Archive for the ‘Communism’ Category

Far-Left Syriza Wins Huge Victory in Greece

Sunday, January 25th, 2015

Greece’s far left-wing Syriza Party has won a big victory there, claiming about half the seats in Parliament.

What does it mean? I took a stab at analyzing it before. Even with a majority, there’s a good chance Syriza will have to continue meeting the EU’s demands (which means pretending to impose austerity measures) if they want mean old Aunt Angela to keep loaning them money. Remember: Greece has never practiced real austerity. Not once since the European Debt Crisis hit has Greece balanced its budget, and its deficit for 2014 was 12.2% of GDP.

But even the fake austerity imposed has been too much for the Greek people, who collectively want a cushy welfare state but don’t want to pay the sky-high taxes required to pay for it. Promising people something for nothing has been the left’s popular electoral strategy for more than a century, but reality can only be held off for so long. Germany is not due for a federal election, so it’s entirely possible Merkel might still underwrite another bailout or two if Syriza is willing to continue the farce. A Greece shorn of the Euro would still be broke and badly in debt, and newly Drachma-backed securities would likely be toxic investments for all but the most speculative of bond traders. (Perhaps Syriza should investigate how well that printing money thing is working out for Venezuela.) “Forgive our debts or we won’t let you give us more loans!” is a proposition Merkel would probably find quite easy to refuse, and I suspect the risk of a Greek exit from the Euro is already priced into European markets. If Syriza insists on anything more than (possibly) a token debt haircut, the EU will probably be willing to call their bluff.

It’s generally best for the driver of a 1974 Ford Pinto to avoid engaging in a game of chicken with a Tiger tank…

In Which I Point To Hot Air’s Venezuela Update and Say “What He Said”

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

It was about time to do another update on Venezuela’s failing socialist economy when I dropped by Hot Air and saw that Ed Morrissey had already done all the heavy lifting for me:

“The currency in what should be the richest country in South America has collapsed, as well as its economy, under the dual weight of falling crude prices and the Chavista socialism that has been choking the country for more than a decade.”

More:

Venezuela’s Chavista policies have always ignored economic reality. Socialism is a fantasy economic system, especially as implemented by Hugo Chavez and Nicolas Maduro.

The difference between Venezuela and the nanny-state petro-economy in Norway is that the latter preserves itself by respecting private property and foreign investment. From the beginning, Hugo Chavez attacked both, nationalizing oil production and criminalizing private investors as part of his “Bolivarian” revolution. When it did that, it chased off the talent needed to run oil production and the investment needed for all other kinds of goods and services. For a short period of time, their oil revenue allowed it to succeed in ignorance. When that failed, Chavez and now Maduro reacted to those predictable consequences by predictably imposing all sorts of rationing mechanisms which only decreased incentives for production and investment, especially in the legitimate economy. Now that the price of oil has collapsed, so has the official Venezuelan economy — and a populace used to a high standard of living now endures massive shortages and ever-increasing oppression to cover it up.

Morrissey, in turn, quotes a big chunk of this Matt O’Brien piece in the Washington Post:

Venezuela’s government is running a 14 percent of gross domestic product deficit right now, a fiscal hole so big that there’s only one way to fill it: the printing press. But that just traded one economic problem—too little money—for the opposite one. After all, paying people with newly-printed money only makes that money lose value, and prices go parabolic. It’s no wonder then that Venezuela’s inflation rate is officially 64 percent, is really something like 179 percent, and could get up to 1,000 percent, according to Bank of America, if Venezuela doesn’t change its byzantine currency controls.

What he said. Er, both of them.

LinkSwarm for January 19, 2015

Monday, January 19th, 2015

Enjoy a Monday LinkSwarm to get your week started:

  • Police conduct anti-terrorism raids in Germany, Belgium and France. Could this be the start of a real effort to halt Islamic extremism in Europe? I rather doubt it. Too many leftist parties across Europe need Muslim votes, and European elites still seem implacably hostile to the Euroskeptic parties pushing for an end to unlimited Muslim immigration.
  • Old and Busted: Never again! The New Hotness: More dead Jews? Meh.
  • The late Anwar al-Awlaki was good at two things: drawing up plans to kill innocent people in the name of Islam, and banging skanky whores.
  • The Prime Minister of France: “I refuse to use this term ‘Islamophobia,’ because those who use this word are trying to invalidate any criticism at all of Islamist ideology.” (Hat tip: JihadWatch.)
  • More from France’s PM on the new antisemitism:

    “There is a new anti-Semitism in France,” he told me. “We have the old anti-Semitism, and I’m obviously not downplaying it, that comes from the extreme right, but this new anti-Semitism comes from the difficult neighborhoods, from immigrants from the Middle East and North Africa, who have turned anger about Gaza into something very dangerous. Israel and Palestine are just a pretext. There is something far more profound taking place now.”

    In discussing the attacks on French synagogues and Jewish-owned businesses this summer, during the Gaza war, he said, “It is legitimate to criticize the politics of Israel. This criticism exists in Israel itself. But this is not what we are talking about in France. This is radical criticism of the very existence of Israel, which is anti-Semitic. There is an incontestable link between anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism. Behind anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism.”

  • Michael Totten quotes the late Christopher Hitchens. on the jihadist opinion of the current controversy: “Carving up grandfathers and granddaughters with an axe on New Year’s Eve can be okay if it’s done to protect the reputation of a seventh century Arabian man who heard voices.”
  • Bobby Jindal: “Islam has a problem.”
  • Victimology is the language and currency of our politics.”
  • All those Harvard professors supporting ObamaCare are shocked to discover they’re paying for it.
  • “In 2009, 76 Democrats represented primarily white working-class congressional districts. Just 15 of them are still in the House today.”

    A majority of the GOP gains since then have come from the Democrats’ near-total collapse in one set of districts: the largely blue-collar places in which the white share of the population exceeds the national average, and the portion of whites with at least a four-year college degree is less that the national average. While Republicans held a 20-seat lead in the districts that fit that description in the 111th Congress, the party has swelled that advantage to a crushing 125 seats today. That 105-seat expansion of the GOP margin in these districts by itself accounts for about three-quarters of the 136-seat swing from the Democrats’ 77-seat majority in 2009 to the 59-seat majority Republicans enjoy in the Congress convening now.

  • “It was not merely Democratic politicians who were wiped out in November. A plethora of liberal shibboleths were also massacred.”
  • Virginia voters won’t let a little thing like pleading guilty of contributing to the delinquency of a minor prevent him from regaining his seat in the House of Delegates. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades.)
  • How big is Texas?
  • Three myths about Medicaid expansion. I hope that Greg Abbott and Dan Patrick understand that we didn’t elect them to cave in on ObamaCare…
  • Are your tweets University of Indiana-approved, comrade? (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Feminism’s empathy gap. Or the Shanley Kanes of the world reject the experiences of women that don’t fit their preferred victimhood narrative…
  • How a Global Warming true believer became a skeptic.
  • 10 bodies, 11 severed heads found in Mexico.
  • Pictures of empty Venezuelan store shelves, as Socialism continue to work its usual magic.
  • Liberal California billionaire Tom Steyer may run for the senate. Hopefully he’ll have the same luck as the politicians he donated to in 2014…
  • Only found out recently that Death by Government and genocide/democide expert R. J. Rummel died March 2, 2014.
  • Conservatives win several rule fights in the Texas House.
  • Rick Perry’s farewell address.
  • Gregg Abbott’s inauguration will have 4 tons of brisket. Or, as we call it in Texas, “an appetizer.”
  • Times when climbing down a chimney is a good idea: Your name is “Santa Claus.” Otherwise? Not so much.
  • A cure for cracked winter hands.
  • “My personality is as spartan as a Danish furniture catalog, why can’t yours be the same?” (Hat tip: Dwight.)
  • American Sniper kills at the box office:

  • LinkSwarm for January 5, 2014

    Monday, January 5th, 2015

    Time waits for no man, so here’s your first LinkSwarm of the new year:

  • ObamaCare’s terrible, horrible, no good, very bad year.
  • “Democrats are grappling with the reality that the Obama presidency is nearing its end, and they don’t know what to say about it.”
  • Pricks in the Democratic party continue to prick people to donate.
  • Grand juries that examine hard facts live in a different world from mobs who listen to rhetoric and politicians who cater to the mobs.”
  • Thanks to The Magic Power of Socialism, Venezuela ice cream shop closes due to lack of milk.
  • Just as everyone who wasn’t a socialist predicted, France’s 75% tax on the rich has been a miserable failure. “Even by its own standards, the tax was largely a failure — the watered-down version brought in minimal revenue and did little to tackle wealth inequalities.” But it did succeed in driving Gerard Depardieu to Russia and Johnny Depp to England.
  • The top ten Jihad news stories of 2014. Though personally I would have found room for the Peshawar school attack…
  • ISIS executed nearly 2,000 people over the last six months.
  • “The mobs in New York, Ferguson, and elsewhere are not calling for metaphorical murders of policemen, but literal ones.”
  • If you want to “young black men to stop being shot,” perhaps they should refrain from aiming guns at cops.
  • Evidence suggests that the “Trayvon Martin Organizing Committee” was behind the “Dead Cops” chant.
  • Teacher’s unions are very upset that home schooling has allowed children to escape their clutches.
  • Excess vodka consumption killing Russian men. Stop the freaking presses! But aren’t the deaths of thousands of Russian men a small price to pay for unlimited quantities of amusing YouTube fail videos? (NSFW)

  • You know who fought “rape culture” in the 19th and 20th centuries? The KKK. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • “Lying for a good cause doesn’t mean that you care; It means you’re a liar.”
  • LinkSwarm for December 12, 2014

    Friday, December 12th, 2014

    You might not know from scanning the headlines of what the mainstream media wants to focus on, but there’s been a lot of liberal meltdown this week, among the MSM themselves especially:

  • Social Security to become insolvent in 2024. Thanks Obama! (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • The Gruber hearings: More “I don’t remember” than a Peter Gabriel video.
  • Wendy Davis earns Texas Monthly‘s Bum Steer of the Year. You know a Democrat had to have an epic train wreck when the lefty sorts over there are pretty much forced to put them on the cover…
  • Rapes by Democratic bundler Terry Bean or Democratic Capitol Hill staffer Donny Ray Williams? “Meh.” “The Press isn’t all that interested in stories that reflect badly on Democrats.”
  • Feminists prefer narrative to truth. “There is nothing that is nice or kind or empathetic about the subordination of truth to narrative.”
  • More on the same theme: “When questions first emerged, a number of people treated quashing those questions as the moral equivalent of war, attacking the questioners as if being skeptical of a story was itself wrong — rather than exactly the spirit of inquiry that makes science, and public debate, work…When we get wedded to our narratives, we become blind.”
  • “After four years of disastrous liberal Democratic rule, led by President Obama, the desperation of the left is now contributing to its own decline. And it’s not just recent defeats at the ballot box: The Democrats’ systematic overreach is destroying the credibility of their messengers and belittling the causes they want to promote; making it harder for them to identify and solve real problems.”
  • 35 federal agencies plan to share your health data. What could possibly go wrong?
  • Feminists have used Title IX as a far-reaching tool to reorganize higher education to their ideological agenda.
  • “How feminism left me.”
  • We have a strong candidate for Most Clueless Example of Liberal White Female Privilege On Salon. Granted, it’s a target-rich environment…
  • Obama official who enabled illegal alien flood is resigning in advance of hearings How convenient…
  • “It is now clear beyond all reasonable doubt that Hitler and his associates believed they were socialists, and that others, including democratic socialists, thought so too.”
  • How 401Ks are killing off defined-pension plans. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • #GamerGate is winning. “The ‘gamergate’ controversy cost Gawker Media ‘seven figures’ in lost advertising revenue, the company’s head of advertising Andrew Gorenstein said at an all-hands meeting on Wednesday afternoon.”
  • “All lives matter.” “APOLOGIZE!” WTF? Congratulations, Social Justice Warriors. You’re now officially a cult.
  • ISIS beheads four children for refusing to convert to Islam.
  • Joe Biden lectures Ayaan Hirsi Ali on Islam, which is like Kayne West lecturing Stephen Hawking on quantum physics.
  • Indonesia editor to face blasphemy charges for mocking ISIS. (Hat tip: Jihad Watch.)
  • India judge decides that country’s Child Marriage Act doesn’t apply to the Religion of Peace. (Hat tip: Jihad Watch.)
  • Yet he who has never had a snake-throwing fight at a Tim Hortons cast the first stone. (Hat tip: Bill Crider.)
  • “Man With Gender Studies Degree Terrorizes Party”. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • And I’m not covering the CROmnibus debacle yet because I haven’t even read the summary of the summary of the summary of what’s in that monster…

    Venezuela Takes The Express Lane To The Dustheap Of History

    Thursday, December 11th, 2014

    There’s been a lot of talk of how low oil prices are screwing Russia, but Venezuela is, if anything, more screwed thanks to the Magic Power of Socialism™:

    U.S. currency is vital to Venezuela, which imports as much as 80% of what it consumes; 96% of its exports are petroleum products…In effect, the one-third decline in the price of oil means that the state oil company must either raise or divert enough production because Venezuela effectively owes China 67 million barrels of oil, roughly 27 million more than it did before, for this loan alone. And there are billions of dollars in other loans to consider.

    And the outlook for the immediate future is equally grim:

    Venezuela’s economy is expected to contract in 2014 and 2015, and even though it’s already recognized as the 14th least competitive economy in the world (according to the World Economic Forum) and the eighth-worst economy for doing business (according to The World Bank), [President Nicolas] Maduro’s laws seem to discourage private investments even more. The new laws reinforce bureaucracy and the difficulty of doing business in the country, particularly in the area of taxes.

    “Increasing numbers of low-income Venezuelans are souring on Maduro as they suffer a declining economy, the highest inflation in the Americas, chronic shortages of basic goods and one of the world’s highest murder rates.”

    If Venezuela’s economy collapses, they might take Cuba down with them, since the Castro brothers are so heavily dependent on Venezuelan oil subsidies to prop up their own moribund economy.

    Compounding Venezuela’s crises is the fact that it’s probably going to default on its bonds. So they’re finally reaching the point in socialism where the run out of other people’s money. Next to that singular problem, U.S. sanctions on government Venezuelan officials for killing protestors are a trivial irritation…

    LinkSwarm for November 28, 2014

    Friday, November 28th, 2014

    Here’s a small LinkSwarm to tide you over for Black Friday:

  • 62% of voters oppose Obama’s illegal alien amnesty.
  • Barack Obama: Troll in Chief.
  • “If you want to see the end point of Barack Obama’s shining path, visit Detroit.”

    The Democrats, if they had any remaining intellectual honesty, would hold their convention in Detroit. Democratic leadership, Democratic unions and the Democratic policies that empower them, Democrat-dominated school bureaucracies, Democrat-style law enforcement, Democratic levels of taxation and spending, the politics of protest and grievance in the classical Democratic mode — all of these have made Detroit what it is today: an unwholesome slop-pail of woe and degradation that does not seem to belong in North America, a craptastical crater groaning with misery, a city-shaped void in what once was the industrial soul of the nation. If you want to see the end point of Barack Obama’s shining path, visit Detroit.

  • “The group toward whom [Obama]‘s shown the greatest contempt, however, is low-skilled American workers, particularly blacks.”
  • “At what point do we stop enabling the grievance industry to override our core constitutional protections?”
  • Did Obama prevent Missouri from deploying the National Guard to prevent Ferguson rioting?
  • Communist agitators stirring up a civil rights protest sounds like a bad ‘60s flashback, but that’s just what happened last week in Ferguson.”
  • Jim Webb’s career show’s how badly Democrats have been hollowed-up in the Obama era:

    Consider: There will be only five red-state Senate Democrats left in the next Congress if, as expected, Sen. Mary Landrieu is defeated in next month’s runoff. Even more striking, there will be only five House Democrats left representing districts that Mitt Romney carried in 2012. The once-influential Blue Dog Caucus of fiscally hawkish Democrats is all but extinct. Republicans now boast twice as many blue-state senators (10) and five times as many blue-district representatives (25) than their Democratic counterparts in red territory.

    While lots of ink has been spilled charting the GOP’s drift rightward, the Democratic Party’s move toward ideological homogeneity has been shorter and swifter.

    (Hat tip: Instapundit, who notes “The Democratic Party has become an aging, regional party with a diversity problem.”)

  • It’s not that the Vietnamese communist leadership is good, it’s just less bad than all the other communist leaderships.
  • Ann Althouse is right: They really did choose a superbly illustrative picture for this Chuck Hagel resignation piece.
  • Only 50% of climate scientists think climate change is human induced.
  • Who should be Secretary of Defense? “America needs Dick Cheney. Now more than ever.”
  • You could read this Penny Arcade as a parable about Islam. Or trusting Obama.
  • “Tear down this wall!”

    Sunday, November 9th, 2014

    Today is the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall.

    Communism is evil, no ifs, and or buts, and the dramatic difference between freedom and slavery on different sides of the Iron Curtain was too stark for any but the most blinkered leftists to ignore. Winston Churchill, Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, and Margaret Thatcher (among many others) all saw that difference clearly and worked to bring it down. The fall of the Berlin Wall was the beginning of the end not only for East Germany and the Warsaw Pact, but the Soviet Union as well. Freedom won and tyranny lost.

    Here’s the relevant passage from Reagan’s speech:

    And here are scenes of the wall coming down:

    LinkSwarm for October 10, 2014

    Friday, October 10th, 2014

    Another Friday, another LinkSwarm. I think i may have to stop watch Houston Texans games for the sake of my health…

  • The American MSM may be reluctant to tell the truth about Obama’s many manifest failures, but UK’s Telegraph isn’t.
  • Most Americans see Obama as a failure.
  • I’m shocked, shocked to discover that the IRS is auditing the producer of an anti-ObamaCare movie.
  • One in five Americans will have medical bills in collections this year. Thanks, ObamaCare!
  • How do you know your foreign policy sucks? When even Jimmy Carter is dissing it. And he’s right!
  • Even Piers Morgan calls Obama’s governance as marked by “lethargy and complacency.”
  • Why Harry Reid is attacking Koch: Big money Democratic donors will spend more in North Carolina, Colorado and Iowa than all RNC spending across the country combined.
  • Democrats 2014 = Republicans 2006.
  • Democrats pull out all the stops to save Kay Hagen’s North Carolina senate seat. If she wins, I’m sure her family will appreciate the opportunity for more graft in the coming years…
  • Michael Barone says that trends, with so many Democratic incumbents still polling below 45%, indicate the Harry Reid-controlled Senate is still toast. “Rewind back five years: The Obama Democrats expected their major policies to be popular. They expected that most voters would be grateful for the stimulus package, for Obamacare, for raising the tax rate on high earners. They aren’t.”
  • Obama slams billionaires while attending while attending fundraiser at the home of billionaire Rich Richman. Yes, that’s his real name. If I put that in a novel, editors would reject the symbolism as too heavy-handed…
  • Kentucky Democratic Senate candidate Alison Grimes won’t even admit to voting for Obama.
  • While the New York Times has gotten around to talking abut American children dying from Enterovirus D68, they’re still refusing to talk about how Obama’s illegal alien influx might have helped bring it here. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Michael Totten reports from SE Asia: “Sweden is more socialist than Vietnam.” Except for the stupid propaganda loudspeakers…
  • Philadelphia’s deeply indebted public school system actually cancels it’s contract with the teacher’s union. “The move, in which the Philadelphia School Reform Commission invokes emergency powers, comes after the teachers’ union spent more than a year resisting concessions that the commission was seeking even though rising personnel costs have crippled the budget.” How crippling? “The schools’ budget projects spending $44,100 a year in benefits for every $68,700 in wages earned by the average teacher.”
  • NYC School therapist helps handicapped student launch successful Kickstarter. Reward? 30 day suspension.
  • John Kerry spent Wednesday consulting with allies on ISIS and Ebola. Ha, just kidding! He toured a wind turbine.
  • Islamic State supporters threaten to behead U.S. soldiers in Iraq. And by “soldiers” I mean “elementary school children” and by “Iraq” I mean “Rhode Island.”
  • Remember when Bill Clinton ginned up an “epidemic” over a dozen random church burnings? Boko Haram has torched 185.
  • Brett Easton Ellis on Generation Wuss.
  • Iranian professor jailed for associating with “known Zionists.” Like Noam Chomsky. To Islamists, not even an actual hatred of Israel is enough to remove the taint of your Jewishness…
  • “That’s 21st-century U.S. politics in miniature: a half-assed listicle penned by a half-bright celebrity and published by a gang of abortion profiteers.”
  • Top aide to Al Sharpton and boyfriend of top De Blasio adviser in trouble with the law? Inconceivable!
  • An inside view of feminist groupthink and #GamerGate from a former social justice warrior.
  • Random meme pic I made:

  • Random Twitter exchange with Michael Quinn Sullivan:

  • BattleSwarm extends best wishes for a speedy recovery to Borepatch, who wiped out on his motorcycle to the tune of “7 broken ribs, a broken collar bone, and a bruised lung.” Ouch…
  • LinkSwarm for July 25, 2014

    Friday, July 25th, 2014

    Time for another random roundup of news and links:

  • Jimmy Carter looks like frickin’ Bismark next to the feckless dorm-room intellectual currently haunting the golf courses of the greater DC area.”
  • Even Thomas “What’s The Matter With Kansas” Frank calls Obama “ineffective and gutless.” (Warning: Salon Liberal Whining Ahead.)
  • Liberal law professor Lawrence Tribe thinks that ObamaCare is probably doomed due to the Halbig decision. “I cannot see how this Court could do anything other than decide the same way as the DC Circuit did. The statue is clear on its face.”
  • Even “ObamaCare Architect” MIT economics professor Jonathan Gruber said the same thing back in 2012: “What’s important to remember politically about this is if you’re a state and you don’t set up an exchange, that means your citizens don’t get their tax credits.”
  • Mark Steyn on the Halbig ruling:

    As to Mr Earnest’s point on “what Congress intended”, who can say? No Congressman who voted for the bill read it. Presumably, some legislator’s staffer wrote that actual line about “established by the State”. If we could locate him among the vast entourages of the Emirs of Incumbistan, we could ask him what his “intention” was. Until then, calibrating the competing degrees of deference to a corrupt bureaucracy, a contemptuous executive, a politicized judiciary and a feckless hack legislature brings to mind Samuel Johnson’s line about arguing the precedence of a louse and a flea, with a tick and a cockroach thrown in.

  • Missing from my Gaza roundup: “Shalom, motherf****r.” “I will not apologize for surviving.” (Hat tip: Josh Perry.)
  • Bill Whittle makes the case for Israel:

  • Obama won’t help arm Ukraine because he had a key role in disarming them.
  • Democrats plans for November: All race card, all the time.
  • 50 years of Democratic rule and now Detroit is cutting off people’s water. “Just goes to show that nothing is so expensive as when it is ‘free.’”
  • “That’s not funny.”
  • Republicans should stand firm and let the Export/Import Bank corporate welfare boondoggle expire. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Che Guevara, racist:

  • Maureen Dowd is never so readable as when she’s slamming the Clintons.
  • “Canadian Candidate Drops Out After Masturbation Video Surfaces.”

  • Sarah Palin endorses Joe Carr against Lamar Alexander in Tennessee senate primary. I don’t think anyone who watched Alexander’s “Lamar!” flannel flameout in the 1996 Presidential race has ever really trusted him since…
  • A New York City cupcake truck seems a little unclear on who their clientele might be. (They’ve since deleted both this tweet and the one where they implored people not to “snitch” to cops when they see crimes committed…)
  • Evidently nobody is actually reading Thomas Piketty’s book.
  • In praise of Power Girl’s boob window.