Category Archives: Insanity

Middle-class Venezuelans liquidate savings to stockpile food

Ain’t socialism grand?

Typical grocery story in Venezuela

Typical grocery story in Venezuela

From Yahoo: Tebie Gonzalez and Ramiro Ramirez still have their sleek apartment, a fridge covered with souvenir magnets from vacations abroad, and closets full of name brand clothes. But they feel hunger drawing near.

So when the Venezuelan government opened the long-closed border with Colombia this weekend, the couple decided to drain what remained of the savings they put away before the country spun into economic crisis and stock up on food. They left their two young sons with relatives and joined more than 100,000 other Venezuelans trudging across what Colombian officials are calling a “humanitarian corridor” to buy as many basic goods as possible.

“This is money we had been saving for an emergency, and this is an emergency,” Ramirez said. “It’s scary to spend it, but we’re finding less food each day and we need to prepare for what’s coming.”

Gonzalez, 36, earns several times the minimum wage with her job as a sales manager for a chain of furniture stores in the western mountain town of San Cristobal. But lately, her salary is no match for Venezuela’s 700 percent inflation. Ramirez’s auto parts shop went bust after President Nicolas Maduro closed the border with Colombia a year ago, citing uncontrolled smuggling, and cut off the region’s best avenue for imported goods.

The couple stopped eating out this year, abandoned plans to buy a house and put a “for sale” sign on their second car. There is no more sugar for coffee, no more butter for bread and no more infant formula for their 1-year-old son.

When Ramirez, 37, went to get a late night snack on Friday, he found nothing in the refrigerator. So Sunday, the couple donned their nicest clothes and hid fat wads of bills in their bags. Before heading to the border, they surveyed the stocks in their renovated granite kitchen: An inch of vegetable oil at the bottom of a plastic jug. A single package of flour. Some leftover cooked rice. No coffee.

Then they set off in a 2011 Jeep SUV onto bandit-plagued highways, the lights of hillside shantytowns glinting in the blue darkness like stars.

At the crossing, scowling soldiers with automatic weapons patrolled a line that wrapped around more than a dozen blocks. The couple considered turning back. But within minutes, people started shouting that immigration officials were waving everyone through, and the line broke into a stampede.

A mad dash to Columbia

A mad dash to Columbia

Gonzalez and Ramirez ran with thousands of others toward a bridge barely wide enough for two cars to pass. Soon, it was packed as tightly as a rush-hour subway train. Some people cradled newborns, others toted dogs as they headed to a new life in Colombia. Most carried suitcases and backpacks to fill with groceries.

The couple held hands to stop the crowd from pushing them apart. Two hours passed. People sang the national anthem. Gonzalez’s feet ached in Tommy Hilfiger wedge heels. People who couldn’t stand the claustrophobia and heat doubled back to try to swim across the river, but soldiers stopped them.

At last, the Colombian flags came into view. Soon, the bridge opened out onto a road lined with officials waving, cheering, even doling out cake. No one checked ID cards. Beyond the reception line, folk music played and kiosks sold products that have become treasures in Venezuela: rice, toothpaste, detergent, and sacks of sugar.

Gonzalez was crying behind her oversized aviator glasses. “I thought the crossing would be easier. It made me feel so humiliated, like I was an animal; a refugee,” she said.

“But look how different things are on this side. It’s like Disneyland,” responded Ramirez. Not only was the town filled with prized groceries, but everything was much cheaper than on Venezuelan black market, now the only alternative for people who don’t have time to spend in the hours-long lines for scarce goods that have become the most salient feature of the oil country’s economic crisis.

They changed their Venezuelan money into Colombian currency at a mall, where Gonzalez luxuriated in the clean, air-conditioned space as she window-shopped for watches and handbags.

As she browsed past the shoes, a TV report flashed on the store television: It was an aerial shot of the bridge she had crossed over, crammed with people. “Humanitarian crisis,” the headline said. “Oh no,” Gonzalez whispered.

Other shoppers were indignant. “That isn’t Venezuela. That isn’t us,” said a woman who was looking at sneakers. Gonzalez crossed herself and left. It was time to go food shopping and get home.

The variety at the mall supermarket felt unreal after so many months of scrounging in near-empty stores. The couple debated over the best baby toothpaste. Gonzalez ran her hand over seven varieties of shampoo. She examined each option in an aisle of pasta.

But while things were cheaper than in shortage-hit Venezuela, they were pricier than they had expected. They decided to skip the flour and sugar, instead choosing seven packages of the cheapest pasta. They went for cloudy off-brand cooking oil instead of the more expensive canola. Every price was checked and rechecked as the couple spent three hours deciding how to allocate their emergency fund. “It’s more expensive than we had hoped, but what matters is that it’s available at all,” Ramirez said.

Other Venezuelans in the store — teachers, small business owners and office workers — pored over prices and reluctantly put things back.

In the end, the couple bought enough food to fill two suitcases and a duffel bag, then slipped into the stream of exhausted shoppers filing back to Venezuela. Colombian officials said Monday there would be no more one-day border openings.

Colombian soldiers shook hands with the departing Venezuelans and wished them well. But the kindness didn’t lift the shoppers’ spirits the same way it had when they entered Colombia hours earlier. At home, Ramirez and Gonzalez stacked their hard-won supplies into gleaming white pantry cabinets. They still looked pretty bare.

Venezuelans line up in state-run supermarket

Venezuelans line up in state-run supermarket

See also:

 

DCG

Tenor who sang ‘all lives matter’ during the Canadian national anthem is suspended from quartet

all lives matter song

From Daily Mail: A Canadian singer has been suspended from an operatic vocal group after he changed the lyrics to his country’s anthem and held up a sign reading ‘All Lives Matter’ during a pre-game performance at Tuesday night’s MLB All-Star Game.

Remigio Pereira and the rest of The Tenors quartet were singing ‘O Canada’ with at San Diego’s Petco Park when he made the controversial statement that outraged supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement.

The other members of The Tenors apologized and distanced themselves from Pereira, calling him a ‘lone wolf’ and announcing he will not be performing with them ‘until further notice’.

It appears his days with the group may be numbered, with one member suggesting he will not return. ‘I don’t think we can see ourselves performing with Remigio again,’ said group member Fraser Walters in an interview with CBC News.

Walters said he was sorry the anthem was ‘compromised’ and insisted Pereira took it upon himself to ‘take a political stand.’

Video of the incident shows the other three members wordlessly harmonizing the anthem as Pereira sings the altered lyrics. After the incident the group released a blistering statement, saying Pereira acted alone and was disrespectful and selfish.

The change happened during the middle portion of the anthem, which is frequently sung in French at sporting events. Pereira unexpectedly sang: ‘We’re all brothers and sisters. All lives matter to the great.’ The normal lyric is ‘With glowing hearts we see thee rise. The True North strong and free.’ ‘All Lives Matter’ was written on the front of his sign, and ‘United We Stand’ was written on the back.

R doing the unthinkable: Holding up an "All Lives Matter" sign

Remigio doing the unthinkable: Holding up an “All Lives Matter” sign

That first phrase – ‘All Lives Matter’ – has become a common online response in recent months to the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement, particularly after the fatal police shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile last week.

Although the motivations and ethnicities of those saying ‘All Lives Matter’ vary, it has received heavy criticism from people who say it serves to trivialize and erase the specific struggles faced by black people.

In a statement on Facebook, Pereira, who was born in Boston and raised in the Canadian capital of Ottawa, said he wasn’t attempting to undermine Black Lives Matter. ‘I’ve been so moved lately by the tragic loss of life and I hoped for a positive statement that would bring us ALL together,’ he wrote. ‘ONE LOVE. That was my singular motivation when I said all lives matter. I am disturbed that people would attribute anything other than the purist of intentions to my actions.’

He also faced criticism and ridicule for earlier Facebook posts which supported the conspiracy theory that the earth is flat. The posts have since been deleted.

Meanwhile, many fans at Petco Park reacted with surprise when they saw Pereira hold up the sign as video was broadcast on the ballpark scoreboard.

And while the Canadian anthem wasn’t shown live on US television it did air in Canada, where social media lit up with overwhelming criticism of the change. ‘WTF were they thinking?’ wrote @BrendonONeill. ‘Way to butcher a national anthem you racist pricks,’ fumed @WeirdNeil.

And @ElliottKrista said that it was okay to change the anthem ‘to be more inclusive’ – referencing the country’s decision this year to make its anthem gender neutral – but ‘NOT to erase the struggles of a minority group.’

On their Facebook and Twitter pages, the Tenors said they were ‘deeply sorry for the disrespectful and misguided lack of judgment by one member of the group acting as a “lone wolf.” ‘The other members of the group are shocked and embarrassed by the actions of Remigio Pereira, who changed the lyrics of our national anthem and used this coveted platform to serve his own political views.

Dog eyeroll

‘Our sincere apologies and regrets go out to everybody who witnessed this shameful act, to our fellow Canadians, to Major League Baseball, to our friends, families, fans and to all those affected.

Read the whole story here.

DCG

Venezuela to Seize Kimberly-Clark Factory as Production Ends

Aint’ socialism grand?

Desperation in Venezuela: 5,000 Venezuelans loot supermarket

Desperation in Venezuela: 5,000 Venezuelans loot supermarket

From ABC News: Venezuela’s government said Monday that it will seize a factory belonging to Kimberly-Clark Corp. after the U.S. personal care giant said it was no longer possible to manufacture in this crisis-wracked South American nation.

Labor Minister Owaldo Vera said the socialist government was taking the action at the request of the 971 workers who have occupied the factory that the company decided to shutter in central Aragua state.

Kimberley-Clark announced on Saturday that it was suspending production in Venezuela because of a lack of primary materials, currency trouble and soaring inflation. The company made a number of hard-to-find staples in Venezuela such as diapers and face tissues.

“Kimberly-Clark will continue producing for all of the Venezuelans,” Vera said in a televised statement from the factory surrounded by workers chanting pro-government slogans.

President Nicolas Maduro’s socialist government accused Kimberly-Clark of failing to properly notify the government of its plans.

The Irving, Texas-based company said Monday that it acted appropriately in suspending operations.

“If the Venezuelan government takes control of Kimberly-Clark facilities and operations, it will be responsible for the well-being of the workers and the physical assets, equipment and machinery in the facilities going forward,” the company said in a statement.

Kimberly-Clark joins Bridgestone, General Mills, Procter & Gamble and other multinational corporations in scaling back operations in Venezuela amid its economic crisis.

See also:

DCG

Video in aftermath of Dallas police slaughter appears to show protesters DANCING and ‘taunting’ officers in a 7-Eleven parking lot

Animals. That’s as polite as I can be without going fully ballistic.

From Daily Mail: A video filmed in the aftermath of a deadly attack on police officers in Dallas appears to show protesters dancing in a parking lot.

Five officers died and several more were wounded when gunfire erupted at a Black Lives Matter protest on Thursday night.

Hundreds of people packed into a 7-Eleven parking lot at Griffin and San Jacinto streets as police pushed the crowd away from the chaos of the crime scene, WFAA reports.

A Fox News report showed footage of the parking lot, showing a line of officers standing guard in front of the store and appearing to prevent anyone from entering.

Filmed shortly before 1am CT, it showed some of the men outside the store making gestures to the officers while others appeared to be dancing.

The large police presence was reportedly in response to concerns that some of the protesters were stealing from the store.

As police guarded the scene following reports of looting, protesters were seen taunting the officers, according to WFAA.

Many of the people were drunk and some poured alcohol on cars belonging to the local station’s news crew in the parking lot, forcing reporters to move.

Read the rest of the story here.

DCG

Liberal Insanity: Promoting breastfeeding is gender prejudice

There is no limit to the Tyranny of Political Correctness. The madness just gets worse and worse by the day.

The latest are two female academics who say government and doctors shouldn’t promote “natural breastfeeding” — which is proven to be good for the baby’s health and for baby-mother bonding — or even use the term because:

  1. Calling it “natural” may embolden those who object to mandatory childhood vaccination;
  2. Calling it “breastfeeding” endorses and reinforces rigid gender roles — that women should be the primary caretakers of children.

As reported by WND, July 3, 2016, the two academics are:

  • Anne Barnhill, an assistant professor in the department of medical ethics and health policy at the University of Pennsylvania.
  • Jessica Martucci, a research fellow in the same department who describes herself as a “feminist” historian of “sci/tech/med” and a “twitterstorian.”

Anne Barnhill & Jessica Martucci

In their co-authored paper, “Unintended Consequences of Invoking the ‘Natural’ in Breastfeeding Promotion,” published in the March 2016 issue of Pediatrics, the prestigious peer-reviewed journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Barnhill and Martucci recognize that “Medical and public health organizations recommend that mothers exclusively breastfeed for at least 6 months. This recommendation is based on evidence of health benefits for mothers and babies, as well as developmental benefits for babies.”

Despite breastfeeding’s health benefits, Barnhill and Martucci warn against use of the term “natural breastfeeding” by government officials or doctors:

A spate of recent work challenges the extent of these benefits, and ethical criticism of breastfeeding promotion as stigmatizing is also growing. Building on this critical work, we are concerned about breastfeeding promotion that praises breastfeeding as the “natural” way to feed infants. This messaging plays into a powerful perspective that “natural” approaches to health are better . . . . Promoting breastfeeding as “natural” may be ethically problematic, and, even more troublingly, it may bolster this belief that “natural” approaches are presumptively healthier. This may ultimately challenge public health’s aims in other contexts, particularly childhood vaccination [because] . . . some in the antivaccine camp believe that vaccines cause autism or contain harmful levels of toxins and impurities . . . .

Coupling nature with motherhood, however, can inadvertently support biologically deterministic arguments about the roles of men and women in the family (for example, that women should be the primary caretakers of children). Referencing the ‘natural’ in breastfeeding promotion, then, may inadvertently endorse a controversial set of values about family life and gender roles, which would be ethically inappropriate. … Whatever the ethics of appealing to the natural in breastfeeding promotion, it raises practical concerns. The ‘natural’ option does not align consistently with public health goals.

When their paper received a critical response from the public, Martucci invoked the feminist version of the race card, accusing her critics of misogyny — dislike of, contempt for, or ingrained prejudice against women. She writes in a Tweet:

Honestly, what I’ve learned from all this is just how misogynistic public discourse really is. Speaking publicly is still a radical act.

Ironically, Martucci had previously written a book that promoted natural breastfeeding, titled, Back to the Breast: Natural Motherhood and Breastfeeding in America.

H/t FOTM‘s maziel.

~Eowyn

Majority of Democrats want Obama for a third term

After everything that the POS has done, a strong majority of Democrats are so happy with him that they want Obama for a third term as president — something that, fortunately, is barred by the U.S. Constitution.

my work here is done2

Jonathan Easley reports for The Hill, Jun 30, 2016, that according to data from the conservative polling outlet WPA Research, 67% of Democrats would rather have a third term of Obama as presidency, instead of a potential Hillary Clinton administration. Only 28% said they’re ready to move on from the Obama White House, while 6% are undecided.

The WPA survey of 384 registered Democrats was conducted between June 22 and 27 and has a margin of error of 5 percentage points.

Another poll — a Washington Post-ABC News survey released this week — similarly found that Obama is very popular among Democrats, with a net approval rating approaching 80%. To compare, Bill Clinton was at about 60% positive within his own party at this point in 2000, while George W. Bush was under 40% with Republicans.

Hillary’s approval rating among Democrats is falling. A Gallup survey from April found that her net approval rating among Democrats fell from 63% last November to 36% in April. A memo from WPA said: “The results should give pause to the Hillary Clinton campaign as Democratic respondents clearly prefer the status quo to a Clinton presidency.”

But there is some good news for Hillary. The same Washington Post survey also found that, despite many vowing that they would never support Hillary, Bernie Sanders supporters are moving quickly behind Clinton over Trump.


There really are two Americas.

One America is populated by creatures called Democrats that Conservatives cannot even begin to comprehend.

The two Americas are irreconcilable.

america_dividedSee also “New poll finds Americans are bitterly divided,” Oct. 30, 2013.

~Eowyn

Police called to a South Jersey third-grade class party because of “racist” brownie comment

The mother of the third-grader plans to find another public school to send her son next year. I highly recommend home school.

serious

Via Philly.com: On June 16, police were called to an unlikely scene: an end-of-the-year class party at the William P. Tatem Elementary School in Collingswood, New Jersey. A third grader had made a comment about the brownies being served to the class. After another student exclaimed that the remark was “racist,” the school called the Collingswood Police Department, according to the mother of the boy who made the comment.

The police officer spoke to the student, who is 9, said the boy’s mother, Stacy dos Santos, and local authorities. Dos Santos said that the school overreacted and that her son made a comment about snacks, not skin color. “He said they were talking about brownies. . . . Who exactly did he offend?” dos Santos said.

The boy’s father was contacted by Collingswood police later in the day. Police said the incident had been referred to the New Jersey Division of Child Protection and Permanency. The student stayed home for his last day of third grade.

Dos Santos said that her son was “traumatized,” and that she hopes to send him to a different Collingswood public school in the fall. And she wants an apology. She said she graduated from Collingswood High School and has two other children, a 21-year-old who also went through Collingswood schools, and a 3-year-old. Her husband, the third grader’s father, is Brazilian, dos Santos said.

“I’m not comfortable with the administration [at Tatem]. I don’t trust them and neither does my child,” she said. “He was intimidated, obviously. There was a police officer with a gun in the holster talking to my son, saying, ‘Tell me what you said.’ He didn’t have anybody on his side.

The incident, which has sparked outrage among some parents, was one of several in the last month when Collingswood police have been called to look into school incidents that parents think hardly merit criminal investigation.

Superintendent Scott Oswald estimated that on some occasions over the last month, officers may have been called to as many as five incidents per day in the district of 1,875 students.

Mayor Jim Maley

Mayor Jim Maley

This has created concern among parents in the 14,000-resident borough, who have phoned their elected officials, met with Mayor James Maley, blasted social-media message boards, and even launched a petition calling on the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office to “stop mandated criminal investigation of elementary school students.”

The increased police involvement follows a May 25 meeting among the Collingswood Police Department, school officials, and representatives from the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office, where school officials and police both said they were told to report to police any incidents that could be considered criminal, including what Police Chief Kevin Carey called anything “as minor as a simple name-calling incident that the school would typically handle internally.”

The police and schools were also advised that they should report “just about every incident” to the New Jersey Division of Child Protection and Permanency, Carey said.

Previously, the school district, following the state’s Memorandum of Agreement Between Education and Law Enforcement Officials, had only reported incidents it deemed serious, like those involving weapons, drugs, or sexual misconduct. Both Carey and School Board President David Routzahn described the protocol set forth after that May meeting as a significant change in procedure.

“It was a pretty clear directive that we questioned vehemently,” Oswald said.

But a month after the meeting, and after police investigations that parents consider fruitless had begun to gain attention, Maley wrote in a public letter that the May 25 meeting was intended to “reinforce the applicability” of the MOA, “not to expand its terms.” Prosecutor Mary Eva Colalillo, in an accompanying statement, said she hoped Maley’s message “clarifies” the responsibilities of school officials.

Maley said in an interview Tuesday that there had been a “misunderstanding” during the May 25 meeting. But Oswald said the Prosecutor’s Office was shying away from its own instructions. “At some point, it seems, they’ve realized that the intent of the MOA that they’re leaning heavily upon is not what they directed us to do,” Oswald said. “It went way above what that MOA says.”

Another point of contention between the Prosecutor’s Office and school officials is what prompted Maley’s meeting in the first place. In a public letter issued to parents Monday, Routzahn said he was “not aware of any single event” in the district that might have prompted the Prosecutor’s Office to ask for a higher reporting standard.

But Maley said the Prosecutor’s Office had been concerned about a “delay” in reporting an incident at Collingswood High School this spring. He would not comment further, noting that the incident was under investigation by the Prosecutor’s Office.

Oswald said the high school incident had not been raised during the meeting May 25.

“I welcome discussion on that as well,” he said.

Several parents said they consider the recent police involvement not only ridiculous but harmful. Megan Irwin, who has two daughters who have attended Collingswood public schools and who teaches first grade in Pennsauken, said the police had been called to deal with behavior the schools could easily have handled.

“Some of it is just typical little-kid behavior,” Irwin said. “Never in my years of teaching have I ever felt uncomfortable handling a situation or felt like I didn’t know how to handle a situation.”

And Pam Gessert, a Collingswood resident who works as a school counselor in Burlington County, said that because teachers have the best relationships with students, they are most qualified to determine what happened in a particular incident.

DCG