Have nothing to do with the [evil] things that people do, things that belong to the darkness. Instead, bring them out to the light... [For] when all things are brought out into the light, then their true nature is clearly revealed...

-Ephesians 5:11-13

Tag Archives: Economy

Brazil’s President Takes Stand in Her Impeachment Trial

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, August 29, 2016:

Português: A presidenta Dilma Rousseff recebe ...

Brazil’s upper house will hear testimonies on Monday from eight of President Dilma Rousseff character witnesses in her last-ditch stand to stave off what appears to be inevitable: a senate vote impeaching her and removing her from office.

After the character witnesses speak, Rousseff will then follow with a 30-minute speech, touting her past successes, her experience, and her ties to the once-popular President Lula da Silva, who preceded her in office. She will also repeat her claims that

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The Coming Puerto Rican Bailout

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, August 29, 2016:  

On or before September 1, President Obama will complete the eight appointments to the oversight board created when he signed PROMESA (Puerto Rico Oversight, Management and Economic Stability Act) into law on June 30. Those already on the board include Republican Senators Orrin Hatch and Marco Rubio, Democrat Senator Bill Nelson and Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez.

In theory the board will have the power to override the island’s government, delay litigation, fire government workers, and “suggest” other ways the island can begin to recover from its present economic implosion. It has been described as a “de facto” Chapter 9 bankruptcy. In practice it is likely that,

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Vulture Funds Expecting to Profit Handsomely from Puerto Rico’s Problems

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, August 29, 2016:  

English: Map of Peuto Rico, with inset showing...

Map of Peuto Rico, with inset showing it’s position in relation to American continents.

George W. Plunkitt was not the world’s first dishonest politician, but he might have been one of the first ones to be honest about his dishonesty. Plunkitt was a Tammany Hall pol who served in the New York State Assembly and then in the New York State Senate around the turn of the 20th century. He called what he did – and what made him wealthy – “honest graft.” He defined “dishonest graft” as efforts to work solely for his own interests. “Honest graft,” on the other hand, was graft that worked for the interests of his own party.

He made his money by

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Venezuelan Exodus Accelerates

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, August 24, 2016:  

Prison 015

Since early July an estimated 300,000 Venezuelans have crossed the border into Colombia seeking to purchase basic necessities. Some decided to stay.

Eduardo (not his real name) used to make $18 a month as a systems engineer in Venezuela, but that wasn’t enough to feed his family. With inflation reducing the purchasing power of the Bolivar Fuerte by half nearly every month, he fled to Bogota to stay with a friend. Eduardo told the Financial Times: “At least I can find food here. Back in Venezuela we all lacked anything to eat. I’d rather stay here doing whatever [I can], rather than heading back while [Venezuela’s Marxist President Nicolas] Maduro and his cronies are there.”

An accountant who crossed the border into Colombia told the Times that he is going to stay even if “I have to stand at a corner all day selling arepas [a cheap food made from corn meal].”

Families of those who are staying in Colombia are hoping they will receive funds from the border-crossers in order to stay alive. Otherwise, they are likely to starve.

Most of those who can afford to leave the country have already left. The problems in Venezuela started with the takeover of the government by Marxist Hugo Chavez in 1999: First to feel the crunch were many of the 20,000 oil men that Chavez fired from their positions at the state-owned oil company. (Chavez replaced them with incompetent political cronies.) Then businessmen left the country to escape the currency controls imposed by Chavez. They were followed by students who saw the handwriting on the wall. In the last 17 years, an estimated 1.8 million Venezuelans have left the Chavez/Maduro socialist paradise.

Tebie Gonzalez and Ramiro Ramirez cashed out their emergency savings account in order to buy life’s essentials in Colombia in July. They returned home only to face the existential question: What happens when those staples — food and medicines — run out? What will they do?

Daya Silva, a native of Caracas, used a vacation in Buenos Aires to find a job. She found work and returned to Venezuela briefly, carrying a suitcase full of much-needed items for her friends and family: drugs to treat high blood pressure, essential kitchen supplies, and paper goods. But what happens to her friends and family when these run out?

The vast majority of Venezuelans are today facing the same question. Although the number of Venezuelans requesting refugee status has jumped from 127 in 2000 to 10,300 last year, according to the UN, that is a tiny fraction of the 30 million people remaining in the country. With unemployment at 17 percent (government figures are no longer available), with between 76 and 80 percent of the population living in poverty (again, no government numbers are available so these are estimates from independent sources), and with inflation destroying what’s left of the purchasing power of the local currency (inflation is expected to exceed 2,000 percent next year) the average Venezuelan has almost run out of options.

Relocating to nearby Colombia is an option, but Guyana, which borders Venezuela on the east, is having its own set of problems and is deporting Venezuelans back home as fast as they arrive. Brazil, on the south border, is no mecca either, with its own economy being wrecked by socialist policies.

In short, the average Venezuelan lives in a prison forged by the socialism imposed by Chavez and Maduro. The country more and more resembles a concentration camp where the guards are deliberately starving the inmates.

A Lesson in Free Market Economics – from Venezuela?

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, August 15, 2016:  

Over the weekend, some 54,000 Venezuelan citizens living near the country’s border with Colombia poured over the Simon Bolivar Bridge so they could buy toilet paper, cosmetics, vitamins, and tires. Many brought empty suitcases, others brought packets of the nearly worthless Venezuelan bolivar currency, still others brought gold earrings, necklaces, and other personal valuables to exchange in local pawn shops for Colombian currency so they could spend it.

They were there to buy. And the merchants were ready to sell. As they exited the bridge on foot (cars won’t be allowed for at least another month) they were greeted with friendly Colombians

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Brazil’s Senate Votes to Begin Impeachment Trial of President Rousseff

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, August 11, 2016:  

Português do Brasil: O presidente Lula partici...

Rousseff and Lula before they were exposed as crooks

In the early hours of Wednesday morning, Brazil’s upper house, following 16 hours of speeches and rancorous debate, voted 59-21 to begin the impeachment trial of the country’s president, Dilma Rousseff (shown). The senate has 48 hours to prepare the impeachment papers, Rousseff has another 48 hours to prepare her defense, and then the actual date for the trial will be set, likely the week after the Rio 2016 Olympics have ended.

For all intents and purposes, however, the trial is already over.

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Production Freeze Main Topic at OPEC Late September Meeting

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, August 8, 2016: 

OPEC’s current president, Qatar’s energy minister Mohammed bin Saleh Al Sada (shown at center, above), announced Monday that the oil cartel will hold “informal” side meetings at the International Energy Forum in Algeria in late September. Not surprisingly, the topic will once again be “cooperation” among the disparate and increasingly desperate members to restrict production in efforts to force oil prices higher.

Al Sada, who holds a Ph.D. from England’s University of Manchester’s Institute of Science and Technology, asserted,

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Why Voting for Donald Trump Is a Morally Good Choice

By Wayne Gruden

Some of my Christian friends tell me they can’t in good conscience vote for Donald Trump because, when faced with a choice between “the lesser of two evils,” the morally right thing is to choose neither one. They recommend voting for a third-party or write-in candidate.

As a professor who has taught Christian ethics for 39 years, I think their analysis is incorrect.

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CIA Waiting for Venezuelan Protests to Turn Sufficiently Violent

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, July 29, 2016: 

The -foot ( m) diameter granite CIA seal in th...

For at least the last two years, Venezuela’s Marxist President, Nicolas Maduro, has claimed that part of his problems stem from interventions planned by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). And for years most commentators and observers have written off those claims as more Marxist madness voiced by a dictator completely infused with paranoia.

However, analysts at the Center for Research on Globalization (CRG), headquartered in Montreal since 2001, have been watching and reporting on those plans by both the CIA and U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA). If their research is accurate, and the protests in Caracas and three other cities in Venezuela turn sufficiently violent and bloody, the CIA may

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Venezuela’s President Deliberately Stalling Recall Referendum

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, July 28, 2016: 

Português: Brasília - O chanceler da Venezuela...

Nicolas Maduro

If Venezuela’s Marxist dictator, President Nicolas Maduro, can remain in power until January 10, 2017, then he will remain the country’s leader for the foreseeable future. Even if elections are then held and oust the president, Maduro will be replaced by his hand-picked second-in-command and continue the socialist “revolution” that is turning Venezuela back into a banana republic.

That’s why he is doing everything he can to stall a recall referendum that would lead to his recall before then. Accordingly he is

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Latest CBO Report “Grim”; Offers No Solutions to National Debt

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, July 15, 2016:  

Ida May Fuller, the first recipient

Ida May Fuller, holding the first check from the Social Security Administration

On Tuesday, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) published its annual report on the country’s long-term budgetary and financial outlook. One need only to see the chart on Page One of the report to see why CBO’s Justin Bogle said the outlook was “grim”: It shows government spending growing so much more quickly than anticipated revenues that annual deficits will likely triple in the next 30 years, if not sooner. Bogle called this scenario unsustainable.

For the first time, the CBO built into its assumptions the projected impact of ObamaCare, the country’s declining birth rate, the explosion of Baby Boomers demanding benefits from Social Security and Medicare over that period, plus Boomers’ increasing life expectancies and the increasing costs of providing them healthcare along the way.

It also assumed that government debt will

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Venezuela Now a Military Dictatorship

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, July 13, 2016:  

Nicolas Maduro

Nicolas Maduro

Venezuela’s Marxist President Nicolás Maduro closed the loop on Monday night, declaring under powers granted to himself by his “emergency decree” announced in January (later to be declared “constitutional” by his hand-picked Supreme Court) that his new Great Sovereign Supply Mission would be run by the country’s defense minister, Vladimir Padrino López .

Maduro put everything that moves into the hands of Padrino: “All the ministries, all the ministers, all the state institutions are at the service [of] and in absolute subordination [to the new mission].”

Padrino, the head of Venezuela’s armed forces, now will be in charge of transporting and distributing what’s left of products supplied by the crippled economy, enforcing price controls, and “stimulating” the economy.

A former head of the armed forces commission in the now emasculated congress, Luis Manuel Esculpí, said, “This is now a completely militarized government. The army is Maduro’s [sole] source of authority.”

Juan Pablo Olalquiaga, president of Venezuela’s chamber of commerce, Conindustria, sees what’s coming: “If all the factories now have to run everything by the military, this isn’t going to make raw materials appear all of a sudden. The president is showing [instead that] he does not understand how to manage the economy.”

What it does show is that Maduro has learned how to cement his administration into place, to the detriment of Venezuela’s suffering citizens. By concentrating all power in the military, Maduro needs only to watch Padrino instead of the hydra-headed monster of government agencies and ministers that has continued since the days of Hugo Chávez.

Those who pose any sort of threat are jailed without charge and without end. Example: Antonio Ledezma, former mayor of Caracas and now a guest of SEVIN, Venezuela’s state security police. Late in the afternoon of September 19, 2015, his offices were raided by 80 members of SEVIN, some carrying automatic rifles, and the others armed with semi-automatic pistols. They smashed through the glass door of his office on the sixth floor of a downtown office building and, when confronted with the outraged mayor who demanded they show him a search warrant, they beat him mercilessly and then hauled him away in a black Humvee.

It was a setup from the beginning. Maduro, in explaining how this “threat” to his administration had been neutralized, referred to a full-page ad that Ledezma and two other “troublemakers” allegedly ran in a local paper that challenged Maduro’s authority and called for an election to oust him.

Observers said that coup-plotters rarely signal their intentions with a full-page newspaper ad and then wait around to be arrested.

All public references to Ledezma — his whereabouts, the status of his so-called “trial” that opened a year after his arrest — have disappeared.

Venezuelan resident Nelson Agelvis — a college professor, business consultant, and travel expert — recently described what life is like there:

In Venezuela, what Nicolás Maduro dictates gets done, period. There are no checks and balances; there is no division of power. There is no organ of the state that will tell him “No, you can’t, it’s against the constitution.” [His] PSUV government party controls all organs of the state including the Supreme Court and the Electoral Council — yes, the vote counters….

 

Any ruler who is all-powerful, who controls all instances of power … the executive branch … the judicial and electoral, and who keeps the military happy … is a dictator. He dictates, and it gets done by any means, and citizens are defenseless against him. That’s a dictatorship.

 

According to this definition, Venezuela is a dictatorship.

Ending Crude Oil Export Ban Already Helping U.S. Economy

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, July 8th, 2016:  

English: Crude oil tanker SAFWA moored off Rot...

Crude oil tanker SAFWA moored off Rotterdam.

Since the 1970s ban on exporting crude oil was lifted last December, the oil industry has given statists and anti-growth politicians a lesson in free markets: exports increased seven times their previous levels in just the first three months of 2016. And this in the face of an economy that is still suffering from the dregs of the Great Recession.

This was predicted by IHS (Information Handling Services), located near Denver, two years ago when the group stated that

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New Bailout Bill for Puerto Rico Supposedly “Won’t Cost Taxpayers a Dime”

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, June 30, 2016:  

Official portrait of United States Senator (R-KY)

Official portrait of United States Senator (R-KY)

Since Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said it, it must be true: The bill passed by the Senate on Wednesday to rescue Puerto Rico from its overwhelming financial troubles “won’t cost taxpayers a dime, not a dime.”

The president has said he would sign into law the dreadfully misnamed Puerto Rico Oversight, Management and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA) immediately and would then begin to nominate the seven members of the board to oversee its implementation. That board is to become effective on September 1.

That provides no help to Puerto Rico, which will default

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About That New, Dreadfully Misnamed Puerto Rico Bailout law

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, July 1, 2016:  

English: Map of Peuto Rico, with inset showing...

Investors saw the market values of their Puerto Rican bonds soar with news that Congress passed the “Puerto Rico Oversight, Management and Economic Stability Act” (PROMESA). They had a right to be happy: prior to the news their long bonds were trading at about 62 cents on the dollar. Afterwards they jumped to 66 cents. Still a paper loss of a third of their initial investment, but better than anticipated.

What’s anticipated is that the new oversight board, populated with politicians (but none from Puerto Rico), will solve all of the island’s problems,

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In Venezuela, the Elite Meet to Eat While the Masses Starve

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, June 17, 2016:  

Another version of the flag of Animal Farm, ba...

Another version of the flag of Animal Farm, based on the flag of the Soviet Union. Hoof and horn symbol created by Al2.

On Monday OPEC gave Venezuela more bad news: Oil production fell another 120,000 barrels a day in May, putting further pressure on the socialist regime of Nicolas Maduro to pay its bills and maintain order. On Tuesday more than 400 citizens of Cumana, a city of 800,000 a few hundred miles west of Caracas, were arrested following another food riot.

On Thursday the British tabloid Daily Mail published a dozen pictures of the wealthy elite enjoying themselves at the opulent Caracas Country Club where membership costs $110,000. The slums where the masses are starving can be seen in the background.

The contrast, startling as it was, illustrates how socialism — called Chavismo in “honor” of former president Hugo Chavez — ultimately decimates the middle class and

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United States No Longer First in Global Competitiveness

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, June 1, 2016:  

English: Cropped version of Thomas Jefferson, ...

Thomas Jefferson

According to a study just released by the International Institute for Management Development (IIMD), the “U.S. economy is no longer the most competitive and pro-business in the world.” It has held the top spot for the last three years but has, thanks to increasing government regulation and taxation, slipped to third place. Said Arturo Bris, IIMD’s director, “The U.S. still boasts the best economic performance in the world, but there are many other factors that we take into account when assessing competitiveness. The common pattern among all of the countries in the top 20 is their focus on business-friendly regulation, physical and intangible infrastructure and inclusive institutions.”

Based on its analysis of more than 300 criteria, the United States no longer excels based on

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Venezuela Collapsing; U.S. Officials Fear Violence, Military Coup

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, May 18, 2016: 

Seal of the C.I.A. - Central Intelligence Agen...

U.S. intelligence officials warned on May 14 that Venezuela is descending into economic and political chaos that is likely to end in street violence, military suppression of citizens’ rights, and a possible coup to remove President Nicolás Maduro.

How much of that reflects CIA interventions to keep the crisis somewhat under control is an open question. But one of those anonymous “intelligence officials” told the Wall Street Journal that “[our] goal is to mitigate the crisis that they’re experiencing. It’s in the United States’ interest that Venezuela not bottom out.”

If past experience serves as a guide for the future, the CIA could

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Brazil’s Interim President Says “Trust Me,” Installs Corrupt Bureaucrats

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, May 16, 2016:  

Upon taking over Brazil’s presidency from disgraced former President Dilma Rousseff on Thursday, interim president Michel Temer asked his skeptical citizenry to “trust” him, saying that his new administration would be Brazil’s “salvation”:

Trust me. Trust the values of our people and our ability to recuperate the economy…. It is essential to rebuild the credibility of the country abroad to attract new investments and get the economy growing again…. It is urgent to restore peace and unite Brazil. We must form a government that will save the nation…. It’s urgent to seek the unity of Brazil. We urgently need a government of national salivation.

Even if he truly intended to do any of that, the challenges he faces almost defy description.

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Brazil in Turmoil: President’s Impeachment Vote Imminent

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, May 10, 2016:  

Português do Brasil: O presidente Lula partici...

Partners in crime

In a sudden unexpected move, early Tuesday morning Waldir Maranhão, the interim speaker of Brazil’s lower house (the Chamber of Deputies) reversed his previous decision from Monday to annul a Chamber of Deputies April vote that allowed impeachment proceedings to move forward. The upper house — the Federal Senate — was already moving toward a vote to impeach Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff when word came that the Chamber was going to have another vote on the matter.

With Brazilian politicians doing everything they can to stay out of jail, they are working hard to keep the public’s attention focused on Rousseff’s problems and away from their own. In March, Mihir Kapadia, the head of Sun Global Investments, a London investment firm that specializes in emerging-market opportunities, certainly sees one in Brazil:

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Many of the articles on Light from the Right first appeared on either The New American or the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor.