Thursday, January 31, 2013

Zombie Land

Frederic C. Hof, Robert Stephen Ford and Jeffrey Feltman are the State Department’s key Syria policy-makers, with close links to the Syrian Free Army (SFA) and the Syrian National Council (SNC)

Hidden US-Israeli Military Agenda: “Break Syria into Pieces" ~By Prof Michel Chossudovsky,Global Research, January 31, 2013,Global Research 16 June 2012

 Obama: The Man Who Fooled The World (Full Length Part One)

The Obama Deception HQ Full length version

Federal Reserve System, the Fed: WHAT IS THE FED BUYING?

“There are two kinds of people in the world, my friend. Those who have a rope around their neck and those who have the job of doing the cutting.” – Tuco – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

“You see in this world there’s two kinds of people, my friend. Those with loaded guns, and those who dig. You dig.” -  Blondie – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

AND let’s assume that the Fed is really buying bona fide mortgage backed securities (MBS) issued from a well-funded pool into which investor money was contributed and used to purchase loans. Which loans? Where is the transparency here? Are these actual purchase with schedules of loans attached? Why can’t we see all the loans that are “owned” by investment pools that issued mortgage backed securities.
One more question:
If the mortgage bonds were issued to investors in exchange for money, then how the investment bank become the seller? Are the investors joining in on the sale? If so, what happens to the SPV, REMIC, Trust or whatever you want to call the investment pool?
Does the transfer of an invalid note issued without consideration and a mortgage securing the note give anything more to the Fed than the banks which is nothing on top of nothing?
The obvious scenario here is a shell game designed to confuse investors, borrowers, regulators, lawyers and judges. And it is working — except in those cases where we employ the Deny and Discover strategy.

Israel, along with the US & Saudi Arabia, are Al Qaeda’s chief sponsors

"... Israel should be expected to commit to increasingly desperate acts to provoke Syria and Iran – as its leadership represent directly corporate-financier interests abroad, not the Israeli people, or their best interests (including peace and even survival). For the people of Israel, they must realize that their leadership indeed does not represent them or their best interests and is able, willing, and even eager to spend their lives and fortunes in the service of foreign, corporate-financier interests and global hegemony.... 

Netanyahu Leading Israel to Avoidable, but Obvious Defeat

Why is the Israeli government purposefully falling on its sword?

November 19, 2012 (LD) - Israel exists in a perpetual "besieged" mentality. The Israeli people have been conditioned to view themselves as an island amidst a violent sea. However, the constant belligerent posture of their government in fact drives the winds that churn that sea, and as the face of modern warfare shifts, and the more they use their armor and air power against their perceived enemies, the higher the waves become.


BREAKING: ‘Israeli airstrike intended to stop Syrian scientific military research’


21st Century Wire says… It is not altogether clear just yet exactly what the Israeli target was in Syria, but it is possible that it could have something to do with advanced airspace defensive technology which was given to Syria from Iran (which is said to be the very same technology by which Iran pulled down a US drone in perfect condition), but mainstream talking points will likely be revolving around ‘chemical weapons and Russian-made anti-aircraft missiles intended for Hezbollah in Lebanon’.

It is clear that this attack should be viewed as an escalation of war in the Middle East – and no doubt it has been coordinated behind closed doors between Washington DC and Tel Aviv. It is a signal of a new phase whereby Western NATO allies and Israel will disregard any international law and decorum to advance their own neo-colonial and imperial agenda. Watch this space… 


Though Israel has not yet claimed responsibility for an airstrike targeting a military site near Damascus, experts believe that Tel Aviv aimed to further destabilize Syria and undermine its military capabilities.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

John O. Brennan Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism


"... ‘Private Label’ Gains Appeal in Mortgage Market ~~ “Getting the securitization pipeline flowing again is a critical component in turning this picture around,” he said in the opening speech of the conference, where attendance has grown to 5,500 this year from 5,000 in 2012 .... 


"... Editor’s Comment: As we travel down the road of misguided policy and judicial decisions, the banks are starting up a major effort to sell more mortgage securities under private label, which means that (a) they are not required to register them with the SEC and (b) they will continue to veil the secret movement of money making it more difficult for any borrower to know the identity of the lender in a residential loan transaction, contrary to the requirements of Federal and State laws....

"... If you assume all of the above is correct, then it is malpractice for any lawyer to admit the debt, the security, the balance due, the note, the mortgage and the enforceability of the note and mortgage. And it is malpractice for a lawyer doing real estate closings to fail to question title and demand a guarantee of title from a qualified source....


“Think of it as a giant hand holding down the economy,” Tim Hopper, chief economist at TIAA-CRED told the Wall Street Journal about the uncertainty over the long-term budget. And with a recession still holding down parts of Europe, US exports could continue to lag.

“The economy has less momentum going into 2013 than initially thought, making it vulnerable to external shocks,” said Stuart Hoffman, chief economist at PNC Financial Services Group.

Economists failed to predict the most recent contraction and if the economy continues to decline, then they will have also failed to predict the next US recession.



Consciousness Over Programming, Leaked emails prove Obama "backed plan to launch chemical weapon attack on Syria and blame it on Assad"

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Leaked emails prove Obama "backed plan to launch chemical weapon attack on Syria and blame it on Assad"


And the band plays on. American reminds me of a battered victim suffering from Stockholm Syndrome. Will nothing shake America out of her Obama-induced stupor?

Obama's tactics seem to emulate the al qaeda jihadists he is supporting in Syria.

This is evil. Imagine what we don't know.

Thanks to Armaros for sending this news story. He laments: 

"Obama brought me to a point where, contrary to how I always felt and most of us do wanting to win debates and be proven right, I am now days hope to be wrong. I hope that the story I am reading is not true as much as I despise this impostor. Your book was one of the first, if not the first series of information I was hoping to be proven wrong. Now daily I see stuff I wish turning out as some Alex Jones conspiracy or FB hoax or whatever...except the truth."

U.S. 'backed plan to launch chemical weapon attack on Syria and blame it on Assad's regime' Daily Mail

  • Leaked emails from defense contractor refers to chemical weapons saying 'the idea is approved by Washington'
  • Obama issued warning to Syrian president Bashar al-Assad last month that use of chemical warfare was 'totally unacceptable'

PUBLISHED: 14:16 EST, 29 January 2013 | UPDATED: 18:17 EST, 29 January 2013 

Leaked emails have allegedly proved that the White House gave the green light to a chemical weapons attack in Syria that could be blamed on Assad's regime and in turn, spur international military action in the devastated country.

War games: An explosion in the Syrian city of Homs last month. It has been now been suggested that the U.S. backed the use of chemical weapons to spur international military intervention


~~~~~About The MAD Jewess ~  I am a righteously indignant, angry JEW-TIAN :) My wonderful husband is David Ben Moshe, formerly of the JTF.ORG, which was the QPTV far-right wing Jewish political television show in NYC. My husband is a non-religious Jew, semi-observant. I am more observant of spiritual things that are both Jewish AND Christian. I also enjoy reading positive Buddhist quotes.

Holocaust Day Backfires, By Gilad Atzmon

The notorious ultra Zionist Board of Deputies of British Jews was outraged.  It insisted that the cartoon was “shockingly reminiscent of the blood libel imagery more usually found in parts of the virulently anti-Semitic Arab press”.  Obviously it isn’t. The cartoon doesn’t refer to ‘the Jews’ or ‘The Jew’, it actually points at a specific brutal person who happens to be a war criminal as well as the Israeli PM. Moreover, the cartoon depicts the true reality of the Palestinians.  I guess that the Board of Deputies must be convinced that Israel and its politicians are beyond criticism, exactly what you would expect from a Jewish supremacist organisation.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Obama-Hillary ... Humanity may not survive another four years.

Longtime reporter/author Helen Thomas accused Obama of “controlling the press.”

“It’s shocking. It’s really shocking,” she added. “What the hell do they think we are, puppets? They’re supposed to stay out of our business. They are the public servants. We pay them.”


Olafur Ragnar Grimsson Iceland president 'Let banks go bankrupt'

Grimsson gave a famous reply to the financial MSM reporter, stating that Iceland’s recovery was due to the following primary reason:
„… We were wise enough not to follow the traditional prevailing orthodoxies of the Western financial world in the last 30 years. We introduced currency controls, we let the banks fail, we provided support for the poor, and we didn’t introduce austerity measures like you’re seeing here in Europe. …“
When asked whether Iceland’s policy of letting the banks fail would have worked in the rest of Europe, Grimsson replied:
„… Why are the banks considered to be the holy churches of the modern economy? Why are private banks not like airlines and tele-communication companies and allowed to go bankrupt if they have been run in an irresponsible way? The theory that you have to bail-out banks is a theory that you allow bankers enjoy for their own profit their success, and then let ordinary people bear their failure through taxes and austerity. 
People in enlightened democracies are not going to accept that in the long run. …“

Timothy F. Geithner Third Generation "Austerity" KINGPIN

Fritz Kraemer was the greatest single influence of my formative years. An extraordinary man who will be part of my life as long as I draw breath. Henry A. Kissinger
U.S. National Security Advisor 1969 –1975
U.S. Secretary of State 1973 –1977

Tim Geithner's Legacy Of Shame
By Stephen Lendman
From January 26, 2009 - January 25, 2013, he was Obama's Treasury Secretary. He and Fed chairman Bernanke engineered crisis conditions.

Bankers profited hugely. They still do. Ordinary people were scammed. Geithner's gone. His legacy speaks for itself. His background showed what to expect. He spent three years at Kissinger Associates.

From 1988 - 2002, he held various Treasury posts. He left to become Council on Foreign Relations international economics department senior fellow.

From 2001 - 2003, he was IMF Policy Development and Review director. He left to become New York Fed president.

He partnered with Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson and Bernanke. They planned the grandest of grand thefts. They implemented banker bailouts.

They looted the federal treasury. They stuck taxpayers with the bill. They debased the currency. They transformed America into an unprecedented money making racket.

As New York Federal Reserve Bank president/vice chairman of the Fed Open Market Committee (FOMC), Geithner helped engineer crisis conditions.

As Treasury Secretary, he exacerbated them. He turned them into a protracted mainstream depression.

In November 2008, Michel Chossudovsky asked "Who are the Architects of Economic Collapse?"

The "financial meltdown (wasn't) the result of a cyclical economic phenomenon." It was willful government policy. It was implemented "through the Treasury and the US Federal Reserve Board."

It was and remains "the most serious economic crisis in World history." Banker bailouts exacerbated crisis conditions. They "trigger(ed) an unprecedented concentration of wealth."

Economic and social inequality followed. Indebtedness "skyrocketed." Everything that happened was planned. Robbing poor Peter to pay rich Paul became policy.

Geithner and Bernake bear full responsibility. They partnered in crime. Neil Barofsky was Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) watchdog. He served as SIGTARP (Special Inspector General for TARP).

In July 2009, he estimated the initial $700 billion bailout could balloon to $23.7 trillion. He said Obama administration secrecy concealed what's essential to reveal.

Trillions were stolen. From $9 to $14 trillion is known. Estimates range to multiples that amount. Corrupt bureaucrats and crooked bankers alone know how much.

Five major ones matter most: JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Citibank, Goldman Sachs and Wells Fargo. They reflect more than too big to fail. What they say goes. They occupy Washington. They run America. They dictate policy.

Geithner and Bernanke are crime bosses. They're complicit in grand theft. They abandoned Main Street for Wall Street. They know where the bodies are buried. They know the harm they caused.

Bankers got bailouts. Ordinary people were lied to and scammed. Geithner and Bernanke exceeded the worst of Bush administration policies. Too big to fail became a license to steal.

They serve Wall Street giants. They engineering a financial coup d'etat. They created a fraudulent housing and debt bubble. They illegally shifted vast amounts of capital offshore.

Privatization became piracy. It was used is as pretext to shift government assets to private investors. They did so at below-market prices.

At the same time, they moved private liabilities to government. They did it at no cost to private interests.

They're waging war on middle America. They want social societies destroyed. They want banana republics replacing them. Labor is earmarked for destruction. Totalitarian neoliberal rule is planned.

Unaccountability is institutionalized. Crisis conditions remain unresolved. Much worse ahead looms. Expect Geithner to return to his ideological roots. He's heading back to Wall Street. Expect him to cash in for services rendered.

Days before he left, he called his bailout scheme doomed to be unpopular. "You look like you're giving aid to the arsonist," he said.

He claims history will judge him more kindly. He turned reality on its head. He wrecked the economy. He claims he saved it. He didn't avoid a Great Depression. He caused one.

He didn't save millions of jobs. He destroyed them. He engineered fake financial reform. He capitulated to Wall Street. He avoided real change. He advanced global monetary control. He did it at the expense of fairness.

He took advantage of a corrupted system. It's crisis-prone, unstable, anarchic, ungovernable, and self-destructive. It repeats boom and bust cycles.

Crooks run monetary and fiscal policy. Recessions and depressions follow. Ordinary people are hurt most. Bankers and other financial giants profit enormously. Add money laundering to their profit centers.

Money power controls America. Policy facilitates grand theft. Too big to fail banks consolidate. They become larger and more powerful.

They game the system for profit. They gamble with public money. They wage financial war on humanity. Massive fraud facilitates private gain. Reform is a figure of speech.

Last July, New York Fed documents implicated Geithner in rigging Libor (the London Interbank Offered Rate). It's a fundamental rate-setting benchmark. It's set daily between UK banks for overnight to 12 month durations.

It's produced for ten currencies with 15 maturities. It represents the London market's lowest cost of unsecured funding. It's the primary global short-term rate benchmark.

Last summer's scandal reflected a cesspool of financial fraud. Manipulating the rate up lets banks steal countless billions in inflated loan costs.

Downward manipulation deprives states, communities, pension funds, ordinary investors, and retirees of similar amounts from fixed income holdings.

As New York Fed president and Treasury Secretary, Geithner was complicit in fraud. His mandate was to facilitate it. He didn't disappoint.

Instead of fixing a corrupted system, he advanced and exacerbated it. He turned crisis conditions into disaster. He and Bernanke share honors as public enemy number one.

They're world class scoundrels. They gave away the store to Wall Street. They laid foundational plans for greater grand theft. In real democracies, they'd be in prison. Washington will have to explain why not.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at

His new book is titled "How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War"

Visit his blog site at and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.


Sunday, January 27, 2013

Patrick Henningsen catches up with Gilad Atzmon


This 21st Century program appeared yesterday.  We spoke about Jewish Power and Jewish progressive spin in particular.  We elaborated on the role of beauty and art and politicians impotence in that regard. 

Friday, January 25, 2013

Long Live President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela

Chávez slowly recovering Chávez slowly recovering Chávez slowly recovering President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela bitterly and sarcastically assailed President Bush before the United Nations General Assembly today, portraying Mr. Bush as “the devil” who thinks he is “the owner of the world.” [photo Mike Segar/Reuters]

“Yesterday, the devil came here,” Mr. Chávez said, alluding to Mr. Bush’s appearance before the General Assembly on Tuesday. 

“Right here. Right here. And it smells of sulfur still today, this table that I am now standing in front of.”

Then Mr. Chávez made the sign of the cross, brought his hands together as if in prayer and glanced toward the ceiling. 

The moment may not become as famous as Nikita Khrushchev’s finger-wagging, shoe-thumping outbursts in the General Assembly in the cold-war era, but it still produced chuckles and some applause in the assembly hall.

In case anyone had missed the point, Mr. Chávez drove it home:

“Yesterday, ladies and gentlemen, from this rostrum, the president of the United States, the gentleman to whom I refer as the devil, came here, talking as if he owned the world. Truly. As the owner of the world.”

The Venezuelan leader also had sharp words for the United Nations, which he said is “antidemocratic” and “doesn’t work.”  ...

“I think we could call a psychiatrist to analyze yesterday’s statement by the president of the United States,” Mr. Chávez went on. “As the spokesman of imperialism, he came to share his nostrums, to try to preserve the current pattern of domination, exploitation and pillage of the peoples of the world.  ...

“An Alfred Hitchcock movie could use it as a scenario. I would even propose a title: ‘The Devil’s Recipe.’ ”

“Wherever he looks, he sees extremists,” said Mr. Chávez, who won office by defeating a businessman educated at Yale, Mr. Bush’s alma mater. “He looks at your color, and he says, ‘Oh, there’s an extremist.’ Evo Morales, the worthy president of Bolivia, looks like an extremist to him.” ..

Mr. Chávez’s remarks were translated from Spanish, and while subtleties can sometimes be lost in translation, his feelings about the United States seemed to come through clearly enough. The United States, he said, is “the gravest threat looking over our planet, placing at risk the very survival of the human species.”

“We appeal to the people of the United States to halt this threat, like a sword hanging over our heads,” Mr. Chávez said.

 Venezuelan Vice-President Nicolas Maduro (AFP Photo)
The US has lots of troubles dealing with other nations as they haven’t come to grips with the new global reality, Venezuelan Vice-President Nicolas Maduro told RT in an exclusive interview. He also spoke about the health of President Chavez.

Speaking to RT Spanish host Eva Golinger in Caracas, Nicolas Maduro shared his views on the political and economic future of Venezuela and Latin America’s fight for independence.

Eva Golinger: We would like to ask you a question that’s on everybody’s mind: how is President Chavez doing? Do you have an update on his present condition? Will he be coming back to Venezuela soon?

Nicolas Мaduro: We’ve already said that President Chavez’s recuperation period is almost over. It has been a long and difficult process. The president was aware of the odds all the way, but his vigor and energy are simply amazing. The surgery was a very difficult. President Chavez suffered internal bleeding, which was a very alarming sign. I should say that Comandante Fidel Castro and his team were with Chavez and his relatives the whole time. We are very grateful for that. For the concern on the part of Comandante Castro, Cuban President Raul Castro, and the doctors. 

Now President Chavez feels better than at any other time during his recuperation. I’m flying to Havana to visit the President soon. He will give me necessary instructions and messages to be announced at the summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States. So you could say that President Chavez is in the fight.

EG: Is there any hope that he may return to Venezuela any time soon?

NM: We remain optimistic, but there are too many factors at play. We need to talk to the doctors and President Chavez himself to choose the best moment. As we have repeatedly told Mr. Chavez, and the Venezuelan people know it well, the most important thing now is his recovery. Everybody knows how President Chavez has invested all his efforts and energy into his country, into fighting for the independence of Latin America, how he has persevered in his anti-imperialist struggle for social justice worldwide. It was President Chavez who went vocal about global warming, so that everyone could find out the truth. It was he who championed the struggle against global plunder and the neoliberal policies that are killing Europe.

It was President Chavez who adamantly raised the banner of protecting the Palestinian people, when they were attacked. When so many in the Arab world chose to keep silent out of fear, President Chavez raised that banner and the Arab people cheered him.

So President Chavez was at the helm of great campaigns for the sake of humanity, and today his role in the world is recognized by millions. Here’s why this RT interview is so important for all the viewers in the US, Russia and across the world: we know we are speaking to the hearts of millions on the planet, those who believe in President Chavez, admire him, follow him and love him deeply.

We tell them that the president is fighting the illness; that we, his people, are waiting here for him to come back soon. And one day that will definitely happen.

EG: Speaking of struggle, there is another question I want to ask you. Over the last few days, there has been talk of restoring the relations between Venezuela and the United States, and there has already been a kind of negotiation on the subject between the two governments.

NM: The US is, in fact, an empire that was established as a union of 13 independent colonies located on North America’s East coast. Throughout the 19th century, this nation expanded its territory, asserted its military might and imposed its policies and its trade on neighboring countries, and in the 20th century, it emerged as a global superpower. Ever since the Bolivarian era the US has looked down on Latin America and the Caribbean as its backyard. But President Chavez and the Bolivarian Revolutionary Movement expect that, sooner rather than later, the elite that run that mighty empire will find themselves forced to recognize our region’s independence and respect our leaders.

This is absolutely inevitable. Yet it’s not that they will do us a favor and grant us independence, like we are a former colony of theirs, but as a result of our own efforts. Today, the nations of Latin America and the Caribbean are winning independence once more, just as they did back in the 19th century. In Venezuela, we run our own country, thanks to Hugo Chavez and the victorious people’s revolution. And in tune with the other nations of our continent, our government has conveyed a message to President Obama on behalf of President Chavez during a recent ministerial meeting, saying that we wouldn’t mind improving our relations with the US and restoring mutual respect between our nations as far as possible.

But whenever we would attempt a rapprochement with the Obama administration, we would always face sabotage from the conservatives who build the core of the US military-industrial and media complex, which oppressively controls the entire nation, the same way as it oppresses the rest of the world.

That said, we wouldn’t mind restoring a fully functional relationship with the US based on mutual respect. If it eventually works out, we would be happy with that. But we will not be dominated.

The US is the only country in the world that has that much trouble dealing with other nations, because they haven’t come to grips with the new global reality yet. But they will have to soon. We have been telling them for years, and it’s time they should realize that the world has changed, and they can no longer dominate through air strikes and intimidation. 

EG: Mr. Vice-President, not long ago President Chavez appointed a new foreign minister, but you held this position for six years. What are the priorities of Venezuela’s foreign policy now?

: President Chavez has drafted a program that we are calling Our Homeland’s Plan for 2013-2019. It lists five main strategic, or long-term, goals, which are: building a true democracy in Venezuela, achieving independence and establishing a new socialism. The fourth strategic goal has an international dimension. It reflects the vision of Simon Bolivar. He talked about balance in the world, about the need for Latin American countries, which gained independence from Spanish control 200 years ago, to present a strong united front. He wanted our states to create a union that would make aggressive empires with big military clout that dominated in the international arena back then respect our region and our right to development.

President Chavez revived this doctrine and turned it into our foreign policy. It’s very easy to explain. The fourth strategic goal is: to facilitate the creation of a multi-polar world in which there will be no domineering empires. In terms of our region, it means that we need to strengthen the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) and Petrocaribe. These institutions help forge new economic and social models of cooperation and development in our region. We also aim to strengthen the Union of South American Nations – UNASUR – and promote the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (SELAC) that has been set up. It was Bolivar’s dream, and we brought it to life here in Caracas in December 2011.

Internationally, we need to bolster our strategic alliances with the countries that play a key role both locally and globally, in this new multi-polar world that is emerging. So the strategic alliance between our region and Russia, China and India is growing stronger thanks to our active interaction and through economic and political projects with BRICS. We are convinced there are a lot of opportunities to create a new world order, which will be the result of a continuous and arduous struggle against imperialistic views and concepts in world politics.

EG: And now could you tell us a little bit about your domestic policies? The new administration has just got down to work in its 2013-2019 term. What issues are still outstanding?

NM: In the social sector we need to continue our fight against poverty. It’s our curse, a painful legacy of the 500 years under foreign oppression. We should not forget about all that destruction that colonial empires had brought to our land. I am talking about Venezuela specifically. This was a difficult burden that our country had to carry throughout the whole 19th century. Then our region suffered from North American hegemony. Venezuela became an oil rig to them, an oil colony. They destroyed the natural economic foundations that our republic enjoyed in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. Our specialty was food production, we had rich agricultural traditions. We were also influenced by the military dictatorship, established in our country by US transnational corporations, the so-called Bermuda Companies. So they basically implemented an oil-dependent model by establishing the military dictatorship of Juan Vicente Gómez. This has set a course for the whole 20th century. The second half of the 20th century was plagued by terrible corruption, our oil resources were misappropriated. Poverty was at 80 per cent. The goal of our revolution is to bring this number down to zero. This is one of the goals set by Comandante Chavez, our president, for the next six years. And we’ll get it done. We have already brought down the poverty level from 27per cent to 7 per cent.

A large number of our people are still below the poverty line, but we are working on solving this problem. For example, we are implementing a new education plan. Good education, that is also free, is one of the major achievements of the Bolivarian government. We are also implementing reforms for such areas as healthcare, food security and employment. We keep an eye on the wage levels of the working people. By the end of 2012, unemployment dropped from between 20 and 25 per cent to 5 per cent. We have achieved a lot in the social care sector. While in Europe unemployment is at 20-25 per cent and governments cut pensions and salaries, our 21st century revolution is helping us to establish a social model that allows the Venezuelan people to build their own country.

EG: Back in December, prior to his latest surgery, President Chavez explicitly announced that you would be his successor in case he can’t remain in office and at the helm of the Bolivarian Revolution any longer. How would you describe the personality of Nicolas Maduro?

NM: Each of us is first and foremost a fighter, a man of the street. We walk to work, or take the subway. We’ve been engaged in struggle ever since we were kids. Caracas and its various locations have been our battleground, where we engaged in the student movement and the alternative union movement, which dates back to the 1990s, just as Hugo Chavez emerged as a leader. Once he came out in public and made his address to the nation on February 4, 1992, wearing his beret, we told ourselves, “This is the road we shall take.” And ever since that day, there wasn’t a day in my life when I wouldn’t be working for Chavez, because working for him means working for the sake of the country.

That will be the case till our last breath.

‘US should realize that world has changed’ – Venezuelan VP (RT Exclusive. Published: 25 January, 2013,

Twelve Questions Progressives Should Ask Jack Lew

To wit:

1. You were a special assistant to Bill Clinton when he worked with Newt Gingrich to pass the North American Free Trade Agreement and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. Your former professor Paul Wellstone opposed both agreements as a US senator, arguing that they undermined jobs, labor standards, environmental protections and democracy. Who was right? Clinton or Wellstone?

2. As Treasury secretary, you will have a big role to play in international wrangling over trade policies and complaints about Chinese currency manipulation. We’ve got record trade deficits with China and there are estimates that trade policies have cost as many as 2.8 million American jobs. Do you think that successive US administrations, several of which you have served, have been too lax when it comes to international economic relations? What have you learned from your experience of two decades as an advocate for free-trade agreements? Does the United States need to get tougher with its trading partners? Do you have any objections to Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown’s Currency Exchange Rate Oversight Reform Act?

3. You served as head of Bill Clinton’s Office of Management and Budget when he was working with a Republican Congress to undermine the Glass-Steagall Act and to enact the Wall Street–friendly Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999 and the Commodity Futures Modernization Act. Progressives opposed these initiatives, warning that they erred too far on the side of deregulation. Wellstone warned that “Glass-Steagall was intended to protect our financial system by insulating commercial banking from other forms of risk. It was one of several stabilizers designed to keep a similar tragedy from recurring. Now Congress is about to repeal that economic stabilizer without putting any comparable safeguard in its place.” Did you share any of those concerns or were you all on board with the deregulation push?

4. Former North Dakota Senator Byron Dorgan said during the 1999 Glass-Steagall debate: “I think we will look back in 10 years’ time and say we should not have done this but we did because we forgot the lessons of the past, and that that which is true in the 1930’s is true in 2010.” In hindsight, considering the banking meltdown and all the economic pain that followed upon it, do you think that Dorgan might have been on to something?

5. In October 2008, presidential candidate Barack Obama said: “We know that it’s because of deregulation that Wall Street was able to engage in the kind of irresponsible actions that have caused this financial crisis.” In September 2010, you told the Senate Budget Committee, “The problems in the financial industry preceded deregulation.” With regard to the financial-services industry meltdown of 2008, you said that “I don’t believe that deregulation was the proximate cause.” Who was right? Barack Obama or you?

6. How do you reconcile your defenses of deregulation with the findings of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission? It’s report concluded that “more than thirty years of deregulation and reliance on self-regulation by financial institutions, championed by former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan and others, supported by successive administrations and Congresses, and actively pushed by the powerful financial industry at every turn, had stripped away key safeguards, which could have helped avoid catastrophe.”

7. During George W. Bush’s presidency, you served as a managing director of CitiGroup, which paid you more than $1 million a year and gave you a $945,000 bonus just days before you joined the Obama administration (as a State Department appointee) in 2009. Is it wise to put a former banker in charge of a cabinet agency that has quite a significant role to play in debates about how the federal government might regulate, and more generally relate to, banks that are sometimes referred to as “too-big-to-fail”? As Treasury Secretary, you will head the Financial Services Oversight Council, a Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act creation that has the power to “resolve”—i.e., dissolve—“financially-dangerous” institutions such as “too-big-to-fail” banks. Watchdog groups such as Public Citizen worry that you retain “deep Wall Street connections.” Would your ties to Citigroup prevent you from dissolving Citigroup and/or similarly large financial institutions if they posed a threat to the US economy?

8. It has been reported that, while at CitiGroup, you oversaw a “unit that profited off the housing collapse and financial crisis by investing in a hedge fund king who correctly predicted the eventual sub-prime meltdown and now finds himself involved in the center of the US government’s fraud case against Goldman Sachs.” Should we be concerned about that? In hindsight, do you think your actions were appropriate? And can you assure the American people that, after your government service, you will not go back through the revolving door to work for CitiGroup or some other big bank?

9. During the transition period between the George W. Bush and Barack Obama presidencies, you are broadly credited with helping to define the scope and character of the new president’s stimulus legislation. Was the stimulus sufficient? Should we invest in additional stimulus spending?

10. Do you believe that investing in job-creation initiatives, and other steps that grow the economy, should be central to any deficit-reduction strategy? Many European countries have focused on deficit reduction as the highest priority, implementing harsh austerity programs that accept high unemployment and deep cuts in social services as a necessary consequence of budget balancing.  Many Republicans in Congress claim to embrace this approach, arguing that nothing is more important that addressing deficits and debts. What’s your take on austerity?

11. Eleven European countries, close allies and frequent economic partners of the United States, are in the process of developing and implementing financial transaction taxes. These “Robin Hood” initiatives—which impose small taxes on trades and speculation—are designed not just to raise revenues but to control against aggressive and irresponsible speculation. Your predecessor, Timothy Geithner, resisted them. Was he wrong? Should the United States implement a “Robin Hood Tax,” as recommended by unions such as National Nurses United and Congressman Keith Ellison (D-MN)?

12. You have spent a lifetime moving between government and Wall Street. You have seen the intersect of money and politics. You have seen how corporations can influence the governing process. Do you think big banks and corporations have too much influence over our politics and our government? The president has suggested that it is time to consider amending the Constitution to limit the ability of banks and corporations to buy elections and define the regulatory agenda. Is he right?

For more skeletons in the closets of Obama's Cabinet nominees, read John Nichols's size-up of Chuck Hagel.