In Venezuela, they were teachers and doctors. To buy food, they became prostitutes.

http://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/world/americas/venezuela/article174808061.html

In Venezuela, they were teachers and doctors. To buy food, they became prostitutes.

September 22, 2017

ARAUCA, Colombia – At a squat, concrete brothel on the muddy banks of the Arauca River, Gabriel Sánchez rattled off the previous jobs of the women who now sell their bodies at his establishment for $25 an hour.

“We’ve got lots of teachers, some doctors, many professional women and one petroleum engineer,” he yelled over the din of vallenato music. “All of them showed up with their degrees in hand.”

As Venezuela’s economy continues to collapse amid food shortages, hyperinflation and U.S. sanctions, waves of economic refugees have fled the country. Those with the means have gone to places like Miami, Santiago and Panama.

The less fortunate find themselves walking across the border into Colombia looking for a way, any way, to keep themselves and their families fed. A recent study suggested as many as 350,000 Venezuelans had entered Colombia in the last six years.

But with jobs scarce, many young — and not so young — women are turning to the world’s oldest profession to make ends meet.

Dayana, a 30-year-old mother of four, nursed a beer as she watched potential clients walk down the dirt road that runs in front of wooden shacks, bars and bordellos. Dressed for work in brightly-colored spandex, Dayana said she used to be the manager of a food-processing plant on the outskirts of Caracas.

But that job disappeared after the government seized the factory and “looted it,” she said.

Seven months ago, struggling to put food on the table, she came to Colombia looking for work. Without an employment permit, she found herself working as a prostitute in the capital, Bogotá. While the money was better there, she eventually moved to Arauca, a cattle town of 260,000 people along the border with Venezuela, because it was easier to send food back to her children in Caracas.

The previous night, her sister had traveled by bus for 18 hours from Caracas to pick up a bundle of groceries that Dayana had purchased — pasta, tuna, rice, cooking oil — and then immediately jumped on a bus back home.

“If you had told me four years ago that I would be here, doing this, I wouldn’t have believed you,” said Dayana, who asked that her last name not be used. “But we’ve gone from crisis to crisis to crisis, and now look where we are.”

“The Venezuelan people are starving and their country is collapsing,” President Donald Trump stated before the United Nations on Sept. 19, 2017. He later called on other countries to do more to address the crisis in Venezuela under the dictatorship of Nicolas Maduro which “has inflicted terrible misery and suffering on the good people of that country.”

With inflation running in excess of 700 percent and the bolivar currency in free fall, finding food and medicine in Venezuela has become a frustrating, time-consuming task. Dayana said she often would spend four to six hours waiting in line hoping to buy a bag of flour. Other times she was forced to buy food on the black market at exorbitant rates. Hunger in Venezuela is rampant.

That has fueled a scramble to earn hard currency — Colombian pesos or, even better, the U.S. dollar, which is the legal tender of Ecuador and Panama.

Dayana said that on a good night she makes the equivalent of $50 to $100 dollars, selling her services 20 minutes at a time.

“Prostitution obviously isn’t a good job,” she said. “But I’m thankful for it, because it’s allowing me to buy food and support my family.”

Selling sex is legal in Colombia, and even small towns have red-light districts where authorities look the other way. So while immigration police were actively hunting down Venezuelans selling trinkets and panhandling in Arauca’s central square, the women along brothel row said they were rarely harassed.

Marta Muñoz runs the Casa de la Mujer, a municipal program that focuses on women’s health and rights. She said that prostitution is something of a blind spot for local authorities who are more focused on blatant crimes, like child trafficking, rape and the abuse of minors.

“I know that some of them are being paid unfairly and being treated very poorly,” Muñoz said of the Venezuelan prostitutes. “But how do we protect them without strong public policies?”

Sánchez and others in the sex industry say Venezuelans dominate the trade now because they’re willing to work for less pay.

“I would say 99 percent of the prostitutes in this town are Venezuelan,” he said. All 12 of the women who work for him are from the other side of the border.

It’s not just a border phenomenon. Fidelia Suarez, the president of Colombia’s Union of Sex Workers, said her organization has seen a dramatic influx of “Venezuelan women and men working in the sex trade” across the country.

While it’s impossible to quantify how many might be working in the trade, Suarez said her organization is trying to safeguard the vulnerable migrants.

“We want to make sure they’re not being harassed by authorities or taken advantage of,” she said. “Being sexually exploited is very different than being a sex worker.”

In a sense, Venezuela’s economic crisis has been so severe that it has even upended long-held social norms.

Marili, a 47-year-old former teacher and grandmother, said there was a time when she would have been ashamed to admit she’s a prostitute. Now she says she’s grateful to have a job that allows her to buy hypertension medication for her mother back in Caracas.

“We’re all just women who are working to support our families,” she said. “I refuse to criticize anyone, including myself. We all have to work.”

Both Marili and Dayana said they had told their families how they make a living. “I don’t like to keep secrets,” Dayana explained.

Even Sánchez, the 60-year-old brothel owner, says he was forced into the business by the Venezuelan crisis. Like many Colombians, Sánchez moved to the neighboring country 30 years ago, when the oil rich nation was booming economically and Colombia was mired in violence.

There, he had solid work in Caracas repainting cars. When the crisis killed that job several years ago, he began smuggling Venezuelan wood and its cheaper-than-water gasoline into Colombia.

Eventually, things got so bad he decided to return to Colombia permanently. He and his wife opened the brothel, called “Show Malilo Night Club.” Sánchez’s nickname is Malilo.

“This place is mine, thank God,” he said of the modest building, strung with Christmas lights to provide ambiance. “But it hurts me deeply what’s happening over there.”

Marili said the couple had been lifesavers — giving her a place to stay and a way to make a living.

“Not just anyone will lend you a hand,” she said. “These people are humanitarians.”

There seems to be no end in sight for Venezuela’s economic pain. Last month, the Trump administration restricted Caracas’ ability to borrow money from American creditors, which will undoubtedly deepen the crisis. And yet, President Nicolás Maduro has been digging in, avoiding the economic reforms that economists say are necessary.

Dayana dreams of a day when she’ll be able to go home and start a small clothing boutique. Asked when she thought that might happen, she shook her head.

“No one knows,” she said. “We just have to be patient.”

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September 25, 2017. Tags: , , , . Communism, Economics, Venezuela. Leave a comment.

My new book “The Maduro Diet” is ranked #1 in the amazon sales category Books > History > Americas > South America > Venezuela

My new book The Maduro Diet is ranked #1 in the amazon sales category Books > History > Americas > South America > Venezuela

Here’s a partial screen capture:


Full title: The Maduro Diet: How three-quarters of adults in Venezuela lost an average of 19 pounds in 2016

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B075W2LXT8


September 24, 2017. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , . Books, Communism, Economics, Venezuela. 2 comments.

I just published this new book about the food shortages in Venezuela

I just published this new book about the food shortages in Venezuela:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B075W2LXT8

September 24, 2017. Tags: , , , . Communism, Economics, Venezuela. Leave a comment.

Walter Williams: The black family is struggling, and it’s not because of slavery

https://stream.org/black-family-struggling-not-slavery/

The Black Family is Struggling, and It’s Not Because of Slavery

The black family was stronger the first 100 years after slavery than during what will be the second 100 years.

By Walter Williams

September 20, 2017

That the problems of today’s black Americans are a result of a legacy of slavery, racial discrimination, and poverty has achieved an axiomatic status, thought to be self-evident and beyond question.

This is what academics and the civil rights establishment have taught. But as with so much of what’s claimed by leftists, there is little evidence to support it.

The No. 1 problem among blacks is the effects stemming from a very weak family structure.

Children from fatherless homes are likelier to drop out of high school, die by suicide, have behavioral disorders, join gangs, commit crimes, and end up in prison. They are also likelier to live in poverty-stricken households.

But is the weak black family a legacy of slavery?

In 1960, just 22 percent of black children were raised in single-parent families. Fifty years later, more than 70 percent of black children were raised in single-parent families.

Here’s my question: Was the increase in single-parent black families after 1960 a legacy of slavery, or might it be a legacy of the welfare state ushered in by the War on Poverty?

According to the 1938 Encyclopaedia of the Social Sciences, that year 11 percent of black children were born to unwed mothers. Today about 75 percent of black children are born to unwed mothers.

Is that supposed to be a delayed response to the legacy of slavery?

The bottom line is that the black family was stronger the first 100 years after slavery than during what will be the second 100 years.

At one time, almost all black families were poor, regardless of whether one or both parents were present. Today roughly 30 percent of blacks are poor.

However, two-parent black families are rarely poor. Only 8 percent of black married-couple families live in poverty. Among black families in which both the husband and wife work full time, the poverty rate is under 5 percent. Poverty in black families headed by single women is 37 percent.

The undeniable truth is that neither slavery nor Jim Crow nor the harshest racism has decimated the black family the way the welfare state has.

September 20, 2017. Tags: , , . Economics, Racism. 3 comments.

Price controls and nationalization of more than 10 million acres of farmland have destroyed Venezuela’s ability to feed itself

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/the_americas/venezuelas-paradox-people-are-hungry-but-farmers-cant-feed-them/2017/05/21/ce460726-3987-11e7-a59b-26e0451a96fd_story.html

Venezuela’s paradox: People are hungry, but farmers can’t feed them

May 22, 2017


Above: A once-packed henhouse stands empty on Saulo Escobar’s farm in Aragua state, Venezuela, earlier this month.

YUMA, Venezuela — With cash running low and debts piling up, Venezuela’s socialist government has cut back sharply on food imports. And for farmers in most countries, that would present an opportunity.

But this is Venezuela, whose economy operates on its own special plane of dysfunction. At a time of empty supermarkets and spreading hunger, the country’s farms are producing less and less, not more, making the caloric deficit even worse.

Drive around the countryside outside the capital, Caracas, and there’s everything a farmer needs: fertile land, water, sunshine and gasoline at 4 cents a gallon, cheapest in the world. Yet somehow families here are just as scrawny-looking as the city-dwelling Venezuelans waiting in bread lines or picking through garbage for scraps.

Having attempted for years to defy conventional economics, the country now faces a painful reckoning with basic arithmetic.

“Last year I had 200,000 hens,” said Saulo Escobar, who runs a poultry and hog farm here in the state of Aragua, an hour outside Caracas. “Now I have 70,000.”

Several of his cavernous henhouses sit empty because, Escobar said, he can’t afford to buy more chicks or feed. Government price controls have made his business unprofitable, and armed gangs have been squeezing him for extortion payments and stealing his eggs.

Venezuela’s latest public health indicators confirm that the country is facing a dietary calamity. With medicines scarce and malnutrition cases soaring, more than 11,000 babies died last year, sending the infant mortality rate up 30 percent, according to Venezuela’s Health Ministry. The head of the ministry was fired by President Nicolás Maduro two days after she released those statistics.

Child hunger in parts of Venezuela is a “humanitarian crisis,” according to a new report by the Catholic relief organization Caritas, which found 11.4 percent of children under age 5 suffering from moderate to severe malnutrition, and 48 percent “at risk” of going hungry.

‘The Maduro diet’

The protesters who have been marching in the streets against Maduro for the past seven weeks scream, “We’re hungry!” as riot police blast them with water cannons and tear gas.

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. This collective emaciation is referred to dryly here as “the Maduro diet,” but it’s a level of hunger almost unheard-of outside war zones or areas ravaged by hurricane, drought or plague.

Venezuela’s disaster is man-made, economists point out — the result of farm nationalizations, currency distortions and a government takeover of food distribution. While millions of Venezuelans can’t get enough to eat, officials have refused to allow international aid groups to deliver food, accustomed to viewing their oil-rich country as the benefactor of poorer nations, not a charity case.

“It’s not only the nationalization of land,” said Carlos Machado, an expert on Venezuelan agriculture. “The government has made the decision to be the producer, processor and distributor, so the entire chain of food production suffers from an inefficient agricultural bureaucracy.”

With Venezuela’s industrial output crashing, farmers are forced to import feed, fertilizer and spare parts, but they can’t do so without hard currency. And the government has been hoarding the dollars it earns from oil exports to pay back high-interest loans from Wall Street and other foreign creditors.

Escobar said he needs 400 tons of high-protein imported animal feed every three months to keep his operation running, but he’s able to get only 100 tons. So, like many others, he’s turned to the black market. But he can only afford a cheaper, less nutritious feed, meaning that his hens are smaller than they used to be — and so are their eggs.

“My quality went down, so my production went down, too,” he said.

Escobar’s hogs also are skinnier. An average full-size pig weighed 242 pounds two years ago, he said. “Now they weigh 176.” Last year, he lost 2,000 hogs in three months when the animals got sick and he couldn’t find vaccines.

The piglets born since then are undersized. Many have bloody wounds at the tips of their ears. “When an animal has a poor diet, it looks for nourishment elsewhere,” explained Maria Arias, a veterinarian at the farm. “So they end up chewing off the ears of other pigs.”

‘There are no profits’

Venezuela has long relied on imports of certain foodstuffs, such as wheat, that can’t be grown on a large scale in the country’s tropical climate. But trade statistics show that the land policies of the late Hugo Chávez, Maduro’s predecessor, made Venezuela more dependent on imported food than ever.

When oil prices were high, that wasn’t a big problem. Now Venezuela’s blend of heavy crude is worth barely $40 a barrel and the country’s petroleum output is at a 23-year low, in part because refineries and pipelines are breaking down and investment in new infrastructure isn’t keeping pace.

The government hasn’t published farming data in years. But Machado, the agriculture expert, said annual food imports averaged about $75 per person until 2004, then soared after Chávez accelerated the nationalization of farms, eventually seizing more than 10 million acres. The government expropriated factories, too, and Venezuela’s domestic food production plummeted.

By 2012, annual per capita food imports had increased to $370, but since then, oil prices have slumped and imports have dropped 73 percent.

Instead of spurring growth in domestic agriculture, the government has strangled it, farmers say. Domestic production of rice, corn and coffee has declined by 60 percent or more in the past decade, according to Venezuela’s Confederation of Farmer Associations (Fedeagro), a trade group. Nearly all of the sugar mills nationalized by the government since 2005 are paralyzed or producing below capacity.

Only a small, well-off minority of Venezuelans can afford to buy much food on the black market, where a pound of rice imported from Brazil or Colombia sells for about 6,000 bolivares. That’s roughly $1 at the black-market exchange rate, but for an ordinary Venezuelan worker it’s an entire day’s wage, because the bolivar has lost 99 percent of its value in the past five years.

Venezuelans who don’t have access to hard currency depend on government-subsidized groceries doled out by pro-Maduro neighborhood groups, or wait in supermarket lines for rationed, price-capped items. Those who join anti-government protests have been threatened with losing their food supplies.

The price controls have become a powerful disincentive in rural Venezuela. “There are no profits, so we produce at a loss,” said one dairy farmer in the state of Guarico, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he feared retaliation from authorities. To get a new tractor, he said, he would have to spend all the money he earns in a year. “It’s a miracle that the industry is still alive,” he said.

Four of his cows were stolen this month, probably by hungry families in the nearby village, he said.

According to Vicente Carrillo, the former president of Venezuela’s cattle ranchers’ association, the overall size of the country’s herd has dropped in the past five years from 13 million head to about 8 million.

Carrillo sold his ranch more than a decade ago, tired of threats from squatters and rural activists who accused him of being an exploitative rural capitalist. His family had owned the land for more than a century. “I dedicated more than 30 years of my life to this business, but I had to leave everything behind,” he said.

Escobar, the chicken and hog farmer, said the only way for farmers to remain in business today is to break the law and sell at market prices, hoping authorities look the other way.

“If I sold at regulated prices, I wouldn’t even be able to afford a single kilogram of chicken feed,” he said.

If it’s not a fear of the government that keeps Escobar awake at night, it’s criminal gangs. Since one of his delivery trucks was robbed in December, he has been forced to make “protection” payments to a mafia boss operating out of the local prison. Every Friday, three motorcycles stop by the farm to pick up an envelope of cash, he said. Calling the police would only escalate the danger.

“I know how to deal with chickens and pigs,” Escobar said, “but not criminals.”

September 8, 2017. Tags: , , , , . Communism, Economics, Venezuela. Leave a comment.

Media bias: once again, a news article about a financially struggling single mother trying to raise her children makes absolutely no mention of their father

The Guardian recently published this article about a single mother who is having financial troubles as she tries to raise her two children on the salary that she gets from working at a fast food restaurant.

As is always the case with articles like this, the article makes absolutely no mention of the children’s father. (I have written about this media irresponsibility before – see here and here.)

In this particular case, the article refers to the woman as “a single mother of two.”

It doesn’t say that she is “divorced,” or that she is “widowed.”

The article makes absolutely zero mention of the children’s father.

The article does quote the woman as saying:

“At the top of America, when it comes to Trump and them, their goal is to keep us down. Between these billion-dollar companies and Trump, it’s a power trip.”

So now it’s Trump’s fault that this woman is a single mother of two.

I’d like to see the results of the DNA test for that.

If Trump is in fact the father of her children, then yes, it is Trump’s fault that she is having so much financial trouble.

Otherwise, Trump has no fault whatsoever in her situation.

The article also talks about how the woman is part of the movement to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

But in the real world, even liberals themselves do not want to pay fast food workers $15 an hour.

In December 2013, I made this blog post, which is titled “I dare liberals to buy a McDonald’s franchise, and pay the workers $15 an hour.”

More than three years later, I followed it up with this blog post, which is titled, “Hypocrite liberals have rejected my challenge for them to buy a McDonald’s franchise and pay the workers $15 an hour.”

I also made this other blog post, which is titled, “In the real world, no liberal has ever bought a McDonald’s franchise and paid the workers $15 an hour.”

So even liberals themselves are not willing to pay McDonald’s workers $15 an hour.

Here is some information that liberals never talk about:

Let’s consider two groups of people in the U.S. The first group has a poverty rate of 2%. The second group has a poverty rate of 76%.

The first group consists of people who followed all three of these steps:

1) Finish high school.

2) Get a full-time job.

3) Wait until age 21 and get married before having children.

The second group consists of people who followed zero of those three steps.

Among people who follow all three of these steps, the poverty rate is 2%.

Among people who follow zero of these steps, the poverty rate is 76%.

(My source for that information is this article, which refers to this PDF, and the relevant data is on page 15 of the PDF. The study uses data from the U.S. Census Bureau.)

Finally, here is a seven minute video with information that liberals never talk about. In my opinion, every middle school and high school in the U.S. should show this to all of their students, repeatedly, every year.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ru4SVUlNfMY

 

 

August 23, 2017. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , . Economics, Media bias. 1 comment.

Some Venezuelans have not had a full meal in days

http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/hungry-venezuelans-turn-colombia-plate-food-49206924

Hungry Venezuelans turn to Colombia for a plate of food

Associated Press

CUCUTA, Colombia — Aug 14, 2017

Under a scorching sun just a short walk from Colombia’s border with Venezuela, hundreds of hungry men, women and children line up for bowls of chicken and rice — the first full meal some have eaten in days.

An estimated 25,000 Venezuelans make the trek across the Simon Bolivar International Bridge into Colombia each day. Many come for a few hours to work or trade goods on the black market, looking for household supplies they cannot find back home.

But increasingly, they are coming to eat in one of a half-dozen facilities offering struggling Venezuelans a free plate of food.

“I never thought I’d say this,” said Erick Oropeza, 29, a former worker with Venezuela’s Ministry of Education who recently began crossing the bridge each day. “But I’m more grateful for what Colombia has offered me in this short time than what I ever received from Venezuela my entire life.”

As Venezuela’s economy verges on collapse and its political upheaval worsens, cities like Cucuta along Colombia’s porous, 1,370-mile (2,200-kilometer) border with Venezuela have become firsthand witnesses to the neighboring South American nation’s escalating humanitarian crisis.

According to one recent survey, about 75 percent of Venezuelans lost an average of 19 pounds (8.7 kilograms) last year.

The Colombian government has crafted contingency plans in the event of a sudden, mass exodus, but already church groups and nonprofit organizations are stepping in, moved by images of mothers carrying starving babies and skinny men trying to make a few bucks on Cucuta’s streets to bring back home.

Paulina Toledo, 47, a Colombian hairstylist who recently helped feed lunch to 900 Venezuelans, said seeing how hungry they were “hurt my soul.”

“Those of us here on the border are seeing their pain,” she said.

People living on either side of the Colombia-Venezuela border have long had a foot in both countries: A Colombian who lives in Cucuta might cross to visit relatives in San Cristobal; a Venezuelan might make the reverse trip to work or go to school.

In the years when Venezuela’s oil industry was booming and Colombia entangled in a half-century armed conflict, an estimated 4 million Colombians migrated to Venezuela. Many started coming back as Venezuela’s economy began to implode and after President Nicolas Maduro closed the border in 2015 and expelled 20,000 Colombians overnight.

Oropeza said he earned about $70 a month working at the Ministry of Education and selling hamburgers on the side — twice Venezuela’s minimum wage but still not enough to feed a family of four. Once a month his family receives a bundle of food provided by the government, but it only lasts a week.

“So the other three weeks, like most Venezuelans, we have to make magic happen,” he said on a recent afternoon.

Desperate for money to feed his family, he left his job and traveled to the Venezuelan border town of San Antonio. He wakes up at 4 a.m. each morning to be among the first crossing the bridge into Cucuta, where he earns money selling soft drinks on the street.

He goes straight to the “Casa de Paso,” a church-run shelter that has served 60,000 meals to Venezuelans since opening two months ago. On an average day, 2,000 Venezuelans line up for meals, getting a ticket to reserve their spot and then waiting four hours for a meal served at outdoor plastic tables.

Workers stir gigantic metal pots filled with chicken and rice set on the bare dirt floor. Volunteers hand out boxes of juice to tired-looking children. Adults sit quietly, savoring their bowl of food as chickens waddle between them.

“Every day I have to remind myself why I am here,” said Oropeza, dressed in a faded striped collared shirt. “I try to repeat it to myself so that I won’t, you know, so those moments of weakness don’t affect you so much.”

When he’s not helping out or waiting in line at the shelter kitchen, Oropeza sells malted soft drinks for about 50 cents each. He’s been able to bring money back to his family and has earned enough to buy a cellphone, which he’d lacked for two years.

Jose David Canas, a priest, said his church will continue to serve food “as long as God allows.”

“Until they close the border,” he said. “Until everything is eaten or until the province tells us that they no longer have lunches to give out. And then it’s the end.”

August 16, 2017. Tags: , , , , , , , . Communism, Economics, Venezuela. Leave a comment.

I just added items #1,343 through #1,366 to my list of Obama’s lies and lawbreaking

The complete list can be found at https://danfromsquirrelhill.wordpress.com/2013/08/15/obama-252/

Here are the new entries:
(more…)

August 9, 2017. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Barack Obama, Politics. 2 comments.

A woman who was raised by Nigerian immigrants explains why so many American blacks live in poverty

This is the best commentary on black poverty that I have heard or read in my life.

The speaker in this video is a child of Nigerian immigrants.

She spends the entire seven minutes saying one politically incorrect thing after another.

Her basic point is that black poverty is caused by bad behavior, not by racism.

And she cites numerous statistics to back this up.

For example, she points out that Nigerian-Americans have higher average incomes than whites, and she attributes this to their behavior, including strong commitments to marriage, education, and obeying the law.

She says that if Black Lives Matter truly cared about black people, it would tell them to stop having babies out of wedlock.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ru4SVUlNfMY

August 3, 2017. Tags: , , , . Black lives matter, Economics, Politics, Racism. 1 comment.

Hypocrite liberals have rejected my challenge for them to buy a McDonald’s franchise and pay the workers $15 an hour

It’s been more than three years since I wrote the following:

I dare liberals to buy a McDonald’s franchise, and pay the workers $15 an hour

Liberals are always talking about how easy it would be for McDonald’s to pay its workers $15 an hour.

However, so far, no liberal has actually bought a McDonald’s franchise and paid those wages.

So, I dare liberals to prove that it’s as easy as they claim it is. I dare liberals to buy a McDonald’s franchise, and pay the workers $15 an hour.

Unfortunately, liberals have rejected my challenge.

 

May 24, 2017. Tags: , , , , , . Economics, Unions. 3 comments.

There is no gender wage gap

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QcDrE5YvqTs

March 6, 2017. Tags: , , , . Economics, Sexism. 1 comment.

Here’s how most Venezuelans lost an average of 19 pounds in 2016, and how to make sure it doesn’t happen again in 2017

(more…)

February 21, 2017. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Communism, Economics, Food, Military, Police state, Politics, Social justice warriors, Venezuela, War against achievement. 4 comments.

Libertarian doctors start their own clinic, post all their prices online, and charge way, way, way less than everyone else

Can you imagine what would happen to the price of gasoline, if you couldn’t see the price until after you put it into your car? The price would skyrocket like crazy.

Same thing with groceries, clothing, and well, pretty much anything.

Right now, health care is the only industry where most customers don’t get to see the prices until after the service has already been provided. This is why prices are so absurdly high.

The health care clinic in this article and video is completely different. They list all of their prices online, so customers can see how much everything costs before they actually get the service. As a result, the prices charged by this clinic are way, way, way less than what everyone else charges.

This is a wonderful policy.

In my opinion, the government should require all health care providers to post all of their prices online.

Here’s an article and a video about this particular clinic:

http://reason.com/blog/2017/01/27/what-happens-when-doctors-only-take-cash

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0uPdkhMVdMQ

January 31, 2017. Tags: , . Economics, Health care. Leave a comment.

Economically illiterate Philadelphia mayor Jim Kenney, who signed a soda tax, says it is “wrong” and “misleading” for businesses to pass the tax on to their customers

This idiot has just proven that he knows absolutely nothing about economics or how to run a business:

http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/2017/01/10/retailers-blame-soda-tax-mayor-kenney-responds-with-harsh-words/

Retailers Blame Soda Tax; Mayor Kenney Responds With Harsh Words

January 10, 2017

Philadelphia shoppers have been finding steep surcharges on grocery bills since the sweetened beverage tax kicked in, but Mayor Jim Kenney describes some of it as “gouging” by retailers who want to make customers angry about the tax.

Signs went up in stores and on vending machines telling customers price hikes were part of the beverage tax, receipts were programmed to charge the tax as a separate line item, it was applied to items that weren’t taxed and retailers blamed the complex process of passing the tax along.

All of it, said Mayor Kenney, is “wrong” and “misleading.”

“This is what they do. They spent 10 1/2 Million dollars in an advertising campaign to beat the tax, they lost,” he said. “They spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees and they lost. And they’ll continue to lose because their legal case is not sound and their public case is not sound.”

Kenney said he believes most customers understand the reason for the tax and he believes it doesn’t need to impact them as much as it has.

“They’re gouging their own customers.”

Among retailers, only Shop Rite has responded, saying they are passing the tax along because it greatly increases sweetened beverage prices and it wants customers to know.

January 13, 2017. Tags: , , , , , , , , . Economics. 1 comment.

I just added 38 items to my list of Obama’s lies, lawbreaking, etc.

(more…)

December 24, 2016. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , . Barack Obama, Politics. 4 comments.

I agree with Sarah Palin’s criticism of Trump’s actions regarding Carrier

https://www.yahoo.com/news/trumps-carrier-swindle-setting-scary-170000444.html

“When government steps in arbitrarily with individual subsidies, favoring one business over others, it sets inconsistent, unfair, illogical precedent. Meanwhile, the invisible hand that best orchestrates a free people’s free enterprise system gets amputated. Then, special interests creep in and manipulate markets. Republicans oppose this, remember? Instead, we support competition on a level playing field, remember? Because we know special interest crony capitalism is one big fail. Politicians picking and choosing recipients of corporate welfare is railed against by fiscal conservatives, for it’s a hallmark of corruption.”

– Sarah Palin

December 6, 2016. Tags: , , , , , , , , , . Donald Trump, Economics. Leave a comment.

Why trophy hunting can be good for animals

A trophy hunter pays $350,000 to legally kill a specific male rhinoceros which is old and has stopped breeding, and which has been harassing the younger males and preventing them from breeding. The money is used to pay to care for the living rhinos. Under this kind of policy, one population of rhinos increased from 100 to 18,000.

I myself am a vegetarian, but I have to admit that the logic in this video is quite sound. This is a good lesson in economics and the benefits of property rights.

I do understand why some people might have emotional objections to this, but even they can’t argue against the real world results of this kind of policy.

If the opponents of trophy hunting wanted to bring an end to it, all they would have to do would be to outbid the trophy hunters. As of yet, I don’t see any examples of them having done so.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YUA8i5S0YMU

 

October 14, 2016. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , . Animals, Economics. 1 comment.

I just added 55 new items to my list of Obama’s lies, lawbreaking, etc.

Items 1 through 500 can be found at https://danfromsquirrelhill.wordpress.com/2013/08/15/obama-252/

Items 501 through 1,000 can be found at https://danfromsquirrelhill.wordpress.com/2015/12/04/obama-part-2/

Items 1,001 through 1,304 can be found at https://danfromsquirrelhill.wordpress.com/2015/12/04/obama-part-3/

Here are the 55 new entries:

1,250) A spokesperson for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton contradicted Clinton’s own statement about the 30,000 emails that Clinton had deleted from her private server

In March 2015, ABC News reported the following about the 30,000 emails that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had deleted from her private server:

“We went through a thorough process to identify all of my work-related emails and deliver them to the State Department,” she said, adding that all other emails were personal and pertained to matters such as “yoga routines,” “family vacations,” and “planning Chelsea’s wedding.”

In July 2016, Donald Trump said:

“I will tell you this — Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press. Let’s see if that happens. That’ll be next. Yes, sir.”

Hillary for America senior policy adviser Jake Sullivan responded by saying:

“This has to be the first time that a major presidential candidate has actively encouraged a foreign power to conduct espionage against his political opponent… That’s not hyperbole, those are just the facts. This has gone from being a matter of curiosity, and a matter of politics, to being a national security issue.”

So, which is it?

Are all of the emails private and not related to work?

Or, are they a matter of national security?

They can’t be both.

So which is it?

1,251) The “most transparent administration in history” illegally ignored a Freedom of Information request regarding Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s schedule

In 2015, Associated Press sued the Obama administration for illegally ignoring a Freedom of Information request regarding Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s schedule.

1,252) “Emails reveal how foundation donors got access to Clinton and her close aides at State Dept.”

In August 2016, the Washington Post reported:

Emails reveal how foundation donors got access to Clinton and her close aides at State Dept.

A sports executive who was a major donor to the Clinton Foundation and whose firm paid Bill Clinton millions of dollars in consulting fees wanted help getting a visa for a British soccer player with a criminal past.

The crown prince of Bahrain, whose government gave more than $50,000 to the Clintons’ charity and who participated in its glitzy annual conference, wanted a last-minute meeting with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

U2 rocker and philanthropist Bono, also a regular at foundation events, wanted high-level help broadcasting a live link to the International Space Station during concerts.

In each case, according to emails released Monday from Hillary Clinton’s time as secretary of state, the requests were directed to Clinton’s deputy chief of staff and confidante, Huma Abedin, who engaged with other top aides and sometimes Clinton herself about how to respond.

1,253) The “most transparent administration in history” said it would not release the rest of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s schedule until after the November 2016 election

In August 2016, the Obama administration said that it would not release the rest of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s schedule until after the November 2016 election.

1,254) The “most transparent administration in history” waited seven months to tell the public that it had airlifted $400 million in cash to Iran

In August 2016, it was reported that seven months earlier, the Obama administration had secretly airlifted $400 million in cash to Iran.

1,255) The Obama administration lied about whether or not its payment of $400 million in cash to Iran was a ransom for releasing four American hostages

On August 2, 2016, the Obama administration said that the $400 million in cash that it had given to Iran in January 2016 had nothing to do with Iran releasing four American hostages.

However, on August 18, 2016, the Obama administration said that the payment was contingent on the hostages being released.

One of these two statements by the Obama administration must be a lie. I don’t even have to know which of the two statements is true, and which one is false, to know that one of them is a lie.

1,256) The “most transparent administration in history” refused to answer questions from Congress about how it paid an additional $1.3 billion to Iran

In August 2016, it twas reported that the Obama administration had paid $1.7 billion to Iran. Of that amount, $400 million was paid in cash as ransom for four U.S. hostages. However, the Obama administration refused to answer questions from Congress about how it paid the other $1.3 billion.

1,257) Commander-in-Chief Obama “killed entire families instead of ISIS fighters”

Obama is the Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. military. In July 2016, the Washington Post reported:

An airstrike in Syria killed entire families instead of ISIS fighters

The airstrikes at dawn on Tuesday pulverized entire families, including young children — families that were fleeing Islamic State militants but were instead mistaken for being those very fighters. Depending on whom you ask, the number of bodies found in the rubble is 56, 85, 160 or 212. Pictures of the mangled bodies, covered in dust, are a testament to the carnage.

People who live near where the bombs fell — about 10 miles north of Manbij in northern Syria — said the only planes they’d seen since June were from a U.S.-led coalition battling the Islamic State.

At least 56 civilians were killed in this incident.

1,258) Obama engaged in the same kind of “unconscionable ineptitude” that he had previously accused Bush of engaging in

After Hurricane Katrina, Bush flew over Louisiana. Obama accused Bush of “unconscionable ineptitude.”

However, in August 2016, after another hurricane in Louisiana, Obama played golf at Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts.

1,259) After Secretary of State John Kerry said that air conditioning was just as big a threat as ISIS, the Obama administration ignored a petition to remove air conditioning from State Department buildings and vehicles

In July 2016, Secretary of State John Kerry said that air conditioning was just as big a treat as ISIS. In response, people signed a petition for the State Department to remove air conditioning from all of its buildings and vehicles. However, the State Department ignored the petition, and continued to use air conditioning in its buildings and vehicles, despite Kerry’s claim that air conditioning was as dangerous as ISIS.

1,260) After a Swedish telecom company called Ericsson paid Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s husband $750,000 for giving a speech, the Obama administration gave the company an exemption from U.S. sanctions

In November 2011, a Swedish telecom company called Ericsson paid Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s husband, Bill Clinton, $750,000 for giving a speech. In April 2012, Obama signed an executive order which placed sanctions on telecom sales to Iran and Syria. However, Ericsson was given an exemption from these sanctions.

1,261) Obama continued Bush’s policy of having the Veterans Administration spend millions of dollars on artwork while veterans were dying form lack of medical care

In July 2016, it was reported that Obama had continued Bush’s policy of having the Veterans Administration spend millions of dollars on artwork while veterans were dying form lack of medical care. Between 2004 and 2014, the agency had spent $20 million on artwork. Of this amount, $16 million happened during Obama’s presidency. A list of these artworks, including their prices, can be read here. 12 of these pieces of artwork had individual price tags of $250,000 or more, and of these 12, nine were purchased during Obama’s presidency.

1,262) Although patients at the Veterans’ Administration were dying due to lack of medical care, out of the 39,454 new jobs that it added between 2012 and 2015, fewer than 10% were doctors

In May 2016, on page 3 of this PDF, Open the Books reported:

While long wait times persisted the VA added 39,454 new positions to their payroll between 2012-2015. Fewer than ten percent of these new positions (3,591) were ‘Medical Officers,’ i.e. doctors.

1,263) Regarding the Obama administration’s $400 million dollar cash payment that was airlifted to Iran, White House press secretary Josh Earnest falsely said “There’s actually not anything particularly unusual about the mechanism for this transaction”

In August 2016, it was reported that seven months earlier, the Obama administration had secretly airlifted $400 million in cash to Iran.

In August 2016, White House press secretary Josh Earnest said of this payment:

“There’s actually not anything particularly unusual about the mechanism for this transaction.”

However, Associated Press responded to Earnest’s comment with the following:

But diplomatic historians and lawyers with expertise in international arbitration struggled to find similar examples.

Asked to recall a similar payment from the United States using cash to settle an international dispute, the office of the State Department historian could not provide an example.

1,264) 17 of the 28 U.S., European, and Russian companies that participated in Skolkovo had either donated to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s foundation, or paid her husband to give speeches

The term “Skolkovo” refers to the U.S. government sharing biomed, space, nuclear, and IT technologies with other parties. In July 2016, it was reported that 17 of the 28 U.S., European, and Russian companies that participated in Skolkovo had either donated to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s foundation, or paid her husband to give speeches.

1,265) Gave illegal aliens advice on how to illegally stay in the U.S. without getting arrested

In August 2016, it was reported that the Obama administration had given illegal aliens advice on how to illegally stay in the U.S. without getting arrested.

1,266) Illegally kept private information about law abiding U.S. citizens who had legally purchased guns

When law abiding U.S. citizens legally purchase guns, a background check is conducted. Federal law requires the U.S. government to get rid of this private information after the sale has been completed. However, in August 2016, it was reported that the Obama administration had illegally held on to this information.

1,267) State Department spent $185,000 of taxpayers’ money on a piece of artwork that was made from balls of thread, and was displayed in Islamabad, Pakistan

In August 2016, it was reported that the State Department had spent $185,000 of taxpayers’ money on a piece of artwork that was made from balls of thread, and was displayed in Islamabad, Pakistan.

1,268) Gave Somali Muslims a special tour of U.S. airport security where they were allowed to see areas that most U.S. citizens are not allowed to see

In August 2016, it was reported that the Department of Homeland Security had given Somali Muslims a special tour of U.S. airport security at      Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, where they were allowed to see areas that most U.S. citizens are not allowed to see.

1,269) While Veterans were dying due to lack of medical care, the Veterans Administration spent millions of dollars to install solar panels that were never used because they were incompatible with the local electric grid

In 2013, while veterans were dying due to lack of medical care, the Veterans Administration spent millions of dollars to install solar panels at its facility in Little Rock, Arkansas. Two years later, the panels were removed and reinstalled to accommodate a new parking garage. However, the panels were never turned on in either of these installations, because they were incompatible with the local electric grid.

1,270) Although Obama supports tougher gun control laws for law abiding gun owners, he either pardoned or commuted the sentences of 107 federal inmates who had been convicted of gun crimes

Obama supports tougher gun control laws for law abiding gun owners. However, as of August 2016, he had either pardoned or commuted the sentences of 107 federal inmates who had been convicted of gun crimes.

1,271) Obama gave his own daughter an exemption from the federal laws against marijuana which he had prosecuted so many other people for

Item #7 on this list contains a huge number of examples of people who were prosecuted by Obama for smoking medial marijuana, despite the fact that it was legal in the states where they lived.

On the other hand, Obama refused to prosecute his own daughter, Malia Obama, for smoking recreational marijuana, which was reported here, including video evidence, on August 10, 2016.

Furthermore, on August 11, 2016 – the very next day – the Obama administration announced that it would continue to classify marijuana as an illegal and dangerous Schedule 1 drug.

For the record, I think that marijuana, both recreational and medical, should be legal. I don’t have any problem with Obama’s daughter smoking marijuana. It’s President Obama’s hypocrisy that I have a problem with.

1,272) The “most transparent administration in history” “altered intelligence reports to portray a more optimistic picture of the war against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria”

In August 2016, the New York Times reported:

Military Officials Distorted ISIS Intelligence, Congressional Panel Says

Officials from the United States Central Command altered intelligence reports to portray a more optimistic picture of the war against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria than events on the ground warranted, a congressional panel said in a report issued Thursday.

The interim report, from a task force established by the Republican chairmen of the House Armed Services Committee, Intelligence Committee and Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, found “widespread dissatisfaction” among Central Command intelligence analysts, who said superiors were doctoring their assessments of American efforts to defeat the Islamic State. Central Command, known as Centcom, is the military headquarters in Tampa, Fla., that oversees American military operations across the Middle East and Central Asia.

“Intelligence products approved by senior Centcom leaders typically provided a more positive depiction of U.S. antiterrorism efforts than was warranted by facts on the ground and were consistently more positive than analysis produced by other elements of the intelligence community,” a news release about the report said.

“What happened at Centcom is unacceptable — our war fighters suffer when bad analysis is presented to senior policy makers,” said Representative Ken Calvert, Republican of California. “The leadership failures at Centcom reach to the very top of the organization.”

“Throughout the first half of 2015, many Central Command press releases, statements and congressional testimonies were significantly more positive than actual events,” the report said.

1,273) After Congress approved $500 million to fight the Zika virus, Obama illegally gave the money to the United Nations to spend on green energy projects in foreign countries

After Congress approved $500 million to fight the Zika virus, Obama illegally gave the money to the United Nations to spend on green energy projects in foreign countries.

1,274) After a company manufactured defective combat helmets for members of the U.S. military, the Obama administration rewarded it with another contract

In 2010, the U.S. Army recalled 44,000 defective combat helmets that had been manufactured by a company called ArmorSource.

However, in May 2016, the U.S. Marine Corps signed a contract with the company to manufacture 10,000 helmets.

1,275) Spent taxpayers’ money to try to convince lesbians to become farmers

In August 2016, it was reported that the Obama administration had spent taxpayers’ money to try to convince lesbians to become farmers.

1,276) Obama refused to prosecute Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for illegally sharing top secret information with people who had not been cleared to receive such information

In July 2016, it was reported that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had shared 22 emails that were marked “top secret” with three of her aides. These aides had not been cleared to receive such information, which means that it was illegal for Clinton to share the information with them. However, Obama refused to prosecute her.

1,277) “Sailor Denied ‘Clinton Deal’, Gets 1 Year in Prison for 6 Photos of Sub”

In August 2016, U.S. News & World Report reported:

Sailor Denied ‘Clinton Deal’, Gets 1 Year in Prison for 6 Photos of Sub

A former Navy machinist mate who admitted taking photos inside a nuclear submarine was sentenced to a year in prison Friday, with a federal judge rebuffing a request for probation in light of authorities deciding not to prosecute Hillary Clinton for mishandling classified information on a private email server as secretary of state.

Kristian Saucier’s attorneys argued in a court filing last week that Clinton had been “engaging in acts similar to Mr. Saucier” with information of much higher classification. It would be “unjust and unfair for Mr. Saucier to receive any sentence other than probation for a crime those more powerful than him will likely avoid,” attorney Derrick Hogan wrote.

U.S. District Judge Stefan Underhill sentenced Saucier to one year in prison and a $100 fine, along with six months home confinement, 100 hours of community service and a ban on owning guns, his legal team says.

1,278) “U.S. Army fudged its accounts by trillions of dollars, auditor finds”

Obama is the Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. military. In August 2016, Reuters reported:

U.S. Army fudged its accounts by trillions of dollars, auditor finds

The United States Army’s finances are so jumbled it had to make trillions of dollars of improper accounting adjustments to create an illusion that its books are balanced.

The Defense Department’s Inspector General, in a June report, said the Army made $2.8 trillion in wrongful adjustments to accounting entries in one quarter alone in 2015, and $6.5 trillion for the year. Yet the Army lacked receipts and invoices to support those numbers or simply made them up.

1,279) After Huma Abedin spent 12 years working as the assistant editor of a radical Muslim journal that opposed women’s rights and supported the death penalty for all non-Muslims, Obama hired her to be the top aide for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

From 1996 to 2008, Huma Abedin worked as the assistant editor of a radical Muslim journal that opposed women’s rights and supported the death penalty for all non-Muslims. In 2009, Obama hired her to be the top aide for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

1,280) “… email exchanges show that Bahrain’s Crown Prince Salman had to go through the Clinton Foundation in order to set up a meeting with Clinton after the former Secretary of State declined to meet after official requests were made…”

In August 2016, the Daily Caller reported:

Bahrain’s Prince Got Audience With Clinton After Donating $32 Million To Her Foundation

Newly released Department of State documents reveal that the Crown Prince of Bahrain was given an audience with then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton after he donated $32 million to her foundation.

The documents, released Monday by Judicial Watch, included emails between Clinton Foundation executive Doug Band and former Clinton State Department aide Huma Abedin, which appear to show that Abedin acted as a middleman between Clinton and her foundation’s donors.

Band and Abedin’s email exchanges show that Bahrain’s Crown Prince Salman had to go through the Clinton Foundation in order to set up a meeting with Clinton after the former Secretary of State declined to meet after official requests were made.

1,281) As part of the “most transparent administration in history,” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton illegally ignored 237 of the 240 Freedom of Information requests that she had received

In August 2016, it was reported that during the time that Hillary Clinton was Obama’s Secretary of State (i.e. from 2009 to 2013), she had illegally ignored 237 of the 240 Freedom of Information requests that she had received.

1,282) “Hillary State Dept. Helped Jailed Clinton Foundation Donor Get $10 Mil from U.S. for Failed Haiti Project”

In August 2016, Judicial Watch reported:

Hillary State Dept. Helped Jailed Clinton Foundation Donor Get $10 Mil from U.S. for Failed Haiti Project

The new batch of emails showing that the State Department gave special access to top Clinton Foundation donors while Hillary Clinton was secretary of state brings to mind the case of a shady Miami businessman serving a 12-year prison sentence after scamming the government out of millions. His name is Claudio Osorio, a Clinton Foundation donor who got $10 million from the government after the Clinton State Department reportedly pulled some strings.

Osorio got the money from the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), a federal agency that operates under the guidance of the State Department, to build houses in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake. The OPIC supposedly promotes U.S. government investments abroad to foster the development and growth of free markets. Osorio’s “Haiti project” was supposed to build 500 homes for displaced families in the aftermath of the earthquake. The project never broke ground and Osorio used the money to finance his lavish lifestyle and fund his illicit business ventures. He also ran a fraudulent international company with facilities in the U.S., United Arab Emirates, Germany, Angola and Tanzania that stole millions from investors. Some of the OPIC Haiti money was used to repay investors of his fraudulent company (Innovida), according to federal prosecutors. In September 2013, Osorio was sentenced to 150 months imprisonment and three years of supervised release.

1,283) Benghazi-related documents were part of the emails that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had illegally deleted and had falsely claimed were not work related

In August 2016, it was reported that Benghazi-related documents were part of the emails that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had illegally deleted and had falsely claimed were not work related.

1,284) Statistics from Obama’s own administration showed that Obama was lying when he said that blacks were better off in 2016 than in 2009

In August 2016, Obama said that blacks were better off in 2016 than in 2009.

However, statistics from Obama’s own administration showed that the following harmful changes had happened to blacks during that time period:

* The black labor force participation rate fell from 63.2% to 61.2%.

* The black home ownership rate fell from 46.1% to 41.7%.

* The number of blacks on food stamps increased from 7.3 million to 11.7 million.

* The black poverty rate increased from 25.8% in 2009 to 26.2% in 2014 (data from 2015 and 2016 was not yet available at the time).

1,285) Falsely said it was “discrimination” for employers to fire immigrants after their employment authorization had expired

In August 2016, the Obama administration falsely said that it was “discrimination” for employers to fire immigrants after their employment authorization had expired.

1,286) In August 2016, Obama’s Syrian refugee program was still discriminating against Christians, even though Christians in that country were being specifically targeted for persecution

Christians made up 10% of Syria’s population, and they were being specifically targeted by ISIS.

However, from early to mid August 2016, the Obama administration admitted 1,575 Muslim refugees from Syria into the U.S., but only 12 Christian refugees from that same country.

1,287) The “most transparent administration in history” illegally ignored a Freedom of Information request regarding what, if anything, it was doing regarding the genocide that ISIS was carrying out against Christians in the areas that ISIS controlled

In August 2016, it was reported that the Obama administration had illegally ignored a Freedom of Information request regarding what, if anything, it was doing regarding the genocide that ISIS was carrying out against Christians in the areas that ISIS controlled.

1,288) After Hillary Clinton quit her job as Secretary of State, she illegally continued to keep classified information, and illegally continued to email that classified information

In August 2016, it was reported that after Hillary Clinton had quit her job as Secretary of State, she illegally continued to keep classified information, and illegally continued to email that classified information. However, as always. Obama refused to prosecute her.

1,289) The “most transparent administration in history” agreed to secret exemptions which let Iran ignore some of the restrictions that had been placed upon it in the nuclear deal that the U.S. had signed with Iran

In September 2016, it was reported that the Obama administration had agreed to secret exemptions which let Iran ignore some of the restrictions that had been placed upon it in the nuclear deal that the U.S. had signed with Iran.

1,290) Instead of following the proper government procedures for destroying electronic devices that contained classified material, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had her aides hit them with a hammer

In September 2016, it was reported that when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton switched from older phones to newer phones, instead of following the proper government procedures for destroying electronic devices that contained classified material, she had her aides hit them with a hammer.

1,291) Although Secretary of State Hillary Clinton signed a document which stated that she had received training on how to handle classified material, she later said that she could not remember receiving such training

In September 2016, it was reported that although Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had signed a document which stated that she had received training on how to handle classified material, she later said that she could not remember receiving such training.

1,292) Secretary of State Hilary Clinton illegally ignored a subpoena which had ordered her not to erase the emails on her private server

On March 4, 2015, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton received a subpoena from the House Select Committee on Benghazi which ordered her not to destroy any of the emails on her private server. However, three weeks later, one of her staff members used software called “BleachBit” to erase the emails, and the staff member later admitted that he had been aware of the subpoena at the time that he erased the emails.

1,293) Secretary of State Hillary Clinton used her private server for email which contained information about the whereabouts and plans of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens, who was one of four U.S. citizens who were murdered by Islamic militants in the Benghazi attacks on September 11, 2012

In March 2016, it was reported that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had used her private server for email which contained information about the whereabouts and plans of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens, who was one of four U.S. citizens who were murdered by Islamic militants in the Benghazi attacks on September 11, 2012.

1,294) 80% of illegal aliens captured at the U.S.-Mexico border were released back into the U.S. instead of being deported

In September 2016, it was reported that 80% of illegal aliens captured at the U.S.-Mexico border were released back into the U.S. instead of being deported.

1,295) Secretary of State Hillary Clinton falsely said that she did not know that the designation of “(C)” in emails stood for “classified”

On July 2, 2016, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that she did not know that the designation of “(C)” in emails stood for “classified.” However, it was later discovered that Clinton had previously used the designation in thousands of emails.

1,296) Illegally gave the personal information of tens of thousands of farmers and ranchers to three environmental groups 

In September 2016, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit ruled that in 2013, the Environmental Protection Agency had acted illegally when it gave the personal information of tens of thousands of farmers and ranchers to three environmental groups.

1,297) Secretary of State Hillary Clinton appointed 194 of her foundation and/or campaign donors to State Department advisory boards

In September 2016, it was reported that 194 of the people whom Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had appointed to State Department advisory boards had donated money to Clinton’s foundation, her political campaigns, or both.

1,298) Obama prevented a woman in labor from crossing the street to get to the hospital so he could have a fundraiser

In July 2014 in Los Angeles, Obama prevented a woman in labor from crossing the street to get to the hospital so he could have a fundraiser.

1,299) After builders of the Dakota Access Pipeline had obtained all of the necessary construction permits, the Obama administration illegally tried to block the construction

In September 2016, it was reported that after builders of the Dakota Access Pipeline had obtained all of the necessary construction permits, the Obama administration had illegally tried to block the construction.

1,300) Spent taxpayers’ money to try to unseat Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

In September 2016, it was reported that the Obama administration had spent taxpayers’ money to try to unseat Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

1,301) Obama refused to prosecute Imaad Zuberi, a fundraiser for Obama’s campaign, for illegally waiting months to register his work on behalf of a foreign government

In September 2016, it was reported that Obama had refused to prosecute Imaad Zuberi, a fundraiser for Obama’s campaign, for illegally waiting months to register his work on behalf of a foreign government.

1,302) The “most transparent administration in history” refused to release its report on the number of illegal aliens who entered the U.S.

In September 2016, it was reported that the Department of Homeland Security had refused to release its report on the number of illegal aliens who entered the U.S.

1,303) Falsely said the U.S. could not wire money to Iran

On August 4, 2016, when Obama was talking about how the U.S. had given $400 million in cash to Iran, he said:

“The reason that we had to give them cash is precisely because we are so strict in maintaining sanctions and we do not have a banking relationship with Iran that we couldn’t send them a check and we could not wire the money.”

However, on September 18, 2016, it was reported that the U.S. had made two wire payments to Iran during the previous 14 months.

1,304) “Mistakenly” gave U.S. citizenship to 1,800 illegal aliens who were supposed to have been deported

In September 2016, it was reported that the Obama administration had “mistakenly” given U.S. citizenship to 1,800 illegal aliens who were supposed to have been deported.

 

September 24, 2016. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , . Barack Obama, Politics. 3 comments.

Venezuelans wait in line for five hours for one pound of bread

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/21/world/americas/venezuela-oil-economy.html

September 20, 2016

One hundred people waited in line for five hours in June to buy a ration of about a pound of bread from a small bakery in Cumaná.

five-hours

September 20, 2016. Tags: , , , . Communism, Economics, Venezuela. Leave a comment.

Venezuelan government arrests people because they were waiting in line for food

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/the_americas/in-a-hungry-venezuela-buying-too-much-food-can-get-you-arrested/2016/09/14/b20276d6-755f-11e6-9781-49e591781754_story.html?wpisrc=nl_headlines&wpmm=1

In a hungry Venezuela, buying too much food can get you arrested

September 15, 2016

BARQUISIMETO, Venezuela – The hunt for food started at 4 a.m., when Alexis Camascaro woke up to get in line outside the supermarket. By the time he arrived, there were already 100 people ahead of him.

Camascaro never made it inside. Truckloads of Venezuelan troops arrived in the darkness, arresting him and nearly 30 others seemingly pulled from the queue at random, according to his lawyer. Camascaro, 50, was charged with violating laws against interfering “directly or indirectly” with the production, transportation or sale of food. He has been in jail for three months, awaiting a hearing.

“I went to see the prosecutors and explained that he was just buying some food for his family. He’s not a bachaquero,” said Lucía Mata, Camascaro’s attorney, using the Venezuelan term for someone who buys scarce, price-capped or government-subsidized goods to resell on the black market.

Camascaro was snared in a new crackdown on Venezuelan shoppers, part of President Nicolás Maduro’s attempt to assert greater control over food distribution and consumption. Maduro blames this oil-rich country’s chronic scarcities on an “economic war” against his government waged by foreign enemies, opposition leaders, business owners and smuggling gangs.

Many economists attribute the shortages to simpler, less conspiratorial factors. Price controls and excessive regulation, they say, have discouraged domestic production, making Venezuelans ever more dependent on imported food. With petroleum prices slumping, though, hard currency for imports is lacking, leaving supermarket shelves bare.

Deadly food riots have exploded in several Venezuelan cities this year, and Maduro in recent weeks has faced rowdy pot-banging protests. In July, he gave Venezuela’s defense minister extraordinary powers to oversee the government’s elaborate system of price controls and consumer regulations, including the fingerprint scanners used to ensure that Venezuelan shoppers don’t exceed their purchase limits.

The enforcement campaign appears to be sweeping up a significant number of ordinary shoppers, many of them poor, while achieving a kind of vertical integration of economic blame.

‘Dracula’s Bus’

In a country with one of the world’s highest homicide rates, and where carjackings, muggings and kidnappings often go unpunished, the Venezuelan government has arrested or detained at least 9,400 people this year for allegedly breaking laws against hoarding, reselling goods or attempting to stand in line outside normal store hours, according to the Venezuelan human rights organization Movimiento Vinotinto. Many were taken into custody by the Venezuelan troops assigned to police the checkout aisles and the long lines snaking from supermarkets.

Ismary Quiros, a deputy director at Movimiento Vinotinto, said the law doesn’t define exactly what constitutes illegal hoarding, smuggling, or reselling goods. She said the government’s real goal is to find scapegoats for the scarcities.

The queues typically materialize whenever high-demand, government-subsidized items arrive, such as corn meal or sugar. Those goods are among the few basics that remain affordable to ordinary Venezuelans who are paid in bolivares, the country’s increasingly worthless currency. Other supermarket items that aren’t price-capped are typically better stocked but out of reach to most families.

According to the Caracas-based rights group Provea, national guard troops have periodically carried out a mass-arrest operation nicknamed “Dracula’s Bus” to round up Venezuelans trying to wait in line overnight for groceries, now a banned practice. More than 1,000 people were loaded onto buses in such sweeps last year and accused of being black marketeers, Provea researcher Intis Rodríguez said.

The operations appear to be expanding. Over one weekend in June, more than 3,800 people were detained in Barquisimeto, a city west of Caracas, for attempting to spend the night outside supermarkets, according to news reports.

Officials at Venezuela’s justice ministry did not respond to requests for information about the crackdown.

In other Venezuelan cities, pro-government mayors have ordered alleged bachaqueros — named after a jungle ant that can carry loads many times its weight — to perform community service or clean the streets. “These people were not only denied their due process rights, but also they were also given punishments that aren’t even established under Venezuelan law,” said Rodríguez, whose organization has documented 60 such cases in the state of Yaracuy.

‘All of them normal people’

The crackdown began with Maduro’s 2014 decree, the Law of Fair Prices, which was aimed at punishing businesses he said were “destabilizing” the Venezuelan economy. But few expected the government to apply the law broadly to ordinary consumers.

Clara Ramírez, an attorney in the state of Táchira along the border with Colombia, said since the beginning of the year she has represented six clients arrested after allegedly buying goods for resale on the black market. “All of them were normal people, men and women with families who were just looking for food to feed their children,” she said.

Ramírez said her clients were typically released after a few days. But in a country where people who are awaiting a court hearing account for more than half of the prison population, many of the accused get stuck in jail for weeks or even months.

Some of those arrested in the crackdown were caught in possession of goods without receipts, or proof of how they obtained excess quantities of items such as rice, toilet paper or deodorant. Others had what soldiers deemed suspicious amounts of cash. Some, like Camascaro, aren’t even sure exactly what they are accused of doing.

Raymar Tona, 34, was arrested on a Friday in May while waiting to buy diapers for her baby.

A national guardsman pulled her out of the supermarket line, burrowed into her purse and found 10,000 Venezuelan bolivares, she said. In the past, it would have been a lot of cash, but in today’s Venezuela, which has the world’s highest inflation rate, her bank notes added up to about $10.

“It was my salary for two weeks,” said Tona, a receptionist at a medical clinic. She was accused of selling spots in line, a common practice.

After spending the weekend in jail, Tona said, she decided to plead guilty and was released.

Maduro’s decrees establish prison terms of up to 14 years for the worst black-marketeers. In June, he announced that he was creating a special jail “where we will imprison all those who are responsible for bachaquero crimes.”

According to Venezuelan economist Sary Levy, as much as half of the country’s workforce has come to depend on black market income to survive — selling food, moonlighting at second jobs, or hawking goods on the street. With annual inflation running at more than 700 percent, “it’s normal that formal jobs become unattractive,” she said, and people try to sell whatever they can to get by.

With prescription drugs and hospital supplies also running low, Venezuelans in desperate straits have found themselves accused of hoarding medicine.

Isaura Pérez, 66, said she traveled three hours to Barquisimeto in July to deliver hard-to-find drugs for her 38-year-old diabetic cousin, Georgina Delgado, who was in intensive care. National guard troops arrested Pérez at the hospital entrance for allegedly trafficking medical supplies, she said.

The drugs were confiscated by the soldiers, Pérez said. Her cousin died three days later.

 

 

September 15, 2016. Tags: , , , , . Communism, Economics, Venezuela. 1 comment.

A growing, catastrophic food crisis sows unrest in Venezuela

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yJApHJAkGG8

September 14, 2016. Tags: , , , . Communism, Economics, Venezuela. Leave a comment.

Hypocrisy alert! Most environmental groups OPPOSE Washington state’s carbon tax initiative

Well, well, well. Even though pretty much every economist agrees that the most effective and efficient way to reduce carbon emissions is by placing a tax on each ton of carbon emissions, most environmental groups are actually against such a proposal in Washington state because the revenue from the tax would be used to lower other taxes.

In other words, protecting the environment is not the primary goal of these environmentalists.

Instead, their primary goal is to make the government bigger.

And this proves it:

 

https://www.heartland.org/news-opinion/news/most-environmental-groups-oppose-washington-states-carbon-tax-initiative

Most environmental groups oppose Washington state’s carbon tax initiative

August 19, 2016

Many environmental groups have come out against an initiative in Washington state that would impose the first carbon tax in the nation because it is revenue neutral.

Environmental activists in Washington State running a campaign called “Carbon Washington“ successfully obtained the required number of signatures to get ballot initiative 732 (I-732) on the November ballot.

I-732 would impose a carbon-dioxide tax of $25 per metric ton on fossil fuels consumed in Washington State. If the voters approve the initiative, Washington would become the first state in the nation to impose a tax on carbon-dioxide emissions from fossil fuels.

The initiative aims to be revenue neutral, reducing the state sales tax a full percentage point and providing up to $1,500 per year for 400,000 low-income working households. In addition, in a nod to the fact the carbon-dioxide tax will increase the cost of manufacturing in Washington State, relative to competing states, the initiative effectively eliminates the state’s Business and Occupation tax for manufacturers.

Most environmental groups—including the Sierra Club, the Washington Environmental Council, Climate Solutions, and the Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy—say they oppose I-732. They say rather than using the revenues generated by the tax to fund programs they support, the referendum returns the money to taxpayers.

“Revenues from its carbon tax would not be invested in ramping up jobs in clean fuels infrastructure or energy efficiency,” says the Sierra Club on its website.

Fox News reports the Audubon Society is nearly alone among national and state environmental organizations in supporting the measure. Speaking with Fox News, Gail Gatton, executive director of Audubon Society-Washington State, said, “I think for us, I-732 isn’t about money. It really is about what are the market-based incentives that will drive people to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

Gatton also told Fox News, it’s the first time that she can remember in which the Audubon Society was at odds with the Sierra Club and other green groups in the state.

Battle Is for Revenue, Not Carbon Cuts

Some believe the rift exposes a secret about the environmental movement: Many regulations and green programs are about money, not protecting people or the environment.

“Are left-wing environmental activists more afraid of climate change or tax cuts?” said Todd Myers, environmental director at the Washington Policy Center. “Their opposition to this initiative makes it clear they fear tax cuts more.

“The same people who say ‘we can’t wait’ to fight climate change are willing to wait if the policy doesn’t increase taxes and expand government,” said Myers. “It is the type of hypocrisy we see again and again from the Seattle environmental community.

Robert Bradley Jr., CEO of the Institute for Energy Research, says the fact environmental groups are fighting the I-732 in Washington State shows they are against consumer choice.

“The anti-fossil-fuel Left is playing some strange new cards,” said Bradley. “Some now want nuclear no matter what the cost, and the latest is any carbon tax must add to existing taxes for new tax-and-spend programs.

“A clearer example of anti-consumerism could not be given,” Bradley said.

August 30, 2016. Tags: , , , , . Economics, Environmentalism. Leave a comment.

How sad. This guy from Milwaukee doesn’t seem familiar with the concept of earning money.

A guy who has lived in Milwaukee, Wisconsin his entire life complains that rich people aren’t giving money to poor people.

I feel so sad for this guy. Apparently, it never occurred to him that a person could obtain money by obtaining education and job skills and earning the money.

Who taught him to think the way he does? Was it his parents? Was it his teachers? Whoever it was that taught him to think like this, they were wrong.

I hope for this young man’s sake that he will eventually come to realize that what these people taught him was wrong.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e1Ex5NZKvCg

August 15, 2016. Tags: , , , , , , , , , . Black lives matter, Economics, Racism. 6 comments.

Venezuelans make 36 hour round trip to Brazil just to go grocery shopping

http://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-venezuela-brazil-idUKKCN10L1KE

Venezuelans flood Brazil border in 36-hour grocery run

August 10, 2016

Government employee Jose Lara this month used some vacation days to take a long scenic bus ride through the verdant plateaus and sweeping savannas of southern Venezuela, but the trip was anything but a holiday.

It was a 36-hour grocery run.

Lara took an overnight bus and then a pick-up truck to get across the border to neighboring Brazil to buy food staples that have gone scarce in Venezuela’s crisis-stricken economy.

“Workers can’t even enjoy vacation anymore. Look where I am! Buying food for my children,” said Lara, 40, who was preparing to load 30-kilo (66-pound) packages of rice and flour onto a bus to complete a journey that takes close to 36 hours.

Venezuelans seeking to escape their socialist economy’s dysfunction are flooding into the remote Brazilian town of Pacaraima in search of basic goods that are prohibitively expensive or only available after hours in line.

Shoppers have been coming for months, primarily from the industrial city of Puerto Ordaz – already a 12-hour bus ride – but lately they’re also arriving from even more far flung regions across the country.

Venezuelans spend hours in supermarket lines. Many increasingly complain that they cannot get enough food to eat three meals per day.

Low oil prices and massive debt-servicing costs have left the country without foreign exchange to import goods, while price and currency controls have crippled domestic companies’ capacity to produce locally.

President Nicolas Maduro says the government is the victim of an “economic war” led by the United States.

‘THE LINE’

Under pressure from local residents after Maduro shut the western border with Colombian border in 2015, Venezuelan authorities allowed several temporary openings for similar shopping excursions in July. Colombia last month halted those trips after more than 100,000 people crossed in a single weekend.

The more remote Brazilian border was never closed.

In the Pacaraima, known to Venezuelans as “La Linea” or “The Line” because it is immediately across the border, cramped shops are now piled high with sacks of rice, sugar, and flour.

Products piled to waist height stand at the entrance of convenience stores, auto parts shops and even a farm supply store.

“It’s good business, but the price of everything is going up in Boa Vista,” said Mauricio Macedo, 26, who works at a family business that sells artisanal decorations such as clay figurines but for three months has been primarily focused on food items.

Venezuelan regulations require that staple products be sold for a pittance – a kilo of rice is set at the equivalent of $0.12. But obtaining goods at those prices requires waiting in long lines that are increasingly the site of robberies or lootings. That leaves Venezuelans reliant on the black market, where the same bag of rice fetches the equivalent of $2.20.

In Pacaraima, sugar and rice sell for about 40 percent to 45 percent less than what they would cost on Venezuela’s black market. The discount is worth it despite the cost of the trip.

Shoppers usually take a 12-hour overnight bus ride from Puerto Ordaz to the town of Santa Elena de Uairen. They then travel roughly 15 minutes by van or pick-up truck to La Linea. They spend the morning and much of the afternoon shopping, then head back across the border to catch another overnight bus.

“We’re in an economic crisis and I have to come to another country to buy food,” said Juan Sansonetti, 31, standing under the sun with a large sack of flour on his shoulder. “There isn’t much more to say, is there?”

 

August 10, 2016. Tags: , , , , , , , , . Communism, Economics, Venezuela. 1 comment.

Venezuelan police threaten to put BBC reporter in jail if he doesn’t delete video footage of customers waiting in line for 12 hours at a supermarket

The BBC reports:

Thrown out of a Venezuelan supermarket by police

July 28, 2016

Shortages and the failure of systems to distribute goods make shopping for the essentials of daily life a huge challenge for many Venezuelans.

In one supermarket, where shoppers have been queuing for up to 12 hours to buy food, BBC reporter Vladimir Hernandez is surrounded by police and told to leave.

The crowd of shoppers shouts, “Let them film!” but the police threaten to hold the crew overnight in a police cell unless they delete their footage.

Here is the video footage in question:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P-bef4NkNP8

August 4, 2016. Tags: , , , , , , , . Economics, Venezuela. 1 comment.

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