Venezuela Archives

Friday Link Wrap-up

Planned Parenthood keeps breaking all its previous records in abortions performed.

Chavez is running out of people/things to blame for socialism’s failure. "[I]n a remarkable volte-face, for the first time this week Hugo Chávez admitted that the government was, after all, largely to blame for the electricity shortages and rationing that are hampering the economy, having previously tried to blame it on a drought, which dried up Venezuela’s hydroelectric reservoirs. That argument didn’t work so well this year, with torrential rains flooding much of the country."

Down’s Syndrome death panels are getting setup.

The debt crisis in Europe threatens to tear apart the EU. That’s not some conservative think tank talking, it’s the EU itself.

"If you love me, pass this bill!" Apparently, Mr. Obama has lost a lot of love in his own party, as Dems pick apart his jobs bill.

We spend more and more on public schools — in absolute dollars and per student — and yet SAT scores continue to fall. There are proven ways to deal with this, but Democrats are against all of them (predictably).

If poverty leads to crime, why is the crime rate falling during this recession (and the decade before it)? Is it because, perhaps, we’re actually keeping criminals behind bars?

Talk about over-regulation, here’s a CEO who was fined for hiring too many people and required to stop hiring altogether. When government calls the shots, the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing (or even that there is a right hand).

Palin Derangement Syndrome: Joe McGinniss wrote an expose on Sarah Palin that was essentially (according to the publisher) filled with unproved “tawdry gossip” and rumors that lacked “factual evidence.”

The new 2011 version of the New International Version of the Bible strives for gender-inclusivity. Mary Kassian gives her 10 reasons why this is bad for women.

And finally, never mind abortion, Michelle Obama thinks you should have parental consent before getting French Fries. (Click for a larger version.)

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    Friday Link Wrap-up

    Post-war (i.e. WWII) marginal tax rates (the top individual tax bracket) have fluctuated from above 90% to below 30%, but W. Kurt Hauser noted that, in 1993, the total tax revenue, as a percentage of GDP, stayed virtually constant. Really. The data has been updated to 2007 and the observation holds. You can’t soak the rich. Raise their rates, and GDP goes down to match, in addition to the tax shelters that suddenly become very popular. Social engineers who want to use the tax code to implement what they want ought to be very disturbed, if they even know about this.

    In terms of absolute dollars, federal revenues have tripled in the last 50 years (quadrupled if you consider the amount just before the recession). The problem is, federal spending has outpaced even that. Ed Morrissey has the charts to show that we don’t have a revenue problem.

    Homeschooling is such a success that liberals at the NEA, in the Dept. of Education and in Congress are "troubled" and "concerned" by it, and of course consider it racist. Yes, really.

    The pro-life cause continues to advance, recently in Ohio. And Americans United for Life has put out a scathing 181-page report on abuses and law-breaking at Planned Parenthood, and is taking it to Congress.

    Global warming seems to have stopped. Well, Scientific American says, "Blame Asia!"

    Obama, in prosecuting war, embraces his inner Dubya.

    Just like the press (and the anti-war movement) has gone very quiet about wars, old and new, being prosecuted by this President, the NY Time even notices that the press has been ignoring the poor during this recession. And they’re part of the press to blame for it! What a difference a Democratic President makes!

    Andres Oppenheimer says it best. "What Chavez has done in Venezuela over the last 12 years is nothing short of an economic miracle: Despite benefiting from the biggest oil boom in Venezuela’s history, he has somehow managed to turn the country into a shambles." Read the whole thing. It’s amazing to see truly how much money socialism can spend on people, only to make their lives worse.

    Comparing and contrasting the economic stimulus under Clinton (that got rejected) to the economic stimulus under Obama (which passed) and which was actually better for unemployment.

    If the debt ceiling is not raised by August, we would still have enough money coming in to not default on interest payments on the debt, and cover Social Security, Medicare, and "essential" defense. Don’t let Obama’s threat about withholding Grandma’s check scare you.

    The ban on circumcision that will be on the San Francisco ballot in November is rife with anti-Semitism. That’s just about all you need to know about it, but here’s more.

    And some more slipper slope for you. (Click for a larger image.)

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      Friday Link Wrap-up

      Haven’t found much to expound upon this week, or perhaps my blogging muse took an extended (if you’ll pardon the expression) Christmas vacation.  But indeed, I still have been perusing the ‘net, and have found a few interesting links.

      If you’ve ever wondered why the ACLU seems to regularly side with organizations and issues that seem to oppose traditional American values, this collection of unearthed letters between the ACLU founder, Roger Baldwin and the American Communist Party should shed some light.  (Hat tip: Holy Coast)

      Y’know that phrase, "Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it"?  Here’s you’re chance to learn from it.  If you want to find out how ObamaCare will turn out, just look at the broken promises and escalating costs of RomneyCare in Massachusetts.

      An impressive new invention from Germany; heat balls

      Chavez currently has dictatorial powers in Venezuela, and is currently in a stand-off with American diplomats.  So he wants the US to change the envoy to Caracas to one of his choice of useful idiots; Sean Penn, Oliver Stone or Bill Clinton.  Talk about gall.

      So many liberal blogs got this absolutely wrong, you wonder if poor civics or history classes in public school lead to liberalism.  Talking Points Memo illustrated this perfectly.  When reading the Constitution in the House chambers yesterday, Republicans read what amounted to the amended Constitution, skipping parts that were superseded by later amendments.  This included counting only 3/5ths of the slaves.  Evan McMorris-Santoro writes:

      It’s fairly likely that no elected politician wants to stand up and read aloud the Founder’s vision of African Americans as equaling three-fifths of a white person, so the GOP has decided to leave that part, and others, out when the Constitution is read today.

      This was no "vision" of discounting African-Americans.  In fact, the "Three-Fifths Compromise" did two things when it was written into the Constitution.  It gave us a "united" states, which would have been impossible if slave states would not agree to the new Constitution, and it kept slave states from gaining too many representatives in the House (by simply importing "constituents") to keep slavery from ever being abolished.  It was a compromise, not a "vision", and it paved the way for the abolition of slavery.  A good explanation is here.

      The federal debt is certainly cause for concern, but there’s also the problem of individual cities who have been financing all sorts of things with municipal bond debt.  This, too, has gotten out of control, leading us to another bailout-or-bankruptcy issue.

      And finally, the roll of homeschoolers has grown to 2 million, 4% of all school-aged children.  Thanks, public schools.  Couldn’t have done it without you.

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        End-of-Year Link Wrap-up

        A longer list this time.  I took a vacation from blogging during — if you’ll forgive the expression — Christmas vacation, and this video comes out.  Nina Totenberg apologizes for using the term "Christmas party".  Is this really a taboo among liberals?  Or are liberals in the press really this out of touch with the rest of America?

        Here are six good reasons why embryonic stem cells will never make it out of the lab and into the bodies of sick people.  But money will still pour into it because, hey, it’s money!

        Palestinians fired a Qassam rocket at a kindergarten, hurting one teen passing by.  I didn’t watch much news over vacation, but I’m sure this was all over it.  Right?  I mean, it would have been if Israel had done it, so I’m just supposing.

        It’s amazing how stark the double standards are regarding leaks.  Julian Assange didn’t mind dumping data that is life-or-death to some of our Afghani informers, but hated it when leaks about his own legal troubles came out.  Really?  And there are other news reporter groups that hate it when they get leaked. 

        Iran is shipping missiles to Venezuela.  Hey Hollywood, this is just fine, right?  (Chavez blames all the failures of socialism on others, and so this paranoia is bound to give him cause to use such weapons.  So, no, it’s not al right.)

        No, the polar bear is not endangered.  So says the Obama administration.  Really.  And Bruce McQuain notes that, really, endangered status is more about power than it is about the environment.

        The (Democrat-controlled) Congress blocked the transfer of Guantanamo detainees to the US.  I guess Obama has no one to blame for this other than … Bush.

        Twenty years ago, and continuing as recently as 2009, it was predicted that global warming would bring much milder winters with less snow because of the temperatures.  Ski slopes would be barren and snow would vanish from places as far north as Scotland. Now, however, they’re saying that all that snow we got, even in the deep south, is because of global warming.  The link has a good round-up of weather vs predictions.

        More power to this guy, who quit his job, got some legal education, and started suing e-mail spammers.

        Why do atheists whine about not being invited to a prayer event?  Hey, you don’t like an inauguration that includes a prayer service?  Go out and win an election, and run your inauguration any way you want.

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          Friday Link Wrap-up

          Venezuelans are getting tired of the food shortages, the electricity shortages, the soaring crime, the deep recession (i.e. everything that comes part and parcel with socialism) and have started taking back the country, starting with last weekend’s elections.  American voters are poised to do the same in November.

          The "humanitarian crisis" in Gaza is apparently mostly about symbolism, false narratives and propaganda.  Flotillas are required to keep up the narratives.

          The United Nations will appoint an Earth contact for aliens.  No, really.  "Mazlan Othman, the head of the UN’s little-known Office for Outer Space Affairs (Unoosa), is to describe her potential new role next week at a scientific conference at the Royal Society’s Kavli conference centre in Buckinghamshire."  Doesn’t it strike anyone as unintentionally humorous that "Unoosa" sounds like some alien specie you’d see on "Star Trek"?

          When the Bilderbergers met last June (cue paranoid music), one of the topics they discussed was Global Cooling.  No, really.  (Al Gore was apparently not invited.)  But indeed, global cooling, were it happening, would be worse than global warming.  Crops, for starters, kinda’ like the heat.

          Tea Partiers uncover rampant voter fraud in Houston.  Would it surprise you if I said that most of this was related to a former SEIU employee’s voter registration group?  Yeah, me neither.

          "Scientists have invented an efficient way to produce apparently safe alternatives to human embryonic stem cells without destroying embryos…."  They start with ordinary skin cells.  As Glenn Reynolds would say, "Faster, please."

          And finally, from Mike Lester, two views of the Constitution.  (Click for a larger image.)

          Mike Lester

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            Friday Link Wrap Up

            Two weeks of links to catch up!

            Closing Guantanamo; big priority during the campaign, not so much now.  (Well, especially since even Democrats don’t even want to do it.)

            The Obama administration turned down using Dutch oil skimmers because they couldn’t meet our stringent government environmental regulations on how pure the decontaminated water was that they dumped back into the Gulf of Mexico, right on-sight of the spill.  Instead, we transport the oily water to facilities and decontaminate it there.  Huge efficiency drop during a major catastrophe because, ironically, of environmental regulationsRead the whole article for more things we turned down that could have averted a lot of this problem.

            Our own Treasury Secretary is ignorant of economic history.  Timothy Geithner said this at the latest G-20 summit:  “One of the mistakes made in the 1930s was that countries pulled back their recovery efforts too soon, prolonging the Great Depression.”  However, precisely the opposite happened.  Recovery efforts failed, lasted too long, and that’s what prolonged the Great Depression.  NewsBusters has the charts.

            School vouchers improve graduation rates. Now we have a government study to prove what common sense already told us.

            Sharia Law in the UK:  Dogs barred from buses so as not to offend Muslims.

            Democrats have decided that there will be no budget this year.  Hey, at least (this time) they’re being honest about it.  I guess they’ll just spend until it doesn’t feel good anymore.  Or until they’re voted out.  Whichever comes first.

            In Venezuela’s socialist paradise, the government’s Food Ministry rounds up 120 tons of rice because it might be sold above regulated prices.  At the same time, 80,000 tons of food was found rotting in government warehouses.  Government efficiency at its finest.

            Another example of bait-and-switch in the passage of ObamaCare.  Obama rejected the idea that the individual mandate was a tax increase, but in defending it from state lawsuits, the administration does classify it as a tax increase.  This way, the mandate falls under a law that forbids the states from interfering in tax collections.  In addition, “an early draft of an administration regulation estimates … a majority of workers—51 percent—will be in plans subject to new federal requirements….”

            If your 11-year-old asks a particular Massachusetts school for a condom, they’ll get it, no questions asked.  Also, parents objections will not be taken into consideration.  Actually, there’s no real age limit on the policy; any kid can get one.  Only in Massachusetts.  For now.

            And finally, all that hard work pays off, but not the way you thought it would.  (From Chuck Asay.  Click for a larger version.)

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              Friday Link Wrap-up

              Isn’t government supposed to enforce the laws it makes?   Well, it looks like the Obama administration has a bit more leeway.

              How’s that Gitmo-closing promise coming along, 5 months after its due date?  “The House Armed Services Committee has dealt a blow to President Obama’s hopes to shutter the military prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, by unanimously approving legislation that would prohibit creating a detention center inside the United States.”  Aren’t there one or two Democrats on that committee?

              The Hollywood Left just loves their socialists.

              American filmmaker Oliver Stone said Friday he deeply admires Hugo Chavez but suggested the Venezuelan president might consider talking a bit less on television.

              Promoting his new documentary “South of the Border” in Caracas, Stone heaped praise on Chavez, saying he is leading a movement for “social transformation” in Latin American. The film features informal interviews by Stone with Chavez and six allied leftist presidents, from Bolivia’s Evo Morales to Cuba’s Raul Castro.

              “I admire Hugo. I like him very much as a person. I can say one thing. … He shouldn’t be on television all the time,” Stone said at a news conference. “As a director I say you don’t want to be overpowering. And I think he is sometimes that way.”

              (We’re not entirely sure whether Stone said “director” or “dictator” at th end there.  Either can be overpowering.)

              When the director of the Congressional Budget Office directly refutes cost-saving claims of the President and his Budget Director, it’s worth noting.  Even the NY Times (finally) notices.

              How’s that “smart diplomacy” workin’ for ya’?  Please remember; speeches are no substitute for sound policy.

              Marry a Jew, lose your citizenship.  Can armbands with the Star of David be far behind?  Tell me again, who are the bad guys in the Middle East peace situation?

              How did the pollsters do predicting the recent primary results?  About as good as expected, which isn’t saying much.  And the Daily Kos fired its official pollster, Research 2000.  Turns out they skewed left.  Now who would have thought that?  This time, however, it was downright embarrassing.

              And finally, Chuck Asay on life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  (Click for a larger image.)

              Chuck Asay

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                Friday Link Wrap-Up

                I may start doing this more often.  I collect links during the week, some I comment on here, and some just languish in Google Bookmarks.  But instead of a daily report of links like my co-blogger Mark, I’m going to save it all until the end of the week.  This installment will be a bit longer than others since I’ve got some aging links here that really want to see the light of day.  So here they are, usually, but not always, in reverse chronological order:

                Coattails?  What coattails? “Some Democrats on the campaign trail have hit upon a winning campaign tactic: Run against President Obama and his agenda — especially the health care overhaul.”

                Seeking asylum in the US for … homeschooling persecution? “A German Christian family received asylum in Tennessee after being severely penalized for illegally homeschooling their children in Germany.”  I’ve covered this particular situation before; here, here, here, here, here and here.

                California, parts of which are boycotting Arizona for it’s new immigration law, which just enforce existing federal law, should take a look at it’s own lawbooks first.  They might find something familiar.

                The economic meltdown in Greece should be a wake-up call to politicians of both parties in the US.  Otherwise, it may turn out to be, rather, a coming attraction.

                ObamaCare(tm) is predicted to increase the crowding in our hospitals’ emergency rooms.  “Some Democrats agree with this assessment. Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.) suspects the fallout that occurred in Massachusetts’ emergency rooms could happen nationwide after health reform kicks in.”  But he still voted for this snake oil anyway.

                “Economic Woes Threaten Chavez’s Socialist Vision” Only on NPR would this be news.  For the rest of this, it’s a redundancy.

                Comedy Central stands on the bedrock of free speech and will mock anyone, just as long as there’s no chance of getting beheaded for it.  “The show in development, “JC,” is a half-hour about Christ wanting to escape the shadow of his “powerful but apathetic father” and live a regular life in New York.”

                Green energy falling by the wayside in Europe.  Seems the massive subsidies for this alleged cost-saving energy are too much for governments going through financial troubles.  Should we (will we) take note?

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                  A Winning Economic Policy

                  Over my Christmas vacation, while I wasn’t blogging much, I was still watching the news and bookmarking articles to cover later on.  Today I’m using one of those bookmarks.  While the original story itself is a bit stale, the concept is what I want to focus on.

                  From “Investor’s Business Daily” on December 4th:

                  Chile is expected to win entry to OECD’s club of developed countries by Dec. 15 — a great affirmation for a once-poor nation that pulled itself up by trusting markets. One thing that stands out here is free trade.

                  (And they did, as this the OECD website notes.)  So how did they do it?

                  Chile is the first country in South America to win the honor, and in a symbolic way its OECD membership card seals its exit from the ranks of the Third World to the First.

                  For the rest of us, it’s a stunning example of how embracing free markets and free trade brings prosperity.

                  It’s not like Chile was born lucky. Only 30 years ago, it was an impoverished country with per capita GDP of $1,300. Its distant geography, irresponsible neighbors and tiny population were significant obstacles to investment and growth. And its economy, dominated by labor unions, wasn’t just closed, but sealed tight.

                  In the Cato Institute’s 1975 Economic Freedom of the World Report it ranked a wretched 71 out of 72 countries evaluated.

                  Today it’s a different country altogether. Embracing markets has made it one of the most open economies in the world, ranking third on Cato’s index, just behind Hong Kong and Singapore. Per capita GDP has soared to $15,000.

                  Besides its embrace of free trade, other reforms — including pension privatization, tax cuts, respect for property rights and cutting of red tape helped the country grow not only richer but more democratic, says Cato Institute trade expert Daniel Griswold.

                  But the main thing, Griswold says, is that the country didn’t shift course. “Chile’s economy is set apart from its neighbors, because they have pursued market policies consistently over a long period,” he said. “Free trade has been a central part of Chile’s success.”

                  Free trade and free markets.  Chile is on the economic rise, while Venezuela, deep into Hugo Chavez’s socialist experiment, has been left to rationing, lately of water and electricity.  It’s quite clear that capitalism is beating out socialism handily, and yet we in the US keep trying to move closer to the losing side of the ledger.

                  I think one of the reasons we’re doing this is because of the concept that the perfect is the enemy of the good.  Because things are not perfect, we try to make them that way, via government, rather than let the market (i.e. the people) work things out themselves.  In the US, those on the Left saw that people were not getting health care in some cases, so they decided that government must step in to do it.  Never mind that charitable organizations exist to handle much of this, and never mind existing laws that guarantee health care even to those who can’t pay; it wasn’t up to the par they expected, so, by their lights, government must step in.

                  When government keeps stepping in like this, you get Venezuela.  My concern, borne out by so many reports of sub-par health care in Canada and the UK, and evidenced by Canadians who come here for care when theirs fails them, is that our overall level of care in our country will fall while we give government more and more power over our lives.  While the poor in Venezuela may have marginally more social care given to them by the government, overall, the socialist approach to anything leads to what Churchill described as “shared misery”.

                  The result is further from perfect than the previous good was for the people as a whole.

                  Chile, however, has lifted itself up with free markets and free trade.  Congratulations to them.  I hope the world is watching.

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                    The Real Impetus Behind Copenhagen

                    Do you want to know the real reason behind all the meeting and agreements and doomsaying being done at the Copenhagen climate change confab?  Listen to the applause.

                    First, the warm-up act, so to speak, with hints of what was to come.

                    But before [Australian climate change minister Penny Wong] rose to speak the conference proceedings were interrupted by people with whistles and sirens chanting “stop green capitalism” – a sign of the anger in the developing world that the Danish host government is trying to wrest the process from the professional negotiators, who have failed to make any progress, and hand it to politicians, who might have some chance of achieving something before we all leave on Saturday.

                    And then the headlining act hit the stage.

                    Then President Chavez brought the house down.

                    When he said the process in Copenhagen was “not democratic, it is not inclusive, but isn’t that the reality of our world, the world is really and imperial dictatorship…down with imperial dictatorships” he got a rousing round of applause.

                    When he said there was a “silent and terrible ghost in the room” and that ghost was called capitalism, the applause was deafening.

                    But then he wound up to his grand conclusion – 20 minutes after his 5 minute speaking time was supposed to have ended and after quoting everyone from Karl Marx to Jesus Christ – “our revolution seeks to help all people…socialism, the other ghost that is probably wandering around this room, that’s the way to save the planet, capitalism is the road to hell….let’s fight against capitalism and make it obey us.”  He won a standing ovation.

                    Ladies and gentlemen, that is the primary purpose of the Copenhagen conference and those like it.  It’s the elites getting together to bring capitalism down and raise socialism up so that they can exert more power.  It’s a power grab, plain and simple and unashamed. 

                    You may have your reasons for wanting to see less carbon in the air, but those in politics and government clearly have their own agenda.  Is it yours?

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                      Hollywood, are you listening?  Liberals who think at least Chavez isn’t the monster he’s often portrayed as, are you paying attention? 

                      President Hugo Chávez has risked international ire by lauding Carlos the Jackal, the Venezuelan terrorist notorious for a series of bombings, kidnappings and hijackings across Europe, as a "revolutionary fighter" unjustly imprisoned for trying to defend the Palestinian people.

                      The leftist Venezuelan leader praised Carlos — whose real name is Ilich Ramirez Sánchez — as "one of the great fighters of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation", denying he was a terrorist and claiming his lifetime imprisonment in France was unfair.

                      "I defend him," he said during a speech on Friday night. "It doesn’t matter to me what they say tomorrow in Europe."

                      Of course, this is now in addition to all his other BFFs.

                      The fiery anti-American leader sought to defend leaders he said were wrongly branded "bad guys", heaping praise on Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who is to visit Venezuela later this week, and the Zimbabwean leader Robert Mugabe, who he called "brothers".

                      He drew the wrath of Ugandans after casting doubt on the crimes of the Ugandan dictator Idi Amin. "We thought he was a cannibal," said Mr Chávez of Amin, whose regime was notorious for torturing and killing suspected opponents in the 1970s. "I have doubts … Maybe he was a great nationalist, a patriot."

                      Hat tip: Betsy Newmark, who wonders if those Hollywood leftists who have made common cause with Chavez will ever get asked about this latest news.  Yeah, probably not.  After all, it is the leftist media most likely to do any interviewing.

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                        Paging Michael Moore

                        Ah, the benefits of socialism.

                        Residents of the Venezuelan capital face cuts in water service for as much as 48 hours per week, after the government imposed rationing to stem a 25 percent shortfall in the city’s supply, officials said Monday.

                        Officials said cuts in water service were to be staggered throughout Caracas through the duration of the current dry season, which is not expected to end until May 2010.

                        Heap this on top of all the other shortages that Venezuela is suffering under (including electricity, also noted in the article).  But "socialism" means never having to say, "My fault."

                        Weather forecasters blame the "El Nino" weather phenomenon, saying the periodic weather system has markedly reduced rainfall and created drought conditions.

                        Others blame the shortage on poor government management of the country’s water resources, while President Hugo Chavez faulted the excesses of capitalism.

                        "What will the rich fill their swimming pools with?" the country’s leftist leader asked recently.

                        "With the water that is denied inhabitants in the poor neighborhoods," he said, blaming the lack of sufficient water on "capitalism — a lack of feeling, a lack of humanity."

                        Don’t blame the weather for a resource shortage if blaming capitalism and demonizing rich people will do just as well, especially if you’re the one managing the resource.

                        Say what you will about the profit motive and market forces; they do a better job of distribution than any central authority.

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                          Moving in the Opposite Direction

                          As the US government takes steps like government controls of major industries and attempting to hijack 1/5th of the economy via health care reform, another country is moving in quite the opposite direction during this global recession.

                          Cuba’s workplace cafeterias are closing, President Raúl Castro keeps saying the well-off shouldn’t get the same subsidies as the poor, and now there are rumblings that one of the stalwart vestiges of the revolution — the ration booklet — has outlived its usefulness.

                          As the Cuban government struggles through a deep recession, its leaders have begun picking away at socialism in order to save it. But experts say the latest buzz by the Cuban government is simply another desperate fix to stem the slide of a failed economy that buckled long ago.

                          [...]

                          Since he took office early last year, Raúl Castro has been saying that the country’s severely battered economy needs fixing. In a widely quoted August speech, Castro said Cuba was spending more than it made.

                          “Nobody, no individual nor country, can indefinitely spend more than she or he earns. Two plus two always adds up to four, never five,” he said. “Within the conditions of our imperfect socialism, due to our own shortcomings, two plus two often adds up to three.”

                          In the 18 months since he took office, Castro restructured the nation’s agricultural system to give idle land to farmers, hoping they would revive a deeply troubled state-run agricultural industry plagued by inefficiency. He also allowed taxi drivers to have private licenses; many were working illegally anyway.

                          How do you get farmers to do more farming?  Create an incentive to do so, like a profit motive, long reviled by liberals and one of the reasons they believe health insurance needs reform.  Socialism costs more than the benefits to society.

                          Hugo Chavez was, no doubt, convinced that the oil profits he absconded with would pay for his socialist paradise, but that very socialism chases away the people he soaks off of.  Combined with the global recession, food shortages continue in Venezuela’s “paradise”.

                          The profit motive gives people an incentive to put their own time & money at risk to provide a service to those who need it.  If not enough folks need it, it’s not subsidized by the government (or shouldn’t be); it folds.  If it is useful to enough people, it prospers, and, rightfully, so does the owner who bore the risk.  Wealth is created in this system, not simply “spread around”, as Obama infamously said to Joe the Plumber.

                          Wealth was spread around in Venezuela, Cuba, and even Sweden, and now the piper must be paid.  In the latter two, changes are being made in a more capitalist direction.  Let’s hope Venezuelans learn that lesson.

                          Heck, let’s hope American Democrats learn it.

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                            Is This "Making the World Like Us Again"?

                            The blog "Stop the ACLU" has a run-down of just the recent cases of countries doing things in a manner that doesn’t exactly say they like us again.  Cuba and Venezuela opening up their airfields to Russian bombers.  Ecuador (Ecuador!) expelling US diplomats for the second time this month.  Iran continues its nuclear ambitions (and blames economic isolation for their pushback).  North Korea threatens to test a ballistic that some believe could hit the US west coast. 

                            Hillary Clinton did, however, use the strongest possible terms to denounce that missile test, saying that such a launch would be "very unhelpful". 

                            Yeah, that’ll teach ‘em.

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                              Venezuela Scraps Term Limits

                              Which means that Hugo Chavez is free to run his country into the ground provided he can continue to finance his programs of "free" services and goods to the voters with oil money.  54% of the country have decided that they prefer the handouts.  It took 2 tries, but Chavez got his wish.

                              We’ll see if the Venezuelans get theirs.

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