Venezuela

Pay Your Venezuelan Doctor…in Cooking Oil?

The triumph of socialism-if the goal is to get people to emigrate

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The Photographer

Over dinner the other night, our friend revealed that her parents are trying to get out of Venezuela and take up permanent residence in the United States. After years of toughing it out under first Hugo Chavez and now Nicolas Maduro—two thugs who repackaged caudillismo for an ever-gullible audience—her father, a physician, has been reduced to accepting part of his payment in cooking oil and other groceries.

Strictly speaking, cooking oil is probably a better store of value than the Venezuelan bolivar, which even after currency controls were loosened out of necessity in February, exchanges into foreign currency at multiple rates depending on who you are and what you want to do with the cash. The currency controls have had their usual success in preserving the value of the local dinero: none. The government doubled- (or maybe quintupled-) down on its gamble that this time, the economic turds of the past need only a bit of polish to become the gems of the present. It ordered companies to keep prices low, seized dissenting firms, and generally tried to replace the laws of supply and demand with the irresistible force of presidential will.

My friend's parents confirm that, as a result, toilet paper is, in fact, unavailable, leaving those economic turds entirely unpolished.

To avoid the embarrassment of unaffordable petroleum products in an oil-rich country, the government subsidizes gasoline. The result is mass smuggling into Colombia, where buyers really appreciate the bargain.

What is not entirely unavailable, or subsidized to the benefit of the black market is, of course, rationed. Shoppers wait in line for hours to buy a strictly controlled supply of whatever might be available.

So my friend's father is probably better off taking the cooking oil, flour, and other goods that immediately fill the larder than he would be with bolivars that necessitate standing in line.

But he wants out, and he's not the only one. About 13,000 of the country's physicians emigrated in recent years, with an estimated half of each medical school graduating class joining them.

Chavez and Maduro famously turned to a supply of doctors provided by the Cuban government to keep their big public health system promises, but the Cubans also apparently consider jugs of cooking oil to be insufficient compensation. They keep going to Colombia to defect to the United States.

Fortunately, early in the Chavez years, my friend's parents purchased that most traditional Latin American insurance policy: a condo in Miami. That gives them some assets, and a lifeline, in the U.S.

Most of the Venezuelans stuck standing on line don't have the same options.

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  1. So…turds of the past, or, turds unpolished?

    I can’t make up my mind for the better band name

    1. Turds Unpolished, formerly known as Turds of the Past

      1. Maybe Turd, Unpolished

        The comma is crucial.

        1. That sounds more like an album name.

          1. True. Or, an autobiography.

      2. Turds of the Unpolished Past

        1. That’s the next X-Men movie.

    2. Turds unpolished. Turds of the past can be their Garage Days album.

    3. You can’t polish a turd, but you can lacquer it.

      1. “It’s never safe to travel during the turd trimester.”

  2. Over dinner the other night, our friend revealed that her parents are trying to get out of Venezuela and take up permanent residence in the United States.

    And give up that sweet free healthcare?

    1. “Free healthcare” pretty well sucks if you’re the one forced to provide it.

  3. exchanges into foreign currency at multiple rates depending on who you are and what you want to do with the cash.

    A two tier system? Suck it, Gawker!

  4. You know, this Venezuela situation is utterly fucking underreported. I swear Reason is the only damn place I see or read anything about it*

    But it’s exhibit A as to how wrong progressives in this country are about… well, pretty much everything. People are really suffering down there, and we’re electing people in this country who believe in the economic equivalent of creation science.

    *I’m sure it’s being reported somewhere else, but wherever else it is, it isn’t catching my eye or my ear.

    1. People shouldn’t be afraid to vote for a socialist. They should be fucking embarrassed.

      1. Those who fail to learn from history current events are doomed to repeat it.

        1. If only the right men were in charge. /derp

    2. They don’t care about results, Paul. None of that shit matters to them. None of it. Mindlessly sticking to an ideology that makes them feel superior is what matters to them. Yes, they are that insane.

      You should be used to this by now. These people aren’t going away. They will destroy economies if it makes them feel superior. You need to understand that.

      1. Sorta on-topic.

        I haven’t been to his site a lot, but this was a damn fine, angry, rebuttal. Kudos to whichever commenter who mentioned the site.

        1. It is, but he’s missing the point. The class warfare scumbags who rant about WalMart or not paying third world workers enough don’t actually give a shit about third world workers. At all. They hate WalMart (and anyone else they perceive as having more of them, or in their fevered minds, as swimming in money) because they are consumed with envy. These are the people who hate anyone having more than them no matter how good their own living standards are. They are the people who will tear down someone with more than them if they can just to see them pitched into the dirt.

          The third world worker stuff is just a smokescreen, a way of criticizing someone/something they’re going to hate no matter what that person/company/whatever does. So pointing out that this person isn’t doing anything themselves to help the people they purport to care about will faze them this much: absolutely none. That latter seems great to you or me, because we’re logical and not filled with hate and envy. To the person it is directed to, it will wash over them like a breeze that they don’t even feel.

          1. Oops: That letter seems great to you or me…

          2. Oh, heartily agree on that. I still give him props for putting it in (very eloquent) words. The SJW he’s writing to can go suck a locally-sourced dick, for all I care.

            1. Mr. the Aaron was, as we say in the vernacular, #REKT

    3. we’re electing people in this country who believe in the economic equivalent of creation science.

      Probably because huge numbers of everyday people also believe in the economic equivalent of creation science.

      1. At least in Seattle they’re up front about it. Here in NYC they both masquerade as Democrats and (because our idiots run on multiple lines) wear the “Working Families Party” label. I mean, who hates working families? Except it’s really just a front for pubsec unions and commie sympathizers.

    4. It’s unfair to equate progressives to creationists. At least creationists try and gather evidence, their evidence is just fucking stupid. At this point, progressives have decided facts are scary and are best avoided.

      At this point, though, why don’t we stop spinning our wheels and burning ourselves out on conversations with Christina Hoff Sommers’ Twitter followers? We need to let survivors lead the conversation: to let them define their experience for themselves and to let them tell us what they need. We’re never going to get what we need from Christina Hoff Sommers or her Twitter followers, so let’s pull together and take care of each other. She can prioritize debunking statistics on sexualized violence; let’s prioritize each other healing from and refusing to tolerate violence. Her talk is happening, so let’s pull together in the face of this violence and make our own space to support each other. She exists, but so do we.

      I’ll never get tired of quoting this. They’re basically admitting that facts make them sad and that feelings are therefore more important.

      1. Give the creationists some credit, they blame unfortunate facts on Satan.

      2. They’re not admitting that facts make them sad. They’re admitting that facts obliterate their arguments, and that makes them sad.

        They are actually, no shit reaching the point where they are seriously putting forth the argument “facts don’t matter”. Like, ever.

        If facts don’t matter, what is reality? Why can’t they fly to the moon under their own power? This is approaching mental illness territory here. I mean, how do you operate in the real world if you refuse to recognize reality? Isn’t not doing that what we traditionally think of insane people as doing?

        1. Nonsense. They are not approaching it. No matter which direction they move in they would be moving away from it.

      3. That is delightful. Derp of this quality is exceedingly difficult to come by.

        *pulls gun from waistband, points it at Irish*

        Who’s the supplier, hombre?

      4. Eh, I’m on the fence here. These aren’t really contradictory positions, ultimately. Sommers is (IMO) closer to correct about the rate of rape on campus, but it does happen, and I’m fine with the (real) survivors healing and trying to stop rape. The problem comes with the survivors and their advocates exaggerating the numbers of rape for advocacy purposes, for believing every fabulist (and claiming such lies are much more rare than they really are), and for wanting the justice system bent against the accused.

        I think there is common ground (nobody is really pro-rape), but the activists have put themselves in a corner by pushing bogus statistics, believing every fabulist, and demanding the scales of justice be officially tipped in their favor. If they dropped all that, we could all agree.

    5. I find it refreshingly honest. I would mistake most of the Seattle city counsel for socialists if they didn’t have a D next to their name.

  5. So on my way home from work I saw the strangest thing. A state trooper was helping a black man change a flat tire on his car. I mean on his knees helping to put the tire on the dude’s car. It was like getting a glimpse of a unicorn.

    1. You’re in some movie like Pleasantville where you’ve been sucked into the 50s. Is everything in black and white?

      1. *holds hand in front of face*

        Oh my god it’s white! Oh wait, it’s always white. Never mind.

        1. “You mean I’m gonna stay this color?”

          1. *pops top on a tab*
            Mmmm. Satisfying.

            1. Diet Tab?

              1. All Tab is diet YOU IDIOT

                1. I DRINK MOUNTAIN DEW LIKE A HERO

    2. Surely you must be mistaken. What you saw was a state trooper checking the undercarriage of a vehicle for packages of devil weed and/or crack cocaine.

      1. I didn’t see it beginning to end. He may have search his vehicle and ran him for warrants earlier and he may have killed him later, but at the time I was driving by, he literally was helping to put the tire on. I was shocked since the guy looked indigent. I’m sure the cops help white women in mercs all the time.

        1. I would probably be more comfortable helping out a scruffy, homeless-looking dude, black or whatever, than I would a woman in a Mercedes. One of these two might for a complaint after the fact.

          1. File…. *grumbles*

          2. I’m more likely to help poor people because they have less options. Wealthy people can call AAA. Poor people either have to have friends or depend on the kindness of strangers.

            1. “Hey beautiful! You’re far too good looking to ride the bus! Hop in!”

      2. Are there drugs in that tire? Is that why its flat?

    3. Bull!
      He’d already shot the guy and was leaning down to make sure he was dead.
      Can’t fool ol’ eagle-eye!

      1. leaning down to make sure he was dead plant his Taser.

    4. Flakka, Florida Man. What can’t it do?

      1. Here we go! If a Florida Man sees something strange, or is naked, or is being wrested to the ground, it must be the Flakka! Well we have meth here too smarty pants!

    5. I hate to be this guy, but Florida State Troopers have a decent reputation.
      Only 50-75% of them are bad.

      I’m sure you’re familiar with the FST who arrested that Miami cop for speeding.

      1. Yeah, they ran her off the job.

  6. About 13,000 of the country’s physicians emigrated in recent years…

    See? There are things worse than Obamacare.

    1. Technically good news for Obama! ?Tony, probably

    2. What you see in Nicaragua is ACA, a few years down the road.

  7. But he wants out, and he’s not the only one. About 13,000 of the country’s physicians emigrated in recent years, with an estimated half of each medical school graduating class joining them.

    On the bright side, they’ve always got Cuban slave doctors to make up for any shortages.

    1. Not if they keep defecting to the You Ess via Colombia.

  8. You know, reason, you could have followed the Sanders post with this one…it would have segued nicely, but you had to throw the EZ pass article in.

    1. The government doubled- (or maybe quintupled-) down on its gamble that this time, the economic turds of the past need only a bit of polish to become the gems of the present. It ordered companies to keep prices low, seized dissenting firms, and generally tried to replace the laws of supply and demand with the irresistible force of presidential will.

      I thought they were describing Bernie’s platform.

  9. What happens when they reach peak cooking oil?

    1. If it’s peanut oil, there can be no peak.

  10. Nobody ever made anything good out of oil and flower.

  11. Kulaks! Kulaks and wreckers everywhere! I’m sure Comrade Maduro will sort them out post haste!

  12. But he wants out, and he’s not the only one. About 13,000 of the country’s physicians emigrated in recent years, with an estimated half of each medical school graduating class joining them.

    No one needs 10,000 physicians.

    1. 13,000. Dammit, blew the layup.

      1. Eh. Works either way.

  13. Heroic company mocks the outrage brigade.

    Protein company puts up a picture of a hot woman with the phrase ‘get beach body ready,’ feminists freak out, company proceeds to troll the living hell out of them remorselessly.

    Samples:

    @susanneallen Another incredible accusation by the perpetually offended

    1. I’m blown away by the smartassery of the Protein World twitter responses. I’m almost unwilling to believe that they’re real. Because if they are, this is a 100% “fuck you” blowback to the SJW scum, and it’s making them more popular.

      Which is really just an indicator of something we probably all knew already: most people find the SJW bullying to be tiresome at best and repulsive at worst, they just stay out of it because they don’t want to be targeted too.

      And it’s also a great proof of the best way to handle the SJW fucks: mock them relentlessly. They just cannot handle that.

      1. The CEO and chief marketing guy both took “the girl” off social media and ran twitter for themselves. Guy in charge is a legit fitness type himself. They are making bank.

        Brietbart I think had the story first.

      2. It seems like a lot of corporate social media accounts are overseen by Boomers who don’t understand that just because a half-dozen eternally aggrieved people who average 60k tweets a year are bawling their eyes out, it doesn’t mean there’s an actual outrage, and also don’t understand when to ignore people who would never be their customers anyways.

        The Protein World folks seem to get it. Bravo.

        1. Yeah, I’ve noticed that a lot of important people/organizations seem to be run by people who think that because something is posted on the internet, it may as well be coming from prime time CNN. The appropriate response is: ignore it, and 2 weeks later even the original outraged will have already forgotten about it.

          Relatedly, I categorically refuse to watch the Colbert Report ever since they bothered to even acknowledge Suey Park’s existence.

          1. That and the Anita Sarkeesian episode sealed the deal for me.

            For some reason, I used to watch L&O:SVU. Their idiotic videogamer episode finished that series for me.

          2. I live in a distressingly liberal neighbourhood, with a major university right around the corner, and run a small business in a service industry (so I do a lot of yakking with current & potential clients)… and I *never* encounter any of this stupid-ass SJW shit in real life, just online. So I’m inclined to think that while the lunatic-fringe proggies are undeniably vocal, there aren’t actually that many of them.

    2. My favorite exchange:

      Perpetually aggrieved person: I spent life believing I’m not good enough. I signed #perfectlyimperfect

      Protein World: Why make your insecurities our problem?

      Awesomesauce.

    3. @JulietteBurton was, as they say in the vernacular, “noscoped”.

  14. Any word on whether the strong wind of mushroom farming is blowing across the land?

    In the victory of the immortal ideas of Communism
    We see the future of our country,
    And to the Red Banner of our glorious Motherland
    We shall always be selflessly true!

  15. Someone posted a Salon article earlier. The last paragraph reads like a prog version of Mad Libs:

    And so the Republican Party has built much of its base on a vicious cycle of poverty and prejudice ? keeping their constituents poor and ignorant with regressive economic policies, but earning their trust by preaching moral values that the big bad federal government wants to interfere with. The hatred that has been expressed for our first black president has revealed that racism is not a thing of the past, and that it is still a very effective way to divide and conquer. Rather than having a strong and united working class fighting for their fair share, it is completely separated by issues of race and morality. It should come as no surprise, then, that since the rise of this Southern strategy, the country has become more and more unequal.

    Today, inequality is at its highest since the Great Depression, and the middle class has been hollowed out. So, in a sense, the Republican strategy has worked. The middle class was divided by fear-mongering and racism, and today it has been conquered by plutocracy. In embracing America’s dark and racist past, the 1 percent has turned the United States government into a quasi-oligarchy ? and as long as the middle class remains divided by issues of race and fear, the United States will indeed become the dystopia that Charles and David Koch so solemnly dream of at night.

    1. Let’s count the buzzwords:

      1. racism, racist, race
      2. fair share
      3. inequality
      4.plutocracy
      5. the 1 percent
      6. Koch brothers
      7. middle class

      Now that is how you stay on message.

      http://www.salon.com/2015/04/2…..socialflow

    2. the dystopia that Charles and David Koch so solemnly dream of at night.

      Tutus everywhere!

    3. And so the Democratic Party has built much of its base on a vicious cycle of poverty and prejudice ? keeping their constituents poor and ignorant with progressive economic policies, but earning their trust by preaching entitlements that the big bad kkkorporations wants to interfere with. The cult of personality that has been built around our first black president has revealed that racism is not a thing of the past, and that it is still a very effective way to divide and conquer. Rather than providing the lower middle class class and minorities the tools for social mobility by working for their fair share, they is completely separated by issues of race and morality. It should come as no surprise, then, that since the rise of this urban political machine, the country has become more and more unequal.

      Mad Libs are fun!

      1. Dammit, HM! Brilliance.

        1. I notice some subject/verb agreement errors that I shall blame on my 3rd Old Fashinoned.

      2. And so the Kufar have built much of their base on a vicious cycle of poverty and prejudice ? keeping their constituents poor and jahil with haram economic policies, but earning their trust by preaching entitlements that the Ummah wants to interfere with. The cult of personality that has been built by the Yahud around their first black president has revealed that Zionism is not a thing of the past, and that it is still a very effective way to divide and conquer. Rather than providing the lower middle class class and minorities the tools for social mobility by working for their fair share, they is completely separated by issues of race and morality. It should come as no surprise, then, that since the rise of this Zionist plot, their country has become more and more unequal.

        1. And so the Klingon Empire has built much of its base on a vicious cycle of violence and prejudice ? keeping their constituents poor and ignorant with expansionist and imperialist policies, but earning their trust by preaching the eventual return of Kahless the Unforgettable that the big bad United Federation of Planerts wants to interfere with. The hatred that has been expressed toward Chancellor Gowron has revealed that rivalries between the Great Houses are not a thing of the past, and that it is still a very effective way to divide and conquer. Rather than having a strong and united Empire fighting for conquest, it is completely separated by issues of vengeance and honor. It should come as no surprise, then, that since the rise of this alliance with the Romulans, the Empire has become more and more unequal..

          1. And so the Horde has built much of its base on a vicious cycle of violence and prejudice ? keeping their orcs poor and ignorant with expansionist and imperialist policies, but earning their trust by preaching the eventual return of Sauron and Saruman that the big bad Gandalf wants to interfere with. The hatred that has been expressed toward Saruman has revealed that rivalries between men and orcs are not a thing of the past, and that it is still a very effective way to divide and conquer. Rather than having a strong and united horde fighting for conquest, it is completely separated by issues of vengeance and honor. It should come as no surprise, then, that since the rise of this alliance with the elves and dwarves, the Horde has become more and more unequal.

            1. I can’t find it now, but I recall there was a book written in Russian a few year ago that continues where the last book ended and recasts Mordor as an fallen egalitarian socialist republic that was conquered by the reactionary forces of Middle-Earth.

    4. Even if that were true, wouldn’t their policies be the cause since President Pen and Phone has been in the white house for 6 years?

      1. According to “true progressives” Obama is Reagan the Second by going all capitalist and overseeing the largest expansion of wealth in history.

  16. Rand Paul hit a home run with me today.

    http://www.nytimes.com/politic…..ster/?_r=0

    Taking Saddam out was a huge mistake he says. Finally a Republican that can admit the truth.

    Was this discussed today? I was busy.

    thank in advance Peanuts!

    1. And the NYT took a condescending tone throughout the entire article essentially mocking him.

      1. He’s unserious candidate. Hillary are serious.

  17. Has anyone gotten Sean Penn’s statement on the issue?

  18. There was a time when progressives tried to defend Venezuela’s revolution for years. Now they’ve gone mostly silent on it with only a few diehards continuing that exercise. The only excuse they have left is its a result of American sanctions which doesn’t stand up to any real scrutiny.

    But there is the problem. These people don’t base their decisions on results. They are religious whack jobs waiting for their prophet(s) to arrive. Marx’s true revolutionaries who will create the new man.

  19. Maybe they can ask Sean Penn for a bailout.

  20. Damn. I hoping to see some goofy derp from our resident socialists. Tony Doo Where Are You?

    1. Busy fapping to a picture of Bernie Sanders.

      1. He’ll probably go into overdrive when Sanders declares that he’s running for President. He’ll probably wear himself down to a nub.

  21. At least when these educated professionals come here to seek work and apply there skills, we will regulate them to death and make it very difficult for them to make a living.

    I always wonder what people from Marxist shitholes think when they come to America.
    They must be pissed to watch the beginning of what they just escaped.

  22. “…all Experience hath shewn, that Mankind are more disposed to suffer, while Evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the Forms to which they are accustomed.”

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