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Belmont Club

Seventy Two Hours

October 17th, 2013 - 9:25 pm

“A Pyrrhic victory is a victory with such a devastating cost that it is tantamount to defeat. Someone who wins a Pyrrhic victory has been victorious in some way; however, the heavy toll negates any sense of achievement or profit.”

That about describes the academic achievement of Heinz Dietrich, one of the leading exponents of the Socialism of the 21st Century who is now distancing himself from the economic disaster about to overtake Venezuela, a country which conscientiously followed his advice.

The man credited with pioneering the idea of 21st Century socialism, which was championed and put into application in Venezuela under Hugo Chávez, recently made a damning condemnation of current Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro.

German sociologist and political analyst Heinz Dieterich said Maduro has a “complete inability to deal with the serious problems of the country.” He added that if the Venezuelan president doesn’t do something to rectify the economic and political problems facing his country soon, he could be out of office by April of 2014.

Foreign Policy sums up it up succinctly. “Venezuela’s economy is in an endless state of disarray.” It took Dietrich’s medicine and died.

Inflation is soaring, and basic staples are increasingly harder to find. Electricity blackouts are frequent, and crime presents an enormous problem for citizens and companies crazy enough to do business there.

The problem for Venezuelans is that their government has no clue as to what to do. …

Venezuela’s persistently high inflation has several root causes. Because of repeated elections and populist tendencies, the government continues to spend much more than it earns via taxes. Since it has few options to finance its deficit, it has been forced to devalue the currency twice this year, and this means producers – who mostly rely on imports to supply the market – are forced to pass this on to consumers.

Taming inflation would require the government to order their finances, but the administration seems reluctant to do so. For example, according to government sources, giving away gasoline for (practically) nothing costs Venezuelan taxpayers $24 billion in direct subsidies and lost revenues. This amount represents roughly a quarter of all spending included in the 2013 budget. But regardless of how dire the situation is, the government refuses to consider decreasing subsidies because it is fearful of a public backlash.

It almost sounds like Socialism in the 21st century isn’t doing too well, though doubtless Dietrich will claim the fault lies in the bumbling Venezuelans not faithfully following his program. People like him inevitably try again and again and again … Thank God this can’t happen in America.

Yet we are often advised to be careful of what we want, lest we get it. And for many years people have wanted a society where, like Julia, government takes care of you. Peak Oil has an article which describes the welfare system the Obama administration has victoriously managed to enshrine at the center of American life. Now it has the permission to expand indefinitely, via the removal of caps on the debt limit. To appreciate the magnitude of Obama’s achievement Peak Oil describes how the Food Stamp shutdown was averted.

… this past weekend when a “temporary system failure” caused food stamp cards to stop working in 17 U.S. states. Within hours, there were “mini-riots” at Wal-Marts and other retailers that rely heavily on food stamp users … if Congress had not pushed through a “deal”, the USDA would have started cutting off food stamp benefits on November 1st …

According to Reuters, the state of North Carolina had already cut off some welfare benefits for the month of November … And as Mac Slavo recently detailed, the USDA was already planning to cut off food stamp assistance to millions of Americans on November 1st … It may not happen this month, or even this year, but food stamp riots are coming to America.

But riots won’t come … if the Food Stamps can be kept flowing without interruption. Welfare is the oxygen of social peace.  With it everything seems fine. Without it, asphyxiation begins almost immediately.

The transition between apparent normalcy and desperation is abrupt because, as Mike Adams writing in Natural News explains, welfare dependents have no financial or logistical reserves to speak of. Poor people live from welfare check to welfare check. The system has to keep on going. If money runs out then government has to borrow. Anything is possible except stopping the flow. Once the trickle halts then there’s literally nothing to eat, not even the possibility of foraging or growing supplementary food, a fallback which was long mankind’s strategy when facing hard times.

Today’s urban welfare recipient lives in a concrete jungle and the only place to get comestibles is the Store. They live in high rise buildings where the only way up or down for the weak is electrically powered elevators. They exist in concrete boxes where the only lifeline is the Obamaphone.  In some ways urban welfare America is less resilient than the rural Third World. Adams says there are 50 million holders of EBT cards. Imagine their predicament if the EBT system went suddenly dark.

Fifty million. Consider that for a moment. Most of those 50 million people live in high-density cities. Many are proud owners of Obama phones, Obama food stamps, Obama unemployment checks and Obama subsidized housing. They have absolutely no clue that the government upon which they wholly depend to put food on the table is teetering on the verge of permanent collapse. (Seriously, they cannot conceive of the idea of government “running out of money” because they do not understand where money comes from.) Because of this distorted belief, they do not prepare for any future events other than more Obama handouts. Their entire “preparedness” plan is to vote for Democrats, because that’s who they know will give them the most handouts. And they will always win the popular vote, too, because any politician promising to restore responsible fiscal spending to the government by cutting programs will be viciously accused of being “mean” or involved in “hating poor people.” So the government handouts will only ratchet higher and higher, ensnaring more and more people, until the entire system is unsustainable and collapses under its own weight.

When that system of dependence fails, those who depend on it will panic in mere hours. As proof of this, consider the fact that this mass looting of Wal-Mart stores happened in less than three hours after the Saturday EBT card glitch struck. Police had to be called in to prevent the situation from getting completely out of control, and it was offline for only part of one day.

Now imagine what will happen when EBT cards go offline for 24, 48 or even 72 hours. And imagine it happening in every U.S. city simultaneously.

Clearly life at the very bottom can be precarious. According to Bloomberg times have been so hard there’s a resurgence in the practice of selling hair or breast-milk for cash, a trade more evocative of Les Miserables or Charles Dickens than of the Land of Hope and Change. Although the prevalence of such extreme levels of desperation may be questionable, no one can doubt the lack of lack of staying power among the poor. Certainly not the the Left , which has long claimed civilization was on the brink of disaster from Global Warming.  As one British politician memorably put it our modern civilization was “nine meals from anarchy”, seventy two hours from chaos.

But while Global Warming remains a hypothetical, a fragility of  society on welfare is not. Everything — everything — depends on the government pump. The dependents are never more than 3 days from the edge of the cliff.  The need to reopen the spending valves before the crunch came was in part due to the need to keep that fragile segment from freaking out. It’s a single point of failure system, and the necessity for keeping the federal government open was predicated precisely that on that very weakness.

The system has been saved, but only at the price of continuously expanding the dependency. Obama owns Hope and Change the way Dietrich owns Socialism in the 21st Century. It creates the conditions for its own perpetuation.  A system of entitlements becomes a proxy for the entire system of governance and cannot conceivably be circumscribed without risking the start of the seventy two hour countdown clock after which legitimacy expires.

Pyrrus, the ancient king after whom hollow victories have ever since been named complained that “one more such victory would utterly undo him.” He was smart. Today’s politicians in Washington are hankering after even more such victories. They are already working on Immigration Reform.

Did you know that you can purchase some of these books and pamphlets by Richard Fernandez and share them with you friends? They will receive a link in their email and it will automatically give them access to a Kindle reader on their smartphone, computer or even as a web-readable document.

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Top Rated Comments   
Hmmmm...a more conspiratorially minded person might think the EBT glitch might have not occurred by accident.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Maduro is an incompetent clod. Chavez was an incompetent thug. Obama is a malevolent thug. Socialism is served, whether for well or ill depending on your goals, by people like these. Dietrich can protest that all he needs are honest selfless intelligent and wise politicians to make his system work. All that Communism needs is real Communists, a Vanguard to organize it.

There are two problems with this, the Leaders and the Lead. Why are the Leaders almost always of such low caliber? The number of truly wise intelligent decent honest people who have risen to positions of authority through politics is astonishingly small. Decent people sometimes get into local politics. They try to get the garbage picked up and advertise their community as a nice place to live and work and open a business. There are such people on a local level. For example it seems that Marty Markowitz in Brooklyn serves as a Booster/Advocate/Ombudsman.

While Tip O'Neil said "All politics is local" the nature of micro and macro level politics may be as different as Newton's and Einstein's Physics. Power attracts people like Obama Chavez and Maduro. It is the nature of the beast. Partly this is because the Leaders are not parachuted in by Divine agency. They arose from the masses, and usually from the least stable and productive segments of society with nothing better to do. To an extent authoritarian and impoverished societies may have an advantage in that they lack the alternative career paths that productive societies provide. If you have talent and ambition and your only choices are the military and religion then you will go into those fields and they will provide the pool from which politicians arise. In a free society someone with talent may be less likely to go into politics.

Even under the theory Communism would not work until the masses as well as the Vanguard are virtuous. How to change human nature to instill Virtue? The answer has always been the one found by Robespierre. The tool is Terror. Not only is it horrible but it does not work. After breaking the eggs you not only do not get an omelet but you have no more chickens.

The problem with Socialism is not only the nature of the Leaders and the Lead. Dietrich is wrong. Socialism does not work and cannot work because by eliminating the market it destroys information. Without market information, and there is no way that any agency no matter how wise and selfless can substitute for it, resources cannot be properly allocated.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I have no doubt that the mini EBT "glitch" plus the letter from USDA directing states to shut off EBT on 1 Nov 2013 was the gun at the heads of the very few recalcitrant Republicans that made them get along to go along. I'll give him this; as a negotiator, Buraq may be a bit transparent and have no poker face, but the trump card that he has going for him is that he is one spiteful bastard. He has shown no qualms about being ready to torch the MFer to the ground to get what he wants. Maybe that old Joker poster was a bit more prescient than we first thought.

What a sick parody, that we live in a world where the EBT, not spice, must flow in order to maintain cultural order.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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-- quote == “adherence to rigid time schedules,” and the belief that “hard work is the key to success” as traits of the dominant white culture. --

Having actually lived for a while among third-world subsistence farmers, I'm here to tell you: Yes, there are times of kicking back and taking it easy do come occasionally (at least in the agricultural paradise that is southwestern South Sudan, where the growing season is long, droughts are rare, and a single field can provide two crops of peanuts or three crops of corn in one growing season), overall it's an awful lot of work providing for yourself and your family in this way. And as far as time orientation goes, while you may not watch the clock like a westerner, if you don't up and plant when it's time to plant, or --even more time-critical--harvest your termites when they're massed ready to migrate to a new mound, you've missed the opportunity for an entire year.

In other words, the non-Westerners I'm personally most familiar with definitely have a finely tuned sense of xairos even if xronos is mostly observed in the breach.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"Hearing the roar of the federal government coming to life. Our WH crew tells us NPS employees are back w their leaf blowers."

So tweeted Jim Acosta of CNN.

I heard the the Federal debt increased 328 billion dollars in one day. I think it was the roar of the money blowers Mr. Acosta heard. I supposes there were some whoops and hollers in there, too.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"Welfare is the oxygen of social peace."

I would say that Welfare is the Opium of social peace, not the oxygen. Keep 'em doped up on crack food and they don't care who runs the country...
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment

I have often thought I am doomed to live to be 115, spending my advanced middle age living in a declining socialist paradise. I was too optimistic. The decline is here already, and Paradise is just around the corner. Right now I’d take any kind of victory, no matter how Pyrrhic.

When a victory is Pyrrhic
Then the music can’t be lyric
For the notes sound hollow in a minor chord
But the question’s who’s the loser
Not Obama then the Cruzer
Who drove the train with no one else aboard
I suspect we know the answer
It’s that artful Senate dancer
Mitch McConnell who got something for his State
Got some pork and got some gravy
‘Nuff to float Kentucky’s navy
Now the voters plan on giving him the gate
Yes Obama won the battle
Paid no mind to Repubs prattle
There was nothing Pyrrhic ‘bout the whole affair
The Obama State is here and
We have nothing left to fear and
We’ll just all relax and love Obamacare

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Adding 30 million newly legal aliens to the EBT rolls will certainly make things better.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Let's try secret incantations in an unintelligible language.

Assume you work for Lukoil and need a valve with a GOST passport for Russia.

Who you gonna call? Ghostbusters?

Winter is coming, anybody got some matches? Look at what Jeff Probst gets for a few.

This is like shooting fish in a barrel.

Heidi Strobel ring a bell?

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Socialist ideologues never take responsibility for the disaster that invariable result from the adoption of socialism.
They always whine about it not being implemented properly, never admitting that it can never be implemented successfully, because it's a harebrained theory of a bum named Marx, who spent his days in the reading room of the British Museum, instead of supporting his own family.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
For the last Year, every time I got my Obama Food, I bought a pound of chocolate and a pound of coffee beans, they should fetch a pretty"penny"
I look for value in the odd places, I guess,
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
People who live near food sources (grocery stores, variety retailers like Wal Mart and such) will be the second targets from the food rioters who, after ransacking or being driven away from the stores, will likely start attacking the nearest residences. Be warned, and prepare.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
America is the Saudi Arabia of cellulite. Food riots rank somewhere below an alien invasion on the scale of likely occurrences.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
At any given moment, there is ~30 days worth of food and other consumables in the US distribution pipeline.

There are a LOT of people out there who hate us.

Some of them are friends with countries who know how to build EMP devices.

A barge running up the Mississippi could fairly easily launch a missile straight up and detonate an EMP device directly above Kansas, burning out everything from electrical substations to cars TO FOOD TRUCKS to locomotives to even cell phones from sea to shining sea, if the EMP charge is big enough and placed well enough.

Fat people do in fact have the ability to become skinny people in an alarmingly short time frame under the right conditions.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
How many of us have more than a two week supply of food and water in our homes? How many have had conversations with the other families on our block to assess their value in a crisis? How many of us have a stockpile of necessary medications to tide us over in case of a supply chain problem?

Self-reliance and micro-alliances first, lead second, gold and silver third.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Well, we have at least a 30 day supply of food. It'll be boring; we'll be eating chili and beans when we are not eating beans without chili or chili without beans. And we might use my breadmaker as well, and usually have at least a couple of weeks supply of cereals. I have a 17,000 gal fresh water tank in the backyard; it's been cleverly disguised as a swimming pool. I have a substantial supply of chlorine on hand as well.

There are a number of local (half mile or less) fruit groves and a beekeeper that sells honey.

I have an gasoline powered generator and plan to upgrade to a larger one in the near future. I have considerable short, medium, and long range communcations capability indepedent of commercial networks. I have talked as far as Poland via HF SSB radio. The antennas are not obvious.

I have guns and ammo, multiple calibers, and a night vision scope. I can arm my immediate neighbors, even if they do not have firearms of their own, although some certainly do. We live on a pennisula on an island and unless the opposing force is truly amphibious, the neighborhood gators will eat well. And I suppose we can eat the gators if need be. There's also a lot of fishing potential and a small marina less than a mile away.

The friends I hang out with are almost all Vietnam combat veterans and we all are pilots and have aircraft.

A group of thugs will be dead meat, even if they are armed. Our problem is going to be the genuine decent refugees - and I think that will be the main problem everywhere.
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1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Toilet paper. Never forget to have a year's supply of toilet paper, man. Maybe two. On that score, you truly cannot be too safe.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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