Tuesday, December 8, 2015


Two interesting developments this week related and yet unrelated.     In Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro's Socialist Party lost control of the Congress for the first time since 1999 when his predecessor Hugo Chavez, acolyte of Fidel Castro, seized power.  

In recent years Venezuela has become as basket case economy despite having some of the largest oil reserves in the world.   Inflation this year is assessed at 100% with GDP projected to shrink by 10% and a further 6% next year.   Unemployment in 2016 is projected at 18.1%. Hugo Chavez's dream of a perfect socialist utopia fell apart in a country where the middle class had to queue to buy staple foodstuffs such as milk, coffee, rice, sugar and cooking oil and where toilet paper became an unattainable luxury for many.  

The extent of the centre/right victory where they won a two-thirds majority in Congress is such that they will be able to roll back some of Maduro's controversial appointments to the judiciary and pave the way for the release of political prisoners.   Even so, the pathway back to a degree of economic normality, is likely to be long and torturous.

The Socialist's defeat in Venezuela replicated what happened in Argentina two weeks previous where there was a substantial swing to right.

And in the first round of the French regional elections held last weekend the Far Right National Front (FN) led by Marine Le Pen scored 6.019m votes against the Union of the Right (LR) led by Nicholas Sarkozy (ex President of France) with 5.785m votes beating the Socialists (PS) led by Lean Christophe Cambadellis into third place with 5.020m votes.    Many see this election as the breakthrough election for the FN.    Their vote was up 16.3%; the LR vote increased by 0.6% while that of the PS decreased by 6%.     The second round due on Saturday will see the interesting spectacle of the left throwing their collective weight behind the LR in attempting to head off the FN.   That happened in the past but many commentators are of the view that the FN's anti immigration policy coupled with the terrorist attack make the eventual outcome much more difficult to predict.

Meanwhile in the good ole US of A Donald Trump continues to defy common sense but again, and against the backdrop of their terrorist event(s), perhaps common sense is going out the window.    I cannot believe the Republicans could be so stupid to nominate a mavrick like Trump.   He's not a Republican, he's a Trump first and foremost but more importantly, he's a Clunk.   Head to head with Ms Clinton and she, with all her myriad faults, will do him like a dinner.

There is a small light on the horizon however.   The latest poll of committed Republican voters heading into the Iowa election caucus (first up in the race to nominate) has Ted Cruz now heading Trump by 5% and Rubio by 7%.  Cruz leads Trump among Evangelicals and Tea Party supporters. Men support Cruz and Trump over Rubio and Carson while women support Rubio and Cruz over Carson and Trump.   That last statistic might be telling.

I'm in Sodum tomorrow and Wellington Thursday/Friday.   Only light blogging (if any).


JC said...

Most headlines and talking heads on Trump's speech stopped at his comment of something like "No more Muslims at all" and omitted the next words (paraphrasing) "until our representatives can assure the country there is an effective vetting system in place".

That would indeed sound dreadful to a US liberal but everyone else in the sensible world would say "Who would argue with that?"

The FBI and other security authorities have told Congress in no uncertain terms they have no means of effectively vetting Syrian refugees.. that means Trump is on firm if politically incorrect grounds.

The other thing that every US citizen knows is that candidates say what they must to achieve Republican or Democrat nomination and then say what they must to achieve the Presidency.. why would Trump be any different?

If more people read "The Rooter's Alphabet" that starts with "A is the awful word he uses"... they'd understand the election process better.


Howie said...

JC has a man-crush on Trump. He can excuse the monstrous dishonesty because Trump speaks to his inner bigot (Trump says some of his best friends are Muslims though, JC can't say the same thing without lying). Or perhaps JC actually believes Trump saw thousands and thousands of Muslims celebrating in New Jersey on 9/11, because he did too. Pray tell, JC, how will your orange hero stop all Muslims travelling to the US until he can "figure out what's going on", or whatever vague qualifier he put up?

Noel said...

Gee if the FBI can't vet them how successful will the vetting be for the 750 we are taking? Quick pull up the drawbridge.

JC said...

Howie, I think he's an aggrandizing lefty in disguise bullshitter who would be a lousy President.

But second his seemingly outrageous statements on immigration and a couple of other issues are fully in line with the polls, ie, over half the country agree with his positions.

And third there's a big section of the public who are sick of career politicians and are sending the love to Trump, Carson and to a lesser extent Fiorino.. perhaps to send a message that they are sick of the lies and pussyfooting going on over issues that really concern people, and they are sick of the media that supports this.