Geopolitics

Posted by PITHOCRATES - March 27th, 2014

Politics 101

Twice in little over One Century an Enemy Invaded and Overran Russia/the Soviet Union

On June 24, 1812, Napoleon’s Grande Armée invaded Russia.  And made it all the way to Moscow.  Which they took.  But the Russian army didn’t want anything to do with Napoleon or his Grande Armée so they kept retreating in front of it.  Foiling Napoleon’s plans of engaging and defeating the Russian army.  While drawing them deeper and deeper into Russia.  In a scorched earth retreat.  Leaving nothing for the French.  Making it difficult to feed his massive army.  Then the bitter Russian winter came.  Having expected the Russians to have sued for peace by then they had no winter clothing.  Leaving Napoleon no choice but to retreat.

On June 22, 1941, Joseph Stalin’s ally, Adolf Hitler, broke the Treaty of Non-aggression between Germany and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.  And invaded the Soviet Union.  About one month later than planned due to some trouble their Italian allies were having in the Balkans.  The Nazi armies advanced through the Soviet armies and reached Leningrad, Moscow and Stalingrad.  Then the bitter Russian winter came.  And like the French the Germans had no winter clothing.  Having expected a victory before the onset of winter.  They tried to hold their ground as they froze and starved.  But the Soviets pushed them back.  Eventually all the way to Berlin.  But not after some 20 million Soviets died.

Twice in little over one century an enemy invaded and overran Russia/the Soviet Union.  Never again vowed the Soviets.  So when they chased the Nazis back into Berlin they kept the territory they were on after the war.  Which is why Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania and Albania became Soviet satellites.  Countries behind the Iron Curtain.  To provide a buffer to slow down another invasion before it reached Soviet soil.

For the Latter Part of the 20th Century the Soviets tried to extend their Communist Revolution to other Nations

Of course, following World War II it was the Soviets that had an expansionist policy.  A little thing called the communist revolution.  The assault on capitalism.  Replacing it with socialism first.  Then communism.  And as revolutions go they are fought.  With guns.  So the communist revolution was a perpetual state of war interrupted with moments of peace.  A war the Soviets forced onto their neighbors to get them to join them in their socialist/communist utopia.  Something their neighbors didn’t want.  And something their other neighbors, the Western Powers, would try to help them avoid.

The German capital, Berlin, fell in East Germany.  Berlin, however, was a city divided between the Western Allies and the Soviet Union.  The Western Allies supplied West Berlin via truck and rail transport.  Until the Soviets closed the borders.  In an effort to force West Berlin into the social utopia that was East Berlin.  Something the West Berliners wanted no part of.  So the Western Powers helped them by supplying the city via the Berlin Airlift.  Eventually the Soviets relented.  And opened the truck and rail transport into West Berlin.

The Soviets tried to spread their socialist utopia to other countries that didn’t want it.  Greece.  Turkey.  Iran.  South Korea.  The United States and the Western Powers helped these countries resist these Soviet advances.  Even fighting a shooting war on the Korean peninsula to push the Soviet and China backed North Korea out of South Korea.  So through the remainder of the 20th century the Soviets tried to extend the communist revolution to other nations.  While the United States tried to thwart their designs.  And stared each other down with their nuclear weapons in the Cold War.  Developing the doctrine of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD).  Meaning that any country that started a nuclear war was going to lose, too, in that nuclear exchange.  It was mutually assured but it really was a warning to the Soviets.  Who had designs on conquering other nations.  Including the United States.  Who had no designs on waging war with the Soviet Union.

Geopolitics is about the Balance of Power

To balance the threat of the Soviet Union the Western Powers formed the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).  For Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, etc., had no chance by themselves against an attacking Soviet Union.  They did as a member of NATO, though.  Where an attack on one was an attack on all.  Which meant if the Soviets attacked the Low Countries they were also attacking France, the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States.  The Americans even deployed armor units in West Germany.  The Soviets replied with the Warsaw Pact.  A NATO-like organization between the Soviet Union and some of those countries in Eastern Europe they never left after the end of World War II.

And there was peace.  What we call the Pax Americana.  The American peace.  For it was the awesome might of the American military that gave NATO its teeth.  With troops deployed around the world.  Air forces stationed within striking distances of potential hotspots.  The mightiest navy ever to ply the oceans.  A huge nuclear arsenal.  And the greatest economy in the world that could pay for all of this while the American people still lived a happy and carefree life with all of the comforts a capitalist society could give.  Something the socialism/communism of the Soviet Union could not.  For the people in the Soviet sphere waited for apartments, cars and groceries.  Large extended families crowded into small apartments.  And people waited in lines at stores with empty shelves.  Which explains why the Soviets required a brutal secret police force.  The KGB.

People in the Soviet sphere who learned of how much better life was in the West tried to escape to the West.  This is why they built the Berlin Wall.  Not to keep West Berliners from sneaking into that socialist utopia inside East Berlin.  But to keep the East Berliners from escaping that socialist utopia.  For the only way you can get people to live in that socialist/communist utopia is by force.  And you have to spread the communist revolution not to make life better for people in capitalist societies.  But to destroy that better life across the border from communist societies.  To extinguish that beacon of liberty that keeps luring their people from their oppressive police state.  Something Russia is returning to.  As Vladimir Putin slowly but surely reassembles the Soviet Union.  Not to reconstitute the buffer to protect Russia from another invasion.  But simply because he wants to.  And can.  So far, at least.

Geopolitics is about the balance of power.  Some like to maintain a balance of power to keep the peace.  Like the Romans, the British and the Americans did with their Pax Romana, Pax Britannica and Pax Americana.  Where the prevailing superpower kept the peace.  While others are more interested in acquiring power than peace.  Like Napoleon Bonaparte, Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin and Vladimir Putin.  Who didn’t have strong economies.  And used force to get what they wanted.  Raw materials.  Food.  Or a warm water port in the Crimea.  And they are always looking for a weakness in their enemies to alter the balance of power.  For they were/are masters of geopolitics.  And want to redraw the borders of the world.  To restore the former glory of a past empire.  Or to realize some glorious destiny they believe God has planned for the nation.

www.PITHOCRATES.com

Share

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Venezuelan Women robbed at Gunpoint for their Hair despite living in a Socialist Utopia

Posted by PITHOCRATES - August 10th, 2013

Week in Review

The American left loves Venezuela.  Because they are a socialist nation.  Where they put people before profits.  And everyone links arms and sings Kumbaya.  As everyone lives in harmony in the Venezuelan paradise.  Life just doesn’t get better than life in Venezuela (see Venezuelan thieves stealing hair to sell as hair extensions by Alasdair Baverstock posted 8/9/2013 on The Telegraph).

In Maracaibo, Venezuela’s second largest city, the gang is targeting women whose flowing locks, once removed, can be made into natural hair extensions and sold to beauty salons.

The robbers operate by holding their victims at gunpoint and ordering them to tie their hair into a ponytail, before removing it with a razor blade.

Hard to believe.  In a country where everyone has everything why would there be any criminals?  For in the West they say criminality is a result of income disparity.  The anger that rises between the haves and the have nots.  That spills out into criminal activity.  Yet here is criminality.  In a country where there is no income disparity.  Where everyone has everything.

“The demand for hair extensions has risen by 30 per cent since the crimes started”, said Jhonatan Morales, a beauty salon owner who spoke to state television channel Globovision.

“The market is more competitive now. We judge the hair on its tone, condition and colour”, he said. “But my salon doesn’t buy from street vendors as we don’t know where the hair has come from”.

So these Venezuelan women are being robbed of their hair at gunpoint for other Venezuelan women.  Guess hair extensions are the one thing the socialist government of Venezuela doesn’t provide for their people.  So apart from hair extensions everyone has everything.  Because everyone is equal in Venezuela.  Where there is no income disparity.  And no crime.  Only singing of Kumbaya.  Except for when it comes to hair extensions.  For apparently the socialist utopia in Venezuela doesn’t eliminate hair disparity.

Maracaibo, a city of four million close to the Colombian border, is particularly prone to gang crime given the large amount of smuggling which occurs in the area.

Gang activity in the region is funded by the purchasing of basic goods such as lavatory paper and rice, the prices of which are heavily subsidized by Venezuela’s socialist government. The goods are then smuggled across the border into Colombia where they are sold for a profit at normal market rates.

Not only do they have hair disparity which leads to hair crime they have the worst of all criminals.  Profiteers.  Who instead of singing Kumbaya for having everything they ever could want in their socialist utopia turn to greed.  Taking advantage of the state subsidies to turn a profit.  Something that’s not supposed to happen in a socialist utopia.  That kind of stuff is only supposed to happen in the greedy capitalist world.  Where they put profits before people.  Leading to income disparity.  And crime.  Where the people don’t link arms and sing Kumbaya.  Because life is so wretched there.  Unlike in Venezuela.  As long as you don’t walk the streets with beautiful, lustrous hair.

So maybe income disparity isn’t the source of crime.  For socialism hasn’t eliminated crime in Venezuela.  But you know what it has done?  Allowed great sweeping electoral victories for the candidate that promises to make life better for the have nots.  And if politicians ride to office by promising to make life better for the multitudes of the have nots do you really think they will make life better for the have nots?  And eliminate the great electoral advantage they have?  Probably not.  Which explains why there are always have nots.  And always will be.  Income disparity or not.

www.PITHOCRATES.com

Share

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

FT182: “Obamacare will do to health care what the Soviet Union did to their economy.” —Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - August 9th, 2013

Fundamental Truth

The whole East versus West Cold War Showdown was a Battle between Capitalism and Socialism

If you’re not old you may not be familiar with the Soviet Union as it no longer exists.  The Soviet Union was also known as the USSR.  The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.  And in that full name lies the key to understanding what the Soviet Union was.  That socialist part.  For the USSR was socialism on a grand scale.  Formed following the Russian Revolution of 1917.  Also known as the October Revolution.  When the revolutionaries toppled the Russian monarchy.  And set up a communist state.  Which spilled over in counties surrounding Russia.  And by ‘spilled over’ I mean they conquered those surrounding countries.

People like to make distinctions between communism and socialism but they’re the same thing with a little different window dressing.  Central to both ideologies is a hatred of free market capitalism.  And that enlightened state planners can do everything better than unfettered free markets.  For in socialism they put people before profits.  Whereas in that evil, greedy capitalism they put profits before people.

The whole East versus West showdown of the Cold War was about settling that question.  Which system of government was better?  The free market capitalism of the West?  Or the state planning of the East?  And for a clue to that answer go back to that first sentence.  Where I noted that the Soviet Union no longer exists.  In fact when that socialist utopia did exist those people on the inside dreamed of one thing.  Getting out.

Socialist States use Secret Police to coerce People to Stay and Work for the Greater Good

So why did the people want to get out of their socialist utopia?  Two reasons.  The first was the economy.  Which was horrible.  With state planners managing the economy people waited in line at stores for the things they needed.  Staring at empty shelves where those things should have been.  And seeing shelves full of stuff they didn’t want.  East Berliners risked their lives to climb over the Berlin Wall to get to West Berlin for a better life.  And to go to those stores full of wonderful Western goods.

This brings us back to that other reason.  Which ties into the Berlin Wall.  Which East Berliners risked their lives to climb over.  Why?  Because they couldn’t walk across the street to get to West Berlin.   Or drive there.  And why couldn’t they walk or drive to West Berlin?  Because the East German government wouldn’t allow them to.  The communists built the Berlin Wall because the best and brightest were leaving East Berlin for West Berlin.  And East Berlin, as well as East Germany, couldn’t survive if that brain-drain continued.

Given the choice the people would leave.  If they all left there would be no doctors, scientists, engineers, etc., required in a modern state.  And if they didn’t want to stay and work for the greater good the state used a secret police force (the Stasi, in East Germany) to coerce them to stay and work for the greater good.  To make sure people had the right attitudes and the right thoughts the Stasi spied on people.  Turned people into snitches.  Jailed people.  Tortured people.  And simply made people disappear.  By killing them.  And expunging them from the public record.  As if they never existed.

Liberals in the West loved the Soviet Union and National Health Care

Growing up in the West it’s hard to comprehend life in these socialist utopias.  Thankfully, there are some good movies that bring the fear and loathing of living in a socialist utopia to life.  There’s V for Vendetta.  And Nineteen Eighty Four.  Both set in a futuristic socialist Britain.  If you’re interested in seeing actual life in the former East Germany there’s The Lives of Others.  A movie everyone should watch.  As it is the inevitable destination of creeping socialism.  Life gets worse, not better.  People have less, not more.  And the further we creep towards socialism the worse things get.  And the less we have.

The Democrats passed Obamacare into law on strict party lines.  No Republicans voted for it.  Because history has shown that when the government manages things life gets worse, not better.  And people have less, not more.  This is the basis of the Republican opposition.  On Monday (8/9/2013) President Obama held a rare press conference.  Where he said the holy grail of the Republican Party is taking away health care from 30 million people.  Not their fear of creeping socialism.  Of their fear that health care will get worse, not better.  And that people will have less, not more.

The Soviet Union had national health care.  Liberals in the West loved it.  As they loved the Soviet Union.  College professors.  Public school teachers.  Hollywood.  Even the mainstream media.  Who were (and are) liberal Democrats.  Who all wanted what they had in the Soviet Union.  At least what they believed the Soviets had.  Because the Soviet press wrote glowingly about the Soviet economy.  And the high quality of Soviet health care.  Because enlightened state planners made things better.  Despite the Soviets and the eastern European countries having to use secret police to keep their people from escaping their socialist utopias.  Even with that free high-quality health care.  Because for those living in those utopias it wasn’t everything the liberals in the West thought it was.  Instead, for them, life got worse, not better.  And they had less, not more.  While suffering the brutal oppression of the secret police.

www.PITHOCRATES.com

Share

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Politics of Jobs Data

Posted by PITHOCRATES - April 8th, 2013

Economics 101

The Party of the Working Man misrepresents the Jobs Data and Lies to the People

Figures don’t lie but liars figure.  Something Mark Twain is said to have said.  Mark Twain is, of course, Samuel Langhorne Clemens.  But we know him by his pen name.  Mark Twain.  And the author of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.  But he was also a science buff.  And close friend of Nikola Tesla.  The father of AC power.  And he thought that most Congress people were liars and thieves.  With personal agendas.  Who will lie about facts and figures to get what they want.  And what do people in government want?  What all people in governments throughout time have wanted.  Wealth.  And power.

Every king, noble and aristocrat has acted selfishly in history to acquire wealth and power.  The privileged few.  Or one.  They held the power.  Traded favors.   And worked together.  Landowners amassed great wealth thanks to peasants working their land.  The king maintained the system that limited land ownership to a privileged few.  And the privileged few paid back the king with a share of their wealth.  By working together they exploited the masses to amass wealth.  So they could live the good life.  Comfortable in their wealth.  With the power to do whatever they wanted.  And this hasn’t changed over time.  Well, it has in one respect.  With the advent of democracy it is a little more difficult to do what you want when in elected office.

Today no one leaves Congress poor.  They are set for life.  With a generous pension.  And benefits most workers never get while gainfully employed.  And how do they do this?  The same way that kings, nobles and aristocrats have always acquired wealth.  By using political power to exploit the masses.  And the key to this is growing government as large as possible.  To give them that power.  And the ability to grant favors.  Throwing a few handouts to the peasants to win their love and admiration.  Thus pleasing enough of the electorate to win elections.  But the policies they use to make this happen have a major drawback.  They are anti-business.  And kill jobs.  Putting people out of work.  Which can be a problem when you’re the party of the working man.  And working woman.  So you have to at times misrepresent the jobs data.  And lie to the people.

The United States and Kim Jong Un have an Obesity Problem while the North Korean People suffer Famine

History has shown that low taxes and limited government grow economies.  This is what made the United States the number one economic power in the world.  Which was able to happen because it happened before the era of Big Government in the United States.  Right now there are emerging economies in the world going through a similar phase.  And their stellar economic growth will sputter out once the size of their governments grow.  Just like they have in many advanced economies that have transitioned into a social democracy.  For there is nothing that stamps out economic growth like higher taxes and greater regulatory costs.  Which is why the Soviet Union, the countries behind the Iron Curtain in Eastern Europe, The People’s Republic of China (under Mao), North Korea, Cuba, etc., have never been great economic powers.  Instead these countries that practiced fairness and redistributive policies suffered some of the most abject poverty and the lowest standards of living.  Not to mention having some of the most brutal and oppressive police states to keep their people from fleeing their social utopias.

But when it came to economic production these nations all lied to their people.  If you listened to the Soviet propaganda machine communism had won.  There was no way free market capitalism could match the managed communist economy.  They were growing bumper crops.  Their factories were putting out more goods than they could use.  And life was just peachy in the Soviet police state.  A lot of people in the West believed this.  And fought to undermine capitalism so they, too, could install socialist utopias in the West.  But the people living in those socialist utopias had a little more trouble believing the lies.  For they were waiting hours in lines to buy soap and toilet paper.  They saw stores with empty shelves.  And stores with shelves full of things no one wanted to buy.  They had to wait years before it was their turn to buy a car.  Or get an apartment.  And forever speak in hushed tones for fear the secret police might hear them utter some dissatisfaction of the socialist system.  Lest they disappear to some reeducation camp in Siberia.

And while the people suffered those in power did not.  In socialism everyone was equal.  But like George Orwell said in Animal Farm, some were more equal than others.  North Korea suffers from recurring famine.  And depends on food imports to prevent future famines.  So your average North Korean is not going to have an obesity problem.  While the United States suffers an obesity crisis because their people eat too much food North Korea suffers through recurring famines where people starve to death.  But you know who isn’t starving to death?  Kim Jong Un.  The new ruler of North Korea.  Who not only appears to be well fed.  But even looks obese.  And this in a country that suffers from recurring famines.  And it’s been the same throughout history.  Those champions of the people always lived better than the people.  For those in the inner party in the Soviet Union went to the front of the line when it came to cars and apartments.

Kings, Nobles, Aristocrats and those in the Federal Government act Selfishly to acquire Wealth and Power

This is why people want political power.  Because it is a pathway to wealth.  Especially for those people who don’t have the ability to create wealth on their own.  Like a small business owner.  So they need to use political power.  Favor.  Privilege.  And deceit.  Which is an important tool for today’s politician’s in a democracy.  Deceit.  Such as when they figure with the economic figures.  The Obama administration has implemented some of the most business unfriendly policies that have just stamped out all economic growth.  Which is why we have been wallowing in a jobless recovery following the Great Recession.  While some would even say the Great Recession lingers on.  Despite what the economic data says.  For they have little faith in the numbers anymore.  For with every jobs report the Obama administration highlights the new jobs the economy created.  And how even though the numbers could be better we are definitely on the right path.  As the unemployment rate continues to fall.  Dropping below 8% just in time for the 2012 election.  As no president ever won reelection with an unemployment rate above 8%.  So it was rather convenient it fell just in time for the election.  Perhaps a little bit too convenient.  Especially when you look at the other economic numbers (see Table A-15. Alternative measures of labor underutilization and Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey).

U3 U6 Civilian Labor Force

The U3 unemployment rate is the official unemployment rate.  Which fell to 7.6% in March.  Yet another improvement.  But the U3 unemployment rate doesn’t count everyone who can’t find a full time job.  The U6 unemployment rate counts more people who can’t find a full-time job.  And it fell to 13.8% in March.  Which is an improvement.  But the number of people who can’t find a full time job is still in double digits.  And has moved little from around 14%.  One thing both the U3 and the U6 numbers have in common is that they have changed little in the last 6 months.  While the number of people in the civilian labor force has changed.  A lot.  So one of these numbers doesn’t appear to agree with the other two.  For if the unemployment rate was steady one would think the number of people in the civilian labor force would be steady, too.  Which makes one question the accuracy of the official unemployment rate.  And the constant reports of how the economy is improving.  How it’s on the right path.  As they talk about all the new jobs their policies have created.  Despite the stubbornly high unemployment numbers.  But if we look at that job creation and the changes in the size of the civilian labor force we get a different picture of that improving economy (see Employment Situation Archived News Releases).

Jobs Added Change in Civilian Labor Force

The latest jobs report shows 88,000 new jobs added to the economy.  Less than projected.  And a bit of a disappointment to those in the ‘the economy is on the right path’ crowd.  But they still find solace in the fact that the economy added jobs.  Just as it has for the previous 5 months.  If you add this job creation up during this 6-month period it totals 953,000 new jobs.  That’s about 1 million new jobs.  Not a strong recovery.  But not too shabby.  But if we look at the change in the civilian labor force we don’t see 1 million new jobs.  Over the same 6-month period we see a net LOSS of 28,000 people from the civilian labor force.  Which agrees more with the reality of the current economy.  And the U6 unemployment rate.  It’s bad.  People can’t find a full-time job.  And it’s because of the anti-business policies of the Obama administration.  But for the past 4 years or so they have massaged the jobs data to lead us to believe that they were creating jobs when they were actually destroying jobs.  Why?  Because kings, nobles, aristocrats and those in the federal government act selfishly to acquire wealth and power.

www.PITHOCRATES.com

Share

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Hugo Chavez returns to his Socialist Utopia (Venezuela) after Medical Treatment in Cuba

Posted by PITHOCRATES - February 23rd, 2013

Week in Review

The American Left loves Hugo Chavez.  Because he is an anti-capitalist socialist.  In Venezuela they put people before profits.  And the Left loves that.  For it is only under socialism where there is true equality.  Where everyone is equal.  Rich and poor.  Government official and descamisado.  And everyone gets the best of everything.  Something the America Left is striving for in the United States.  So American can be as just and as fair as Venezuela (see Hugo Chavez Returns Home After Cancer Surgery posted 2/18/2013 on Sky News).

President Hugo Chavez has returned home to Venezuela after more than two months of medical treatment following cancer surgery.

Mr Chavez’s return from Cuba was announced in a series of messages on his Twitter account…

The 58-year-old, who has been in power for more than 14 years, was first diagnosed with cancer in 2011…

Mr Maduro said Mr Chavez will continue his treatment at the Carlos Arvelo Military Hospital in Caracas.

Of course, Hugo Chavez is more equal than everyone else.  When he gets cancer he goes to the finest health care available in the socialist world.  Cuba.  While the ordinary Venezuelan must suffer the Venezuelan health care system.  Which isn’t very good when it comes to treating cancer.  For Hugo Chavez didn’t get treated in Venezuela.

Note that Hugo Chavez has been making Venezuela a better place for 14 years.  A more just place.  And a more fair place.  Something the American Left applauds.  Because ordinary Venezuelans are better off than ordinary Americans.  For ordinary Venezuelans are pampered with cradle to the grave socialism.  Of course, for some, the grave comes a lot sooner than some would want.  Why?  Because after making Venezuela a better place for 14 years he still hasn’t built a decent hospital in the country.  And you know the Venezuelan health care system for the people is bad when he goes to a military hospital for his follow-up care.  For in the United States the better hospitals are not on military bases.  There in our cities.  Where they are available to everyone.  Unlike the ordinary Venezuelan pampered with cradle to the grave socialism.

The American Left can bad-mouth the American health care system all they want and laud Hugo Chavez till the cows come home but not one of them will leave the U.S. to get their health care needs in that Socialist utopia.  Venezuela.  Even if Hugo Chavez lets them use the military hospital in Caracas.  And given the choice the ordinary Venezuelan would probably choose the American health care system over their own.  And probably over the Cuban health care system as well.  For when it comes to socialist utopias they’re not very utopian.

www.PITHOCRATES.com

Share

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Used Cars put a Crimp in Venezuela’s Inflationary Policies

Posted by PITHOCRATES - January 27th, 2013

Week in Review

The American Left attacks capitalism for being unfair and evil because it puts profits before people.  Whereas socialism puts people before profits.  Where people give according to ability and take according to need.  Fair, yes?  In the way it makes people want to link arms and sing Kumbaya.  Because everyone has everything they need.  Thanks to that redistribution of wealth.  And exactly how does that work?  Something like this.

An unemployed man with 8 children will get more from the government than a single woman with no children working 12-hour days 6 days a week.  She will have a lot of income the state can tax.  So she has a lot of ability.  While he will get a lot of state benefits.  Because he has a lot of need.  A smart person will look at this and quickly come to the understanding that working hard sucks.  While being a lay-about means you live comfortably on state benefits.  Paid for by people like that woman working 12-hour days 6 days a week.  So in true socialism it’s a contest to show as little ability and as much need as possible.

Sometimes there aren’t enough people to tax.  So to keep the people happy the state spends money it doesn’t have.  By printing more and more money.  Which is what Hugo Chavez did in Venezuela.  Actions which the American Left applaud.  As they applaud Hugo Chavez for putting people before profits.  For unabashedly embracing socialism.  And condemning capitalism.  So Venezuela should be a socialist utopia.  So is it?  Let’s take a look (see Venezuela Ready to Crack Down on Clunker Car Inflation Refuge by Corina Pons & Nathan Crooks posted 1/24/2013 on Bloomberg).

Automobiles purchased in Venezuela, South America’s largest oil exporter, typically gain in value the moment they are driven off the dealership lot. Facing 20.1 percent inflation and capital controls introduced in 2003 that limit the amount of bolivars citizens may take out of the country, Venezuelans invest in durable goods…

Venezuela’s consumer prices last month rose 3.5 percent, the fastest pace in 32 months, the central bank said Jan. 11. Venezuela has the third-highest inflation rate worldwide.

Chavez in 2012 ordered companies to cut prices of shampoo, soap and other personal care products to contain inflationary pressures…

Inflation rose after Chavez restricted dollar supplies in a bid to close a fiscal gap widened by spending before elections in October, in which he defeated challenger Henrique Capriles Radonski by more than 10 percentage points.

The lack of dollars has created shortages of goods that range from toilet paper to detergent and extend to automobiles. Suvinca, a Venezuelan state distributor of Chinese-made cars, posted a notice on its website yesterday that said it had run out of cars and suspended sales…

“The law won’t solve the problem, because it doesn’t resolve the fact that there is still little supply. It won’t reduce demand, either,” Garcia said. “A black market will be created very fast. Instead of solving the problem, it will make it worse…”

“With this law, it will not be permissible to sell a car above the maximum suggested price, and a used car can never cost more than a new one,” Amoroso said. “Notaries will be prohibited from legalizing any transaction that is above the suggested price.”

When you print a lot of money it just makes your money worthless.  Which is why governments frown on people using their computer printers to make money.  If everyone did this money would lose its value.  For it would be as common place as leaves on the ground in autumn.  In countries with high inflation rates people want to spend their money as fast as they get it before it loses too much of its purchasing power.  For the real goods they buy will hold their value.  So it’s a safer place to put your savings.  Instead of in a bank.

The more bolivars (the Venezuelan currency) they print the less each bolivar is worth.  The more they depreciate the bolivar the faster people want to convert them into something that will hold its value.  Like cars.  If the bolivar loses half of its value it will take twice as many of them to buy a car.  So if you own a car its value in bolivars will soar the more of them they print.  Not that people want bolivars.  But they do want dollars.  And getting dollars by selling real goods avoids the inflation problem of the bolivar.  But it also helps to undermine the currency as no one wants to use it.  Or accept it in exchange for valuable goods.

Of course an easy solution to this problem is simply implementing price controls.  If you legally prevent prices from rising in response to runaway inflation problem solved, yes?  No.  Because if prices are held at artificially low levels people will buy so many of these items while the buying is good that these things will disappear from store shelves.  And if the store shelves are empty it doesn’t matter what prices are.  This is why there were gas lines in the Seventies.  Gas sales were so strong that gas stations ran out of gas.  And with prices below real market prices there wasn’t new supply coming on market to meet that excessive demand.  Because having to sell below your costs doesn’t encourage anyone to sell.  Except on the black market.  Where black market prices adjust market supply to market demand.  And everything is available for a price.

This is the socialist utopia that is Venezuela.  Only it’s not a utopia.  It just converts as many people with ability into people with need.  And when there are no longer enough people to tax to provide for those in need societies break down.  And governments collapse.  Unless you have a strong police state.  Which has been the hallmark of all social utopias that put people before profits.  Places like Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, the People’s Republic of China, North Korea, the communist countries of Eastern Europe, Cuba, etc.  Venezuela, too.

www.PITHOCRATES.com

Share

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Socialist Utopia of Oil-Rich Venezuela is Rationing Gasoline

Posted by PITHOCRATES - July 22nd, 2012

Week in Review

Venezuela is a lot like Iran in a way.  They have lots of crude oil.  But little refining capacity.  Which is a problem because nothing really runs on raw crude oil.  It’s what we refine from it that we use in our cars, trucks, buses and power plants.  Causing a bit of a problem in Venezuela.  Because in their socialist utopia they virtually give their gas away.  Which was one thing when they refined it.  But another when they have to buy it (see Chavez’s gasoline rationing plan causes uproar by FABIOLA SANCHEZ, Associated Press, posted 7/20/2012 on Yahoo! News).

As home to the world’s cheapest gasoline, Venezuela has long had to contend with the hemorrhaging of supplies as smugglers haul gas across the border to cash in where the fuel costs far more.

In neighboring Colombia, drivers pay 40 times as much as Venezuelans to tank up — $1.25 a liter ($4.73 a gallon), compared to 3 U.S. cents a liter (11 cents a gallon).

So much gasoline is being taken out of Venezuela illegally that President Hugo Chavez’s socialist government imposed rationing on motorists in one state bordering Colombia last year, and now it’s touched off a furor in a second border state by announcing it will ration gasoline there, too…

Venezuela is a major oil exporter but its refining capacity is limited, so the government buys gasoline from the United States, losing money by then selling it at home for almost nothing. Those imports have been steadily rising since 2009…

Ramon Espinasa, a Georgetown University economist, blames “operational problems” at some Venezuelan refineries as well as rising demand from power plants built in the past two years that burn gasoline and diesel fuel.

“They’re not producing specialized (petroleum) products and must import finished products,” Espinasa said…

“It’s not rationing,” [Hugo Chavez] said. “It’s a means of control, to give everyone gasoline, because the gasoline here is practically free, so the idea is to give everyone what they need.”

One of the problems of socialism is that there is no incentive to risk capital.  Because if you invest and build a refinery the state will just take it away.  So that leaves the state to build their refineries.  And based on their refinery capacity shortfall that’s something the state just doesn’t know how to do.  Or else they would have done it.  And not have gasoline rationing.

Another problem with socialism is the whole ‘from those according to ability to those according to need’ nonsense.  Something that requires some people to work hard so others can have more.  Never a great inducement to get people to work hard.  So they don’t.  In socialism those who show the most need get the most.  And if they show no ability they don’t have to work hard to learn and acquire skills that will advance the economy.  So what can happen is that a chemical engineer with a college degree but no children may earn the wages of a janitor while a janitor with no college degree but with lots of kids can get the wages of a chemical engineer.  From those according to ability.  To those according to need.  You know what this gets you in the long run?  Gasoline rationing.

So socialism requires everyone to sacrifice for the greater good.  And based on the very large black market for gasoline that isn’t happening.  Which is why socialism fails as an economic system.  For people always look after their own interests.  Not the greater good.  Even in the socialist utopia of Venezuela.

www.PITHOCRATES.com

Share

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

FUNDAMENTAL TRUTH #71: “For socialism to be successful no one can be allowed to escape it.” -Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - June 21st, 2011

One Country Socialism

There’s a debate in the communist community.  About the socialist revolution.  Can it happen in just one country?  Or does it need to be a permanent international revolution?  Lenin said you couldn’t have socialism in only one country.  Stalin agreed.  Until he changed his mind.  Then he was content to have socialism in only one country.  As long as he ruled that one country.  Which he ultimately did in the Soviet Union

But what exactly is the socialist revolution?  What is it revolting against?  Capitalism.  And Lenin saw capitalism export its oppression of the working class into less developed countries.  Capitalist imperialism.  Where advanced capitalist countries exploited the resources and workers of their capitalist colonies.  The capitalists got rich; the workers did not.  And that’s the way it always works.  So it has to stop.  But this is easier said than done.  For this is the ‘danger’ of capital.  It can go anywhere.  That’s why Lenin believed in permanent revolution.  To halt international capital flows.  Which was absolutely necessary for the triumph of socialism over capitalism.  Because if you halt capital inflows in one country, that capital will just seek out another.  And as long as you allow capital to seek out these ’emerging markets’ it will.  Just like that Whac-A-Mole game.  Where you hit the mole down in one location only to see it pop up in another.  And so it is with capitalism.

But there is another problem with ‘one country’ socialism.  If you ignore these international flows of capital things happen.  Sometimes nice things.  A lot of these ‘exploited’ nations got wealthier.  The standard of living improved for some.  And for those who it didn’t they could see what it did for others.  And it looked good.  The ‘have nots’ just saw how much more there was to have.  And they wanted to have it, too.  Interesting fact.  As bad as the working conditions were in some of these ‘exploited’ countries, some of the best jobs were in the imperial economy.  Working in sweatshops for dollars a day sure beat working in the fields for subsistence.  The imperialists helped modernize these poorer countries.  Even made them into better countries.  As much as people liked to hate the British Empire, look at the countries they ‘exploited’ today.  The United States.  Canada.  India.  South Africa.  Australia.  New Zealand.  These aren’t third-world countries.  They’re actually pretty nice places to live.  And immigration patterns prove this.

The Free Rider Problem

This is one of the biggest problems of ‘one country’ socialism.  Because if you compare a socialist country with a capitalist country, the capitalist one always looks better.  Again, based on the direction of immigration.  That’s why it’s hard to maintain a socialist revolution in one country while a neighboring capitalist country is richer and enjoys a higher standard of living.  Because people can simply leave the socialist country and move to the capitalist country.  Let’s look at a simple analogy.  Let’s say you get to study abroad.  You have a choice of two universities.  The Murmansk State Technical University north of the Arctic Circle in Russia.  And the International University of Monaco on the French Rivera.  Which are you going to choose?  Nothing against the Murmansk State Technical University, but I’m betting you choose the warm one by the beach.  Because the weather is nicer.  There’s lots of stuff to do in that nice weather.  And there are a lot of beautiful young people who enjoy sunning themselves with little on in that nice weather.  Because if it’s our choice, we’re going to choose what’s best.  And though Murmansk Tech may be very good, fun in the sun is always better.  So when students choose between the two, Murmansk just isn’t going to win that contest.

In theory socialism is a utopia.  Everyone lives together in one big, happy family.  Everyone works hard.  For the family.  There’s no I, me or mine.  Everything is we, us and ours.  Your labors aren’t yours.  They belong to everyone.  Whether you work a lot.  Or a little.  And the product of all that labor belongs to everyone, too.  Whether you work a lot.  Or a little.  And this is where the utopia breaks down.  Where reality starts setting in.  Because of the free rider problem.  You could be busting your ass for the family while a bunch of worthless wastes of space aren’t.  And yet everyone shares equally in the proceeds of all your labor.  Ergo you work less.  As does everyone else.  Eventually until everyone is doing the bare minimum to get buy.  Or to avoid punishment.

Over time the socialist utopia is not much of a utopia anymore.  If it was ever one.  It’s more of a gray, bleak life.  Where you’re hungry more times than not.  And are always in need of something.  Wanting for the things we take for granted in our capitalist lives.  Toilet paper.  Soap.  A pair of blue jeans.  Things we just go to a store when we need them.  And we do.  We don’t wait for hours in a line at a store with empty shelves in hopes of getting something we need.  Now imagine this store across the street from a store in a rich Capitalist city of plenty.  Which way do you think the people would go?  From the rich city of plenty to the bleak city of empty shelves?  Or the other way around.  Turns out, it was the other way around.

Unhappy in East Berlin

If you’re old like me you know what city I’m talking about.  Berlin.  Which was divided between East Berlin and West Berlin after World War II.  Why?  Because the allies had agreed to occupy the German capital.  Which happened to be deep inside East Germany.  Where the Soviet Red Army still had a presence.  Keeping it in the Soviet sphere.  And in that sphere there was nothing but socialism.  Soviet style.  Stalinism.  The East European countries in the Soviet sphere were for all intents and purposes a part of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR).  So whether they liked it or not they now lived in that socialist utopia.  All except a lucky few, that is.

Soviet socialism sucked.  Those in it wanted out of it.  And those in East Berlin could do that by simply walking across the street.  As could anyone that made it to East Germany and into East Berlin.  Caused a bit of a problem.  The best and the brightest in and around East Berlin were walking to their freedom by walking across the street to West Berlin.  Because life was so much better in West Berlin than in East Berlin.  And if you made it to West Berlin you could even leave East Germany.  Go anywhere in Europe.  The UK.  The USA.  Anywhere.

The Soviets learned how it was not possible to have socialism on one side of a street and capitalism on the other.  Because side by side it was clear.  Capitalism was better.  And the people said so with their feet.  Until the Soviets put a stop to it.  You see, for socialism to work, especially in an area where there’s a better life nearby, you just can’t allow people to escape your socialist utopia.  Which is what the Soviets did.  Eventually building a wall between East and West Berlin.  And a kill-zone on the eastern side of that wall.  To dissuade anyone from climbing over that wall.  By killing them before they got there.

The Key to Socialism is Universal Misery

Countries that embrace a more extreme brand of socialism (Marxism, Leninism, Stalinism, etc.) typically share a common theme.  They have very secure borders.  Not to keep people out.  But to keep people in.  Because their people want to escape to a better life.  And the government in that socialist utopia wants to prevent them from getting to that better life.  And does.  Often with extreme force.  Such as the kill-zone in the former East Berlin.

On the other side of the border, though, there is no such police state.  You can come and go as you please.  That is, anywhere but into an extreme socialist state.  Not that anyone would want to.  Because few people choose to live where they go wanting for food and the basic necessities of life.  Or in a police state where your neighbors sometime disappear after talking a little too much about that better life on the other side of the border.

Socialism can work.  It can be that utopia.  As long as people have no choice.  Everyone is equally miserable.  And a better life doesn’t exist anywhere.  It’s hard to lose your freedom.  Many who do try to get it back.  But it’s a different story if you never had it in the first place.  And if it’s the same on the other side of that border.  Because you’ll then be content in your misery.  Blissfully ignorant of anything better.  Obedient.  And that’s how socialism can work.  If there’s universal misery.  And the people are subservient.

www.PITHOCRATES.com

Share

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

LESSONS LEARNED #66: “In socialism you don’t get what you want. You settle for what you get.” -Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - May 19th, 2011

Prices, Price Controls and Rationing

People think high prices are just how rich people stick it to the poor.  But prices, high or low, are an automatic mechanism that matches supply to demand.  Things in high demand but low supply have high prices.  This helps discourage some from buying leaving supply available for those who are willing to pay the higher price.  High prices also tell the market where to expand.  Because high prices typically indicate high profit.  So others will rush in to fill that demand to get in on those high profits.  That’s why store shelves are typically full in capitalistic countries.  Because prices are always matching supply to demand.  And shelves are often empty in socialist countries.  Where a distant bureaucrat decides what people should build.  And what people should buy.

When you interfere with this automatic mechanism you get market failures.  As in socialist, command economiesPrice controls, though they sound kind and caring, hurt.  For example, rent controlled apartments in New York reduced the supply of apartments.  Which reduced the supply of affordable housing.  The exact opposite of the goal of price controls.  Why did this happen?  For the same reason you don’t invest your money for a negative return on investment.  Investors build and manage income properties (i.e., apartment buildings) for a profit.  With rent control, apartments became a bad investment.  So investors built condominiums instead.  And did little to maintain their rent-controlled income properties to limit their losses.

Price controls put people before profits.  Or so they thought.  Rent control kept rental prices down.  But only for the few who could find an apartment.  And those who did saw the quality of their housing decline.  Because they couldn’t pass on the cost of any improvements in higher prices, owners made few improvements.  With no profits there are no incentives.  So rent-controlled housing served as little more than a write-off against profits made from other good investments.  Rent control ultimately destroyed low-income housing.  In quantity as well as quality.  And low-income renters had to settle for what there was.

When OPEC cut oil shipments to the West in the Seventies gasoline prices soared.  People demanded that the government do something.  So the Nixon administration did.  Price controls.  They reduced the price of gas to what people were willing to pay.  And what happened?  The price indicated there was a higher supply of gasoline than there was.  So people bought as if there was more gasoline than there was.  Until the gas pumps pumped dry. And cars ran out of gas.  Gas was affordable.  There just wasn’t any to buy.  If the market had set the price, there would have been gas.  It would have been expensive, but it would have been there to buy.  Price controls took a scarce commodity and made it even scarcer.  So instead of gas at any price, people had to settle for life without gas.  And find another way to get places.

The People have Voted, Capitalism is Better than Socialism

After the communist revolution in China, Mao Tse-Tung began to collectivize agriculture.  Taking land from the wealthy and giving it to the poor to work.  For the state.  The People’s Republic of China.  Who cared about the people.  And even more about the grain they grew.  Because that was how they were going to raise the capital to industrialize China.  Buy low (i.e., take from the farmers) and sell high.  And beat anyone who didn’t get on board with the new way.  So there was no price mechanism.  No profit incentive.  In fact, the only incentive was not to get beaten.  They called this great plan the Great Leap Forward.  It was a disaster.  Unless famine was the goal.  And as far as famines go, this was one of the bigger ones.  They call it the Great Chinese Famine.  Some 15 million died.  Or 30 million.  Depending on who crunches the numbers.  No, the people did not fare so well in the People’s Republic of China.

Doing things for the people sounds good.  It sounds like you care about the people.  But the people rarely do well in nations with ‘People’ in their name.  The Chinese suffered and died wholesale.  They’re doing a lot better now.  But that’s only where they let some capitalism loose.  Allowed people to make a profit.  Gave them an incentive.  In the big cities by the sea.  Life was good.  Soon, people left the poverty and famine of the rural country and looked for a job in the city.  For a better life.  A better life provided by capitalism.  Not socialism.  They had had enough of the kind and caring state taking care of them.   They’d rather work for some rich guy who paid decent wages in a factory.  Because they could choose their life.  And not settle for what the state would give them.

You see, there is no such thing as a communist/socialist utopia.  The truth is, life is horrible in communist/socialist countries.  That’s why Cubans risked their lives on rafts to cross the ocean to escape their utopia and go to Florida.  And why Haitians did likewise.  Even though Cuba was far closer and was itself a communist utopia.  They said thanks but no thanks and took the longer and more deadly trip to Florida.  For they knew life was better in the United States than in Cuba.  Because capitalism is better than communism/socialism.  The people have voted.  At least the Cubans and the Haitians.  And everyone else that went to America.  Or any other capitalist country.

Venezuela Rations Food and Electricity

Hugo Chávez of Venezuela is a big fan of socialism.  He’s turned the whole country into a socialist utopia.  He launched a revolution.  The Bolivarian Revolution.  Nationalized industries.  Including the big one.  Oil.  Put people before profits.  Set up price controls.  Expanded education to the people.  And health care.  The kind of things that resonate with the people.  The people love him.  For sticking it to the rich.  And to the United States (who gets a lot of oil from Venezuela).  Oh, they got a kick out of him saying he smelled sulfur following George W. Bush to the UN podium.  Because George W. Bush was the devil.  He even said he smelled sulfur from Barack Obama in Copenhagen.  Where he called capitalism “the road to hell.”  So he sports true socialist bona fides.  So Venezuela must be a socialist utopia.

Well, we’ve seen what can happen when the market doesn’t set prices to match supply to demand.  And so it happened in Venezuela.  The supply of food dwindled to where they had no choice but to ration it.  They even bartered for food.  Traded some of their oil for Argentine meat and dairy products.  Because the price controls so disrupted the economy domestic production of food plummeted.  Food was affordable.  There just wasn’t much food to buy.

But food isn’t the only thing they’re rationing.  They’re also rationing electricity.  Through rolling blackouts.  This in a country rich in energy.  Oil.  If any nation should not have an electricity problem it’s Venezuela.  But the infrastructure is not there.  What they have is falling apart.  Insufficient.  And nationalized.  That is to say, they put people before profits in the electricity business.  And with no profit incentive, there was no incentive to provide more reliable electricity.  Those in government know they need more.  They tried to add more.  But socialist planners are just not good business people.  Or good electrical engineers.  And they’ve failed.  As an energy-rich nation suffers through humiliating rolling blackouts to ration what electricity they have.

Low Prices and Empty Shelves

People may get what they want in socialism.  For awhile.  At least, they feel good for awhile.  Knowing that the rich are finally getting theirs.  But rarely does life change for the better.  For the little guy.  Those in power live well.  But peasants are still peasants.  The hungry are still hungry.  Or, worse, dying from famine. 

With capitalism, you can always count on a grocery shelf full of stuff you want to buy.  Because prices and the profit incentive put the things you want on that grocery shelf.  Or it puts gas in your car.  Or you in housing.  You can’t always get what you want.  But your complaints will be more of the “I’d rather have steak than hamburger” variety than the “I’d rather have food than fair prices and empty shelves.” 

www.PITHOCRATES.com

Share

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Hugo Chavez Supports Muammar Gadhafi, neither Provides for their People

Posted by PITHOCRATES - February 27th, 2011

 Hollywood is just Gaga for Hugo Chavez

Hollywood loves Hugo Chavez.  At least some of those on the far left.  They like what he’s doing down there in Venezuela.  Some call his socialism real democracy.  And some just find him dead sexy (see Hugo Chavez’s Celebrity Fans by Bridget Johnson posted on About.com World News).

Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez may be reviled in many corners for his socialist policies, crackdowns on press freedom, strident anti-U.S. attitudes, and friendships with rogue regimes such as Iran and North Korea, but he has friends in the left corner of Hollywood. Just who are the celebrities who defend and even laud this highly controversial figure? Here are their pictures — and their praises of Chavez…

[Sean] Penn raised eyebrows even further in March 2010, when he said on HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher” that media critics who refer to Chavez as a dictator should be jailed: “There should be a bar for which one goes to prison for these kinds of biases,” Penn said. Chavez publicly thanked Penn afterward for defending him from his critics…

[Oliver] Stone added that Chavez was “a great man,” and said “I’m a fan.” Chavez joked that Stone was President George W. Bush’s envoy on the 2007 trip. In January 2009, after completing filming documentary footage in Latin America, Stone said of Chavez, “The pure energy of the man is intoxicating. This is what I like about Chavez: He’s a big man, he thinks big … Bolivar is back…”

Supermodel Naomi Campbell — who has a temper-laced reputation of being no angel herself — came away from her November 2007 meeting with Hugo Chavez calling him a “rebel angel.”… She asked Chavez if he would ever pose shirtless like judo master and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, and Chavez said, “Why not? Touch my muscles!”…”I hate Bush,” Campbell told the Brazilian media just before receiving an invitation from Caracas — even though she said she wasn’t there to be political. “I found him to be fearless, but not threatening or unreasonable,” she wrote. “I hope Venezuela’s relations with America will improve in the immediate future…”

“No matter what the greatest tyrant in the world, the greatest terrorist in the world, George W. Bush says, we’re here to tell you: Not hundreds, not thousands, but millions of the American people … support your revolution,” [Harry] Belafonte told Chavez during the broadcast. Belafonte — who also offered a hearty “Viva la Revolucion!” — said media were falsely painting Chavez as a “dictator,” when in fact, he said, Venezuela has democracy and citizens are “optimistic about their future…”

So Chavez is a great man doing great things for his people.  Anyone who criticizes him should be jailed.  And, to protect our women from uncontrollable desires, he should keep his shirt on.  Because the ladies apparently find him dead sexy.  According to these political experts, Venezuela should be a paradise.  A veritable El Dorado.

Venezuela, Socialist Utopia, can’t Build Houses for their People

In El Dorado one would expect to find a plethora of affordable housing.  Why, there must be a house for every man, woman and child.  Because Chavez cares about the people.  Not businesses or their filthy profits.  So how abundant is affordable housing in Venezuela?  Well, not quite so abundant (see Thousands awaiting homes pose challenge for Chavez by Ian James posted 2/27/2011 on The Washington Post).

The floods and mudslides of November and December exacerbated Venezuela’s already severe shortage of affordable housing. Chavez, who is criticized by opponents for failing to address the issue during 12 years in power, is now trying to turn a monumental challenge into a political opportunity – promising to accelerate construction projects and finish 150,000 new homes this year.

His success or failure is likely to affect support for his 2012 re-election bid. His new focus on housing is also allowing Chavez to return to one of his time-tested political strategies: creating expectations among the poor to energize his base, just as problems from 28-percent inflation to violent crime have been taking a toll on his popularity.

You have to wonder what he’s waiting for after 12 years in power.  He’s for the people.  And the people need houses.  So what’s the deal?  Now he’s looking to reelection and promises “that if re-elected, he will build 2 million homes in the next six years.”  That’s over 300,000 per year.  More than twice his 150,000 new homes promised this year.  If he could don’t you think he would have already?  But he hasn’t.  Instead he gives his people runaway inflation.  And violent crime.

The Venezuelan Construction Chamber calculates that the housing deficit – based on a growing population and available housing – has grown from 1.1 million homes to 2 million homes during Chavez’s presidency. According to a tally by the chamber, Chavez’s government built about 284,000 homes between 1999 and 2010 – down sharply from 490,000 homes constructed by governments from 1989-98…

Chavez, meanwhile, has taken to visiting housing construction sites during his hours-long speeches. He has enlisted the help of companies from Russia, China, Belarus, Iran and Portugal to build apartment complexes, and has promised to erect a “great city” of civilian homes inside the Fort Tiuna military base. On hilltops between Caracas and the Caribbean Sea, construction has already begun on the first of 20,000 homes that are to make up a development called Caribia Socialist City.

Oh.  They need 2 million new homes right now.  Not in 6 years.  Considering he’s only built 284,000 new homes in the last decade (at a rate of 28,400 homes per year), he’s probably going to fail to deliver.  Again.  Perhaps Russia, China, Belarus, Iran and Portugal can help.  Or some local builders in any U.S. city.  Who can build in one city what he and the full force of his socialist state did throughout Venezuela.  In fact, they’ve built so many homes that the U.S. has a huge housing surplus.  Unlike in Venezuela.  But socialism’s failures do not trouble them.

“I’m sure we’re going to have our home soon,” said Gregoria Graterol, a 56-year-old hospital elevator operator who is staying with her two daughters and three grandchildren in a room with 16 other families.

She is among more than 3,000 evacuees living in dormitories, warehouses and a technical school at the center. Signs of Chavez’s socialist leanings are visible everywhere, in slogans such as “Against Imperialism” emblazoned on walls, along with images of Chavez, Fidel Castro and Argentine revolutionary Ernesto “Che” Guevara.

What was that Harry Belafonte said?  Oh, yes.  Viva la Revolucion!

In Caracas, officials say they have been improving conditions in shelters by installing petroleum-based plastic partitions to give families more privacy. Soldiers turned away AP reporters from some of those shelters, saying military approval was required.

Just look at how much they care.  They’ve given partitions to families in the shelters for privacy.  Of course, George W. Bush gave trailers to the families made homeless by Hurricane Katrina.  But Chavez is the humanitarian.  Which is why Naomi Campbell calls Chavez an angel.  And hates George W. Bush.

“The hills are collapsing due to super-population,” Chavez said recently, suggesting some housing projects must be built outside the city. “There are too many people in Caracas.”

In the barrios, extended families of 10 people or more live crammed into a few rooms, and rents have been rapidly climbing.

Squatters have increasingly invaded and claimed abandoned buildings in recent years. Marwin Claro, 36, has been living in a once-vacant building owned by a bank in Caracas since she and other squatters broke in at 3 a.m. one morning in 2005, cutting the lock and talking their way past the security guards.

“There are many abandoned buildings,” Claro said. “So when people see those buildings, they have to go inside. I support that.”

Over-crowding in the barrios?  Squatters?  Abandoned buildings?  That doesn’t sound like a humanitarian utopia.  That sounds more like abject failure of a socialist state.  And Chavez’s solution to the overcrowding in Caracas is to get rid of people.  Brilliant.  What’s next?  Forced sterilization?

Chavez’s opponents say such maneuvers are intended to distract from his own failures. Chavez set a goal of providing 150,000 homes during his last re-election year in 2006, but fell far short at about 77,000 – many of which weren’t turned over to people until the following year.

Still, many in the shelters said they are thankful to Chavez and plan to vote for him next year. Looking out over the buckled street that now runs in front of her abandoned home, Maria Franco, 43, said sadly: “It doesn’t look like it was due to rain. It looks like it was an earthquake.”

“We hope they’ll solve our problems,” she said. “We have to have faith.”

Thankful for what?  The destruction of Venezuelan society?  Putting your faith in Chavez for 12 years has increased the housing deficit approximately 80%.  And this while the population grew approximately 14%.  When the housing deficit grows far greater than the population, it may be time to place your faith elsewhere.  If he stays in office much longer ever more Venezuelans may become homeless.  Or, at the least, shirtless.  And the champion of the descamisados just isn’t supposed to do that.

Hugo Chavez Stands behind Muammar al-Gadhafi

If you look past all the talk and see only his actions, Chavez doesn’t really care about his people.  But do you know who he does like? Here’s a hint.  He’s in the news right now (see Venezuela foreign minister urges dialogue in Libya by Christopher Toothaker, the Associated Press, posted 2/27/2011 on The Washington Post).

Chavez and Gadhafi have forged close ties. Last year, Venezuelan and Libyan officials signed numerous accords and Chavez gave Gadhafi a replica of the sword that once belonged to 19th-century independence hero Simon Bolivar.

During a speech to supporters on Sunday, Chavez scoffed at suggestions by his adversaries that protests similar to those sweeping the Middle East could occur in Venezuela. The self-proclaimed revolutionary vowed not to allow violent uprisings aimed at spurring his ouster, prompting applause from a crowd of red-clad supporters.

“We are not going to permit violence to erupt in Venezuela,” he said. “With our unity and work, we will make violence impossible.”

And he will do like his friends.  Cuba’s Fidel Castro.  Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.  North Korea’s Kim Jong-il.  And, of course, Libya’s Muammar Gadhafi.  Who beat the snot out of anyone who dare rise up against the state.

Chavez has neither condemned nor defended efforts to quell the popular rebellion against Gadhafi’s rule, but he tacitly threw his support behind the Libyan leader on Saturday.

“I can’t say that I support or am in favor of or applaud all the decisions taken by any friend of mine in any part of the world,” Chavez said during a televised address.

I wonder if the Hollywood Left supports Gadhafi, too.  I mean, what’s a little democide?  Between friends.

Judged by the Company you Keep

Hugo Chavez is another in a long line of socialist despots that come along and charm those on the left.  Even while all those socialist utopias (Cuba, North Korea, the People’s Republic of China, the Soviet Union, etc.) were anything but utopian.  They suffered abject poverty.  Famine.  Political oppression.  But yet the Left has always been enamored with them.  Why?  The attention the despots give them?  A hatred of Western Civilization?  A hatred of laissez-faire capitalism?  Perhaps all of the above. 

People often say you judge someone by the company they keep.  Based on the company Chavez keeps, he’s not a good man.  And if he’s not, then what can we say about those who keep company with him? 

www.PITHOCRATES.com

Share

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

« Previous Entries