#Free #Giveaway Continued   Leave a comment

Hullabaloo Front CoverThe giveaway for Hullabaloo on Main Street continues through the weekend.

For a committed democrat, it sure does suck when you lose an election.

You know what I mean?

Nearly half the country refuses to listen to the other half. We think we know what the other side means, but we never venture outside our own bubbles to actually find out.

#Libertarian Connor infiltrates both bubbles in a Midwestern town on Election Wednesday 2016 and brings readers along for a wry non-partisan tour of the “Bubble Battles.” He even offers a solution … not that any bubble dwellers will listen.

This #novelette is a work of #fiction based upon real-life events. Any resemblance to yourself or people you know is purely coincidental.

#Political #satire from a #nonpartisan perspective.

Potential Good News for a Resource State   Leave a comment

Like it or not, resources drive the train of Alaska’s economy and so President Obama’s wrecking-ball approach to environmentalism really harmed us and is one reason Alaska is in a recession right now. Yes, low oil prices are part of it, but more than that, our inability to expand oil development and put more oil in the pipeline creates a chronic problem. So, this is potentially good news for Alaska … and, whether you know it or not, the country. Lela


Alaska Journal of Commerce

Tim Bradner

State officials will push new U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke for a revamp of Obama administration rules restricting oil and gas development in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, state Natural Resources Commissioner Andy Mack said May 12.

Image result for image of npr-a

“We will be submitting a specific proposal within the next couple of weeks to Secretary Zinke. This grows out of meetings our governor, Bill Walker, had with the secretary earlier this year in which he seemed receptive,” Mack said in an interview.

“We believe we can help BLM (Bureau of Land Management) in developing a new plan that is balanced,” between resource development and environmental protection, said Mack, who was officially confirmed to his position May 16.

The NPR-A was created in 1923 as a potential source of oil for the U.S. Navy, but despite exploration over the years it is only recently that there have been commercial oil and gas discoveries.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management, which manages the 23-million-acre petroleum reserve on the western North Slope, would develop the new plan, but Mack said the state hopes to be heavily involved.

BLM’s current management plan, developed under former Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, was implemented in 2013 and placed large parts of the reserve into special conservation areas, effectively putting large areas off-limits to petroleum exploration and development.

The current plan also makes access difficult for transportation infrastructure, such as pipelines or roads for use by communities in the region, state officials have said in the past.

Salazar’s final Record of Decision approving BLM’s plan placed 11 million acres, about half of the reserve, into special conservation areas. This included a 3.6-million-acre special protected area around Teshekpuk Lake and including coastal wetlands near the Beaufort Sea coast.

State officials were critical of the plan because NPR-A’s coastal areas are considered highly prospective for petroleum discoveries. The Barrow Arch, a broad regional geologic formation that hosted the large Prudhoe Bay-area oil discoveries farther east, also extends along the coast of the northeast NPR-A and includes areas Salazar put off limits.

Mack said the restricted areas also impede infrastructure needed to support discoveries on state-owned submerged lands offshore the reserve.

Caelus Energy, a Dallas-based independent, has announced a significant discovery at Smith Bay, offshore the NPR-A and about 100 miles northwest of the nearest industry infrastructure at the Alpine field.

If Caelus is unable to build an onshore pipeline from Smith Bay through coastal areas of the reserve it will be forced to build an offshore pipeline, which creates risks and environmental hazards.

The prospectivity of NPR-A itself for discoveries has now been confirmed by ConocoPhillips and its minority partner, Anadarko Petroleum, who are making discoveries further inland in the reserve.

The companies are now developing one project, Greater Mooses Tooth No. 1, or GMT-1, which is scheduled to start production in late 2018, and have two other prospects, GMT-2 and Willow, a new discovery, in the planning stages.

Any new initiative to unwind restrictions will be highly controversial with national environmental groups, particularly if it eases restrictions in the Teshepuk Lake and coastal wetlands areas of the reserve that are heavily used by migrating waterfowl in the summer.

It would also require a redo of the environmental impact statement for the current NPR-A management plan, which is also likely to spark litigation from conservation groups.

However, what is also different now, Mack said, is that Inupiat communities on the North Slope, now mainly dependent on air and seasonal barge service, are supporting provisions for transportation infrastructure in the NPR-A as a way to bring living costs down.

In other remarks, Mack said in a May 12 briefing that he believes recent new discoveries on the North Slope will continue to prop up North Slope production. The commissioner spoke to Commonwealth North, an Anchorage-based business and public policy group.

“The recent increase in oil production can almost entirely be attributed to the strong performance at CD-5,” a new project near the Alpine field developed by ConocoPhillips and Anadarko Petroleum, Mack said. Strong production at Prudhoe Bay and the Kuparuk River field, which supply most North Slope oil production, were also factors.

The state Department of Natural Resources is now forecasting a 4 percent drop in North Slope crude oil production next year to an average of 505,000 barrels per day. The new estimate revises a number published April 14 in an earlier forecast, that reflected a sharp drop to 445,000 barrels of average slope output, a 12 percent decline which alarmed state legislators working on state budgets.

Ed King, a petroleum economist and the Department of Natural Resource liaison with the Legislature, said the agency adjusted figures in the earlier number to account for new production.

“New information has come in since the production estimates were prepared several months ago. When we assembled the forecast certain new projects were not included but those are included in the revision,” King said.

The forecast period is for state fiscal year 2018, which begins July 1 and extends to June 30, 2018.

The department is also estimating an increase in Cook Inlet oil production in fiscal year 2018 to an average of 17,400 barrels per day, up from a 14,900 barrels per day average for this year, fiscal year 2017.

King cautioned that North Slope production estimates could still vary, depending on the success of producers in the large Prudhoe Bay and Kuparuk River fields holding production even, as they did in 2016, King said.

The two fields provide the bulk of North Slope production and have historically declined at about 5 percent yearly. However, field operators BP, at Prudhoe Bay, and ConocoPhillips, at Kuparuk River, managed to largely stem the declines last year.

BP held production at less than a 1 percent decline at Prudhoe even after cutting its drill rigs from five to two. King said it’s uncertain that performance will be repeated in 2017 with fewer rigs at work.

In the Kuparuk River, field production was roughly even with 2015 with the decline largely offset by production from the new Drill Site 2S. CD-5, a nearby production site, also contributed new production, King said.

No new projects are expected in 2017 that will provide a similar offset to decline. However, new production projects now in construction on the Slope will begin production late 2018 and help stem decline in 2019.

These include ConocoPhillips’ new Greater Mooses Tooth No. 1 project in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, with an expected output of 30,000 barrels per day, and Hilcorp Energy’s new Moose Pad project in the Milne Point field, with an expected output of 12,000 to 18,000 barrels per day.

The state spring forecast also revised a production estimate for current-year fiscal year 2017 production to an average of 523,700 barrels per day, a second straight year of increases and far greater than the 495,000 barrels per day that was projected this past December.

This includes greater output from the Prudhoe Bay than state officials expected earlier as well as more production from CD-5.

While the near-term outlook is for level production in Alaska, or a minor decline, the medium-term, to 2022, is more uncertain because low oil prices have delayed some projects that were expected to come on line in that period, according to Paul Decker, chief of resource evaluation group in the state Division of Oil and Gas.

Those include Caelus Energy’s Nuna project, which could produce 25,000 barrels per day, and Mustang, a small project planned by Brooks Range Petroleum, which will be able to produce 12,000 barrels per day to 15,000 barrels per day. Both are on hold and are unlikely to be put into production before 2022.

However, prospects are brighter for the long-term beyond 2022, Decker said, although this may depend on some improvement in oil prices. Armstrong Oil and Gas and Repsol are engaged with regulators on approvals of the Pikka project, which will be capable of producing 120,000 barrels per day, and ConocoPhillips has its GMT-2 in the NPR-A, which could produce 25,000 to 30,000 barrels per day, the company has said.

King said both of those projects are at least five or six years out.

Further out in the queue is Willow, a new ConocoPhillips discovery in NPR-A, that could be capable of 100,000 barrels per day, and Caelus Energy’s discovery at Smith Bay, in state-owned offshore waters north of the NPR-A, the company believes might produce 200,000 barrels per day.

Tim Bradner is co-publisher of Alaska Legislative Digest and a contributor to the Journal of Commerce. He can be reached at timbradner@gmail.com.

Posted May 19, 2017 by aurorawatcherak in Alaska, Uncategorized

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Jerk Move: Trump Threw Rosenstein Under the Bus | Jeffrey A. Tucker   Leave a comment

Like many people, I’m not crying that FBI director James Comey was fired from his job before his tenure was up. As Rand Paul has reported, Comey never stopped crawling to Capitol Hill for more money, more spying authority, more power to the government, and all those things I’m against. And like many people, I find the claims of Russian meddling in the election to be a diversion from the more obvious point that voters wanted change and didn’t want Hillary Clinton.

Image result for image of rod rosensteinThe scenario is pretty clear: Trump leaned on a subordinate to provide cover for a decision he wanted to make.

What has struck me more is a particularly telling aspect of the way the firing of Comey was done. This is a human interest story to me. It reveals a facet of human life that is really grim, and serves as a warning for the type of power move all of us need to be on the lookout for. What would you do if your boss muscled you into taking the fall for his or her sketchy decisions?

The Plot

President Trump’s memo firing Comey came with an attachment. It was a letter to him from Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general of the Justice Department and the person who is technically Comey’s boss. The memo to Trump, dated the same day of the firing, carefully built a case against Comey. The implied conclusion of  the memo was that Comey needed to be let go, but it stopped short of demanding it.

Rosenstein’s conclusion was as follows:

“The way the Director handled the conclusion of the email investigation was wrong. As a result, the F.B.I. is unlikely to regain public and congressional trust until it has a Director who understands the gravity of the mistakes and pledges never to repeat them. Having refused to admit his errors, the Director cannot be expected to implement the necessary corrective actions.”

It was this letter that Trump used as cover to fire someone he believed was becoming a personal enemy.

Did Trump ask Rosenstein for the letter? Most certainly.

Presidential spokesman Sarah Huckabee Sanders admits that Rosenstein, with Attorney General Jeff Sessions, came to see Trump in the White House the day before. Rosenstein reported to the president that Comey had come to him asking for more resources to investigate ties between Trump and Russia, a case from which Sessions had already recused himself. That left only Rosenstein to act on Trump’s behalf.

We have no access to what happened then. It was a private meeting. But it seems that Trump asked Rosenstein his opinion of how Comey was doing at his job. According to McClatchy, he rendered a negative judgment, as one is wont to do under the circumstances. Trump then asked Rosenstein to write a memo detailing his criticisms. That memo arrived the next day and Comey was fired.

Fight or Survive?

The scenario is pretty clear: Trump leaned on a subordinate to provide cover for a decision he wanted to make. Trump demanded that an underling surrender his professional integrity so that the President could get his way. I can only imagine the lump that must have appeared in Rosenstein’s throat at that moment. It must have been the worse evening of his life.

Anyone who has faced such a situation in his or her professional life has to wince.

I’m looking at Rosenstein’s education and career. It is a classic case, every decision made to plot the perfect, non-partisan career in the highest reaches of government. He obtained an economics degree from the Wharton School, then moved to Harvard for a law degree. He became a Supreme Court clerk, and easily found a place at the Department of Justice, where he served under five presidents. After 27 years, he is the longest serving U.S. Attorney.

Somehow he managed to do all of this while staying out of the public eye and out of partisan squabbles. To achieve that requires focus. Rosenstein has it. It’s how he earned credibility and a flawless reputation. He must protect it every day, as a matter of habit.

A Bad Night

Then that fateful day arrived. He was nudged and answered the right way to please the president. Then the president told him to own his opinions and go public, as a way of giving the big cheese cover. What was he to do? Yes, he could have quit the job, and he probably should have. Instead, he acquiesced. After all, he built his whole career to achieve this height: Deputy Attorney General! Was he really going to give it all up?

Good leaders are servants of others who bear huge burdens, even to the point of taking the fall for others.

Anyone who has faced such a situation in his or her professional life has to wince. It’s painful –  and seedy. This is classic “bad boss” behavior. It reveals cowardice and a lack of character. The demand that subordinates cough up their professional capital for you is a move completely lacking in integrity. If the boss wants to make an unpopular decision, he should have the guts to bear the full weight of that decision, not devour the reputations of those around them as a fallback.

What’s remarkable here is that this move was unlike Trump. His usual tack is to bear the total responsibility for the success or failure of his project by making them all bear his name: Trump Tower, Trump Golf Course, Trump University, or whatever. People have criticized this about him but I actually admire it. He gets all credit when it works but he risks the whole of his reputation if it fails. This has been his usual way, so far as I know.

But now he has ultimate power. Maybe it has affected him. Has he come to the place in life in which he is totally happy treating those around him solely as a means and not ends in themselves? Will he stop at nothing to exercise, retain, and benefit personally from his power, no matter who it hurts? It is also possible that he always been this way and it is just now becoming public knowledge.

The Captain and the Ship

Regardless, the private sector builds in a check on such bad-boss behavior. They don’t attract people of integrity around them. They get bad reputations. They are widely considered to be toxic personalities. But as president, Trump faces no such market test. He can get away with it because he is at the height of his power and Rosenstein himself is at the height of his profession. So why not?

Sensing that this is a problem, Trump has since tried to walk back his excuse.

The answer to that question is this: it is poor leadership. Good leaders are servants of others who bear huge burdens, even to the point of taking the fall for others. This is why there are traditions that instantiate this ethical idea. The captain is that last to take the lifeboat, even if the shipwreck was not his fault. The head coach gets fired after a losing season. The Japanese military leader falls on his sword after a losing battle.

This is just how we do. We absolutely do not demand that subordinates fall in their swords for us. True, there is nothing illegal about this. It is just revealing of who Trump really is.

Sensing that this is a problem, Trump has since tried to walk back his excuse. “I was going to fire regardless of recommendation,” he now says. Of course this is no help to Rosenstein now. The reputation he worked a lifetime to build is now toast.

Again, I’m crying no tears for anyone in this drama. But there are lessons in it for the rest of us. It shows what kind of leader and boss not to be, and shows workers what kind of people to avoid, if at all possible.

Source: Jerk Move: Trump Threw Rosenstein Under the Bus | Jeffrey A. Tucker

What’s He Really Up To?   6 comments

Have you ever wondered what Julian Assange is trying to do with Wikileaks?

Yes, we know that he releases information that others want to keep private, but why? What would be his reason for this?

Image result for image of Julian Assange

There are all sorts of hackers in this world. The “black hats” seek to embarrass people and disrupt their lives. The “white hats” seek transparency and the uncovering of secrets that shouldn’t be kept from the people they affect. Assange is definitely a “white hat”, coming out of a cyberpunk movement branch in Melbourne, Australia circa 2006. These were some intelligent and technie fellows inspired by Timothy May and Murray Rothbard and others.


Assange explains his stragetgy in a series of essays that someone helpfully arranged on a pdf. Follow the link, because it’s really pretty intriguing. Assange started out by describing modern governance as conspiracy.

“Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people.” Theodore Roosevelt, as quoted by Assange.

Assange called these conspirators “neocorporatists,” referring to the entire complex of legislators and bureaucrats, and the corporations who purchase laws from them. It’s all very similar to “crony capitalism”. In fact, the two concepts walk hand-in-hand. They exist in elaborate networks which have been examined by other writers. Here and here are some examples. The public saw Barack Obama as the President, but they didn’t see these “shadow” networks operating in the background, yet these networks are the real power … and WikiLeaks’s actual targets.

This is the most important think to understand about Wikileaks. Assange may seem to be addressing governments, but what he’s really seeking to do is affect communication inside these networks:

[W]e see conspiratorial interactions among the political elite… the primary planning methodology behind maintaining or strengthening authoritarian power… these plans are concealed by successful authoritarian powers.

WikiLeaks was designed to hurt power that hides its intentions by dragging it out into the sunlight. Unmasking those intentions is not the goal. Assange seeks something deeper than that.


Not every conspirator trusts or knows every other conspirator even though all are connected. Some are on the fringe of the conspiracy, others… [may] be a bridge between important sections or groupings of the conspiracy.

Assange believes such a network can be disrupted by “distorting or restricting the information available to it,” by “unstructured attacks on [its] links,” by dividing the network by cutting links.

A conspiracy sufficiently engaged in this manner is no longer able to comprehend its environment and plan robust action.

Assange wants to stop the “conspiracy” from trusting itself, so the goal of WikiLeaks is to prevent a network of this type from communicating with itself.

When WikiLeaks published the Democratic National Committee’s dirty secrets, it wasn’t trying to drive public outrage over the content. It was trying to make the conspirators distrust each other, and especially to distrust their communications, because if those links go, networked power goes with them. Public outrage is just a nice side benefit.

It’s a brilliant strategy, actually. Wikileaks isn’t reacting after events as it would be in exposing dirty laundry. They are acting in advance, disrupting their enemy’s ability to function in the future.

How does that work? A network of this type invariably reacts to leaks by closing itself tighter against untrusted links. By closing itself off from intrusion, the network becomes less and less able to engage with anything outside itself. The less it engages with things outside itself, the less it can enact power outside itself.  Eventually, the elite power brokers become so paranoid they can no longer conspire among themselves.

The more secretive or unjust an organization is, the more leaks induce fear and paranoia in its leadership and planning coterie… in a world where leaking is easy, secretive or unjust systems are nonlinearly hit….

It’s going to require more than this brilliant strategy to bring our world out of its current barbaric age where governments are allowed to spy on their citizens and use what they learn to take away our liberties, but it’s a move in the right direction.


The new world of the internet longed for independence. But states and their friends moved to control our new world. They leached into the veins and arteries of our new societies, gobbling up every relationship expressed or communicated, every webpage read, every message sent and every thought googled, and then stored this knowledge, undreamed of power, in top secret warehouses, forever.

And then the state reflected what it had learned back into the physical world, to start wars, to target drones, to manipulate UN committees and trade deals, and to do favors for its vast network of industries, insiders and cronies. (Julian Assange – Cypherpunks: Freedom and the Future of the Internet)

While we’re busy playing on the Internet and tweeting cat photos, Assange is working on our behalf to free us from tyranny that some of us stubbornly refuse to acknowledge. If you would prefer a world where you are actually free to decide things for yourself. you might want to support his efforts and come alongside those of us who do already. At least learn about what it is he’s up to.  

Gotta Wonder   Leave a comment

perryWill the investigation find a stuck accelerator cable, a drunk driver, or an ISIS terrorist?


Of course, this is presupposing that they will tell us the truth.

Missing the Point Yet Again   Leave a comment

Another police officer gets away with murdering another citizen.


Protests follow Tulsa cop’s acquittal in fatal shooting of unarmed black man

TULSA, Okla. — A jury late Wednesday acquitted a white Oklahoma police officer who says she fired out of fear last year when she killed an unarmed black man who had his hands above his head. The verdict led almost immediately to protests.
To me, the issue is NOT that this man was black and this officer was white (and female), but that he was an unarmed member of the public and she was (and will be again) an armed member of a gestapo force.
shelby.jpg We need to get away from this black-versus-white nonsense. It divides us and keeps us from addressing the real issue – that police feel they have authority to shoot people to death in the streets and face no consequences. Take the race element out of it and we can all get behind the idea that police shouldn’t be shooting citizens unless the citizens are actively engaged in trying to harm someone or someone’s property.
I find it disturbing that, in the incidents of officer-involved shootings where both the officer and the dead citizen were black, the black community hasn’t flooded the streets in protest demanding justice. I find it disturbing that in the rare incidents where the cop was black and the dead citizen was white, the white community has not flooded the streets in protest.
See, if we took the racial aspect out of this, the black community would have whites marching with them, but because whites know they’re not welcome, only elites show up who buy into the same racial nonsense we need to be getting away from.
The point shouldn’t be the race of those involved in the incident, but that the incident occurred at all.
The other thing I would like to point out from the article … it says that four jurors were visibly fighting tears and wouldn’t look at either the defendant or the dead man’s family. If that doesn’t pique a journalist’s curiosity, something is wrong with that journalist. That smacks of jurors who have been coerced. They didn’t want to arrive at the verdict they did, but for some reason they did. Why?
Well, the defendant is a police officer being prosecuted by her employers, who have ever reason to want her acquitted. Yeah, think about that. Ordinarily in a court of law, a defendant has the cards stacked against him or her. The judge and prosecution work for the same government and if they are using a public defender, even their lawyer is not on their side. Follow the money. The same government is paying everybody’s salary. The only ones interested in justice are the jury, who are often misinformed as to what their role in a trial is.
But in this situation, the role is reversed. The lawyer was probably provided by the Police Union, which means the money is also coming from the government. The only ones interested in justice this time was the jury. Were the judge’s instructions that they have to rule according to the law (that no doubt favors the officer shooting a citizen)? The Founders would shake their heads sadly and probably already be advocating for throwing off the yoke of a tyrannical government. Why? Because they believed that juries had the right to overthrow unjust laws. I believe this jury may have wanted to do that, but felt intimidated by the government apparatus arrayed against them.
Either way, this cop should have been sent to jail for a long number of years and that is a travesty, made possible in part by our being divided along racial lines rather than united by a unitary philosophy that cops should face consequences when they gun down unarmed people.

Economic Diagnosis of Venezuela   Leave a comment

I firmly believe you can be a smack-awesome journalist without having gone to college. Yes, I have a BA in journalism, but I’ve met reporters who were better than me who never went to college. Journalism is about curiosity and writing skills and, in my estimation, the ability to be balanced with a story and seek out as many facts as can be ascertained … even the facts we don’t like.

I received several benefits from my university education that you don’t actually need to attend college to acquire, but it was helpful. For example, I took an economics course, which gave me an interest in the subject that I pursue even today. I haven’t taken a university-level economics course in 30 years, but I read at least one book a year on the subject.

By the way, books not written as textbooks … WAY more educational because they aren’t so boring.

So, I’m a little puzzled as to why reporters keep scratching their heads about Venezuela’s descent into extreme poverty and chaos?  Anyone who has read widely on economics can diagnosis the cause — socialism. From there, the treatment is obvious. End Venezuelan socialism and you will end the misery.

When the New York Times wrote about Venezuela’s ongoing collapse a year ago, it described how the country was suffering “painful shortages” of basic foods, and how “electricity and water are being rationed, and huge areas of the country have spent months with little of either.”

According to the Times, Venezuela’s dire situation was caused by factors out of its control:

The growing economic crisis (was) fueled by low prices for oil, the country’s main export; a drought that has crippled Venezuela’s ability to generate hydroelectric power; and a long decline in manufacturing and agricultural production.

Times’ reporters failed to mention the fact that Hugo Chávez tried to turn Venezuela into a socialist paradise and his successor Nicolas Maduro has continued those policies. Unfortunately, the Times’ coverage of Venzuela demonstrates that many journalists are economically illiterate.

Venezuela was never a model free market economy. A couple decades ago, the Heritage Foundation gave it a 59.8 ranking on its Index of Freedom. If you’re unfamiliar, this index measures how free or government-controlled an economy is. That put Venezuela at the edge of being “moderately free.”

Then Chavez nationalized the oil industry, agricultural operations, transportation, power generation, telecommunications, steel production, banks and other industries. Today Venezuela is the third least free economy in the world, ahead of only Cuba and North Korea.

As a direct result of those actions, Venezuela went from being one the wealthiest countries in South America to a country where people are literally fighting for scraps of food while surrounded by a wealth of natural resources. Last year, Venezuela’s economy shrank 18%. The unemployment rate is 25% and climbing. Inflation could reach 2,068% next year. Riots have become everyday events.

Alaska (and Norway) is also suffering from the effects of low oil prices. Nobody is starving here (long as the barges keep running). We still have lights and water. There hasn’t been a riot since Black Friday (although there were demonstrations at the Arctic Council meetings). Why isn’t Alaska spinning out of control too? Because, despite being a colony of the United States, we still have a vestige of market economy and so we are not entirely dependent upon the central planners to make sure we get food (as long as the barges keep running).

The cause of Venezuela’s dire conditions is socialism, not oil prices, the weather, greedy businessmen or name that excuse. Venzuela’s economic crisis what socialism produces in every time and every place. The history of socialism has produced as close to an iron law of economics as there can be.

Yet reporters continue to avoid, if not totally ignore, this economic reality when they try to explain to readers what is going on there.

The Los Angeles Times says that it’s only “anti-government protesters” who “blame Venezuela’s economic crisis on the policies of Maduro and his predecessor, Hugo Chávez.” While “supporters of the government say the culprits are a drop in international oil prices as well as ‘corrupt’ business leaders.”

There’s no attempt made by the reporter to say who is right.

The Associated Press blames the “oil boom and bust” for the crisis:

The plunge in world oil prices has left the government owing money across the board, from foreign airlines to oil service companies. Most of the anti-poverty gains made under Chavez have been erased and people are grappling with severe food and medicine shortages.

USA Today said that the reason Venezuelans were resorting to hunting dogs and pigeons for food was because:

although Venezuela has the world’s largest petroleum reserves, the country has suffered from a combination of lower oil prices and tight limits on dollar purchases that have cut off vital food and most other imports. The result has been a plunging economy and the world’s highest inflation rate — above 700%.

Others blamed a drought for the country’s problems. The Wall Street Journal reported last spring that “the newer hardships are water scarcity and increasingly critical power blackouts — a byproduct of the lack of water in a country dependent on hydroelectric dams.”

I think reporters ignore the obvious because most of them are liberals who are infatuated with the idea of socialism.

Consider how AP lovingly described Chavez:

a political outsider promising to upset the old order and funnel some of the country’s enormous oil wealth to the poor. Poverty rates fell sharply during his administration, and many people continue to see him as a beloved Robin Hood figure who gave them houses, free health care, better education and a place at the table in government.

That list of “accomplishments” reads eerily like the Democratic Party platform.

Reporters’ unwillingness to admit that socialism can’t work drives so many mainstream journalists to look for something, anything, else to blame when socialist economies invariable fail, but at some point, it behooves us to read an economics book to discover the real reason.


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