Monday, June 21, 2010

Life Trying Really Hard to Imitate Art

The story below is the face of things to come...
Mountains of rotting food found at a government warehouse, soaring prices and soldiers raiding wholesalers accused of hoarding: Food supply is the latest battle in President Hugo Chavez's socialist revolution.

Venezuelan army soldiers swept through the working class, pro-Chavez neighborhood of Catia in Caracas last week, seizing 120 tons of rice along with coffee and powdered milk that officials said was to be sold above regulated prices.

...Critics accuse him of steering the country toward a communist dictatorship and say he is destroying the private sector.

They point to 80,000 tons of rotting food found in warehouses belonging to the government as evidence the state is a poor and corrupt administrator.
...unless Obama, the Democrats, and a good number of Republicans are booted out of office.  To borrow a favorite Obama phrase, that's whose "ass we have to kick".  But you can substitute almost any "commodity" for "food".   Under National Health Care that could be mountains of decaying medical equipment and soldiers raiding private health clinics, seizing "essential" drugs and arresting doctors who charge more than than the Health Czars allow.

Recall a previous post of mine:
Life imitates art: Hugo Chavez just got through nationalizing the Venezuelan metals industries. If you want to see the full scope of this imitation, google "chavez nationalizes", and you'll get a frightening crystal ball into the course of the United States under Comrade Barack. Here is how it looks:
Chavez nationalizes French-owned retailer
Chavez seizes U.S. food giant unit
Chavez Nationalizes University
Chavez nationalizes Venezuela's iron-makers
Chavez nationalizes Bauxite producers
Chávez Nationalizes Oil Service Companies
Chavez Nationalizes Bank of Venezuela
Chavez nationalizes two more private banks
Chavez Nationalizes Cement Industry
Chavez may nationalize gold mines
Chavez Nationalizes Last Venezuelan Oil Fields
Chavez seizes Hilton resort
Chavez nationalizes coffee
Chavez nationalizes French Supermarket Chain
Chavez nationalizes ports, airports
Chavez nationalizes steel sector
Chavez nationalizes small shops...
There's some good material in Atlas Shrugged describing this phenomena.  But back to the original news story. I'm reminded of  how all those nationalizations led to (from Atlas):
...But thirty million dollars of subsidy money from Washington had been plowed into Project Soybean---an enormous acreage in Louisiana, where a harvest of soybeans was ripening, as advocated and organized by Emma Chalmers, for the purpose of reconditioning the dietary habits of the nation.
Ma Chalmers could be Mayor Bloomberg of New York.
Emma Chalmers, better known as Kip's Ma, was an old sociologist who had hung about Washington for years, as other women of her age and type hang about barrooms. For some reason which nobody could define, the death of her son in the tunnel catastrophe had given her in Washington an aura of martyrdom, heightened by her recent conversion to Buddhism. "The soybean is a much more sturdy, nutritious and economical plant than all the extravagant foods which our wasteful, self-indulgent diet has conditioned us to expect," Kip's Ma had said over the radio; her voice always sounded as if it were falling in drops, not of water, but of mayonnaise.

"Soybeans make an excellent substitute for bread, meat, cereals and coffee--and if all of us were compelled to adopt soybeans as our staple diet, it would solve the national food crisis and make it possible to feed more people. The greatest food for the greatest number--that's my slogan. At a time of desperate public need, it's our duty to sacrifice our luxurious tastes and eat our way back to prosperity by adapting ourselves to the simple, wholesome foodstuff on which the peoples of the Orient have so nobly subsisted for centuries. There's a great deal that we could learn from the peoples of the Orient."
Of course, soybeans are ubiquitous today. Making people sick and fish androgenous everywhere.
...In Minnesota, farmers were setting fire to their own farms, they were demolishing grain elevators and the homes of county officials, they were fighting along the track of the railroad, some to tear it up, some to defend it with their lives--and, with no goal to reach save violence, they were dying in the streets of gutted towns and in the silent gullies of a roadless night.

Then there was only the acrid stench of grain rotting in half-smouldering piles--a few columns of smoke rising from the plains, standing still in the air over blackened ruins--and, in an office in Pennsylvania, Hank Rearden sitting at his desk, looking at a list of men who had gone bankrupt: they were the manufacturers of farm equipment, who could not be paid and would not be able to pay him.

The harvest of soybeans did not reach the markets of the country: it had been reaped prematurely, it was moldy and unfit for consumption.
Or not so ubiquitous, before long.  I'm not say we're near this stage;  I'm saying that if Obama gets his way, we will be, eventually.

Hugo Chavez Spearheads Raids as Food Prices Skyrocket

Published: Friday, 18 Jun 2010 | 5:18 PM ET
By: Reuters
Mountains of rotting food found at a government warehouse, soaring prices and soldiers raiding wholesalers accused of hoarding: Food supply is the latest battle in President Hugo Chavez's socialist revolution.
Venezuelan army soldiers swept through the working class, pro-Chavez neighborhood of Catia in Caracas last week, seizing 120 tons of rice along with coffee and powdered milk that officials said was to be sold above regulated prices.

"The battle for food is a matter of national security," said a red-shirted official from the Food Ministry, resting his arm on a pallet laden with bags of coffee.
It is also the latest issue to divide the Latin American country where Chavez has nationalized a wide swathe of the economy, he says to reverse years of exploitation of the poor.
Chavez supporters are grateful for a network of cheap state-run supermarkets and they say the raids will slow massive inflation.
Critics accuse him of steering the country toward a communist dictatorship and say he is destroying the private sector.
They point to 80,000 tons of rotting food found in warehouses belonging to the government as evidence the state is a poor and corrupt administrator.
Jose Guzman, an assistant manager at a store raided in Catia, watched with resignation as government agents pored over the company's accounts and computers after the food ministry official and the television cameras left.
"The government is pushing this type of establishment toward bankruptcy," said Guzman, who linked the raid to the rotten food scandal. "Somehow they have to replace all the food that was lost, and this is the most expeditious way."
Wasted Food
Much of the wasted food, including powdered milk and meat, was found last month in the buildup to legislative elections in September. The scandal is humiliating for Chavez, who accuses wealthy elites of fueling inflation and causing shortages of products such as meat, sugar and milk by hoarding food.
"They are not going to stop us in the plan, which is to give the people what is their right," Chavez said Friday during the inauguration of a supermarket chain the government bought this year from French retailer Casino.
Food prices are up 41 percent in the last 12 months during a deep recession, government figures show, despite the government's growing network of state-run supermarkets that sell at discounts of up to 40 percent and are popular with his poor supporters.
South America's top oil exporter, Venezuela imports about 70 percent of its food and analysts say the economic hardships could give the opposition a boost at the ballot box—although most expect Chavez to retain a reduced parliamentary majority.
Fighting back, Chavez says he is in an economic war against the "parasitic bourgeoisie"      that tries to convince Venezuelans that socialism does not work by twisting facts and taking advantage of honest mistakes.
"They know where we are headed, we are going to take from the Venezuela bourgeoisie the hegemony of dominance in this country," Chavez, who calls himself a Marxist, said to applause from supporters on his TV show on Sunday.
The president rushed to give public support to Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez, who as the boss of PDVSA is also responsible for food unit PDVAL, over the case of the rotting food.
Two former PDVAL managers have been jailed in the scandal, but that has not stifled opposition charges of government incompetence.
A string of expropriations and buyouts of companies during the last couple of years means the government now controls between 20 percent and 30 percent of the distribution of staple foods.
"We are bringing order to prices," Trade Minister Richard Canan told Reuters during the Catia raid. "There are traders who are taking these products to the black market ... That is a crime and our government will continue to target these stores."

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