Archive for the ‘socialism’ Category

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Consistency

August 30, 2017

Here’s one of Prof. Mark Perry’s internet-famous Venn diagrams.

Source

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What Caused Venezuela’s Tragic Collapse?

August 10, 2017

Socialism kills.

Quod erat demonstrandum.

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Inside Venezuela’s hidden healthcare crisis

January 11, 2017

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Feliz Año Nuevo, Venezuela

December 28, 2016

I wish I could say this news was a surprise. But I can’t and I doubt many others can either.

Venezuela military trafficking food as people go hungry

Puerto Cabello, Venezuela — When hunger drew tens of thousands of Venezuelans to the streets last summer in protest, President Nicolas Maduro turned to the military to manage the country’s diminished food supply, putting generals in charge of everything from butter to rice.

But instead of fighting hunger, the military is making money from it, an Associated Press investigation shows. That’s what grocer Jose Campos found when he ran out of pantry staples this year. In the middle of the night, he would travel to an illegal market run by the military to buy corn flour — at 100 times the government-set price.

“The military would be watching over whole bags of money,” Campos said. “They always had what I needed.”

With much of the oil country on the verge of starvation and malnourished children dying in pediatric wards, food trafficking has become big business in Venezuela. And the military is at the heart of the graft, according to documents and interviews with more than 60 officials, company owners and workers, including five former generals.

As a result, food is not reaching those who most need it. […]

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Feliz Navidad, Venezuela

December 11, 2016

Ho, ho, ho… The socialist destruction of Venezuelan society grinds on.

The BBC reports:

Venezuela seizes Christmas toys to distribute to poor

Venezuelan authorities have arrested two toy company executives and seized almost four million toys, which they say they will distribute to the poor.

Officials accused the company of hoarding toys and hiking prices in the run-up to Christmas.
Last week, the government issued an order to retailers to reduce prices on a range of goods by 30%.

Business owners say the order is a populist political move, and pushing them towards bankruptcy.

Venezuela’s consumer protection agency, Sundde, said toy distributor Kreisel had stockpiled the goods and was reselling them at a margin of up to 50,000%.

“Our children are sacred, we will not let them rob you of Christmas,” it said in a tweet, along with photos and video of thousands of boxes of toys.

[One tweet in Spanish omitted here.]

[…]

Via InternationalLiberty


During this last year, the Venezuelan government and its opposition have been in talks mediated by the Vatican. The topics ranged from politics to allowing humanitarian aid to Venezuelans. Here’s a report from the Caracas Chronicles about the humanitarian aid.

The government steals medicine donated by the Catholic church
The Humanitarian Channel Today

Remember the "Humanitarian Channel" the government and the opposition had agreed to set up in Vatican-mediated talks? That’s right, the one that was meant to be administered by Caritas, the Catholic Church’s global charity. That one.

How’s that been going?

Well, funny you should ask…

[Five tweets in Spanish omitted here.]

In short, the government’s tax inspectorate, Seniat, openly announces that they’re impounding church-donated medicines at port because they lack requisite customs paperwork. The shipment was declared "legally abandoned" and then "adjudicated" to the government-run Social Security administration.

You’d think that would make for some awkwardness at the next set of talks, right?

Joke’s on you: the government’s not going to talks anymore, sucker!


Left image caption: I hate you all…
Text: The ‘Grinch’ of Maduro and Diosdado robbed the Venezuelans of Christmas. The saddest in the 21st century

(Who’s Diosdado? The Frank Underwood of Venezuela.)

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Socialism kills

October 5, 2016

Remember that the next time someone makes a "Do It For The Children" argument for more state control.

Venezuela: Health Crisis Means Kid’s Scraped Knee Can Be Life or Death

It was just a scraped knee. So 3-year-old Ashley Pacheco’s parents did what parents do: They gave her a hug, cleaned the wound twice with rubbing alcohol and thought no more of it.

Two weeks later, the little girl writhed screaming in a hospital bed. Her breathing came in ragged gasps as she begged passing patients for a sip of water.

Her mother stayed day and night in the trauma unit. She kept Ashley on an empty stomach in case she might cut in front of hundreds of other patients for emergency surgery in one of the hospital’s few functioning operating rooms.

Her father scoured Caracas for scarce antibiotics to fight the infection spreading through his daughter’s body.

They had no idea how much worse it was going to get.

If Venezuela has become dangerous for the healthy, it is now deadly for those who fall ill.

One-in-three people admitted to public hospitals last year died, the government reports. The number of operational hospital beds has fallen by 40 percent since just 2014. And as the economy fails, the country is running short on 85 percent of medicines, according to the national drugstore trade group. […]

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What song the sirens sang

September 16, 2016

I’d heard about this forum at Cato and was curious about it. So I’m glad Ron Bailey wrote this summary article for Reason’s blog. It’s hard to excerpt so I’ve just included a few snippets from it. RTWT though.

Why Is Socialism So Damned Attractive?
What is the attraction of socialism?

The Cato Institute held a policy forum Wednesday to consider that question, featuring talks from the moral psychologist Jonathan Haidt and the evolutionary psychologists Leda Cosmides and John Tooby.

One problem they quickly encountered was how to define socialism in the first place. Is it pervasive, state-directed central planning? A Scandinavian-style safety net? Something else? Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who pursued the Democratic presidential nomination while describing himself as a socialist, attracted a big following among voters under age 30. But most of those voters actually rejected the idea of the government running businesses or owning the means of production; they tended to be safety-net redistributionists who want to tax the rich to pay for health care and college education. And this was, in fact, the platform Sanders was running on.

Cosmides then turned to a fascinating 2014 study in The Journal of Politics by the Danish political scientists Lene Aarøe and Michael Bang Petersen. Aarøe and Petersen found that certain cues could turn supposedly individualistic Americans into purportedly welfare-state loving Danes, and vice versa. […]

In that experiment, researchers asked 2,000 Danes and Americans to react to three cases involving a person on welfare. In one, they had no background information on the welfare client. In the second, he lost his job due to an injury and was actively looking for new work. In the third, he has never looked for a job at all. The Danes turned out to be slightly more likely than the Americans to assume that the person they knew nothing about was on welfare because of bad luck. But both Americans and Danes were no different in opposing welfare for the lazy guy and strongly favoring it for the unlucky worker. “When we assess people on welfare, we use certain [evolved] psychological mechanisms to spot anyone who might be cheating,” Michael Bang Petersen explained in press release about the study. “We ask ourselves whether they are motivated to give something back to me and society. And these mechanisms are more powerful than cultural differences.”

The next panelist, John Tooby, turned to those counterproductive attitudes. Tooby has long been puzzled that so many of his colleagues are not struck by facts like Hong Kong’s amazing economic success. (Its GDP increased 180-fold between 1961 and 1996 while per capita GDP increased 87-fold and inequality fell.) […]

The chief problem, he suggested, is that many people are beguiled by “romantic socialism”—that is, they imagine what their personal lives would be like if everyone shared and treated one another like family. We evolved in small bands that were an individual’s only protection from starvation, victimization, and inter-group aggression. People feel vulnerable if their band does not exist. Such sentiments are more or less appropriate when people lived in small groups of hunter-gatherers composed mostly of kin, but they fail spectacularly when navigating a world of strangers cooperating in global markets.

The third speaker was Jonathan Haidt, whose research explores the intuitive ethics that undergird the psychological foundations of morality. His goal is to reconcile the universal human behavior identified by evolutionary psychology with the cultural variations highlighted by anthropology. He and his colleagues have identified six moral foundations, but he focused on just three during the session. Those three were care/harm, fairness/cheating, and liberty/oppression.

In contemporary politics, liberals are chiefly concerned about care and harm. They see fairness mostly as equality of outcomes. He illustrated this with photos taken during the Occupy Wall Street episode in Zuccotti Park. (One Occupy sign, for instance, read “Tax the Rich Fair and Square.”) On the other hand, conservatives see fairness has proportionality; if you work hard, you get to keep the rewards. Haidt showed a Tea Party sign that read, “Stop Punishing Success—Stop Rewarding Failure.” […]

Another Occupy Wall Street placard shown in Haidt’s presentation said “Equality Now! Liberty Later.” In response to that sentiment, Haidt quoted Milton Friedman: “A society that aims for equality before liberty will end up with neither equality nor liberty. And a society that aims first for liberty will not end up with equality, but it will end up with a closer approach to equality than any other kind of system that has ever been developed.”

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Go to bed with Karl

August 2, 2016

…and wake up with Uncle Joe. Here’s more news about the devolution of Venezuela. I wonder if Maduro et alia have come up with a catchy name for this, like China’s Cultural Revolution or Russia’s Five Year Plans.

Maybe they’re sticking with CLAP.

Venezuela to reassign private, public workers to agriculture

Caracas (AFP) – Venezuela said private and public companies will be obliged to let their workers be reassigned to grow crops, in a dramatic move in the middle of the country’s crippling economic crisis.

The Labor Ministry announced the measure as part of the economic emergency already in effect; it will require all employers in Venezuela to let the state have their workers “to strengthen production” of food.

President Nicolas Maduro’s government is fighting for its life amid staggering inflation and shortages of everything from food to toilet paper, diapers and shampoo.

Maduro, like his predecessor Hugo Chavez, has increasingly moved the country towards taking over parts of the economy.

Now, Venezuela’s state-led socialist government has said it is ready to take the next big step — giving itself authority to order individuals from one job to another.

It was not immediately clear when the temporary measure will kick in, or for how long workers will be sent to the fields. […]

Regardless of what they may call it, $100 says that the usual privation and misery will be the result.

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Venezuelan CLAP

June 23, 2016

Wow… Take a lesson about how to FUBAR your country.

Whatever happened to “To each, according to his need”? I don’t recall that maxim mentioning party membership.

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Out of the agony?

May 4, 2016

Here’s an editorial in last Sunday’s Washington Post that talks about many of the things I’ve mentioned in my posts about Venezuela over the last three years. (My emphasis below.)

We ignore Venezuela’s imminent implosion at our peril

The encouraging news from Latin America is that the leftist populists who for 15 years undermined the region’s democratic institutions and wrecked its economies are being pushed out — not by coups and juntas, but by democratic and constitutional means. Cristina Fernández de Kirchner of Argentina is already gone, vanquished in a presidential election, and Brazil’s Dilma Rousseff is likely to be impeached in the coming days.

The tipping point is the place where the movement began in the late 1990s: Venezuela, a country of 30 million that despite holding the world’s largest oil reserves has descended into a dystopia where food, medicine, water and electric power are critically scarce. Riots and looting broke out in several blacked-out cities last week, forcing the deployment of troops. A nation that 35 years ago was the richest in Latin America is now appealing to its neighbors for humanitarian deliveries to prevent epidemics and hunger.

The regime that fostered this nightmare, headed by Hugo Chávez until his death in 2013, is on the way out: It cannot survive the economic crisis and mass discontent it has created. The question is whether the change will come relatively peacefully or through an upheaval that could turn Venezuela into a failed state and destabilize much of the region around it. […]

And today I came across a post at Business Insider, featuring this photo. (Hambre means hunger.)

hambre-en-venezuela

‘We want out of this agony’: What it’s like to eat in a country that’s on the verge of collapse

Despite breathless coverage of Venezuela’s vanishing supply of condoms, toilet paper, and beer, perhaps the country’s most debilitating shortage has been that of food, which appears to be a motivating factor for growing antigovernment sentiment.

“I want the recall because I don’t have food,” one woman told the Venezuelan commentary site Contrapunto, referring to a referendum to recall President Nicolas Maduro that has so far reportedly drawn more than a million signatures in support.

“We want out of this agony — there is too much need in the streets,” another woman told Contrapunto. “We have much pressure because there is no food and every day we have to ask ourselves what we are going to eat.”

Government supporters have long pointed proudly to the improvement in eating under socialist leader Hugo Chavez, who used oil income to subsidize food for the poor during his 14 years in office (1999 to 2013) and won UN plaudits for it.

But Reuters notes that Maduro, Chavez’s successor, has faced a collapse in the price of oil, which provides almost all of Venezuela’s foreign income. He has also blamed an opposition-led “economic war,” which critics deride as an excuse.

Living in a severe recession and a dysfunctional state-run economy, poorer families say they sometimes skip meals and rely more on starch foods, Reuters reports.

“We are eating worse than before,” Liliana Tovar, a Caracas resident, told Reuters in late April. “If we eat breakfast, we don’t eat lunch, if we eat lunch, we don’t eat dinner, and if we eat dinner, we don’t eat breakfast.”

As Scott Adams said, "When one person doesn’t understand economics, we call it ignorance. When millions don’t, we call it a political movement."

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Order yours now

April 20, 2016

Jeff G sent a link to a post at Reason that led me to Liberty Maniacs site, where you’ll find this:

FEELING THE BERNS: BERNIE SANDERS IS ABUSING TRADEMARK LAW TO SUPPRESS MY PARODY

Now Bernie Sanders is trying to abuse trademark law in an attempt to suppress my free speech, in almost the exact way the NSA, DHS, and Hillary Clinton’s Super PAC did.

Yesterday, April 14th, the Bernie Sanders campaign sent a cease and desist letter claiming that I am unlawfully selling my parodies because they used the likeness of the official Bernie Sanders for President logo in this shirt. […]

bernie-is-my-comrade-3001-red-hollowman_grande

I’m hoping the Streisand Effect will kick in and teach at least one lawyer a lesson.

This episode only confirms that your first reaction to any lawyer who sends you a demand letter should be to tell him or her to go piss up a rope. Seriously.

I wish I’d known that 20 years ago when an overzealous legal nitwit at CBS tried to shake me down for a domain name (of all things). I let him off for expenses, which in retrospect was being way too easy on him.

By the way, Liberty Maniacs sells the T-shirt the NSA tried to squash with copyright law.

And is there anything more ridiculous than a publicly funded agency trying to protect a copyright from the very public it’s supposed so serve? Who owns that copyright, anyway? Shouldn’t it be public property since it was funded with public money?

Why does the NSA even have lawyers to write those obnoxious demand letters?

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