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Friday, March 31, 2017

For Those Democrats Who Think Trump Is Taking Over The Government, It Would Be Good To Check Out What Is Occurring In Venezuela

Socialist Venezuela now a dictatorship as Maduro's hand-picked judges oust legislature

Headshot image of Dan Calabrese 
Published by: Dan Calabrese on Friday March 31st, 2017
Vive la revolucion.
We've been talking a lot here lately about the danger of left-wing judges who basically ignore the law and the Constitution in search of any pretext, however flimsy, to toss out perfectly legal actions taken by President Trump. This is why Democrats are so terrified by the rise of jduges like Neil Gorsuch, and even more so, the opportunity Trump will have throughout his presidency to give lifetime appointments to conservative judges at other levels of the federal judiciary. The courts are often the left's end run around the legislative process, but that end run is only available to them if they have enough left-wing judges on the courts to do their work for them.
If you want to see where this can lead if taken to its logical conclusion, let's go once again to Venezuela. The most recent legislative elections did not go well for the socialist government of Nicolas Maduro, who has presided over an economic and societal breakdown so severe Venezuelans struggle to access even basic day-to-day goods. It's so bad that the nation with possibly the greatest petroleum reserves in the world faces a gasoline shortage.
How is that possible? Because with socialists in charge, nothing is so horrible that it can't become reality.
So with opposition parties gaining power in the legislature and looking to enact measures to counter Maduro's awful policies, Maduro responded by packing the nation's courts with cronies supportive of the disastrous Chavista revolution. And yesterday, these judges rewarded Maduro for the cushy jobs he gave them, essentially turning Venezuela into a dictatorship:
Opposition leaders branded Venezuela's socialist President Nicolas Maduro a "dictator" on Thursday after the Supreme Court took over the functions of Congress and pushed a lengthy political standoff to new heights.
. . .
Leaders of Venezuela's Democratic Unity opposition coalition renewed their demand for early presidential elections and accused Maduro of duplicating Peruvian leader Alberto Fujimori's notorious 1992 closure of Congress.
"Nicolas Maduro has carried out a 'coup d'etat' ... this is a dictatorship," said National Assembly President Julio Borges, before tearing up a copy of the Supreme Court ruling at a news conference in the gardens of the legislature.
"This is trash from people who have kidnapped the constitution, rights and freedom of Venezuelans ... The National Assembly does not recognize the Supreme Court."
The opposition promised new street protests starting from Saturday - but that tactic has failed in the past despite marches that have drawn hundreds of thousands of protesters.
Last year, the opposition pushed for a referendum to recall Maduro and force a new presidential election, but authorities thwarted them and also postponed local electoral races that were supposed to have been held in 2016.
Maduro's term in office ends in January 2019.
Around a dozen opposition lawmakers trying to march to the Supreme Court on Thursday clashed with National Guard soldiers and pro-government supporters lined up to stop them.
You can remove the scare quotes Reuters insisted on putting around the word dictator in the excerpted passage above. This is exactly what a dictator does. He pushes other centers of political power out of the way and packs those that remain with his own cronies. Maduro is already in the business of jailing opposition leaders and going after private businesses who don't do the bidding of the socialist government, so it's certainly no surprise that he would pack the Supreme Court with cronies willing to essentially abolish the legislature.
How this ends is hard to predict, but there's no way it's going to be pretty. The duly elected legislature isn't just going to fold up and go away because Maduro wants to muscle them out of the picture. And given the state of living in Venezuela these days, there's no reason to think the average person wants to see Maduro gain even more power, regardless of the means by which he gets it.
Now, if you don't think there's an object lesson in this for the United States, I would simply point you to the recent decisions by Democrat judges Derrick Watson and Theodore Chuang, who completely ignored both the law and the text of Trump's immigration orders, halting Trump's actions solely on the basis of their suspicion that Trump had bad motives. The danger here is that, once judges are allowed to simply ignore the law and do whatever they want - and make no doubt, this is exactly what the left wants its judges to do - there is no real restraint on their ability to wield power solely for political outcomes. If every Trump action can be stopped simply by finding a left-wing judge who will take the case, then what's to stop the judiciary from eventually setting aside entire branches of government?
GDP growth for Obama's final year? A measly 1.6 percent
The commonality is that, in both situations, one branch of government sets aside the law and the constitution for the sheer pursuit of power by any means possible. Once that starts, and no one raises a voice to stop it, the constraints offered by the law cease to matter.
This is inevitable in socialist systems, which is why they always break down eventually. And it's the very thing the left wants to happen in America if the alternative is that a conservative president is permitted to govern. Find a judge who will throw out the order, regardless of what he has to do to justify it, and call it a victory. That's how the left is operating vis-a-vis Trump right now.
Where does that lead? Caracas. And that's nowhere you want to be right now.