Archive for the ‘Communism’ Category

Venezuela: Lynching, Riots, General Collapse

Monday, June 19th, 2017

Time for an update on everyone’s favorite socialist paradise, where the collapse of the economy (and civil society) continues apace:

  • Things have degenerated enough that lynching has made a comeback:

    The public-safety infrastructure in Venezuela has been degraded to such a degree that citizens now take justice into their own hands. Agence France Presse reported that lynchings have risen sharply over the last year and a half as political and economic instability in the crumbling socialist republic has worsened. Witnesses who spoke to AFP said a 22-year-old man who was set on fire at an anti-government demonstration in May was actually lynched after being accused of stealing by the crowd – not because he was a government sympathizer, as President Nicolas Maduro had suggested at the time.

  • Protestors set fire to the Venezuela Supreme Court. “The incident comes after the Supreme Court voted to reject a motion blocking Maduro from rewriting the country’s constitution, despite recent polls showing that up to 85 percent of Venezuelans oppose the reforms.”
  • Tearing down a statue of Hugo Chavez doesn’t get you sent before a civilian judge, it lands you before a military tribunal:

    Maduro is following the playbook of other tyrants facing the collapse of socialism page by page. The anger in the streets against his failed regime is so intense that protesters might not be convicted in a jury trial handled through the regular order of civilian law enforcement. So instead, the troublemakers are being rounded up and taken off to face a court martial in an environment which the government can closely control.

  • Brazil has suspended tear gas sales to Venezuela.
  • Venezuela’s collapsing oil industry is also screwing over Cuba.
  • Venezuela in 20 pictures. Including a really sad one of a starving elephant. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Are the government’s Twitter accounts suspended?
  • There’s also a Washington Post piece that asks if Civil War is imminent I’m not linking to because the words “starvation” and “hyperinflation” are conspicuously absent. As the Hot Air piece on military tribunals states, “the citizens are effectively in a state of war with their own government” already…

    Texas vs. California Update for May 22, 2017

    Monday, May 22nd, 2017

    We’re in the home stretch of hammering out the Texas biannual state budget, which has to be completed by May 29. Until then, enjoy another Texas vs. California roundup:

  • Stop me if you’ve heard this before: Texas is once again ranked the best state for business, while California is ranked the worst. (Hat tip: Will Franklin’s Twitter feed.)
  • California’s big-government model eats its young:

    In this era of anti-Trump resistance, many progressives see California as a model of enlightenment. The Golden State’s post-2010 recovery has won plaudits in the progressive press from the New York Times’s Paul Krugman, among others. Yet if one looks at the effects of the state’s policies on key Democratic constituencies— millennials, minorities, and the poor—the picture is dismal. A recent United Way study found that close to one-third of state residents can barely pay their bills, largely due to housing costs. When adjusted for these costs, California leads all states—even historically poor Mississippi—in the percentage of its people living in poverty.

    California is home to 77 of the country’s 297 most “economically challenged” cities, based on poverty and unemployment levels. The population of these cities totals more than 12 million. In his new book on the nation’s urban crisis, author Richard Florida ranks three California metropolitan areas—Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego— among the five most unequal in the nation. California, with housing prices 230 percent above the national average, is home to many of the nation’s most unaffordable urban areas, including not only the predictably expensive large metros but also smaller cities such as Santa Cruz, Santa Barbara, and San Luis Obispo. Unsurprisingly, the state’s middle class is disappearing the fastest of any state.

    California’s young population is particularly challenged. As we spell out in our new report from Chapman University and the California Association of Realtors, California has the third-lowest percentage of people aged 25 to 34 who own their own homes—only New York and Hawaii’s are lower. In San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego, the 25-to-34 homeownership rates range from 19.6 percent to 22.6 percent—40 percent or more below the national average.

  • California continues to slouch toward socialized medicine. “California’s current system relies in large part on employer-sponsored insurance, which is still the source of health care coverage for tens of millions of people. That coverage would disappear under SB 562. Instead of receiving coverage financed by their employers, working Californians would see a tax increase of well over $10,000 per year for many middle-income families.” (Hat tip: Legal Insurrection.)
  • “If you live in California, have a job and pay taxes Governor Jerry Brown would like you to know that you’re a freeloader and he’s tired of your complaining.”
  • “Congratulations, California. You keep electing these same Democrats over and over again. and then you act surprised when they make you one of the most heavily taxed populations in the country. And when you finally raise your voices to protest the out of control taxation and spending, the state party’s titular leader is brazen enough to come straight out and tell you what he really thinks of you.”
  • Has the Democrats latest gas tax hike created an actual tax revolt in California? (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • One lawmaker is the target of a recall petition over the tax hike: “Perceived as the most vulnerable of the legislative Democrats who passed Gov. Jerry Brown’s gas and vehicle tax package by a razor-thin margin, freshman state Sen. Josh Newman, D-Fullerton, faced an intensifying campaign to turn him out of office, potentially depriving his party of the two-thirds majority that allowed them to pass Brown’s infrastructure bill in the first place.”
  • Vance Ginn’s monthly summary of Texas economic data. Lot’s of data, including the fact that all major Texas cities created jobs in 2016 except Houston, which was down just a smidge.
  • San Bernardino could go bankrupt again.
  • Buying a house in Southern California is insane. (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • California starts selling bonds for the doomed “high speed rail.”
  • 40-60 “youth” flash mob robs passengers on Oakland BART train. The complete absence of descriptions or pictures cues the astute modern American reader in to the ethnic makeup of the mob. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • “Gov. Jerry Brown and state Treasurer John Chiang have a plan to help cover the state’s soaring pension payments: Borrow money at low interest rates and invest it to make a profit. What could go wrong?” I can see it now: “Come on seven! Baby needs a new High Speed Rail!” Also this: “The problem was exacerbated because Brown’s so-called pension “reform” of 2012 failed to significantly rein in retirement costs. Statewide pension debt has increased 36 percent since his changes took effect.” (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • “Riverside utilities dispatcher triples salary to nearly $400,000 with state’s 10th largest overtime payout.” (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • And speaking of California public employees working overtime:

    The time cards Oakland city worker Kenny Lau turned in last year paint a stunning, if not improbable, picture of one man’s work ethic.

    Lau, a civil engineer, often started his days at 10 a.m. and clocked out at 4 a.m., only to get back to work at 10 a.m. for another marathon day. He never took a sick day. He worked every weekend and took no vacation days.

    He worked every holiday, including the most popular ones that shut down much of the nation’s businesses: 12 hours on Thanksgiving and eight hours on Christmas.

    In fact, his time cards show he worked all 366 days of the leap year, at times putting in 90-plus-hour workweeks. He worked so much that he quadrupled his salary. His regular compensation and overtime pay — including benefits, $485,275 — made him the city’s highest-paid worker and the fourth-highest overtime earner of California public employees in 2016.

    (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)

  • The Los Angeles Unified School District has decided it can break federal immigration laws at will. “No immigration officers will be allowed on campus without clearance from the superintendent of schools, who will consult with district lawyers. Until that happens, they won’t be let in, even if they arrive with a legally valid subpoena.” There’s no way such a genius decision could possibly backfire on them… (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • How California hurts the poor by jacking up traffic fines. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • “San Diego using loophole to hand out large raises during pay freeze.” It’s a blatant attempt to evade Proposition B.
  • An auditor funds the University of California President’s office of Janet Napolitano had a secret slush fund:
    • The Office of the President has accumulated more than $175 million in undisclosed restricted and discretionary reserves;
      as of fiscal year 2015–16, it had $83 million in its restricted reserve and $92 million in its discretionary reserve.

    • More than one-third of its discretionary reserve, or $32 million, came from unspent funds from the campus assessment—an annual charge that the Office of the President levies on campuses to fund the majority of its discretionary operations.
    • In certain years, the Office of the President requested and received approval from the Board of Regents (regents) to
      increase the campus assessment even though it had not spent all of the funds it received from campuses in prior years.

    • The Office of the President did not disclose the reserves it had accumulated, nor did it inform the regents of the annual undisclosed budget that it created to spend some of those funds. The undisclosed budget ranged from $77 million to
      $114 million during the four years we reviewed.

    • The Office of the President was unable to provide a complete listing of the systemwide initiatives, their costs, or an assessment of their continued benefit to the university.
    • While it appears that the Office of the President’s administrative spending increased by 28 percent, or $80 million, from fiscal years 2012–13 through 2015–16, the Office of the President continues to lack consistent definitions of and methods for tracking the university’s administrative expenses.

    An Ex-Obama Administration official with a secret slush fund? What are the odds?

  • Texas continues to attract net in-migration from every region.
  • California wants to tax rockets launched from California into orbit, based on miles traveled away from California. I’m sure many of Texas own spaceflight companies will welcome any business California drives out…
  • Speaking of spaceflight, Elon Musk’s Space X, just like Telsa, is more emblematic of subsidies and special favors than the free market:

    Tesla survives on the back of hefty subsidies paid for by hard-working Americans just barely getting by so that a select few can drive flashy, expensive electric sports cars. These subsidies were originally scheduled to expire later this year, and Tesla is lobbying hard to make sure that taxpayers continue to pay $7,500 per car or more to fund their business model. Tesla even tried to force taxpayers to pay for charging stations that would primarily benefit their business. That is not what Musk’s high priced image managers will tell you, but it’s the truth.

    SpaceX is even worse — its business model isn’t to invest its money developing competing space products that meet the same safety and reliability standards as the rest of the industry. Instead, its business model is to get billions in taxpayer money and push, bend, and demand regulatory special favors. Then, it produces a rocket that is more known for failed launches, long delays, and consistently missed deadlines.

  • How California’s air emission rules went to far.
  • “California may end ban on communists in government jobs.” (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Bachrach Clothing Stores File for Bankruptcy Protection in Los Angeles.”
  • “California solar installer HelioPower filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Nevada.”
  • Hudson Products relocating from Tulsa to Rosenberg, Texas.
  • “Bay Area bookseller Bill Petrocelli is filing a lawsuit against the state of California, hoping to force a repeal of the state’s controversial ‘Autograph Law.’ The law, booksellers claim, threatens to bury bookstore author signings under red tape and potential liabilities. Petrocelli, co-owner of Book Passage, filed Passage v. Becerra in U.S. District Court for the North District of California, pitting the bookstore against California State Attorney General Xavier Becerra.” As a bookseller on the side, I can tell you that California’s law is particularly asinine and is completely ignorant of the signed book trade.
  • The Venezuela Diet

    Sunday, May 14th, 2017

    Important Administrative Note: I’ve published additional blog posts, like this one, but for some reason they’re not showing up on the front page of the blog.

    “Want to lose weight without drugs, pills, or human rights?”

    (Hat tip: Instapundit.)

    Venezuela Boils

    Tuesday, May 9th, 2017

    The problem with reporting on the slow-motion trainwreck that is Venezuela is the “slow-motion” part. Things fall apart, children die, people starve, but it’s hard to gauge the rate at which the ship of state is slipping under the iceberg of reality due that giant gash of socialism in its side.

    The crisis has now reached the “regular riots and soldiers shooting protesters in the street” phase:

    An economy in shambles, lethal street crime, dungeons packed with political prisoners, and South America’s worst refugee crisis — it’s hard to find a misery that Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s government hasn’t visited on his compatriots in his four years in office. But by calling for a new constitution (Venezuela has had 26) as he did this week, Latin America’s ranking strongman may well have trumped his own dismal record.

    On May 1, with the streets of Caracas and other major cities teeming with anti-government protests, Maduro announced a plan to convoke a constituent assembly to write a new constitution. As anti-climactic as that sounds, this was an autocratic milestone even for the country that has turned political and economic fiat into a science. In a single flourish, the Venezuelan leader proposed not just to bend the rules, as he has done repeatedly since coming to power in 2013, but also to junk the latest constitution — which his predecessor, Hugo Chavez, fashioned into a tyrant’s toolbox — and cherry-pick a Bolivarian dream team to deliver what will presumably be an even more authoritarian one.

    If the proposal stands, as virtually all of Maduro’s decrees have stood to now, the new law in turn would bury the cherished trope among contemporary Latin American strongmen that their word, no matter how arbitrary, is still anchored in democratic process. “Maduro’s proposal was not just flagrantly unconstitutional. It was the most radical move in more than 17 years of Chavismo,” said Diego Moya-Ocampos, chief political risk analyst at IHS Markit, a London-based business consultancy.

    Brazilian foreign minister Aloysio Nunes went further, labelling Maduro’s proposal a “coup” and a breach of democratic civility. “Maduro chose to radicalize,” Nunes told me in an interview. “This proposal is incompatible with the democratic process, slams the door on dialogue, and is a slap in the face to the Pope’s appeal for a negotiated solution.”

    Even the Secretary General of the Organization of American States has recognized that Venezuela no longer even pretends to be a democracy:

    There are elements of dictatorships that are unmistakable. Today I must refer to one more in Venezuela: the passing of civilians to military justice.

    Venezuela´s civic-military regime represents the worst of every dictatorship. That includes tyrannical control over political freedoms and the basic guarantees of the people, the elimination of the powers of the branches of government of popular representation, political prisoners and torture, starting with the armed collectives, a kind of fascist blackshirts, with orders to attack civilians during protests.

    The accusations of military prosecutors to civilians is absolute nonsense in juridical terms.

    In Venezuela, the rule of law does not exist even in appearance.

    The accusations of crimes of vilification and instigation to rebellion, as well as other categories of a similar nature, are part of a reactionary discourse devoid of legal grounds applied against demonstrators. The reality is that they simply serve the purpose of depriving peaceful protesters of their freedom.

    When a government considers that its people are a threat to its continuity it is because it is a government whose strategy is to continue without the people and on the basis of the use of force.

    This constitutes a new violation of the Constitution, which in its article 261 says clearly that:

    “The commission of common crimes, human rights violations and crimes against humanity shall be judged by the courts of the ordinary jurisdiction. Military courts jurisdiction is limited to offenses of a military nature.”

    More scenes from the disintegration of Venezuelan society over the last few months:

  • More classic commie moves: arrest opposition leaders and charge them with plotting a coup, in this case Gilber Caro.
  • They also banned opposition leader Henrique Capriles from holding political office for 15 years.
  • Another opposition leader, Leopoldo Lopez, has just disappeared in prison. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Though his wife Lilian Tintori has evidently seen him, and says that he wants the opposition to continue protesting. (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • “Last year, the average Venezuelan living in extreme poverty lost 19 pounds amid mass food shortages largely created and then exacerbated by government price controls—60 percent of Venezuelans said they had to skip at least one meal a day. Maduro joked that the ‘Maduro diet,’ as the government-induced starvation has been called, was leading to better sex, to the applause of government workers and party loyalists but few others. There have been shortages of food as well as goods like toilet paper, deodorants, condoms, and even beer.”
  • “Venezuela military trafficking food as country goes hungry.” (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • “Facing a bread shortage that is spawning massive lines and souring the national mood, the Venezuelan government is responding this week by detaining bakers and seizing establishments.”
  • Eight Venezuelans were actually electrocuted trying to loot a bakery.
  • Venezuelans are fleeing to Brazil for medical care…A spiraling economic crisis and hyperinflation have cleaned Venezuelan hospitals of needles, bandages and medicine. Desperate for care and often undocumented, patients are overwhelming Brazilian emergency rooms as they turn up by the thousands.” (Hat tip: Dwight.)
  • “Consumer prices in Venezuela soared by 741% year-over-year in February 2017.”
  • That hyperinflation was so bad that Venezuela outlawed their own currency. “In mid-December, the Venezuelan government surprised its citizens by withdrawing from circulation the 100-bolívar note, its largest and most used bill, with only 72 hours’ warning.” (Hat tip: The Other McCain.)
  • Statue of Hugo Chavez torn down by protesters.
  • “The Venezuelan government is investigating alleged corruption in a $1.3 billion contract between the state oil company and a private contractor co-founded by a Saudi prince, according to law-enforcement officials and related documents.” Usual WSJ hoops apply.
  • In Venezuela, the prisoners are literally running the prisons. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • “Why is it that reporters keep scratching their heads about Venezuela’s descent into extreme poverty and chaos? The cause is simple. Socialism. End it and you will end the misery.”
  • Chavista Socialism Has Destroyed 570,000 Businesses in Venezuela.”
  • Fracking means Venezuela will run out of money sooner rather than later. “A country like Venezuela, which was on the edge even before prices fell from $100 a barrel, well they’re running out of foreign exchange reserves, they’ve fallen from $66 to about $15 billion. And they’re collapsing and they’re running out of the ability to import food and other materials, and so there you’re dealing with almost societal instability, and order is being maintained by folks with guns.” (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • Venezuela’s oil tankers are too dirty to be allowed to dock in foreign ports.
  • The regime’s useful idiots among the American left remain strangely silent as the country they once held up as a shining example of the success of socialism collapses:

  • LinkSwarm for May 5, 2017

    Friday, May 5th, 2017

    Happy Cinco de Mayo, the holiday that celebrates the French army getting their asses kicked by Mexicans!

    A bunch of big news that everyone and their dog has been covering at the top of the LinkSwarm:

  • Big News 1: Despite having the House, Senate and White House, House Republicans spinelessly cave on budget negotiations. “It is noteworthy for what it does not include: namely, most of Donald Trump’s and Republicans’ recent campaign promises. The bill does not defund Planned Parenthood. It does not include any of the president’s deep cuts to domestic agencies. Public broadcasting is funded at current levels. The National Endowment for the Arts’ budget is increased. There’s even funding for California’s high-speed rail.”
  • Big News 2: House Republicans also passed an ObamaCare replacement bill.
  • Consensus is that it sucks less than both ObamaCare and the March versions of the bill, but still sucks plenty. The Texas Public Policy Foundation’s Chip Roy had this to say in a press release:

    “Today, conservative leaders in the House brought the American people a glimmer of hope that states might save American healthcare from the clutches of a federally controlled and regulated system under Obamacare,” said Roy. “This improved version of the American Health Care Act grants governors the ability to seek waivers from the onerous Obamacare regulations that unfortunately remain in place as the default rule even under this bill. This means governors would have both the opportunity and the burden of leading to free their states from these default regulations.”

    “Further reform remains necessary, however, as the bill retains far too much of Obamacare’s flawed Medicaid expansion, replaces one form of subsidy with an even more expansive one in the form of a refundable tax credit, creates a $138 billion slush fund for insurers, and leaves almost all of Obamacare’s cost-driving regulations and mandates as the federal standard,” Roy continued. “As the bill heads to the Senate, we hope it will be improved, at least by allowing states to opt in to Obamacare rather than forcing states to temporarily, partially opt out.”

  • By one account, the ObamaCare replacement amounts to a $1 trillion tax cut. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • French runoff Presidential elections happen Sunday. The overwhelming favorite Emmanuel Macron is being pummeled by leaked documents (sound familiar?) that suggest he’s been avoiding taxes using offshore accounts. Naturally French prosecutors are ready to pounce…on those spreading the allegations.
  • Texas legislation to repeal sanctuary cities heads to Governor Abbott’s desk.
  • And Travis County sheriff Sally Hernandez even says she’ll obey the law. Imagine that!
  • The Baltimore State’s Attorney’s Office want police to know that illegal aliens have more rights than American citizens and shouldn’t be prosecuted.
  • President Trump’s insistence on actually enforcing immigration laws is already paying dividends.

    The concrete, realpolitik reason that amnesty is dead is that the appropriate law enforcement policies have been set in motion and they are gaining momentum fast!

    I have long argued that the illegal alien community in the United States is highly fragile. President Trump’s executive order directing Immigration and Customs Authorities and Border Patrol officers to broadly interpret their jurisdiction for capturing and removing illegal aliens has had the immediate effect of decreasing attempts to cross the border as well as inspiring panic in illegal immigrant communities. Police officers and county sheriffs have told me that, even at the height of the Obama era of nonenforcement, illegal aliens shunned the police. Now, in the era of Trump, the possibility of going to work and ending your week in Mexico is a real and potent threat. (This is particularly true if you live, as I do, in Massachusetts). It is a commonplace that law enforcement professionals go to sleep muttering “5% enforcement equals 95% compliance.”

    At the same time, businesses cannot prosper in an environment of uncertainty. The initial impulse of business owners in agriculture and other illegal-alien-heavy industries is to demand, yet again, some succor from the government in terms of work permits for their illegal workers. Just such measures are championed by incoming Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue. However, assuming this relief is not forthcoming in the near future (and I’ll get to that in a minute) the only rational policy is for business owners to begin exploring their other options — which might include automation or wage increases.

    When every small business owner in America finally takes paper and pencil and sits down at the kitchen table with their spouse and says “honey, we are going to have to figure out how to make our business work when we can’t hire illegal aliens anymore,” then and only then will the light appear at the end of the tunnel.

    But the key to the problem and the reason for optimism is this: with the law now being enforced, however incrementally, even without funds for more agents, even without funds for the Wall, even without E-Verify, the pressure to re-evaluate in the illegal alien and the business communities will only grow. The success of the policy in reducing the inflow and initiating “self-deportation” will feed back on itself. For years the only salient argument of the open borders advocates on both the right and the left was that enforcing the current laws on the books was impossible. As it becomes obvious how easy, in fact, enforcement is, those advocates will be forced to rely on their more avaricious motives for keeping illegal aliens here.

  • One in four federal inmates is foreign born. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Why Hillary lost, Part 6974: Voters who went for Obama in 2012 and Trump in 2016.
  • Welcome back my friends to the 2016 election that never ends, we’re so glad you could attend, come inside, come inside. There behind the glass is a pile of Hillary’s foreign cash, be careful as you pass, move along, move along. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Even Dianne Feinstein says there’s no evidence of Russian meddling in the election. (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • President Trump is more trusted than the national media.
  • Democratic Rep. Joaquin Castro decides not to run against Ted Cruz. Smart move.
  • Did a Pakistani ISI assassin defect to India? Sources say: Maybe not.
  • Netflix deletes Bill Nye segment from 1996 that talks about how chromosomes determine sex. When science clashes with the current smelly orthodoxies of liberal dogma, it seems that science gets the axe.
  • Following Victims of Communism Day, here are ten films on the victims of Communism. These appear to be all documentaries.
  • VA official who kept secret wait lists veterans died on fired. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Puerto Rico declares bankruptcy.
  • Is Russia arming the Taliban?
  • “A New Instance of Android Malware is Discovered Every 10 Seconds.”
  • Leftists try to take over the Humble school board.
  • And don’t forget the Rond Rock Bond issue vote this Saturday.
  • Lunatic scumbag street-preacher/tax evader/child molester Tony Alamo dies in prison. (Hat tip: Dwight.)
  • Auction for a treasure trove of early material on the Nation of Islam. Including two manuscripts handwritten by founder Wallace Fard Muhammad, who disappeared in 1934. Alas, the opening bid is a tad steep for my blood…
  • Remembering Victims of Communism Day

    Monday, May 1st, 2017

    Once again it’s May 1, a very important date of observance: Victims of Communism Day.

    VictimsofCommunismDay

    Remember that communism killed some 100 million people.

    As Ilya Somin notes, this year will mark the 100th anniversary of the October Revolution:

    This year is a particularly important time to remember the victims of Communism because of the approaching one hundredth anniversary of the October Revolution – Bolshevik takeover of Russia. The Soviet Union was not the most oppressive communist regime. It probably did not match the even more thoroughgoing totalitarianism of the Khmer Rouge and North Korea. Nor did it kill the most people – a record held by Mao Zedong the Chinese communists. But the Soviet experiment was the principal model for all the later communist states, and it is hard to imagine communists seizing control of so much of the world without it. In addition to the significant material aid that the Soviets provided to communists in other nations, the communist seizure of power in Russia also greatly boosted the ideology’s prospects elsewhere.

    To this day, some claim that Soviet communism was originally a positive development and only went bad later, after Joseph Stalin came to power. But Stalin’s crimes were largely extensions of the earlier practices of Lenin.

    LinkSwarm for January 6, 2017

    Friday, January 6th, 2017

    The James Quintero interview on Texas municipal pensions generated a lot of interest, including a piece on Zero Hedge. I mention it here because, being Zero Hedge, the firehose nudged it to page 2 before I could even take a look at it.

  • It turns out that the FBI never examined the “hacked” DNC servers”. Indeed, the DNC denied the FBI permission to examine the server. “The bureau tells Buzzfeed News that the Democrats’ organization reportedly ‘rebuffed’ multiple requests for physical access to the hacked servers, forcing investigators to depend on the findings of the third-party security firm CrowdStrike (which the DNC contacted after the hack).” (“Your honor, instead of the FBI crime lab testing the alleged cocaine sample, we had Morty’s Fly-By-Night Chemical Analysis and Pet Grooming Company do the analysis. I’m sure you’ll find that’s good enough…”) So how can FBI actually tell the Russians hacked them? Did they even try to get a warrant for the DNC servers? Since that’s one of the first things you would do if you really thought the Russians were behind the hack, and the hack had (by Obama Administration testimony) national security implications. This suggests that the DNC is: A.) Lying about Russian involvement, or B.) Is telling the truth about it, but has material far more illegal and/or damaging than what has already been released. Why should we give more credence to allegations that the FBI hasn’t even taken the most basic steps of criminal investigation to prove?
  • President-elect Donald Trump has told the Department of Homeland Security to start getting ready to build the border wall. Remember, the construction of 700 miles of border wall is already authorized by the Secure Fence Act of 2006. All it takes is Presidential will to have work started on it. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • “For Me, Obamacare Means Paying All Your Own Bills And Never Getting The Doctor You Need.” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • A look back at all those Obama Administration scandals that Valerie Jarrett can’t remember. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Liberal strategy for 2016 election: “1) Make sure the GOP nominates Trump 2) ??? 3) Victory!”
  • John Podesta’s password was ‘password.'” What a tragedy it is that we kept the Democratic Party’s best and brightest out of the White House… (Hat tip: Borepatch.)
  • Reporters who colluded with the Clinton campaign? Not only did they not get fired, some got better jobs. (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • “If you thought 2016 was packed full of liberal foolishness, just wait until you get a load of 2017. As 2016 ends, progressives enter the new year terrified that Donald Trump will continue to run circles around them, and their epic meltdown is only going to get more epically meltdownier. They’ve been shrill, stupid, and annoying for the last two months, but brace yourself for the next 12. Fear is going to make them go nuts – not the fear that Trump will be a failure, but the gut-wrenching, mind-numbing fear that Donald Trump will be a success.”
  • Which is why Democrats are still in denial. “Republicans control the House, the Senate, 34 governor’s mansions, and 4,100 seats in state legislatures. But Democrats act like they run Washington.” (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • Global warming critic at Georgia Tech resigns tenured position because “growing disenchantment with universities, the academic field of climate science and scientists.”

    The reward system that is in place for university faculty members is becoming increasingly counterproductive to actually educating students to be able to think and cope in the real world, and in expanding the frontiers of knowledge in a meaningful way (at least in certain fields that are publicly relevant such as climate change).

    Snip.

    A deciding factor was that I no longer know what to say to students and postdocs regarding how to navigate the CRAZINESS in the field of climate science. Research and other professional activities are professionally rewarded only if they are channeled in certain directions approved by a politicized academic establishment — funding, ease of getting your papers published, getting hired in prestigious positions, appointments to prestigious committees and boards, professional recognition, etc.

    How young scientists are to navigate all this is beyond me, and it often becomes a battle of scientific integrity versus career suicide (I have worked through these issues with a number of skeptical young scientists).

    (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)

  • Philadelphia’s new soda tax means that sometimes the price of the tax is more than the soda itself.
  • How the Washington Post pushed a fake “Russians hacked the power grid” story, then silently walked the whole thing back via silent edits. And the media wonder why the public no longer trusts them…
  • And speaking of the Washington Post being staffed with untrustworthy idiots, check out this cover plumping a “women’s rights” march:

  • And speaking of Fake News, the four different types of fake news.
  • Nothing says “delusions of grandeur” quite like New York Governor Andrew Cuomo booking 200 hotel rooms for a Hillary Clinton inauguration for theoretical supporters of his own future presidential run.
  • Speaking of Cuomo, he just commuted the sentence of left-wing cop killer Judith Clark. Clark participated in a Weather Underground robbery where three people, including police officers Waverly Brown and Edward O’Grady, were murdered. Maybe we should start calling him “Cop Killer Cuomo.” Evidently black lives, like that of Brown, don’t matter when they’re cops murdered by white leftwing radicals… (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • This just in: Reporting on firearms still sucks.
  • Feminists have very little in common with the women they claim to represent: “Few feminists seem to be married with children, and comparatively few are heterosexual.” (Hat tip: The Other McCain.)
  • Evidently Cuba is just as much a tourist paradise as it is a worker’s paradise. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Smugglers work across the Texas border to sell their addictive products. Only this time, it’s selling black market Krispy Kreme donuts from El Paso in Juarez… (Hat tip: Dwight.)
  • The time when James “Mad Dog” Mattis skipped dinner so a hungry soldier could eat. (Hat tip: Dwight.)
  • Armed Texas grandma runs off would-be attacker. (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • Sears to sell Craftsman, close 150 stores. In other news, Sears still had stores to close.
  • Skynet conquers Go.
  • World’s largest dog. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Drexel University Professor Calls for Genocide Against White People

    Tuesday, December 27th, 2016

    George Ciccariello-Maher, a “radical political theorist, and currently Associate Professor of Politics and Global Studies at Drexel University,” tweeted that all he wanted for Christmas “is White Genocide.”

    Naturally, now he’s claiming that it’s all a joke, though John Sexton at Hot Air has his doubts:

    So the professor is claiming his tweet was intended to mock the alt-right. But if it was intended as mockery, why did he issue the follow-up tweet about the Haitian massacre? Clearly that wasn’t meant as a joke. It seems his first reaction was to defend the tweet as justifiable. Then a couple hours later he said it was satire. Which is it?

    Given that Ciccariello-Maher has now made his Twitter feed private suggests that he realizes he’s really cocked it up.

    Drexel University doesn’t seem to be taking it as a joke:


    Given that Ciccariello-Maher seems to be a big fan of communism, the political movement responsible for more genocide than any other in the 20th century, I too have my doubts about the sincerity of “satire” claim. But just imagine if a university professor had called for “black genocide,” then tried to pass it off as a joke. As Iowahawk noted:

    While this is America, and any lunatic can say incredibly stupid things without being thrown in jail, that doesn’t mean that Drexel University is required to keep him in their employ, especially when he’s violated university policy:

    If Ciccariello-Maher were a tenured professor, they’d probably blow it off and seep it under the rug. But since he’s a mere Associate Professor, Drexel may decide it’s less painful to cut ties with him…

    Venezuelan Socialism Out-Grinches Itself

    Monday, December 26th, 2016

    The ongoing failure of socialism in Venezuela is one of those continuing stories that always threaten to turn post-worthy. This week’s Christmas season hook: the government’s Grinch-like seizure of toys:

    Caracas, Venezuela (CNN)Venezuelan officials have confiscated nearly 4 million toys from a toy distributor, accusing the company of planning to sell them at inflated prices during the Christmas season.

    On Saturday, the government initially said it had confiscated 4.8 million toys. It revised the figure Sunday, putting it at 3.821 million.

    Critics say the consumer protection agency, which targeted the toy warehouse this week, has become “the Grinch that stole Christmas” because many families won’t be able to buy the confiscated toys for the holiday.

    Agency head William Contreras disputed that, saying executives at toy distributor Kreisel-Venezuela, the largest of its kind in the country, “don’t care about our children’s right to have a merry Christmas.”

    Lack of toys are not the biggest problem for children in Venezuela. Thanks to the Magic Power of Socialism™, a child’s scrapped knee can mean death. (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)

    Last month’s death of Cuba’s communist dictator Fidel Castro shouldn’t eclipse the ongoing collapse of Venezuela, Latin America’s other failed socialist state:

    Except for Nicaragua in the 1980s, Venezuela has more wholly adopted Castro’s economic and ideological model than any other Latin American nation. The late Hugo Chávez took his cues from Castro on everything from his fondness for army fatigues to his 10-hour speeches. Chávez also adopted the Castro model of seizing private property, suppressing the independent media, hounding political opponents and making cause with rogues in Damascus and Tehran.

    For a while Venezuela escaped some of the inevitable consequences thanks to a flood of petrodollars. That’s over. Inflation is forecast to reach 1,640% next year. Caracas is the world’s most violent city. Hospitals have run out of basic medicines, including antibiotics, leading to skyrocketing infant mortality. There are chronic and severe shortages of electricity, food and water, as well as ordinary consumer goods like diapers or beer. Nicolás Maduro, Chávez’s handpicked successor, has put his leading political opponents in jail.

    And there’s hunger. An estimated 120,000 Venezuelans flooded into neighboring Colombia to buy food when Mr. Maduro briefly opened the border in July. Desperate Venezuelans are trekking through the Amazon hinterlands to make it to Brazil. And, like Cubans, they are taking to boats, risking their lives to make it to the nearby Dutch colony of Curaçao. Where there’s socialism there are boat people.

    Zero Hedge has been keeping track of the twists and turns of Venezuela’s ongoing hyperinflation:

  • First Maduro’s idiot socialist government threw in the towel and announced they were printing currency with denominations 200x larger than the previous currency.
  • The results were swift: The bolivar crashed 22% in one week.
  • Then, following the moronic lead of Narendra Modi’s India, Venezuela announced that they were pulling 100 boliver notes from circulation, ahead of larger bills being available.
  • Then they closed the borders to prevent “currency smuggling.”
  • And yet, despite all this, despite children starving to death in the street, opposition parties cannot get their act together to oppose Maduro’s socialists. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)

    As long as the government keeps failed socialist policies and printing money, the economic nightmare plaguing the people of Venezuela will continue.

    A Quarter-Century Ago Today: The Collapse of the Soviet Union

    Sunday, December 25th, 2016

    Legal Insurrection reminds of an event that the entire world has to be thankful for: The collapse of the Soviet Union.

    Merry Christmas, everyone!