Archive for the ‘Communism’ Category

Starvation Stalks Venezuela

Monday, August 8th, 2016

This is what happens when a “socialist paradise” enters its terminal phase.

Venezuela children are dying from malnutrition:

Malnourished children who faint in class. Children who, in the worst cases, die from hunger, their bodies nothing but skin and bones, the outlines of their ribs visible.

Images like those have become common in Venezuela, where critical food shortages are pushing hundreds of thousands of children under a blanket of misery and hunger more often seen in the poorest countries in Africa.

“We are seeing cases not seen for 40 years,” said William Barrientos, a physician and part of the opposition bloc in the legislative National Assembly who produced and posted a video on YouTube to highlight the issue of malnutrition among Venezuelan children.

It’s like something out of the French Revolution:

A mob of starving people advanced on the presidential palace chanting, “We want food”. They were met by soldiers and police dispatched by the tyrant from his lavish palace decorated opulently with a golden sun, giant rock crystal mirrors, sparkling chandeliers and towering oil portraits.

The scene wasn’t 19th century France, but 21st century Venezuela.

And if you are wondering why you haven’t seen it on the news, it’s because Venezuela is a Socialist disaster area that was once being used as a model by the left. Now it’s a place where the vast majority of people can’t afford basic food staples and a third are down to two or fewer meals a day.

Snip.

Venezuela, once a wealthy oil state, where the doctors offering “universal health care” have no medicine and starving people loot government stores looking for food, is yet another example. 50 people are dead in the latest food riots. Their graves are yet another “grave error” of the left.

Snip.

Venezuela needs 10 billion bank notes in its new inflationary economy, more than America, and it can’t pay for them. Or pay for anything else. It can’t afford to import food and it refuses to pay fair prices at home. Meanwhile eggs, at the official exchange rate, run to $150, McDonald’s fries for $126 and a pound of coffee for $85. Socialists may not believe in inflation, but inflation believes in them.

No wonder the people are starving.

Teachers sell passing grades to students in exchange for milk and flour. Lines at government stores are endless and an entire economy has been built on buying and trades spots on food lines. Fingerprint scanners are used to enforce milk rations. And a heavy military police and military presence is required to stop mobs of starving people from grabbing the food as soon as it arrives.

(Hat tip: Instapundit.)

Venezuelans who are able cross into Columbia to buy food, at least what little their worthless hyperinflated Bolivars will buy.

How many children will have to starve to death until the Venezuela’s socialist ruling class reverses course?

Venezuela Re-institutes Slavery

Monday, August 1st, 2016

On June 2, 1816, Simon Bolivar landed in Venezuela and declared all slaves in Spanish America free. In 2016, the “Bolivarian Revolution” in Venezuela reinstitued slave labor on farms:

Venezuelan ministry last week announced Resolution No. 9855, which calls for the establishment of a “transitory labor regime” in order to relaunch the agricultural and food sector. The decree says that the government must do what is “necessary to achieve strategic levels of self-sufficiency,” and states that workers can be forcefully moved from their jobs to work in farm fields or elsewhere in the agricultural sector for periods of 60 days.

(Hat tip: Instaundit.)

I’m sure if you went into Houston’s Fifth Ward or Atlanta’s south side and announced “Hey, due to a food emergency, we’re going to need to put you back on the plantations. But it’s only for 60 days!” I’m sure they’d be totally understanding…

This follows months of food riots. Animals are starving to death in Venezuela’s zoos because they can’t afford to feed them. “Danta from the Caricuao zoo died from hunger.” There you go, liberals: An animal with a name! Now we just wait for all that spontaneous outrage…

Danta Tapir

So what is country whose people are literally starving due to the Magic Power of Socialism™ to do? Why, institute censorship, of course! And why reform your failing socialist econmy when you can threaten to arrest international executives because their local factories can’t produce goods due to a lack of raw materials?

Leftist leaders around the world love proclaiming “Socialism or Death!” But as Venezuela proves yet again, socialism is death…

LinkSwarm for July 22, 2016

Friday, July 22nd, 2016

Haven’t been covering the RNC because I have too much going on. So enjoy this LinkSwarm instead:

  • Full text of Donald Trump’s RNC speech. No I didn’t watch it.
  • “It’s telling that so many city leaders hate their state or national governments, but love supra-national governments like the EU. This shows that their real desire isn’t to go it alone in the marketplace, but to create replacement governance structures that are more amenable to their way of thinking, that constitutionally enshrine their preferences, and are insulated from democratic accountability.”
  • Jerry Pournelle on the real problems in the black community:

    An obvious observation, which hardly anyone seems to make, is that blacks suffer less from racism than from poor education. Harvard does not reject black applicants because it dislikes blacks but because they are badly prepared. Blacks do not fail the federal entrance examination because it is rigged to exclude them but because they don’t know the answers. Equality of opportunity without equality of education is a cruel joke: giving an illiterate the right to apply to Yale isn’t giving him much.

    The intelligent policy is to educate black children, something that the public schools of Washington manage, at great expense, not to do. In fact the prevailing (if unspoken) view seems to be that black children cannot be educated, an idea whose only defect is that it is wrong: the Catholic schools of Washington have been educating black children for years. The Catholic system has 12,170 students in the District, of whom 7,884, or 65 percent, are black.

  • Trump takes lead over Clinton according to that notorious right-wing propaganda organ, the Los Angeles Times. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ, who notes “it certainly looks bad for the Beefy Elderly Drunken Crazylady.”)
  • Wargaming the election in November. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Ten reasons Trump could win.
  • Borepatch plays Nostradamus: “Trump 366, Clinton 172”.
  • Michael Moore thinks Trump is going to win. I pay very little heed to Mr. Moore’s opinions, but I admit the possibility that he may have more insight into the day-to-day outlook of blue collar, rust belt Americans than I do.
  • Crony capitalism: “Lobbyists Are Behind the Rise in Corporate Profits.” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Sexual violence in Germany has skyrocketed since Angela Merkel allowed more than one million mostly male migrants from Africa, Asia and the Middle East into the country. The crimes are being downplayed by the authorities, apparently to avoid fueling anti-immigration sentiments.”
  • The Nice jihad truck attack wasn’t spontaneous, it had been planned for months. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • The EU will likely break its own rules to save Italian banks.
  • Massachusetts Attorney General decides she has the power to unilaterally rewrite the state’s gun laws.
  • How millennials are screwed. That will teach them to dress like idiots and listen to music that sucks…
  • Memphis newspaper forced to apologize over accurate headline on the Dallas police shootings, i.e. “Gunman targeted whites.”
  • Why does Elon Musk get to keep sucking up taxpayer subsidies? (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • “A talent for teaching simply does not factor into tenure decisions.” (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • How the Finns kicked the Soviet Union’s ass in the Winter War.
  • Expose a fake Medal of Honor winner? Get fired.
  • The NBA’s Adam Silver goes full social justice warrior over North Carolina refusing to knuckle under over tranny bathroom demands.
  • Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant accuses Democratic State Senator Royce West of stealing endorsement money from him.
  • Welcome to Masdar City, Abu Dhabi’s half-built ghost town of a “sustainable city.”
  • Anti-Trump protester sets self on fire while trying to burn flag. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Remembering the glory of The Poor Man’s James Bond. What red-blooded American teenage boy wouldn’t want to make his own anti-tank missile? (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Important legal tip: If you’re going to get naked and drunk and hang out with pigs, make sure they’re your own pigs. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • It’s a bad idea to eat 75 pounds of cocaine. Even if you are a bear. Or Pam.

    With a bonus Waylon Jennings-in-Las Vegas connection.

  • Venezuela: Socialism Is Death

    Wednesday, May 18th, 2016

    When socialists run out of other people’s money, everything falls apart. In Venezuela, socialism is killing babies:

    By morning, three newborns were already dead.

    The day had begun with the usual hazards: chronic shortages of antibiotics, intravenous solutions, even food. Then a blackout swept over the city, shutting down the respirators in the maternity ward.

    Doctors kept ailing infants alive by pumping air into their lungs by hand for hours. By nightfall, four more newborns had died.

    “The death of a baby is our daily bread,” said Dr. Osleidy Camejo, a surgeon in the nation’s capital, Caracas, referring to the toll from Venezuela’s collapsing hospitals.

    Also this: “At the University of the Andes Hospital in the mountain city of Mérida, there was not enough water to wash blood from the operating table.” With a picture to match.

    (Hat tip: Althouse.)

    Is this the point where the bankrupt socialist regime changes course and implements economic reform? Of course not. “Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced a sweeping crackdown Saturday under a new emergency decree, ordering the seizure of paralyzed factories, the arrest of their owners and military exercises to counter alleged foreign threats.”

    Naturally the democratically elected opposition refuses to knuckle under to Maduro’s unconstitutional decrees.

    “Opposition leader Henrique Capriles also said the army must decide whether it is ‘with the constitution or with Maduro,’ a day before nationwide protests demanding the president’s ouster through a referendum.”

    The Atlantic offers up a photo essay on how little food Venezuelans have to eat. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)

    And all this has come to pass thanks to The Magic Power of Socialism™:

    The government doesn’t just control the oil industry, imposing windfall taxes as high as 50 percent on the few private sector projects that remain. The government has nationalized rice mills, large producers of agricultural products, and expropriated millions of acres of farmland; it has acquired some banks and shut down others; nationalized the cement sector; tried to nationalize gold miners; nationalized the country’s largest steel mill and the country’s largest telecommunications company; expropriated the nation’s largest power producer (remember those rolling blackouts?), and more.

    People close to the regime have benefited from many of those deals. Corruption has skyrocketed since the beginning of Venezuela’s “Bolivarian revolution.” According to the Cato Institute, $22.5 billion in public funds have been transferred from Venezuela to foreign accounts with no plausible explanation. Relatives of President Nicolas Maduro have been implicated in drug trafficking, with suspicions of drug money used to finance his campaign.

    Oh, and Venezuela’s capital has earned the distinction of being the murder capital of the world.

    All of these tragedies were avoidable. They are all the result of a mentality that sees only nails for the hammer of government control. Chavez and Maduro kept saying that everything that was wrong with Venezuela was the fault of markets and that if the government either eliminated or regulated those markets, things would get better. They implemented their agenda and it has been a disaster. This socialist brand of economic authoritarianism had the predictable consequence of political authoritarianism, corruption, and a breakdown of the rule of law.

    How many more babies have to die before Venezuela abandons its failed socialist experiment?

    Life in Venezuela is Murder

    Thursday, May 12th, 2016

    In the course of this piece on Venezuela’s bankrupt socialist government using tanks against “paramilitary” opposition, I came across this tidbit of crime information:

    The homicide rate in Venezuela is surging again in 2016, the Prosecutor General’s office warned in its first quarterly report of the year last week. Venezuela suffered 18,000 homicides in 2015 according to the Prosecutor General, but NGO’s put that figure closer to 28,000 murders for last year.

    Even given that Latin American murder rates are generally higher than North America and Europe, that’s shockingly high for a nation of 30 million. In fact, both figures are more murders than for all of the United States for 2013 (the last year full FBI figures are available). And U.S. figures include such idyllic peaceful environs as Chicago, Baltimore and Detroit.

    And life for Venezuelans who aren’t outright murdered continues to get worse. “The experiment with “21st-century socialism” as introduced by the late President Hugo Chavez, a self-described champion of the poor who vowed to distribute the country’s wealth among the masses, and instead steered the nation toward the catastrophe the world is witnessing under his handpicked successor Maduro, has been a cruel failure.”

    What our country is going through is monstrously unique: It’s nothing less than the collapse of a large, wealthy, seemingly modern, seemingly democratic nation just a few hours’ flight from the United States.

    In the last two years Venezuela has experienced the kind of implosion that hardly ever occurs in a middle-income country like it outside of war. Mortality rates are skyrocketing; one public service after another is collapsing; triple-digit inflation has left more than 70 percent of the population in poverty; an unmanageable crime wave keeps people locked indoors at night; shoppers have to stand in line for hours to buy food; babies die in large numbers for lack of simple, inexpensive medicines and equipment in hospitals, as do the elderly and those suffering from chronic illnesses.

    But why? It’s not that the country lacked money. Sitting atop the world’s largest reserves of oil at the tail end of a frenzied oil boom, the government led first by Chavez and, since 2013, by Maduro, received over a trillion dollars in oil revenues over the last 17 years. It faced virtually no institutional constraints on how to spend that unprecedented bonanza. It’s true that oil prices have since fallen—a risk many people foresaw, and one that the government made no provision for—but that can hardly explain what’s happened: Venezuela’s garish implosion began well before the price of oil plummeted. Back in 2014, when oil was still trading north of $100 per barrel, Venezuelans were already facing acute shortages of basic things like bread or toiletries.

    The real culprit is chavismo, the ruling philosophy named for Chavez and carried forward by Maduro, and its truly breathtaking propensity for mismanagement (the government plowed state money arbitrarily into foolish investments); institutional destruction (as Chavez and then Maduro became more authoritarian and crippled the country’s democratic institutions); nonsense policy-making (like price and currency controls); and plain thievery (as corruption has proliferated among unaccountable officials and their friends and families).

    A case in point is the price controls, which have expanded to apply to more and more goods: food and vital medicines, yes, but also car batteries, essential medical services, deodorant, diapers, and, of course, toilet paper. The ostensible goal was to check inflation and keep goods affordable for the poor, but anyone with a basic grasp of economics could have foreseen the consequences: When prices are set below production costs, sellers can’t afford to keep the shelves stocked. Official prices are low, but it’s a mirage: The products have disappeared.

    When a state is in the process of collapse, dimensions of decay feed back on each other in an intractable cycle. Populist giveaways, for example, have fed the country’s ruinous flirtation with hyperinflation; the International Monetary Fund now projects that prices will rise by 720 percent this year and 2,200 percent in 2017. The government virtually gives away gasoline for free, even after having raised the price earlier this year. As a result of this and similar policies, the state is chronically short of funds, forced to print ever more money to finance its spending.

    Though much of it will be familiar to anyone who follows this blog, read the entire story, if only for the factory owner who got in trouble for not stocking his bathrooms with toilet paper as per union rules (because it was unavailable at government stores), only to get in even more trouble for “hoarding” when he bought it on the black market…

    Venezuela’s So Poor Soldiers Steal Goats To Survive

    Thursday, May 5th, 2016

    For all the depression over an ascendant Donald Trump, let’s remember remember that a lot of other countries, much further down the road to serfdom than we are, have it much worse.

    Take, for example, Venezuela, where The Magic Power of Socialism™ has so wrecked the economy that soldiers are stealing goats to survive:

    Over the weekend, six members of the Venezuelan military were detained by local authorities for stealing goats, the Venezuelan newspaper El Nacional reported Sunday. It said the soldiers confessed to stealing the goats and said they did it to feed themselves, since they had no food left in their barracks.

    “It’s not a good sign when your military doesn’t have enough food, and when the military has been relegated to guarding and protecting food lines,” said Jason Marczak, director of the Latin America Economic Growth Initiative at the Atlantic Council. “This is endemic of the problems going on across the country.”

    A military without enough food to eat. Boy, that’s a swell recipe for happiness in Latin America. (Hat tip: Instapundit.) As the Washington Post‘s Wonkblog put it: “It’s a grim race between anarchy and civil war.”

    Venezuela’s opposition evidently has enough votes to recall idiot socialist President Nicolas Maduro:

    Venezuela’s right-wing opposition coalition, the Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD), turned over 1.8 million signatures in support of a recall referendum against President Nicolas Maduro to the National Electoral Council (CNE) on Monday.

    As part of the initial requirement to solicit a recall, the MUD was given 30 days to collect signatures from 1 percent of the electorate in each of the 23 states– 197,721 total signatures nationwide– a target which the coalition managed to surpass in a matter of days, accruing as many as 2.5 million overall.

    There are still considerable barriers to a recall election even if the government doesn’t cheat (and what are the odds of that?).

    Also, beer production has stopped. Just an all-around recipe for for happiness.

    So cheer up, America! We have to face the horror of a Clinton-Trump presidential race, but at least we’ll do so with food, water, electricity and beer…

    Reminder: Today is Victims of Communism Day

    Sunday, May 1st, 2016

    Today is May 1st, which means that it is once again Victims of Communism Day, the day when we remember the over 100 million people killed by communism.

    There is also an effort underway to build a memorial to the victims of communism in the Garden of the Provinces and Territories in Ottawa. Plans are to have the memorial finished and dedicated in 2017.

    Venezuela Runs Out of Money to Print Money

    Thursday, April 28th, 2016

    The Magic Power of Socialism™ has finally dragged Venezuela far enough down the slope that the economy is going to hell at an ever accelerating rate.

    First and foremost, the country is so boned that they can’t even afford to print money anymore.

    In a tale that highlights the chaos of unbridled inflation, Venezuela is scrambling to print new bills fast enough to keep up with the torrid pace of price increases. Most of the cash, like nearly everything else in the oil-exporting country, is imported. And with hard currency reserves sinking to critically low levels, the central bank is doling out payments so slowly to foreign providers that they are foregoing further business.

    Venezuela, in other words, is now so broke that it may not have enough money to pay for its money.

    Snip.

    Last month, De La Rue, the world’s largest currency maker, sent a letter to the central bank complaining that it was owed $71 million and would inform its shareholders if the money were not forthcoming. The letter was leaked to a Venezuelan news website and confirmed by Bloomberg News.

    “It’s an unprecedented case in history that a country with such high inflation cannot get new bills,” said Jose Guerra, an opposition law maker and former director of economic research at the central bank. Late last year, the central bank ordered more than 10 billion bank notes, surpassing the 7.6 billion the U.S. Federal Reserve requested this year for an economy many times the size of Venezuela’s.

    When you run out of money to print money, perhaps you should take that as a sign the express train to you socialist paradise has permanently derailed.

    As part of its ongoing economic collapse, Venezuela’s government is now going from a four-day workweek to a two day workweek. Given the bang-up job the socialists have done running the economy, I suspect that will hurt less than the shortages of food and toilet paper.

    No wonder the people are flocking to sign a recall petition to oust socialist President Nicolas Maduro. But that’s not an easy road either:

    His adversaries first need to collect nearly 200,000 signatures, representing 1% of the nation’s more than 19 million voters. The National Electoral Council, which is closely allied with the government, has 20 days to authenticate them. If that drive is successful, the opposition must then collect nearly four million signatures over three days before the end of the year to trigger an actual recall vote. To win that new election, they would have to garner more votes than the 7.5 million Mr. Maduro got in the 2013 election.

    Typically this is the point (or long past it) where a third world nation’s military would declare “enough!” and depose El Presidente themselves. So far neither armed forces leader Vladimir Padrino Lopez nor National Guard leader Nestor Reverol have shown any signs of doing so…

    (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)

    Venezuela Returns to the Dark Ages. Literally.

    Tuesday, April 19th, 2016

    Thanks to The Magic Power of Socialism™, Venezuela is getting to experience the joy of living in a postindustrial society.

    Indeed, Venezuela has returned to the dark ages. Literal dark ages, in that this petroleum-exporting country can no longer keep the lights on. That’s why they’re instituting an extra half-hour of daylight savings time to avoid turning on lights.

    A hydroelectric plant at Venezuela’s Guri Dam, which produces two-thirds of the country’s power, is being affected by a severe drought.

    Officials have warned for weeks the water level has fallen to near its minimum operating level and could soon be shut down completely.

    Unlike other countries that use hydropower as a significant energy source, such as the US, Venezuela has no sufficient reserve energy system.

    The South American nation has grappled with blackouts for years. Caracas occasionally shuts down because of citywide losses of power and some rural areas are living mostly in the dark.

    More of that genius socialist foresight at work.

    SuperGenius Socialist President Nicolas Maduro also instituted mandatory three-day weekends to save energy.

    This is what happens when socialists run out of other people’s money. They get power blackouts, yellow water and water truck hijackings, 500% inflation and chronic food shortages.

    One wonders how much longer the populace is willing to take it…

    LinkSwarm for April 1, 2016

    Friday, April 1st, 2016

    Happy April Fools day! No tricks here, just the usual Friday LinkSwarm:

  • ObamaCare didn’t do jack to lower costs. (Hat tip Instapundit.)
  • Indeed, Obamacare is the fail that keeps failing: “As a result of the ACA, between 4 million and 9 million fewer people are projected to have employment-based coverage each year from 2017 through 2026 than would have had such coverage if the ACA had never been enacted.” (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Great news! The Nigerian Army has rescued rescued 800 Boko Haram hostages. That’s compared to the number of those hostages rescued by the #BringBackOurGirls hashtag, which is (stops, counts, carries the one) Zero.
  • Bad news: They just kidnapped 300 more. (Hat tip: Weasel Zippers.)
  • Following the Brussels attack, the standard ruling class rituals of aversion are in full bloom.
  • Donald Trump suggested targeting the families of terrorists. Putin’s Russia does exactly that.
  • The Obama Administration treats Little Sisters of the Poor worse than Exxon, Visa and Pepsi, all of whom have health plans lacking the abortion mandate. Then again, as Instapundit noted: “To be fair, that was basically because they hate those groups and wanted to punish them.”
  • Xi Jinping has accumulated more power than any leader since Mao. “He has been fighting dissent with even more ruthlessness than he has been waging war on graft. Not since the dark days after the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989 has there been such a sweeping crackdown on critics of the party.”
  • Belgium’s current crises sounds an awful lot like where California is headed: Expensive government that’s congenitally incapable of solving problems.
  • Canadian bank depositors are now officially at risk of bail-ins.
  • David Brin says the Amendment that most protects the right of citizens to film interactions with the police is the Sixth.
  • Rob Ford was more than just a loud-mouth drunk. “Ford was a political pragmatist who simply didn’t give a damn what anyone thought about him other than his constituents. It was that gumption that endeared him to hundreds of thousands of Torontonians.”
  • Supergenius New Yorker writer thinks Arizona is next to Texas.

    Screen shot 2016-03-23 at 10.56.52 PM

    (Screen shot has been included because the article has been edited and no notice made of the deleted error.)

  • Illegal alien rapes 12-year old. (Hat tip: Director Blue.
  • Lake Travis hits full again.
  • Hulk Hogan may have just destroyed Gawker.” Well, we can only hope…
  • Lunatic hoplophobe associate professor of English calls 911 to report ROTC maneuvers on campus at the University of North Dakota. (Hat tip: Tam.)
  • Old and Busted: The Suicide Prevention Hotline. The New Hotness: The Suicide Encouragement Hotline. Not an April Fools joke, alas…
  • Why grackles love supermarket parking lots.