Sean Fenley

Sean Fenley
May 04
Sean Fenley is an independent progressive, who would like to see some sanity brought to the creation and implementation of current and future, US military, economic, foreign and domestic policies. He has been published by a number of websites, and publications throughout the alternative media.

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JANUARY 5, 2013 3:16AM

New Year’s Thoughts and Prayers for Hugo Chavez

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Remember in this New Year to send out prayers and good thoughts into the universe for President Hugo Chavez. The imperialist devils have wanted him gone for 12 plus years, and now it only remains in the hands of eminently capable Cuban doctors. And moreover, forces such as God and the higher powers — if you at all believe in them. Whilst Obama drone bombs children, and supports radical Muslim extremists — exactly like those we are alleged to be against in the Global War on Terrorism — no doubt his deep loathing remains for a man: who has brought real hope, real change, a way out of poverty, opportunism, and optimism for so many. Even in the face of bellicose imperialist devils, as I aforementioned, who believe that the Monroe Doctrine entitles them to think that their neighbors to the South are like little children! (And Obama has unequivocally been amongst the worst in this regard, despite having a markedly different appearance than any and all of his past or recent predecessors.)

It has probably been Presidente Chavez’s spine, and his determination, that has so rankled his “magisterial” would-be overlords. Even more so than a humane/human-based, and pretty largely disparate ideology. And so pray for the latest of them: the Grand Obama. Pray for poor old Obama’s soul too! Why don’t you!!? I don’t personally, follow any particular faith tradition, but I’m well aware of the spiritual teaching, that is advised to a great many folks — which is to say love one’s enemies. Or like the Buddha had so effectively put it, “I should be like the sun, shining universally on all without seeking thanks or reward, able to take care of all sentient beings even if they are bad.”

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I wish the best for Mr. Chavez even though I know perfectly well that my "wishes" will have no effect on how well he does.

My prayers for Mr. Obama; the "prayers" of an atheist, will do him about as much good as my wishes for Mr. Chavez. But I do have sympathy for Mr. Obama. I'm sure that, although he knows American politics inside and out, he truly thought that he'd be able to do some very good things once he could take a seat in the Presidential chair.

I pity him for the severe disappointment he must have felt when the riot act was read to him by those who really rule the nation of which he became president. He has to "suffer the slings and arrows" of those whom he must betray - the good citizens. I think that he takes on this terrible task in the hopes that he can, in some small measure, ease the suffering of the people of his nation. He knows that he'll not be able to do much and he knows that he'll be the goat for the evil that happens during his term in office. So, instead of resigning, he does his best under the circumstances. As does nearly every president of that fine nation.

Ah well, the end is not all that far off. It will soon be time to rebuild......

I hope that is what happened to Obama (riot act read to him), because if not he is a wolf in sheep's clothing. As Oliver Stone said recently with Abby Martin on RT.
I have noticed that every president since Ike, about the beginning of his second year in the oval office, suddenly looks like he'd been kicked in the stomach by a mule. a long time ago, (yeah I'm that old) I wondered what had happened.

For the rest of their term of office they do not seem the same person they were at the beginning. I even speculated about them being done in and a ringer being put in their place. The last 4 or 5 however, just seem to have been hit with some news that has almost overwhelmed them. Most have seemed to just square their shoulders and try to carry on honourably. Ones like the Bushes have seemed to willingly join those forces acting against the interests of the American people and do all they could to promote the interests of their hidden masters.

Might be I'm just "seeing things."
I don't know if you saw this story about Medvedev, haha. The story is actually wrong Medvedev was referring to a Russian documentary called Men in Black, not the Barry Sonnefeld comedic film -- which Huffpo assumed.

Dmitry Medvedev, Russian Prime Minister, Jokes About Secret Alien, Extraterrestrial Files

I have grave doubts about ETs being here. However, I consider it entirely possible that there may be an entirely human group which have appropriated certain scientific discoveries for their own ends while blocking them for the rest of us. It just fits so well with what we know of the mental processes of the kind of psychopathy it takes to become one of the elite. They'd always seek ways to become even more elite than they are. Snatching scientific developments would serve them well.

Yeah. I know. As nutty an idea as ETs here on earth. ;-)
For the informed, it's difficult to find things for which to praise Chavez, much less find reasons to empathize regarding his condition.

Much like Castro, Chavez, in 14 years of ruling, has continuously promised the Venezuelan poor a social revolution. Instead, he has delivered somewhere between $65 billion and $95 billion into the hands of a gang of 1300, consisting of some 300 members of the Chavez elite and about 1000 related bankers, minor bureaucrats, contractors and sundry accomplices. Despite a huge increase in Venezuela’s income, its national debt has grown by a factor of four during Chavez’s tenure.

The budget process in Venezuela is in disarray. Journalists have reported that only 80% of it is implemented during the course of any year, while the national legislature continually allocates large amounts on “parallel, non-budgeted, domestic expenditures”, the requests for which constantly flow from Chavez’s office.

Consequently, Venezuela has one of the highest country-risk ratings in the Western Hemisphere and is considered to be the second country, after Greece, most likely to default. Despite its relatively low population and huge oil income, the miracle of the Chavez reign is its anti-Midas character.

News of Chavez’s ill health causes the value of Venezuelan bonds to rise and this is particularly true recently, as Bloomberg reports. The world seems to understand the effect of the corruption and socialism of Chavez on a country blessed with oil reserves in such quantity that it was long ago inducted into OPEC. The world longs for Chavez’s exit, seemingly no matter how it comes; and it has little sympathy for a man who has inflicted this much financial damage and pain upon his country and its people.
You must be reading the "liberal" New York Times UncleChri, we could debate this all day, and night long. Venezuela is an oil rich nation where the vast masses suffered under deprivation prior to Hugo Chavez for no good reason. Do you know the Consitution of the State of Alaska recognize's a common right of ownership to their oil?

Since 2003 Venezuelan poverty has fallen by nearly half, and extreme poverty by 70%.

Illiteracy has been eliminated from the country. Infant mortality has been reduced by 32%. The jobless rate has been reduced from 16.1% (1998) to 6.5%. The minimum wage is among the highest in Latin America.

I don't think the world longs for Chavez to die off at all. You've have a skewed viewed based upon your information (you cite Bloomberg a scurrilous anti-Chavez/Venezuela source btw). By your definition of "the world" I'd imagine you mean NATO, and countries servile to the major powers in that alliance. Russia, Iran, China, Serbia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, and most nations of Latin American and the Carribean are all allies of Venezuela.

Actually of the countries I mentioned as hostile to Venezuela, France is a notable exception, which has good relations.

You started off speaking of the informed, I think you're loaded with talking point propaganda -- if that's being informed! If you'd like to be informed here's a good blog post that illustrates the sea changes in Venezuela from the ancien/US-backed regime to that of President Chavez:

Viva Chavez! Viva the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas!

As usual you totally neglect to mention the efforts of the US and its allies to undermine the economy of both Cuba under Castro, and Venezuela since Chavez took the helm there. No mention of the American backed (plotted and initiated by) military coup attempt which the Venezuelan people rose up and put an end to.

Man, you truly are somewhere to the right of Genghis Khan, aren't you?
No doubt about it. You two have convinced me that I sit corrected. Hugo is one of those "good" socialists.
You two have convinced me. I sit corrected. Chavez must be one of those good and successful socialists.
Even the notoriously pro-corporate BBC acknowledges that Chavez has substantially reduced poverty in Venezuela - by transferring wealth from the wealthy elite, not to some phoney elite invented by the CIA, but to millions of poor Venezuelans. He has also moved a long way towards making Venezuela more democratic by creating 30,000 self-governing community councils to create tens of thousands of jobs to build affordable housing for barrio residents.

These self-governing councils form a solid voting block that will safeguard the socialist revolution even if something happens to Chavez.
That's exactly right UncleChri... Other good socialists are Evo Morales, Sandinista Nicaragua 1979-1990 (Ortega is back now but I'd put him more quasi-socialist today), the Spanish CNT, the Scandinavian countries (many consider Scandinavian social democrary to be a form of socialism), Sirimavo Bandaranaike, Julius Nyerere, and Salvador Allende.

Many leaders were socialist-esque that were quite good like Roosevelt, Pierre Trudeau, De Gaulle, Patrice Lumumba and Gamal Abdel Nasser.

The Cuba Revolution/Socialism is mixed, I'd say I'm in critical solidarity with that particular revolution.

Nkrumah started off good, and eventually became corrupted.

Capitalism is a barabaric system which generally -- even in many allegedly social democratic countries -- has extensive ills like poverty, homelessness, folks who cannot afford health care, education that is not socialized and/or universal.

Of course, in most of the severest unfettered "free" market nations there isn't any kind of basic floor at all, and it is not at all uncommon for large percentages of the population to live lives of persistent desperation/squalor. There are many more ills I'm certain I could come up with, but I think that's an ok start.

I do consider myself to be a social democrat btw. There have been horrrible "socialists" such as Pol Pot or the Shining Path. A reason I am a social dem, and don't identify as socialist. There is no guarantee that a "people's government" that comes to power, will actually function as that name would suggest.

I've been thinking only of heads of state there are voluminious good socialists otherwise: Walt Whitman, Paul Robeson, W.E.B. Dubois, George Orwell, Che Guevera, Howard Zinn, Upton Sinclair, Big Bill Haywood, Mother Jones, Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, and E.P. Thompson.
UncleChri, is sooooo stereotypical of a certain mind-set that it's almost enough to make one spit coffee on one's keyboard. He, as they all do, takes a look at a nation like Cuba or Venezuela that was an absolute mess under its previous predatory capitalist style system and has been hindered by American government, big business, military, religious, and other organizations from developing since their shift to a system they thought better; then compares it to our modern society that has spent 400 years reaching this point. They give no allowance for the fact that Cuba et al are just a few breaths from birth and have many problems to overcome - problems mostly inherited from their previous social and economic systems.

I don't know how old UncleChri is, but I'm 71 and I remember Cuba under the Batista regime. It was a haven for big American Mafia dons', crooked politicians', and blood-sucking preachers' ill-gotten gains. The people of Cuba were little better off than those of Haiti are now - another "capitalist American" success!

People like UncleChri lead us into confusing Capitalism - an economic system, with Socialism - a social system. Comparing them is like comparing apples and archery.

A socialist social system has the option of adopting any economic model that it thinks useful to its ends. I, personally, think it would do well to adopt 'real' capitalism since it is likely to meet the needs of all of its citizens better than any other economic system of which I know.

But real capitalism has very little in common with the horribly sick American style of predatory greed capitalism with its hold-overs, from feudalism, of direct-line inheritance (the wealth amassed by anyone ought to be returned to the society when they die - not given only to their progeny who have not earned it in any way or by any standards), and economic slavery.

The UncleChri types of this world have either benefited from this unhealthy, bastardized form of capitalism, or hope to. They are so lacking in self confidence that they never, ever, ever want to see a "fair competition'' form of capitalism. In order for them to think themselves "better" than others there must be others living in poverty for them to use as a contrast to themselves.

Sick people love a sick system if they personally can see that they have a chance to grab off something for their own pockets.

Having said that, let me make clear that I am not a socialist. I do not like a "state owned" social system where every citizen is allotted his/her slot and is subject to big government in much the same way individuals are subject to big business in our present society.

I am convinced that we all contribute relatively equally to the success - or failure - of our society, and, as such, are equally entitled to share in its wealth from birth. Not wealth held in trust by the state and administered by the state, and controlled by the state, but a personal, do-with-it-whatever-you-wish share of the national wealth.

If the social system is the dominant one, it must control the economic system so as to ensure that the economic system does not corrupt the social one; that it serves the people of the society - not turns them into economic slaves of business. An economic system - including any real capitalist system - is a tool of the social system. A tool it uses for the benefit of the citizens. Our present economic system has turned the tables on us and dominates our social system while making us all subservient to its economic goals. Not good. Not good at all.
That's a thoughful comment Sky, I'm truly honored that you contributed it to my blog. :)

Think nothing of it my friend. Tiz just more of my never ending proselytizing for my own "Citizens' Capitalism" social and economic ideas. ;-)
Anyone who deduces that the Cuban economic outcomes are “mixed” suffers from a serious inability to render an objective judgment.

It reminds me of the conversation I had with an OSer who claimed that healthcare under Castro was far better than it ever was under Bautista. The claim may be true, but misses the entire point of how much of the country you sacrifice in achieving the Socialist Nirvana so stupidly admired here.

Cuba supported itself under Bautista. It may not have been pretty, but it was good for many. The claimants of “mixed” results should speak to the thousands who fled the revolution.

Today, of course, Cuba is nothing other than an unmitigated economic disaster – utterly dependent upon the generosity of other countries, like Venezuela, for its survival. Then, consider what the four trips to Cuba by Chavez for cancer surgery says about what Chavez has done for healthcare in Venezuela. It’s a wonder 30,000 community councils haven’t brought that up on at least a few of their agendas.

No, cite all the statistics you want, Socialism of the sort sponsored in Venezuela and Cuba (and America) are all partial economic failures and are all headed for complete economic failure. The Board of Trustees of Social Security and Medicare admit as much in every annual report they make these days, yet FDR and LBJ are revered as socialist heroes. By the same logic, so are Marx and Engels heroes. So, where is the ultimate socialist experiment that was the USSR?

My guess is that the circle jerk twins here believe that, despite the fact we spend $3 on social entitlement welfare in the country for every $1 on defense, we should expand our welfare programs and reduce our military programs. My guess is that, despite the fact that the entire $2.2 trillion revenue stream to our national government is matched almost exactly by the $2.2 trillion we spend on entitlements, these two guys believe that we need to spend more on welfare.

My guess is that these guys don’t know that in order to collect unemployment in Sweden, for example, the beneficiary has to be employed – yes, employed. They probably can’t figure out why our welfare system (and that of Cuba’s and Venezuela’s) makes social contracts that corrupt the beneficiaries and the politicians, while those within the Nordic model are far more intelligently modeled.

Despite this, my guess is that these two don’t know that the tax burden in Sweden is 53% of their GDP, that every third job is in the public sector, and that, in its “universalist” heyday (now long since substantially reduced), the Swedish socialism depressed their economy so much that the musical group ABBA was their biggest export. On the other hand, our national tax burden is about 24% of GDP and about 14% of our national workforce is in the public sector.

But, then again, how can my arguments defend against the well-informed claims about the successful socialism cited by the comments to this post?
Uncle said:
Anyone who deduces that the Cuban economic outcomes are “mixed” suffers from a serious inability to render an objective judgment.

Sean said:
We should speak of nations in terms of outcomes of every variety (or we could also simply think about it in terms of a broader definition of economy). Any economy should serve humanity and not capital, no? Obviously you're a strong opponent of socialism, but this is the genuine goal of it. Whereas IMO humans are a secondary concern in capitalism; why we have the homeless, and untouchables of other varieties -- who serve little purpose to the target of wealth accumulation/profit-making. To my knowledge all of the religions speak of the sanctity of life, capitalism believes in the sanctity of things and wealth. For this reason alone -- whether we are in a boom or bust period -- humanity should aspire for something greater.

The infant mortality rate in Cuba is akin to that of major American cities. Cuba has trained more doctors and scientists than all of its neighboring countries. Lifespan in Cuba, I think, is amongst the highest of all the Latin and Carribean countries. Actually according to Wiki it is between the US and Denmark.

As we've transitioned to Monstanto's Frankenfood, Cuba has transitioned to more organic farming. Your analysis fails to even consider the 45+ year wide-ranging economic blockade upon Cuba, which would have massive deleterious effects on any country. Which is a great impediment to attaining some medical supplies/necessities btw, reinforcing the laudable accomplishment of the Cuban lifespan.

Uncle said:
It reminds me of the conversation I had with an OSer who claimed that healthcare under Castro was far better than it ever was under Bautista. The claim may be true, but misses the entire point of how much of the country you sacrifice in achieving the Socialist Nirvana so stupidly admired here.

Sean said:
The country is sacrificed by vastly improving the healthcare over that which existed under the US-backed Batista dictatorship? The country was immensely sacrificed then, because 75% of it was owned by a small number of wealthy landowners. Castro's revolution, in fact, has enjoyed more support; generally, in the countryside than in the urban areas.

Uncle said:
Cuba supported itself under Bautista. It may not have been pretty, but it was good for many. The claimants of “mixed” results should speak to the thousands who fled the revolution.

Sean said:
Batista was good for many? This reminds me of the argument Israel makes, when it's called out on repressive conditions/treatment against Arabs. On the one hand they often declare they are the "only Middle Eastern democracy", and on the other they try to say compared to Mubarak or Ben Ali or someone, the Arabs have it better under an illegal occupation by them, than they would if they were living in a neighboring Arab country. (They try to have it both ways.)

To come full circle, in making my point on this... I don't hear it so much anymore, but like a broken record, the MSM seemed to always refer to THE DICTATOR Fidel Castro. Well, we are allied with regimes like Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Uganda. Saudia Arabia doesn't even allow public protest... So, I think it's pretty rich for the controlled corporate media to get on a high horse about a nation allegedly being under a dictator/dictatorship. We are allied with dictatorships, we also oppose some of them. That's about all folks! Move on, nothing to see here!

Uncle said:
Today, of course, Cuba is nothing other than an unmitigated economic disaster – utterly dependent upon the generosity of other countries, like Venezuela, for its survival. Then, consider what the four trips to Cuba by Chavez for cancer surgery says about what Chavez has done for healthcare in Venezuela. It’s a wonder 30,000 community councils haven’t brought that up on at least a few of their agendas.

Sean said:
Actually Chavez has employed Cuban doctors to bring healthcare to the barrios, and the rural areas of Venezuela to folks who have never -- or extremely little -- ever recieved it before. I'll admit to not being well-versed on this, I think medical doctors in Venezuela have kind of been raised up with something of a callousness for treating the low-income and poor. Which has to do with why Chavez has availed Venezuela/Venezuelans of so many Cuban doctors. The government has also provided free health care to the poor via the establishment of popular clinics as part of Mission Barrio Adentro. A mission that has provided more than 185 million consultations and is estimated to have saved more than 25,000 lives. And under Chavez public hospitals have been made to treat all patients that come through their doors -- whether they are insured or not.

It has taken this much to respond to three paragraphs, perhaps more later. I believe that stand-up comedians call it a call back -- remember I started off saying this could be debated all night and all day long...
I think you can talk to UncleChri until you're blue in the face without him ever being able to see that this particularly dirty form of capitalism does not bring prosperity and plenty to all or that those countries which are experimenting with socialism have the interest of their citizens in mind while doing so.

To total right-wingers like UC, nothing less than dog-eat-dog predator capitalism will suit them. Obviously they are among those who have profited by this system. I'll bet that UC has not "earned" any wealth he has or expects but has inherited it or otherwise come by it. It is clear that he hasn't the smarts to have ever competed for it. He has no concept of what is being done by the elite of the US to other nations as well as to its own people. Just total blindness in that regard.

We cannot get any of this through his head no matter how we try. I, for one, refuse to try any further. He is a "true believer" and just will not see the facts.

Best to you, Sean, hope you don't get as discouraged as I am at the stupidity of some people.

Well, there's just no getting around that I could debate our "good" Uncle perpetually. I think your comments pretty much hit the mark Sky.
Actually, I guess it was four paragraphs that I replied to. Not that it matters, just correcting an obvious typo.