Conditions On The Streets Of San Francisco Are Comparable To “The Slums Of Mumbai, Delhi, Mexico City, Jarkarta, And Manila.”

Once upon a time, some of the most beautiful cities in the entire world were on the west coast, but now those same cities are degenerating into drug-infested cesspools of filth and garbage right in front of our eyes.  San Francisco is known as the epicenter for our tech industry, and Los Angeles produces more entertainment than anyone else in the world, and yet both cities are making headlines all over the world for other reasons these days.  Right now, nearly a quarter of the nation’s homeless population lives in the state of California, and more are arriving with each passing day.  When you walk the streets of San Francisco or Los Angeles, you can’t help but notice the open air drug markets, the giant mountains of trash, and the discarded needles and piles of human feces that are seemingly everywhere.  If this is what things look like when the U.S. economy is still relatively stable, how bad are things going to get when the economy tanks?

In San Francisco, the homeless population has grown by 17 percent since 2017, and when a UN official recently walked the streets she was absolutely horrified by what she witnessed

When Leilani Farha paid a visit to San Francisco in January, she knew the grim reputation of the city’s homeless encampments. In her four years as the United Nations Special Rapporteur for Adequate Housing, Farha has visited the slums of Mumbai, Delhi, Mexico City, Jarkarta, and Manila. The crisis in San Francisco, she said, is comparable to these conditions.

I have never been to Mumbai, Delhi, Mexico City, Jarkarta or Manila, and so I will just have to take her word for what the conditions are like there.

But how can this be happening in one of the wealthiest cities in the entire country?

Sadly, to a large degree San Francisco has done this to itself.  Every single day drugs are openly bought and sold at “an outdoor market of sorts” right in the heart of the city, and authorities know exactly where it is happening

America’s First Third-World State.

If someone predicted half a century ago that a Los Angeles police station or indeed L.A. City Hall would be in danger of periodic, flea-borne infectious typhus outbreaks, he would have been considered unhinged. After all, the city that gave us the modern freeway system is not supposed to resemble Justinian’s sixth-century Constantinople. Yet typhus, along with outbreaks of infectious hepatitis A, are in the news on California streets.

The sidewalks of the state’s major cities are homes to piles of used needles, feces, and refuse. Hygienists warn that permissive municipal governments are setting the stage — through spiking populations of history’s banes of fleas, lice, and rats — for possible dark-age outbreaks of plague or worse.

High tech does its part not to clean the streets but to create defecation apps that electronically warn tourists and hoi polloi how to avoid walking blindly into piles of sidewalk excrement.

In Californian logic, public defecation butts up against progressive tolerance, so it is exempt from the law. Yet for a suburbanite to build a patio without a permit, for example, costs one dearly in fines. Indeed, a new patio without a permit can be deemed more dangerous to the public health than piles of excrement in the public workplace.

Record Number of African Nationals Flood Our Southern Border

In her post about the World Health Organization declaring Ebola outbreaks the “new normal,” Leslie noted that 350 people from the Congo turned up at our southern border.

It appears this was not an anomaly and that a record number of African nationals from a range of countries are arriving in America via Mexico.

Last week alone, hundreds arrived in San Antonio, Texas.

Fox News reports:

. . . . City leaders said they weren’t given a heads up and quickly scrambled to accommodate them and quickly recruit several French-speaking volunteers who could serve as translators.

“The City of San Antonio has received more than 200 individuals, mostly families and children. The families were released by the United States Customs and Border Patrol into the country with paperwork directing them to Portland, Maine,” said Interim Assistant City Manager Dr. Colleen Bridger.

The majority of them stayed at Travis Park Church, which regularly hosts asylum seekers.

“I’m not necessarily surprised…we react to changes on the border every day, we just had to figure out that process it didn’t really shake us up too much,” said Gavin Rogers, associate pastor.

It’s not just Congolese migrants arriving in alarming numbers. Border Patrol agents reported arresting more than 500 people from Africa since May 30. The group included nationals from Angola, Cameroon, the Republic of the Congo,and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The influx is creating problems for border agents who often do not speak their language and are faced with individuals with no ties in the U.S.  Additionally, there reportedly is no cause for concern about Ebola (my foot .ed).


Venezuela is the latest chapter in the long story of socialist crimes against humanity. Venezuela reminds us how long a country can circle the drain, destroyed by socialism but still hanging on by its fingernails. Reuters, a liberal news source, has the latest on Venezuela’s long goodbye, but never mentions the fact that it is socialism that destroyed what once was one of the world’s richest countries:

These days, its Caribbean shoreline flanked by forested hills receives a different type of visitor: people who walk 10 minutes from a nearby town carrying rice, plantains or bananas in hopes of exchanging them for the fishermen’s latest catch.

With bank notes made useless by hyperinflation, and no easy access to the debit card terminals widely used to conduct transactions in urban areas, residents of Patanemo rely mainly on barter.

It’s hard for those debit card terminals to keep up with 1,000,000+% inflation. At InstaPundit, Stephen Green comments: “If you think money is evil, try living on barter.”

From the peaks of the Andes to Venezuela’s sweltering southern savannahs, the collapse of basic services including power, telephone and internet has left many towns struggling to survive.

The subsistence economy stands in stark contrast to the oil boom years when abundance seeped into the most remote reaches of what was once Latin America’s richest nation.

Reuters offers no clue as to what went wrong in Venezuela, except for a vague reference to the end of the “oil boom years.” Actually, Venezuela was richest when oil was relatively cheap, as this graph of the price of crude oil since 1946 reflects:

Meanwhile, the price of crude oil has declined world-wide since the 2009 recession, but North Dakotans aren’t living in a barter economy.

In visits to three villages across Venezuela, Reuters reporters saw residents exchanging fish, coffee beans and hand-picked fruit for essentials to make ends meet in an economy that shrank 48% during the first five years of President Nicolas Maduro’s government, according to recent central bank figures.

Those “central bank figures” are way too optimistic. Venezuela’s economy has shrunk much more than 48%, as millions have fled starvation and crime to seek refuge in neighboring countries.

Residents rarely travel to nearby cities, due to a lack of public transportation, growing fuel shortages and the prohibitive cost of consumer goods.

In some regions, travel requires negotiating roads barricaded by residents looking to steal from travelers. At one such roadblock in eastern Venezuela, a Reuters witness saw a driver fire gunshots in the air to disperse a crowd.

This is the future that socialists like Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and many other Democrats want for the United States. Why? Because under socialism the government holds all power, and they are part of the government.

It’s in German, but wait. A translation follows:

00:00Notre Dame of Paris — Thoughts about the material of wood.
00:09 Good Morning ! Everyone up?
00:12 So, I’m Unikum Barock, Craftsman. I’ve never made a video, but it will all work out.
00:22 Notre Dame. Yes, wood, fire, ruined— really bad.
00:28 As a wood craftsman, a few thoughts went through my mind. For instance,
00:33 how could this happen? The news says it was a cigarette from a craftsman that
00:38 was forgotten, thrown away, then *boom*. Somehow I don’t really believe that.
00:45 That’s why I got out of my storage room, the sun is blinding a bit,
00:51 I brought out this wooden beam. It is from sometime in the 1700’s.
00:56 This thing is so dry, the only thing dryer is the wine in the wine cellar. You understand.
01:05 So we want to find out when it will start to burn.
01:18 Since I’m a non-smoker, I will take something more extreme than a cigarette.
01:25 I have here a chemical lighter cube. This way we’ll have something a bit stronger
01:33 If this doesn’t set it on fire, neither would a cigarette.
01:38 As far as I know, cigarettes go out when they aren’t being smoked
01:44 unless it is extreme windy. Then the flame would be fanned.
01:49 In a cathedral with a roof, that shouldn’t be the case.
01:55 Let’s light this thing and let it burn. I’ll do a time lapse. Be right back.
02:11 So, we’re back. Well…
02:17 The time lapse was around six minutes. As you see, you see nothing.
02:26 Quite simply, nothing happening.
02:38 Let’s see what happens with welding.
02:42 So, the second theory is that during renovation work welding caused the fire.
02:52 That’s right. So probably some of you will wonder about welding wood.
02:56 So by the way, yes, wood can be welded. Google helps.
03:00 So… and now we are going to test whether normal welding will set this beam on fire.
03:57 Well…
04:01 Even with some air circulation outside here, which usually encourages a fire,
04:07 a full welding rod attached to the beam couldn’t set it on fire.
04:17 The next test will be somewhat more extreme than a cigarette or welding.
04:26 A liquid fire igniter also known as gasoline.
04:29 I’m going to pour it into the hole made by the metal mass of the welding rod.
04:38 Technically term, metal mass. Oh well, that’s it.
05:14 So…why do we always say “so”? So, so, so.
05:19 So, OK. Conclusion: 5 minutes and 48 seconds. That’s what the timer says.
05:26 And the fire is out!
05:32 So now for another test. Without editing.
05:58 The surface has been burning for about ten minutes. I’m going to remove it.
06:13 It is, well…I’m going to clean it up and see if it is burning a bit, but I don’t think so.
06:28 It is smoking some. I’m just going to let it smoke and if a fire starts I’ll start the camera again.
06:37 So now it is out!
06:42 Even with the bit of smoke that is still visible, nothing else is going to happen.
06:47 I want to see this thing burn! Now even more extreme!
07:25 What else can I do? It is out. It goes out right away.
07:31 People. Write me. What else should I try?
07:36 Everything short of building a giant bonfire underneath it.
07:42 I don’t have explosives. Wouldn’t help.
07:46 What else should I do to get this fat beam to burn?
07:58 Well…this is the conclusion I come to. It wasn’t a cigarette.
08:05 It wasn’t caused by welding either.
08:12 And it wasn’t a little bit of gasoline either. My guess it would have to be fairly well planned.
08:21 Anyone who ever tried to start a campfire knows
08:27 in order to set a beam of wood on fire you need a quick fire at the beginning with a bit of kindling and so forth.
08:37 Or a whole lot of gasoline. Gas, gas, gas.
08:44 Or something similar.
08:48 Well, as I’ve said. Please write in the comments below what else I should try.
08:54 With the exception of… I can’t think of anything.
08:59 Oh well, forget it. Just write me and tell me how to set this fat beam on fire.
09:08 I also think the beams that were in the cathedral were even a bit thicker.
09:15 The one I have is 15cm by 15cm (6″ x 6″). Or 17cm. (6.5″) And dry as a fart.
09:22 Even with the propane blowtorch for the few minutes. I don’t remember how many,
09:26 I’ll have to look. Even a full blowtorch didn’t make it burn.
09:33 Not even gasoline, man, you saw it yourself. So.
09:37 As I’ve said, this is my first video ever, indulge me. Otherwise… otherwise what?
09:47 Give it a thumbs up or thumbs down, I don’t care.
09:51 This is just about… just a thought about… what we are being told.
10:02 That thing really burned, didn’t it?
10:06 All politics aside. Whether it was George wearing a headdress or Bernd the craftsman.
10:12 This, that or the other. Doesn’t matter. This is not the right place for that.
10:17 And now I’m going inside, and these materials as well.
10:24 As I’ve said, please share this video as you wish. Whatever you feel like doing.

The Burning of Notre Dame and the Destruction of Christian Europe

The Euro wimps are scared of offending moslems.
I’m not.

Barely an hour after the flames began to rise above Notre Dame — at a time when no explanation could be provided by anyone — the French authorities rushed to say that the fire was an “accident” and that “arson has been ruled out.” The remarks sounded like all the official statements made by the French government after attacks in France during the last decade.

The Notre Dame fire also occurred at a time when attacks against churches in France and Europe have been multiplying. More than 800 churches were attacked in France during the year 2018 alone.

Churches in France are empty. The number of priests is decreasing and the priests that are active in France are either very old or come from Africa or Latin America. The dominant religion in France is now Islam. Every year, churches are demolished to make way for parking lots or shopping centers. Mosques are being built all over, and they are full.

The fire that destroyed much of the Notre Dame Cathedral in the heart of Paris is a tragedy that is irreparable. Even if the cathedral is rebuilt, it will never be what it was before. Stained glass windows and major architectural elements have been severely damaged and the oak frame totally destroyed. The spire that rose from the cathedral was a unique piece of art. It was drawn by the architect who restored the edifice in the nineteenth century, Eugène Viollet-le-Duc, who had based his work on 12th century documents.

In addition to the fire, the water needed to extinguish the flames penetrated the limestone of the walls and façade, and weakened them, making them brittle. The roof is non-existent: the nave, the transept and the choir now lie in open air, vulnerable to bad weather. They cannot even be protected until the structure has been examined thoroughly, a task that will take weeks. Three major elements of the structure (the north transept pinion, the pinion located between the two towers and the vault) are also on the verge of collapse.

Notre Dame is more than 800 years old. It survived the turbulence of the Middle Ages, the Reign of Terror of the French Revolution, two World Wars and the Nazi occupation of Paris. It did not survive what France is becoming in the 21st century.

The cause of the fire has so far been attributed to “an accident,” “a short circuit,” and most recently “a computer glitch.”

If the fire really was an accident, it is almost impossible to explain how it started. Benjamin Mouton, Notre Dame’s former chief architect, explained that the rules were exceptionally strict and that no electric cable or appliance, and no source of heat, could be placed in the attic. He added that an extremely sophisticated alarm system was in place. The company 
that installed the scaffolding did not use any welding and specialized in this type of work. The fire broke out more than an hour after the workers’ departure and none of them was present. It spread so quickly that the firefighters who rushed to the spot as soon as they could get there were
shocked. Remi Fromont, the chief architect of the French Historical Monuments said: “The fire could not start from any element present where it started. A real calorific load is necessary to launch such a disaster”.

A long, difficult and complex investigation will be conducted.

The possibility that the fire was the result of arson cannot be dismissed. Barely an hour after the flames began to rise above Notre Dame — at a time when no explanation could be provided by anyone — the French authorities rushed to say that the fire was an “accident” and that “arson has been ruled out.” The remarks sounded like all the official statements made by the French government after attacks in France during the last decade.

In November 2015, on the night of the massacre at the Bataclan Theater in Paris, in which jihadists murdered 90 people, the French Department of the Interior said that the government did not know anything, except that a gunfight had occurred. The truth came out only after ISIS claimed responsibility for the slaughter.

In Nice, after the truck-attack in July 2016, the French government insisted for several days that the terrorist who crushed 86 people to death was a “man with a nervous breakdown“.


Venezuela’s slide to chaotic penury and violence continues. Socialist dictator Nicolas Maduro and his government ought to resign in shame, but caudillos and their cronies inevitably attempt to cling to power, no matter the suffering they inflict.

The Venezuelan people certainly suffer. In the last month, the nation with over 300 billion barrels in proven oil reserves has suffered three major electrical blackouts affecting three-quarters of the country. Even the capital, Caracas, went dark.

There’s a loss of lives as well as lights. Venezuelan sources reported that 46 hospitalized patients died as a direct result of the first blackout.

Starvation haunts Venezuela. The United Nations estimates almost 4 million Venezuelans are malnourished. Some 22 percent of Venezuela children age 5 and younger suffer from chronic malnutrition.

Lack of food and medicine is one reason over 3 million Venezuelans have fled the country. Refugees in Colombia give aid workers detailed information on conditions in Venezuela. Medieval suffering? Yes, with cellphone videos providing 21st-century evidence.

Maduro and his government had refused humanitarian aid because they deny a humanitarian crisis exists. Maduro blames Venezuela’s problems on “sabotage.” Who are the saboteurs? Neighboring Colombia, the U.S., oil companies, capitalism, etcetera.

The real blame lies with Maduro and his predecessor, former army paratrooper Hugo Chavez, founder of the so-called socialist Bolivarian Revolution. Chavista authoritarianism and the corruption and repression socialism inevitably creates crippled and impoverished what was once one of Latin America’s richest nations. The country’s daily oil production is a third of what it was in 1999. According to the International Monetary Fund, Venezuela’s inflation rate in January was 2.6 million percent.

Maduro uses food as a weapon against his own people, just like the Soviet Union did. In July 2016, Venezuela’s food shortages were so severe the military took charge of food distribution. In January 2017, the army took control of food imports.

Maduro’s supporters immediately benefitted from this militarized system. They had and still have access to food. They can also demand bribes from starving citizens in exchange for food.

Over 50 nations (the U.S. among them) recognize opposition leader Juan Guaido as Venezuela’s interim president. In January, Venezuela’s National Assembly declared Maduro’s 2018 re-election illegitimate and selected Guaido to form a new government. Guaido quickly declared the obvious: Humanitarian aid deliveries were a critical survival issue.

French Billionaires Pledge Nearly $350 Million to Rebuild Notre Dame

In what some might ascribe to a holy week miracle, the interior of Notre Dame was miraculously saved last night by the more than 400 firefighters worker to suppress a devastating fire that destroyed the roof of the 850-year-old cathedral, as well as its iconic spire. In a speech delivered shortly before midnight, French President Emmanuel Macron implored the French people to join a national fundraising campaign to repair the damage, and at least one of the country’s wealthiest men has already obliged.

French billionaire François-Henri Pinault said Monday night that he and his family would donate €100 million ($113 million) to the rebuilding effort. Pinault, who is chairman of Kerring group, the luxury goods powerhouse behind Gucci, Balenciaga and Yves Saint Laurent, said the money would come from his family’s investment firm, Artemis.

In a statement, the billionaire, who is married to actress Selma Hayek, said he hopes that the money will help the Catholic Church “completely rebuild Notre Dame.”

“My father [François Pinault] and I have decided to release as of now from the funds of Artemis a sum of 100 million euros to participate in the effort that will be necessary for the complete reconstruction of Notre Dame,” he said.

Ethiopia crash of Boeing 737 Max might be latest example of backfiring safety efforts.

“The more they overthink the plumbing, the easier it is to stop up the drain.”

As you’ve probably already heard, this is the second 737 MAX to have crashed after only being in service a short while.

Investigators have only begun sorting out this tragedy but some experts suggest that the plane’s automated safety software may have prevented the pilot from preventing the fatal plunge. If software and sensors designed to prevent crashes actually increased the risk of catastrophe, then the Boeing accidents are another reminder that safety policies can have unintended fatal consequences.

Pence on Venezuela: 5 Takeaways from VP’s Sit-Down with FOX’s Trish Regan.

1. The Trump administration fully supports interim president Juan Guaidó. Guaidó defied an order by Maduro not to leave the country in order to meet with Pence and members of the LIMA group to formulate plans going forward. Pence expressed confidence that Mr. Guaidó will continue to push for a peaceful transition to his leadership and, eventually, legitimate elections in an effort to foster freedom in the once-thriving country.

2. Sanctions, sanctions, and more sanctions: Maduro “must go.” How, you might ask? Well, more sanctions on oil companies, and encouraging more nations to recognize Mr. Guaidó as Venezuela’s legitimate president, while calling on nations supporting Maduro to rethink their positions (that’d be you, China, Russia, and Cuba). Pence also called on nations like Mexico to stand with “constitutionally-recognized” President Guaidó. He also urged:

“To the people of Venezuela: the American people stand with you, if you will stand for freedom.”

Translation: It’s clear that Pence is encouraging more Venezuelans to rise up against Maduro, who’s shown himself more than willing to turn his firepower against his own, unarmed people. (Note: Socialists like gun control; sound familiar?)

3. Why should Americans be concerned with the situation in Venezuela? Simple, asserted Pence: the threat of “narcoterrorism” spreading into the United States. What Pence didn’t mention: the spread of infectious diseases going untreated in a country where the promised “free” healthcare is virtually nonexistent. Again: Sound familiar?

4. People are starving and causing mass migration out of Venezuela. Pence promised that the Trump Administration will continue pressing to get crucial aid into the country, as well as continued economic pressure. Then, just as Pence was warning that any violence against Americans, interim president Guaidó, and innocent Venezuelans “will not be tolerated,” this news broke:


Yes, those are Venezuelan citizens rummaging through a garbage truck in search of food.

(The journalist mentioned was Univision’s Jorge Ramos, an American citizen, and his crew. Nothing to see here; move along; it was all just an orchestrated ruse by the evil, American State Department, according to a Maduro yes-man. Wink wink, nod nod.)

When asked to explain what the consequences would be, Pence wouldn’t elaborate, but

5. Everything is on the table.

President Trump “has made it clear that while we hope for a peaceful transition, we hope that the diplomatic and economic pressure and the voice of nations around the world will result in a peaceful transition. All options are on the table.”

All options. Does that include military intervention on behalf of the United States? It certainly sounds like it. That said, President Trump and his cabinet have displayed an unusual knack for diplomacy.

Trump Takes Back $1 Billion from California; Gavin Newsom Complains: ‘Political Retribution’

That is just 1 billion of around 3 1/2 billion federal bucks that were given to California for that railroad project that Gubernor Newsom just axed. Retribution my foot; Fiduciary responsibility

The Trump administration announced Tuesday that it was canceling a federal grant to California worth nearly $1 billion after Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the cancelation of the state’s high-speed rail project last week.

Newsom used his “State of the State” address Feb. 12 to cancel the San Francisco-to-Los Angeles project, saying it “would cost too much and, respectfully, would take too long” to complete.

However, he told legislators he wanted to complete the portion of the bullet train under construction in the rural Central Valley, lest the state lose federal dollars granted to California by President Barack Obama as part of the 2009 stimulus: “I am not interested in sending $3.5 billion in federal funding that was allocated to this project back to Donald Trump,” Newsom said.

Ebola BREAKOUT: 24 patients flee treatment centre sparking emergency search

This nasty viral disease has again cropped up in central Africa, where witch doctors still practice and tribal conflicts never really stop.

We had a scare 4 years ago when Ebola almost got loose here in the U.S. Except for a vaccine that actually works, but is hard to produce and almost impossible to get to all the people in the “hot zone” due to the continuing hostilities, no one seems to have done anything to increase our preparedness if we get more sick people here than we can handle.
And a doctor who’s suspected of being infected has been flown back here and is in one of the few hospitals capable of handling patients with this sort of disease.

The patients, some of whom had not yet been tested, broke out of the treatment centre in the Congolese city of Beni.

Officials have tracked three of them, but the rest remain at large, sparking a fear of the deadly disease spreading.

The attack was orchestrated by demonstrators angry at being excluded from voting in the weekend’s election.

Beni and its surrounding area has had voting cancelled by the government due to the ebola outbreak and militia violence.

The Democratic Republic of Congo’s health ministry spokeswoman Jessica Ilunga said 17 patients had already tested negative for Ebola, while seven had not yet been tested.

Indonesia’s Volatile Child of Krakatau Collapsed, but Now It’s More Explosive

ANYER, Indonesia—The volcano that unleashed a tsunami and killed more than 400 people has collapsed to about a third of its previous height and is ejecting superheated magma into the sea, magnifying the power of the eruptions and sending ash more than a mile into the air.

The volcano, called Anak Krakatau, partially collapsed in a violent spasm on Dec. 22, causing a massive landslide that sent high waves barreling toward both shores of the Sunda Strait, the narrow passage between the islands of Java and Sumatra. The volcano’s cone is now about 360 feet above sea level, Indonesian officials said Saturday, reduced from more than 1,000 feet before the collapse.

Tsunami triggered by Krakatoa eruption kills 168 people after striking Indonesia’s Sunda Strait

Yes, that Krakatoa. The other end of the island of Sumatra from the quake and tsunami that killed a 1/4 million people almost exactly 14 years ago.

At least 168 people have been killed on the Indonesian islands of Java and Sumatra when a tsunami struck areas around the Sunda Strait late on Saturday following an undersea landslide caused by a volcano.

Key points:
The tsunami was the result of an underwater landslide caused by volcanic activity
Pandeglang regency, Serang, and South Lampung were inundated with water
Indonesian authorities have said they are not aware of any foreigners affected
According to a statement by the government’s Disaster Mitigation Agency, another 745 people had been injured in the incident.

“It was caused by a combination of an undersea landslide resulting from volcanic activity on Anak Krakatoa and a tidal wave,” disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said.

Not all the affected areas have been reached and Mr Nugroho said the death toll may still rise.

At least 30 people were missing.

According to a statement from the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency, “the tsunami hit several areas of the Sunda Strait, including beaches in Pandeglang regency, Serang, and South Lampung”.

Gasoline Shortages Grip Venezuela’s Capital Ahead of Christmas.

Caracas awoke to shuttered service stations and long lines of vehicles as motorists tried to fill up their tanks before Venezuela’s extended-Christmas vacation kicks off. For the second consecutive day, honking messes of cars crawled along many of the city’s main arteries as residents thronged few remaining operational stations.

“I should be buying presents or helping to plan my sister’s wedding, but here I am stuck trying to gas-up since yesterday,” said Greiska Velasquez, a 23-year-old dentistry student, as her Chevrolet Aveo inched along a row of vehicles that stretched two blocks. “Nothing works here anymore, not even the gasoline.”

Sitting atop even more oil than Saudi Arabia, Venezuela has long sold the world’s cheapest gasoline, costing less than penny to fill up a tank.

In Venezuela, Yet Another Socialist Government Crushes Dissent
People getting starry eyed about socialism should look to Venezuela for some important warning signs.

“If you’re still getting starry eyed about socialism at this point, you should be looking to your brain scan for warning signs.”

El Nacional, one of the few remaining independent media outlets in Venezuela, ceased print publication last week after the government choked off access to paper. The newspaper earned official ire with its long opposition to socialist strongman, Hugo Chavez, and his successor, Nicolas Maduro, as their rule became increasingly totalitarian. While El Nacional plans to continue to publish online, the end of its print edition is bad news for Venezuelans who value dissenting voices and truthful information.

If there’s any silver lining it’s that Venezuela provides a valuable lesson for that rising tide of Americans who think they’ve found a shiny new toy in a system for forcibly organizing society that keeps promising utopia, but instead delivers starvation and brutality through centralized control of the economy.

El Nacional was one of the few politically independent newspapers that continued to publish despite the Maduro regime’s pressures to silence its coverage of Venezuelan reality,” the Miami Herald noted in its report on the newspaper’s difficulties.

Venezuela’s socialist regime has been tightening the screws on journalists and critics for years, using law, regulation, and pure brute force to silence anybody who might oppose or merely embarrass rulers.

“For more than a decade, the government has expanded and abused its power to regulate media and has worked aggressively to reduce the number of dissenting media outlets,” Human Rights Watch reports about conditions in the country. “Existing laws grant the government power to suspend or revoke concessions to private media if ‘convenient for the interests of the nation,’ allow for arbitrary suspension of websites for the vaguely defined offense of ‘incitement,’ and criminalize expression of ‘disrespect’ for high government officials.”

That yet another socialist government seems unable to tolerate criticism should surprise absolutely nobody. Collectivist societies emphasize the group, and those who would lead the group deeply resent those who would stand apart.

Venezuela creditors demand payment on defaulted $1.5 billion bond.

Beginning of the state collapse.

President Nicolas Maduro’s government and state-owned companies owe nearly $8 billion in unpaid interest and principal following this year’s default on bonds amid a hyperinflationary collapse of the country’s once-wealthy socialist economy.

Five investment funds have demanded that Venezuela pay the principal and outstanding interest on its 2034 bond VE018389347=, said Mark Stancil of Washington-based law firm Robbins Russell, who represents the group. It is the first step in a potential legal campaign by creditors to recover their investments.

The decision could trigger similar efforts by investors holding $60 billion in outstanding bonds issued by Venezuela and state oil company PDVSA. That could pave the way for a creditor dispute similar to the one that roiled Argentina for a decade.

Venezuelans regret 2012 gun ban
‘Declaration of war against an unarmed population’

Only to a certain extent can I sympathize with the Venezuelans in their predicament. They fell for the promise of ‘free stuff’. They voted in socialist scum, and are suffering the consequences of their greed and ignorance of history after they willingly put up with being disarmed. (I don’t care what law is passed. People stupidly obey such disarmament idiocy, or neglect to provide ‘alternatives’, at their own considerable peril, case in point)

Either they’ll rise to the occasion and, at great cost, regain their freedoms, or they won’t. The U.S. and other nations can provide assistance, or not, but it’s up to the people of Venezuela, not any other people, to do this, or they can sit and whine.

CUCUTA, Venezuela/Colombia border – As Venezuela continues to crumble under the socialist dictatorship of President Nicolas Maduro, some are expressing words of warning – and resentment – against a six-year-old gun control bill that stripped citizens of their weapons.

“Guns would have served as a vital pillar to remaining a free people, or at least able to put up a fight,” Javier Vanegas, 28, a Venezuelan teacher of English now exiled in Ecuador, told Fox News. “The government security forces, at the beginning of this debacle, knew they had no real opposition to their force. Once things were this bad, it was a clear declaration of war against an unarmed population.”

Under the direction of then-President Hugo Chavez, the Venezuelan National Assembly in 2012 enacted the “Control of Arms, Munitions and Disarmament Law,” with the explicit aim to “disarm all citizens.” The law took effect in 2013, with only minimal pushback from some pro-democracy opposition figures, banned the legal commercial sale of guns and munitions to all – except government entities.

Chavez initially ran a months-long amnesty program encouraging Venezuelans to trade their arms for electrical goods. That year, there were only 37 recorded voluntary gun surrenders, while the majority of seizures – more than 12,500 – were by force.

In 2014, with Nicolás Maduro at the helm following Chavez’s death but carrying through his socialist “Chavista” policies, the government invested more than $47 million enforcing the gun ban – which has since included grandiose displays of public weapons demolitions in the town square.

A former gun store owner inside Venezuela – who told Fox News he has now been relegated to only selling fishing supplies since the ban – said he can’t sell any type of weaponry – even a slingshot – and underscored that even BB ammunition and airsoft guns are only issued to police and military officers.

The punishment for illicit carrying or selling a weapon now is 20 years behind bars……

“Venezuelans didn’t care enough about it. The idea of having the means to protect your home was seen as only needed out in the fields. People never would have believed they needed to defend themselves against the government,” Vanegas explained. “Venezuelans evolved to always hope that our government would be non-tyrannical, non-violator of human rights, and would always have a good enough control of criminality.”

He said it didn’t take long for such a wide-eyed public perception to fall apart. “If guns had been a stronger part of our culture, if there had been a sense of duty for one to protect their individual rights, and as a show of force against a government power – and had legal carry been a common thing – it would have made a huge difference,” he lamented.

Since April 2017, almost 200 pro-democracy protesters in Venezuela – armed mostly with stones – were shot dead by government forces in brutal retaliation to their call to end the oppressive socialist regime. The once oil-wealthy nation has continued its downward spiral into financial ruin, extreme violence, and mass human rights violations. An estimated three million Venezuelans have been forced to flee since 2015.

“Venezuela shows the deadly peril when citizens are deprived of the means of resisting the depredations of a criminal government,” said David Kopel, a policy analyst, and research director at the Independence Institute and adjunct professor of Advanced Constitutional Law at Denver University. “The Venezuelan rulers – like their Cuban masters – apparently viewed citizen possession of arms as a potential danger to a permanent communist monopoly of power.”

Brazil makes official intervention in state bordering Venezuela.

Brazilian President Michel Temer has signed a decree making official a federal “intervention” in the state of Roraima which borders Venezuela, the government’s official newspaper said on Monday.

Waves of Venezuelan migrants have entered the border area in recent months, seeking refuge from poverty and hunger in the neighboring country. The thousands of refugees are straining public services and the state’s finances.

Update: Camp Fire death toll rises to 71, those unaccounted for surpass 1,000

CHICO — As people driven homeless by the Camp Fire were facing the specter of having to move out of a refuge encampment this weekend, authorities announced Friday evening that the number of people who perished in the state’s deadliest fire has now reached 71 and those still unaccounted for have surpassed 1,000.

That’s more than double the number from the second-deadliest wildfire in California history — the 1933 Griffith Park fire in Los Angeles — and could soon be triple the 25 people who died in the Oakland Hills firestorm in 1991.

Of the eight additional victims revealed Friday, seven were found in Paradise inside structures and one in Magalia, also inside a structure. Authorities also have released the names of two more fire victims — bringing the total number of officially identified victims to five — Paula Dodge, 70, and Randall Dodge, 68, both Paradise residents.

The official number of unaccounted for people announced Friday was 1,011, an increase of 380 from Thursday, even after officials cleared 329 people from their missing-persons rolls. Sheriff Kory Honea said the list continues to be culled from calls, emails and other data mined from callers in the initial hours of the fire and may contain duplicate entries.

“It’s easy for them to lose contact with each other,” Honea said, referring to people scattered across the state reporting their friends and relatives missing. “That adds to the difficulty.”

Along the fire lines, the historically destructive blaze has burned 146,000 acres and destroyed 9,700 homes and 2,563 other structures, according to Cal Fire. On a hopeful note, half of the fire is now contained.

Meanwhile, this news organization’s review of firefighter radio transmissions indicates a possible “second start” of the Camp Fire — currently being investigated by Cal Fire — was caught on a firewatch camera near the Concow reservoir, about a half-hour after the first flames were reported about five miles northeast near Poe Dam and Pulga.

To date, 47,200 people remain evacuated, and 1,164 were staying in evacuation and emergency shelters, authorities said.

California fire death toll rises to 63, more than 600 people still missing

The search for victims of a catastrophic blaze that reduced a northern California town to ashes intensified on thursday and authorities said the list of those reported missing had expanded to more than 600 in the deadliest wildfire in California history.

At least 63 people have been confirmed dead so far in the Camp Fire, which rupted a week ago in the drought-parched Sierra foothills 175 miles north of San Francisco and now ranks as one of the most lethal single U.S. wildfires since the turn of the last century.