I had a coworker at the warehouse that I work overnight at who used to ride into work with me. He was talking about trying to get fuel assistance and commented on the fact that Citizen’s Energy who used to provide him with oil in the past has not come through for the past 2 years.

What you don’t remember Citizen’s energy, and Joe4Oil? It wasn’t long ago that these ads were all the rage in Massachusetts

That ad while good at tugging at the heartstrings was slightly inaccurate, the oil wasn’t from “The good people of Venezuela” it was from Hugo Chavez who looted his country till the day he died.

The end result? While the Chavez family is one of the richest in the land the people of Venezuela see things like this:

Images of Hospitals that look like catacombs, and prisons that have become maximum security business centers for criminals where no law applies, have become a reference when speaking about the country. But the wound goes much deeper than that.

We’re not just talking about shortages of basic staples such as toilet paper and soap, or daily electricity cuts, the five-day weekends for public employees, or about any of those stories that have turned Venezuela into a punchline with a seat at the United Nations Human Rights Council. No. The economic collapse at the hands of chavista economic policies has brought something deadlier, and so much simpler: hunger.

How bad is it, even the NYT reports…

With delivery trucks under constant attack, the nation’s food is now transported under armed guard. Soldiers stand watch over bakeries. The police fire rubber bullets at desperate mobs storming grocery stores, pharmacies and butcher shops. A 4-year-old girl was shot to death as street gangs fought over food.

Venezuela is convulsing from hunger.

Hundreds of people here in the city of Cumaná, home to one of the region’s independence heroes, marched on a supermarket in recent days, screaming for food. They forced open a large metal gate and poured inside. They snatched water, flour, cornmeal, salt, sugar, potatoes, anything they could find, leaving behind only broken freezers and overturned shelves.

Or as Margaret Thatcher might have put it, the Government of Venezuela has run out of other people’s money and that means if you are expecting cheap oil or gas from Joe Kennedy, you’re out of luck

The Joe-4-Oil Heat Program is not currently accepting applications for assistance.

Unexpectedly

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Sculpture by Yeong-Deok Seo

by baldilocks

Even after seeing the process of how certain actions lead to certain results and seeing this simple reality present itself over and over again, there are still millions of people who are surprised at how far into the abyss Venezuela has fallen, with socialism acting as chauffeur. Washington Post:

Venezuela has become a failed state.

According to the International Monetary Fund’s latest projections, it has the world’s worst economic growth, worst inflation and ninth-worst unemployment rate right now. It also has the second-worst murder rate, and an infant mortality rate at public hospitals that’s gotten 100 times worse itself the past four years. And in case all that wasn’t bad enough, its currency, going by black market rates, has lost 99 percent of its value since the start of 2012. It’s what you call a complete social and economic collapse. And it has happened despite the fact that Venezuela has the world’s largest oil reserves.

Never has a country that should have been so rich been so poor.

The author of the piece blames this on the fact that the country has become a kleptocracy—as if any socialist state isn’t a kleptocracy.

But Venezuela has gotten something worse than death. It has gotten hell. Its stores are empty, its hospitals don’t have essential medicines, and it can’t afford to keep the lights on.

And worse. Much worse.

Right now, I’m rereading The Bloodlands: Europe between Hitler and Stalin. The first few chapters detail the psychotic state that was Stalin’s USSR–specifically in regard to the planned famine in Ukraine. I’m reading it again to remind myself that, results like those in 20th century Europe don’t just spontaneously spring up, but are merely the end of a long chain of choices—governmental, economic, social, cultural, and spiritual—which a nation makes.

Sometimes, the chain of foolishness begins with a nation’s leader.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel will be done in 2016. Follow her on Twitter.

Please contribute to Juliette’s JOB:  Her new novel, her blog, her Internet to keep the latter going and COFFEE to keep her going!

Or hit Da Tech Guy’s Tip Jar in the name of Independent Journalism—->>>>baldilocks

 

…because they have no beer.

It takes materials like malted barley to make beer. There’s barely any grown in the nation. And the decades of idiotic socialist policies from the Venezuelan leaders, including the late Hugo Chavez, has led the money of the nation, the bolivar, to be virtually worthless, and the nation can barely afford to purchase toilet paper. Worstall then notes something from the Wall Street Journal (quotes from WSJ in italic, Worstall regular)

After Empresas Polar SA closed its three other beer plants over the past several days, the shutting of the San Joaquin plant, near Valencia, will leave just a week’s supply of beer, the company said. Like many other firms here, Polar blames the government, which hasn’t allocated the dollars the company needs to pay for imported raw materials such as malted barley.

It’s that word “allocated” which is the problem. So, the company, just like all other importers of whatever, needs access to dollars in order to be able to pay for those imports. This means either being “allocated” some through the bureaucratic system or going out into the black market and just buying some. But it’s not actually legal to do that:

“Without approval and a supply of [foreign] currency to the suppliers, the company doesn’t have a way to operate,” Mr. Mendoza said. “The company cannot go out and buy currency anywhere because it’s against the law.”

So, no legal way to get the dollars if the bureaucracy won’t allocate them and the bureaucracy won’t allocate them. Obviously, the company therefore closes the plants that can’t be run because they can’t get the imported ingredients.

This is what you get with Socialist ideology: no toilet paper, rolling brownouts and blackouts (despite having access to lots of oil), a food crisis, the economy is inmeltdown, communications are tightly controlled by the government, it’s nationalsuicide in slow motion (hit Fausta’s Blog for all things South America) and people won’t even be able to drown their sorrows in beer.

Let’s POLKA!

and POLKA some more!

Of course if they want to Polka in Venezuela, they’ll have to do it without beer.

Odd Note: When I used the reference with my 22 year old son he didn’t get the reference.

I feel old.

By A.P. Dillon

Recently Billionaire Bill Gates made some comments on Climate change and ‘saving the planet’.  The comments were, shall we say, the kind of dumb we’ve come to expect from someone who thinks that because they are rich and famous, that their mess doesn’t stink.

We see this type of ‘my mess doesn’t stink’ syndrome play out quite often with the rich and powerful. No where does the syndrome present itself on a constant and nauseating basis like it does in Hollywood.

That syndrome is thinking that by virtue of having a lot of money, every thing they do, think and say is golden. With panderers, agents and fans around them, the Hollywood star types think they must be a higher power. Their opinion is the opinion.

Inevitably, when one reaches a point where their money and power are so overwhelming, that person begins to believe everything they do, say and think is absolute, irrefutable truth. They know all. They see all. Their thoughts and beliefs are law.

Bill Gates is in that place and has been for quite some time now.  Having said that,  it would be naive to think that the people who whisper in Gates’ ear and plant ideas that he adopts as his own are not just as dangerous as he is.

Getting back to The Atlantic comments,  clearly, Mr. Gates was not employing the  ‘critical thinking’ he promotes so ardently in the experimental Common Core Standards.  To be specific, Mr. Gates told The Atlantic that representative democracy is standing in the way.

“When I sat down to hear his case a few weeks ago, he didn’t evince much patience for the argument that American politicians couldn’t agree even on whether climate change is real, much less on how to combat it. “If you’re not bringing math skills to the problem,” he said with a sort of amused asperity, “then representative democracy is a problem.”

What Mr. Gates arguably goes on to lay out  is a case that socialism will save us from climate change.

This from the man whose education reforms over the years have largely failed; the most recent example being Common Core known for it’s ridiculously convoluted math strategies.

Gates went on to complain about government and at the same time seemed to be stamping his foot that they weren’t doing it fast enough and doing it his way.

Gates has built a massive empire – he is a very successful capitalist. I am not saying the man is dumb, far from it.  But I am saying something similar to what Hot Air has concluded about Gates’ climate change remarks. Hot Air has two key lines that really rebut Gates’ flawed logic:

“Gates in a smart guy, however he’s horribly wrong and misguided on this.”

The government is the one setting up the regulatory framework, not the free market.”

I don’t think the question should be, ‘will Bill Gates save the world or not?‘.

I think the question is, who is going to save the world from Bill Gates?

DM7 small LL1885A.P. Dillon resides in the Triangle area of North Carolina and is the founder of LadyLiberty1885.com.
Her current and past writing can also be found at IJ Review, StopCommonCoreNC.org, Heartland.org and Watchdog Wire NC.
Catch her on Twitter: @LadyLiberty1885

by Fausta Rodriguez Wertz

Back in the day, Milton Friedman said,

“If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in five years there’d be a shortage of sand.”

The U.S. federal government is not in charge of the Sahara, but the Venezuelan government is in charge of the country’s water supply.

Small wonder water is now in short supply, along with many other basic goods:
Caracas to begin four months of water rationing

Water use in Caracas will be rationed for at least four months due to drought, authorities said Tuesday, as Venezuela grapples with shortages of basic goods which have spurred massive anti-government protests.

One in every four goods including basic food, hygiene products, medicine and auto parts, however, have already become difficult to find, resulting in long, lengthy lines.

The irony is that Venezuela has the highest water resources and greatest hydroelectric capacity (except for Brazil) in South America. The country has a dry season and a rainy season, but what’s important is this:

Even when fully operating and unaffected by drought, water supply levels in the capital area are below international standards, capable of providing 340 liters per person per day, which is sufficient for household consumption but falls short of commercial and industrial demands.

The deterioration of Venezuela’s infrastructure is nothing new. Back in 2011, The Economist had an article about the disastrous results of Hugo Chavez’s nationalization program:

After opposition candidates were elected to many state governorships in 2008, the president re-centralised many public services, taking them out of the hands of the states. These included roads, ports and airports, all of which have experienced accelerated deterioration ever since.

faustaAs we in the U.S. are facing ever-increasing federal government intrusion into all aspects of the economy (including the proposed federal tolls on interstate highways), remember Milton’s immortal words.

Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S. and Latin American politics and culture at Fausta’s Blog.

by baldilocks

The Left has been building America up for overt communism/socialism/marxism/progressivism—henceforth called leftism–for a long, long time. Most educational systems have long ceased to educate their charges properly.They baldilockshave ceased to define objectively the concepts of leftism, small-l liberalism, capitalism, basic economics and, of course, history. Specifically, educational systems stopped calling leftist concepts and ideologies by name. This made it easier to present these principles as good and necessary–present them as rights.

The accepted and assumed “truth” that leftist principles are rights is virus-like. It has become so pervasive that, when those who are properly educated, formally or otherwise, try to explain how and why such principles aren’t rights guaranteed by the US Constitution and how the implementation of these “rights” has bankrupted this nation and how it has radically altered life in this country for the worse, explainers get labeled adversely: racist, Nazi, Uncle Tom, fascist, Aunt Jemima, sexist, tool of the Patriarchy, or some combination thereof, depending on the coating and plumbing of the Cassandra in question. And, these labels stick for the same reason–because the definition and history behind those terms isn’t taught either. So, for example, instead of a Nazi being defined as someone who oppresses a set of persons, a Nazi is defined as someone who stops another from oppressing a set of persons.

And, in the wake of the sowing of those seeds, the human emotions of covetousness have further softened the ground for Leftism. The idea of profit beyond a certain limit being morally wrong stems from nothing but envy. Therefore, if the regular Jane knows nothing about government or economics or history except for the distorted topical versions dispensed by the average public educational system, the average university system and/or the seven o’clock news, she can be convinced, for example, that nationalizing the oil industry will bring down her gasoline bill. She can be convinced that corporations are the enemy of the worker. She can be convinced that their money is her money—stolen out of her pocket. She can be convinced that all profits of other individuals and corporations belong to her and those like her. She can be convinced that the great, almighty government can save her and everyone from the dastardly, mustache-twirling corporations. And, ultimately, she can be convinced that the icon of Hope and Change—the very flowering of the Leftist transformation plan for America–can and will make all of her dreams come true.

And so it is that the Cassandras, eloquent though they may be, will go unheeded for the most part.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2009; the second edition in 2012. Her new novel, Arlen’s Harem, is due in 2014. Help her fund it and help keep her blog alive!

Senators Lee, Cruz and Rubio have gotten a lot of attention recently with their assertion that this is the last chance to rid the world of Obamacare. In the upcoming debt negotiations, they are offering a strategy to refuse to fund Obamacare, even if that means shutting down the government.  Now, no one wants the government to shut down, but this may come down to who blinks first.  Already pundits and some Republicans are saying that this is a bad strategy claiming that Obama will win eventually and Republicans will have another public defeat that will be difficult to recover from.  In the end, some say, the GOP loses.

I say nonsense. Here are 6 reasons why this is a good strategy and we should stand behind it:

1) This really is the last chance to substantially weaken the law.  Democrats knew all those years ago that they needed to build in a phased approach to the law.  Let’s face it, if Obamacare’s implementation had gone any more quickly, we may have still had the backbone needed to do something about it.  But, as it stands, years have gone by and sleepy-eyed members of Congress are tired of fighting Obama, tired of losing.  However, since the law has not been implemented yet fully (though the federal worker bees have been busy prepping to take over the free market ever since the bill was signed into law), the GOP does have a card to play here.  We would be dumb to not use it to its full advantage.

2)  We already lost the Presidential election. There seems to be perpetual hand-wringing  and whining in the Republican Party.  It goes something like this, “if the GOP stands up against Obama, Obama will win and it will make us look bad and lose the next election.  We can’t let that happen, so we need to look like we are working with him.”  This is the most asinine logic I’ve ever heard.  First of all, it doesn’t work.  We already lost!  There is nothing we can do to go back and win.  And, giving in to Obama has gotten us nothing.  In 5 years, I challenge anyone to think of what the GOP has gained strategically by compromising to Obama.  I can’t think of anything.

 3) The law is so bad that it is worth any political risk.  I’m not going to go back and conjure up all of the reports that show how bad this law is.  You can go Google or Bing that yourself.  However, at this point it is well-known that this law will have a substantial negative impact on our economy, on jobs and businesses, and on the healthcare industry as a whole.  Is anyone confused about that?

4291562_eagle_and_american_flag) Obamacare contracts our freedom.  Make no mistake, this is the definition of socialism.  The Executive Branch should not have the power to mandate whatever rules it wants to the healthcare industry.  Going forward, the government gets to design coverage for all Americans the way that it wants. The free market is no longer at play here and people are forced to pay for whatever the government deems to be “basic mandatory coverage.”  I’m not confused about how bad the health care industry was before Obamacare was passed.  But, let’s face it, this takes an existing problem, multiplies it by infinity, and then perpetuates it into eternity.

Obamacare is also a threat to religious liberty.  This is no surprise.  Anytime the government expands its reach, religious liberty is at risk.  The contraceptive mandate is only the beginning.  What other religiously controversial mandates will come out of the Obama (or any future liberal) administration that offend people of faith?

 5) If the GOP loses short-term, we win long-term.  The fact is that this may not work.  However, does the GOP become a strong party again by doing whatever Democrats want?  This battle gives us an opportunity to stand together and fight for something.  It shows voters that this Party is not in retreat.  It provides us with fuel for next year’s elections.  Doing nothing will only hurt us next year.  I’m sad about last November just like everyone else, but the reports of the GOP’s long and slow death are only going to end up being accurate if we let them.

 obama6) Sometimes you just have to do what is right.  If we don’t fight for this, then MSNBC has won, Obama and his Chicago thuggery have won, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid and their dishonest cram-down-our-throats tactics have won, and who we are as a party (or as a nation) may never be the same.  There is a time for compromise, and that time has passed.  The President didn’t compromise when he forced his will on the American people with this bloated takeover of the health care industry.  We cannot compromise as we fight back.

Republicans, this is about doing what is right and doing it now.  Visit the site dontfundobamacare.com and see where your Senator stands.

Lisa @ AmericaisConservative.org (This post is a reprint of the original from AmericaisConservative.org.)

In an effort to lead a healthier life, I decided to go vegan 3 weeks ago.  I’ve ended my long-lasting affair with ice-cream, meats and cheeses.  It hasn’t been easy, but I definitely eat more fruits and veggies than normal and have found I have more energy than I used to.

Yesterday I decided to try out a vegan restaurant in the Dallas area, so I discovered Veggie Garden in Richardson (north-east of Dallas).  It is only the second vegan place I’ve been able to find so far (the first being the Loving Hut in Addison which turned out to be very tasty).

I walked into Veggie Garden not sure what to expect given that it is really just part of a strip mall and there is nothing much on the outside.  The interior was pretty basic, too.  But, the food ended up being quite good.  I ordered the Kung-Pao Soy Chicken with white rice and my sister ordered the Soy Chicken burger with French fries:

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However, the humorous part of this adventure was the political overtone which we were not expecting.  First, we asked to get the password for the wi-fi and were given this piece of paper with the password:

 

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We wondered if they were part of the original protest (see pictures of the Dallas OWS protest here).

 

 

 

We also noticed this sign was hanging on the wall:

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And, in the corner they had a little area with books and literature containing a combination of vegan and political messaging.  Next to “how to become a vegan” is a sign-up for the Green Party (with no sign-ups so far).  They had Michael Moore’s book Stupid White Men and a flyer that said, “You can’t be all you can be if your dead” advocating not joining the military.

 

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The bottom says that there are other ways to be patriotic than serve in the military.

 

 

 

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Notice Stupid White Men towards the right.

 

 

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Sign-up for the Dallas County Green Party.

 

 

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Resources on how to be a vegan and Foreign Policy magazine, not the literature I was expecting.

 

 

 

I would have engaged the owners in a discussion about what exactly their message is supposed to be, but we had a hard time conversing with them (English not being their first language.  Our waitress was from China, but she only works there and doesn’t own the place).  I wanted to ask what these small business owners are trying to say and how they feel oppressed exactly given that it appears they travelled to the United States vs. choosing to stay in their country of origin.  I wanted to ask what type of justice they are seeking while living in a country and a state that allow them to make whatever type of statement they wish and live their lives the way they wish (Obamacare aside).

The food was good and the wi-fi was free, so being capitalists, they won me over with a great product and I will definitely be back.  I also humorously realized that my veganism may lead me to meet some interesting characters.  This will be fun.  My conservatism is non-negotiable, but I do enjoy engaging with those that have different points of view, especially as they espouse a position that is contrary to the very life they live and freedoms they enjoy.

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Here is their website in case you want to visit sometime:  http://www.theveggiegarden.com/

Lisa @ AmericaisConservative.org