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
Ahead of OPEC Meeting, Foreign Minister Says His Country and Others Want a Fair Price

VIENNA--Venezuela wants oil prices to return to $100 a barrel, the country's foreign minister said on Tuesday, ahead of an OPEC meeting.

Speaking to reporters, Rafael Ramirez, who will represent Venezuela at the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries gathering on Thursday, said "the [oil] price has to be $100 per barrel, [that] is a fair price."


And Fender Stratocasters should be $700.

UPDATE: In completely, totally, unrelated news: US Imports from OPEC at 30-year low.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:42 AM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Minimum price for oil? Why not? Governments seem to believe they can mandate minimum prices for hourly labor.

Posted by: johngalt at November 25, 2014 2:54 PM

November 11, 2013

Meanwhile, In the People's Paradise of Venezuela

Presidenté Hugo Chavez is gone but not forgotten. @j_arthur_bloom (via @NickGillespie) nails it: "Holy crap. This is like a libertarian satire of socialism but in real life " USA Today:

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.

Members of Venezuela's National Guard, some of whom carried assault rifles, kept order at the stores as bargain hunters rushed to get inside.

"I want a Sony plasma television for the house," said Amanda Lisboa, 34, a business administrator, who had waited seven hours already outside one Caracas store. "It's going to be so cheap!"


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...

Posted by John Kranz at 9:57 AM | Comments (0)

May 29, 2013

Sand shortage!

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.

Amazingly, Venezuela and Argentina have every abundant natural resource needed to make them two of the most prosperous places on earth. It's almost as if socialism tends to end in poverty and misery, no matter how rich the soil at its disposal.

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."

Posted by John Kranz at 11:30 AM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:
"When men get in the habit of helping themselves to the property of others, they cannot easily be cured of it."

There are more than those two human traits in play here: Laziness plays a role, and fear of change. But none of these is as indispensable to the practice as one trait that is unique to the human race: self-sacrifice.

Posted by: johngalt at May 29, 2013 2:51 PM

March 6, 2013

My Best Goofy Photoshop

Suddenly germane! Thanks for dyin'!

Posted by John Kranz at 12:16 PM | Comments (0)

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.

Posted by JohnGalt at 6:59 PM | Comments (0)

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.

(...)

This week, the Heritage Foundation's Lachlan Markey found that United Arab Emirates-owned "Image Media Abu Dhabi" financed "Promised Land," a Matt Damon film that shows U.S. oil and gas companies as greedy behemoths out to poison America's small towns.

(...)

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia has been accused of financing radical environmentalist groups through foundations to undercut oil sands production in Canada, which is America's top supplier.

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.

If fracking and the combination of investment, high tech, expertise and geography enable the U.S. to produce natural gas at $3 a unit, while Russia can only do it at $10, the threat is obvious.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:56 PM | Comments (3)
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

Yes, yes, YES. American inexpensive energy explosion coming even if Obama gets reelected...he'll try to stop it, of course, but I don't think he can. Private land still exists!

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at October 4, 2012 3:21 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Ah, the idealism of private property. Don't bet that he can't stop it. Private property owners don't own the air, don't own the underground water, don't own the snail darters and wooley amoebas.

Good NED man, have you not read the book? (He asks, knowingly.)

Posted by: johngalt at October 4, 2012 3:36 PM
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

I will revise and expand my remarks...I don't think Obama in his second term will have the political capital to kill the American energy revolution. Congress won't let him and a lot of union folks are counting on it. His theoretical Gaiaean Marxism will clash too much with reality. Objective reality!

Thankfully, I think we have a good chance of a different President who will be pushing the car DOWN the track instead of putting on the brakes as hard as possible. But as in "the book," there is the possibility that Wesley Mouch will be appointed "Czar" with the power to screw things up. I don't totally discount that.

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at October 4, 2012 3:51 PM

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.

Why is the Obama Administration sitting in paralyzed silence while Chavez removes himself from international accountability? Is it perceived ideological comradeship, a loathing of investors, simple dereliction of duty or some other reason? Now that is a mystery.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:40 PM | Comments (0)

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.

Today's news (hat-tip Instapundit):

Venezuela plans blackouts in Caracas, oil town

CARACAS (Reuters) - Venezuela will switch off lights for hours at a time in Caracas and other cities such as oil town Maracaibo in planned blackouts to tackle power shortages that threaten President Hugo Chavez's support.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:04 AM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

What a coincidence! The same thing happens on page 414 of Atlas Shrugged.

Posted by: johngalt at January 13, 2010 2:23 PM

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.

13 June 2009 - Chavez congratulates Ahmadinejad

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.

5 November 2008 - Chavez congratulates Obama, suggests rebuilding relations

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.

Posted by JohnGalt at 12:52 PM | Comments (0)

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.

Posted by John Kranz at 2:00 PM | Comments (5)
But johngalt thinks:

Nice - President "Historical" can reach across the Panama Canal to engage a first-generation dictator but he can't reach across the aisle to "work together" with his own countrymen.

A passing observation, in the "damning with faint praise" department:

"I think it was a good moment," Chavez said about their initial encounter. "I think President Obama is an intelligent man, compared to the previous U.S. president."

Well with a bar like that to exceed, Obama must feel quite flush with pride.

Posted by: johngalt at April 18, 2009 5:37 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Like me, you've probably never heard of the book Hugo Chavez gave our president. It was first written in the '70s and here are a few words from a Brazilian who tried to read it at the time.

While we're on the subject of books that President Historical won't read I'll suggest 'Atlas Shrugged' of course, and Adam Smith's 'Wealth of Nations.'

Posted by: johngalt at April 18, 2009 5:58 PM
But T. Greer thinks:

Well, before you start lambasting Obama's unwillingness o step across the isle and his propensity to play nice with dictators, remember that most of our countrymen like this policy.

Posted by: T. Greer at April 20, 2009 7:42 PM
But jk thinks:

Heh. I only wish, pari-passu, he would be 39/42 as hard on Chavez as he is on the Republicans...

Posted by: jk at April 20, 2009 7:53 PM
But johngalt thinks:

At the time I believed it was a good idea not to "talk to" the dictators of the world. This hour of Monday's Jason Lewis show convinced me that Bush miscalculated on that count. Skip ahead to 4:00.

Jason Lewis was recently added to the Denver airwaves on 630 KHOW, weeknights 6-8 pm. He is highly recommended by jg.

Posted by: johngalt at April 21, 2009 4:16 PM

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.

That the U.S. now recognizes this vote was a fraud means we should fix our mistake. It's vital for democracy in this hemisphere.

Posted by JohnGalt at 4:49 PM | Comments (1)
But Keith thinks:

jg: pay no mind to Jimmeh. He's just feeling pretty full of himself now that he's no longer THE WORST PRESIDENT IN AMERICAN HISTORY.

And no, I'm not reopening THAT can of annelids.

Posted by: Keith at March 26, 2009 7:35 PM

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

Meat, sugar scarce in Venezuela stores

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.

President Hugo Chavez's administration blames the food supply problems on unscrupulous speculators, but industry officials say government price controls that strangle profits are responsible. Authorities on Wednesday raided a warehouse in Caracas and seized seven tons of sugar hoarded by vendors unwilling to market the inventory at the official price.


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:

cantv.gif

Andrew Roth at Club for Growth offers this chart on CANTV, a Venezuelan telecom firm that Presidente Chavez decided to nationalize yesterday.

It was traded on the NYSE but Publius suggests it will soon be delisted

Worth 1001 words, that chart is.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:22 PM | Comments (4)
But AlexC thinks:

It's like Atlas Shrugged, for real.

Posted by: AlexC at January 9, 2007 12:35 PM
But mdmhvonpa thinks:

Now might be a good time to invest in the company that manufactures blue helmets.

Posted by: mdmhvonpa at January 9, 2007 12:44 PM
But jk thinks:

I wrote a small utility to import existing customers from our support database into our CRM package (yeah, my life is freakin' magic on stilts...) and I just saw CanTV fly by on the console.

A customer of ours. Uh-oh, hope that baby's paid for.

Posted by: jk at January 9, 2007 2:23 PM
But johngalt thinks:

After Monday's precipitous drop VNT traded on Tuesday around $12 a share and rebounded to a steady $14 range yesterday and today. Apparently the market's "freedom dividend" is roughly (20-14)/20 or 30%.

Posted by: johngalt at January 11, 2007 2:27 PM

December 7, 2006

Open Markets

I'm really digging the blog, Open Market.

A sample post today: Let them use Solar!

    It’s a heart-warming ad, literally. A poverty-striken mother and daughter sit freezing in their unheated home in the dead of winter, trying to warm themselves with a small cooking stove. But then a fuel truck pulls up and a band of smiling deliverymen pile out and fill up the family’s oil tank. Now they’ll be warm.

    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.

Posted by AlexC at 12:29 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

CEI could not buy the publicity they've received from the Rockefeller-Snowe letter. I trip across something of theirs once a day now.

Posted by: jk at December 7, 2006 4:21 PM

October 9, 2006

Up Yours, Chavez

Blood is thicker than oil.

    In Alaska's native villages, the punishing winter cold is already penetrating the walls of the lightly insulated plywood homes, many of the villagers are desperately poor, and heating-oil prices are among the highest in the nation.

    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."

Posted by AlexC at 10:04 PM | Comments (1)
But mdmhvonpa thinks:

Well, shit. I'm guessing that the DNC is not really all that interested in the Aleut Vote after that.

Posted by: mdmhvonpa at October 9, 2006 10:47 PM

October 8, 2006

Dead Man Walking

The next President of Venezuela?

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...."

contrivedmoraloutrage.jpg

Posted by AlexC at 12:55 PM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

Okay, write this date down, I am going to leap to the defense of Reps. Pelosi and Rangel. (September 24,2006, it was sunny out, a Sunday as I recall...)

Contra the cartoon, I find it appropriate that opposition party members criticize the president, yet find it admirable that they objected to Chavez's rhetoric. Try agreeing with your friend when he is running down his wife or sister.

I say bravo to Ms. Pelosi (sept 24) and was especially touched by the eloquence of "Old Chollie" with whom I can barely agree on the color of the sky. "You don't come into my Congressional District and insult my President." That's good stuff, baby. Good politics, yeah, but good stuff.

I'll save my disapprobation for Senator Harkin who didn't quite grasp the difference between an American citizen's criticism of a president he/she had the opportunity to vote for or against, and a foreign leader.

Lest the love fest get out of control, “Old Chollie,” who would Chair the Ways and Means committee in a Democratic 110th, has promised that he would roll back ALL the Bush tax cuts. Child credits, lowering the bottom rate from 15 to 10%, cap gains, dividends, they all gotta go.

Sure was great what he said about the president, though.

Posted by: jk at September 24, 2006 3:54 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Yes, the loyal opposition should criticize the president's POLICIES whenever they'd like. When it comes to personal ad hominems, however, there is no difference between those of Hugo Chavez or Howard Dean. When Hugo Chavez does it we fairly conclude that he hates America. What do we conclude when Dean does it? That he opposes tax cuts and prescription drug benefits?

Posted by: johngalt at September 26, 2006 3:12 PM

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.

These actions contrast sharply with those of Chicago Democrats who told Chavez to beat it with his offer of $4 million in cheap transport fuel, and then started probing Chavez’s bid to penetrate their city’s electoral apparatus through voting machine contracts.

IBD has been consistently a leader in covering Chavez. The winning streak continues.

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

Grrr.

    Margaret Williams of Hughes in the Interior said it doesn't matter who's providing the heating fuel, which costs about $6 a gallon in the Koyukuk River village of 69.

    "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 Worker News editorial piles on the snark.

    Alaska has a similar program funded entirely with federal dollars. The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program distributes funds to needy Alaskans to help pay the high cost of heating oil. But federal funding is at the same level today as it was 20 years ago, which means it's far short of what is needed. Gov. Frank Murkowski this year asked legislators to appropriate $8.8 million in state cash to supplement the program, but lawmakers gave the governor -- and low-income Alaskans -- the cold shoulder and rejected the request.

    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?

Posted by AlexC at 12:34 AM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Doesn't the state of Alaska give each and every state resident an annual oil royalty check in the thousands of dollars? How can ANY Alaskan claim to not afford heating oil?

As for Chavez's stunt, even 100 million barrels of free oil given to the proletarians of 18 states is not going to change any votes. How many proletarians vote GOP anyway? It's like paying an eskimo to wear a coat!

Posted by: johngalt at September 22, 2006 1:19 AM