[WASHINGTONPOST] It's come to this: The country with the largest oil reserves in the world can't afford to brew its own beer, stay in its own time zone, or even have its own people show up to work more than two times a week.
Venezuela, in other words, is well past the point of worrying that its economy might collapse. It already has. That's the only way to describe an economy that the International Monetary Fund thinks is going to shrink 8 percent and have 720 percent inflation this year. And that's not even the worst of it. No, that's the fact that the state itself is near collapse. Venezuela already has the world's second-highest murder rate, and now the Chavista regime seems to be threatening violence of its own if the opposition succeeds in recalling President Nicolás Maduro. It's a grim race between anarchy and civil war.
This is an entirely man-made catastrophe. Venezuela, by all rights, should be rich. As we just said, it has more oil than the United States or Soddy Arabia ...a kingdom taking up the bulk of the Arabian peninsula. Its primary economic activity involves exporting oil and soaking Islamic rubes on the annual hajj pilgrimage. The country supports a large number of princes in whatcha might call princely splendor. When the oil runs out the rest of the world is going to kick sand in the Soddy national face... or anyone else for that matter. But despite that, economic mismanagement on a world-historical scale has barely left it with enough money to even, well, pay for printing money anymore. That's right: Venezuela is almost too poor to afford inflation. Which is just another way of saying that the government is all but bankrupt.
How did Venezuela get here? Well, by spending more than it had and not having as much as it should. Let's take these in reverse order. It really shouldn't have been hard for the government to use some of its petrodollars on the poor without destroying the economy. Every other oil-rich country, after all, has figured that out. But you can't redistribute oil profits if there aren't oil profits to redistribute, or at least not many of them. And there weren't after Hugo Chavez replaced people who knew what they were doing with people he knew would be loyal to him at the state-owned oil company. It didn't help that he scared foreign oil companies off too. Or that he took money out, but didn't put it back in, so that they can no longer turn as much of their extra-heavy crude into refined oil. Add it all up, and Venezuela's oil production actually fell by about 25 percent between 1999 and 2013.
But that didn't stop the government from going on a spending spree. How big of one? Well, even triple-digit oil prices weren't enough to balance its books. So it got money from the one place it could: the printing press. And it has had to get a lot more now that oil prices have fallen so far the past two years. The result, as you might expect, of printing all these bolivars is that the bolivar has lost almost all its value against the dollar -- and no, that's not hyperbole. Since the start of 2012, the bolivar has, according to black market rates, fallen 99.1 percent against the dollar.
Posted by: Fred ||
05/05/2016 00:00 ||
Top|| File under: Commies
the WAPO is unable to use the word 'socialism' in describing the problems of socialism
Posted by: lord garth ||
05/05/2016 6:37 Comments ||
If the Republican Party dies, will it take the Democrats with it?
George Will, among others, predicts that if Donald Trump wins the nomination and the presidency -- the first, not much of an "if" after Indiana, the second quite a large one -- it will destroy the Republican Party. I think he's probably right, though it depends what you mean by "destroy." There would still be something called the Republican Party under a President Trump; it just won't be the same anymore.
This sort of thing happens all the time in business and entertainment. 3M started out as a mining company; now it makes sticky notes (and seemingly a trillion other things). Maybe giving Trump the lead vocals of the GOP will be like when Van Halen replaced David Lee Roth with Sammy Hagar -- not the same band, but pretty successful all the same.
That’s a bad analogy, of course. Because Hagar was a good frontman with the full support of his band. Give Trump the mic, and a lot of the most talented people in the Republican Party will drop their instruments and walk off the stage.
But a lot of new people might like the show. The Trump campaign points to all the working-class Democrats and independents flocking to his message, nowhere more so than in Indiana on Tuesday. If they're successful, the GOP won't be the party of limited government and free markets anymore. Unlike it was until now?
Instead, it will be more like a party of a kind of statist white-identity politics, of the sort that is common across much of Europe. White folks can play the multiculturalism game, too.
...Whether Trump destroys or merely transforms the GOP, the net effect could be the same: Both parties could lose their reliable rationale for existence. That kind of creative destruction could leave a vacuum for one or more new parties to fill the void.
The death is not a sudden thing, it's been going on for some time. I stopped sending the state GOP and national GOP panhandlers money years ago. I support specific candidates, and they can lose that support with a single bad choice. Ask Pat Toomey. Signed up for Manchin's gun grab and I tagged Toomey's fundraising emails as junk and toss his snail mailings directly in the no-sort recycle bin before I even come in from getting the mail.
Posted by: M. Murcek ||
05/05/2016 12:34 Comments ||
A salient point:
The Democratic Party thrived under FDR, but it shriveled under Obama... There are many reasons for this, but one is particularly relevant. Obama lost the traditional heart of the Democratic Party: the white working class. In fairness, the Democrats’ trouble with blue-collar whites pre-dates Obama, but Obama accelerated the process. In 2012, he lost this group by 26 points (62%-36%). Trump is winning with those votes.
Both parties are effectively dead. The people are tired of their criminal behavior. The real question is if what's left of the republican party will go quietly in reform, or not...
Posted by: 49 Pan ||
05/05/2016 17:26 Comments ||
Tribalism has been rewarded in our politics for decades now under the rubric of "multiculturism" and " diversity" -- it's regrettable but hardly shocking that more and more whites have decided to get in on the action.
This the world the lefties made; people are just trying survive in it.
And before you can fight for lofty principles and sound policy, you have to make sure you're actually around for the fight.
[Daily Caller] Rush Limbaugh says that Donald Trump "is gonna win, beat Hillary [Clinton] badly... it could be landslide proportions."
During Wednesday’s "The Rush Limbaugh Show," the day after Trump all but clinched the Republican nomination, Limbaugh said, "The only reason Hillary Clinton’s gonna win [the Democratic nomination] is because the Democrats have rigged that system for her according to their rules, where she’s gonna get all the delegates or however many she needs to win this no matter what the election returns in every Democrat primary are. Now, the Democrats are making the same mistake here that some may have made in the Cruz campaign."
The Democrats "think that Hillary can go ahead and lose these states, lose every state. She’s losing more than she wins. If you follow the news, it’s clear Bernie Sanders is winning (it seems like) every primary the past month. And accompanying every Bernie Sanders victory story is the fact that he won nothing, that Hillary gets the delegates. So there’s just as many -- or proportionally just as many -- agitated Democrats. You add up people supporting Bernie Sanders to people supporting Donald Trump, and the people that supported Ted Cruz [ garble ] You add up those voters -- and if they all vote, too, Hillary Clinton doesn’t have a prayer."
"I don’t care about the Electoral College. I don’t care about anything else. Just like in terms of the people that are fed up with Washington and the establishment, as we sit here today, she is the lone candidate representing what obviously so many Americans, Republicans and Democrats for their own reasons right now happen to despise," Limbaugh argued. Clinton is "losing the vote in every state, and yet the Democrats expect her to triumph. Where is her momentum?"
Rush, has been wrong in his predictions more often than he's been right.
Posted by: One Eyed Big Foot1131 ||
05/05/2016 3:35 Comments ||
The media have been more 100% wrong than right for some time now. I sent an e mail basically complaining about his drift away from Trump and now this. I said where have you been. I guess afraid to appear biased. Now when apparently others will go with the flow he makes a safe move. The media will certainly because that's where the money and people will be. Should Hilde survive to elections which I doubt a landslide is obvious to myself. She will step aside for the party (no choice).
Funny, it just ocurred to me that you cannot blame the GOP "Elites" or the "Beltway GOP" for Trump nearly as much as you can Obama. Without Obama's poisonous abuse, lies, and repression, there would be no anger for Trump to exploit. Obama got us Trump. The irony.
[DAWN] WITH unbridled powers comes the inevitability of abuse. That symbiotic link has been illustrated, gruesomely and assertively, with the death on Tuesday of Aftab Ahmed, senior member of the MQM and Dr Farooq Sattar’s aide.
He was being held by the Rangers in preventive detention for 90 days, having been nabbed Into the paddy wagon wit' yez! by the law-enforcement agency barely 48 hours earlier.
The Rangers’ claim that Ahmed had been brought alive to the hospital suffering from chest pains and had died after 25 minutes of admission stood in stark contrast to the hospital authorities’ statement that the patient had "no pulse and no blood pressure" on arrival.
It indicates the extent to which the paramilitary force will distort facts to protect itself from blame, although a 42-year-old detainee dying of a heart attack -- that too so soon after being taken into custody -- should in itself be cause for investigation.
Shocking images of Ahmed’s brutalised body that soon emerged on social media left little doubt as to what the dear departed had been subjected to while in jug, a fact that the DG Rangers himself had to later concede.
Posted by: Fred ||
05/05/2016 00:00 ||
Top|| File under: Govt of Pakistan
[DAWN] To any worker anywhere, a pay cheque is everything. The earnings represent what possibilities can be availed of in the future, what debts can be discharged from the past. It determines what will be eaten, what will be worn, which child will go to school and which one will stay at home. The workers employed by the Saudi Binladin Group (SBG) have waited in vain for the past four months for these coveted pay cheques.
Recently, the group, which is one of the biggest employers of expatriate workers in Soddy Arabia ...a kingdom taking up the bulk of the Arabian peninsula. Its primary economic activity involves exporting oil and soaking Islamic rubes on the annual hajj pilgrimage. The country supports a large number of princes in whatcha might call princely splendor. When the oil runs out the rest of the world is going to kick sand in the Soddy national face... , issued exit visas to nearly 77,000 foreign workers of its estimated 200,000 workers (both Saudi and foreign). According to reports published in Al Watan, nearly 55,000 of these workers have not been paid for several months.
On the weekend, these workers who waited in vain for their missing pay cheques erupted into the streets of Makkah. According to CNN, the unpaid workers were protesting in front of the SBG offices. Later that night, and after not receiving any response from company representatives, the disgruntled workers erupted into the streets of Makkah and burned down at least seven buses.
Their frustration is understandable; even while the Saudi government has barred SBG from any future construction contracts, the government has issued exit visas. As per Saudi immigration requirements, the vast majority of the unpaid workers who have been issued exit visas will have to leave. Once they have returned to their home country, and for many this is Pakistain, the chances that they will actually get paid for (in some cases) four months of hard labour become quite slim.
A problem for Pak workers is a problem for Pakistain. According to the State Bank of Pakistain, Pak workers in Saudi Arabia sent back $9.7 billion between July and December of last year. Remittances from Saudi Arabia make up the lion’s share of the over $18bn dollars that overseas workers sent to Pakistain in that period. The fact that a large number of expatriate construction workers have not been paid (and have been fired) by the largest employer in Saudi Arabia could well have significant impact on Pakistain’s economy.
Posted by: Fred ||
05/05/2016 00:00 ||
Top|| File under: Govt of Saudi Arabia
Just more Moslem Culture, folks. Keep moving , keep moving.
[FrontPageMagazine] Breathes there a dictator anywhere in the world who actually fears Kerry? Assad had dinner with Kerry back when the Dems had doubled down on the treason thing. On top of that, Kerry has been issuing empty threats to Syria while being overruled by Obama for a while now. If there's anyone whom no one is afraid of, it's John Kerry.
So by all means...
Secretary of State John Kerry warned Syria’s government and its backers in Moscow and Tehran on Tuesday that they face an August deadline for starting a political transition to move President Bashar Assad out, or they risk the consequences of a new U.S. approach toward ending the 5-year-old civil war.
Sure. If Syria and Iran don't comply...
1. Obama will start giving Iran slightly fewer billions of dollars
2. Kerry will put on his saddest face and say, "Pretty please, Mr. Dictator"
3. Obama will go back to doing all the stupid stuff that didn't work before, but he'll also warn that Assad is on the wrong side of history
Pick your terrifying consequences, please.
“If Assad does not adhere to this, there will clearly be repercussions,” Kerry warned. “One of them may be the total destruction of the cease-fire and then go back to war. I don’t think Russia wants that. I don’t think Assad is going to benefit from that. There may be even other repercussions being discussed. That is for the future.”
That would be inconvenient for Russia since the non-existent ceasefire is helping it gain advantage in the war. Just think what the war would be like if there were no ceasefire.
“If Assad’s strategy is to somehow think he’s going to just carve out Aleppo and carve out a section of the country, I got news for you and for him: This war doesn’t end,” Kerry said.
“As long as Assad is there, the opposition is not going to stop fighting,” he said.
That also holds true if Assad leaves. Or if Kerry declares himself Queen of Syria. About the only thing that could stop everyone in Syria from fighting is a giant asteroid.
But maybe next time Johnny's in Damascus, Assad can take him out to dinner again. Dictator's treat.
Assad: I don't want to talk to you no more, you empty-headed animal food trough wiper! I fart in your general direction! Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries!
Kerry: Is there someone else in Damascus that we can talk to?
Assad: No, now go away or I shall taunt you a second time! Your new plan don't a frighten me, American pig dog. Go and boil your bottom, you son of a silly person. I blow my nose at your so-called "Obamanation," you and all your silly State Department K-nig-hts.
A multi-volume chronology and reference guide set detailing three years of the Mexican Drug War between 2010 and 2012.
Rantburg.com and borderlandbeat.com correspondent and author Chris Covert presents his first non-fiction work detailing
the drug and gang related violence in Mexico.
Chris gives us Mexican press dispatches of drug and gang war violence
over three years, presented in a multi volume set intended to chronicle the death, violence and mayhem which has
dominated Mexico for six years.