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Donald Trump, Dictator

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It is supremely ironic. To respond to the dictatorial mindset and policies of Venezuelan ruler Nicolas Maduro, President Trump has adopted his own dictatorial mindset and policies. Trump obviously believes that the way to fight foreign dictatorship is by adopting dictatorship here at home.
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Death Knell For Syria Pullout: 'We Have To Protect Israel' Says Trump

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After approaching two months of talk of a "full" and "immediate" US troop withdrawal from Syria, first ordered by President Trump on December 19 — which was predictably met with swift and fierce pushback from beltway hawks including in some cases his own advisers — it now appears the death knell has sounded on the prior "complete" and "rapid" draw down order.

Trump said in a CBS "Face the Nation" interview this weekend that some unspecified number of US troops will remain in the region, mostly in Iraq, with possibly some still in Syria, in order "to protect Israel" in what appears a significant backtrack from his prior insistence on an absolute withdrawal. 

“We’re going to be there and we’re going to be staying. We have to protect Israel,” he replied when pressed by CBS reporter Margaret Brennan. “We have to protect other things that we have. But we’re – yeah, they’ll be coming back in a matter of time.” He did note that “ultimately some will be coming home.”

“Look, we’re protecting the world,” he added. “We’re spending more money than anybody’s ever spent in history, by a lot.” Trump's slow drift and change in tune on the subject of a promised "rapid" exit comes after Israeli officials led by Prime Minister Netanyahu alongside neocon allies in Washington argued that some 200 US troops in Syria's southeast desert along the Iraqi border and its 55-kilometer “deconfliction zone” at al-Tanf are the last line of defense against Iranian expansion in Syria, and therefore must stay indefinitely.
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John Bolton’s Plan to Starve Millions of Venezuelans into Submission

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It is true Venezuela’s economic problems are in large part due to that country’s socialist command economy, but this overlooks the role played by the United States, the United Nations, and the European Union.

Over the last five years, the US has imposed financial sanctions on Venezuela. It has cut it off from western financial markets and this has resulted in oil production shortfalls. Venezuela is unable to raise capital to address deficiencies in the oil sector of its economy. This situation was exacerbated when the price of petroleum fell sharply around the world. Venezuelan debt instruments are banned by the US Treasury, thus preventing it from acquiring loans to address its severe economic problems and feed the people. 

The pattern has become rote. Nations that are not captive to neoliberalism suddenly find they have a terrorist problem. If the nation in question is communist or quasi-communist, no terrorist false flags are required, the evil venality of Leninism and Stalinism are enough to gain consensus for economic warfare followed by a physical invasion if the leader in question does not fall or acquiesce.
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Shut Down the TSA!

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Hard as it is to believe, airline travel recently became even more unpleasant. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) employees being required to work without pay for the duration of the government shutdown resulted in many TSA workers calling in sick. The outbreak of “shutdown flu” among TSA employees forced some large airports to restrict the number of places mandatory TSA screenings were performed, making going through screening even more time-consuming and providing one more reason to shut down the TSA.
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Iraq Redux: Trump's Venezuela 'Regime Change' Another Pack of Lies

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It has been just over a week since I last wrote to you, at the time just before Trump's Venezuela regime change operation hit the mainstream media. I warned that his recognition of an unelected politician as president and his dedication to install that politician with violence if necessary would constitute the worst mistake of his presidency. 

Since that time, Trump, through his neocon proxies, has doubled down on his Venezuela regime change plan to the point where the US is seizing Venezuela's assets and channeling millions to the unelected opposition in the hopes that with a US cash infusion Washington's regime change plans can become facts on the ground in the country. Of course for that to happen, it will require massive amounts of bloodshed, as regime neocons are already touting what they claim are opposition supporters on the street as evidence their regime change operation is legitimate and supported by "the people."

But even if their photos are not manipulated and altered by those forces and institutions working on regime change (like the CIA, which has been dedicated to the overthrow of the Venezuelan government for at least the past 17 years), do thousands of people in the streets constitute a legitimate mandate in the "international rules-based order" so often cited by the interventionists? What of the thousands of us who demonstrated that freezing day in late 2002 against the Bush Administration's march to war in Iraq? So we don't count according to them?

What about the 2017 "Women's March" against Trump? It was said to be the largest demonstration in US history. Surely the largest demonstration in US history means that Trump's electoral mandate is invalid, no? Because even if Bolton's Tweeted photos from the opposition demonstrations today in Venezuela are not CIA cook-ups, that is exactly what the neocons are claiming: people in the street = overturn elections. I guess we are exempt?
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Bolton: I’ll Send Maduro to Gitmo

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On Friday, the neocon running Trump’s foreign policy, John Bolton, threatened to send the elected president of Venezuela to the indefinite torture camp at Guantanamo.

Maduro should be relieved. The previous neoliberal regime in DC had the disfavored leader of Libya assassinated, but not before NATO-backed Islamists sadistically raped him with a bayonet. The longer Maduro resists, the more likely a variation of the above scenario will play out in Venezuela. Indefinite detention without charge is no doubt the preferable option.

Bolton is a well-seasoned neocon. He knows instinctively how to play the game. It was of course not a mistake his notepad said troops may be sent to neighboring Columbia.

His hint about sending the president of Venezuela to Camp Gitmo is also not a mistake. These are the guys who set-up Saddam Hussein and arranged to have him sent to the gallows.

In all cases—with the exception of Afghanistan—the primary objective is to control the vast oil reserves in Iraq, Iran, Libya, and now Venezuela, the country with the largest known oil reserve in the world.

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‘Moral disgrace’: EU Parliament lectures world on rule of law, then destroys legality in Venezuela

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It’s a moral disgrace when the EU Parliament, which lectures the world on the need to respect the rule of law, uses legal language to tell lies about the legality of the situation in Venezuela, and to destroy that legality.

Exciting news from France: Marine le Pen is the country’s new president. After the Macron regime plunged the country into political crisis, Mrs Le Pen took the oath of office on Place de la Concorde on Friday before a small crowd of gilets jaunes (yellow vests) specially assembled – with the TV cameras – for the occasion.

Proclaiming that she was acting according to Article 7 of the Constitution of the 5th Republic, Mrs Le Pen announced that Emmanuel Macron is no longer in office. To be sure, the government and civil service, the police and the armed forces all continue to operate normally, and Mr Macron continues to work in the Elysée Palace as usual, while Mrs Le Pen is under investigation for financial irregularities. But as she has received official recognition from both Russia and China, she has now become the legitimate president of France.

Of course, this fictitious scenario is ridiculous. But it is no more ridiculous than the recognition of Juan Guaido as president of Venezuela, voted by the European Parliament on January 31, one week after the recognition of him by US President Donald Trump.
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