“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Thursday, April 20, 2017

The Mother of All Marches - Venezuela Unravelling

GM says plant in Venezuela has been seized

Automaker calls it an illegal seizure of assets

LONDON (CNNMoney) - General Motors says it will immediately halt operations in Venezuela after its plant in the country was unexpectedly seized by authorities.
GM described the takeover as an "illegal judicial seizure of its assets."

The automaker said the seizure showed a "total disregard" of its legal rights. It said that authorities had removed assets including cars from company facilities.
"[GM] strongly rejects the arbitrary measures taken by the authorities and will vigorously take all legal actions, within and outside of Venezuela, to defend its rights," it said in a statement.

GM's subsidiary in the country -- General Motors Venezolana -- has operated in Venezuela for nearly 70 years. It employs nearly 2,700 workers and has 79 dealers in the country. GM said it would make "separation payments" to its workers.
Venezuela has been beset by protests this month after President Nicolas Maduro's administration barred opposition leader Henrique Capriles from holding any political office for the next 15 years. Several people have been killed in the protests.

Venezuela's economy shrank by 18% last year -- its third year of recession. Unemployment is set to surpass 25% this year.


  1. A Dios, As goes General Motors, so goes the nation.

  2. .

    Book Sales?

    HMM -- “How did Cuomo make $783,000 on memoir that sold 3,200 copies?” by the Buffalo News’ Tom Precious: “Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo reported his income last year more than doubled from the previous year, thanks to another round of royalty payments on a 2014 HarperCollins memoir that saw lackluster sales. In all, Cuomo has made $783,000 from HarperCollins for his book. The book sold 3,200 copies since it was published in the fall of 2014, according to tracking company NPD BookScan. That works out to royalty payments to Cuomo of $245 per book. ‘All Things Possible: Setbacks and Success in Politics and Life’ had an original list price of $29.99. New copies of the hardcover book were being sold Monday on Amazon for $13.05.”


    1. That comes out to $244.69 a copy.

      The quoted Amazon hardcover price is obviously widely in error here, an odd typo of some kind.

      There's a fire sale of sorts going on right now on this book at "Q"Books Detroit where the price is only $239.99/copy. But you must act now, they are going fast.


    2. Further we know for a certainty a New York Democrat like Cuomo would never cheat financially.

      Romantically, sure, they are all dicks, after all, but never financially.

      The Democrats just aren't like that.

      Look at the Clintons for proof.

  3. Smooth move, Maduro.

    Seize the car plant

    Destroy 2700 jobs.

    The production of cars doesn't matter so much though.

    Only a very few left in Venezuela that can afford one.

    And, with inflation over 500% right now, fewer in the future.

    Never allow an illiterate unemployed bus driver to run a country.

    You'd think he's at least see the good in the production of some buses, though....

    The really bad news.....he's arming up every commie thug in the country....and the citizens have been disarmed, if I recall correctly....

    The people will get arms though....

    All is on schedule.


    The think this court got it right. I've always suspected it.

    Living right near a cell phone tower isn't good either.

    If you got milk cows they don't give milk, according to a well informed source of mine.

    1. (not Wayne, but a guy from Boise, who lives right near a cell phone tower, has milk cows)

  5. Praise The Lord

    Grassley: Expect a SCOTUS opening this summer

    Consider this one of the worst-kept secrets in a place known for being worst at keeping secrets. Senate Judiciary chair Chuck Grassley made it a little more public on Tuesday at an event in Muscatine, Iowa. Grassley told the audience at Kent Corporation that he expects to get the gang back together again this summer to consider a new nominee for the Supreme Court following a resignation”

    During a visit to Muscatine Tuesday morning, U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said he expects a Supreme Court Justice resignation within the year.

    “I would expect a resignation this summer,” he said.

    Gee, whomever could he mean? For the past few weeks, rumors have swirled around Washington that swing-vote Justice Anthony Kennedy wants to hang up his robe and ride off into the sunset. He hasn’t interviewed prospective clerks for the next session, and has moved up his traditional five-year summer reunions for past clerks up a year. The New York Times speculated at the end of January that Donald Trump’s nomination of Neil Gorsuch was intended in part to signal to Kennedy that Trump would replace him with a serious jurist.

    So yes, people have been reading these tea leaves for a while, but it’s one thing to read tea leaves. It’s another entirely when the Senate Judiciary chair tells you to keep your calendar open. ABC’s Jon Karl noticed the “hint in a small Iowa newspaper” this morning:....

    Now if Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg would just check out, one way or another.

    All for a conservative Supreme Court here as a counter weight to crazy legislation.

  6. Both the Chinese and now the Russians have or are moving troops to the North Korean border.

    Hopefully the Big Three will all sing from the same page and get rid of Kim Fatso III.

    Always try to look on the bright side.

  7. NBC: Ivanka Trump has huge Chinese fan club worshipping “Goddess Ivanka”


    I find it humorous.

    1. NEWS APR 20 2017, 8:56 AM ET
      Ivanka Trump Has Huge Chinese Fan Club Worshiping ‘Goddess Ivanka’

      BEIJING — Ivanka Trump is fast becoming a cult figure for many in China, her popularity spiking so much there is already an online fan club dedicated to "Goddess Ivanka" with thousands of followers.

      The boost in the first daughter's appeal has been such that her Chinese lawyers are currently filing several trademark applications in her name in a bid to stop hundreds of copycat Chinese companies cashing-in on her brand.

      The applications in China have involved a bewildering array of products, from jewelry and underwear, to mattresses and formula milk powder — all filed in the name "Ivanka Trump" or similar sounding names since her father became U.S. president.

      Image: Ivanka Trump and China's President Xi Jingping

      China's first lady Peng Liyuan looks at Chinese President Xi Jinping as she sits next to Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump during a dinner at Mar-a-Lago on April 6, 2017. Carlos Barria / Reuters
      "Most people in China love Ivanka because of her friendly gestures towards the Chinese people," said Hu Xingdou, a blogger and professor of economics at the Beijing Institute of Technology, citing her visit to the Chinese embassy in Washington D.C. to celebrate the Chinese New Year, and her effort to teach Chinese language and culture to her children.

      At the Mar-a-Lago summit between President Donald Trump and China's President Xi Jinping earlier this month, her 5-year-old daughter Arabella sang a traditional Chinese song to Xi and his wife. Trump posted the performance on her Twitter account and it has been watched by millions across China....

  8. O'Reilly's gone because the sponsors left.

    The sponsors left because the Soros gangs harassed them away.

    ...because O'Reilly was not left, and now horror of horrors is friends with Trump.

    1. O'Reilly just wants in with Ivanka, whom he once called "hot vanilla".

    2. Doug, there are those pesky little settlements O'Reilly made with those 5 women...

      anyway, Fox and the advertisers are free to act as they choose and they chose ~Bill

    3. Those pesky settlements were there for years, going back to 2002.

      But when Soros and the NY Times get involved, it's a different matter.

      I think he should be executed for calling a black woman "Hot Chocolate"

    4. Yeah, it's been going on for years but nobody knew about until recently. He's such a stand up guy!

    5. Many knew of the settlements for years.

      Rich folks are sued all the time and pay settlements as they deem them cheaper than fighting them.

      In America, you used to be INNOCENT til proven guilty.

      Now SOROS and the NYtimes can use accusations to political hatchet jobs...

      The good news? the blade cuts both ways..

  9. I wonder what the Dems have on Chaffetz?

  10. North Korea's mobile intermediate range missiles are all made in China, expert on Fox says....

  11. Amazing 5 year old:


    2. Sal should run the world.

      He'd do a much better job than the current crew.

  12. Free Speech at Beserkley?

    ...if the fuckin corrupt cops did their job, it'd be no problem.

  13. Many Poor Venezuelans Are Too Hungry to Join Antigovernment Protests

    President Nicolás Maduro’s support has crumbled in slums, but they are still disconnected from opposition

    Venezuelan Rebeca León, who scavenges for food in the streets of Caracas, at home in the city’s Petare shantytown in February. PHOTO: FEDERICO PARRA/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES

    By Anatoly Kurmanaev and Kejal Vyas
    April 20, 2017 5:30 a.m. ET

    CARACAS, Venezuela—President Nicolás Maduro has lost support among the legions of poor Venezuelans that once backed the late Hugo Chávez, but they have largely shown little interest in joining the opposition-led protests that have convulsed the country the past three weeks.

    Many of the impoverished residents of the vast slums that ring Caracas and other major cities are angry about a collapsing economy and food shortages. But Venezuela’s political unrest remains mostly confined to middle-class enclaves, underscoring the struggle the opposition here faces in trying to unseat an increasingly authoritarian government.

    “All I have is hunger—I don’t care if the people protest or not,” said laborer Alfonzo Molero in a slum in Venezuela’s second-largest city, Maracaibo. “With what strength will I protest if my stomach is empty since yesterday?”

    Until the slums rise up, Mr. Maduro will likely hang on, analysts say.

    Rebeca León’s mother in the Petare shantytown. Many impoverished Venezuelans say they are too occupied with survival to concern themselves with political opposition. PHOTO: FEDERICO PARRA/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES

    “The discontent in the poor sectors is not being channeled through the opposition,” said Alejandro Velasco, a history professor at New York University and the author of a book on Venezuelan slums.

    In three weeks of unrest, seven protesters have been killed and hundreds have been jailed. The government has used tactics such as lobbing tear gas from helicopters to disperse opposition crowds, efforts aided by pro-government gangs often armed with weapons and clubs.

    Many slum residents in Caracas and across Venezuela, however, say they are only vaguely aware of the protests and too busy trying to survive to worry about changing the government.

    More than four in five Venezuelans say they don’t earn enough to meet basic needs and three-quarters say they have lost an average of 19 pounds of weight last year, according to the Encovi survey by Venezuela’s top three universities.

    ‘We wear our protest on the inside for the fear of losing our bag of food.’
    —San Félix resident Luisa Gutiérrez

    The government’s tight control over mainstream media means many poorer Venezuelans without smartphones or internet access say they have no idea when and where the protests even take place. The state’s vast propaganda apparatus offers few details of unrest and portrays the mostly peaceful protesters as Molotov-cocktail-throwing “terrorists,” scaring off many in the slums from joining them.

    Some say they are intimidated by armed pro-government militias who scour the slums for signs of dissent. Others say they are afraid to lose the few food handouts the cash-strapped government still provides.

    When government agents last week visited one of the country’s largest slums of San Félix in eastern Venezuela to see who was eligible for bags of subsidized food staples, even radical opponents of Mr. Maduro timidly got in line, said local priest Carlos Ruiz.....

    1. Maybe it's time to get their friends, the Palestinians, to return some aid?

  14. America may be sabotaging North Korea's missiles
    8:12 a.m. ET

    After a North Korean missile exploded seconds after launch on Sunday, Vice President Mike Pence declined to confirm or deny if the U.S. had sabotaged the missile test. "I really can't comment on the electronic and technical capabilities of our military," he told CNN on Wednesday aboard the USS Ronald Reagan in Japan. But the U.S. has been ramping up its efforts to disrupt North Korea's missile program through cyber and electronic means since 2014, when former President Barack Obama decided other anti-missile systems weren't a sufficient defense, The New York Times reported last month.

    The goal of the covert program is to sabotage missiles so they explode seconds after launch, and North Korean military rockets have been regularly exploding, veering off course, and plunging into the sea since soon after Obama ordered the disruption efforts. Medium-range Musudan missiles, for example, have a failure rate of 88 percent, The New York Times says. There are several ways the U.S. might sabotage Pyongyang's missile program, experts say. "You could either go after the supply chain, embedding flaws in parts and systems that they are using," Peter Singer, a fellow at New America, told CNN. Other possible tactics include hacking the electronics to mess with the launch sequence or trigger the self-destruct mechanism. CNN's Brian Todd lays out the case for U.S. sabotage:

    It is also possible that North Korea is just suffering technical difficulties, human error, sabotage by disgruntled North Koreans, or flawed designs. But last fall, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un "was widely reported to have ordered an investigation into whether the United States was sabotaging North Korea's launches," the Times reported in early March, "and over the past week he has executed senior security officials."

    Peter Weber

  15. Commie Killers

    April 20, 2017
    The sickening violence at Venezuela's Mother of all Marches
    By Monica Showalter

    The socialist failures of Chavista Venezuela are well worth noting, given their hugeness and their totality.

    But there's something deeply disturbing about the small, individual, personal horrors that cannot but draw one's attention, because they shock the conscience.

    At the Mother of all Marches, held in 12 or 13 cities across Venezuela, the Chavistas did what they always do: They sent in some motorcycle goons to casually fire a weapon at the crowd, killing one or two members, in a calculated move to scare the others off. Nobody ever gets punished for these state-sponsored murders. The Chavistas attribute them to random street violence and over-excited passions of mobs, the same way the Susan Rice and her little pawn Ben Rhodes once attributed the calculated murder of a U.S. ambassador in Benghazi, Libya to a mob incited by a video.

    The Chavistas did it in 2003, they did it in 2012, they did it in 2014, and they did it now. This time they picked off three people, two of them teenagers, ending their lives, in seemingly random, violent shooting, all the name of their 'revolucion' continuing on. It has the look of sacrificing children to Molloch. BBC reports:

    A 23-year-old student, Paola Ramírez, was shot dead in the city of San Cristobal, in western Venezuela.

    Her boyfriend told Reuters news agency that they were chased by armed men on motorbikes as they were leaving an anti-government protest in the city, also on a motorbike.

    Ms Ramírez was shot dead shortly afterwards at a square where she had been looking for her sister, her boyfriend said.

    The BBC pinned the blame where it belonged, reporting:

    Witnesses in the killings of Mr Moreno and Ms Ramírez said that the shooters belonged to "colectivos", pro-government militant grassroots groups.

    I saw the graphic, disturbing photos and videos of her being shot dead on Twitter, laying on her back in the street, clad in a lacy white teenager-type top with jeans, a small lethal looking blood spot on her face where some thug aimed well as people hovered around helplessly. It was deeply disturbing. The other victims have similar stories, the young man who was killed had his death dismissed by the Chavistas as soccer hooligan violence. Another woman was randomly shot in San Cristobal, the otherwise beautiful colonial city out on the Colombian border.

    Daniel Duquenal who was at the march, describes it as 'Terror in Caracas' in a powerful blog post. It wasn't just the shootings but the mass terror of the shootings. He has four disturbing, frightening photos on his blog here. Here is just one of them:

    He writes:

    About ten minutes before the gassing started I was where the cell phone add was (white, black sash), at the end of the curve. That is where we decided to go back as it was becoming impossible to go further and people were already going back. Within minutes the police was bombing the area and and a few minutes after we had to take refuge in the street on the right in an eatery that shall remain nameless because they have already being in trouble.

    It calls to mind why these beasts deserve any part of power, or have any right to rule. Up until now, the socialists have been recognized as the lawful government of Venezuela. Now all we see is Syria-style terror and violence, from an illegitimate regime desperate to cling to power at any price. They use violence the way Bashar al-Assad uses chemical warfare on civilians. They should be in line for the exact same fate he has in front of him. It would be right for the U.S. to take some comparable action.

  16. Trump Factor Needed in Venezuela

    April 20, 2017
    Could a Trump Factor make a difference in Venezuela?
    By Monica Showalter

    As one watches over the massive mega-demonstrations in 12 or 13 cities in Venezuela, known as the Mother of All Marches, it's hard not to be rueful. They've had these giant marches before. They come, they make an showy appearance, and then they disappear. And nothing ever changes. The socialist nightmare so previously praised by Bernie Sanders remains in place: The party continues to expand its grip over the state, and the state continues to extend its grip over the institutions. It's how Fidel Castro consolidated power in Cuba. For all their high hopes, the marchers are up against a regime with incredible staying power. The only possible difference may be the election of Donald Trump.

    It's a long shot because it's Castro who's instructing these Chavista narco-terrorist buffoons and thugs on ruling in that vortex of horrors, on how to run a failed state without getting thrown out of power. Venezuela, after all, is the mother of all socialist failures in a nominal democracy. On Johns Hopkins University Professor Steve Hanke's Cato Institute 'Misery Index,' Venezuela tops the chart. It's also the home of the world's worst oil company. Castro survived the Velvet Revolutions of 1989 which toppled one Eastern European communist regime after another, and eventually reached his patron, the Soviet Union. Through sheer shamelessness, and a ruthless willingless to engage in unpunished brutality, Castro held on to power when the others didn't. His experience running Chile in the 1970s (which was in socialist chaos comparable to Venezuela in 1973) taught him much about never letting go of power. Chile's free market rebirth from the rubble of that horror, which led to the restoration of democracy, was a standing rebuke to that power grab - and Castro vowed never again to be defeated this way. Which brings us to Venezuela.

    It's almost a foreknowledge that the regime will never give up its grip on power even with these marches. Blogger Daniel Duquenal has explained it succinctly many times. The Chavistas cannot be shamed into giving up their grip on power no matter how extensive their failures. Failure is not a bug but a feature of their socialist project and they know this. And their recent example shows that they cannot be unelected from power either. From Jimmy Carter's endorsement of obvious electoral fraud in 2004 to the recent horrific moves to disempower the dissident legislature, to the outright jailing of opposition leaders such as Leopoldo Lopez, and the banning of others from office, such as Maria Corina Machado, the avenue of democracy has been shut down too even with numbers so large they cannot cheat.

    1. All the same, there seems to be a critical mass being reached. It may slide into civil war, as Jazz Shaw has observed. There's no Pinochet on the horizon, and what's more, the legislature that triggered and legitimized Pinochet's move in Chile has been neutered. But there may be a Trump factor, too. It's the only signficant thing that has changed from the usual pattern.

      The Chavista propaganda press is watching the matter closely. Trump's Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, has made some fiery definitive statements in support of Venezuela's democracy marchers:

      "We are concerned that the government of Maduro is violating its own constitution and is not allowing the opposition to ... organize in a way that expresses the views of the Venezuelan people," Tillerson told a news conference. "We are concerned about that situation. We're watching it closely and working with others ... to communicate those concerns."

      In light of the Chavista alarm about the U.S. airstrike in Syria over that regime's chemical warfare on civilians, it does raise the possibility that Venezuela's opposition has taken heart from the newly assertive stance on human rights from the United States. The Chavistas are watching it closely even if the mainstream media is not. Tillerson did conclude his remarks with a business-as-usual addition that the U.S. communication with the thug regime would be conducted through the good offices of the Organization of American States, which is just another UN-style talk shop that has gone somewhat assertive about its democracy mandate in recent months. Its stern warnings are getting sterner.

      But it's also worth noting that Rex Tillerson is delivering the message. The Chavistas know Tillerson well - during the late Hugo Chavez's expropriations of oil companies, Tillerson, as CEO of ExxonMobil, was famous for not backing down when all the other similarly situated oil companies were caving in. His insistence on contract enforcement eventually led to the bankrupting of Citgo, which had to take all of its assets out of the country to prevent Exxon from snapping them away as compensation. The media billed that as a failure since Exxon did not get all the money it wanted, but for the Chavistas, it was a fiscal disaster. After that, Tillerson angered them further by engaging in exploration contracts with Guyana, in areas where Venezuela has territorial disputes. They know that Tillerson doesn't back down. He's a scourge to them. And his righthand man is career diplomat Tom Shannon, who knows Venezuela intimately. Could there be a Trump factor at work as Tillerson blows fire? One only hopes it can help bring pressure on the Chavistas, helpfully concentrating their minds as the giant protests swirl all around them.

    2. The socialist nightmare so previously praised by Bernie Sanders remains in place: The party continues to expand its grip over the state, and the state continues to extend its grip over the institutions.

      Bernie's a fascist at heart.

    3. Robert "Draft dodger" Peterson is a thief, steals money by fraud ...

      Bob Thu May 27, 12:52:00 AM EDT

      But I did rip off the bank for $7500 hundred dollars, when I was on my knees, and fighting for my economic life, on my aunt's credit card. But that wasn't really stealing, just payback.

      The "Draft Dodger" is a fascist, as well ...

      There are many "Bob" quotes to support that reality, as well.

    4. Hey there Dead Beat Dad !

      Self confessed war criminal !!

      Liar of The First Degree !!!

      Military strategist of the worst sort !!!!


      ISIS will be out of Iraq by......way last year some time....

      Ho ho ho

      You made a total FOOL out of yourself, what with your 'rat doctrine' and all.

      Since you're here it's


      for me.

      And Timmy seems to have scared everyone else away.

    5. (The abandonment of his daughter may be due to rat'sass lack of a genetic component -

      Study reveals some people are born with nurturing gene - while others let their kids fend for themselves

      Scientists reveal that some people are born with a nurturing gene
      Specific regions of the brain are tied to different behaviors, such as hugging
      Previous research had linked good parenting to experiences growing up

      By Mary Kekatos For

      Still, sending a monthly check isn't so much to ask)

    6. Bob, it was an honorable thing for Jack to not support his daughter. It took great courage to admit that he was and is a toxic influence and we should all praise him for not having anything to do with her.

      Please do not chide Jack for his actions, they were in fact the most positive thing he has done in 30 years...

      Think of the child NOT having him in her life...

      Now that's a blessing.


  17. The American fascist would prefer not to use violence. His method is to poison the channels of public information.

    With a fascist the problem is never how best to present the truth to the public but how best to use the news to deceive the public into giving the fascist and his group more money or more power.”

    ― Henry A. Wallace

    1. Jack, it's sad that your only appearance here is to try (and fail) to slander Bob.

      What that tells us is more about you than Bob..

    2. No slander, "O"rdure, jusg\t quoting the racist pig.

      You know the one, Robert "Draft dodger" Peterson.

      The fellow that would send US soldiers, salors, airmen and Marines of to Iraq, to defend the clit clipping Kurds.
      Islamists he adores ...

      Like the Israeli government, Robert "Draft Dodger" Peterson would prefer the Islamic State taking power in Syria.

      He is totally worthy of the contempt he enjoys, here at the Elephant Bar.

    3. But Jack, you of all people should not throw stones as you have a slanderous, libelous and specious history here at the blog.

      You have stalked, lied, threatened me. To the point I had to report you to the AZ FBI...




  18. Here's a goody..

    Venezuela’s support for Palestine is a salient feature of its foreign policy and the latest agreements between the two countries will only deepen this co-operation, writes MATT WILLGRESS for the Morning Star

    Now this is from a few years ago, but as Venezuela goes down the toilet? I must give a little cheer....

    Up yours Venezuela

  19. Avard winning comments:

    One of my favorites:

    "You'd be sweating more than a blind lesbian in a fish store."

  20. You are right, WiO.

    Still, a hundred dollar check a month would have provided a couple TV dinners a day.


    AK-47 ambush on Champs Elysees...
    Shooting disrupts campaigning...
    Sixth terrorist strike on capital in three years...
    Having huge impact on presidential election....DRUDGE

    Le Pen was speaking her fifteen minutes at a televised debate with all the others and was talking about moslem terrorism and the number of them on the LIST, can't recall the name of their terror list of people, at the exact same time that the terror attack by a muzz on the LIST was occurring.

    ISIS has helped Le Pen immensely.