Saturday, November 23, 2019


First a quick recap of the wonderful state of the economy in socialist Venezuela:

The pleasant images of this socialist model state bring to mind that, just like Nobel Peace Prizes, Nobel Economy Prizes have devalued at a rate comparable to the Venezuelan Bolivar. The time when Economy Nobel Prize Winner Joseph Stiglitz heaped praise on Hugo Chavez is not that long behind us:

Why do I bring up Mr Stiglitz now? Well, as you may or may not know, he has written a new book. And The Graudian has a few words to spare about the glorious event:

"Stiglitz, in London to publicise his new book, says that for the past six or seven years he has been growing increasingly disturbed by America’s growing inequality and the simmering anger it has caused.

“I began to say ‘if we didn’t fix this problem we are going to have a political problem’ and historically a Trump figure, a fascist kind of figure arises.”

Asked whether he really thinks Trump is a fascist, Stiglitz says: “I certainly think he has those tendencies. He is restrained by our institutions and every day those institutions work we feel relieved. We don’t know what the bounds are and we don’t know how far he would push those bounds.

“A couple of things are most disturbing – the attack on the press and the attack on the foundations of knowledge which goes beyond the press.

A couple of things are most disturbing – the attack on the press and the attack on the foundations of knowledge
“We have never had a president who day after day lies and is unaffected by it. Normally everybody you deal with is tethered by a sense of responsibility and truth, but not him.

“I think the other thing you have seen with some of these fascist leaders is using ‘us versus them’ as a way of dividing society.” Stiglitz says Trump is using racism and misogyny to divide America. “To me it is deeply, deeply disturbing.”

Just let that sink in. So Stiglitz has been "growing increasingly disturbed by America's growing inequality". Strange, because last time I checked CNN on the matter (CNN!), even they had to admit that under Trump, unemployment among minorities had fallen to record lows:

"New York (CNN Business) Black unemployment fell to a record low in August, helped by a jump in the number of black women on the job.

The unemployment rate for black workers fell to 5.5% from 6%, according to the Labor Department data. The previous record low of 5.9% was set in May 2018.
The unemployment rate for black women fell to a record 4.4% from 5.2% in July. The unemployment rate for black men crept up to 5.9% from 5.8%. But the previous month's rate was a record, so the rate is still near its historic low.

Unemployment among workers who identify themselves as Hispanic or Latino also fell in August to 4.2%, which matched a record low set earlier this year.
Minority unemployment has been tracked by the Labor Department since the early 1970's. Both black and Hispanic or Latino unemployment numbers have traditionally been higher than white unemployment, and it remains so today. White unemployment was 3.4% in August, up from 3.3% previously. But this is the smallest gap on record between the respective unemployment rates for blacks and whites...

Back to Stiglitz:
"...and historically a Trump figure, a fascist kind of figure arises..."

But luckily South America in general, and Venezuela in particular, remain beacons of democracy to offset the Big Orange Fascist Gringo up North, isn't it?

From the Guardian article:

“I don’t think we can have democracies that work where most of the people are not benefiting economically, where most of the people are worried about their job security. Society can’t function without shared prosperity.”

Duh. You mean sharing the same garbage bags, like this?

"It is not only important to have sustainable growth, but to ensure the best distribution of economic growth, for the benefit of all citizens." ~ Joseph Stiglitz

And then comes the killer quote:

“I see the election of 2016 as an election of protest. Bernie represented a return to the old values: a middle-class lifestyle, a home, a secure retirement, education for your children, healthcare. Jeremy Corbyn is saying the same thing in the UK.”

Well, that does it. Any individual who has made it as far as third grade in Kindergarten knows for sure that the economic recipes of Bernie and Corbyn would wreak armageddon on the economies of their respectice countries. I used to think that the Most Moronic Economy Nobel Prize Winner was Paul Krugman. But in the Marketplace of Stupidity Mr Krugman is getting STIFF competition from Joseph Stiglitz.


Sunday, November 17, 2019


OK the video was shamelessly stolen from the good CDR, I didn't even bother to ask, but what's he gonna do huh, with 5,000 kloms of Atlantic between us?

Anyway, watch this marvellous video in Technicolor of take offs and landings on the USS Shangri-La (CV 38), somewhere in the Med in 1962.

My personal favorite is the Skyhawk. For some reason I have always liked this tough little delta-winged attack plane. I had a model as a kid - although I almost always built my models myself, that one was a diecast. And of course, the Skyhawk featured prominently in the middle batch of my numerous Buck Danny cartoons:

Yes, there once was a USS Shangri-La (CV/CVA/CVS-38), prolly the carrier with the most incongruous name ever. One of 24 Essex-class aircraft carriers commissioned during or right after WWII for the United States Navy, the inspiration for her name came from President Roosevelt himself. You may or may not know that on the heels of Pearl Harbor, a Lt Col by the name of James H. Doolittle took off with sixteen B25 Mitchell bombers from the deck of the carrier Hornet and bombed Tokyo, a feat that caused little structural damage but of which the psychological impact was enormous (both for the Japanese and the Americans). When shortly after the raid a reporter asked the President whence the raid had been carried out, the President, apparently choosing to let the enemy in the dark about US carriers being able to launch twin engined bombers, replied that it had been from Shangri-La, which is a fictional, mystical land in the novel Lost Horizon by James Hilton. Two years later, when it came time to name a long hull Essex carrier, someone remembered the anecdote and voilà.

USS Shangri-La, commissioned in 1944, took part in several campaigns in the Pacific, earning two battle stars. Decommissioned shortly after war's end, she was modernized and recommissioned in the early 50s, and redesignated a CVA, an attack carrier. Operating in both the Pacific and Atlantic/Mediterranean, she was refitted with an angled deck and towards the end of her career took part in the Vietnam War, where she added another three battle stars to her combat record. Shangri-La was decommissioned in 1971, and sold for scrap in 1988. Here she is on her last deployment in 1970: