Posts Tagged ‘Communism’

Texas vs. California Update for April 20, 2017

Thursday, April 20th, 2017

This didn’t get done while I was doing my taxes, but here, at last, is another giant Texas vs. California update:

  • Appeals court finds San Diego’s pension reform legal. “California’s Fourth District Court of Appeal unanimously overturned a 2015 state labor board ruling that said the cutbacks were illegal because of then-Mayor Jerry Sanders’ involvement in the successful citizens’ initiative that made the changes.” San Diego transitioned to a 401K style program. Naturally public employee unions screamed bloody murder and sought to have the reforms overturned. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • Unions attempts to role back San Diego’s pension reforms amounted to an attempt to retroactively apply collective bargaining to older laws.
  • More: It’s “shocking the agency’s officials would have even argued that a union’s right to negotiate pay and benefits trumps the public’s right to hold an election.” (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • “The number of people enrolled in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) in California alone exceeds the total populations of 44 of the other states of the union, according to data published by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Census Bureau.” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • California exports its working poor to Texas.

    Every year from 2000 through 2015, more people left California than moved in from other states. This migration was not spread evenly across all income groups, a Sacramento Bee review of U.S. Census Bureau data found. The people leaving tend to be relatively poor, and many lack college degrees. Move higher up the income spectrum, and slightly more people are coming than going.

    About 2.5 million people living close to the official poverty line left California for other states from 2005 through 2015, while 1.7 million people at that income level moved in from other states – for a net loss of 800,000. During the same period, the state experienced a net gain of about 20,000 residents earning at least five times the poverty rate – or $100,000 for a family of three.

    Snip.

    The leading destination for those leaving California is Texas, with about 293,000 economically disadvantaged residents leaving and about 137,000 coming for a net loss of 156,000 from 2005 through 2015. Next up are states surrounding California; in order, Arizona, Nevada and Oregon.

  • Hat tip for the above is this Zero Hedge piece, which notes “By some measures, California has the highest poverty rate in the nation. And as more and more residents leave, the burden to fund the state’s welfare exuberance will fall more and more on the wealthier (that actually pay taxes). Rather than secession, perhaps it’s time for the wealthy to join ‘the poor’ exodus and beat the crowd out of California…”
  • A look at a California tent city of 1,000 people.
  • Kevin Williamson on why Houston’s diversity is different than the liberal ideal of same:

    Living in a place where it is less of a struggle to pay the rent or make the mortgage payment does indeed chill most everybody out a little bit. But it is not at all obvious that what Houston — or Texas at large — enjoys is in fact a culture that is generally welcoming to immigrants in a way that is different from Scottsdale or Trenton or Missoula. What Texas does have is something close to the opposite of that: a large and very well-integrated Mexican-American community. Anglos in Texas aren’t welcoming to Latinos because we are in some way uniquely open to the unfamiliar, but because they are not unfamiliar.

    This matters in ways that are not obvious if you didn’t grow up with it. My native West Texas, along with the whole of the border and much of the rest of the state, has a longstanding, stable Anglo–Latin hybrid culture. Houston does, too, but Houston, being a very large city, is a little more complicated; I had lunch yesterday with a conservative leader who chatted amiably with the staff in Spanish at . . . an Indian restaurant.

    That robust hybrid culture ensures that the people Anglos hear speaking Spanish are not always poor, not mowing the lawn or cleaning a hotel room, that they are not usually immigrants, not people who cannot speak or read English — not alien. They are neighbors who, if you are lucky, make Christmas tamales. And they might be your employer or your employee, the guy who sells you a car or approves your car loan, a pastor at your church, a professor, a member of your Ultimate Frisbee team . . . or an illegal immigrant, or a criminal, or someone who is in some way unassimilated, alien, or threatening. When one out of three people in your county is “Hispanic” — a word that in Texas overwhelmingly means “Mexican-American” — then you tend to know Hispanic people of all descriptions: the good, the bad, and the ordinary.

    That is not the case in, say, Arlington, Va., which does not have a large and well-assimilated Mexican-American population but does have a large and poorly assimilated population of Spanish-speaking immigrants. The two things are not the same — more like opposites. Add to that the fact, sometimes lost on Anglos, that there is no such thing as a “Hispanic” culture or population, that people with roots in Mexico do not think of themselves as being part of a single cultural group that includes people from Central America and South America. A while back, I heard an older fellow of Mexican background complaining about the Guatemalans moving into his area — and he was an illegal immigrant. That’s a funny reality: In Texas, even some of the illegals don’t think that we can let just anybody cross the border. But ethnic politics is a strange business: In West Texas, young whites without much money (college students and the like) who would never for a moment seriously consider moving into a low-income black neighborhood will not give a second thought to moving into a largely Hispanic neighborhood.

    All of which is not to say that Texas does not have a fair number of poorly assimilated Spanish-speaking immigrants: It surely does, especially in the big cities. (People forget how urban Texas is: Six of the 20 largest U.S. cities are in Texas.) But it is easier to accommodate — and, one hopes, to assimilate — those newcomers when you have a culture of mutual familiarity and trust, which is based not on newcomers but on oldcomers. Texas’s ancient Mexican-American community — whose members famously boast, “We didn’t cross the border, the border crossed us!” — is a kind of buffer that makes absorbing newcomers less stressful.

  • Leaving coastal California is a ‘no-brainer‘ for some as housing costs rise.”

    Huntington Beach residents Chris Birtwistle and Allison Naitmazi were about to get married and decided it was time to buy a home.

    They wanted to stay in the area but couldn’t find a house they both liked and could reasonably afford — despite a dual income of around $150,000.

    So they decided to go inland — all the way to Arizona, where they recently opened escrow on a $240,000, four-bedroom house with a pool just outside Phoenix. Their monthly mortgage payment will be about $500 less than what they paid for a two-bedroom apartment in the Orange County beach community.

  • “California again leads list with 6 of the top 10 most polluted U.S. cities.” Versus zero for Texas. So they have the nation’s most stringent pollution laws…and the nation’s worst air pollution. (Golf clap) (Hat tip: Chuck DeVore’s Twitter feed.)
  • 16 Reasons Not To Live In California. Samples (snippage implied):

    #2 Out of all 50 states, the state of California has been ranked as the worst state for business for 12 years in a row…
    #3 California has the highest state income tax rates in the entire nation. For many Americans, the difference between what you would have to pay if you lived in California and what you would have to pay if you lived in Texas could literally buy a car every single year.
    #4 The state government in Sacramento seems to go a little bit more insane with each passing session.
    #5 The traffic in the major cities just keeps getting worse and worse. According to USA Today, Los Angeles now has the worst traffic in the entire world, and San Francisco is not far behind.

  • CalSTRS’ funded status falls to 64% as deficit grows $21 billion following rate reduction.” (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • Texas is on its way to passing a conservative budget.
  • A Democrat-sponsored bill in the California legislature guarantees free healthcare for all, without specifying a way to pay for it. Maybe they’ll institute a unicorn tax… (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • Leslie Eastman at Legal Insurrection spells out exactly what Californians would actually get under the plan:
    • With no choice, there is no competition, unless you are wealthy enough to leave the state for medical care. However, this is a golden opportunity for medical tourism companies!

    • There will be a limited supply of doctors, as those who don’t want to go through the bureaucratic hoops for procedures and payment will also leave the state.
    • Clinicians will be forced to make their treatment decisions based on the state-run rules: Why choose surgery when a pill will do?
    • Shockingly, some funds need to be directed to other budget items instead of perks for illegal aliens (refer to Oroville Dam for a handy reference).
    • Medicare, the system that is the foundation for this proposal, is rife with waste, fraud and abuse (e.g., 3 Floridians bilked the system for $1 billion).
    • Co-pays and deductibles will be transformed into monies paid for non-state government healthcare services (like the Canadians who cross into the United States to obtain MRI’s and other innovative treatments).
    • Public oversight will translate into political wheeling-and-dealing strictly for the benefit of those plugged into the rigged system. An indication that Sacramento may be headed for such a system, I offer this piece published in The Sacramento Bee for consideration: Why California must accept more corruption.
    • The cost of drugs has soared, despite Obamacare. As an example, I had a skin medication that would cost me $150 for an annual supply. The same medication now costs nearly $1000 a year, and I no longer use it.
  • In order to further bestow members of the ruling Democratic coalition with rights and privileges mere citizens don’t enjoy, California’s Senate Bill 807 proposes making teachers exempt from state income tax. Some pigs are evidently way, way more equal than others…
  • Teacher’s unions have helped create California’s teacher shortage. (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • California hikes its gas taxes yet again, making them the highest in the nation.
  • Pension liabilities are pinching in Gilroy, California: “Gilroy’s three biggest public employers have amassed more than $183 million in unpaid pension liabilities. That’s likely more than ever, and a figure that, absent major reform, will grow and siphon budget funds from essential public services, say officials and pension experts. In Gilroy, 23 city pensions exceed $100,000 and more than 60 exceed $70,000.” (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • Court to determine whether California’s public employee union members can simply continue to buy years of service rather than actually working them.
  • Silicon Valley slows down. “Tech companies in San Francisco and San Mateo counties lost 700 jobs from January to February and tech employment has dropped by 3,200 jobs since hitting a peak last August.”
  • What the lords of Silicon Valley actually think: “Inequality is a feature, not a bug.”
  • Hold on to your seats for this one: California’s government actually did something right, legalizing the selling of home-made food. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • “Hotel construction continues apace in the United States, and dozens of new properties are expected to open this year in two major corporate and tourist destinations, New York and Los Angeles. But the three other cities with the most hotels projected to open in 2017, according to the industry research company STR, are all in Texas — Dallas, Houston and Austin.” Notice the implied condescension in the NYT piece: New York and LA are real places, whereas Dallas, Houston and Austin are “other cities.”

    More:

    The number of new hotels in Texas is notable. In 2017, Marriott plans to open eight hotels in Austin, seven in Houston and 23 in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, according to the company. Ninety-two other Marriott hotels are in the planning stages for the three metro areas. Hilton says it is planning for 75 new hotels there. InterContinental Hotels Group has more than 100 hotel projects in the Austin, Dallas and Houston metro areas, including the Candlewood Suites, Crowne Plaza, Even Hotels, Holiday Inn Express, Holiday Inn, Hotel Indigo, InterContinental Hotels and Resorts and Staybridge Suites brands.

    Austin is home to the state capital; the University of Texas at Austin, a campus with 50,000 students; and a long list of technology companies. Its growing recreation and dining scene is attracting more leisure travelers, filling guest rooms on weekends and making the city “more of a seven-day-a-week hotel market,” according to Tim Powell, the managing director for development for Hilton’s southwest region.

  • A bankruptcy judge in the Eastern District of California plays Santa Claus with a bank’s money.
  • Just what illegal aliens cost California.
  • “L.A. To Worsen Housing Shortage With New Rent Controls.”
  • “California Dems Promise Taxpayer Dollars to Defend Illegal Immigrants.” (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • Calpers Is Sick of Paying Too Much for Private Equity…Pension fund’s private-equity returns were 12.3% over 20 years, but they would have been 19.3% without fees and costs.” (WSJ hoops apply.) (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • “Texas top state for number of new, expanded corporate facilities for fifth consecutive year.”
  • It’s not just Oroville Dam that needs maintenance: a section of Highway 50 collapsed in February. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • “Jerry Brown wants to spend nearly $450 million on flood control following dam emergency.”
  • “A state senator is removed from the chamber for her comments about Tom Hayden and Vietnam.” Namely for noting that Hayden supported “a communist government that enslaved and/or killed millions of Vietnamese, including members of my own family.” Sen. Janet Nguyen (R-Garden Grove) came to America as a Vietnamese refugee, and Democrats were incensed she was allowed to speak truth to power when it came to hagiography for one of their own. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Crime Increasing in California After ‘Prison Reform.'”
  • Selling carbon indulgences just isn’t what it used to be under Trump:

    February’s quarterly auction of carbon dioxide emission allowances under California’s cap and trade program was another financial washout for the state.

    Results for last week’s auction were posted Wednesday morning, revealing that just 16.5 percent of the 74.8 million metric tons of emission allowances were sold at the floor price of $13.57 per ton.

    The state auctions emission allowances to polluters and speculators as part of its program to reduce greenhouse gases. The proceeds are supposed to be spent on public programs to slow climate change.

    February’s auction is being closely watched by market analysts because the last three quarterly auctions in 2016 posted sub-par results.

    Almost all of February’s proceeds went either to California’s utilities, who sell allowances they receive free from the Air Resources Board, or the Canadian province of Quebec, which offers emission allowances through California. Both are first in line when auction proceeds are apportioned.

    The ARB was offering 43.7 million tons of state-owned emission allowances, but sold just 602,340 tons of advance 2020 allowances, which means the state will see only $8.2 million, rather than the nearly $600 million it could have received from a sellout.

    (Hat tip: Chuck DeVore on Twitter.)

  • California’s high speed train-to-nowhere is still doomed.
  • “Six former LA safety officers collected pension payouts of over $1,000,000 apiece last year.” (Hat tip: Pension Tsunami.)
  • “Oakland Fire Chief Announces Retirement Days After Pension Vested, Warehouse Fire Probe Continues.”
  • San Rafael has the the highest pension costs in California by percentage of their total budget (18%). “Money that goes to one thing can’t go to another thing, so if you’re spending almost $1 out of $5 on pension payments, that is a lot less money available for tangible public services such as filling potholes, keeping the library open and making sure there is sufficient police protection.”
  • Remember Anthony Silva, mayor of formerly bankrupt Stockton? He’s been arrested again, this time for embezzling “at least $74,000 from the Stockton Kids Club over the past five years.” That would be the same Anthony Silva who is a member of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, whose own guns were stolen and used in crimes, and who was also arrested for “for playing strip poker with minor and giving them alcohol while at a youth camp.” Given such august leadership, I can’t imagine how Stockton went bankrupt… (Hat tip: Dwight.)
  • New survey of the Permian Basin in Texas shows that there’s another 20 billion barrels of recoverable oil than previously thought.
  • More on the fracking boom:

  • Minimum wage hike watch: Wendy’s to try out more than 1000 self-serve kiosks.
  • San Francisco’s wage hike is already closing restaurants. Especially those that serve affordable food. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • California’s “hide actor’s age” law struck down.
  • “Former L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca found guilty on obstruction of justice and other charges.” (Hat tip: Dwight.)
  • I would like to celebrate Austin Austin having the shortest commute time in this study of major cities except, since I now experience that commute time every weekday, I can tell you that 16 minute estimate is utter crap. Maybe Austin is the best if the commute time for other cities is similarly underestimated. By contrast, the Austin rental rate of $476 a week seems slightly high, while the London rate of $489 a week seems way too low…
  • Kubota Tractor Corp. finished its’ U.S. headquarters from Torrance, California, to Grapevine, Texas. (Previously.)
  • “West Plano’s $3 billion Legacy West development has landed another big name business. Boeing will locate the headquarters for its newly formed global services division in the 250-acre mixed-use project at the Dallas North Tollway and State Highway 121.”
  • Los Angeles-based fashion company Nasty Gal declares bankruptcy. Also, nice proofreading on this subhead, LA Times: “Why couldn’t they the company hold on to shoppers?” Note: That’s still up for a story published February 24th…
  • Los Angeles clothing brand BCBG Max Azria Group, owner of Hervé Leger, also filed for bankruptcy.
  • The City of St. Louis sues the NFL, and all 32 NFL teams, over the Rams relocation to Los Angeles.
  • “L.A. County Sheriff’s Department switches from silver to gold belt buckles at a cost of $300,000.” That’s some might fine resource allocation there, Lou… (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • 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!

    LinkSwarm for December 9, 2016

    Friday, December 9th, 2016

    The Dallas police and fireman pension fund has halted withdrawals of money to stop a pension run in order to keep the system (temporarily) solvent. Texas municipal pension debt is a big story with a lot of different ramifications and angles, and I need to do some research before I post, hopefully sometime next week.

    In the meantime, enjoy a Friday LinkSwarm:

  • Why they voted for Trump:

    Working-class Americans have been mocked, maligned, and forgotten long enough. They are fed up and they went to the voting booth last week and said so.

    This election’s “red state” vote had little to do with racism or any phobias. The message we heard last week was, rather, a clear and simple plea from the average blue-collar, small-town mother and father for Washington and other big-city elites to stop belittling, disparaging and vilifying them and their families. It was their way of telling the “know-it-alls”; the politicians and pundits, to stop flying over and driving past their gutted factories and dying towns and pretending they don’t exist and do not matter. They simply wanted the “smarter and more educated” city folks to know that they are tired of insults and that the condescension needs to stop. They voted for Trump because someone finally appeared to care and listen.

    They voted for Trump because he seemed to get it. Finally, someone seemed to understand that the average guy: the plumber, the carpenter, the truck driver, the farmer — the good and decent family man from Dewey, Oklahoma, and from Hillsdale, Michigan — is the one who is now suffering from more cultural disrespect than perhaps anyone else in all the country.

    They voted for Trump because they’re sick and tired of being laughed at. They voted for Trump because they have, frankly, “had it” with being labeled intolerable by those who claim to be tolerant. They voted for Trump because they think it’s deplorable that they are the ones being called “deplorables.”They voted for Trump because they can’t turn on the TV, listen to the radio or read the news without some highbrow elitist in the mainstream media calling them “low-information,” “uneducated white males” who are too dumb to know what’s best for them and too stupid to see that Washington knows best. They voted for Trump because all they want is to have a job, get some respect, pick up a paycheck, go to church, raise their kids and be left alone.

    This is why. This is the explanation.

    Hate had nothing to do with it.

    (Hat tip: Director Blue.)

  • Kurt Schlichter: “The liberals are truly going nuts, and it’s beautiful.”

    They recently resurrected Nancy Pelosi for another glorious term winnowing away the House Democrat caucus. Pretty soon it’s just going to be her and some guy representing Berkeley who they recruited while he was shouting “Workers of the world unite!” at bored coeds on Telegraph Avenue. You know, if you want to reach out to the kind of hard-working, salt-of-the-earth, normal Americans who voted for the black guy then allegedly refused to vote for the woman because they are racist, you totally want an ancient, rich, snooty, San Francisco leftist and Botox after-picture like the Nanster.

    The only way you could further alienate these alienated voters is, I don’t know, making your DNC chairman some radical leftist, urban black Muslim who hates guns, loves Farrakhan and who parties with Middle Eastern scumbags who issue fatwas to kill those voters’ soldier sons and daughters. Now, that’s some real diversity, and the Dems should totally get right on it. But seriously, we could never dare to hope that the Democrats would be that stupid. Could we?

    And I had to laugh at this, even a little guiltily:

    Next up at bat is the hard-4 hedgehog that is anti-gun activist and alleged comedian Amy Schumer, another over-praised, over-hyped mediocrity who Tinseltown is trying to force down our throats like the fingers she clearly never forced down hers.

  • Speaking of liberals going nuts, this Washington Post piece about how Trump’s election stole one woman’s sexual desire is an exemplar of the “Middle Aged Feminist Talks About How She’s Very Upset With Politics While Narcissisticly Sharing The Tedious Minutia of Her Life” piece.
  • “Liberals have migrated beyond observable reality into fantasyland.” (Hat tip: The Other McCain.)
  • Liberals prove once again how sane and generous they are by suggesting to let Tennessee wildfire victims burn because they voted for Trump.
  • The collapse of the political left:

    The rejection was apparent in the 2010 and subsequent House elections; Republicans have now won House majorities in ten of the last 12 elections, leaving 2006 and 2008 as temporary aberrations. You didn’t hear Hillary Clinton campaign on the glories of Obamacare or the Iran nuclear deal, and her attack on “Trumped-up, trickle-down economics” didn’t strike any chords in the modest-income Midwest.

    Republican success has been even greater in governor and state legislature elections, to the point that Democrats hold governorships and legislative control only in California, Hawaii, Delaware and Rhode Island. After eight years of the Obama presidency, Democrats hold fewer elective offices than at any time since the 1920s.

    (Hat tip: Director Blue.)

  • Hey, maybe liberals should use persuasion rather than automatically label everyone who disagrees with them racist. (Hat tip: Will Shetterly.)
  • Clintonistas are still bitching about Bernie Sanders, saying his challenge to their beloved Queen fatally wounded her. You know, the way Trump having a dozen primary challengers kept him from becoming President.
  • Piers Morgan (I know) on how Donald Trump pwns the media. “Every time they throw their high-minded journalistic toys out of their strollers at one of his tweets, Trump wins.” (Hat Tip: Borepatch.)
  • Trump is blessed by having weak opponents: “How influential did the press expect to be? It ran against Trump in the election and lost. Why should anybody inclined to support the president-elect — roughly half the country, you may recall — pay attention now to a press that has said the usual rules don’t apply? Again, the more the opposition was cranked up, the less effective it became.”
  • Outgoing Vice President Joe Biden says he’s running for President in 2020. It’s not like he would have done worse than Hillary did this year…
  • ObamaCare in one graphic. One big, depressing graphic…
  • Reminder: That “97% of scientists agree than man is causing climate change” factoid is false.
  • Ties between Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Islamist government and the Islamic State.
  • Are NGOs smuggling illegal aliens into Europe with the help of the EU?
  • With her poll ratings dropping, Angela Merkel suggests a burka ban. Such actions would be unnecessary if Merkel hadn’t brought the “refugee” crisis on in the first place.
  • Five Afghan “refugees” charged with raping a 15-year old boy in Sweden. Strangely enough, I don’t remember gay gang rapes of children in Sweden being in the news before the current wave of Islamic immigration…
  • Speaking of Afghan “refugees,” an EU official’s daughter was murdered by one.
  • What Trump’s Taiwan phone call means:

    When evaluating this unorthodox and, yes, risky move, one has to remember that it is China, not the United States, that has been rewriting the rules of engagement in the East and South China Sea. It is China that has been unilaterally asserting territorial claims against its neighbors, China asserting jurisdiction over international waters and air space, China failing to rein in the increasingly serious North Korean nuclear program. The power that is challenging the status quo in Asia is not the United States.

    (Hat tip: The Corner.)

  • Italy’s PM: Hey, give me near absolute power, because that’s never backfired on Italy before! Italy: Get stuffed!
  • In related news, actress Paola Saulino, who promised blow jobs for those who voted against the referendum, says she’s making good on her promise. What? You want pictures of Paola Saulino? Well, if you insist:

    And here are the dates for her “thank you” tour:

    I get the feeling the adoring crowds will make Black Friday look tame by comparison… (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)

  • Now India is confiscating gold and jewelry from political enemies targets of corruption probes.
  • Canada wants to criminalize pronouns. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • If the New York Times wants to fight “fake news,” perhaps they should look in the mirror.
  • A guide to winning the media wars:

    We all know that independent websites taking Hillary to task on her very real and very deplorable track record of being a compulsive liar is what was truly decisive. The mainstream media knows this, which is why they haven’t actually been focusing on censoring provably fake news sites, but rather have been promoting an agenda to lump any non-establishment perspectives within the umbrella of “fake news” in order to destroy their competition and regain an upper hand in the national narrative. If those of us who value independent media want to thwart this nefarious plan, we need to fully understand what these cretins are up to.

  • 27-year male Clinton supporter hits 69 year old woman over the head with a chair. In his defense, he really does not look like the sharpest knife in the drawer:

    Or even the sharpest spoon…

  • More fake hate crimes.
  • The amnesty crowd is at it again.

    A DREAM Act 2.0 that addressed these problems — that prosecuted fraud, implemented enforcement, prevented downstream legal immigration, and focused much more narrowly on those who came very young — would possibly be something that even I, were I a congressman, might be able to vote for. But the lack of these elements is clear proof that the amnesty crowd isn’t interested in fixing the specific problem of a sympathetic but small group of people; rather, these young people are simply poster children who have been used for years to try to justify a general amnesty for all illegal aliens. And when the DREAM Act fails, as it will, Pedro Ramirez and his fellows will need to ask the pro-amnesty politicians and lobbying groups why they were sacrificed on the altar of “comprehensive immigration reform.”

  • Instapundit suggests downsizing imperial Washington:

    Donald Trump ran for president on the slogan “Make America Great Again!” And he’s also promised to “drain the swamp” in Washington. But maybe the way to do that is to make Washington a little less great. Because as Washington has prospered over the last several decades — to the point where people are making Hunger Games comparisons — the rest of the country hasn’t done as well.

    So perhaps it’s time for a role-reversal. I propose that over the next several years, we transfer a lot of federal employees out of the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, to parts of the country that aren’t doing so well economically. This would provide a boost to places like Buffalo, New York, or Quincy, Illinois, or Fresno, California, while getting federal bureaucrats out of the D.C. bubble.

  • Delusional liberal in Time suggests that people not pay their taxes while Trump is president. So he wants to: A.) Starve the federal government of money, and B.) Put liberals in prison where they can’t vote. OK, but what’s the downside?
  • Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas issues a stay of execution for an Alabama inmate. “Lawyers for Smith argue that although the jury rendered a verdict of life without parole, the trial court overrode the jury’s verdict and sentenced Smith to death.” Hmmm…
  • There’s a new cybersecurity commission report out. Guess what? It’s crap!
  • Black Workers’ Suit Accuses Job Agency of Favoring Hispanic Applicants.” Also: “He added that the staff of the MVP office in Cicero ‘was mainly Mexicans’ and that the employees were not welcoming toward African-American job seekers.” Also: “The vast majority of Hispanic job applicants served by MVP were in the United States illegally.” Note: The agency in question is not the Democratic Party, or the federal government… (Hat tip: Ann Althouse.)
  • Speaking of racial discrimination lawsuits in hiring, CNN is being sued for just that. (Hat tip: The Other McCain.)
  • Armor car robbery ringleader killed in Houston, accomplices arrested. (Hat tip: Dwight.)
  • Recovering from a devastating spinal injury via power lifting. (Ht tip: Instapundit.)
  • Marxist vegan diner closes. “Ultimately, the restaurant’s popularity among social justice warriors proved unable to sustain its rickety business model.”
  • Naval Base Bombed, Shinto Worshipers Fear Backlash – New York Times – December 8 1941.” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Noted without comment: The @EvilMopacATX twitter feed.
  • Fidel Castro Crimes Roundup

    Monday, November 28th, 2016

    Now that the world has time to digest Fidel Castro’s death, here’s a roundup of more proof that, yes, he was a tyrannical torturing commie scumbag.

  • First up, here’s the Miami Herald‘s detailed account of Castro’s life and his brutal regime. It’s the one to read if you’re only reading one.
  • No really, he was a brutal scumbag:
    • He turned Cuba into a colony of the Soviet Union and nearly caused a nuclear holocaust.

    • He sponsored terrorism wherever he could and allied himself with many of the worst dictators on earth.
    • He was responsible for so many thousands of executions and disappearances in Cuba that a precise number is hard to reckon.
    • He brooked no dissent and built concentration camps and prisons at an unprecedented rate, filling them to capacity, incarcerating a higher percentage of his own people than most other modern dictators, including Stalin.
    • He condoned and encouraged torture and extrajudicial killings.
    • He forced nearly 20 percent of his people into exile, and prompted thousands to meet their deaths at sea, unseen and uncounted, while fleeing from him in crude vessels.
    • He claimed all property for himself and his henchmen, strangled food production and impoverished the vast majority of his people.
    • He outlawed private enterprise and labor unions, wiped out Cuba’s large middle class and turned Cubans into slaves of the state.
    • He persecuted gay people and tried to eradicate religion.
    • He censored all means of expression and communication.
    • He established a fraudulent school system that provided indoctrination rather than education, and created a two-tier health-care system, with inferior medical care for the majority of Cubans and superior care for himself and his oligarchy, and then claimed that all his repressive measures were absolutely necessary to ensure the survival of these two ostensibly “free” social welfare projects.
    • He turned Cuba into a labyrinth of ruins and established an apartheid society in which millions of foreign visitors enjoyed rights and privileges forbidden to his people.
    • He never apologized for any of his crimes and never stood trial for them.
  • Here is a series documenting Castro’s greatest crimes and atrocities. Only about half of these have been completed so far.
  • The myth of Cuba’s wonderful health care:

    What all of these pols and pundits lazily presume is that if the state of Cuban health care and education have markedly improved on Castro’s watch, surely the situation was dire during the final years of the Batista dictatorship.

    Well, not exactly. In 1959 Cuba had 128.6 doctors and dentists per 100,000 inhabitants, placing it 22nd globally—that is, ahead of France, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and Finland. In infant mortality tables, Cuba ranked one of the best in the world, with 5.8 deaths per 100,000 babies, compared to 9.5 per 100,000 in the United States. In 1958 Cuba’s adult literacy rate was 80 percent, higher than that of its colonial grandfather in Spain, and the country possessed one of the most highly-regarded university systems in the Western hemisphere.

    Cuba improved, as have most countries, on some of these indices in the years since the revolution. As Reason Contributing Editor Glenn Garvin points out, “countries like Costa Rica, Panama, and Brazil have posted equal gains in literacy during the same time period without resorting to totalitarian governments.”

  • Indeed, Cuba’s hospitals are filfthy hellholes.
  • Old review of Armando Valladares’s Against All Hope.
  • How a New York Times reporter helped create the Castro myth.
  • Death toll estimate of the Castro regime was 87,073 people in 2005.
  • Brutal Dictator Fidel Castro Dead

    Saturday, November 26th, 2016

    Cuba’s communist dictator Fidel Castro has died.

    Says Texas Senator Ted Cruz: “Fidel Castro’s death cannot bring back his thousands of victims, nor can it bring comfort to their families. Today we remember them and honor the brave souls who fought the lonely fight against the brutal Communist dictatorship he imposed on Cuba.”

    Castro was known both for opressing and torturing his people (and more recently putting gay people in concentration camps) and for getting left-wing useful idiots to sing his praises. The sort of clueless leftists who sing the praises of Cuba’s “modern” healthcare without ever having experienced the filthy hellholes that are its hospitals firsthand. There are political prisoners who have rotted in jail for more than two decades merely for speaking out against Castro’s brutal regime.

    Those interested in the real Cuba beyond the tourist Potemkin villages for the useful idiot fellow travelers should read Michael Totten’s many dispatches from the island.

    The world is a better place for Fidel Castro’s too-long-delayed passing.

    Six Austin Communists Arrested for Assaulting Trump Supporters

    Tuesday, November 15th, 2016

    Forgot all those fake hate crimes the left is saying came from Trump supporters. The documented assaults all seem to be coming from the anti-Trump forces.

    Take, for example, these super-geniuses:

    The Texas Department of Public Safety says it arrested 6 members of a local communist group, Red Guards Austin, for assaulting pro-Trump members in Sunday’s protest.

    DPS troopers arrested Jarred Roark, 34, after he allegedly assaulted an individual on South Congress and 11th Street adjacent to the State Capitol.

    Roark was arrested on felony aggravated assault, resisting arrest and evading arrest.

    Troopers also arrested five other suspects related to the initial incident:

  • Taylor Tomas Chase, 21, interference with public duty and resisting arrest
  • Joseph Wayne George, 36, interference with public duty
  • Samuel Benjamin Lauber, 21, interference with public duty and resisting arrest
  • Jason Peterson, 24, interference with public duty and resisting arrest
  • Jade Tabitha Shackelford, 19, felony assault on public servant
  • They all look like real winners:

    Nothing says “unlimited job prospects” quite like face and neck tattoos.

    And what’s with the identical gray striped shirts? Did they make a bulk order at the Gray Striped Gulag Shirt Emporium?

    Austin breeds some extra special snowflakes…

    (And yes, that giant post-election roundup is still coming. Look for it tomorrow.)

    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.