Tag Archives: Serfdom

Ben Shapiro remembers the leftists who praised socialism in Venezuela

Two socialists shake hands: Barack Obama and Hugo Chavez
Two socialists shake hands: Barack Obama and Hugo Chavez

There is a podcast to go with this post in the video below, for those who don’t want to watch the podcast on The Daily Wire.

Excerpt:

On Tuesday, Maduro dragged opposition leaders Leopoldo Lopez and Antonio Ledezma off to prison; on Sunday, the dictatorship killed some ten people during election riots.

[…]The latest controversy in Venezuela arises thanks to Maduro’s brutish attempt to overthrow the legitimate legislature of the country in favor of a constituent assembly that would essentially allow Maduro to redraw the constitution. Maduro is, of course, the successor to thug dictator Hugo Chavez, who seized power in January 1999 through election, and then proceeded to nationalize foreign oil projects, socialize virtually every other industry, institute price and wage controls, ratchet up tariffs, and entirely destroy the economy of one of the most natural-resources-blessed countries on the planet. Chavez took office with promises to end income inequality in the country. Instead, his brutish regime exacerbated poverty to the point of crisis – but at least they minimized income inequality! Just for good measure, Chavez also essentially destroyed the free press and made employment in key industries contingent on loyalty to his regime.

The consequences: no bread, no sugar, no toilet paper, ordinary citizens hunting dogs in the streets and waiting in line outside bakers not for bread, but for the ability to comb through the garbage for crumbs. Hyperinflation has set in: according to CNBC, “On Friday, $1 equaled 10,389 bolivars. Earlier this week, on Monday, it was worth 8,820 bolivars. At the start of this year, $1 equaled 3,164 bolivars, according to the unofficial exchange rate calculated by dolartoday.com, which millions of Venezuelans use.” Venezuelan hospitals lack gloves, soap, water, paper. Electrical blackouts aren’t infrequent. Caracas has become the most violent city in the Western hemisphere.

According to Hannah Dreier of Associated Press:

The government of President Nicolas Maduro blames the U.S. and right-wing business interests for the economic collapse, but most economists say it actually stems from government-imposed price and currency distortions. There often seemed to be a direct line between economic policy and daily hardship. One week, the administration declared that eggs would now be sold for no more than 30 cents a carton. The next week, eggs had disappeared from supermarkets, and still have not come back…. People started digging through the trash at all hours, pulling out vegetable peelings and soggy pizza crusts and eating them on the spot. That seemed like rock bottom. Until my local bakery started organizing lines each morning, not to buy bread but to eat trash.

It’s worth noting that the American Left praised both Chavez and Maduro for decades as halcyons of humanitarian redistributionism. As I noted at Breitbart at the time, when Chavez died in 2013, Rep. Jose Serrano (D-NY) called him “a leader that understood the needs to the poor. He was committed to empowering the powerless.” Former President Jimmy Carter praised Chavez’s “commitment to improving the lives of his fellow countrymen,” adding that he would “be remembered for his bold assertion of autonomy and independence for Latin American governments and for his formidable communications skills and personal connection with supporters in his country and abroad to whom he gave hope and empowerment.” Eugene Robinson of The Washington Post called Chavez “quick” and “popular.” Larry King called him “huggable.” The Associated Press called him a “fighter.” The Atlantic stated, “Passionate and charismatic, Chávez slipped comfortably into the role of romantic Latin American revolutionary, championing the poor against an unfeeling local oligarchy and its imperial paymasters….Today millions of Venezuelans will weep tears of genuine anguish at his passing.” ABC News and Univision said he was “revered by Venezuela’s poor, who considered him one of their own.” And The New York Times sounded off, of course, calling him a “dreamer with a common touch and enormous ambition” who “maintained an almost visceral connection with the poor.”

During his tenure, Chavez received praise from Oliver Stone and Noam Chomsky, from Danny Glover and Nobel prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz, who said, “Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez appears to have had success in bringing health and education to the people in the poor neighborhoods of Caracas, to those who previously saw few benefits of the countries oil wealth…. It is not only important to have sustainable growth, but to ensure the best distribution of economic growth, for the benefit of all citizens.”

The Left owns Venezuela.

When you see people lining up to go through trash looking for food in Venezuela, remember the people who praised the damnable economic system that caused it.

Here is the podcast featuring Ben Shapiro:

Indeed. The first post I ever wrote on this blog about Venezuela’s descent into destruction was on February 8, 2009. I’ve been writing about this for over 8 years, and following Venezuela’s every little step down the road to socialism. Make no mistake.Your children are being told that socialism is the greatest economic system ever. And they think socialism is great, even though they’ve never set foot in any country that has actually tried it, like Venezuela.

What American schools produce:

Socialism is great, and they’ll vote for it, but they have no idea what they are voting for. Their unionized public school teachers and their celebrity masters taught them how great it is, but they never mentioned anywhere that it’s actually been tried.

Related posts

Cancer victim who alerted media about dropped health plan draws IRS audit

Mark Steyn at National Review reports.

Excerpt: (links removed)

A couple of weeks back, cancer patient Bill Elliot, in a defiant appearance on Fox News, discussed the cancelation of his insurance and what he intended to do about it. He’s now being audited.

Insurance agent C Steven Tucker, who quaintly insists that the whimsies of the hyper-regulatory bureaucracy do not trump your legal rights, saw the interview and reached out to Mr Elliot to help him. And he’s now being audited.

As the Instapundit likes to remind us, Barack Obama has “joked” publicly about siccing the IRS on his enemies. With all this coincidence about, we should be grateful the President is not (yet) doing prison-rape gags.

Meanwhile, IRS chief counsel William Wilkins, in his testimony to the House Oversight Committee over the agency’s systemic corruption, answers “I don’t recall” no fewer than 80 times. Try giving that answer to Wilkins’ colleagues and see where it gets you. Few persons are fond of their tax collectors, but, from my experience, America is the only developed nation in which the mass of the population is fearful of its revenue agency. This is unbecoming to a supposedly free people.

Elliot is being audited back to 2009. Tucker is being audited all the way back to 2003.

More from The Blaze.

Excerpt:

Appearing this week on “Rocky D” on Charleston, S.C.’s WQSC, Elliott said that after a media frenzy, his insurance company worked it out with him to allow him to keep his coverage — but there’s a new hitch.

“Monday I got a certified letter, I went down and got it and it’s from the IRS and they are auditing my books from 2009,” Elliott said.

He said he didn’t own a business at that time, and in fact was working for the government. He said he’s paid his taxes every year and is not any kind of a tax evader.

There was one more part of the notice — Elliott said that “due to federal budget cuts,” the meeting between him and the IRS won’t take place until April 2014.

“It doesn’t matter. It could’ve been today if they wanted it to,” he said.

The radio host said, “you stood up and spoke out about how Obamacare screwed over your insurance and probably would kill you and what’s the next thing that happened? You get audited by the IRS. That is not a coincidence.”

“No it’s not,” Elliott said.

And it might not just be Elliott: C. Steven Tucker, an insurance broker who contacted Elliott after his Fox News appearance, said that after he helped assist Elliott with his coverage, the IRS “are now coming after ME all the way back to 2003.”

Elliott told Kelly that he actually voted for Obama over Mitt Romney last year specifically because he liked what Obama had promised about being able to keep your doctors and your insurance plans.

People sometimes complain at me for using the word fascism, but I don’t know what else to call this. What do you call it when your government goes after you for speaking out against them? I call that fascism. It’s government stepping in to impose their views on individuals by force.

Look, if you want big government to make everyone “equal” by redistributing wealth and nationalizing private industry, then you’re a fascist. That’s where your view leads. Fascism is the normal endpoint of destroying the free enterprise system under the guise of pursuing “equality”. When government takes over industries from the private sector, you are going down the road to fascism. If you don’t like private property, you’re a fascist. If you don’t like the rule of law, you’re a fascist. If you don’t like free trade, you’re a fascist.

The Life of Julia: the Democrat push for more dependence on government

Here is an interesting post from Stuart Scheiderman about the Democrat’s latest ad campaign, “the Life of Julia”.

Excerpt: (links removed)

What were they thinking? What was the crack Obama re-election campaign thinking when they launched their slideshow about “The Life of Julia”?

How is it possible that highly skilled political operatives could have descended into such ham-handed manipulation?

Have their minds been infiltrated and colonized by Republican gremlins? Or were they just trying to provide fodder for the conservative commentariat?

If the latter, they have succeeded beyond their dreams.

James Taranto describes the unfolding story of Julia:

Julia, who has no face, is depicted at various ages from 3 through 67, enjoying the benefits of various Obama-backed welfare-state programs.

As a toddler, she’s in a head-start program. Skip ahead to 17, and she’s enrolled at a Race to the Top high school. Her 20s are very active: She gets surgery and free birth control through ObamaCare regulations, files a lawsuit under the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, and pays off her student loans at a low interest rate. We get updates at age 31, 37 and 42–and then the narrative skips ahead 23 years when she enrolls in Medicare. Two years later, she’s on Social Security, at which point she can die at any time.

In its last frame Julia is retiring comfortably on her Social Security payments. Apparently, they are so generous that she does not need to worry about running out of money.

Is this what people on the left think of individuals? That we need to depend on government for success?

Consider this story from the UK about how government doesn’t trust parents to feed their own children but instead insist that schools feed them, paid for through taxes, of course. (H/T Dina)

Excerpt: (links removed)

This defence of free school meals against a posh government which “hates anyone who is not like them” is promoted as a radical stance. But in truth it is shot through with a cloying, Dickens-style pity for poor kids, who, it is presumed, never receive hot food at home and thus must receive it at school. Campaigners are really calling on the authorities to play in loco parentis and to provide less well-off children with nutrition, because apparently their parents are too poor or stupid to do so. So the Children’s Society says free school meals are essential because “poor diets can be prevalent and child obesity is particularly high in low-income families”. Apparently free school meals are often “the only healthy cooked food [poor children] get”. These waifs and strays, who come from “disadvantaged families” whose eating habits “exceed recommended daily sugars and saturated fat intakes”, must have their eyes opened to “healthy food options”, says the Children’s Society.

It seems clear that the passion for free school meals is not driven by serious political thinking but by perverse middle-class fantasies about the “junk” that poor kids get fed at home. Likewise, when the government cut back on free school milk in 2010, commentators and campaigners were aghast, seeming seriously to believe that poor kids would become calcium-deprived, malnourished creatures without that daily third of a pint of milk. As one said, for children who “do not get a balanced diet high in fruit and vegetables and food like fish, milk [in schools] is the only real way of them getting enough calcium”. One expert told the BBC that the reason it’s so important to have milk and hot food in schools is because”the understanding from some parents about nutrition is so poor”.

In short, schools must do what feckless poor parents have allegedly failed to – care for children. The free school meals defenders are not just interested in feeding kids; they want to save them, fantasising that these urchins come from such unhealthy, morally dilapidated homes that it falls to schools to make them good, healthy, upstanding citizens. At least the school dinners crusader Jamie Oliver was a bit more upfront about his obsession with giving poor schoolkids hot meals, arguing that they come from “white trash” families where the parents are “t*ssers” or “*rseh*les” who feed their children “s**t”. Those are the exact same sentiments behind the current fretting over free school meals, even if the lingo is a bit more PC.

Stuart concludes his article on “The Life of Julia” with this:

As you know, Chinese thinkers grant the greatest importance to “face.” Saving face is a vital psychological need. It’s so important that I wrote a book about it.

When the Chinese talk about face they are talking about the public presentation of self. Face is the way you present yourself in public. People know who you are because they identify your face.

Imagine what it would be if you went through your day without having anyone recognize you, without having anyone know your name, without anyone acknowledging your existence. How long before you would think that you had gotten lost in the twilight zone?

Having face means that you belong to the community. Losing face means that you have either lost status within the community or have been expelled from it.

That is Julia’s status, or her lack of status. She has been transformed into what the Obama campaign wants her to become, a parasite that depends entirely on government support and whose most significant relationships are with the government agencies who are trying to buy her vote.

By the way, what do you call a woman who has been stripped of her name and her dignity, and who allows herself to be sold to the highest bidder?

That’s how socialists view the people who pay them: as incompetent fools in need of micromanagement, so that you everyone will be equal – equally dependent on the government and indistinguishable. While you were completing your double major in economics and physics, they were majoring in feminist theory, race theory and queery theory – learning how their attitudes were better than yours. You learned how to be self-sufficient. They learned how to think that you are stupid and evil.

Your job is just to make money so that they can spend it on you to help you and your children to have the right views – their views. Even though their views have no practical value.  They learned that they should be telling you where you should work, how much of your money you should keep, and how the money you earn should be spent. Not just the tax money they take from you, but the money you keep. They think they should decide how far you can drive, how much you can heat or cool your house, what food you can eat, and how much health care you are allowed to buy. And so on. That’s the Democrat party.

George Will explains how Democrats favor increasing dependency on government

Article here in the Boston Herald. (H/T Dad)

Excerpt:

For congressional Democrats, expanding dependency on government is an end in itself. They began the Obama administration by expanding the State Children’s Health Insurance Program. It was created for children of the working poor, but the expansion made millions of middle-class children eligible – some in households earning $125,000. The aim was to swell the number of people who grow up dependent on government health care.

Many Democrats favor – as Barack Obama did in 2003 – a “single-payer” health insurance system, which means universal dependency on government. The “public option” insurance proposal was to be a step toward that. So was the proposed “alternative” of making 55- to 64-year-olds eligible for Medicare. Both of these dependency multipliers will be revived.

The government used TARP funds not for their stipulated purpose of buying banks’ “toxic assets,” but to pull auto companies and other economic entities into the spreading web of dependency. Servile – because dependent – banks were pliable during the farce of Chrysler’s bankruptcy, but secured creditors resisted when settled law was disregarded. Nevertheless, those creditors received less per dollar than did an unsecured creditor, the United Auto Workers, which relishes dependency on government as an alternative to economic realism.

Democrats’ financial “reforms” may aim to reduce financial institutions to dependent appendages of the government. By reducing banks to public utilities, credit, which is the lifeblood of capitalism, could be priced and allocated by government.

Many Democrats, opposing the Supreme Court, advocate new campaign finance “reforms” that will further empower government to regulate the quantity, timing and content of speech about government. Otherwise voters will hear more such speech than government considers good for them. Such paternalism is American progressivism’s oldest tradition.

The Democrats aren’t the party of making the little guy bigger, they’re the part of making the little guy even smaller than he is right now.

Bigger government means smaller individuals

Consider this article about food stamps from the New York Times. (H/T Protein Wisdom via ECM)

Excerpt:

A decade ago, New York City officials were so reluctant to give out food stamps, they made people register one day and return the next just to get an application. The welfare commissioner said the program caused dependency and the poor were “better off” without it.

Now the city urges the needy to seek aid (in languages from Albanian to Yiddish). Neighborhood groups recruit clients at churches and grocery stores, with materials that all but proclaim a civic duty to apply — to “help New York farmers, grocers, and businesses.” [note who is missing from that list … ed.] There is even a program on Rikers Island to enroll inmates leaving the jail.

“Applying for food stamps is easier than ever,” city posters say.

[…]The drive to enroll the needy can be seen in the case of Monica Bostick-Thomas, 45, a Harlem widow who works part-time as a school crossing guard. Since her husband died three years ago, she has scraped by on an annual income of about $15,000.

But she did not seek help until she got a call from the Food Bank of New York City, one of the city’s outreach partners. Last year, she balked, doubting she qualified. This year, when the group called again, she agreed to apply. A big woman with a broad smile, Ms. Bostick-Thomas swept into the group’s office a few days later, talking up her daughters’ college degrees and bemoaning the cost of oxtail meat.

“I’m not saying I go hungry,” Ms. Bostick-Thomas said. “But I can’t always eat what I want.”

It is not good for people to depend on the government. It turns adults into children. People need to live with the results of their own decisions and not expect to be bailed out by their neighbors. For those of us who are concerned about poverty, we should solve the problem ourselves by private charity. Just taking an interest in your neighbor is a good thing.

CRISIS! Is Obama shutting down Chrysler dealerships owned by Republicans?!

Have we elected a worst left-wing fascist than Stalin? Time will tell.

Gateway Pundit has multiple stories.

First story excerpt:

Are we looking at the biggest political scandal since Watergate?

Big Dem Donor Group allowed to keep all 6 Chrysler dealerships open…. Local competitors eliminated by Obama’s task force!!

Earlier it was reported that the Obama Administration may have targeted GOP donors in deciding which Chrysler dealerships would have to close their doors.

Now there’s this…
RLJ-McLarty-Landers is owned by three men.
One was the former Chief of Staff for President Clinton.
One is the founder of Black Entertainment Television and a huge Obama supporter.
All 6 of their Chrysler dealerships will remain open.
And, get this… Their local competitors have been eliminated!

Second story excerpt:

But, so far in the shutdown list there is an extremely high correlation between dealers closing and congressional districts BHO lost.

Texas is getting killed and Blue States are sliding by. Florida is also taking major hits and nearly all are in Republican Congressional Districts.

Little West Virginia is getting hammered

UPDATE: Here is a list of the closings— Notice all of the Texas and Florida closings.

Last story excerpt:

Now this…Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-Fla) lost his Chrysler dealership in Florida.

Again… It was Obama’s task force who made the decision about which dealerships would close and which would stay open.

Leave your suggestion for the name of this fiasco in the comments. I’ll start: Chrysler-gate. Serfdom-gate. Union-gate. Commie-gate. Banana-Republic-gate.