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Author Topic: Venezuela  (Read 97207 times)
ccp
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« Reply #350 on: May 10, 2016, 08:31:15 AM »

 "The man on the street does not know who will replace Maduro if recalled and does not seem to care."

This to me seems remarkable. Propaganda and censorship really does work I guess.

If people start to lack food than it may be as Michael Savage has suggested that is when they start to riot in the streets.

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DougMacG
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« Reply #351 on: May 10, 2016, 09:29:25 AM »

Thanks Denny.

I see similarities to Saddam's Iraq.  It's hard to organize a take to the street movement when they shoot opposition leaders in the head - openly in public, ignore it on the news and then there is barely any news of it anywhere else either.  Where is Venezuelan election observer Jimmy Carter on this?  Whether you get 99% support in elections under threat of death or lose 2/3rds and stay in power anyway is the same result.  Elections don't matter; it is rule by force.  Sometimes regime change support can only come from the outside and nobody ever seems to want that. 

American colonist revolutionaries had help from the French, Spanish, the Dutch and others and would not likely have succeeded without all of that.
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captainccs
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« Reply #352 on: May 10, 2016, 10:14:40 AM »

Quote
Where is Venezuelan election observer Jimmy Carter on this?

That SOB was bought by Chavez. The Colombian observer (Gaviria?) wanted to make a statement and he was made to shut up. Later Carter praised the election as "fair" after an interview with Chavez.
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Denny Schlesinger
G M
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« Reply #353 on: May 15, 2016, 04:10:02 AM »

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/maduro-orders-seizure-of-closed-venezuela-factories-jailing-of-owners/ar-BBt3bLI

But, but, it's scientific!
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ccp
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« Reply #354 on: May 15, 2016, 09:48:22 AM »

 Carter

Every time he opens his mouth on the topic of politics I am reminded of what a progressive fool he was and still is.

He is no longer the best post President in our lifetime.

he won't be missed once the melanoma takes him to where we all go in the end.
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DougMacG
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« Reply #355 on: May 16, 2016, 08:19:27 AM »

We consider our states to be 50 laboratories of democracy.  We can try different polices and see how they work.  That is my fascination with Venezuela as well.  

There are a ton of stories about Venezuela recently and over the weekend.  Terrible scarcities, chaos, assassination, coup speculation, inflation and so on.

Recalling the Jimmy Carter fiasco, my understanding is that he was our election, see-no-evil, observer during a Chavez recall election when Chavez was losing 40-60 and the official government cheating made that into a 60-40 victory.  My own shock wasn't the expected cheating but the fact that 40% still supported policies of economic failure.  The cheating would have been harder to hide if that support had been closer to zero.

This Saturday in Venezuela:
http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/maduro-orders-seizure-of-closed-venezuela-factories-jailing-of-owners/ar-BBt3bLI?ocid=iehp
Maduro orders seizure of closed Venezuela factories, jailing of owners
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Saturday ordered authorities to seize factories that have stopped production and jail their owners, a day after declaring a state of emergency to combat the country's economic crisis.
"We must take all measures to recover productive capacity, which is being paralyzed by the bourgeoisie," he told a rally in Caracas.
"Anyone who wants to halt (production) to sabotage the country should get out, and those who do must be handcuffed and sent to the PGV (Venezuelan General Penitentiary)," he said

It would be an exaggeration to say that these are the policies young people here in the US at Sanders and Clinton rallies are supporting, but effectively, these are the economic policies we are pursuing and they are supporting and we know they don't work.  Minimum wage is just one example, government mandates what the private sector must do whether is makes economic or business sense or not.  Even the Trump side wants to take your assets if you try to close or leave.  How is that working in places that are further along wih it?

https://panampost.com/panam-staff/2016/05/14/venezuela-is-on-the-brink-of-social-collapse-national-guardsman/
Shortages Cause Daily Looting, Energy Crisis Worsens as National State of Emergency Approaches, May 14, 2016

https://www.yahoo.com/news/u-concern-grows-over-possible-venezuela-meltdown-officials-022241019.html?nhp=1   Reuters: "an unraveling socialist economy"

Is there some other kind?

« Last Edit: May 16, 2016, 09:02:00 AM by DougMacG » Logged
captainccs
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« Reply #356 on: May 16, 2016, 11:18:00 AM »

Local analysis by The Devil (Miguel Octavio):


Maduro “Announces” New Emergency Powers Decree
May 15, 2016

Last Friday, President Maduro announced that he would extend the economic emergency powers decree (The same one that the National Assembly did not approve, but the Supreme Court said it did not matter) and announced that he would also decree a state of exception to “neutralize and defeat the external aggression against our country”

Now, you would think that given the importance of such a decree, the Government would have distributed a copy by now, but, no such luck, the details of the decree are unknown. Maduro will apparently issue it taking advantage of the Supreme Court’s ruling on the prior economic power decree, in which the “High” Court simply scratched part of the Constitution (Art. 339 of the Constitution, for example)  saying the Assembly did not have to approve the decree.

Some people are calling this a “coup”. I disagree. You can’t have a coup when you already staged one. I can’t even recall when this happened and one could argue when it was. It may have been when Chávez was never sworn in in Jan. 2013, as Chavismo suggested this was simply a “formality”. Or it may have been when Maduro took over from Chávez for the new term, despite the fact that the VP is named by the President and there is no proof that Chávez was even conscious at the time. Or it may have been when the Supreme Court twisted and violated the Constitution dozens of time, just to have the Government get its way.

So many coups and nobody has been counting them, but this was not it!

And the funny thing is that just last week, the Venezuelan Foreign Minister went to the UN to say there was no crisis in Venezuela, no emergency. Funny, no? the President not only extends the economic emergency decree, but also expands it to include a state of emergency.

And it just so happens that during a state of emergency, there can be no public gatherings like those the opposition has been promoting to protest the recurrent delays in the processing of the request for a recall referendum vote against none other than President Nicolas Maduro. Each step of the process has been delayed, over-interpreted and postponed, using vaporous interpretations by the Government-controlled Electoral Board. Which, of course has everything to do with trying to delay a recall vote until after Jan. 10th. 2017, when if Maduro is recalled, his personally-chosen active Vice-President would replace him and complete his term until Jan. 2019.

And thus, the threat is not from the outside, as Maduro wants you or someone to believe, but from the inside: the fear that the opposition will increasingly take to the streets to force a recall vote before the fateful date of Jan. 10th. 2017.

Thus, the guessing game begins as to who the VP will be in January. Opposition lore will have it be current VP Aristobulo Isturiz, “someone we can talk to”. Forget it! Aristobulo does not have the red credentials, nor the trust of Chavismo, precisely because the opposition can talk to him. It will likely be someone who is in the Cabinet, someone Maduro trusts. Perhaps Marco Torre, a loyal former military a perennial Cabinet member. Perhaps better a civilian, Jorge Rodriguez, loyal to Chávez and Nicolas. But who knows? There is still a lot of time before January and maybe not enough people will show up for a recall after that date*.

Stay tuned.

*Maybe I placed too much emphasis on who will replace him, but the more I think about it, the more I believe that there will not be much motivation to change Maduro for someone else. Remember that the opposition needs to get more votes to recall than Maduro got in his Presidential election.

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Denny Schlesinger
Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #357 on: May 16, 2016, 11:31:24 AM »

 shocked shocked shocked
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DougMacG
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« Reply #358 on: June 01, 2016, 10:45:48 AM »

I hope Denny is well and has a plan in place to get through this, and I wish the best for all who have to deal with the man-made tragedy of the Venezuelan economy

Venezuela is facing a human tragedy.  People can't buy basic things, according to so many reports.  They are facing a near total breakdown of all things economic.  The crisis brings immediate questions, what can be done right now to survive this, and longer view questions, why did this happen?

"Maybe they went too far."  [with socialism and statism]  That is the best answer I have heard from the left here as to why socialism failed Venezuela (yet we keep pursuing same or similar policies here.)

If economic freedom is the engine of propulsion, then social programs, centralized authority and cronyism are the brakes.  When the brakes are stronger than the engine, the system halts.  There is a limit to how badly you can cripple your private economy without stalling it and there is a limit to how heavy of a load it can carry.  Don't cripple production and weigh down the load at the same time, but isn't that the way these things go?

Zero growth, like we have in the US, is not the limit of dysfunction.  Zero production is.  In a closed system, zero production means death, literally.  Venezuela doesn't have zero production, but they have real qand significant decline that has the potential to spiral further downward.  When you don't have electricity, water, gas, food or even rule of law, you can't produce if you want to. 

In the US, we have the contention of a formerly dynamic private economy fighting against the weight of an ever-growing public burden.  The corporate tax rate is the highest in the world, and that is just one of the burdens slwoing activity and chasing out capital.  The number of people on food stamps doubled in recent years, and that is just one indicator that the weight of the load is increasing.  We have a some economic freedom left and some rule of law remaining.  After you are quadruple taxed and quadruple taxed again, you are free to keep the remaining fruits of your labor, and keep your factory open if you pay overtime healthcare and the like.

The strength remaining in our weakened private economy is about equal to the weight of the anchor we carry in this period of zero growth.  Our anchor will pull us all the way down if we add more weight to it or lose another ounce of strength.  We don't have any more room to do things any worse and not face collapse and crisis.


In Venezuela, they did all those things we hypothesize about in the heated talk about income or wealth inequality.  They cut out the capitalists, gave the money to the people [and to government and to the cronies], right up until they ran out of people to take from.  As Margaret Thatcher correctly observed and predicted, they ran out of other people's money.  Now we see how well a central authority replaces a free market. 

This time, as always, Socialism failed.
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G M
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« Reply #359 on: June 01, 2016, 10:47:53 AM »

But, but, it's scientific!

I hope Denny is well and has a plan in place to get through this, and I wish the best for all who have to deal with the man-made tragedy of the Venezuelan economy

Venezuela is facing a human tragedy.  People can't buy basic things, according to so many reports.  They are facing a near total breakdown of all things economic.  The crisis brings immediate questions, what can be done right now to survive this, and longer view questions, why did this happen?

"Maybe they went too far."  [with socialism and statism]  That is the best answer I have heard from the left here as to why socialism failed Venezuela (yet we keep pursuing same or similar policies here.)

If economic freedom is the engine of propulsion, then social programs, centralized authority and cronyism are the brakes.  When the brakes are stronger than the engine, the system halts.  There is a limit to how badly you can cripple your private economy without stalling it and there is a limit to how heavy of a load it can carry.  Don't cripple production and weigh down the load at the same time, but isn't that the way these things go?

Zero growth, like we have in the US, is not the limit of dysfunction.  Zero production is.  In a closed system, zero production means death, literally.  Venezuela doesn't have zero production, but they have real qand significant decline that has the potential to spiral further downward.  When you don't have electricity, water, gas, food or even rule of law, you can't produce if you want to. 

In the US, we have the contention of a formerly dynamic private economy fighting against the weight of an ever-growing public burden.  The corporate tax rate is the highest in the world, and that is just one of the burdens slwoing activity and chasing out capital.  The number of people on food stamps doubled in recent years, and that is just one indicator that the weight of the load is increasing.  We have a some economic freedom left and some rule of law remaining.  After you are quadruple taxed and quadruple taxed again, you are free to keep the remaining fruits of your labor, and keep your factory open if you pay overtime healthcare and the like.

The strength remaining in our weakened private economy is about equal to the weight of the anchor we carry in this period of zero growth.  Our anchor will pull us all the way down if we add more weight to it or lose another ounce of strength.  We don't have any more room to do things any worse and not face collapse and crisis.


In Venezuela, they did all those things we hypothesize about in the heated talk about income or wealth inequality.  They cut out the capitalists, gave the money to the people [and to government and to the cronies], right up until they ran out of people to take from.  As Margaret Thatcher correctly observed and predicted, they ran out of other people's money.  Now we see how well a central authority replaces a free market. 

This time, as always, Socialism failed.

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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #360 on: June 01, 2016, 11:26:05 AM »

Denny:

How are YOU doing?  Anything we can do to help?

If your prefer, email me at craftydog@dogbrothers.com

Marc
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captainccs
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« Reply #361 on: June 01, 2016, 01:59:13 PM »

I hope Denny is well and has a plan in place to get through this, and I wish the best for all who have to deal with the man-made tragedy of the Venezuelan economy

Denny is very well, thank you very much. Denny has had a plan in place for over 30 years!


Viernes negro, black Friday, February 18, 1983.

I returned from a visit to the US the next day and discovered that the government had devalued the bolivar from 4.50 to 14.00 to the dollar. There was also a privileged exchange at 7 or 8 to the dollar, I don't remember which. Along with the devaluation came decrees to protect the poor from gouging capitalists like myself. I was selling Apple computers. We got them from the distributor at Bs. 7,000. The list price was Bs. 10,000 and we sold them with a 15% discount at Bs. 8,500. A 21.4% mark-up. The decree that bankrupted my business required me to sell my inventory at old prices, Bs. 10,000, the list price. There was no need to protect capitalists from capitalists, the distributor was under no obligation to sell old inventory at old prices. Do the math: 7000/4.5*14 = 21,778. I don't recall the price we were offered but it was higher than what I could my inventory for. Quite simply black Friday stole my working capital.

What I did to overcome the crisis is a long story but the stress finally got to me and I wound up in the hospital with a heart problem in 1984 or 85. Luckily insurance covered it. When my partners came to visit I told them that the government sons of bitches would not kill me. That's when the plan was born.

Venezuela has been officially socialist since January 23, 1958, the day Marcos Pérez Jiménez was deposed by the navy in combination with several socialist political movements that had been outlawed during the dictatorship.

Humans are gregarious and thrive best in a society that competes, trades and cares for the needy -- as far as possible. Neither extreme capitalism nor extreme socialism work. Somewhere in between we do best. I call this midpoint "pragmatic socialism." Pragmatic socialism has social safety nets but if everyone is in the net there is no one left to hold it up.

But there is a fly in the ointment! As Joseph Schumpeter wrote over 70 years ago (1942) in Capitalism, Socialism and  Democracy, the book where he coined the phrase "creative destruction," liberal democracy is not about governing as much as it is about winning elections. You only get to govern if you win the election or if you buy the elected.

While pragmatic socialism is OK, the safety net becomes an instrument to buy votes. The end is calamity. The right is not exempt, their safety net is for the banks and the wealthy, the so called "corporate socialism."


Denny has a plan

The issue is access to hard currency. Those who have it are doing fine. Those who don't depend on government handouts. And that is the game plan, subject the people to beneficence of the government. Mendoza didn't get dollars to import barley and Polar had to shut down. Cisneros got dollars and his brewery is doing just fine. The Cisneros have been buying politicians as far back as I remember, right, left, or center makes no difference, no ideology, just power and wealth matter.

With multiple exchange rates the government and its friends have access to hard currency which comes from the export of oil which is a government monopoly. The rest of us have to rely on converting our soft money into hard money in what is called "capital flight." That means investing outside your country which, in turn, means cutting investments in your own country. This is exactly what I proposed to do back in 1984 or 85, never again to invest in Venezuela, a country that has been good to me and my family and a people I like very much. But survival comes first.


The reality on the ground

There is so much more I could write but I'll cut it short showing how inexpensive Venezuela has become for those who have hard currency. The similarity with Weimar Germany is striking.

Some things are, indeed, in short supply. Amazon to the rescue! Packages under $100 come in duty free. So far I have used Amazon for Fruit of The Loom briefs and socks, underarm deodorant, bath soap, baking soda, Tums, fish oil and other supplements. People have been growing beards for lack of razors. Amazon has disposables at 70 cents a unit. Orders over $49 ship free. Orders under $100 are duty free. Figure expenses at 30%. Resell @ $2.00. Just a capitalist thinking out loud evil

My 19 year old GE washer dryer had a problem, the cycle selector switch jammed. I took out the switch and had it repaired. Labor $3.00. Parts $3.90. The fellow worked on it for about 15 minutes. Labor $12.00 an hour! This fellow is the owner of his repair shop. Had the rear brake linings changed on my Toyota Corolla. Parts and labor $21.00. Had the car washed, $2.35.

Last Friday I bought fruit from a street vendor: 7 bananas, 2 Kg (4.4 lbs); 5 hybrid mangos, 1 Kg (2.2 lbs); 6 smallish tangerines, 0.5 Kg (1.1 lbs). Total $1.60.

Soy sauce, 10 fluid ounces: $0.32
Worcestershire sauce, 10 fluid ounces: $0.20
Curry, 2 ounces, $0.65
Avocados $1.20 per kilo
Potatoes $0.90 per kilo
Chicken $3.25 per kilo

These prices are terrible for someone making the minimum $15 MONTHLY wage! If you have hard currency you are in the 1%.
 
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Denny Schlesinger
ccp
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« Reply #362 on: June 01, 2016, 02:39:40 PM »

Denny,

What would be the best thing to  happen to turn the situation around in Venezuela at this point?
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captainccs
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« Reply #363 on: June 01, 2016, 04:34:23 PM »

Quote
What would be the best thing to  happen to turn the situation around in Venezuela at this point?

Someone give me a magic wand and I redo Venezuela the way I like it.  cool


Pragmatists have to replace the idealists. The road back is very painful. Internally the country has to become more productive and only private enterprise can do that. But LatAm capitalists need to be firmly regulated. In one of my prior lives (1965-75) I was a management consultant with very high access at BoD level. It was capitalism run amuck in 9 out of 10 cases. Dismantling price controls is very painful because prices rise faster than wages. Externally, the country has to adapt to the world economy to trade effectively. What should happen without delay is cutting the oil subsidies Venezuela gives many neighbors starting with Cuba..

There are fantastic amounts of money in play, not just the exchange control scam and the commissions from all the government contracts but also from the drug trade. Presumably the Venezuelan military is the largest drug cartel in the world and prime conduit of cocaine from Colombia to Europe. They are not going to give that up easily.

Exchange controls should be dropped entirely or eased out over a period of a year or less.

I don't particularly care who runs the country provided whoever it is takes a pragmatic view. I don't see the current opposition as capable of much leadership. For the past 17 years they have been outfoxed at every turn.

Support for Chavismo has been drying up locally and internationally. The government is slowly realizing that they have to generate income and cut subsidies if they are to survive. They see the Arab OPEC members doing the same thing. They raised the price of gas but it is still ridiculously low, now it costs me about 20 cents to fill the gas tank of my Toyota Corolla instead of just half a cent. I don't use my ISP's mail service which yesterday exploded with SPAM, all paid ads. It seems like CANTV is selling SPAM space (or their filters broke down). There is a lot more merchandise on the street which seems to indicate fewer controls. There seem to be more ships in Puerto Cabello, the main entry point for imports. The government announced LOUDLY that they were paying the interest on PDVSA bonds. One recently named Minister of the Economy who is an academic economist with zero practical experience but lots of harebrained theories was replaced by a more pragmatic person.

This might sound strange but it would be advantageous for the opposition if Maduro stayed in power until 2019 and was forced to improve economic conditions by removing price and exchange controls. The anger would be directed at Maduro and his follower would have an easier time completing reforms.
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Denny Schlesinger
ccp
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« Reply #364 on: June 01, 2016, 06:25:27 PM »

Wow. no simple fix.
thanks for the informative response.

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captainccs
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« Reply #365 on: June 02, 2016, 10:48:38 AM »

Quote
It seems like CANTV is selling SPAM space (or their filters broke down).

The SPAM I'm getting via CANTV is all from top level domain .TOP and all the different domains are throw away domains created the day the SPAM was sent. Also, they all have a subdomain format (sub.domain.top) where the domain itself does not have an IP address. The accredited .TOP registrar is an outfit apparently in China.

Maybe CANTV's filters did break down or maybe China is collecting via SPAM

Quote
.Top domain apparently using spam to get to the Top
BY ANDREW ALLEMANN — FEBRUARY 18, 2015 POLICY & LAW 8 COMMENTS

New TLD registry sends spam to people who have registered other new TLDs.

[Update: See statement from the .Top registry below.]

How do you get attention for your new top level domain name in a crowded field? One new top level domain name company has apparently resorted to sending lots of unsolicited email — and likely scraping Whois to do it.

.Top is currently ranked #9 in terms of registrations, surely helped by a 99 cent price tag at some registrars. The company behind it, Jiangsu Bangning Science & Technology Co., Ltd., is also raising awareness by sending spam to people who own other domain names.
http://domainnamewire.com/2015/02/18/top-domain-apparently-using-spam-to-get-to-the-top/


Quote
Email Spammers Are Using Cheap .Top & .Pro Domains
Konstantinos Zournas  February 16, 2016

I checked the last 50 spam emails I received to see what domain names the spammers are using.

I have to say that this is not a scientific study in any way and maybe these spammers that are targeting me are using different domains than what other spammers are using. Nevertheless the results were impressing.

The domain names I found were used for the email address and the majority were also used for the websites the links in the email were pointing to.

So here are the results from 50 domains I checked:

.Top: 22 domains
.Pro: 15 domains
.Download: 6 domains
.XYZ: 2 domains
.me: 2 domains
.Net: 1 domain
.Biz: 1 domain
.Ru: 1 domain

http://onlinedomain.com/2016/02/16/opinions/email-spammers-are-using-cheap-top-pro-domains/


99 cent domain names are a mouth watering offer for spammers
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Denny Schlesinger
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