Cynical Synapse

Wed, 16 Nov 2011

Congress Hits Rock Bottom: 9% Approval Rating

Filed under: Congress, Good job, Government, Hugo Chavez, Politics, Rants, Take action — cynicalsynapse @ 8:05 pm

Congressional popularity

Colorado’s junior Senator, Michael Bennet (D) recently assailed what appears to be a sparsely attended Senate session with Congress’ abysmal approval rating of just 9%!Bennet underscored how pathetic that was before comparing Congress to the IRS, Fidel Castro, and banks.

We’re almost at the margin of error for zero!

Fricking Hugo Chavez has the same approval rating as Congress, for crying out loud! Next election, turn these arrogant, worthless buffoons out on their duffs!


Mon, 18 Jul 2011

Hugo Chavez Dissess His Own Healthcare System

Filed under: Diplomacy, Hugo Chavez, Hypocrits, Medicine — cynicalsynapse @ 5:09 am

chavez feeling ill

Apparently, Venezuelan Dictator—er, President—Hugo Chavez doesn’t trust healthcare in his own country. Who can blame him after the wreck Chavez made of the Venezuelan economy. So, perhaps at Castro’s behest, Hugo’s gone to Cuba for chemotherapy. On top of admitting his own country’s healthcare is anadequate, Chavez essentially gave Brazil the bird, turning down treatment in Sao Paolo.

For what may be the first time, Chavez delegated some of his presidential powers to the Vice President Elias Jaua and Planning and Finance Minister Jorge Giordani. Jaua will handle budget transfers to government ministries, presidential commissions, any approved expropriations of businesses, and other budget-related responsibilities. Obviously the pace of socialist co-option of private property must continue unabated during Hugo’s absence. Budget shortfalls and certain tax exemptions will get Giordini’s attention.

Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez, Raul Castro

Chavez, who has held power in Venezuela for 12 years, abruptly flew to Cuba for surgery in late June. The mysterious illness was confirmed as cancer, most likely colon cancer. In an effort to allay concerns about not yielding all power to Jaua, Chavez gave these upbeat remarks on state TV Saturday:

It’s not time to die. It’s time to live. I’m saying goodbye for some days, but in a deeper sense I’m not saying goodbye. … I’ll be attentive every day, every hour, every minute to internal events and I’ll be in permanent contact.

I despise Hugo Chavez and denounce his politics. I refuse to buy gasoline from Citgo because it’s Venezuelan- (read Chavez-) owned. Still, I hope his treatment goes well. Nonetheless, it’s time for the US to consider what they can do to shape what will likely be a chaotic power vacuum in Venezuela if Chavez dies suddenly. I don’t think Hillary Clinton even has her eye on that ball.

Previously on Hugo Chavez:

Mon, 11 Oct 2010

Real Significance of Columbus Day

Statue of Christopher Columbus

Columbus Day has become controversial in recent years. Careful analysis shows much of that controversy is really attributable to those that followed Christopher Columbus, not the explorer himself. Equally as important, however the world today would not be the same without Columbus’ expedition. Would there be a Latin America without Spain having underwritten Columbus’ expedition and then following in droves to colonize South America? What form would the United States take today without Columbus?

Although there is much anti-American sentiment in the world, the most vociferous is Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez. Chavez blames US imperialism for holding South America down. Chavez has ruled Venezuela for a decade now. During this time, he’s been solidifying his hold on power and establishing a clearly socialist dictatorship. But average Venezuelans still lack services such as electricity. Civil rights have been abridged and the economy ravaged by alienating foreign capital and too much reliance on oil prices.

Hugo Chavez the pirate

Not satisfied there, Chavez continues his saber rattling, even with neighboring Columbia. Perhaps its the name. Why else would Venezuela feel the need to buy state-of-the-art fighter jets and tanks from Russia. Besides stirring the pot in South America, Chavez is blatantly anti-US and blames Columbus for all the ills and injustices of the western hemisphere. Chavez has set himself on an anti-Columbus crusade.

Columbus Day is more than a holiday. It represents the development of the modern world. And, to me, it means the same as Anti Hugo Chavez Day. Here’s a holiday tradition for you: don’t buy Venezuelan-owned Citgo products on Columbus Day.

Mon, 12 Oct 2009

Columbus Day is Anti-Chavez Day

Filed under: Behavior, Economy, Government, holidays, Hugo Chavez, Oil, Paradoxes, Politics, Rogue states, Uncategorized — cynicalsynapse @ 7:26 am

Although I tend to support the Leif Erikson discovery of America theory, Columbus’ “rediscovery” certainly brought about the modern era for the two continents. There is a wide varIety of experiences as a result of this. It includes the English east coast of North America, the Spanish influence in southern North America and South America, some French influence, and the Portuguese.

Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez says “Columbus was the spearhead of the biggest invasion and genocide ever seen in the history of humanity.” Never mind that South American culture and economics has its basis in Spanish and Portuguese development of the region. Never mind that much of the so-called genocide has been perpetrated by dictatorial regimes in Central and South America. Columbus isn’t responsible for that. That part is probably not in Chavez’ book.

Chavez doesn’t represent everyone’s view. Still, Chavez, Venezuela’s “duly elected dictator”, seeks to shape South American politics in his own immage. He is trying to reshape Columbus Day as the “Day of Indigenous Resistance“.

Well, screw Chavez! Without Columbus, the Americas would have been backwaters for centuries. Chavez’ issue isn’t with Columbus, it’s with the United states because the US made something of itself. Shame on Chavez for being an apologist.

Sun, 29 Mar 2009

Three Strikes for Chavez and the Tigers

Filed under: Business, Detroit, Economy, Hugo Chavez, Life, Oppression, Paradoxes, Politics, Rants, Sports — cynicalsynapse @ 1:38 pm

Hugo Chavez at bat.Since oil prices are on the rise, I decided to check on the latest antics of Hugo Chavez. Like the big, bad wolf, he’s always huffing and puffing. The challenge is in picking which three gaffes to cite rather than trying to find them.

Let’s start with that president for life thing. He’s not the only one, but he’s probably the most dangerous one. Remember, the Soviet Constitution guaranteed free and fair elections, too. And Idi Amin also styled himself president for life. While not a specific instance, a significant Chavez strike is his ongoing repression of the Venezuelan people. Chavez’ questionably legal consolidation of power bears an uncanny similarity to Hitler’s seizure of power.* Just like a leopard can’t change his spots, Chavez continues to insult the US President. Funny how Chavez has so quickly decided Obama’s not so different from Bush.

As for the Tigers? The connection to Chavez is Venezuelan-born Magglio Ordonez. The star right-fielder is certainly entitled to his political views and to express them. He’s set up a charitable foundation that annually provides a $2,500 scholarship to a southwest Detroit high school grad and he participates in other Tigers-sponsored charitable events. But a $2,500 scholarship pales in comparison to Ordonez’ $75 million 5-year contract (if the Tigers exercise the two one-year options). The problem is, Ordonez actively supports Chavez. But, Ordonez neither lives in Venezuela nor is he subject to Chavez’ oppressive regime.

Now for the second strike. It came on a foul ball to right field in 2000 when they replaced Tiger Stadium. Besides being a fan of the venerable stadium, including its location at Michigan and Trumbull, the insult to injury was naming the new venue Comerica Park. Ten years after buying the naming rights for 30 years, Comerica Bank moved its headquarters from Detroit to Dallas. Take the naming rights with you! I realize Comerica Park is fan friendly, but I used to buy tickets to Tiger Stadium for under 10 bucks and park for $5. Comerica’s a pricier venture. The straw that broke the camel’s back, though, was the Tigers’ pathetic 2003 season. That year, they lost more games than any team in American League history and came within one game of tieing the 1962 Mets’ record for most losses in modern Major League Baseball history. Finishing the season at 43-119, the Tigers were 47 games out of first that year. Baseball used to be the one sport I followed. Not any more.

*A point of historical clarification regarding this link: Hitler was not elected to office nor did his party enjoy a majority in the Reichstag. The NSDAP had formed a coalition, however, and following a series of Chancellors unable to govern, Germany’s president finally acquiesced to appointing Hitler as Chancellor.

Tue, 06 Jan 2009

Oil and Gas Prices Make No Sense

Filed under: Business, Gas Prices, Hugo Chavez, Life, Oil, Politics — cynicalsynapse @ 10:20 pm

I understand the concept of supply and demand. I also understand that filling stations need to charge prices based on next week’s requirements. That may partially explain why I paid $1.779 in Lansing MI this morning, but this afternoon the price was up to $1.999. What confuses me is I bought gasoline in Lansing this morning because the price in my northern Detroit suburb was $1.859. So, why is my neighborhood price still $1.859 (cash)?

Frequent readers will know gas prices are one of my “hot buttons.” I just can’t believe there was so much demand to drive prices to $150 or so a barrel and that demand has dropped so precipitously to less than $50 per barrel over the last year. Everyone wanted to go somewhere last spring but now they all want to stay home? There’s $100 difference in the price of a barrel of oil! I’m just not seeing the substantial changes in demand that first brought the high prices and now equate to the low prices. Something smells here, worse than the sulfuric smell of hydrocarbons.

Gas prices in my area had fallen to almost $1.50 per gallon before OPEC decided to cut production. Since then, they have gradually increased. Today, they jumped from $1.779 in Lansing to $1.999. What’s different today? Hugo Chavez said no more free heating oil. While I’m saddened by the additional strain on those truly in need, I take solace in the economic impact Venezuela’s “elected” dictator is feeling. His heating oil aid program for the Northeas program was merely propaganda anyway, an anti-Bush jab. In my mind, this makes Chavez no different than any other politician. Actually, it makes me wonder is this how Chavez is going to build better relations with President Obama in just a few weeks?

Fri, 19 Dec 2008

Who Threw Shoes at US Automakers?

Filed under: Business, Caesar Chavez, Civil liberties, Driving, Duh, Gas Prices, Hugo Chavez, Michigan, Patriotism, Safety — cynicalsynapse @ 9:05 pm

By now, you probably know President Bush has promised up to $17.4 billion in loans to US automakers. This takes the shape of a $13.4 billion emergency loan from the so-called Troubled Asset Relief Program, with another potential $4 billion in February, if they need it. I realize some think this just delays the inevitable, but I’ll bet big money we won’t hear about AIG-style conferences and unrealistic bonuses for the US automakers. Never mind the corporate jets, which may not be so extravagant after all when you consider how much CEOs make per hour.

What’s significant, however, is what Senators happily promised $700 billion to the financial charlatans, while adding another $100+ billion for their own interests, but didn’t think $25 billion was warranted for an industry with 3+ million direct employees. Did your Senator think it’s ok to manipulate numbers on a spreadsheet, attend conferences at resorts, and pay bonuses even when profits are zero or less? More importantly, did your Senator think that behavior deserved saving while people building tangible products—automobiles—should be put out of work?

The Senate’s roll call votes are on their website, including for the Wall Street bailout and whether or not to consider assisting US automakers. FYI, I use the term US automakers in regard to the so-called Big 3—Chrysler, Ford, and GM—who all have their headquarters in metropolitan Detroit. I do not use the term Detroit in reference to them because they all have plants and facilities in dozens of states. In fact, Chrysler’s website claims operations in all 50 states.

The Shoe Throwers

I so wanted to be able to point the finger that the over-vocal “anti-Detroit” Senators from southern states hosting transplant auto plants, Alabama’s Shelby in particular. Looking for the hipocrites, I compared Senate votes for the Troubled Asset Relief Program and against even taking up the rescue of the domestic auto industry. While dissatisfied with finding Shelby voted against both bailouts, he wins points for being consistent. You have to respect that, since it seems politicians often change positions based on what seems most expedient. So, like it or not, Senators Shelby (R-AL) and DeMint (R-SC) win points for opposing both aid schemes.

There are, however, 22 US Senators—almost a quarter of them—who anxiously gave $700 billion (plus that $100 billion in special deals) to the financial charlatans while refusing to consider helping America’s manufacturing base and blue collars. The fact those opposed to the auto rescue but in favor of saving high finance are 83% Republicans does nothing to dissuade popular opinion of either an East Coast favoritism or an anti-union sentiment. So, who are these two-faced people who are supposed to represent their constituents? Who was it that easily gave money to the financial industry—the very ones responsible for the current situation—while reaping scorn and disgust on hard-working Americans?

Here’s a list of Senators who had no qualms about padding the pockets of financial quacks but dissed average workers by refusing to consider manufacturing as worthy. Remember this at the next election.

  • Murkowski (R-AK)
  • Lincoln (R-AR)</li
  • Kyl (R-AZ)
  • McCain (R-AZ)
  • Martinez (R-FL)
  • Chambliss (R-GA)
  • Isakson (R-GA>)
  • Grassley (R-IA)
  • McConnel (R-KY)
  • Coleman (R-MN)
  • Baucus (D-MT)
  • Ensign (R-NV)
  • Reid (R-NV)
  • Gregg (R-NH)
  • Burr (R-NC)</li)
  • Coburn (R-OK)
  • Thune (R-SD)
  • Corker (R-TN)
  • Hutchison (R-TX)
  • Bennett (R-UT)
  • Hatch (R-UT)

At best, President Bush bought time for President-elect Obama, a move not lost on the future president. At worst, the automaker rescue effort won’t be any more effective than its bigger sibling, the financial bailout. In any case, the financial liability of the auto industry is only 2.5% compared to 150% in labor implications.

Fri, 14 Nov 2008

Kinder and Gentler Chavez

Filed under: Hugo Chavez, Oil, Paradoxes, Politics — cynicalsynapse @ 7:14 pm

Much as I despise Hugo Chavez, he’s taken on a decidedly different approach since the US elections. Two weeks ago, this is the man who blamed everything bad on the “Yanqis.” Today, he’s interested in diplomatic solutions.

Last weekend, US State Department officials expelled 12 Venezuelan diplomats after failing to follow the protocol for relocating the Houston consulate. Personally, this seems like a bunch of bureaucratic nonsense, but I guess that in geopolitical affairs, anything can be strategic. And, in view of strained relations between Venezuela and the US, one would reasonably expect this to be a serious issue.

To give some perspective, this is a situation that has been a technicality since at least early October. No one paid it much mind until the State Department told the Venezuelan diplomats to go home. Since Houston is the Home of Big Oil, and Chavez hates the US anyway, you’d expect quite a diatribe from Venezuela. On the contrary, Chavez fired the Consul for not following the rules. A Venezuelan got sacked for not following US rules?

I still personally hate Hugo and won’t buy Citgo products because it’s Venezuelan owned. But the man’s shown he’s not stupid. He’s hedging his bets to see what happens with the new administration. Maybe the Russians aren’t such great friends after all and the Cold War wasn’t so far off the mark.

Thu, 13 Nov 2008

Less Animosity from Chavez

Filed under: Economy, Gas Prices, Hugo Chavez, Michigan, Oil, Patriotism, People, Politics, Racism — cynicalsynapse @ 9:54 pm

With gas prices under $2 per gallon (something I never thought we’d see again back in the $4 a gallon days), I figured Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez must just be beside himself. Now, remember Venezuela is a significant oil producer on the world market, and one of the founding members of OPEC. Never mind Chavez’ strongly anti-American rhetoric of the last year or so.

From Venezuela’s view, change has moved north. The implication is Obama is more Chavez-friendly. I didn’t see that on Obama’s website. In fact, I don’t recall Obama saying anything about Chavez or Venezuela during the campaign. That leads me to believe Venezuela’s statement is based solely on the fact Obama is the Democratic candidate.

Make no mistake: Venezuela and Chavez are not our friends. That doesn’t mean we can’t have cordial relations; only what they say shouldn’t be taken at face value. You be the judge from the text of the Venezuelan release.

There were a lot of comments on Jonathan Martin’s blog. Here’s my response to some of them:
I agree. Chavez is huffing and puffing to put his spin on the election results. He’s also feeling the waters to see how Obama will respond. And he’s using this as an excuse to take a softer line. I suspect that has as much to do with gasline having fallent to under 2 bucks a gallon, meaning Hugo’s take from Citgo has fallen like a rock.

What’s your point? Jonathan Martin had very little commentary; rather, he posted Chavez’ press release. It doesn’t matter who’s POTUS, Chavez is still a radical demagogue. His statement is intended just as much to boost his credibility with his people and the surrounding South American countries he’s trying to exert influence over. Make no mistake. There’s nothing benevolent about Hugo Chavez.

Ok, Blacks are all happy Barack got elected. I understand that. Personally, race is not a factor for me. But I really get annoyed with people trying to play up the “half black” aspect. Who cares? Is that supposed to make it alright for White people? That comes across to me as extremely racist.

@the guy who was too chicken to give any kind of a name that says Obama will play Chavez like a violin:
I’m not convinced Obama has the experience to play anyone like a violin. And, while I don’t like or trust Chavez one bit, I recognize he’s no fool. We’re too ethnocentric to realize he is regionally significant. Venezuela is an OPEC member. And Russian interests in Chavez and Venezuela are simply Russian huffing and puffing by bringing a military presence to the western hemisphere. It’s like they’re saying the Monroe Doctrine doesn’t count anymore. It’s just a different version of when the Soviets would probe US airspace with their Bear bombers.

Obama’s so-called landslide is in Electoral votes (365-162) but the popular vote varies by about 6-1/2% (52.7%-46.0%). That’s not “check the chads” close, but it’s no landslide. Don’t forget there are nuts at both ends of the spectrum. You just sound like a poor winner.

@Frankie D:
I wish it was that simple. Although I doubt Chavez is sincere, we could have good relations with Venezuela. What’s different in the 21st Century is non-state actors have a voice. No country attacked us on 9/11, it was a radical terrorist group. Those are, as you put it, ‘enemies’ we can’t talk to. They don’t care; they’re extremists. They don’t have a country, they don’t have tangible assets or influence like legitimate states. They have only their own secret agenda and the ability to corrupt the disenfranchised.

Aside from your broad generalization, it certainly makes sense to open dialog with Chavez. We avoided nuclear confrontation with the Soviets for 50 years that way. But Chavez is not the only thing going on in diplomatic relations.

Gag me with a spoon. Obama’s a first term US Senator. He’s a newbie. I hope he’s up to the challenge of the economic crisis and the issues on which the Global War on Terror is based. Whether you agree with the Iraq War or not, there is no mistaking this country was attacked on 9/11. Even Biden said Obama will be tested. I hope he passes.

It actually boils down to whether he surrounds himself with good people. That was Bush’s downfall—he surrounded himself with yes men.

That’s a bizzare comment. Do you have any statistics on Venezuelan illegals? There can’t possibly be enough of them to “destabilize the regime!”

@luis T:
You’re right. We’ll still have an oil dependence well beyond Obama’s term. Most of the issues facing the next president, from economics to Global War on Terrorism to energy are not one-term issues. Folks need to remember, too, the President (or a candidate) can say great and wonderful things, but Congress (House and Senate) have to agree before it can really happen.

I ignored your first anti-Republican diatribe and incorrect characterization of “right-wing nutjobs.” The second one was over the top. Nazis are right-wing nutjobs. Please help me understand the difference between a right-wing hate group and someone as mean-spirited as you seem to be. Does being a left-wing nutjob make it ok?

Please don’t start the 2012 election already! I was sick of this one two years ago! All bets are off until we see what kind of job Obama does anyway.

Your comment is just ignorant and makes me think of the “You might be a redneck…” jokes. I suppose you’re in favor of the Wall Stree bailouts? It’s okay to take care of greedy businesses, but to hell with people, eh? Will your story change if you lose your job unexpectedly or become disabled? You should be ashamed of mislabeling everyone who is trying but needs help with the slur of that small percentage of people who work the system.

Not sure what you’re trying to say. Socialism and controlled economies don’t necessarily go hand-in-hand. We fought WW II, allied with the Soviet Union’s controlled economic state, not to end Socialism (or controlled economies), but because Hitler and his allies spread their lust for conquest far and wide. Would the US have gotten involved in WW II if the Japanese hadn’t attacked Pearl Harbor?

CIA isn’t trying to destroy Venezuelan democracy or gain control of their oil. If we just wanted the oil, why would we have let the Iraqis keep control of theirs? And make no mistake—Chavez has his agenda and he could care less if ours matches his or not.

An interesting perspective. Did Chavez actually make a difference? Or did he inherit circumstances that will end up serving Venezuela? What keeps the Venezuelan economy going? Other bloggers claim there are shortages and Venezuela’s not doing so well.

Dude, you need some serious help with grammar and word usage. But you make a good point in that we must treat other countries as equals whether we agree with them or not (or them with us).

@guy who was too chicken to use a name who says Obama got elected because the media didn’t report his ideology:
Where’s your proof? Before the election, I went to Obama’s website and it had way more points of interest than I wanted to wade through. I live in Michigan; our economy is in a serious crisis (not the Wall Street kind). I don’t see anything Marxist in Obama’s plan.

@last guy who was too chicken to use a name:
And this is different from any other election how?

C’mon, folks. You can be a petty political drone, spouting anti-right or anti-left crap, or you can look at what’s best for the country and advocate for that. This is the 21st Century and single-party folks are not thinking big picture. This is more important now than it ever was before!

Fri, 31 Oct 2008

Lower Oil Prices Make Arrogant Chavez Antsy

Filed under: Economy, Gas Prices, Hugo Chavez, Oil, Profiteering — cynicalsynapse @ 8:02 am

Personally, I’m lovin’ it, But Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez must be beside himself. This is the man who, last week, said he wanted to jail his main opponent.

Chavez has also asked OPEC, of which Venezuela is a founding member, to cut production. Seems poor Hugo’s not too happy with the falling demand and lower prices. And no wonder, since oil accounts for as much as 40% of Venezuela’s economy. He thinks he’s convinced the Russians to cut production with OPEC. In fact, the Russians are using Chavez. What started as business now has the added benefit of looking like saber-rattling as Russia’s reactions to US criticisms of actions in Georgia.

With gas prices averaging about $2.30 in my neighborhood, I’m not feeling the least bit sorry for Chavez. And I still won’t buy from Citgo.


This morning, I paid $2.259 for regular unleaded. This evening, I paid $2.219 and the station around the corner from my house was down to $2.159 for cash (and $2.199 for credit, which bugs the crap out of me, so I tend not to go there). So, poor Hugo must really be feeling the pinch. I feel so bad for him. Not!

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