Hugo Chavez’s re-election
Score another lamentable election victory for Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. The fiery, anti-U.S. revolutionary now has another six-year term to continue with the plans he launched after his first election in 1998 to dismantle Venezuela’s free-market economy and pursue his anachronistic socialist agenda.
Not long ago, American leaders would’ve had good reason to be concerned about the national security implications of another Chavez term.
Venezuela sits atop the world’s largest proven reserves of oil and is a major petroleum exporter to the United States. Chavez has repeatedly rankled U.S. leaders by providing support for leftist Colombian guerrillas and sponsoring socialist political campaigns in Ecuador, Bolivia and Nicaragua.
Yet his so-called Bolmvarian revolution has proved hollow. Chavez’s Latin American political allies have found that, without the same kind of oil income Venezuela enjoys, revolutionary socialism is almost impossible to sustain.
Chavez’s opposition has tried repeatedly to stop the president through elections and referendums, but it’s never been able to muster the necessary voting muscle. His continuation in power for another six-year term will no doubt rob Venezuela of the economic growth opportunities that are spurring job creation and investment elsewhere in the region. Venezuela’s professional class of lawyers, doctors, engineers and entrepreneurs have fled the country in droves.
The more U.S. and other regional leaders ignore him, the less his bluster seems to resonate. For all his antics and rhetoric, Chavez should increasingly be dismissed for what he is — a toothless tiger.
The Dallas Morning News
If you ever doubted the fact that many politicians see citizens as mere pawns in their political game, the wrangling over whether employers should give adequate notice about looming layoffs should enlighten you.
The government has already decided that workers and their families deserve notice that they may lose their jobs. Congress passed the WARN Act (Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification). It requires large employers to provide workers with 60 days notice before they close a plant or lay off a significant number of employees. That law takes effect if the pending layoff or closure is foreseeable.
Since the committee couldn’t agree on how to cut spending, $1.2 trillion in automatic spending cuts take effect on Jan. 2. About half of that money will be cut from the defense budget. That will mean layoffs across the defense industry at the end of December or the beginning of January. Sixty days prior to that will be late October or early November.
But the Obama administration doesn’t want thousands of workers to get notice just before the election that they will be laid off. So the White House sent a notice to defense contractors last month, telling them they don’t need to obey the WARN Act. In fact, the White House told them that if they violate the law, the administration will cover any legal expenses they may incur from the violation.
In other words, the president of the United States is telling companies they can ignore the requirements of a federal law. He is also telling them that if they face any consequences from breaking that law, he will have the taxpayers cover their costs for them.
And what about the workers and their families? Don’t they still deserve notice about these layoffs that have been moving closer for months? Apparently not.
Herald-Journal of Spartanburg