By John Ruberry

Occupy Chicago activists with Palestinian flag in 2012

Even in Illinois this story was barely noticed, but the dropping of a socialist running mate by an Illinois gubernatorial candidate betrays a deep rift within the Democratic Party that deserves a close look.

Late last month State Sen. Daniel Biss, a candidate for governor, announced Chicago alderman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa as his running mate. Just as on the presidential stage, ticket balancing is a goal for Illinois gubernatorial hopefuls and lately white candidates have been picking minorities as their running mates. Incumbent governor Bruce Rauner’s lieutenant governor is an Hispanic. Biss of course chose that strategy too.

But his ticket was perhaps too balanced. Or was it too unbalanced? Six days later Biss dropped his running mate.

Not only is Ramirez-Rosa an Hispanic but he’s also openly gay. So he’s a two-fer, which covers a pair core Democratic constituencies. That is almost certainly why this 28-year-old with scant experience was selected, not because he’s qualified to serve as governor. C’mon now, 28 years old? Illinois is burdened with declining population, $14 billion in unpaid bills, and one of the worst-funded public pension systems among the 50 states. And at one time Biss thought Ramirez-Rosa was good enough to be a heartbeat away from being in charge of fixing this debacle?

But Biss clearly didn’t dig very deep into the background of Ramirez-Rosa. Biss is Jewish but his running mate for that brief time is a supporter of BDS, that is, the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel. Biss’ mother grew up in the Jewish state. When a Jewish Illinois Democratic congressman retracted his endorsement of Biss over the BDS controversy, the chain reaction began.

Ramirez-Rosa was elected to Chicago’s City Council–that inept legislative body that sees a member graduate to a federal penitentiary every 18 months or so–two years ago. Earlier this year he joined the Democratic Socialists of America. It’s more socialist than Democrat.

Just as in 2004, when since-disgraced John Edwards claimed there were “two Americas,” there are two Democratic parties, the old guard, which is still trying to recreate the Franklin D. Roosevelt coalition, and the new wing, which is channeling the spirit of five-time Socialist Party candidate for president, Eugene V. Debs. Or to put a contemporary label on these factions, it’s Hillary Clinton versus Bernie Sanders.

Last month the DSA, which is not formally a political party, held its biennial convention in Chicago. Two things of note occurred. The Democratic Socialists voted nearly unanimously to support the BDS movement. Yes, Sanders is Jewish, but like most leftist Jews he’s secular. Secondly, as Salon noted, an online kerfuffle broke out during the DSA shindig when old guard Democrats complained that the socialists were “hijacking the party.” Perhaps they are. And even though the champion of the hijackers is a septuagenarian, energy and youth is with the socialists’ side, not the stalwarts.

Young against old. Gee, I wonder who is going to win?

Blogger at the border

By 2020, the Democratic Party, which was founded by Andrew Jackson, may be America’s socialist party. With it will come the anti-Israeli and yes, anti-Semitic baggage of the far-left. Except the far-left could be the center-left by then.

As for Jewish Democrats, especially those who support Israel, they will wonder what the heck happened to their party. Actually, it’s occurring now. Early this year in a poll Pew discovered Democrats’ loyalties are almost evenly split in regards to the Israeli-Palestinian struggle.

Perhaps Biss was too hasty in dumping Ramirez-Rosa.  A pro-Israel Democrat paired with a BDS Democrat? Now that’s a balanced ticket!

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Kindling, pretty much.

by baldilocks

Last day filling in for Fausta.

Still waiting for Former President Obama, actors Danny Glover and Sean Penn or director Oliver Stone to comment on the downfall of Venezuela. Breath not being held.

Venezuela’s currency, the bolivar, is disintegrating at an incredible pace under the country’s political and economic crisis that has left citizens broke, desperate and in many cases, homicidal. The depreciation accelerated this week, after a disputed vote electing an all-powerful “Constituent Assembly” filled with allies of President Nicolas Maduro, which the opposition and dozens of countries have called illegitimate.

Just two days ago, on August 2, we reported that one dollar would buy 14,100 bolivars, up from 11,280 the day before.

The next day, the bolivar slumped nearly 15 percent on the black market, to 17,000 to one US dollar. Today, it has crashed again, tumbling 16% to 20,142, and down almost 40% in just the past three days.

(…)

A kilo (two pounds) of rice, for instance, cost 17,000 bolivares. The crisis biting into Venezuela since 2014 came from a slide in the global prices for oil [sic]– exports of which account for 96 percent of its revenues.

The government has sought to monopolize dollars in the country through strict currency controls that have been in place for the past 14 years. Access to them have become restricted for the private sector, with the consequence that food, medicines and basic items — all imported — have become scarce.

According to the International Monetary Fund, inflation in Venezuela is expected to soar above 700 percent this year. In June, Maduro tried to clamp down on the black market trade in dollars through auctions of greenbacks at the weekly fixed rate, known as Dicom. There is also another official rate, of 10 bolivars per dollar, reserved for food and medicine imports.

“Things are going up in price faster than salaries,” noted Zabala, who spends 10 percent of his income on diabetes treatment, when he can.

Meanwhile, Maduro who earlier this week was branded a “dictator” by the US State Department, has vowed that a new constitution the Constituent Assembly is tasked with writing will wean Venezuela off its oil dependency and restart industry, which is operating at only 30 percent of capacity. But Maduro, who links the “black dollar” with an “economic war” allegedly waged by the opposition in collaboration with the US, has not given details on what would be implemented. Instead, on Thursday Maduro promised that “speculators” setting their prices in line with “the terrorist criminal dollar in Miami” would go to jail.

(…)

Venezuela has to make major debt payments, with a $3.4 billion dollar-denominated payment for state oil company PDVSA looming in October. It is increasingly unclear if the company will make the payment.

But, remember folks: this isn’t the result of socialism, because true socialism has never really been tried yet!

(Thanks to Instapundit)

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 tentatively titled Arlen’s Harem, will be done one day soon! Follow her on Twitter and on Gab.ai.

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And as I’ve said before if you can’t spare the cash we will be happy to accept your prayers.

by baldilocks

From Reuters:

Venezuelan activists are increasingly posting details of locations and lifestyles of leftist officials and their families, depicting them as thriving off corruption while the population struggles to eat in a devastating economic crisis.

The social media blitzes, targeting officials and their business partners, relatives and even lovers, are another weapon in a wave of huge protests against President Nicolas Maduro’s government that began in April. Protesters are seeking early presidential elections, freedom for jailed activists, and humanitarian aid to alleviate chronic food and medicine shortages.

One Twitter account published photos purportedly showing the wife of Vice President Tareck El Aissami enjoying champagne and lounging on a pristine beach with her sisters. In another case, an alleged lover of a powerful Socialist Party official is shown on trips to the Middle East.

Venezuela’s opposition accuses officials of profiting from currency controls and a decade-long oil boom to fill their pockets. The opposition-led congress estimates that at least $11 billion have “disappeared” from state-run oil company PDVSA .

Monica Showalter:

Reuters doesn’t mention it, but this is the outcome of socialism, and not just a one-off event but the usual and inevitable outcome of socialism, which always leads to a protected class[.]

Daniel Ortega got caught shopping on Fifth Avenue buying $3,000 worth of designerluxury sunglasses. Romania first lady Elena Ceaucescu was caught with diamonds on the soles of her shoes. The Castros own billions in assets in Spain, Italy, Argentina, China. Two years ago, the late [Hugo Chavez’s] daughter, Maria Gabriela, was reported to be Venezuela’s richest woman with $4.2 billion in assets. (…)

As a blogger and writer under different venues, I have been reporting this stuff for years. The flashing dollar bill parties of the Chavistas. The Caribbean luxury vacations of the Chavistas. The Miami condo-buying. The trips to Disneyland. The Miami shopping trips. The dollar-bill flashing parties. The Chavista luxury yachts. The social whirl and real estate. These stories extend all the way back to 2004. Yet they never got all that much traction.

As I’ve opined before, most people cannot see the connection between cause and effect, but just to be on the safe side, the MSM would prefer to not only keep silent on information which would spur that connection—on this topic, especially–but also to use active means to distract attention away from the potential connection. Makes you wonder if even certain failed comedians are merely carrying out their orders. If true, the drastic methods indicate that the MSM may be scared.

The future nomenklatura must protect its interests, however. I don’t know if I want to see them become more desperate.

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 tentatively titled Arlen’s Harem, will be done one day soon! Follow her on Twitter and on Gab.ai.

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!

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

seo-6
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.