Venezuelan Government Collecting Signatures to Petition President Obama Over National Security Threat Declaration

Executive order declaring Venezuela an extraordinary threat could pave the way for wider sanctions.



Earlier this month, President Obama declared Venezuela, a country transformed into a dictatorship, an "exrtraordinary threat" to the security of the United States, and imposed sanctions on high ranking government officials accused of human and civil rights abuses and corruption. U.S. sanctions lists have already included Venezeulan officials accused of being linked to the drug trade, but Obama's executive order paves the way to more sanctions.

Led by Nicolas Maduro, Hugo Chavez's second time a farce replacement, the Venezuelan government has continued to crack down on the opposition, arresting the mayor of Caracas in February. And the sanctions, however limited, plays into Maduro's rhetorical hand, all he has left for him to hold together the military that holds together the chavismo experiment.

But, second time a farce indeed. Reuters reports on the latest socialist project to unite the country politically:

Maduro has accused Washington of planning to invade Venezuela and public squares around the nation of 29 million people have become centres for a nationalist petition drive by the ruling Socialist Party.

The opposition has complained that Venezuelans, especially state employees, are being coerced to sign.

"According to our projections, we will collect 10 million signatures to say 'Obama: repeal the executive order,'" said Jorge Rodriguez, a senior Socialist Party official, confirming that three million people had signed in two weeks.

Maduro hopes to deliver the signatures to Obama in person at the Summit of the Americas, to be held in Panama next month.

The opposition has other concerns about the petition drive, too:

Signatories to the petition are asked to give their identification and telephone numbers.

Hardline opposition party Popular Will accused the Education Ministry of ordering teachers of schools in eastern Monagas state to pressure students to write protest letters to Obama.

"The order to write these letters is a clear attempt to indoctrinate children," it said in a statement.

Reuters could not independently verify the complaint, and there was no response from authorities.

The Venezuelan government couldn't set up a petition on the White House petition website?

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  1. "exrtraordinary threat"

    Sounds exrtra scary, though.

  2. A petition, eh?

    Oooh, the Germans Venezuelans! (Hiding behind Smithers) Uh oh, the Germans Venezuelans are going to get me!

    1. Hermes Conrad: We can't compete with Mom! Her company is big and evil! Ours is small and neutral!

      That Guy: Switzerland is small and neutral! We're more like Germany, ambitious and misunderstood!

      Amy Wong: Look, everyone wants to be more like Germany, but do we really have the pure strength of will?

      1. Well, no one who speaks German could be an evil man.

        1. Very competent pilots.

          Just a little depressed, that's all.

      2. You call that a pressed ham?

      3. Is this guy a shark or what?

  3. Earlier this month, President Obama declared Venezuela, a country transformed into a dictatorship, an "exrtraordinary threat" to the security of the United States, and imposed sanctions on high ranking government officials accused of human and civil rights abuses and corruption. U.S. sanctions lists have already included Venezeulan officials accused of being linked to the drug trade, but Obama's executive order paves the way to more sanctions.

    Sean Penn hit hardest.

    1. Narrowly beating out Jackand Ace as hardest hit.

  4. An extraordinary threat to my stash of toilet paper maybe.

    1. I never take a shit unless I'm wearing a pair of thick socks, just in case.

      1. A hobo/homeless person got into the "airlock" of my apartment building in NYC many years ago during the night some time. By airlock I mean there were two locked doors you had to get through to get in. He got past the first one (someone left it unlocked), but not the second, so he spent the night in there. At some point he tried to shit into a sock and failed miserably. When I came down the next morning on my way to work and opened the door, not only was I disturbed to see a hobo lying in the antechamber, I was assailed by the stench of his shit and saw that not only had he failed to get much of it in the sock, what failed to get in was smeared around the walls. I stepped over the hobo, made sure the second door was locked behind me, and went to work where I called the landlord. When I got home the antechamber was clean, its carpet was gone, and it smelled of bleach.

        That hobo was a known troublemaker around the neighborhood and was sometimes somewhat aggressive. He disappeared not long after that. I have a feeling the landlord complained quite loudly to the cops or the local pols (this was the Upper East Side just a few blocks from Gracie Mansion).

        1. He's probably on the City Council by now.

          1. Yeah, well, he certainly has the chops for it, it sounds like.

  5. "The order to write these letters is a clear attempt to indoctrinate children," it said in a statement.

    Um, that is what the Public School System is for...

  6. President Obama declared Venezuela, a country transformed into a dictatorship, an "exrtraordinary threat" to the security of the United States, and imposed sanctions on high ranking government officials accused of human and civil rights abuses and corruption.

    Maduro should have given the president another book.

    1. They've used all the books for toilet paper.

  7. Can we fast-forward to the day where Maduro and his cronies are dragged through the streets of Caracas and shot?

    It always disappoints me when tyrants don't get the Nicolae Ceau?escu treatment.

    1. Has that ever happened to a leftist dictator in Latin America?

      The people there love leftism, if it doesn't work, it's the fault of us gringos.

  8. The Federalist trolls harder than any have trolled before.

    It came to our attention on the afternoon of Thursday, March 26, that Facebook had decided to block the story below (original link here) from appearing on the social network site. Even though the story had been shared over 1,600 times during the previous two days, Facebook for whatever reason decided the link was "unsafe." Well, we checked every image and every link in the story, including those that appeared in the comments, and there was nothing unsafe, obscene, or malicious. There's no malware and no spyware.

    We're left only to assume that fragile progressives who can't bear the indignity of being informed of the absurdity of "trigger warnings and "microagressions" decided to use Facebook's reporting system to have this article banned from the site. As a result, we've moved the exact same article to a new URL. Share it early and share it often. And when they try to block this one, we'll just post the same article again with a different URL, because that's how we roll.

    1. How long until Reason is declared unsafe?

      1. How long until Reason is declared unsafe?

        Don't you worry your pretty little head about that.

    2. Are SJW and/or modern feminists working to fulfill the most ridiculous stereotype of women as hysterics?

      Yes, yes they are.

      1. And that's the way to mock them, by showing how much they are like the pearl-clutchers Mrs. Grundys of old.

    3. Read that. I'm sure that it's causing near fatal levels of the vapors among the victim class at universities across the nation. Meaning that the article was basically common fucking sense.

    4. Of course. That was a good article, and it's no surprise that his targeted audience would cry foul.

      1. It would be great to see some actual responses from Facebook where this slipped through.

        Looks like somebody's going to need bubbles, coloring books and Play-Doh soon.

        1. Look I already explained this to you stoooopid mammals. The hate and freakout ruins the meat. That's why my bosses are doing that exact thing to calm them down.

          1. Check your reptilian privilege!

        2. Hey C. Anacreon, how are things? We should do another local meet up. I've been too busy to organize one.

          1. Yes, we're definitely due for another meetup. And good libertarian-ish occasions on the horizon to justify one? Or should we just make one up?

            1. There are Golden Gate libertarian meet ups every month in SF, but we can do our own. That Jambor(sp?) place that Len Bias found was fine last time. For me, most Sundays are good.

      2. What's particularly good about it is that it gives no shits about pandering to them in any way. Because if you pander to the microaggression retards even the slightest bit, you're acknowledging some level of recognition of their complaints.

        Fuck that shit. And fuck them. His best point in the article is that it's fucking absurd to expect other people to change their behavior to accommodate you, and even more so over such niggling (oh noes! triggering!) bullshit that you could never expect them to know about.

        Essentially these people, if we take their bullshit to the logical conclusion, would want everyone to become mind readers so as to never say the slightest wrong thing to anyone, including someone so sensitive that it seems anything triggers them. Which is impossible. So what is it that they actually want? Oh that's right, the usual: to give themselves the power to tell other people to shut up and that they're not allowed to talk.

        1. My theory is that they saw that "white guilt" worked to advance an agenda. So they generalized and institutionalized the concept.

          They're just using guilty feelings as an argumentative technique. It only works so long as the other party actually feels guilty. Sooner or later everybody gets sick of the whining.

          1. Yeah, it's like taking the SJW tactic of "you can't do/say that because it offends [insert victim class here]", even if they aren't a part of the said victim class, and makes it individual: "you can't do/say that because it offends a victim class of one. Me."

            You'll also note it's a fantastically convenient and passive aggressive way of making sure you get to tell people your "hardship" too. Just coming out and saying "I was once sexually assaulted" or even "I feel like a man in a woman's body" was kind of...weird and uncomfortable. But now, you get to announce your "issue" to the world the instant you can find someone making any statement that you could possibly conceivably find triggering. "Well, because I feel like a dog in a human body, your mention of Lassie triggered me."

            Which for people who find victim status to give them cred, that's a huge bonus. You get to make sure people know that you do have victim status, you get to let them know exactly what it is, and you get to bully someone else regarding it too. It's all win!

            1. Passive aggressive narcissistic tribalism?

              I need to pin down the best clinical term for the behavior because pathetic whiny douchebags isn't socially acceptable

              1. What about Bitchmongers?

              2. Sociopathy.

                Seriously, these people are sociopaths. They're malignantly narcissistic sociopaths. You don't need to invent a new term.

            2. "Well, because I feel like a dog in a human body, your mention of Lassie triggered me."

              Epi, you need to learn more Youtube-fu.

              1. No. No I don't. Not until every quote from Community I could ever want has its own perfectly-lengthed clip easily findable on Youtube.

              2. Otherkins, motherfucker.

                i identify as an early 2000's Intel Pentium processor ?

            3. It's all got a weird, anti-Nietzsche ethic. Instead of celebrating the strongest and fastest and luckiest and most productive, they celebrate the weakest and slowest and unluckiest and least productive. They're not just being concerned about victims, or trying to help them: they are determined to put victims (or better yet, their educated spokes-critters) into positions of power over everyone. They're trying to make victims into the ultimate political trump cards.

              So the SJWs extend and reinvent some words and concepts, and work to turn those into social norms. With social norms you can ostracize people, and destroy their careers. It's not enough to ignore their enemies, or out-argue them: no, their enemies must be personally destroyed.

              Then the SJWs get more "anti-discrimination" laws (or just get some judges to re-interpret old laws), so their enemies can be made criminals.

              It's also like an inverse of Marxism: instead of power to the people, to the masses, it's power to a tiny minority, the winners of the Victim Olympics.

        2. His best point in the article is that it's fucking absurd to expect other people to change their behavior to accommodate you, and even more so over such niggling (oh noes! triggering!) bullshit that you could never expect them to know about.

          Especially because you don't know what the person you're forcing to adhere to your microaggression idiocy might have gone through themselves. Basically, the logic of the leftists in this case is that it's okay to yell at and ostracize someone who could have combat PTSD or be going through a rough divorce because he said something that kind of hurt your feelings.

          1. Well, like pretty much any leftist/progressive idea, if taken to its logical conclusion, it just becomes beyond absurd. Guess what? Yelling at me for triggering you triggers me. There, I just out microaggression victimed you. Oh, what's that you say? Me getting pissed at you for triggering me for triggering you triggers you? Oh, ok. Well...

            And so on. As always, it's so fucking absurd that it can only be enforced via bullying and mob tactics. And the people who complain about this shit aren't triggered by things. They just realized at some point the power which "that offended me!" has in our current society. And so they use it. Again, fuck that and fuck them.

          2. It's so dumb and morally wrong to elevate one form of handicap or emotional pain above that of all others. A rich white boy who grows up with terrible parents who abuse him is in much worse shape that the gay black girl who grew up with a happy family life. It's the typical leftist program of emphasizing the collective and deemphasizing the individual.

            In any event, overcoming the challenges in life is the goal, not wallowing in self-pity each time you face one. We all have crosses to bear, some heavier than others, but all we can really do is look to be individuals of high character who do the right thing as much as possible. How can you feel guilty if you do that?

        3. That's why I just tell them to harden the fuck up

  9. You Know Who Else was a Venezuelan dictator?

    1. Simon Bolivar?

      1. Ozzie Guillen?

    2. Me, every time I play Risk.

    3. Ozzie Guillen?

    4. Felix is already a King in Seattle, why not Dictator in VZ.

  10. Why wouldn't someone in the military overthrow this guy? No one likes him and he's running the country into the ground.

    1. You know who else should have been overthrown by his own military?

      1. Niedermeyer?

        1. +1 Twisted Sister

      2. Bowser?

      3. Dr. Robotnik?

    2. You're right. Someone should smoke this Maduro guy.

      1. Somebody call Monica Lewinsky

      2. Btw Maduro is an excellent brew from Cigar City brewing.

        Disclaimer: I drink the shit out of Cigar City poducts

  11. All he has to do is get Iran to send him some enrichment centrifuges and Obama will give him whatever he wants.

    Man this dude is dumb.

  12. Okay, I'll bite. What makes a guy who's chief activity is brutalizing and impoverishing his own people a threat to the United States?

    1. The attractiveness of such behaviors might inspire the radical left here?

      1. Worse, at least for this administration: he shines unwanted light on their policy prescriptions.

    2. I have no idea. This seems like a very odd decision given that it gives Maduro an excellent opportunity to demagogue about those bourgeoisie capitalist pig-dogs who are trying to ruin his great nation.

      1. Oh blessed irony of Obama being the poster boy for capitalist pig-dogs

      2. Shades of Nixon/Kissinger and Pinochet.

        Bush & Obama: bringing to life Marx's opening line from Eighteen Brumaire: "History repeats itself, the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce."

  13. An associate of mine is a Venezuelan citizen who is currently applying for his US citizenship. He has been in the US for 7 years and travels to Caracas twice a year to visit his family. Over the past several years his visits became more and more depressing. This past Christmas he finally told his parents that this would be his last visit, the guy was in tears when he told me about it. The last few times he visited he actually had to wear a disguise around town (no name brand clothing preferably with holes, old worn shoes, no wallet or watch) to prevent being mugged. However, his final turning point came when he watched a kidnapping in broad daylight on a busy street and then a few days later his neighbor was the victim of a strong armed robbery while answering the door. According to him the entire economy is now a huge black market ran on American dollars and the streets are lawless after dark. I feel so bad for the guy and his family, that country is fucked.

    1. Christ, that's awful. I really want to shove it in the faces of Venezuelan romanticists like Greg Palast, but there's no pleasure to be had when you're referring to preventable tyranny.

      1. Greg Palast is a fucking cunt.

        As someone who knows president Nichol?s Maduro, Hugo Chavez' successor, (and Maduro's opponents), I can say that I've never met a head of state (and I've met many) who absolutely gives a real shit about the average working person of his nation.

        Venezuela is Occupy Wall Street on its head: the 1% are out in the street, violently hoping to overthrow the government elected by working people. Are the Kochs involved?

        This is the dumbest two paragraph string of writing ever published in the history of the human species. It's like you drilled into Jesse Myerson's head, spilled a gory mixture of blood and brain matter into a cauldron, imbued it with life using the Necronomicon, and then this vile, sickening creature manufactured from the brains of a dead Communist became an investigative journalist.

        1. Holy shit! That guy actually cosplays as a 1940's hardboiled investigator. Why isn't this man in a group home and fed his 400mgs of Amisulpride a day?

          1. I saw him speak when I was a dumb teenager, shortly after the Iraq war got underway. Even then I could tell he was a bit daffy, and since then it's become obvious he's either delusional or knows how to butter his bread. Either way he appeals to yuppy socialists.

              1. I wasn't allowed to touch the fedora until the neckbeard grew in.

        2. Wow. He studied under Friedman at Chicago. I wonder what happened that turned into such a socialist shitbag.

            1. He's like the biggest shithead in the universe. He is every negative commie stereotype you can think of.

              Berkeley and the Weather Underground? Really?

              1. When George Fuckin' Galloway, out of all people, says that a person "conflates meetings, truths and half-truths, statements taken out of context to produce a toxic smear which would be actionable in the country he claims to work in," you know he's a irredeemable fucking piece of shit.

              2. You, sir, have just micro-aggressed against Amy Goodman.

            2. That's an expensive education in the opposition.

        3. (parenthetical expressions removed to make mistake more obvious)

          As someone who knows president Nichol?s Maduro, I can say that I've never met a head of state who absolutely gives a real shit about the average working person of his nation.

          Did he learn how to write from John?

        4. God dammit.

          I was happier before i knew this person existed.

          1. Not that i needed confirmation of how shitty Palast must be....

            ...but apparently he's a huge fan/partner of Ted Rall.

            That's Ted "Plane Crash? Blame Capitalism" Rall

            formerly Ted "I make cartoons mocking 9/11 widows" Rall

            1. Deciding not to employ a now useless navigator on every flight is "cheapskatery."

              I'd like some of what that guy is smoking.

              1. Navigators are a waste of oxygen. /pilot

        5. Gack, I'd forgotten about Palast. He's still defending Venezuela? Now? What a diehard. He's like one of the foreign Nazis who fought to the bitter end in the ruins of Berlin.

    2. Yeah, but at least they're all equal.

  14. But is Obama ready to negotiate how many centrifuges he'll let Maduro run?

  15. OT:

    "LEICESTER, England (AP) ? A maligned monarch found under a parking lot was buried in pomp Thursday, as Britain embraced comeback King Richard III, a long-reviled ruler who is experiencing a remarkable posthumous renaissance.

    "Royalty, religious leaders and actor Benedict Cumberbatch joined archaeologists, Richard's distant relatives and curious Britons for a service in Leicester Cathedral that saw Richard's bones buried with dignity, 530 years after his violent death....

    "Michele Wild, from the central England city of Birmingham, lined up for two-and-a-half hours to view the coffin before it was buried.

    ""It was one of those queues where you don't mind queuing," she said. "You feel like you're part of a silent protest about the Tudor propaganda that has been maligning him for 500 years."...

    "There was star power, too, as [Benedict] Cumberbatch ? who plays Richard III in the BBC's Shakespearean TV series "The Hollow Crown" ? read a poem by Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy....

    "The coffin was made by Michael Ibsen, a 17th great-grandnephew of Richard whose DNA helped identify the parking-lot skeleton."

    1. Any sign of the little princes?

      1. I dunno - but Henry VII's Parliament, in its bill of attainder against richard, listing his alleged crimes, didn't claim that richard killed the princes.

        1. They found two small skeletons in the Tower in the 1600s, and "experts" found in 1933 the bodies were of kids around the princes' age, but science then was fairly primitive.

          1. And Liz II has blocked all requests for exhumation and DNA analysis.

            The official position is that the skeletons were the Princes and there will be no disturbing the graves.

            (I think they probably are. It is a stupid position to take.

            However, they haven't been selectively breeding Monarchs for intelligence.)

    2. Dead 530 years and he still gets a better reception than Charles.

      1. Naturally. Better looking and straighter spine.

        Also, far better leader and firmer grasp of reality.

    3. I thought it was King Arthur who was supposed to return in England's hour of greatest need.

      Oh, well. It's still good to be the king.

      1. Fun fact: In the last 1,000 years, no heir to the British throne bearing the name Arthur has lived to succeed to the throne.

        1. Oh, but you can't expect to wield supreme executive power just because some watery tart threw a sword at you.

  16. But said Obama and Chavez/Maduro are besties!

    1. They might still be. Muduro may have asked Obama to do this to distract his domestic critics. Or maybe Muduro did something to finally alienate Obama. Who knows.

      1. Did you read about that on

        1. You really are retarded. But you make up for it by being psychotic.

        2. That is one clever riposte.

  17. I just saw where a friend's daughter is going to Oberlein next fall. She is a nice girl. I could barely suppress my horror on hearing it.

    1. Better Oberlin than Liberty University.

      1. Not unless you want to be a demented retard like you are. Going to Liberty is an experience someone could leave behind. Oberlein is basically paying $50,000 to turn into someone as stupid and fascistic as you.

        1. Oberlein is basically paying $50,000 to turn into someone as stupid and fascistic as you.

          I was going to say "Well, that, and the "opportunity" to stick it in someone like Lena Dunham" But then I saw that Rhiannon Giddens is also an alumna of Oberlin.

          I would pay 50,000 dollars to stick it in someone like Rhiannon Giddens.

          Well, with a Pell Grant, at least.

          1. But would you have to talk to her?

            1. To whom? Lena or Rhiannon?

                1. Well, one of them's a pretty good looking woman who sings bluegrass music, so yes I would talk to her.

                  1. Color me skeptical of any hipster's ability to sing bluegrass music.

    2. How does any man agree to send his daughter to Oberlin? Does he just not care about his daughter or his bank account?

      1. A man who is like my friend's husband; utterly emasculated and dominated by his wife.

        1. John, as my brother-in-law said of Richard, my late father-in-law, about his relationship with my mother-in-law, Ruth:

          "If Dickless hadn't been so dickless, Ruthless would not have been so ruthless."

          1. That is awesome.

    3. I have a brother who went to Oberlin. He turned out OK. Libertarian-ish in NH, in fact. Needless to say there were a number of years between those two things happening.

  18. Bah, got to get up at 4:30. Sleepytime

  19. If you really wanted to torment Maduro, you should just ignore him.

    Say nothing. Don't even acknowledge he exists. If you are forced to encounter him at some international conference, mispronounce his name.

    "Oh hello, President Madeline. Good to meet you. Sorry, I've gotta go. Have to talk to the third assistant secretary of underwear technology from Brazil.

    "See you around, Premier Masamo".

  20. Shit. Don't drink and link kids. again

    1. meant as a response to the link I SF's above. fuck it, I'm drunk and going to bed.

      1. You forgot to throw the mic down with a crash before exiting.

    2. And it's STILL fucked up. Drink moar! Suck less!

    3. Dark Lord of the Cis said @21:53:07:

      Shit. Don't drink and link kids. again

  21. Some More Granudain Derp on Greece:

    biodinamica 11h ago

    Draghi says:

    "ECB's Draghi: Euro zone is probably the part of the world with the highest taxes and this inevitably weighs on growth."

    OMG, the great god of growth is suffering in Italy. Time to burn more pensioners and the future of the young and to destroy the social fabric. More human sacrifice.

    It is amazing that when you put on a suit and tie people think you are not a primitive.

    The Bankers Tribe. They are the most cannabilistic tribe ever. They will take us back to the stone age if we let them

    1. Fuck economic growth! When Europe is a destitute backwater in 50 years having been completely left behind by North America and East Asia, I'm sure this guy will just be glad he wasn't cannibalized into wealth.

      1. Yeah but the climate change demons will have already killed you so nyah.

      2. It's destitute now.

        Europe is fucking poor. The difference in standard of living between Europe and the US is absolutely amazing. Europeans in "wealthy" countries struggle for years to attain the lifestyle of a unmarried recent college grad in the US. It is truly amazing when you witness it.

        The economy in the States has been pretty tough for last several years (especially for those who spent 4+ years to take on a mountain of debt for an unmarketable degree), but Jeebus, the profound difference in wealth is stultifying.

        1. Well, they might be poor relative to America, but there are still an awful lot of European countries in the top 20 per capita GDPs on Earth.

          What I love is that if you adjust for PPP, Ireland is richer than the UK by a substantial amount. We have finally avenged ourselves on the obstreperous Englishman!

          1. The Republic of? Because I can tell you I am mighty unimpressed with NI.

            1. Northern Ireland is part of the UK, so they don't have a separate GDP number.

              1. The relative wealth must all be in the south. Donegal is certainly not a place I have an interest in visiting again.

          2. Yeah, but isn't that Scotlands fault? They are bringing down the UK

      3. The Bankers Tribe. They are the most cannabilistic tribe ever. They will take us back to the stone age if we let them

        I have some sympathy with this thought.

        1. Unfortunately he is saying this in response to a complaint over high taxes.

    2. The people worried about sagging growth... will destroy the future of the young and take the country back to the stone age?

      1. Don't you get it? Only more taxes and spending can help the poor! Nothing else works! Taxes and spending have been the poor's route to prosperity and happiness throughout history!

  22. pastendgame biodinamica 11h ago

    I think what Berlin tries to do is fragment the coalition government and bankrupt it to its electorate. Then, elections and a more friendly' puppet government could win the elections.
    Syriza's left win will rebel against rollback of austerity measures.
    Unions will rebel against the sales of public corps which would end their jobs.
    The fear of having no money to pay salaries and pensions is real to millions of Greeks as we speak.

    It is a moment of truth for Greece.

    But it may backfire.
    Greeks may see the euro as the cause of their misery and turn the other way.

    1. There are a lot of Germans who would cheer if the Greeks left.

  23. Rangers clinch playoff berth.

    1. And Leafs eliminated a while back. Conn Smythe has a sad.

      1. Not pouring salt onto wounds, but are the Leafs the longest current drought?

        1. In terms of last winning the Cup and last appearance in the finals, yes.

          1. Thanks, yeah I meant last cup win.

            1. The Blues have never won it.

              At one point, they had made the playoffs for like 25 years in a row, yet never won it in their nearly 50 year history.

  24. Don't they need that paper to wipe their asses with?

  25. Notbig Mick 10h ago

    "ECB's Draghi: Euro zone is probably the part of the world with the highest taxes and this inevitably weighs on growth."

    The left ignores facts and will pursue these policies. Europe will be a museum

    ezyian Notbig Mick 9h ago

    He was actually wrong. Scandinavia has higher taxation but also reasonable growth. It easily outshines Anglo-Saxonia on many parameters

    And you UK guys always fail to explain how super high tax France has 12% higher GDP/head. UK is catching up right now, but that's partly the cycle (not totally since I would also like to see Hollande removed)

    biodinamica Notbig Mick 9h ago

    I support the social contract, and I support the preservation of Italian culture and its communal and cooperative attitude, skeptical of competitiveness. I would prefer to live in a museum than a shopping mall, even if it means less "growth".

    These are choices for voters in democracies to make, not economists and bankers and their henchmen and henchwomen in the EU.

    I am willing to pay higher taxes to have a better life -- and I think Amazon should pay them and that Europe should use its new army to help Italians get rid of the mafia.

    1. Sualdam ezyian 9h ago

      Indeed. Sweden, Finland (the only EZ member), Denmark, Norway (not even in the EU): their tax revenue/GDP ratios are among the highest in the world. They also enjoy higher standards of living than almost anywhere in the world; the lowest levels of inequality; the highest educational achievements among citizens and yet they are attractive areas for investment, have healthy trade balances etc.

      Conclusion: the overall burden of taxation is not an impediment to growth beyond certain prudent limits (as the Swedes discovered). The optimal level seems to be in the region of 45% of GDP. The important point is how government re-allocates national resources with the revenue it raises. The mix of policy choices made can propel a country to stable long-term prosperity or utter disaster even if the starting point for the tax/GDP ratio remains exactly the same.

      Draghi was wrong. Imagine that!

      1. Always with the Scandinavia without pointing out all the reasons they are different from the rest of the world (homogeneity, work ethic, etc) and never mentioning their leadership in suicide rates when talking about how they 'enjoy' certain things.

        1. And always with the claim of 'higher standards of living' absent any data. I think we can easily call bullshit.

        2. I love it that the worshippers of diversity can only defend socialism by pointing to the whitest countries on the planet. Apparently socialism can't work anywhere else. They never seem to contemplate the existence of that bizarre paradox, and what it shows about their entire worldview and advocacy. "It's the solution for everyone! Of course, we can only show that it kinda-sorta works in tiny countries of Scandinavians, but trust us, it'll work in diverse countries 20 times larger! If we try hard enough!"

    2. And you UK guys always fail to explain how super high tax France has 12% higher GDP/head.

      And France's per capita GDP is 22% lower than America's. When you choose only two places to compare, you're not really proving anything since two individual countries aren't a large enough sample size to draw conclusions.

      This is especially true given that all the richest countries on Earth (other than America) are basically all small countries that are either banking enclaves/resorts for the rich (San Marino, Switzerland, Luxembourg) or have shitloads of oil wealth (Kuwait, Norway, UAE). As a result, I could point to the UAE and be like the UAE is way richer than Germany! Clearly the Germans should adopt UAE institutions! But that would be idiotic because the UAE's wealth isn't the result of their relative tax rates, it's because the UAE is sitting on a sea of oil money.

  26. soundofthesuburbs 4h ago

    or decades the IMF has used the same structural reforms to ensure third world nations stay as third world nations.

    They have now gone to the next level, turning first world nations into third world nations.

    The trial run in Greece has exceeded expectations.

    soundofthesuburbs soundofthesuburbs 4h ago

    International finance - jam today and penury tomorrow.

  27. pastendgame 5h ago
    And a reality check:

    44.8 percent of Greek pensioners i.e. 1,189,396 pensioners received pension which is below poverty of 665 Euros, whereas about 60 percent of these pensioners received about 800 Euros excluding healthcare contributions, fell to below 700 Euros, said Dimitris Stratoulis, social insurance alternate minister....Hence, these statements were able to contradict statements made by country's creditors who said that some pensioners are enjoying high average pension plans.

    Report says 44.8 pct of Greek pension payments are below poverty line

    dias3000BC pastendgame 5h ago

    man I know many people in the neighborhood where I grew up .. they are over 68.. they have not receive a single paycheck the least 3 years!
    Are these people included too in the report ????????

    Last summer I visited a relative, do you know they were helping each other with coffee and cigs and food ! when I asked how much was the check ... they havent see one since they retire .. imagine problems in families when you factor in the unemployment too!

    Thomas Varmaxizis pastendgame 5h ago

    Pensioners want Greek young people to find a work and not let brain drain from Greece to serve lazy Germany.

    They help their grandchildren by any means and grandchildren want to stay in Greece as they are more happy here...not to leave Greece for a piece of bread and by treason attitude from Europe.

    1. What do these people see in Greece, anyway? Place is a bunch of ruins.

      1. Nice weather?

        That's the reason people live in California and Arizona.

    2. Pensioners want Greek young people to find a work and not let brain drain from Greece to serve lazy Germany.


      That's like a football player talking about leaving the perennial Super Bowl contender Oakland Raiders to sign with the bottom feeding Seahawks or Patriots.

  28. OT: First and last time attempting to engage Michael Hihn today. Holy shit, I think that guy seriously is suffering from a loss of brain function. It's like arguing with a recording device, it says the same thing over and over even after you repeatedly ask them to explain what they mean.

    1. Might be going senile. Also he has admitted that he thinks we are idiots so he is being even more of an asshole then he would otherwise,

    2. He's a crazy crank.

      Before the internet a guy like him would be open-miccing on 80m spewing inane bullshit and ranting about the conspiracies against him and his victories of these conspirators for hours everyday.

      Amusing to listen to on a bounce late at night, disruptive and just plain stupid on a discussion board.

    3. His other stuff isn't nearly so fucked up. I think he either has had a stroke or is going senile.

    4. I think he may have legit dementia.

  29. kimdriver TheThistle 4h ago

    But when it comes to industries I would not want my taxes to go beyond seed-corn funding for ideas etc. and once evaluated perhaps a bit more. That is where I am quite happy for capitalism, private finance if you like, the private sector, to come in and do the development and take the risk and run the production line. If the state was good at making those things, we would all be driving Wartburgs or Moskvich, Zastava or Volga.

    As a capitalist, I disagree with you totally. The private sector is the least able to finance these developments. It stands the risk of ruin, with no upside when an investment fails, whereas the state (or society) still has a benefit. That changes the mathematics, and therefore the prospects of development.

    The problem is when the state builds cars when the private sector can do it just as well. The state can't do everything, nor should it be allowed to do so. But that doesn't mean that the state is "dumb". The simple stuff, such as tractor production, should be spun off since the state has nothing to offer.

    That doesn't mean that everything is best financed by the private sector. But the state has enormous advantages - residual value and spin-offs, a long term view and cashflow - when backing new ventures.

    The more complex, the risky stuff, should be embraced by the state. The private sector can do the simple stuff.

    1. kimdriver dias3000BC 5h ago

      It's definitely important, not just for state finances but for society as a whole, that research undertaken by universities be converted into "useful" products. And this often requires state funding, since the commercialisation of "baby"ideas is simply not usually investible by the private sector. Most attempts fail.

      But the state can justify the investment because the knowledge gained exceeds the cost of those failures. They have a bigger picture than just a single company's prospects. In the same way as the state invests in fundamental research and education (and does not regard it as a loss), it should invest in, and facilitate the development of the ideas that result.

    2. If I wanted to read the Guardian's comment section, I would read the Guardian's comment section.

      Please stop spamming it across this board.

      1. Ah, so Much Derp!

      2. Would like to invest in my partnership with a Nigerian Prince?

      3. Derphunting is an old tradition around here, HM. Just relax and enjoy it. Or ignore it. Or talk about something else. Have a good time! I am. You're a good guy. We all want you to have a good time, too.

    3. a long term view

      Lol, politicians do not have a long term view. Fuck, even murderous dictators who didn't need to run for office had five year plans.

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  31. So let's talk about Promotion and Relegation. Did you know that the Football League created it to deal with a merger with the Football Alliance? And it was not automatic at first? And the Football League didn't relegate its worst teams from the bottom division until 1987? And the Football Conference Teams are required to meet certain financial and stadia requirements to be promoted? And the lower leagues also require teams to meet financial and stadia requirements to be promoted?

    1. And it appears that a similar system didn't develop in Canadian or American sport due to travel costs. Even in 1876 it was considered expensive for New York and Philadelphia baseball teams to take a train trip to St. Louis and Chicago which is why they refused and the National League expelled them.

  32. OK, here's what I don't get: why is Obama doing this, and now? I have a hard time believing anything he does is legitimate any more. Everything serves an agenda.

    Or did something happen that suddenly makes Maduro a real threat? Is Maduro cooperating with the Iranians or ISIS or Putin? Is there a real threat Obama is not talking about?

    Or is this some distraction or double-reverse? What's the political angle? Acting tough to Iran indirectly? It seems odd to piss off the domestic left-wingers like this. It's not a "Sista Souljah" pre-election move to make him look like a moderate. So why is Obama really doing this now? Someone enlighten me, please.

    1. There's nothing (exceptionally) sinister about this - its Standard Operating Procedure for United States diplomacy to bolster fascist idiots destroying their own economies by declaring them to be 'officially horrible people'. It gives these idiots much needed cover to continue to fuck things up by allowing them to point to us and go 'see! Its *their* fault the 5 year plan didn't produce'.

      Hell, this'll probably give Maduro another decade in power. Look at how well sanctions worked for Castro.

      1. So you think it's just a reflexive s.o.p. idiocy? Or good intentions gone bad? It still seems odd for Obama to do this now. Hasn't Venezuela been on this course for many years? What changed a few weeks ago?

        1. Oh, its all 'good intentions gone bad' - that's why they keep doing it. Doesn't matter that it never has, quite possibly in the *history* of sanctions, ever worked. It should work *in theory*, so they'll do it again and again no matter how often it fails to - *next time* they'll get it right. Just like all the communist/socialist arseholes.

          And what's changed in the last few weeks is that Maduro is starting the 'make laws to hide how fucked up your policies are' phase (they actually have a law on the books now that makes it illegal to queue) and the 'arrest/make dissappear' your political enemies phase.

          But what's really got Obama pissed is that Maduro got his legislature to pass into law the ability of the president to rule by decree.

          Right now Maduro is a no-shit dictator whose word is law - the 'O' must be so jealous, not even a 100% democratic House and Senate would have been able to give him that.

    2. Maybe Obama is responding to some incredibly petty perceived personal slight, like he has done with other world leaders.

      I remember my generally lefty in-laws said, when Obama was first elected, "at least he won't make us look like idiots to the rest of the world, like Bush did".

    3. Is Maduro cooperating with the Iranians or ISIS or Putin? Is there a real threat Obama is not talking about?

      One of those is my bet.
      Back in the Bush era the Venezuelans were spouting a bunch of rhetoric about forming some sort of alliance of rogue states against the USA.

  33. "exrtraordinary threat" to the security of the United States

    For this to be remotely true, we would have to (heavily) arm them ourselves.

  34. Well, a number of year ago, back during the iraq war, the Venezuelan's were busy declaring America the Great Satan and forming alliances with anti-American Muslim countries like Iran.
    IIRC, they made a big point of iviting Al Jazerra to set up a Venezuelan bureau.

    Now, it seems kind of odd to me that Obama would declare Venezuela a national security threat, given that Obama hates capitalism almost as much as the Bolivarians.
    So, I suspect the threat angle has something to do with their efforts to make an alliance with Muslims. Perhaps they have invited Islamist psychos to set up training camps in Venezuela or something. Lots of jungle back there, not to mention borders with FARC held territories. They could be trading coke for heroin and all sorts of stuff.

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