The Threat of Communism: Then and Now

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Soviet-era Dissident Vladimir Bukovsky speaks at an opposition meeting in Moscow, 17 December 2007. Bukovsky is a potential united oppostion candidate for president in Russia’s March 2008 presidential elections. AFP PHOTO / ALEXEY SAZONOV (Photo credit should read Alexey SAZONOV/AFP/Getty Images)

 

One of the most famous enemies of Soviet communism is Vladimir Bukovsky. He was tortured by Soviet authorities. He spent many years in Soviet prisons. He was even declared “insane” and sent to a psychiatric prison. When Bukovsky was exiled to the West, people paid lip service to his courage; but few heeded his warnings about Gorbachev’s Perestroika.

Bukovsky reminded everyone that all Soviet leaders were liars. Gorbachev, he said, was no exception—and was certainly no democrat. Like Lenin, Stalin, Khrushchev, and Brezhnev, Gorbachev was a liar and a hangman. But hardly anyone listened. Everyone wanted to believe the Cold War was over.

But how could we have won the Cold War? This was the inconvenient question Bukovsky asked. Random House senior editor Jason Epstein rejected Bukovsky’s question altogether. And so, Bukovsky’s book on the equivocal “fall of communism” was not published in English—until now.

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Iran To Sail Warships Into The Atlantic, Pushing Near US Waters

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The new Iranian destroyer Sahand sails in Persian Gulf waters, Iranian Army via AP

 

At a moment a US aircraft carrier group led by the USS Stennis is stationed in the Persian Gulf, putting Iran’s military on edge, the Iranian navy has announced plans to deploy warships to the Atlantic starting in March, in a clear attempt to increase the operating range of its forces and extend into the United States’ backyard.

A top Iranian naval commander told the the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) on Friday, “The Atlantic Ocean is far and the operation of the Iranian naval flotilla might take five months,” and also identified that among the deployed vessels will be its Sahand destroyer, touted as Iran’s latest domestic built stealth destroyer. Continue reading

Bolsonaro: Brazil will ‘free itself from socialism’ and ‘political correctness’

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro gestures after receiving the presidential sash. / Reuters

 

In his inaugural address on Jan. 1, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro called for a “national pact” to free the nation of corruption, crime and economic mismanagement and vowed to free Brazil of “ideology.”

“Brazil will return to being a country free of ideological constrictions,” Bolsonaro said, later adding the nation would “start to free itself of socialism” and “political correctness.” Continue reading

Russia sending nuclear-capable bombers to Venezuelan island

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Two Russian Tu-160 supersonic bombers at Venezuela’s Maiquetia International Airport. / AFP / Getty Images

 

In one of the largest Russian military deployments to the region since the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, Moscow has sent supersonic bombers to one of Venezuela’s islands in the Caribbean Sea.

Russian military Col. Eduard Rodyukov said the move by President Vladimir Putin was in response to U.S. President Donald Trump’s threat to scrap nuclear treaties. Continue reading

Russia Places Its ‘White Swan’ Strategic Bombers in Venezuela

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(Photo Credit: Vadim Savitsky/Russian Defense Ministry)

 

The tensions between Moscow and Washington continue to escalate.

Two Russian Tu-160 strategic bombers, dubbed the “white swan,” was part of a fleet of aircraft that arrived at the Simon Bolivar International Airport in Maichetia, Venezuela, today after a flight of more than 6,200 miles. Continue reading

What’s Next for Brazil’s “New Right”?

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For the first time in more than two decades, Brazil has a right-wing politician as the head of state. But Bolsonaro’s victory signifies more than just a devastating defeat of the Worker’s Party (PT) — the victorious party in the last four presidential elections. It represents the arrival to power of the Brazilian “new right” (labeled by some as “far-right”), which they themselves describe as: “liberal” on the economy and socially conservative.

With his anti-establishment and anti-corruption rhetoric, the ex-military candidate Bolsonaro captured the dissatisfaction of the voters with the PT, the party of the ex-president Lula da Silva, who is imprisoned for corruption and money laundering. After 14 years in power, the Worker’s Party (PT) left behind a country morally, socially, and economically in crisis. Years of PT rule led to the biggest corruption scheme in the history of Latin America (known as Petrolão); an endemic economic crisis which drastically slowed the country’s development and left an unemployment rate of 13%; and one of the nation’s worst values crises in decades. Continue reading

Bolsonaro says he’ll move Brazil’s embassy in Israel to Jerusalem

Brazilian President-elect Jair Bolsonaro

 

Brazil will relocate its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, President-elect Jair Bolsonaro said on Nov. 1. Continue reading

The Chicago Boy and His President

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BERLIN/BRASÍLIA (Own report) – German business circles are placing high hopes on Brazil’s President-elect Jair Messias Bolsonaro pointing to the economic program of Paulo Guedes, designated to head a super ministry. During Augustino Pinochet’s military dictatorship, he was a professor at the University of Chile and his program resembles the economic policy of the Chilean Junta. Since about a year, Guedes has been Bolsonaro’s advisor. The Brazilian business community is hailing Bolsonaro, particularly the National Confederation of Industry (CNI), where German businesses hold strong positions. CNI is the Brazilian partner of the Federation of German Industries (BDI). German companies had already cooperated with the Brazilian military dictatorship. Bolsonaro’s victory is a deathblow to the policy of cautious redistribution in favor of impoverished segments of society, pursued by Presidents Lula da Silva and Dilma Rousseff. This policy was essentially ended with the May 2016 cold putsch – under applause of German business representatives.

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Far-right Bolsonaro rides anti-corruption rage to Brazil presidency

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Jair Bolsonaro’s tough line on crime and market-friendly policies have gained him as much support as his controversial views on women, homosexuality, race and torture have provoked scorn. (Photo: AFP/Evaristo Sa)

 

BRASILIA/RIO DE JANEIRO: Far-right lawmaker Jair Bolsonaro won Brazil’s presidential election on Sunday, promising to clean up politics, shrink the state and crack down on crime, in a dramatic swing away from the left in the world’s fourth-largest democracy.

The former army captain has alarmed many with vows to sweep political opponents off the map and comments denigrating women, gays and racial minorities.

He will be the first president with a background in the armed forces since the end of Brazil’s 1964-1985 military dictatorship, which he has publicly praised. He has tapped retired generals to serve as his vice president and run key ministries.

In his first public comments after his landslide victory, he pledged to respect democratic principles, but said he wanted to change the country’s direction.

“We cannot continue flirting with socialism, communism, populism and leftist extremism … We are going to change the destiny of Brazil,” Bolsonaro said in an acceptance address, promising to root out graft and stem a tide of violent crime. Continue reading

Venezuela Ditches US Dollar, Will Use Euros For International Trade

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Venezuela has just taken the next step in its quest to “free” itself from the tyranny of US dollar hegemony. One year after the country said it would stop accepting US dollars as payment for its (ever shrinking) oil exports (saying the country’s state-run oil company would accept payment in yuan instead), Venezuelan Vice President for Economy Tareck El Aissami said Tuesday that Venezuela will officially purge the dollar from its exchange market in favor of euros. Continue reading

‘Man-made crisis’: Venezuelan hell destabilizes region

Venezuelan refugees line up for food donations at Simon Bolivar Square in Boa Vista, Brazil. / Andre Coelho / Bloomberg

 

UNITED NATIONS — It didn’t have to be this way. An oil rich, economically prosperous middle class country, once a stable Latin American democracy, is disintegrating into a socialist dystopia plagued by hunger, corruption, hyper-inflation and churning political unrest.

While petroleum remains Venezuela’s major export, now tragically it’s the people too who are fleeing this twice California sized country. Continue reading

President: ‘We’re Going to Take Care of Venezuela’

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(Photo Credit: TruNews)

 

His comments at the United Nations come after reports the U.S. has devised several plans to unseat the government of Nicholas Maduro.

Following his speech at the United Nations General Debate on Tuesday, President Donald Trump was asked about his comments regarding Venezuela and the recent levying of new sanctions against members of President Nicholas Maduro’s government and family. Continue reading

Global CFOs: U.S. has world’s only improving economy

 

The United States is the only major economy in the world to get an “improving” score in the latest CNBC survey of corporate executives.

The latest quarterly score marks the fifth quarter in a row that the economy under President Donald Trump has been viewed as “improving” in the CNBC Global CFO Council survey. Continue reading

Chinese Communist Party Funds Washington Think Tanks

China's President Xi Jinping

China’s President Xi Jinping / Getty Images

 

United Front Work Department conducts aggressive influence operations in U.S.

China’s Communist Party is intensifying covert influence operations in the United States that include funding Washington think tanks and coercing Chinese Americans, according to a congressional commission report.

The influence operations are conducted by the United Front Work Department, a Central Committee organ that employs tens of thousands of operatives who seek to use both overt and covert operations to promote Communist Party policies. Continue reading

‘Ring of Fire’ Sees 144 Major Earthquakes in a Week

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(Photo Credit: Astroskiandhike via Creative Commons 4.0)

 

Attention is turning to the potential for a West Coast ‘big one’ hitting California, Oregon, or Washington.

The Pacific Ocean’s “Ring of Fire” has seen 144 major earthquakes—those in excess of magnitude-4.5 intensity—in the past week as concern grows that another “big one” could be coming soon. Continue reading