Via Learn Liberty: “Tired of the corruption, high crime, and poor state of the economy in Venezuela, students and other citizens are taking to the streets to protest. What kind of ideas inspire regular citizens to risk so much in the face of a tyrannical government?”
Since February 4th, students have been protesting in San Cristóbal, Venezuela. Protesters have been strongly opposed to current President Nicolas Maduro and his heavy-handed interventionist government and have decided to take it to the streets, which ended up triggering waves of violent attacks that are mostly perpetrated by paramilitary forces. At least 6 people have died so far.
Before the protests, Venezuelans were experiencing soaring crime rates, an annual inflation rate of 320 percent and shortage of basic goods, which are all mostly due to protectionist policies and Hugo Chavez’s National Bolivarian Guard’s crack down on the ‘over-pricing’ the government accuses producers and merchants of practicing.
In Venezuela, food is subsidized. The government has instilled an idea among its citizens that cheap gas is every Venezuelan’s right, so oil is heavily subsidized as well. The president of the Venezuela’s national oil company is also the vice president in charge of the country’s economy, has also acted as the government’s energy minister.
Whatever you do, don’t accuse MSNBC of presenting a leftist ideology. In an interview last week with The Daily Beast, the network’s president, Phil Griffin, said that MSNBC has never had an ideology, preferring instead to call it a “progressive sensibility.”
“I think we’ve never had an ideology. An ideology is a single thought across all programs. We’ve never had that,” Griffin told The Daily Beast. “Obviously I hire people who fit the sensibility.”
“We do stay true to facts. You have to build your argument,” he said. “That’s why I call it a sensibility.”
MSNBC recently came under fire for a tweet which suggested that conservatives would hate a new Cheerios commercial because it featured an interracial family. Griffin was forced to apologize after outcry from Republicans. He also fired the staffer responsible for the tweet. It just so happens, by the way, that more conservatives live in mixed-race households than do liberals.
But back to Griffin’s comments about MSNBC’s ideology. Oh, sorry, “sensibility.”
Keep in mind that MSNBC’s official slogan is “Lean Forward” — an obvious nod to progressivism — and it’s constantly displayed on the network’s programming and commercials. It just so happens that President Barack Obama’s reelection slogan was “Forward.”
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who describes himself as a “democratic socialist,” is thinking about jumping in the 2016 presidential race if a candidate willing to push far-left political views doesn’t emerge.
“There are enormous problems facing this country…income and wealth inequality, massively high unemployment, the fact that we’re the only country in the industrialized which doesn’t guarantee healthcare to all people, global warming,” Sanders told MSNBC’s Ed Schultz.
The comments come over some dissatisfaction among the far-left in the Democratic Partyover what has been perceived as the coronation of Hillary Clinton as the 2016 presidential nominee, assuming she does indeed run. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) has been touted by some as a potential alternative candidate, but she has declined to run.
“It seems to me, it would be a real disgrace if we had a campaign where those issues — the needs of working families, the needs of the middle class, the needs of the elderly — were not front and center,” he said. “We need people out there fighting for ordinary people, not simply taking huge campaign contributions from the wealthy and the powerful.”
“What I have said is that candidate is needed, and if somebody else doesn’t step up, I am prepared to do it,” Sanders added.
This past weekend, FreedomWorks, a free market organization with strong ties to the grassroots and Tea Party, hosted Free the People, an event that brought together thousands of people from across the country to hear speakers and receive activist training to utilize back home.
Among the speakers was Rafael Cruz, father of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX). During his 11-minute talk, Cruz told the crowd about how he left Cuba as a teenager as Fidel Castro was beginning his “revolution” to come to the United States. He also explained that the consolidation of power by the executive branch today is all too reminiscent of what he experienced in Cuba and urged activists to fight for freedom.
“I grew up in Cuba under a strong military, oppressive dictatorship. So as a teenager I found myself involved in a revolution. I remember during that time a young, charismatic leader rose up, talking about hope and change. His name was Fidel Castro,” recalled Cruz. “And, you know, we all followed him. We thought he was going to be our liberator. As a result of being involved in the revolution, I was imprisoned, I was tortured.”
Cruz explained that he was able to get out of Cuba on a student visa. He got a job as a dishwasher and paid for his education at the University of Texas. But he went back to Cuba in 1959 after Castro’s regime had taken over and, he said, he got the shock of his life.
Capitalism is truly a wonderful thing. This economic system is empowers the individual and limits government control over economies, which draws criticism and derision from the Left. They like to claim that capitalism is greed and they use that populist sentiment to push more state control and regulations.
But what the Left won’t admit is that capitalism is saving lives and reducing poverty in countries where free trade and market liberalization are being enacted. An editorial in the most recent issue of The Economist outlines the successes of capitalism:
The world’s achievement in the field of poverty reduction is, by almost any measure, impressive. Although many of the original Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) —such as cutting maternal mortality by three-quarters and child mortality by two-thirds—will not be met, the aim of halving global poverty between 1990 and 2015 was achieved five years early.
The MDGs may have helped marginally, by creating a yardstick for measuring progress, and by focusing minds on the evil of poverty. Most of the credit, however, must go to capitalism and free trade, for they enable economies to grow—and it was growth, principally, that has eased destitution.
“The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.” — Margaret Thatcher
Margaret Thatcher, who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990, passed away from a stroke this morning. She was 87-years old.
Thatcher will be remembered for her tough stand alongside President Ronald Reagan against the Soviet Union, which earned the nickname the “Iron Lady,” and her economic policies led the United Kingdom to an era of prosperity. Thatcher brought the Conservative Party back to prominence and was a stalwart apologist for capitalism and an ardent foe of socialism.
In her last appearance before the House of Commons, Thatcher took on many of her critics from the Labour Party, the leading purveyor of socialism in the United Kingdom. The arguments made by Labour members are not unlike those we’re hearing today in the United States, but she didn’t avoid them. Unlike so many American politicans, Thatcher welcomed them as she explained that capitalism ushered in an era of opportunity and prosperity for everyone in the United Kingdom.
Here’s the video:
As you’ve probably heard, Hugo Chavez, who for 14 years ruled Venezuela and had long been a thorn in the side of American presidents, passed away on Tuesday. Chavez had been fighting cancer and died from a massive heart attack.
This was welcome news to expatriates of the South American country, many of whom left after Chavez began to implement his leftist agenda and crack down on dissent.
Strangley, Rep. Jose Serrano (D-NY), who recently introduced a resolution to repeal the 22nd Amendment, praised Chavez via Twitter last night:
Hugo Chavez was a leader that understood the needs of the poor. He was committed to empowering the powerless.R.I.P. Mr. President.
— Jose E. Serrano (@RepJoseSerrano) March 5, 2013
It didn’t take long for Rep. Serrano to have to explain that one. In a statement from his office, Rep. Serrano said that he met Chavez during a visit to his district in 2005.
Over the last few years, John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods, has been increasingly outspoken about his libertarian viewpoints and support of the free market.
While President Barack Obama was pushing his healthcare proposal back in 2009, Mackey offered some sound, patient-friendly solutions to deal with the issue in an op-ed at the Wall Street Journal. Mackey also earned some attention due the way Whole Foods handled healthcare for its employees. By providing high-deductible coverage along with a health savings account (HSA), Mackey noted that individuals do care about their their well-being, despite the rhetoric from the left.
President Obama has often been accused of pushing a socialist agenda because of his healthcare law and other economic policies. But during an interview yesterday on National Public Radio (NPR), Mackey explained that a law like ObamaCare isn’t socialism, but rather fascism, noting the difference between the two ideologies:
When [NPR host Steve] Inskeep asks him if he still thinks the health law is a form of socialism, as he’s said before, Mackey responds:
“Technically speaking, it’s more like fascism. Socialism is where the government owns the means of production. In fascism, the government doesn’t own the means of production, but they do control it — and that’s what’s happening with our health care programs and these reforms.”
Written by Daniel J. Mitchell, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute. Posted with permission from Cato @ Liberty.
Rankings can be very useful tools, assuming the methodology is reasonable and the authors use robust data. I’ve cited many of them.