USSA – United Socialist States of America

Those who’ve been here a while will know that I’m not keen on Socialism.

I have my reasons. We can start with the USSR – that’s Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and add in Nazi – that’s National Socialist party. But mostly just that it reliably fails. I go into that in other postings of a more serious bent.

Here, we’re going to have a bit of fun. I’ve run into some funny Youtube parodies and just can’t let them pass:

First up, one that recognizes the problem of spending everyone else’s money:

This one is particularly poignant to me as my Aunt in Britain needed a knee replacement, that never quite ever happened…

OK, just a reminder of what got wrapped up in 2009, so we’ve got some context:

And good old Barney Frank who drove all the things through the Finance committee that broke the banks, literally. He dodges, ducks, and weaves, but his party has been in charge and he’s been running the committee through this whole mess:

This one is a bit ‘out of date’ as it’s from the Presidential Primary era, but still well done:

As our president, he’s run on a great platform. We’re going to have the most transparent government ever:

So have we gotten that?

Though eventually he got elected:

So, now he’s sunk his teeth into that tire of that car and caught it. Time for him to fix everything, right?

And after “fixing” the financial and medical systems, what’s next on the hit list? Why, energy!

But what if the heating earth is not caused by CO2? Maybe AlGore can fix that…

But surely, at the end of it all, can’t we all just get along? After all, isn’t this land, my land and your land?

Then again, we have a new Senate, and Iran is still making that bomb (to put on missiles it gets from North Korea; that just shelled South Korea and hates the USA)…

So who knows what’s going to happen next. One thing for sure, though, it’s going to be an interesting ride… Now if we can just figure out how to do it while persevering free market capitalism and individual freedoms. Oh, and maybe keep some value in our currency, lest it inflate to ruin. Then again, maybe we could get back on the Gold Standard (as required in the constitution…) after it all collapses… In any case, get ready for more Porkulus via Quantitive Easing Two, or QE-2:

(Though, in all honesty, The Ber-Nank has a hope of succeeding… but “Hope is not a strategy. -E.M.Smith”)

Though I’m think’in there just might be a different “solution” in the works…

Yeah, that “Works for me” ;-)

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
This entry was posted in Humor, Political Current Events, World Economics and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to USSA – United Socialist States of America

  1. Ken McMurtrie says:

    Great job EM.
    I haven’t run through all the videos yet, just the last.
    Ray Stevens and his “We, the people” is brilliant. Besides the actual enjoyable music, the message is clever, accurate and appropriate.
    Wouldn’t it be great if it became a popular hit?
    Keep up the great work!
    Regards, and best wishes to you and your family.
    Happy Christmas and a rewarding New Year.
    Looking forward to many more of your inspirational posts.

  2. E.M.Smith says:

    @Ken McMurtrie:

    Glad you liked the “punch line” at the end, but I think it really does work best from first to last. It “builds”…

    Whatever… I’ve noticed that, despite my efforts in building these ‘experiences’, the statistics say only a minority of the people watch the videos. Oh well. Their loss.

  3. George says:

    If socialism was such a great idea, it would have succeeded someplace. It has failed everywhere it has been tried. Taking away the fruits of someone’s labor to give to someone else doesn’t work. Attempting to centrally manage an economy doesn’t work either.

    It never has and it never will.

    Socialist countries only succeed when they get rid of socialism.

    Oh, and you might notice that the most prosperous region of Spain recently voted the socialists out of office in the past couple of months.

  4. Pascvaks says:

    This brought to mind one of your earlier posts, when you were going to the 1st Non-Launch and came upon a lady who was a little down and out. Americans are suckers for a good sob story and give till it hurts only themselves. We’ve been so givingly stupid with all this government hand-out stuff over the years we’ve only succeeded in putting ourselves in the poor house and begging for handouts. The old idea that charity begins at home was never truer than it is today. We also seem to be going blind. We don’t seem to be able to distinguish between a Democrat and a Commiecrat. Big hearts and small brains, as American as mom and apple pie.

    I guess this IS going to be a Chinese Century. (If we don’t wake up.)

  5. Larry Geiger says:

    Hand up!! I watch. I watch.

    I watched almost all of them. Though, the JibJab ones are sort of annoying. Ray, though, is the best of them all. The bunny rabbits are good also. Sort of Steven Wright in a serious vein :-)

  6. Larry Geiger says:

    “Fill my car with nuts and corn.” So priceless. I’ll be laughing all day.

    Did you see:


    I can’t get that tune out of my mind!

  7. E.M.Smith says:

    @Larry Geiger:

    I have now! That’s hilarious!

    I pasted the “embed” code into your comment so folks can just click the “play arrow”…

    @all:

    On a more serious note, Hugo Chavez in Venezuela is doing a great job of demonstrating the “end game” of Socialism. Oh, and remember that he’s one of the folks that Pelosi, Obama, and friends like…

    From:

    http://www.therightperspective.org/2010/12/18/chavez-gets-decree-powers/

    Chavez Gets Decree Powers

    The lame duck session of the Venezuelan congress has granted Socialist president Hugo Chavez’s request for the power to enact laws by decree.

    Gotta keep an eye on those Lame Duck sessions when Socialists are in the chicken coop…

    As previously reported, Chavez wanted the power to make sure laws that would help the nation recover from severe floods and mudslides that have crippled 40-percent of the country become enacted. However, opposition lawmakers, who will be in the majority in the next session of congress, say Chavez is looking to prevent their stopping his Socialist takeover of the country.

    So… a couple of interesting things. First off, we’ve got a LOAD of rain. Gee, who would have expected that as we’ve turned to the cooling side the warm oceans would cause a load of rain as they cool via the dominant evapotranspiration / convection processes. ;-)

    From the “Never let a crisis go to waste” department…

    But then we have a Socialist, faced with a defeat at the polls, circumventing the will of the people with a power grab. It’s what they always do… Kind of like our lame duck session that wanted to pass a budget bill that would have thwarted the new congress from enacting the will of the people. It’s the same play book. Take notes.

    Opposition congresswoman Pastora Medina, from the Humanist Front Party, told Globovision the vote was a “coup d’etat” and “would cause a lot of problems,” reports CNN. She called on the Venezuelan people to stand up against Chavez’s Socialist tyranny.

    Chavez seemed to prove his opponents’ point during a Friday radio address, reports The Associated Press. “You won’t be able to make a single law, pitiyanquis,” he goaded, using one of his favorite insults, which refers to U.S. collaborators and translates as “little Yankees.” ”We’re going to see how you make laws now.”

    This marks the fourth time Chavez has gotten decree powers. The last time, in 2007, he used that power to implement an 18-month expropriation scheme that saw the nationalization of privately-run oil feilds, telecoms, electricity and cement companies, as well as the implementation of new taxes.

    Gee, take over the banks and healthcare oil fields and major industries and pass new taxes… “Cap and Trade” and that attempt by our Congress to raise taxes to pay for the deficit caused by all their out of control spending sound more familiar now? Like I said before: Same Playbook. Take notes.

    The lame-duck congress is also debating a so-called “Social Responsibility Law,” which would impose broadcast-type regulations on the Internet and ban online messages “that could incite or promote hatred,” create “anxiety” in the population or “disrespect public authorities.”

    Yup, you guessed it. “Hate Speech” laws. Great way to muzzle anyone you don’t like. Just call their speech hateful to someone in some way. They are also fond of bending the words “responsibility” and “justice”. Any time you hear “{foo} Justice” or “{bar} responsibility” or even “Social {foobar}” your ears ought to be burning and you ought to get a shot of adrenaline as someone is about to tell a great big lie at your expense.

    So start watching Venezuela, as that’s the path of Socialism…

  8. Jeff Alberts says:

    Guess it’s time for the US military to setup more Jungle Warfare Training Centers…

  9. E.M.Smith says:

    @Jeff Alberts:

    Yeah, but the unanswered question is:

    “Who’s side would The Commander In Chief have us supporting?”

    (I’d like to put a smiley on that… I really really would… but…)

  10. Jeff Alberts says:

    Depends on whether whatever happens is during his first term, or his non-existent second…

  11. gnomish says:

    Chavez is a brute- but I note how ‘stalwart’ that appears to a post normal relativist – they admire him for his firmness…
    Just as the parents of the ‘american taliban’ (a couple of Marin county lawyers) said of their own son, admiringly: ‘he has something to believe in’.

    It seems the ‘love generation’ never figured out a standard of values and has declared default.

  12. mrpkw says:

    What almost sickens me about American Liberals and “moderates”, is that all we (Americans) have to do is look at Europe and see the great failures there that the American Liberals want to foist upon us (or cram down our pie holes) whether it be politics, medicine, economics, environment etc.

    SOCIALISM IS A PROVEN FAILURE !!!!!!!!!!!

  13. E.M.Smith says:

    @mrpkw:

    Or just abount any of the implosions of economies in South America over their entire history. It’s like a “Groundhog Day” economic movie down there. I’ve lived through a half dozen Latin American countries running that experiment. Again and again and again…

    They will briefly go for a capitalist model, have prosperity, have a new generation grow up, and have another round of Socialist Implosion. Movie runs about twice as fast as the one in Europe (for reasons I can’t explain but think it has to with the rate of population growth / young population).

    @Gnomish:

    Yeah, I’ve never quite mastered that ability to not see what’s right in front of me ;-)

  14. mrpkw says:

    E.M,

    I wouldn’t use the examples of South America only because I don’t think they have ever sustained a standard of living as we have.

    But yes, the socialist experiment will fail every where it is tried.

  15. E.M.Smith says:

    The South American example is somewhat interesting in that it’s such a fast cycle. Yes, the “prosperity” half cycle is truncated pretty quickly, but the end result is that you get to see a lot of the cycles.

    The other interesting bit is that they have both Leftist Socialists and Fascist variations.

    Fascisism is sometimes of a socialist bent, doing things “for the collective” and sometimes less so. From the Websters:

    often capitalized : a political philosophy, movement, or regime (as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition

    Nation and Race collectives over the individual.
    Centralized authority.
    Economic and social regimentation.

    IMHO, just a narrower flavor of the same things you get in Socialism, but with more of an ethnocentric point of view. But technically different in some details.

    Then again, I like what the CIA Factbook has to say:

    https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/fields/2128.html

    Socialism – a government in which the means of planning, producing, and distributing goods is controlled by a central government that theoretically seeks a more just and equitable distribution of property and labor; in actuality, most socialist governments have ended up being no more than dictatorships over workers by a ruling elite.

    So more often than not a “Socialist” goverment just ends up as either a Communist Dictator or a Fascist Dictator… though sporadially then get a Military Dictator. But they are not stable over longer than El Jefe’s life span. And usually not very productive.

    So, back at South America:

    Right now Brazil is a shining example of what can be done once folks toss out Socialism. They briefly played with it (and with Military Dictators of a slightly fascist bent) and then just tossed all that for a middle of the road market capitalism. They’ve thrived ever since. Now they’ve elected a Socialist (who unlike the last socialist that took a hands off on the economic part) that is likely going to “run the experiment again”. And they’ve started slowing.

    Chile is another great example. Couple of dictators (of various stripes), and now with a free market system and personal liberty have begun to really take off.

    Both are doing very well economically.

    Argentina is interesting as it cycles back and forth with amazing rapidity; but never quite seems to stabilize. Though often with a Fascist bent. Yet sometimes can do fairly well.

    Then you have the counter examples where Venezuela is slowly decending into the crapper despite more oil money than anyone could ever spend. Bolivia, stagnating and going nowhere (despite a load of Lithium that ought to make the whole place rich, and tourism dollars would float the whole economy if they tried…)

    Then there are those little states in Central America and the Carribe the flip and flop. Sandanista? Contras?

    So as an “economic laboratory” it gives a lot of opportunities to see what happens, and do it in very short cycles.

    Almost as much fun as watching the African countries that do the same cyclic dance… Zimbabwe Dollars anyone? Where in Feb 2009 or so they had to knock 12 zeros off the currency. What’s that… a Million Million (or in USA terms, a Trillion).

    And some folks wonder why I’m against Socialism… Maybe because I’ve seen this movie too many times. Even the very best examples (currently Germany and Sweden, IMHO) have not had a generation of stability. Post W.W.II the USA sat on them until about 1970 and made them play nice. So we’ve got maybe 40 years of ‘free run’. Then you get the EU Integration. Suddenly after way too short a period of time the whole thing is being tortured by the strain between the Germans who’ve been paying for it and the Greeks, Italians, etc. who’ve been having a great time spending the money.

    And “sooner or later you run out of other peoples money to spend”.

    So all that’s hitting the wall just in time for Germany to have a hard choice. Give in to the “spend it all” mentality of the rest of the EU herd, or stick with monetary discipline.

    And so it goes.

    Socialism is slowly eating the heart of the EU, and it’s only a matter of time until the money runs out. Then it will break up. And even the German experience of Hyperinflation is fading from memory enough that it just might be allowed to have another run. More promises made than can be kept. More “social safety net” than can be staffed. More “Government Pensions” than can ever be paid. More “just have the government pay for it” and fewer folks to tax to get the money.

    At the point where the wealth is consumed and the promises come due, it collapses. You can only eat your seed corn so long…

    And that time is tyically about 1/2 to 3/4 of a lifetime, (though with some variation by state, and rapidity with which they squander the accumulated capital.)

    The basic problem is simple. In a capitalist system greed will cause me to create wealth and preserve it. In a socialist system greed will cause everyone to consume other peoples wealth and create as little as possible. And when the accumulated wealth runs out, the economy collapses.

    Kind of fun for an economist to watch from afar. Really lousy to be stuck inside while it’s happening. Oh well… Have I mentioned lately that Economics is called “The Dismal Science?” 8-}

    Oh, Sidebar: There’s a wonderfully long list of “communes” that have been created over the years “for the good of all” as little socialist utopias inside other economic systems. Not a whole lot of them survive very long. Starting from the Pilgims on down to the Amana Colonies (arguably the most successful ) Yet even their web site that tries to play them up as ‘successful’ has a curious irony in it:

    http://www.amanacolonies.org/history.htm

    In 1932, amidst America’s Great Depression, Amana set aside its communal way of life. A ruinous farm market and changes in the rural economy contributed, but what finally propelled the change was a strong desire on the part of residents to maintain their community. By 1932, the communal way of life was seen as a barrier to achieving individual goals, so rather than leave or watch their children leave, they changed. They established the Amana Society, Inc., a profit-sharing corporation, to manage the farmland, the mills and the larger enterprises. Private enterprise was encouraged. The Amana Church was maintained.

    Gotta love it. The most successful collective social enterprise survives by becoming a profit oriented corporation. And yes, Amana appliances was one of the results.

    You can go right down the list. Those that change to be market oriented with individual freedom survive. Those that don’t are foot notes to history.

    Yet we keep on trying it…

  16. David says:

    E.M. states “The basic problem is simple. In a capitalist system greed will cause me to create wealth and preserve it. In a socialist system greed will cause everyone to consume other peoples wealth and create as little as possible. And when the accumulated wealth runs out, the economy collapses.”

    One of the best short synopsis I have ever read. A large part of this comes from confusing the dark side of humane nature with whatever group, be it political or religious, or corporate, that has adequate power at the time to manifest ever present human flaws.

    Would be statist, seeing these flaws, then blame the form instead of human nature, and so consolidate power into the government, and then stand amazed that those within this newly consolidated power are as bad or worse then the previously more limited group.

    The US experiment of individual rights and limited power in ALL groups was novel and brilliant, and tragically now these concepts are not taught in our own schools. As a nation we are rapidly losing our identity.

  17. W^L+ says:

    This was great, EM. I have to admit I usually avoid Flash-heavy posts, but I’m glad I came back to this one.

    Bernanke was and is the foremost expert on the Great Depression, but he doesn’t seem to like confrontation. If “the BER-NANK” is going to succeed, he’ll have to take on the big financial corporations and then keep tightening the screws while their congressional lap dogs yap and howl. I don’t see him having the guts for that.

  18. Jeff Alberts says:

    I met my old High School German teacher a few years back (She was 12 at the end of WWII), and she said that once Germany joined the EU, practically overnight people who had comfortable life savings were living paycheck to paycheck, or on the streets.

  19. ClearAirTurbulence says:

    Hi E.M.,

    I saw this on Samizdata this morning and could not resist posting a link. My appologies if you have already seen it as it concerns your home states Tournament of Roses Parade.

    http://www.samizdata.net/blog/archives/2011/01/life_in_califor.html

    On a par with Obama and the Seal of the Office of President falling off the lectern and every bit as prophetic no doubt.

    Here in the UK we have had the grim experince of having some 3200 new ways to break the law imposed on us during the 13 years of the previous Labour (Socialist) administration. Belive me , no good and a great deal of harm comes from legislation on this scale.

    My heart sank when I saw that you lucky Californians had 725 new ways to break the law as of yesterday.

    No wound hurts as much as a self inficted wound. My great fear is that California will be seen as being too big to fail with all of the grim consequences that will have for the taxpayers of the rest of the US of A. Squishy Republicans?

    Every single one of those 725 new laws will act as extra little hurdles to the economic recovery we all so desperately need.

    Reality has to intrude at some point as indeed it is begining to on this side of the Atlantic. The Germans have no more money/real wealth with which to bail out everyone else in the EU.

    Grumpy Germans, we dont want to go there again as we all need them to be rich and content. If we want to be rich and happy like them we will have to roll up our own sleeves. Parasites are going to find it increasingly difficult to make a living in this chilly new world.

    2011 is going to be a bumpy ride.

    Happy New Year

    I have enjoyed lurking for a very long time and this is the first comment I have posted on any blog anywhere. It would not have been appropriate to “break my duck” on any other site!

  20. E.M.Smith says:

    @ClearAirTurbulence:

    As a local I noticed that the float has a very Mexican theme. I.e. it is “politically correct” to award the ‘best’ prize to our “Mexican Heritage”… it also adds to the irony of the tow truck. Due to the number of “newly arrived from Mexico with no money” who get nearly dead cars, there are a lot of jokes about Mexican’s pushing cars that don’t run. (I’ve helped push a few myself … so there is some truth to the basis). For example : “How do you stop a Mexican tank in battle? – Shoot the guys pushing it!”

    It’s evn in some comedy routines. Jeff Dunham has a ventriloquist act. “Peanut” is a vaguely alien looking blue puppet with whispy hair and Jose Jalapeno is literally a Jalapeno on a stick with a sombrero.

    Jeff Dunham: José, I must say you speak English very well.
    José Jalapeño: Gracias, Señor.
    Jeff Dunham: What were some of the first phrases you learned in English?
    Peanut: “Will you help me push my car?” “Does this I.D. look real to you?”
    Jeff Dunham: Will you stop it?
    Peanut: “Where’s the nearest Home Depot?”
    Jeff Dunham: Stop it!
    José Jalapeño: Actually, that last one was true.

    So for those who might not be as ‘in touch’ with “Our Mexican Heritage” to watch the towed float with a “Spanish influenced” fountain and building accompanied by dancers in “Traditional Hispanic Dress”, has er, “special” significance…

    FWIW, in the last year or three we got a law that if you have your wipers on for the rain, you must turn your headlights on too. As I sometimes will run the wipers once every 2 or 3 minutes to clear a light mist, I’m supposed to spend time not just tapping the ‘wipe and squirt’ button that I can hit with one finger from the steering wheel, but also take my hand off the wheel, find and run the ‘lights on’ knob (and, in theory, get it back to ‘lights off’ without overshooting and going to that peculiar German “one side yellow parking lights on” setting… which usually reguires me to look at the knob and not the road). And do this every few minutes in poor weather. This is a manual shift car, so doing it while shifting gears would be, er, “problematic” as there would be no hands left for the wheel.

    Instead, I just leave the wipers off until I can’t see anything… It’s safer that way…

    Why this law? Because the insurance companies own the legal system. Some study showed it’s incrementally statistically safer (fewer crash claims to pay) to have headlights on when wipers are in use, so they buy the legislation to get it made a law. Never mind all the cases when it DOESN’T help. They are in the mass statistics business.

    So I’ve just given up. I accept that at every moment of my life I’m breaking some law or other. The nice thing is that once you accept that, it makes it so much easier to get through life. If you don’t like some law, you can just ignore it. You are already breaking three of four others you don’t even know about, so what’s one more? I’m now at peace when I need to spit on a sidewalk, cross the street out of a crosswalk, even when I had the windows tinted on my car, and drive with my high beams on into oncoming traffic.

    (That last one actually used to bother me, I was religeous about dimming my lights. We then got double bright yellow bulbs ‘approved’ and finally: Then all those Sylvania Bright Blue Blinder Bulbs started showing up. My old dim yellow bulbs were about like the low beams on the new bulbs. So one day I “blinked down” an oncoming Blinder Bulb car and got double blinded as he demonstrated he was already on “low beams” (BMWs seem to have 4 bulbs lit up even on low beams…). Then a week or so later discovered I’d been driving a few days with “high beams” on and not a person had “flashed me”. Now I just use whatever setting lets me see as I’d like, whenever I want.)

    So I’m now of the opinion that the legislators can make whatever laws they want. The more the merrier. That just means that the limited police force we can pay to hire will be more busy with other folks and I can break more of the laws I want to break with impunity (along with the few thousand a year I undoubtely break without knowing it).

    One other nice side effect is that since insurance doesn’t pay off if you are found to have broken a law (only ONE of their exclusions, and why the first question they ask when you call is “Were you wearing your seat belt?” That concerned tone of voice is not about your safety, it’s about “can they dodge payment for the claim”….) it means I can not bother buying any insurance beyond the legal minimum if I don’t feel like it. Odds are they won’t pay out anyway, and the more laws (like the wiper headlight law) they get passed, the less likely they are to pay, so the less I want or need their product.

    Ah, the joys of living in The Peoples Republic Of California…. I actually have a passport made out that way. They were sold in the ’70s. Don’t know if they still are…

    So I live a moral and just life and simply hope that’s close enough to whatever the legislators and police are enforcing on any given day and I can “pass”…

  21. ClearAirTurbulence says:

    Hi E.M.,

    Thanks for the thoughtful reply and especially for adding the local background information. With a little extra thought on my part I should have been able to deduce the Mexifornian aspect of the float. The illeagles car pushing reference would have escaped me entirely.

    A valuable lesson in learning to not only look at the core of what currently interests you, but also to look for “what else is going on of which I am not aware because I am not there to see it happen”.

    I am an Englishman who has now been living in another country for almost 15 years. What the locals call a “blow in”. Its a priveliged position as not only do you get to see your adopted home from a different perspective than that typicaly held by the locals, you also get to look back at your homeland through a new set of eyes. However the lack of “roots” in your adopted home means that you are forever discovering new things, some of which come as a surprise to your wife.

    Perhaps if William the Conqueror had managed to leave just a little more genetic influence this side of the English Channel we Brits would not be quite so supine.

    On that note:

    My spouse thinks that from the nature of your comment that there may well be more French influence in the Smith gene pool than you think!

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