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[VIDEO] Ben Shapiro: Venezeula Collapses, the Left Pretends it’s Never Heard of That Place 

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[VIDEO] Remy: The Venezuela Diet! 


[VIDEO] How Venezuela Perfected Marxist Socialism


Venezuela Now Officially a Dictatorship

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Venezuela Supreme Court Assumes Powers of Opposition-Controlled Congress.

CARACAS, Venezuela—Venezuela‘s Supreme Court has assumed all powers of the opposition-controlled congress, a move lawyers and rights activists said amounted to the effective dissolution of the legislature in Latin America’s largest oil producer.

“This ruling marks the point of no return for the dictatorship,” National Assembly Vice President Freddy Guevara said. Assembly President Julio Borges called the act a coup and urged Venezuelans to rally on Saturday to defend the country’s democracy.

“This is despotic rule. There is absolutely no counterweighting [to Mr. Maduro].”

Michael Shifter of policy group Inter-American Dialogue

The Supreme Court, which is packed with allies of President Nicolás Maduro, ruled late Wednesday that the congress was in contempt of court for having sworn in three lawmakers from the remote Amazonas state whom the ruling party had accused of electoral fraud. The court said it takes over all “parliamentary capacities” until the conflict is resolved.

“Maduro now has all powers in his hands, without any checks and balances,” Mr. Borges said. “This is the action of a desperate man who knows the whole world is turning against him.”

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Several opposition lawmakers who tried to enter the Supreme Court building Thursday afternoon were blocked by soldiers in riot gear and manhandled by government supporters shouting “get out.”

Peru’s President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski called the court’s action unacceptable and recalled his country’s ambassador to Venezuela on Thursday. In Washington, the secretary-general of the Organization of American States called for an urgent meeting of member states to discuss “the subversion of democratic order” in Venezuela.

Venezuela’s opposition won overwhelming control of the assembly in December 2015, in a victory it called the first step toward ending almost two decades of rule by a far-left movement created by the late Hugo Chávez.

Since then, however, Mr. Maduro has marshaled allied judges and prosecutors to jail dozens of opposition officials and activists, torpedo a recall referendum on the president, and indefinitely postpone all scheduled elections for posts ranging from state governors to labor union heads.

Mr. Maduro’s ruling United Socialist Party, or PSUV, never presented any evidence of wrongdoing by the three opposition lawmakers, and government-appointed prosecutors still haven’t requested voting data 16 months after the start of an investigation, according to electoral officials. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Cruz: A Dictator is Dead, But His Repressive Legacy Will Not Follow Him to the Grave

“Cuba’s longtime oppressive dictator Fidel Castro is dead. Let me be absolutely clear: We are not mourning the death of some revolutionary romantic, or a distinguished statesman.”

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“We’re not grieving for the protector of peace or a judicious steward of his people. Today we are thankful. We are thankful that a man who has imprisoned, and tortured, and degraded the lives of so many is no longer with us. He has departed for warmer climes.”

See more here.

 


[VIDEO] 3 Ways Bitcoin Is Promoting Freedom in Latin America

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How bitcoin is allowing Venezuelans to circumvent capital controls, Brazilians to get around tariffs—and might one day improve Latin America‘s overall business climate.


Castro, Chavez, and ‘Bad Luck’

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Castro and his ilk showed us that under socialism, the powerful grow rich — and everyone else grows poor.

Robert Heinlein once wrote:

Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.em

This is known as “bad luck.”

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Glenn Reynolds writes: I thought about this statement this weekend, reading two news stories. The first was about the tide of Venezuelans taking to boats to escape Venezuela’s economic collapse. As The New York Times reported, “Venezuela was once one of Latin America’s richest countries, flush with oil wealth that attracted immigrants from places as varied as Europe and the Middle East.”

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“Although many among Western political and entertainment elites still think of Fidel Castro fondly, such people are, at best, what Lenin called ‘useful idiots.'”

“But after President Hugo Chávez vowed to break the country’s economic elite and redistribute wealth to the poor, the rich and middle class fled to more welcoming countries in droves, creating what demographers describe as Venezuela’s first diaspora.”

[Read the full story here, at USAToday]

Now, in their absence, things have gotten worse, and it’s poorer Venezuelans — the very ones that Chavez’s revolution was allegedly intended to help — who are starving. Many are even taking to boats, echoing, as the Times notes, “an image so symbolic of the perilous journeys to escape Cuba or Haiti — but not oil-rich Venezuela.”

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Well, Venezuela was once rich. But mismanagement and kleptocracy can make any country poor and Venezuela — as is typical with countries whose leaders promise to soak the rich for the benefit of the poor — has had plenty of both.  Read the rest of this entry »


Can You Find the Hidden Word to Explain Venezuela’s Escape Economic Collapse?

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 The New York Times Can’t.

WILLEMSTAD, Curaçao — Nicholas Case reports: The dark outlines of land had just come into view when the smuggler forced everyone into the sea.

Roymar Bello screamed. She was one of 17 passengers who had climbed onto the overloaded fishing boat with aging motors in July, hoping to escape Venezuela’s economic disaster for a new life on the Caribbean island of Curaçao.

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Can you guess what word NYT’s Nicholas Casey failed to use even one time in his report on Venezuela’s economic crisis?

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Afraid of the authorities, the smuggler refused to land. Ms. Bello said he gruffly ordered her and the others into the water, pointing toward the distant shore. In the panic, she was tossed overboard, tumbling into the predawn blackness.

But Ms. Bello could not swim.

As she began to sink under the waves, a fellow migrant grabbed her by the hair and towed her toward the island. They washed up on a rocky cliff battered by waves. Bruised and bleeding, they climbed, praying for a lifeline: jobs, money, something to eat.

“It was worth the risk,” said Ms. Bello, 30, adding that Venezuelans like her, “are going after one thing — food.”

Maria Piñero at an empty grocery store in La Vela, Venezuela. “I’m nervous,” she said. “I’m leaving with nothing. But I have to do this. Otherwise, we will just die here hungry.” Meridith Kohut for The New York Times

Venezuela was once one of Latin America’s richest countries, flush with oil wealth that attracted immigrants from places as varied as Europe and the Middle East.

[Read the full story here, at he New York Times]

But after President Hugo Chávez vowed to break the country’s economic elite and redistribute wealth to the poor, the rich and middle class fled to more welcoming countries in droves, creating what demographers describe as Venezuela’s first diaspora.

Now a second diaspora is underway — much less wealthy and not nearly as welcome.

Well over 150,000 Venezuelans have fled the country in the last year alone, the highest in more than a decade, according to scholars studying the exodus.

Hundreds of Venezuelans lined up at a grocery store in La Vela in September to see if food would be delivered.Meridith Kohut for The New York Times

“It’s hard to see a solution to this problem because hunger is involved. Venezuela doesn’t have enough food for its people, so some are coming here.”

— Mayor Altemir Campos

And as Mr. Chávez’s Socialist-inspired revolution collapses into economic ruin, as food and medicine slip further out of reach, the new migrants include the same impoverished people that Venezuela’s policies were supposed to help.

“We have seen a great acceleration,” said Tomás Páez, a professor who studies immigration at the Central University of Venezuela. He says that as many as 200,000 Venezuelans have left in the last 18 months, driven by how much harder it is to get food, work and medicine — not to mention the crime that such scarcities have fueled.

“Parents will say: I would rather say goodbye to my son in the airport than in the cemetery,” he said.

Two would-be migrants waiting for the boat that will take them from Venezuela. Meridith Kohut for The New York Times

Desperate Venezuelans are streaming across the Amazon Basin by the tens of thousands to reach Brazil. They are concocting elaborate scams to sneak through airports in Caribbean nations that once accepted them freely. When Venezuela opened its border with Colombia for just two days in July, 120,000 people poured across, simply to buy food, officials said. An untold number stayed.

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But perhaps most startling are the Venezuelans now fleeing by sea, an image so symbolic of the perilous journeys to escape Cuba or Haiti — but not oil-rich Venezuela.

“It has all totally changed,” said Iván de la Vega, a sociologist at Simón Bolívar University in Caracas. About 60 percent more Venezuelans fled the country this year than during the year before, he added.
Read the rest of this entry »


Modern Socialist Success Story: Venezuelans Celebrate Spectacular Economic Abundance, Party Hard in the Streets of Caracas

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A forceful repudiation of the leftist politics that are falling out of favor across Latin America.

…The demonstration, aimed at speeding up a recall campaign against the 53-year-old president, was also a forceful repudiation of the leftist politics that are falling out of favor across Latin America.

At its peak in 2008, the left held the presidencies of eight of the 10 most populous countries in South and Central America. But those regimes have lost popularity as steep drops in commodity prices badly damaged their economies and left less money to spend on the poor.

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Candidates from the right recently won the presidencies of Argentina and Peru, and just this week, Dilma Rousseff was permanently ousted from the presidency in Brazil in an impeachment trial engineered by opponents from the right who now control the government.

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But nowhere in Latin America has the rise and fall of the left been as dramatic as in Venezuela, a country that has been on the brink of collapse for the last several months.

Venezuela had its own brand of socialism, known as Chauvismo for Hugo Chavez, the charismatic leader who was elected president in 1998 in a rejection of free-market policies that were encouraged by the United States but failed to deliver on their promise of wider prosperity. Read the rest of this entry »


Hugo Chavez’s Ambassador Daughter is Venezuela’s Richest Woman

High society: The daughter of Hugo Chavez may be the wealthiest woman in Venezuela, according to evidence reportedly in the hands of Venezuelan media outlets

Maria Gabriela Chavez, 35, the late president’s second-oldest daughter, holds assets in American and Andorran banks totaling almost $4.2billion.

  • Diario las Americas claims that Maria Gabriela Chavez, 35, has $4.2billion in assets held in American and Andorran banks
  • Hugo Chavez famously declared ‘being rich is bad’ and during his lifetime railed against the wealthy for being lazy and gluttonous
  • Efforts to determine Chavez’s wealth have been made before, without much luck

Pete D’Amato reports: The daughter of Hugo Chavez, the former president who once declared ‘being rich is bad,’ may be the wealthiest woman in Venezuela, according to evidence reportedly in the hands of Venezuelan media outlets.

Maria Gabriela Chavez, 35, the late president’s second-oldest daughter, holds assets in American and Andorran banks totaling almost $4.2billion, Diario las Americas reports.

The figure would make Gabriela Chavez wealthier than media mogul Gustavo Cisneros, whom Forbes named the wealthiest Venezuelan earlier this year with $3.6billion in assets.

High society: The daughter of Hugo Chavez may be the wealthiest woman in Venezuela, according to evidence reportedly in the hands of Venezuelan media outlets

Maria Gabriela Chavez, 35, the late president's second-oldest daughter, holds assets in American and Andorran banks totaling almost $4.2billion, Diario las Americas reports

Maria Gabriela Chavez, 35, the late president’s second-oldest daughter, holds assets in American and Andorran banks totaling almost $4.2billion, Diario las Americas reports

The Miami-based newspaper did not detail what evidence there was outlining Chavez’s assets, though there have long been rumors she held a sizable fortune.

Last year, reporter María Elvira Salazar displayed what appeared to be a receipt showing millions in a bank account belonging to Gabriela Chavez withdrawn in the United States.

The receipt displayed the name Frabz Federal Bank, a fictitious bank used in a meme of fake ATM receipts.

Maria Gabriela Chavez, 35, the late president's second-oldest daughter, holds assets in American and Andorran banks totaling almost $4.2 billion

Others close to Chavez managed to build up great personal wealth that was kept outside the petrostate. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] American Fascists

Left/right, Progressive/Conservative, Democrat/Republican… The names change and evolve but the core difference remains constant: The Collectivists vs. The Individualists. In his latest FIREWALL, but shows how violence, disruption and intimidation have always been the tools of the Collectivists. This is not about Donald Trump, no matter how much they want you to believe it.

[ALSO SEE: Jonah Goldberg’s book “Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning”  at Amazon]


‘Previous Swarms of Immigrants Came over Fleeing Communism, Despising it, Cherishing Freedom and Openness’

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“America is not chiefly about a place. Our physical location is happenstance. It is not about blood or soil. It is not about race. America is an idea — and ideal.”

editor-commen-deskThough the original subject is a critique of Ann Coulter’s misguided attack on Nikki Haley’s Americanism, the argument within the argument — Ace’s passionate monologue about immigration history — stands on its own, as a solid defense of American ideals, and it’s worth capturing in its entirety.

Ace writes:

America is not chiefly about a place. Our physical location is happenstance. It is not about blood or soil. It is not about race. America is an idea — and ideal.

The reason America is in decline is because far too many born-and-raised Americans do not understand America…

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Ace continues:

…I oppose our current nearly-open-borders immigration scam for a lot of reasons, but a major reason is this: The current temperament of the world is anti-assimilationist and anti-American.

Previous waves of immigrants came in during periods where it was widely believed that assimilation was good, because America itself was good. Now foreign immigrants are being taught — as native-born Americans are being taught — that America is shameful and needs to be rejected, torn down, and even, as one anti-American, communist-sympathizing foreign critic said, “fundamentally transformed.”*

“Previous waves of immigrants came in during periods where it was widely believed that assimilation was good, because America itself was good.”

Immigrants are no longer being encouraged to give up their old hatreds — their old, unsettled wars — carried over from their former countries. Now they’re being taught that Tribal Identity is the only true identity, and that any adopted identity, such as Americanism, is a sham propagated by, most likely, Jews.

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“Immigrants are no longer being encouraged to give up their old hatreds — their old, unsettled wars — carried over from their former countries.”

Nor are they being encouraged to give up the political biases they suffered under in their home countries, chiefly socialism and authoritarianism. Strong Men on White Horses increasing the Chocolate Rations out of their undying love for the people.

Previous swarms of immigrants came over fleeing communism, despising it, cherishing freedom and openness and a government that kept out of their way.

[Order Daniel R. Ernst’s book “Tocqueville’s Nightmare: The Administrative State Emerges in America, 1900-1940” from Amazon.com]

Is that what the current immigrants want, in the main? The Democrat Party– long covertly agitating for socialism, now overtly doing so — sure seems to think the new immigrants will vote more socialist governments into power, because they’re sure salivating at those new fundamentally-transforming votes. Read the rest of this entry »


Scenes of the Resurrection

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Each scene features sleeping Roman soldiers and Christ emerging from his tomb, but these were made across hundreds of years. Can you guess which one out of the four was made in 1190?

The reveal.

Getty Museum 


Oldest Known Globe Depicting the Americas, Fashioned from Ostrich Eggs, 1504

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Oldest known globe depicting the Americas, made on two lower halves of ostrich eggs, 1504


The Capitalist Cure for Terrorism

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Military might alone won’t defeat Islamic State and its ilk. The U.S. needs to promote economic empowerment

For WSJHernando De Soto writes:  As the U.S. moves into a new theater of the war on terror, it will miss its best chance to beat back Islamic State and other radical groups in the Middle East if it doesn’t deploy a crucial but little-used weapon: an aggressive agenda for economic empowerment. Right now, all we hear about are airstrikes and military maneuvers—which is to be expected when facing down thugs bent on mayhem and destruction.

Fashionable opinion held that the people rebelling were the impoverished or underemployed wage slaves of Latin America, that capitalism couldn’t work outside the West and that Latin cultures didn’t really understand market economics. The conventional wisdom proved to be wrong, however.

But if the goal is not only to degrade what President Barack Obama rightly calls Islamic State’s “network of death” but to make it impossible for radical leaders to recruit terrorists in the first place, the West must learn a simple lesson: Economic hope is the only way to win the battle for the constituencies on which terrorist groups feed.

In Tunisia, members of the main labor union body staged a protest calling for the government led by the Islamist Ennahda party to step down in Tunis, Dec. 4, 2013. Reuters

In Tunisia, members of the main labor union body staged a protest calling for the government led by the Islamist Ennahda party to step down in Tunis, Dec. 4, 2013. Reuters

Today we hear the same economic and cultural pessimism about the Arab world that we did about Peru in the 1980s. But we know better. Just as Shining Path was beaten in Peru, so can terrorists be defeated by reforms that create an unstoppable constituency for rising living standards in the Middle East and North Africa.

I know something about this. A generation ago, much of Latin America was in turmoil. By 1990, a Marxist-Leninist terrorist organization called Sendero Luminoso, or Shining Path, had seized control of most of my home country, Peru, where I served as the president’s principal adviser. Fashionable opinion held that the people rebelling were the impoverished or underemployed wage slaves of Latin America, that capitalism couldn’t work outside the West and that Latin cultures didn’t really understand market economics. Read the rest of this entry »


Anti-ISISism on the Left

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PRIMAI’ve been trying to read as much as time allows of the left’s reaction to the President’s recent speech in which he unleashed at least a couple of the dogs of war. Here’s something from this morning’s sampling:

As for the the Hof article linked above, one of the things it shares with most discussion of the issues in leftish sources is a focus on state politics and an almost complete lack of discussion of the religious and other cultural elements of the ISIS phenomenon. This particular article lays the blame on the structural problem of “state failure”. I would reply that we’ve had chronically failed states in, for example, Latin America for 150 years, yet none of them have become the seedbed for global terrorism. The same could be said for Southeast Asia and, until recently, central and west Africa. I think the unwillingness of analysts on the left to see the uniquely Islamic elements of the ISIS phenomenon hobbles their ability to fully come to terms with it. Whoda thunk that I’d be on the same side of things as Bill Maher? What a world we live in, huh?

Crisis: ‘Unprecedented’ Number of Young Illegal Immigrants Pouring Over U.S. Border

OMAR TORRES/AFP/Getty Images

OMAR TORRES/AFP/Getty Images

For the Washington ExaminePaul Bedard reports: A city-sized rush of about 120,000 illegal immigrant children and teens from Latin America is expected to crash through the U.S. border this year, twice the administration’s prediction, leading humanitarians to seek much more than the $1.5 billion spent to handle the runaways.

“It’s a city of children.”tex-border

U.S. authorities report that there was massive surge in May of children trying to escape crime, drug gangs and sexual exploitation in GuatemalaHonduras and El Salvador, leading them to cast aside the administration’s prediction of 60,000, which was still more than twice the 24,000 apprehended last year.

“It’s a city of children,” said Annie Wilson, executive vice president for Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS), a national group that works with the government to settle child refugees and exiles. Read the rest of this entry »


Cuba: The Lost World, Part II

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This is the second in a two-part series about Cuba beyond HavanaClick here for Part I.

Michael J. Totten writes:  Most of Cuba is flat with low rolling hills, but after leaving Cienfuegos and heading toward Trinidad, I saw the Escambray Mountains—home of the anti-communist insurgency known as the Escambray Rebellion—off in the distance.

The island finally had a skyline.

Those mountains might be a nice place to camp or go hiking (you would not want to camp or hike in the sweltering lowlands), but the overwhelming majority of Cubans have no way to get there. They aren’t prohibited from traveling to or in the mountains, but hardly anyone owns a car. Salaries are capped at twenty dollars a month. Driving to the mountains for a day hike from Havana would cost more than a months’ salary just for the gas. A bus ticket likewise costs more than a month’s salary.

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Then it hit me, ton-of-bricks style. Most Cubans have never seen those mountains. Nor have they seen Trinidad, one of the oldest Spanish colonial cities in the hemisphere which lies on a narrow coastal plane between the Escambray and the Caribbean.

Read the rest of this entry »


The Science of Winning Poker

Bluffing still matters, but the best players now depend on math theory

By CHRISTOPHER CHABRIS

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The World Series of Poker, 2010.
More than 6,300 players, each paying an entry fee of $10,000, gathered in Las Vegas early this month for the championship event of the 44th annual World Series of Poker. The tournament ran for 10 days, and just nine players now remain. They will reunite in November for a two-day live telecast to determine who wins the first prize: $8.3 million.Poker didn’t get this big overnight. In 2003, a then-record 839 players entered the championship for a shot at $2.5 million. The winner was an amateur with the improbable name of Chris Moneymaker. After ESPN devoted seven prime-time hours to his triumph, online poker took off and tournament participation ballooned, as did prize pools. The U.S. government’s ban on the major online poker sites in 2011 reined in enthusiasm, but the game has continued to grow in Europe, Asia and Latin America.

This growth over the past decade has been accompanied by a profound change in how the game is played. Concepts from the branch of mathematics known as game theory have inspired new ideas in poker strategy and new advice for ordinary players. Poker is still a game of reading people, but grasping the significance of their tics and twitches isn’t nearly as important as being able to profile their playing styles and understand what their bets mean.

In no-limit hold’em poker, the game used for the World Series championship, each player is dealt two private cards and attempts to make the best five-card hand that he can by combining his own cards with five cards that are shown faceup and shared by all players. Those cards are revealed in stages: The first three are the “flop,” the fourth is the “turn,” and the fifth is the “river.” Players can bet any amount they like at each stage.

Suppose you hold a pair of sevens, and before the flop is dealt you go all-in (bet all of your chips). One player calls your bet, and everyone else folds their hands. You both turn your cards face up, and you are happy to see your opponent show a pair of sixes. You are in great shape, since you have the better hand. But when the flop arrives, it contains a six, giving your opponent three sixes, and your own hand doesn’t improve, so you lose. Was your all-in play correct?

In terms of results, it wasn’t, because you lost all your chips. But according to the math of hold’em, a pair of sevens is favored to beat a pair of sixes 81% of the time. So if you can go all-in with sevens and get your bet called by players holding sixes over and over again, luck should even out, and eventually you will be a big winner.

Read the rest of this entry »