“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Friday, June 24, 2016

The grammar of the Israeli occupation is to put pressure on Palestinians till an act of violence takes place – a knife attack, say – and then to use that event as an excuse to deepen the displacement with more settlements.

You think Israel is NOT a police thug state: Teenage American Jew speaks out against Israeli Occupation...see what happens next!

Why We Can't Hide From the Psychological and Emotional Trauma of the Israeli Occupation on Palestinians

Two books go way beyond the U.S. mainstream media's attempt to be "evenhanded." 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has recently approved $18 million in government funds to extend illegal settlements in Palestine’s West Bank. This comes on top of the $88 million that the Israeli regime already allocates for funding settlement activity.

New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a decree attacking the non-violent Boycott-Divestment Sanctions (BDS) movement, which is one of the few avenues in the West to hold Israel to account against its occupation of the Palestinian lands and its illegal settlements.

But, in the United States at least, it is virtually impossible to find the mainstream media being “evenhanded” on the question of the occupation. A new film by Loretta Alper and Jeremy Earp—The Occupation of the American Mind—shows that Israeli-funded propaganda (hasbara) has effectively rendered the US media into marionettes of Israeli state policy. At the Democratic Party’s platform committee, Cornel West had to make the case that the occupation is a reality. Such a fact could not be taken for granted.

In the mainstream US media, there will be no coverage of the April statement by the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to the UN Security Council on Israel. Ban pointed out that not only has Israel continued to build its illegal settlements, but it has also systematically demolished Palestinian homes. By early April, the Israelis had demolished as many Palestinian homes as they had demolished in all of 2015, which means that the pace of expansion has increased. Thousands of Palestinians have been displaced by these demolitions. The future Palestinian State recedes further into the distance, a fact that the US media declines to cover.


Reading Ben Ehrenreich’s The Way to the Spring: Life and Death in Palestine (2016) is an antidote to the appalling American coverage of the Israeli occupation of Palestine. Ehrenreich, an American novelist and journalist, lived off and on in Palestine for the past three years. His is a very kind voice, eager to provide space for the Palestinians to tell their stories, interested in the complexities of their emotional and political landscape, unhurried in his prose. Two villages (Nabi Saleh and Umm al-Kheir) and two towns (Ramallah and Hebron) provide the scaffolding for the narrative. Ehrenreich befriends a variety of people, each of whom teaches him that their “normal” is the life of occupation. Violence is part of it, but so too is survival and frustration, making meaning of a life that is structured so pitilessly. 

As he puts it, Grief was not something special. There were greater and lesser sorrows, but sorrow was a given. So was the pain of humiliation, the hard pride of refusal, a certain saving rage. They spilled over everything. What mattered was that these emotions were not suffered individually. They were shared, and in that sharing it was possible to laugh (p. 48).

These reflections come from Nabi Saleh, where a considerable part of the village has protested the theft of their water spring each Friday. There is ritual to the protest, but also danger. Lives have been lost, limbs have been broken, long jail sentences have been routine. Nariman Tamimi sits outside her home, puts coal on her arghile and tells Ehrenreich about one of her arrests (she would later be shot by live fire and now walks uncomfortably with a cane). “They beat me, and they arrested me,” she said. “That meant they wanted to silence me, which meant that what I was doing was important” (p. 64). Why would the everyday brutality be so precise if not for an effect – to break the spirit of the Palestinians?

Ehrenreich sits with an Israeli activist Eran Efrati in Jerusalem. He had been a soldier in Hebron in 2006-7. Efranti described the outrageous things he was asked to do by his commanders, such as raiding houses in Abu Sneineh. His unit would wake up the residents, eject them from their home, take pictures of everyone and then destroy whatever they could in the home. Why were they doing this, asked a naive Efranti of his commander. “If we go into their houses all the time, if you arrest people all the time, if they feel terrified all the time, they will never attack us. They will only feel chased after” (p. 205). The point of the soldier’s march through the lives of the Palestinians was to make them realize where they stood—and why they should cease resistance and depart from their encaged lives. The occupation, as Ehrenreich describes it, is not merely spatial; it is neurological.

Reading Ehrenreich’s book beside the work of Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian, who teaches at Hebrew University of Jerusalem, is startling. Shaloub-Kevorkian studies the way in which the technologies of the occupation produce an everyday form of victimhood that stretches from the streets to the most intimate of spaces for Palestinians. In her book—Security Theology (2015)—an industry of fear can be glimpsed from the Tag Mehir’s “price-tag” violence against Palestinians to the difficulties that Palestinians face in giving birth and burying their dead. The depth of the violence and uncertainty, Shalhoub-Kevorkian writes moves Palestinian women to speak of “being choked, suffocated or gagged” (p. 164). There is social trauma here, the erasure of society, what Shalhoub-Kevorkian calls “sociocide” – the death of society.


The grammar of the Israeli occupation is to put pressure on Palestinians till an act of violence takes place – a knife attack, say – and then to use that event as an excuse to deepen the displacement with more settlements. Netanyahu’s new settlement announcement, which is essentially ethnic cleansing, is couched in the language of security. What are these knife attacks? Ehrenreich visits the family of Anas al-Atrash in Hebron. Returning from a week of work in Jericho on November 7, 2013, Anas and his brother Ismail had filled their car with vegetables and fruits for the family in Hebron. At a checkpoint, Anas opened the door to his car and got out. An Israeli soldier shot him dead. Three days later, the Israeli Defense Forces sent out a tweet, “Terrorist Anas Alatash attempted to kill #IDF soldiers.” The body of Anas al-Atrash would now provide the raison d’être for the demolition of Palestinians homes and the expansion of illegal Israeli settlements.

Ehrenreich, with a fierce determination for the truth, gets the family’s version. Anas had no interest in politics, they tell him. That was their way. Keep your head down and work hard. He was studying accounting and hoped to get married soon. The Israeli soldiers and intelligence officials keep asking Ismail if his brother had a knife. There simply was no knife as Ehrenreich found from eye-witnesses who said that Anas had been killed in cold-blood. “This is a savage country,” said one. “They have no shame” (p. 205). He meant the Israeli troops.

When I investigated the killing of Abdullah Hussein Ahmad Nasara at the Huwwara checkpoint on December 17, 2015, I found eyewitnesses who said he had his hands in the air when he was fatally shot. Nasser told me there was no knife. “I saw them kill a boy,” he told me. Kamal Badran Qabalan, an ambulance driver, could not retrieve the body. The Israelis wanted control over the body and the story they would tell about it.

Soldiers told those who witnessed the killing of Anas al-Alatash that they had seen “a guy attack a soldier with a knife”(p. 206). That was the story that had to make the wires. It was essential for the Israeli narrative to overshadow the truth. Ehrenreich writes to the Israeli army, asking for access to the security camera footage to verify the facts of the death. Mickey Rosenfeld, the Israeli police spokesperson said that under no circumstances would the footage be released. “There is no investigation under way,” he wrote to Ehrenreich later. There is no need for an investigation. Hasbara has its own story to tell. Ehrenreich’s doggedness is its inverse.

Anas did not have a knife in his hands. But others did. Why did they use knives and other futile instruments to attack a regime that is impervious to such ridiculous gestures? These are the kinds of actions that frustrate Issa Amro of Hebron’s Youth Against Settlements. The armed struggle is futile, says Amro. He watched in the early 2000s as his friends died one by one, one gunman falling before the vast Israeli regime. “I knew they didn’t have weapons. They didn’t have enough training. They weren’t dangerous people,” he tells Ehrenreich (p. 175). Yet, the neurological damage of the occupation sends people to places of great dismay. Lives lived encaged by the Occupation produce – says UN Secretary General Ban – “fear, humiliation, frustration and mistrust. It has been fed by the wounds of decades of bloody conflict, which will take a long time to heal. Palestinian youth in particular are tired of broken promises and they see no light at the end of the tunnel.” Secretary Ban blamed the “settlement enterprise” for the tension in the region.

What alternatives exist? Amro is buiding a movement of the people of Hebron to confront the settlement enterprise and the occupation with their bodies and spirit. The residents of Nabi Saleh conduct their protests to draw a line under history, and – as Bassem Tamimi says – to draw international attention to their plight. It is here that the BDS movement comes in. It is an ally of those who want to restart the dynamic of Palestinian politics, broken by the Oslo Accords. Governor Cuomo and others might try to ban BDS by executive action, but the mood in the United States is changing. Last year, I edited a book called Letters from Palestine: Writers Respond to War and Occupation. Ehrenreich has an essay in the book from Gaza. He is joined in the book by Junot Diaz, Teju Cole, Naomi Shibab Nye and others. These writers have broken the consensus. So has Viet Thanh Nguyen, who won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for his novel The Sympathizer. Nguyen has joined the BDS movement. 

Fifty years of an occupation creates a strange dynamic. Ehrenreich’s book and Shalhoub-Kevorkian’s work offer windows into this madness. Shalhoub-Kevorkian, who lives in Jerusalem, told me that she is part of a group of women who walk Palestinian children to school each day. It is too dangerous for them to confront the police and the settlers on their way to school. One girl, Marah (age 8), told Shalhoub-Kevorkian – Bikhawfuni, they scare me. The children in the school draw pictures. One of them draws a clown, a Palestinian clown. When Shalhoub-Kevorkian asked the child (age 9) what a Palestinian clown is, he explained, “This is a Palestinian clown. Clowns in Palestine cry.”

Vijay Prashad is professor of international studies at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. He is the author of 18 books, including Arab Spring, Libyan Winter(AK Press, 2012), The Poorer Nations: A Possible History of the Global South(Verso, 2013) and the forthcoming The Death of a Nation and the Future of the Arab Revolution (University of California Press, 2016). His columns appear at AlterNet every Wednesday.



    Idaho BobFri Jun 24, 03:18:00 PM EDT

    One major sticking point has been, O Uninformed, the continual 'Palestinian' insistence on 'The Right of Return'.

    They know Israel cannot ever accept this so they keep insisting as they have had no real interest in an agreement.

    They are pledged to genocide the Jews.

    They don't deserve a state.

    1. AND THIS:

      What is “Occupation”Fri Jun 24, 12:28:00 PM EDT

      UN Human Rights Council Condemns Israel’s Treatment of Golan Druze
      The resolution, reached after years of slaughter in Syria and advanced by Assad-supporting council members, strengthens criticism of bias against the council.

      read more:

      The United Nations Human Rights Council - which has been harshly criticized by Israel and its allies in the international community for allegations of acuate bias against the Jewish state - passed a resolution on Thursday condeming Israel for its alleged abuse and violation of the human rights of the Druze who reside in the Golan Heights.
      The decision was passed in the same week as the world marked the fifth anniversary of the outbreak of the Syrian Civil War, in which hundreds of thousands of people have been killed.
      The resolution was advanced by a number of the few countries that still support the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad, such as Bolivia, Cuba and Venezuela, as well as Pakistan and Namibia. Thirty-one countries, headed by Russia and the Arab and Muslim members of the council, voted in favor of the resolution. Sixteen countries, among them all European members of the council, abstained.

      The resolution says that the council is "Deeply concerned at the suffering of the Syrian citizens in the occupied Syrian Golan due to the systematic and continuous violation of their fundamental and human rights by Israel since the Israeli military occupation of 1967." The resolution further states as illegal the 1981 Israeli annexation of the Golan Heights, adding that Israel must cease settlement construction there.
      The council's resolution calls on Israel to "desist from imposing Israeli citizenship and Israeli identity cards on the Syrian citizens" in the Golan Heights and to allow them to visit their relatives in Syria.
      The resolution also calls on UN member states not to recognize the Israeli annexation of the Golan Heights.

      the world's opinion?


      BTW, Israel ANNEXED the Golan Heights.

    2. AND THIS

      What is “Occupation”Fri Jun 24, 08:28:00 AM EDT

      Hamas fears growing wave of defections to Israel by senior figures
      DEBKAfile June 23, 2016, 4:44 PM (IDT)
      The military wing of Hamas has taken a series of steps in an attempt to prevent senior organization figures from defecting to Israel in the future. At least four people in key positions defected during the past few months, most prominently Bassam Mahmoud Baraka from Khan Yunis who turned himself as well as his laptop computer over to the Israeli authorities. Under the new steps, those in "sensitive" positions are banned from approaching the zone next to the border fence. They are also monitored personally and electronically as well as subject to other unspecified means of deterrence, Arab media outlets in Gaza and London reported on Wednesday.

      change is coming

    3. AND THIS:

      What is “Occupation”Fri Jun 24, 12:47:00 AM EDT

      Now maybe the palesintians will vote out hamas and Abbas...

      who knows..

    4. You want all Israel, all the time? You can have it but you are not going to get the pro-Israel lies and propaganda handed down by US Media. You will get what they refuse to publish.

    5. LOL

      Israel's press is the freest in the region if not the world.

  2. I thought much the same thing:

    Donald Trump said Friday that the same forces that drove Great Britain to pull out of the European Union will help him win the presidency in November – and he's not the only one who thinks so.

    Some experts are saying the stunning move has in fact increased the possibility of a President Trump.

    Nicolas Véron, a senior fellow at Bruegel, an independent research institution in Brussels, told The New York Times that the Brexit vote was "essentially against economic rationality and driven by identity concerns and unease about globalization and trade." "If such a vote can win in the U.K.," he said, "that fosters among investors a sense of the likelihood that Trump can also win."

    And the Chicago Tribune Editorial Board declared Brexit "a big bump for Trump," writing that the decision "ratifies his arguments that citizens should reject the dictates of technocrats, politicians and self-anointed experts."

    But William Galston, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and former policy advisor to then-President Bill Clinton, tells PEOPLE that while there are significant structural parallels between the two elections, that doesn't mean that what happened in the U.K. is going to have an impact on the U.S. 2016 race.

    "I think the answer to that question is almost certainly no," Galston said.

    "On the other hand," he added, "one of the things that became clear in the course of the [Brexit] vote count last night was that most of the British surveys were off. They appeared to have systematically overstated support for the 'Remain' campaign, and understated support for the 'Leave' campaign."

    "If it's the case that there were a bunch of people who knew they were going to vote 'Leave' but for various sorts of reasons of social correctness, didn't want to tell a live interviewer that that's what they were going to do, then there might be some parallels between the U.S. and the U.K. and might lead some people to suspect that maybe the U.S. polls are understating the amount of real support for Donald Trump."

    As for the comparisons being drawn between Trump and Boris Johnson, the leader of the "Leave" campaign, Galston said, "There are certainly some structural parallels between Donald Trump's supporters and the supporters of the U.K. Independence Party and the 'Leave' campaign, there's no question about that. As a matter of fact, the coalitions look very much the same.”

    - People

  3. The Arabs of Palestine

    "The Israelis say that they do not conscript Arabs--except the Druses, who insisted on it themselves--because the only people the Israeli Army would ever have to fight are Arabs. It seems decent to me, and it seems like reasonable military security. How would your men feel if called upon to fight fellow Arabs, who might be their blood relatives and intended to be their liberators? Do you think it is a good job for a man to join an army he cannot serve with his heart, and would sell out if the time came? That may be excellent work for spies, but not for soldiers."

    She opened her closed face to say, "Yes, I see. But it is our country."

    It was too hot, and too futile. Besides, I was tired of the convention which apparently requires non-Arabs to treat Arabs as if they were neurotic children, subject either to tantrums or to internal bleeding from spiritual wounds. This girl did not strike me as a pathetic weakling.

    "Only by right of conquest," I said. "In the seventh century. The Jews got here first, about two thousand years ahead of you. You haven't lived as masters in your own house for a long time. Aside from the Crusaders, the Ottoman Turks bossed you for a steady four hundred years, before the British took over. Now the Jews have won back their land by right of conquest. Turn and turn about," I said, feeling as beastly minded as an Arab myself. "Fair's fair."

    "How was it?" asked Nissim, who had been waiting in the car. "She is fine, isn't she? Think that she starts to teach the Muslim women. No other one did."

    Israelis are the first to explain (and who can know better?) that it is painful to be a minority: the Arabs in Palestine became a minority suddenly. It is grievous (as who knows better than Israelis?) to be separated from the numerous, needed members of your family. Israelis will also explain that the Arabs in Israel are torn in two: their racial loyalty belongs to the enemies of Israel, and they are afraid; if the Arab nations make war against Israel, as is regularly promised on the radio from Cairo, Damascus, Beirut, what will be their fate? Would the outside Arabs regard them, the Arabs inside Israel, as collaborators, traitors?

    The emotional position of the Israeli Arabs is tormenting (and is held in that torment by the Arab radio stations), though they are materially secure, protected by equal justice under law, and by an almost exaggerated respect for their feelings. If the Arab nations made peace with Israel, it is possible that all Israeli Arabs would relax, be happy, and wholehearted supporters of Israel. If not, not. No one, after listening to Israeli Arabs, could believe that Palestinian refugees would be either contented or loyal citizens of Israel.

    The new village, that so pleased Nissim, was rows of small plastered houses painted in pastel shades, or white with pastel-colored woodwork. They have a porch-veranda, two fairly large rooms, a kitchen, a shower-washroom, and small gardens. No working-class Arabs I saw anywhere in the Middle East possess houses like these, but the owners were not satisfied, as I knew they would not be. One boy of about fourteen could speak English; boys of this age are valuable informants--they parrot their elders without reflection.

    1. "We are very poor," he said.

      "How can you be very poor and live in these houses? You have to pay for them."

      "We must to work very hard. More harder than before. Terrible work. We have no land."

      "Wasn't farming hard work?"

      "No. That was easy. Not like now."

      "How does your family manage?"

      "My brother works. In Tel Aviv. In a gasoline station. That is terrible hard work."

      When we left, the pretty, healthy children ran beside the car, shouting. I waved. Nissim looked queer, something was wrong; that chronic optimist seemed sad.

      "What's the matter, Nissim?"

      "Nothing. What the children say."

      "You mean just now, shouting?"

      "Yes. They say: 'Where you going, bastard? I spit on you.'"

      What for, I thought, what for, and will it never stop?

      "Do you hate the Arabs, Nissim?"

      "No. Of course no."

      "Why not?"

      "What is the good of hate?"

      What indeed? Arabs gorge on hate, they roll in it, they breathe it. Jews top the hate list, but any foreigners are hateful enough. Arabs also hate each other, separately and, en masse. Their politicians change the direction of their hate as they would change their shirts. Their press is vulgarly base with hate-filled cartoons; their reporting describes whatever hate is now uppermost and convenient. Their radio is a long scream of hate, a call to hate. They teach their children hate in school. They must love the taste of hate; it is their daily bread. And what good has it done them?

      THERE is no future in spending UN money to breed hate. There is no future in nagging or bullying Israel to commit suicide by the admission of a fatal locust swarm of enemies. There is no future in Nasser's solution, the Holy War against Israel; and we had better make this very clear, very quickly. Long bleak memories will recall the Sudetendeutsch and Czechoslovakia. In a new setting, Palestinian refugees assume the role of the Sudetendeutsch. Israel becomes Czechoslovakia. Propaganda prepares the war for liberation of "our brothers." Victory over- a minor near enemy is planned as the essential first step on a long triumphant road of conquest. A thousand-year Muslim Reich, the African continent ruled by Egypt, may be a mad dream, but we have experience of mad dreams and mad dreamers. We cannot be too careful. The echo of Hitler's voice is heard again in the land, now speaking Arabic.

      The Arabs of Palestine, 1961, Martha Gellhorn

  4. Switching over to an important contemporary topic:


    Men Did Greater Things When It Was Harder To See Boobs

    To make America great again we may need to make seeing boobs rare again.

  5. A new word has just arisen in Texas:


  6. Deuce is frustrated that the 1.2 MILLION arab citizens of Israel disagree with him...

    He has to post some wacked out American Jewish kid...

    1. The Arabs in Israel probably don't listen to 'Palestinian' radio and TV all that much.

      In Israel they can listen to and watch anything they want, and not live in fear of their neighbors for doing so.

  7. .

    30+ Attendees at Tony Robbins Event Burned Walking on Hot Coals

    Get Motivated. Get Burnt.

    My respect for Tony Robbins as a motivational speaker has skyrocketed. You have to be pretty good to convince over 30 people to continue to jump on a bed of coals after the first 4 or 5 were carted off with burns.

    This was Tony's first event held in Idaho.


    1. .

      Kool Aid was served before the event.


    2. My respect for Tony Robbins as a motivational speaker has skyrocketed.

      No doubt. Sounds like he is in the same bidness line as you were in:

      Bilking fools out of their money.

      I've never heard of the guy myself.

      Which is unsurprising as you say it was his first visit to my fair state.

      Where's he from, Michigan ?

    3. I looked it up. He was born in West Hollywood, LA, USA.


  8. Let's check in on Bernie-zuela once again, see how things are going- (great, sad pic of starving picking over the garbage land fill for food included) -

    A Socialist Les Miserables in Venezuela

    The Left reduces a wealthy country to starvation.

    June 24, 2016

    Daniel Greenfield

    A mob of starving people advanced on the presidential palace chanting, “We want food”. They were met by soldiers and police dispatched by the tyrant from his lavish palace decorated opulently with a golden sun, giant rock crystal mirrors, sparkling chandeliers and towering oil portraits.

    The scene wasn’t 19th century France, but 21st century Venezuela.

    And if you are wondering why you haven’t seen it on the news, it’s because Venezuela is a Socialist disaster area that was once being used as a model by the left. Now it’s a place where the vast majority of people can’t afford basic food staples and a third are down to two or fewer meals a day.

    Obama laughed and joked with deceased monster Hugo Chavez, who handed him a copy of the anti-American tract, “Open Veins of Latin America” that had even been disavowed by its own author. Obama called the book a “nice gesture”, but Eduardo Galeano, its author, had told an audience that the left “commits grave errors” when in power.

    Venezuela, once a wealthy oil state, where the doctors offering “universal health care” have no medicine and starving people loot government stores looking for food, is yet another example. 50 people are dead in the latest food riots. Their graves are yet another “grave error” of the left.

    Obama has not appeared too concerned at the meltdown in Venezuela. Unlike Syria, there are no threats of intervention to remove Maduro, Chavez’s successor, and the rest of the leftist regime illegally clinging to power while slaughtering Venezuelans, smuggling drugs and aiding terrorists.

    When Hugo Chavez was killed by the wonders of Cuban medicine, a remedy that American leftists recommend to others while they obtain the best private health care for their own ailments, Obama offered a vague statement of support calling Chavez’s passing, “challenging”.

    It was certainly that.

    Chavez had been none too tightly wound; claiming that capitalism had destroyed life on Mars, that Jews run the world and that his cancer had been caused by America, but his successor, Nicolas Maduro is insane. Maduro claimed that his deceased predecessor appeared to him in the form of a “little bird” and on a subway wall. He showed off the photo of the wall on state television while crying.

    “Chavez is everywhere, we are Chavez, you are Chavez," he insisted.

    Hugo Chavez is indeed everywhere. His portraits cover Venezuela. They’re a lot easier to find than food. And these days Venezuelans are far more interested in finding something to put in their mouths.

    The left-wing sociologist running the Venezuelan economy doesn’t believe in inflation. Last year he wrote a pamphlet in which he insisted that “Inflation does not exist in real life.”

    Inflation certainly exists in Venezuela which has seen 500% inflation. The Socialist regime responded with price controls. When stores and farmers wouldn’t sell at set prices, soldiers were sent in to take them over. Crowds initially cheered all the subsidized products. But they wouldn’t be cheering for long.

    1. After the fun of electronics stores forced to discount televisions at gunpoint, there were no more televisions. And no more cars. Then no more toilet paper, milk and other basic necessities.

      The Socialist government tried to solve its money problem by printing more money. But it wasn’t able to pay for the money it wanted to print because of the inflation which officially did not exist.

      Venezuela needs 10 billion bank notes in its new inflationary economy, more than America, and it can’t pay for them. Or pay for anything else. It can’t afford to import food and it refuses to pay fair prices at home. Meanwhile eggs, at the official exchange rate, run to $150, McDonald’s fries for $126 and a pound of coffee for $85. Socialists may not believe in inflation, but inflation believes in them.

      No wonder the people are starving.

      Teachers sell passing grades to students in exchange for milk and flour. Lines at government stores are endless and an entire economy has been built on buying and trades spots on food lines. Fingerprint scanners are used to enforce milk rations. And a heavy military police and military presence is required to stop mobs of starving people from grabbing the food as soon as it arrives.

      The military elite receive special food privileges. In a country where bread and butter have become distant memories for many, the guns used to oppress the Venezuelan people are paid for with butter. And the people are fighting back. The government calls its crackdown on starving people “Operation People’s Liberation”. The people however want to be liberated from their socialist liberators.

      When the Socialist regime responded to electoral defeats by rigging the Supreme Court and arresting the free market opposition, the street battles intensified. The “Liberators”, who have the luxury of eating butter with their bread, are fighting hungry men and women in the streets of cities. And sometimes it’s the socialist “liberators” who are forced to retreat from the true people’s liberators.

      While the socialists route food through the United Socialist Party of Venezuela’s CLAP committees to their own supporters, ordinary Venezuelans are hunting pigeons, and even dogs and cats in the capital.

      Before the last election, Chavez said, “If I was from the United States, I'd vote for Obama.” And the two leaders do have some political and economic views in common. The fundamental difference is that it took Venezuela a lot less time to run out of “other people’s money” than America.

    2. A few years ago, the left-wing site Salon was praising “Hugo Chavez’s economic miracle” and suggesting that we should follow his example of nationalizing companies. “Are there any constructive lessons to be learned from Chavez’s grand experiment with more aggressive redistribution?” its author wondered.

      Someone ought to ask the starving mobs redistributing government food while dodging bullets.

      Venezuelan socialists used the familiar language of claiming that subsidies and free services were human rights. “Health care can’t be privatized because it is a fundamental human right,” Chavez once claimed. That should sound familiar. Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton have said the same thing.

      But Venezuela’s universal health care has no actual medicine. Hospitals have no running water or soap. Victims arrive with gunshots and aren’t treated until they settle their bill. Babies die routinely.

      And it goes without saying that there is no food.

      “I doubt that anywhere in the world, except in Cuba, there exists a better health system than this one,” Maduro insists.

      Considering how bad actual Cuban medicine is, he’s probably right.

      Socialism killed Venezuela. The country has no food, no money, no power, no health care and no hope. Venezuelans were promised a better life through government. This is what they received.

      There are lessons for us here and they are obvious ones. And that is why the media has minimized its coverage of a horrific crisis. The people chanting that they want food are not rebelling against unfeeling corporations, but a government whose economic policies many on the left had viewed as a model.

      The popularity of Bernie Sanders is based on many of the same empty promises of freebies for all that made Hugo Chavez such a hit. Venezuela is a model of how well that works out in real life. Socialism is increasingly popular in America. Meanwhile in Latin America, socialism kills babies and drives starving mobs to demand food outside the presidential palace under the guns of the regime’s soldiers.

      It’s an old story, but it’s also a new story because when we forget history, then we are forced to repeat it. If we don’t learn from Venezuela, we will become Venezuela.

    3. Venezuela is currently being run by this guy -

      Nicolás Maduro

      Nicolás Maduro Moros (Spanish: [nikoˈlas maˈðuɾo ˈmoɾos]; born 23 November 1962), more commonly known as Nicolás Maduro, is a Venezuelan politician who has been the 65th President of Venezuela since 2013. Previously he served under President Hugo Chávez as Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2006 to 2013 and as Vice President of Venezuela from 2012 to 2013.

      A former bus driver, Maduro rose to become a trade union leader, before being elected to the National Assembly in 2000. He was appointed to a number of positions within the Venezuelan Government under Chávez, ultimately being made Foreign Minister in 2006. He was described during this time as the "most capable administrator and politician of Chávez's inner circle".[2] After Chávez's death was announced on 5 March 2013, Maduro assumed the powers and responsibilities of the president. A special election was held on 14 April 2013 to elect a new president, and Nicolas Maduro won with 50.62% of the votes as the candidate of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela. He was formally inaugurated on 19 April.[3]

      Since being elected president, Maduro has ruled Venezuela by decree for the majority of the period between 19 November 2013[4] through 2016.[5][6][7] As a result of Chávez's policies and Maduro's continuation of them, Venezuela's socioeconomic status declined, with crime, inflation, poverty and hunger increasing.[8][9][10][11] Shortages in Venezuela and decreased living standards resulted in protests beginning in 2014 that escalated into daily riots nationwide by 2016, with Maduro's popularity suffering.[12][13] The loss of popularity saw the election of an opposition-led National Assembly in 2015 and a movement toward recalling Maduro in 2016, though Maduro still maintains power through loyal political bodies, such as the Supreme Court and electoral authority, as well as the military.[12][13][14]

      Early life and education

      Officially, Maduro was born into a leftist family, with his father being a union leader[15][20] and "militant dreamer of the Movimiento Electoral del Pueblo (MEP)."[21] The only male of four siblings, he had "three sisters, María Teresa, Josefina, and Anita “Lala”."[21]

      Maduro was purportedly raised in "Calle 13", a street in Los Jardines, El Valle, a working-class neighborhood on the western outskirts of Caracas.[17] He attended a public high school, the Liceo José Ávalos, in El Valle.[16][22] His introduction to politics was when he became a member of his high school's student union.[15]According to school records, Maduro never graduated from high school.[20]

      At 24 years of age, "Maduro travelled through the streets of Havana with other militants of leftist organizations in South America that moved to Cuba in 1986, to attend(ed) a one year course in the Escuela Nacional de Cuadros Julio Antonio Mella, a centre of political indoctrination directed by the Union of Communist Youth."[23]


      Unbelievably, he seems to be even less informed about the world than SMIRK.