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Feeling the Bern in Venezuela

Posted by V the K at 9:41 am - April 26, 2016.
Filed under: Politics abroad

In 1999, Venezuela was taken over by a Socialist, Hugo Chavez, who promised that he would punish big corporations and redistribute wealth to “the people” to provide health care, education, infrastructure, and even out income inequality. (Sound familiar?) The American Left cheered. Celebrities like Sean Penn and Danny Glover praised his Democratic Socialist economic measures. Chavez systematically nationalized the oil, banking, agricultural, food distribution, telecommunications, and power industries in Venezuela; because running them as social democratic communes would eliminate “greed” and give the people lower cost goods and services. The American Left praised him for “democratizing” the Venezuelan economy. When Chavez shut down opposition TV, radio, and newspapers the American Left defended it as necessary to protect the Revolution.

The American Left likes to pretend now that Venezuela isn’t a real example of Social Democracy; but up until the economy collapsed (as every sensible person knew it would) they were Chavez’s biggest cheerleaders, as the links above (or any Google search) shows.

When Hugo Chavez died, he left behind a personal fortune of nearly $4 Billion. Just sayin’

Anyway, the real legacy of Hugo Chavez is that the country with the second largest oil reserves in the Western Hemisphere can’t even keep the lights on.  But, Hey, it’s not their fault, you guys.

(Venezuelan President) Maduro blames the collapse on an “economic war” by capitalists.

Actually, it’s the economic war *on* capitalists that caused your problems, comrade.

Last week, his government said it was shifting its time zone forward by 30 minutes to save power by adding half an hour of daylight.

Um, yeah, it doesn’t actually work like that. But it takes a Social Democrat to be delusional enough to believe that they can mandate thirty minutes of sunlight by law.

Comrades forever.

Comrades forever.

Not Worth the Paper It’s Written On

Posted by V the K at 7:19 am - March 30, 2016.
Filed under: Politics abroad
Remember how the Obama Regime tried to play the Iran Nuclear deal as a really fantastic thing that was going to stop Iran from developing nukes and if they violated it, they were going to “snap back” all the sanctions to ensure compliance? Remember how critics who said that Iran would just use the billions of dollars they got from the deal to finance terror, build weapons, and continue to develop nuclear arms were called “war mongers?”
1. Iran is violating the treaty by developing nuclear weapons and testing ballistic missiles.

Iran will pursue its development of ballistic missiles despite the U.S. blacklisting of more Iranian companies linked to the program, a senior Revolutionary Guards commander said on Monday.

The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) test-fired several ballistic missiles this month, drawing condemnation from Western leaders who believe the tests violate a United Nations resolution. (…)

In February, the U.N. nuclear watchdog IAEA confirmed that Iran had “exceeded a limit” of its heavy water it is allowed to keep by a tonne. The heavy water is used in nuclear reactors to produce enriched Uranium needed to build a nuclear bomb.

2. Iran is using its windfall to expand its military capabilities.
Iran has embarked on an ambitious military build-up, never before seen in the history of the Middle East, financed by about $150 billion Tehran is set to receive as part of the Obama-Kerry Nuclear Deal. This build-up dwarfs the military budget of Israel, a country Iranian Regime continues to threaten with annihilation.
3. The Obama Regime is not putting sanctions back in place.
Obama Administration has instead responded reluctantly to Islamic Republic of Iran’s repeated testing of ballistic missiles capable to carrying nuclear warheads by blacklisting a handful of Iranian companies.
And has anyone else notices that there’s been a spike in Mohammedan Terror attacks (Paris, Brussels, Lahore, Iraq)  ever since Obama released billions of dollars to Iran? Coincidence?
It is as I said from the beginning, the purpose of the deal was not to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons, it was to prevent anyone from attacking Iran while they developed nuclear weapons.
Obama’s disarmament policies have been successful in one area; the US Military has been so thoroughly gutted that it’s running out of bombs to drop on ISIS and the Marines have to scavenge for parts to keep their 40 year old fighter jets flying.  No wonder we can’t even defeat “the JV Team” of Islamist Extremism.

Old Queen Refuses to Meet with Obama

Posted by V the K at 12:38 pm - March 21, 2016.
Filed under: Politics abroad

No, not Andrew Sullivan. [Queen Elizabeth II] refuses to come to London to meet President Barack Obama next month.

She probably just wants to avoid Michelle Obama getting all inappropes touchy-feely again, or maybe she doesn’t want to receive another iPod full of Obama speeches.

Quote of the Day

Posted by V the K at 9:01 am - October 2, 2015.
Filed under: Politics abroad

Found this over in the comments at NRO.

“The West is being outmanoeuvred by a decaying has-been superpower as it forms an axis with a pipsqueak dictator and a clutch of turban-wearing fanatics with delusions of apocalyptic grandeur. With that kind of epic failure as his benchmark, it’s a wonder that Obama can get out of bed in the morning without getting hopelessly trapped in the eiderdown.”

Indeed, this is the mark of a very weak and dimwitted president to let this come to pass. There are those who say, “Who cares? Let’s just get out of the Middle East entirely.”

Somewhere between George W. Bush’s futile and wasteful expenditure of blood and treasure trying to bring the Enlightenment to a region with no interest in it and Barack Obama’s policy of throwing allies to the wolves and arming adversaries with nukes and stimulus money is a sane foreign policy based strictly on American interests. I am not convinced that having a Russian-Iranian axis in control of the world’s oil supply is in the American interest.

Sweden, the Socialist “Success” Story

Posted by V the K at 7:35 am - June 5, 2015.
Filed under: Politics abroad

Leftists point to Sweden as an example of “socialism that works,” maybe because it was “working” back in the 1960′s when Democrats ossified their belief system that Democratic socialism was the way to go. [Never mind that a few years ago, Sweden dramatically reduced it's corporate tax rate to a level far below the 39.6% highest-in-the-industrialized world American corporate tax rate.]

But the “success” of Swedish socialism was an illusion. What the Swedes were in fact doing was squandering the wealth accumulated under centuries of successful capitalism. But it isn’t just economic forces that are tearing down Sweden, the forces are social and cultural.

Today, it’s as if the inmates are running the asylum. The politicians are participating in a chicken race of “goodness” where everybody tries to one-up each other in caring for the citizens of OTHER countries while Swedish retirees, school children, handicapped and other vulnerable categories of people are thoroughly ignored. Violence is exploding. Jihadist Trojan horses are flowing through the porous border along with the tens of thousands ID-less refugees.

Sweden is experiencing an exploding debt to pay for a bloated welfare system. The cities are growing more violent due to a crush of unassimilatable third-world refugees. Its school system has abandoned facts and critical thinking in favor of feelgood social engineering and “consensus-building activities.” The military has been slashed to a point where, were the Russians to decide to take action, there are simply no resources to check their aggression.

Why does it all sound so… familiar?

Leftists Gotta Leftist

Posted by V the K at 7:58 pm - May 9, 2015.
Filed under: Politics abroad

The Progressive Left was disappointed with the election results in Great Britain, so they did what spoiled, anti-social socialists usually do when they don’t get their way. They started a riot.

Scuffles broke out when the anti-austerity demonstrators, blaring hooters, banging pots and chanting obscenities, confronted lines of police outside the gate leading to the prime minister’s Downing Street residence. At one point a bicycle was hurled at police.

Police arrested 17 people, and four police officers and one member of police staff were injured during the protest, a Scotland Yard spokesman said.

A Reuters photographer estimated that a couple of hundred people took part in the protest, including a group of about 25 black-clad youths with sunglasses and face masks.

“Social Justice” is just another way of saying ‘Mob rule.’

Greek drama update

Posted by Jeff (ILoveCapitalism) at 2:21 pm - February 23, 2015.
Filed under: Debt Crisis,Leftist Nutjobs,Politics abroad

Greece’s Syriza-led government has basically folded, for now, in its debt negotiations with the rest of Europe.

A “complete political surrender to the world of reality” was how [one European bank analyst] put it. [Other analysts] labeled it a “u-turn” by Tsipras, who won election Jan. 25 promising an end to budget cutting.
At last week’s meeting, Greece signed up to all the conditions of its current package and to continued international oversight, ditching plans to win back control of its purse strings so it could raise wages and pensions.

You can find GayPatriot’s backgrounder here. And some details on the new agreement, here.

Needless to say, many Syriza supporters are outraged. For example, one Syriza veteran of WW2 said, “…[Syriza's] promises have not turned into practice…On my part, I APOLOGIZE to the Greek people because I have contributed to this illusion.”

My feelings are mixed. Pleasure at seeing a gang of socialists having to learn math, combined with dismay/sympathy for the Greek people – who probably shouldn’t cave in; they probably would be better off, in the long run, if they defaulted on their debt and left the Eurozone.

I don’t think this drama is over. I think it ends with either Greece or Germany leaving the Euro currency (later this year or perhaps in 2016), as the Eurozone simply isn’t big enough for both of them. But, as the saying goes, “we’ll see.”

Strange doings in Argentina

Posted by Jeff (ILoveCapitalism) at 2:50 pm - February 16, 2015.
Filed under: Leftist Nutjobs,Politics abroad,Progressive immorality

This will take some explaining.

  • Cristina Fernández de Kirchner has been Argentina’s President since the end of 2007. She is Peronist (Argentina’s version of national-socialist). Needless to say, her controversial policies have harmed Argentina’s economy.
  • Alberto Nisman was an Argentine federal prosecutor. He was long investigating an infamous 1994 car bombing of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires.
  • In 2006, Nisman accused Hezbollah operatives of the 1994 bombing, and Iranian officials of having directed it (possibly over a nuclear deal that Argentina had suspended).
  • On 1/19/2015, Nisman was found dead in his home, just hours before he was to explain his allegations to Argentina’s Congress.
  • Government officials suggested it was suicide. Needless to say, Nisman hadn’t been suicidal, and had been living under constant death threats.
  • The journalist Damian Prachter helped to blow apart the suicide story. Within a few more hours, Prachter found himself tracked by Argentine security services and felt compelled to flee Argentina.
  • Wiki: “On Tuesday, 3 February 2015, Viviana Fein, the lead investigator into his death, announced that Nisman had drafted warrants for the arrest of President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and Héctor Timerman, Argentina’s foreign minister, before his death. The 26 page document was found in the garbage in Nisman’s apartment.”
  • The New York Times says that Nisman’s draft complaint against Mrs. Kirchner was about her efforts to protect Iran (or Iranian officials) from prosecution for the 1994 bombing. One analyst said that, had Nisman done his presentation to Congress, “It would have provoked a crisis without precedent in Argentina.”
  • It seems that Mrs. Kirchner and some key supporters will be investigated anyway, now.

All I can say is: WTF? Why does Argentina’s President care so much about protecting Iranian officials? Were they funding her career? Or going to bail out her country?

BONUS: In Venezuela, condoms are now $755 a pack. Unrelated, except to show what happens when socialists run wild.

Get out the popcorn: Greece is bringin’ the drama

Posted by Jeff (ILoveCapitalism) at 6:07 pm - January 25, 2015.
Filed under: Debt Crisis,Economy,Leftist Nutjobs,Politics abroad

As AP reports, Greece has just gone (further) to the left by voting in their “Syriza” party. With 60% of the vote counted, Syriza leads with 36%, a blowout by Greece’s fragmented / multi-party standard.

Flounder of Delta House was reached for comment and said, “Oh boy, is this great!” Why would he? Because Syriza is a delightful mixture of the sane and the insane.

First, their key campaign plank has been to provoke a new crisis over Greece’s debt to the rest of Europe, including no small chance that Greece would default and/or leave the Euro currency. And that’s the sane part.

It’s sane, because Greece had entered the Euro under false pretenses and then borrowed far more than Greece can ever repay. Syriza is right that Greece’s debt problem is serious, and right that Greece’s solution may well be to default honestly and return to its former currency (the drachma), so that (after devaluation) Greece can be competitive in world markets. (Correction: Officially, Syriza wants to remain in the Euro. It’s just that no one else believes they can, if they’re serious about getting a haircut on Greece’s debt.)

The insane part is that Syriza calls their plans “an end to austerity”, “leaving austerity behind”, and so forth. The implication would be that, these last few years, Greece has buckled down and made painful, deep cuts to its public-sector spending. Yeah, except they haven’t.

When I last checked in 2013, Greece had still not made significant cuts to government spending after years of crisis and supposed austerity. (Update: figures say that Greece did cut spending in 2010-2012 and has already started to reverse the cuts. In 2014, Greece’s spending was near its all-time high from 2009.)

As I’ve explained before, “austerity” is just the Left’s code word to mean “We aren’t being allowed to spend wildly enough!” If government stays as big as ever – if government has merely a small pause or slowing of its growth – the Left screams about the horrible austerity.

Likewise, “ending austerity” is the Left’s code to mean they get to grow government again and basically have it consume the rest of the economy (whatever it doesn’t own already). That is what the Greeks just voted in. A party that (wisely) wants to provoke a crisis over Greece’s debt; so that it can (stupidly) have even moar of the high-spending, Big Government policies that bankrupted Greece in the first place.

Something tells me the Greeks are about to find out what austerity really is.


Some News Items for your consideration

Explaining Obama’s economy

Posted by Jeff (ILoveCapitalism) at 2:18 pm - December 2, 2014.
Filed under: Depression 2.0,Economy,Politics abroad

Readers of GP’s Economy category know that I like to write about how money-printing, now called “Quantitative Easing” (QE), actually drags on the economy (rather than stimulating it). In the long run, QE is just a ripoff to inflate asset bubbles for the Point-One Percent – and stick the rest of the economy with the fallout.

The topic is obscure, but it explains much of what has gone wrong in the U.S. economy as well as Europe, Japan, etc. (Overgrowth of the State explains the rest.) But today, I’ll spare you my verbiage and refer you to Pater Tenebrarum’s. Key passage:

When central banks or commercial banks add new money to the money supply, not one iota of real wealth is created…

However, monetary pumping does disturb the finely tuned dynamic processes [of the economy], as it distorts interest rates and prices. Economic calculation is then falsified and malinvestment invariably ensues. Have the housing bubbles in e.g. Spain and the US not shown this quite clearly?…The emergence of such illusory profits leads to the consumption of capital..

Eventually it turns out that companies actually lack the funds to maintain their real capital. This is what we mean when we refer to the pool of real funding being under pressure: the capital structure has been damaged. Actors in the economy need to…”repair” [the economy's real capital]…Then the economy is in “recession”, but this is really a healing process. It takes time to heal.

Additional money printing actively sabotages this healing process. It achieves nothing but even more impoverishment in the end, especially if it succeeds in igniting another boom by redistributing existing wealth and spurring more capital-consuming activities…

Inflationism is apparently more popular than ever. It doesn’t seem to matter how often and how consistently it fails to produce the desired results, there are always more people in the world who have an epiphany about saving the economy by printing money…[until] the economy has become so structurally damaged…that if banks indeed were to lend out more money [as the money-printers desire], they would be almost guaranteed to lose most of it.

If you have the patience, Read The Whole Thing.

Addendum: By the way, the Swiss don’t get it, after all. Last Sunday, 78% of Swiss voters were against having a sound currency. (Updates my earlier post, Do The Swiss Get It?)

UPDATE: The Japanese people suffer from their latest version of QE, even as their Nikkei stock index sits at seven-year highs. In the end, the U.S. will fare no better (and probably worse).

Canada: Not a free country

Posted by Jeff (ILoveCapitalism) at 7:59 pm - December 1, 2014.
Filed under: Free Speech,Liberalism Run Amok,Politics abroad

A few days old but, lest we forget: Ezra Levant was fined $80,000 by a Canadian court:

Levant’s posts centred on Awan’s testimony at a British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal case…Awan was a law student when the article was published and was among a group of students who alleged the article was Islamophobic…Some of blog posts are titled “Awan the liar,” “Awan the liar part two” and so forth…Levant’s lawyer had said his defence was primarily one of fair comment. He had said the blog posts were based upon what Levant observed over two days of Awan’s testimony at the human rights tribunal and were comments on a matter of public interest.

Via HotAir, where Jazz Shaw explains that Levant was fined for expression of *opinion*:

When you get to subjects such as social evolution, religion and prognostication about the future (which was the subject of the original article) it’s fairly obvious that you are talking about matters of opinion. Even here in the United States, you can’t go around writing, for example, that Bob is a drug dealer unless you can come up with some proof to support the allegation. That veers off from the arena of opinion and into the land of slander and libel. But Ezra Levant was disagreeing with Awan – albeit somewhat strenuously – on more subjective matters. For this exchange of ideas a Canadian judge has fined him $80K.

I’m sure this is just what the Left would love to see in America. Levant plans to appeal; feel free to help him pay for it.

UPDATE: Not that I’m sure the U.S. is that much better. Of his order on deportations, President Obama has now boasted, “I just took an action to change the law” – thus ignoring the U.S. constitution, which assigns that power to Congress.

Do the Swiss get it?

Posted by Jeff (ILoveCapitalism) at 1:18 pm - November 11, 2014.
Filed under: Economy,Politics abroad

We’ll find out on Nov 30th, when the Swiss are set to vote on a citizens’ initiative that will require their central bank to hold 20% of its reserve assets in gold.

As recently as the year 2000, the Swiss National Bank was required by law to hold 40% of its assets in gold. That made the Swiss franc a relatively hard/safe currency. But Swiss voters removed that requirement in a 1999 referendum. Oops.

The SNB soon undertook an orgy of gold-selling, as well as money-printing (keeping the franc pegged to 0.83 Euro). Today, the SNB holds maybe 7-8% of its reserve assets in gold. The new referendum would require the SNB to take it back up to 20% over the next five years. (more…)

A sign of the times?

Posted by Jeff (ILoveCapitalism) at 4:29 pm - October 6, 2014.
Filed under: Obama Arrogance,Politics abroad

Zimbabwe tells the Obama administration to ‘go hang’:

THE United States has reportedly warned Zimbabwe about its growing economic dealings with Russia…

According to Herald columnist Nathaniel Manheru, who is thought to be President Robert Mugabe’s spokesman George Charamba, the Obama administration threatened further sanctions against Zimbabwe over its ties with Russia…

The US imposed sanctions against Zimbabwe in 2003, accusing Mugabe of human rights abuses and electoral fraud…

Manheru said it was ridiculous for the US to refuse to lift sanctions against Harare and then demand support for its measures against Moscow…He wrote…“This is where I am tempted to tell the American government to go and hang, hang on a banana tree, bums up.”

In 2008, left-liberals told me – explicitly and with a straight face – that electing a brown-skinned President would make us more trusted and popular, in the Third World.

The UKIP: Shades of the Tea Party

Posted by Jeff (ILoveCapitalism) at 12:01 pm - June 4, 2014.
Filed under: Conservative Movement,Politics abroad,Tea Party

First off, in the UK, a left-wing politician gets surprisingly candid about immigration’s importance:

Stella Creasy, the Labour & Co-operative MP for Walthamstow, said that Britain either needs immigration or a massive baby boom in order to support the growing number of pensioners, or else “our ability to sustain our economy” will collapse. She added that this would leave the NHS in crisis.

In an interview with Progress magazine, Ms Creasy said: “There are now more people over the age of 65 than under the age of 16 in Britain, so unless women like me have a lot of children very quickly, our ability to sustain our economy, to sustain our public services [will come under threat].”

Perhaps her horror at the thought of women “like her” needing to have children feeds into the horror that UK establishment parties feel about the rise of the UK Independence Party?

She said that this made UKIP leader Nigel Farage “deeply unpatriotic” as his party has campaigned for an end to mass immigration. UKIP are “basically talking about managing the decline of Britain” she said.

And it is true that UKIP voters believe that Britain needs tighter border controls. But does that make them “deeply unpatriotic”? Perhaps over-the-top name-calling is a tactic of the Left in the UK, as well as in America.

In reality, the UKIP stands in a libertarian-Thatcherite tradition; hardly unpatriotic, and not even very anti-immigrant. Its leader, Nigel Farage, has explicitly said “We’re not going to join in with extremist-nationalist groups” in the European Parliament. To the extent that Farage is required to ally with parties from other countries, he prefers Beppe Grillo, the comedian who leads Italy’s anti-establishment 5-Star movement.

“I met Beppe Grillo last week … I am hoping we can do a deal with him and our group will sit bang in the middle politically of that parliament with a strong Europsceptic agenda,” Farage told the BBC in an interview…

Farage repeated previous comments that he would not work with France’s National Front leader Marine Le Pen, who this week struck a deal with four other Eurosceptic parties. “They come from a different political family,” he said. “We want nothing to do with that party at all.”

Which brings us to the point. To its great shame, the UK’s Conservative Party *is* now going to work with parties that it calls “unacceptable”, against Farage and the UKIP. Because the Conservative establishment is that frightened of Farage’s upstart movement, or of any effective challenge to Big Government.

I am reminded of nothing so much as how the Republican establishment treats the Tea Party (i.e., stab them in the back whenever possible, and even if it means betraying principles). It’s a sad moment for the once-great party of Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher.

Europeans getting skeptical on Europe?

Posted by Jeff (ILoveCapitalism) at 9:20 am - May 27, 2014.
Filed under: Freedom,Politics abroad

Consider these recent items:

Some of these anti-EU folks are extreme nationalists, but more of them (like the UKIP) simply love liberty, democracy and traditional national sovereignty. The EU establishment hates those things, so look for EU media to try to tar them all as extremists, regardless of truth or facts.

Big Government: Always Looking Out for the Citizenry…

Posted by V the K at 12:11 am - March 9, 2014.
Filed under: Politics abroad

From Canada’s National Post. Your porn is not Canadian enough, CRTC warns erotica channels

For failing to broadcast sufficient levels of Canadian-made pornography — and failing to close-caption said pornography properly — a trio of Toronto-based erotica channels has earned a reprimand from the Canadian Radio-television & Telecommunications Commission.

How does one make pr0n more Canadian? Does it involve maple syrup, bacon, and three month delays for health care?

Mass murder in China

Posted by Jeff (ILoveCapitalism) at 2:58 am - March 3, 2014.
Filed under: Gun Control,Politics abroad,Second Amendment

30+ dead and 130+ injured…done with knives:

How much do you want to bet this tragedy took place in a “gun-free zone”? (That entire left-wing dictatorship of a country being such a zone, of course. Communist China does not permit its citizens’ gun rights.)

And how much hand-wringing do you think the Chinese people will do over what *they* supposedly did to cause the tragedy? (As opposed to punishing the actual perpetrators.)

Hat tip Zero Hedge.

Obama: Pandering, Politicizing, and Passive-Aggressive Diplomacy

President Obama will not attend the Sochi Olympics, but to appease his wealthy gay liberal donors show the Russians how miffed he is with recent anti-gay statements and legislation, he is sending lesbian tennis player Billie Jean King (because tennis is such a huge Winter Olympic sport), lesbian hockey player Caitlin Cahow, and Janet Napolitano as part of the US Olympic delegation.

[Edit: Deleted a line about Obama hiding behind Bille Jean King's pantsuit because it would have offended the easily offended.]

I love hockey, and amateur sports in general. But I lost interest in the Olympics a long time ago; one reason is because they have become so hyper-politicized; and the coverage doesn’t focus on the competition, it’s just one profile after another of an athlete overcoming something-or-other to compete at the games. Turning the U.S. Winter Olympic Team into an extension of the Obama Permanent Campaign and Minority Victims Perpetual Grievance Coalition just further politicizes sport; which is something we associate with totalitarian regimes, not a Constitutional Republic.

Venezuela: America’s future?

UPDATE: And a few days earlier, there was state-sanctioned looting:

Nov 9 – Thousands of Venezuelans lined up outside the country’s equivalent of Best Buy…President Nicolás Maduro ordered a military “occupation” of the company’s five stores…”I want a Sony plasma television for the house,” said Amanda Lisboa, 34, a business administrator, who had waited seven hours already outside one Caracas store. “It’s going to be so cheap!”

I’m shaking my head at the short-sightedness. If stores are going to be occupied and looted, then no, Amanda: TVs won’t be cheap.

I’m late getting to this, but from Reuters (via ZH):

Nov 15 – Venezuela’s socialist government has arrested more than 100 “bourgeois” businessmen in a crackdown on alleged price-gouging at hundreds of shops and companies since the weekend, President Nicolas Maduro said on Thursday.

“They are barbaric, these capitalist parasites!” Maduro thundered in the latest of his lengthy daily speeches. “We have more than 100 of the bourgeoisie behind bars at the moment.”

Inflation is the problem:

Officials say unscrupulous companies have been hiking prices of electronics and other goods more than 1,000 percent…

To spell it out for any lefties reading this: Companies only do what’s needed to stay afloat – and what the market will bear. It’s the Venezuelan currency that has been printed into oblivion. So yes, inflation.

Naturally, the government claims that its interventions help the poor: (more…)