Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
February 10, 2019

The MoA Week In Review - OT 2019-09

It was a quiet week as your host had the sh**s and was generally unwell. The full service will resume next week.

Last week's posts on Moon of Alabama:

Steffan Watkins found that the weapons mentioned in the above post came within a larger CIA operation.

Steffan Watkins @steffanwatkins - 4:54 utc - 10 Feb 2019
U.S. registered Boeing 767 Cargo plane N881YV (ICAO:AC23C6), operated by 21 Air, LLC, wet-leased to GPS-Air, flew every single day from 2019-01-11 to 2019-02-07 from Florida to VZ or CO, sometimes both; then stopped.
On the 7th. Why might that be?
Funny story; do you know when the Venezuelans published the name of the suspect flight and laid out the spread of guns allegedly from the plane? February 5th. Flights stopped when the public were told about them happening February 7th.

Others found that several people involved in the above flights were also involved in 'extraordinary rendition' torture flights for the CIA. They, of course, deny this but the evidence is clear: Miami Herald: Air charter firm, client both deny role in alleged shipment of arms to Venezuela

When I wrote the above I was not aware of this Greg Palast piece on the same issue: In Venezuela, White Supremacy Is a Key Driver of the Coup

More on Venezuela:

RT has an interview with Rafael Ramírez who ran the Venezuelan oil industry under Hugo Chavez. He fell out with Maduro and very much dislikes his policies. He is also against the U.S. led coup attempt. I sthere a chance for a 'third way'?
Hasta la (Cha)vista? Rafael Ramirez, ex-permanent representative of Venezuela to the UN

Fox News claims that "Venezuela stockpiles 5,000 long-range Russian missiles" that threaten the United States. Those 5,000 missiles are Man Portable Air Defense Missiles (MANPADs) with a maximum range of some 6,000 meters(!).

Adam Johnson list other propaganda points:
Western Media Fall in Lockstep for Cheap Trump/Rubio Venezuela Aid PR Stunt

The Democratic Party leadership is fully on board with the Trump administration's regime change plans and repeats all its talking points. It suddenly forgot #Russiagate and that Trump only does what Putin wants him to do.

It is hard to think of anything more condemning than this:

John Bolton @AmbJohnBolton - 1:43 utc - 10 Feb 2019
Appreciate @SpeakerPelosi‘s strong statement of support. The U.S. stands united in its support of Venezuelan Interim President Juan Guaidó, and of the peaceful, constitutional transition to democracy in Venezuela.
Pelosi Statement on the Situation in Venezuela

Use as open thread ...

Posted by b on February 10, 2019 at 10:12 AM | Permalink

Comments
next page »

Well please take care of yourself and we'll see you on Monday or so when you feel better:-)

Posted by: jo6pac | Feb 10, 2019 10:17:38 AM | 1

Counter Currents is producing some excellent compilations of events in Venezuela. Here's the latest 2:

https://countercurrents.org/2019/02/10/imperialist-intervention-in-venezuela-update-6/

https://countercurrents.org/2019/02/08/imperialist-intervention-in-venezuela-update-5/

Posted by: William Bowles | Feb 10, 2019 10:26:25 AM | 2

>At least both Pelosi and Bolton spoke of a peaceful transition.

>Pelosi in her statement was "musty" on Venezuela --
"must respect legitimate democratic processes" . . ."must be condemned". . ."must be immediately reversed". . ."must support the people of Venezuela"
I fail to find anything in Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution that authorizes a people's Representative to tell others, especially foreigners, what they must do.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Feb 10, 2019 10:38:02 AM | 3

Don Bacon 3

Trump signed off on a shiny new US law on 14th January 2019.

S.1158 - Elie Wiesel Genocide and Atrocities Prevention Act of 2018
https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/senate-bill/1158/text?q={"search"%3A["S.1158+—+115th+Congress+(2017-2018)"]}&r=12&s=3
"To help prevent acts of genocide and other atrocity crimes, which threaten national and international security, by enhancing United States Government capacities to prevent, mitigate, and respond to such crises"

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Feb 10, 2019 10:52:20 AM | 4

On Syria

Some people appear to think that we can trust Trump's anti-interventionist rhetoric.

Others (like myself) are very cynical - especially given Obama's duplicitous promise/promises. Like Trump, Obama also was positioned as a man whose peaceful intentions were rooted in deep principles making it unthinkable that USA could be a bad actor.

But we may both be wrong. It could be that Trump's 'pull out' from Syria is only meant as a response to Iran's saying that they will stay as long as USA remains.

This would explain why USA wants to pull out but has no intention of returning the territory to Syria and appears to be willing to provide assistance (logistics, air support) to proxies that hold the territory for them. If Iran doesn't pull-out after USA has left Syria, then USA would likely find a reason to return in force.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Feb 10, 2019 11:06:26 AM | 5

@ Peter AU 1 | Feb 10, 2019 10:52:20 AM | 4
That shiny new law determines that the determination of, and response to, acts of genocide and other atrocities is a US government function. No international bodies like the International Criminal Court need apply.
In 1998 the Rome Statute established the International Criminal Court (ICC). It has not been ratified by the US and has been mostly used against Africans. Any intentions to try Americans and their allies in the Court are vehemently rebuffed.
This is the "rule-based order" that the US and its puppets, especially Australia and Canada, continually prattle about.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Feb 10, 2019 11:16:35 AM | 6

@ Jackrabbit | Feb 10, 2019 11:06:26 AM | 5
Trump's order to withdraw from Syria is being fought by the Pentagon and the Congress, which is a considerable opposition given that the US president is not an absolute dictator.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Feb 10, 2019 11:22:43 AM | 7

thank you b for the ongoing articles, links and insights!

Posted by: james | Feb 10, 2019 11:30:28 AM | 8

Peter AU 1 @4

I clicked the link and read the law. It refers to the definition of "genocide" at section 1091 of title 18, United States Code:

(d)Attempt and Conspiracy.—
Any person who attempts or conspires to commit an offense under this section shall be punished in the same manner as a person who completes the offense.

This leads me to wonder:

Is Obama guilty of genocide under US law?

The Obama Administration made a "willful decision" (as per Flynn) to allow ISIS to grow and Obama's sign-off on this decision is evident by his dismissing ISIS as "al Queda's JV team".

ISIS members engaged in genocide under the law, which states:

Whoever, whether in time of peace or in time of war and with the specific intent to destroy, in whole or in substantial part, a national, ethnic, racial, or religious group as such—
(1) kills members of that group;
(2) causes serious bodily injury to members of that group;
...
shall be punished as provided in subsection (b).

Is this applicable to Obama? The law says:

(2) regardless of where the offense is committed, the alleged offender is—

(A) a national of the United States (as that term is defined in section 101 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101));

and
... in the case of an offense under this section, an indictment may be found, or information instituted, at any time without limitation.

<> <> <> <> <> <> <> <>

Is this (another reason) why Flynn had to be taken down? Because he is a potential witness against Obama? So he had to be discredited?

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Feb 10, 2019 11:50:23 AM | 9

Venezuela, V, is an excruciating ex. of the Curse of Black Gold.

This article may have been posted previous (as xymphora refs. it) - by F. Rodriguez (anti-Maduro btw), outlines oil prod. decline, sanctions, etc. A good read even if imho too focused on the financial aspects to the detriment of physics and politics.

Rodriguez

Nafeez Ahmed’s Venezuela’s collapse is a window into how the Oil Age will unravel, is a good companion piece.

Ahmed

Wider background, not too long:

A Regional Oil Extraction and Consumption Model. Part II: Predicting the Declines in Regional Oil Consumption. M. Dittmar

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s41247-017-0032-1

“It’s all about the Oil” is very iffy in the case of V.

V oil is heavy, viscous, has to be refined, nothing like KSA light sweet crude. The touted ‘reserves’ are opaque. The definition is ‘economically viable to extract’ (short v.) so, any number will do …the ests. are always political agreements and serve the purpose of for ex. setting extraction quotas in OPEC, as a % of reserves. KSA has not changed its reserves est. for a long time. A summary graph like this shows that one is in la - la - land.

chart

While ‘mismanagement’, whatever that is, due to, coupled with, ‘sanctions’ has had potentially detrimental effect(s) on V money earning and thus its import capacity, this all looks very much like a classical story of oil depletion. Or, at the very least, nobody has a clue what is going on…

Posted by: Noirette | Feb 10, 2019 11:54:23 AM | 10

b - I'm so sorry that you've been sick. I hope you are feeling better.
Thank you so much for everything!

Posted by: mourning dove | Feb 10, 2019 12:05:52 PM | 12

A previous comment in another thread about people regaining their
sovereignty and refusing to be slaves got me thinking about Dostoevsky's
prescient masterpiece The Grand Inquisistor, a chapter in
The Brother's Karamozov. I now see it as one of deepest insights into
the confrontation between Christ and the modern era ever written, a work
of true spiritual genius. The Grand Inquisitor's thesis was that the three
temptations of Christ were ultimately about the freedom to choose between
good and evil. His insight was that this freedom is an intolerable burden to
humanity, a burden that mankind would do anything to shirk. The Grand Inquisitor
who is satan, or a human emissary of satan, which is the same thing, intends
to correct Christ's mistakes of placing this burden on mankind. His solution
amounts to offering humanity a contract: mankind will have all it basic needs met,
and now with modernity very much more in the way of decadent distractions,
in exchange for relinquishing his freedom to chose between good and evil,
that is, in exchange for granting immunity to the emissaries of satan,
for relinquishing mankind's right to judge them, for placing them above
the law and making them transcendent to good and evil. I think this is
really the essence of what people mean when they talk about regaining
sovereignty and refusing to be slaves.

Posted by: evilempire | Feb 10, 2019 12:17:25 PM | 13

It seems those incidents with your health are becoming more often. Although i dont want to go to panic mode like last time ;), i still remember the shock of Robert Parry's death.
Overworking is not only dangerous, but eventually life threatening. So please, take all the time you need.
This ride of us will go on for years and decades, if there is hope for better times at all. This is a marathon not a sprint, and we need to manage it and us like this.
All the best!

Posted by: DontBelieveEitherPropaganda | Feb 10, 2019 12:21:24 PM | 14

b- very sorry to hear you are sick, I offer my father's cure for your consideration.
Slice a lemon into four pieces, boil said lemon in 4 cups of water until the rime is soft.
Pour the remaining liquid including pulp into a large mug, adding 1 tablespoon of honey, 1 shot of whiskey, do not add more whiskey; the goal is to sleep, not to become ill (never use rum).
Hope into bed under several blankets wearing flannel pajamas, (with flannel sheets if available) wrap a large (clean) wool sock around your neck, drink down all of the mixture at once and get well under the covers.
You should doze off fairly quickly, by morning you should have sweated out a good portion of your cold.Always worked for me:)
Good luck!!!

Posted by: frances | Feb 10, 2019 12:24:52 PM | 15


in Algeria my Islamists were the world champions of decapitation, in Bosnia the mujahideen killed their prisoners in the same way, the way you bleed an animal, and my own entrance to the Boulevard Mortier bore the sign of seven monks’ heads abandoned in a ditch, I can’t escape decapitation

these faces pursue me, up to Rome and Caravaggio with his head of Goliath David’s fist closed in the bloody hair or in the so-refined Palazzo Barberini Judith with her sword in Holofernes’s throat, the blood gushes so nicely, the beautiful widow looks both disgusted and resigned as she severs the carotid artery, the servant holds the bag that will surround the damp relic its eyes wide open, its hair sticky, a somber image among the religious scenes

the Saints Jerome, the portraits of bishops become popes, the innocent girls wild Judith neatly beheads the Babylonian general, to save her people in the same way Salome obtained the head of the Baptist, beheaded in his cell by a brutal guard, with a thick knife, as shown by Caravaggio, again

on the immense canvas in the cathedral of the Order of the Knights of St John in Malta, summer of 1608, when the order was incorporated, a year after arriving in the impregnable island, forty years after the Ottoman siege when Jean de Valette shot Turkish heads out of his cannons like cannonballs, to frighten the enemy

Michelangelo Merisi di Caravaggio the Milanese would have liked to die beheaded

he died ill on a beach in Argentario, facing the grey sea that he had never painted, or that he had always painted, in the dark immensities where the bodies of beautiful boys and saints are born, of murderers prostitutes soldiers disguised as saints, Caravaggio great master of darkness and decapitation

Posted by: Naim Frasheri | Feb 10, 2019 12:30:29 PM | 16

evilempire 13

Yes, and it's even worse. The grand inquisitor is in his way an idealist and sincerely wants to give the people this welfare state. The modern corporate-technocratic system only lies about that. Its benefits are only for those who win its Mammon ritual, those who have money. Everyone else, and the Earth itself, are the targets for enslavement and destruction.

If people could break free of the insanity and want/need nothing more than health, happiness, and freedom, we could cast off the whole tyrannical and homicidal-suicidal machine. But almost no one wants to do that. They don't even want health, happiness, or least of all freedom. They only want the grind, the death march, holy rolling all the way about how much they love the worthless junk even as it does nothing but make them miserable. Most of all the grinding for it; it's not so much heroin itself which wrecks one's life as the daily hustling to get the next fix.

To return for a moment to The Brothers Karamazov, in light of the discussion of religion on the last open thread, I also recommend Ivan's distinction between a culturally/spiritually organic church which rises from the people and exists outside the system as opposed to a church which has calcified as part of the power structure. We can say the same about everything else, not just religions.

Posted by: Russ | Feb 10, 2019 12:40:39 PM | 17

Wow the democrats full support is stunning and terrifying. These people need to get voted out of office for supporting this dangerous totally illegal coup. Pelosi and the rest are about to have a lot of blood on their hands it seems if they're giving Bolton the greenlight. I can't believe I'm seeing this prelude to what could be one of the bloodiest and evil wars of aggression of our time and the entire Democrat establishment are for it. Insanity, I'm praying to make it through the Trump presidency without a war on Venezuela or Iran. There's reports of a loads of tanks and patriot missiles being delivered to Israel from the US right now too. This is looking like it could be "it".

Posted by: Jason | Feb 10, 2019 12:42:37 PM | 18


President Nicolas Maduro: An Open Letter to the People of the United States
http://thesaker.is/president-nicolas-maduro-an-open-letter-to-the-people-of-the-united-states/

Posted by: mauisurfer | Feb 10, 2019 1:01:34 PM | 19

Mankind, in relinquishing its freedom to choose between good and evil,
have made their satanic overlords their gods. Their gods now are in
control of a global control matrix, made possible by almost
miraculous technologies, the second temptation of christ, that
makes any struggle against the powers and principalities almost futile.
France seems to be in revolt, but they are fighting against titanic,
atavistic forces. I sometimes think that only a second battle of Kuruksetra
can save us.

Posted by: evilempire | Feb 10, 2019 1:23:29 PM | 20

Mitya broke into sobs and seized Alyosha's hand.

“My dear, my dear, in degradation, in degradation now, too. There's a terrible amount of suffering for man on earth, a terrible lot of trouble. Don't think I'm only a brute in an officer's uniform, wallowing in dirt and drink. I hardly think of anything but of that degraded man—
if only I'm not lying. I pray God I'm not lying and showing off. I think about that man because I am that man myself.

Would he purge his soul from vileness
And attain to light and worth,
He must turn and cling for ever
To his ancient Mother Earth.

But the difficulty is how am I to cling for ever to Mother Earth. I don't kiss her. I don't cleave to her bosom. Am I to become a peasant or a shepherd? I go on and I don't know whether I'm going to shame or to light and joy. That's the trouble, for everything in the world is a riddle! And whenever I've happened to sink into the vilest degradation (and it's always been happening) I always read that poem about Ceres and man. Has it reformed me? Never! For I'm a Karamazov. For when I do leap into the pit, I go headlong with my heels up, and am pleased to be falling in that degrading attitude, and pride myself upon it. And in the very depths of that degradation I begin a hymn of praise. Let me be accursed. Let me be vile and base, only let me kiss the hem of the veil in which my God is shrouded. Though I may be following the devil, I am Thy son, O Lord, and I love Thee, and I feel the joy without which the world cannot stand.

Posted by: Guerrero | Feb 10, 2019 1:25:13 PM | 21

At last some deaths that can be blamed on Venezuela's socialism:
Telesur reports,
"Another protester has died Saturday in demonstrations in Haiti against inflation and to demand the resignation of Haitian President Jovenel Moise. This brings the number of dead, so far, to 3 since protests began last Thursday.

"Hundreds of Haitians gathered in the center of capital of Port-au-Prince and across the country to demonstrate against Moise following a report on his government’s mismanagement of public spending in the midst of a severe economic crisis.

"The protests have paralyzed the city for three consecutive days and have caused the cancelation of pre-Carnaval celebrations in at least two major cities, an uncommon occurrence in the country.

"The national currency, the Haitian gourde, has been in free fall, and inflation at is at 15 percent annually. The country also has a deficit of $89.6 million in the nation’s budget for this year.

“We can’t stand it anymore. A small bag of one pound rice is sold for 60 gourdes (75 cents), a small box of condensed milk, sadly, is sold for 35 gourdes (45 cents). Our national currency represents nothing compared to the U.S. dollar,” said a youth protester on local TV, describing the situation in a country where the minimum wage is $15 per week.

"On Saturday afternoon, main access roads into greater Port-au-Prince were blocked by barricades of burnt tires arranged by young people who are said to be targeting symbols of wealth as representative of the rampant corruption running through the government. The few cars that passed on the streets were robbed, burned, or assaulted with stones.

"The countrywide protests taking place since Thursday mark 33 years since the fall of the country’s 28-year Duvalier family dictatorship and the two-year anniversary since President Jovenel Moise took office."
(RELATED: Haitian Opposition Plan to Mobilize One Million Demonstrators)

There is no doubt that Venezuela's to blame either: the rioters are protesting against the (US, with Canada's assistance, installed) government's theft of $2 billion in aid from PetroCaribe funds given to Haiti to assist poor people. The PetroCaribe scheme was, I understand, a way that Chavez used to distribute oil profits to those whose need was greatest in the Caribbean.

Posted by: bevin | Feb 10, 2019 1:26:48 PM | 22

re Venezeula
This is interesting, I received it a moment ago:
afgj.org/what-is-the-afl-cios-solidarity-center-doing-in-venezuela-we-have-a-right-to-know

Posted by: frances | Feb 10, 2019 1:41:01 PM | 24

Hope you're feeling better, B.

But if you're inclined to publish information about your occasional illnesses, I respectfully ask you to consider dedicating a post to them.

Over the years, I've noticed than when beloved bloggers disclose negative health information, it invariably triggers a "support group" intervention by well-intentioned kibitzers.

This happens even when it seems likely that the blogger only mentioned the indispositon as a passing explanation for reduced blogging.

Since this outpouring of concern and advice may be gratifying and useful to the blogger, I'm not criticizing it as such. I just think that you might as well do a separate post inviting remote "doctoring", and concentrate the lively ensuing discussion of your well-being into its own comments thread. ;)

Posted by: Ort | Feb 10, 2019 1:53:44 PM | 25

re my 22 post
Did I post that link incorrectly:
https://afgj.org/what-is-the-afl-cios-solidarity-center-doing-in-venezuela-we-have-a-right-to-know

Posted by: frances | Feb 10, 2019 2:12:23 PM | 26

@ Jackrabbit | Feb 10, 2019 11:50:23 AM | 9
ISIS members engaged in genocide under the law
Against what group did ISIS engage in genocide?

Posted by: Don Bacon | Feb 10, 2019 2:26:47 PM | 27

Did an ICBM just hit Venezuela? I think it is very likely, see videos on Jim Stone's site: http://82.221.129.208

Posted by: frances | Feb 10, 2019 2:40:47 PM | 28

@ frances | Feb 10, 2019 1:41:01 PM | 22, 24
The Solidarity Center has received at least $3,925,000 for operations in Venezuela and Colombia between 2010 and 2019
That would be a pay cut, if true.
from the web--
According to multiple reports, Solidarity Center receives the majority of its funding from the United States government via grants from organizations such as the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
Solidarity Center received just under $30 million from government grants in 2004, $29 million in 2005, $29.5 million in 2006, $27 million in 2007, $28.5 million in 2008, $28.9 million in 2009, $28.5 million in 2010, $28.6 million in 2011, $31 million in 2012, $32 million in 2013, $31 million in 2014, and $29.6 million in 2015. . .here

also:
The 2002 Coup in Venezuela: Was the AFL-CIO Involved?
. . .The AFL-CIO has long been known to carry out a reactionary labor program around the world. It has been unequivocally established that they have worked to overthrow democratically-elected governments, have collaborated with dictators against progressive labor movements, and have supported reactionary labor movements against progressive governments . . . . .here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Feb 10, 2019 2:42:58 PM | 29

evilempire 18

"I sometimes think that only a second battle of Kuruksetra can save us."

Those who Gaia wishes to destroy she first makes insane. This infestation becomes more suicidally deranged all time, with its kamikaze drive to extract and burn every last BTU of fossil fuels, cut down every last natural forest, bring desert to the entire terrestrial space, and heat and acidify the oceans and fill them, and the entire global ecology, with plastic particles.

There's no doubt about it. Homo domesticus won't be satisfied with anything short of total self-extermination, and they hope to take down all life with them.

The only hope for the Earth, and for humanity, is that the psychotic civilization destroys itself before it can destroy everything else.

Posted by: Russ | Feb 10, 2019 2:43:21 PM | 30

@ frances
Sorry, disregard the "pay cut" -- talking total vs Vza & Col.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Feb 10, 2019 2:44:18 PM | 31

Jackrabbit 9
I read it as just another springboard to help take Americans to war against a target state.

I am far from being a lawyer, but it looks as though US by law must now by law, have an office that actively looks for, and then claims a target state is planning genocide against whoever.
The law expressly states that it does not authorize lethal assistance or military action. On the other hand it does give US politicians legal cover to interfere in other nations affairs without fear of prosecution at a later date in US courts.
One part that I do not know - Does this mean that the President must take action if congress or senate declares that the target of the day is planning genocide.

I expect this law will be used against Iran, and perhaps Trump will try using it against Venezuela.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Feb 10, 2019 4:13:36 PM | 32

Jackrabbit 9

It be interesting fior the likes of Christopher Black or Alexander Mercouris to do and article (both being legal eagles by trade) on what ramifications they could see in the law.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Feb 10, 2019 4:20:20 PM | 33

Don Bacon @7:

The POTUS may not be a dictator, but he has absolute authority on the military especially for those already deployed (maybe someone here can correct me on that).   Assuming Trump is genuine of a full withdrawal from the Middle East, his Generals could be court-martialled on grounds of insubordination.   Congress can rescind the AUMF to stop any military action in Venezuela, but they won't.   They need it for Iran.

Posted by: Ian | Feb 10, 2019 4:26:58 PM | 34

In the final analysis, The Grand Inquisitor was correct in
his insight. How else to account for the state of complete
child-like innocence, the total obliviousness to the manifest
Pure Evil of its elect? We are mistaken if we believe that
that Pure Evil will rest once it subjugates the world. Pure
evil exists for one purpose and one purpose only: to do evil.
The soul of pure evil has become so corrupt that its only pleasure
is in doing evil. This is the mystery of iniquity. The end state
of pure evil, after it has destroyed the good, and the ultimate good
is god, is hell on earth.

Posted by: evilempire | Feb 10, 2019 4:33:16 PM | 35

frances @26:
Test firing missiles into Venezuela already? Maybe trying to goad the Venezuelan military to use their S-300?

Posted by: Ian | Feb 10, 2019 4:36:41 PM | 36

Don Bacon @25: Against what group did ISIS engage in genocide?

Maybe you haven't been paying attention, As a group, ISIS announced their hatred for several groups including Shia and Yazdis. They killed large numbers of those groups, often in a brutal way. And enslaved many Yazdi women.

Wikipedia notes:

On September 25, 2015, Yazda and Free Yazidi Foundation, with the support of the Kurdish Regional Government of Iraq, submitted a detailed report to the International Criminal Court (ICC) that explains how ISIL, with a disproportionate number of foreign fighters, committed genocide against the Yazidi people.[18][19] The report requested a formal investigation into the crimes of the Islamic State (ISIS) to be conducted by the international community to prosecute ISIL for the crime of genocide against Yazidis.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Feb 10, 2019 4:40:38 PM | 37

"... [Rafael Ramirez] fell out with Maduro and very much dislikes his policies. He is also against the U.S. led coup attempt. [Is there] a chance for a 'third way'? ..."

We need to know what Ramirez doesn't like about Maduro, whether he actually dislikes Maduro's policies or dislikes the man personally or his leadership style. If Ramirez dislikes Maduro's policies, why does he dislike them?

I heard a bit of that RT.com interview. Ramirez said nothing about the economic sanctions imposed by the US on Venezuela or the anti-Maduro opposition's use of food hoarding and shortages (and the hoarding and shortages of other imported products) to force up prices and goad the poor into rebelling against Maduro, or anything else the US and its allies are doing to wreck the Maduro government's management of the country's economy and encourage the government's further slide into corruption and mismanagement.

Ramirez was Energy Minister of Venezuela for a time. He later became Venezuela's Ambassador to the UN. Did the Maduro govt bump him into that position to get him out of the way, and why did Maduro do that?

Could this little incident have anything to do with the fallout between Maduro and Ramirez?

"Venezuela probes ex-oil czar Ramirez over alleged graft scheme"
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-venezuela-pdvsa-corruption/venezuela-probes-ex-oil-czar-ramirez-over-alleged-graft-scheme-idUSKBN1EN1QU

Posted by: Jen | Feb 10, 2019 4:46:15 PM | 38

@ Jackrabbit | Feb 10, 2019 4:40:38 PM | 35
You love getting snotty, don't you. I just asked you a simple question, and I don't need your crap, so knock it off.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Feb 10, 2019 4:48:34 PM | 39

Don Bacon @ 25:

ISIS subscribes to an extreme form of Islam similar to (or even the same as) the Wahhabi Islam of Saudi Arabia, ISIS' chief sponsor. Wahhabi followers regard those who do not follow the same creed as theirs as traitors and therefore non-Muslims (kuffar, the plural of "kafir") who can be killed. That's why ISIS and their allies are known as takfiris.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Takfiri

In targeting Shi'a Muslims, non-Wahhabi Sunni Muslims of any stripe, non-Muslims generally (especially Christian, Jewish and Druze groups), and most of all ex-ISIS fighters who see the error of their ways, ISIS certainly can be accused of genocide.

Posted by: Jen | Feb 10, 2019 4:56:01 PM | 40

ohh dear ohh dear
isis is israel
isis is cia
isis is pentagram [entagon
isis is the empire of the city of london already
cut the pollution in the well mr and mrs chabad

Posted by: rebbe | Feb 10, 2019 6:54:20 PM | 41

Speaking of ISIS: Al-Masdar has it that Baghdadi is in US custody in Syria, plus he has been for a while! Could this be true? Al-Masdar states that it is relying on the Arabic-language news of Sputnik...

The Sputnik source said that the U.S. is waiting for an opportunity to conduct a heliborne operation in southeastern Deir Ezzor and declare the capture of Al-Baghdadi and end of ISIL on film.

Some crazy machinations.

Posted by: Scotch Bingeington | Feb 10, 2019 6:59:30 PM | 42

Re Venezuela: Quote from John Bolton;

" JOHN BOLTON: We’re in conversation with major American companies now that are either in Venezuela, or in the case of Citgo here in the United States. I think we’re trying to get to the same end result here; you know, Venezuela’s one of the three countries I call the Troika of Tyranny. It’ll make a big difference to the United States economically if we could have American companies invest in and produce the oil capabilities in Venezuela. It’d be good for the people of Venezuela. It’d be good for the people of the United States. We both have a lot at stake here making this come out the right way."


Full Article from TRNN:

https://therealnews.com/stories/blood-for-oil-in-venezuela

Same old playbook from the empire...

Posted by: ben | Feb 10, 2019 7:18:27 PM | 43

Scotch Bingeington @ 40:

Since when has Abu Bakr al Baghdadi ever been OUT of US custody or some US ally's custody?

Posted by: Jen | Feb 10, 2019 7:18:53 PM | 44

PS; Think we all know oil price's can be manipulated to use as a weapon against targeted
countries..

Posted by: ben | Feb 10, 2019 7:23:17 PM | 45

@ 36

After watching a few minutes of the RT segment with Rafael Ramirez I took a visceral dislike to him. An hour's research revealed a deeply corrupt individual who had brought family and friends in to thoroughly gorge themselves at the trough of Venezuela's oil income. You can see the corruption oozing out of the pores of his slimy face. I have no idea what Chavez was thinking of when he allowed this creature into such a high position. So, sorry, b. I don't think we have our man for a third way.

Posted by: Lochearn | Feb 10, 2019 7:33:51 PM | 46

@ mourning dove | Feb 10, 2019 1:30:15 PM | 21

Thanks for the link to Whitney Webb's illuminating, timely article. Excellent journalism.

Posted by: Robert Snefjella | Feb 10, 2019 7:48:24 PM | 47

Perhaps a definition of genocide is called for:
Definition of genocide
: the deliberate and systematic destruction of a racial, political, or cultural group
MW

genocide
NOUN
The deliberate killing of a large group of people, especially those of a particular ethnic group or nation.
Oxford English Dictionary

Posted by: V | Feb 10, 2019 8:01:22 PM | 48

I just read this tweet stuff from Trump today and had to share
"
“The media was able to get my work schedule, something very easy to do, but it should have been reported as a positive, not negative,” he wrote. “When the term Executive Time is used, I am generally working, not relaxing. In fact, I probably work more hours than almost any past President.”

He then continued, “The fact is, when I took over as President, our Country was a mess. Depleted Military, Endless Wars, a potential War with North Korea, V.A., High Taxes & too many Regulations, Border, Immigration & HealthCare problems, & much more. I had no choice but to work very long hours!”
"
Trump is working very hard to R2P the American people and 99.9% of the rest of the world. His BS is gold while the money lasts........

Posted by: psychohistorian | Feb 10, 2019 8:50:58 PM | 49

reply to Don Bacon 27 and 29
Thanks for the additional info, a shame that the AFL/CIO is now but a neocon pawn.

reply to Ian 34
"Test firing missiles into Venezuela already? Maybe trying to goad the Venezuelan military to use their S-300?"
That certainly is a possibility, could be as the Vz military seem uninterested in getting in on the US proposed coup, perhaps the US want to shell Vz to get a response missile or two fired into Columbia and have Columbia declare war?
As Columbia is the epitome of a failed narco state using its totally corrupt army which already functions as a death squad, should be no problem at all.
As far as numbers go; Venezuela has an army of 500,000 and 2 million more in the Chavez citizen’s brigades. Columbia has 470,000. My money if it comes down to it is on Venezuela.

Posted by: frances | Feb 10, 2019 9:08:42 PM | 50

The remarkable thing about the neocons is that no matter how disastrous their policies, and how many times their prognostications turn out to be wrong, they continue in places of power no matter the administration - Democrats, Republicans and even Trump. They are firmly ensconced in all the "serious" DC think-tanks and are regular guests at all the major talk shows and write opeds in all the major news outlets.

Posted by: ab initio | Feb 10, 2019 9:18:32 PM | 51

@ ben | Feb 10, 2019 7:23:17 PM | 43
Think we all know oil prices can be manipulated to use as a weapon against targeted countries.
I didn't know that. Is it not true that petroleum prices are determined somewhat by the market, and especially by speculators buying oil futures? . . .some details here (old but probably still good)

Posted by: Don Bacon | Feb 10, 2019 9:19:22 PM | 52

Lochearn @ 44:

Thanks for suffering on behalf of all of us. I could only stomach a bit of the interview.

Refer to my previous comment @ 36.

Posted by: Jen | Feb 10, 2019 9:28:54 PM | 53

frances #15

grate a finger tip size chunk of ginger in that tonic as well. May thy sweat flow freely.

Thanks b for the post and all of the stimulating input from comrade bloggers here. Many delights to savor last week. The future is looking a tad bleak though. I am off to the forest soon for a recuperative therapy session. Last week I discovered a one thousand year old tree and spent a while considering it and its slow moving surrounds. Good for the soul.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Feb 10, 2019 9:38:29 PM | 54

Don Bacon@50

You seem unaware of the interlocked directorships between Big Oil and International Finance that is behind the speculation driving prices up and down

Pricing in most markets today are manipulated by the major players in each market who collude among themselves, sometimes for personal or corporate gain and sometimes in cooperation with government to achieve certain long term strategic goals that ultimately benefit the industry at the cost of a short term loss. The Finance industry wins on the upswing and also the down swing (by shorting the market). So its win-win for them. As for Big Oil, they weed out some competition with lower prices and can negotiate more favorable deals with oil producing nations when prices are weak giving them below market price oil when oil prices swing up

Its all racket

Posted by: Pft | Feb 10, 2019 9:44:13 PM | 55

@ Pft | Feb 10, 2019 9:44:13 PM | 53
You seem unaware . . .
Well thanks for the info, you seem to be a genius. . . Pft.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Feb 10, 2019 9:49:30 PM | 56

In Venezuela, Tuesday is youth day, and the boy king seeks to mobilize Venezualan children in his cause, ...as a message to the army!

from a tweet
Este #12Feb Venezuela le habla a la FANB! Nos vemos nuevamente en las calles el Día de la Juventud para enviarle un mensaje a nuestra Fuerza Armada. Nos movilizaremos en todo el país para lograr la entrada de la #AyudaHumanitaria que permita atender la crisis

This # 12Feb Venezuela speaks to the FANB! We will see each other again on the streets on Youth Day to send a message to our Armed Forces. We will mobilize throughout the country to achieve the entry of #Humanitarian Assistance to address the crisis.
[FANB = La Fuerza Armada Nacional Bolivariana]

How does the Venezuelan army rank? Global Firepower here ranks Venezuela #46 in the world. (Some people disagree with their ratings, but at least they have a system.)

Recent news reports say that Vza's military force of about 100,000 has over 2,000 generals. Not too shabby!

Posted by: Don Bacon | Feb 10, 2019 9:50:53 PM | 57

frances @ 24

Good article. I have had some dealings with the people mentioned and I doubt seriously if Pulaski is flanking a NEOCON agenda. The change may have come in during the Obama administration. In the states the AFL-CIA is utterly useless and an appendage of the companies for the most part.
Their role is mostly a get out the vote operation for the Democrat machine while administering the massive decline of trade unions in the US.

It is interesting to watch helpless and useless ideologues at work. Any change is welcome but I suspect the reprieve is only temporary at best.

Posted by: dltravers | Feb 10, 2019 9:58:59 PM | 58

Don @ 50: Here ya' go Don. As you may or may not know, a glut of oil reduces prices, sooo,
if your economy is based on oil sales, like Venezuela, you're screwed. Economic stress produces fertile grounds for coups.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/30/us/trump-oil-saudi-arabia.html

I'm shocked at your not knowing this...

Posted by: ben | Feb 10, 2019 10:03:47 PM | 59

@ Don Bacon who asked if market forces controlled oil prices.

I pretty much agree with Pft....Call it theatrical reality

I encourage you to look into how the markets were manipulated to make fracking in the US "viable"....its sick.

Karlof1 is the expert I know at MoA to provide you links to the bigger energy manipulation documentation. When you own the money system you can buy and sell commodities over time to establish total dominance in spite of new sources coming online.

The "invisible hand" of economic theory is the elite who own global private finance and everything else and have for a long time.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Feb 10, 2019 10:11:30 PM | 60

@ ben | Feb 10, 2019 10:03:47 PM | 57
a glut of oil reduces prices . ..
Duh ...that's called "by the market" (at my 50)
We're discussing speculation, at a reported 60% factor.
I'm shocked at your not knowing this...shocked.
Well, not really.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Feb 10, 2019 10:18:56 PM | 61

Look people, I'm asking questions, trying to advance the discussion. I don't know everything, and I'm getting stung for it. Now stop it, because I will give what I receive, and this whole blog will go downhill.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Feb 10, 2019 10:26:46 PM | 62

So Don, It's my contention that the "Market" can, and does, get manipulated for political motives. Have a good one:)..

Posted by: ben | Feb 10, 2019 10:30:23 PM | 63

No Ben you're confusing two factors, the free market and corporate manipulation.
And I don't need your stupid orders.

Posted by: Don Bacon | Feb 10, 2019 10:46:56 PM | 64

"The Myth of the Prosperity Generating Free Market Has Been Dispelled. It’s Time for a New New Deal."

Suggested reading for some;

http://evonomics.com/myth-prosperity-generating-free-market-dispelled-time-new-new-deal/

Posted by: ben | Feb 10, 2019 11:11:48 PM | 65

@ Don bacon who wrote
"
No Ben you're confusing two factors, the free market and corporate manipulation.
"
The free market only exists as a myth in yours and others minds but in reality we have manipulation by a variety of actors

You keep spewing economic theory like it has some connection to reality and many here are attempting to disabuse you of that perspective.
Economics is not science and any attempt to cast it as such will be be met with extensive derision by the realists here like me. Economics is a myth religious cover for the decisions made by those that own global private finance and everything else...tell me Don why there is not a Fortune 500 of the world's largest trust funds but just of individuals?

I posit that there is a socialist group in China government that manages their economy which is closer to what you think of as the social science of economics than than anything the West has to offer with the BS they have to put out to cover the blatant manipulation of the economy.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Feb 10, 2019 11:19:44 PM | 66

@50 Don Bacon

I don't think I've ever seen one definitive source that can say what percentage of the oil price at any one time is a reflection of supply/demand, and what percentage is a result of manipulation. I suspect this means that the forces that condition the price fluctuate somewhat.

All the commodities markets today are rigged markets, including gold and the other precious metals. For every unit of real, tangible commodity, there are vastly more derivatives being traded on that commodity - gold, for example, has over 100 ounces of paper derivatives being traded for every ounce of physical gold available in the world. That's 100 ounces of claim on each one real ounce.

But the people trading in these instruments have no intention of taking or delivering physical possession of the commodity, they're just making or losing their profits in a purely financial market.

The scale of this trading overwhelms the real market of supply and demand, which means the mechanism of "price discovery" no longer works. The true price of something is impossible to know so long as derivatives exist in larger quantities than the actual commodities.

I'm no expert on any of this but this is roughly how it goes. I know more about gold than oil, but my impression is that the drop in oil price in - was it 2016? - that impacted the Russian economy was largely caused by western financial interests, and the US government and its financial heft comprise a large piece of those interests I would say.

Having said all that, supply IS a factor in oil, and when Russia and Saudi combine and agree to limit production, say, this has an effect on how low the derivatives manipulators can drive the price down, for example, because everyone is aware that global supply is going to tighten and the price has to go up.

Also, we keep seeing that when the price of oil goes up to a certain point - maybe around $100 - worldwide industrial activity plummets, and recession happens, from oil price shock.

So, with oil, the overall supply seems to play a far more realistic role than in the case of gold - which makes sense - but the general case is that yes the price can be manipulated up and down, for a time, or for a specific purpose. Just not forever.

Energy markets are precisely Engdahl's world of course, and glancing through the article you linked (now that I wrote all that) I see he's talking about derivatives, so his article is a good reference, and your answer.

~~

Peter AU1 and karlof1 in a recent discussion linked to another piece on the theme of global energy dominance that appears to be the US policy now, and it's useful for showing how casually this ability to manipulate energy price is taken at the policy level in the US now: What Trump’s Policy of Energy Dominance Means for the World [Alastair Crooke, 2018]

To give some idea of the capacity of these bankers to ‘influence’ price, by mid – 2008, it was estimated that some $260 billion of ‘managed’ (speculative) investment money was in play in energy markets, completely dwarfing the value of the oil actually coming out of the North Sea each month, at maybe $4 to $5 billion, at most. These 'paper’ oil-option plays would therefore often trump the ‘fundamentals’ of real supply, and real end-user demand.


Posted by: Grieved | Feb 10, 2019 11:29:51 PM | 67

Trump has done more for Israel than any other President in U.S. history. He's also destroying Venezuela and Iran. Trump is a Neocon but above all he's a Zionist and now he's trying to be kingmaker in Israel's elections. Guess one good turn deserves another! Zionists put Trump where he is today.

Trump endorses Netanyahu

Posted by: Circe | Feb 10, 2019 11:38:33 PM | 68

i'm ready to quit trying to fight this nonsense

just let them play their wars and politics

i'm gonna go lie down & sleep forever

Posted by: anonymous | Feb 10, 2019 11:45:39 PM | 69

@65 more..

One more thing to say about all this is that currencies themselves are in a world of constant manipulation, and with oil we're still talking Dollar for the most part. And we know that the Dollar is used as a weapon and that other currencies such as Turkey's and Venezuela's can be driven down by deliberate attacks.

I'm absolutely no expert in this field, but in general, countries are waking up to see what a financialized world we live in now, and how freely debt and capital can move around the world, and - most importantly - how large a role the US occupies in that world.

Finance is perhaps the last weapon left to the US, but it's still a large one and as we see, the US has no hesitation in wielding it to the max.

Posted by: Grieved | Feb 10, 2019 11:46:11 PM | 70

"John Bolton @AmbJohnBolton - The U.S. stands united in its support of Venezuelan Interim President Juan Guaidó, and of the peaceful, constitutional transition to democracy in Venezuela."


democracy and constitutional transition.... hahahahaha!

“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.” - Joseph Goebbels

Bolton is the very essence of the big lies of the american Ruling Elites and their so-called 'bi-partisan foreign policy' Establishment another name for american imperialism and neo-colonialism maintained by sanctions, repatriation of corporate profits, rendition and torture, funding of anti-democratic internal forces paramilitary and otherwise, sabotage, coup d'etat, CIA and NSA subversion, exploitation of labor and natural resources, military threat, intervention and invasion. And on and on. every dirty trick in the book used since WWII to maintain the Empire

Next to Dick Cheney, I would consider Bolton to be the very devil himself and the purveyor of the big lies


Posted by: michaelj72 | Feb 10, 2019 11:54:53 PM | 71

Now that folks have provided all this clarity on the manipulation of energy at a high level please project that manipulation to the ultimate commodity in our economy, MONEY.
Take the private Bureau of International Settlements (BIS) for example.
Country A has agricultural goods to exchange for energy and so they have to go the the BIS and buy country (E)nergy's currency at whatever rate is offered.
Country E has energy and doesn't have a need for agriculture so holds payment from country A in US Treasuries (the intermediate currency)
The BIS gets to manipulate the exchange rates and change a fee for the screwing....whee!
Country E holding Treasuries gets screwed by the rampant US debt depreciating their holdings in relation to their own country's economic base/currency.....half of the world's foreign exchange reserves are in US dollars.....default coming, IMO

And then there is the public/private debt stupidity that is best saved for another rant

Posted by: psychohistorian | Feb 11, 2019 12:03:59 AM | 72

Just some random musings as feeling under the weather.

Read the following books with an open mind and answer the question on of evil exists

Vaccines on Trial by Shumacker and Bookchin
Dissolving Illusions by Dr Humphrey
Plague by Judy Mikovitch
The Virus and the Vaccine
Critical Vaccine Studies by Neil Miller

Heres an example of congnitive dissonance. Supreme Court rules vaccines are unavoidably unsafe so makers cant be sued. Vaccine makers lobbyists tell public vaccines are safe. Doctors get paid big bonuses by insurance companies for having the majority of their patients adhere to the vaccine schedule , while some do not follow the same schedule for their own kids.

Moving on.

5G being rolled out despite over 20,000 scientists signing a petition that recommends testing to address safety concerns. Totally ignored.

Almost 50% of American adults are living with a chronic illness, and 25% of children. 1% of population now has autism while 40 years ago that was 0.01%. Today 1 in 50 newborns will acquire autism by the age of 8. According to a CBS report more infants day in the US in their first day of life than other developed nations combined, this is the same day they are given their first vaccines for STD’s (Hep B and HPV) . By the time they are sexually mature these shots will have lost their effectiveness. 50 years after declaring War on Cancer, cancer rates are 10% higher. Mortality rates are down and they live longer, which is a boon for Big Pharma. Trump now wanting to push to eradicate HIV with more testing. Sounds like Big Pharma needs more customers.

Chinas household debt is now 50% of GDP. Not quite at US levels (70%) but climbing fast. Engdahl has sn article up at NEO discussing their debt issues. I personally think its not an issue since China has control over its CB and manages its exchange rate so they can have a Jubilee if needed

Interesting fact that the BOE has not been privately owned since 1948. Government took over ownership. Doesnt seem to do them much good.

Posted by: Pft | Feb 11, 2019 12:05:20 AM | 73

Don Bacon @ 50:

Don, just ask yourself: what is meant by "the market" and what are "market forces"?

Depending on what is being bought and sold, quite often "market forces" mean no more than a cartel of suppliers or middlemen distributors deciding how much they're going to fleece buyers (and/or sellers) for the product / commodity.

Posted by: Jen | Feb 11, 2019 12:29:35 AM | 74

Under the tab of noose tightening there is this Xinhuanet link

"Lebanon free to accept support from any country": official

The take away quote
"
Zarif (Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs) said that Iran is ready to provide all the needed help to the Lebanese Army if Lebanon is willing to accept this support.
"

Posted by: psychohistorian | Feb 11, 2019 12:44:21 AM | 75

File this link from Reuters under "paid to project this shit for empire"

"Post-Brexit UK should be ready to use 'hard power' - defence minister

The take away quote
"
Britain should be ready to use military force to support its global interests after Brexit, defence minister Gavin Williamson will say on Monday, adding that the boundaries between peace and war are becoming blurred.
"

Posted by: psychohistorian | Feb 11, 2019 1:06:22 AM | 76

I have to include and other quote from the Reuters article link in my last comment
"
“Brexit has brought us to a great moment in our history. A moment when we must strengthen our global presence, enhance our lethality, and increase our mass,” Williamson will say in a speech in London.
"
What the hell does increase our mass mean? Sounds like expansion of the British empire but where? Who are they going to take what country from? If the US can take Venezuela then the UK can take ????

What are these people smoking?

Posted by: psychohistorian | Feb 11, 2019 1:20:44 AM | 77

and other = another.....grin
someday I will heal my ADD

Posted by: psychohistorian | Feb 11, 2019 1:22:21 AM | 78

psychohistorian 75

"enhance our lethality, and increase our mass" = quality and quantity.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Feb 11, 2019 1:43:37 AM | 79

@ psychohistorian #75

What are these people smoking?

That question almost supplies its own answer. The power elites in the UK are sure high on something. While roaming around on the internet today I saw a headline saying that the biggest problem with Brexit is that the Brits believe they have far more leverage than they really possess. They seem to believe the Empire still exists!

Why else would they have bought two perfectly useless aircraft carriers? These white elephants are grossly under-armed in terms of self defense, and the Royal Navy can't afford to build a proper battle group around both them. The freaking things don't even have any airplanes, and when those aircraft finally arrive they'll be the equally unaffordable F-35s.

2019 "They are an expression of how vulnerable, weak, ineffectual and just plain ridiculous Britain has become in the 21st century."

2017 What is the point of HMS Queen Elizabeth and her sister – what is the vision?"

Posted by: Zachary Smith | Feb 11, 2019 2:01:30 AM | 80

Don Bacon @7:

Trump's order to withdraw from Syria is being fought by the Pentagon and the Congress, which is a considerable opposition given that the US president is not an absolute dictator.

Your short response to my comment @5 is misleading. The Constitution grants the President enormous power wrt foreign policy and military affairs. And the Pentagon is an executive agency - they work for the President.

This notion of "considerable opposition" is constructed off the "election has begun" narrative. The pretense is that the President must consider the opinion of Congress and others if he wants to be re-elected.

But the election is more than 18 months away. Trump doesn't have to listen to anybody. He could have the troops out of Syria in a matter of days if he wanted to. My comment @5 addresses why he drags his feet on the 'pull-out'.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Feb 11, 2019 2:36:40 AM | 81

Pft @71

To my regret, the US Supreme Court did not "rule[s] vaccines are unavoidably unsafe so makers can't be sued."

It dismissed the issues raised in comment k to Restatement (Second) of Torts § 402A (1963-1964) regarding "unavoidably unsafe products" as not pertinent to the resolution of the case against the vaccine manufacturer WYETH LLC and found "the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act preempts all design-defect claims against vaccine manufacturers . . . ."


BRUESEWITZ v. WYETH LLC

131 S.Ct. 1068 (2011)

562 U.S. 223

Russell BRUESEWITZ, et al., Petitioners, v. WYETH LLC, fka Wyeth, Inc., fka Wyeth Laboratories, et al.

Supreme Court of United States.

Argued October 12, 2010.

Decided February 22, 2011.

We set forth again the statutory text [§ 300aa-22(b)(1)] at issue:

No vaccine manufacturer shall be liable in a civil action for damages arising from a vaccine-related injury or death associated with the administration of a vaccine after October 1, 1988, if the injury or death resulted from side effects that were unavoidable even though the vaccine was properly prepared and was accompanied by proper directions and warnings.
. . .

The "even though" clause clarifies the word that precedes it. It delineates the preventative measures that a vaccine manufacturer must have taken for a side-effect to be considered "unavoidable" under the statute. Provided that there was proper manufacture and warning, any remaining side effects, including those resulting from design defects, are deemed to have been unavoidable. State-law design-defect claims are therefore preempted.

If a manufacturer could be held liable for failure to use a different design, the word "unavoidable" would do no work. A side effect of a vaccine could always have been avoidable by use of a differently designed vaccine not containing the harmful element. The language of the provision thus suggests that the design of the vaccine is a given, not subject to question in the tort action. What the statute establishes as a complete defense must be unavoidability (given safe manufacture and warning) with respect to the particular design.Which plainly implies that the design itself is not open to question.
. . .

Petitioners' and the dissent's textual argument also rests upon the proposition that the word "unavoidable" in § 300aa-22(b)(1) is a term of art that incorporates comment k to Restatement (Second) of Torts § 402A (1963-1964). The Restatement generally holds a manufacturer strictly liable for harm to person or property caused by "any product in a defective condition unreasonably dangerous to the user." Comment k exempts from this strict-liability rule "unavoidably unsafe products." An unavoidably unsafe product is defined by a hodge-podge of criteria and a few examples, such as the Pasteur rabies vaccine and experimental pharmaceuticals. Despite this lack of clarity, petitioners seize upon one phrase in the comment k analysis, and assert that by 1986 a majority of courts had made this a sine qua non requirement for an "unavoidably unsafe product": a case-specific showing that the product was "quite incapable of being made safer for [its] intended . . . use."

We have no need to consider the finer points of comment k. Whatever consistent judicial gloss that comment may have been given in 1986, there is no reason to believe that § 300aa-22(b)(1) was invoking it. The comment creates a special category of "unavoidably unsafe products," while the statute refers to "side effects that were unavoidable." That the latter uses the adjective "unavoidable" and the former the adverb "unavoidably" does not establish that Congress had comment k in mind. "Unavoidable" is hardly a rarely used word. Even the cases petitioners cite as putting a definitive gloss on comment k use the precise phrase "unavoidably unsafe product";42 none attaches special significance to the term "unavoidable" standing alone.

The textual problems with petitioners' interpretation do not end there. The phrase "even though" in the clause "even though the vaccine was properly prepared and [labeled]" is meant to signal the unexpected: unavoidable side effects persist despite best manufacturing and labeling practices. But petitioners' reading eliminates any opposition between the "even though" clause—called a concessive subordinate clause by grammarians—and the word "unavoidable." Their reading makes preemption turn equally on unavoidability, proper preparation, and proper labeling. Thus, the dissent twice refers to the requirements of proper preparation and proper labeling as "two additional prerequisites" for preemption independent of unavoidability. The primary textual justification for the dissent's position depends on that independence.46 But linking independent ideas is the job of a coordinating junction like "and," not a subordinating junction like "even though."

Petitioners and the dissent contend that the interpretation we propose would render part of § 300aa-22(b)(1) superfluous: Congress could have more tersely and more clearly preempted design-defect claims by barring liability "if. . . the vaccine was properly prepared and was accompanied by proper directions and warnings." The intervening passage ("the injury or death resulted from side effects that were unavoidable even though") is unnecessary. True enough. But the rule against giving a portion of text an interpretation which renders it superfluous does not prescribe that a passage which could have been more terse does not mean what it says. The rule applies only if verbosity and prolixity can be eliminated by giving the offending passage, or the remainder of the text, a competing interpretation. That is not the case here.48 To be sure, petitioners' and the dissent's interpretation gives independent meaning to the intervening passage (the supposed meaning of comment k); but it does so only at the expense of rendering the remainder of the provision superfluous. Since a vaccine is not "quite incapable of being made safer for [its] intended use" if manufacturing defects could have been eliminated or better warnings provided, the entire "even though" clause is a useless appendage.49 It would suffice to say "if the injury or death resulted from side effects that were unavoidable"—full stop.
. . .

For the foregoing reasons, we hold that the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act preempts all design-defect claims against vaccine manufacturers brought by plaintiffs who seek compensation for injury or death caused by vaccine side effects. The judgment of the Court of Appeals is affirmed.


Posted by: pogohere | Feb 11, 2019 2:37:09 AM | 82

#78
Why else would they have bought two perfectly useless aircraft carriers? These white elephants are grossly under-armed in terms of self defense, and the Royal Navy can't afford to build a proper battle group around both them.

Indeed; together, the Chinese and Russians have all but rendered aircraft carriers obsolete. With their hypersonic anti-ship missles; aircraft carriers cannot even get close enough to launch attack aircraft effectively.
Modern warfare is in the process of changing to match with the times.

Posted by: V | Feb 11, 2019 2:42:27 AM | 83

Peter AU 1 @31: ... what ramifications they could see in the law.

I don't see how ramifications in the law pertain to what I wrote. I think you are referring to what YOU WROTE @4.

What I wrote has nothing to do with the new law that your wrote about @4. It has to do with a law against genocide that was previously existing. That law defined genocide and provided for penalties.

IMO there is cause for an investigation of Obama for conspiracy to commit genocide given 1) the law as written, and 2) facts known to the public. Any prosecutor or law enforcement agency that undertakes such investigation faces political ramifications, not legal ones. The President is not above the law.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Feb 11, 2019 2:48:29 AM | 84

Don Bacon

I see Ian @32 already responded but my comment @79 goes a bit further.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Feb 11, 2019 2:51:54 AM | 85

pogohere @80

It should be noted that there was a dissent to the opinion cited, which in pertinent part stated:

Justice SOTOMAYOR, with whom Justice GINSBURG joins, dissenting.

Vaccine manufacturers have long been subject to a legal duty, rooted in basic principles of products liability law, to improve the designs of their vaccines in light of advances in science and technology. Until today, that duty was enforceable through a traditional state-law tort action for defective design. In holding that § 22(b)(1) of the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986 (Vaccine Act or Act), 42 U.S.C. § 300aa-22(b)(1), pre-empts all design defect claims for injuries stemming from vaccines covered under the Act, the Court imposes its own bare policy preference over the considered judgment of Congress. In doing so, the Court excises 13 words from the statutory text, misconstrues the Act's legislative history, and disturbs the careful balance Congress struck between compensating vaccine-injured children and stabilizing the childhood vaccine market. Its decision leaves a regulatory vacuum in which no one ensures that vaccine manufacturers adequately take account of scientific and technological advancements when designing or distributing their products. Because nothing in the text, structure, or legislative history of the Vaccine Act remotely suggests that Congress intended such a result, I respectfully dissent.
. . .

The legislative history confirms petitioners' interpretation of § 22(b)(1) and sheds further light on its pre-emptive scope. The House Energy and Commerce Committee Report accompanying the Vaccine Act, H.R.Rep. No. 99-908, pt. 1 (1986), U.S.Code Cong. & Admin.News, 1986, p. 6344 (hereinafter 1986 Report), explains in relevant part:

Subsection (b)—Unavoidable Adverse Side Effects; Direct Warnings.—This provision sets forth the principle contained in Comment K of Section 402A of the Restatement of Torts (Second) that a vaccine manufacturer should not be liable for injuries or deaths resulting from unavoidable side effects even though the vaccine was properly prepared and accompanied by proper directions and warnings.
The Committee has set forth Comment K in this bill because it intends that the principle in Comment K regarding `unavoidably unsafe' products, i.e., those products which in the present state of human skill and knowledge cannot be made safe, apply to the vaccines covered in the bill and that such products not be the subject of liability in the tort system. Id., at 25-26, U.S.Code Cong. & Admin.News, 1986, at pp. 6366-68.

The Report expressly adopts comment k of § 402A of the Restatement of Torts (Second) (1963-1964) (hereinafter Restatement), which provides that "unavoidably unsafe" products—i.e., those that "in the present state of human knowledge, are quite incapable of being made safe for their intended and ordinary use"—are not defective. 4 As "[a]n outstanding example" of an "[u]navoidably unsafe" product, comment k cites "the vaccine for the Pasteur treatment of rabies, which not uncommonly leads to very serious and damaging consequences when it is injected"; "[s]ince the disease itself invariably leads to a dreadful death, both the marketing and the use of the vaccine are fully justified, notwithstanding the unavoidable high degree of risk which they involve." Id., at 353. Comment k thus provides that "seller[s]" of "[u]navoidably unsafe" products are "not to be held to strict liability" provided that such products "are properly prepared and marketed, and proper warning is given." Ibid.

Footnote 4. Comment k provides as follows:
"Unavoidably unsafe products. There are some products which, in the present state of human knowledge, are quite incapable of being made safe for their intended and ordinary use. These are especially common in the field of drugs. An outstanding example is the vaccine for the Pasteur treatment of rabies, which not uncommonly leads to very serious and damaging consequences when it is injected. Since the disease itself invariably leads to a dreadful death, both the marketing and the use of the vaccine are fully justified, notwithstanding the unavoidable high degree of risk which they involve. Such a product, properly prepared, and accompanied by proper directions and warning, is not defective, nor is it unreasonably dangerous. The same is true of many other drugs, vaccines, and the like, many of which for this very reason cannot legally be sold except to physicians, or under the prescription of a physician. It is also true in particular of many new or experimental drugs as to which, because of lack of time and opportunity for sufficient medical experience, there can be no assurance of safety, or perhaps even of purity of ingredients, but such experience as there is justifies the marketing and use of the drug notwithstanding a medically recognizable risk. The seller of such products, again with the qualification that they are properly prepared and marketed, and proper warning is given, where the situation calls for it, is not to be held to strict liability for unfortunate consequences attending their use, merely because he has undertaken to supply the public with an apparently useful and desirable product, attended with a known but apparently reasonable risk." Restatement 353-354.

Posted by: pogohere | Feb 11, 2019 3:00:30 AM | 86

frances @48:

Should things turn hot, Venezuela could also try to recruit ELN and disgruntled ex-FARC members to make things more difficult for Colombia. And if Brazil is feeling froggy, then I'm sure the various gangs could also be recruited. Hopefully nothing happens and Washington is given the cold shoulder.

Posted by: Ian | Feb 11, 2019 3:29:24 AM | 87

Robert Snefjella @45
You are very welcome. I agree, Whitney Webb produces excellent journalism. She is a credit to her profession.

Posted by: mourning dove | Feb 11, 2019 3:41:15 AM | 88

I think one of the reasons for the 2 aircraft carriers is so the UK does not look the weakest country as one of the permanent members of the security council as they have been trying to get Russia taken of it, personally i do not understand why a country like India has not taken the place of France or the UK

Posted by: stealing people's mail | Feb 11, 2019 5:06:22 AM | 89

stealing people's mail @87:

Regarding carriers, the UK is worried about their colonies. India will never be a permanent member of the UNSC because of China. I agree that the UNSC is too lopsided. It needs to be reformed to be more balanced, EU for Europe, India for Central Asia, AU for Africa, OAS for Latin/South America and someone for the Middle East. The UK can be represented by the US while the EU would represent France.

Posted by: Ian | Feb 11, 2019 7:02:24 AM | 90

Sorry to interrupt all the fine political discourse but I have been thinking a lot about drought. Last year was rather dry where I live in Colorado and it has been one of the main topics in the little farm community I call home. Fortunately this year looks to be much, much wetter with the snowpack growing every week.

At a party this weekend a fellow commented on how much more water existed in Colorado previous to whitefellas coming and killing most of the beaver during the felted beaver fur hat craze of the 1700-1800's. Beavers build dams which trap run-off and help replenish ground water.

The beavers are back, though not in their previous numbers, due to many factors (mostly human-caused) and I began to wonder: How much water is trapped inside all the billions of people alive today? Not to mention all our farm critters and pets, ect. Have humans become a new form of glacier locking up billions and billions of gallons of water in our bodies?

Someday when we have went the way of the dinosaur will the earth again be covered in water?

Just a random thought...

Posted by: David Shinn | Feb 11, 2019 8:26:01 AM | 91

I too wonder at the reasoning for yet more aircraft carriers. The Ford-Class in the Usa has hit the expected boondogglish hurdles along with the blood letting pricetag.... Anyone in the military sphere has to be aware of the well established fact that these ships are only good for stand-off bombing of defenseless nations. There are increasingly fewer of those as Russian and Chinese weapons systems are distributed. Although the culture of wonderweapons still has a place, a rather doubt anyone seriously believes that a phalanx cannon is stopping a swarm of mach5 projectiles. So one can only conclude that it's the money...

Posted by: Chevrus | Feb 11, 2019 8:43:03 AM | 92

... and I began to wonder: How much water is trapped inside all the billions of people alive today?
...
Have humans become a new form of glacier locking up billions and billions of gallons of water in our bodies?
...
Someday when we have went the way of the dinosaur will the earth again be covered in water? Just a random thought...
Posted by: David Shinn | Feb 11, 2019 8:26:01 AM | 89

Wonder no more...
Based on the fact that 1 kg of Human occupies the same amount of space as 1 kg of water = 1 litre, you can pick a number to represent the Global Average Weight of an Average Human Being and multiply that by 7,000,000,000 souls and convert the litres to tonnes (cubic metres) and the tonnes to Cubic Kilometres.

The answer is a surprisingly small number, even if you pick 40kg as the Global Average Weight.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Feb 11, 2019 9:02:45 AM | 93

To David at 89 and Hoarse at 91

And in future millennia our stratified remains may be referred to as a source of "bonehead fuels"...

Posted by: Captain Cook | Feb 11, 2019 9:34:14 AM | 94

Some discussions about oil and free markets on here.

There is absolutely no shortage of oil. The price in a genuine "free market" would see the collapse of oil prices to very low levels.

Oil prices are set and manipulated by the producers who act as a cartel. These producers do not set the prices aimed at maximum profitably but for political purposes and under political pressures. For instance, the producers could set the price very, very high if they wanted, but could not do so because they would then have to put up with counter measures and treats of (and actual) invasion/war/destabilisation.

Rumour is also used to manipulate oil prices. With regard to Saudi Arabia there are rumours that their oil is running out (prices would go very high) as well as rumours that their reserves are inexhaustible (prices would go very low); the actual Saudi oil reserves are unknown (because they are not disclosed).

At the most basic (i.e. the most benign) understanding of economic (specifically free market) theory (and as an aside the operation of "free markets" is just a theory that has not been [scientifically] proven) would strongly state that you cannot have a "free market" when you have the presence of a cartel (and this is leaving aside all the politics that would be involved). Every reader of this blog should have at least this level of understanding. The "free market" in oil just does not exist.

Posted by: ADKC | Feb 11, 2019 9:55:40 AM | 95

@67

When you have like-minded souls fighting the same battle, don't throw in the towel, don't give up, speak your truth, speak truth to power. Expose corruption. Condemn deception. Everyone counts. Your part matters. You matter. Everyone pushing back together can make a difference. There are new members in Congress I'm hopeful about who see and aren't afraid to speak out. I know it's damn discouraging right now, but everyone is needed. Keep on. I want to read your opinions, got it?

Now for everyone who skated over my comment @66 blocking their eyes and crying lalalalala: Quit pretending already about Trump being something different from the rest of the Zionist shills before him. When you do that, you are on the dark side, you become part of the dark force we are trying to put down, you weaken the truth. You destroy hard-fought gains. You give the rest of us two fronts of deception to fight. I won't let you pretend you care about Venezuela when you persist in still carrying water for Trump! Stop! Trump is a powerful force for evil at this time! Stop fueling the AZ Empire's engine by tacitly absolving the driver who's intent on driving it to complete, irreversible domination!!! You are not on the side of good when you do this. Stop throwing this challenge to prove you wrong again and again in our way when we are supposed to be on the SAME team. Trump is a PATHOLOGICAL LIAR and master manipulator. He is an illusionist on steroid illusion. Proof: Is that billboard not enough for you to see who he really is or are ya gonna persist in dismissing what we write as product of our lying eyes deceiving us instead of yours? What more should Trump do to prove who he is??? Is a freaking BILLBOARD not enough for you??? It's time to condemn him for what he is, who he pretends to be, who really made him President, what he's done and is doing that proves who he's really working for! He is a push-pull pretender reeling fish back in when the duped start to stray. He is corruption in it's most undiluted form. He is the driver for the Zionist one-percent that rule. He is their best tool yet for complete domination and those of you who pretend he isn't all that are helping him steer towards that goal.

Posted by: Circe | Feb 11, 2019 10:05:56 AM | 96

Oil prices are set and manipulated by the producers who act as a cartel. ... The "free market" in oil just does not exist.

Posted by: ADKC | Feb 11, 2019 9:55:40 AM | 93

This is hugely exaggerated. The "cartel" is fractious, and most importantly, is facing non-cartel producers who are strongly price dependent. Because of the marginal cost of adding production in USA, Canada etc., the price level of $50 cannot be significantly lowered, but the level of $100 faces quick rise in non-OPEC production, and in-between, there is a room for manipulations as in any commodity market.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Feb 11, 2019 10:09:03 AM | 97

Aircraft carriers may be white elephants, but I sure would like to see China sail one into the Persian Gulf! Who needs Iranian speed boats Trump threatened to use for U.S. Navy target practice? One Chinese elephant parked off the coast of Iran would send a clear message to trigger-happy Trump who has his sights on Iran.

Posted by: Circe | Feb 11, 2019 10:41:21 AM | 98

evil empire @ 13 wrote:

The Grand Inquisitor's thesis was that the three temptations of Christ were ultimately about the freedom to choose between good and evil. His insight was that this freedom is an intolerable burden to humanity ..

Yes, a sympathetic universalist message I and surely many can latch onto.

From a different perspective, I thought of Gramsci whose concepts deal more narrowly with human behavior. He wrote that in between consent and coercion there is corruption. At least that is how I remember it (a quick goog didn’t turn up a good quote)..

Either ppl just consent (to whatever superior etc.), no problem, or they are forced under pain of dire consequences. In between you have persuasion (propaganda..) and corruption. Persuasion leads to adherence on one side or another. Corruption of course has different definitions in diff. societies, cultures, but basically it always subverts instituted laws, rules, society’s accepted proper conduct, awarding illicit, secret advantage in some form, to some parties in ‘conspiratorial’ or ‘mafia-like’ ways, to use modern memes.

Naturally, in all such discussions what is good vs. evil, right vs. wrong, safe vs. dangerous, good for ppl/nature/animals/ the world, vs bad etc. is left lurking in the shadows. Fair vs. unfair to groups / classes of humans does get some serious press. That is our arrogance...


Posted by: Noirette | Feb 11, 2019 10:43:28 AM | 99

Oil and the 'free' market.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-oil-europe-usa-analysis/with-iran-squeezed-out-u-s-oil-takes-on-new-rivals-in-europe-idUSKCN1Q019W
"Higher U.S. crude exports have been helped by lower supplies of Iranian and Venezuelan crude, which Washington has put under sanctions, scaring buyers across the world."
"In the whole of 2018, U.S. supplies to Europe doubled to 430,000 bpd, according to Refinitiv Eikon flows data. That represented 6 percent of overall imports or equal to the levels of Iranian oil imports to Europe before the United States imposed fresh sanctions on Tehran."
"Booming U.S. production has prompted OPEC and major non-OPEC producers like Russia to slash output by 3-4 percent since 2017 to prop up prices. The pact has helped double prices to $60 per barrel but at the expense of a market share loss to U.S. firms.
“Welcome to the free market,” said a U.S.-based executive of an international trading firm. “Local producers either need to drop their pricing to compete or find other markets”."

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Feb 11, 2019 10:53:33 AM | 100

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