[yt_dropcap type=”square” font=”” size=”14″ color=”#000″ background=”#fff” ] H [/yt_dropcap] ere’s an idea – how about appointing a US Treasury Secretary who actually cares for the ultimate welfare of the American People and the United States of America for a change, as opposed to using his position as a “revolving door” a la the cadre of treasonous “America-last” gaggle of premeditated criminals merely taking a leave of absence from their full-time jobs at Goldman Sachs and Covington & Burling LLP?
The American economy and its engineered 2008 crash wrought by such “financial luminaries” as Robert Rubin, Larry Summers, Gene Sperling, Hank Paulson, Tim Geithner, and others, has left a lasting effect, if not almost the total destruction of, the American Economy.
Much has been written about how the above cabal literally, beginning with when they were working under the Bill Clinton presidency, forced and coerced Mr Clinton to repeal the Glass-Steagall Act, which was the barrier separating risky investment bank behavior from “mom and pop” checking accounts and savings, thus essentially imbuing these massive financial institutions to proceed unfettered towards the shark-infested waters of bad deals, risky investments, speculative spending, and other crazy financial stunts, for “high-risk/high-yield” Pyramid and Ponzi schemes more akin to a night at a seedy Las Vegas casino, rather than what should supposedly have been judicious, well-planned, and risk-averse behavior on behalf of these banking behemoths.
Simultaneously, these same organized criminals used the Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”) headed up by then chief Andrew Cuomo to put enormous pressure on such loan entities as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to lower and reduce the credit requirements to purchase a million dollar home, so that every burger flipper across America could buy a financial and un-payable “albatross” around their neck, and when the Federal Reserve eventually removed cash liquidity from the markets, all of these new “homeowners” literally found themselves on a merry-go-round that suddenly stopped, with their monthly mortgage payments coming due, but no jobs or cash to pay them, thus resulting in tens of millions of massive housing defaults across the country.
Even more sickeningly, Goldman Sachs and others only a few years earlier created a “reverse credit swap derivative,” betting on the ultimate failure within the housing market, again earning countless billions when this inevitable “housing bubble” burst.
Are these the same kind of people we want back in the United States Treasury, engineering our “economic recovery?”
These bankers, unfettered by the protections guaranteed by Glass-Steagall, could feel confident that even if their bad investments went completely and totally south, that they would eventually be bailed out by none other than the American taxpayer – and that’s exactly what happened.
But what about a former Assistant US Treasury Secretary, who previously was appointed by, and served under, one of the greatest U.S. Presidents of all time, Ronald Reagan, and who was actually instrumental in pulling America out of the quagmire of idiotic and out of control government spending, a lazy un-stimulated economy, and the general malaise of the 1970s “disco economy” manned and presided over by Democrat President Jimmy Carter?
That individual is none other than the great Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, hero to the 300 million strong American people, personal mentor to hundreds of thousands, and demonstrated enemy of the Oligarchy/Plutocracy Deep State Elite, the latter of whom have been shown the proverbial “door” by the American people in their overwhelming support of President-Elect Donald J. Trump.
The American People were able to hoist Donald Trump to the presidency even in the face of the overwhelming “cheating mechanisms” of the Deep State Oligarch Elite with their complete and total brainwashing control of the Mainstream Media, the awesome buying power of the international bankers, the co-opting of the vast majority of our legislative (senate and congress)/judiciary/executive branches, the “black bag/covert operations/color revolutions” of Deep State agent provocateurs such as George Soros who previously used to only direct his regime change operations against foreign governments rather than fomenting “purple” revolutions here at home?
Dr Paul Craig Roberts has been critical of the United States Department of the Treasury and the U.S. financial regulatory authorities – particularly of the actions of the Federal Reserve System – from former Chairmen Alan Greenspan and Ben Bernanke’s terms to current Chairwoman Janet Yellen via quantitative easing policies and low interest rates, the latter of which he has argued (due to his view that official government data is biased) are actually negative interest rates.
One only has to peruse the countless and brilliantly incisive books and articles penned by Dr. Paul Craig Roberts over the past few decades, and especially within the past few years, freely available on the internet and in hard book format, to clearly and easily discern just what this man stands for, what his expertise is, how much he loves the United States of America, how much he values peace and the avoidance of “stupid foreign wars,” his support, hope for, and measured loyalty to the incoming Donald Trump Administration (for Trump, “loyalty is key”), his overall and general distrust for the U.S. Government and the awesome power it yields, his suspicion over the latest du jour “terrorist attacks” all over the world which he, as do the vast majority of Americans, believe are nothing but “false flags” designed to keep Americans and the rest of the global populace afraid and compliant, ever ready to sacrifice and un-yieldingly relinquish even more of their God-given human rights, civil liberties, and constitutional protections for the sake of “state-sanctioned security” from the fabricated “boogeymen” of the Western/Saudi/Israeli/Turkish Intelligence Services known as ISIS or Al Qaeda.
His written works have also addressed and criticized outsourcing, economic deregulation, privatization of social services, Wall Street finance fraud and lax enforcement of environmental protection laws, as well as been a vocal opponent of taxing social-security payments, holding that this amounts to a “tax on a tax” or privatizing social-security believing this would create an opportunity for speculators to play with and lose the hard-earned savings of retirees.
There could be no better ally of the American People (and the Donald Trump administration) within the United States Treasury than Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, as he would be “our man within the US Treasury,” and would take control and design the much anticipated economic recovery, so badly needed by the citizenry.
He has already done it before, successfully, under the Reagan Administration, and he could easily and handily do it again under Trump.
Dr Paul Craig Roberts was born on April 3, 1939, and is often times described as an American economist, journalist, blogger and former civil servant.
He reached the height of his government career when he became the United States Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy under President Reagan in 1981.
In office he and his staff successfully combated the stagflation (price-inflation and stagnation) then plaguing the American Economy.
Tighter monetary policy was used to restrain inflation, in addition lower marginal tax rates were used to increase the rewards to work and investment.
In recognition, he was awarded the US Treasury’s Meritorious Service Award for “outstanding contributions to the formulation of United States economic policy.”
Dr Paul Craig Roberts has also been a huge supporter of common human decency, both in the United States and abroad, as a supporter of the human rights of the population of the West Bank, and he has criticized Israel’s policies and harsh actions against the Palestinians as well as speaking out against what he calls the Israel Lobby’s malign influence within US politics and academia.
Dr. Roberts is a graduate of the Georgia Institute of Technology (B.S. in Industrial Engineering) and holds a PhD from the University of Virginia.
He was a postgraduate at the University of California, Berkeley, and at Merton College, Oxford University.
From 1975 to 1978, Roberts served on congressional staff. As economic counsel to Congressman Jack Kemp, he drafted the Kemp-Roth bill (which became the “Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981″). He played a leading role in developing bipartisan support for a supply-side economic policy.
Due to his influential 1978 article on tax burden for Harper’s Magazine while economic counsel to Senator Orrin Hatch, the Wall Street Journal editor Robert L. Bartley offered him an editorial slot.
He wrote for the WSJ until 1980.
He was a senior fellow in political economy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, then part of Georgetown University.
From early 1981 to January 1982, Roberts served as assistant secretary of the treasury for economic policy, wherein President Ronald Reagan and Treasury Secretary Donald Regan credited him with a major role in the Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981, and he was awarded the Treasury Department’s Meritorious Service Award for “outstanding contributions to the formulation of United States economic policy.”
After his time in government he turned to journalism, holding positions of editor and columnist for the Wall Street Journal, columnist for Business Week, and the Scripps Howard News Service as well as contributing editor to Harper’s Magazine.
In addition to numerous guest and visiting-professorships at US universities, he was professor of business administration and professor of economics at George Mason University and was the inaugural William E. Simon Chair in Political Economy at Georgetown University, serving for 12 years.
From 1993 to 1996, he was a Distinguished Fellow at the Cato Institute.
He also was a Senior Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution.
This is another thing Donald Trump and Dr Paul Craig Roberts have in common – they are both former “insiders” who turned against the Establishment as an overwhelming gesture of heroic self-sacrifice to the American people, rather than continuing to “play the game” in order to keep enriching their own pockets at the expense of the American People and the United States.
Dr Roberts also has the great love and respect of foreign nations, governments, and dignitaries as did other previous and legendary US Government/Statesmen luminaries in centuries past, as Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson – in 1987 the French government recognized him as “the artisan of a renewal in economic science and policy after half a century of state interventionism,” and inducted him into the Legion of Honor on March 20, 1987.
The French Minister of Economics and Finance, Edouard Balladur, came to the US from France to present the medal to Roberts.
In 1992, Roberts received the Warren Brookes Award for Excellence in Journalism from the free-market American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).
In 1993 the Forbes Media Guide ranked him as one of the top seven journalists in the United States.
In 2015, the Mexican Press Club awarded Dr. Roberts its International Award For Excellence In Journalism in recognition of his lifelong commitment to truth and unbiased-reporting in exposing the inner workings of the global economic power-structure.
Dr Paul Craig Roberts has written that “true conservatives” were the “first victims” of the neo-cons of the Bush administration.
He has criticized the Bush tax cuts, believing they “were nothing but a greedy grab” and were “not necessary policy adjustments but rewards to the mega-rich who underwrite political careers and provide grants to economic departments and think tanks,” however, also stating that “they are not a significant cause of today’s inequality.”
Of the 9/11 Commission Report, Dr Paul Craig Roberts wrote in 2006, “One would think that if the report could stand analysis, there would not be a taboo against calling attention to the inadequacy of its explanations.” (see Criticisms of the 9/11 Commission Report).
He has asserted there is a large “energy deficit” in the official account of the collapse of the three WTC buildings, and this deficit remains unexplained.
This is yet another, out of thousands, of common ground similarities currently shared by President-Elect Donald Trump and Dr Roberts – truly a government partnership/marriage made in heaven.
Roberts commented on the “scientific impossibility” of the official explanation for the events on 9/11, as did Donald Trump in a television interview when the Towers first went down in 2001.
On August 18, 2006, he wrote: “I will begin by stating what we know to be a solid incontrovertible scientific fact. We know that it is strictly impossible for any building, much less steel columned buildings, to ‘pancake’ at free fall speed. Therefore, it is a non-controversial fact that the official explanation of the collapse of the WTC buildings is false…. Since the damning incontrovertible fact has not been investigated, speculation and ‘conspiracy theories’ have filled the void.”
He has written or co-written 12 books, contributed chapters to numerous books, and published many articles in scholarly journals.
Dr Paul Craig Roberts, like President-Elect Donald Trump, has ultimate intestinal fortitude, as is evident by his countless papers, treatises, books, and articles, where he demonstrates an All-American fearlessness coupled with ingenuity, brilliance, common-sense, and stalwartness totally absent in our treasury departments over the past few decades.
President-Elect Donald Trump should give due consideration and thought to Dr Paul Craig Roberts to be United States Secretary of the Treasury, a living legend who is truly a testament to everything that is, and always has been, Great about America.
Reality-Denial Among America’s Democratic Party Faithful
I used to be a Democrat, until the majority of Democrats in the U.S. Senate voted in 2002 for George W. Bush’s 2003 catastrophic invasion of Iraq, even though everything that Bush and his Administration were alleging the invasion to be based on were mere lies, by him and his Administration. A Senator or Representative is supposed to represent the interests of the American public, not of the billionaires who control Lockheed Martin and ExxonMobil and Halliburton, etc., but those Democrats (and virtually all Republicans also) represented those billionaires, and certainly NOT the American public. Among the 29 Democratic Senators who, on that fateful day of 11 October 2002, voted to authorize Bush to invade Iraq, were the Party’s 2004 Presidential nominee John Kerry, and its 2016 Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, and its likely 2020 nominee Joe Biden. (Barack Obama wasn’t yet a member of Congress in 2002.) In other words: the Senators who did, included the ones whom Democrats chose (and still are expected to choose) as their Presidential nominees. There is no apology for such treachery as those Senators (and 68% of the House, too) perpetrated by authorizing that criminal invasion, other than to say “I made a mistake,” but if I could see, even at that time, that it was all mere lies, then were they, our most successful Senators (and Representatives), really such nitwits that they could not — they, who are surrounded by lobbyists and not actually by the people they are supposed to represent? They joined in with George W. Bush’s lies, because they chose to be surrounded by such lobbyists, even though all of Bush’s efforts to get the U.N. to endorse an invasion of Iraq turned out to be fruitless. And, then, on 17 March 2003, he, our American President, suddenly warned the U.N. weapons-inspectors to leave Iraq immediately so Bush could invade that country, which had never invaded, nor even threatened to invade, the United States. This was a clear case of international aggression, just like what Justice Robert Jackson who headed the U.S. prosecution team at the Nuremberg Tribunal after WW II charged Hitler’s top henchmen for having done, and for which those men became executed. Why not Bush, now, for Iraq; why not Obama, now, for Libya; why not Obama, now, for Syria; why not Trump, now, for Syria; why not Trump, also, for Venezuela, if he also invades there? Fascists, all of them, but in today’s America, the public are unconcerned about that, and respond only as political partisans, supporting Democratic Party billionaires’ candidates against Republican Party billionaires’ candidates, or vice-versa, and not even giving a damn about the millions of senselessly slaughtered in Iraq, Libya, Syria, and elsewhere, for which America’s top responsible officials should therefore be internationally prosecuted, and perhaps hung (like at Nuremberg). So, the only reason, now, to have any loyalty to either of America’s Parties is a mixture of stupidity and psychopathy. And that describes today’s Democrats, just as much as it does today’s Republicans.
The leading political news-site for Democratic-Party operatives and loyal followers is politicalwire.com, and their reader-comments display starkly the mentality that — on this Party’s side — guides the Party’s electorate. Those reader-comments display a Party that’s a dream for the Democratic Party’s billionaires, because the mentality they display is slavish — not physically slavish, but mentally slavish, the slavery of people who hug their prejudices, and who hate anyone (even fellow-Democrats) that challenges their prejudices (tries to help free them from their mental slavery). So: Democratic Party voters’ prejudices have become locked-in, and those people refuse to allow any way out of their existing prejudices. These operatives and voters insist upon retaining their prejudices, exactly as they are. For the Democratic Party’s billionaires’ lobbyists, and media, and think tanks, to have their way with those people, is so easy — it’s like dealing with a slave who says, “Whip me again, Mas’r.” It’s a pathetic political form of self-flagellation, which views the master as being rightfully superior to one’s self — to one’s own mental faculties — handing the whip to that ‘superior’ or master. Is this what American politics has now come down to? It’s what has caused the Democratic Party to be as neoconservative — American imperialist — as is the Republican Party.
On August 8th, Political Wire headlined “Russian Interference Likely Did Not Affect 2016 Result”, and summarized, and linked to, an extremely careful and well-planned and executed, thoroughly scientific, study, which concluded that, “I find no evidence that Russian attempts to target voters in key swing states had any effect on the election results in those states. Instead, the results were almost totally predictable based on the political and demographic characteristics of those states, especially their past voting tendencies, ideological leanings, and demographics.” He found absolutely “no evidence” that it “had any effect” upon the electoral outcome. Anyone who would have clicked through there to the actual study itself would have seen that it was definitive on its subject, and that there is no reasonable basis for accepting Hillary Clinton’s distorting insinuations that she had lost the election because of Russian interference. This study’s author accepted unquestioningly the Mueller Report in its allegation (on its page 19) that Russia’s Government “sought to influence [American] public opinion through online media and forums … as early as 2014.” However, even the Mueller Report doesn’t anywhere allege that Russia “tried to” or “attempted to” cause America’s voters to prefer one candidate over another candidate in the election. Even an allegation like that would have been devoid of even that Report’s own shabby evidentiary standard to become cited. In other words: even the Mueller Report doesn’t play so fast-and-loose with truth for it to allege anything that is at all contradictory to anything in this scientific analysis and conclusion about the matter: that Hillary Cinton’s defeat cannot rationally be even hypothetically blamed on ‘Russian interference’. If there was such interference, no one has yet nailed it. Insinuations have replaced it. Anyone who believes such an allegation is a willing mental slave. How common are such slaves, actually?
A good indication of how common they are is the Disqus thread (the reader-comments) to that Political Wire summary of the scientific study’s findings:
As was earlier noted, readers at that site are Democratic Party operatives, and extremely loyal Democratic Party voters. Overwhelmingly, those readers are sloughing off that scientific study and analysis of the data. Some do so by attacking its author, as being just “one person with one opinion,” and referring (mainly) to the extremely partisan Democratic Party propaganda-organ the New Yorker, and its rabidly partisan Jane Mayer’s 24 July 2018 “How Russia Helped Swing the Election for Trump”, which summarizes Kathleen Hall Jamieson’s book, Cyberwar: How Russian Hackers and Trolls Helped Elect a President — What We Don’t, Can’t, and Do Know, which book was effectively and accurately destroyed in a two-star review of it at Amazon, by a “B. Wilson,” titled, appropriately, “Little if any real proof is established that the Russians swung the election. A top 10 list.” Looking at the Jamieson book itself, one sees no consideration whatsoever of the data and issues which were dealt with — quantitatively, and on the basis of high quality empirical facts — in the scientific study. Instead, Jamieson’s work is a non-quantitative ‘analysis’ that’s actually loaded with, and built upon, hedged assertions, such as “We can surmise the probable although not certain impact Russian shenanigans had on the balance of messages between the two major party campaigns” — and no data, and no counts, but pure hypothesization, without clear derivation from specific instances of anything. Her book is even less trustworthy than the Mueller Report that it cites so frequently. In short: it’s trash. But that’s good enough to override science, in the minds of believing partisans — mental slaves: people who ignore proven truth, in order to sustain their existing prejudices.
Jane Mayer said of Jamieson’s book, “In two hundred and twenty-four pages of extremely dry prose, with four appendixes of charts and graphs and fifty-four pages of footnotes, Jamieson makes a strong case that, in 2016, ‘Russian masterminds’ pulled off a technological and political coup. Moreover, she concludes, the American media ‘inadvertently helped them achieve their goals.’” Anyone who thinks that American media were predominantly slanted for Trump instead of for Hillary is beyond all reason and evidence — but there they are at Political Wire, as readers, commenting upon a squib, which summarizes this scientific study (the first and only one on the subject).
Of course, such closed-mindedness is good for sustaining any political party, but it can destroy any democracy.
NOTE: Incidentally, while I consider that scientific study to be definitive on its topic, I strongly disagree with its author’s analysis, in his 2018 book, The Great Alignment: Race, Party Transformation, and the Rise of Donald Trump, to the effect that “elites and activists” haven’t shaped “the American social and cultural landscape” of our time. As a historian (which he certainly is not — he’s a political scientist), I believe that, specifically (and ever since at least the time of FDR’s death in 1945) the wealthiest Americans (and not merely ambiguous “elites and activists”) did shape it, to become, as it now is: fascist. That’s why both Parties now are fascist — one liberal fascist, and the other conservative fascist. Liberalism is not progressivism. And fascism (extreme conservatism) is the opposite of progressivism. By contrast, liberalism mixes together those two opposites. (Fascism is the modern form of feudalism, and derives from that. Progressivism is the anti-fascism.) Furthermore, by now, there exists massive empirical evidence that the U.S. Government, at least ever since 1981, is no democracy, at all, but is instead ruled only by its very wealthiest and well-connected citizens, so that, as the first of these studies phrased this matter: “The preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy.” (A superb 6-minute video summary of that landmark study is here.) Consequently, that book is bad even within its own field of political science. The book’s author, furthermore, displays there a strong prejudice favoring the Democratic Party. Fortunately, however, his scientific analysis of the 2016 election was unafflicted by that, or any other, prejudice. It was straight science. Furthermore, any ad-hominem attack (such as is common in the Political Wire reader-comments) is entirely unscientific regarding any study, including that author’s. Virtually all of the reader-comments at that Political Wire article reflect mental slaves. Instead of their being grateful to the study’s author for freeing them from lies which afflict them, they insult that messenger of science.
Furthermore: on 14 June 2016 (just 17 days after Trump won the Republican nomination) Dylan Matthews at Vox had headlined “One of the best election models predicts a Trump victory. Its creator doesn’t believe it.” Matthews opened: “One of the most respected and accurate forecasting models in political sciences says that Donald Trump will win the 2016 presidential election, and by a fairly comfortable margin at that. There’s just one problem: Its creator doesn’t believe his own forecast.” That author, Professor Alan I. Abramowitz’s, formula for predicting U.S. electoral outcomes will probably now become standard. (Trump had actually won by slightly less than Abromowitz’s model predicted, and this is what Abromowitz’s 8 August 2019 article was now documenting. He points out there that especially in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania — the three states which decided the election’s outcome — Trump’s victory-margin was, in fact, lower than Abromowitz’s model had predicted it would be. So, when that Political Wire commenter attacked this author, as being just “one person with one opinion,” he was attacking the one person who had actually predicted accurately not just the 2016 Presidential election’s outcome, but the reasons why Trump was heading for victory. He was attacking the only person who had publicly figured these things out, in advance of the outcome.)
To be a mental slave is to be a believer in lies. This type of slavery was first documented anecdotally in Charles Mackay’s 1841, 500+page, classic, Extraordinary Popular Delusions And The Madness Of Crowds. How is democracy possible with so many willing mental slaves voting — regardless of what the particular Party is? Is democracy impossible? Is the political situation actually hopeless? Shouldn’t overcoming prejudice — anti-scientific thinking (a tendency to believeonly what one wants to believe) — be actually the chief purpose of all publicly financed education?
Author’s note: first posted at strategic-culture.org
Beijing’s expanding power over Washington
The President of the United States continues to feel weak and helpless against China. At the beginning of 2017, Donald Trump tried to contain Beijing by restrictive economic policies.
At the time, Trump stated that the $ 346 billion US trade deficit was due to trade with China. We are now in year 2019 and this trade deficit has reached $ 419 billion! This shows well that Trump’s economic policies toward Beijing have failed. This will undoubtedly have an impact on the presidential election of the year. Many US citizens thought that Trump could reach a deal with Beijing by the end of the2017 (in the interests of US economic interests), but the White House has practically failed to confront China.
China’s stoppage of US agricultural products and Beijing’s imposition of reciprocal tariffs on American products indicate that this Asian power does not intend to surrender to the United States. In such circumstances, there will be no opportunity for President Donald Trump and his companions to maneuver.
Many US economic and policy analysts believe that in year2020, China will be one of the actors that will hurt Trump in the presidential race. However, China has now become a symbol of America’s economic and political failure in the world.The popularity of Trump has dropped in recent polls in the United States. Donald Trump’s calculations have been incorrect in many cases! This has exacerbated Republican concerns over next year’s presidential elections. An overview of the results of recent polls in the United States shows that Trump has a difficult path to re-election.
As The Hill reported, More than 50 percent of respondents in a new survey say they will not vote for President Trump when he seeks reelection in 2020. The ABC News–Washington Post poll released Monday found that 55 percent of respondents said they will not vote for Trump next year, with only 39 percent approving of his work since taking office .Of respondents who were asked if they would vote from Trump in 2020, 14 percent said they would consider it and 28 percent said they definitely would vote for him to have a second term in the White House.
From our partner Tehran Times
Adding Context to ‘News’ about Venezuela
On Tuesday, August 6th, the Trump Administration helped to lead a meeting In Lima Peru, of representatives from around 60 governments that have joined U.S. President Trump’s efforts to overthrow Venezuela’s Government. Below is a report about this meeting, by Agence France-Presse, a typical U.S.-allied ‘news’-medium. The italicized additions in brackets in and near the article’s end are essential historical context; it’s taken from Wikipedia’s article “International sanctions during the Venezuelan crisis”, and thus also isn’t from me. This way, the reader will be able to see what the ‘news’-report here leaves out, which is essential in order for readers to know the reality that stands behind this particular ‘news’ report. The minor typos in the original report are also left unchanged; the entire article is unchanged, except that I boldface the passages toward the end, which passages are subsequently contextualized immediately below them. Afterward, I shall add my own comments, in order to provide a fuller context:
US warns off Venezuela’s supporters as Lima meeting opens
Date created: Tuesday 6 August 2019, 06/08/2019 – 20:07
AFP, Lima (AFP): Washington warned third parties on Tuesday to avoid doing business with the Venezuelan regime of Nicolas Maduro, as delegates from some 60 countries met in Lima to discuss ways of ending the crisis in South American nation.
The warning came one day after President Donald Trump ordered a freeze on all Venezuelan government assets in the United States and barred transactions with its authorities.
“We are sending a signal to third parties that want to do business with the Maduro regime: proceed with extreme caution,” said Trump’s National Security Advisor John Bolton, speaking in Lima.
“There is no need to risk your business interests with the United States for the purposes of profiting from a corrupt and dying regime.”
The Trump administration is determined to force Maduro from power and support opposition leader Juan Guaido’s plans to form a transitional government and set up new elections.
The sanctions drew an angry response from Caracas, which denounced the US move as “another serious aggression by the Trump administration through arbitrary economic terrorism against the Venezuelan people.”
Crisis-wracked Venezuela has been mired in a political impasse since January when Guaido, speaker of the Natinal Assembly, proclaimed himself acting president, quickly receiving the support of more than 50 countries.
Tuesday’s meeting was called by the Lima Group, which includes a dozen Latin American countries and Canada, most of which support Guaido.
The Lima meeting comes as representatives of Maduro and Guaido are involved in “continuous” negotiations mediated by Norway.
The first round of talks were in Oslo in May, and three further rounds have taken place in Barbados.
Caracas claims the US sanctions show that Washington and its allies are “committed to the failure of the political dialogue” because “they fear the results and benefits.”
Bolton, who is in the US delegation alongside Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, said Maduro was “not serious” about talks.
He said Trump’s move “authorizes the US government to identify, target and impose sanctions on any persons who continue to provide support” Maduro’s “illegitimate regime.”
He said it would “deny Maduro access to the global financial system and to further isolate him internationally.”
Venezuela’s opposition considers Maduro a usurper over his re-election last year in a poll widely viewed as rigged.
They want him to stand down so new elections can be held — but Maduro, with support from the country’s powerful military, refuses to go.
Maduro says the talks must lead to “democratic coexistence” and an end to what he describes as an attempted US-orchestrated “coup.”
But on Tuesday the White House was emphatic: the “dictatorship must end for Venezuela to have a stable, democratic, and prosperous future.”
The United States would “use every appropriate tool to end Maduro’s hold on Venezuela,” White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement.
Oil-rich but cash-poor Venezuela has been in a deep recession for five years.
[“President Barack Obama signed the Venezuela Defense of Human Rights and Civil Society Act of 2014, a U.S. Act imposing sanctions on Venezuelan individuals held responsible by the United States for human rights violations during the 2014 Venezuelan protests, in December of that year. It “requires the President to impose sanctions” on those “responsible for significant acts of violence or serious human rights abuses associated with February 2014 protests or, more broadly, against anyone who has directed or ordered the arrest or prosecution of a person primarily because of the person’s legitimate exercise of freedom of expression or assembly”.”]
Food and medicine shortages are routine, and public services are progressively failing.
[“As the humanitarian crisis deepened and expanded, the Trump administration levied more serious economic sanctions against Venezuela on 28 Januaryst , and “Maduro accused the US of plunging Venezuelan citizens further into economic crisis.” Rafael Uzcátegui, director of PROVEA, added that “sanctions against PDVSA are likely to yield stronger and more direct economic consequences, and that “[w]e should remember that 70 to 80 percent of Venezuela’s food is imported, and there’s barely any medicine production in the country.””]
MY COMMENTS: The U.S. regime’s sanctions against Venezuelans were aimed at producing such distress amongst the population so as to cause them not to vote for Maduro. It didn’t work. The sanctions had the intended effect of distressing Venezuelans, but this deprivation drove so many of the most anti-Maduro Venezuelans to leave the country so that the sanctions failed to force the expected “regime change.” It drove too many of his enemies out. The U.S. regime is therefore trying even-stronger measures to grab the country. Trump is dictating to Venezuela that “the dictatorship must end.” He has even chosen the person, Guaido, who is to replace the current nationally elected President, whom the U.S. regime has long been trying to oust. Guaido has never even been a candidate in any national Venezuelan election, but he was trained in the U.S., and has always cooperated with the U.S. Government’s repeated efforts to take control over Venezuela. Venezuela has never invaded nor even threatened the United States. This coup-attempt is purely an effort for imperialistic conquest of Venezuela, but it is cloaked in ‘democratic’ and ‘humanitarian’ lies, for fools, like America’s invasions and coups typically are. Only idiots can’t see what the U.S. pattern is here, especially after the lies that had suckered Americans in 2003 to support “regime-change in Iraq.” Trump is continuing Barack Obama’s policy, which continued that of George W. Bush. Whatever changes in personnel occur within the U.S. regime, the regime itself remains basically the same, though its theatrics change, and that’s enough change to satisfy most Americans that we live in a democracy. Virtually all of the U.S. Congress supports these efforts to conquer Venezuela, and this fascism includes all of the Democratic Party’s Presidential candidates. Therefore, none of the candidates are being challenged about their votes supporting this (or any other) attempted conquest by the U.S. regime. The neoconservative policy is bipartisan in America, though the personnel do change, from the representatives of one group of billionaires, to the representatives of another group of billionaires. And the vast majority of Americans think that it’s good, or at least okay — even after all of the lies have been exposed, they still approve. Of course, most Italians, Japanese, and Germans, thought favorably about their Government’s imperialistic conquests, during WW II; but Americans became opposed to that when we were hit by the Japanese at Pearl Harbor and Germany declared war against us. This time around, we are the Japanese, and the Germans, and the Italians. Things weren’t supposed to turn out this way, but it has happened. The U.S. is today the world’s leading fascist nation. And very few Americans recognize that it’s the way that things did turn out. Very few Americans know that we live in a fascist nation — today’s leading fascist nation.
The next day, August 7th, Venezuela’s Telesur headlined “EU Opposes Recent US Total Blockade Against Venezuela” and reported that Trump had failed to get the EU — his biggest hope for destroying Venezuela short of militarily invading it — to accept his proposal. The EU said “We oppose the extraterritorial application of unilateral measures.” The EU couldn’t muster enough fascists to go along with the U.S. regime. At this point, Trump isn’t far from the moment when he will need either to abandon his effort to grab Venezuela in this round, or else spring a blitz invasion without allies. Even if he calls off the effort, that would only be temporary. Perhaps if and when he is re-elected, he will feel freer just to send in thousands of troops, tanks, and missiles, to get the job done. However, if Russia stands firm, then such an invasion could spark WW III. He would have to decide whether grabbing the world’s largest oil reserves is worth that risk. Meanwhile, he will almost certainly continue to try to make life as difficult as possible for the Venezuelan people, all the while blaming Maduro for their misery. This has been the basic American plan, since well before Trump occupied the White House.
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