Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Monday, July 26, 2010
In Venezuela, socialist President Hugo Chavez wants the state to take over part of Empresas Polar, a food and beer conglomerate known to every Venezuelan.
Chavez has nationalized oil companies, cement makers and supermarkets during his 12 years in office. But plans to seize some of Polar's operations have run into a stiff opposition — and that's exposed the shortcomings in state takeovers of private industry.
Chavez has cast his fight with Polar as an epic struggle. Earlier this year, in a speech in the city of Barquisimeto in northwestern Venezuela — where the company has extensive operations — he mocked Polar and its leader.
The president said Polar's owner, Lorenzo Mendoza, one of Latin America's wealthiest men, would have to pack up and leave. Mendoza won't get to heaven because he is ricachon — so very rich, Chavez said.
So far, though, the government has only moved against Polar's warehouses in Barquisimeto. And Chavez threatened to nationalize all of Polar: 30,000 workers, 14 plants and 75 distribution centers.
But the expropriation order, signed in April, has garnered much attention nationwide because Polar is Venezuela's best-known company. One commercial touts the pre-cooked flour that Polar has made for 50 years. It's used for the cornmeal cakes that are a Venezuelan staple. Polar also makes beer, pasta and butter.
One of its key operations — a distribution point for beer and other beverages — is in an industrial zone of Barquisimeto, the country's fourth-largest city.
There, in vast warehouses, hundreds of workers load beer onto trucks. They have heard the government say it's the state that treats workers best. But they're not buying that argument.
Tacoa had once supported Chavez. But he, like other workers, says Polar provides good wages and benefits.Juan Tacoa, head of one of the two unions at Polar's warehouses in Barquisimeto, says the workers oppose the president. Tacoa says workers in nationalized companies have fared badly — unable to bargain collectively and seeing their wages slashed.
Chavez has reacted angrily to Tacoa. He has called Polar's union leaders lackeys of the rich.
"Who are they defending? Those who exploit the people, the bourgeoisie," he said.
Robert Bottome, the American-born editor of Veneconomia, a Caracas business journal, says the opposite is true.
"It sounds corny, but this is a company which has been treating its workers right for 70 years and it's been treating its customers right for 70 years," he says.
The controversy over Polar comes at an awkward time for Chavez and his socialist policies. Domestic food production has fallen during his tenure and imports have sharply increased. In a country that takes pride in being one of the world's major oil producers, food shortages have plagued some areas and high prices are pinching consumers.
Polar officials declined to talk about the struggle with Chavez and a presidential plan to replace the warehouses in Barquisimeto with apartment buildings.
But Polar workers told NPR that they feared what would happen to their jobs in a government takeover. They know that once an expropriation order has been signed the government can swoop in and seize property.
On a recent night, Yoh Guerrero settled in for a long night of dominoes with other workers. Guerrero said they would guard the gates all night long to stop the government from storming the warehouses.
"The workers fear for their jobs," he said, "And that's why they're prepared to defend them."
If you missed this: Student, Online Terrorist Flunkie Arrested in Virginia | Danger Room | Wired.com
Friday, July 23, 2010
When McCain picked Palin, liberal journalists coordinated the best line of attack | The Daily Caller
The conversation began with a debate over how best to attack Sarah Palin. “Honestly, this pick reeks of desperation,” wrote Michael Cohen of the New America Foundation in the minutes after the news became public. “How can anyone logically argue that Sarah Pallin [sic], a one-term governor of Alaska, is qualified to be President of the United States? Train wreck, thy name is Sarah Pallin.”
Not a wise argument, responded Jonathan Stein, a reporter for Mother Jones. If McCain were asked about Palin’s inexperience, he could simply point to then candidate Barack Obama’s similarly thin resume. “Q: Sen. McCain, given Gov. Palin’s paltry experience, how is she qualified to be commander in chief?,” Stein asked hypothetically. “A: Well, she has much experience as the Democratic nominee.”[snip]Daniel Levy of the Century Foundation noted that Obama’s “non-official campaign” would need to work hard to discredit Palin. “This seems to me like an occasion when the non-official campaign has a big role to play in defining Palin, shaping the terms of the conversation and saying things that the official [Obama] campaign shouldn’t say – very hard-hitting stuff, including some of the things that people have been noting here – scare people about having this woefully inexperienced, no foreign policy/national security/right-wing christia wing-nut a heartbeat away …… bang away at McCain’s age making this unusually significant …. I think people should be replicating some of the not-so-pleasant viral email campaigns that were used against [Obama].”
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh has responded to reports that an NPR producer wrote gleefully about his death in an e-mail message to the now infamous JournoList.
As NewsBusters reported  Wednesday, the Daily Caller's Jonathan Strong published  some more of the liberal group's e-mail messages which included Sarah Spitz claiming that she would "Laugh loudly like a maniac and watch his eyes bug out" as Limbaugh writhed in torment.
With this in mind, both the Washington Examiner's Byron York and myself asked Limbaugh for a response to this nonsense.
First, here's what Limbaugh told  York:
I can only surmise. I think most people on the left live in a world where merit is irrelevant. Theirs is a world in which connections, networking, kissing ass and obedient sameness are rewarded. I am the antithesis of all that. I am a legitimate, achieved and accomplished Number One and I've made it on my own and without them and without having followed their proscriptions. I think they are also jealous that I just sold my NY condo for a 125 percent profit while their homes are worthlessly underwater.
Funny thing....a number of my friends sent me the Daily Caller piece and the most shocking thing to them in the story was the advocacy of having government shut down Fox News. That the left wants me dead was not a big deal to them because it was nothing new to them. I think that's hilarious. And about that: how about the LAW professor who thinks the FCC can pull Fox's license? Fox does not have a license. The FCC does not grant Fox its right to exist. And this guy teaches law.
Moments after York's piece was published, I asked Limbaugh via e-mail if there was anything he wanted to add. This was his response:
And it is not just that they hate how I became who I am. They literally hate ME. They hate me because I am the most prominent, effective and unrelenting voice of conservatism and they have not been able to stop me. These people and their tactics are not new, we've seen them before in other countries and other times. They want to destroy contrary and opposition voices and views. They will climb over the law and the people to achieve their aims. Earlier in this administration, the president and his hacks targeted me, his party targeted me and their groups targeted me. They are all the same. They are leftists, disguised as lawyers, judges, scholars, professors, teachers, reporters, anchors, senators, representatives, legislative aids, congressional staff, federal bureaucrats, etc. There is NO Media. We know that now. There is just an incestuous relationship among all these various groups and a revolving door connecting them all.
Jonathan Zasloff, a law professor at UCLA, suggested that the federal government simply yank Fox off the air. “I hate to open this can of worms,” he wrote, “but is there any reason why the FCC couldn’t simply pull their broadcasting permit once it expires?”
And so a debate ensued. Time’s Scherer, who had seemed to express support for increased regulation of Fox, suddenly appeared to have qualms: “Do you really want the political parties/white house picking which media operations are news operations and which are a less respectable hybrid of news and political advocacy?”
But Zasloff stuck to his position. “I think that they are doing that anyway; they leak to whom they want to for political purposes,” he wrote. “If this means that some White House reporters don’t get a press pass for the press secretary’s daily briefing and that this means that they actually have to, you know, do some reporting and analysis instead of repeating press releases, then I’ll take that risk.”
Scherer seemed alarmed. “So we would have press briefings in which only media organizations that are deemed by the briefer to be acceptable are invited to attend?”
John Judis, a senior editor at the New Republic, came down on Zasloff’s side, the side of censorship. “Pre-Fox,” he wrote, “I’d say Scherer’s questions made sense as a question of principle. Now it is only tactical.”
Friday, July 09, 2010
I posted this on FR earlier, where it was pulled. BUT I got a personalized message, which was awesome. lol.
This thread has been pulled. Pulled on 07/09/2010 9:41:55 AM PDT by Admin Moderator, reason:
Sorry Anna, Alex Jones isn’t welcome here.
BILL KRISTOL MUST RESIGN
July 7, 2010
Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele was absolutely right. Afghanistan is Obama's war and, judging by other recent Democratic ventures in military affairs, isn't likely to turn out well.
It has been idiotically claimed that Steele's statement about Afghanistan being Obama's war is "inaccurate" -- as if Steele is unaware Bush invaded Afghanistan soon after 9/11. (No one can forget that -- even liberals pretended to support that war for three whole weeks.)
Yes, Bush invaded Afghanistan soon after 9/11. Within the first few months we had toppled the Taliban, killed or captured hundreds of al-Qaida fighters and arranged for democratic elections, resulting in an American-friendly government.
Then Bush declared success and turned his attention to Iraq, leaving minimal troops behind in Afghanistan to prevent Osama bin Laden from regrouping, swat down al-Qaida fighters and gather intelligence.
Having some vague concept of America's national interest -- unlike liberals -- the Bush administration could see that a country of illiterate peasants living in caves ruled by "warlords" was not a primo target for "nation-building."
By contrast, Iraq had a young, educated, pro-Western populace that was ideal for regime change.
If Saddam Hussein had been a peach, it would still be a major victory in the war on terrorism to have a Muslim Israel in that part of the globe, and it sure wasn't going to be Afghanistan (literacy rate, 19 percent; life expectancy, 44 years; working toilets, 7).
But Iraq also was a state sponsor of terrorism; was attempting to build nuclear weapons (according to endless bipartisan investigations in this country and in Britain -- thanks, liberals!); nurtured and gave refuge to Islamic terrorists -- including the 1993 World Trade Center bombers; was led by a mass murderer who had used weapons of mass destruction; paid bonuses to the families of suicide bombers; had vast oil reserves; and is situated at the heart of a critical region.
Having absolutely no interest in America's national security, the entire Democratic Party (save Joe Lieberman) wailed about the war in Iraq for five years, pretending they really wanted to go great-guns in Afghanistan. What the heck: They had already voted for the war in Afghanistan in the wake of 9/11 when they would have been hanged as traitors had they objected.
The obsession with Afghanistan was pure rhetoric. Democrats have no interest in fighting any war that would serve America's interests. (They're too jammed with their wars against Evangelicals, Wal-Mart, the Pledge of Allegiance, SUVs and the middle class.) Absent Iraq, they'd have been bad-mouthing Afghanistan, too.
So for the entire course of the magnificently successful war in Iraq, all we heard from these useless Democrats was that Iraq was a "war of choice," while Afghanistan -- the good war! -- was a "war of necessity." "Bush took his eye off the ball in Afghanistan!" "He got distracted by war in Iraq!" "WHERE'S OSAMA?" and -- my favorite -- "Iraq didn't attack us on 9/11!"
Of course, neither did Afghanistan. But Democrats were in a lather and couldn't be bothered with the facts.
The above complaints about Iraq come -- nearly verbatim -- from speeches and press conferences by Obama, Joe Biden, and Obama's national security advisers Susan Rice and Richard Clarke. Also, the entire gutless Democratic Party. Some liberals began including them in their wedding vows.