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The Two Venezuelas and Foreign Intervention How former ref Tim Donaghy conspired to fix NBA games

The Two Venezuelas and Foreign InterventionToday Venezuela is at an impasse, a term allegedly coined by Voltaire to refer to a situation devoid of exits. It has infinite inflation, four immobilized branches of government, two presidents, and the worst humanitarian crisis to hit the Americas in decades. There is sporadic violence on the streets and in improvised prisons hidden away from YouTube. What today resembles a civil war without weapons could easily escalate into bloodshed. Yet it is foreign powers and not domestic actors that will determine the country’s fate.The Bolivarian divide runs so deep that the republic now has two presidents: Nicolás Maduro and Juan Guaidó. Maduro, elevated to power by the late Hugo Chavéz, insists that he has begun his second constitutional term, sworn in by the Supreme Court, backed by the courts and, crucially, the country’s armed forces. Guaidó is recognized by the National Assembly, the unicameral legislature that Chávez himself created when he wanted to do away with a Senate keen on opposing his accumulation of power. Hundreds of thousands of exiled Venezuelans, including former Chavista officers and representatives, support him, too.The international media have paid scant attention to Venezuela. With rare exceptions, the crisis has seemed far away, complex, and entirely domestic to the outside world. Yet that perception is misguided: Venezuela’s crisis is no longer a mere constitutional battle; it is a power struggle among international powers.When Guaidó invoked articles 233 and 333 of the Venezuelan constitution to declare himself president, he did so with plenty of support. The United States had already refused to recognize Maduro after last year’s presidential “election,” in which he was effectively the only candidate allowed to run. Same with the so-called Lima Group, a gathering of Latin American nations led by Brazil and Argentina. Such support allowed Guaidó to unify an opposition whose internal divisions had previously enabled Chávez and then Maduro to accumulate power. A few days later, the European Union joined the anti-Maduro forces, in a move ironically led by the socialist government of Spain, but not by Italy, where the populists of the Right (the Northern League) could not get the populists of the Left (the 5 Star Movement, old friends of Chavismo) to abandon Maduro.Recognizing a president, however, does not topple a government. The most damaging hits against Maduro were economic. The United States blocked PDVSA, Venezuela’s state-run oil giant and its only true source of funds, from accessing its refineries in the U.S. (Venezuelan oil has always been too heavy, leading the country’s oil industry to rely on American refineries.) The Trump administration also imposed sanctions on Venezuela’s primary debt issuance, as necessary for revolutionaries as it is for capitalists, as well as on the trading of existing securities. Guaidó will now control the country’s official accounts and will get to appoint a board for Venezuela’s crown jewel in the U.S.: the Citgo refinery.When it became clear that the petrodollars would stop flowing, defections from Maduro’s camp ticked up. And yet the regime did not fall. To outsiders, Maduro’s days in charge might appear numbered, but in Caracas he hangs on. That is because Chavismo’s traditional allies — Cuba, Russia, China, Turkey, Iran, Syria — have stood by him. In particular, the support of Russia and China, for whom Venezuela remains a bulwark against the pro-market governments ascendant elsewhere on the continent, has proved crucial.Despite its natural wealth, Venezuela’s debts to China are far larger than is commonly understood. And in Russia, oligarchs close to the Kremlin have too much to lose if the Maduro regime falls apart. That is why RT is keen on broadcasting every single “historic” military exercise by Maduro’s generals. (As my colleague Daniel Lansberg has pointed out, Venezuela now has more generals than all of NATO.) Paradoxically, the socialist revolution that Chávez created is now sustained by the capitalist interests of its main international sponsors.This dynamic is far from unprecedented. Decades ago, when there were two Spains rather than two Venezuelas, the diplomatic support of Western democracies mattered very little on the ground. In 1936, a failed military coup against the legitimate Spanish republic kicked off the century’s paradigmatic civil war. Madrid quickly received the support of international actors, including France, the United States, Mexico, and even the Soviet Union. But the generals under Francisco Franco had sponsors willing to fight. Hitler’s Germany and Mussolini’s Italy invested blood and treasure in Franco — and drove him to victory. His legitimacy was built on the battleground.Intervention matters. And so does the lack of it. When Rwanda’s ethnic conflicts escalated into an unspeakable genocide in 1994, U.N. troops stood by, eventually inspiring Samantha Power’s doctrine of moral intervention. When, later, Power was U.N. ambassador under President Obama, Obama refused to intervene in Syria even after the Assad regime mounted chemical-weapons attacks on its own citizens, thereby crossing the “red line” Obama had laid out. In both cases, the results were gruesome and the victims numerous.Ultimately only force can break an impasse. In Venezuela’s case, as in Spain’s before, legitimacy is not about constitutions but the balance of forces. Economic sanctions can debilitate a regime, but only those willing to use force can truly tilt the balance. As long as Venezuela’s traditional allies areeconomically and financially motivated to keep Chavistas in power, the current regime will endure, with or without Maduro. If Washington is not willing to intervene with force, then it must convince Moscow and Beijing that a political transition is in their interests. Guarantees for their investments are a good place to start. More important, Venezuela’s sorry destiny reminds us that in a world devoid of absolute hegemonies, there are worse things than American global leadership.


In 2007, NBA ref Tim Donaghy pleaded guilty to betting on games he officiated. But it was never proved that he fixed them -- until now. Our two-year investigation reveals how he did it, whom he did it with and the millions that flowed from the conspiracy.
Southwest Airlines under FAA investigation for aircraft weight, balance calculations Winners and losers from Manny Machado's megadeal with Padres

Southwest Airlines under FAA investigation for aircraft weight, balance calculationsThe investigation began in February 2018, and there have been no fines nor enforcement action from the investigation to date.


We break down what the deal means for the infielder, the Padres and a certain other available star.
Suicide bomber who killed 27 members of Iran's Guards was Pakistani: Guards commander Sources: Machado, Padres reach $300M deal

Suicide bomber who killed 27 members of Iran's Guards was Pakistani: Guards commanderThe man who carried out a suicide bombing which killed 27 members of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards near the border with Pakistan last week was Pakistani, a senior Revolutionary Guards commander said on Tuesday, according to the Tasnim news agency. One other member of the militant cell that planned the attack was also a Pakistani citizen, the head of the Guards' ground forces, Brigadier General Mohammad Pakpour said. Iran has repeatedly blamed Pakistan for sheltering militants connected with attacks in the border area, although Tuesday's remarks appear to be the first time Tehran has said Pakistani citizens were directly involved in the attack.


Manny Machado, a four-time All-Star who had a .297 batting average with 37 home runs, 107 RBIs and a career-high .905 OPS last season, has reached a deal with the Padres, sources told ESPN.
Saudi Crown Prince Pledges $20 Billion in Deals With Pakistan on the First Stop of His Asia Tour Brown, Rooney meet, agree 'time to move on'

Saudi Crown Prince Pledges $20 Billion in Deals With Pakistan on the First Stop of His Asia TourThe agreements come as the Saudi prince seeks to rebuild his reputation abroad


Embattled receiver Antonio Brown tweeted he had a "great meeting" with Steelers president Art Rooney II on Tuesday, but that both sides "agreed that it is time to move on."
10 of the Best Car-Upholstery Cleaners Tested UNC-Duke tickets approaching Super Bowl prices

10 of the Best Car-Upholstery Cleaners Tested


The cheapest ticket to Wednesday's UNC-Duke game is approaching Super Bowl prices, thanks to Zion Williamson. If you're interested in squeezing into Cameron Indoor Stadium to watch the legendary rivalry, it'll cost you at least $2,500.


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The Importance of Free Press in a Democracy

Before we can understand the importance of a free press in a democracy, we need to grasp what it means to have a free press. The Cambridge Dictionary tells us that a free press allows all media outlets to express whatever opinions they desire. That means, it says, that they are enabled to “criticize the government and other organizations.” So why would that be relevant in a democracy?

Unfair Questions or Democracy At Work ?

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” -- The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

Why U.S. Engagement Policy Is The Correct One

Invariably, when one thinks of the efficacy of a nation’s military, the mind’s eye is drawn to the ability of that country to deliver a \"warhead onto the forehead\" of their enemies. Indeed, owing to the Pentagon’s slick packaging of the First Gulf War, modern conflict, in the American mind, became synonymous with high-tech toys, grainy videos of successful missile shots, and a quick resolution of hostilities.

Capitalism and The Wealth Gap

When it comes to the efficient delivery of goods and services, capitalism is the proven economic model that puts people to work and products on the shelves. Whether those jobs end up paying enough money to purchase the items on those shelves is another matter, however.

Living Wages Are A Global Problem

The recent protests for an increased minimum wage are part of a larger global protest. The purpose is the same for low wage earners all over the world; increase wages to match the cost of living, and allow workers to form unions if desired and needed. The global protest has gained media attention all over the world, but critics claim that is the only accomplishment the movement will have.

Ukraine: Not What It Seems

After tense days of fighting this week, people in Ukraine are mourning the dead and celebrating the removal of President Victor Yanukovych from power. The final struggle that began on February 18, was the bloodiest endured by the protesters of Euromaidan. By February 22 the fighting was over.

Religious Freedom Bill - Protecting The Faithful or Legalized Discrimination?

After a much heated national debate, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer vetoed the controversial bill that would have allowed people and businesses in the state to refuse services to LBGT people based on their religious belief.

Coup Or Civil War In Egypt

The day after new protests erupted in Egypt the military in a show of support presented an ultimatum to Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood-led government. Morsi was to step down from power and meet all of the demands of the Egyptian people, or face being removed by the military on Wednesday. As the ultimatum deadline draws closer in Egypt, Morsi refuses to leave, insisting that parliamentary elections are needed before he should be removed, and that he doesn't have permission from the United States to remove himself from power. Most recently he stated he will pay with his life to preserve the sanctity of the ballot box.

 

 
 
 
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