Wednesday, March 27, 2013
Tyler Durden Strikes Again!
Ikea recalls chocolate cakes after fecal bacteria is detected
A week after pulling horse meat-laden meatballs, the furniture mega-retailer is hit with yet another food scandal
TUESDAY, MAR 5, 2013
Sad lunchtime news: Only weeks after being outed for having traces of horse meat in their Swedish meatballs, furniture mega-retailer Ikea has recalled yet another food item from their shelves.
This time around it’s the chain’s chocolate almond cake, which Chinese authorities found contained excessive levels of coliform bacteria, which is present fecal matter.
Deep breaths, people. Deep breaths.
As reported by The Huffington Post, the Shanghai quarantine bureau reportedly destroyed 4,100 pounds of the chocolate almond cake that Ikea imported through a Swedish supplier. Ikea spokeswoman Ylva Magnusson said the company is looking into whether the cakes should be withdrawn from sale elsewhere. The company said it is making a “full investigation” with its supplier to ensure that there won’t be any, ahem, crappy cakes on the market in the future.
In addition to grossing out every single person in the whole entire world, Ikea’s newly tarnished food-safety record could seriously hurt the retailer’s $35.17 billion in annual food sales revenue.
“Krispy Kreme” Donut Holes
Makes 2 Dozen
1 package of active-dry yeast
2 ½ tablespoons of warm water
2/3 cups + 1 tablespoon of milk, heated in microwave for one minute, then cooled
¼ cup of sugar
½ teaspoon of salt
2 ½ tablespoons of shortening
2 ½ cups of all-purpose flour
Canola Oil for Frying
3 tablespoons of butter, room temperature
1 cup of powdered sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla
3-5 tablespoons of evaporated milk
In a stand mixer, sprinkle all of the yeast into the warm water. Let it rest for 2 minutes before mixing. Let rest for 10 minutes until it begins to foam.
To the yeast mixture, add the milk, sugar, salt, eggs, shortening, and 1½ cups of flour. Attach the dough hook and turn on low speed for 30 seconds, remembering to scrape the sides every once in a while.
Increase to medium speed for 2 minutes. Slowly add the rest of the flour, ½ cup at a time.
Cover and let rise until doubled in size, about 45-60 minutes.
After the dough has risen, turn the dough onto a floured surface and with a floured rolling pin gently roll dough to about ½-inch thickness.
Cut with floured round cutters.
Cover and let rise until double in size, about 30 minutes.
In the meantime, make the glaze.
Melt the butter and stir in the powdered sugar and vanilla until smooth.
Add the evaporated milk 1 tablespoon at a time until you get the desired consistency. Set aside.
In a deep pan or cast-iron skillet, use a candy thermometer to heat up about ¾-inch of canola oil to 350 degrees.
When the oil is properly heated, gently place the donuts in the oil, cook each side for about 45-60 seconds.
Place donuts on rack to drain and cool.
When cooled, dip the donuts (one or both sides) in the glaze and place back onto the rack to allow for any excess glaze to drip off.
Serve and enjoy!!!
Sausage and Egg Muffin Cups
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Recipe style: American
Net Carbs: 1.6 Fiber: 0.5 Protein: 31.5 Fat: 23.5 Calories: 353
2/3 Pound breakfast sausage or chorizo
2/3 Pound ground turkey
1/4 Teaspoon dried thyme
1 Tablespoon dried parsley
1/8 Teaspoon ground cayenne or chipotle (a pinch or to taste)
1/4 Teaspoon paprika
1/8 Teaspoon ground nutmeg (a pinch)
1/2 Teaspoon salt
1/4 Teaspoon ground black pepper
2/3 Cup finely diced red bell pepper
13 large eggs
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a muffin tin with twelve wells.
Combine the sausage and ground turkey until thoroughly mixed.
Add thyme, parsley, cayenne, paprika, nutmeg, salt, black pepper, chopped red bell peppers and 1 egg. Mix together with hands until all ingredients are incorporated.
Divide sausage mixture evenly between the 12 muffin wells. Push mixture up and slightly over the rims of the wells making sure there are no holes.
Crack an egg into each well and immediately place in oven. Bake for 25-30 minutes until eggs are set. Top with cheese and hot sauce or salsa if desired (don't forget to add the extra grams of NC if you do).
Simple Tuna Melt
Original recipe makes 1 sandwich
1 (6 ounce) can tuna, drained and flaked
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 pinch salt
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 slices whole wheat bread
2 teaspoons chopped dill pickle
1/4 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Place bread slices in the oven to toast while it preheats, and while you make the tuna salad.
In a small bowl, mix together the tuna, mayonnaise, salt, balsamic vinegar, mustard and dill pickle until well blended. Remove bread from the oven, and pile the tuna mixture onto one slice. Sprinkle cheese over the other slice of bread.
Bake for 7 minutes in the preheated oven, or until cheese is melted and tuna is heated through. Place the cheese side of the sandwich on top of the tuna side. Cut in half and serve immediately.
BEER, CHEESE & BACON SPREAD
If you feel like you’re falling into a rut with your game day appetizers, fear not. We’ve got a recipe that will revive your repertoire and put a smile on the faces of the beer lovers in your group.
All you need is a bottle of flavorful beer and a block of good quality cheese to make your appetizer spread anything but ordinary. Butter makes this cream cheese-based spread seductively rich and creamy, while beer, mustard and a hint of smoky bacon ensure that the flavors in this spread will never fall flat. Serve with pretzels, crackers or kettle-cooked chips… and a beer, of course!
Makes about 2 cups
8 ounces cream cheese
2 tablespoons butter, softened
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 ½ cups Swiss (or other Alpine style) cheese, shredded
3 ounces Porter or full-bodied brown ale like Abita TurboDog (about 5 tablespoons)
3 strips cooked bacon, crumbled, plus additional for garnish
Combine the cream cheese, butter, mustard and Swiss in a food processor. Process for 30 seconds or until well mixed. Add the beer and continue processing until very smooth. Pulse in the bacon just until incorporated.
Spread is best if made at least one day ahead. It can be stored in an air-tight container in the refrigerator up to 5 days. Remove from refrigerator an hour before serving. Garnish with additional crumbled bacon.
Recipe courtesy Paula Deen
Show: Paula's Home CookingEpisode: Game Night (Appetizers)
6 hr 15 min
6 hr 0 min
12 to 16 servings
2 pounds ground beef
2 cups diced onions
2 (15 1/2-ounce) cans pinto beans
1 (15 1/2-ounce) can pink kidney beans
1 (15 1/4-ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can Mexican-style stewed tomatoes
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can tomatoes with chiles
2 (4 1/2-ounce) cans diced green chiles
1 (4.6-ounce) can black olives, drained and sliced, optional
1/2 cup green olives, sliced, optional
1 (1 1/4-ounce) package taco seasoning mix
1 (1-ounce) package ranch salad dressing mix
Corn chips, for serving
Sour cream, for garnish
Grated cheese, for garnish
Chopped green onions, for garnish
Pickled jalapenos, for garnish
Brown the ground beef and onions in a large skillet; drain the excess fat, then transfer the browned beef and onions to a large slow cooker or a stockpot. Add the beans, corn, tomatoes, green chiles, black olives, green olives, taco seasoning, and ranch dressing mix, and cook in a slow cooker on low for 6 to 8 hours or simmer over low heat for about 1 hour in a pot on the stove. To serve, place a few corn chips in each bowl and ladle soup over them. Top with sour cream, cheese, green onions and jalapenos.
Crab Salad with Avocado, Tomatoes and Corn
Cooks in 5 minute Serves 3
1/2 lb lump crab meat
7 cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 avocado, diced
1 corn on the cob, kernels cut from the cob
1 tbsp cilantro, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp garlic powder
salt to taste
1. Gently combine the first four ingredients in a mixing bowl.
2. To make the dressing, mix the last 4 ingredients.
3. Pour the dressing over the crab mixture, stir gently and serve.
A couple Ramen Noodle recipes, courtesy of Richard Booth...
Ramen Velveeta Tuna Casserole
2 packages of Ramen noodles
2 cans chunk light tuna
1 can cream of mushroom soup
8oz Velveeta cheese
1/3 cup milk
1 cup frozen peas
3 tablespoons diced onion (estimated)
1 tablespoon leftover jalepenos (estimated)
1 cup crushed Pringles potato chips
A little butter, salt, and celery seed
1. Boil the ramen noodles (~3 minutes) and set aside
2. Mix the cream of mushroom soup, milk, 8oz of Velveeta (diced into cubes), butter, salt, and celery seed in a medium pot and cook over medium heat stirring often.
3. When the soup/milk/velveeta (sauce) is mixed well, pour into a large mixing bowl. Add the noodles, peas, onion, jalepenos, and tuna. Mix contents together well and transfer to a baking casserole dish.
4. Sprinkle crushed potato chips over dish.
5. Prehead the oven to 425 degrees and bake for 15-20 minutes.
Easy Fried Ramen with Ham, Peas, Broccoli
Boil ramen noodles and drain, set aside. Fry 1 cup diced ham in 2 teaspoons sesame oil, add 1 cup of peas and 1/2 cup of broccoli pieces, cook until tender.
Stir in package of ramen seasoning packet, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, boiled ramen noodles. Add in a little diced green onions. Stir and fry.
Americas Favorite Pork Chops
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Marinating Time: 20 minutes
Cook to 145 F with 3 minute rest
4 pork chops, 3/4-inch thick
3/4 cup Italian dressing*
1 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
Place all ingredients in a self-sealing bag; seal bag and place in refrigerator for at least 20 minutes (or as long as overnight).
Remove chops from bag, discarding marinade, and grill over a medium-hot fire, turning once, until just done, about 8-9 minutes total cooking time, until internal temperature on a thermometer reads 145 degrees Fahrenheit, followed by a 3-minute rest time.
* Or use a reduced-fat Italian dressing
An easy way to marinate your pork chops. Serve with Sliced Tomatoes Vinaigrette, broccoli spears and garlic mashed potatoes.
Calories: 184 calories
Protein: 25 grams
Fat: 10 grams
Sodium: 140 milligrams
Cholesterol: 60 milligrams
Saturated Fat: 2 grams
Carbohydrates: 1 grams
Cheesy Spinach Baked Penne
1 hr 21 min
Nonstick cooking spray
One 12-ounce box fiber-and-calcium-enriched penne
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
One 28-ounce can no-salt-added crushed tomatoes
1 sprig fresh basil plus 1/2 cup leaves, torn, for garnish
Freshly ground black pepper
One 8-ounce block part-skim mozzarella (half grated, half cubed)
One 16-ounce container 1-percent cottage cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
One 10-ounce block frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Mist a 2 to 2 1/2-quart rectangular or oval baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the penne and cook according to package directions for al dente.
While the pasta cooks, heat the oil in a medium pot set over medium heat. Add the fennel seeds and garlic and cook until aromatic, about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, basil sprig, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Simmer, lowering the heat if the sauce bubbles too vigorously, until the sauce has thickened slightly, the flavors have blended together and the raw tomato taste has cooked out, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the heat, discard the basil and season with additional salt and pepper. Pour over the cooked pasta and toss well to coat. Add the cubed mozzarella and transfer half the pasta to the prepared baking dish.
Put the cottage cheese in the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth. Add the shredded mozzarella and Parmesan and pulse two to three times. Combine half the cottage cheese mixture with the spinach and mix to break up the spinach. Drop in spoonfuls over the pasta in the baking dish. Top the spinach layer with the rest of the pasta and then the remaining cottage cheese mixture.
Bake until bubbly and golden brown on top, about 30 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes, and then scatter the torn basil over the top.
Per Serving: Calories: 315; Total Fat: 9 grams; Saturated Fat: 4 grams; Protein: 23 grams; Total carbohydrates: 41 grams; Sugar: 4 grams; Fiber: 7.5 grams; Cholesterol: 18 milligrams; Sodium: 674 milligrams
spring daisy cake
Colored fondant makes the pretty daisies that top this light green frosted cake. Impress guests when you serve it for Easter dinner or any spring party.
Servings: Makes 10 servings.
1/2 1 lb (8 oz) boxprepared white fondant
Gel-paste food coloring
2 8-inchr ound cake layers (your favorite yellow cake recipe)
1 recipe Fluffy Vanilla Frosting, below
1. Divide fondant in half and knead yellow coloring into one half, using a light dusting of cornstarch to prevent sticking. Working with one color at a time, roll both white and yellow fondants into thin sheets, about 1/8 inch thick. Cut out small flowers. (Daisy cookie cutter from winbeckler.com.)
2. Knead scraps together to soften and make small balls; moisten with water and press a ball into the center of each flower. Dry flowers overnight on a wire rack to give them shape. Note: While working with one piece of fondant, you should always keep the other piece covered to prevent it from drying out.
3. Trim domed tops from cakes and place one cake on a serving platter. Color 2 cups frosting dark green and the remaining frosting light green. Cover cake layer on platter with light green frosting about inch thick, then top with second cake. Ice entire cake with light green frosting. Use extra frosting in a piping bag with a #5 plain tip to create a border on the bottom edge.
4. Use dark green icing in a piping bag with a #10 or #12 plain tip to pipe grass points on the top of the entire cake. Top with fondant flowers. Makes 10 servings.
fluffy vanilla frosting
Beat 2 cups unsalted butter, softened, until creamy, about 2 min. Add 6 cups sifted confectioners' sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, mixing well and scraping down sides of bowl. Beat in 1 tsp vanilla and a pinch of salt; stir until smooth. Makes 5 cups.
Per serving: Calories 945, Total Fat 50 g, Saturated Fat 26 g, Monounsaturated Fat 13 g, Polyunsaturated Fat 7 g, Cholesterol 164 mg, Sodium 371 mg, Carbohydrate 124 g, Total Sugar 105 g, Fiber 0 g, Protein 4 g. Daily Values: Vitamin A 0%, Vitamin C 0%, Calcium 11%, Iron 7%. Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet
Porn star Harry Reems of Deep Throat fame, bodybuilding empire founder Joe Weider & The Daily Variety print edition...
Shape-Shifting Jesus Described in Ancient Egyptian Text
Owen Jarus, LiveScience
12 March 2013
A newly deciphered Egyptian text, dating back almost 1,200 years, tells part of the crucifixion story of Jesus with apocryphal plot twists, some of which have never been seen before.
Written in the Coptic language, the ancient text tells of Pontius Pilate, the judge who authorized Jesus' crucifixion, having dinner with Jesus before his crucifixion and offering to sacrifice his own son in the place of Jesus. It also explains why Judas used a kiss, specifically, to betray Jesus — because Jesus had the ability to change shape, according to the text — and it puts the day of the arrest of Jesus on Tuesday evening rather than Thursday evening, something that contravenes the Easter timeline.
The discovery of the text doesn't mean these events happened, but rather that some people living at the time appear to have believed in them, said Roelof van den Broek, of Utrecht University in the Netherlands, who published the translation in the book "Pseudo-Cyril of Jerusalem on the Life and the Passion of Christ"(Brill, 2013).
Family Guy Cut Scene Intro of the Month
Peter Griffin: "Holy crap! This is almost as bad as the time I hosted the Oscars, and all I could do was tell jokes about famous actresses' boobs..."
While Ben Affleck's teary Best Picture acceptance speech thanked the right Hollywood honchos, there's one person he snubbed who literally made Argo a reality: Barry Ira Geller.
In 1979, Geller penned Lord of Light, an adaptation of Roger Zelazny's Hugo Award-winning sci-fi novel. The title morphed into Argo when the CIA evacuated six US diplomats from Iran by turning them into a film crew. But contrary to how Affleck's film portrays it, the script wasn't just some jokey, throwaway nonsense a hack writer shat out. It was the opening salvo for a dream that would change the world.
With assistance from sci-fi visionaries Ray Bradbury, Paolo Solari, and artist Jack Kirby, Geller was using the script to help fund a science-fiction theme park named, appropriately enough, Science Fiction Land. Science Fiction Land would have been a place for top scientists to show off their gadgets to the public. In other words, something that's way more exciting than the movie Argo. (My friend described the situation best by saying, “Maybe this makes me a bad person, but I want to live in the alternate universe where a couple of Americans died in Iran and this theme park exists.”)
While the park's long dead, an Oscar-based jolt of enthusiasm has Geller kicking the tires on finally seeing his original script turned into a film, and he's the subject of a forthcoming documentary called Science Fiction Land.
To read the interview with Geller:
Sneak peek from Uncle John's InfoMania Bathroom Reader for Kids Only!:
Weird Body Trivia
All the DNA in a human body could fit inside one ice cube.
Fastest-healing part of the human body: the tongue.
Only joint in the human body that can rotate 360 degrees: the shoulder.
Right-handed people tend to scratch with their left hand, and vice versa.
Every day about 10 billion tiny scales of skin rub off your body.
Scabs are nature's Band-Aids. They start to form less than 10 seconds after you get cut, and they keep germs out while the cells underneath make new skin.
MuscleRev Xtreme was specifically created for one thing: to give men the level of focus needed to achieve the muscular builds they always wanted. Quick results and lean bodies are all possible with MuscleRev Xtreme - USE AS DIRECTED.
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The Girls of Atomic City by Denise Kiernan - start reading today!
The incredible story of the young women of Oak Ridge, Tennessee, who unwittingly played a crucial role in a significant moment in U.S. history.
Willa Paskin of Salon has a great article on the genius of the 1980s TV series Moonlighting that had Bruce Willis at his best:
“Moonlighting,” the wonderful romantic comedy co-starring Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepherd as bantering, codependent private detectives, aired on Tuesday nights on ABC from 1985 to 1989. Unlike many of its contemporaries, “Moonlighting” remains a cultural touchstone — also airing on Tuesdays during those years, “The A-Team” and “Matlock”! — in large part because of the long shadow it has cast on TV romances: You know, the “Moonlighting” curse. But the focus on the curse has unfairly narrowed “Moonlighting’s” legacy. It means that when we talk about “Moonlighting,” we’re usually talking about what “Moonlighting” got wrong, and that, as David Addison might say, makes about as much sense as zebras speaking Martian. “Moonlighting” is and was stunningly modern, hilarious and energetic in a still breathtaking way, meta before meta was standard, a social media series before there was social media. (The first show to talk about the “Moonlighting” curse was basically “Moonlighting.”) So, forthwith, a consideration of “Moonlighting” that has nothing to do with romance at all.
“Moonlighting” tells the story of David Addison and Maddie Hayes, the id and the superego who, together, made for one kicky brain. David’s a loosey-goosey rapscallion who can talk to anyone and likes to limbo in the office, a walking, talking, witty good time, and she’s conscientious and responsible, witty and willful in her own, less charismatic way. (It’s the grace with which Shepherd accepts her not as-charming-as-Willis lot that actually makes her the proper foil for him: She’s got guts.) David’s all spontaneity, Maddie’s all for thinking things through; David wants to be everyone’s friend, Maddie has a hard time being anyone but David’s; David needs to grow up, Maddie needs to loosen up. But even with all these differences, like all good screwball couples, they have one thing in common: They both love to argue, with each other. Arguing, bantering, infuriating, playing, fighting, making up — all at top volume — are their favorite activities, and they make them look like fun.
“Moonlighting” made Bruce Willis a star, and it is impossible not to understand why: Watching him in this show is to immediately grasp the entire Bruce Willis “thing,” to understand the fount of his charm and why he will be dishing out one-liners for the rest of his life. The unique thing about David Addison is that he is a manly man who never, ever shuts up. Forget tall, dark and stoic: David Addison is one of the chattiest Cathies in the history of television, a talk, talk, talker who, yes, did kind of clam up when it came to his feelings. (This is why, to me, even the people who love Willis because he was John McClane — so most people — just love Bruce 2.0. John quips, but he doesn’t babble. The id is already under control, and with every year, as the Willis jaw gets more and more square and set, his twinkle fades.)
There are other fictional characters who have Addison’s sort of devil-may-care swagger (Han Solo is a clear antecedent, Raymond Chandler’s private dicks liked language as much), but the only ones who are as verbal are basically Woody Allen and his descendants. But David is not a neurotic and he’s not rambling because he’s uncomfortable with the rest of his body. The degree of difficulty in writing and in performing this sort of part, in essentially upending accepted macho behavior by making unaccepted, typically feminine behavior seem macho is so hard that very few characters like this exist on TV...
Thanks to Disinfo.com for the following:
British researchers on Saturday unveiled a new theory saying Stonehenge was originally a graveyard and venue for mass celebrations. The findings would overturn the long-held belief that the ancient stone circle was created as an astronomical calendar or observatory.
A team of archaeologists led by Professor Mike Parker Pearson of University College London carried out a decade of research which included excavations, laboratory work and the analysis of 63 sets of ancient human remains. They said the original Stonehenge Appeared to have been a graveyard built around 3000 BC. Analysis of cattle teeth from 80,000 animal bones excavated from the site also suggest that around 2500 BC, Stonehenge was the site of vast communal feasts.
“People came with their animals to feast at Stonehenge from all corners of Britain—as far afield as Scotland,” Parker Pearson said—the “only time in prehistory that the people of Britain were unified.”
Inside The LC: The Strange but Mostly True Story of Laurel Canyon and the Birth of the Hippie Generation
March 19, 2012
“Why people even said Dr. Crandon committed illegal operations on little children and murdered them.”
On April 29, 1911, Houdini debuted his famed Chinese Water Torture Cell escape in Southampton, England, though he had perfected and copyrighted the act well over a year earlier. The inherently dangerous stunt caused quite a sensation: “Just the sight of the apparatus was enough to give you shivers and make you believe, as one critic noted, that you were about to witness a ritual sacrifice.”
Around that same time, Houdini was, for reasons unknown, busily buying mothballed electric chairs at auctions across the country.
In 1913, Houdini’s beloved mother passed away, which apparently resulted in Harry learning some deep family secret. Following her death, Houdini sent the following cryptic note to one of his brothers: “Time heals all wounds, but a long time will have to pass before it will heal the terrible blow which Mother tried to save me from knowing.” The meaning of this rather provocative note remains a mystery. Houdini, by the way, was in Denmark when his mother died, and he requested a delay of her funeral to allow himself time to return to the States. Despite strict prohibitions in Jewish law, the entertainer’s request was, of course, granted.
In December 1914, just a few months after the staged provocation that allegedly triggered World War I, Houdini was summoned to the nation’s capitol for a private audience with then-President Woodrow Wilson. It is anyone’s guess what business the two men discussed, but it probably had little to do with stage tricks.
A year-and-a-half later, on that most notorious of dates, April 20, an estimated 100,000 people gathered in Washington, D.C. to watch Houdini perform a straightjacket escape. Other than for a presidential inauguration, it was said to be the largest crowd ever assembled in downtown Washington. One year later, in April 1917, the US declared war on Germany.
For the duration of the United States’ involvement in the war, Houdini spent a considerable amount of time aiding the war effort, both through fundraising and by frequently visiting the front lines, where he ostensibly went from camp to camp providing entertainment for the troops.
Houdini’s Hollywood career also began just as the US was entering the war. It has often been said that one of his first credits was as a special-effects consultant on the Mysteries of Myra cliffhanger serial, though others have claimed that Houdini had no involvement in the production. Curiously, the real consultant for the project is said to have been occultist/intelligence asset Aleister Crowley.
Houdini’s first feature-length film, The Grim Game, opened to rave reviews. Ensconced in Hollywood, Houdini quickly made friends with mega-stars Charlie Chaplin and Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle, both of whom would soon be caught up in scandals – a career-ending one in Arbuckle’s case. The fledgling actor next began work on Terror Island, filmed largely on Catalina Island. Unlike his feature debut, Island opened to poor reviews, leading a discouraged Houdini to launch his own production company to create his own starring vehicles.
Just after completing Terror Island, in December 1919, Houdini was involved in yet another curious incident. Having injured his ankle performing the water torture escape, he paid a visit to a doctor who examined the performer and pronounced him in imminent “danger of death.” Houdini nevertheless lived on for several more years; the doctor, meanwhile, turned up dead within two weeks.
By the end of 1921, the Houdini Picture Corporation had two feature-length films in the can – The Man From Beyond and Haldane of the Secret Service. The first, co-written by Houdini himself and released on April 2, 1922, involved a bizarre plot revolving around a man found frozen in arctic ice and brought back to life, a case of mistaken identity, confinement in a mental institution, escape from that same institution, and an abduction. Haldane, released the following year, was Houdini’s first attempt at directing himself. It featured the magician as his real-life alter ego, but its performance at the box office signaled the end of Houdini’s film career.
For the rest of his years, Houdini devoted a considerable amount of time to investigating and debunking the spiritualist movement, which flourished in the post-World War I years as legions of fake ‘mediums’ preyed upon the grief of those who had lost loved one in the war, promising to reconnect them with those in the ‘spirit’ world. By design or otherwise, Houdini’s crusade served primarily to publicize the movement. Houdini’s interest in the movement was said to have been spawned by the death of his beloved mother.
Houdini had a number of friends in the spiritualist movement, most notably and prominently Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of fictional detective Sherlock Holmes and possible perpetrator of the infamous Piltdown Hoax of 1912. Both Doyle and Houdini were also had connections to Le Roi and Margery Crandon, and that is where this story takes a decidedly dark turn.
Margery, born Mina Stinson in Canada in 1888, had moved with her family to Boston, Massachusetts at a young age. As a teenager, she is said to have been a musical prodigy and to have played various musical instruments in local orchestras, and to later have worked as an actress, secretary and ambulance driver. In 1917, the then-married Mina was hospitalized and operated on by Dr. Le Roi Goddard Crandon, a man who occupied a prestigious position in Boston society.
Crandon was a direct descendent of one of the original twenty-three Mayflower passengers and a member of the Boston Yacht Club. He had graduated from Harvard Medical School and had also obtained a Master’s Degree in Philosophy from Harvard, where he also served as an instructor. Just before meeting Mina, he had served as a Naval officer and as head of the surgical staff at a US Naval hospital during WWI.
Shortly after meeting the doctor, Mina divorced her first husband and, in 1918, became the much older Le Roi Crandon’s third wife. The two seemed hopelessly mismatched, she being young, vivacious and, by all accounts, very attractive, while he was said to be rather arrogant, unpleasant and antisocial. Nevertheless, the pair quickly became the talk of Boston’s high society, particularly after the summer of 1923, when they began holding regular ‘séances’ in their home.
One regular member of the couple’s inner circle was a fellow by the name of Joseph DeWyckoff, a wealthy steel tycoon who had been born in Poland and educated in England and Czarist Russia before settling in America to practice law. He was ultimately jailed in Boston on embezzlement charges, then later fled to Chicago after embezzling yet more money. He soon turned up in, of all places, Havana, Cuba, where, according to Kalush and Sloman, “in 1898 he was recruited by John Wilkie, the Secret Service chief, as a co-optee and was involved in spying for the United States during the Spanish-American War.”
That would be, needless to say, the very same John Wilkie who had kick-started Harry Houdini’s career that very same year. As a reward for his service, DeWyckoff, who “had a history of violence,” “was given the contract to salvage the Battleship Maine in the Havana Harbor.” The Maine had been sunk in what appears to have been a false-flag operation carried out by US intelligence operatives to justify launching a bloody colonial war.
Although fragmentary, there is clear evidence that Le Roi and Mina Crandon, in conjunction with various others (including DeWyckoff), began to ‘adopt,’ sometime soon after getting married, an untold number of children who subsequently went missing. A number of letters that Dr. Crandon penned on the subject and dispatched to his buddy Doyle appear to have gone missing as well. As Kalush and Sloman note, “Strangely, many of the letters regarding the investigation into the boys have been expunged from Crandon’s files.” As faithful readers know, there is nothing strange about that at all; it is pretty much par for the course.
In one surviving letter, sent on August 4, 1925, Crandon notes that “about December first I had Mr. DeWyckoff bring over a boy from a London home for possible adoption … In April 1925, our Secret Service Department at Washington received a letter saying that I had first and last sixteen boys in my house for ostensible adoption, and that they had all disappeared.” Four years earlier, a Boston newspaper had reported that two boys had been rescued from a raft. One, eight-year-old John Crandon, was Margery/Mina’s son from her previous marriage. The other was a ten-year-old English ‘adoptee’ who was reportedly so unhappy at the Crandon home that he was frantically attempting an escape, with the younger boy in tow (not unlike the Steven Stayner story). “Two years later, when Margery began her mediumship, there was no trace of that boy in the household.”
Perhaps he was the ‘homeless’ boy whose dead body was reportedly found on the outskirts of Joseph DeWyckoff’s large estate in Ramsey, New Jersey during that time period.
By 1924, Dr. Crandon was openly asking his many friends in the British spiritualist movement to “be on the lookout for suitable boys to adopt.” Around that same time, as another associate noted in a letter, Crandon was “being sued for $40,000 for operating on a woman for cancer, when she was simply pregnant, and destroying the foetus … A highly incredible story which persists is that a boy who was in his family some weeks mysteriously disappeared. He claims that the boy is now in his home in England, but still official letters of inquiry and demand are received from that country. This is no mere rumor, for I was shown some of the original letters … The matter has been going on for more than a year. It is very mysterious.”
In response to questions raised about the disappearance of one particular boy, Margery/Mina complained that “people wrote asking his whereabouts, and the prime minister of England cabled to ask where he was and demanded a cable reply. Why people even said Dr. Crandon committed illegal operations on little children and murdered them.” According to Margery, “the poor little fellow had adenoids and had to be circumcised,” so Crandon opted to perform the surgery at home. It was widely rumored that the good doctor had performed another procedure at home as well – surgically altering his wife’s vaginal opening to allow her to ‘magically’ produce various items at séances.
On one occasion, Margery opened a closet in her home and showed an associate a collection of photos of well over a hundred children, “most of them really lovely.” Margery told the woman that, “Those are Dr. Crandon’s caesareans—aren’t they sweet? All caesareans.” Given that Crandon wasn’t known for delivering babies at all, the notion that he had delivered over a hundred of them via caesarean was an absurdity. Who then were all these children and what became of them?
Such is the fragmentary evidence trail indicating that an untold number of young boys fell into the nefarious hands of a cabal of wealthy individuals with connections to the intelligence community. Nearly a full century ago. Not to worry though – the disappearances were investigated by John Wilkie’s Secret Service and a British MP by the name of, uhmm, Harry Day. And I’m sure they got to the bottom of the sordid affair, just as Louis Freeh is undoubtedly now getting to the truth of the Sandusky case.
Not long before his death, Houdini, who had an extensive library of literature on the occult, began working with horror writer and racist occultist H.P. Lovecraft on various magazine articles. In 1926, he hired Lovecraft (who could, by the way, trace his lineage to the Massachusetts Bay Colony) and Clifford Eddy, Jr. (another occultist and horror writer and one of Houdini’s covert operatives), to co-write a book debunking superstition (despite the fact that wife Bess was known to harbor numerous superstitions, some of them apparently quite bizarre).
According to Kalush and Sloman, “Shortly after meeting with Eddy and Lovecraft, Bess was stricken with a nonspecific form of poisoning.” Indeed, there is evidence suggesting that both Harry and Bess Houdini suffered from some form of poisoning prior to Harry’s death. In addition, Houdini is said to have suffered from severe mood swings and to have had some “aggressive confrontations” in the weeks leading up to his death, both of which were out of character for the illusionist (though Bess is widely reported to have suffered from extreme mood swings throughout her life).
As the story goes, Houdini, who prided himself on being able to take a punch from pretty much anyone, was sucker-punched in his dressing room by a McGill University student, which caused his appendix to burst and ultimately led to his death on October 31, 1926. Houdini’s physicians dutifully swore out affidavits certifying the cause of death to be “traumatic appendicitis,” though the medical community now acknowledges that such a medical condition has never existed. No autopsy was performed.
As previously noted, the house in Laurel Canyon universally known as the ‘Houdini House’ burned to the ground exactly thirty-three years later, on October 31, 1959. Precisely fifty-two years (the magician’s age at the time of his death) after that, the Magic Castle in the Hollywood Hills exploded into flames on October 31, 2011. Built as a Victorian mansion in 1908, the converted structure opened in 1963 as the Magic Castle, a rather creepy members-only club featuring hidden rooms and secret passageways. According to reports, the only room in the building left unscathed by the fire was the Houdini Room.
The mid-1920s were not a good time for the Houdini/Weiss brothers. Brother Gottfried Weiss, born two years before Harry, died in 1925. Harry followed suit the next year. Brother Nathan Weiss, born four years before Harry, died soon after, in 1927. Shit happens, I guess.
On June 22, 1927, Houdini’s European booking agent, Harry Day, reported that his apartment had been ransacked. That day would have also been the Houdini’s wedding anniversary – assuming, that is, that Harry was actually legally married to Bess, which may not have been the case. Two months after the break-in at Day’s apartment, Theodore ‘Hardeen,’ who had inherited all of brother Harry’s props, effects and papers, reported that his home had also been broken into while he had been on the road.
Joscelyn Gordon Whitehead, the guy credited with gut-punching Houdini, was a rather curious gent. Though a college student at the time of the incident, he was already in his thirties. His father was a British diplomat serving in the Orient. After Houdini’s death, Whitehead is said to have become a recluse living something of a hermetic existence. He did have at least one close associate though – Lady Beatrice Isabel Marler, a wealthy heiress and the wife of Sir Herbert Meredith Marler, a prominent Canadian politician and diplomat who once served as Canada’s ambassador to the US.
After Houdini’s death, it was widely rumored that Bess – who in addition to suffering from wild mood swings was also an alcoholic and a drug addict who was occasionally suicidal – ran an illegal speakeasy/brothel in conjunction with a woman named Daisy White, who was said to have been Harry’s mistress. Nothing weird about that. White was not, by the way, the only woman who claimed or was rumored to have had an affair with the performer.
In mid-1945, Theodore “Hardeen,” one of Houdini’s two surviving brothers and the one who had inherited all of his effects, checked into Doctor’s Hospital for a scheduled operation. On June 12, 1945, Hardeen left the hospital in a box. It was reported at the time that Hardeen had been planning to pen a book on his brother and had begun work on the project before checking into the hospital.
Nearly two decades later, on October 6, 1962, Leopold Weiss – Harry’s last living sibling and the one who had been brutally attacked in his brother’s home – is said to have jumped off a ledge and fallen six stories to his death. The last of Houdini’s secrets went to the grave with him.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
It has often been noted that Houdini took far longer to perform many of his stage escapes than was actually necessary, and that he was frequently out of view of the audience during such times. This has generally been assumed to have been for dramatic effect. Authors Kalush and Sloman though offer a far more compelling possibility: “One explanation is that such challenges gave Houdini both the opportunity and an alibi to conduct a mission while he was performing.”
It was, in other words, the perfect cover, for how could a man be responsible for something that occurred elsewhere when he was performing on stage for a captive audience at the time? There are, it should be noted, clear parallels here to the story told by Chuck Barris, who has claimed that he was similarly slipping off to conduct covert missions while performing his duties as a chaperone for the Dating Game.
Of course, no one took Barris seriously because we all know that such things don’t really happen in the real world – or at least not in the world that the media present to us as the real world.
It should also be noted here that Houdini possessed, as do most magicians, seemingly superhuman abilities, such as the ability to dislocate his shoulders at will to slip out of straightjackets. He could also regulate his heart rate, respiration rate and other metabolic functions such that he could survive for extended periods of time with little available oxygen, thus facilitating his escapes.
Such abilities are rather commonplace in the world of magic. One magician was found to be able to identify what card a person was holding by virtue of the fact that he had such extraordinary visual acuity that he could see the reflection of the card in the subject’s pupils. Many magicians are able to pick up a stack of cards and know by feel exactly how many cards they are holding, and are able to distinguish individual cards by subtle thickness variations indistinguishable to people with normal abilities.
How do people gain such incredible physical abilities? Probably the best way of understanding such phenomena is as a function of trauma-based, early childhood training.
It appears then that, at the end of the day, the actors populating the Harry Houdini story are the usual cast of characters: intel operatives, Masons, pedophiles, mind-rapists, occultists, and, of course, entertainers. The more things change, the more they stay the same.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * *
I, for one, am pleasantly surprised to see that the hack filmmaker who subjected the world to "Kony 2012" is now appearing in some of the most entertaining videos ever to hit the web.
Paul Craig Roberts
March 12, 2013
On March 5, 2013, Hugo Chavez, President of Venezuela and world leader against imperialism, died. Washington imperialists and their media and think tank whores expressed gleeful sighs of relief as did the brainwashed US population. An “enemy of America” was gone.
Chavez was not an enemy of America. He was an enemy of Washington’s hegemony over other countries, an enemy of Washington’s alliance with elite ruling cliques who steal from the people they grind down and deny sustenance. He was an enemy of Washington’s injustice, of Washington’s foreign policy based on lies and military aggression, bombs and invasions.
Washington is not America. Washington is Satan’s home town.
Chavez was a friend of truth and justice, and this made him unpopular throughout the Western World where every political leader regards truth and justice as dire threats.
Chavez was a world leader. Unlike US politicians, Chavez was respected throughout the non-western world. He was awarded honorary doctorates from China, Russia, Brazil, and other countries, but not from Harvard, Yale, Cambridge, and Oxford.
Chavez was a miracle. He was a miracle, because he did not sell out to the United States and the Venezuelan elites. Had he sold out, Chavez would have become very rich from oil revenues, like the Saudi Royal Family, and he would have been honored by the United States in the way that Washington honors all its puppets: with visits to the White House. He could have become a dictator for life as long as he served Washington.
Each of Washington’s puppets, from Asia to Europe and the Middle East, anxiously awaits the invitation that demonstrates Washington’s appreciation of his or her servitude to the global imperialist power that still occupies Japan and Germany 68 years after World War II and South Korea 60 years after the end of the Korean War and has placed troops and military bases in a large number of other “sovereign” countries.
It would have been politically easy for Chavez to sell out. All he had to do was to continue populist rhetoric, promote his allies in the army, throw more benefits to the underclass than its members had ever previously experienced, and divide the rest of the oil revenues with the corrupt Venezuelan elites.
But Chavez was a real person, like Rafael Correa, the three-term elected president of Ecuador, who stood up to the United States and granted political asylum to the persecuted Julian Assange, and Evo Morales, the first indigenous president of Bolivia since the Spanish conquest. The majority of Venezuelans understood that Chavez was a real person. They elected him to four terms as president and would have continued electing him as long as he lived. What Washington hates most is a real person who cannot be bought.
The more the corrupt western politicians and media whores demonized Chavez, the more Venezuelans loved him. They understood completely that anyone damned by Washington was God’s gift to the world.
It is costly to stand up to Washington. All who are bold enough to do so are demonized. They risk assassination and being overthrown in a CIA-organized coup, as Chavez was in 2002. When CIA-instructed Venezuelan elites sprung their coup and kidnapped Chavez, the coup was overthrown by the Venezuelan people who took to the streets and by elements of the military before Chavez could be murdered by the CIA-controlled Venezuelan elites, who escaped with their own venal lives only because, unlike them, Chavez was humanitarian. The Venezuelan people rose in instantaneous and massive public defense of Chavez and put the lie to the Bush White House claim that Chavez was a dictator.
Showing its sordid corruption, the New York Times took the side of the undemocratic coup by a handful of elitists against the democratically elected Chavez, and declared that Chavez’s removal by a small group of rich elites and CIA operatives meant that “Venezuelan democracy is no longer threatened by a would-be dictator.”
The lies and demonization continue with Chavez’s death. He will never be forgiven for standing up for justice. Neither will Correa and Morales, both of whom are no doubt on assassination lists.
CounterPunch, Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting, and other commentators have collected examples of the venom-spewing obituaries that the western presstitutes have written for Chavez, essentially celebrations that death has silenced the bravest voice on earth:
Perhaps the most absurd of all was Associated Press business reporter Pamela Sampson’s judgment that Chavez wasted Venezuela’s oil wealth on “social programs including state-run food markets, cash benefits for poor families, free health clinics and education programs,” a poor use of money that could have been used to build sky scrappers such as “the world’s tallest building in Dubai and branches of the Louvre and Guggenheim museums in Abu Dhabi.”
Among the tens of millions of Washington’s victims in the world–the people of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Sudan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Syria, Palestine, Lebanon, Mali, with Iran, Russia, China, and South America waiting in the wings for sanctions, destabilization, conquest or reconquest, Chavez’s September 20, 2006 speech at the UN General Assembly during the George W. Bush regime will stand forever as the greatest speech of the early 21st century.
Chavez beards the lion, or rather Satan, in his own den:
“Yesterday, the devil himself stood right here, at this podium, speaking as if he owned the world. You can still smell the sulfur.”
“We should call a psychiatrist to analyze yesterday’s statement made by the president of the United States. 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.’”
The UN General Assembly had never heard such words, not even in the days when the militarily powerful Soviet Union was present. Faces broke out in smiles of approval, but no one dared to clap. Too much US money for the home country was at stake. [A reader pointed out that although Chavez's speech was not interrupted with clapping, he received a healthy round of applause at the end.]
The US and UK delegations fled the scene, like vampires confronted with garlic and the Cross or werewolves confronted with silver bullets.
Chavez spoke about the false democracy of elites that is imposed by force and on others by “weapons and bombs.” Chavez asked, “What type of democracy do you impose with Marines and bombs?”
Wherever George W. Bush looks, Chavez said, “he sees extremists. And you, my brother–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. The imperialists see extremists everywhere. It is not that we are extremists. It is that the world is waking up. It is waking up all over and people are standing up.”
In two short sentences totaling 20 words, Chavez defined for all times early 21st century Washington: “The imperium is afraid of truth, is afraid of independent voices. It calls us extremists, but they are the extremists.”
Throughout South America and the non-western world, Chavez’s death is being blamed on Washington. South Americans are aware of the US congressional hearings in the 1970s when the Church Committee brought to light the various CIA schemes to poison Fidel Castro.
The official document presented to President John F. Kennedy by the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, known as the Northwoods Project, is known to the world and is available online. The Northwoods project consisted of a false flag attack on American citizens in order to blame Cuba and create public and world acceptance for US-imposed regime change in Cuba. President Kennedy rejected the proposal as inconsistent with morality and accountable government:
The belief has already hardened in South America that Washington with its hideous technologies of death infected Chavez with cancer in order to remove him as an obstacle to Washington’s hegemony over South America.
This belief will never die: Chavez, the greatest South American since Simon Bolivar, was murdered by Washington. True or false, the belief is set in stone. As Washington and globalism destroy more countries, the lives of elites become more precarious.
President Franklin Delano Roosevelt understood that security for the rich required economic security for the underclasses. Roosevelt established in the US a weak form of social democracy that European politicians had already understood was necessary for social cohesion and political and economic stability.
The Clinton, Bush, and Obama regimes set about undermining the stability that Roosevelt provided, as Thatcher, Major, Blair, and the current prime minister of the UK undermined the social agreement between classes in the UK. Politicians in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand also made the mistake of handing power over to private elites at the expense of social and economic stability.
Gerald Celente predicts that the elites will not survive the hatred and anger that they are bringing upon themselves. I suspect that he is correct. The American middle class is being destroyed. The working class has become a proletariat, and the social welfare system is being destroyed in order to reduce the budget deficit caused by the loss of tax revenues to jobs offshoring and the expense of wars, overseas military bases, and financial bailouts. The American people are being compelled to suffer in order that elites can continue with their agendas.
The US elites know what is coming. That is why they created a Nazi-style Ministry of the Interior known as Homeland Security, armed with enough ammunition to kill every American five times and with tanks to neutralize the Second Amendment rights of Americans:
Pistols and rifles are useless against tanks, as the Branch Davidians found out in Waco, Texas. The protection of a small handful of elites from the Americans they are oppressing is also the reason the police are being militarized, brought under Washington’s control and armed with drones that can assassinate the real leaders of the American people who will be, not in the legislative, executive, or judicial chambers, but in the streets:
Internment camps in the US appear to be real and not a conspiracy theory:
The threat that the US government poses to its own citizens was recognized on March 7, 2013, by two US Senators, Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Rand Paul (R-KY), who introduced a bill to prevent the US government from murdering its own citizens: “The Federal Government may not use a drone to kill a citizen of the United States who is located in the United States” unless the person “poses an imminent threat of death or serious bodily injury to another individual. Nothing in this section shall be construed to suggest that the Constitution would otherwise allow the killing of a citizen of the United States in the United States without due process of law.”
The “indispensable people” with their presidents Bush and Obama have begun the 21st century with death and violence. That is their only legacy.
The death and violence that Washington has unleashed will come back to Washington and to the corrupt political elites everywhere. As Gerald Celente says, the first great war of the 21st century has begun.
About Dr. Paul Craig Roberts
Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments. His internet columns have attracted a worldwide following. His latest book, The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and Economic Dissolution of the West is now available.
W. Alejandro Sanchez, Council on Hemispheric Affairs
Hugo Chávez Frias, President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, passed away on March 5, 2013, due to severe health complications. For at least the past year and half, the Venezuelan head of state had been battling cancer that continued to appear in spite of several surgeries. He traveled to Cuba for a new round of treatment this past December 2012, naming his vice president, Nicolas Maduro, as his successor, should the worst happen.
Now, the question is whether Maduro will respect the country’s constitution and call for new presidential elections within the constitutional period of 30 days. The Venezuelan opposition has not yet elected a candidate, though all eyes are on Henrique Capriles Radonski, who ran for and lost to Chávez the presidency in the October 7, 2012 elections. He was reelected as governor of the state of Miranda in the recent December 16 regional elections.
Venezuela has had the same president since 1999, with Chávez creating a very particular foreign policy. A critical question will be how the post-Chávez Venezuelan government will organize its relations and initiatives with other states, and how vastly will they differ from Chávez’s vision.
Regarding foreign policy, a critical question is what will become of Chávez’s pet project, the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA). This bloc is made up of nations, whose presidents were friendly to Chávez, such as Ecuador’s Rafael Correa and Bolivia’s Evo Morales. President Correa recently said that the revolution was larger than one man and would continue even in the event of Chavez’s death. Nevertheless, it is debatable whether any of ALBA’s heads of state, including Maduro, are charismatic enough and have the same interest in the alliance to keep it afloat. Correa was reelected last month, and Morales is scheduled to run for a new presidential term in 2014. It remains to be seen whether anyone will be able to carry out Chavez’s vision.
Oil and Petrocaribe
Chávez used oil recourses to not only improve the quality of life of poor Venezuelans, but also as an integral part of his foreign policy. After coming to power, he expelled Western oil companies operating in the country and replaced them with Chinese and Russian based companies. In addition, Venezuela donated millions of barrels of oil to needy Caribbean states, particularly Cuba, but also countries like Trinidad and Tobago.
Without Chávez, it is questionable how Venezuela’s oil will be extracted. Should elections be called for and Capriles Radonski comes to power, would he accept, once again, Western oil companies? Furthermore, even if Maduro continues to govern, will Venezuela continue to provide such high quantities of oil, essentially as gifts, to Cuba and other regional states?
The United States
Finally, an important consideration will be the Caracas-Washington relationship in the coming years, having been shaped mainly around the personalities of their leadership in the past decade. For example, U.S.-Venezuela relations were fairly strained, while Chávez and George W. Bush were in power. Chávez went as far as memorably calling Bush “the devil” during a United Nations conference in New York. When Barack Obama was elected president, there was a general feeling that relations would improve. Indeed, Obama and Chávez met during a Summit of the Americas, with both leaders shaking hands and Chávez giving the U.S. head of state a book as a gift. While relations during Chávez and Obama’s first presidential term did not worsen, neither did they improve as desired. One complicated factor was the U.S. maintenance of the Cuban embargo. Chávez regarded Fidel Castro as his mentor. The U.S. also prevented Cuba from attending the April 2012 Summit of the Americas in Colombia, with Cuba’s allies protesting the decision.
Without Chávez, how will Washington-Caracas relations be affected? Obviously, much will have to do with whether Maduro remains in power or Capriles enters the presidency. Maduro may end up not being as hardlined as Chávez, while Capriles may seek improved relations with Washington for economic reasons.
While Venezuela in the post Chávez era will certainly look different than when he was alive, the question is how different. Will Maduro, who rose up the ranks from bus driver to become foreign minister and vice president, remain faithful to his mentor’s socialist vision? Or will Capriles, or another opposition candidate, win the presidency and take the country in a different direction, potentially making it resemble Venezuela’s pre Chávez era?
A critical aspect of Venezuela’s post Chávez government is how its foreign policy will be structured. During his tenure, Chávez determined much of Venezuela’s foreign policies in accordance with his ideologies. It will be of interest to see whether the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and its diplomatic corps will have more impact on future policies.
Hugo Chavez's death is a body blow for the poor and oppressed throughout Latin America
Under Chavez's revolution quality social housing became the norm and more than 90 per cent of Venezuelans ate three meals a day for the first time in the country's history.
The death of Hugo Chavez at just 58 is a body blow for the poor and the oppressed, throughout Latin America and the wider world. The most elected leader in the modern era, Chavez transformed Venezuela by the force of his will and a popular revolution which encompassed the marginal, the ethnic minorities, the workers, and key sections of the progressive intelligencia who saw in him a veritable Spartacus.
He rallied an army of not slaves, but those despised by the oligarchy as hewers of wood and drawers of the oil which previously made only the rich richer. Under Chavez' revolution the oil wealth was distributed in ever rising wages and above all in ambitious social engineering. He built the fifth largest student body in the world, creating scores of new universities. More than 90 per cent of Venezuelans ate three meals a day for the first time in the country's history. Quality social housing for the masses became the norm with the pledge that by the end of the presidential term, now cut short, all Venezuelans would live in a dignified house.
Chavez' ambitions were not limited to Venezuela alone. He fostered Latin American unity promoting democratic and socialist movements throughout the continent. He founded a Bank of the South, a University of the South, even a television station of the South - Tele Sur. And further afield he championed the Palestinian cause, giving citizenship to stateless Palestinian refugees. When Israel invaded Lebanon, from where I write, in 2006 he expelled the Israeli ambassador from Caracas - relations which remain severed. He stood up to North American hegemony and with the victims of imperial domination everywhere.
I knew him as a warm gregarious bear of a man, a force of nature.
My wife and I spent almost two weeks working in his presidential campaign late last year. It is heartbreaking to be writing what amounts to his obituary so soon after yet another of his great political triumphs. He will be remembered as a man who lived and died for his people, as a paratrooper, a tank commander, a president. Hasta siempre Comandante. Presente.
HUGO CHAVEZ AND THE GLOBAL POVERTY CONSPIRACY
Greg Palast is a New York Times bestselling author and fearless investigative journalist whose reports appear on BBC Television Newsnight and in The Guardian. Palast eats the rich and spits them out. Catch his reports and films at www.GregPalast.com, where you can also securely send him your documents marked, "confidential".
London, February 2002. A tiny, dark and intense woman waited at the end of a lecture until I was alone, brought her face strangely close to mine and whispered, “President Chavez needs you. Right now. To Caracas. Right now. You must come to see him.”
President Who? All I knew about this Hugo Chavez guy was that he was an Latin-American jefe, led a bungled coup and was filled with a lot of populist bullshit and a lot of oil.
And I also knew that no one at BBC Newsnight was going to blow the budget for me to fly to South America to talk about a nation that 92 percent of our viewers couldn’t find on a map and wouldn’t want to.
“Send me an email.”
“There will be a coup. March 15.”
“The Ides of March. I like that. Aren’t there always coups down there?”
“They’ll kill him, undo everything. He needs you to stop it, he wants to explain it to you because he knows you understand.”
Actually, you’d be surprised at the amount I don’t understand at all. “So talk.”
She did – for four hours – and wore me down into submission. But back at Newsnight I looked like an idiot when March 15 came and went with just a little gunfire in Caracas.
Three weeks later, the President of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, was kidnapped and held hostage by the head of Venezuela’s Chamber of Commerce. Suddenly the BBC had to get me on a plane.
When I got to the Presidential Palace, Chavez was already back at his desk, though the bullet holes in the palace’s walls weren’t yet filled in.
Chavez told me that he'd agreed to be taken hostage by gunmen on the condition that his staff and their trapped children would be allowed to escape. He was bundled into a helicopter, and when it swerved out to sea he assumed he would be pushed out: “I was calm. I was ready.”
So who was behind it?
Chavez gave me information on US military attachés who had met with the plotters. While I couldn’t verify any specific US directive to seize him, I didn’t have to: I had grinning photos of George W Bush’s new US Ambassador, Charles Shapiro, congratulating Chavez’ kidnappers.
The question was, why? Why the need to eliminate Chavez, by coup, by bullet, by propaganda, embargo, or, as we later discovered, by screwing with Venezuela’s vote count?
No doubt that for Bush’s oil-o-crats, Chavez’ doubling the royalties paid by Exxon and Chevron was worth the price of a bullet; but it was no more than the amount that Sarah Palin would seize from the oil companies when she ruled Alaska. So what was it?
The answer was in the movie Network.
“AM I GETTING THROUGH TO YOU, MR. BEALE? The Arabs have taken billions of dollars out of this country, and now THEY MUST GIVE IT BACK!
“It is ebb and flow, tidal gravity. You are an old man who thinks in terms of national and peoples. THERE ARE NO NATIONS. There are no peoples. There is only ONE HOLISTIC SYSTEM OF SYSTEM, one vast and immense, interwoven, interacting, multi-variate, multi-national dominion of dollars. Petro-dollars. Electro-dollars. Multi-dollars. IT IS THE INTERNATIONAL SYSTEM OF CURRENCY which determines the totality of life on this planet. Am I getting through to you?”
Chavez had defied gravity, overpowered the tide. Venezuela earned billions in petro-dollars from the USA – but then, Chavez refused to “give it back”.
Third World nations are not supposed to keep the dollars paid to suck out their oil and mineral blood. For every dollar US consumers pay the Saudis for their oil, about $1.24 is given back as Saudis return the funds by purchasing US Treasury debt or hunks of US banks, CitiCorp for one.
In 2005, the US spent $227 billion in Latin America, sapping its properties and resources. But the money turned right around and, added to the funds sent to Miami by Latin America’s elite, immediately became a $379 million loan to the US Treasury and financiers.
Argentina leant the US at 4 percent interest, then had to borrow its own money back at 16 percent – the whirring wheel, this grinder, left school teachers in Buenos Aires hunting in garbage cans for food. Riots followed and – in Peru, Ecuador, Argentina and elsewhere – this led to tanks in the street, currency collapse, crisis and the “rescue” by the IMF. Rescue meant forcing the mass sell-off of state industries, from oil to water systems, to the crushing of labour unions and to swallowing the whole bottle of poisons kept by the elite of the Northern Hemisphere for just such occasions.
And that was the plan. Literally. I've held the proof in my hands, about five thousand pages of financial agreements, all labelled “confidential” and “not to be distributed except by authorised persons”, which bore benign titles like “World Bank Poverty Reduction Strategy, Argentina.”
Why would the IMF, World Bank and the bankers not want to make their wonderful plans for reducing poverty public? It was for the same reason the finance ministers who signed the documents didn’t even tell their own presidents: they were in fact “reduce-to-poverty” plans, complete resource surrender.
For these deliberately bankrupted nations, it was sign or starve. Until Hugo Chavez came along. Early on, Chavez withdrew $20 billion of Venezuela’s money leant to the US Federal Reserve, to create a giant micro-lending programme for his citizens. Then he went a step too far, establishing what the Wall Street Journal called, “a tropical IMF”.
In 2000 and after, when the IMF and banks moved to financially strangle these nations by making their debts unsalable, Hugo Chavez would roll up in his oil-gilded chariot. He effectively underwrote Argentina’s debt, providing 250million dollars worth of loans, and assistance to Ecuador. After Enron seized Argentina’s water system and Occidental seized Ecuador’s oil fields, Argentina’s President Nestor Kirchner, followed by Ecuador’s Correa, told US banks to go fuck themselves. And the IMF, too.
Then there was the big one: Brazil. The World Bank/IMF “Poverty Reduction Strategy” for Brazil required the nation to close its publicly-owned banks, to sell off its vast oil properties, to give away its power industry and, to please the new foreign owners, slash wages and pensions. But with Chavez prepared to back up its new President, Lula Ignacio de Silva, the mighty little man from the Socialist Workers Party could tell the IMF to stick it where the free market don’t shine.
For the first time in contemporary history, resource states refused to give back the money received for their resource. At Chavez’ funeral, Lula, former President Ignacio de Silva of Brazil, praised this as Chavez’ most revolutionary act.
Now, instead of billions flowing North, Latin American capital was staying in Latin America. It is delicious irony that the European and American financiers, fleeing from the economic conflagration they’d ignited in their home countries, are loading their loot onto planes for Brazil. And that Venezuela’s central bank made a mint on its intra-continental loans.
And so, a coup was called for.
In 2002, Chavez’ oil company chief, Ali Rodriguez, told me: “America can’t let us stay in power. We are the exception to the New Globalisation Order. If we succeed, we are an example to all the Americas.”
That you were, Hugo Chavez. That you are, Venezuela. And all the Americas are ready.
Follow Greg on Twitter: @Greg_Palast
As a purgative for the crappola fed to Americans about Chavez, my foundation, The Palast Investigative Fund, is offering the film, The Assassination of Hugo Chavez, as a FREE download. Based on Palast's several meetings with Chavez, his kidnappers and his would-be assassins, filmed for BBC Television. DVDs also available.
Dr. Kevin Barrett
The Venezuelan president himself, before he died yesterday, wondered aloud whether the US government - or the banksters who own it - gave him, and its other leading Latin American enemies, cancer.
A little over a year ago, Chavez went on Venezuelan national radio and said: “I don’t know but… it is very odd that we have seen Lugo affected by cancer, Dilma when she was a candidate, me, going into an election year, not long ago Lula and now Cristina… It is very hard to explain, even with the law of probabilities, what has been happening to some leaders in Latin America. It’s at the very least strange, very strange.”
Strange indeed… so strange that if you think Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, Paraguayan Fernando Lugo, and former Brazilian leader Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva - Latin America’s top anti-US empire leaders - all just happened to contract cancer around the same time by sheer chance, you must be some kind of crazy coincidence theorist.
Am I 100% certain that the CIA killed Hugo Chavez? Absolutely not.
It could have been non-governmental assassins working for the bankers.
But any way you slice it, the masters of the US empire are undoubtedly responsible for giving Chavez and other Latin American leaders cancer. How do we know that? Just examine the Empire’s track record.
Fidel Castro’s bodyguard, Fabian Escalante, estimates that the CIA attempted to kill the Cuban president an astonishing 638 times. The CIA’s methods included exploding cigars, biological warfare agents painted on Castro’s diving suit, deadly pills, toxic bacteria in coffee, an exploding speaker’s podium, snipers, poison-wielding female friends, and explosive underwater sea shells.
The CIA’s assassination attempts against Castro were like a Tom and Jerry cartoon, with the CIA as the murderously inept cat, and the Cuban president as a clever and very lucky mouse. Some might even argue that Castro’s survival, in the face of 638 assassination attempts by the world’s greatest power, is evidence that El Presidente’s communist atheism was incorrect, and that God, or at least a guardian angel, must have been watching over “Infidel Castro” all along.
Theology aside, the CIA’s endless attempts on Castro’s life provide ample evidence that US authorities will stop at nothing in their efforts to murder their Latin American enemies.
John Perkins, in his bestselling book Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, supplies more evidence that the bankers that own the US government routinely murder heads of state, using private assassins as well as CIA killers.
Perkins, during his career as an “economic hit man,” gained first-hand knowledge about how the big international bankers maintain their empire in Latin America and elsewhere. Perkins’ job was to visit leaders of foreign countries and convince them to accept loans that could never be paid back. Why? The bankers want to force these nations into debt slavery. When the country goes bankrupt, the bankers seize the nation’s natural resources and establish complete control over its government and economy.
Perkins would meet with a targeted nation’s leader and say: “I have a fist-full of hundred dollar bills in one hand, and a bullet in the other. Which do you want?” If the leader accepted the loans, thereby enslaving his country, he got the payoff. If he angrily chased Perkins out of his office, the bankers would call in the “asteroids” to assassinate the uncooperative head of state.
The “asteroids” are the world’s most expensive and accomplished professional killers. They work on contract - sometimes to the CIA, sometimes to the bankers, and sometimes to wealthy private individuals. And though their specialty is causing plane crashes, they are capable of killing people, including heads of state, in any number of ways.
This isn’t just speculation. John Perkins actually knows some of these CIA-linked professional killers personally. And he has testified about their murders of Latin American leaders. Confessions of an Economic Hit Man is dedicated to Perkins’ murdered friends Gen. Torrijos of Panama and President Jaime Roldos of Ecuador. Both were killed by CIA-linked “asteroids” in engineered plane crashes.
Do CIA-linked killers sometimes induce cancer in their victims? Apparently they do. One notable victim: Jack Ruby (née Jack Rubenstein), a mobster who was himself a professional killer, and whose last hit was the choreographed murder of JFK-assassination patsy Lee Harvey Oswald in the basement of the Dallas Police Department. Ruby begged to be taken to Washington to tell the real story of the JFK murder, but instead died in prison, of a sudden and mysterious cancer, before he could reveal what he knew.
Have the CIA-bankster “asteroids” ever tried to kill Latin American leaders with cancer? The answer is an unequivocal “yes.”
Edward Haslam’s book Dr. Mary’s Monkey proves what JFK assassination prosecutor Jim Garrison had earlier alleged: Child-molesting CIA agent David Ferrie, one of President Kennedy’s killers, had experimented extensively with cancer-causing viruses for the CIA in his huge home laboratory. The purpose: To give Fidel Castro and other Latin American leaders cancer. (Ferrie himself was killed by the CIA shortly before he was scheduled to testify in court about his role in the JFK assassination.)
To summarize: We know that the bankers who own the US government routinely try to kill any Latin American leader who refuses to be their puppet. We know that they have mounted thousands of assassination attempts against Latin American leaders, including more than 600 against Castro alone. We know that they have been experimenting with cancer viruses, and killing people with cancer, since the 1960s.
So if you think Hugo Chavez died a natural death, I am afraid that you are terminally naïve.
Hours before Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez died, his second-in-command accused enemies of giving him cancer and announced the expulsion of two U.S. diplomats for an alleged plot to destabilize the government.
"There's no doubt that Commandante Chavez's health came under attack by the enemy," Vice President Nicolas Maduro said in an address to the nation from the presidential palace.
"The old enemies of our fatherland looked for a way to harm his health,'' according to Maduro, drawing a parallel to the illness and 2004 death of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, which some supporters blamed on poisoning by Israeli agents.
He said a special commission would investigate how Chavez, 58, ended up with the unspecified cancer that months of chemotherapy and radiation and four surgeries failed to tame.
State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell said in a statement it was "absurd" to suggest that the U.S. was somehow involved in Chavez's illness.
The allegation was made against a backdrop of diplomatic tension, with Caracas announcing that two American Air Force attachés had been given 24 hours to leave the country.
Maduro accused one of them, David Delmonaco, of spying and meeting with Venezuelan military officials for nefarious purposes. The expulsion of the second, Devlin Kostal, was announced soon after.
Defense Department spokesman Lt. Col. Todd Breasseale said Delmonaco would be leaving Caracas and that Kostal was already in the U.S. and denied the allegations against them.
"We completely reject the Venezuelan government's claim that the United States is involved in any type of conspiracy to destabilize Venezuela government," he said.
Ventrell also dismissed the accusations.
"Notwithstanding the significant differences between our governments, we continue to believe it important to seek a functional and more productive relationship with Venezuela based on issues of mutual interest," he said.
"This fallacious assertion of inappropriate U.S. action leads us to conclude that, unfortunately, the current Venezuelan government is not interested in an improved relationship."
Venezuela's relations with the U.S. have been strained for years, and Chavez saw conspiracies everywhere.
In 2008, he expelled the American ambassador, claiming the U.S. was orchestrating a military coup. He had repeatedly claimed to be the target of assassination plots from domestic and international opponents.
Media Scoundrels Pillory Chavez Before He's Buried
By Stephen Lendman
His passing made no difference. Media scoundrels don't quit. They spent 14 years vilifying him. They did it unfairly. They haven't stopped.
They're called scoundrels for good reason. They violate fundamental journalistic ethics. They lie for power. They turn truth on its head.
They substitute managed news misinformation. They support wealth, power, privilege and dominance. They're in bed with wrong over right.
They spurn rule of law principles and democratic values. They're well paid to do so. They betray readers and viewers. They do so unconscionably. They don't give a damn, and it shows.
Why anyone follows them they'll have to explain. Tune them out. Ignore their publications. Choose reliable alternative sources.
Get informed. Stay that way. Why settle for manipulated rubbish. Real news, information and analysis is readily available. Use it daily. Know what matters most.
On March 5, Chavez passed. An era went with him. Venezuelans owe him much. They won't forget.
He transformed an oligarch-run nation into a model participatory democracy. America's sham one pales by comparison. Venezuelans get the real thing and much more.
They deplore what used to be. They won't tolerate going back. Chavismo lives! Bolivarianism is policy. Venezuelans won't let it die. It's too important to preserve. Not according to media scoundrels.
On March 5, The New York Times claimed Venezuela today is "bitterly divided." It's "in the grip of a political crisis." It grew "more acute" in recent weeks.
Times writer William Neuman lied. He's paid to do so. Venezuelans overwhelmingly support Chavismo. His death changes nothing.
Dallas Morning News editor Sharon Grigs headlined "Chavez's death: Now Venezuela can reclaim its lost democracy." She wouldn't recognize the real thing if it bit her on the rump.
The Washington Post did no better. It called Chavez "polarizing." An "institutional crisis" exists.
Other media scoundrels piled on. They pillory what deserves praise. Chavez institutionalized what won't change. Venezuelans won't tolerate their ugly past. They'll challenge dark forces to prevent it.
The Washington Times said "Chavistas' mourn dictator." White House/Capitol Hill reaction ranged from "cautious optimism" to "good riddance."
Obama vilified Chavez often. He scorned him unconscionably. He lied repeatedly. He's a serial liar.
He now says America "reaffirms its support for the Venezuelan people and its interests in developing a constructive relationship with the Venezuelan government."
He doesn't give a damn about ordinary Venezuelans. He never did and doesn't now.
Washington tolerates no independent leaders. Chavez was marked for removal. CIA rogues likely killed him. Perhaps he was poisoned or exposed to cancer causing elements.
Israel used polonium to murder Arafat. Perhaps something similar caused Chavez's death. It wouldn't be the first time America assassinated a foreign leader. It won't be the last. Its rap sheet includes many.
BBC said "Iconic Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez dies." He leaves behind an "economic muddle."
He achieved impressive economic growth and prosperity. Britain's government pales by comparison. It's lawless, corrupt, dysfunctional, and hugely unequal. BBC's its propaganda mouthpiece. Don't expect it to explain.
Media scoundrels attacked Chavez. They did so before he's buried. His state funeral is Friday. Have they no shame? They don't now and never did.
Murdoch's the worst of a bad bunch. His world reflects demagoguery, propaganda, predatory capitalism, warmongering and sleaze.
Journalist Mike Royko's (1932 - 1997) assessment bears repeating. "(N)o self-respecting fish would (want to) be wrapped in a Murdoch paper."
"His goal (isn't) journalism." It's bottom line priorities. It's "vast power, political power." He wields it unscrupulously. He's a world class predator.
He uses deception, intimidation, and bullying. He does so to get his way. He hires likeminded scoundrels. Do it his way or work elsewhere.
No middle ground is permissible. No independent journalists get hired. Truth tellers need not apply. No honest brokers wanted. No telling it like it is.
On March 5, Murdoch's Wall Street Journal headlined "Hugo Chavez: The lesson is to beware the rule of charismatic demagogues."
In December 1998, Venezuelans elected him. A dark era ended. Chavez made things "worse," said the Journal. It lied saying so.
"By 1998, the the Soviet Union was a memory, Latin American countries from Mexico to Chile were successfully adopting free-market policies, and Chavez's friend and role model - Cuba's Fidel Castro - was a discredited dinosaur."
Castro's a model leader. He transformed Cuba responsibly. He did so from police state harshness/casino/brothel corruption into an equitable socialist state.
He was Chavez's mentor and friend. Chavez called him his father and role model. They bonded. They stayed close until until his death.
Not according to WSJThink. "Chavez showed that it's possible to run against the tides of history, at least for a while, and at least if you happen to get lucky with an oil revenue bonanza."
Chavez used Venezuela's oil wealth "to purchase political support of Venezuela's poor, the army and a loyal nouveau riche."
"It also allowed him to become a classic petro-dictator."
"In 1999 he revised the Venezuelan constitution to give him expanded powers."
"He used a constitutional assembly under his control to appoint a chavista Supreme Court."
"He stripped independent TV and radio stations of their licenses and intimidated reporters with draconian libel laws."
Murdoch lies need challenging. They're over-the-top and unconscionable.
Chavez used Venezuela's oil wealth responsibly. Everyone benefitted. Populism replaced neoliberal harshness.
Bolivarianism prioritizes vital needs. Living standards improved remarkably. Disadvantaged Venezuelans benefitted most.
Child mortality fell from 20 per 1,000 to 13. Unemployment dropped from 14.5% to 6.4%.
Income inequality is Latin America's lowest. Poverty was cut in half. Extreme poverty fell over 70%. Economic growth in 2011 was 4.8%. In 2012, it was 5.6%. Forecasts estimate 6% in 2013.
Hundreds of thousands of new homes were built. Commerce grew 9.2%. Communications advanced 7.2%. Manufacturing increased 2.1%. Oil sector production increased.
Growth created jobs. Millions got free healthcare and education. They did so for the first time. Pension eligibility tripled.
Pre-Chavez years were disastrous." From 1980 - 1998, per capita income fell. Chavez turned disaster into success. Venezuela's future looks promising. Give Chavez the credit he deserves.
Corporate owners dominate Venezuela's media. Censorship doesn't exist. Short of advocating sedition or treason, they're free to publish or air what they wish. They take full advantage. They vilify populist reform. They pilloried Chavez for institutionalizing it.
"Though elections were held on schedule, (Chavez) made sure to tilt the playing field….Public workers risked being fired if they voted against him. It was the sort of election only Jimmy Carter could bless."
Carter Center representatives monitor Venezuelan elections. Jimmy Carter calls its process "the best in the world." He does for good reason. It's open, free and fair.
It shames America's sham process. Duopoly power runs things. Republicans and Democrats replicate each other. They're two sides of the same coin.
They're beholden to monied interests. They sold their souls for power.
People have no say. Voters get the best democracy money can buy. Neoliberal harshness, permanent wars, and police state repression follow.
Venezuelan democracy is genuine. Voters need no persuasion. Chavez instituted the real thing. Venezuelans want it no other way.
Expect what he began to continue. It's hardwired to stay. It's part of Venezuelan culture. It won't fade and die.
The Journal claims life for Venezuela's "bec(ame) worse." It lied saying so. It's never been better in generations.
"Chavez made his mark on the world stage by forging alliances with Bashar Assad in Syria and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Iran, giving sanctuary to Colombia's narco-terrorist FARC movement, providing the Castro regime with free oil, and inveighing loudly against the United States."
"He succeeded in spawning political imitators in Ecuador and Bolivia."
Chavez governed responsibly. He allied with other independent leaders. He prioritized right over wrong. Journal editors can't tolerate his success. He represented the threat of a good example.
Venezuelans "have to fight to reclaim the democracy they once enjoyed….Let's hope Venezuelans seize the chance to bury the tragic legacy of Chavismo alongside its author's corpse."
Chavismo lives. Bolivarianism delivered democracy. Venezuelans got what they never had. They mourn their great loss.
They want Chavez buried alongside Bolivar. He's in Venezuela’s Panteon Nacional (Temple of all the Gods). It lies on Caracas' northern edge.
Its central nave is dedicated to Bolivar. It's adorned with his bronze sarcophagus and paintings reflecting his life. In 1883, an impressive crystal chandelier was installed. It was done on the centennial of his birth.
Expect Chavez be interned there. He belongs nowhere else. Both leaders stood tall. They supported what's right. Venezuelans won't ever forget.
America never had anyone like them. Its deplorable government reflects it. Today it's worse than ever.
It's corporatist, soulless, lawless, belligerent, and repressive. It's a hair's breath from tyranny. Don't explain media scoundrels to explain.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
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