Archive for the ‘Communism’ Category

Venezuela’s Economy Burns

Thursday, February 4th, 2016

While one of the two leading Democratic contenders for President openly calls for socialism, let’s check in on how one socialist paradise is doing:

The only question now is whether Venezuela’s government or economy will completely collapse first.

The key word there is “completely.” Both are well into their death throes. Indeed, Venezuela’s ruling party just lost congressional elections that gave the opposition a veto-proof majority, and it’s hard to see that getting any better for them any time soon — or ever. Incumbents, after all, don’t tend to do too well when, according to the International Monetary Fund, their economy shrinks 10 percent one year, an additional 6 percent the next, and inflation explodes to 720 percent. It’s no wonder, then, that markets expect Venezuela to default on its debt in the very near future. The country is basically bankrupt.

Inflation has gotten so bad that Venezuelans are now paying more than 1000 bolivars to the dollar on the black market. Which is why the government is flying in planeloads of money. As P. J. O’Rouke said of similar hyperinflation in Nicaragua’s own socialist paradise economy: “You have to go to Moscow University two or three times to make money worth this little.”

But with the opposition party having defeated the socialists in parliamentary elections, they can turn things around, right? Well…

Socialist president Nicolas Maduro has changed the law so the opposition-controlled National Assembly can’t remove the central bank governor or appoint a new one. Not only that, but Maduro has picked someone who doesn’t even believe there’s such a thing as inflation to be the country’s economic czar. “When a person goes to a shop and finds that prices have gone up,” the new minister wrote, “they are not in the presence of ‘inflation,’ ” but rather “parasitic” businesses that are trying to push up profits as much as possible. According to this — let me be clear — “theory,” printing too much money never causes inflation. And so Venezuela will continue to do so. If past hyperinflations are any guide, this will keep going until Venezuela can’t even afford to run its printing presses anymore — unless Maduro gets kicked out first.

But for now, at least, a specter is haunting Venezuela — the specter of failed economic policies.

Philip K. Dick once noted that reality is that which, if you ignore it, doesn’t go away. Socialists may not believe in hyperinflation, but hyperinflation very much believes in socialism…

LinkSwarm for January 15, 2016

Friday, January 15th, 2016

We’ll start with a couple by Mark Steyn:

  • “Hillary Clinton is now telling lies about her lies.”
  • Steyn also went to a Trump rally, and discovered how Trump is wowing crowds as an un-politician. “He moved the meter on the ‘war on women’, too. Mrs Clinton pulled out the card, and Trump flung it right back in her face with her sleazy sociopath of a husband’s four decades of abuse against vulnerable women.”
  • “These mostly disgruntled voters are turning away from their Democrat roots.”
  • The puzzling thing about the democrats’ push on gun control: Why gun control, and why now? “Unpopular as it is, gun control may be as good as they’ve got.”
  • Luntz focus group overwhelmingly says that Ted Cruz won last night’s debate.
  • Cruz also won the coveted Duck Dynasty primary.
  • Really, Jeb Bush’s path to victory requires Lindsay Graham’s endorsement? I’m sure in much the same way the Houston Texan’s plans involved Brian Hoyer leading them to the Superbowl…
  • Why Marco Rubio’s campaign is like trying to defend Europe in Risk. Points for geekiness and truth…
  • “The participation of Muslim migrants in the rape jihad is, of course, the fact most desperately suppressed by German officials.”
  • Obama (and Polifact) are lying about guns.
  • Even the New York Times notices that Obama is the best salesman the firearms industry ever had.
  • Now this is an opening paragraph:

    The annual State of the Union pageant is a hideous, dispiriting, ugly, monotonous, un-American, un-republican, anti-democratic, dreary, backward, monarchical, retch-inducing, depressing, shameful, crypto-imperial display of official self-aggrandizement and piteous toadying, a black Mass during which every unholy order of teacup totalitarian and cringing courtier gathers under the towering dome of a faux-Roman temple to listen to a speech with no content given by a man with no content, to rise and to be seated as is called for by the order of worship — it is a wonder they have not started genuflecting — with one wretched representative of their number squirreled away in some well-upholstered Washington hidey-hole in order to preserve the illusion that those gathered constitute a special class of humanity without whom we could not live.

  • How the media distorts and suppresses news to avoid mentioning Muslims involved in rape.
  • Al Jazeera turns out to be every bit as popular as Air America.
  • Jihadists murder 15 at that Satanic outpost of Western imperialism, a polio vaccination center.
  • That Iraqi “refugee” arrested in Houston on terrorism charges is every bit as big a winner as you would expect him to be.
  • Obama Administration blocks visa waiver reform to appease Iran. One wonders what this administration wouldn’t do to appease Iran…
  • China’s debt is $28 trillion? Ho boy, we’re boned…
  • Anglicans suspend communion with Episcopalians for three years over same-sex marriage. This is kind of a big deal. (Hat tip: The Corner
  • Damn Millennials won’t show up to work on time. Or get off my lawn…
  • How Star Wars conquered the galaxy. Or, more specifically, how Star Wars action figures did… (Hat tip: The Goldberg File.)
  • You know, if you’re a sitting Texas Supreme Court Justice running for reelection, it’s probably not going to help you win Texas Republican voters if you do robocalling demonizing Michael Quinn Sullivan. Especially when the call goes to Michael Quinn Sullivan. (Hat tip: Push Junction.)
  • So $200 million for the Playboy mansion, the bunnies aren’t included, and I can’t even kick out Hugh Hefner? What’s the point?
  • Mapping the bushy-tailed menace.
  • LinkSwarm for January 5, 2016

    Tuesday, January 5th, 2016

    I hope everyone else has had a happier New Year than I, since my father passed away after a long battle with cancer Sunday.

    On the plus side, I saw the new Star Wars and the Texans made the playoffs. Doesn’t quite balance out, though…

  • Remember: It’s OK to rape 13-year olds as long as you’re a well-connected Democratic Party donor. Remember, this is the case that had Bill Clinton taking the Lolita Express to Pedophile Island.
  • “Nobody needed criminal convictions to drop Cosby – just multiple accusations of sexual assault and some out-of-court payouts. But multiple accusations of sexual assault, out-of-court payouts and the loss of his law license are apparently not enough to bar Bill Clinton from another eight years in the White House.”
  • Hillary Cliton’s many conflicts of interest:

    At Hillary Clinton’s confirmation hearing for secretary of state, she promised she would take “extraordinary steps…to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest.”

    Later, more than two dozen companies and groups and one foreign government paid former President Bill Clinton a total of more than $8 million to give speeches around the time they also had matters before Mrs. Clinton’s State Department, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis.

    Fifteen of them also donated a total of between $5 million and $15 million to the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation, the family’s charity, according to foundation disclosures.

  • Six things a Washington Post reporter found out following Ted Cruz around. “The majority of the undecided voters I have spoken with have said they were very impressed after hearing Cruz speak. Many of them said they were undecided coming into a rally and supported him when it was over.”
  • Obama to judicial branch: “Screw you, I’m going to give work permits to illegal aliens you’ve ordered deported.” (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • “Unfortunately, 2016, the little of it that we have so far seen, is already beginning to look like another year of Grim Slide, of a world stumbling down a slippery slope to become less secure, less stable, and less free.”
  • People are forgetting what an awful festering hellhole the Soviet Union was.
  • Iran and Saudi Arabia have severed diplomatic relations over Saudi execution of a Shiite cleric, and Kuwait has recalled their ambassador from Tehran; don’t be surprised if the other Sunni nations follow suit. Good thing we have a Nobel Peace Prize winner in the White House…
  • Turkey’s Prime Minister: Hey, you know who was a model of effective leadership? Adolf Hitler.
  • Swiss General: Europe “On The Verge Of Civil War,” Citizens Must Arm Themselves.
  • Oslo police: “We Have Lost the City.”

    It looks like Karachi, Basra, and Mogadishu all rolled into one. People sell drugs openly just next to the Gronland subway station.

    It’s not Norway or Europe anymore, except when there is welfare money to be collected. The police have largely given up. Early in 2010 Aftenposten stated that there are sharia patrols in this area, and gay couples are assaulted and chased away.

  • Mass sexual assaults involving up to 1,000 Arab men on New Year’s Eve in Cologne.
  • “IRS Employee Whose Job Was Assisting Victims Of Identity Theft Charged In $1 Million Identity Theft Tax Fraud.” (Hat tip: Instapundit)
  • Rahm Emanuel’s failure in Chicago is emblematic of the blue model failure in America’s cities. “The city’s bloated pension obligations have already forced Emanuel to make severe education cuts. It will continue to force cuts in city services in various cities, making it harder and harder for mayors to govern, and increasing the antagonism among various constituencies.”
  • Murder rates drop as concealed carry permits soar.” Plus this: “Between 2012 and 2014 the number of black permit holders increased from 10,389 to 17,594, according to the report.”
  • Mississippi Democratic City Councilman urges constituents to hurl rocks and bricks at the police.
  • Armed mother successfully defends home and children against three armed thugs. But gun-grabbers want to disarm her
  • Bahamas resort project gives in to Chinese demands to secure more construction loans. Result: Bankruptcy.
  • Ben Carson’s campaign staff quits. There’s a reason president of the United States isn’t an entry-level job…
  • Former feminist now a pro-life activist who is disillusioned with feminism. (Hat tip: John C. Wright.)
  • Confessions of a social justice warrior white knight. “Their communities thrive on self loathing disguised as elitism…SJWs insist their goal is to make everyone equal, and for a long time I believed it, but their communities actually enforce factionalism and division.” (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Wendy Davis: Still digging.
  • Venezuela Says “No Mas” To Socialism

    Tuesday, December 8th, 2015

    It turns out that 100% inflation, widespread repression and corruption and endemic shortages of basic consumer goods are not a recipe for electoral success:

    Electoral authorities in Venezuela say the opposition coalition won a key two-thirds majority in the National Assembly in legislative voting.

    The National Electoral Council has published on its website the final tally of results from Sunday’s elections showing that two previously undecided races had broken in favor of the opposition, giving them 112 out of 167 seats in the incoming National Assembly. The ruling socialist party and its allies got 55 seats.

    The supermajority gives the opposition a strong hand in trying to wrest power from President Nicolas Maduro after 17 years of socialist rule. It now has the potential votes to sack Supreme Court justices, initiate a referendum to revoke Maduro’s mandate and even convoke an assembly to rewrite Hugo Chavez’s 1999 constitution.

    Sooner or later, socialists always run out of other people’s money.

    Though Maduro is still President, there are a lot of things the new government can do to improve the lives of their citizens:

    To end food shortages, the new congress can immediately lift price controls so entrepreneurs have an incentive to produce or import. The only way to strengthen the “strong bolivar,” as the late Hugo Chávez named the currency, is to make it valuable enough for people to hold. That means lifting capital controls and ending the central bank’s multiple exchange-rate system so business can get access to dollars. On current course Venezuela will run out of international reserves and face default in 2017. Restructuring debt now with creditors would make that prospect less painful.

    Which brings us to oil. Chávez used the country’s energy wealth to buy permission in Latin America—and Massachusetts; remember Joseph Kennedy’s Citgo PR campaign—for his many human-rights violations. As long as governments in the Caribbean were getting low-priced petroleum from Venezuela, they voted with the military government in Caracas at the Organization of American States.

    Chávez and Mr. Maduro have also traded oil for security help from Cuba’s intelligence apparatus. Putting an end to these trades would retain more resources inside Venezuela and send a signal that the days of government repression are numbered. Meanwhile, rejoice that one of this hemisphere’s lost countries has a chance at revival.

    LinkSwarm for November 13, 2015

    Friday, November 13th, 2015

    The big story this week has been the Children of the Corn running amok in Missouri. I hope to have a longer piece on that by and by. In the meantime, enjoy your Friday LinkSwarm:

  • ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion is blowing holes in state budgets across the nation.
  • How the Clinton Foundation money-laundering machine works.
  • Maryland’s “bullet fingerprint” database cost $5 million to set up and maintain. Number of criminals caught by it? Zero. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • How much money each state is sending to the Presidential race. Texas is number one in SuperPAC money, and number two (behind California) in hard money.
  • Kurdish Pesh Merga forces retake Sinjar from the Islamic State.
  • China makes tiny under-reporting error on coal usage. Any by “tiny,” I mean “equal to entire U.S. coal use.” (Hat tip: Ace of Spades.)
  • Sell books critical of the Chinese government in Hong Kong? Prepare to be disappeared.
  • Secret Service agent arrested in child sex sting. The country is in the best of hands. (Hat tip: AceofSpadesHQ.)
  • Kafkatrap vs. Honeytrap. “If you are any kind of open-source leader or senior figure who is male, do not be alone with any female, ever, at a technical conference.”
  • Woman starts making documentary about Men’s Rights Movement. Funny things happens: When she starts making an actual, even-handed documentary, the funders who wanted a feminist hit piece drop her like a hot potato, but Kickstarter backers step up to the plate after a plug from Milo Yiannopoulos.
  • UT academic critics of open carry should step out of their ivory tower and take a look at the real world.
  • Dear Formula 1: If your race requires subsidies to survive in Austin, I’m happy to see you fold.
  • An inside-baseball look at the Ted Cruz super PAC ad buy that wasn’t.
  • Portugal Decides EU Mandates Trump Democracy

    Monday, October 26th, 2015

    Portugal has decided that EU economic mandates trump that pesky Democracy:

    Anibal Cavaco Silva, Portugal’s constitutional president, has refused to appoint a Left-wing coalition government even though it secured an absolute majority in the Portuguese parliament and won a mandate to smash the austerity regime bequeathed by the EU-IMF Troika.

    He deemed it too risky to let the Left Bloc or the Communists come close to power, insisting that conservatives should soldier on as a minority in order to satisfy Brussels and appease foreign financial markets.

    I’m not entirely unsympathetic to Silva’s plight. As in Greece, the anti-austerity movement is an economically illiterate coalition of looters who insist that the welfare state gravy train can never come to an end, ever, even when the country is dead broke. (Though note that author Ambrose Evans-Pritchard never once mentions “welfare state” in his piece.) Remember that Portugal has never practiced real austerity (cutting budget outlays to match receipts), never once having balanced its budget in the last decade. And if the commies (who are, thankfully, only a minority coalition partner) had actually promised to set up a dictatorship of the proletariat, I’d be cheering Silva’s intransigence.

    But Democracy is the theory that the people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard. If Portugal thinks they can take cues from Greece’s anti-austerity tantrum and somehow not get slapped down just as hard, let them try. And in fact the leftwing’s coalition’s promises “to abrogate the Lisbon Treaty, the Fiscal Compact, the Growth and Stability Pact, as well as to dismantle monetary union and take Portugal out of the euro” are entirely rational and in Portugal’s self-interest.

    The EU has always been an explicitly antidemocratic union, one designed to prevent mere voters from overruling their bureaucratic betters. The fact that this time they’re opposed by idiots who think they can keep voting themselves goodies from other people’s wallets doesn’t change the problem of the EU’s deficit of democracy.

    Two of modern Europe’s central foundations (a monetary union and a cradle-to-grave welfare state) are not only unsustainable, they are incompatible with each other, and corrosive to both stability and democracy. And the EU leaders have no idea what to do about it.

    Darth Vader Replaces Lenin in Ukraine

    Saturday, October 24th, 2015

    In Odessa: “A recent law banning Communist symbols in the country meant that a Soviet-era statue of Vladimir Lenin in Odessa needed to come down. Instead, the city opted to transform it into a monument to one of pop culture’s greatest villains: Darth Vader.”

    What’s the difference between Lenin and Darth Vader?

    One was a power-mad dictator who crushed the people’s freedom, ruthlessly put down rebellion, and brought death and destruction in his wake.

    The other was voiced by James Earl Jones.

    LinkSwarm for October 23, 2015

    Friday, October 23rd, 2015

    Another Friday, another LinkSwarm, heavy on Benghazi and Presidential race news:

  • Seven revelations from the Benghazi hearing.
  • You know who wasn’t happy about Hillary Clinton’s latest Benghazi testimony? The families of the Benghazi victims. Funny how that “absolute moral authority” the MSM bestowed on Cindy Sheehan doesn’t apply to families of the slain when they criticize Democrats…
  • China vs. the United States: a tale of two economies.
  • Longshot GOP Presidential contenders are running out of money. “Any burn rate over 100 percent is considered dangerous by campaign finance experts. Pataki’s was 226 percent, Graham 188, Paul 181, Jindal 144, Huckabee 110 and Santorum 101.”
  • Speaking of Presidential fundraising, here’s why Rick Perry had to drop out: “Perry spent more than a million dollars during the last reporting period – July through September – while raising only $252,000 in contributions. And the former Texas governor, who exited the race in mid-September, had only $45,000 cash on hand at the end.”
  • “When you vote in your first Presidential election, please remember which political party decided to make your lunchtimes a living Hell for a decade. Spoiler warning: it wasn’t the Republicans.”
  • Some people Hillary Clinton listed as endorsing Hillary Clinton have not, in fact, actually endorsed Hillary Clinton.
  • Ohio Senate race update: “Incumbent Rob Portman (R) raised almost eight million this year, with eleven million in the bank, while former governor Ted Strickland (D) raised about two and a half, with about a million and a half in the bank.”
  • Turkish opposition leader accuses Erdogan’s Islamist government of protecting the Islamic State.
  • Criticize Islam in your blog in Bangladesh? That’s an arresting.
  • Heh:

  • Alvin bond update: “Firm in cracked stadium debacle funds pro-bond propaganda.”
  • Texas Democratic trial lawyer Mikal Watts indicited over fraud related to the BP oil spill case.
  • Arthur Miller — Communist. (Hat tip: Ed Driscoll at Instapundit.)
  • Bernie Sanders is “paying” bloggers.
  • Emus on the loose in Round Rock.
  • LinkSwarm for September 29, 2015

    Tuesday, September 29th, 2015

    Another LinkSwarm. And if you’re live in Austin, don’t forget the meetup/blogshoot on October 10th.

  • Theory: The people flooding into Europe are innocent families of refugees fleeing war. Reality: “young men [heaving] rocks at the authorities and showing up on YouTube videos shouting Allahu Akbar.”
  • “There is something shallow and decadent about a pontiff who prioritizes “climate change” even as every last Christian is driven from the Archeparchy of Mosul. What will they say of such a pope? That he fiddled with the thermostat while Rome burned?”
  • If the illegal alien crisis threatens to collapse the EU, it wasn’t very strong to begin with, was it?
  • Why are liberals in love with radical Islam?

    One theory:

    I increasingly think the Democrat/Muslim union has to do with old-fashioned relativism. Democrats don’t actually believe that women’s rights and gay rights apply to everyone; white people: sure. Arabs? Well, who am I to judge? And Muslims know this.

    When Robby George is just dumbfounded as to why all these Muslims support the party of abortion on demand and gay marriage, the answer seems pretty clear to me: They’re supporting the party of abortion on demand and gay marriage for infidels

    Another:

    I think the issue is more that they see Muslims as a new potential mascot group that they can champion and therefore obtain that cheap sense of moral superiority that comes with riding in like a white knight. I think a lot of liberal attitudes towards minorities aren’t actually based on the good of the minorities, but how good it makes the liberals feel to champion them. Muslims are (as of now) a tiny, insignificant minority. They’re mostly kinda swarthy, so the “it’s racism” meme is easily transferable, and a significant chunk of liberals loathe Christianity.

  • A map of worldwide Islamic State attacks.
  • In the little town of Bethlehem/Things have gotten quite scary/Islamists have gotten out and torched/the local monastery.
  • You might want to hold onto your hate for this shocking revelation: Hillary Clinton lied under oath about her secret e-mail server.
  • And polls show that Vice President Joe Biden is way, way more popular than Clinton.
  • Reminder: Hillary Clinton’s 2008 campaign started the “birther” movement.
  • Ten times John Boehner caved into liberals.
  • Pacifica radio station institutes socialist democracy and promptly starts to spiral down toward bankruptcy. (Hat tip: Powerline.)
  • Dealing drugs while on the DEA payroll? Automatic firing? Ha! Remember: Obama Administration. 14 day suspension.
  • Cobynite solutions belong in the realm of fantasy.” Keep in mind that I disagree with possibly three-quarters of the writer’s analysis, but still share his conclusion….
  • The World According to Xi Jinping. Sounds like a whole lot of vague platitudes…
  • “German Rheinmetall shows off 80 kilowatt naval combat laser with four 20 kw laser barrels.” Though until they can demonstrate the system through actual field testing, I wouldn’t get too excited.
  • How did I miss the fact that McGruff The Crime Dog is currently doing 16 years for possessing a marijuana grow operation and a grenade launcher?
  • “The left is why they leave the left”

    Friday, September 18th, 2015

    When you start grabbing a third pull quote from a piece is when you realize that it needs a post of its own. Such is the case with this Nick Cohen piece on why Jeremy Corbyn’s election has finally forced him to leave the left. Though centered on UK politics, much of it applies to the social justice warrior/victimhood identity politics left in this country as well.

    The shift of left-wing thought towards movements it would once have denounced as racist, imperialist and fascistic has been building for years. I come from a left-wing family, marched against Margaret Thatcher and was one of the first journalists to denounce New Labour’s embrace of corporate capitalism — and I don’t regret any of it. But slowly, too slowly I am ashamed to say, I began to notice that left-wing politics had turned rancid.

    Snip.

    The shift of left-wing thought towards movements it would once have denounced as racist, imperialist and fascistic has been building for years. I come from a left-wing family, marched against Margaret Thatcher and was one of the first journalists to denounce New Labour’s embrace of corporate capitalism — and I don’t regret any of it. But slowly, too slowly I am ashamed to say, I began to notice that left-wing politics had turned rancid.

    In 2007 I tried to make amends, and published What’s Left. If they were true to their professed principles, my book argued, modern leftists would search out secular forces in the Muslim world — Iranian and Arab feminists, say, Kurdish socialists or Muslim liberals struggling against reactionary clerics here in Britain — and embrace them as comrades. Instead, they preferred to excuse half the anti-western theocrats and dictators on the planet. As, in their quiet way, did many in the liberal mainstream. Throughout that period, I never heard the BBC demanding of ‘progressives’ how they could call themselves left-wing when they had not a word of comfort for the Iraqi and Afghan liberals al-Qaeda was slaughtering.

    The triumph of Jeremy Corbyn has led to What’s Left sales picking up, and readers acclaiming my alleged prescience. Grateful though I am, I cannot accept the compliment. I never imagined that left-wing politics would get as bad as they have become. I assumed that when the criminally irresponsible Blair flew off in his Learjet, the better angels of the left’s nature would re-assert themselves.

    What a fool I was.

    Snip.

    The fact remains that the Labour party has just endorsed an apologist for Putin’s imperial aggression; a man who did not just appear on the propaganda channel of Russia, which invades its neighbours and persecutes gays, but also of Iran, whose hangmen actually execute gays. Labour’s new leader sees a moral equivalence between 9/11 and the assassination of bin Laden, and associates with every variety of women-hating, queer-bashing, Jew-baiting jihadi, holocaust denier and 9/11 truther. His supporters know it, but they don’t care.

    Snip.

    The half-educated fanatics are in control now. I do not see how in conscience I can stay with their movement or vote for their party. I am not going to pretend the next time I meet Owen Jones or those Labour politicians who serve in Corbyn’s shadow cabinet that we are still members of the same happy family. There are differences that cannot and should not be smoothed over.

    I realise now what I should have known years ago. The causes I most care about — secularism, freedom of speech, universal human rights — are not their causes. Whatever they pretend, when the crunch comes, they will always put sectarian unity first, and find reasons to be elsewhere.

    Read the whole thing.

    (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)