Nicolas Maduro, Venezuela’s socialist (i.e. communist) dictator.

Comment: We continually urge Alaska and Alberta to control spending and taxation.  The two oil supported governments should resist the move toward socialism which unsuccessfully manages economies, kills economic growth, produces run-away unemployment and inflation and results in dictatorship and loss of freedom.  Following is an example of an oil-fired economy ruined by socialist dictatorship.  -dh

Looting of food stores spreads in Venezuela as inflation tops 2600%.  Things are going from bad to worse in Venezuela as growing food shortages are prompting widespread looting. Store owners are arming themselves as the national inflation rate passed the 2600% mark, the highest in the world.  To read the article, click here.


Bill Walker, Governor of Alaska. NGP file photo by Dave Harbour.

Virtually all of Alaska Governor Bill Walker’s “priorities” is a step toward greater dependence on government, to socialism and loss of freedom in the great, former “Frontier State of Alaska.”  No mention of making government more efficient or controlling spending.

State of the State Speech Summary, 1-18-18: Now is the time for Alaska to control its own destiny

Highlights leadership of Walker-Mallott Administration; optimistic about Alaska’s future 

January 18, 2018 JUNEAU – Governor Bill Walker, this evening in his fourth State of the State Address, called on lawmakers to enable Alaska to control its own destiny by resolving our fiscal challenges during the legislative session that is now under way. 

“Even with the challenges ahead, I remain the eternal optimist, and there is good reason for optimism,” Governor Walker said. “We have all the tools to control our own destiny and build a safer, smarter, stronger Alaska.” 

Governor Walker also outlined some of his Administration’s accomplishments over the past few years, including: 

  • Alaska LNG Project – The State leads the project for the first time, and the Joint Development Agreement – signed with the presidents of the U.S. and China at the table – puts the project the closest to reality it’s ever been.  (i.e. Controlling the means, transportation and distribution of energy, BY TEMPORARILY ELECTED AND APPOINTED POLITICIANS AND BUREAUCRATS.  What could possibly go wrong?  -dh)
  • Tribal Child Welfare Compacting – The administration has taken the historic step of returning child welfare services for Alaska Native children to their tribes and communities.  (i.e. But follow the money ultimately to both federal and state taxpayers…and, greater dependency of rural Alaska on OPM and government control.  Not to mention of the “disaster” of creating 230 Alaska sovereign tribes on top of the ANCSA village and regional corporations + $1 billion/40 Million acres + lavish 8-a programs.  Must be nice on the receiving end but good public policy for self determination?  Is this subject politically incorrect?   -dh)
  • Addressing the Fiscal Crisis – The Governor has proposed an array of solutions to achieve a balanced budget. The House has also passed a comprehensive fiscal plan. (The Governor and Democrat House last session rejected all efficiency recommendations by the Senate and the House minority.  They seem to have done everything possible to preserve bureaucratic jobs at the expense of the private sector and savings accounts.  -dh) Both chambers have approved a measure to sustainably spend Permanent Fund earnings to help pay for government while also protecting the future of the dividend program.
  • Medicaid Expansion – Because of the Governor’s leadership, nearly 40,000 Alaskans gained access to healthcare.  (Governor bypassed Legislature in accepting new entitlements, justified by claim Feds would pay.  Not true.  Not right.  Increases dependency on government and cost to federal taxpayers and state.  -dh)
  • Climate Action Leadership Team  With the effects of climate change visible across our state, the Governor has developed a lasting climate policy that will guide the state into a new era.  (Just a pretext, arguably, to get more federal money from taxpayers to transfer to rural communities that may have located housing and facilities in areas subject to normal erosion and flooding.  -dh)
  • Public Safety Action Plan  The Administration has developed a 68-point plan to address the uptick in crime we see in many communities across our state. (Little to no focus on eliminating the cause of today’s crime wave: increased socialized spending on entitlement programs and facilities and services that attract to the, formerly “Pioneering State”, those seeking government benefits and not the opportunity to thrive based on personal responsibility.  -dh)
  • We were hoping to see here a “priority” of effectively solving the state’s fiscal crisis by removing inefficiencies in government operations, reducing  personnel and actually eliminating authorized positions and right-sizing program spending. -dh

One of the Governor’s key priorities this year is to permanently change the way work is done in the Capitol by enacting his proposed budgetary reforms and transparency measures – including his legislation that would enact pay freezes if they ever push the state to the brink of a government shutdown again.

 “We can work together, we must, and we will,” Governor Walker said.

 Read the Governor’s complete State of the State Address here, or watch his remarks here.



Venezuela’s Oil Production Is Collapsing

Sharp drop in output increases the odds of a debt default, worsens economic crisis

By

Anatoly Kurmanaev and Kejal Vyas

CARACAS, Venezuela—Venezuela’s oil output is collapsing at an accelerating pace, deepening an economic and humanitarian crisis and increasing the chances the country will default on its debts.

Crude production fell 11% in December from the month before, according to government figures released ThursdayOver all of 2017, output was down 29%, among the steepest national declines in recent history, driven by mismanagement and under investment at the state oil company, say industry observers and oilmen.

The drop is deeper than that experienced by Iraq after the 2003 war there—when the amount of crude pumped fell 23%—or by Russia during the collapse of the Soviet Union, according to data from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.

“In Venezuela, there is no war, nor strike,” said Evanán Romero, a former director of government-run Petróleos de Venezuela SA. “What’s left of the oil industry is crumbling on its own.”

Oil is critical to Venezuela’s state-led economy. Petroleum sales bring in 95% of the country’s foreign-currency earnings, so declining output will make it harder…READ FULL STORY HERE.


Energy Committee Considers Two Nominees

U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski. Northern Gas Pipelines photo by Dave Harbour

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today chaired a hearing of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee to consider two of President Trump’s nominees for the Department of Energy (DOE). The nominees were Melissa Burnison to be Assistant Secretary of Energy for Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs and Anne White to be Assistant Secretary of Energy for Environmental Management. 

During her opening statement, Murkowski thanked both nominees for their willingness to serve our country.

“Ms. White has been nominated for a position of great importance to many members of this committee, and our nation as a whole. This role requires a high amount of training and expertise to ensure the cleanup of legacy waste from our nuclear weapons research and development program is done safely, taxpayer dollars are being used prudently, and some of the office’s long-standing deficiencies are corrected,” Murkowski said.

“While ordinarily we would not hold a hearing for Ms. Burnison’s nomination, this has been a very difficult Congress to confirm even the most well-qualified nominees, and this extra step is unrelated to her or her qualifications,” Murkowski continued. “I am confident that both of our nominees are well suited for these roles, and it is certainly my hope to move their nominations quickly through committee.”

Murkowski is chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. An archived video and witness testimony from today’s hearing are available on the committee’s website. Click here to view Murkowski’s questions for the nominees.

Groundhog day: Walker lectures for taxes

by

Suzanne Downing, Must Read Alaska

In a tortured, nearly hour-long speech that focused on his well-worn quest for income taxes, Alaska Gov. Bill Walker went from breathless to scolding, to theatrically angry, and then back to breathless.

It was the annual State of the State address, a minefield of challenges for even the most eloquent orator. And an almost impossible task for someone facing a legislative body divided between small-government conservatives and Bernie Sanders Democrats.

Walker used his pulpit to reminisce about his impoverished upbringing, to liken his hoped-for gasline to the building of the Trans Alaska Pipeline System. And he badgered Senate Republicans, provoked challengers to define their budget cuts, and set the stage for his re-election campaign.

Somewhere in it all, he gave a nod to fisheries, agriculture, timber, and tourism.

The Democrats in the Legislature applauded him warmly. Those watching on television while engaged in drinking games sipped as he ticked off each standard speech category and reminded everyone that he had solved the sexual assault problem with the National Guard.

In Walker’s fourth and possibly final address to the Legislature, he provided no new ideas or initiatives but did provide fresh packaging for what has become the theme of his governorship: Taxes.

Walker’s income tax has morphed from “new revenue” in recent years to what he now calls “broad-based participation.”

Senate Majority Leader Pete Kelly sat stoically behind him, his eyes revealing little love for the governor’s taxing plan. Kelly has held together a Senate majority and kept them from capitulating, just as Sen. Kevin Meyer had done before him.

WALKER’S CAMPAIGN PROMISE IN THE REAR VIEW MIRROR

In 2014, candidate Walker promised voters he would never institute an income tax, but he started his term in office by pushing for taxes as soon as …. (Read full story here.)