The people of Venezuela are having a bit of trouble believing President Hugo Chavez when he says that food cards won’t be used for rationing. Their skepticism is anything but irrational. Over the past year there have been reports of water rationing, electricity rationing, a media takeover, dietary demands, a currency devaluation, even the implementation of socialist communes which, according to a www.reuters.com article back in July, “Chavez and his supporters want to extend across the nation in a political and legislative offensive to dismantle ‘bourgeois’ capitalism.”
According to a www.miamiherald.com article from Friday, Chavez has dubbed the card the “Good Life Card.” He claimed on government run television that it is intended for Venezuelans to “purchase what you are going to take and they keep deducting. It’s to buy what you need, not to promote communism, but to buy what just what you need.” It does, however, smack of socialism, which is maybe one step away from communism. Many Venezuelans see it as being very similar to Cuba’s food card, which is used for rationing. And since Cuba’s Fidel Castro has basically been a mentor to Chavez, that adds to the deep concern of Venezuelan citizens.
The funny thing is that back in July, when he was working especially diligently on that nationwide commune move, he claimed “We’re headed for socialism here. I haven’t deceived anyone.” He then proceeded to bash some Roman Catholic bishops who were bold enough to call the proverbial duck a duck, claiming that the commune program was “troglodyte” and “fascist” in nature. Many citizens feel that the communes are intended to reduce and even eradicate private property and home ownership.
After about 11 years into his iron fisted rule, Venezuelans are experiencing an economy that has contracted about 5.8 percent and some stubbornly high and consistent inflation, which was annualized at a rate of about 31 percent in June.
Besides the communes, Chavez also decided to nationalize a fleet of oil rigs that belonged to the US company Helmerich and Payne back in June, according to another Reuters article. It was claimed that the takeover would assist Venezuela with its “struggles with lower oil output and a recession.” The article went on to mention that “Chavez has made energy nationalization the linchpin in his ‘revolution’. He has also taken over assets in telecommunications, power, steel and banking.” Is this all sounding familiar or what?
Cap and trade could be called the “linchpin” in nationalizing US energy, and there has already been a takeover of our banking industry (think bailouts), housing industry (think Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) and a move to attempt an internet takeover via the FCC. House Republican Leader John Boehner told www.thehill.com back in May that “Under this job-killing big government scheme, the Obama administration is seeking to expand the power of the federal government.” And don’t forget the bill in which the FTC would be used to slap a tax on internet websites for the purpose of “remaking” journalism and “redistributing the funds collected to various (financially troubled) newspapers,” according to a June www.washingtontimes.com article.
With more people in the US unemployed and on food stamps than at any time since the Great Depression of the 1930s, which is causing a financial strain on the economy that led to food stamp benefits recently being cut for the sake of helping financially troubled states to remain solvent, combined with the “Let’s Move” initiative and the reduction of the world wheat crop due to Russia’s wildfires, one has to wonder if the US may also be headed in the eventual direction of food rationing. By the way, Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah is pushing for a “federal legislation requiring people seeking welfare or unemployment benefits to pass a drug test,” according to a www.upi.com article from June.
Another interesting development that was reported in July by www.onenewsnow.com is that some US cities are implementing zoning restrictions that are making it more difficult for volunteer organizations to assist with “the needs of the homeless at public sites or their own facilities, such as churches.” Civil rights director Tulin Ozdeger detailed that the zoning restrictions range “from limiting the number of people who can be served at a given time, to using zoning laws to prevent local churches form serving food out of their facilities, to just flat-out prohibitions on sharing food in certain locations.” She made an interesting observation in that there seem to be some “people (who) seem to be telling local governments to send the homeless to some neighborhood other than their own.”
Jaime Suchlicki, director of the University of Miami’s Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American studies told the Miami Herald that when people depend on the government to eat, there is nothing that gives it more power than having people depend on it to get their food quota.
But the issue may be more international than anyone realizes. Back in July, a www.nytimes.com article noted that “there is another gathering threat that has not garnered as much notice (as the European debacle): the trillions of dollars in short-term borrowing that institutions around the world must repay or roll over in the next two years. Economist Richard Barwell referred to it as “a cliff we are racing toward.” The article goes on to state that “Banks worldwide owe nearly $5 trillion to bondholders and other creditors that will come due through 2012, according to estimates by the Bank for International Settlements. About $2.6 trillion of the liabilities are in Europe.”
“U.S. banks must refinance about $1.3 trillion through 2012.” So there’s that financial disaster that Senator Chris Dodd apparently thought he may have helped to divert with the Wall Street bill that he penned and that Congress voted for and Obama recently signed into law. You know, the one whereby Dodd, with tears on his eyes upon its emergence said it was a, “great moment” and, “no one will know until this is actually in place how it works.” And he followed that up a few weeks later with his rhetoric that, “it will take the next economic crisis, as certainly it will come, to determine whether or not the provisions of this bill will actually provide this generation or the next generation of regulators with the tools necessary to minimize the effects of that crisis.”
The one hope for America outside of some serious prayer and an act of God’s mercy and grace is that November is coming. If “We the people” choose godly leaders who have this nation’s future survival and prospering at heart, we have a fighting chance to be represented by leaders who will repeal the destructive policies that have oozed out of Washington. And then in 2012, we can vote for a president who is truly interested in repairing and growing the messed up economy; as well as putting Americans back to work in real private sector jobs and encouraging free markets.