Bernie Sanders bragged about how the government of New York is manufacturing hand sanitizer. What Sanders did not mention is that this hand sanitizer is not being made available to the general public. Only people who have the right connections will be able to get it.

By Daniel Alman (aka Dan from Squirrel Hill)

March 12, 2020

Note from Daniel Alman: If you like this blog post that I wrote, you can buy my books from amazon, and/or donate to me via PayPal, using the links below:

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Yesterday, I wrote this blog post, which is called “Bernie Sanders praises the government of New York for making its own hand sanitizer, which is made by prison inmates who get paid 65 cents an hour.”

Today I have some additional information that Sanders also failed to mention.

The New York Times just reported that this government-manufactured hand-sanitizer

“by law, can only be sold to state and local government agencies, schools, police departments and some nonprofit organizations.”

So it’s not being made available to the general public.

Only people with the right connections will be able to get it.

This is typical of how things worked in the Soviet Union.

This is not the first time that Sanders has spoken out in favor of the government doing things like this.

Sanders once said the following:

“You don’t necessarily need a choice of 23 underarm spray deodorants or of 18 different pairs of sneakers”

Sanders also once said that it was a “good thing” when people have to wait in line for food.

These are Sanders’s exact words:

“It’s funny, sometimes American journalists talk about how bad a country is, cause people are lining up for food. That’s a good thing! In other countries people don’t line up for food: the rich get the food and the poor starve to death.”

You can see and hear Sanders saying those words in this video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zJBjjP8WSbc

But in the real world, it’s not a “good thing” when people have to wait in line for food.

In May 2017, the Washington Post reported:

“In a recent survey of 6,500 Venezuelan families by the country’s leading universities, three-quarters of adults said they lost weight in 2016 — an average of 19 pounds… a level of hunger almost unheard-of outside war zones or areas ravaged by hurricane, drought or plague.”

Then in February 2018, Reuters reported:

“Venezuelans reported losing on average 11 kilograms (24 lbs) in body weight last year… according to a new university study…”

That’s 43 pounds in two years.

Here’s a photograph from 2014 of people in Venezuela waiting in line for food: (posted here under fair use from http://www.businessinsider.com/long-food-lines-are-in-venezuela-2014-2 )

You can read all about how this came to be in this blog post that I wrote.

Sanders also  said:

“I favor the public ownership of utilities, banks and major industries.”

CNN reported that Sanders was in favor of nationalizing

“the energy industry, public ownership of banks, telephone, electric, and drug companies and of the major means of production such as factories and capital”

So here’s what we know about Sanders, based on his own words:

1) He wants the government to take ownership of major industries.

2) He wants people to have to wait in line for food.

3) He wants people to have fewer choices when it comes to consumer goods.

4) He supports a system where the general population does not have access to certain consumer goods, and only people with the right connections can get them.

5) He supports a system that uses prison labor to manufacture consumer goods.

6) He supports a system that pays these prison workers only 65 cents an hour.

Here are some of my other blog posts about Bernie Sanders:

Bernie Sanders does not want you to see these photographs of the health care that regular Cubans get

Video shows Bernie Sanders staffer Kyle Jurek advocating for riots, gulags, shootings

Bernie Sanders makes global warming and income inequality worse by spending his campaign donations on private jets

Bernie Sanders said it’s a “good thing” when people have to wait in line for food. Meanwhile, in the real world, this is what it’s actually like to wait in line for food in Venezuela.

Bernie Sanders wants to do the same things to the U.S. that Hugo Chavez and Nicolas Maduro did to Venezuela

The only way that rich people could pay Bernie Sanders’s proposed annual 8% wealth tax would be by selling enough stock to get the money to pay the tax. This would drive down stock prices, and would hurt every single middle class person who has a pension, a 401K, or an IRA.

Here’s a bunch of horror stories from the Canadian health care system that Bernie Sanders wants the U.S. to copy

Hypocrite Bernie Sanders says it’s “not acceptable” that some of his employees have complained about getting paid less than $15 an hour

Hypocrite Bernie Sanders changes his tune on “millionaires and billionaires” after the media reports that he is one of them

Bernie Sanders in the 1970s urged nationalization of most major industries

I have four questions for Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Bernie Sanders, and anyone else who calls themselves a socialist

Bernie and Jane Sanders, under FBI investigation for bank fraud, hire lawyers

Bernie Sanders says he’s too busy campaigning to answer reporter’s question about the failures of socialism in Venezuela

Bernie Sanders says Uber’s employees are treated unfairly, so why does his campaign use Uber for 100% of its taxi rides?

Bernie Sanders supports $15 minimum wage, but only pays his interns $12 an hour

An open question to Bernie Sanders regarding your recent comment about deodorant

Bernie Sanders’ war on women

Note from Daniel Alman: If you like this blog post that I wrote, you can buy my books from amazon, and/or donate to me via PayPal, using the links below:

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March 12, 2020. Tags: , , , , . Bernie Sanders, Communism. Leave a comment.

Bernie Sanders praises the government of New York for making its own hand sanitizer, which is made by prison inmates who get paid 65 cents an hour

By Daniel Alman (aka Dan from Squirrel Hill)

March 11, 2020

Bernie Sanders just said the following:

“I just learned a few moments ago that in New York State the government is doing the right thing. They are manufacturing disinfectant, for hand washing, to make sure that everybody will be able to get the Purell or whatever they need.”

“What they’re saying is, they are telling the manufacturers today to stop the price-gouging. And they’re manufacturing it. And we are prepared to say that to the pharmaceutical industry: stop ripping off the American people.”

Slate just reported the following:

“New York Will Use Prison Labor to Make Hand Sanitizer”

“The incarcerated workers typically make 65 cents an hour”

Bernie Sanders is in favor of using prison labor that makes 65 cents an hour.

This is not the first time that Sanders has praised prison labor that makes horribly low wages. The prison known as “Cuba” makes it illegal for its 11 million inmates to move out of the country, and it pays its doctors only $40 a month. The condition that Cuba forces these doctor-inmates to live under is so horrible that their homes get running water for only one hour per day. Sanders thinks such a system should be a role model for the U.S.

Note from Daniel Alman: If you like this blog post that I wrote, you can buy my books from amazon, and/or donate to me via PayPal, using the links below:

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March 11, 2020. Tags: , , , , , , , , . Bernie Sanders, Communism, Health care. Leave a comment.

Bernie Sanders does not want you to see these photographs of the health care that regular Cubans get

Commentary by Daniel Alman (aka Dan from Squirrel Hill)

February 28, 2020

In Cuba, if you’re a tourist with U.S. dollars, you get great health care.

And if you’re a high ranking government official, you also get great health.

But if you’re just an average Cuban citizen, you get the kind of health care that’s in these photographs.

All of these photographs are from the internet archive of the website therealcuba.com. The reason I’m using the internet archive is because the account at the original website “has been suspended.” I don’t know the reason for the suspension.

Source for all photos: https://web.archive.org/web/20100404025459/http://therealcuba.com/Page10.htm

The caption for the above photo says, “Floors full of excrements, bare mattresses, terrible food and even worse medical attention.”

Comment from Daniel Alman (aka Dan from Squirrel Hill): The above photo shows one of Cuba’s environmentally friendly green ambulances, which does not burn any fossil fuel.

The caption for the above photo says, “Gentiuno reporters counted 27 dead roaches on the floor.”

The caption for the next four photographs below states:

These photos were taken at Havana’s psychiatric hospital, known as Mazorra, in early January of this year and taken out of the island by people who risked their lives to show the world what really is happening in Castro’s Cuba.

These are several of the more than 40 patients who died of hypothermia at the hospital, when temperatures near freezing hit the area where Mazorra is located.

These patients died because of the negligence of those in charge of this hospital, and after they died, hospital officials threw them on a table, one on top of the other, like bags of garbage at the local dumpster.

This is the fantastic healthcare that Cubans receive, according to Michael Moore and other useful idiots.

Patients are treated worse than animals. It is the cruelty of that brutal regime that has been oppressing the Cuban people for more than 51 years, while the dictator murdering and oppressing Cubans is referred to as “president,” and embraced by Latin American leaders who were democratically elected.

Many show marks that indicate that patients were beaten before they died.

The caption for the above photo says, “Yes, those black marks are flies.”

 

February 28, 2020. Tags: , , , , . Bernie Sanders, Communism, Health care. 5 comments.

In Cuba, this doctor’s home has running water for only one hour a day

Here’s a six minute video on what it’s like to be a doctor in Cuba.

At 4:53, when the doctor is at her home with her husband and their daughter, the narrator says:

“… they only have running water one hour a day…”

If that’s how Cuba treats its doctors, I wonder how they treat the average citizen.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zBC5w2O4jVI

February 28, 2020. Tags: , , , , . Communism, Health care, Sanitation. Leave a comment.

A Firsthand Account Of Child Abuse, Castro Style

https://www.capitalismmagazine.com/2000/05/a-firsthand-account-of-child-abuse-castro-style/

A Firsthand Account Of Child Abuse, Castro Style

By Armando Valladares

May 16, 2000

I was in solitary confinement in Fidel Castro’s tropical gulag — where I spent 22 years for refusing to pledge allegiance to the Communist regime — when I heard a child’s voice whimpering. “Get me out of here! Get me out of here! I want to see my mommy!” I thought my senses were failing me. I could not believe that they had imprisoned a child in those dungeons. Later on, I learned the story of Robertico.

He was 12 years old when they arrested him. A captain in the political police had left his gun in his open car. When he returned to the car he saw the child playing with it. He slapped Robertico and took him into custody. The child was sent to an adult prison in Havana, where he was condemned to spend the rest of his youth. He would not be released until he reached the age of 18.

Robertico was sent to a galley with common criminals. Within a few days, those soulless prisoners raped him. He spent several days in the hospital for treatment of rents and hemorrhages as a result. By the time he was released, his file had been stamped “homosexual” and he was taken to the prison area reserved for this classification. Robertico was so slender that his body fit through the bars of the cells. One night he slipped out to watch cartoons on the guard’s television. When he was discovered, he was sent to the punishment cells. He was taken out of those cells three times a week for injections because he was suffering from a venereal disease. A guard told me he was so young he did not even have pubic hair.

When I think of Elian Gonzalez, Robertico always comes to mind. This is the Cuban society to which Elian may return: a society where all rights are violated in the interest of subordinating all individuals to the will of the supreme leader.

Sadly, some in America still believe that the Cuban revolution was a triumph of good. It is worth remembering that many also refused to believe the horrors of the Nazi extermination camps. Then, the world had to wait for eyewitness accounts from journalists and photographic evidence from their camera crews before finally accepting the horrible reality of what had happened.

Many other Americans seem to believe that even if savage things once happened under Fidel Castro, the situation has now changed. Yet the same dictatorship, which sanctioned the abuse of Robertico and has tortured thousands of political prisoners, is still wielding absolute power over the Cuban people. Fidel Castro has never recanted or apologized for the atrocities that have been reported by those who have escaped his grasp. And there is a stream of evidence that the brutality and repression continues. Last month the United Nations Human Rights Commission condemned Cuba, for the eighth time, for its systematic violation of human rights. Amnesty International and the U.S. State Department have done the same.

It is standard practice around the world to transfer the custody of children to the surviving parent when the other dies. That is what is normal. But Cuba is not a normal place. If Elian is returned to Cuba, he will be sent back to a place where most people dream every day of escape. It is an island prison where a cruel tyranny has now lasted almost half a century. A fifth of the country’s population — around two million people — have fled, and more than half-a-million have been courageous enough to apply for visas to leave. Outside of Cuba, Elian will grow up as a free person with a free conscience. But if he returns, he will be “reprogrammed,” as Castro himself has made clear. The Cuban government has already shown the world the residence where psychiatrists and psychologists will instruct Elian on how to despise and hate anyone who is against communism — including his own mother, who gave her life to bring him to freedom. In a few years she’ll be nothing but a traitor to the Revolution. If Elian returns to Cuba his father will have no authority whatsoever to make decisions related to his education. Cuban “law” gives that authority to the Communist government.

Children are indoctrinated in Cuba from the moment they start to read. They are taught that the Communist party is owed loyalty above everything else. And they are taught that they must denounce their parents if they criticize or do anything against the Revolution or its leaders.

For Elian, absolute control by the Communist party will begin in elementary school with the so-called “Cumulative School File.” This is a little like a report card, but it is not limited to academic achievements. It measures “revolutionary integration,” not only of the student but also of his family. This file documents whether or not the child and family participate in mass demonstrations, or whether they belong to a church or religious group. The file accompanies the child for life, and is continually updated. His university options will depend on what that file says. If he does not profess a truly Marxist life, he will be denied many career possibilities.

From his elementary school days on, he will hear that God does not exist, and that religion is “the opium of the masses.” If any student speaks about God, his parents will be called to the school, warned that they are “confusing” the child and threatened. The Code for Children, Youth and Family provides for a three-year prison sentence for any parent who teaches a child ideas contrary to communism. The code is very clear: No Cuban parent has the right to “deform” the ideology of his children, and the state is the true “Father.”

Article 8 of that same code reads, “Society and the state work for the efficient protection of youth against all influences contrary to their Communist formation.” It is mandatory for all Cuban children over the age of 12 to do time in a Communist work camp in the countryside. Away from all parental supervision for nine months at a time, children there suffer from venereal disease, as well as teenage pregnancy, which inevitably ends in forced abortion.

When the reprogramming plan for Elian is complete, we will see him repeating the slogans of the Revolution. He will have lost his liberty, his ability to dream, his youthful innocence, and perhaps even hope. And should he ever do anything that angers the regime, we must hope he will not end like Robertico, cornered in a cell, calling for his mother. This time, she will not be able to save him.

February 28, 2020. Tags: , , , . Communism. Leave a comment.

Bernie Sanders didn’t mention the dark side of education in Castro’s Cuba

https://thehill.com/opinion/international/484878-bernie-sanders-didnt-mention-the-dark-side-of-education-in-castros-cuba

Bernie Sanders didn’t mention the dark side of education in Castro’s Cuba

By Gregory J. Wallance

February 27, 2020

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TeYCIfmeW70

Plain ignorance is the most charitable explanation for the misleading defense of communist Cuba offered by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on CBS News‘ “60 Minutes.” While saying he was opposed to Cuba’s “authoritarian nature,” Sanders insisted that “it’s unfair to simply say everything is bad. You know? When Fidel Castro came into office, you know what he did? He had a massive literacy program. Is that a bad thing?”

Sanders correctly stated that education became universal in Castro’s Cuba, but he ignored the deeply Orwellian nature of the educational system. Literacy was not sought by the Cuban regime just for the sake of literacy. From the outset, the regime viewed education, as two experts on Cuba explained in The Atlantic, as the “key to the revolution taking hold and creating a literate population loyal to the government.”

Cuban children were taught in school that their highest loyalty is to the Communist Party. They were instructed to denounce their parents to authorities for counter-revolutionary tendencies. If parents, in the privacy of their own home, explained ideas to their children that conflicted with communist ideology, they could be jailed for three years under the Code for Children, Youth and Family.

The school system stifled private religious beliefs. Cuban children were taught that God does not exist and that religion was the “opium of the masses.” If a child mentioned God in a class, the child’s parents were called in for a stern lecture that they were “confusing” the child and given a warning.

Starting in elementary school, a student’s progress was recorded in a so-called “cumulative school file.” The file not only recorded academic progress but also measured the “revolutionary integration” of both the student and the student’s family, such as whether they participated in mass demonstrations. The file was updated throughout the life of the child, whose education and work options would be determined by what it contained.

Cubans are literate, but the regime severely constricts how they can use their literacy. Freedom House describes Cuba as “a one-party communist state that outlaws political pluralism, suppresses dissent, and severely restricts basic civil liberties.” Only a small percentage of Cubans have access to the internet. Cubans cannot read viewpoints critical of, or disapproved by, the regime, and expressing such views means running considerable risks.

One example of political repression, among too many, is the Cuban dissident Dr. Óscar Elías Biscet, a Nobel Peace Prize nominee and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which he was awarded in absentia by President George W. Bush. Dr. Biscet has been repeatedly arrested for his non-violent political activities (as recently as last week) and held in horrific conditions. He was once sentenced to twenty-five years in prison. (Biscet was released after four years following international protests.)

But there is a less charitable explanation for Senator Sanders’ defense of an Orwellian system than simple ignorance. In 1985, Sanders visited Nicaragua and then defended the Soviet-backed Sandinista regime despite its serious human rights abuses, including the suspension of Nicaraguans’ civil liberties. He refused to call the Venezuelan leader Nicolás Maduro a dictator even though Maduro had rigged his election and banned the elected legislature from passing laws. After a visit to Cuba in the mid-1980s, Sanders said that he was “excited and impressed by the Cuban revolution.”

That last comment is reminiscent of what Lincoln Steffens, the famous muckraking journalist, had to say in 1921 after a visit to the nascent Soviet Union. “I have seen the future, and it works.” Evidently the heady revolutionary spirit and the glittering but false promise of a utopian society had blinded this otherwise tough-minded reporter to a nightmare. Something like that may have happened to Bernie Sanders when he went to Cuba and Nicaragua. But in refusing to acknowledge the brutal reality of these regimes, Sanders demonstrated that he is just as soft on left-wing dictators and autocrats as Donald Trump is on right-wing ones.

February 27, 2020. Tags: , , , , . Bernie Sanders, Communism. Leave a comment.

Bernie Sanders Misleading Narrative on Communist Cuba

https://townhall.com/columnists/johnrlottjr/2020/02/25/bernie-sanders-on-communist-cuba-n2561825

Bernie Sanders Misleading Narrative on Communist Cuba

February 25, 2020

With Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) becoming the odds on favorite to win the Democrat nomination, the media rehabilitation efforts have begun. First up on Sunday evening was CBS’s 60 Minutes, which moved to protect Sanders against attacks that he is a communist.

Host Anderson Cooper didn’t ask Sanders about his decision to honeymoon in the former Soviet Union or about past proposals for “public ownership of utilities, banks, and major industries,” proposals that Sanders has never disavowed. However, Cooper did ask Sanders about some positive statements that he has made about Communist Cuba.

In explaining why Cubans didn’t help the U.S. overthrow Fidel Castro, 60 Minutes first played an old interview of Sanders explaining it failed because people liked Castro. He “educated the kids, gave them health care, totally transformed the society.” No mention is made of the police state and Castro killing or throwing his political opponents in prison.

“You know it is unfair to simply say that everything is bad,” Sanders told Cooper. “When Fidel Castro came into office, you know what he did? He had a massive literacy program. Is that a bad thing? Even though Fidel Castro did it?”

Sanders can’t acknowledge it, but the push in communist countries to make sure that everyone could read had a dark side — the literacy programs were a massive indoctrination effort. The communist governments used the education system the same way that they take over at the same time and use television, radio, and newspapers. Controlling information is the reason that communist governments would regularly jam radio Voice of America’s broadcasts in their countries during the Cold War.

That is the same pattern that we have seen in other noncommunist totalitarian countries such as Nazi Germany. But undoubtedly Sanders wouldn’t be as effusive in his praise of the Nazi education system. In both the Nazi and communist systems, even simple math problems contained indoctrination lessons for students.

Education was just another part of the police state to control people. If you could teach people from a young age how wonderful the government is and how horrible the lives are for people in freer countries, you didn’t have to spend as much money on the secret police.

Cuba, other communist countries, and other totalitarian countries spent a lot more on education than freer countries with the same per capita income. Totalitarian countries also start public schooling at younger ages than freer countries, and they did so because they wanted to weaken the connection between children and their parents and replace the parent’s values with those of the government.

Sometimes these governments went much further than simply starting school at younger ages. For example, during the 1920s and 1950s, the Soviet Union experimented with raising children in communal children’s houses and dining halls that almost completely removed children from the influence of their parents. While fighting in Afghanistan during the 1980s, the Soviet government forcibly took tens of thousands of 3-and 4-year-old Afghanis to the USSR and raised them away from the influences of their families. The hope was that when later returned to Afghanistan, they would form the core of a loyal government administration.

In 1989, immediately before the fall of the Soviet Union, former President Ronald Reagan pointed out, “the biggest of Big Brothers is helpless against the technology of the Information Age.” Unlike Sanders, Reagan understood that part of winning the Cold War was breaking the control that communist governments had over the information that their citizens received.

Sanders is not alone in praising Cuba’s health care system. Of course, when Fidel Castro got very ill, he went to Spain for medical treatment. Their most significant bragging right was their improvements in infant mortality rates. But while infant mortality rates were improving dramatically between 1960 and 1971 in all the rest of North, Central, and South America, Cuba alone saw things get worse. Cuba’s big improvements occurred long after the attempted overthrow of Castro. To lower the infant mortality rate, the government forced abortions for high-risk babies. The government also took many pregnant women away from their families and ordered that they stay in special maternity homes. By 2000, the Cuban government was ordering 40 percent of mothers to stay in these homes for at least a portion of their pregnancy.

Cuba was able to eventually get an infant mortality rate slightly below that in the United States, but Anderson Cooper didn’t ask Sanders any follow-up questions about how the Cubans accomplished this “transformation.”

Communist countries from Cuba to Eastern Europe to the Soviet Union impoverished their citizens, though their leaders lived lives of luxury. The general citizens had miserable lives. Bernie Sanders might not want to acknowledge it, but their supposedly fabulous accomplishments had a real dark side.

February 27, 2020. Tags: , , , , . Bernie Sanders, Communism. Leave a comment.

The Moral Failing of Bernie Sanders

https://www.nationalreview.com/2020/02/bernie-sanders-support-communism-moral-failing/#slide-1

The Moral Failing of Bernie Sanders

February 26, 2020

Sanders was not a liberal during the Cold War. He was an outright Communist sympathizer.

According to CNN, Bernie Sanders “has been consistent for 40 years.” Some find this reassuring. Bernie is not a finger-in-the-wind politician who tacks this way or that depending upon what’s popular. On the other hand, if someone has never changed his mind throughout 78 years of life, it suggests ideological rigidity and imperviousness to evidence, not high principle.

Why make a fuss about Bernie’s past praise of Communist dictatorships? After all, the Cold War ended three decades ago, and a would-be President Sanders cannot exactly surrender to the Soviet Union.

It’s a moral issue. Sanders was not a liberal during the Cold War, i.e. someone who favored arms control, peace talks, and opposed support for anti-Communist movements. He was an outright Communist sympathizer, meaning he was always willing to overlook or excuse the crimes of regimes like Cuba and Nicaragua; always ready to suggest that only American hostility forced them to, among other things, arrest their opposition, expel priests, and dispense with elections.

Good ol’ consistent Bernie reprised one of the greatest hits of the pro-Castro Left last week on 60 Minutes. When Anderson Cooper pressed the senator by noting that Castro imprisoned a lot of dissidents, Sanders said he condemned such things. But even that grudging acknowledgment rankled the old socialist, who then rushed to add, “When Fidel Castro came into office, you know what he did? He had a massive literacy program. Is that a bad thing?”

Actually, the first thing Castro did upon seizing power (note Sanders’s whitewashing term “came into office”) was to march 600 of Fulgencio Batista’s supporters into two of the island’s largest prisons, La Cabana and Santa Clara. Over the next five months, after rigged trials, they were shot. Some “trials” amounted to public spectacles. A crowd of 18,000 gathered in the Palace of Sports to give a thumbs-down gesture for Jesus Sosa Blanco. Before he was shot, Sosa Blanco noted that ancient Rome couldn’t have done it better.

Batista was a bad guy, one must say. But summary executions are frowned upon by true liberals.

Next, Castro announced that scheduled elections would be postponed indefinitely. The island is still waiting. Within months, he began to close independent newspapers, even some that had supported him during the insurgency. All religious colleges were shuttered in May 1961, their property confiscated by the state. N.B., Senator Sanders: Castro also found time to knee-cap the labor unions. David Salvador, the elected leader of the sugar-workers union had been a vocal Batista opponent. He was arrested in 1962 and would spend twelve years in Cuba’s gulag.

The Black Book of Communism recounts that between 1959 and 1999, more than 100,000 Cubans were imprisoned for political reasons, and between 15,000 and 17,000 people were shot. Neighbors were encouraged to inform on one another and children on their parents. During the AIDS crisis of the 1980s, Cuba imprisoned gay people in concentration camps. Like other Communist paradises, Cuba’s greatest export was boat people. About two million of the island’s 11 million inhabitants escaped. Countless others died in the attempt. Did Sanders ever wonder why a country that had done such great work on literacy and health care had to shoot people to prevent them from fleeing?

Bernie Sanders has credulously repeated the other great propaganda talking point about Cuba: its supposedly wonderful “universal” health-care system. It’s not wonderful. Even those wishing to give Cuba the benefit of the doubt note the lack of basic necessities. Many hospitals in the country lack even reliable electricity and clean running water. A 2016 visitor found that patients in one Havana hospital had to bring everything with them — medicine, sheets, towels, etc.

The only working bathroom in the entire hospital had only one toilet. The door didn’t close, so you had to go with people outside watching. Toilet paper was nowhere to be found, and the floor was far from clean.

Yes, Cuba has high rates of literacy, but the state wanted readers in order to propagandize them. Granma tells people what to believe and forbids access to other sources of information. To this day, the regime controls what people can know. There are two Internets on the island. One for tourists and those approved by the government and the other, with restricted access, for the people.

Bernie Sanders has access to all the information he can absorb, and yet he remains an apologist for regimes that violate every standard of decency. Unlike the Cuban people, he is responsible for his own ignorance and pig-headedness. He claims to be a “democratic socialist,” but as his Cuba remarks suggest, the modifier may be just for show.

February 27, 2020. Tags: , , , , . Bernie Sanders, Communism. Leave a comment.

Cuban Americans Tell What Life Under Castro Was Really Like

https://www.dailysignal.com/2020/02/24/cuban-americans-tell-what-life-under-castro-was-really-like/

Cuban Americans Tell What Life Under Castro Was Really Like

February 24, 2020

When Sebastian Arcos and family members tried to travel from Cuba to the United States, authorities stopped them in what turned out to be a sting operation to arrest one of his uncles, who had advocated and fought for Fidel Castro’s revolution more than 20 years earlier.

That was Dec. 31, 1981, and for trying to leave the island nation, Arcos was jailed for a year.

His uncle spent seven years in jail. His father, also a political supporter of the communist revolution and like many other citizens soured on the broken promises of democracy, was imprisoned for six years.

“For the sake of argument, let’s say both the [Cuban] health care system and education system are perfect, which they are not. There have been thousands of political executions, tens of thousands of political prisoners, and 3 million Cuban exiles,” said Arcos, 58, today associate director of the Cuban Research Institute at Florida International University.

“So, the question to ask when we are told to consider the good things is: What is the price for the good?” Arcos told The Daily Signal.

Arcos said that he is “surprised when talking heads in the United States will give Fidel Castro the benefit of the doubt.”

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., a professed democratic socialist, has defended comments he made in the 1980s, when he said of Castro: “He educated their kids, gave them health care, totally transformed the society.”

In defending those remarks during an interview that aired Sunday on CBS’ “60 Minutes,” Sanders said:

We’re very opposed to the authoritarian nature of Cuba, but you know, it’s unfair to simply say everything is bad. You know? When Fidel Castro came into office [in 1959], you know what he did? He had a massive literacy program. Is that a bad thing? Even though Fidel Castro did it?”

https://twitter.com/60Minutes/status/1231732950540132355

Castro handed control of the government to his brother, Raúl Castro, before his death at age 90 in November 2016.

Miguel Díaz-Canel was named president when the younger Castro stepped down at age 87 in February 2018, but is largely considered a figurehead. Raúl Castro, head of Cuba’s Communist Party, is said to make major government decisions.

Sanders noted that President Donald Trump has had kind things to say about authoritarian rulers such as North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Arcos joined the Cuban Committee for Human Rights in 1987, providing reports to the United Nations Human Rights Commission before coming to the United States in 1992.

He said people should know better than to concede gross human rights abuses in Cuba, and then point to health care and literacy.

“That’s been the regime’s argument for decades,” Arcos said. “Whoever makes that argument is just repeating their lines.”

Cuba’s military dictatorship controls 80% of the economy. Political prisoners are common, and courts face political interference.

The Heritage Foundation’s 2019 Index of Economic Freedom ranks Cuba at 178th among the world’s nations based on how free its economy is.

Cuba did adopt some free market policies about a decade ago, but the government hasn’t been a strong effort to implement the reforms. Private property is allowed, but is strictly regulated by the government.

According to Heritage’s index, low state-dictated wages increase poverty in Cuba. The state runs the means of production, property seizures without due process are common, and the top income tax rate is 50%.

Repression in Cuba is on the rise, said Janisset Rivero, 50, a human rights activist who lived in Cuba until age 14. Her family was wrongly accused of engaging in seditious speech against the Cuban government because they received a letter from family abroad.

“Health care and education are not as good as the propaganda claims,” Rivero said. “It’s indoctrination more than education. The Cuban system doesn’t tolerate critical thinking.”

The two former Cuban citizens interviewed for this story gave similar accounts of health care in Cuba

They said the health care system has two tiers: One is for tourists, elites, and the military, which is top rate and what people see. The other is for the general population. When Cubans go to those hospitals, they have to bring their own food, water, bed sheets, and pillows.

Of support inside the United States for Cuba’s communist system, Rivero said, “It’s ignorance. Some people are ignorant.”

However, she suspects that in some cases, it’s worse.

“Some people simply support socialism and communism with a big state that can take control of people’s lives,” Rivero said. “Some supporters know exactly what is going on in Cuba and believe it would be OK here because they believe they know best.”

Frank Calzon, who retired last year as executive director of the Center for a Free Cuba, was born in 1944. His parents sent him to the United States after the Castro-led revolution. He became active in human rights causes and led the center for 22 years.

“A lot of claims the Cuban government makes should be suspect,” Calzon said. “Cuban students are not really more educated now. In 1951, the country had 75-80% of students [who] knew how to read and write.”

A strong spirit exists in Cuba for freedom, he said, pointing to the group Ladies in White as one example.

“The Ladies in White is a group of mothers, wives, sisters, and daughters of political prisoners,” Calzon said. “They try to march to Mass on Sundays, but Cuban police intercept them and take them to prisons. They release them that evening, but they take them several miles out of their city.”

February 27, 2020. Tags: , , , , . Bernie Sanders, Communism. Leave a comment.

Fabiola Santiago: I went to school in Cuba under Castro. Here’s what it’s like, Bernie Sanders.

https://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/news-columns-blogs/fabiola-santiago/article240425431.html

I went to school in Cuba under Castro. Here’s what it’s like, Bernie Sanders.

By Fabiola Santiago

February 25, 2020

Miami Herald columnist Fabiola Santiago, pictured in third grade in Cuba, was ostracized for not wearing her school uniform with the required scarf of the young Communist pioneers.

Look at the little girl in the picture.

In her serious demeanor, a front for fear — and in her story — you might find, Senator Bernie Sanders, some of the profundity lacking in your populist bid to become the Democratic nominee and 46th U.S. president.

This girl’s real-life experience is the antidote to your cheap, propagandist talking points on Cuba’s education system and Fidel Castro.

The banner behind her tells you her school in the city of Matanzas is confiscated property. “Intervenida” is the euphemism the new government led by Castro used to swoop in and appropriate every asset in the country, not only from the wealthy but from the middle class, too.

And, to make the point that this is now Castro country, take it or leave it, the private school is renamed after his 26th of July Movement.

“You know, when Fidel Castro came into office, you know what he did? He had a massive literacy program,” you told “60 Minutes” host Anderson Cooper. “Is that a bad thing? Even though Fidel Castro did it?”

https://twitter.com/60Minutes/status/1231732950540132355

Let’s break it all down.

The girl is 8 and in the third grade, the daughter of a beloved and respected teacher forced to resign over her refusal to teach Communist dogma to her students. (More on the mother later.)

Her father, a merchant of flour goods, sees his small, one-man business operation confiscated, and when he declines to continue to operate it as an employee of the state, he is sent to work in the agriculture fields as punishment.

Everyone in town knows the family is leaving the country to the United States.

Like the thousands before them and thousands along with them, they’re branded “gusanos,” worms — and this creates a lot of tension for the children in your idyllic “literacy system.”

The girl has never scored below a 96 on any test.

She’s No. 1 on the honor roll — and the principal wants her to wear the state-mandated red scarf of the Communist youth organization, los pioneros, or she’s out. Her parents refuse. Her mother is called in for a conference. The women argue.

The truce: The price for not wearing the pañoleta is being knocked down to second place for lack of revolutionary spirit. The top spot will go to a boy who is an eager and loyal pionerito (like decades later, a returned Elián González would be, too).

The girl is sad to lose the place she worked hard for over a scarf she sort of liked and everyone gets to wear, except for her and her little brother. But she loves her friends, no matter whether they’re leaving or staying, or if they chant every morning —“Pioneers, for Communism! We will be like Che” — or stay silent like she does.

Communist indoctrination

As the years pass and the wait for a visa wears on, she learns to work around the Communist indoctrination.

When she’s asked to write a glowing essay on Fidel Castro, she writes biography, complete, thorough, but no glowing appraisal because at 10, she knows more than Bernie Sanders at 78.

She’s a little more effusive with Camilo Cienfuegos, the more charismatic comandante who mysteriously “disappeared” during a plane flight. Even she, a child, suspects foul play.

Her little brother, a smart-aleck class clown, also has to make adjustments.

When his teacher asks him to form a sentence with the words “agrarian reform,” her brother eagerly chimes in out loud: “The agrarian reform is very sour!” His sentence rhymes in Spanish — and it’s a hit with classmates, but not with the teacher, an ardent revolutionary.

She is so mad she grabs him by an ear and pulls so hard and long that the boy bleeds all the way home. The next day, the mother goes to school and she could be heard screaming to the teacher that if she ever touches one of her kids again, she’ll be the one dragged down the street.

The girl fears that her mother could go to jail and she would be without parents. But her mother is still respected because she had earned the place she gave up on principle.

Literacy predates Castro

See, despite your claims, senator, that it was Castro who started a literacy program in Cuba, a common and often-repeated lie, the girl’s mother worked in a literacy program in the countryside after graduation from a teacher’s college in the early 1950s.

Teachers had to do so to earn their spot in a city classroom.

She drove a Jeep (bought by her oldest businessman brother, who paid for her schooling) part of the way, then she rode a horse that was brought to her so she could reach the one-room school house.

This isn’t a tall tale of Cuban exiles in Miami. There are photos of all the above to prove it.

In one, she’s tending to the garden planted in front of the school, while a student peeks from inside. The back is inscribed: “First school where I was able to practice my profession as a teacher. San Gregorio Farm. Ceiba Mocha, Matanzas, Cuba.”

Yes, by the time she leaves Cuba in 1969, this girl knows that the Cuban education system is dogmatic and abusive to innocent children who are ostracized for their parents’ beliefs.

Her parents’ heart-wrenching decision to leave it all behind and start a new life in Miami, saves her from worse. After their 12th birthdays, her friends have to enroll in la escuela al campo. They have to leave their home and their parents to live in barracks in the countryside and work in agricultural fields.

Because the “free education” in Cuba isn’t free, and the Castro literacy program the American left has bought into is rooted in indoctrination and devotion to the one-party political system.

Your apparatchik views on Cuba, senator, are as old and dated as the photos of me and my mother.

Sixty-one years of unrelenting dictatorship later, and in the year 2020, the least Florida Democrats looking forward to the primary in March deserve from the front-runner is lucidity, not more obfuscation.

But when you can’t even verbalize on “60 Minutes” how you’ll fund your signature healthcare project, pay for all that free college and child care you’re offering, what else can be expected on Cuba?

You are who you are, a populist riding a wave of discontent, as unfit for the presidency as your rival on the other side of the political spectrum.

Truly not yours, the little girl in the photograph, a registered Democrat in swing-state Florida.

February 26, 2020. Tags: , , , , . Bernie Sanders, Communism, Education. Leave a comment.

Bernie Rally Features Trotskyist Seattle Council Member Whose Party Wants To Seize Control Of Banks

https://dailycaller.com/2020/02/18/kshama-sawant-bernie-sanders-socialist/

Bernie Rally Features Trotskyist Seattle Council Member Whose Party Wants To Seize Control Of Banks

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8PCc740TeIk

 

February 18, 2020

Seattle Councilwoman Kshama Sawant, a socialist who belongs to a Trotskyist organization that wants to seize control of America’s banks, was a featured speaker at Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’s 2020 campaign rally in Seattle on Monday.

In her speech to Sanders’s supporters, Sawant called for a “powerful socialist movement to end all capitalist oppression and exploitation.”

Sawant is a member of Socialist Alternative, a fringe Trotskyist group that is open about its goal of a “socialist United States and a socialist world,” according to its website.

The Trotskyist group’s platform includes taking control of the “top 500 corporations and banks that dominate the U.S. economy” and paying compensation “on the basis of proven need to small investors, not millionaires.”

Additionally, in order to put an end to layoffs, the socialist group calls for taking “bankrupt and failing companies into public ownership.”

Sawant was formerly an activist in the progressive Occupy Wall Street movement. Following Trump’s election, she used government resources to help organize anti-Trump “Occupy Inauguration” protests.

Neither the Sanders campaign nor Sawant returned a request for comment.

February 22, 2020. Tags: , , . Bernie Sanders, Communism. Leave a comment.

Bernie Sanders: “I was very excited and impressed by the Cuban revolution”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k8Lo8YcEcPY

February 8, 2020. Tags: , , , , . Bernie Sanders, Communism. Leave a comment.

Immigration patterns prove that everyone wants to live in a capitalist country. Even the people who claim to be against capitalism never actually move to a non-capitalist country.

Immigration patterns prove that everyone wants to live in a capitalist country. Even the people who claim to be against capitalism never actually move to a non-capitalist country.

January 22, 2020. Tags: , , , , , , , . Communism, Economics, Immigration. Leave a comment.

Video shows Bernie Sanders staffer Kyle Jurek advocating for riots, gulags, shootings

https://pjmedia.com/trending/bombshell-video-shows-bernie-sanders-field-organizer-advocating-for-riots-and-gulags/

Vid Shows Bernie Sanders Staffer Advocating for Riots, Gulags, Shootings

January 14, 2020

Update: The full video of the Bernie Sanders campaign staffer has dropped and it’s worse than imagined. Not only does Kyle Jurek, who has been paid $11,000 so far by the campaign, advocate for putting Americans in gulags, but he also talks about plans to shoot Americans who don’t fight for the “revolution.”

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

Original article:

James O’Keefe is about to drop another hidden-camera expose on the Bernie Sanders campaign and explosive doesn’t even begin to describe it. The teaser dropped on Twitter Tuesday shows Kyle Jurek, who identifies as a “Field Organizer” for the Sanders campaign, explaining a plan for riots if Trump is re-elected. “F**king cities burn,” he says. Jurek then goes on to discuss the benefits of government reeducation. “In Nazi Germany after the fall of the Nazi party there was a sh*t ton of the populace that was f**king Nazi-fied. Germany had to spend billions of dollars to reeducate their people to not be Nazis. We’re probably going to have to do the same f**king thing here.”

Then he dropped some serious truth about Bernie’s “education plan.” Jurek revealed, “that’s kind of what Bernie’s whole free education for everybody…because we’re going to have to teach you to not be a f**king Nazi.” Perhaps the scariest part was Jurek’s high regard for the benefits of Soviet gulags. “There’s a reason Josef Stalin had gulags,” he said. “And actually, gulags were a lot better than what the CIA has told us that they were. Like, people were actually paid a living wage in gulags, they had conjugal visits in gulags. Gulags were actually meant for, like, reeducation.”

As if that’s not stupid enough, Jurek continues, “Greatest way to break a f**king billionaire of their like, privilege and their idea that they’re superior, go out and break rocks for twelve hours a day. You’re a working-class person and you’re going to learn what that means.”

Jurek also goes into what sounds like a detailed plan for civil unrest that will start in Milwaukee and spread to all the major cities in America if Bernie Sanders doesn’t get the DNC nomination. “Be ready to be in Milwaukee for the DNC convention. We’re gonna make 1978 [he means 1968] look like a f**king Girl Scout f**king cookout.” Then he issues a threat to police. “The cops are gonna be the ones that are getting f**king beaten in Milwaukee.”

Just a reminder for folks what gulags were actually like:

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

 

January 15, 2020. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , . Bernie Sanders, Communism. Leave a comment.

Why a “Billionaire” Wealth Tax Would Hurt the Working Poor and the Middle Class

https://fee.org/articles/why-a-billionaire-wealth-tax-would-hurt-the-working-poor-and-the-middle-class/

Why a “Billionaire” Wealth Tax Would Hurt the Working Poor and the Middle Class

Although the wealth tax was drafted with the poor in mind, its passing could cause them more harm than benefit.

By Mark Hornshaw

October 4, 2019

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders wants to tax billionaires out of existence, or at least make them an endangered species. His proposed wealth tax of up to 8 percent per year would mean “the wealth of billionaires would be cut in half over 15 years,” he says.

The progressive tax would start at 1 percent on retained wealth over $32 million, rising to 2 percent over $50 million, and so on, reaching to the top rate of 8 percent on wealth over $10 billion. Whatever is left would be taxed again the following year, and every year until it was gone.

Let’s assume for the sake of argument that you don’t have an ethical problem with taxing people a second time on wealth that has already been taxed. And let’s set aside the issue of whether billionaires would simply leave their wealth on the table for Sanders to take, rather than fleeing to places with less ambitious governments. Let’s posit for the sake of argument that the tax achieves its aims.

The question then becomes, would it be beneficial for the working poor who Sanders is appealing to? Would it leave them better off or worse?

Net Worth Isn’t What You Think It Is

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has a net worth of $109 billion, according to Bloomberg. If you think you can get a decent abode for $1 million, then it seems like he could buy 109,000 plush houses. Does anybody need that much wealth? Wouldn’t it be better off going to people who need it more? How does leaving that corporate wealth in private hands help the average person? This is the simplistic way that Sanders wants you to think about the situation. But this is not a true reflection of the situation at all.

In pre-capitalist feudal times, wealth was acquired by conquest and subjugation. The Duke in the castle was there because his group was militarily the strongest, having defeated the previous band of marauders, who defeated everybody else in the area. A Duke’s castle might be sacked by the army of another Duke, but the common person’s lot in life would be the same, albeit with a new master.

In this system, nearly all production was for the benefit of the wealthy “strongman.” The tailor-made fine clothes for the Duke. The blacksmith shod the Duke’s horses, the woodworker made the Duke’s furniture, and so on. For everybody else, virtually nothing was produced at all apart from meager subsistence. It was not possible to “become” wealthy in such a society—there was no peaceful process by which it could occur.

Sanders and many others would like you to view the world in that paradigm. But that is not how a market economy works.

Sure, the rich still appreciate their custom furniture and fine clothes—and you can make a modest living as a craftsman or tailor. But you don’t become a billionaire yourself from those activities. You become a billionaire in a market economy by producing products for millions, or even billions of people.

The people who started Amazon, Google, Walmart, Apple, Microsoft, and Disney got rich through their unparalleled level of service to the masses. They were “voted rich” through the voluntary choices of millions of people.

Amazon is one of the most amazing engines of poverty reduction and enhancement of living standards the world has ever seen. They literally make the working poor less poor, by offering them goods and services they like at prices they can afford. (Not to mention the opportunities Amazon creates by empowering and encouraging entrepreneurs to start new side businesses at very low start-up cost.)

The Problem with a Wealth Tax

I’m sure Bezos has some nice houses (as does Sanders) and other luxury items that would make our minds boggle. But not $109 billion worth. Most of the wealth of people like Bezos consists of shares in the companies they started, which were initially worth zero. It is other people’s recent valuations of those shares on the stock exchange that we are quoting. The figures come from multiplying the last traded parcel of shares by the total number of shares owned – not from any realistic offer to purchase the whole company.

Somebody like Bezos does not normally keep a spare $8 billion under the mattress, just in case Uncle Sam asks for it. In order to raise that money, he would have to sell down some of the stock of his company, and probably much more than $8 billion worth at the current valuation. But who would buy them?

When you credibly threaten to confiscate wealth, valuations can plummet. Not to mention the fact that all other billionaires (at least American ones) would be in the same predicament, being forced sellers of large portions of their own stocks.

Perhaps during the initial rounds of the tax, there may be some small investors, small enough to be flying below Sanders’s radar for the time being. But if these shareholders thought they could do a better job running those companies, they could just buy those shares on the open market right now. By not doing so in an un-coerced market, they are indicating that they feel less competent than the current owners.

So over time, it would be unlikely that any new Amazons or Apples would be started, and existing firms would be placed in ever less capable hands, with ever lower valuations as the wealth tax works its way down the line from billionaires to millionaires.

Sanders would either have to tax a vastly diminished pie or ask foreign investors to buy up US firms or, more likely, just confiscate shares directly and nationalize the companies. After a very short time, these companies would end up being majority-owned by the state – a veritable “trillionaire.”

Who’s Best Suited to Run a Business?

But perhaps you agree with Sanders that billionaires should not even exist, so it is still worth it anyway, regardless of how much tax is raised. The key question is, would the state do a better job running those companies than the entrepreneurs who started them or the investors who may have voluntarily bought them?

This is an important question, since these companies were started to provide goods and services to the masses, so it is the poor and middle class who will suffer if they do not operate efficiently. But now, instead of being run by competent, productive, future-oriented billionaires, these companies would be managed by an incompetent, non-productive, ultra-short-term-oriented trillionaire institution.

A billionaire businessperson could, if they wanted to, spend their fortune building statues of themselves. But that would only be a drain on the wealth they had acquired through previous rounds of serving customers. They would quickly find that it does not generate new income, and would promptly stop, choosing instead to invest in ways that expand the business by serving even more people. There is an effective feedback loop to weed out unproductive choices and reward productive ones.

But the state, for its entire existence, has had the privilege of being able to just confiscate any resources it wants and order them to be used in any way its rulers direct. It can choose to build statues, pyramids, or whatever it wants, whether or not it serves real consumer needs. Neither does it have to worry about competition from new entrants doing a better job; it can just ban them. Since nobody gets to choose whether to commit the resources or buy the finished goods, there is no way of knowing whether those resources were spent wisely or poorly.

This does not mean people in government don’t make any good decisions. They will stumble upon some good ones over time. But the people involved do not bear any direct consequences for their bad decisions, and neither are they directly rewarded for their good decisions. They have less effective mechanisms for weeding out the bad decisions and doubling down on the good ones. There is more incentive for managers and employees to make their own job more comfortable and less demanding, and there is less consequence for leaving customers twisting in the wind.

In short, a wealth tax means state-owned enterprises, and a state-owned enterprise can get away with being unresponsive, self-absorbed and lazy.

If you dislike productive billionaires, you ought to be 1,000 times more suspect of confiscatory trillionaires.

October 6, 2019. Tags: , , , , , . Bernie Sanders, Communism, Economics. Leave a comment.

Bernie Sanders said it’s a “good thing” when people have to wait in line for food. Meanwhile, in the real world, this is what it’s actually like to wait in line for food in Venezuela.

Bernie Sanders said that it’s a “good thing” when people have to wait in line for food.

These are his exact words:

“It’s funny, sometimes American journalists talk about how bad a country is, cause people are lining up for food. That’s a good thing! In other countries people don’t line up for food: the rich get the food and the poor starve to death.”

You can see him saying it in this video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zJBjjP8WSbc

Meanwhile, in the real world, this is what it’s actually like to wait in line for food:

(more…)

August 8, 2019. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , . Bernie Sanders, Communism, Economics, Social justice warriors, Venezuela. Leave a comment.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s chief of staff Saikat Chakrabarti: “The interesting thing about the Green New Deal is it wasn’t originally a climate thing at all… we really think of it as a how-do-you-change-the-entire-economy thing”

Saikat Chakrabarti is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s chief of staff.

On July 10, 2019, the Washington Post published the following: (the bolding is mine)

Chakrabarti had an unexpected disclosure. “The interesting thing about the Green New Deal,” he said, “is it wasn’t originally a climate thing at all.” Ricketts greeted this startling notion with an attentive poker face. “Do you guys think of it as a climate thing?” Chakrabarti continued. “Because we really think of it as a how-do-you-change-the-entire-economy thing.

It’s been said before by libertarians and conservatives that the environmental doomsayer movement is like a watermelon – green on the outside and red on the inside. Chakrabarti’s statement verifies this claim.

In the 1970s, environmental doomsayers referred to their alleged upcoming environmental apocalypse as “overpopulation.” In the 1990s, they called it “global warming.” And now in the 2010s, they are calling it “climate change.” In all three of these cases, the environmental doomsayers have claimed that the only way to prevent these alleged environmental disasters from happening is to have the government take control over properly, resources, energy, the economy, jobs, and the means of production.

Chakrabarti’s statement proves what many of us libertarians and conservatives have known all along: for many of its participants, the environmental doomsayer movement is just an excuse to massively increase the size and power of government control over everyone and everything.

July 14, 2019. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , . Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Communism, Environmentalism. 1 comment.

Venezuela’s Collapse Is the Worst Outside of War in Decades, Economists Say

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/17/world/americas/venezuela-economy.html

Venezuela’s Collapse Is the Worst Outside of War in Decades, Economists Say

Butchers have stopped selling meat cuts in favor of offal, fat shavings and cow hooves, the only animal protein many of their customers can afford.

May 17, 2019

MARACAIBO, Venezuela — Zimbabwe’s collapse under Robert Mugabe. The fall of the Soviet Union. Cuba’s disastrous unraveling in the 1990s.

The crumbling of Venezuela’s economy has now outpaced them all.

Venezuela’s fall is the single largest economic collapse outside of war in at least 45 years, economists say.

“It’s really hard to think of a human tragedy of this scale outside civil war,” said Kenneth Rogoff, an economics professor at Harvard University and former chief economist at the International Monetary Fund. “This will be a touchstone of disastrous policies for decades to come.”

To find similar levels of economic devastation, economists at the I.M.F. pointed to countries that were ripped apart by war, like Libya earlier this decade or Lebanon in the 1970s.

But Venezuela, at one point Latin America’s wealthiest country, has not been shattered by armed conflict. Instead, economists say, the poor governance, corruption and misguided policies of President Nicolás Maduro and his predecessor, Hugo Chávez, have fueled runaway inflation, shuttered businesses and brought the country to its knees. And in recent months, the Trump administration has imposed stiff sanctions to try to cripple it further.
(more…)

May 20, 2019. Tags: , , , . Communism, Economics, Venezuela. Leave a comment.

Bernie Sanders in the 1970s urged nationalization of most major industries

https://www.cnn.com/2019/03/14/politics/kfile-bernie-nationalization/index.html

Bernie Sanders in the 1970s urged nationalization of most major industries

March 14, 2019

Bernie Sanders advocated for the nationalization of most major industries, including energy companies, factories, and banks, when he was a leading member of a self-described “radical political party” in the 1970s, a CNN KFile review of his record reveals.

Sanders’ past views shed light on a formative period of his political career that could become relevant as he advances in the 2020 Democratic primary.

Many of the positions he held at the time are more extreme compared to the more tempered democratic socialism the Vermont senator espouses today and could provide fodder for moderate Democrats and Republicans looking to cast the Democratic presidential candidate and his beliefs as a fringe form of socialism that would be harmful to the country.

Aspects of Sanders’ plans and time in the Liberty Union have been reported before, but the material taken together, including hundreds of newly digitalized newspapers and files from the Liberty Union Party archived at the University of Vermont, paint a fuller portrait of Sanders’ views on state and public-controlled industry at the time.

In a statement to CNN, Sanders campaign spokesman Josh Orton said, “Throughout his career, Bernie has fought on the side of working people and against the influence of both the powerful ultra-rich and giant corporations who seek only to further their own greed. The record shows that from the very beginning, Bernie anticipated and worked to combat the rise of a billionaire ruling class and the exploding power of Wall Street and multinational corporations. Whether fighting to lower energy prices or expand access to capital for local development, Bernie’s first priority has always been — and will always be — defending the interests of working people across the country.”

After moving to Vermont in 1968 several years after graduating college, Sanders became an active member of the left-wing Liberty Union Party. Under the Liberty Union banner, Sanders, then in his early 30s, ran for governor of Vermont in 1972 and 1976 and as a candidate for US Senate in 1972 and 1974. Sanders, also served as chairman of the party from 1973-1975. During this time, Sanders and Liberty Union argued for nationalization of the energy industry, public ownership of banks, telephone, electric, and drug companies and of the major means of production such as factories and capital, as well as other proposals such as a 100% income tax on the highest income earners in America. Sanders also rejected political violence and criticized the anti-democratic nature of communist states such as the Soviet Union.

“I favor the public ownership of utilities, banks and major industries,” Sanders said in one interview with the Burlington Free Press in 1976.

In his career as a US Senator, Sanders has backed away from such ardent calls for nationalization, but maintained similar rhetoric on wealth inequality.

In one 2015 speech, he said he didn’t want the government to take over private business or “own the means of production.” But his early views are notable because they are far to the left of the current Democratic party and most candidates running for office.

Sanders left the Liberty Union Party in 1977, over what he said was the party’s lack of activity between elections. Sanders said in his farewell that workers would need to take control for the country to be sustained.

“The function of a radical political party is very simple,” he said. “It is to create a situation in which the ordinary working people take what rightfully belongs to them. Nobody can predict the future of the workers’ movement in this country or the state of Vermont. It is my opinion, however, that if workers do not take power in a reasonably short time this country will not have a future.”

The energy industry

In 1973, during his time as chairman of the Liberty Union Party, Sanders took to a Vermont paper to oppose Richard Nixon’s energy policy and oil industry profits, calling for the entire energy industry to be nationalized. Consumers at the time had been facing steep price increases and heavy shortages as a result of the OPEC oil embargo.

“I would also urge you to give serious thought about the eventual nationalization of these gigantic companies,” Sanders wrote in a December 1973 open letter to Vermont Sen. Robert Stafford that ran in the Vermont Freeman. “It is extremely clear that these companies, owned by a handful of billionaires, have far too much power over the lives of Americans to be left in private hands. The oil industry, and the entire energy industry, should be owned by the public and used for the public good — not for additional profits for billionaires.”

Electric and telephone utilities

Efforts to push for public ownership of Vermont’s utilities like telephone and electric companies played prominently in Sanders’ political career in the 1970s. Sanders ran for Senate in a January 1972 in the special election and governor in that year’s November election, registering in the low single digits in both races.

When he launched his first campaign for the Senate in 1971, Sanders said state utilities needed to be run by the state of Vermont on a nonprofit basis and that if revenues exceed expenditures they could be used to fund government programs and lower property taxes. In 1976, Sanders went even further: calling for the state to seize ownership of Vermont’s private electric companies without compensation to investors. He defended his proposals routinely by pointing out that municipally owned utilities, not uncommon throughout the country, often had lower consumer prices.

Utilities like the Green Mountain Power company and the New England Telephone company had been steadily pushing, successful and unsuccessful at times, for approval from state regulators for rate increases. Sanders was particularly incensed by a proposed 27% rate hike by the New England Telephone company, and it became a rallying cry for his political campaigns.

In 1973, as chairman of the Liberty Union Party, Sanders had organized boycotts to stop proposed rate increases from New England Telephone company. Sanders’ efforts through the “The Vermont Telephone Boycott Committee” — a committee he coordinated that year — proved successful in blocking NET rate increases. Newspapers commended Sanders for efforts when the rate increases were blocked by the state’s utility regulators.
Sanders would declare for the Senate again the following June in 1974 and for governor in 1976, and Vermont’s utilities would remain a major focus point of his campaigns and Liberty Union Party. Sanders’ rhetoric was strongest during his 1976 campaign for governor of Vermont, his last before he left the Liberty Union Party.

In a press release on his policy positions, Sanders campaigned on the public ownership of the state’s electric companies, without compensating the banks and stockholders.

“I will be campaigning in support of the Liberty Union utility proposal which calls for the public ownership of Vermont’s private electric companies without compensation to the banks and wealthy stockholders who own the vast majority of stock in these companies,” he said in a July 1976 press release. “I will also be calling for public ownership of the telephone company — which is probably the single greatest rip-off company in America.”
Sanders argued utility companies engaged in “economic blackmail,” saying the state gave the companies the right to charge “outrageous” rates for utilities or have consumers suffer from poor service.

Sanders’ comments went beyond the Liberty Union’s proposal for public takeover of state utilities, which said investors and bondholders with more than 100 shares would have to convert their holding to non-voting stock and income bonds which carry no fixed claim to dividends or interest payments.

Public ownership of banks, corporations and the major industries

Sanders’ policy proposals that year also included an ambitious plan to deal with companies attempting to leave towns.

“We have got to begin to deal with the fact that corporations do not have the god-given right to disrupt the lives of their workers or the economic foundation of their towns simply because they wish to move elsewhere to earn a higher rate of profit,” Sanders said in a press release in August 1976.
Sanders’ plan would require large businesses attempting to leave cities to get permission from the towns and the workers in them. If the company did not get that approval they would be required by law to pay a guaranteed two years of severance for workers and 10 years of taxes for the town.
Nationally, Sanders said, legislation corporations leaving cities would have to be dealt with by turning the means of production over to the workers.
“In the long run, the problem of the fleeing corporations must be dealt with on the national level by legislation which will bring about the public ownership of the major means of production and their conversion into worker-controlled enterprises,” he said.

Campaign literature that year from Sanders, including a 1976 brochure for the party, said, “I believe that, in the long run, major industries in this state and nation should be publicly owned and controlled by the workers themselves.”

Public control of the economy would become the key issue in his race. Speaking at one forum, Sanders called for workers to control of capital, factories, banks and corporations.

“There is a handful of people sitting at the head of the main banks controlling the destiny of underprivileged nations, the country as well as Vermont’s economy,” Sanders said. “That is not tolerable. That control cannot be held by them. We need public control over capital; and the capital must be put to use for public need not for the advancement of those who made the investments.”

In an interview with the Burlington Free Press, Sanders argued the richest two or three percent should not control capital.

“I favor the public ownership of utilities, banks and major industries. In Vermont we have some $2 billion of deposits in our banks,” Sanders told the paper. “In Vermont, as well as nationally, it is not tolerable to me that the control of capital would remain in the hands of the richest two or three percent of the population to do with it as they like.”

Sanders called that year in a policy paper for Vermont’s banking laws to be “radically” revised, so that the public and the state “determine in what manner our savings are invested so as to make Vermont a better place to live.”

Socialized medicine and public ownership of drug companies

Asked about healthcare, Sanders said there would need to be publicly-controlled drug companies.

“I believe in socialized medicine, public ownership of the drug companies and placing doctors on salaries. The idea that millionaires can make money by selling poor people drugs that they desperately need for highly inflated prices disgusts me,” he said.

Taxing assets at 100%

Heavy taxation of wealthy people played prominently into Sanders’ plans to pay for expanding government services.

In February 1976, Liberty Union put out a state tax proposal calling for a radical revamping of the system, including the removal of all taxes of sales, beverages, cigarettes, polls, and the use of telephones, railroads or electric energy. Tax rates for those earning more than $100,00 would be 33.47%, $50,000-$99,999 would be 19%, $25,000-$49,000 would be 13.56%, and $10,000-$14,999 would be 4%. Anyone earning less than $10,000 would pay no state income tax.

But Sanders’ rhetoric at times went much further.

During his 1974 Senate run, Sanders said one plan to expand government included making it illegal to gain more wealth than person could spend in a lifetime and have a 100% tax on incomes above this level. (Sanders defined this as $1 million dollars annually).

“Nobody should earn more than a million dollars,” Sanders said.

March 16, 2019. Tags: , , , , . Bernie Sanders, Communism. Leave a comment.

Venezuelans Send Message To Americans Who Want Socialism

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CJhRMEW-5ws

February 8, 2019. Tags: , , , . Communism, Venezuela. Leave a comment.

The paperback version of my book “The Maduro Diet” is amazon’s #1 New Release in Venezuelan History

The paperback version of my book “The Maduro Diet” is amazon’s #1 New Release in Venezuelan History.

The full title of the book is “The Maduro Diet: How three-quarters of adults in Venezuela lost an average of 43 pounds in two years.”

Here’s the link to the book:

https://www.amazon.com/Maduro-Diet-three-quarters-Venezuela-average/dp/1726650847/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

Here’s a screen capture showing that it’s #1. Click on the image to see a larger version:


And because it won’t always be #1, here’s a link to the Internet Archive from when it was #1:

https://web.archive.org/web/20181030131022/https://www.amazon.com/Maduro-Diet-three-quarters-Venezuela-average/dp/1726650847/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

October 30, 2018. Tags: , , , , , . Books, Communism, Economics, Venezuela. 2 comments.

Does Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez agree or disagree with the Democratic Socialists of America’s New York City chapter’s call to “abolish profit”?

This is a link to a recent tweet from the New York City chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America.

And this is a link to an archive of the same tweet, in case the original ever gets deleted.

The tweet states:

“Abolish profit”

I’d also like to point out this link to the constitution and bylaws of the Democratic Socialists of America, where they write:

“we reject an economic order based on private profit”

So both the national organization and the New York City chapter both support getting rid of profit.

If anyone wants to see the real world results of what happens when a country tries to stop businesses and corporations from making a profit, I suggest read this lengthy, well sourced blog post that I wrote four months ago, which is called, “The Maduro diet: How most Venezuelans lost an average of 19 pounds in 2016, plus another 24 pounds in 2017.”

One would think that the lessons of the 20th century would have taught people that getting rid of profit also means getting rid of incentive. But one would be wrong. In Venezuela, during the 21st century, presidents Hugo Chavez and Nicolas Maduro did everything they could to stop businesses and corporations from making a profit from growing and selling food, and the results have been disastrous.

In New York City, a self described “socialist” named Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez just beat long term incumbent Joseph Crowley in the Democratic primary election for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. Unless something really weird and unexpected happens, there is a near 100% chance that Ocasio-Cortez will be elected to the U.S. Congress in November.

Since Ocasio-Cortez is a member of the Democratic Socialists of America, I would like to know if she agrees or disagrees with their proposal to “abolish profit.”

I would also like to know if Ocasio-Cortez supports or opposes the policies of Venezuelan presidents Hugo Chavez and Nicolas Maduro, which I describe in great detail in this blog entry.

Chavez referred to his policies as “21st century socialism,” and he was constantly saying that it was wrong for businesses and corporations to make a profit. He set price controls on food, seized more than 10 million acres of farmland, and had the government take control of many food processing plants and supermarkets. Before Chavez died in 2013, he had appointed Maduro as his successor. Since Chavez’s’ death, Maduro has continued Chavez’s policies. Because the profit motive to grow and sell food has been eliminated in Venezuela, there has been a very severe, long term, chronic shortage of food. Most Venezuelans lost an average of 19 pounds in 2016, plus another 24 pounds in 2017.

I would like Ocasio-Cortez to please read my blog post, please check out all the links to the sources that I cite to prove that everything I wrote is true, and then please state whether she supports or opposes the policies of Hugo Chavez and Nicolas Maduro that are in my blog post.

 

July 1, 2018. Tags: , , , , , , , . Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Communism, Economics, Venezuela. 1 comment.

The Democratic Socialists of America supports the same policies that have destroyed Venezuela’s ability to feed itself

The New York Times just published this article, which is titled “The Millennial Socialists Are Coming.” The article talks about the growing popularity of socialism among Millennials, and points out several examples of socialist candidates beating long term Democrats in primary elections.

The New York Times article includes this link to the constitution and bylaws of the Democratic Socialists of America. Here is a brief excerpt from it (the bolding is mine):

“We are socialists because we reject an economic order based on private profit, alienated labor, gross inequalities of wealth and power, discrimination based on race, sex, sexual orientation, gender expression, disability status, age, religion, and national origin, and brutality and violence in defense of the status quo. We are socialists because we share a vision of a humane social order based on popular control of resources and production, economic planning, equitable distribution, feminism, racial equality and non-oppressive relationships.”

Let’s take a look at what those two bolded parts manage to achieve when they are adopted in the real world. Specifically, let’s take a look at what’s currently going on in Venezuela, which I have previously described in great detail in this lengthy and well sourced blog post, which I have titled, “The Maduro diet: How most Venezuelans lost an average of 19 pounds in 2016, plus another 24 pounds in 2017.”

The Democratic Socialists of America claim that they “reject an economic order based on private profit.” That’s exactly what Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez was doing when he started implementing price controls on food in Venezuela in 2003. These price controls caused shortages of food. Anyone who understands Economics 101 knows that price controls cause shortages.

The Democratic Socialists of America claim that they support “popular control of resources and production.” This is exactly what Hugo Chavez did when he had the government seize more than 10 million acres of farmland from private owners. As a result of these land seizures, food production fell substantially.

Before Chavez died, he appointed Nicolas Maduro to be his successor. After Chavez died in 2013, Maduro continued Chavez’s policies.

In 2018, all of Chavez’s food policies are still in effect. The profit motive has been taken away from food production. Ownership of the means of producing food has been collectivized.

Because the Venezuelan government adopted the exact same polices that are supported by Democratic Socialists of America, most Venezuelans lost an average of 19 pounds in 2016, plus another 24 pounds in 2017.

And you don’t have to take my word for this. My blog entry that I mentioned earlier contains a very large number of links to sources which document exactly how this happened.

One thing that’s interesting about the links in my blog entry on Venezuela is that many of my sources are links to articles in the New York Times. And yet the current article form the New York Times on the Democratic Socialists of America makes absolutely no mention of the the kinds of horrible disasters that happen when such policies are adopted in the real world.

And before anyone goes and mentions the Scandanavian countries, I would like to point out that those countries have by no means adopted the polices supported by the Democratic Socialists of America that I quoted and bolded above. They have not abandoned the profit motive, and they have not turned their means of production over to collective ownership.

On the contrary, Sweden, Norway, Finland, and Denmark all have thriving private sectors with huge corporations that make massive profits.

 

June 30, 2018. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , . Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Communism, Economics, Venezuela. 1 comment.

In just three minutes, Jordan Peterson gives the most accurate description of 21st century Marxists that I’ve ever heard

In this three minute video, Jordan Peterson says that is is morally reprehensible for anyone who knows anything about 20th century history to support Marxism in the 21st century.

I’ve never heard a better criticism of 21st century Marxists than what’s in this video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8p2QfjaSIUo

Here is the text of his speech:

The fact that the post-modernists dare to be Marxists is also something that I find I would say not so much intellectually reprehensible as morally repugnant.  And one of the things that the post-modern neo-Marxists continually claim is that they have nothing but compassion for the downtrodden.

And I would say that anybody with more than a cursory knowledge of 20th century history who dares to claim simultaneously that they have compassion for the downtrodden and that they’re Marxists, are revealing either their ignorance of history that is so astounding that it’s actually a form of miracle, or a kind of malevolence that’s so reprehensible that it’s almost unspeakable, because we already ran the equity experiment over the course of the 20th century, and we already know what the Marxist doctrines have done for oppressed people all over the world. And the answer to that mostly was imprison them, enslave them, work them to death, or execute them.

And as far as I can tell that’s not precisely commensurate with any message of compassion. And so I don’t that think the post-modern neo-Marxists have a leg to stand on ethically, or intellectually, or emotionally. And I think that they should be gone after as hard as possible from an intellectual perspective –  an informed intellectual perspective. And this is fundamentally a war of ideas.

And that’s the level of analysis that it should be fought upon. And not only is it a war of ideas, I think it’s one that can be won, because I think that especially the French intellectual post-modernists are a pack of – what would you call them? Well we could start with charlatans – that’s a good one. Pseudo-intellectual would be good. Resentful would be another.

And then I would also consider them highly – they’re highly deceptive in their intellectual strategies because almost all of them are Marxist student intellectuals and they knew by the time the gulag archipelago came out, and even before that, that the nightmares of the Soviet Union and Maoist China were of such magnitude that they had completely invalidated any claim to ethical justification that the fundamental Marxist doctrines had ever managed to manifest. And so, it’s a no go zone as far as I’m concerned.

Intellectually, the game’s over. We’ve already figured out that there are finite constraints on interpretation. And we also understand why those exist, and how they evolved, and from the perspective of political argumentation, there’s absolutely no excuse whatsoever in the 21st century to put forth Marxist doctrines as if they are the balm that is administered by the compassionate to the downtrodden.

Sorry.

Tried that.

Didn’t work.

We’ve got a hundred million corpses to prove it. And that’s plenty for me. And if it’s not enough for you, then you should do some serious thinking – either about your historical knowledge, or about your moral character.

 

March 22, 2018. Tags: , , , , . Communism. 1 comment.

Washington Post opinion columnist Elizabeth Bruenig wants the U.S. to adopt the same policies that are currently causing Venezuelans to starve to death

Washington Post writer Elizabeth Bruenig recently wrote this opinion column.

She writes,

“I think the problem lies at the root of the thing, with capitalism itself.”

Capitalism merely means that property is privately owned. So she has a problem with private ownership of property.

She writes,

“Americans appear to be isolated, viciously competitive, suspicious of one another and spiritually shallow; and that we are anxiously looking for some kind of attachment to something real and profound in an age of decreasing trust and regard — seem to be emblematic of capitalism.”

I think these are things of human nature, and would exist regardless of the kind of economic system that we had.

She says that capitalism

“… encourages and requires fierce individualism, self-interested disregard for the other.”

I wonder how many repeat customers a business would have if the business owner had “disregard” for those customers.

She writes,

“As a business-savvy friend once remarked: Nobody gets rich off of bilateral transactions where everybody knows what they’re doing.”

When I buy a loaf of bread at the supermarket, it’s a win-win situation. There are no losers. And the owner of the supermarket is rich.

She said she supports

“decommodifying labor”

So she would let herself be operated on by a surgeon who gets paid no more than a janitor who dropped out of high school?

She said she supports

“reducing the vast inequality brought about by capitalism.”

In the capitalist U.S., where inequality is huge, poor people make $15,000 a year, while rich people make $15 million a year.

In Cuba, where there is equality, all government employees make $20 a month.

Bruenig wants the U.S. to adopt the same policies that are currently causing Venezuelans to starve to death. Everything that Hugo Chavez and Nicolas Maduro have done was done because they hate capitalism just as much as Bruenig does. There is no basic difference between her views and theirs.

March 10, 2018. Tags: , , , , . Communism, Media bias, Venezuela. 8 comments.

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