Today Venezuela, tomorrow all of South America!

Venezuela Coup Attempt Part of US Plan to Remake Latin America

Posted on January 31, 2019 by Yves Smith

The Wall Street Journal has just published an important, disheartening story, U.S. Push to Oust Venezuela’s Maduro Marks First Shot in Plan to Reshape Latin America. The Trump Administration has apparently decided to embark on a large-scale interventionist campaign to reverse supposed undue influence of Russia, China, and Iran in Latin America. Venezuela and Cuba are the first targets, and Nicaragua is next on the list. John Bolton, in too obvious a nod to Bush’s “axis of evil” has called them the “troika of tyranny”.

One would think the fact that our “remake the world in our image” plans worked out so well in the Middle East might curb US adventurism. And it isn’t just that we made a mess of Iraq, failed to break Iran, and failed to install new regimes in Afghanistan and Syria. The New American Century types are deep in denial that this geopolitical tussle not only cost the US greatly in terms of treasure, but it also wound up considerably enhancing Russia’s standing.

Consider another bad outcome from US war-making in the Middle East: the rise of the radical right in Europe. American nation-breaking had produced a flood of refugees trying to enter Europe. In a misguided show of humanitarianism, European countries welcomed the over one million migrants that arrived in 2015, with the upsurge due mainly to the civil war in Syria. Angela Merkel in particular backed the idea of taking in the refugees, in part because German has a lower-than-replacement birth rate, and Syrian has a high level of public education. However, the EU members had patchy and generally poor programs for helping the migrants assimilate and find jobs. The result was what one hard core left wing political scientist who has spent a considerable amount of time in Germany calls “Merkelization”: a rise of nativist right wing parties like AfD in response to large-scale, poorly-managed migrant inflows.

Consider how this tendency might play into US nation-breaking near our borer. Many readers have pointed out that the “caravans” from Central America are heavily populated with people from countries like Honduras that our tender ministrations have made much worse. My colleague was warning of Merkelization of the US even before the US launched its coup attempt, that it is one thing to have an immigration process that is generous towards asylum-seekers, and quite another to have open borders when political and economic conditions in countries to the South are unlikely to get better.

Bernie Sanders was browbeaten into holding his tongue after pointing out early in his Presidential campaign that “open borders” is a Koch Brothers position, and that the top 10% professional class that has become the base of the Democratic party are now heavy employers of servants, in the form of nannies and yard men. When I was a kid, even the few times we lived in middle/upper middle class suburbs full of senior corporate managers and professionals, no one had servants. Men worked full time and wives did the housework; the most you’d see would be a housekeeper in once a week to give the wife some relief.

As Peter Beinart pointed out in The Atlantic in 2017:

In 2005, a left-leaning blogger wrote, “Illegal immigration wreaks havoc economically, socially, and culturally; makes a mockery of the rule of law; and is disgraceful just on basic fairness grounds alone.” In 2006, a liberal columnist wrote that “immigration reduces the wages of domestic workers who compete with immigrants” and that “the fiscal burden of low-wage immigrants is also pretty clear.” His conclusion: “We’ll need to reduce the inflow of low-skill immigrants.” That same year, a Democratic senator wrote, “When I see Mexican flags waved at proimmigration demonstrations, I sometimes feel a flush of patriotic resentment. When I’m forced to use a translator to communicate with the guy fixing my car, I feel a certain frustration.”

The blogger was Glenn Greenwald. The columnist was Paul Krugman. The senator was Barack Obama.

Prominent liberals didn’t oppose immigration a decade ago. Most acknowledged its benefits to America’s economy and culture. They supported a path to citizenship for the undocumented. Still, they routinely asserted that low-skilled immigrants depressed the wages of low-skilled American workers and strained America’s welfare state. And they were far more likely than liberals today are to acknowledge that, as Krugman put it, “immigration is an intensely painful topic … because it places basic principles in conflict.”…

A larger explanation [for the change] is political. Between 2008 and 2016, Democrats became more and more confident that the country’s growing Latino population gave the party an electoral edge….

Alongside pressure from pro-immigrant activists came pressure from corporate America, especially the Democrat-aligned tech industry, which uses the H-1B visa program to import workers….

According to a comprehensive new report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, “Groups comparable to … immigrants in terms of their skill may experience a wage reduction as a result of immigration-induced increases in labor supply.” But academics sometimes de-emphasize this wage reduction because, like liberal journalists and politicians, they face pressures to support immigration.

Many of the immigration scholars regularly cited in the press have worked for, or received funding from, pro-immigration businesses and associations.

I suggest you read the Beinart piece in full; it makes clear that immigration is a thorny, complex problem, which is not something you’d infer from either party now.

Click on the link for the rest.

OUTRAGED by BDS’s “anti-semitism,” Netanyahu has no problem with the neo-Nazis rampant in Ukraine and Hungary

On the history of Zionist collusion with European fascism, check out Lenni Brenner’s Zionism in the Age of the Dictators (1983).


It’s not just global warming. Smart-meters also played a major role in California’s catastrophic wildfires

From Katie Hickox:

The whole subject of how smart-meters played a part in California’s forest fires is totally blacked out in California.

The state’s utilities don’t want to be liable for their smart-meters functioning as rocket-fuel in that catastrophe, so no one is touching this. Closest info I could find is here:

Links to Fire Evidence

Posted on February 20, 2017

Smart Fire

While smart meter fire risks are discounted by Seattle City Council, they are an important threat and liability, especially to the property owners. Here are references that show significant fire risk and why this happens:

The smart meter, as you know, provides two-way radio frequency communication. This design feature in and of itself could lead to fires. Utilities usually disclaim any responsibility in smart meter fires and have removed forensic evidence such as the burned out, charred smart meter before an insurance company was allowed to examine it. Please see the “Direct Testimony of Norman W. Lambe” below:

  1. Direct Testimony of Norman W. Lambe, NMPRC Case No. 15-00312-UT, dated June 6, 2016. Please read this testimony to further understand the scope of fire problems with smart meters. Mr. Lambe is aSenior Property Claims Examiner at Precision Risk Management, PO Box 628, Cypress, CA 90630. (testimony) . (You can contact Norman Lambe for further information at: Norman Lambe, 
Property Adjuster
 Precision Risk Management, Inc., 
714-228-7900 ext. 1159).
  2. How the Smart Meter ‘Remote Disconnect’ Can Cause FiresAugust 25, 2016, by K.T. Weaver, SkyVision Solutions.

“I have previously stated that “the most dangerous ‘feature’ included in the majority of smart meters deployed today is the remote disconnect option.” [1] [2] At the time, I was primarily referencing the increased risk that the smart meter remote disconnect (RD) poses to the electric grid from a cyber threat perspective. In addition, however, the RD is one of the features of a smart meter (as compared to other types of electric usage meters) that increases the risk of catastrophic meter failures and resulting building fires.

To help illustrate how smart meter RDs can result in fires, this article will highlight the results of forensic investigations by EFI Global, Inc. (EFI) for a failed Sensus brand smart meter reported as involved in a fire in Las Vegas, Nevada in July 2015 [3]. There were actually two separate evaluations of the failed smart meter, first a non-destructive review in July 2015 and a destructive inspection conducted in April 2016.

Here is an excerpt from the forensics report for the non-destructive review: “[It] should be noted that this meter is of the new ‘smart-meter’ variety, which differs from the original electro-mechanical meter that it replaced in at least three significant ways:”

3.a. “Keeping the Customer Safe“:

This report offers some statistics comparing meter fires prior to AMI (smart meter) deployment to what is currently happening after deployment. Tom Lawton from TESCO: “the number of reported fires in the United States has increased dramatically to the point where [Smart] Meter fires have dominated the news locally, nationally and internationally.”

The Issue

  • Hot Sockets are not a new phenomenon. Virtually every meter man has pulled a meter with a portion of the meter base around a blade melted and virtually every utility has been called to assist in the investigation of a fire at a meter box.
  • From 2007 to 2011 the four years before the start of the majority of AMI deployments there were 590 reported fires in the United States that originated in the meter or the meter box. An average of 125 per year and an incidence rate of less than one in a million meters each year.
  • Since that time the number has increased dramatically to the point where [smart] meter fires have dominated the news locally, nationally and internationally at various times over the past three years. – Utilities going through a full AMI deployment are seeing incident rates one and two orders of magnitude greater than normal, leading to a media frenzy and a public focus on the safety of the meter on the side of their house. [Slide 2]

3b. “Hot Socket Issues Causes and Best Practices” (TESCO Research On Hot Sockets, 2014): Analog meters withstand “hot sockets” better than smart meters. “At the start of our laboratory investigation the oldest electro mechanical meters withstood hot sockets the best… The latest vintage solid state meters [smart meters] withstood hot sockets the least.”

4. Recent news coverage of smart meter fires in Kansas City, MI:

KCMO smart meter fire sparks investigation,” August 29. 2016.  “. . . The company KCP&L uses has had past issues in other places. Despite few problems in the metro, hundreds of thousands of smart meters have been recalled in the last several years across North America. And hundreds of fires have broken out in California, Texas, Florida, Nevada, Illinois and across Canada.” . . . .

The smart meter in this video that caused fires were made by Landis & Gyr – smart meter vendor for Seattle. The video also includes interviews with insurance adjuster Norman Lambe, researcher Brian Thiesen, and professor Curtis Bennett in this 4-minute clip (see below):

–Reporter: “Hundreds of thousands of smart meters have been recalled in the past several years across North America. And hundreds of fires have broken out, including in California, Texas, Florida, Nevada, Illinois, and across Canada.”

–Curtis Bennett (electrician professor): “It really is a very dangerous issue, and it should be treated as a real, unprecedented emergency in your area.”

–Reporter: “California insurance adjuster Norman Lambe currently has seven open smart meter fire claims. Of the dozens of smart meter fires he’s investigated, he says overheating is the major issue.”

–Norman Lambe (insurance adjuster): “Sparking… they are manufacturing too much heat.”

–Brian Thiesen (researcher): “These fires are going to continue to happen because, again, the basic laws of electricity are being violated.”

5. “Smart Meter Fires: Burning Meters, Burning Questions, Shocking AnswersPublished on Mar 26, 2016. Researcher Brian Thiesen presents shocking and disturbing facts about smart meter fires. The video includes information on Landis & Gyr and coverup on meter fires. Seattle City Light continues to ignore fire hazards and plans to install “smart” meters in 2017 on all homes and businesses.

Seattle City Light claims the fire problem is solved due to a heat sensor (which would not be necessary if not for the flawed design of the smart meter in the first place). They further claim that the property owner, not the utility, is responsible for the meter’s connection to the building, and is therefore liable if there’s a smart meter fire. This is frequently done by other utilities. Please again refer to Norman Lambe’s Direct Testimony at the top of this email.

6. “Stockton Smart Meters Explode after Truck Causes Power Surge” Stockton, California, (March 30, 2015), several hundred meters exploded off the sides of houses simply because a truck hit a utility pole. Several thousand people were without power for over two days.

For More Information on Smart Meter Fire Fatalities & Liability:

 Smart Meter Fires & Explosions

Deaths from Smart Meter Fires

Cities that Have Replaced Thousands of Smart Meters

Many UN countries DON’T support “our” interference in Venezuela. (Good interview with Lawrence Wilkerson)

Many Countries at UN Oppose Trump Interference in Venezuela

Posted on January 30, 2019 by Yves Smith

Yves here. This Real News Network segment with Lawrence Wilkerson is a useful antidote to the impression much of the domestic media is trying to convey, that the US has broad-based support for its coup attempt in Venezuela.

PAUL JAY: Welcome to The Real News Network. I’m Paul Jay.

On Saturday morning there was a somewhat extraordinary meeting of the UN Security Council. It was an open meeting. Countries were invited to come give their opinion and response to the push by the United States, led by President Donald Trump, to recognize Juan Guaido. This is the man who is the president of the National Assembly in Venezuela who declared himself president. Apparently, as the Wall Street Journal is now reporting, that Vice President Mike Pence phoned Guaido the night before he made such a declaration. And either he suggested he make the declaration–that’s not clear–but at least what is clear, according to the report, Pence says that if he’d made such a declaration he would get U.S. support. And in fact, the United States supported Guaido’s declaration almost immediately after he made it.

Well, there’s been a very interesting split in the world that was–this was reflected at those meetings Saturday morning, where many countries refused to go along with this plan, saying that the UN Charter says there should be non-interference in the internal affairs of UN member countries, and that that should be respected. The United States says they don’t like the way the elections were held, and a bunch of countries have aligned themselves with the United States on this, on their position of recognizing Guaido and calling, essentially, what many people are calling a coup that Guaido should take power. And they are openly trying to foment support within the Venezuelan military, ‘they’ being the United States, to engineer such a coup.

At any rate, here’s a little sample of what took place at the UN on Saturday morning.

SPEAKER: Now we have a new leader, Juan Guaido, in Venezuela, who has promised to bring elections and constitutional order back to Venezuela, and security back to the region.

SPEAKER: This is not about foreign intervention in Venezuela. It is not an attempt to impose a result on the Venezuelan people. Democracy never needs to be imposed. It is tyranny that has to be imposed.

SPEAKER: But what about if we look at the international law, the Charter? Where is this based on? Are we simply setting aside international relations based on international law, and replacing the with international relations based on force?

AMBASSADOR FROM CHINA: China supports the efforts made by the Venezuelan government to uphold national sovereignty, independence, and stability.

SPEAKER: The meeting which we are being forced to be present is another element of the strategy of the United States to effect regime change in Venezuela. We regret that in this unethical ploy, in its unethical ploys, the United States is involving the Security Council.

AMBASSADOR FROM COLOMBIA: Colombia has come here to the Security Council to ask the international community to demand that the life and well being of Juan Guaido is upheld, and not just that he is protected but also the members of the National Assembly and all those who fight for democracy. And indeed, we have come to call for the international community’s support for all those Venezuelans who are sparing no effort to build a better future.

AMBASSADOR FROM BELGIUM: Belgium calls for the restoration of constitutional order in Venezuela. The presidential elections, which took place in May of last year, were in no way free, fair, or credible, thus stripping the government of Nicolas Maduro of any democratic legitimacy. The main threat to peace and security in Latin America and the Caribbean is, in fact, the bullying by the United States and its allies of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, which is a flagrant affront to the popular will of the people of Venezuela, and to the institutional framework of this country.

SPEAKER: I ask the question honestly: If we look back through history, which country has been better after an intervention by the United States of America? Have we not discussed in this very Security Council the serious adverse impact and consequences of situations such as the current situation in Iraq, or Syria, or in Libya?

PAUL JAY: So that was a sampling of what took place Saturday morning at the United Nations. Now joining us to discuss this somewhat realignment of forces in the world, I think, as well as what’s really at stake at this issue with Venezuela, is Larry Wilkerson. Larry is the former chief of staff to Secretary of State, former Secretary of State, Colin Powell. Thanks for joining us, Larry.

LARRY WILKERSON: Thanks for having me, Paul.

PAUL JAY: So it seems you can–the fundamental issue that was seemed to be raised by many countries at the UN was that this is an issue of non-interference, not an issue of how you assess the Venezuelan elections, although some countries went even further and said one should respect the outcome of those elections. But other countries, it seems to me, were saying it’s not up to countries outside Venezuela to decide on the domestic affairs of Venezuela, and that that principle trumps everything else. What do you–what’s your view of this?

LARRY WILKERSON: It’s all a discussion about how power should be managed and arranged in the world. And despite what anyone says, Xi Jinping, Vladimir Putin, or Donald Trump, or Mike Pompeo, these kinds of things are all about the distribution of power in the world and who’s going to have influence over who.

And so when you look at Venezuela, on the rim of the Gulf of Mexico and subject to the Monroe doctrine, and its oil, some say–many with reason–and experts say that Venezuela has the largest oil reserves in the world. Very difficult to get to, very difficult to get out of the ground, high economic costs for doing so, but nonetheless a lot of oil. And the United States has a long relationship with Caracas. And so you can understand this happening.

At the same time, the principle of non-intervention is just that: non-intervention. And not for a moment do I think that the United States, particularly with this administration, will restrain itself from intervening significantly in Venezuela. After all, I was there in 2002 when we began this more or less slow fuse coup d’etat against Chavez. And of course, I’ve read all about Salvador Allende, and Mohammed Mossadegh, and Jacobo Arbenz; all the other people in the world who we have overthrown from time to time.

So this is no surprise to me. It is somewhat of a surprise that we have this division of view in the world. And the majority of the world, if you want to go by population, seems to be in favor of a more pure definition of non-intervention than the United States likes to entertain.

Click on the link for the rest

With SWAT teams in most towns today, the USA is just like its official fantasy of Putin’s Russia

Jackboots in the Morning: No One Is Spared From This American Nightmare

By John W. Whitehead
January 29, 2019

This is jackboots in the morning. This is an American nightmare that they would arrest somebody like this.”—Judge Andrew Napolitano

The American Police State does not discriminate.

Whatever dangerous practices you allow the government to carry out now—whether it’s in the name of national security or protecting America’s borders or making America great again—rest assured, these same practices can and will be used against you when the government decides to set its sights on you.

We’ve been having this same debate about the perils of government overreach for the past 50-plus years, and still we don’t seem to learn, or if we learn, we learn too late.

For too long now, the American people have allowed their personal prejudices and politics to cloud their judgment and render them incapable of seeing that the treatment being doled out by the government’s lethal enforcers has remained consistent, no matter the threat.

All of the excessive, abusive tactics employed by the government today—warrantless surveillance, stop and frisk searches, SWAT team raids, roadside strip searches, asset forfeiture schemes, private prisons, indefinite detention, militarized police, etc.—will eventually be meted out on the general populace.

At that point, when you find yourself in the government’s crosshairs, it will not matter whether your skin is black or yellow or brown or white; it will not matter whether you’re an immigrant or a citizen; it will not matter whether you’re rich or poor; it will not matter whether you’re Republican or Democrat; and it certainly won’t matter who you voted for in the last presidential election.

At that point—at the point you find yourself subjected to dehumanizing, demoralizing, thuggish behavior by government bureaucrats who are hyped up on the power of their badges and empowered to detain, search, interrogate, threaten and generally harass anyone they see fit—remember you were warned.

Take Roger Stone, one of President Trump’s longtime supporters, for example.

This is a guy accused of witness tampering, obstruction of justice and lying to Congress.

As far as we know, this guy is not the kingpin of a violent mob or drug-laundering scheme. He’s been charged with a political crime. So what does the FBI do? They send 29 heavily armed agents in 17 vehicles to carry out a SWAT-style raid on Stone’s Florida home just before dawn on Jan. 25, 2019.

As the Boston Herald reports:

“After his arraignment on witness tampering, obstruction and lying to Congress, a rattled Stone was quoted as saying 29 agents ‘pounded on the door,’ pointed automatic weapons at him and ‘terrorized’ his wife and dogs. Stone was taken away in handcuffs, the sixth associate of President Trump to be indicted in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. All the charges have been related to either lying or tax evasion, with no evidence of so-called ‘collusion’ with Russia emerging to date.”

Overkill? Sure.

Yet another example of government overreach and brutality? Definitely.

But here’s the thing: while Tucker Carlson and Chris Christie and other Trump apologists appear shocked that law enforcement personnel would stage a military assault against “an unarmed 66-year-old man who has been charged with a nonviolent crime,” this is nothing new.

Indeed, this is blowback, one more vivid example of how the government’s short-sighted use of immoral, illegal and unconstitutional tactics become dangerous weapons turned against the American people.

To be clear, this Stone raid is far from the first time a SWAT team has been employed in non-violent scenarios.

Nationwide, SWAT teams routinely invade homes, break down doors, kill family pets (they always shoot the dogs first), damage furnishings, terrorize families, and wound or kill those unlucky enough to be present during a raid.

Payton, a 7-year-old black Labrador retriever, and 4-year-old Chase, also a black Lab, were shot and killed after a SWAT team mistakenly raided the mayor’s home while searching for drugs. Police shot Payton four times. Chase was shot twice, once from behind as he ran away. “My government blew through my doors and killed my dogs. They thought we were drug dealers, and we were treated as such. I don’t think they really ever considered that we weren’t,” recalls Mayor Cheye Calvo, who described being handcuffed and interrogated for hours—wearing only underwear and socks—surrounded by the dogs’ carcasses and pools of the dogs’ blood.

SWAT teams have been employed to address an astonishingly trivial array of so-called criminal activity or mere community nuisances: angry dogs, domestic disputesimproper paperwork filed by an orchid farmer, and misdemeanor marijuana possession, to give a brief sampling. In some instances, SWAT teams are even employed, in full armament, to perform routine patrols.

If these raids are becoming increasingly common and widespread, you can chalk it up to the “make-work” philosophy, in which you assign at-times unnecessary jobs to individuals to keep them busy or employed. In this case, however, the make-work principle is being used to justify the use of sophisticated military equipment and, in the process, qualify for federal funding.

SWAT teams originated as specialized units dedicated to defusing extremely sensitive, dangerous situations. They were never meant to be used for routine police work such as serving a warrant.

Frequently justified as vital tools necessary to combat terrorism and deal with rare but extremely dangerous criminal situations, such as those involving hostages, SWAT teams—which first appeared on the scene in California in the 1960s—have now become intrinsic parts of federal and local law enforcement operations, thanks in large part to substantial federal assistance and the Pentagon’s 1033 military surplus recycling program, which allows the transfer of military equipment, weapons and training to local police for free or at sharp discounts.

Mind you, this is the same program that President Trump breathed new life into back in 2017.

As the role of paramilitary forces has expanded to include involvement in nondescript police work targeting nonviolent suspects, the mere presence of SWAT units has actually injected a level of danger and violence into police-citizen interactions that was not present as long as these interactions were handled by traditional civilian officers. 

Click on the link for the rest.