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US Venezuela Policy is About Oligarchy, Not Democracy

US Venezuela Policy is About Oligarchy, Not Democracy

The proven oil reserves in Venezuela are recognized as the LARGEST in the world, totaling 297 billion barrels.
While ignoring (and even supporting) the atrocities of authoritarian regimes in places like Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Uzbekistan, US oligarchs have targeted Venezuela for “regime-change” in the name of “democracy”.
Currently, the US is engaging in economic warfare against Venezuela to foment a coup and remove its democratically elected president Nicolás Maduro.
Without providing solid evidence, our corporate-controlled government and mainstream media portray Maduro as a corrupt, repressive, and illegitimate leader with little to no support.

Ask yourself:

Do I ever see officials from the Venezuelan government appear in corporate news shows to tell THEIR side of the story?
What people DO get to comment on Venezuela and what are their credentials and agenda? Are these people essentially public relations agents for the US-orchestrated coup?
Does corporate news provide me with historical background of US imperialism in Venezuela to put these current events in context?

What Corporate-Controlled Media will NOT Tell You

The CIA was involved in the failed coup against Venezuela's popular leader Hugo Chavez in 2002.
Venezuela is not a strictly socialist country; it has a “mixed” economy - not unlike Norway or other Scandinavian countries.
Venezuela is a DEMOCRACY - unlike US-allies Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, and Kuwait.
In 2012, Jimmy Carter went on record saying:
“As a matter of fact, of the 92 elections that we've monitored, I would say the election process in Venezuela is the best in the world”
The opposition to Maduro knew they were going to lose the last election and so boycotted it in attempt to delegitimize the results.
The US actually tried to dissuade Maduro’s opponents from running!
Maduro invited international observers into the country in 2018 to monitor the last election but the opposition asked the UN not to send observers!
More than 80% of the Venezuelan population had not even HEARD of Juan Guaidó before Trump and the US state proclaimed him the “rightful” president.
Maduro’s approval ratings within his country are on par with opposition-controlled National Assembly. According to an October poll by opposition-aligned pollster Datanalisis, Venezuela's National Assembly, of which Juan Guaidó is president, has a disapproval rating of 70%.
Venezuela WANTS to sell its oil to the US – the US is their largest market and refines a majority of their oil.
US companies Chevron Corp, Halliburton, Schlumberger, Baker Hughes and Weatherford International all have operations in Venezuela, and are allowed to continue to engage in transactions and activities with PDVSA and its joint ventures through July 27.
“No State or group of States has the right to intervene, directly or indirectly, for any reason whatever, in the internal or external affairs of any other State. The foregoing principle prohibits not only armed force but also any other form of interference or attempted threat against the personality of the State or against its political, economic, and cultural elements.” Organization of American States Charter

Why is the US Corporatocracy so Keen to Remove Maduro?

While Venezuela’s economy is not a strictly-state-run economy, its oil industry is nationalized and uses its revenues for the benefit of its citizens (especially the poor).
After years of crippling US sanctions Maduro stepped over a crucial line in October when his government announced that Venezuela was abandoning the US dollar and would be make all future transactions on the Venezuelan exchange market in euro.
Saddam Hussein also went off the dollar in favor of the euro in 2003 – we started dropping bombs on him the next month.
A similar decision by the Gadhafi government in Libya (2011) was quickly followed by a devastating US-orchestrated conflict - culminating in Gadhafi's capture by radical Islamists who sodomized him with a bayonet before killing him. Since then, Libya has gone from Africa's wealthiest country to a truly failed-state complete with a slave trade! To make matters worse, after the collapse of the Libyan government, its military arms were smuggled out of that country and into the hands of ISIS fighters in Iraq and Syria - enabling US-orchestrated chaos in those countries.

Who cares what currency a country uses to trade petroleum?

Answer: US oligarchy

The US dollar is central to US world economic domination.
Like all other modern currencies, it is a fiat currency – backed by no real assets to prop up its value.
In lieu of a “gold standard” we know operate on a de-facto “oil-standard”:
"After the collapse of the Bretton Woods gold standard in the early 1970s, the United States struck a deal with Saudi Arabia to standardize oil prices in dollar terms. Through this deal, the petrodollar system was born, along with a paradigm shift away from pegged exchanged rates and gold-backed currencies to non-backed, floating rate regimes.
The petrodollar system elevated the U.S. dollar to the world's reserve currency and, through this status, the United States enjoys persistent trade deficits and is a global economic hegemony." Investopedia
“The central banking Ponzi scheme requires an ever-increasing base of demand and the immediate silencing of those who would threaten its existence. Perhaps that is what the hurry [was] in removing Gaddafi in particular and those who might have been sympathetic to his monetary idea.” Anthony Wile

US Foreign Policy is about Oligarchy Not Democracy

Since World War II, the US has attempted to over-throw the 52 foreign governments. Aside from a handful of exceptions (China, Cuba, Vietnam, etc.), the US has been successful in the vast majority of these attempts.
US foreign policy is not about democracy – it is about exploiting the world’s resources in the interests of a small, ultra-wealthy global elite.
This exploitation benefits a small percentage of people at the top of the economic pyramid while the costs are born by those at the bottom.

US CIA Coup Playbook:

How to Plunder Resources from Foreign Countries While Pretending to Support Democracy
  1. Find a country with resources you want.
  2. Send in an “Economic Hitman” to offer bribes the country’s leader in the form of personally lucrative business deals. If he accepts the deal, the leader will amass a personal fortune in exchange for "privatizing” the resources you wish to extract.
If the leader will not accept your bribes, begin the regime-change process.
3) Engage in economic warfare by imposing crippling sanctions on the country and blame the ensuing shortages on the leader’s “socialist” policies.
4) Work with right-wing allies inside country to fund and organize an “astroturf” opposition group behind a corporate-friendly puppet.
5) Hire thugs inside country to incite unrest and violence against the government in coordination with your opposition group. Use corporate media to publicize the orchestrated outbursts as popular outrage and paint a picture of a “failed state” mired in corruption and chaos.
6) When the government arrests your thugs, decry the response as the brutal repression. Use corporate-owned media to demonize the target government as a despotic regime while praising your puppet opposition as champions of democracy.
7) Work with right-wing military leaders to organize the overthrow the government (offer them the same business deals the current leader refused).
8) If a military-led coup cannot be organized, create a mercenary army to carry out acts of terrorism against the government and its supporters. Portray the mercenaries as “freedom fighters” and their acts of terrorism as a “civil war”.
9) If the target government has popular and military support and is too well-defended for your mercenaries to over-throw: label the country a “rouge state” and wait for the right time to invade. Meanwhile, continue to wear the country’s government and populace down using steps 3 – 8.
10) Escalate the terror campaign within the country to provoke a military response from the country against the US. If they won’t take the bait , fabricate an attack or threat that you can sell to the US population as justification for an invasion.
11) Once the government is removed, set up your puppet regime to provide the illusion of sovereignty. The regime will facilitate and legitimize your appropriation of the country’s resources under the guise of "free" trade.
12) As you continue to extract the country’s resources, provide intelligence and military support to the puppet regime to suppress popular dissent within the country.
13) Use the demise of the former government as yet another example of the impracticality of “socialism.”
What Can I Do?
Call your senators and representatives to voice your opposition to US regime-change efforts in Venezuela.
https://www.commoncause.org/find-your-representative/
Please share this message with others.
Sources included at: https://link.medium.com/8DiA5xzx4T

‘Venezuela’: Media’s One-Word Rebuttal to the Threat of Socialism

ALAN MACLEOD FEBRUARY 8, 2019
A recent Gallup poll (8/13/18) found that a majority of millennials view socialism favorably, preferring it to capitalism. Democratic socialist Bernie Sanders is the most popular politician in the United States, while new leftist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s (AOC) policies of higher taxes on the wealthy, free healthcare and public college tuition are highly popular—even among Republican voters (FAIR.org,1/23/19).
Alarmed by the growing threat of progressive policies at home, the establishment has found a one-word weapon to deploy against the rising tide: Venezuela. The trick is to attack any political figure or movement even remotely on the left by claiming they wish to turn the country into a “socialist wasteland” (Fox News, 2/2/19) run by a corrupt dictatorship, leaving its people hungry and devastated.
Leading the charge have been Fox News and other conservative outlets. One Fox opinion piece (1/25/19) claimed that Americans should be “absolutely disgusted” by the “fraud” of Bernie Sanders and Democrats like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker, as they “continue to promote a system that is causing mass starvation and the collapse of a country,” warning that is exactly what their failed socialist policies would bring to the US. (Back in the real world, while Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez identify as socialists, Warren is a self-described capitalist, and Booker is noted for his ties to Wall Street, whose support for his presidential bid he has reportedly been soliciting.) A second Fox Newsarticle (1/27/19) continues in the same vein, warning that, “At the heart of Venezuela’s collapse is a laundry list of socialist policies that have decimated its economy.”
The Wall Street Journal (1/28/19) describes calls for negotiations in Venezuela as “siding with the dictator.”
In an article entitled “Bernie Sanders, Jeremy Corbyn and the Starving Children of Venezuela,” the Washington Examiner (6/15/17) warned its readers to “beware the socialist utopia,” describing it as a dystopia where children go hungry thanks to socialism. The Wall Street Journal (1/28/19) recently condemned Sanders for his support of a “dictator,” despite the fact Bernie has strongly criticized Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, and dismissed Maduro’s predecessor, Hugo Chavez, as a “dead Communist dictator” (Reuters, 6/1/16).
More supposedly centrist publications have continued this line of attack. The New York Times’ Bret Stephens (1/25/19) argued: “Venezuela is a socialist catastrophe. In the age of AOC, the lesson must be learned again”—namely, that “socialism never works,” as “20 years of socialism” has led to “the ruin of a nation.” The Miami Herald(2/1/19) cast shame on Sanders and AOC for arguing for socialism in the face of such overwhelming evidence against it, describing the left’s refusal to back self-appointed president Juan Guaidó, someone whom less than 20 percent of Venezuelans had even heard of, let alone voted for, as “morally repugnant.”
This useful weapon to be used against the left can only be sustained by withholding a great number of key facts—chief among them, the US role in Venezuela’s devastation. US sanctions, according to the Venezuelan opposition’s economics czar, are responsible for a halving of the country’s oil output (FAIR.org, 12/17/18). The UN Human Rights Council has formally condemned the US and discussed reparations to be paid, with one UN special rapporteur describing Trump’s sanctions as a possible “crime against humanity” (London Independent, 1/26/19). This has not been reported by any the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN or any other national US “resistance” news outlet, which have been only too quick to support Trump’s regime change plans (FAIR.org, 1/25/19).
Likewise, the local US-backed opposition’s role in the economic crisis is barely mentioned. The opposition, which controls much of the country’s food supply, has officially accepted responsibility for conducting an “economic war” by withholding food and other key goods.
For example, the monolithic Empresas Polar controls the majority of the flour production and distribution crucial for making arepa cornbread, Venezuela’s staple food. Polar’s chair is Leopoldo Lopez, national coordinator of Juan Guaidó’s Popular Will party, while its president is Lorenzo Mendoza, who considered running for president against Maduro in the 2018 elections that caused pandemonium in the media (FAIR.org, 5/23/18).
Conspicuously, it’s the products that Polar has a near-monopoly in that are often in shortest supply. This is hardly a secret, but never mentioned in the copious stories (CNN, 5/14/14, Bloomberg, 3/16/17, Washington Post, 5/22/17, NPR, 4/7/17) focusing on bread lines in the country.
Also rarely commented on was the fact that multiple international election observer missions declared the 2018 elections free and fair, and that Venezuelan government spending as a proportion of GDP (often considered a barometer of socialism) is actually lower than the US’s, and far lower than most of Europe’s, according to the conservative Heritage Foundation.
The London Daily Express (2/3/19) demonstrates that redbaiting works equally well on either side of the Atlantic.
Regardless of these bothersome facts, the media has continued to present Venezuela’s supposedly socialist dictatorship as solely responsible for its crisis as a warning to any progressives who get the wrong idea. So useful is this tool that it is being used to attack progressive movements around the world. The Daily Express (2/3/19) and Daily Mail (2/3/19) condemned UK Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn for his “defense” of a “dictator,” while the Daily Telegraph(2/3/19) warned that the catastrophe of Venezuela is Labour’s blueprint for Britain. Meanwhile, the Greek leftist party Syriza’s support for Maduro (the official position of three-quarters of UN member states) was condemned as “shameful” (London Independent, 1/29/19).
“Venezuela” is also used as a one-word response to shut down debate and counter any progressive idea or thought. While the panel on ABC’s The View (7/23/18) discussed progressive legislation like Medicare for All and immigration reform, conservative regular Meghan McCain responding by invoking Venezuela: “They’re starving to death” she explained, leaving the other panelists bemused.
President Trump has also used it. In response to criticism from Senator Elizabeth Warren over his “Pocahontas” jibe, he replied that she would “make our country into Venezuela” (Reuters, 10/15/18).
The weapon’s effectiveness can only be sustained through a media in lockstep with the government’s regime-change goals. That the media is fixated on the travails of a relatively small and unimportant country in America’s “backyard,” and that the picture of Venezuela is so shallow, is not a mistake. Rather, the simplistic narrative of a socialist dictatorship starving its own people provides great utility as a weapon for the establishment to beat back the domestic “threat” of socialism, by associating movements and figures such as Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Jeremy Corbyn with an evil caricature they have carefully crafted.

Corporate Propaganda Blitz Against Venezuela’s Elected President: MSM Will Not Let Facts Interfere With Coup Agenda

Facts Don’t Interfere With Propaganda Blitz Against Venezuela’s Elected President Joe Emersberger
Guaidó, anointed by Trump and a new Iraq-style Coalition of the Willing, did not even run in Venezuela’s May 2018 presidential election. In fact, shortly before the election, Guaidó was not even mentioned by the opposition-aligned pollster Datanálisis when it published approval ratings of various prominent opposition leaders. Henri Falcón, who actually did run in the election (defying US threats against him) was claimed by the pollster to basically be in a statistical tie for most popular among them. It is remarkable to see the Western media dismiss this election as “fraudulent,” without even attempting to show that it was “stolen“ from Falcón. Perhaps that’s because it so clearly wasn’t stolen.
Graph: Approval Ratings of Main Venezuelan Leaders Nov 2016 - July 2018 Data from the opposition-aligned pollsters in Venezuela (via Torino Capital) indicates that Henri Falcón was the most popular of the major opposition figures at the time of the May 2018 presidential election. Nicolás Maduro won the election due to widespread opposition boycotting and votes drawn by another opposition candidate, Javier Bertucci.
The constitutional argument that Trump and his accomplices have used to “recognize” Guaidó rests on the preposterous claim that Maduro has “abandoned” the presidency by soundly beating Falcón in the election. Caracas-based journalist Lucas Koerner took apart that argument in more detail.
What about the McClatchy-owned Miami Herald's claim that Maduro “continues to reject international aid”? In November 2018, following a public appeal by Maduro, the UN did authorize emergency aid for Venezuela. It was even reported by Reuters (11/26/18), whose headlines have often broadcast the news agency’s contempt for Maduro’s government.
It’s not unusual for Western media to ignore facts they have themselves reported when a major “propaganda blitz” by Washington is underway against a government. For example, it was generally reported accurately in 1998 that UN weapons inspectors were withdrawn from Iraq ahead of air strikes ordered by Bill Clinton, not expelled by Iraq’s government. But by 2002, it became a staple of pro-war propaganda that Iraq had expelled weapons inspectors (Extra! Update, 10/02).
And, incidentally, when a Venezuelan NGO requested aid from the UN-linked Global Fund in 2017, it was turned down. Setting aside how effective foreign aid is at all (the example of Haiti hardly makes a great case for it), it is supposed to be distributed based on relative need, not based on how badly the US government wants somebody overthrown.
But the potential for “aid” to alleviate Venezuela’s crisis is negligible compared to the destructive impact of US economic sanctions. Near the end of the Miami Herald article, author Jim Wyss cited an estimate from the thoroughly demonized Venezuelan government that US sanctions have cost it $30 billion, with no time period specified for that estimate. Again, this calls to mind the run-up to the Iraq invasion, when completely factual statements that Iraq had no WMDs were attributed to the discredited Iraqi government. Quoting Iraqi denials supposedly balanced the lies spread in the media by US officials like John Bolton, who now leads the charge to overthrow Maduro. Wyss could have cited economists independent of the Maduro government on the impact of US sanctions—like US economist Mark Weisbrot, or the emphatically anti-Maduro Venezuelan economist Francisco Rodríguez.
Illegal US sanctions were first imposed in 2015 under a fraudulent “state of emergency” declared by Obama, and subsequently extended by Trump. The revenue lost to Venezuela’s government due to US economic sanctions since August 2017, when the impact became very easy to quantify, is by now well over $6 billion. That’s enormous in an economy that was only able to import about $11 billion of goods in 2018, and needs about $2 billion per year in medicines. Trump’s “recognition” of Guaidó as “interim president” was the pretext for making the already devastating sanctions much worse. Last month, Francisco Rodríguez revised his projection for the change in Venezuela’s real GDP in 2019, from an 11 percent contraction to 26 percent, after the intensified sanctions were announced.
The $20 million in US “aid” that Wyss is outraged Maduro won’t let in is a rounding error compared to the billions already lost from Trump’s sanctions.
Former US Ambassador to Venezuela William Brownfield, who pressed for more sanctions on Venezuela, dispensed with the standard “humanitarian” cover that US officials have offered for them (Intercept, 2/10/19):
And if we can do something that will bring that end quicker, we probably should do it, but we should do it understanding that it’s going to have an impact on millions and millions of people who are already having great difficulty finding enough to eat, getting themselves cured when they get sick, or finding clothes to put on their children before they go off to school. We don’t get to do this and pretend as though it has no impact there. We have to make the hard decision—the desired outcome justifies this fairly severe punishment.
How does this gruesome candor get missed by reporters like Wyss, and go unreported in his article?
Speaking of “severe punishment,” if the names John Bolton and Elliott Abrams don’t immediately call to mind the punishment they should be receiving for crimes against humanity, it illustrates how well the Western propaganda system functions. Bolton, a prime facilitator of the Iraq War, recently suggested that Maduro could be sent to a US-run torture camp in Cuba. Abrams played a key role in keeping US support flowing to mass murderers and torturers in Central America during the 1980s. Also significant that Abrams, brought in by Trump to help oust Maduro, used “humanitarian aid” as cover to supply weapons to the US-backed Contra terrorists in Nicaragua.
In the Miami Herald article, the use of US “aid” for military purposes is presented as another allegation made by the vilified Venezuelan president: “Maduro has repeatedly said the aid is cover for a military invasion and has ordered his armed forces not to let it in, even as food and medicine shortages sweep the country.”
Venezuela Accuses U.S. of Secretly Shipping Arms After Weapons Found on Plane with Possible CIA Ties | Democracy Now!
Calling for international aid and being democratically elected will do as little to protect Maduro’s government from US aggression as being disarmed of WMD did to prevent Iraq from being invaded—unless there is much more pushback from the US public against a lethal propaganda system.

When Is a Democracy not a Democracy? When It’s Venezuela and the US is Pushing Regime Change. Venezuela has as much right to call itself a democracy as does the United States. Until that is understood by enough people, the Trump administration will continue to devastate Venezuela’s economy with illegal sanctions and push it towards civil war.
Suggested Reading:
UN Rapporteur: US Sanctions Cause Death in Venezuela
Guaido is playing it fast and loose with the Bolivarian Constitution to justify a dictatorship
Trump’s Economic Sanctions Have Cost Venezuela About $6bn Since August 2017
How could Venezuela's president 'steal' the 2018 election from an unknown who didn't run?
In other news...
The Largest Protest Ever Was 15 Years Ago. The Iraq War Isn’t Over. What Happened?
submitted by roy_batty3000 to EndlessWar [link] [comments]

US Venezuela Policy is About Oligarchy, Not Democracy

US Venezuela Policy is About Oligarchy, Not Democracy

The proven oil reserves in Venezuela are recognized as the LARGEST in the world, totaling 297 billion barrels.
While ignoring (and even supporting) the atrocities of authoritarian regimes in places like Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Uzbekistan, US oligarchs have targeted Venezuela for “regime-change” in the name of “democracy”.
Currently, the US is engaging in economic warfare against Venezuela to foment a coup and remove its democratically elected president Nicolás Maduro.
Without providing solid evidence, our corporate-controlled government and mainstream media portray Maduro as a corrupt, repressive, and illegitimate leader with little to no support.

Ask yourself:

Do I ever see officials from the Venezuelan government appear in corporate news shows to tell THEIR side of the story?
What people DO get to comment on Venezuela and what are their credentials and agenda? Are these people essentially public relations agents for the US-orchestrated coup?
Does corporate news provide me with historical background of US imperialism in Venezuela to put these current events in context?

What Corporate-Controlled Media will NOT Tell You

The CIA was involved in the failed coup against Venezuela's popular leader Hugo Chavez in 2002.
Venezuela is not a strictly socialist country; it has a “mixed” economy - not unlike Norway or other Scandinavian countries.
Venezuela is a DEMOCRACY - unlike US-allies Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, and Kuwait.
In 2012, Jimmy Carter went on record saying:
“As a matter of fact, of the 92 elections that we've monitored, I would say the election process in Venezuela is the best in the world”
The opposition to Maduro knew they were going to lose the last election and so boycotted it in attempt to delegitimize the results.
The US actually tried to dissuade Maduro’s opponents from running!
Maduro invited international observers into the country in 2018 to monitor the last election but the opposition asked the UN not to send observers!
More than 80% of the Venezuelan population had not even HEARD of Juan Guaidó before Trump and the US state proclaimed him the “rightful” president.
Maduro’s approval ratings within his country are on par with opposition-controlled National Assembly. According to an October poll by opposition-aligned pollster Datanalisis, Venezuela's National Assembly, of which Juan Guaidó is president, has a disapproval rating of 70%.
Venezuela WANTS to sell its oil to the US – the US is their largest market and refines a majority of their oil.
US companies Chevron Corp, Halliburton, Schlumberger, Baker Hughes and Weatherford International all have operations in Venezuela, and are allowed to continue to engage in transactions and activities with PDVSA and its joint ventures through July 27.
“No State or group of States has the right to intervene, directly or indirectly, for any reason whatever, in the internal or external affairs of any other State. The foregoing principle prohibits not only armed force but also any other form of interference or attempted threat against the personality of the State or against its political, economic, and cultural elements.” Organization of American States Charter

Why is the US Corporatocracy so Keen to Remove Maduro?

While Venezuela’s economy is not a strictly-state-run economy, its oil industry is nationalized and uses its revenues for the benefit of its citizens (especially the poor).
After years of crippling US sanctions Maduro stepped over a crucial line in October when his government announced that Venezuela was abandoning the US dollar and would be make all future transactions on the Venezuelan exchange market in euro.
Saddam Hussein also went off the dollar in favor of the euro in 2003 – we started dropping bombs on him the next month.
A similar decision by the Gadhafi government in Libya (2011) was quickly followed by a devastating US-orchestrated conflict - culminating in Gadhafi's capture by radical Islamists who sodomized him with a bayonet before killing him. Since then, Libya has gone from Africa's wealthiest country to a truly failed-state complete with a slave trade! To make matters worse, after the collapse of the Libyan government, its military arms were smuggled out of that country and into the hands of ISIS fighters in Iraq and Syria - enabling US-orchestrated chaos in those countries.

Who cares what currency a country uses to trade petroleum?

Answer: US oligarchy

The US dollar is central to US world economic domination.
Like all other modern currencies, it is a fiat currency – backed by no real assets to prop up its value.
In lieu of a “gold standard” we know operate on a de-facto “oil-standard”:
"After the collapse of the Bretton Woods gold standard in the early 1970s, the United States struck a deal with Saudi Arabia to standardize oil prices in dollar terms. Through this deal, the petrodollar system was born, along with a paradigm shift away from pegged exchanged rates and gold-backed currencies to non-backed, floating rate regimes.
The petrodollar system elevated the U.S. dollar to the world's reserve currency and, through this status, the United States enjoys persistent trade deficits and is a global economic hegemony." Investopedia
“The central banking Ponzi scheme requires an ever-increasing base of demand and the immediate silencing of those who would threaten its existence. Perhaps that is what the hurry [was] in removing Gaddafi in particular and those who might have been sympathetic to his monetary idea.” Anthony Wile

US Foreign Policy is about Oligarchy Not Democracy

Since World War II, the US has attempted to over-throw the 52 foreign governments. Aside from a handful of exceptions (China, Cuba, Vietnam, etc.), the US has been successful in the vast majority of these attempts.
US foreign policy is not about democracy – it is about exploiting the world’s resources in the interests of a small, ultra-wealthy global elite.
This exploitation benefits a small percentage of people at the top of the economic pyramid while the costs are born by those at the bottom.

US CIA Coup Playbook:

How to Plunder Resources from Foreign Countries While Pretending to Support Democracy
  1. Find a country with resources you want.
  2. Send in an “Economic Hitman” to offer bribes the country’s leader in the form of personally lucrative business deals. If he accepts the deal, the leader will amass a personal fortune in exchange for "privatizing” the resources you wish to extract.
If the leader will not accept your bribes, begin the regime-change process.
3) Engage in economic warfare by imposing crippling sanctions on the country and blame the ensuing shortages on the leader’s “socialist” policies.
4) Work with right-wing allies inside country to fund and organize an “astroturf” opposition group behind a corporate-friendly puppet.
5) Hire thugs inside country to incite unrest and violence against the government in coordination with your opposition group. Use corporate media to publicize the orchestrated outbursts as popular outrage and paint a picture of a “failed state” mired in corruption and chaos.
6) When the government arrests your thugs, decry the response as the brutal repression. Use corporate-owned media to demonize the target government as a despotic regime while praising your puppet opposition as champions of democracy.
7) Work with right-wing military leaders to organize the overthrow the government (offer them the same business deals the current leader refused).
8) If a military-led coup cannot be organized, create a mercenary army to carry out acts of terrorism against the government and its supporters. Portray the mercenaries as “freedom fighters” and their acts of terrorism as a “civil war”.
9) If the target government has popular and military support and is too well-defended for your mercenaries to over-throw: label the country a “rouge state” and wait for the right time to invade. Meanwhile, continue to wear the country’s government and populace down using steps 3 – 8.
10) Escalate the terror campaign within the country to provoke a military response from the country against the US. If they won’t take the bait , fabricate an attack or threat that you can sell to the US population as justification for an invasion.
11) Once the government is removed, set up your puppet regime to provide the illusion of sovereignty. The regime will facilitate and legitimize your appropriation of the country’s resources under the guise of "free" trade.
12) As you continue to extract the country’s resources, provide intelligence and military support to the puppet regime to suppress popular dissent within the country.
13) Use the demise of the former government as yet another example of the impracticality of “socialism.”
What Can I Do?
Call your senators and representatives to voice your opposition to US regime-change efforts in Venezuela.
https://www.commoncause.org/find-your-representative/
Please share this message with others.
Sources included at: https://link.medium.com/8DiA5xzx4T

‘Venezuela’: Media’s One-Word Rebuttal to the Threat of Socialism

ALAN MACLEOD FEBRUARY 8, 2019
A recent Gallup poll (8/13/18) found that a majority of millennials view socialism favorably, preferring it to capitalism. Democratic socialist Bernie Sanders is the most popular politician in the United States, while new leftist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s (AOC) policies of higher taxes on the wealthy, free healthcare and public college tuition are highly popular—even among Republican voters (FAIR.org,1/23/19).
Alarmed by the growing threat of progressive policies at home, the establishment has found a one-word weapon to deploy against the rising tide: Venezuela. The trick is to attack any political figure or movement even remotely on the left by claiming they wish to turn the country into a “socialist wasteland” (Fox News, 2/2/19) run by a corrupt dictatorship, leaving its people hungry and devastated.
Leading the charge have been Fox News and other conservative outlets. One Fox opinion piece (1/25/19) claimed that Americans should be “absolutely disgusted” by the “fraud” of Bernie Sanders and Democrats like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker, as they “continue to promote a system that is causing mass starvation and the collapse of a country,” warning that is exactly what their failed socialist policies would bring to the US. (Back in the real world, while Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez identify as socialists, Warren is a self-described capitalist, and Booker is noted for his ties to Wall Street, whose support for his presidential bid he has reportedly been soliciting.) A second Fox Newsarticle (1/27/19) continues in the same vein, warning that, “At the heart of Venezuela’s collapse is a laundry list of socialist policies that have decimated its economy.”
The Wall Street Journal (1/28/19) describes calls for negotiations in Venezuela as “siding with the dictator.”
In an article entitled “Bernie Sanders, Jeremy Corbyn and the Starving Children of Venezuela,” the Washington Examiner (6/15/17) warned its readers to “beware the socialist utopia,” describing it as a dystopia where children go hungry thanks to socialism. The Wall Street Journal (1/28/19) recently condemned Sanders for his support of a “dictator,” despite the fact Bernie has strongly criticized Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, and dismissed Maduro’s predecessor, Hugo Chavez, as a “dead Communist dictator” (Reuters, 6/1/16).
More supposedly centrist publications have continued this line of attack. The New York Times’ Bret Stephens (1/25/19) argued: “Venezuela is a socialist catastrophe. In the age of AOC, the lesson must be learned again”—namely, that “socialism never works,” as “20 years of socialism” has led to “the ruin of a nation.” The Miami Herald(2/1/19) cast shame on Sanders and AOC for arguing for socialism in the face of such overwhelming evidence against it, describing the left’s refusal to back self-appointed president Juan Guaidó, someone whom less than 20 percent of Venezuelans had even heard of, let alone voted for, as “morally repugnant.”
This useful weapon to be used against the left can only be sustained by withholding a great number of key facts—chief among them, the US role in Venezuela’s devastation. US sanctions, according to the Venezuelan opposition’s economics czar, are responsible for a halving of the country’s oil output (FAIR.org, 12/17/18). The UN Human Rights Council has formally condemned the US and discussed reparations to be paid, with one UN special rapporteur describing Trump’s sanctions as a possible “crime against humanity” (London Independent, 1/26/19). This has not been reported by any the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN or any other national US “resistance” news outlet, which have been only too quick to support Trump’s regime change plans (FAIR.org, 1/25/19).
Likewise, the local US-backed opposition’s role in the economic crisis is barely mentioned. The opposition, which controls much of the country’s food supply, has officially accepted responsibility for conducting an “economic war” by withholding food and other key goods.
For example, the monolithic Empresas Polar controls the majority of the flour production and distribution crucial for making arepa cornbread, Venezuela’s staple food. Polar’s chair is Leopoldo Lopez, national coordinator of Juan Guaidó’s Popular Will party, while its president is Lorenzo Mendoza, who considered running for president against Maduro in the 2018 elections that caused pandemonium in the media (FAIR.org, 5/23/18).
Conspicuously, it’s the products that Polar has a near-monopoly in that are often in shortest supply. This is hardly a secret, but never mentioned in the copious stories (CNN, 5/14/14, Bloomberg, 3/16/17, Washington Post, 5/22/17, NPR, 4/7/17) focusing on bread lines in the country.
Also rarely commented on was the fact that multiple international election observer missions declared the 2018 elections free and fair, and that Venezuelan government spending as a proportion of GDP (often considered a barometer of socialism) is actually lower than the US’s, and far lower than most of Europe’s, according to the conservative Heritage Foundation.
The London Daily Express (2/3/19) demonstrates that redbaiting works equally well on either side of the Atlantic.
Regardless of these bothersome facts, the media has continued to present Venezuela’s supposedly socialist dictatorship as solely responsible for its crisis as a warning to any progressives who get the wrong idea. So useful is this tool that it is being used to attack progressive movements around the world. The Daily Express (2/3/19) and Daily Mail (2/3/19) condemned UK Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn for his “defense” of a “dictator,” while the Daily Telegraph(2/3/19) warned that the catastrophe of Venezuela is Labour’s blueprint for Britain. Meanwhile, the Greek leftist party Syriza’s support for Maduro (the official position of three-quarters of UN member states) was condemned as “shameful” (London Independent, 1/29/19).
“Venezuela” is also used as a one-word response to shut down debate and counter any progressive idea or thought. While the panel on ABC’s The View (7/23/18) discussed progressive legislation like Medicare for All and immigration reform, conservative regular Meghan McCain responding by invoking Venezuela: “They’re starving to death” she explained, leaving the other panelists bemused.
President Trump has also used it. In response to criticism from Senator Elizabeth Warren over his “Pocahontas” jibe, he replied that she would “make our country into Venezuela” (Reuters, 10/15/18).
The weapon’s effectiveness can only be sustained through a media in lockstep with the government’s regime-change goals. That the media is fixated on the travails of a relatively small and unimportant country in America’s “backyard,” and that the picture of Venezuela is so shallow, is not a mistake. Rather, the simplistic narrative of a socialist dictatorship starving its own people provides great utility as a weapon for the establishment to beat back the domestic “threat” of socialism, by associating movements and figures such as Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Jeremy Corbyn with an evil caricature they have carefully crafted.

Corporate Propaganda Blitz Against Venezuela’s Elected President: MSM Will Not Let Facts Interfere With Coup Agenda

Facts Don’t Interfere With Propaganda Blitz Against Venezuela’s Elected President Joe Emersberger
Guaidó, anointed by Trump and a new Iraq-style Coalition of the Willing, did not even run in Venezuela’s May 2018 presidential election. In fact, shortly before the election, Guaidó was not even mentioned by the opposition-aligned pollster Datanálisis when it published approval ratings of various prominent opposition leaders. Henri Falcón, who actually did run in the election (defying US threats against him) was claimed by the pollster to basically be in a statistical tie for most popular among them. It is remarkable to see the Western media dismiss this election as “fraudulent,” without even attempting to show that it was “stolen“ from Falcón. Perhaps that’s because it so clearly wasn’t stolen.
Graph: Approval Ratings of Main Venezuelan Leaders Nov 2016 - July 2018 Data from the opposition-aligned pollsters in Venezuela (via Torino Capital) indicates that Henri Falcón was the most popular of the major opposition figures at the time of the May 2018 presidential election. Nicolás Maduro won the election due to widespread opposition boycotting and votes drawn by another opposition candidate, Javier Bertucci.
The constitutional argument that Trump and his accomplices have used to “recognize” Guaidó rests on the preposterous claim that Maduro has “abandoned” the presidency by soundly beating Falcón in the election. Caracas-based journalist Lucas Koerner took apart that argument in more detail.
What about the McClatchy-owned Miami Herald's claim that Maduro “continues to reject international aid”? In November 2018, following a public appeal by Maduro, the UN did authorize emergency aid for Venezuela. It was even reported by Reuters (11/26/18), whose headlines have often broadcast the news agency’s contempt for Maduro’s government.
It’s not unusual for Western media to ignore facts they have themselves reported when a major “propaganda blitz” by Washington is underway against a government. For example, it was generally reported accurately in 1998 that UN weapons inspectors were withdrawn from Iraq ahead of air strikes ordered by Bill Clinton, not expelled by Iraq’s government. But by 2002, it became a staple of pro-war propaganda that Iraq had expelled weapons inspectors (Extra! Update, 10/02).
And, incidentally, when a Venezuelan NGO requested aid from the UN-linked Global Fund in 2017, it was turned down. Setting aside how effective foreign aid is at all (the example of Haiti hardly makes a great case for it), it is supposed to be distributed based on relative need, not based on how badly the US government wants somebody overthrown.
But the potential for “aid” to alleviate Venezuela’s crisis is negligible compared to the destructive impact of US economic sanctions. Near the end of the Miami Herald article, author Jim Wyss cited an estimate from the thoroughly demonized Venezuelan government that US sanctions have cost it $30 billion, with no time period specified for that estimate. Again, this calls to mind the run-up to the Iraq invasion, when completely factual statements that Iraq had no WMDs were attributed to the discredited Iraqi government. Quoting Iraqi denials supposedly balanced the lies spread in the media by US officials like John Bolton, who now leads the charge to overthrow Maduro. Wyss could have cited economists independent of the Maduro government on the impact of US sanctions—like US economist Mark Weisbrot, or the emphatically anti-Maduro Venezuelan economist Francisco Rodríguez.
Illegal US sanctions were first imposed in 2015 under a fraudulent “state of emergency” declared by Obama, and subsequently extended by Trump. The revenue lost to Venezuela’s government due to US economic sanctions since August 2017, when the impact became very easy to quantify, is by now well over $6 billion. That’s enormous in an economy that was only able to import about $11 billion of goods in 2018, and needs about $2 billion per year in medicines. Trump’s “recognition” of Guaidó as “interim president” was the pretext for making the already devastating sanctions much worse. Last month, Francisco Rodríguez revised his projection for the change in Venezuela’s real GDP in 2019, from an 11 percent contraction to 26 percent, after the intensified sanctions were announced.
The $20 million in US “aid” that Wyss is outraged Maduro won’t let in is a rounding error compared to the billions already lost from Trump’s sanctions.
Former US Ambassador to Venezuela William Brownfield, who pressed for more sanctions on Venezuela, dispensed with the standard “humanitarian” cover that US officials have offered for them (Intercept, 2/10/19):
And if we can do something that will bring that end quicker, we probably should do it, but we should do it understanding that it’s going to have an impact on millions and millions of people who are already having great difficulty finding enough to eat, getting themselves cured when they get sick, or finding clothes to put on their children before they go off to school. We don’t get to do this and pretend as though it has no impact there. We have to make the hard decision—the desired outcome justifies this fairly severe punishment.
How does this gruesome candor get missed by reporters like Wyss, and go unreported in his article?
Speaking of “severe punishment,” if the names John Bolton and Elliott Abrams don’t immediately call to mind the punishment they should be receiving for crimes against humanity, it illustrates how well the Western propaganda system functions. Bolton, a prime facilitator of the Iraq War, recently suggested that Maduro could be sent to a US-run torture camp in Cuba. Abrams played a key role in keeping US support flowing to mass murderers and torturers in Central America during the 1980s. Also significant that Abrams, brought in by Trump to help oust Maduro, used “humanitarian aid” as cover to supply weapons to the US-backed Contra terrorists in Nicaragua.
In the Miami Herald article, the use of US “aid” for military purposes is presented as another allegation made by the vilified Venezuelan president: “Maduro has repeatedly said the aid is cover for a military invasion and has ordered his armed forces not to let it in, even as food and medicine shortages sweep the country.”
Venezuela Accuses U.S. of Secretly Shipping Arms After Weapons Found on Plane with Possible CIA Ties | Democracy Now!
Calling for international aid and being democratically elected will do as little to protect Maduro’s government from US aggression as being disarmed of WMD did to prevent Iraq from being invaded—unless there is much more pushback from the US public against a lethal propaganda system.
Suggested Reading:
When Is a Democracy not a Democracy? When It’s Venezuela and the US is Pushing Regime Change. Venezuela has as much right to call itself a democracy as does the United States. Until that is understood by enough people, the Trump administration will continue to devastate Venezuela’s economy with illegal sanctions and push it towards civil war.
UN Rapporteur: US Sanctions Cause Death in Venezuela
Guaido is playing it fast and loose with the Bolivarian Constitution to justify a dictatorship
Trump’s Economic Sanctions Have Cost Venezuela About $6bn Since August 2017
How could Venezuela's president 'steal' the 2018 election from an unknown who didn't run?
In other news...
The Largest Protest Ever Was 15 Years Ago. The Iraq War Isn’t Over. What Happened?
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Can Chatbots be Intelligent?

Can Chatbots be Intelligent?
Businesses devise a billion ways of wooing customers, every day. If a chatbot can be a useful accomplice toward that end, why not give it a try? Afterall, who wouldn’t want a tool that can hold an intelligent conversation with customers, make them feel comfortable and bind them to your business.
Is it possible?
Recall that memorable scene from the award winning 2003 film, Lost in Translation, where an aging American actor, Bob Harris (played by Bill Murray), is on a set in Tokyo to shoot a whiskey commercial. The director, Yutaka Tadokoro, begins instructing Bob in Japanese, and the slapdash interpreter fails to capture the meaning—namely, it gets lost in translation. The process bogs down, and the commercial is a disaster.
You don’t want human-to-computer interactions to end up that way, right? But one-way communications prove to be too exasperating to users. People give up on trying to get a machine understand their intentions in a few clicks and presses. There’s that missing vibe, that interactive component in any human-computer engagement; and it’s the main reason a vast majority feels they must adapt to the technologies they use, rather than technology adapting to them.
https://preview.redd.it/mzxagl6zwrd11.jpg?width=220&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=49da6f90e91dc9686b28c337b159b74c7f6dd3bf
Enter 2018, and we have artificial intelligence (AI)-driven chatbots that are revolutionizing human-computer interactions just the way the humans want it. Chatbots today are more adaptive to the way people speak and mimic their emotions to the nearest binary. 2018 is paving the way for a great chatbot innovation.
Meanwhile, developers are working tirelessly to bring in new consumer experiences to market. For example, once WhatsApp opens to bots next year, it will unlock direct access to over one billion new users. Chatbots are continuing to push the envelope of new technology further.
To reckon with, a chatbot isn’t an additional handle on your website or a fancy add-on. It’s the need of the hour for every business that’s flourishing or aspires to flourish. In a market that’s fiercely competitive, customers expect to receive accurate information quickly enough to make a decision. As a business owner, you need to cater to that need. If you don’t have funds to recruit more people to answer all the questions customers throw at you, then deploying a smart chatbot can rescue your business in that case.
https://preview.redd.it/vpuz6mb1xrd11.png?width=800&format=png&auto=webp&s=f615929b9f190e38afe38c3d59ba084dbfc9747b
But then intelligence also matters as it determines the kind of tasks or conversations your chatbot can handle. Needless to say, if you have a clear set of activities preconceived in your mind, you can build awesome customized bots.
Let’s take you through a short read about 5 important things that can make a chatbot intelligent.
1. Bots need to understand human conversations:
The bot needs to be quick and intelligent enough to understand the context of the conversation happening in real time. It’s about sense and sensibility, in conversations.
Normal human conversations are replete with instances of switching over context while talking, while at work - resuming a task, discarding the current task and switching to a newer one, or in general hold a task while the other is being executed and work on follow on. Human conversations tend to switch between contexts and variables (intents and entities), often combining multiple things into one.
Sample this response to a flight booking bot for example, "My Destination? San Francisco. But how's the weather over there?"
What should be the bot’s response here - capture the entity and continue booking or check the weather before that?
In this case, chatbots need to
  • have context switching abilities to handle interruptions smartly and provide full control to developers in defining the experience
  • capture unattended interruptions from a conversation flow and keep them accessible
  • be equipped with human conversations and have the ability to hold and resume a dialog for a certain amount of time and execute the tasks in sequential order, and especially while understanding human emotions
You may argue that a bot is after all a machine and cannot absorb emotions, but all said and done, it also depends partly on how much capability you build into it. So, it must be clever enough to filter the feelings of the customer. The bot needs to understand, analyze and respond based on the human emotion. For instance, if a customer messages an online shopping portal saying, “Your service is amazing, the delivery of items are always 2 to 3 days delayed”, none can miss the biting sarcasm intended in the statement. But if the bot isn’t developed to cater to this sort of sentiment, it may end up answering in a horribly awry manner.
https://preview.redd.it/a3p88148xrd11.png?width=800&format=png&auto=webp&s=f589d16a1d1407018f26c460404a69def2a4cf52
Intelligent bots will have: Sentiment analysis, context switching, hold and resume feature.
2. Standardization and uniformity in bot utterances
It’s important to remember that a chatbot must give vibes closest to humans as much as possible. The way humans carry the stamp of their personality and style, bots too need to be enabled to do that. When asked about something, a bot must respond in a particular way and pattern that sounds like a human. This warms the usecustomer and makes him feel at ease during the conversation with a chatbot.
“You must have direct connection with your customers as part of your brand’s identity, even more than your website that doesn’t seem to have an identity, this will have a personality.”- William Meisel
Thus, chatbots need to
  • understand and remember the user context - make all user information available in a single location and accessible
  • store the user profile with information like first name, last name and make it accessible to all the systems for the convenience of the user.
  • remember what a specific user talks to a specific bot, in an enterprise scenario it needs to keep certain features such as prompt for ‘Password length’ / ‘folder for HR information, constant for all the employees in the enterprise
It’s important for a chatbot to keep a current task which is being executed in an active mode and store information.
As a corollary, customers appreciate and connect with the support executives (call support executives/shopping store helpers) who can remember their preferences, can validate their purchases, help them with more information on products, and basically give importance to them while attending to their queries. For example, in a Forex platform the currency against each country is maintained constant across all systems for everyone to access. The platform tends to store the first and last name of the customer, their last transaction and their payment options.
Chatbots now have the responsibility to standardize their understanding of a customer and respond to them accordingly, whether in the manner of communicating or the speed with which they resolve their query. Chatbots need to converse with customers to extract this information and keep up to their pace.
https://preview.redd.it/flps4l6bxrd11.png?width=800&format=png&auto=webp&s=dee88672cef176ed92778e962a9029543ee6cbd9
Intelligent bots will have features like: Small talk, Bot user session, Enterprise context, User context and User session
3. Making the complex conversation sound simple
Chatbots are expected to break the complex structures of conversations into simpler tones and bring to a logical conclusion. Here’s where ‘Artificial Intelligence’ comes into play. Among the many types of chatbots, the most common ones are task specific that cater to a specific job, with pre-loaded answers and information. These type of chatbots have the ability to gather data from the internet, previous company database and other sources. Therefore, these bots are able to reply to diverse queries.
The intelligent bots, in addition, have the potential to mold the conversation the way the customer wants and guide him towards a specific solution. In an office setup, it’s common for a conversation like, “Hey Lisa, set up a meeting with Phani if he’s free”, to be handled between a Boss and Secretary. To enable that, the chatbot needs to first look up the calendar of ‘Phani’, find a suitable time for a meeting in sync with the Boss’s schedule and then reschedule the meeting. Chatbots thus need to break up complex sounding conversation into simpler nuances and then execute the task sequentially and logically.
Intelligent bots can also break down the conversation to its essence and action items. Let’s look at a very common scenario: ‘Customer tries to book tickets for 14th August, confirms on the choice of airlines, origin and destination and navigates to the next page, but feels that the pricing is very high. The customer then asks the bot to check for ‘15th August instead’. Here, based on the situation, the chatbot is acting and will be able to display the new prices by changing the date of journey.
https://preview.redd.it/bzfoasiexrd11.png?width=800&format=png&auto=webp&s=67d134343093daf3d239c9bcfd0b315fb687d333
Intelligent bots will have features like: Amend Entities, Planning.
4. Adapting to human utterances
In the context of human–computer communication, forming assumptions about what a system can do and understand is problematic for most people. In turn, forming assumptions about how users will “talk to” the system is also likely to be problematic for system developers. The potential for variability in how users will communicate with a system is enormous and has been dubbed “The Vocabulary Problem.”
An intelligent chatbot can not only handle queries smartly and remembers them through the session, but also learns new things with every conversation that happens, saves them and uses them appropriately for future instances.
In a human conversation and especially over voice, there are bound to be
  • expectation of elaboration or confirmation (“can you hear me?”, “I do not follow”)
  • request for repeat of sentences (“ I’m sorry I couldn’t hear that, can you please repeat it again?” “Sorry, can you repeat?”)
  • pauses (“can you please hold? [pause] thank you!”)
  • interruptions (“the number is 212-” “sorry can you start over?” )
The simplest thing to do when writing responses to command and inquiry utterances in a conversational UI is to get straight to the point: respond with facts. That’ll remove a lot of the ambiguity and simplify the dialogue.
It’s up to the intelligent chatbot to adapt to the way the human responds - with the referential context (or) pauses (or) specific context (or) synonyms (or) repetition (or) abbreviations (or) variations in dialect. The chatbot needs to map it pre-contextually. But like their human counterparts, chatbots’ conversational skills determine whether they earn you seamless, scalable transactions or just another horde of pissed-off customers. This needs a lot of training by the chatbot to help continue the conversations to the logical ending.
https://preview.redd.it/u5g63jovxrd11.jpg?width=1581&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=1f394c933c28c1079cf290156de09f285b2054d1
Intelligent bots will have features like: Sync, Repeat, Interruptions and Pauses.
5. When bots are kept simple
Although AI chatbots’ task is complicated and they need to be built up that way, yet the effort should be made to keep it simple. They need to be comprehensive yet detailed. A customer initiating a conversation with a chatbot might already be troubled due to some poor service related issue, hence it’s better not to irk him further with complex interaction. The bot should be answering the already irked usecustomer in a most precise way possible without confusing the person further. It’s easy to figure out if you are talking to a bot or a human. Make sure the customer knows that they are talking to a bot by welcoming them with some sort of welcome message. Nobody likes being told the same thing over and over again, so why do chatbots keep doing it? Bots should detect when they’re about to repeat a previously given answer and switch strategies. If the answer didn’t resolve the user’s needs before, repeating it certainly won’t either. From the user interface, to the dialog flow the experience should be pleasant, and information given to the user needs to be valuable and crisp.
Twitter also provides the option to give your bot a custom name for different sections of the bot, which can be of use. It’s important to show what the chatbot is capable of doing with Quick Replies. The customer needs to be a guided stepwise within the conversation and with enough accessible options to choose from.
Lastly, there must always be a way to end the conversation with the bot and switch to a human agent. Many bots today include a Quick Reply to “Speak to an Agent”. Certain actions, such as open-ended visual search, are challenging to complete in a messaging environment. In those situations, bots can route to a website or app to help the user complete goals they couldn’t execute within the context of chat.
https://preview.redd.it/gc1j3z4sxrd11.jpg?width=578&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=331b9de9fcfa0c26ddf34eeb93783e909ecab6cf
Intelligent bots will have features like: Simple UI, Simpler steps, Agent Handoff
In a nutshell, a chatbot must be programmed to not just provide optimum solutions to problems, but also converse with customers in an engaging manner. The interaction must be exciting and the bot must appear to be curious enough to answer all queries. People prefer lively interactions and a chatbot needs to meet that expectation.
https://preview.redd.it/erd22jzpxrd11.jpg?width=1505&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=d83e0de6283b47b1210a912d26e23dd8023d3afc
For example, there are bots aligned with online shopping portals that can actually sense your liking and disliking. They can cancel orders for you accordingly and order the stuff that you actually want. Businesses are now moving way ahead than what anyone had ever thought of earlier. If we have an amazing concept like messenger or Kore.aiBots Platform, then why not use them to the full extent. Their proficiency in collecting massive data in a short period of time can be used to forecast upcoming business. You know it better how to get edgy with this interesting concept. The more you experiment with chatbots, the more you would get to know the wonders you can create with these little machines.
Some of the Global 2,000 companies and large enterprises are using Kore.ai Bots Platform to build their chatbots. How about you?
To get everything you need to build and deploy intelligent, enterprise-grade chatbots — without unnecessary complexity, click on Build your first BOT.
To ask questions, get tips, learn and grow with Kore.AI developer community, click on Ask questions on Developer Community.
Also Read on : Chatbots (of) the Future
Thank You
Phani Marupaka
LinkedIn| Tweet at : @phani_teja
submitted by PhaniTeja4 to u/PhaniTeja4 [link] [comments]

Can Chatbots be Intelligent?

Can Chatbots be Intelligent?
Businesses devise a billion ways of wooing customers, every day. If a chatbot can be a useful accomplice toward that end, why not give it a try? Afterall, who wouldn’t want a tool that can hold an intelligent conversation with customers, make them feel comfortable and bind them to your business.
Is it possible?
Recall that memorable scene from the award winning 2003 film, Lost in Translation, where an aging American actor, Bob Harris (played by Bill Murray), is on a set in Tokyo to shoot a whiskey commercial. The director, Yutaka Tadokoro, begins instructing Bob in Japanese, and the slapdash interpreter fails to capture the meaning—namely, it gets lost in translation. The process bogs down, and the commercial is a disaster.
https://preview.redd.it/6vqwiux3urd11.jpg?width=220&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=fd5151869d3e932a32f56fc969406633cd3ba623
You don’t want human-to-computer interactions to end up that way, right? But one-way communications prove to be too exasperating to users. People give up on trying to get a machine understand their intentions in a few clicks and presses. There’s that missing vibe, that interactive component in any human-computer engagement; and it’s the main reason a vast majority feels they must adapt to the technologies they use, rather than technology adapting to them.
Enter 2018, and we have artificial intelligence (AI)-driven chatbots that are revolutionizing human-computer interactions just the way the humans want it. Chatbots today are more adaptive to the way people speak and mimic their emotions to the nearest binary. 2018 is paving the way for a great chatbot innovation.
https://preview.redd.it/27twgl16urd11.png?width=800&format=png&auto=webp&s=c2a83408e1f5a9495428fff1f4cc0414d30b8d84
Meanwhile, developers are working tirelessly to bring in new consumer experiences to market. For example, once WhatsApp opens to bots next year, it will unlock direct access to over one billion new users. Chatbots are continuing to push the envelope of new technology further.
To reckon with, a chatbot isn’t an additional handle on your website or a fancy add-on. It’s the need of the hour for every business that’s flourishing or aspires to flourish. In a market that’s fiercely competitive, customers expect to receive accurate information quickly enough to make a decision. As a business owner, you need to cater to that need. If you don’t have funds to recruit more people to answer all the questions customers throw at you, then deploying a smart chatbot can rescue your business in that case.
But then intelligence also matters as it determines the kind of tasks or conversations your chatbot can handle. Needless to say, if you have a clear set of activities preconceived in your mind, you can build awesome customized bots.
Let’s take you through a short read about 5 important things that can make a chatbot intelligent.
1. Bots need to understand human conversations:
The bot needs to be quick and intelligent enough to understand the context of the conversation happening in real time. It’s about sense and sensibility, in conversations.
Normal human conversations are replete with instances of switching over context while talking, while at work - resuming a task, discarding the current task and switching to a newer one, or in general hold a task while the other is being executed and work on follow on. Human conversations tend to switch between contexts and variables (intents and entities), often combining multiple things into one.
Sample this response to a flight booking bot for example, "My Destination? San Francisco. But how's the weather over there?"
What should be the bot’s response here - capture the entity and continue booking or check the weather before that?
In this case, chatbots need to
  • have context switching abilities to handle interruptions smartly and provide full control to developers in defining the experience
  • capture unattended interruptions from a conversation flow and keep them accessible
  • be equipped with human conversations and have the ability to hold and resume a dialog for a certain amount of time and execute the tasks in sequential order, and especially while understanding human emotions
You may argue that a bot is after all a machine and cannot absorb emotions, but all said and done, it also depends partly on how much capability you build into it. So, it must be clever enough to filter the feelings of the customer. The bot needs to understand, analyze and respond based on the human emotion. For instance, if a customer messages an online shopping portal saying, “Your service is amazing, the delivery of items are always 2 to 3 days delayed”, none can miss the biting sarcasm intended in the statement. But if the bot isn’t developed to cater to this sort of sentiment, it may end up answering in a horribly awry manner.
Intelligent bots will have: Sentiment analysis, context switching, hold and resume feature.
2. Standardization and uniformity in bot utterances
It’s important to remember that a chatbot must give vibes closest to humans as much as possible. The way humans carry the stamp of their personality and style, bots too need to be enabled to do that. When asked about something, a bot must respond in a particular way and pattern that sounds like a human. This warms the usecustomer and makes him feel at ease during the conversation with a chatbot.
“You must have direct connection with your customers as part of your brand’s identity, even more than your website that doesn’t seem to have an identity, this will have a personality.”- William Meisel
Thus, chatbots need to
  • understand and remember the user context - make all user information available in a single location and accessible
  • store the user profile with information like first name, last name and make it accessible to all the systems for the convenience of the user.
  • remember what a specific user talks to a specific bot, in an enterprise scenario it needs to keep certain features such as prompt for ‘Password length’ / ‘folder for HR information, constant for all the employees in the enterprise
It’s important for a chatbot to keep a current task which is being executed in an active mode and store information.
As a corollary, customers appreciate and connect with the support executives (call support executives/shopping store helpers) who can remember their preferences, can validate their purchases, help them with more information on products, and basically give importance to them while attending to their queries. For example, in a Forex platform the currency against each country is maintained constant across all systems for everyone to access. The platform tends to store the first and last name of the customer, their last transaction and their payment options.
Chatbots now have the responsibility to standardize their understanding of a customer and respond to them accordingly, whether in the manner of communicating or the speed with which they resolve their query. Chatbots need to converse with customers to extract this information and keep up to their pace.
Intelligent bots will have features like: Small talk, Bot user session, Enterprise context, User context and User session
3. Making the complex conversation sound simple
Chatbots are expected to break the complex structures of conversations into simpler tones and bring to a logical conclusion. Here’s where ‘Artificial Intelligence’ comes into play. Among the many types of chatbots, the most common ones are task specific that cater to a specific job, with pre-loaded answers and information. These type of chatbots have the ability to gather data from the internet, previous company database and other sources. Therefore, these bots are able to reply to diverse queries.
The intelligent bots, in addition, have the potential to mold the conversation the way the customer wants and guide him towards a specific solution. In an office setup, it’s common for a conversation like, “Hey Lisa, set up a meeting with Phani if he’s free”, to be handled between a Boss and Secretary. To enable that, the chatbot needs to first look up the calendar of ‘Phani’, find a suitable time for a meeting in sync with the Boss’s schedule and then reschedule the meeting. Chatbots thus need to break up complex sounding conversation into simpler nuances and then execute the task sequentially and logically.
Intelligent bots can also break down the conversation to its essence and action items. Let’s look at a very common scenario: ‘Customer tries to book tickets for 14th August, confirms on the choice of airlines, origin and destination and navigates to the next page, but feels that the pricing is very high. The customer then asks the bot to check for ‘15th August instead’. Here, based on the situation, the chatbot is acting and will be able to display the new prices by changing the date of journey.
Intelligent bots will have features like: Amend Entities, Planning.
4. Adapting to human utterances
In the context of human–computer communication, forming assumptions about what a system can do and understand is problematic for most people. In turn, forming assumptions about how users will “talk to” the system is also likely to be problematic for system developers. The potential for variability in how users will communicate with a system is enormous and has been dubbed “The Vocabulary Problem.”
An intelligent chatbot can not only handle queries smartly and remembers them through the session, but also learns new things with every conversation that happens, saves them and uses them appropriately for future instances.
In a human conversation and especially over voice, there are bound to be
  • expectation of elaboration or confirmation (“can you hear me?”, “I do not follow”)
  • request for repeat of sentences (“ I’m sorry I couldn’t hear that, can you please repeat it again?” “Sorry, can you repeat?”)
  • pauses (“can you please hold? [pause] thank you!”)
  • interruptions (“the number is 212-” “sorry can you start over?” )
The simplest thing to do when writing responses to command and inquiry utterances in a conversational UI is to get straight to the point: respond with facts. That’ll remove a lot of the ambiguity and simplify the dialogue.
It’s up to the intelligent chatbot to adapt to the way the human responds - with the referential context (or) pauses (or) specific context (or) synonyms (or) repetition (or) abbreviations (or) variations in dialect. The chatbot needs to map it pre-contextually. But like their human counterparts, chatbots’ conversational skills determine whether they earn you seamless, scalable transactions or just another horde of pissed-off customers. This needs a lot of training by the chatbot to help continue the conversations to the logical ending.
Intelligent bots will have features like: Sync, Repeat, Interruptions and Pauses.
📷
5. When bots are kept simple
Although AI chatbots’ task is complicated and they need to be built up that way, yet the effort should be made to keep it simple. They need to be comprehensive yet detailed. A customer initiating a conversation with a chatbot might already be troubled due to some poor service related issue, hence it’s better not to irk him further with complex interaction. The bot should be answering the already irked usecustomer in a most precise way possible without confusing the person further. It’s easy to figure out if you are talking to a bot or a human. Make sure the customer knows that they are talking to a bot by welcoming them with some sort of welcome message. Nobody likes being told the same thing over and over again, so why do chatbots keep doing it? Bots should detect when they’re about to repeat a previously given answer and switch strategies. If the answer didn’t resolve the user’s needs before, repeating it certainly won’t either. From the user interface, to the dialog flow the experience should be pleasant, and information given to the user needs to be valuable and crisp.
Twitter also provides the option to give your bot a custom name for different sections of the bot, which can be of use. It’s important to show what the chatbot is capable of doing with Quick Replies. The customer needs to be a guided stepwise within the conversation and with enough accessible options to choose from.
Lastly, there must always be a way to end the conversation with the bot and switch to a human agent. Many bots today include a Quick Reply to “Speak to an Agent”. Certain actions, such as open-ended visual search, are challenging to complete in a messaging environment. In those situations, bots can route to a website or app to help the user complete goals they couldn’t execute within the context of chat.
Intelligent bots will have features like: Simple UI, Simpler steps, Agent Handoff
In a nutshell, a chatbot must be programmed to not just provide optimum solutions to problems, but also converse with customers in an engaging manner. The interaction must be exciting and the bot must appear to be curious enough to answer all queries. People prefer lively interactions and a chatbot needs to meet that expectation.
https://preview.redd.it/ri36kv7aurd11.jpg?width=800&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=b8d3f5a1bab5b31dc3617f4bb7645e88bf70f836
For example, there are bots aligned with online shopping portals that can actually sense your liking and disliking. They can cancel orders for you accordingly and order the stuff that you actually want. Businesses are now moving way ahead than what anyone had ever thought of earlier. If we have an amazing concept like messenger or Kore.aiBots Platform, then why not use them to the full extent. Their proficiency in collecting massive data in a short period of time can be used to forecast upcoming business. You know it better how to get edgy with this interesting concept. The more you experiment with chatbots, the more you would get to know the wonders you can create with these little machines.
Some of the Global 2,000 companies and large enterprises are using Kore.ai Bots Platform to build their chatbots. How about you?
To get everything you need to build and deploy intelligent, enterprise-grade chatbots — without unnecessary complexity, click on Build your first BOT.
To ask questions, get tips, learn and grow with Kore.AI developer community, click on Ask questions on Developer Community.
Also Read on : Chatbots (of) the Future
Thank You
Phani Marupaka
LinkedIn| Tweet at : @phani_teja
submitted by PhaniTeja4 to Chatbots [link] [comments]

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