Saturday, May 28, 2016


[Gentlereaders, you will no doubt notice this particular column is a bit shorter than average. This serves the dual purpose of demonstrating to potential syndicators/publishers that I can be less verbose if/when I need to be and will enable me to catch up on my spring cleaning.]

Venezuela, socialist paradise. Just one of the many socialist success stories slowly but steadily nudging the planet in the direction of utopia. Three relevant quotes, in chronological order, if you please.

"Joseph Stiglitz, in Caracas, Praises Venezuela's Economic Policies." (This is the headline of an article written by Kiraz Janicke for a website called, 10.11.2007.) "Nobel Prize winning economist and former vice-president of the World Bank, Joeseph Stiglitz...  who won the Nobel Prize for economics in 2001, argued that relatively high inflation isn't necessarily harmful to the economy," the article informs us.

"In 2015, Venezuela had the world's highest inflation rate with the rate surpassing 100% becoming the highest in the country's history." -Wikipedia

"Recently, a woman who works at a nearby beauty parlor decided to start her commute earlier than usual to join the line in hopes of finding milk. As per the government-mandated schedule, her turn to shop for basic goods is every Friday. She gave up on her weekly trips to the local supermarket, not only because she has to work on Fridays, but also because she is terrified of being held at gunpoint by the robbers who wait to pounce on shoppers if they emerge with anything inside their grocery bags. Her 8-month-old granddaughter hasn't had formula in months, she told me. She worries about the breast milk her mother feeds her, since she only has bread and noodle soup to eat." -- Emiliana Duarte. The quote if from an op-ed Ms. Duarte wrote for the New York Times of 5.21.16 entitled "In Venezuela, God Does Not Provide." 

Dr. Joeseph Stiglitz is not only a Nobel Prize winner, according to Wikipedia, "Stiglitz has received more than 40 honorary degrees, including from Harvard, Oxford, and Cambridge Universities and been decorated by several governments... ." The article referenced above is about a visit he took to Venezuela in 2007. The author informs us that Dr. Stiglitz is a man of the left who thoroughly approved of the policies of socialist, and then  president (1999 -- 2013), Hugo Chavez, a now deceased BFF of Fidel Castro. While in town, Joe had a chance to sit down with his buddy Hugo and talk things over. 

To be fair, Dr. Stiglitz does not go around declaring himself to be a socialist, not even a "democratic" one. Personally, I think he perfectly embodies the position of the Depublicans, and their current leader the Hilliam, free market socialism, or, have your cake and eat it tooism. Dr. S. serves as an advisor to the Hilliam (Hillary and William Clinton). 

[Get rich quick idea: If baseball/football have baseball/football cards, why doesn't politics have political cards? If the content of the 24-hour news networks, as well as all the news media to a greater or lesser degree, is any indication, politics may be America's actual national pastime, at least every other year.

Proposed format: On the front of the card, of course, would be the politicians picture, name at the top. Along the bottom, a relevant blurb/slogan/quote. For example, Hugo Chavez -- Bolivarian (i.e. socialist) Revolution. 

On the back would be a micro-biography: Mr. Chavez began his political career by leading an unsuccessful coup against the folks that were running Venezuela in 1992. After getting out of jail two years later he founded a political party (the Fifth Republic Movement, fifth time's the charm?) and was elected president in 1998. In 1999, he oversaw the rewriting of Venezuela's constitution (their 26th), which guarantees free this/that/the other thing, to everyone. 

Mr. Chavez was wildly popular and reelected 3 times. Unfortunately, implementing his "Bolivarian Revolution" slowly but steadily trashed the nation. When global oil prices collapsed in 2014 (the nationalized oil industry had been paying for all the free stuff) so did the country, somewhat tainting his legacy. He died, from cancer, in 2013. "The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money." -Margaret Thatcher 

Where was I? Oh yeah, Dr. Joe visits the big V. and it's covered by You'll be relieved to know that the website in question is still up and running, unlike the country. The name makes it sound like the website of a stuffy think tank, huh? Not exactly.

Wikipedia sez that the founder sez it's, "a left social movement perspective on the Bolivarian Revolution in the English language." Others, including The Gubmint, say it's pure propaganda, and who knows more about propaganda than The Gubmint? As uncomfortable as I am agreeing with The Gubmint, I'm forced to admit I think they're right. In fact, if you check it out, I think you will also, gentlereaders.

From Ms. Duarte's article: "In 2012, when inflation and poverty had already started showing through the seams of Bolivarian socialism, Mr. Chavez made a rare public acknowledgement of his governments flaws. He said it didn't matter if there was no electricity or water, as long as we had a fatherland."

Feel the Bern.

Have an OK day.

©Mark Mehlmauer 2016

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