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Author Topic: Venezuela  (Read 137810 times)
captainccs
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« Reply #450 on: July 22, 2017, 08:59:11 PM »

Quote
The tangible real world effects of marijuana legalization seen firsthand aren't exactly as benign as promised.

Neither is smoking tobacco or drinking alcohol. That's not the point. The point is that the war on drugs is pointless. As pointless as Prohibition was but some people just never learn. Anyone who expects humanity to be a bunch of saints is plain crazy. The best we can expect is to keep these things moderately under control.

The current state of the war on drugs is that it is not working because addicts still can buy the stuff, distribution is out of control, jails are full, and the bad guys are making a killing. What's to like? The war on drugs is an UTTER FAILURE. Typical political solution, if it does not work do more of it until it does. Like body count in Vietnam.
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Denny Schlesinger
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« Reply #451 on: July 22, 2017, 09:10:11 PM »

Quote
The tangible real world effects of marijuana legalization seen firsthand aren't exactly as benign as promised.

Neither is smoking tobacco or drinking alcohol. That's not the point. The point is that the war on drugs is pointless. As pointless as Prohibition was but some people just never learn. Anyone who expects humanity to be a bunch of saints is plain crazy. The best we can expect is to keep these things moderately under control.

The current state of the war on drugs is that it is not working because addicts still can buy the stuff, distribution is out of control, jails are full, and the bad guys are making a killing. What's to like? The war on drugs is an UTTER FAILURE. Typical political solution, if it does not work do more of it until it does. Like body count in Vietnam.

We have a war on drugs thread. I don't want to drift that into this thread.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #452 on: July 24, 2017, 11:01:06 AM »

Venezuela's Predominate Source of Revenue Could be in the Crosshairs

Washington has drawn a red line on Venezuela. If the government in Caracas moves forward with elections on July 30 to elect members of a Constitutional Assembly to rewrite the country's constitution, the Trump administration will likely implement some sort of sanctions against it. The effect those sanctions will have on the political confrontation between the government, opposition, and dissident members of the ruling party largely depends on their severity. Individual sanctions targeting Venezuelan politicians will likely have little effect. But if the United States implements sanctions targeting Venezuela's oil sector, it would have an immediate and drastic impact on the country, especially given that Venezuela depends on oil for virtually all its export revenue. If Venezuela's energy sector is sanctioned, it could rapidly reduce oil production because the state-run energy company PDVSA depends heavily on the U.S. market, as well as on U.S. companies for services and crude oil imports to blend with its own oil. Sanctions would, however, also lead to a sharp reduction in food imports, a wider migration of Venezuelans abroad and greater political instability in the country.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #453 on: July 27, 2017, 09:16:20 PM »

The U.S. Department of State has ordered family members of government employees at the embassy in Caracas to leave Venezuela because of the worsening security situation, AFP reported July 27. The voluntary departure of non-emergency U.S. government employees has also been authorized. U.S. citizens are also advised to avoid traveling to Venezuela because of social unrest, violent crime, and pervasive food and medicine shortages.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #454 on: July 28, 2017, 04:56:05 AM »

second post

Venezuela's political and economic crises may soon go from bad to drastically worse. Within weeks, the U.S. government could implement sanctions against Venezuela's vital oil sector to prevent the government in Caracas from formally starting down the path to a one-party state. In their most severe form, the sanctions would wreck Venezuela's ability to export oil to the United States by denying the state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) access to the U.S. financial system. And U.S. companies would also be barred from doing business with the PDVSA. That would lead to a quick and steep drop in Venezuela's already declining oil production. In turn, imports would contract sharply and inflation would skyrocket, spurring the mass migration of millions of Venezuelans. But the United States could also resort to lesser sanctions limited to individuals in the Venezuelan government. Either way, the unrest in Venezuela will continue.
 
The government's approval of an assembly to rewrite the Venezuelan Constitution would immediately trigger heavy sanctions. The assembly election is set for July 30. But this is just the latest in a series of security solutions the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) has used to try to hold on to political power amid rising discontent from citizens. In other moves, the administration of President Nicolas Maduro began in 2015 to expand the size of civilian paramilitary units (known colloquially as colectivos) controlled by the ruling party elite. The government also increased internal surveillance of midranking military officers, for fear that they could mobilize troops against the government. And Maduro also began planning for a new paramilitary force drawn from the ranks of party supporters — although this initiative has yet to materialize.
Long-Ranging Effects
The president and his allies are pushing for the constitutional rewrite to cement their hold on power. Amending the document could allow them to create a one-party state in which the ruling PSUV eliminates formal avenues for opposition dissent. According to a Stratfor source, the assembly originally had been intended as a way to delay the 2017 regional elections and 2018 presidential elections. Diosdado Cabello, a potent figure within the ruling party, saw the assembly process as a way to expand his political power. So what began as a makeshift solution to delay elections has now turned into a trigger for sanctions that would most likely push the PDVSA into financial default.
 
The assembly vote could also affect events outside Venezuela. If the drive for a constitutional assembly advances, Cuba could lose a key source of leverage it has over the United States. Heretofore, Havana has used its intelligence-gathering capabilities in Venezuela, as well as its influence with the Maduro government, as a way to shape talks with the Washington over lifting the U.S. embargo against Cuba. Cabello and his faction — who have opposed Cuban influence on the government — could try to use the assembly to expand their control over government offices while shutting Cuban supporters out of key positions. For their part, the Cubans are trying to place Maduro's wife, Cilia Flores, in a position to lead the constitutional assembly to keep them from being sidelined later. However, serious U.S. sanctions could threaten either Flores or Cabello's ability to control the country.
 
In Washington, the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump has at least two reasons to oppose the constitutional assembly. Politicians such as Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey who oppose the Cuban government (and, by extension, Venezuela's) have heavily lobbied for the administration to take a firmer stance against the measure. But the White House's opposition to the assembly likely rests on the long-term implications of a one-party Venezuelan state. Even if the constitution is changed, the opposition would continue its protests, and dissent within the armed forces could threaten to boil over into a coup attempt. Those developments could potentially prove to be bloody and spark a lengthy armed confrontation among different factions of the government. So in deciding on the oil sanctions, Washington likely would be weighing an authoritarian state against a bloody coup.
Many Avenues of Pressure
The Maduro government is facing pressure from too many parts of society to effectively defend itself. Domestic resistance in Venezuela is strong, and it is not motivated solely by the political opposition, which is generally ideologically opposed to the government. Since the collapse of oil prices in 2014, Venezuela's population has turned increasingly against the administration because of rising inflation and food shortages. Social unrest has been persistent and widespread over the past four months, even in areas where the opposition has traditionally held less sway. This unrest raises the possibility that neither Maduro nor a substitute from the ruling party could win the next presidential election.
 
The second source of pressure comes from former allies of the government, whether in the military or civilian sides of the party. These former supporters don't like the thought of losing power and have turned against the state. Individuals such as Attorney General Luisa Ortega form part of this front, which is pressing for a change of government.
 
The third source is the armed forces themselves. Some commanders have an interest in maintaining the status quo because they receive relatively high wages and profit from criminal activities, such as drug trafficking or gaming the country's currency controls. But the threat of action by the military is a crucial risk. A military rebellion would likely be motivated by the belief that regime change would help ease the immediate hardships faced by the people, whose resistance and dissatisfaction are only growing. Although Venezuela's armed forces are notoriously opaque, the government's concerns can be seen in its response to military dissent since the start of the year. Counterintelligence authorities have heavily monitored potential troublemakers and arrested more than 100 members of the military.
 
The United States is the fourth — and most important — source of pressure. Severe sanctions from the U.S. government represent an existential threat. Harsh measures by Washington could cause Venezuela's oil production, estimated by OPEC at about 2 million barrels per day, to decline, possibly by hundreds of thousands of bpd, denying the country vital oil export revenue. Washington is considering sanctions that would block Caracas' ability to process oil payments through the U.S. financial system and that would effectively end U.S. private sector cooperation with the PDVSA. Within a matter of months, these restrictions would cause significant cash-flow problems for the PDVSA and eat into the country's imports.
The Downward Spiral
As the sanctions kicked in, shipments to U.S. refiners, which amount to 750,000 bpd, would be rapidly disrupted, and Venezuela would have to find new buyers for its oil, leading to lasting damage. U.S. services businesses such as Halliburton Co. and Schlumberger Ltd. would pull out of Venezuela, and the government would have to quickly find substitutes to prevent a sharper production decline in the long run. U.S. refiners would cease exports of fuel, as well as the oil that Venezuela blends with its own crude for refining. And the PDVSA would have to try to sell oil that was bound for U.S. refiners at a discount elsewhere, further cutting its revenue. With less oil revenue, food imports would drop sharply and prices would spike, possibly driving millions of Venezuelans to abandon the country. The refugees would arrive first in Brazil, Colombia and the Caribbean islands near the Venezuelan coast, such as Trinidad and Tobago. And with the long-term decline of the economy, Venezuelans could be pushed even farther away, with some resorting to traveling along smuggling routes through Colombia to eventually reach the United States.
 
For now, Maduro's government is committed to the constitutional assembly vote as its last line of defense. But if the government elites around him try to hold on despite an oil sanctions package, a major, violent confrontation between them and ruling party dissidents could follow. The constitutional assembly could also turn into a political dead end and lead government elites to the negotiating table with their foreign and domestic opponents under the threat of sanctions. And if Maduro gives in to U.S. pressure, the ruling party will likely fragment further between those who see the constitutional assembly as a safeguard and those who seek to coexist with the political opposition. But, in the end, it's not clear that the United States or the government's political opponents can reach a deal that satisfies the elites trying to hold on to power. What is clear is that U.S. sanctions could make Venezuelan politics take a turn for the worse.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #455 on: August 02, 2017, 12:15:33 PM »

If Venezuela Were Stable
Aug 2, 2017

 
By Allison Fedirka
It’s easy to understand why the crisis is Venezuela gets more attention than it deserves. The country is spiraling out of control, and every time it appears to reach its tipping point, it spirals further downward, defying expectations on just how far it could sink before the crisis ended.

The most recent protests concern the vote over the constituent assembly, which would have the power to change the constitution, dismiss officials and dissolve institutions. These protest won’t be what makes or breaks the country – that honor belongs to the security forces. But the political, economic and social problems that plague Venezuela won’t continue in perpetuity. Few things in geopolitics do. The Soviet Union dissolved. China ascended. The United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union.

The Venezuela crisis will pass too. A parallel government run by the political opposition is taking shape. Some countries are no longer recognizing the actions of President Nicolas Maduro. The Venezuelan economic model is unsustainable. Anti-government protests are unrelenting. Something has to give and, according to our 2017 forecast, it will be the Maduro government.

A Marginal Power

It wasn’t so long ago that Venezuela was stable, and its stability, along with ample oil reserves, made it wealthy. But even the richest country in South America is hamstrung by the fact that it is in South America, which is at best a marginal power in geopolitics.

No South American country can dominate the continent, but Venezuela is particularly ill-suited to do so. It has a population of just 31.5 million people. According to the World Bank, it has a gross domestic product of $371 billion – roughly 20 percent the size of South America’s largest economy, Brazil. Only about 25 percent of the country’s land is suitable for agriculture (the world average is roughly 36 percent). It has had to import food to sustain its population.
 
(click to enlarge)

But even under improved socio-economic conditions, Venezuela would struggle to reach greater heights, so broken is it by its own geography. The country can be divided into four main regions. In the northwest, a lowlands region surrounds an inlet of the Caribbean Sea, on which sits the city of Maracaibo, the heart of the Venezuelan oil industry. East of the lowlands is the northern coast, along which the tail end of the Andes Mountains runs to nearly the westernmost reaches of the country. The capital of Caracas is in this region. Central Venezuela is a thinly populated area known as the Llanos. It consists of flat plains through which the Orinoco River flows and was used primarily for ranching before oil was discovered there. Last, the Guiana Highlands in the south is marked by dense, tropical jungles.

The country’s geography discourages mass settlement in the central and southern regions, so the vast majority of Venezuelans live along the northern coast or in valleys within its mountain ranges. It creates areas along Venezuela’s borders that are difficult to pass through (with some exceptional points along the border with Colombia). And though the combination of these barriers has prevented instability from spilling over the borders, it would also prevent Caracas from projecting power throughout the region. Assuming that Venezuela does reclaim stability, it wouldn’t change the balance of power in South America.

Tempered Expectations

Nor would it change the balance of power in the Caribbean. The security of the Caribbean is a vital interest to the United States, which would be exposed to the south in the presence of a foreign power. At the turn of the 20th century, Venezuela played an important role in making sure that never happened.

This is why the U.S. sided with Venezuela in 1895 during a territorial dispute with the United Kingdom. Pursuant to the Monroe Doctrine, which discouraged foreign involvement in the Western Hemisphere, Washington funded a commission that would ultimately establish new borders and pressure the U.K. into accepting international arbitration that upheld them. This is also why the United States provided support when, in 1902, Venezuela was blockaded to force payments of debt it owed to Italy, Germany and the U.K. The United States dispatched a naval fleet to Venezuelan waters and convinced the Europeans to participate in an arbitration resolution hosted by Washington. At the time, this move was as much in Venezuela’s interests as it was in the United States’. The young, post-colonial nations all feared European attempts to regain their claims or influence over former colonies in the Americas. The U.S. could not allow a foreign power to have a foothold in a place like Venezuela. But the country is no longer as important to Caribbean security because the probability of its occupation by a foreign power is practically nonexistent and the U.S. has one of the most powerful navies in the world.

Venezuela’s major link to the global system is its oil, and even here it does not hold as much influence as it used to. Venezuela is a member of OPEC, but over the past few decades producers such as Russia and the United States have diminished the prestige OPEC membership once had. OPEC currently puts Venezuela’s proven crude oil reserves at 302.25 billion barrels. Its production levels, however, have steadily declined because of bad management, poorly maintained infrastructure and a political and economic environment that discourages investment. In 2009, Venezuela produced 3 million barrels of oil per day. Today, production is closer to 2.1 million barrels per day. Low oil prices have compounded the problem by lowering government revenue. Better management and heavier foreign investment in technologies that could extract Venezuelan oil more efficiently is never a bad thing, and it’s possible that the added revenue could help stabilize the country in the long term. But more immediately, it would not appreciably affect the global oil market, which has largely already factored in Venezuelan instability for the last couple of years.

Venezuela will not be in disarray forever. But given that geopolitics is the study of how nations behave, and how their behavior shapes the global dynamics of power, the study of Venezuela is a study in tempered expectations.
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captainccs
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« Reply #456 on: August 02, 2017, 01:07:06 PM »

If Venezuela Were Stable
Aug 2, 2017

By Allison Fedirka

Sorry, Crafty_Dog, Allison Fedirka is lame and should get her head out of her geopolitical hole.

Try this for size:

Why was Venezuela the most prosperous and stable country of Latin America during the 50s, 60s, and 70s?
5 Answers
Juan Pérez, Forty happy years in Venezuela - then 10 more around the world
Answered Aug 21, 2016
I’m glad you’ve asked this question!

For people under 40’s or whom never heard or read about Venezuela in the 50’s, 60’s or 70´s (or simply have just forgotten) it might difficult to imagine that Venezuela was on those years the BEST country to live in all South America - and even better than many European countries. You can see for example a spectacular photo reportage by American photographer Cornell Cappa from LIFE magazine in 1953 in Caracas - then known as “the capital of the opportunities in South America”: FOTOS | Así de hermosa era la Caracas de 1953 según LIFE.



More, MUCH MORE, at  https://www.quora.com/Why-was-Venezuela-the-most-prosperous-and-stable-country-of-Latin-America-during-the-50s-60s-and-70s


I arrived in Venezuela in 1946 and I'm an eyewitness to much of this story. I even had a part to play in the nationalization of the Orinoco deepwater channel which was operated by US Steel. The story about Arturo Uslar Pietry is incomplete. Here is the rest of it:

August 6, 2006
Uslar Pietri, Venezuelan Democracy's Undertaker

Arturo Uslar Pietri was considered one of the leading Venezuelan intellectuals of the 20th century. He certainly was entertaining and educational on TV where he addressed his "invisible friends." He was also a failed politician who ran for president and lost badly. Carlos Andrés Perez (CAP) was of the opinion that, having failed to reach power via elections, Uslar Pietri was trying to reach a position of power through machination.

More at http://softwaretimes.com/files/uslar%20pietri,%20venezuelan%20d.html
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Denny Schlesinger
Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #457 on: August 02, 2017, 01:39:32 PM »

Agree.

When I was at U of PA in the mid 70s there were many Venezuelans in Wharton going for MBAs etc. 

One couple and I drove down to Florida on spring break.  This was in the era of 55 Speed Limit.  On I-95 my friend got us pulled over by a big Florida trooper while doing 88.  Trooper was unhappy. 

My friend point to the I-95 sign and said "What is the problem?  I was only doing 88!"

Trooper explained that was the number for the road.

"Oh, so sorry.  I am from Venezuela and get confused by kilometers per hour and miles per hour."

This did not fly and the trooper went to take payment right there via credit card.  My friend thought he was asking for a bribe and began to haggle.

This was not well-received.

He paid the fine, but as the trooper helped push us out of the sand that was the shoulder, the rear tires sprayed sand all over the trooper.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #458 on: August 07, 2017, 09:57:56 AM »

The Guns of Venezuela
Castro is calling the shots in Caracas. Sanctions have to be aimed at him.
Cuban President Raúl Castro with Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro in Caracas, Venezuela, March 5.
Cuban President Raúl Castro with Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro in Caracas, Venezuela, March 5. Photo: carlos garcia rawlins/Reuters
By Mary Anastasia O’Grady
Aug. 6, 2017 4:56 p.m. ET
183 COMMENTS

In a video posted on the internet Sunday morning, former Venezuelan National Guard captain Juan Caguaripano, along with some 20 others, announced an uprising against the government of Nicolás Maduro to restore constitutional order. The rebels reportedly appropriated some 120 rifles, ammunition and grenades from the armory at Fort Paramacay in Valencia, the capital of Carabobo state. There were unconfirmed claims of similar raids at several other military installations including in Táchira.

The Cuba-controlled military regime put tanks in the streets and unleashed a hunt for the fleeing soldiers. It claims it put down the rebellion and it instructed all television to broadcast only news of calm. But Venezuelans were stirred by the rebels’ message. There were reports of civilians gathering in the streets to sing the national anthem in support of the uprising.

Note to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson: Venezuelans want to throw off the yoke of Cuban repression. They need your help.

Unfortunately Mr. Tillerson so far seems to be taking the bad advice of his State Department “experts.”

The same bureaucrats, it should be noted, ran Barack Obama’s Latin America policy. Those years gave us a rapprochement with Havana that culminated with the 44th president doing “the wave” with Raúl Castro at a baseball game in 2016. Team Obama also pushed for Colombia’s surrender to the drug-trafficking terrorist group FARC in a so-called peace deal last year. And it supported “dialogue” last year to restore free, fair and transparent elections in Venezuela. The result, in every case, was disaster.

Any U.S.-led international strategy to liberate Venezuela must begin with the explicit recognition that Cuba is calling the shots in Caracas, and that Havana’s control of the oil nation is part of its wider regional strategy.

Slapping Mr. Maduro’s wrist with sanctions, as the Trump administration did last week, won’t change Castro’s behavior. He cares only about his cut-rate Venezuelan oil and his take of profits from drug trafficking. To affect things in Venezuela, the U.S. has to press Cuba.

Burning Cuban flags, when they can be had, is now practically a national pastime in Venezuela because Venezuelans understand the link between their suffering and Havana. The Castro infiltration began over a decade ago when Fidel sent thousands of Cuban agents, designated as teachers and medical personnel, to spread propaganda and establish communist cells in the barrios.

As I noted in this column last week, since 2005 Cuba has controlled Venezuela’s citizen-identification and passport offices, keeping files on every “enemy” of the state—a k a political opponents. The Venezuelan military and National Guard answer to Cuban generals. The Venezuelan armed forces are part of a giant drug-trafficking operation working with the FARC, which is the hemisphere’s largest cartel and also has longstanding ties to Cuba.

These are the tactical realities of the Cuba-Venezuela-Colombia nexus. The broader strategic threat to U.S. interests, including Cuba’s cozy relationship with Middle East terrorists, cannot be ignored.

Elisabeth Burgos is the Venezuelan ex-wife of the French Marxist Regis Debray. She was born in Valencia, joined the Castro cause as a young woman, and worked for its ideals on the South American continent.

Ms. Burgos eventually broke free of the intellectual bonds of communism and has lived in Paris for many years. In a recent telephone interview—posted on the Venezuelan website Prodavinci—she warned of the risks of the “Cuban project” for the region. “Wherever the Cubans have been, everything ends in tragedy,” she told Venezuelan journalist Hugo Prieto. “Surely we have no idea what forces we face,” Mr. Prieto observed—reflecting as a Venezuelan on the words of Ms. Burgos—because, as she said, there is “a lot of naiveté, a lot of ignorance, about the apparatus that has fallen on [Venezuelans]: Castroism.”

Cuban control of citizens is as important as control of the military. In Cuba this is the job of the Interior Ministry. For that level of control in Venezuela, Ms. Burgos said, Mr. Maduro must rely on an “elite of exceptional experts” Castro grooms at home.

Cuba, Ms. Burgos said, is not “simply a dictatorship.” For the regime it is a “historical political project” aiming for “the establishment of a Cuban-type regime throughout Latin America.” She noted that along with Venezuela the Cubans have taken Nicaragua, Bolivia, Ecuador, and are now going after Colombia. “The FARC, turned into a political party and with all the money of [the narcotics business], in an election can buy all the votes that it wants.”

Mr. Tillerson is forewarned. Castro won’t stop until someone stops him. To get results, any U.S.-led sanctions have to hit the resources that Havana relies on to maintain the repression.

Write to O’Grady@wsj.com.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #459 on: August 07, 2017, 06:46:16 PM »

    By itself, the theft of arms from Fort Paramacay won't be the downfall of the Venezuelan government.
    The incident does indicate, however, that parts of the military could be turning against Maduro.
    The possibility of a coup isn't the only threat to the government. Steady military defiance could weaken it against the opposition and complicate its efforts to rewrite the constitution.
    But the Maduro government won't go down without a bitter fight.

Something big happened at Venezuela's Fort Paramacay military base early Aug. 6, but the only clear thing about the event is that it's significant. Piecing together information from the Venezuelan government and independent media reports, we can gather that around 5 a.m. local time a group of people entered Fort Paramacay in Valencia. It's unknown how the individuals gained access to the base, but according to government reports they made their way to the armory and stole more than 90 AK-103 rifles and four rocket-propelled grenades. Security forces responded, and two of the intruders were killed in a shootout. Eight people, whom the government accused of being involved, were presented to the press later the same day.

At first it was unclear whether the event actually took place or whether it was merely a government public relations stunt. (All initial reports came from the embattled, increasingly authoritarian administration of President Nicolas Maduro.) However, as the day wore on, it became clear that a theft did occur at Fort Paramacay, and the central question became: What does it mean?

The obvious threat at the top of Venezuelan security planners' minds is the possibility that the stolen weapons will be used against loyalist forces. But by itself this wouldn't be enough to truly threaten the government's hold on power. Widespread military disloyalty, however, would. It's unclear how the group got into the base, but government reports say a first lieutenant at the base colluded with the raiders. And if this means broader dissent within parts of the military, the Venezuelan government is in trouble.

It's a critical time for the Maduro government. Already-rough conditions in Venezuela are rapidly deteriorating even further. The government could soon default, the United States is mulling sanctions on the country's oil sector, and at current rates, inflation could reach 4,000 percent year on year by 2020. As inflation worsens, an increasing number of military members and their families will experience food shortages and economic difficulty. Higher-ranking officials in the armed forces are insulated from the economic crisis, but thousands of lower-ranking members and their families are not. This decline in their standard of living raises the risk that they might openly defy the government, which would undermine the its ability to rule without taking popular opinion or its political opponents into account.

And it couldn't be a worse time for the Venezuelan government. Maduro's loyalists are trying to plan a National Constituent Assembly meeting to rewrite the constitution in their favor and to delay elections — partly in the hope that oil prices will rise and provide the economy (and therefore the government) a needed boost. And the government is counting on the military's support. If enough members of the military become disillusioned, the possibility of a coup cannot be ruled out. However, that's not the only threat posed by a disloyal military. Instead of a sudden coup, groups of military dissenters lacking the ability to remove the government outright could begin a lengthy process of attrition, either through attacks or acts of defiance.

The Maduro government has shown that it intends to cling to power however it can, despite low approval ratings. But it has been able to do so this long only because of the military. Over the past year and a half, the government has successfully fended off an attempt to hold a recall referendum against the president and has virtually ignored the demands of the opposition-controlled congress. It has also pushed forward on a constituent assembly to rewrite the constitution and effectively turn Venezuela into a one-party state. But without the support of the military, Maduro will be unable to make progress with the assembly without risking rebellion. Put simply: The Venezuelan government needs a critical mass of loyalty from the military to survive.

Still, even if members of the military turn on Maduro and his government, the government will not abandon the constituent assembly without a fight. Challenges from the military will be met with force by parts of the military that remain loyal. And if enough dissidents pit themselves against the government, there could be a prolonged and possibly violent standoff. It's important to recognize that military dissidents would not necessarily be guided by or aligned with the political opposition, and their disloyalty could create a tangle of politically motivated violence that would have to be unraveled before the country's substantial economic problems could even begin to be addressed.
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ccp
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« Reply #460 on: August 08, 2017, 03:18:39 PM »

https://www.fool.com/investing/2017/04/22/this-opec-country-has-the-largest-proven-oil-reser.aspx
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captainccs
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« Reply #461 on: August 13, 2017, 11:46:15 PM »

About the "faja petrolifera del orinoco," the Washington Times quote is not very accurate:

Quote
Unlike light and sweet crude from Saudi Arabia, oil from Orinoco is tarlike. It is laced with metals and sits beneath deep jungles. Getting to the oil field means building roads, electrical-power grids and other major infrastructure. Once the oil is extracted from the ground, it is technically difficult to process.

It's not "deep jungles" but "tropical grassland plain."

https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?mid=1nBSwM20iUwD9M_DpUJz-hfQUt_I&hl=en&ll=8.336279895769088%2C-64.87012262500002&z=7

Conventional oil has been produced for over 50 years north of the Orinoco belt between the towns of Anaco and El Tigre and shipped north to Puerto La Cruz by pipeline for processing and export. The additional challenges of the Orinoco belt are extraction and processing, not access.

Quote
Los Llanos in Venezuela

Los Llanos (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈʎanos], locally [ˈʝanos], "The Plains") is a vast tropical grassland plain situated to the east of the Andes in Colombia and Venezuela, in northwestern South America. It is an ecoregion of the flooded grasslands and savannas biome.

The Llanos' main river is the Orinoco, which forms part of the border between Colombia and Venezuela and is the major river system of Venezuela.[1]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Los_Llanos_(South_America)
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Denny Schlesinger
captainccs
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« Reply #462 on: August 13, 2017, 11:51:25 PM »

Venezuela’s PDVSA Profit Disappears as Oil Output Drops Amidst Chaos

Six weeks past the deadline and late on a Friday night, Venezuela's state oil company releases devastatingly bad financial results

By Vanessa Dezem in Sao Paulo
& Michelle F. Davis in Mexico City

Profit at state oil giant Petroleos de Venezuela SA plummeted almost 90 percent last year amid declining output and a drop in oil prices, a new blow for a country rocked by political and economic chaos.

Net income declined 88.7 percent to $828 million in 2016 as production fell 10 percent to 2.57 million barrels per day, according to PDVSA’s annual financial statement published on its website. Average oil prices in Venezuela declined to $35.15 per barrel from about $45 per barrel in 2015.

Venezuela and PDVSA are under intense scrutiny from investors as U.S. sanctions against key government officials and a power grab by President Nicolas Maduro threaten to disrupt financial flows. Prices for government and PDVSA bonds have tumbled in recent weeks amid concerns that Maduro’s actions will trigger more severe measures against the oil-producing nation that may choke off its ability to repay debt.

The profit slump was "quite a dramatic fall," said Russ Dallen, managing partner at Caracas Capital Markets. “PDVSA was the golden goose of Venezuela and what these financials tell us is that these guys are killing it."

Petroleos de Venezuela SA’s $1.1 billion of dollar-denominated bonds that mature in November of this year fell 1.1 percent to 86.8 cents on the dollar Friday, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Press representatives for PDVSA didn’t immediately respond to a phone call and email seeking comment outside of normal business hours.

Oil Prices

PDVSA was obligated under rules for its bonds due in 2020 to provide audited financial reports for last year by the end of June, but asked bond investors for a temporary waiver from the requirements until Aug. 11.

PDVSA’s exports slumped 9.7 percent to 2.2 million barrels per day. Maduro’s regime has set a $3.2 billion plan to boost output by 250,000 barrels a day within 30 months.

Faced with persistently low oil prices, Venezuela -- which has the world’s largest reserves and depends on crude sales for 95 percent of its export revenue -- has been plagued with shortages of everything from toilet paper to antibiotics and food. With the government running out of money to pay for imports and interest payments on foreign debt, it has turned, in part, to asset sales to raise whatever cash it can.

The nation is also dealing with increasing tensions with the U.S, which has imposed a series of sanctions on people associated with Maduro, freezing their assets in the U.S. and blocking anyone in the U.S. from doing business with them. On Friday, Trump said he’s considering a military option in response to the political and economic crisis in Venezuela.

The latest numbers give bondholders more clarity on the gravity of the state oil company’s financial situation. PDVSA has $3.2 billion in bond principal and interest payments due for the rest of the year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

PDVSA may struggle to cover that, Dallen said. “They’re going to have to either borrow more money from the Russians or the Chinese or sell assets." Bloomberg

http://www.laht.com/article.asp?ArticleId=2441695&CategoryId=10718
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« Reply #463 on: August 16, 2017, 08:18:59 PM »

Armed Venezuelan soldiers caught in Guyana begging for food
BY JIM WYSS
jwyss@miamiherald.com
AUGUST 15, 2017 3:31 PM

BOGOTA, COLOMBIA
A handful of Venezuelan soldiers — armed and in uniform — were caught in neighboring Guyana last week begging for food, local police reported, another sign of Venezuela’s deepening hunger crisis.

Guyanese Police Inspector Christopher Humphrey said he’d gone to the border along the Amacuro river, which divides the two nations, to investigate reports that the Venezuelan military was stealing food from locals. But the three soldiers he encountered — two carrying military assault rifles — said they had come to beg for meals and hadn’t harmed anyone.

Humphrey said the men had crossed into Guyana on a wooden raft and seemed genuinely hungry.

“They were desperate,” he told the Miami Herald. “They were here for some time and they showed me a can of sardines and the place where they had cooked it over a fire.”

Hunger is on the rise in Venezuela, amid triple-digit inflation and the government’s inability to import basic goods. And neighboring Colombia, Brazil and Guyana have seen a spike in Venezuelans looking for food.

Venezuela’s armed forces — which are key to propping up the Nicolás Maduro administration — have always been perceived to have easier access to basic goods. Lately, though, there have been growing but uncorroborated reports of soldiers going hungry, particularly at far-flung border outposts.

Venezuela’s military is under intense scrutiny for signs that its support for Maduro might be eroding. In July, a rogue police inspector lobbed grenades onto the Supreme Court from a helicopter, which did not result in injuries.

And on Aug. 6, former National Guard Capt. Juan Caguaripano announced he was launching a military revolt named “Operation David” to “rescue the country from total destruction.” A week later, authorities said they had detained him and other “ringleaders.”

That soldiers would cross into Guyana is telling. The two nations have been locked in a centuries-old border dispute over a swath of Guyanese territory known as the Esequibo and are not on good terms. In 2015, as tensions escalated, Venezuela sent troops and antiaircraft missiles to the border.

Humphrey said he thinks the men learned that they can’t count on crossing the border for food.

“But that doesn’t mean some other set [of soldiers] won’t come back,” he said.

FOLLOW JIM WYSS ON TWITTER @JIMWYSS

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/world/americas/venezuela/article167335697.html

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« Reply #464 on: August 16, 2017, 08:26:09 PM »

BREAKING: US Court Throws Out Venezuela's Diosdado Cabello Lawsuit Against Wall Street Journal

NEW YORK -- A Federal Judge in Manhattan has dismissed a libel lawsuit brought by Venezuela political leader Diosdado Cabello against the Wall Street Journal.

Cabello, a Venezuela political leader and former military leader, is one of the most powerful politicians in Venezuela. He has served as Vice President, President of the country's parliament as well as in a variety of other positions. Cabello participated with Hugo Chavez in the failed coup d'état of February 1992, leading four tanks to attack Miraflores, the Presidential Palace. He was jailed for two years before being released after President Rafael Caldera pardoned him.

"Cabello alleges that Dow Jones published a defamatory article in the Wall Street Journal entitled "Venezuelan Officials Suspected of Turning Country into Global Cocaine Hub," wrote U.S. Federal District Court Judge Katherine B. Forrest, dismissing the suit. "For the reasons set forth below, Cabello has failed to adequately plead material falsity as to most challenged statements and actual malice as to all challenged statements."

"Plaintiff has failed to make out a prima facie case of libel and his second amended complaint is therefore DISMISSED. The Clerk of Court is directed to close the motion ... terminate this action," concluded Forrest.


The Wall Street Journal "caused, and continues to cause, enormous damage to Mr. Cabello's reputation and good name, both personally and in his capacity as a key member of Venezuela's National Assembly," the suit filed in May 2016 alleged, adding that Cabello suffered "substantial economic damages" as a result of the article's publication.

The story was part of an attack by "North American imperialism" against Venezuela, Cabello claimed.

Cabello's lawsuit claimed that he was a "devout husband and father of four," a "distinguished Venezuelan politician," and "high-ranking member of the military."


Earlier this week, after journalists began noticing increased security personnel around U.S. Senator Marco Rubio over the last month, The Miami Herald reported that law enforcement had intelligence indicating that Cabello had allegedly initiated an assassination plot against Rubio.

http://www.laht.com/article.asp?ArticleId=2441851&CategoryId=10717

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« Reply #465 on: August 20, 2017, 06:56:52 PM »

I need your help. Please report the list below to blogs and the news outlets to let the world know how cruel and absurd the Maduro regime really is:

Prohibited Imports

Now under Maduro we have a new prohibition, importing anything that protects against riot police such as gas masks, bullet proof wests, metal balls and marbles (could be used as projetiles), knives, sports padding gear, helmets, etc.

But it goes even further: Banned first aid stuff:

Antacids, gauze, cream to treat burns, bandages, eye drops, bicarbonate, etc.

I asked a drug importer to bring me milk of magnesia. Sorry, antacid, banned article! I don't have an issue with the riot police, I'm CONSTIPATED. Tough! Eat prunes.

Here is the list from my courier service. It would be wonderful if you made it available to blogs and the American press.



Carriers have to make sure these items are not shipped in, NO EXCEPTIONS.

This is an abuse of human rights!

Denny Schlesinger
 
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« Reply #466 on: August 20, 2017, 07:19:04 PM »

Well, Doug has published things on a blog with national viewership.



I need your help. Please report the list below to blogs and the news outlets to let the world know how cruel and absurd the Maduro regime really is:

Prohibited Imports

Now under Maduro we have a new prohibition, importing anything that protects against riot police such as gas masks, bullet proof wests, metal balls and marbles (could be used as projetiles), knives, sports padding gear, helmets, etc.

But it goes even further: Banned first aid stuff:

Antacids, gauze, cream to treat burns, bandages, eye drops, bicarbonate, etc.

I asked a drug importer to bring me milk of magnesia. Sorry, antacid, banned article! I don't have an issue with the riot police, I'm CONSTIPATED. Tough! Eat prunes.

Here is the list from my courier service. It would be wonderful if you made it available to blogs and the American press.



Carriers have to make sure these items are not shipped in, NO EXCEPTIONS.

This is an abuse of human rights!

Denny Schlesinger
 

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« Reply #467 on: August 20, 2017, 07:34:46 PM »

Well, Doug has published things on a blog with national viewership.

That would be great, thanks!
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« Reply #468 on: August 20, 2017, 07:38:24 PM »

Doug? Now that I have volunteered you...   grin


Well, Doug has published things on a blog with national viewership.

That would be great, thanks!
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« Reply #469 on: August 20, 2017, 11:09:02 PM »

Thank you.  I will do my best to get this published and circulated.  Will link and keep you informed.  Secondly, please let us know by private message what we can send under what labeling to you.
-------------------------------------------------
Prohibited Imports in Venezuela, August 21, 2017, from verified, local, first-hand source:

"Now under Maduro we have a new prohibition, importing anything that protects against riot police such as gas masks, bullet proof wests, metal balls and marbles (could be used as projetiles), knives, sports padding gear, helmets, etc.

But it goes even further: Banned first aid stuff:

Antacids, gauze, cream to treat burns, bandages, eye drops, bicarbonate, etc.

I asked a drug importer to bring me milk of magnesia. Sorry, antacid, banned article! I don't have an issue with the riot police, I'm CONSTIPATED. Tough! Eat prunes.

Here is the list from my courier service. It would be wonderful if you made it available to blogs and the American press."



Carriers have to make sure these items are not shipped in, NO EXCEPTIONS.

This is an abuse of human rights!
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DougMacG
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« Reply #470 on: August 20, 2017, 11:50:34 PM »

Thank you.  I will do my best to get this published and circulated.  Will link and keep you informed.  Secondly, please let us know by private message what we can send under what labeling to you.
-------------------------------------------------
Prohibited Imports in Venezuela, August 21, 2017, from verified, local, first-hand source:

"Now under Maduro we have a new prohibition, importing anything that protects against riot police such as gas masks, bullet proof wests, metal balls and marbles (could be used as projetiles), knives, sports padding gear, helmets, etc.

But it goes even further: Banned first aid stuff:

Antacids, gauze, cream to treat burns, bandages, eye drops, bicarbonate, etc.

I asked a drug importer to bring me milk of magnesia. Sorry, antacid, banned article! I don't have an issue with the riot police, I'm CONSTIPATED. Tough! Eat prunes.

Here is the list from my courier service. It would be wonderful if you made it available to blogs and the American press."



Carriers have to make sure these items are not shipped in, NO EXCEPTIONS.

This is an abuse of human rights!


Can someone please try to convert the image to text.  I would like to translate the list to English for distribution in the US.
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« Reply #471 on: August 21, 2017, 08:53:20 AM »

http://www.nbcnews.com/news/latino/medicines-supplies-grounded-u-s-after-venezuela-tags-them-war-n767346

Medicines, Supplies Grounded in U.S. After Venezuela Tags Them ‘War Material’
by CARMEN SESIN

MIAMI — After four years of sending monthly shipments of medicine and food for hospitals and needy people in Venezuela, Move Org, a non-profit based in Miami, abruptly stopped three weeks ago.

"We stopped because we are seeing that boxes and containers are being opened and searched in Venezuela. We don't want problems," said Hilda Marina Alcalá, the Florida vice-president of the non-profit.

Move Org had been sending up to five to seven pallets of donations monthly to help alleviate the burden that the economic and political crisis gripping the South American nation has had on its people.
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« Reply #472 on: August 21, 2017, 10:51:22 AM »

I reached Pat at Spartareport.com and he is putting it together for story to publish tomorrow.  Once published, I will see how many other blogs and sites we can get to point to it.

I think it would still help to get this image converted (OCR) to a readable and translatable text, but my computer has been unable to do that.  http://softwaretimes.com/pics/prohibited-items.png
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« Reply #473 on: August 21, 2017, 11:30:22 AM »

Estimado Cliente MBE:
Debido a las nuevas regulaciones aduaneras en nuestro país, queda terminantemente prohibida la importación de los siguientes productos. Esta restricción es obligatoria, sin excepción.

ARTÍCULOS PROHIBIDOS
-   Máscaras antigás
-   Chalecos de protección antibalas
-   Pistolas de aire, de balines,
de pintura y municiones relacionadas con este tipo de artículos
-   Resorteras de cualquier tipo
-   Gas pimienta
-   Porta gas pimienta
-   Pistolas eléctricas paralizantes (pistolas de electroshock)
-   Bolas de metal
-   Metras
-   Artículos que contengan gas/aire comprimido
-   Cuchillos de cualquier tipo (incluye machetes y hachas)
-   Garrotes de policía
-   Artículos deportivos de protección
-   Artículos de camuflaje
-   Cascos de cualquier tipo
-   Protectores de tórax


-   Bates y pelotas de baseball
-   Máscaras
-   Protectores faciales
-   Rodilleras
-   Coderas
-   Plomos de pesca
-   Arcos y flechas
-   Lentes de seguridad
-   Globos inflables
-   Productos de
PRIMEROS AUXILIOS
-Antiácidos
-   Gasas
-   Cremas para Quemaduras
-   Vendas
-   Colirios
-   Bicarbonato -ETC
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« Reply #474 on: August 21, 2017, 11:55:10 AM »

Thanks GM.

From Google translate:

Dear Customer:
Due to the new customs regulations in our country, the importation of the following products is strictly prohibited. This restriction is mandatory, without exception.

PROHIBITED ARTICLES
- Gas masks
- Bulletproof vests
- Air guns, ball guns, of paint and ammunition
related to this type of articles
- Sling shot of any type     
- Pepper spray
- Pepper gas holder
- Paralyzing electric pistols (electroshock guns)
- Metal balls
- Meters, guages
- Articles containing gas / compressed air
- Knives of all kinds (including machetes and axes)
- Police clubs
- Protective sports goods
- Camouflage articles
- Helmets of any type
- Chest protectors
- Bats and baseballs
- Masks
- Facial Protectors
- Kneepads
- Elbow pads
- Fishing leads
- Bows and arrows
- Safety glasses
- Inflatable balloons

Products of FIRST AID
- Antacids
- Gauze
- Creams for Burns
- Salts
- Eye Drops
- Bicarbonates
- Etc.
« Last Edit: August 21, 2017, 12:20:03 PM by DougMacG » Logged
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« Reply #475 on: August 21, 2017, 01:37:38 PM »

Quote
Secondly, please let us know by private message what we can send under what labeling to you.

DougMacG

Thanks but shipments are searched twice, once by the shipper in the USA so they don't get into trouble with the law and by the authorities when it arrives. The stuff would be confiscated. "Legal" stuff I usually order from Amazon.

Thanks for all the help. Public opinion needs to be turned against Maduro after it was turned in favor of Chavez by American fellow travelers

Quote
Fellow traveler
One who supports the aims or philosophies of a political group without joining it. A “fellow traveler” is usually one who sympathizes with communist doctrines but is not a member of the Communist party. The term was used disparagingly in the 1950s to describe people accused of being communists.

http://www.dictionary.com/browse/fellow-traveler
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« Reply #476 on: August 21, 2017, 01:57:16 PM »

http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-kirchick-venezuela-pundits-20170802-story.html

Remember all those left-wing pundits who drooled over Venezuela?
 
The majority of Venezuelans oppose the assembly and the new charter it will draft, fearing it will give Maduro dictatorial powers.
James Kirchick
“Pundits should have fixed terms,” left-wing author Naomi Klein recently told the BBC. Awarded “jobs for life,” most professional commentators — whether opining in newspaper columns like this one or blathering on television — suffer no consequence for making predictions that turn out “spectacularly wrong.” Klein’s (partly tongue-in-cheek) solution? Hold our pundits to account by making them reapply for their sinecures every four years, banishing those whose prognostications prove most wide of the mark.

The socialist Klein’s embrace of market forces, however selective, is welcome. Might I offer the unfolding horror in Venezuela as the first litmus test of her proposal?

On Sunday, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro claimed victory in a referendum designed to rewrite the country’s constitution and confer on him dictatorial powers. The sham vote, boycotted by the opposition, was but the latest stage in the “Bolivarian Revolution” launched by Maduro’s predecessor, the late Hugo Chavez. First elected in 1998 on a wave of popular goodwill, Chavez’s legacy is one of utter devastation.

Thanks to Chavismo’s vast social welfare schemes (initially buoyed by high oil prices), cronyism and corruption, a country that once boasted massive budget surpluses is today the world’s most indebted. Contraction in per capita GDP is so severe that “Venezuela’s economic catastrophe dwarfs any in the history of the U.S., Western Europe or the rest of Latin America” according to Ricardo Hausmann, former chief economist of the Inter-American Development Bank. Transparency International lists Venezuela as the only country in the Americas among the world’s 10 most corrupt.

Left-wing economic populists are enjoying a resurgence in mainstream credibility by railing against free trade and “neoliberals.” This is a scandal.
Socialist economic policies — price controls, factory nationalizations, government takeovers of food distribution and the like — have real human costs. Eighty percent of Venezuelan bakeries don’t have flour. Eleven percent of children under 5 are malnourished, infant mortality has increased by 30% and maternal mortality is up 66%. The Maduro regime has met protests against its misrule with violence. More than 100 people have died in anti-government demonstrations and thousands have been arrested. Loyal police officers are rewarded with rolls of toilet paper.

The list of Western leftists who once sang the Venezuelan government’s praises is long, and Naomi Klein figures near the top.

In 2004, she signed a petition headlined, “We would vote for Hugo Chavez.” Three years later, she lauded Venezuela as a place where “citizens had renewed their faith in the power of democracy to improve their lives.” In her 2007 book, “The Shock Doctrine,” she portrayed capitalism as a sort of global conspiracy that instigates financial crises and exploits poor countries in the wake of natural disasters. But Klein declared that Venezuela had been rendered immune to the “shocks” administered by free market fundamentalists thanks to Chavez’s “21st Century Socialism,” which had created “a zone of relative economic calm and predictability.”


Chavez’s untimely death from cancer in 2013 saw an outpouring of grief from the global left. The caudillo “demonstrated that it is possible to resist the neo-liberal dogma that holds sway over much of humanity,” wrote British journalist Owen Jones. “I mourn a great hero to the majority of his people,” said Oliver Stone, who would go on to replace Chavez with Vladimir Putin as the object of his twisted affection.

On the Venezuelan regime’s international propaganda channel, Telesur, American host Abby Martin — who used to ply her duplicitous trade at Russia Today — takes credulous viewers on Potemkin tours of supermarkets fully stocked with goods. It would be inaccurate to label the thoroughly unconvincing Martin, who combines the journalistic ethics of Walter Duranty with the charm of Ulrike Meinhof, a useful idiot. She's just an idiot.


Most of Chavismo’s earlier adherents have maintained a conspicuous silence in the face of the Venezuelan calamity. Those who do speak up, rather than apologize for getting things so wrong, blame collapsing oil prices for the country’s fate. Yet the decline in the value of petroleum has not led to rioting on the streets of Oslo. The tragedy of Venezuela is the predictable result of what happens when a strongman wages, in Chavez’s own words, “economic war on the bourgeoisie owners,” cracks down on media, prints money with reckless abandon and implements all manner of harebrained socialist schemes.

In the age of Trump, Brexit and a wider backlash against globalization, left-wing economic populists are enjoying a resurgence in mainstream credibility by railing against free trade and “neoliberals.” This is a scandal. For in the form of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, the world has a petri dish in which to judge the sort of policies endorsed by Jones, Klein, British Labor Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, homegrown socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders and countless other deluded utopians.

There, the ghastly failures of their ideas are playing out for everyone to see; a real-time rebuke, as if another were needed, to socialism. That these people are considered authorities on anything other than purchasing Birkenstocks, much less running a country, is absurd.

So yes, let’s put term limits on pundits. And let’s start with anyone who praised the Venezuelan model.

James Kirchick is filling in for Doyle McManus. He is a visiting fellow with the Brookings Institution and author of “The End of Europe: Dictators, Demagogues and the Coming Dark Age.” Follow him on Twitter @jkirchick.
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« Reply #477 on: August 21, 2017, 02:04:20 PM »

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HHTe2Pn7ACg

But, but, Chomsky has CREDENTIALS!
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« Reply #478 on: August 21, 2017, 04:57:48 PM »

On the right, what went wrong in Venezuela is a stupid question, too obvious for words.   On the left, it is the missing question.

(As just noted), Chavez was the hero of the American (US) left.  Some were explicit; others just argued we should implement all the same policies here.

A year ago I asked my closest then-leftist confidant the question? 

If socialism is so great, how do you explain what is happening in Venezuela?

For background, I even included the following background information: 
abandoned socialism and started to implement economic reforms. In 2013, Chile was the world’s 10th freest economy. Venezuela, in the meantime, declined from being the world’s 10th freest economy in 1975 to being the world’s least free economy in 2013
http://dogbrothers.com/phpBB2/index.php?topic=1307.msg98285#msg98285

She answered with the best explanation possible:  Maybe they (the socialists) went too far.
I agree and would add at least two exclamation points, They went too far!!

Coercive Paternalism versus Income Inequality

No one on the right supports zero public sector or zero safety net, but we want to limit the powers of government and enlarge the liberties of the individual.  In a freer, market-based economy, income inequality is a fact - a feature, not a bug.  Some people make more money than others.  Some work harder, smarter, longer hours or more than one job chasing a dream.  Some keep making more and more over the working lifetime as they get smarter, more experienced and have more invested. Others hang out on discussion boards...  The fruit of our labor is one reason why labor gets done, goods produced and services provided.  The fruit of our investment, too.  Without fruit of your labor, goods don't get produced and services don't get provided.  It's not rocket science but we keep steering away from what is known to work best.

Coercive Paternalism is the ideal of The Left.  http://www.nybooks.com/articles/2013/03/07/its-your-own-good/  I kid you not! You don't want or need free choice when 'smart-planners' can do that for you and do it better.  http://dogbrothers.com/phpBB2/index.php?topic=1518.msg71031#msg71031 

But you don't get to equality without coercion. Big powerful government is a feature not a bug in real world socialism.

In Venezuela, they pursued the policies and dreams of the American Left.  We should thank them and pay them for their experiment.  They took from the rich and they gave to the people, well actually the government, on behalf of the people (actually the government).  But private sector capitalism requires private sector capital and they chased it away.  Ironically, Public sector investment also requires a vibrant private sector to support it - and they chased it away.  It's a fact, not a cliche, that eventually you run out of other people's money [Margaret Thatcher].

Among the endless ironies of the left is that as you pursue equality and grow poorer, inequality worsens anyway.  Compare Chavez' daughter with median income or see President Obama's record in the US.
http://dailycaller.com/2015/08/10/iron-fisted-socialism-benefited-hugo-chavezs-daughter-to-the-tune-of-billions-reports-say/
http://publications.credit-suisse.com/tasks/render/file/index.cfm?fileid=AD783798-ED07-E8C2-4405996B5B02A32E
https://www.counterpunch.org/2016/02/26/during-obamas-presidency-wealth-inequality-has-increased-and-poverty-levels-are-higher/

Who knew?
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« Reply #479 on: August 21, 2017, 06:09:15 PM »

"Our" article is up on Sparta Report.  Now make it go VIRAL...

https://www.spartareport.com/2017/08/venezuela-banning-imports-products-used-opposition/
https://www.spartareport.com/

Venezuela Banning Imports Of Products That Could Be Used By Opposition

Maduro increasing his control of Venezuela
COMMENTARY
By Patrick Pulatie  Last updated 5:44 PM Aug 21, 2017 

With the Charlottesville riots, the Barcelona terror attack, and the relentlessness of the media challenging President Trump, the Venezuela situation has faded into the background. But Venezuela remains the tinder box that it has been for many years.

President Nicolas Maduro continues to put the clamps on the opposition party and the people of Venezuela. His current efforts involve preventing the opposition from obtaining the resources needed to prevent an uprising of the people.  He has done this by imposing strict new import restrictions. Here is a message from a source in Venezuela.

Now under Maduro we have a new prohibition, importing anything that protects against riot police such as gas masks, bullet proof vests, metal balls and marbles (could be used as projectiles), knives, sports padding gear, helmets, etc

But it goes even further: Banned first aid stuff:

Antacids, gauze, cream to treat burns, bandages, eye drops, bicarbonate, etc.

I asked a drug importer to bring me milk of magnesia. Sorry, antacid, banned article! I don’t have an issue with the riot police, I’m CONSTIPATED. Tough! Eat prunes.

Here is the list from my courier service (of banned items.)
Dear Customer:
 
Due to the new customs regulations in our country, the importation of the following products is strictly prohibited. This restriction is mandatory, without exception.

PROHIBITED ARTICLES

– Gas masks

– Bulletproof vests

– Air guns, ball guns, of paint and ammunition related to this type of article

– Sling shot of any type

– Pepper spray

– Pepper gas holder

– Paralyzing electric pistols (electroshock guns)

– Metal balls

– Meters, gauges

– Articles containing gas / compressed air

– Knives of all kinds (including machetes and axes)

– Police clubs

– Protective sports goods

– Camouflage articles

– Helmets of any type

– Chest protectors

– Bats and baseballs

– Masks

– Facial Protectors

– Kneepads

– Elbow pads

– Fishing leads

– Bows and arrows

– Safety glasses

– Inflatable balloons

 FIRST AID PRODUCTS

– Antacids

– Gauze

– Creams for Burns

– Salts

– Eye Drops

– Bicarbonates

– Etc.

Medical supplies are tagged as “war materials”
The crackdown on imports that could be used by the people to defend against the Maduro regime only serves strengthen the control of the government over the people. Where it ends is unknown right now, but it does not look good for the people.

 
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« Reply #480 on: August 21, 2017, 06:28:54 PM »

If only this were somehow Trump's fault, the MSM would be all over this....


"Our" article is up on Sparta Report.  Now make it go VIRAL...

https://www.spartareport.com/2017/08/venezuela-banning-imports-products-used-opposition/
https://www.spartareport.com/

Venezuela Banning Imports Of Products That Could Be Used By Opposition

Maduro increasing his control of Venezuela
COMMENTARY
By Patrick Pulatie  Last updated 5:44 PM Aug 21, 2017 

With the Charlottesville riots, the Barcelona terror attack, and the relentlessness of the media challenging President Trump, the Venezuela situation has faded into the background. But Venezuela remains the tinder box that it has been for many years.

President Nicolas Maduro continues to put the clamps on the opposition party and the people of Venezuela. His current efforts involve preventing the opposition from obtaining the resources needed to prevent an uprising of the people.  He has done this by imposing strict new import restrictions. Here is a message from a source in Venezuela.

Now under Maduro we have a new prohibition, importing anything that protects against riot police such as gas masks, bullet proof vests, metal balls and marbles (could be used as projectiles), knives, sports padding gear, helmets, etc

But it goes even further: Banned first aid stuff:

Antacids, gauze, cream to treat burns, bandages, eye drops, bicarbonate, etc.

I asked a drug importer to bring me milk of magnesia. Sorry, antacid, banned article! I don’t have an issue with the riot police, I’m CONSTIPATED. Tough! Eat prunes.

Here is the list from my courier service (of banned items.)
Dear Customer:
 
Due to the new customs regulations in our country, the importation of the following products is strictly prohibited. This restriction is mandatory, without exception.

PROHIBITED ARTICLES

– Gas masks

– Bulletproof vests

– Air guns, ball guns, of paint and ammunition related to this type of article

– Sling shot of any type

– Pepper spray

– Pepper gas holder

– Paralyzing electric pistols (electroshock guns)

– Metal balls

– Meters, gauges

– Articles containing gas / compressed air

– Knives of all kinds (including machetes and axes)

– Police clubs

– Protective sports goods

– Camouflage articles

– Helmets of any type

– Chest protectors

– Bats and baseballs

– Masks

– Facial Protectors

– Kneepads

– Elbow pads

– Fishing leads

– Bows and arrows

– Safety glasses

– Inflatable balloons

 FIRST AID PRODUCTS

– Antacids

– Gauze

– Creams for Burns

– Salts

– Eye Drops

– Bicarbonates

– Etc.

Medical supplies are tagged as “war materials”
The crackdown on imports that could be used by the people to defend against the Maduro regime only serves strengthen the control of the government over the people. Where it ends is unknown right now, but it does not look good for the people.

 
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captainccs
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« Reply #481 on: August 21, 2017, 07:37:31 PM »

Posted to Twitter and The Motley Fool.
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Denny Schlesinger
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« Reply #482 on: August 21, 2017, 11:14:55 PM »

Posted to Twitter and The Motley Fool.

I posted it on Free Republic:
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/3579489/posts

And I sent it to Powerlineblog, Steven Hayward, and Wall Street Journal, Best of the Web.
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G M
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« Reply #483 on: August 23, 2017, 12:46:47 AM »

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l5KUadzyV9A

#Invalid YouTube Link#

This is why you never give up your guns.

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captainccs
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« Reply #484 on: August 23, 2017, 06:51:56 AM »

Quote
#Invalid YouTube Link#

Why invalid link? It worked or me.

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Denny Schlesinger
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« Reply #485 on: August 23, 2017, 09:29:23 AM »

Invalid link just means the embed video tool doesn't work anymore with youtube. Must click on the link.

Income equality is first level thinking, right out of our schools and colleges.  The Venezuela experiment proves it is the wrong approach.
« Last Edit: August 23, 2017, 10:00:32 AM by DougMacG » Logged
G M
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« Reply #486 on: August 23, 2017, 10:33:46 AM »

Invalid link just means the embed video tool doesn't work anymore with youtube. Must click on the link.

Income equality is first level thinking, right out of our schools and colleges.  The Venezuela experiment proves it is the wrong approach.

And yet the obvious failure doesn't deter them or cause them to rethink their position.

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captainccs
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« Reply #487 on: August 23, 2017, 07:34:36 PM »

Where did Ami Horowitz pick up the idea that in Venezuela we have income equality? Not true.

Income equality is not an economic issue but a morality/policy issue. Left to its devices wealth distribution follows a power law distribution which is what creates the 80-20 and the 99-1 distribution of wealth. Just as the young people interviewed by Horowitz have no clue about it neither do most investors. The Nobel Prize winning Black-Scholes Option Pricing Model uses the normal distribution when it should be using a power law distribution. These guys were Ph.D.s.

I didn't get it either until quite recently because it is not intuitive, we are familiar with normal distributions but not with power law distribution although much in nature follows power law distribution, earthquakes, for example: many little one and a few large killer ones.

An easy to replicate economic experiment is to watch people play poker. Start the game with the same kitty for each player. Play long enough and there will be one winner and all others will be losers. Try this game:

http://softwaretimes.com/pareto.php

In the stock market people are convinced that fund managers are clueless since 75% of them underperform the market indexes. They are not clueless, the systemic nature of the stock market is to follow a power law distribution. I wrote an article about it:

Quote
February 20, 2011
Why Does the Average Mutual Fund Underperform?

It has often been stated that the average mutual fund underperforms the market but I have never seen an adequate explanation. I used to believe in a simplistic reason: Since mutual funds make up the average, if you deduct their management fees, their results will be that amount below the average. While this holds true, it is not the real reason. For an explanation we have to look at the Pareto Distribution of wealth.

https://softwaretimes.com/files/why+does+the+average+mutua.html

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Denny Schlesinger
captainccs
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« Reply #488 on: August 23, 2017, 08:16:44 PM »

The point of my last post is that you don't need to take a political right/left position with respect to the economy. It has its way of doing things and we can bend it a bit (right or left) but bend it too far and we break it.
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Denny Schlesinger
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« Reply #489 on: August 23, 2017, 11:25:25 PM »

quote author=captainccs:
"Where did Ami Horowitz pick up the idea that in Venezuela we have income equality? Not true."

Socialism (in the US at least) is sold as the promise of greater equality - at the expense of all other things, like keeping the fruits of your own labor and investment, having a positive incentive-based economy or rising the tide that lifts all boats.  They screw up everything else and then fail to make gains on equality as well.



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G M
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« Reply #490 on: August 26, 2017, 01:30:42 PM »

http://www.dailywire.com/news/20027/watch-woke-millennials-say-theyd-prefer-venezuelas-james-barrett#

WATCH: 'Woke' Millennials Hilariously Say They'd Prefer Venezuela's Food Lines Over America's Income Inequality
Venezuela's "a lot like the rest of the world, which is a lot more dignified than us."
Screenshot: Ami Horowitz

ByJAMES BARRETT August 21, 2017  209.1k views
In a new video, Ami Horowitz hits the streets to find out what’s rattling around in the younger generation’s collective mind on the hot button millennial topics of income inequality and socialism — particularly, the socialist utopia Venezuela, which is experiencing economic collapse, prompting crisis-level food shortages and the eruption of violence on the streets.

Horowitz ended up finding what anyone paying any attention to the Democratic presidential primary last year will not be surprised to learn: the generation which adores “Democratic socialist” Bernie Sanders hates income inequality so much that they’d be glad to stand in Venezuelan-style food lines so others could have as little as them.


Horowitz begins with the general question of "how important is income equality for you?"

"It’s extremely important," says one girl.

"Pretty important — I work for the working families," says a guy with a beard and a bandana.

"100%. I think that it’s really important and something that has to be taken care of," says another young lady.

"It’s really important, of course," says one young social-minded woman, who’s almost insulted by the question. "Right, it seems like a trick question," her friend adds.

One millennial guy in glasses waxes poetical on the issue: "Income inequality is definitely one of those issues from which everything else sort of stems off of. ... Other issues will perpetuate it — when you want to talk about climate change, and that sort of thing ..."

Horowitz then asks the interviewees, all of whom no doubt are "still feeling the Bern," if they think that we should model ourselves on another country that promises "income equality": Venezuela, which, he explains, is in the midst of an economic death spiral to the point where it is experiencing dire food shortages and frequent violence between citizens and police forces. Despite the hellish reality of Venezuela’s failed socialist state, all of his interviewees still thought Venezuela’s day-long food lines would be preferable to the United States’ selfish, "undignified" capitalistic system.


“Even though there’s some downside, there’s some violence there and some food lines," Horowitz says to bandana guy, "but still everyone has to do the same thing — they wait in line equally."

Though the young man appears to be quite knowledgeable about Venezuela, nodding and agreeing with Horowitz' description of its crisis situation, he still agrees with Horowitz that it’s better to "wait in line equally."

"That is, I think, a fair system," says Horowitz.

"I agree," says bandana guy emphatically.

Interviewee after interviewee agrees that modeling ourselves after Venezuela is a great idea because America is just too unfair and "undignified."

"If you gotta wait in line for stuff, we should all wait in line together," says Horowitz.

"Right," says one student. "Essentially," says another.

"A lot like the rest of the world, which is a lot more dignified than us," says one young woman, who has clearly internalized exactly what her Multiculturalism class was designed to teach her.


Watch below:


An October 2016 survey by the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation found that 45% of millennials would vote for an open socialist and 21% said they would vote for a communist. A majority, 53%, said that capitalism "works against me." Nearly a third, 32%, thought George W. Bush was responsible for the deaths of more people than Josef Stalin, while only a quarter of them “knew that communism is responsible for the slaughter of over 100 million people." That's liberal education at work.

As for Venezuela, if you haven't been following the tragedy playing out there, here's The Washington Post's urgent call from this summer for people to realize that "Venezuela's hunger crisis is for real," and here's CNN Money's explanation of "how a rich country collapsed." Finally, here's The Daily Wire's Michael Qazvini recent piece on the ways socialism destroyed the country.
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captainccs
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« Reply #491 on: September 08, 2017, 07:58:03 AM »

This week I got my first billion bolivar check, Bs. 1,850,000,000.00 to be exact. I've come a long way from my first monthly paycheck of Bs. 800.00! Or have I? Let's do the math.

Back then, 1960, the exchange rate was Bs. 3.35 per US dollar.
The Chavistas knocked three zeros off the new bolivar fuerte (BsF).
The exchange rate on Wednesday was 19,490, I got 18,500.

   Bolivares       Rate  US dollar
      800.00       3.35     238.80
1,850,000.00  18.500.00     100.00


The country has run out of cash and the government can't afford to print new bills, they don't have the money or the credit to pay for them! This has forced the banks to limit the cash withdrawals to BsF. 30,000 per day (some banks less), which is all of $1.50 per day. Were it not for credit/debit cards and bank transfers commerce would be paralyzed. I need the cash mostly to buy stuff from street vendors some of whom have yet to get a point of sale device. One third of yesterday's BsF. 30,000 went to pay for a 2 Kg. papaya. Yesterday I made nine debit card purchases, mostly food, for BsF.128,256.00, on average less that a dollar each purchase.

Hyperinflation is just plain crazy! It's hard to imagine the details until you are in the midst of it.
 
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Denny Schlesinger
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« Reply #492 on: September 08, 2017, 09:07:52 AM »

 shocked shocked shocked shocked shocked shocked shocked shocked shocked

Write a book Denny!
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G M
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« Reply #493 on: September 08, 2017, 11:55:06 AM »

We will be getting this firsthand at some point.



This week I got my first billion bolivar check, Bs. 1,850,000,000.00 to be exact. I've come a long way from my first monthly paycheck of Bs. 800.00! Or have I? Let's do the math.

Back then, 1960, the exchange rate was Bs. 3.35 per US dollar.
The Chavistas knocked three zeros off the new bolivar fuerte (BsF).
The exchange rate on Wednesday was 19,490, I got 18,500.

   Bolivares       Rate  US dollar
      800.00       3.35     238.80
1,850,000.00  18.500.00     100.00


The country has run out of cash and the government can't afford to print new bills, they don't have the money or the credit to pay for them! This has forced the banks to limit the cash withdrawals to BsF. 30,000 per day (some banks less), which is all of $1.50 per day. Were it not for credit/debit cards and bank transfers commerce would be paralyzed. I need the cash mostly to buy stuff from street vendors some of whom have yet to get a point of sale device. One third of yesterday's BsF. 30,000 went to pay for a 2 Kg. papaya. Yesterday I made nine debit card purchases, mostly food, for BsF.128,256.00, on average less that a dollar each purchase.

Hyperinflation is just plain crazy! It's hard to imagine the details until you are in the midst of it.
 
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DougMacG
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« Reply #494 on: September 14, 2017, 10:19:35 AM »

We tried cash for clunkers and they tried the rabbit plan.

Has anybody ever tried ... entrepreneurial capitalism?

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-41265474

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro has devised a "rabbit plan" to counter the economic war he says is being waged against his government by "imperialist forces".

Making Kim Jung Un sound sane, mainstream.
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captainccs
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« Reply #495 on: September 14, 2017, 11:13:00 AM »

This week I made an interesting discovery. Pork for stewing (no bones) is BsF. 40,000.00 per kilo, chicken breast (no bones) is around BsF. 36,000.00 while a can of sardines in vegetable oil, 119 gr. drained weight, is BsF. 2,250.00, that's BsF. 18,907.00 per kilo.

Not only are the sardines healthier, they are half the price of equivalent chicken and less than half the price of equivalent pork. Fresh sardines are among the cheapest fish but they are a pain to clean and cook.

BTW, sardines make a good pasta sauce.
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Denny Schlesinger
G M
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« Reply #496 on: September 14, 2017, 10:13:03 PM »

When they came for the rabbits...


We tried cash for clunkers and they tried the rabbit plan.

Has anybody ever tried ... entrepreneurial capitalism?

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-41265474

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro has devised a "rabbit plan" to counter the economic war he says is being waged against his government by "imperialist forces".

Making Kim Jung Un sound sane, mainstream.
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