Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
January 28, 2019

Sanctions Are Wars Against Peoples

A former UN rapporteur says that the numerous US sanctions (pdf) against Venezuela are devastating and illegal:

Mr De Zayas, a former secretary of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) and an expert in international law, spoke to The Independent following the presentation of his Venezuela report to the HRC in September. He said that since its presentation the report has been ignored by the UN and has not sparked the public debate he believes it deserves.

Sanctions kill,” he told The Independent, adding that they fall most heavily on the poorest people in society, demonstrably cause death through food and medicine shortages, lead to violations of human rights and are aimed at coercing economic change in a “sister democracy”.

On his fact-finding mission to the country in late 2017, he found internal overdependence on oil, poor governance and corruption had hit the Venezuelan economy hard, but said “economic warfare” practised by the US, EU and Canada are significant factors in the economic crisis.

The four factors - oil, poor governance, corruption and sanctions - are not unrelated to each other. That Venezuela has the largest oil reserves in the world makes it a target for U.S. imperialism. Not simply to "take their oil" as Trump wants, but for geo-political reasons. As Andrew Korybko muses:

Alongside ensuring full geopolitical control over the Caribbean Basin and ideologically confronting socialism, the US wants to obtain predominant influence over Venezuela in order to incorporate it into a parallel OPEC-like structure for challenging the joint Russian-Saudi OPEC+ arrangement per the author’s late-2016 prediction about the formation of a “North American-South American Petroleum Exporting Countries” (NASAPEC) cartel. This entity would function as “Fortress America’s” energy component and have the potential to exert powerful long-term pressure on the international oil market at Russia and Saudi Arabia’s expense.

Venezuela's overdependence on the extraction of one resource also furthered poor governance. Hugo Chavez became president of Venezuela in 1998. Between then and 2014 oil prices were overall constantly rising. When ever increasing prices guarantee a decent income there is little pressure to care for government efficiency and little incentive to build other industries.

Every U.S. administration since George W. Bush introduced additional sanctions on Venezuela. The most biting once are financial sanction which make the buying of necessary imports extremely difficult. Every state that has come under such sanctions, Iran under Saddam Hussein, North Korea, Iran, Syria and Venezuela must attempt to circumvent these. Smuggling, which governments usually oppose, suddenly becomes a necessity. Businessman or military officers trusted by the government are offered monopolies if they are able to import sanctioned goods. The risk for these people is often high but so is the reward. The monopoly position allows them to demand exorbitant profits. Every country has political corruption but sanctions tend to multiply it.

A friend of Professor Landis describes this phenomenon with regard to Syria:

Joshua Landis @joshua_landis - 22:17 utc - 27 Jan 2019

On Syria sanctions as a tool for punishing or weakening the Syrian regime, a Syrian friend, whose extended family has long worked smuggling routes in Syria, warned that they only empower & enrich regime bigwigs.

"Fun fact I can't write publicly, the sanction have led to a rise in smuggling. Smugglers never made as much money as they do now. Who are these smugglers? regime figures, their relatives & their friends. The sanctions allow them to amass wealth in amounts they never dreamed of.

"Their influence has grow more and more. Even if I want to export a pair of shoes, I can't. I have to pay the 4th Division security officer to get an export or import license from China. I don't have to pay them once, but twice, and the same goes for customs.

"To say that sanctions are ineffective and hurt mainly civilians is an under statement. Sanctions are directly empowering and enriching those who are in the regime. Look at the sanctions list, the people on the list were all millionaires before 2011, now they are billionaires.

Sanctions always lead to higher prices and inflation in the targeted country. They destroy the middle class and devastate the poor:

The result, said Damascus-based businessman Naji Adeeb, is that legitimate business owners are being punished while close associates of the state, including those named in the sanctions, are still able to conduct deals worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

“You just need a lot more resources to do a lot less, and if you do a transaction today you don’t know if you can do it again a month from now,” said Adeeb. “It’s an environment where only crooks and mafiosis can work.”

The U.S. accuses the government of Venezuela of being corrupt. It laments that some 2 million fled the country. But these phenomenons are largely consequences of the economic war it wages against the country.

Sanctions can only achieve their purported purpose when the targeted entity can change its ways and thereby get sanctions relief. But the sanctions against Iraq, Iran, Syria and Venezuela were/are all intended to achieve regime change. The people in charge of these countries would have to kill themselves, or at least abolish their positions, to achieve sanctions relief. They have no incentive to do. Broad sanctions against a country make the people more dependent of their government. They allow those in charge to increase their power.

It is thus obvious that these sanctions are designed to destroy countries, not to achieve some purported aim of 'human rights', 'democracy' or even 'regime change'. They are wars of aggression by other means:

The US sanctions are illegal under international law because they were not endorsed by the UN Security Council, Mr de Zayas, an expert on international law and a former senior lawyer with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said.

“Modern-day economic sanctions and blockades are comparable with medieval sieges of towns.

Twenty-first century sanctions attempt to bring not just a town, but sovereign countries to their knees,” Mr de Zayas said in his report.

Sieges and sanctions alone are seldom successful in achieving their purported aims. Medieval sieges usually ended either when the attacker gave up, or with the storming and looting of the town. Sieges and sanctions are the means  to 'soften up' the target, to then allow for an easier all out attack. For thirteen years the most brutal sanctions were put on Iraq. It still required a large scale war to bring Saddam Hussein down. And the war did not even end there.

Posted by b on January 28, 2019 at 18:40 UTC | Permalink

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Posted by: Yeah, Right | Jan 28, 2019 11:17:28 PM | 74

@72 I've been to NZ many times. If there is one country on Planet Earth that is immune to a color revolution it is the Land Of The Long White Cloud.

But John Bolton is too dumb to know that. I think General Tommy Franks got it wrong when he called Douglas J. Feith "the dumbest fucking guy on the planet", John Bolton is that guy.

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Jan 29 2019 11:36 utc | 101

Economic battle lines. I don't see Bolton et al coming out ahead on this. I think they need to accept the multlpolarity of the belt and road project which seems to treat people more as partners than subjects.


Elijah J. Magnier Retweeted

𝙽𝚊𝚟𝚜𝚝é𝚟𝚊 زائر 🐐

Bolton just lays it out in the open, naked and raw: We want #Venezuela's oil (and he is also saying "we don't want Russia and China to make economic deals with Venezuela, we have to stop #BeltandRoad in the Americas")

Posted by: financial matters | Jan 29 2019 11:54 utc | 102


Not to enable, but I understand the anger and frustration.

My correction in [].

@92 You vote only for ([either] one of the [2]wings) of the War Party.

America has become synonymous with regime change WAR. Is there no moral power to stop this ab.., err, domination???

Posted by: Circe | Jan 29 2019 12:56 utc | 103

After the "accidental" revelation of "5000 troops to Columbia" by Bolton at yesterdays presser, Columbia denied any knowledge, which suggests to me that Columbia has no wish to get involved in Venezuela militarily. Although the Columbian government keeps banging on about how the Venezuelan people oppose Maduro, the wish to not become involved in any "civil war" suggests that the Columbians understand that While Venezuela might be an easy target for an invasion, the subsequent occupation in support of the traitors will not as the Bolivarians are numerous enough and probably well armed enough for it to be very unpleasant particularly since you can read about how to make IEDs and EFPs that any machine shop can churn out on the internet.

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Jan 29 2019 13:13 utc | 104

to Lochearn #40. Sorry I'm coming to this thread a bit late, but yes, if Venezuela had set up a sovereign wealth fund under Chavez, who still believed in and relied on the rule of law, that money would have gone the way of the funds in Libya and Maylasia. Goldman Sucks would have done just that. As we see from the Bank of England "holding" Venezuela's gold.
Speaking of gold, several years ago there was speculation that the gold held in storage by Bank of England and the Fed had been rehypothecated X number of times, hence the reluctance to release it. I have no proof of this, but apparently the Germans were worried enough to repatriate theirs.

Posted by: Miss Lacy | Jan 29 2019 13:58 utc | 105

This should interest folks here, James Petras' latest essay:

Peculiarities of US Imperialism in Latin America By James Petras

Posted by: William Bowles | Jan 29 2019 13:59 utc | 106

Well Guaido, I'm sorry "Gweedo", just announced that all options, including military are on the table to force a transition to his new government. so he's basically saying he wants the US to invade his own country to make him President if necessary, that's the text book definition of treason - how is your prospective leader asking another country to make war on your home country suppose to inspire loyalty among the Venezuelan people

Posted by: Kadath | Jan 29 2019 14:06 utc | 107

What did Maduro expect?

‘Alert Venezuela!’ Maduro says US stealing oil revenue

Posted by: Zanon | Jan 29 2019 14:09 utc | 108

@91 "Your concept of "creative" is what I would describe as "bat-shit crazy"."

Com on Yeah Right. You've been on MOA for a while. One would expect you to recognize double entendre by now.

Posted by: dh | Jan 29 2019 14:13 utc | 109

Here's an extract from Petras' essay. It's a bit long but it lays the groundwork I think for subsequent events leading up to the Trump's attempted coup d'etat:

While commentators attributed President Chavez mass support and influence to his charisma, objective circumstances peculiar to Latin America were decisive. President Chavez’s defeat of imperialist intervention can be attributed to five objectives and conditions.

1. The deep involvement of the US in multiple prolonged wars at the same time – including in the Middle East,South Asia and North Africa distracted Washington. Moreover, US military commitments to Israel undermined US efforts to refocus on Venezuela.

2. US sanctions policy took place during the commodity boom between 2003 – 2011 – which provided Venezuela with the economic resources to finance domestic social programs and neutralize local boycotts by elite allies of the US.

3. Venezuela benefited by the neo-liberal crises of the 1990’s-2001 which led to the rise of center-left national popular governments throughout the region. This was especially the case for Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, Bolivia and Honduras. Moreover, ‘centrist’ regimes in Peru and Chile remained neutral. Furthermore Venezuela and its allies ensured that the US did not control regional organization.

4. President Chavez as a former military officer secured the loyalty of the military, undercutting US plots to organize coups.

5. The world financial crises of 2008-2009 forced the US to spend several trillion dollars in bailing out the banks. The economic crises and partial recovery strengthened the hand of Treasury and weakened the relative influence of the Pentagon.

In other words, while imperial policies and strategic goals remained, the capacity of the US to pursue conquests were limited by objective conditions.

Circumstances Favoring Imperial Interventions
The reverse circumstances favoring imperialism can be seen in more recent times. These include four conditions:

1. The end of the commodity boom weakened the economies of Venezuela’s center- left allies and led to the rise of far-right US directed client regimes as well as heightening the coup activities of US backed opponents of newly elected President Maduro.

2. The failure to diversify exports, markets , financial and distributive systems during the expansive period led to a decline in consumption and production and allowed imperialism to attract voters, especially from middle and lower- middle class consumers, employees, shop keepers , professionals and business people.

3. The Pentagon transferred its military focus from the Middle East to Latin America, identifying military and political clients among key regimes – namely Brazil, Argentina, Ecuador, Peru and Chile.

4. Washington’s political intervention in Latin American electoral processes opened the door to economic exploitation of resources and the recruitment of military allies to isolate and encircle nationalist, populist Venezuela.

Posted by: William Bowles | Jan 29 2019 14:15 utc | 110

One final quote from the Petras piece:

The US intervention in Venezuela is the longest war of our century-- (eighteen years) – exceeding the US invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq. The conflict also illustrates how the US relies on regional clients and overseas allies to provide cover for imperial power grabs.

Posted by: William Bowles | Jan 29 2019 14:19 utc | 111

As always there is much to learn from these informative comments as well as the article itself.
The composite picture I am getting resembles a full spectrum dominance in the realm of finance and international transactions in a post War Bretton Woods environment. I have some questions about how sanctions get enforced internationally. So the USA places additional sanctions on Iran and then accuses China of trying to circumvent them. How and why is a nation such as China obligated to follow such a dictat? Is it somehow channeled through the UN and thus "international law" and if so who has to ratify it? What if the USA and vassals impose sanctions and everyone else just ignores them?

I am imagine the expression of "First VZ, next us" is manifesting in various accents around the Americas right about now. Despite the fact that the selected rulers have signed on with the coup plan, I cannot imagine it goes much further into the population than that. It also seems quite likely that sappers and death squads will be running rampant. Details aside the only thing that has a chance of saving VZ is full mobilization of the population across the board. Much like when the SAA was up against the ropes and made a comeback...? The mind boggles at all the details of how to absorb and oppress such an onslaught, but it would certainly require something smart and innovative.

Posted by: Chevrus | Jan 29 2019 14:29 utc | 112

Some details concerning the Empire's malfeasance in central america. FYI, all this can be reviewed in wikipedia.
In 1910, a russian jew who had emigrated to us called Sam Zemurray paid Manuel Bonilla, Machine Gun Molony and Lee Christmas to overthrow the gov of Honduras. Bonilla became dictator and granted land concessions to Zemurray for his banana plantations. In 1930, Zemurray sold out to United Fruit Company. In 1933 Zemurray acquired United Fruit in a hostile take over. Beginning in 1953 Zemurray and the US State Dept began plotting to overthrow Arbenz in Guatemala. Arbenz's crimes? He was democratically elected and had a plan to reuse some of the land held fallow by United Fruit. United Fruit at that time controlled virtually all the land in Guatemala. In 1954, the CIA, Dulles & Co. (Dulles, BTW, had been a board member of United Fruit. Kind of smelly isn't it?) overthrew Arbenz and replaced him with dictator Cartlos Castillo Amas.

Beginning in1920, Zemurray became a supporter of Zionism along with his pal Chaim Weizmann. In conclusion, it is not at ll surprising that the Zionists have endorsed "Guido" and the coup. This is business as usual. As Petras says - it's been 18 years of economic war for Venezuela and 17 years of misery for Afganistan. Thanks to William Bowles for his post. # 111

Posted by: Miss Lacy | Jan 29 2019 14:42 utc | 113

chevrus makes a good point: if the US succeeds in imposing its regime on Venezuela a re-run of Operation Condor, death squads roaming the continent seeking out potential oppositionists, is likely.
Given that Argentine, Chile and Brazil have all been given extreme right wing assimilationist governments and that Ecuador has been purchased by the State Department we are right back where this all started with Cuba and Nicaragua plus Bolivia the solitary hold outs.
The reality is that there is a continental civil war going on, a war which has been going for hundreds of years between the creole elites who long to assimilate into the Empire from which they came and the masses, descendants of the indigenous peoples and the slaves.
The more one contemplates places like Colombia and situations like that in Venezuela, where the white people live like kings and the rest take their chances, the easier it is to understand what Pol Pot was aiming at in Cambodia.
And the massacres there, horrific as they were, are statistically insignificant when compared with the permanent genocide that exists in Honduras, Guatemala and around the continent. A genocide that looks fair set to accelerate again in Brazil and which, if it takes hold in Venezuela, will barely pause before it returns to Bolivia.
And the Western political scene, in the meantime, like the biblical Sodom and Gomorrah, is almost devoid of just and honest voices.
As a clown and his camarilla of crazy men, Trump, Bolton, Pompeo lie and steal there is barely a single questioning voice in the UK, Europe or north America. The media is bought and paid for- the CIA is waving the receipts in our faces- and the legislatures, at best, can come up with slight deviations from the imperial programme.
This, like Syria, is part of World War III which has two aims: to impose Washington's imperial rule over the entire globe. And to ban, permanently, any interference by popular forces with the rights of private property: "What has been stolen, stays stolen" is the motto of the Empire.

Posted by: bevin | Jan 29 2019 15:07 utc | 114

@ William Bowles | Jan 29, 2019 9:19:44 AM | 111
The US intervention in Venezuela is the longest war of our century-- (eighteen years) – exceeding the US invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq.
...or longer. I remember that when I served in MAC-V back in the mid-sixties, V for Vietnam, my Hispanic friend and I joked that the V would soon stand for Venezuela. So now they've become serious about it.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 29 2019 15:21 utc | 115

Consider the discussions taking place right now within and between China and Russia. Surely they knew it was just a matter of time before the US would butt in.
China historically walks away from conflict despite massive investment as they did in Libya and Russia more often bides its time waiting for strategic weaknesses, but I wonder if they have something else planned as the US attacks on them both are far too frequent.

Posted by: frances | Jan 29 2019 15:23 utc | 116

reply to uncle tungsten 97
"Well well only one month ago Russia signs up to invest in the tangible alternative currency - gold- and voila now we have a coup. THAT is the trigger I assume. Note UK government has confiscated Vz gold reserves."
Yes, I think the Ru gold investment certainly hit a nerve, but a bigger issue may be that from what I have read the US shale companies aka shale ponzi are unlikely to be able to meet their loan obligations. The US plan to quiet the markets is to gain control Vz assets and fast.

Posted by: frances | Jan 29 2019 15:29 utc | 117

I gather that the US expects shipments to continue even thought they will now give the money to the US sponsored newbe.
How many ships does Vz has enroute to the US right now, could China seeing its loans in jeopardy, have them rerouted to China under Chinese flags? They could justify it as I believe Vz is a bit behind on its fuel payments or was until very recently.

Posted by: frances | Jan 29 2019 15:37 utc | 118

U.S. sanctions on Venezuela’s state-owned oil firm will force the country to sell its energy products at steep discounts to buyers such as China and India, experts said.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 29 2019 15:46 utc | 119

What is never reported nor commented on .. sanctions affect not only common people in the targeted country ... + other people in countries which have commercial business with the targeted country. Don Bacon @ 6.

-- Never commented on..-- is a bit of a stretch :)

The MSM don't highlight it, but plenty of ppl in continental Europe know why they lost their jobs and who is to blame for the misery.

I’d put another associated point differently: What is little reported on in the MSM or allowed in ‘usual discourse’ is that sanctions have an overall goal that is obscured.

Aggro towards ‘groups, leaders’ is today framed in a weird cacophony of tongue-in-cheek human-rights discourse, accusations of improper leadership (vicious dictatorship, socialism, whatever), of ‘inadequate culture’ or nefarious pol. structure (muslim baddies, violence of various sorts, political incorrectness — applied selectively, ex. not to KSA), etc.

Long list.. made up, a sneaky wink-wink simulacrum, a pantomine to cover up, rationalise various murderous, even genocidal, actions.

Sanctions curtail or even for some halt and/or reverse economic development.

Why would the Hegemon, who professes to believe in the free market, free trade, Capitalism (one basic need: return on investment!) the glorious wonderland of personal entrepreneurship, coupled with control by the financial sector ...

.. refuse to offer Iraqi Mamas the oppo to buy Barbie dolls, McDo hamburgers, mini drones that take wonderful photos, Louis Vuitton handbags (F lux trade, F US ally), pills that enhance life …(Not to mention clean water that is needed for ppl to buy anything.) Of course the MIC is top dog, killing ppl is more lucrative than allowing them to live, to consume, work hard, etc.

The top deciders in the USA-allies-vassals know perfectly well that the end game is here now, ressources are desperate dwindling, global warming is lurching on, etc.

Posted by: Noirette | Jan 29 2019 15:46 utc | 120

news report:
U.S. intelligence agencies assess that Russia and China will seek to interfere in the 2020 presidential election, having learned lessons from Russia's operation in 2016, according to the annual public survey of national security threats issued Tuesday.//

OMG! They will interfere in another country!! Ours!!!

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 29 2019 15:50 utc | 121

Taking a page from the book of Cheney: deny everything and make counteraccusations. So it's fair to say that if the USA makes an accusation you can be damn sure they themselves are guilty of the same offense. The prime meddler pissing and moaning about meddling...who is buying this anymore I wonder...
"We just KNOW they are planning on interfering!" I call BS. This is mere justification of the upcoming wars of various types, mostly for the domestic population. Pre-Fab demonization by any other name. Why the heck would anyone bother to interfere with a nation that has a defacto one party system, a massive corrupt lobby network and zionist occupied government?! Would they be hoping for better results from the already rigged election system that could not possibly be tipped in the their favor?
It looks as though we have passed through a barrier and the curtain has been pulled away.... A bit of a relief in a way: The USA&Co. ask for a show of hands, a signing of a document, a pound of flesh and now we know where the various governments of the world stand!

“The illusion of freedom will continue as long as it's profitable to continue the illusion. At the point where the illusion becomes too expensive to maintain, they will just take down the scenery, they will pull back the curtains, they will move the tables and chairs out of the way and you will see the brick wall at the back of the theater.”
― Frank Zappa

Posted by: Chevrus | Jan 29 2019 16:11 utc | 122

Posted by: dh | Jan 28, 2019 10:22:01 PM | 69

@67 Yes but the US troops would just be there to show support for the Colombian army which numbers about 250,000.

250,000 wouldn't even be enough for an invasion. The US Army likes certainties and that means a three to one advantage in favour of the attacking force, so if the Venezuelan Army is 500,000 strong that means about 1,500,000 for the attacking force. Once they've invaded, they'll have to occupy Venezuela as the opposition traitors are not as popular/strong as they're made out to be by the lying shits in Washington, London, Ottawa, Brussels, Tel Aviv and various capitals in South and Central America. That will require an occupation force which with essential rotations will require an army over 3,000,000 strong which doesn't exist but the Chinese might just be able to do it.

but Bolton knew exactly what he was doing with his notepad. He has lots of creative ideas.

Bolton is a fucking stupid moron who doesn't have a single creative grey cell in his diseased brain but then you're being sarcastic so i'll let you off. A British minister did the same accidentally about ten years ago and Putin did it on purpose a few years ago but it took a while for the media to work out what had happened. One of the photo agencies had images on sale within minutes of the event which indicates it was a set up. And Bolton should have made sure the Columbian government wouldn't issue a flat out denial.

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Jan 29 2019 16:21 utc | 123

@125 Just to be post # 67 was in response to Yeah Right who seemed to think the courageous 5000 would be taking on the 500,000 strong Venezuelan army. Obviously the Colombian army would be doing the hard work.

And you're right about the invaders needing a much bigger force. Which is another reason why I don't think it will happen.

Whilst we're on the subject I wonder if the British SAS is lurking in Venezuela somewhere disguised as palm trees. They love a scrap.

Posted by: dh | Jan 29 2019 16:31 utc | 124

>>>>: Kadath | Jan 29, 2019 9:06:53 AM | 107

Well Guaido, I'm sorry "Gweedo", just announced that all options, including military are on the table to force a transition to his new government. so he's basically saying he wants the US to invade his own country to make him President if necessary

Guido hasn't been listening to Trump - Trump expects others to pull their weight and by suggesting that the US needs to carry out an invasion, Guaido's demonstrating his own weakness/lack of support and uselessness to Trump.
Maduro just has to sit this out without agreeing to new elections until the opposition traitors are stupid enough to increase the amount of violence and only use the police or local volunteers to stand against it. With that idiot Bolton advising them, Guaido's crew will fuck up sooner rather than later.
BTW, I once worked for the European subsidiary of an American corporation and the local CEO, an American with an MBA, was quite happy to let people do there thing if they could persuade him that there was a real benefit to the subsidiaries' bottom line. Trump probably listened to Bolton's get rich quick scheme and thought it worth a go if it could be done cheaply enough. Now that it's looking increasingly expensive Trump should have second thoughts particularly if he still wants to be a "real man" and go to Tehran sometime soon. Just remember how differently WW2 might have ended if Hitler had told Mussolini to knock it on the head with his little adventure in the Balkans/Greece before it started.

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Jan 29 2019 16:41 utc | 125

>>>>: Don Bacon | Jan 29, 2019 10:50:53 AM | 122

U.S. intelligence agencies assess

When the USIC assess something it means that some analyst sat on the Thomas had a moment of clarity, nothing more.

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Jan 29 2019 16:48 utc | 126

Someone said trying to overthrow another nation's government isn't an impeachable offense, which is of course 100% inaccurate. Such an action is essentially the waging of aggressive war which is the penultimate war crime. Every action and order by Trump and his minions in this matter I've already shown to be unconstitutional, and committing the penultimate war crime would certainly make the bar for high crimes and misdemeanors as required by the constitution. Plus, as the constitution demands, when such offenses are committed, it's the duty of congress to provide the solution and apply justice to the situation through the removal process known as impeachment. All the above is my paraphrasing international law, legal and constitutional scholars--and the Framers--as my sources of authority. Unfortunately as we've seen, Congress can and does refuse to do its duty as detailed by the very document they swore to uphold and defend, which ends up delegitimizing the entire federal government from a legal and citizen perspective as they essentially conspire to commit treason and visit terrorism on an innocent nation. Nor of course is Venezuela the first precedent for the above reasoning as it applies to almost the entire post-WW2 history of actions made by the Outlaw US Empire and those elected to enforce its laws--all of which are based on the 1787 Constitution. Logically, the outcome is that the United States of America hasn't had a legitimate federal government since 1945 when it subjected itself to the additional laws contained within the UN Charter.

Every person enlisting in the armed forces of the USA takes an oath where they swear to uphold and defend the constitution of the United States from enemies both foreign and DOMESTIC. As I've outlined above, the enemies usurping the constitution and using it to visit terror on peoples globally are domestic. Those are the ugly, verified facts of the matter, a reality begging to be rectified by almost everyone on the planet.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 29 2019 17:13 utc | 127

Those that can't motivate with ideals and leadership do so with treachery.

I don't know how to help society see the obvious, understand the need for structural social change and then demand it.

One of the problems that positive change takes is leadership that the opposition has spent decades insuring is dead or compromised in some way. This strategy has served the elite well for centuries but it is harder to kill leadership from China and Russia these days......

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jan 29 2019 17:42 utc | 128

they also increase repression in the sense that the "regimes" have to face growing civil discontent. any corruption makes the unrest their fault to a degree but neither would exist to a dangerous or harmful degree without the sanctions putting everyone in a cutthroat position.

it's another case of post-vietnam, post-bay of pigs "we don't have the guts to send our 'troops' so let's get the darkies to fight each other then come in and mop up the mess". in the case of ukraine, they weren't necessarily "darkies" but it seemed to work for a while...then again, the east and west of that area never much liked each other (for the most part). in venezuela it's less "yer granpa did some sheeit 70 years ago and imma pissed!" than "we've spent 20 years having just 'a lot' instead of everything so you peasants and negroes need to be starved into submission".

as for oil, it's understandable for a producer to become complacent. our society pretty much depends on the stuff for everything. the saudis do jack squat besides pump the goo and they're surviving by virtue of their different relationship and lack of punishment for pretty much any insane crap they pull. speaking of the apes with laptops, the low price is also a warlike tactic as it was sent to artificial lows by their overproduction (and other externalities like the relative slowdown in china).

Posted by: the pair | Jan 29 2019 17:51 utc | 129


Posted by: mourning dove | Jan 29 2019 18:06 utc | 130

karlof1 | Jan 29, 2019 12:13:01 PM | 126

... complete disrespect for the rule of law by those in prominent political positions, and the absence of insistence on the rule of law for the 'mighty' by so many in a potential position to loudly publicly insist on rule of law .... Swearing allegiance to in effect the rule of law is a facade.

This stands in sharp contrast to any kid playing even an informal game when the rules are transgressed: indignant "you're cheating" follows. In formal games, rules are respected, and penalties are given for transgressions, or all hell breaks loose.

"My word is my bond" has given way to "my promise is a theatrical pose

Venezuela is dangerous on many levels to the pathological Hegemonic wannabe. One danger is that Venezuela heavily involved the people directly in Constitution making. Most Constitutions are oligarchic or elite enterprises.

Some years ago a person of prominence stated to me that the Canadian Constitution had little to do with such as he and me. To him it was something lawyers argued about.

Posted by: Robert Snefjella | Jan 29 2019 18:06 utc | 131

Sharmine on the logical outcome of my thesis @126:

"When the US undermines the sovereignty & territorial integrity of nation-states, it 'normalizes' the idea that states can disintegrate, unseat leaders, redraw borders. The US is not immune, however. This idea will become the biggest domestic security threat the US has ever faced."

A comment from the resulting thread:

"Like any disease. The host always gets consumed, sooner or later."

Unfortunately, the people most blind to their reality are those residing within the Outlaw US Empire as it's rather difficult to examine the ugliness within yourself for the evidence demands fighting against the national government you've been brainwashed into supporting regardless of its actions. The Rebel is the authentic Patriot, and the faux Patriot is a Fool.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 29 2019 18:11 utc | 132

@107 kadath... i have flipped my position again and think they do need to hold guaido for treason..

many good comments and commentary.. thank you..

Posted by: james | Jan 29 2019 18:25 utc | 133

Sanctions are designed to inflict harm on the general population in hopes they will overthrow the existing government. It is a slightly different form of U.S. strategic bombing campaign. Who can stop the US from continuing the practice?

Posted by: Stormy | Jan 29 2019 18:28 utc | 134

As an endless and bleak Fimbulwinter descends on a dying land, be sure to hug all the cattle on the conveyor belt to the killing floor

Posted by: anon | Jan 29 2019 18:29 utc | 135

pl chimes in on the possible war on venezuala..

- The minor gods of the Neocon faith are now seething with desire over the prospect of intervention in Venezuela. All, I can say is DON'T DO IT!! I paraphrase someone who commented on SST saying that this would be "a jungle war against a leader figure viewed by some locally as legitimate who is supported by Russia and China." Does this sound familiar? And, don't kid yourself, there would be plenty of Venezuelans who would fight us, plenty. pl

Posted by: james | Jan 29 2019 18:30 utc | 136

reading and hearing people describing John Bolton his fellows warmongers (Pence, Kagan, Elliott Abrams, Mccain, Gramham, all of them) as crafty or cunning makes my stomach turns, they behave in the most cruel, treacherous and debase manner towards their declared enemies, reluctant allies and neutral parties and this is called "smart diplomacy" or world leadership. They plan and threaten to do the unthinkable and this is called strength.

It makes me think of these lines from Thucydides it's pretty long but every word perfectly encapsulates what is wrong with American and the Western world right now, the insights Thucydides had 2000 years ago are just as accurate as ever and i'm shocked that intellectuals just talk about the Thucydides' Trap when they bring up his writtings, there's so much more to what he wrote and I feel that the mainstream Western intellectuals are aware of it and are afraid to honestly look at the world they've help create over the past 30 years...

"In peace there would have been neither the pretext nor the wish to make such an invitation; but in war, with an alliance always at the command of either faction for the hurt of their adversaries and their own corresponding advantage, opportunities for bringing in the foreigner were never wanting to the revolutionary parties. The sufferings which revolution entailed upon the cities were many and terrible, such as have occurred and always will occur, as long as the nature of mankind remains the same; though in a severer or milder form, and varying in their symptoms, according to the variety of the particular cases. In peace and prosperity, states and individuals have better sentiments, because they do not find themselves suddenly confronted with imperious necessities; but war takes away the easy supply of daily wants, and so proves a rough master, that brings most men's characters to a level with their fortunes. Revolution thus ran its course from city to city, and the places which it arrived at last, from having heard what had been done before, carried to a still greater excess the refinement of their inventions, as manifested in the cunning of their enterprises and the atrocity of their reprisals. Words had to change their ordinary meaning and to take that which was now given them. Reckless audacity came to be considered the courage of a loyal ally; prudent hesitation, specious cowardice; moderation was held to be a cloak for unmanliness; ability to see all sides of a question, inaptness to act on any. Frantic violence became the attribute of manliness; cautious plotting, a justifiable means of self-defence. The advocate of extreme measures was always trustworthy; his opponent a man to be suspected. To succeed in a plot was to have a shrewd head, to divine a plot a still shrewder; but to try to provide against having to do either was to break up your party and to be afraid of your adversaries. In fine, to forestall an intending criminal, or to suggest the idea of a crime where it was wanting, was equally commended until even blood became a weaker tie than party, from the superior readiness of those united by the latter to dare everything without reserve; for such associations had not in view the blessings derivable from established institutions but were formed by ambition for their overthrow; and the confidence of their members in each other rested less on any religious sanction than upon complicity in crime. The fair proposals of an adversary were met with jealous precautions by the stronger of the two, and not with a generous confidence. Revenge also was held of more account than self-preservation. Oaths of reconciliation, being only proffered on either side to meet an immediate difficulty, only held good so long as no other weapon was at hand; but when opportunity offered, he who first ventured to seize it and to take his enemy off his guard, thought this perfidious vengeance sweeter than an open one, since, considerations of safety apart, success by treachery won him the palm of superior intelligence. Indeed it is generally the case that men are readier to call rogues clever than simpletons honest, and are as ashamed of being the second as they are proud of being the first. The cause of all these evils was the lust for power arising from greed and ambition; and from these passions proceeded the violence of parties once engaged in contention. The leaders in the cities, each provided with the fairest professions, on the one side with the cry of political equality of the people, on the other of a moderate aristocracy, sought prizes for themselves in those public interests which they pretended to cherish, and, recoiling from no means in their struggles for ascendancy engaged in the direst excesses; in their acts of vengeance they went to even greater lengths, not stopping at what justice or the good of the state demanded, but making the party caprice of the moment their only standard, and invoking with equal readiness the condemnation of an unjust verdict or the authority of the strong arm to glut the animosities of the hour. Thus religion was in honour with neither party; but the use of fair phrases to arrive at guilty ends was in high reputation. Meanwhile the moderate part of the citizens perished between the two, either for not joining in the quarrel, or because envy would not suffer them to escape."

Posted by: Kadath | Jan 29 2019 18:36 utc | 137

I see my latest comment in support of my thesis @126 has failed to materialize. Hopefully, it will soon.

Robert @130--

Here within the Outlaw US Empire, children are indoctrinated in a manner in which veneration for the 1787 constitution is cultivated, the role of the Rule of Law stressed, and numerous important constitutional questions closely studied, reviewed, and debated--particularly those related to the Civil War. I was taught how to teach that history and its related subject matter and did at the collegiate level. It's really rather simple: Either you have a constitution and a Rule of Law based upon it, or you have no constitution--written or traditional as with UK--and no rule of law other than Might Makes Right--Hobbesianism or Anarchy. I aided many immigrants as they studied to learn the material they needed to pass what's a rigorous Citizenship Test in order to become a naturalized citizen--a test far tougher than any I took or administered, much of which demands knowing the 1787 constitution.

Ralph Nader made several prescient observations during his 2000 campaign. First, he argued that the basic level of citizenship literacy was woeful, at a crisis level; and as a result, secondly--"If you don't turn on to politics; politics will turn on you."

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 29 2019 18:39 utc | 138

Russia, if you're listening, please return, help depose Trump, and replace him with Ron Paul.

Trump fiasco

Posted by: Circe | Jan 29 2019 18:43 utc | 139

@ kadath..that is a timely quote from Thucydides and sums up where we are here extremely well.. i agree with how it re-enforces your comments on bolton and the whole lot of them..

Posted by: james | Jan 29 2019 18:43 utc | 140

The maniacal ranting and raving which accompanies the artificial crisis being imposed upon The People Venezuela by the Christian Colonial West has clumsily focused on the ability of US and UK to steal Venezuela's gold deposits and other National Assets without setting foot in Venezuela.

The same gangsters stole Libyan National Assets.
The Venezuela 'crisis' makes clear that The West had the power to confiscate Libyan Assets deposited in Western banks for safe-keeping - which begs the question "Why the Hell did NATO's Christians bomb Libya back to the Stone Age?"

The World deserves a full and complete answer to this question before AmeriKKKa and its lap dogs proceed any farther along the path to Venezuela's destruction.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jan 29 2019 18:53 utc | 141

The most important question posed was by Russia's UNSC rep to Pompeo: Are you going to break the UN Charter again? But that's actually the wrong phrasing. The question ought to be: Are you going to continue breaking the UN Charter and subverting your national constitution?

What most of us Americans grew up on and were strongly indoctrinated to believe:

'The slogan most frequently associated with Superman is "Truth, justice and the American way." However, he does not always say it in every piece of media the character appears.

'In fact, when Superman was first adapted to the screen in the Max Fleischer cartoons that ran starting in 1941, he was said to be fighting "a never-ending battle for truth and justice." In his first live-action appearance, the 1948 serials starring Kirk Alyn, Superman's father instructs him to use his powers "in the interests of truth, tolerance and justice."

'It wasn't until Superman's first television appearance in 1950 that the phrase "truth, justice and the American way" was used in visual media. The phrase originates from the "Adventures of Superman" radio series, which began airing in 1940.'

For me, I came to the realization @1968 when I was 12 that Superman would need to turn his energies against the United States given his slogan--unless--"The American Way" meant lying about absolutely everything, thus making a mockery of the remainder of Superman's Slogan.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 29 2019 19:03 utc | 142

"And crucially, the state-owned oil company is controlled by the military which is key to Maduro staying in power, so the goal here by the US government is to hold back this money from Maduro's government and transfer it over to forces who are loyal to Guaido."

Trump simply said "take the oil".

Posted by: Haiduk | Jan 29 2019 19:09 utc | 143

Consider: A nation states is an armed structure.. designed by those who control the area defined by the boundaries of a nation of people. The structure is armed by the military, and constructed by politicians and enterprise powerful people. The designers install within the nation states a feedback system that gives the designers the facts they need to develop the propaganda, to improve the structure, to rearrange the armaments and to give the designer control over the politicians (so politician puppets operate the structure in accord with the design).
The purpose of the armed nation state is to control and regulate the behaviors of the people targeted to be governed. In America there are 527 governors who are paid a giant salary. and there are 350,000,000 saps who are the governed. Similar disparity probably exist in most western nations. But no where visible are the designers. None of those targeted to be governed have any say in the government, unless they are selected by the designers to be politicians.

Zionism is a system of economics which gives total control to those who design and arm the structure; Zionism allows the designers to dictate how the politicians must behave when in office. Capitalism is a system of economics that requires that the government to secure and maintain free, open and just competition between all elements of economic activity. Socialism is a system of government that allows those who do the work to decide how the fruits of their work should be distributed throughout the socialist nation. But Zionism is a monopoly system of government that demands the complete and total elimination and destruction of competition. As competition is eliminate,the eliminators come into possession of monopoly powers. Under Zionism only Zionist are allowed to win economic competitions or under Socialism only Zionist are allowed to decide how the fruits of labor are to be distributed.

When Zionism takes over socialist or a capitalist government; greed becomes the only order of the day. Quit blaming the names of nation states or their capital cities, and point to the designers and the outrageous benefits designers have as they enforce their no competition allowed engagements by acts of war, regime change and whatever en route to achieving competition free monopoly powers.

Posted by: snake | Jan 29 2019 19:10 utc | 144

The 5,000 Americans will be providing technical support in things like signals intelligence.

Posted by: lysias | Jan 29 2019 19:16 utc | 145

reply to Robert Snefjella 131
"Venezuela is dangerous on many levels...One danger is that Venezuela heavily involved the people directly in Constitution making. Most Constitutions are oligarchic or elite enterprises."

Yes! The constitution now seats civilian representation, does any other nation have that? Maybe Sweden??
Such an extraordinary governing coalition is worth fighting and even dying for, because what are the chances you would ever see its like again.

Posted by: frances | Jan 29 2019 19:24 utc | 146

The modern incarnation of the US government isn't an aberration or a departure from what the "Founders" intended, it's a perfect expression of that intent. (Read article linked @130) Then, as now, government "leaders" proclaim a commitment to freedom, equality, democracy, and rule of law, but only to provide cover for the relentless pursuit of imperialist goals.

America's "Founders" were genocide-committing, slave-owning, land-thieving, racist, misogynist, power/money/resource-hungry, hypocrite, lying, imperialists assholes.

Posted by: mourning dove | Jan 29 2019 19:33 utc | 147

How Venezuelan Crisis Could Deal Another Blow to China Amid US Trade War

Posted by: Zanon | Jan 29 2019 20:20 utc | 148

Ghost Ship @72

I am very proud of Winston Peters! (Point of disclosure, though he would not know it, he's a very distant relative of mine.)

I doubt very much a color revolution is possible, Ghost Ship. However, some further distancing of my native land from the illegal activities of empire is very much to be desired. I was visiting there when the Rainbow Warrior bombing took place. My people are a feisty bunch when riled. ;)

Posted by: juliania | Jan 29 2019 20:38 utc | 149

With respect to karlof1@ 127, Robert Snefjella responds @ 131:

"This stands in sharp contrast to any kid playing even an informal game when the rules are transgressed: indignant "you're cheating" follows. In formal games, rules are respected, and penalties are given for transgressions, or all hell breaks loose..."

I believe there is a difference, which has been internally underway in the US since corporations were proclaimed to be people and money speech. That is, instead of the Rule of Law which karlof1 points out is enshrined in the US Constitution, which all important government entities take an oath to protect, what has been persistently this century undertaken by those elected to government has been to put in place of that a law of rules. Obama is famous for advocating this with the Congress going along, dismantling all protections of the former socially oriented state in favor of big money and big corporations - the bigger the better. These people have no time for Rule of Law. It is laws of rules, any rules that favor the rich getting richer that now governs this land. This is the crux of the matter.

Posted by: juliania | Jan 29 2019 21:03 utc | 150

134 - Stormy

"Sanctions are designed to inflict harm on the general population in hopes they will overthrow the existing government. It is a slightly different form of U.S. strategic bombing campaign. Who can stop the US from continuing the practice?"

Sanctions do not work and surely they must know it. In Viet Nam we placed the ultimate sanctions on them (deaths of millions plus agent orange) and they only made the North more determined.

The countries we invade, bomb and occupy know one big thing: Eventually we will leave and they will remain.

Posted by: Bart Hansen | Jan 29 2019 21:08 utc | 151

karlof1 @ 127

in my mind's eye your cogent decree is read in a resounding baritone to John Bolton, et al. as they're perp walked to their oblivion.


on the lighter side, Dmitry Orlov has a fine synopsis of the present clusterfuck…
with some much needed humour.

Posted by: john | Jan 29 2019 21:16 utc | 152

I should add to my comment above, that it is not only Congress which has gone along with this travesty but above all the highest court in the land, the Supremes. They have a lot to answer for. It was to them the people turned for redress when the election of 2000 was stolen.

They failed us.

It has been to them that the people turned when Constitutional issues regarding the size and power of corporations came to the fore.

They failed us.

As somebody earlier said about the Presidency, so it can be said about the Supreme Court.

The buck stops there.

All three branches of government have failed us.

Posted by: juliania | Jan 29 2019 21:20 utc | 153

Posted by: juliania | Jan 29, 2019 4:20:57 PM | 153

It was to them the people turned for redress when the election of 2000 was stolen.

They failed us.

All three branches of government have failed us.

Certainly all three branches are traitors to the people in service of the fourth, corporate branch.

As far as the failures and traitors of the 2000 election, though, we have to start with Gore, the Democrat Party, and Gore's partisan supporters, who unilaterally, 100% of their own free will, handed over an election they won because a small cabal of thugs were trying to steal it.

I make a point of pointing out that fact since to this day the Demtards still look for scapegoats like Nader, in order to try to cover up their own cowardly shame. Thankfully, Maduro is doing the opposite, and against much greater danger. In the same position Gore would've been on the first plane out the second any usurping clown called himself president.

Posted by: Russ | Jan 29 2019 21:38 utc | 154


They have only failed 99% of us. To the elite all 3 branches are doing a solid job.

Among the 99% that they have failed the majority dont see it , and a large number are actually useful idiots in supporting policies that hurt them the most

Posted by: Pft | Jan 29 2019 21:51 utc | 155

@ Kadath | Jan 29, 2019 1:36:14 PM | 137

Thanks for the pertinent observations of astute articulate Thucydides.

@ karlof1 | Jan 29, 2019 1:39:11 PM | 138

When corruption becomes endemic, it's hard not to crash and burn.

Solzhenitsyn referred to the collapse of civic courage in the West, I think that's how he put it. As I recall, he viewed this as clear indication of the process of societal collapse. Elsewhere courage has been cited as the most important virtue, the essential foundation, which perhaps can be expressed as not letting fear deter one from doing what one ought to do. Where did strength of character and civic courage go?

@ juliania | Jan 29, 2019 4:03:53 PM | 150

I used the example of kids sticking to rules playing games to bolster the idea that human beings have a strong innate willingness, even natural talent, to make and respect rules. It's a bit of a mystery to me why our era has seen such an incredible victory for rule-breaking criminality on high, but the kids indicate that the rule of law is not a hopeless goal ....

Perhaps this should have gone to the open thread...

Posted by: Robert Snefjella | Jan 29 2019 22:37 utc | 156

By Guaido and some MPs

Posted by: Bart Hansen | Jan 29 2019 23:30 utc | 157

Robert @156--

One of the extremely few people I respect for having the courage to stand up for Principles and Truth is Sir Tomas More. The 500th year anniversary of his execution I'll hopefully still be around to venerate. In very sharp contrast, every general officer of the US Military since 1945 violated their oath of service and thus committed treason by failing to defend the constitution from the enemy within, with many committing further crimes by actively abetting that enemy. Ever watch the film, The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit? I used it in my classes to explain the concepts of integrity and virtue. Perhaps I should form a Diogenes Club.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 30 2019 0:35 utc | 158

must read

Juan Guaidó is the product of a decade-long project overseen by Washington’s elite regime change trainers. While posing as a champion of democracy, he has spent years at the forefront of a violent campaign of destabilization.

Posted by: brian | Jan 30 2019 3:26 utc | 159

@159 thanks brian.. that is a very good overview on this guaido character..

Posted by: james | Jan 30 2019 5:07 utc | 160

If Trump can take control of Venezuela oil, US will control enough oil to be self sufficient plus a bit more, allowing supplies to the rest of the world to be disrupted - China specifically, but most of Asia and also Europe. A US war with Iran would disrupt a lot of countries oil supply.
From bits and pieces I have read, it looks like Russia will back Venezuela all the way. China, although not saying much, would also see the writing on the wall if the US was to take control of Venezuelan oil so they will be doing their bit to help Venezuela, even if we cannot see it.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jan 30 2019 5:45 utc | 161

Peter AU 1 | Jan 30, 2019 12:45:30 AM | 161

Peter, allegedly the US is already self-sufficient due to shale oil/gas extraction, in fact, it's alleged to be the world's largest producer, as opposed to reserves.

Posted by: William Bowles | Jan 30 2019 8:14 utc | 162

@William Bowles #162

The U.S. is not self-sufficient in crude oil. It's true that the U.S. has recently become the largest crude oil producer in the world at 11.5 mmbpd (million barrels per day). However, its refinery inputs are 16.5 mmbpd, so it still requires net imports of 5 mmbpd. As the crude oil export restrictions have been lifted by Obama and the U.S. is now exporting 2.3 mmbpd, its actual imports are 7.3 mmbpd (the reason that there is both import and export of crude oil is due to difference in grades of oil). Thus, U.S. only produces about 70% of the crude oil it needs and is not self-sufficient.

To see the historical charts for these values, go to and enter the following codes:

QUANDL:EIA/PET_MCRFPUS2_M — Field Production

These series contain data since 1920, except Refinery Inputs, which has data since 1961.

You can add multiple series to the chart by clicking "Compare or Add Symbol" icon, then "Add Symbol" tab. Afterwards, click the new symbol's "Format" icon, set "Style" to "Line", choose a different color, and set "Scale" to "Pin to Right", which will allow you to compare different series along the same axis.

There are many more codes available, for example, QUANDL:EIA/PET_MCRIMUSVE2_M, which shows the imports from Venezuela. If you load up the chart, you will see that the U.S. crude oil imports from Venezuela grew steadily from 0.15 mmbpd in 1983 to 1.5 mmbpd in 1998, then steadily decreased to about 0.5 mmbpd as of now. If you want to know more codes, ask me.

I think it's time for our bar to become more data-driven. Aside from using TradingView to plot QUANDL's curated data series, I can recommend, which has less data, but is much easier to use, as you don't have to learn any codes.

Posted by: S | Jan 30 2019 12:06 utc | 163

@163 S

I think it's worth re-posting these sources from time to time in open threads.

If people want data on the US economic situation, John Williams's Shadowstats removes the deliberate obfuscations introduced into government data over the years, and presents a true report on things such as the state of the economy, unemployment, inflation, and the like. He has subscription material (man's gotta live) but also a lot of free charts and summaries.

Posted by: Grieved | Jan 30 2019 15:25 utc | 164

Of course, it's not self-sufficiency in crude oil that's really important, but self-sufficiency in petroleum products (gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, etc.). So it's necessary to look at the petroleum products balance, which has dramatically shifted since 2006. The U.S. is now exporting 5.7 mmbpd of petroleum products and importing 2.1 mmbpd, making it a net exporter of petroleum products at 3.6 mmbpd. You can see the historical charts for these values with the following codes (these series contain data since 1973):


Thus, the U.S. is a net importer of crude oil at 5 mmbpd and a net exporter of petroleum products at 3.6 mmbpd. If the U.S. crude oil trade is completely cut off, it will miss 5 mmbpd of crude oil, translating to 5.35 mmbpd of missing petroleum products (due to refinery gain). If the U.S. then stops its petroleum products trade, it will only miss 1.75 mmbpd of petroleum products, which amounts to 12.5% of the total U.S. petroleum products consumption. Therefore, the U.S. is currently at 87.5% self-sufficiency in petroleum products. If the U.S. continues to increase its crude oil production, it will reach full self-sufficiency in a few years.

However, it is important to understand that this recent surge in the U.S. crude oil production comes from shale oil wells, which have much steeper decline curves (run out faster) than conventional oil wells. The shale oil companies are currently extracting oil from their most economical wells, and yet, most of them lose money. When they run out of oil in these economical wells, the oil prices will have to increase, or the production will fall, or these companies will be losing even more money than they are losing now. (Read this article for more details: Alternative Facts About OPEC & U.S. Shale From The Wall Street Journal.)

So, yeah, the U.S. can be self-sufficient in petroleum products for a long time if it is willing to accept higher gas prices or subsidises (openly or secretly) the shale oil companies.

Posted by: S | Jan 30 2019 15:49 utc | 165

yes, kadath, good quote! thx.

A contemp. one, Guy Debord, 1957, v. apt for 2018.

" .. We are going through a crucial historical crisis in which each year poses more acutely the global problem of rationally mastering the new productive forces and creating a new civilization. Yet the international working-class movement, on which depends the prerequisite overthrow of the economic infrastructure of exploitation, has registered only a few partial local successes.

Capitalism has invented new forms of struggle (state intervention in the economy, expansion of the consumer sector, fascist governments) while camouflaging class oppositions through various reformist tactics and exploiting the degenerations of working-class leaderships. In this way it has succeeded in maintaining the old social relations in the great majority of the highly industrialized countries, thereby depriving a socialist society of its indispensable material base.

In contrast, the underdeveloped or colonized countries, which over the last decade have engaged in the most direct and massive battles against imperialism, have begun to win some very significant victories. These victories are aggravating the contradictions of the capitalist economy and (particularly in the case of the Chinese revolution) could be a contributing factor toward a renewal of the whole revolutionary movement. Such a renewal cannot limit itself to reforms within the capitalist or anticapitalist countries, but must develop conflicts posing the question of power everywhere. .."

pasted from

Posted by: Noirette | Jan 30 2019 16:30 utc | 166

Sanctions Are Wars Against Peoples

here the bolivian UN rep says the very same thing at 3 hr's 8 minutes and about 45 seconds into this 4 hour long video of the UN meeting on venezuala from yesterday i believe..

Posted by: james | Jan 30 2019 18:08 utc | 167

William Bowles

Some time ago perhaps 8 months ago, I looked up the figures for US crude oil production and consumption. At the time, the US produced 10.5 million barrels of crude and consumed over 18 million barrels of petroleum products. It gave a shortfall of approx 7.5 to 8 million barrels. US crude production has increased slightly since then. According to the figures I had at the time US imported 4 million barrels from Canada which could be considered a guaranteed supply, leaving a shortfall of 4 million barrels that had to be secured before US could start an oil war that create shortages and drive up prices.
The three enemies of choice for Trump are Iran, Venezuela and China. Both Iran and Venezuela are enemies of Israel and have large known oil reserves. China's economy is the biggest threat the US faces, but China's achilles heel is oil imports.

@ S. I did not know about the change in volume during refining but looking it up, I see there is a five to ten percent difference in weight between heavy crude and diesel oil which i did not allow for when looking up US production and consumption.
I would guess there would be very little refining increase with the light crude that is currently produced through fracking.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jan 30 2019 19:14 utc | 168

Sanctions against white South Africa set the development of that country back by decades. And it was not the reason for ending apartheid. But i'm sure the author has no problems with sanctions against white South Africa. So its a matter of ideology. Which renders the argument meaningless. If you are selective about when sanctions are moral or not, you are no different from the neocons

Posted by: Ersztu | Jan 30 2019 20:02 utc | 169

I'm no lawyer, but I suspect that it's not just the sanctions that are illegal under international law.

There is only one international law: Might makes right.

Posted by: c matt | Jan 30 2019 21:27 utc | 170

Washington has imposed sanctions on Albanisa, a private Nicaraguan company that trades in Venezuelan oil. National security advisor John Bolton announced the sanctions on Wednesday, calling Albanisa a joint venture with Venezuela’s PdVSA and a “slush fund of the corrupt regime of Daniel Ortega,” Nicaragua’s president. The US blocked PdVSA’s assets earlier this week in a bid to engineer regime change in Caracas and force the government of President Nicolas Maduro to accept the self-proclaimed and US-backed Juan Guaido as president.

Posted by: james | Jan 30 2019 22:40 utc | 171


Great! So now that we've sanctioned the hell out of Iraq, Syria, Iran and Venezuela, it's time to to sink Israel with the most severe sanctions ever for the multiple crimes agaist humanity it committed throughout decades and is still committing if we want to say that we are not hypocritically applying the law. Time to remove the double standard and sanction the f🖕ck ou of ISRAEL!!!

Posted by: Circe | Jan 31 2019 13:42 utc | 172

Breaking: EU parliament urges member states to recognize Guaido as Venezuela’s interim president

Meanwhile Maduro doesnt seems to realize whats going on.

Posted by: Zanon | Jan 31 2019 14:04 utc | 173


Posted by: Circe | Jan 31 2019 14:06 utc | 174

What the Venezuelan Constitution Says About Changing the President
by Eric Zuesse (quote)

Venezuela’s Constitution simply does not permit what US President Trump is demanding, which is overthrowing and replacing the elected Venezuelan President by the second-in-line-of succession. What Trump demands is comparable in Venezuela to, in America, removing Trump and skipping over the Vice President and appointing Nancy Pelosi as America’s President, and it also violates the Venezuelan Constitution's requirement that the Supreme Judicial Tribunal must first approve before there can be ANY change of the President without an election by the voters.

Here are the relevant Constitutional provisions:

ARTICLE 266: The following are powers of the Supreme Tribunal of Justice: (1) To exercise constitutional jurisdiction in accordance with title VIII of this Constitution. (2) To rule as to whether or not there are grounds for impeaching the President of the Republic or whomever may be acting in that capacity, and if so, to retain competence of the proceedings, subject to the approval of the National Assembly, until the final judgment. (3) To rule as to whether or not there are grounds for impeaching the Vice-President of the Republic; members of the National Assembly or the Supreme Tribunal of Justice itself, Ministers; the General Attorney; General Prosecutor; General Comptroller of the Republic; the People Defender; Governors; general officers and naval admirals of the National Armed Forces; or the heads of Venezuelan diplomatic missions; and, if so, to refer the record to the General Prosecutor of the Republic or whomever is acting in his capacity, where appropriate, and if the offense charged is a common crime, the Supreme Tribunal of Justice shall retain competence of the matter until a final judgment is handed down. ...

ARTICLE 233: The President of the Republic shall become permanently unavailable to serve by reason of any of the following events: death; resignation; removal from office by decision of the Supreme Tribunal of Justice; permanent physical or mental disability certified by a medical board designated by the Supreme Tribunal of Justice with the approval of the National Assembly; abandonment of his position, duly declared by the National Assembly; and recall by popular vote. When an elected President becomes permanently unavailable to serve prior to his inauguration, a new election by universal suffrage and direct ballot shall be held within 30 consecutive days. Pending election and inauguration of the new President, the President of the National Assembly shall take charge of the Presidency of the Republic. … Pending election and inauguration of the new President, the Executive Vice-President shall take charge of the Presidency of the Republic. In the cases describes above, the new President shall complete the current constitutional term of office. …

ARTICLE 234: A President of the Republic who becomes temporarily unavailable to serve shall be replaced by the Executive Vice-President for a period of up to 90 days, which may be extended by resolution of the National Assembly for an additional 90 days. . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jan 31 2019 17:15 utc | 175

The US will not be happy about this. UK, Germany and France have found a way to get round Iran sanctions.

"France, Germany and Britain have set up a financial mechanism designed to avoid US sanctions against Iran and keep the 2015 nuclear deal afloat.

Through the Instex trade vehicle they hope to assert European economic sovereignty in the face of Washington’s determination to impose its foreign policy on Europe.

The strategy would initially focus on trying to ease the flow of humanitarian supplies to Iran, the German foreign minister, Heiko Maas, said. Such supplies, including medicines and foodstuffs, are not supposed to be subject to US sanctions.

Eventually, the plan is for the vehicle to expand to allow European firms to trade more freely with Iran in a range of goods, including those subject to US sanctions, the EU foreign affairs chief, Federica Mogherini, said."

Posted by: dh | Jan 31 2019 17:40 utc | 176

@175 don.. i think guaido is 3rd in line... the vp is before him.. it is outrageous what the usa demands and dictates.. fuck the usa..

Posted by: james | Jan 31 2019 18:01 utc | 177

dh @176--

Yet the UK and France follow His Master's Voice on Venezuela as does the EU Parliament.

I do suggest folks look at some maps of Venezuela, with this map showing where the big prize--the Orinoco Oil Belt--is located: Bolton did say the objective is Venezuela's oil.

While gazing at the above maps, I suggest folks read The Saker's assessment of the situation, which omits visual aids like the above maps. I give Venezuela much better odds than The Saker does, which I'll write about when b does another article about this crisis.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 31 2019 18:18 utc | 178

@178 EU attitude towards Venezuela is baffling. They even have good relations with Cuba.

The vote in Brussels to recognize Guaido passed with 439 in favor (104 against and 88 abstentions). It's non-binding and the parliament urged the bloc’s 28 governments to follow suit.

Posted by: dh | Jan 31 2019 18:29 utc | 179

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