April 24, 2016
The Suicide of Venezuela
As they act out Atlas Shrugged Part III 3308 miles to our Southeast, turning off the lights to save fuel in the West's most energy rich nation.
No, national suicide is a much longer process -- not product of any one moment. But instead one bad idea, upon another, upon another and another and another and another and the wheels that move the country began to grind slower and slower; rust covering their once shiny facades. Revolution -- cold and angry. Hate, as a political strategy. Law, used to divide and conquer. Regulation used to punish. Elections used to cement dictatorship. Corruption bleeding out the lifeblood in drips, filling the buckets of a successive line of bureaucrats before they are destroyed, only to be replaced time and again. This is what is remarkable for me about Venezuela. In my defense -- weak though it may be -- I tried to fight the suicide the whole time; in one way or another. I suppose I still do, my writing as a last line of resistance. But like Dagny Taggert I found there was nothing to push against -- it was all a gooey mess of resentment and excuses. "You shouldn't do that." I have said. And again, "That law will not work," and "this election will bring no freedom," while also, "what you plan will not bring prosperity -- and the only equality you will find will be in the bread line." And I was not alone; an army of people smarter than me pointed out publically in journals and discussion forums and on the televisions screens and community meetings and in political campaigns that the result would only be collective national suicide. Nobody was listening.
January 14, 2015
VIVA Venezuelan Bishops!
I sure hope big boss man is listening!
The bishops said the long lines of people trying to buy food and other basic necessities and the constant rise in prices are the result of the government's decision to "impose a political-economic system of socialist, Marxist or communist," which is "totalitarian and centralist" and "undermines the freedom and rights of individuals and associations."
Your lips to God's ear, gentlemen.
November 25, 2014
I bet they do
It's like they do not totally get this Capitalism thing. WSJ:
Venezuela Seeks Oil Price Up Back at $100 a Barrel
And Fender Stratocasters should be $700.
UPDATE: In completely, totally, unrelated news: US Imports from OPEC at 30-year low.
November 11, 2013
Meanwhile, In the People's Paradise of Venezuela
President Nicolás Maduro ordered a military "occupation" of the company's five stores as he continues the government's crackdown on an "economic war" it says is being waged against the country, with the help of Washington.
And, yet the spirit of Capitalism is difficult to extirpate.
Water and snacks were being sold outside the store by savvy Venezuelans keen to profit from the commotion. Happy customers weaved giant television screens and other items back to their cars through the crowds.
And, in completely unrelated news:
Maduro faces municipal elections on Dec. 8. His popularity has dropped significantly in recent months, with shortages of basic items such as chicken, milk and toilet paper as well as soaring inflation, at 54.3% over the past 12 months.
Shortages? Really? Let me put on my shocked face...
May 29, 2013
In a global recovery, Venezuela cannot produce enough wine and communion wafers for the Catholic Church (and take it from this altar boy, we ain't talking a 1949 Chateau le Fete) and Argentinians travel to trade currency at market rates. Professor Mead suggests it's "More Glittering Success for Latin American Socialism"
This is only one of the bizarre economic policies wreaking havoc on Argentina. The quack economists now running the country into the ground will continue to try one eccentric experiment after another until the money eventually runs out.
Hat-tip: Insty, who adds "Socialism never works as a policy, but thanks to human traits of envy and gullibility, it's often successful as a con."
March 6, 2013
My Best Goofy Photoshop
Suddenly germane! Thanks for dyin'!
October 8, 2012
1 tank equals 100,000 votes
Last week I endorsed the Venezuelan Model for challenging and ultimately defeating a corrupt and dishonest leftist president - namely, fiercely denounce the crime, corruption, inflation and fiscal incontinence of the regime.
But a sad and predictable thing happened on the way from the polling places to the official results.
According to the Associated Press, Venezuela’s electoral council has declared that Hugo Chavez beat Henriques Capriles in Sunday’s presidential election with about 54 percent of the vote, despite exit polls showing otherwise.
The independent exit polls showed the challenger won 51.3% to 48.06%. [No word yet from President Carter.] The result: Tanks in the streets.
Let's hope it doesn't come to that in the North American version of this tale.
October 4, 2012
America: Frack Yeah!
How many times have we heard the left make baseless claims that Big Oil uses its money and influence to stamp out competition wherever it can, and thereby maximize their own profits? Investors Business Daily printed an editorial yesterday that now, finally, substantiates that claim. But it's not what you might think. In this case "Big Oil" equals Saudi Arabia, Venezuela and Russia's state-owned oil monopolies.
Venezuela's state Foundation National Cinematheque has been financially linked to "Gasland," a 2011 anti-fracking documentary whose aim was to paint fracking in the U.S. as dangerous.
If you have to ask why they oppose American energy production, here is the answer:
All this signals something big is at stake in global power politics: fracking, which threatens petrotyrants as no nuclear weapon ever has. The Gulf states, Venezuela and Russia derive their power solely from their dominance in energy production, not by their economies.
September 19, 2011
Chavez-Obama and International Law
Venezuelan Dictator Hugo Chavez, having looted all the private wealth in his country, moves to protect his wealth.
ExxonMobil’s shareholders can join Chrysler’s bondholders on Obama’s enemies list. If that seems a tad harsh, consider this: When made to choose between millions of American shareholders and one South American dictator, the Obama Administration chose Chavez.
January 13, 2010
You Try To Make This Stuff Up
Old, East German joke: What happens when Communism takes over the desert? First nothing, then sand shortage.
Venezuela plans blackouts in Caracas, oil town
June 17, 2009
High Fives from Hugo
President Obama appears to be giving short shrift to Iran's newly resurgent pro-freedom and anti-theocracy uprising. Many of this blog's luminaries are debating the wisdom, or lack thereof, of that strategy. One question that is missing, however, is whether Obama actually prefers that Ahmadinejad stay in office. I don't have the answer but I'll offer two observations for readers to ponder.
In a telephone conversation with the Iranian president, Chavez said, "The victory of Dr. Ahmadinejad in the recent election is a win for all people in the world and free nations against global arrogance," Iran's Presidential Office reported.
Caracas - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez congratulated US president-elect Barack Obama Wednesday on his "historic" win and said the time had come for the two countries to establish new relations.
UPDATE: Reformatted 6/18 in an attempt to sharpen the point. (The openly socialist Chavez cheered the "against global arrogance" victory of Ahmadinejad and the "time to establish new relations" victory of Obama.) They are all, at least in Chavez' eyes, birds of a feather.
April 18, 2009
President Obama Tells Truth
"I have a lot to learn and I very much look forward to listening and figuring out how we can work together more effectively," Obama said.This from an AP story headlined At summit, Obama gets friendly with Chavez
Bow to Saudi princes, apologize to Hugo Chavez, stiff the British. Strange diplomacy...
UPDATE: Our friends at PA H2O dS/dt>0 have more.
March 26, 2009
Chavez cheated. Really?
Jimmy Carter, call your office...
Investor's Business Daily reports that CIA cybersecurity experts know he fixed his 2004 recall referendum.
Two weeks ago, at a field hearing before the U.S. Election Assistance Commission in Orlando, Fla., CIA's Steve Stigall cited Venezuela, along with Macedonia and Ukraine, as examples of the risks of electronic voting.
Of course, most of us "knew" this at the time, and many had evidence:
While Carter was declaring Venezuela a democracy, the scam was not entirely unnoted. Mathematicians at universities like Yale, Johns Hopkins, MIT, University of Santa Cruz and in Venezuela all found a "very subtle algorithm" in the voting software that adjusted the ballot count in Chavez's favor, the Herald noted.
And like my call to correct the fraudulent ratification of the 16th Amendment, IBD wants this 5-year old screw up remedied.
Carter dismissed them arrogantly and a New York Times editorial abusively told the Venezuelan opposition to "grow up," and accept Chavez as president. They shouldn't. And neither should we.
November 30, 2007
The End of Hurricane Hugo?
The American Magazine is a bastion of optimism (its Editor infamously wrote the book "Dow 36,000.") I'm fine with optimism; as Larry Kudlow would say, I've been optimistic for 25 years and it has served me well. Roger Noriega writes today of The End of Hurricane Hugo
In recent days, more and more Venezuelans have come to realize that the sweeping constitutional reforms championed by President Hugo Chávez represent a mortal threat to democracy. As the December 2nd referendum approaches, Venezuelans are contemplating the downside of dozens of radical changes that were approved by Chávez’s rubberstamp national assembly.
I'm not clear that the election will be fair enough or that his Hugoness will honor the result. But optimism is great.
I'll plug the magazine once more. Even if you don't subscribe, they have just started a daily e-mail -- I'd recommend signing up.
Posted by John Kranz at 12:07 PM
February 15, 2007
El Camino del Serfdom
CARACAS, Venezuela - Meat cuts vanished from Venezuelan supermarkets this week, leaving only unsavory bits like chicken feet, while costly artificial sweeteners have increasingly replaced sugar, and many staples sell far above government-fixed prices.
Commentary is left as an exercise to the reader.
Hat-tip: Everyday Economist
Posted by John Kranz at 3:38 PM
January 9, 2007
Fire the CEO
For a stock chart like this, I'd say the CEO ought to get the chop:
It was traded on the NYSE but Publius suggests it will soon be delisted
Worth 1001 words, that chart is.
December 7, 2006
I'm really digging the blog, Open Market.
A sample post today: Let them use Solar!
The tagline, if I remember it correctly from when I saw the tv spot earlier this week, is “low-cost oil for those in need, brought to you by the good people of Venezuela and Citizens Energy.”
Read the rest.
Open Market is a blog of the Competitive Enterprise Institute.
October 9, 2006
Up Yours, Chavez
And yet a few of the small communities want to refuse free heating oil from Venezuela, on the patriotic principle that no foreigner has the right to call their president "the devil."
The heating oil is being offered by the petroleum company controlled by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, President Bush's nemesis. While scores of Alaska's Eskimo and Indian villages say they have no choice but to accept, others would rather suffer.
"As a citizen of this country, you can have your own opinion of our president and our country. But I don't want a foreigner coming in here and bashing us," said Justine Gunderson, administrator for the tribal council in the Aleut village of Nelson Lagoon. "Even though we're in economically dire straits, it was the right choice to make."
October 8, 2006
Dead Man Walking
Posted by AlexC at 12:19 PM
September 24, 2006
The Real Reason
Congresspersons Pelosi and Rangel came out and bashed Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez this week, not out of respect for President Bush, but to cover themselves. It's good politics.
When a crazed America hater echos the same commentary of America's political left it makes people stop and say, "hey... there might not be that much difference...."
September 22, 2006
Hugo Chavez, Meet Mayor Daley
Blog brother AlexC just shared an editorial from Alaska which said of Hugo Chavez's fuel oil stunt, "BOTTOM LINE: If you're cold and can't afford fuel oil, who cares about the political motives of the giver?" Chicago mayor Richard M. Daley, that's who!
This American Thinker blog posted yesterday contrasts the behavior of what I'll characterize as 'serious' Democrats with that of 'nutjob' Democrats:
Not all Democrats are as craven as Delahunt & Company, though. The Chicago Democrats of Richard M. Daley, who had the wisdom to veto a bill imposing pay scales on Wal-Mart, are also a step ahead when it comes to understanding the energy market.
As if Chicago politics isn't smarmy enough without Venezuela pulling the strings. But a Venezuelan "elections contractor" couldn't even get its foot in the door if Jimmy Carter hadn't validated Venezuela's electoral apparatus as having "integrity" and "accuracy." Here's a blast from the past for you:
"We made it clear to them and to the public that this did not imply any doubt by The Carter Center or OAS regarding the integrity of the electoral process or the accuracy of the reported results."
But what's this he said even before the referendum took place?
Excluding the presidents, our group then met with President Chavez for about two hours. He appeared quite confident but pledged to resign immediately if he should lose the referendum vote and said in that case he would rest for a week and then resume campaigning for re-election. Toward the end of our meeting, I called on him to be gracious in victory, to make every effort to reunite the divided country, and to let us help in establishing a forum for dialogue between the government and opposition groups. He did not respond directly but was very quiet while I spoke and then said he had always wanted the nation to be united. Subsequently, he said he needed to spend more time with me and asked if we could have lunch together on Monday.
Hell, why bother with the vote if you already know who won?
Posted by JohnGalt at 2:54 PM
Chavez Offers US Foreign Aid
"We sure could welcome it," she said. "As long as we don't have to pay."
In the Kobuk River village of Ambler, heating fuel is running more than $7 a gallon.
Residents in the village of 283 and surrounding villages are ecstatic, said tribal administrator Virginia Commack. "It's a miracle," she said.
Each household will save more than $700 in fuel costs this winter, freeing cash for people to spend on gasoline so they can hunt more caribou and moose, she said.
Ooh. There's a bargain for liberals. They've got to stick it to the caribou so that Chavez can stick it to the President.
An unsigned Anchorage Daily
Good thing for those Alaskans that another country is coming to help.
BOTTOM LINE: If you're cold and can't afford fuel oil, who cares about the political motives of the giver?