“Wages” being a euphemistic term in this case:
Home to the world’s worst economy, Venezuela is beset by severe food shortages, riots in the streets and hyperinflation that’s closing in on 700 percent. World oil prices have plummeted — and Venezuela relies on oil for 95 percent of its income.
Agriculture was neglected as Chavez and Maduro placed all their economic chips on crude and elected to import goods from abroad while spending on social programs that rallied the poor behind the government.
But now Venezuela has no cash to import food or other essentials. And because Chavez nationalized so much industry, it has no private sector to compensate.
So Maduro has now issued an executive decree that subjects all workers to being forced to work for 60 days (or more, “if circumstances merit”) in the fields, growing badly needed food.
Economically, the move makes no sense. Morally, it’s barely one step up from government-sanctioned slavery.
And there’s a Senator from Vermont that would love to see the system that is sliding into slavery at work here. More intriguing is the fact that there are studies out that say that Sanders should have won the primary election that was apparently fraught with fraud and rigged from the beginning. Think about that for a minute.
What does that say – other than total ignorance – about those who felt it was a good idea to “feel the Bern”? Not that Bernie would have had much success in passing and implementing his programs. I’m simply making the point that a significant portion of our population thought this potential tyrant was the best choice because – historic blinders, ignorance or both. Not that anyone is getting a particularly better deal with the two nominees of record (one a crook and the other a clown).
What continues to puzzle me is how Venezuela, which is in the news every single day and pretty much implemented every one of Bernie Sanders policies and programs, is ignored so resolutely by these people. How do you do that and call yourself intellectually honest?
But considering their second choice, honesty – intellectual or otherwise – doesn’t seem to be much of a priority.
So there’s that …
Will Bernie become a write-in candidate? Well, his supporters let it be known that they won’t vote for Hillary and many of them were thinking “write-in”:
Many took a different approach, saying they would not vote for Clinton, but would vote for Sanders as a write-in candidate.
That would split the left’s vote fairly significantly if they actually did that. But, in reality, it is likely anger talking right now and many of them will fall in line and vote for the Hildebeest. But I would absolutely love to see this take off.
Others, though, are so mad they’re claiming they’d rather vote for Donald Trump than give Hillary the satisfaction of winning the White House. Check out this reasoning:
A member of the group said: “I will vote for Trump as a f*** you to the stupid people that voted Hillary in. We are more likely to have a revolution with Trump in office and less likely to have a foreign war”
They have a point. Well, at least about the “revolution” and their rather violent proclivities (see Trump rallies to find Bernie’s troops).
As for the “let it burn” crowd, they’re very well represented among the Bernie supporters:
Some said they would rather let the country ‘burn’ with Trump than let Clinton into the White House, with one person writing: “I’d rather Trump than Clinton. I won’t vote for him, but I’d be happy to see this country burn.”
If they weren’t such little fascists, I would be more sympathetic. If they weren’t of the socialist mind-set, I could likely find more common ground with the sentiment.
But as it is, I hope they do what they say they’re going to do. Neither of the candidates is worth warm spit and the more voters split away, the better this might all become. No one gets a majority of either the popular vote or the electoral college? Wouldn’t that be simply wonderful.
The “Feel the Bern” gang want to be just like the European social democracies, but as I’ve pointed out before, if any of the European countries were a state in the US, they’d be among the bottom two or so. And while the benefits are wonderful when you’re living off of other people’s productivity, that can only go on for so long.
France … yes, that’s right, France … seems to be at least figuring it out a little bit.
The French cabinet has given the go-ahead for Prime Minister Manuel Valls to force through highly controversial labour reforms.
An extraordinary cabinet meeting invoked the French constitution’s rarely used Article 49.3, allowing the government to bypass parliament.It came after rebel MPs from the governing Socialist party had vowed to vote down the bill.The reforms will make it easier for employers to hire and fire workers.
The government says relaxing workers’ protection will encourage businesses to hire more people and help to combat chronic unemployment.
As one is prone to say, “baby steps” are necessary when learning to walk. And apparently those old nasty laws of economics are finally bitch slapping France enough that they’re at least willing to do something positive to help stimulate business and hopefully then grow their economy.
Valls’ decision is part of a long-running trend: For decades, the decline of the blue social model has been pushing many European countries, including ones we think of as social democracies, to abandon some of the more statist features of their economic agendas. Policies that worked relatively well in closed, stable, national economies of the mid-20th century fail to deliver in the open, dynamic economies of the 21st—and even center-left governments are forced to adapt to this reality once they take power.
Indeed, the “blue social model”, the Bernie Sanders (and to a slightly lesser extent, the Hillary Clinton) model, is, in fact, been running off the rails and not at all delivering what it has promised. But that seems to be the case with all blue social models and their components (ObamaCare anyone?).
Of course the trending away from that model is being roundly ignored by the left in the US. Just as the economic wrecks that are Cuba and Venezuela are blamed on “extenuating circumstances.”
The left will never face the reality of their utopian central control’s failure everywhere and in whatever flavor it is tried. There’s a reason for that. It goes against everything that actually works. Without “perfect knowledge” and then the means to implement it in a direct and timely fashion – two things which will never be achieved – it will always fail. Most importantly, central control simply runs against human nature and therefore authoritarian governance to impose true socialism on the citizens. And yes, the light form of that is indeed “social democracy” but to become anymore “socialist” requires government to move in a more authoritarian way to enable those sorts of “reforms”. Instead, what you see in Europe is resistance coupled with a realization that this just isn’t working as advertised.
Thus the “trend” as discussed. As more of the blue model is scrapped and countries begin to realize gains, other European countries will likely follow suit.
Meanwhile, in the US, we’re apparently considering adopting the model they’re moving away from. And it certainly will be a rousing success. They can’t make it work in countries with about one-eighth our population, but with the “competent” politicians and bureaucrats we have here, we’re sure to make it work.
Uh, huh. Really.
The year 2015 was an annus horribilis in Venezuela with a 10 per cent decline in gross domestic product, following a 4 per cent fall in 2014. Inflation reached over 200 per cent. The fiscal deficit ballooned to 20 per cent of GDP, funded mainly by the printing press.
In the free market, the bolivar has lost 92 per cent of its value in the past 24 months, with the dollar costing 150 times the official rate: the largest exchange rate differential ever registered. Shortages and long queues in the shops have made daily life very difficult.
As bad as these numbers are, 2016 looks dramatically worse. Imports, which had already been compressed by 20 per cent in 2015 to $37bn, would have to fall by over 40 per cent, even if the country stopped servicing its debt.
Add to that the murder rate in Venezuela being the highest in the world (even with strict gun control) and you have a real “worker’s paradise” don’t you? I wonder if the Bernie bots are capable of learning anything from this? Yeah, no chance.
Speaking of Bernie and socialism, how about that red hot debate last night? Laughed my keister off with this Hillary quote:
Hillary Clinton compensated for her complete lack of likability by falling back on playing the victim. She accused Bernie Sanders of ignoring feminism, black people and gay rights. She sputtered that, “Senator Sanders is the only one who would describe me, a woman running to be president, as exemplifying the establishment.” Somehow a fabulously wealthy woman who is backed by the entire Democratic political establishment isn’t the “establishment” because of her gender.
She had a tough time explaining her ties to Wall Street too, which I found hilarious. If ever anyone defined “establishment” it would be Clinton. And the irony of this supposedly “tough woman” playing the victim card shouldn’t be lost on anyone either.
Loved David Corn’s tweet. He said his 14 year old daughter was watching the Democratic debate and remarked “it’s like watching my grandparents fight”.
Gallup’s analysis of political party affiliation at the state level in 2015 finds that 20 states are solidly Republican or leaning Republican, compared with 14 solidly Democratic or leaning Democratic states. The remaining 16 are competitive. This is the first time in Gallup’s eight years of tracking partisanship by state that there have been more Republican than Democratic states. It also marks a dramatic shift from 2008, when Democratic strength nationally was its greatest in recent decades.
It’s interesting because I think it identifies a trend and a level of dissatisfaction with the current occupant of the White House. And if true, I think it spells big trouble for the Democrats in a presidential election year. And if the unlikable Hillary Clinton gets the nod for the Dems (a woman who has never polled over 45%), unless Trump GOP pick, the GOP wins. If it ends up being Trump, then the GOP will again snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.
Speaking of polls, is this indicative of reality or an outlier?
The Democratic race has dramatically tightened, according to a new Quinnipiac University national poll out Friday that shows Hillary Clinton with a razor-thin lead over Bernie Sanders.
Clinton leads Sanders 44 percent to 42 percent, well within the margin of error of the poll, which was conducted after the Iowa caucuses.
The picture of a neck-and-neck race is a huge change from Quinnipiac’s last national poll conducted Dec. 16-20 that showed Clinton with a massive lead over Sanders, 61 percent to 30 percent. It’s not clear yet whether other post-Iowa polls will also show Sanders surging ahead and catching up to Clinton.
Couple this with the fact that Bernie raised more campaign dough than Clinton in January and it should be setting off alarm bells in Clinton campaign headquarters. And, in fact, it may explain a more combative Clinton last night.
On the special snowflake/SJW front, you know, those who unilaterally believe they get to decide what is or isn’t okay in today’s culture, it is now racist to wear a toe ring or bangle bracelet:
According to a piece in the totally logical social-justice blog “Everyday Feminism”, it is racist and offensive to wear toe rings or bangle bracelets in almost any situation.
Yep. According to the article’s author, Aarti Olivia, wearing these kinds of jewelry amounts to an appropriation of South Asian culture. Olivia explains that in her culture, “it has been traditionally expected that married women wear bangles,” and that although that tradition is no longer “imposed upon women,” they do “wear them for religious or festive occasions.”
“In pop culture, you have probably seen the likes of Iggy Azalea and Selena Gomez wear them for music videos and performances,” Olivia writes. And that, she continues, is not okay.
I wonder if she knows that today’s music is mostly played on instruments invented by dead white guys from Western Europe. So, using her logic, if she plays an instrument (violin, guitar, clarinet, saxophone, piano, etc.) is it “cultural appropriation”? And if so, shouldn’t she stop right now and apologize?
Or does this nonsense only cut one way?
“If NASCAR embraced electric cars it could change the world…We could convert all of our racecars to electricity — right now — and show the public exactly what electrons can do,”
Yup, and the NASCAR track would be … a strangely quiet place during a race. Kind of like Bill Nye’s brain.
Have a great weekend.
Don’t expect this sort of treatment should Queen Hillary ever get the nomination. Expect every one of the GOP candidates to be treated like this if they’re even somewhat viable. The Washington Post takes Bernie to the whipping post:
Mr. Sanders’s story continues with fantastical claims about how he would make the European social model work in the United States. He admits that he would have to raise taxes on the middle class in order to pay for his universal, Medicare-for-all health-care plan, and he promises massive savings on health-care costs that would translate into generous benefits for ordinary people, putting them well ahead, on net. But he does not adequately explain where those massive savings would come from. Getting rid of corporate advertising and overhead would only yield so much. Savings would also have to come from slashing payments to doctors and hospitals and denying benefits that people want.
He would be a braver truth-teller if he explained how he would go about rationing health care like European countries do. His program would be more grounded in reality if he addressed the fact of chronic slow growth in Europe and explained how he would update the 20th-century model of social democracy to accomplish its goals more efficiently. Instead, he promises large benefits and few drawbacks.
And that’s just a sample. They pretty much trash the low information, economically illiterate’s dream candidate. Bernie’s the “free stuff” guy, yet even he has to admit that someone has to pay for his “free stuff”. Of course those who support him stop listening right after “free”.
But that’s really not the point. Hillary is sinking in the polls. The presumptive favorite is in a tight race in the first two primary states. Bernie, despite the fact that he’s clueless, is almost even with the chosen one of the big time Washington media establishment. You know, the one’s with Democrats with bylines? Way to close for comfort. And Clinton isn’t helping. In fact, it seems she’s beginning to crack a little bit. Additionally, she’s wearing thin with the voters who are just as tired of the circus she was a ringmaster in as they are of the Bush dynasty. And all these reminders of her past residence in the big house is beginning to make inroads and erode her support. Then there’s that email thingie.
So up steps the editorial board of the WaPo to take a few well aimed pot shots at her closest competitor. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t necessarily disagree with anything they say about Bernie. I just question the timing and intent.
That said, I loved this chaser they included near the end:
Mr. Sanders tops off his narrative with a deus ex machina: He assures Democrats concerned about the political obstacles in the way of his agenda that he will lead a “political revolution” that will help him clear the capital of corruption and influence-peddling. This self-regarding analysis implies a national consensus favoring his agenda when there is none and ignores the many legitimate checks and balances in the political system that he cannot wish away.
As much as the media would like to cast what’s going on during the GOP presidential nomination process as a “crisis for the GOP”, the Dems have their own establishment crisis problem. And it is getting very little media coverage. But Kim Strassel talks about it today in her WSJ piece. As much as the Democrats (and media) would like voters to believe the right is melting down and heading toward Tea Party land, it seems clear the left is getting ready to “Move On.”
On both sides, frustration with the establishment is the most evident feature:
Some of Mrs. Clinton’s struggles are self-imposed. She’s a real-world, political version of Pig-Pen, trailing along her own cloud of scandal dust. Even Democrats who like her don’t trust her. And a lot of voters are weary or unimpressed by the Clinton name. For all the Democratic establishment’s attempts to anoint Mrs. Clinton—to shield her from debates and ignore her liabilities—the rank and file aren’t content to have their nominee dictated.
Especially because many of those rank and file belong to a rising progressive movement that has no time or interest in the old Clinton mold. Barack Obama’s biggest legacy may prove his dismantling of the Democratic center. He ran as a uniter, but he governed as a divisive ideologue and as a liberal, feeding new fervor in the progressive wing.
These progressives proved more eager than even the Republicans to steadily pick off Democratic moderates—and helped the GOP to decimate their ranks. The Democratic congressional contingent is now at its smallest size since before FDR. But boy is it pure, and it retains an unwavering belief that its path to re-election is to double down on the Obama agenda.
I have to admit loving the characterization of Hillary as “Pig Pen”. That notwithstanding, you’d think Hillary, who has prepared for this since Bill first stepped into the White House, would be a natural choice of the left. But then how does one explain the rise of someone who uses the term “socialist” to describe himself because communist would likely be a bridge too far? It’s because the left and right have drifted further apart over the years and the “establishment” of both parties has been set adrift. It’s because to more and more Americans (who didn’t live during the Cold War and didn’t see the wreck the Soviet Union was when it imploded) are enamored with the idea of “equality” as the left now describes it. Equal income, high minimum wage, free this and free that. When you’re an economic illiterate, those things are appealing. And when you further believe the government is the instrument of all things good, well, you’re on the road to serfdom.
Just as Donald Trump is busy calling out the GOP pretenders to the throne, the lefty heroes are undermining the chances of the anointed one:
The president insists that financial institutions were entirely to blame for the 2008 crisis, and that government’s role is to transfer more from those greedy capitalist owners to poor Americans. Out of this class warfare came the likes of Occupy Wall Street, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and today a Sanders campaign that describes “wealth and income equality” as the great “moral issue” of our time.
Mrs. Warren, a progressive hero, went out of her way last week to praise the Sanders Wall Street “reform” plan. Even Joe Biden wanted in on the action, lauding Mr. Sanders and suggesting that Mrs. Clinton was still “relatively new” to the income-inequality debate. Hillary is stuck trying to explain why her campaign donations from bankers aren’t a disqualifier.
The usual subjects have also rallied around the Clinton opposition:
These movements and activists (who also embrace the gun debate, and the women’s-rights debate, and socialized health-care debate) are now the beating heart of the Democratic Party. And they are rallying around Mr. Sanders. MoveOn.org has endorsed Bernie. The liberal Nation magazine has endorsed him. Bill McKibben, the head of 350.org, has endorsed him. Jodie Evans, the co-founder of the antiwar group Codepink has endorsed him. Celebrity activists like Susan Sarandon and Mark Ruffalo are feeling the Bern.
Now no one is saying that all that is enough. But for both parties, if ever they figured out they had missed their wake up call, this is the season that drills that home. For too long, both establishment parties have taken their voters for granted, essentially merged into a tax and spend entity that no one is satisfied with, and have missed the proverbial boat for government reform. Of course, reform is defined differently by the right and left, but you get my point.
The party that is in trouble this year isn’t the GOP or the Democrats, per se. It is the party of establishment politicians who’ve ignored the restless and frustrated voters one election too many. People are tired of the Obamafication of politics – talk, talk, talk and then do what the hell you want to do.
We’ll see how it all turns out, but it is one of the more interesting political periods of my lifetime – and I’ve been around since Truman.
This week’s podcast is up on the Podcast page.
Thought you might enjoy this.
“Hundreds of immigrant families caught illegally crossing the Mexican border told U.S. immigration agents they made the dangerous journey in part because they believed they would be permitted to stay in the United States and collect public benefits, according to internal intelligence files from the Homeland Security Department.”
Now where would they ever get such an idea?
Hey, wait, didn’t Obama promise “no boots on the ground” in Syria?
The U.S. plans to send a small team of Special Operations forces to Syria as boots-on-the-ground advisers to rebel groups, according to military sources.
President Barack Obama has authorized “fewer than 50” Special Operations forces to deploy to northern Syria, The Associated Press reported.
I’m sure there will be massive anti-war protests this weekend because of this broken promise and escalation in Syria.
Yup, and pigs will fly …
Apparently we don’t have time anymore to debate important things like a national budget in the Senate:
Forced by opponents to hold votes after midnight, GOP leaders held the support of just enough Republican and Democrats to give final Congressional approval to a two year bipartisan budget deal, as lawmakers backed away from a possible U.S. government default.
You see, now they have to read it to find out what’s in it. How, you ask? How does this happen? Well, here’s a clue: 18 Republican Senators voted to shut off debate on the two year budget deal. Among them McCain, McConnell and Graham. And establishment Republicans wonder why no one on the right is particularly interested in any of them becoming President.
Finally, a reminder. Ahmed says:
Essentially three reasons – youth, “progressive” leftists and economic illiterates. And, yes, they can be all three. But not necessarily.
Back in May as Sanders was emerging as a presidential candidate, many were caught by surprise that an avowed socialist could pile up the numbers he was getting.
Bernie Sanders, a Senator for Vermont and currently the only declared challenger to Hillary Clinton for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, is the only member of Congress to describe himself as a socialist. For much of the Cold War socialism evoked images of military parades in Moscow’s Red Square, but for Sanders, and many of America’s self-declared socialists, their aim isn’t to bring revolution to America but to make America more like Sweden and Norway.
And, of course, that’s precisely what we’ve seen Sanders continue to do – tout the European model to hide the well-deserved reputation that socialism really has among the historically literate. Apparently it has worked. YouGov did a poll at that time and discovered the source of Sanders support. While 52% of Americans have a favorable view of capitalism, only 26% have such a view for socialism. Where is that favorable view to be found?
Among younger Americans, however, attitudes are a lot more divided. 36% of under-30s have a positive view of socialism, while 39% have a positive view of capitalism.
Among older Americans, who actually lived through the era of socialism and watched its pernicious effects, only 15% view it favorably while 59% view it negatively. So we have a whole generation growing up who have no experience seeing the reality of socialism played out in front of them. Instead they’re pointed to a couple of socialist Potemkin villages and told that’s how it can be. Don’t expect them to read the recent trashing of the Nordic model that is so obvious to those who have even an inkling of economic savvy.
Of course, we shouldn’t be surprised, as the Democratic party continues to move further left, that they support socialism more and more.
Democrats (43%) are also much more likely than either independents (22%) or Republicans (9%) to have a favorable view of socialism. Democrats, in fact, are as likely to have a favorable view of capitalism (43%) as socialism. While only 9% of Republicans see socialism in a positive light, 79% have a good view of capitalism.
History, apparently, has no relevance with the left. Nor do facts or economic laws. They’re sure that the only reason the magic of socialism hasn’t been successful and produced the utopia they’re sure it promises is it just hasn’t been done right … yet.
To a good portion of them, Bernie is the man to make that happen.
And, probably just as important is this is the same contingent that helped put our current occupant in the White House and keep him there for 2 terms.
I remember when flying was mostly a pleasant and enjoyable experience. Not so much anymore:
Not too long ago, flying could be a relatively pleasant experience, but executives focused on cutting costs have stripped away everything flyers associated with luxury or even dignity. Food, baggage handling, boarding in a logical manner: Things once taken for granted now must be paid for or done without. Flights are more crowded than they’ve been since World War II, when they were carrying troops.
Competition has winnowed all the perks out of the process (mostly due to the demand for lower fares), security has made the boarding process a nightmare and, frankly, rude and short-tempered people who simply don’t know how to act in public have killed off the rest of the enjoyment. As they like to say, “you get what you pay for.”
Is anyone else laughing out loud at Hillary Clinton’s latest ironically impaired attempt to relate?
I want to send a message to every survivor of sexual assault.
Don’t let anyone silence your voice. You have a right to be heard. You have a right to be believed. We’re with you.
I hear Juanita Broadrick and Kathleen Willey agree. But Willey has a few words of her own in response:
“She believed what happened for sure,” Willey tells The American Mirror. “She just chose to ignore the plight of all of his victims, thus enabling him to continue to abuse and rape women in the future.”
Willey adds, “She’s a money-hungry hypocritical witch who will do anything for money.
“She’s a lying pig. I CANNOT believe that she had the gall to make that commercial. How dare she? I hope she rots in hell.“
Yup, so do a lot of us. One place we don’t want her, though, is in the Oval Office.
Bernie Sanders, the darling of the socialist left, has been getting a bit of traction against Hillary Clinton. In fact, Clinton is losing support so fast that even Joe Biden is considering entering his clown car into the race.
And what does Sanders bring to the table? Bigger government (much bigger), more spending (18 trillion, in fact) and much higher taxes. Wow, what a deal (one that has always appealed to the liberal left):
In all, he backs at least $18 trillion in new spending over a decade, according to a tally by The Wall Street Journal, a sum that alarms conservatives and gives even many Democrats pause. Mr. Sanders sees the money as going to essential government services at a time of increasing strain on the middle class.
His agenda includes an estimated $15 trillion for a government-run health-care program that covers every American, plus large sums to rebuild roads and bridges, expand Social Security and make tuition free at public colleges.
To pay for it, Mr. Sanders, a Vermont independent running for the Democratic nomination, has so far detailed tax increases that could bring in as much as $6.5 trillion over 10 years, according to his staff.
And the “but the government is paying for my stuff” crowd is going wild over him. How do you explain to the economically illiterate where this is all headed and what the result at some point in the future MUST be?
Oh, and by the way, they’re not even trying to deny it:
Mr. Gunnels, the Sanders aide, said the campaign hasn’t worked out all details on his plan—for instance, his version might allow each state to run its own single-payer system. But he said the $15 trillion figure was a fair estimate.
So, let’s elect Bernie and double our debt!
Monday at North High School in Des Moines, IA, President Barack Obama said the notion that people who illegally come to live in the United States, as they have for generations, are suddenly now “less worthy in the eyes of God,” is “un-American.” Obama said, “This whole anti-immigrant sentiment that is out there in politics right now is contrary to who we are. Because unless you are a native American, your family came from someplace else. And although we are a nation of laws and we want people to follow the law, and I have been pushing Congress to make …” yatta, yatta, yatta.
Who is making the argument that anyone is less worthy because of how they ended up here? I think the argument is they’re “illegal”! There is no “anti-immigrant” sentiment. There is an “anti-illegal immigrant” sentiment since our laws prohibit it. As for the “native Americans” they were merely the first immigrants as their families “came from someplace else”, namely Siberia. And this guy, who refuses to enforce the laws about immigration already on the books has the temerity to lecture others about being a “nation of laws”. Ironic guffaw follows ending with a contemptuous sneer.
Did the Obama administration turn down a Russian offer in 2012 to dump Syria’s Assad?
If true, this was a staggering missed opportunity. The President’s string of misjudgments on the Middle East—on the peace process, Erdogan, withdrawal from Iraq, Libya, ISIS as the “J.V. team”, and Syria—is one of the most striking examples of serial failure in the annals of American foreign policy.
Generally speaking, what the President seems worst at is estimating the direction in which events are flowing. He thought Erdogan was taking Turkey in one direction; Erdogan was going somewhere else. He thought there was a transition to democracy in Egypt; there never was a prospect of that. He has repeatedly been caught flatfooted by events in Syria. And Putin keeps running rings around him.
Understanding the intentions and estimating the capabilities of people who don’t share his worldview are not our President’s strong suits.
And now, who is it again that Russia and Iran are reported to be cozying up too? Worst president ever.