask yourself:

Do I ever see officials from the Venezuelan government appear in corporate news shows to tell THEIR side of the story?
What people DO get to comment on Venezuela and what are their credentials and agenda? Are these people essentially public relations agents for the US-orchestrated coup?
Does corporate news provide me with historical background of US imperialism in Venezuela to put these current events in context?

What Corporate-Controlled Media will NOT Tell You

The CIA was involved in the failed coup against Venezuela's popular leader Hugo Chavez in 2002.
Venezuela is not a strictly socialist country; it has a “mixed” economy - not unlike Norway or other Scandinavian countries.
Venezuela is a DEMOCRACY - unlike US-allies Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, and Kuwait.
In 2012, Jimmy Carter went on record saying:
“As a matter of fact, of the 92 elections that we've monitored, I would say the election process in Venezuela is the best in the world”
The opposition to Maduro knew they were going to lose the last election and so boycotted it in attempt to delegitimize the results.
The US actually tried to dissuade Maduro’s opponents from running!
Maduro invited international observers into the country in 2018 to monitor the last election but the opposition asked the UN not to send observers!
More than 80% of the Venezuelan population had not even HEARD of Juan Guaidó before Trump and the US state proclaimed him the “rightful” president.
Maduro’s approval ratings within his country are on par with opposition-controlled National Assembly. According to an October poll by opposition-aligned pollster Datanalisis, Venezuela's National Assembly, of which Juan Guaidó is president, has a disapproval rating of 70%.
Venezuela WANTS to sell its oil to the US – the US is their largest market and refines a majority of their oil.
US companies Chevron Corp, Halliburton, Schlumberger, Baker Hughes and Weatherford International all have operations in Venezuela, and are allowed to continue to engage in transactions and activities with PDVSA and its joint ventures through July 27.
“No State or group of States has the right to intervene, directly or indirectly, for any reason whatever, in the internal or external affairs of any other State. The foregoing principle prohibits not only armed force but also any other form of interference or attempted threat against the personality of the State or against its political, economic, and cultural elements.” Organization of American States Charter

Why is the US Corporatocracy so Keen to Remove Maduro?

While Venezuela’s economy is not a strictly-state-run economy, its oil industry is nationalized and uses its revenues for the benefit of its citizens (especially the poor).
After years of crippling US sanctions Maduro stepped over a crucial line in October when his government announced that Venezuela was abandoning the US dollar and would be make all future transactions on the Venezuelan exchange market in euro.
Saddam Hussein also went off the dollar in favor of the euro in 2003 – we started dropping bombs on him the next month.
A similar decision by the Gadhafi government in Libya (2011) was quickly followed by a devastating US-orchestrated conflict - culminating in Gadhafi's capture by radical Islamists who sodomized him with a bayonet before killing him. Since then, Libya has gone from Africa's wealthiest country to a truly failed-state complete with a slave trade! To make matters worse, after the collapse of the Libyan government, its military arms were smuggled out of that country and into the hands of ISIS fighters in Iraq and Syria - enabling US-orchestrated chaos in those countries.

Who cares what currency a country uses to trade petroleum?

Answer: US oligarchy

The US dollar is central to US world economic domination.
Like all other modern currencies, it is a fiat currency – backed by no real assets to prop up its value.
In lieu of a “gold standard” we know operate on a de-facto “oil-standard”:
"After the collapse of the Bretton Woods gold standard in the early 1970s, the United States struck a deal with Saudi Arabia to standardize oil prices in dollar terms. Through this deal, the petrodollar system was born, along with a paradigm shift away from pegged exchanged rates and gold-backed currencies to non-backed, floating rate regimes.
The petrodollar system elevated the U.S. dollar to the world's reserve currency and, through this status, the United States enjoys persistent trade deficits and is a global economic hegemony." Investopedia
“The central banking Ponzi scheme requires an ever-increasing base of demand and the immediate silencing of those who would threaten its existence. Perhaps that is what the hurry [was] in removing Gaddafi in particular and those who might have been sympathetic to his monetary idea.” Anthony Wile

US Foreign Policy is about Oligarchy Not Democracy

Since World War II, the US has attempted to over-throw the 52 foreign governments. Aside from a handful of exceptions (China, Cuba, Vietnam, etc.), the US has been successful in the vast majority of these attempts.
US foreign policy is not about democracy – it is about exploiting the world’s resources in the interests of a small, ultra-wealthy global elite.
This exploitation benefits a small percentage of people at the top of the economic pyramid while the costs are born by those at the bottom.

US CIA Coup Playbook:

How to Plunder Resources from Foreign Countries While Pretending to Support Democracy
  1. Find a country with resources you want.
  2. Send in an “Economic Hitman” to offer bribes the country’s leader in the form of personally lucrative business deals. If he accepts the deal, the leader will amass a personal fortune in exchange for "privatizing” the resources you wish to extract.
If the leader will not accept your bribes, begin the regime-change process.
3) Engage in economic warfare by imposing crippling sanctions on the country and blame the ensuing shortages on the leader’s “socialist” policies.
4) Work with right-wing allies inside country to fund and organize an “astroturf” opposition group behind a corporate-friendly puppet.
5) Hire thugs inside country to incite unrest and violence against the government in coordination with your opposition group. Use corporate media to publicize the orchestrated outbursts as popular outrage and paint a picture of a “failed state” mired in corruption and chaos.
6) When the government arrests your thugs, decry the response as the brutal repression. Use corporate-owned media to demonize the target government as a despotic regime while praising your puppet opposition as champions of democracy.
7) Work with right-wing military leaders to organize the overthrow the government (offer them the same business deals the current leader refused).
8) If a military-led coup cannot be organized, create a mercenary army to carry out acts of terrorism against the government and its supporters. Portray the mercenaries as “freedom fighters” and their acts of terrorism as a “civil war”.
9) If the target government has popular and military support and is too well-defended for your mercenaries to over-throw: label the country a “rouge state” and wait for the right time to invade. Meanwhile, continue to wear the country’s government and populace down using steps 3 – 8.
10) Escalate the terror campaign within the country to provoke a military response from the country against the US. If they won’t take the bait , fabricate an attack or threat that you can sell to the US population as justification for an invasion.
11) Once the government is removed, set up your puppet regime to provide the illusion of sovereignty. The regime will facilitate and legitimize your appropriation of the country’s resources under the guise of "free" trade.
12) As you continue to extract the country’s resources, provide intelligence and military support to the puppet regime to suppress popular dissent within the country.
13) Use the demise of the former government as yet another example of the impracticality of “socialism.”
What Can I Do?
Call your senators and representatives to voice your opposition to US regime-change efforts in Venezuela.
https://www.commoncause.org/find-your-representative/
Please share this message with others.
Sources included at: https://link.medium.com/8DiA5xzx4T

‘Venezuela’: Media’s One-Word Rebuttal to the Threat of Socialism

ALAN MACLEOD FEBRUARY 8, 2019
A recent Gallup poll (8/13/18) found that a majority of millennials view socialism favorably, preferring it to capitalism. Democratic socialist Bernie Sanders is the most popular politician in the United States, while new leftist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s (AOC) policies of higher taxes on the wealthy, free healthcare and public college tuition are highly popular—even among Republican voters (FAIR.org,1/23/19).
Alarmed by the growing threat of progressive policies at home, the establishment has found a one-word weapon to deploy against the rising tide: Venezuela. The trick is to attack any political figure or movement even remotely on the left by claiming they wish to turn the country into a “socialist wasteland” (Fox News, 2/2/19) run by a corrupt dictatorship, leaving its people hungry and devastated.
Leading the charge have been Fox News and other conservative outlets. One Fox opinion piece (1/25/19) claimed that Americans should be “absolutely disgusted” by the “fraud” of Bernie Sanders and Democrats like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker, as they “continue to promote a system that is causing mass starvation and the collapse of a country,” warning that is exactly what their failed socialist policies would bring to the US. (Back in the real world, while Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez identify as socialists, Warren is a self-described capitalist, and Booker is noted for his ties to Wall Street, whose support for his presidential bid he has reportedly been soliciting.) A second Fox Newsarticle (1/27/19) continues in the same vein, warning that, “At the heart of Venezuela’s collapse is a laundry list of socialist policies that have decimated its economy.”
The Wall Street Journal (1/28/19) describes calls for negotiations in Venezuela as “siding with the dictator.”
In an article entitled “Bernie Sanders, Jeremy Corbyn and the Starving Children of Venezuela,” the Washington Examiner (6/15/17) warned its readers to “beware the socialist utopia,” describing it as a dystopia where children go hungry thanks to socialism. The Wall Street Journal (1/28/19) recently condemned Sanders for his support of a “dictator,” despite the fact Bernie has strongly criticized Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, and dismissed Maduro’s predecessor, Hugo Chavez, as a “dead Communist dictator” (Reuters, 6/1/16).
More supposedly centrist publications have continued this line of attack. The New York Times’ Bret Stephens (1/25/19) argued: “Venezuela is a socialist catastrophe. In the age of AOC, the lesson must be learned again”—namely, that “socialism never works,” as “20 years of socialism” has led to “the ruin of a nation.” The Miami Herald(2/1/19) cast shame on Sanders and AOC for arguing for socialism in the face of such overwhelming evidence against it, describing the left’s refusal to back self-appointed president Juan Guaidó, someone whom less than 20 percent of Venezuelans had even heard of, let alone voted for, as “morally repugnant.”
This useful weapon to be used against the left can only be sustained by withholding a great number of key facts—chief among them, the US role in Venezuela’s devastation. US sanctions, according to the Venezuelan opposition’s economics czar, are responsible for a halving of the country’s oil output (FAIR.org, 12/17/18). The UN Human Rights Council has formally condemned the US and discussed reparations to be paid, with one UN special rapporteur describing Trump’s sanctions as a possible “crime against humanity” (London Independent, 1/26/19). This has not been reported by any the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN or any other national US “resistance” news outlet, which have been only too quick to support Trump’s regime change plans (FAIR.org, 1/25/19).
Likewise, the local US-backed opposition’s role in the economic crisis is barely mentioned. The opposition, which controls much of the country’s food supply, has officially accepted responsibility for conducting an “economic war” by withholding food and other key goods.
For example, the monolithic Empresas Polar controls the majority of the flour production and distribution crucial for making arepa cornbread, Venezuela’s staple food. Polar’s chair is Leopoldo Lopez, national coordinator of Juan Guaidó’s Popular Will party, while its president is Lorenzo Mendoza, who considered running for president against Maduro in the 2018 elections that caused pandemonium in the media (FAIR.org, 5/23/18).
Conspicuously, it’s the products that Polar has a near-monopoly in that are often in shortest supply. This is hardly a secret, but never mentioned in the copious stories (CNN, 5/14/14, Bloomberg, 3/16/17, Washington Post, 5/22/17, NPR, 4/7/17) focusing on bread lines in the country.
Also rarely commented on was the fact that multiple international election observer missions declared the 2018 elections free and fair, and that Venezuelan government spending as a proportion of GDP (often considered a barometer of socialism) is actually lower than the US’s, and far lower than most of Europe’s, according to the conservative Heritage Foundation.
The London Daily Express (2/3/19) demonstrates that redbaiting works equally well on either side of the Atlantic.
Regardless of these bothersome facts, the media has continued to present Venezuela’s supposedly socialist dictatorship as solely responsible for its crisis as a warning to any progressives who get the wrong idea. So useful is this tool that it is being used to attack progressive movements around the world. The Daily Express (2/3/19) and Daily Mail (2/3/19) condemned UK Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn for his “defense” of a “dictator,” while the Daily Telegraph(2/3/19) warned that the catastrophe of Venezuela is Labour’s blueprint for Britain. Meanwhile, the Greek leftist party Syriza’s support for Maduro (the official position of three-quarters of UN member states) was condemned as “shameful” (London Independent, 1/29/19).
“Venezuela” is also used as a one-word response to shut down debate and counter any progressive idea or thought. While the panel on ABC’s The View (7/23/18) discussed progressive legislation like Medicare for All and immigration reform, conservative regular Meghan McCain responding by invoking Venezuela: “They’re starving to death” she explained, leaving the other panelists bemused.
President Trump has also used it. In response to criticism from Senator Elizabeth Warren over his “Pocahontas” jibe, he replied that she would “make our country into Venezuela” (Reuters, 10/15/18).
The weapon’s effectiveness can only be sustained through a media in lockstep with the government’s regime-change goals. That the media is fixated on the travails of a relatively small and unimportant country in America’s “backyard,” and that the picture of Venezuela is so shallow, is not a mistake. Rather, the simplistic narrative of a socialist dictatorship starving its own people provides great utility as a weapon for the establishment to beat back the domestic “threat” of socialism, by associating movements and figures such as Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Jeremy Corbyn with an evil caricature they have carefully crafted.

Corporate Propaganda Blitz Against Venezuela’s Elected President: MSM Will Not Let Facts Interfere With Coup Agenda

Facts Don’t Interfere With Propaganda Blitz Against Venezuela’s Elected President Joe Emersberger
Guaidó, anointed by Trump and a new Iraq-style Coalition of the Willing, did not even run in Venezuela’s May 2018 presidential election. In fact, shortly before the election, Guaidó was not even mentioned by the opposition-aligned pollster Datanálisis when it published approval ratings of various prominent opposition leaders. Henri Falcón, who actually did run in the election (defying US threats against him) was claimed by the pollster to basically be in a statistical tie for most popular among them. It is remarkable to see the Western media dismiss this election as “fraudulent,” without even attempting to show that it was “stolen“ from Falcón. Perhaps that’s because it so clearly wasn’t stolen.
Graph: Approval Ratings of Main Venezuelan Leaders Nov 2016 - July 2018 Data from the opposition-aligned pollsters in Venezuela (via Torino Capital) indicates that Henri Falcón was the most popular of the major opposition figures at the time of the May 2018 presidential election. Nicolás Maduro won the election due to widespread opposition boycotting and votes drawn by another opposition candidate, Javier Bertucci.
The constitutional argument that Trump and his accomplices have used to “recognize” Guaidó rests on the preposterous claim that Maduro has “abandoned” the presidency by soundly beating Falcón in the election. Caracas-based journalist Lucas Koerner took apart that argument in more detail.
What about the McClatchy-owned Miami Herald's claim that Maduro “continues to reject international aid”? In November 2018, following a public appeal by Maduro, the UN did authorize emergency aid for Venezuela. It was even reported by Reuters (11/26/18), whose headlines have often broadcast the news agency’s contempt for Maduro’s government.
It’s not unusual for Western media to ignore facts they have themselves reported when a major “propaganda blitz” by Washington is underway against a government. For example, it was generally reported accurately in 1998 that UN weapons inspectors were withdrawn from Iraq ahead of air strikes ordered by Bill Clinton, not expelled by Iraq’s government. But by 2002, it became a staple of pro-war propaganda that Iraq had expelled weapons inspectors (Extra! Update, 10/02).
And, incidentally, when a Venezuelan NGO requested aid from the UN-linked Global Fund in 2017, it was turned down. Setting aside how effective foreign aid is at all (the example of Haiti hardly makes a great case for it), it is supposed to be distributed based on relative need, not based on how badly the US government wants somebody overthrown.
But the potential for “aid” to alleviate Venezuela’s crisis is negligible compared to the destructive impact of US economic sanctions. Near the end of the Miami Herald article, author Jim Wyss cited an estimate from the thoroughly demonized Venezuelan government that US sanctions have cost it $30 billion, with no time period specified for that estimate. Again, this calls to mind the run-up to the Iraq invasion, when completely factual statements that Iraq had no WMDs were attributed to the discredited Iraqi government. Quoting Iraqi denials supposedly balanced the lies spread in the media by US officials like John Bolton, who now leads the charge to overthrow Maduro. Wyss could have cited economists independent of the Maduro government on the impact of US sanctions—like US economist Mark Weisbrot, or the emphatically anti-Maduro Venezuelan economist Francisco Rodríguez.
Illegal US sanctions were first imposed in 2015 under a fraudulent “state of emergency” declared by Obama, and subsequently extended by Trump. The revenue lost to Venezuela’s government due to US economic sanctions since August 2017, when the impact became very easy to quantify, is by now well over $6 billion. That’s enormous in an economy that was only able to import about $11 billion of goods in 2018, and needs about $2 billion per year in medicines. Trump’s “recognition” of Guaidó as “interim president” was the pretext for making the already devastating sanctions much worse. Last month, Francisco Rodríguez revised his projection for the change in Venezuela’s real GDP in 2019, from an 11 percent contraction to 26 percent, after the intensified sanctions were announced.
The $20 million in US “aid” that Wyss is outraged Maduro won’t let in is a rounding error compared to the billions already lost from Trump’s sanctions.
Former US Ambassador to Venezuela William Brownfield, who pressed for more sanctions on Venezuela, dispensed with the standard “humanitarian” cover that US officials have offered for them (Intercept, 2/10/19):
And if we can do something that will bring that end quicker, we probably should do it, but we should do it understanding that it’s going to have an impact on millions and millions of people who are already having great difficulty finding enough to eat, getting themselves cured when they get sick, or finding clothes to put on their children before they go off to school. We don’t get to do this and pretend as though it has no impact there. We have to make the hard decision—the desired outcome justifies this fairly severe punishment.
How does this gruesome candor get missed by reporters like Wyss, and go unreported in his article?
Speaking of “severe punishment,” if the names John Bolton and Elliott Abrams don’t immediately call to mind the punishment they should be receiving for crimes against humanity, it illustrates how well the Western propaganda system functions. Bolton, a prime facilitator of the Iraq War, recently suggested that Maduro could be sent to a US-run torture camp in Cuba. Abrams played a key role in keeping US support flowing to mass murderers and torturers in Central America during the 1980s. Also significant that Abrams, brought in by Trump to help oust Maduro, used “humanitarian aid” as cover to supply weapons to the US-backed Contra terrorists in Nicaragua.
In the Miami Herald article, the use of US “aid” for military purposes is presented as another allegation made by the vilified Venezuelan president: “Maduro has repeatedly said the aid is cover for a military invasion and has ordered his armed forces not to let it in, even as food and medicine shortages sweep the country.”
Venezuela Accuses U.S. of Secretly Shipping Arms After Weapons Found on Plane with Possible CIA Ties | Democracy Now!
Calling for international aid and being democratically elected will do as little to protect Maduro’s government from US aggression as being disarmed of WMD did to prevent Iraq from being invaded—unless there is much more pushback from the US public against a lethal propaganda system.

When Is a Democracy not a Democracy? When It’s Venezuela and the US is Pushing Regime Change. Venezuela has as much right to call itself a democracy as does the United States. Until that is understood by enough people, the Trump administration will continue to devastate Venezuela’s economy with illegal sanctions and push it towards civil war.
Suggested Reading:
UN Rapporteur: US Sanctions Cause Death in Venezuela
Guaido is playing it fast and loose with the Bolivarian Constitution to justify a dictatorship
Trump’s Economic Sanctions Have Cost Venezuela About $6bn Since August 2017
How could Venezuela's president 'steal' the 2018 election from an unknown who didn't run?
In other news...
The Largest Protest Ever Was 15 Years Ago. The Iraq War Isn’t Over. What Happened?
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【翻译Quora上一篇问答】中国是否正在面临一次银行危机(谈到房地产) by phoebeDD on 2016-10-04

Is China really facing a banking crisis? What are its origins?
(中国是否正在面对一次银行危机?其根源又是什么?)



According to a recent article titled China facing full-blown banking crisis, world's top financial watchdog war
ns published in the Telegraph:
(根据近期电讯文章报道:“世界顶级金融观察者发出警告:中国正在面临全面的银行危机”)
China has failed to curb excesses in its credit system and faces mounting risks of a full-blown banking crisis
(中国已对债务违约失去控制,他们正在面对随之而来的全面性银行危机)
(中国债务/GDP 占比图)


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Robin Daverman, Dealmaker
Written Sep 27


Ah, but maybe you want to look around a bit and see how China’s total debt is compared with other economies, like this?
(你可能想看看其他经济体与中国的债务情况相比是怎么样的,如下图)

(G10债务分布图)
If you put China’s data on this chart, it will be somewhere around Canada and New Zealand. Guess Which Country Has Debt Of Nearly 1000% Of GDP... Shocking, isn’t it?
如果你将中国的数据插入上图进行比较的话,中国的数据大约会在加拿大和新西兰之间。猜猜看哪个国家债务大约是自己GDP的10倍....(英国)非常震惊吧
UK has almost 1000% Debt-to-GDP ratio, compared with China’s < 300% Debt-to-GDP ratio, mostly because of that over-sized financial debt - at the end of the day, the government must stand behind it. On top of that, the UK has no resource to sell, hardly any industry left, going through a divorce with EU, and almost never ever meets her fiscal targets. And yet, UK, with its near 1000% debt-to-GDP ratio, is still viewed as the gold standard among safe havens. PRESENTING: The Rosetta Stone Of The Entire Sovereign Debt Crisis Why? Because UK issues debt in her own currency. And who prints the pound? The UK government.
英国的债务/GDP占比将近1000%而中国只是小于300%,其原因是其过于庞大的金融债务——政府最终将不得不为之站台。在此之上,英国没用可出售的资源,没有任何本国工业,正在脱离欧盟,而且英国基本上从来没有达成其财务目标。即使如此,英国仍然被某些传媒视为安全经济体的黄金标准。其原因就是英债都以英镑的方式结算。那么是谁印英镑的呢?英国政府。
Then you take a look at Japan, wow that’s 600%+ debt-to-GDP ratio! But - Japan’s debt is not only mostly internal, in Japanese Yen, but also with 0% or even negative interest. You can roll this kind of debt over practically forever. That’s why people have been yelling about Japanese debt for the last 20 years, and nothing happens.
然后你看看日本,将近600%的债务/GDP占比!但是,日本的债务几乎都是内部的,以日元的形式出售的债务,而且日本是0利率甚至是负利率。实际上这种债务你可以无限积累下去(经济常识:如果是负利率,政府只要保持债务不变,多出来的部分会自行消失)。这就是为啥人们对日债担心了20年但屁事没有发生。
Then you take a look at those economies that have blown up on debt:
Argentina: Government/Sovereign debt in USD, with jurisdiction in New York!Greece: Government/Sovereign debt in Euro, with jurisdiction in Brussels!Iceland: External financial debt → nationalized into Government/Sovereign debt in USD and Euro alone was 700%+ GDP in 2008, with jurisdiction in New York and Brussels.
然后你看看那些因债务问题毁掉的经济体:
阿根廷:政府/主权债务以美元形式结算,其裁判权在纽约!希腊:政府/主权债务以欧元方式结算,其裁判权在布鲁塞尔!冰岛:外部金融债务→债务国有化后2008年政府/主权债务以美元和欧元的形式达到GDP的700%,其裁判权在纽约和布鲁塞尔
Then you look at China, with her debt almost entirely internal, in Chinese RMB to Chinese citizens, government debt at 55%, lower than the US, Japan, and EU average, in her own currency. China’s external debt is about 9% of GDP, globally ranked 184th (less than North Korea, similar to Kosovo) - anyway you look at it, it’s hardly the kind of material to make a banking crisis. China is borrowing a little bit from her own piggy bank. Argentina/Greece/Iceland were borrowing a lot from the Mafia.
然后你看看中国,中国的债务基本都是内部以人民币结算的。中国政府债务只占总债务的55%,比美国,日本和欧盟都要低,再次强调,其债务以人民币结算。中国外部债务只占GDP的9%,全球排行184位(比朝鲜低,比科索沃高)。无论怎么看,你都不会看到中国有任何银行危机的迹象。中国只是向其国内贪心的银行借钱。阿根廷/希腊/冰岛可是像美国欧盟这些黑手党借钱。
PS: The most significant increase in China’s debt is in the financial sector, driven by rising real estate price (which means higher value of housing loans). Right now, the Chinese government is basically using it as a tool to do macro-economic engineering. The goal is to cap urban growth in top tier cities (Beijing, Shanghai, etc.) and push the economic growth to second- and third- tier cities (Hangzhou, the city that just hosted G20, is an example.http://www.g20.org/English/Hangzhou/About/index.html Now you can look back and see why the Chinese government decided to host G20 in a city nobody has ever heard of). This is clearly stated by the Chinese government like 100 times since last year in the official news channels. The reason? Top tier Chinese cities like Shanghai (25 million) already have more city residents than the whole nation of Australia! The metropolitan area of Shanghai (44 million) has more people than the entire population of Canada! In one city! Beijing’s population grew by 8 million within the last decade! The place is simply full.List of cities in China by population and built-up area
PS: 中国最显著的债务增长是在其金融领域内不断升高的房价造成的(不断增高的房贷造成债务问题)。现在中国政府正在利用房价作为宏观经济调控的工具。其目的是限制一线城市的城市化进程和加速二三线城市的发展(刚刚举办了G20的杭州就是个例子,现在你就能知道为啥中国政府将G20放在一个没人听说过的城市举行了)。这些政策中国政府已经在官媒上宣布了无数次。原因就是一线城市,例如上海(2500万人口),其居民数量比阿根廷全国人口还要多!上海都市圈(4400万人口)的人口数量比加拿大全国还要多!北京人口数量在过去的10年内增长了800万!这些城市的人口数量已经饱和了。
In addition to real estate prices, the Chinese government is also doing stuff like restricting residents permits, disallowing second or third homes, even restricting jobs to local residents, everything to say “this place is full. We have these other nice choices, with lower housing prices. Go there.” Young people complaining about housing prices in tier-one cities? But that’s the whole point. The debt you have to take on to live in tier-one cities SHOULD SCARE YOU OFF. The Chinese government is trying to stop the influx of people pouring into tier-one cities, and get these smart and energetic youths to go build two, three, four, five. … more Shanghai’s in other parts of China. 1.4 billion people can’t all fit into tier-one cities.
除了以房地产为手段,中国政府也加强控制了居住证的发放,禁止第二/三套房买入甚至对本地居民的工作种类进行限制,这些都是为了表达一个意思:这些地方都人满为患了。二三线城市有更低的房价和更好的生活条件,快点去那里吧!年轻人都在抱怨一线城市的高房价?但这就是中国政府想要的。你在一线城市生存需要的代价会把你吓退。中国政府正在尝试控制一线城市的人口流入而让有技术和充满活力的年轻人去建设二三四五线城市——让更多的上海出现在国家的其他地方。14亿人口是没可能全部都聚集在一线城市的。
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Paul Denlinger, Involved in China economics study
Written Sep 27


There is too much debt, and a lot of it is likely to turn into bad debt, but that does not equal a banking crisis.
是因为中国贷款太多了,而这些贷款大多数会变成不良贷款,但这些都不等银行危机
Banking crisis may be a nice term to bandy around and get clicks and headlines, but does not really explain what is going on.
银行危机或许是一个十分吸引眼球的头条,但是根本就不能解释实际的情况
There was a lot of debt financing, especially after the 2008 subprime mortgage crisis in the US. In order to keep the economy on a steady keel, the Chinese government, through its banks, pumped money to Chinese state-owned enterprises, in order to keep high employment and maintain an image of “growth”. A lot of this money then found its way into the underground banking system through “wealth management products” and other means. A lot of this has turned into bad debt.
中国政府有过很多次债务融资,特别是08年美国次贷危机之后。为了稳住经济增长,中国政府通过银行将大量人民币注入到国企内以维持就业率和高增长的形象。但这些钱最终大都以理财产品和其他形式流进了地下钱庄。这些大部分都变成了不良贷款。
Another problem area, which frequently overlaps with the “wealth management products” is the local government financing vehicle used to fund local property development, which I have discussed here: Paul Denlinger's answer to Why does China have so many ghost towns?
另一个有问题的领域,和“理财产品”有莫大关联的,就是地方政府为当地基础建设所采用的金融工具(我在这个地方有详细的分析:https://www.quora.com/Why-does-China-have-so-many-ghost-towns/answePaul-Denlinger?srid=tR&share=22b99cfc
What is likely to happen in China is that growth will slow down in some areas, while there will be certain newer parts of the economy which will continue to grow. If the Chinese government is able to support the newer parts of the economy and help them to grow, while cutting back on loans to the weaker parts of the economy, it may be able to handle this transition better.
最可能发生的情况就是中国的经济增长将会放缓,但是肯定会用新的增站点。如果中国政府能支持新的增长点而且能减低夕阳工业的不良贷款率,那么或许能更好地度过过渡期。
This is exactly what the Chinese government is trying to do and you can read about it here:Here is how China is going to quietly save its economy
这些正是中国政府正在尝试去做的,你可以读读这个文章了解一下:http://www.scmp.com/news/china/economy/article/2022491/china-deploys-policy-banks-stealth-mission-stimulate-growth
So, if you are expecting there to be a dramatic run on the banks, and the Chinese people to take to the streets and overthrow the Chinese Communist Party, and become a full-blown democracy like Taiwan, Japan or South Korea, you are very likely to be disappointed.
所以,如果你是期待一次强烈的bank run(自行百度啥是bank run),然后中国人民上街推翻TG,中国大陆变成与台湾,日本韩国一样的政体,那么你要失望了。
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Nikhil Ambhorkar, Self studied Finance.
Written Sep 26


Is China facing a Banking crisis?
中国是在面临一个银行危机吗?
Yes.

Is it facing a full blown Banking crisis?
中国正在面临一个全面性的银行危机吗?
No.

Combined debt of China is almost 300% of its GDP. But the the categorized in 4 parts as it is shown in the image with the question too.
中国的总债务大概是GDP的300%。但是分在了如图所示的4个领域内。
The corporate debt has the lion's portion of the total debt. The household debt and non corporate debt are nothing to worry about because it is less many other developed countries and has some room to grow.
公司债务在总债务中占了大头。个人债务和非公司债务根本没啥可担心的因为这些比大多数发达国家还要低所以还有增长的空间。
Government Debt is not too big when compared to standards set by many global institutions like IMF, World Bank, etc.
政府债务以多数国际组织,例如世行和IMF,设定得标准来看其实不高。
The only major concern which is of a serious magnitude is the corporate debt. This is also reiterated by many economists.
最主要的关注点就是公司债务了。许多经济学家都重申了这点无数次了。
Now the problem with China is that data that comes out of major Chinese institutions is murky so their are many different types of estimates by many different institutions but the common theme in it is corporate debt and its size.
中国最大的问题就是中国国内组织公布的数据来源不清晰所以不同的国际组织对中国经济的实际情况估算会不一样。但所有组织最关心的都是中国的公司债务与其规模。
Corporate debt consists of debt owned by state owned corporations and private corporations. Private corporations in China are generally crowded out by the state owned corporations because of connections and political agenda.
公司债务又分成了国企和私企的债务。中国私企大多数收到国企排挤,这是有政体造成的。
Many state owned corporations have invested into unproductive projects as a result of excess boost given by government after 2008 to prop up the economy. This has resulted in a huge amount of NPAs. So, in all the major problem is state owned corporations piling up huge amount of debt. To solve this problem, the government tried to convert the debt into shares which the bank owns and can recover money through profit dividends but this was one of the causes for last year's stock market crash.
在08年过度的经济刺激政策下,很多国企在许多无效益项目上投了许多钱。这造成了大量的无效能资产。所以,最大的问题是国企堆积了大量债务。为了解决这个问题,政府正在尝试将国企的债务转化为股份,那么银行就能将债务转化为红利而最终将债务收回了。但这造成了上年的股灾.....
Hence, it is a big crisis but not the one government cannot handle with so much trade surplus and forex reserves. But actions are definitely needed to stop it from growing into a bigger problem.
所以,这是一个危机但仍然是政府能控制的,毕竟中国政府有大量贸易顺差和外汇储备。但是仍然需要实际行动来防止事态的扩展。
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US Venezuela Policy is About Oligarchy, Not Democracy

US Venezuela Policy is About Oligarchy, Not Democracy

The proven oil reserves in Venezuela are recognized as the LARGEST in the world, totaling 297 billion barrels.
While ignoring (and even supporting) the atrocities of authoritarian regimes in places like Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Uzbekistan, US oligarchs have targeted Venezuela for “regime-change” in the name of “democracy”.
Currently, the US is engaging in economic warfare against Venezuela to foment a coup and remove its democratically elected president Nicolás Maduro.
Without providing solid evidence, our corporate-controlled government and mainstream media portray Maduro as a corrupt, repressive, and illegitimate leader with little to no support.

Ask yourself:

Do I ever see officials from the Venezuelan government appear in corporate news shows to tell THEIR side of the story?
What people DO get to comment on Venezuela and what are their credentials and agenda? Are these people essentially public relations agents for the US-orchestrated coup?
Does corporate news provide me with historical background of US imperialism in Venezuela to put these current events in context?

What Corporate-Controlled Media will NOT Tell You

The CIA was involved in the failed coup against Venezuela's popular leader Hugo Chavez in 2002.
Venezuela is not a strictly socialist country; it has a “mixed” economy - not unlike Norway or other Scandinavian countries.
Venezuela is a DEMOCRACY - unlike US-allies Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, and Kuwait.
In 2012, Jimmy Carter went on record saying:
“As a matter of fact, of the 92 elections that we've monitored, I would say the election process in Venezuela is the best in the world”
The opposition to Maduro knew they were going to lose the last election and so boycotted it in attempt to delegitimize the results.
The US actually tried to dissuade Maduro’s opponents from running!
Maduro invited international observers into the country in 2018 to monitor the last election but the opposition asked the UN not to send observers!
More than 80% of the Venezuelan population had not even HEARD of Juan Guaidó before Trump and the US state proclaimed him the “rightful” president.
Maduro’s approval ratings within his country are on par with opposition-controlled National Assembly. According to an October poll by opposition-aligned pollster Datanalisis, Venezuela's National Assembly, of which Juan Guaidó is president, has a disapproval rating of 70%.
Venezuela WANTS to sell its oil to the US – the US is their largest market and refines a majority of their oil.
US companies Chevron Corp, Halliburton, Schlumberger, Baker Hughes and Weatherford International all have operations in Venezuela, and are allowed to continue to engage in transactions and activities with PDVSA and its joint ventures through July 27.
“No State or group of States has the right to intervene, directly or indirectly, for any reason whatever, in the internal or external affairs of any other State. The foregoing principle prohibits not only armed force but also any other form of interference or attempted threat against the personality of the State or against its political, economic, and cultural elements.” Organization of American States Charter

Why is the US Corporatocracy so Keen to Remove Maduro?

While Venezuela’s economy is not a strictly-state-run economy, its oil industry is nationalized and uses its revenues for the benefit of its citizens (especially the poor).
After years of crippling US sanctions Maduro stepped over a crucial line in October when his government announced that Venezuela was abandoning the US dollar and would be make all future transactions on the Venezuelan exchange market in euro.
Saddam Hussein also went off the dollar in favor of the euro in 2003 – we started dropping bombs on him the next month.
A similar decision by the Gadhafi government in Libya (2011) was quickly followed by a devastating US-orchestrated conflict - culminating in Gadhafi's capture by radical Islamists who sodomized him with a bayonet before killing him. Since then, Libya has gone from Africa's wealthiest country to a truly failed-state complete with a slave trade! To make matters worse, after the collapse of the Libyan government, its military arms were smuggled out of that country and into the hands of ISIS fighters in Iraq and Syria - enabling US-orchestrated chaos in those countries.

Who cares what currency a country uses to trade petroleum?

Answer: US oligarchy

The US dollar is central to US world economic domination.
Like all other modern currencies, it is a fiat currency – backed by no real assets to prop up its value.
In lieu of a “gold standard” we know operate on a de-facto “oil-standard”:
"After the collapse of the Bretton Woods gold standard in the early 1970s, the United States struck a deal with Saudi Arabia to standardize oil prices in dollar terms. Through this deal, the petrodollar system was born, along with a paradigm shift away from pegged exchanged rates and gold-backed currencies to non-backed, floating rate regimes.
The petrodollar system elevated the U.S. dollar to the world's reserve currency and, through this status, the United States enjoys persistent trade deficits and is a global economic hegemony." Investopedia
“The central banking Ponzi scheme requires an ever-increasing base of demand and the immediate silencing of those who would threaten its existence. Perhaps that is what the hurry [was] in removing Gaddafi in particular and those who might have been sympathetic to his monetary idea.” Anthony Wile

US Foreign Policy is about Oligarchy Not Democracy

Since World War II, the US has attempted to over-throw the 52 foreign governments. Aside from a handful of exceptions (China, Cuba, Vietnam, etc.), the US has been successful in the vast majority of these attempts.
US foreign policy is not about democracy – it is about exploiting the world’s resources in the interests of a small, ultra-wealthy global elite.
This exploitation benefits a small percentage of people at the top of the economic pyramid while the costs are born by those at the bottom.

US CIA Coup Playbook:

How to Plunder Resources from Foreign Countries While Pretending to Support Democracy
  1. Find a country with resources you want.
  2. Send in an “Economic Hitman” to offer bribes the country’s leader in the form of personally lucrative business deals. If he accepts the deal, the leader will amass a personal fortune in exchange for "privatizing” the resources you wish to extract.
If the leader will not accept your bribes, begin the regime-change process.
3) Engage in economic warfare by imposing crippling sanctions on the country and blame the ensuing shortages on the leader’s “socialist” policies.
4) Work with right-wing allies inside country to fund and organize an “astroturf” opposition group behind a corporate-friendly puppet.
5) Hire thugs inside country to incite unrest and violence against the government in coordination with your opposition group. Use corporate media to publicize the orchestrated outbursts as popular outrage and paint a picture of a “failed state” mired in corruption and chaos.
6) When the government arrests your thugs, decry the response as the brutal repression. Use corporate-owned media to demonize the target government as a despotic regime while praising your puppet opposition as champions of democracy.
7) Work with right-wing military leaders to organize the overthrow the government (offer them the same business deals the current leader refused).
8) If a military-led coup cannot be organized, create a mercenary army to carry out acts of terrorism against the government and its supporters. Portray the mercenaries as “freedom fighters” and their acts of terrorism as a “civil war”.
9) If the target government has popular and military support and is too well-defended for your mercenaries to over-throw: label the country a “rouge state” and wait for the right time to invade. Meanwhile, continue to wear the country’s government and populace down using steps 3 – 8.
10) Escalate the terror campaign within the country to provoke a military response from the country against the US. If they won’t take the bait , fabricate an attack or threat that you can sell to the US population as justification for an invasion.
11) Once the government is removed, set up your puppet regime to provide the illusion of sovereignty. The regime will facilitate and legitimize your appropriation of the country’s resources under the guise of "free" trade.
12) As you continue to extract the country’s resources, provide intelligence and military support to the puppet regime to suppress popular dissent within the country.
13) Use the demise of the former government as yet another example of the impracticality of “socialism.”
What Can I Do?
Call your senators and representatives to voice your opposition to US regime-change efforts in Venezuela.
https://www.commoncause.org/find-your-representative/
Please share this message with others.
Sources included at: https://link.medium.com/8DiA5xzx4T

‘Venezuela’: Media’s One-Word Rebuttal to the Threat of Socialism

ALAN MACLEOD FEBRUARY 8, 2019
A recent Gallup poll (8/13/18) found that a majority of millennials view socialism favorably, preferring it to capitalism. Democratic socialist Bernie Sanders is the most popular politician in the United States, while new leftist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s (AOC) policies of higher taxes on the wealthy, free healthcare and public college tuition are highly popular—even among Republican voters (FAIR.org,1/23/19).
Alarmed by the growing threat of progressive policies at home, the establishment has found a one-word weapon to deploy against the rising tide: Venezuela. The trick is to attack any political figure or movement even remotely on the left by claiming they wish to turn the country into a “socialist wasteland” (Fox News, 2/2/19) run by a corrupt dictatorship, leaving its people hungry and devastated.
Leading the charge have been Fox News and other conservative outlets. One Fox opinion piece (1/25/19) claimed that Americans should be “absolutely disgusted” by the “fraud” of Bernie Sanders and Democrats like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker, as they “continue to promote a system that is causing mass starvation and the collapse of a country,” warning that is exactly what their failed socialist policies would bring to the US. (Back in the real world, while Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez identify as socialists, Warren is a self-described capitalist, and Booker is noted for his ties to Wall Street, whose support for his presidential bid he has reportedly been soliciting.) A second Fox Newsarticle (1/27/19) continues in the same vein, warning that, “At the heart of Venezuela’s collapse is a laundry list of socialist policies that have decimated its economy.”
The Wall Street Journal (1/28/19) describes calls for negotiations in Venezuela as “siding with the dictator.”
In an article entitled “Bernie Sanders, Jeremy Corbyn and the Starving Children of Venezuela,” the Washington Examiner (6/15/17) warned its readers to “beware the socialist utopia,” describing it as a dystopia where children go hungry thanks to socialism. The Wall Street Journal (1/28/19) recently condemned Sanders for his support of a “dictator,” despite the fact Bernie has strongly criticized Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, and dismissed Maduro’s predecessor, Hugo Chavez, as a “dead Communist dictator” (Reuters, 6/1/16).
More supposedly centrist publications have continued this line of attack. The New York Times’ Bret Stephens (1/25/19) argued: “Venezuela is a socialist catastrophe. In the age of AOC, the lesson must be learned again”—namely, that “socialism never works,” as “20 years of socialism” has led to “the ruin of a nation.” The Miami Herald(2/1/19) cast shame on Sanders and AOC for arguing for socialism in the face of such overwhelming evidence against it, describing the left’s refusal to back self-appointed president Juan Guaidó, someone whom less than 20 percent of Venezuelans had even heard of, let alone voted for, as “morally repugnant.”
This useful weapon to be used against the left can only be sustained by withholding a great number of key facts—chief among them, the US role in Venezuela’s devastation. US sanctions, according to the Venezuelan opposition’s economics czar, are responsible for a halving of the country’s oil output (FAIR.org, 12/17/18). The UN Human Rights Council has formally condemned the US and discussed reparations to be paid, with one UN special rapporteur describing Trump’s sanctions as a possible “crime against humanity” (London Independent, 1/26/19). This has not been reported by any the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN or any other national US “resistance” news outlet, which have been only too quick to support Trump’s regime change plans (FAIR.org, 1/25/19).
Likewise, the local US-backed opposition’s role in the economic crisis is barely mentioned. The opposition, which controls much of the country’s food supply, has officially accepted responsibility for conducting an “economic war” by withholding food and other key goods.
For example, the monolithic Empresas Polar controls the majority of the flour production and distribution crucial for making arepa cornbread, Venezuela’s staple food. Polar’s chair is Leopoldo Lopez, national coordinator of Juan Guaidó’s Popular Will party, while its president is Lorenzo Mendoza, who considered running for president against Maduro in the 2018 elections that caused pandemonium in the media (FAIR.org, 5/23/18).
Conspicuously, it’s the products that Polar has a near-monopoly in that are often in shortest supply. This is hardly a secret, but never mentioned in the copious stories (CNN, 5/14/14, Bloomberg, 3/16/17, Washington Post, 5/22/17, NPR, 4/7/17) focusing on bread lines in the country.
Also rarely commented on was the fact that multiple international election observer missions declared the 2018 elections free and fair, and that Venezuelan government spending as a proportion of GDP (often considered a barometer of socialism) is actually lower than the US’s, and far lower than most of Europe’s, according to the conservative Heritage Foundation.
The London Daily Express (2/3/19) demonstrates that redbaiting works equally well on either side of the Atlantic.
Regardless of these bothersome facts, the media has continued to present Venezuela’s supposedly socialist dictatorship as solely responsible for its crisis as a warning to any progressives who get the wrong idea. So useful is this tool that it is being used to attack progressive movements around the world. The Daily Express (2/3/19) and Daily Mail (2/3/19) condemned UK Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn for his “defense” of a “dictator,” while the Daily Telegraph(2/3/19) warned that the catastrophe of Venezuela is Labour’s blueprint for Britain. Meanwhile, the Greek leftist party Syriza’s support for Maduro (the official position of three-quarters of UN member states) was condemned as “shameful” (London Independent, 1/29/19).
“Venezuela” is also used as a one-word response to shut down debate and counter any progressive idea or thought. While the panel on ABC’s The View (7/23/18) discussed progressive legislation like Medicare for All and immigration reform, conservative regular Meghan McCain responding by invoking Venezuela: “They’re starving to death” she explained, leaving the other panelists bemused.
President Trump has also used it. In response to criticism from Senator Elizabeth Warren over his “Pocahontas” jibe, he replied that she would “make our country into Venezuela” (Reuters, 10/15/18).
The weapon’s effectiveness can only be sustained through a media in lockstep with the government’s regime-change goals. That the media is fixated on the travails of a relatively small and unimportant country in America’s “backyard,” and that the picture of Venezuela is so shallow, is not a mistake. Rather, the simplistic narrative of a socialist dictatorship starving its own people provides great utility as a weapon for the establishment to beat back the domestic “threat” of socialism, by associating movements and figures such as Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Jeremy Corbyn with an evil caricature they have carefully crafted.

Corporate Propaganda Blitz Against Venezuela’s Elected President: MSM Will Not Let Facts Interfere With Coup Agenda

Facts Don’t Interfere With Propaganda Blitz Against Venezuela’s Elected President Joe Emersberger
Guaidó, anointed by Trump and a new Iraq-style Coalition of the Willing, did not even run in Venezuela’s May 2018 presidential election. In fact, shortly before the election, Guaidó was not even mentioned by the opposition-aligned pollster Datanálisis when it published approval ratings of various prominent opposition leaders. Henri Falcón, who actually did run in the election (defying US threats against him) was claimed by the pollster to basically be in a statistical tie for most popular among them. It is remarkable to see the Western media dismiss this election as “fraudulent,” without even attempting to show that it was “stolen“ from Falcón. Perhaps that’s because it so clearly wasn’t stolen.
Graph: Approval Ratings of Main Venezuelan Leaders Nov 2016 - July 2018 Data from the opposition-aligned pollsters in Venezuela (via Torino Capital) indicates that Henri Falcón was the most popular of the major opposition figures at the time of the May 2018 presidential election. Nicolás Maduro won the election due to widespread opposition boycotting and votes drawn by another opposition candidate, Javier Bertucci.
The constitutional argument that Trump and his accomplices have used to “recognize” Guaidó rests on the preposterous claim that Maduro has “abandoned” the presidency by soundly beating Falcón in the election. Caracas-based journalist Lucas Koerner took apart that argument in more detail.
What about the McClatchy-owned Miami Herald's claim that Maduro “continues to reject international aid”? In November 2018, following a public appeal by Maduro, the UN did authorize emergency aid for Venezuela. It was even reported by Reuters (11/26/18), whose headlines have often broadcast the news agency’s contempt for Maduro’s government.
It’s not unusual for Western media to ignore facts they have themselves reported when a major “propaganda blitz” by Washington is underway against a government. For example, it was generally reported accurately in 1998 that UN weapons inspectors were withdrawn from Iraq ahead of air strikes ordered by Bill Clinton, not expelled by Iraq’s government. But by 2002, it became a staple of pro-war propaganda that Iraq had expelled weapons inspectors (Extra! Update, 10/02).
And, incidentally, when a Venezuelan NGO requested aid from the UN-linked Global Fund in 2017, it was turned down. Setting aside how effective foreign aid is at all (the example of Haiti hardly makes a great case for it), it is supposed to be distributed based on relative need, not based on how badly the US government wants somebody overthrown.
But the potential for “aid” to alleviate Venezuela’s crisis is negligible compared to the destructive impact of US economic sanctions. Near the end of the Miami Herald article, author Jim Wyss cited an estimate from the thoroughly demonized Venezuelan government that US sanctions have cost it $30 billion, with no time period specified for that estimate. Again, this calls to mind the run-up to the Iraq invasion, when completely factual statements that Iraq had no WMDs were attributed to the discredited Iraqi government. Quoting Iraqi denials supposedly balanced the lies spread in the media by US officials like John Bolton, who now leads the charge to overthrow Maduro. Wyss could have cited economists independent of the Maduro government on the impact of US sanctions—like US economist Mark Weisbrot, or the emphatically anti-Maduro Venezuelan economist Francisco Rodríguez.
Illegal US sanctions were first imposed in 2015 under a fraudulent “state of emergency” declared by Obama, and subsequently extended by Trump. The revenue lost to Venezuela’s government due to US economic sanctions since August 2017, when the impact became very easy to quantify, is by now well over $6 billion. That’s enormous in an economy that was only able to import about $11 billion of goods in 2018, and needs about $2 billion per year in medicines. Trump’s “recognition” of Guaidó as “interim president” was the pretext for making the already devastating sanctions much worse. Last month, Francisco Rodríguez revised his projection for the change in Venezuela’s real GDP in 2019, from an 11 percent contraction to 26 percent, after the intensified sanctions were announced.
The $20 million in US “aid” that Wyss is outraged Maduro won’t let in is a rounding error compared to the billions already lost from Trump’s sanctions.
Former US Ambassador to Venezuela William Brownfield, who pressed for more sanctions on Venezuela, dispensed with the standard “humanitarian” cover that US officials have offered for them (Intercept, 2/10/19):
And if we can do something that will bring that end quicker, we probably should do it, but we should do it understanding that it’s going to have an impact on millions and millions of people who are already having great difficulty finding enough to eat, getting themselves cured when they get sick, or finding clothes to put on their children before they go off to school. We don’t get to do this and pretend as though it has no impact there. We have to make the hard decision—the desired outcome justifies this fairly severe punishment.
How does this gruesome candor get missed by reporters like Wyss, and go unreported in his article?
Speaking of “severe punishment,” if the names John Bolton and Elliott Abrams don’t immediately call to mind the punishment they should be receiving for crimes against humanity, it illustrates how well the Western propaganda system functions. Bolton, a prime facilitator of the Iraq War, recently suggested that Maduro could be sent to a US-run torture camp in Cuba. Abrams played a key role in keeping US support flowing to mass murderers and torturers in Central America during the 1980s. Also significant that Abrams, brought in by Trump to help oust Maduro, used “humanitarian aid” as cover to supply weapons to the US-backed Contra terrorists in Nicaragua.
In the Miami Herald article, the use of US “aid” for military purposes is presented as another allegation made by the vilified Venezuelan president: “Maduro has repeatedly said the aid is cover for a military invasion and has ordered his armed forces not to let it in, even as food and medicine shortages sweep the country.”
Venezuela Accuses U.S. of Secretly Shipping Arms After Weapons Found on Plane with Possible CIA Ties | Democracy Now!
Calling for international aid and being democratically elected will do as little to protect Maduro’s government from US aggression as being disarmed of WMD did to prevent Iraq from being invaded—unless there is much more pushback from the US public against a lethal propaganda system.
Suggested Reading:
When Is a Democracy not a Democracy? When It’s Venezuela and the US is Pushing Regime Change. Venezuela has as much right to call itself a democracy as does the United States. Until that is understood by enough people, the Trump administration will continue to devastate Venezuela’s economy with illegal sanctions and push it towards civil war.
UN Rapporteur: US Sanctions Cause Death in Venezuela
Guaido is playing it fast and loose with the Bolivarian Constitution to justify a dictatorship
Trump’s Economic Sanctions Have Cost Venezuela About $6bn Since August 2017
How could Venezuela's president 'steal' the 2018 election from an unknown who didn't run?
In other news...
The Largest Protest Ever Was 15 Years Ago. The Iraq War Isn’t Over. What Happened?
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