Archive for the ‘Communism’ Category

Venezuela: A Ray of Light Amidst the Encroaching Darkness?

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

When last we checked, Venezuela had come down with a case of Terminal Socialism. Here’s an update.

Faced with crippling inflation and a shortage of basic goods due to endemic cronyism, horrible mismanagement and laughable official exchange rates, Nicolas Maduro’s socialist government has finally thrown in the towel and instituted floating exchange rates… sort of:

A dollar will cost you 6.3 bolívares if you are the government, or if you can persuade Cencoex (the government’s foreign-trade body) that you intend to import vital goods such as food or medicine. Then there’s the Sicad I rate, currently just over 10 bolívares to the dollar, but contingent on irregular, “auctions” (which are nothing of the sort). The new Sicad II process, which is as close to a free market as the government will allow, opened at a whopping 50 bolívares to the dollar. But even that is a bargain compared with the unofficial exchange rate, which at the time of writing stands at almost 68 bolívares.

Meanwhile, shortages of basic goods mean Venezuelans get to enjoy that classic staple of late stage socialism: waiting in line to get food:

And the violent crackdown against opposition protesters continues:

Naturally, as a prelude to cracking down on the opposition, they followed the old socialist playbook by outlawing private ownership of guns. It’s always so much easier to oppress people once they’ve been disarmed. Even so, as the following video (via Legal Insurrection) shows, police don’t always get the upper hand:

Security forces have also committed dozens of documented instances of torture.

Are there any rays of home in the grim situation? Yes, Maduro’s government and opposition leaders have agreed to talks. Whether these can actually accomplish anything remains to be seen, but the fact that Maduro “ruled out any changes to the course of what he calls the Bolivarian revolution, the distinct brand of socialism created by his predecessor in office, Hugo Chavez,” tends to indicate that the prognosis is still grim.

Other Venezuela news:

  • An interview with the jailed opposition leader.
  • Two relative of opposition figures murdered.
  • Globovision assignment editor Nairobi Pinto kidnapped.
  • Spain halts shipments of riot gear.
  • LinkSwarm for February 25, 2014

    Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

    Another roundup of tab-clearing news, much of which got pushed aside by Ukraine updates:

  • Obama Administration admits that ObamaCare will screw small businesses. (Hat tip: Instapundit.) Why are any Republicans futzing around with any fix but full repeal?
  • Bobby Jindal: “Obamacare is giving low-income Americans fewer reasons to work.”
  • How ObamaCare is turning into the Democrats’ own forever war.
  • Two more congressional Democrats retire.
  • And that doesn’t count liberal Democratic fossil John Dingell, who’s also retiring after a mere 58 years in office.
  • And speaking of Michigan Democratic congressman, here’s how Rep. Gary Peters is trying to kill a woman with cancer:

  • Democrats in denial over ObamaCare unpopularity. Well, those who haven’t retired yet…
  • How unions and Democratic cronies looted Detroit’s pension plans.
  • Former Democratic congressman and convicted statutory rapist Mel Reynolds arrested on child pornography charges in Zimbabwe. (You might remember that Bill Clinton pardoned him on the way out the door…)
  • Deeply incompetent New Orleans Democratic Mayor Ray “Chocolate City” Nagin convicted on 20 federal corruption counts.
  • NJ’s Democratic Rep. Rob Andrews: The Washington Generals of Legislators.
  • The top special interest donors contribute to Democrats.
  • This week in the Democratic Liberal Media Complex Revolving Door.
  • There are few people liberals hate more than conservative black men.
  • Ted Cruz is winning.
  • Food prices continue to soar, yet another sign that inflation figures are significantly understated.
  • Record numbers of college graduates are living with their parents. Thanks, Obama!
  • “*Somebody* at Cover Oregon will end up going to jail.”
  • “The combination of UAW micromanagement and adversarial culture, not wages per se, is what helped to do in GM.”
  • “The UAW couldn’t even win an election it had been handed on a silver platter by management.”
  • Venezuela continues to stumble along at a repressive simmer.
  • Too bad they’re out of toilet paper.
  • Catholic priest in Venezuela beaten unconscious by socialist state thugs.
  • Michael Totten points out that Che Guevara is a murderous communist scumbag. Bonus: “Cuba’s maximum wage is less than one percent of America’s minimum wage”
  • Battle is joined between EUroskeptic UKIP and the EUrophilic Liberal-Democrats.
  • John Kerry: There’s no room in the religion of global warming for cost-benefit analysis.
  • UK Leftists want punitive taxes even if they bring in no additional revenue.
  • Detroit home-owner with an AR pattern rifle 3, stupid thugs trying to break into her home 0.
  • Portugal decriminalized all drugs 11 years ago. Result? Addiction cut in half, and “Portugal’s drug usage rates are now among the lowest of EU member states.”
  • “Diversity demands that diversity of opinion not be tolerated anymore.”
  • “Anti-male misandry, like anti-female #misogyny, is unjust and dangerous.”
  • Paying attention to the victimhood identity politics crowd, or how to murder your writing career.
  • Sarah Hoyt further dissects Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America idiocy. She touches on many of the reasons I didn’t renew my membership, the main ones being that SFWA is no longer important enough to be worth fighting for, and was certainly not worth $90 a year in dues.
  • “Human Resources has been very reluctant to respond to my complaints about being invisibly strangled by a cyborg space wizard.”
  • One more Tweet:

  • Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous Ukrainian Dictators

    Saturday, February 22nd, 2014

    First word came that Yanukovich had left Ukraine for various rumored destinations from Russia to Dubai. Then came word that Yanukovich was denied exit from the country.

    But the delight of the day was ordinary Ukrainians touring the abandoned Presidential vacation palace, which such amenities as:

  • A classic car collection
  • A private zoo
  • A gold toilet
  • An actual galleon (helpfully named GALLEON; this pretty much confirms what we suspected of the vast range of Mr. Yanukovich’s imagination…) floating on an artificial lake.
  • Some Tweets on the theme:

    Also, Russia has a sad.

    Yanukovych Flees Kiev (Ukraine/Euromaidan Update for February 21, 2014)

    Friday, February 21st, 2014

    Yanukovych’s “compromise” looks more and more like a complete rout, with reports of him fleeing Kiev for his political base in Kharkiv, where reports have security forces burning documents:

    There are dark, unconfirmed mutterings of pro-Russian forces preparing “provocations” or for a partition of Ukraine. But even in Kharkiv, Euromaidan is marching.

    Tweets:

    And via Michelle Malkin’s twitter feed, here’s video of happy Ukrainians toppling statues of Lenin:

    “Take the deal or you’ll all be dead.” (Afternoon Ukraine Update for February 21, 2014)

    Friday, February 21st, 2014

    A small update on easing Ukrainian tensions. Lots of details remain to be worked out, and a lot of Euromaidan members aren’t happy with Yanukovych staying through December. But it’s sounding like they were made an offer they couldn’t refuse…

  • Polish minister to Euromaidan: “Take the deal or you’ll all be dead.”
  • Ukraine Parliament moves to release opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko.
  • Inside Kiev’s makeshift hospital/morgue.
  • Problems with Ukraine’s economy, and the Russian loan that helped kick off the crisis.
  • This warms my heart:

  • There are calls for Ukraine’s Parliament to impeach Yanukovych. I can hardly imagine Yanukovych or Putin taking that lying down…

    Ukraine Update for February 21, 2014: Yanukovych Caving? Actual Peace?

    Friday, February 21st, 2014

    Early reports indicates that Yanukovych may finally have gotten a clue:

    Viktor Yanukovych conceded to the major demands made by protesters, he announced Friday on his website. He had been holding out against their raging street demonstrations for months.

    Yanukovych said he has initiated new presidential elections and a return to the old constitution that would cut presidential power, and also form a national unity Cabinet.

    Now word is comning down that Euromaidan leadership has signed off on the agreement.

    Great news, if it holds.

    There are also unconfirmed reports of police either leaving or coming over to Euromaidan. Presumably these are the regular police and not the Berkut riot police.

    Now the question becomes: What will Yanukovych’s puppet-master Vladamir Putin do? He met with his security council, and the discussion sounds more than a little ominous:

    “Putin emphasized that it is imperative to immediately stop the bloodshed and take urgent measures to stabilize the situation and suppress any extremist and terrorist sorties.”

    Is Putin willing to go to war to keep Ukraine is Moscow’s orbit?

    Stay tuned…

    Tweets

    Pussy Riot Whipped

    Thursday, February 20th, 2014

    That happens sometimes, when you try to escape your country’s harsh political bondage, despite the clamps and chains Putin’s police state has forced on dissidents, reformers and lesbians…

    (Hat tip: Moe Lane, who doesn’t seem to have realized the glorious keyword trolling possibilities…)

    Morning Ukraine Update for February 20, 2014: Mass Gunfire and Violence in Kiev

    Thursday, February 20th, 2014

    So much for that truce:

    Central Kyiv turned into a war zone on Feb. 20, with indiscriminate shooting, burning fires and the mass evacuations of government buildings.

    At least 35 people were reported dead by noon, bringing the total count to at least 61 persons this week.

    It became increasingly clear that both sides have lost control of the streets across Ukraine as reports of deaths, looting, and violent attacks poured in.

    Foreign ministers of Germany, France and Poland, walked into a meeting with President Viktor Yanukovych around noon with one message on the agenda: you have to stop the violence now, and the quickest way to do it is to resign.

    Yanukovych’s snipers are now shooting people in the streets:

    Death toll now over 50 in latest clashes. I’m sure it will go higher. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)

    Livestream:

    Tweets:

    Evening Update on Ukraine for February 19, 2014

    Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

    A truce has been declared between Euromaiden and Yanukovych’s forces. This is good news, as it means there’s fierce probably internal resistance in the armed forces to carry out the traditional “slaughter everyone with reach of a machine gun” method of putting down dissent. It may also mean that Putin isn’t quite willing to cross the Rubicon by intervening militarily to prop up his puppet.

    Also, Obama finally condemns the violence in Ukraine and threatens vague “consequences” if it gets worse. It’s a start.

    I’ve done so much Ukraine reporting today that I think I’ll just put up this short blurb for tonight, unless all hell breaks lose again…

    Morning Ukraine Update For February 19, 2014

    Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

    Current Ukraine status:

  • 26 dead so far, including 10 riot police and journalist Vyacheslav Veremei.
  • Putin’s government gave Yanukovich’s another $2 billion payout.
  • Yanukovich demands people live the Maidan before any concessions. Protestors tell him to get stuffed.
  • On the diplomatic front:

  • Victor Davis Hanson via SooperMexican: Obama’s feckless foreign policy has emboldened Putin in the Ukraine.
  • A BBC report via Instapundit, in which various EU diplomatic grandees make meaningless noises of “concern.”
  • Though they’re at least considering sanctions.
  • And Secretary of State John Kerry? While Kiev burns, he’s lecturing the world on…global warming.
  • Some videos:

    PC carrier tries unsuccessfully to breach Euromaidan lines in a hail of molotov cocktails:

    Another view:

    Scenes from the fighting:

    An overview of the fighting:

    More clashes:

    Livestream again, though it looks like mostly video clips right now: