Venezuela Food Lines

The food shortage in Venezuela is caused by government policies which destroyed the country's ability to grow food, and earn hard currency to import the shortfall. The government propaganda blames "the economic war", supposedly waged by merchants, the US government, and the "Dollar Today" webpage which posts the unmentionable Bolivar/dollar exchange rate (today's rate is 947 Bolivars per US dollar, versus the  8 to 9 bolivars per dollar we had six years ago). 

The government's authoritarian, inflexible and ineffective nature derives from its Castroite/Stalinist belief in "authoritarian thought married to the proposal of social transformation.”  Transformation in this case means creating hell on earth for Venezuelans.

There are many articles about the Venezuelan economic crisis and shortages, lots of disagreements over the causes and solutions, but nobody seems to write much about the food lines, and how people get mugged while shopping. So I'll write about the subject based on my own experience and what I hear from others.

To have a reasonable chance of getting the goodies (rationed or price controlled basic foods) it's important to get in line very early. 

There are two basic approaches, the first involves getting up very early, say at 4 in the morning, and standing outside the store as soon as possible. The other involves keeping a sharp eye,  or lots of friends who call to tell you what food arrived at a previously empty shop. The second approach doesn't work very well unless one has very well informed friends or runs extremely fast. It's useful to chase after anybody you see running down the street, because there's a good chance that person is running to get in line at a shop receiving goodies. 

Standing in line in Venezuela can be quite uncomfortable. The main practical problem is worrying about whether you will keep your place in line when you have to go to the bathroom. This is compounded by the inability to find a suitable place where it's safe to take your pants down and avoid getting mugged. 


The Paris Climate Trojan Horse

Lukas Bergkamp, a Dutch lawyer, has written an article at the Energy Post in which he argues that "climate activists" may use the courts to force (European?) governments to enforce co2 emissions reductions they wouldn't otherwise apply. 

Let me quote from his article: 
" Paris Agreement’s implicit reliance on political activism and the related non-hierarchical governance by the courts – a direct result of efforts to ensure the participation of the United States and other major-emitting Parties –  reflects the steep price the international community has had to pay to claim victory at COP-21. At its most fundamental level, this constitutes a threat to constitutional government, the separation of powers, and representative democracy. It may well result in an unconstitutional usurpation of power by activist groups and unelected and unaccountable judges, and, thus, will undermine legislative power and the role of positive law in deciding legal disputes."
Angela Merkel, on the right leads the European Suicide Party,
 on the left is her domesticated Greek populist, Tsipras.  

The legal argument may apply to Europeans, which lately seem engaged in suiciding their societies in a rather lemming like process (such as by allowing millions of unscreened Muslims to settle inside European borders). 
But Europe seems to be a special case (at least one would hope so). In other nations we are likely to see the Paris agreement fail to pass (the probability of USA senate approval is nil). Or their constitution doesn’t allow a judicial take over of the people’s sovereign power. 
The COP21 process was quite amateurish and the conclusion was erroneous. Humanity has multiple or infinite pathways to solve a looming climate change problem, but the COP21 “solution” simply doesn’t pass the smell test. Other solutions, such as geoengineering, increasing resilency, researching and deploying nuclear power, may yield much better results. 
Whether global warming is a problem or not is really irrelevant to humanity's need for new sources of energy. We are running out of oil, and something else will have to plug that gap. 
Thus if this goes to trial you will find me there as amicus curiae arguing that the cop21 “solution” is unsound. And this will set up courts judging science, engineering, economics, and social science. I’m going to have fun.


Anti spy craft 101

I always assumed my emails were being read by my employers, possibly the competition (we had found a Chinese spy passing documents in the 1980’s), the NSA, the CIA, the KGB, MI6, Mossad, etc. This meant they could be sent on to the NY Times, the Guardian, bloggers, and end up in Wikipedia. 

So I always kept that in mind, and would only talk to my boss about really confidential matters as we walked in a forest covering our mouths. Our confidential talks mostly involved a review of the material we would allow the people spying on us to access. This allowed us to give them misdirected junk. 
One time I “forgot” my briefcase in a conference room in Beijing with documents the Chinese could copy. About a week later we noticed their negotiating team had a certain urgency to close the deal, and we landed things exactly like we wanted. 
So my advice to climate scientists is to copy my work methods, and if you are gong to discuss sensitive business matters make sure you have a nearby forest where you can carry out your discussions. And don’t forget to cover your mouths. Those directional mikes are really pesky.