Charles Barkley December 3rd 2014 or Horatio Smith August 31st 1939?

Professor Horatio Smith: [under the guise of being Herr Boldenschatz] You know, the trouble with you propaganda boys, you’ve got so used to telling lies you don’t recognize the truth when you hear it.

Pimpernel Smith 1941

Jesus answered, “You say I am a king.  For this I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”  Pilate said to him, “What is truth?

John 18: 37b-38a

Recently I discovered an old movie from 1941 called Pimpernel Smith staring Leslie Howard, it was one of the last movies he made before he was shot down and killed during World War 2. While the film is largely forgotten, there is a speech at the end that is very memorable as a tribute to truth.

For some reason watching that speech I couldn’t help but think of this one by Charles Barkely.

I trust that Barkley will not pay the price that Howard did in the cause of truth but it’s the same guts for the sake of truth and there are those who will crucify him for it.

Incidentally the movie is in the public domain, you can see it here.

Venezuela and the falling oil price

Depending on the estimate, Venezuela needs to sell its oil between $150-$200/barrel. Estimate, because

The precise figure is difficult to determine, because Venezuela doesn’t disclose as much economic data as other countries do.

To say “Venezuela doesn’t disclose as much economic data as other countries do” is an understatement; Venezuela has not submitted economic data to the IMF for over 10 years.

What can be ascertained is that the Venezuelan economy is nealy entirely dependent on oil exports. In 1999, oil accounted for 80% of all exports. Back then the Annual Average Domestic Crude Oil Price (AADCOP) was $16.56. By last year, the number had risen to 95% at an AADCOP of $91.17.

Today’s opening oil price was $66.88. Venezuela’s oil, heavy and of poor quality, trades for much less. Some estimate (again!) that Venezuela gets as little as $24/barrel at this point,

As of yesterday, I discovered that Venezuela is selling its crude oil for $24 per barrel and struggling to deliver with it dilapidated production, processing, pipeline and terminal facilities. No one is interested in any contracts except at such a low price due inability to deliver.

What does that have to do with the U.S., you may ask?

For one,

While U.S. imports of primarily crude oil from Venezuela have been on the decline, U.S. exports of petroleum products to Venezuela have increased largely because of Venezuela’s tight finances that leave it unable to invest and maintain its own domestic refineries. A decade ago, the United States exported 7,000 barrels per day to Venezuela. In 2013, the United States sent Venezuela 84,000 barrels per day of petroleum products, primarily methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE), intended for blending in gasoline, motor gasoline, and distillate fuel oil.

Additionally, even when the Obama administration declared the Monroe Doctrine dead, the hemisphere’s politics and economies affect the U.S. – just look at the illegal immigration flood from countries with ruinous policies.

Venezuela, however, is not only a country with ruinous policies; it’s a country ruled by an elite intimately connected and committed to spreading a Marxist revolution which it funds through oil proceeds, and is now propping the Communist regime in Cuba to the tune of 100,000 barrels of oil per day. It also sends oil to a dozen countries in the Caribbean and Latin America at a discounted price, plus it essentially gives Venezuelan drivers free gasoline at a nominal 5 cents/gallon.

So, of course Venezuela is in a bind. So much so, it apparently sold Goldman Sachs the debt that the Dominican Republic has with Venezuela in what may be “the new normal” for old shell games, since it’s possible that the DR may be the end buyer. Jamaica is looking at a similar deal.

Yesterday Venezuelan dictator Maduro

authorized a 20% cut in government spending and plans to modify the country’s complicated foreign-exchange system, opening the door to a possible devaluation.

Clearly, the country’s economy is collapsing as the oil prices drop, and Cuba, dependent on Venezuela, will follow.

Looking at Cuba, will this lead to another Mariel exodus? Would Obama use this as a pretext to end the embargo with Cuba?

Looking at Venezuela, would the ruling elite and the military attempt to remain in power by relying more heavily on the drug trade? Would rioting and looting lead to further oppression? Since Iran and Russia are in the same oil boat, what role will China play? Giving the Chinese an oil field seems out of the question – for now

The next option, which is where Venezuelans think there is some value, is that The Government will simply give the Chinese an oil field in exchange for money. This, in fact, has been tried before, except that Chávez, in his minimal wisdom, created new laws that restrict the control of the foreign partners over the joint ventures. Thus, PDVSA has to contribute part of the money to the JV’s, unless the partner lends the money to PDVSA. Except that the Chinese have not been very amenable to this. They want “joint” to mean joint, not I put up all the money and you control. Some companies have accepted this, but not the Chinese, who, in fact did not participate in one of the Carabobo oil fields, precisely because they were told they had to put up all the money

On the bright side, the changing economic landscape may bring Japan, which

is looking to Latin America as a potential source of energy and other natural resources, and it is eager to import liquified natural gas from the U.S. via an expanded Panama Canal.

Will any of this bring opportunities for democracy and trade in the hemisphere? More importantly, is the U.S. government prepared to recognize them?

Times like this require strong leadership in foreign policy, which is exactly what the U.S. lacks now.

Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S. and Latin American news, politics and culture at Fausta’s Blog.

Lunenburg? Lunenburg I’ve heard that name before….

As Ferguson continues to be in the headlines over Michael Brown (and  Zemir Begic continues to be out of them) there was a story last week that got very little attention.

It was only fitting that the heart and soul of the Lunenburg High team, Jeremy Nash, ended his high school football career in style.

Nash, a talented senior quarterback, put the Blue Knights on his back, throwing for 146 yards and two touchdowns and rushing for 131 yards on 18 carries en route to an 18-13 victory over St. Bernard’s on Friday evening in the 17th overall meeting between the Thanksgiving-week rivals.

Ok so two high school teams who have a mere seventeen year history played on Thanksgiving weekend (delayed because of last week’s storm).  This kind of thing goes in small towns all over the nation.  Hmm why on earth would a high school football game between two teams who haven’t even played that long be worth mentioning.


Because last year at this time newspapers were all over the Town of Lunenburg

The football team had been accused of teasing a biracial football player on the team over his race culminating in “Knights don’t need Niggers” spraypainted onto foundation of the family’s home.

Well this story went viral.  SI covered it, Good Morning America covered it, the governor got involved, there were op eds all over concerning the racism is Lunenburg .  The FBI was called in and the football team was made to forfeit the rest of the season along with the Thanksgiving game.

However once investigations took place, it turns out once the FBI started to investigate, the football team was quickly cleared and suddenly the parents became suspects. At the time I recorded this commentary.

One of the things you notice about graffiti is it’s never really neat or ordered, but this graffiti was right along the stone foundation, not a drop was on the siding that would have been much harder to clear

As soon as it became apparent that this was a hoax, the national media that was so interested in talking about Lunenburg decided it wasn’t newsworthy anymore.

You see the primary suspect in this story is no longer the largely white football team in a small town but the mother of the supposed target of the racist graffiti. It is no longer a story about racism, it is about yet another race hoax. If the team had still been the suspect and racism been the theme and the DA a republican the decision to not press charges would be a source of national outrage and coverage but remember the rule we stated yesterday.

I submit & suggest it’s because all of these stories involve Democrats and their national memes and Democrats understand that when it comes to such stories MSM immediately recognizes them as unnewsworthy.

So like the Democrat combatant in the war on women currently doing his legislative work behind bars, the race hoaxer who turned her community upside down with a phony race card and the Democrat’s DA decision not to prosecute are simply not newsworthy.

On the bright side the NE Patriots did the team a good turn a few months later:

The Lunenburg football team was treated to a private tour of the Patriots Hall Of Fame and welcomed with open arms, a change from last fall when the team was demonized and some players called racists.

As fingers were being pointed at the team, their season was canceled.

It turned out they were anything but racists.

After a lengthy investigation, the district attorney said no charges would be filed, even as police called the victim’s mother a ‘strong suspect’ in the case.

And even though the police and Eric Holder’s Justice Department both revealed that the family that caused the town to lose it’s thanksgiving game, placed a scarlet “R” on every player on the football team and on the town in general in national and international eyes, not a single fire was set, not a single business was ransacked, not a single rock was thrown at the police station for not avenging the town’s honor and not a single person injured.

Imagine that.

Two things.  If you are not familiar with the case you will find a good chronology at the Sentinel & Enterprise that did a find job covering the story.

Secondly given how close the election for governor was I wonder if the Attorney General Martha Coakley’s decision not to press charges caused a few voters in the local area who have had no problem voting for democrat reps and state senators to cross the aisle last november?


The year is almost over but I’m still hoping to make enough from my own niche market to salvage 2014 but it will take $4500.

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