Friday, February 08, 2019

Grievance Studies

Tweets (Scott T. Patrick):
"I’m going to do thread on Venezuela’s economic history to try and dispel some of the myths going around that the present crisis is due to socialism. Actually, colonialism, US imperialism, and neoliberalism are far more important factors for why Venezuela is in dire straits."
From 2016: "Does Venezuela’s Crisis Prove Socialism Doesn’t Work?" (Mallett-Outtrim).

"Bloody Canada: Cheerleading the Lima Group’s Plot to Overthrow the Government of Venezuela" (Páez Victor).

Canadian oil is filthy, while Venezuelan oil is nice and clean, so I don't see how the Canadian oil can replace the Venezuelan unless completely new refineries are built (not to mention new pipelines!).  A lot of the ramifications of Trump's attack on Venezuela haven't been thought out.

"What’s the Deal with Sanctions in Venezuela, and Why’s It So Hard for Media to Understand?" (Campbell):
"Venezuelan economist Francisco Rodríguez provided a useful analysis last year explaining just this ― and it is even in English.
Rodríguez’s basic story: the oil industry is critical to the Venezuelan government; underinvestment and the rapid decline in oil prices caused a significant drop in revenue; then, as oil prices began increasing, Trump imposed sanctions making any international financial transaction extremely difficult and potentially “toxic.” Rodríguez explains, using this graph of oil production in Venezuela and Colombia, how Venezuelan and Colombian oil production both declined at the same rate, until the Trump financial embargo was implemented in August 2017. Then, Venezuela’s oil production collapsed:
campbell americas blog 2019 01 fig 1
It is striking that the second change in trend in Venezuela’s production numbers occurs at the time at which the United States decided to impose financial sanctions on Venezuela. Executive Order 13.808, issued on August 25 of 2017, barred U.S. persons from providing new financing to the Venezuelan government or PDVSA. Although the order carved out allowances for commercial credit of less than 90 days, it stopped the country from issuing new debt or selling previously issued debt currently in its possession.
The Executive Order is part of a broader process of what one could term the “toxification” of financial dealings with Venezuela. During 2017, it became increasingly clear that institutions who decided to enter into financial arrangements with Venezuela would have to be willing to pay high reputational and regulatory costs. This was partly the result of a strategic decision by the Venezuelan opposition, in itself a response to the growing authoritarianism of the Maduro government.
It’s not just the the media’s apparent amnesia with regard to those 2017 sanctions and their impact on the oil industry that is the problem here. In fact, the impact of those sanctions was even larger. As my colleague, Mark Weisbrot has previously explained, and as Rodríguez notes in the same article linked above, the sanctions made it virtually impossible for the Venezuela government to take the measures necessary to eliminate hyperinflation or recover from a deep depression. Such measures would include debt restructuring, and creating a new exchange rate system (Exchange Rate Bases Stabilization), in which the currency would normally be pegged to the dollar.
But it actually gets worse. When the US first announced its recognition of Juan Guaidó as president of Venezuela on January 23, the decision was met largely with applause within the foreign policy establishment. It seemed like nobody bothered to think about what, practically and economically, the decision would mean. Since Trump’s election, and his increasingly threatening rhetoric in relation to Venezuela, there has been wide agreement that a full-scale oil embargo would be terrible, both for Venezuela and the US. Yet somehow hardly anyone realized that by recognizing Guaidó, the US was de facto putting an oil embargo in place. Once again we turn to Rodríguez who, for what it’s worth, has been publicly supportive of the decision to recognize Guaidó and wrote the following on January 28,[1] a day before the most recently announced sanctions:
By giving it the legal authority to invoice Venezuelan oil, the decision to recognize the Guaidó administration, therefore, would have the same implications for bilateral trade of an oil embargo. Applied by the countries that provide for nearly three-fourths of Venezuela’s imports, the decisions can be expected to have a significant effect on the country’s capacity both to produce oil and import goods. As a result, we expect Venezuela’s oil production to decline by 640tbd to 508tbd in 2019 (a fall of 55.7%), as opposed to our prior forecast of 1,070tbd. Exports will fall to USD 13.5bn (USD 12.3bn from oil), nearly half our previous estimate of USD 23.8bn. Imports of goods will decline to USD 7.0bn, a 40.3% decline (we expect the entrance of some humanitarian aid as well as the default on payments of all debt to cushion the fall). Venezuela’s economy is highly import dependent, as illustrated by the strong empirical correlation between import and GDP growth. As a result of the additional import crunch, we expect Venezuela’s economy to contract by 26.4%, as opposed to our previous forecast of 11.7%.
The impact is clear. The decision to formally recognize Guaidó will have a massive economic impact on the people of Venezuela ― irrespective of sanctions, oil embargos or whatever else is announced. The Trump administration succeeded in de facto implementing an oil embargo, without taking any of the heat they would have if it were done explicitly. And then this week, the Trump administration announced broader trade sanctions that appeared to make explicit by the recognition of a parallel government, with some specific carve outs for American oil companies already in Venezuela, like Chevron and Halliburton."
"Pompeo: America ‘obligated’ to fight ‘Hezbollah’ in Venezuela to save ‘duly elected’ Guaido".  Pompeo is supposed to be the smart one!  This is a direct reference to the Zionist motivation for the attempted regime change, and presumably how Sheldon was convinced that an action by the American government that doesn't directly build the Zionist Empire could possibly be allowed to occur.

Tweet (Alan MacLeod):
"(Thread) If you're asking yourself "why is coverage of Venezuela so poor?" - I did a PhD and wrote a book on the topic. What most people don't realise is this isn't a mistake. Journalists actively see themselves as the opposition to the government."
"A Brief Look at Jewish Wealth" (Dalton).  "Howard Schultz Says Billionaires Should Be Called ‘People of Means’ (Video)" (Sorkin).

"DuckDuckGo Warns that Google Does Not Respect ‘Do Not Track’ Browser Setting" (Southern).

"Hillary Clinton: Trump’s INF Treaty Withdrawal is “Gift to Putin”". Killary's criticism is that Trump wasn't WWIII enough!  "Freedom Rider: Democrats are the McCarthyites" (Kimberley).

"‘America First’ means nuclear superiority" (Bhadrakumar):
"In overall terms, the impression will be that Trump projected a foreign-policy outlook where the US will eschew military interventions in foreign countries that are in the nature of protracted entanglements through the remaining period of his term in office and concentrate instead on his domestic agenda, which he intends to make the centre piece of his campaign for re-election. A mood of retrenchment is evident all through and left to himself, Trump would like to avoid foreign-policy entanglements that do not directly impact American interests or his own campaign to win a second term as president.

Having said that, make no mistake, fundamentally and in a longer term perspective, Trump is actually pitching for “America First”. He believes in a strong America, whose military superiority will be unchallenged and whose capacity to force its will on the world community is never in doubt. Implicit in the strategy is a resumption of the US’ elusive chase for nuclear superiority — through an extremely expensive arms race in which Trump thinks Russia lacks the financial resources to compete with the US and China can be overwhelmed in military technology. "
"France recalling ambassador from Rome after Italy's deputy PM meets Yellow Vest leaders".  Italy works on regime change in France.

"How Integrity Initiative’s ‘Counterfeit Expert’ Perpetuated Novichok Narrative" (Klarenberg)

"6 holes in the new lawfare conviction against Lula" (Mier).

Woke!:  tweet (Steven A. Cook):
"Met with a group of Houthi spokespeople today. What struck me most was their virulent Jew hatred."
"Grievance Studies: Now There's A Word For It" (Sailer).

"Elizabeth Warren: Affirmative Action Princess" (Sailer).  How much longer can this shitshow continue?

"TERF Fight: In UK, Lesbian Feminists Are Allowed to Criticize Transgender Ex-Men. Disgusting!" (Sailer):
". . . in Britain’s Progressive Stack, perversely, lesbians are seen as more female than real women like Caitlyn Jenner."
"Rahm Emanuel Explains: "Hate Has No Home in Chicago"" (Sailer)!

"Ex-NYT Chief Jill Abramson Accused Of Rampant Plagiarism In Book On Ethical Journalism" (Durden).
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