Texas Longhorns with newborn calf in Bluebonnets

Texas Longhorns with newborn calf in Bluebonnets

Please note I have a new phone number...


Alan Maki

Alan Maki
Doing research at the LBJ Library in Austin, Texas

It's time to claim our Peace Dividend

It's time to claim our Peace Dividend

We need to beat swords into plowshares.

We need to beat swords into plowshares.

A program for real change...


What we need is a "21st Century Full Employment Act for Peace and Prosperity" which would make it a mandatory requirement that the president and Congress attain and maintain full employment.

"Voting is easy and marginally useful, but it is a poor substitute for democracy, which requires direct action by concerned citizens"

- Ben Franklin

Let's talk...

Let's talk...

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Venezuela... on the road to socialism

Why must we always be forced to read between the lines and research the truthfulness of the statements that our great "free media" indiscriminately passes off as the truth... when in fact, more often than not, it is mere fiction and inuendo?

It is bad enough that the media bought the Bush line of lies and deceit concerning the reasons for going to war in Iraq; then turned around and pushed these lies at us day and night... now we are getting a replay, this time with Venezuela.

One two-bit, fascist dictator--- Augusto Pinochet, was brought to power by the CIA in Chile after similar "concerns" were raised regarding the democratically elected government of Salvador Allende, a coalition government representing workers, peasants, socialists, and communists; today, in Venezuela, a very similar government has been democratically elected in spite of the best efforts of corporate America and the CIA to meddle and undermine the democratic process.

We must not forget the CIA drenched the democratic will of the Chilean people in one of the bloodiest coups in history... the methods employed to topple the very popular Allende government by Pinochet under the direction of the United States Central Intelligence Agency were truly barbaric, savage, and canabilistic... If ever anyone deserved to be nailed to a cross and stoned to death it was Augusto Pinochet, whom the CIA protected to his last breath.

All signs are here again... this time in Venezuela... Chavez may live to regret that he has tolerated the U.S. corporate and CIA bank-rolled opposition; but that is his problem and concern, not ours.

Our responsibility as Americans is to see to it that neither our government nor U.S. based multi-national corporations intervene in the democratic process now underway in Venezuela.

We know what Hugo Chavez said about George Bush being a "devil" was a word much too kind, uttered in diplomacy. Bush is a murderer and war criminal... Bush believes he has some kind of God-given power to reign as master over the entire planet as he struts about making decisions of who will live and who will die.

All Hugo Chavez did was put a "d" in front of the word George Bush has repeatedly used... if not against Fidel Castro, then against the entire peoples of North Korea, and agaist Chavez. Bush has used the word "evil" to describe the revolutionaries now fighting for power in the Philippines, and those fighting to establish democracy in Somalia; anything that challenges U.S. corporate domination is "evil" to the Bush/Cheney gang which is the epitome of corruption and perversion... to put a "d" in front of the word "evil" was very appropriate... people needed to hear this.

Several points:

1)Talk about democracy; Chavez is simply carrying out his campaign promises, on the basis of which he was overwhelmingly elected

2) The biggest electric utility is owned by AES, a Virginia corporation, the phone company is owned by Verizon

3) The proposal would merely return them to their previous publicly owned status; they were privatized in a fit of marketization some years ago.

It is interesting to note that the Conservative government that came to power in Manitoba, Canada privatized the publicly owned phone company which offered Manitobans the cheapest and best phone service in North America... now they have one of the most expensive and most unreliable phone services in the world.

I can understand why Venezuelans would be upset with phone company privatization... take a look at your own phone bill and you will see why. Then take a look at your electric bill. We could use public ownership of the utilities right here in the United States. Maybe if we watch closely how they accomplish public ownership of the utilities in Venezuela we will learn something.

Below are two examples from the primary sources of where Americans get their news and information... these are hardly news reports based upon facts... rather, they are the same kind of fiction intended to set the stage for U.S. imperialist intervention in Venezuela as the bloodbath which took place in Chile... I would note the shameful role the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and the AFL-CIO has played at the direction of the CIA in trying to destabilize the democratically elected government in Venezuela led by Hugo Chavez which includes a true reflection of a very broad cross-section of the population...

If only our own government was as democratically elected as in Venezuela after such vigorous and public debate with all views allowed to be expressed--- maybe we would have single-payer, universal health care and a real living minimum wage instead of a war in Iraq.

This first article is from the Associated press; the following article is from Reuters:

Chavez: Will nationalize telecoms, power

By IAN JAMES, Associated Press Writer ; January 8, 2007

President Hugo Chavez announced plans Monday to nationalize Venezuela's electrical and telecommunications companies, pledging to create a socialist state in a bold move with echoes of Fidel Castro's revolution in Cuba.

Chavez, who will be sworn in Wednesday to a third term that runs until 2013, also said he wanted a constitutional amendment to eliminate the autonomy of the Central Bank and would soon ask the National Assembly, solidly controlled by his allies, to give him greater powers to legislate by presidential decree.

"We're moving toward a socialist republic of Venezuela, and that requires a deep reform of our national constitution," Chavez said in a televised address after swearing in his new Cabinet. "We're heading toward socialism, and nothing and no one can prevent it."

Before Chavez was re-elected by a wide margin last month, he promised to take a more radical turn toward socialism. His critics have voiced concern that he would use his sweeping victory to consolidate more power in his own hands.

Cuba, one of Chavez's closest allies in the region, nationalized major industries shortly after Castro came to power in 1959. Bolivia's Evo Morales, another Chavez ally, moved to nationalize key sectors after taking office last year.

"The nation should recover its ownership of strategic sectors," Chavez said. "All of that which was privatized, let it be nationalized," he added, referring to "all of those sectors in an area so important and strategic for all of us as is electricity."

The nationalization appeared likely to affect Electricidad de Caracas, owned by Arlington, Virginia-based AES Corp., and C.A. Nacional Telefonos de Venezuela, known as CANTV, the country's largest publicly traded company.

Chavez said lucrative oil projects in the Orinoco River basin involving foreign oil companies should be under national ownership. He did not spell out whether that meant a complete nationalization, but said any vestiges of private control over the energy sector should be undone.

"I'm referring to how international companies have control and power over all those processes of improving the heavy crudes of the Orinoco belt — no — that should become the property of the nation," Chavez said.

Chavez did not appear to rule out all private investment in the oil sector. Since last year, his government has sought to form state-controlled "mixed companies" with British Petroleum PLC, Exxon Mobil Corp., Chevron Corp., ConocoPhillips Co., Total SA and Statoil ASA to upgrade heavy crude in the Orinoco. Such joint ventures have already been formed in other parts of the country.

The United States remains the top buyer of Venezuelan oil, which provides Chavez with billions of dollars for social programs aimed at helping Venezuela's poor as well as aid for countries around the region.

Chavez threatened last August to nationalize CANTV, a Caracas-based former state firm that was privatized in 1991, unless it fully complied with a court ruling and adjusted its pension payments to current minimum-wage levels, which have been repeatedly increased by his government.

CANTV is the dominant provider of fixed-line telephone service in Venezuela, and also has large shares of the mobile phone and Internet markets.

Electricidad de Caracas is the largest private electricity firm in Venezuela. U.S.-based AES, a global power company that today has businesses in 26 countries, bought a majority stake of Electricidad de Caracas in a hostile takeover in 2000.

After Chavez's announcement, American Depositary Receipts of CANTV — the only Venezuelan company traded on the New York Stock Exchange — immediately plunged 14.2 percent to $16.84 before the NYSE halted trading. An NYSE spokesman said it was not known when trading might resume.

Investors with sizable holdings in CANTV's ADRs include some well-known names on Wall Street, including Deutsche Bank Securities Inc., UBS Securities LLC and Morgan Stanley & Co. But the biggest shareholder, according to Thomson Financial, appears to be Brandes Investment Partners LP, an investment advisory company in California.

Also holding a noteworthy stake is Julius Baer Investment Management LLC, a Swiss investment manager.

CANTV said it was aware of Chavez's remarks but added in a statement: "No government representatives have communicated with the company, and the company has no other information."

Chavez cited the communist ideals of Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin at other points in his speech.

"I'm very much of (Leon) Trotsky's line — the permanent revolution," he said.

In the fiery address, the president also used a vulgar word roughly meaning "idiot" to refer to Organization of American States Secretary-General Jose Miguel Insulza. He lashed out at Insulza for questioning his government's decision not to renew the license of an opposition-aligned TV station.


Chavez seeks to radicalize Venezuela in new term
By Christian Oliver January 10, 2007

CARACAS (Reuters) - Re-elected Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez will be sworn in on Wednesday for a new term ending in 2013 while promising a radical socialist revolution and nationalizations that have dragged down financial markets.

Emboldened by his landslide victory last month, the anti-U.S. leader has brazenly courted controversy, refusing to renew the license of an opposition television channel and vowing to take over major companies, including some owned by foreign investors.
"We are moving toward a socialist republic of Venezuela," the leader of the OPEC nation said on Monday, outlining policies such as stripping the central bank of its autonomy and asking Congress to grant him special legislative powers.

Financial markets took fright at the deepening of Chavez's leftist drive. The stock market lost almost a fifth of its value on Tuesday, debt prices tumbled to a six-week low and the currency changed hands at nearly twice the official rate.

The opposition has accused Chavez, in power since 1999, of seeking to transform the fourth-biggest oil exporter to the United States into a Cuban-style centralized economy.

Chavez, who won 63 percent of the vote in December, has amplified comparisons with Cuban leader Fidel Castro by forming a single party to steer his revolution, but insists he will always tolerate opposition.

He already controls parliament and the judiciary and has said only his supporters can work in the army and state oil company. By focusing on the media and utilities, he is homing in on two sectors that could complete his state control.

Chavez insists he needs more power to save Venezuela from exploitation and even attack by capitalist countries, particularly the United States, whose President George W. Bush he has labeled "the devil."

Chavez's nationalization plans remain hazy and the utilities and foreign investors want to know whether he plans to take a 51-percent governing stake or seize all of their enterprises.

Threatened firms in the country's giant oil sector include Chevron, ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips, BP, Statoil and Total.

Chavez has already confiscated large cattle ranches, run by the likes of British meat producer Vestey, to distribute to farmers.

But nationalizing the country's biggest telecommunications company CANTV and power firms represents a bold new policy.

"He is speaking like the master of Venezuela ... he is trying to drive Venezuela into the darkness," opposition leader Manuel Rosales said.

But Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro defended the plans.

"This is a rescue mission for the sovereignty of Venezuela."