San Juan Mountains

San Juan Mountains
San Juan Mountains: Grenadier Range

Friday, March 3, 2017

Self-Produced Poverty

The business section of yesterday's Denver Post had an interesting feature article.  It was entitled "Anxiety over retirement" and featured this by-line, "A new survey shows Amerikans share a dread of living out their golden years in poverty."  According to a survey conducted by Greenwald & Associates for the National Institute on Retirement Security:
  • 88% believe that "the high cost of long-term care is a major factor behind how tough it is to prepare for retirement."
  • 88% believe that "making sure that Americans have a secure retirement should be a higher priority for Washington."
  • 85% believe that "politicians in Washington just don't get how hard it is to prepare for retirement."
  • 80% believe that "the average worker cannot save enough on their own to guarantee a secure retirement."
  • 75% "support an option that allows states to create portable retirement savings accounts."
  • 55% "strongly agreed that the country faces a retirement crisis."
Let's consider the beliefs stated above for a bit today.  According to their website, the National Institute on Retirement Security "is a non-profit research and education organization established to contribute to informed policy making by fostering a deep understanding of the value of retirement security to employees, employers, and the economy as a whole. Through our activities, NIRS seeks to encourage the development of public policies that enhance retirement security in America. Our vision is one of a retirement system that simultaneously meets the needs of employers, employees, and the public interest."  In other words, they are a group of lobbyists who desire to see the federal government far more involved in the free market in what will inevitably prove to be a futile attempt to create something they call a "retirement system."  Not trusting the free market to provide ample opportunity for individual citizens of the Socialist Democracy of Amerika to provide for their own income needs, the good folks at NIRS believe the god of government needs to step in and make us all healthy, wealthy and wise by forcing employers to cough up even more money to their employees under the guise of retirement security.  Simply put, these folks want another socialist retirement system in addition to the one we already have.  Remember it?  It is called Social Security and it is a miserable failure.
Here are some comments on each of the above quoted poll results, in the order they were presented above:
  • Why is long term care so expensive? Answer:  government interference in the free market.  Question:  how can getting the government more involved in long term care reduce the cost of it?  Answer:  it can't.  Second Question:  why do people want the government to get involved in long term care insurance?  Answer:  they are all socialists.
  • Making sure that Amerikans have a secure retirement should be a high priority for the career politicians who populate Washington according to 88% of the respondents.  What constitutes a "secure retirement" is not described.  Does this assertion conclusively prove that Social Security is an abject failure?  I do not see any other way to interpret it.  And if this assertion does conclusively prove that Social Security is an abject failure, how can any person in his right mind believe the solution to the problem of a failed Social Security system is yet another government retirement system?  Answer:  they are all socialists and they are not in their right minds.
  • Most people believe that the career politicians who rule over us do not understand just how hard life is for us.  Boo Hoo!  Life is hard.  Get over it.  Stop looking to your god to make your life easier.  The more you lean on the reed of Washington the more your hand is going to be pierced, leaving you with nothing but empty pockets and a bloody hand.  Accept responsibility for your own financial future and stop looking to your pitiful and weak god to provide it for you.  
  • Eight out of ten people believe it is impossible to invest enough to create a nest egg to live on in retirement.  I conclude that eight out of ten people are socialistic materialists who believe government exists to transfer the wealth of the productive into their pockets.  I also conclude that eight out of ten people are immoral thieves.
  • Three quarters of the respondents want the "states" to create some sort of "portable retirement account."  Somehow having another state law about some new type of qualified retirement account will make everything better.  These folks blithely ignore the fact that we already have a fully portable federal retirement plan.  It is called the Individual Retirement Account and it is working just fine.  I suspect three quarters of the respondents want a state sponsored plan because they hope to get some taxpayer dollars transferred into their plans without having to actually contribute any of their own money.  That is called theft.
  • Over half of the citizens of the Socialist Democracy of Amerika believe we are experiencing a "retirement crisis," whatever that means.  If "retirement crisis" is defined as a bunch of materialists refusing to take personal responsibility for their own financial futures and then running to government to bail them out, then I agree.  
If you start contributing $2000/year (about what most people spend on Starbucks over the course of a year) to your Individual Retirement Account (IRA) when you are 22 years of age and continue to make annual contributions until you are 62 years of age you would have a nest egg of $1,534,000, assuming a 12%/year rate of return.   If you contribute only $250/month (less than most people's second or third car payment) you would have $2,300,000 at age 62.  A nest egg of $1.5 million will provide monthly income of $15,625 for thirty years.  A nest egg of $2.3 million will provide monthly income of $23,958 for thirty years.  In other words, with very little effort and very little sacrifice the vast majority of the citizens of this country could easily provide a very comfortable retirement income for themselves if they only made up their minds to do so.  The retirement crisis has nothing to do with financial opportunity and everything to do with the immoral character of the citizens of this land.
The envy-filled citizens of this immoral land are indeed facing a "retirement crisis" but the crisis is entirely of their own creation.  I have spent my entire adult life watching people who make good money blow it on material things while saving nothing for the future.  Indeed, it often seems as if the more money people make the more they spend, never giving a thought to the future.  That behavior is called materialism and it happens to be a sin.  The punishment for the sin of materialism, according to the God of the Bible, is poverty.  It is not the job or the duty of civil government to interject itself into the financial affairs of its citizens, especially when those citizens have been financially profligate.  Let retirees live in poverty as punishment for their materialistic ways and to serve as a lesson to the next generation that he who will not work shall not eat. 

Thursday, March 2, 2017

The Republican State of Mind

Larry Roche, of Windsor, wrote a letter to the editor of the Denver Post extolling the high quality of King Donnie's quasi State of the Union address Tuesday night.  The editor decided to entitle his letter "Trump's unifying message," which accurately reflects what Larry was trying to say, in my view.  Here is the text of Larry's letter:
"I watched President Donald Trump's address to Congress.  I was gratified with his unifying message to bring America together and restore our rightful place in the world.  His acknowledgement of his responsibility to keep us safe and America first was encouraging.  For too long, America has been cut short by liberal ideas and beliefs. We have no reason to apologize for our interests being first.  When America is strong, the world benefits.  A weak America benefits no one but those who hate and want to destroy American values.  President Trump spoke to our core values of freedom, family and law and order. When Democrats can't even stand for freedom and law and order, they are a disgrace to our democratic principles.  I am encouraged and proud that Trump is our President."
I have quoted Larry today because I believe he is the perfect example of Republican idolatry for the Amerikan Empire.  Just look at the things he wrote in his letter.  Or, better yet, let me point out some of the highlights that indicate just how detached the worshipers of the Amerikan Empire are from reality.
Worshipers of the Empire believe that Amerika has a "rightful place in the world."  That rightful place is firmly on the throats of every other country in the world.  Anything less than being the top dog, or "winning" as the King likes to say, is unacceptable.  Larry, like our King, sees all military, political, economic and social relationships with the rulers and citizens of other countries as a form of war that the Socialist Democracy of Amerika must always win.  Ever since the concoction of the immoral and militaristic Monroe Doctrine people like Larry have believed that SDA military forces have the right to go anywhere in the world they want to go to enforce some vague notion called "Amerikan interests."  Those interests, without exception, always revolve around the expansion of the Amerikan Empire.  Larry thinks that is a good idea and he also thinks King Donnie will be a great emperor.
Larry also believes the King has a "responsibility to keep us safe and America first."  That belief is utter nonsense but it does tell me a lot about the state of Larry's soul.  Belief in the omniscient omnipotence of the King and his Court is nothing short of idolatrous worship of sinful men.  No man has the ability to "keep us safe," whatever that means.  Those who willingly give up freedom in exchange for the false promise of security deserve to be enslaved by their governments.  Larry's concept of safety is leading precisely in that direction.  Furthermore, the only reason Larry believes we need our King to keep us safe is due to the fact that the Empire has stuck its nose into the internal affairs of sovereign foreign governments around the world.  If the Empire were to cease meddling in the affairs of other countries the alleged need for safety would disappear.  The Empire would cease to exist and nobody would care about us any more.  Fans of the Empire never acknowledge this truth.  It is the Empire that creates our enemies.
Larry's belief that "when America is strong, the world benefits" is typical of those who worship the Beast.  He has no comprehension of what the SDA has done to the citizens of sovereign foreign countries around the world as it has expanded its sway of despotic influence and control.  This website gives some insight into the impact of Amerikan world-wide hegemony when it says, "The overall conclusion reached is that the United States most likely has been responsible since WWII for the deaths of between 20 and 30 million people in wars and conflicts scattered over the world."  I wonder if the families of those 20 million people believe that they are better off because of the Amerikan Empire?
I wonder if the "liberated" Iraqis believe the Amerikan Empire has made them better off?  Wikipedia reports, "Various scientific surveys of Iraqi deaths resulting from the first four years of the Iraq War estimated that between 151,000 and over one million Iraqis died as a result of conflict during this time.[1] A later study, published in 2011, estimated that approximately 500,000 Iraqis had died as a result of the conflict since the invasion.[2] Counts of deaths reported in newspapers collated by projects like the Iraq Body Count project found 174,000 Iraqis reported killed between 2003 and 2013, with between 112,000-123,000 of those killed being civilian noncombatants."  Also according to Wikipedia, "Civilian casualties in the war in Afghanistan (2001–2014) During the war in Afghanistan (2001–14), over 26,000 civilian deaths due to war-related violence have been documented; 29,900 civilians have been wounded."  I wonder if the survivors of the war in Afghanistan share Larry's opinion about the beneficence of the SDA military?  
If the world benefits when Amerika is strong, how are the citizens of North Korea doing?  How about the poor souls living in war-ravaged Somolia?  How about the children being abducted in Nigeria?  How about the women living in Saudi Arabia?  How about the millions of Christians living in God-hating countries who literally fear for their lives every single day?  How has the Empire's strength helped them?
Larry believes that the people who hate the Empire do so because they hate our "values."  Larry defines our values as freedom, family and law and order.  It is incomprehensible to Larry that the citizens in foreign lands might hate the Empire because we maintain military bases on their property.  As I wrote back in 2014, "The SDA has military personnel in 148 countries around the world.  In addition, the SDA has 662 military bases in 38 of those countries.  For comparison purposes Russia has 14 military bases in 11 countries.  Ten of those eleven countries are former Soviet Republics.  The lone exception is Syria.  China, whom we all know has designs on world conquest and the utter annihilation of the Socialist Democracy of Amerika has a grand total of zero military bases on foreign soil.  The two most imperialistic military forces after the SDA and the Russians are the French (11 bases) and the British (10 bases).  Do you think the fact that the SDA has a military presence in almost every country in the world could have anything to do with the fact that the SDA is the most hated country in the world?  Hummm....makes one think."  Sadly, these facts do not make people like Larry think.  They are blinded by religious love for the Empire and incapable of rational thought.
Larry believes that the citizens of the SDA are free.  He is wrong.  We are considerably less free as citizens of this land under our current oppressive government than the colonists were under the Crown of England just prior to the Revolutionary War.  As I wrote last month, Amerikans hate freedom.  Go back and read that post for the argument.  Larry believes that Amerikans are the only people who love their families.  I can't begin to say how stupid that idea is.  Larry believes that Amerika is a land of law and order, where career politicians and other rulers are not exempt from a strict application of a wonderfully moral civil law.  Yes Larry, you go right on believing that.  40 million plus murders of babies is a sterling example of a beautiful moral law, don't you think?  49% of the population paying the entire federal income tax bill is a beautiful example of equity before the law, isn't it? 
Larry is a perfect example of the model Republican.  He loves the Amerikan Empire and quivers with excitement as he considers how King Donnie is going to drive us the greater and greater heights of world domination.  Good for him.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Meat and Babies

Two "protesters," aka "criminals," entered a meat market in the People's Republic of Boulder a couple of days ago and destroyed ~$1,000 worth of fresh meat.  According to Mitchell Byars of the Daily Camera, "Chanting 'meat is murder,' two people ruined about $1,000 worth of meat products at Ideal market in Boulder on Sunday after placing flowers on top of raw lamb, pork and beef, police said. An unidentified man and a woman walked into Ideal Market shortly after 6 pm Sunday and 'laid flowers on the slain animals residing in the butcher cabinet,' while filming themselves chanting things like, 'Meat is murder!' 'This is not love!' and 'Meat is not food!'...The store cannot sell the meat due to tampering, said Boulder police spokeswoman Shannon Cordingly."  Let's consider this event for a moment today.
Please allow me to begin with the absurd and immoral law that ends up forcing the owners of the meat market to suffer a $1,000 loss.  Why does the government have a law that states that the simple act of placing a flower on a piece of meat constitutes something it calls "tampering" that then causes the meat to be unsalable?  Does not common sense declare that the owners of the store could have simply washed the meat and represented it for sale?  What possible reason can there be for a government law which forces the store owners to throw away their meat simply because it was touched by a flower?  Somebody needs to call King Donnie and inform him about this grossly immoral law.  Maybe he could write an Executive Order overturning it.
What caught my attention about this criminal act of trespassing and property destruction is the two yahoos who perpetrated it.  There was a photograph of them accompanying the story.  They looked like your typical Millennials who don't have a brain in their unkempt bodies.  They have been swept up in the greatness of their cause and they are going to make a statement, even if their statement does financial harm to human beings.  They are truly idiots.  If they are ever caught I believe a reasonable punishment for them would be to force them to eat $1,000 worth of lamb, pork and beef.
The three chants they recorded themselves vocalizing were "Meat is murder, this is not love and meat is not food."  Let's take them in reverse order.  If meat is not food why do so many people eat it?  Is not the definition of food that which people voluntarily consume?  Since so many billions of people make the rational and voluntary decision to consume meat does it not make sense to call it food?  The chant that meat is not food dramatically illustrates just how exceedingly stupid and ignorant these two representative of the animal rights movement are.  Clearly meat is food and chanting otherwise is not going to change the facts.  These two criminals live in an imaginary world and if they could they would impose their imaginary world upon the rest of us.  Now that would be a true act of violence against humankind.
"This is not love" is an interesting thing to say.  What is not love?  Selling meat?  Eating meat?  Killing animals in order to get meat?  They didn't say.  I suspect their definition of what is not loving would include all of the above.  I wonder what their idea of love is?  If killing animals is unloving and human beings are required to be loving and if government (taxpayer) dollars are to be used to perform loving actions then it would follow that these two mental midgets believe state taxes should be dramatically raised to keep every animal that will die in the Colorado mountains this winter from dying.  Now that will be a real chore.  What do these activists believe should be done when a lion kills a deer?  Is the lion guilty of murder?  Should the lion be killed for its crime?  The "this is not love" chant essentially boils down to an emotional assertion and nothing more.  These two brainless fools are simply saying they do not like what they see and they are going to destroy property to make themselves feel better.
The "meat is murder" chant is really what made me write today's post.  I don't know what the statistics are but I would guess that the overwhelming majority of women who are involved in the animal rights movement have had an abortion at some point in their lives.  In many cases I would speculate that they have had multiple abortions throughout their miserable lives.  These moral reprobates have been creating a false universe in their minds for them to live in for so long they have degenerated to the point that they believe killing animals for food is murder while killing babies for fun and profit is morally good.  The day of judgment will be severe for them.
God has an opinion about murder.   His opinion is that murderers should be put to death. The primary reason God commands civil government to immediately put murderers to death is not to punish the murderers with a severe and inhumane punishment.  God is not a sadist, as so many who hate Him believe. The primary reason God orders civil government to execute murderers is so the murderers can immediately appear in God's court for His judgement.  The act of execution is primarily the act of separating the murderer's soul from his body so God can render His perfect judgement of that person.
The two human beings who destroyed the meat believe I am a murderer because I eat meat.  It therefore follows that I should be executed for my sin.  I would guess that if they could be forced to answer my question they would not require my death for the sin of being a carnivore.  What then do they believe the punishment for eating meat should be?  While they are at it, why should their desired punishment be the proper punishment?    I don't recall ever hearing any animal rights activist answer those two questions.  I would like an answer.  Just what, precisely, should civil government do to those who murder animals?  And then, while they are at it, I would like to know why killing babies is not murder.  Oh yes, I forgot....killing babies is not really killing babies.  The Supreme Court of Jokers of the Socialist Democracy of Amerika has declared that the Constitution has a place in it giving women the right to conspire with their government licensed doctors to kill their babies.  Perhaps even more importantly, the majority of the citizens in this democracy believe killing babies is right dandy.   Since the majority determines what is moral it necessarily follows that killing babies is moral.  In fact, abortion is nothing more than a procedure to remove excess tissue from a human body, exactly like liposuction.  The judgment will be severe.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Colorado Politicians Pick Charitable Winners and Losers

I just finished my Colorado state income tax return and man am I angry.  No, I am not angry at how much I had to pay.  As state income taxes go Colorado is not as bad as many.  I usually end up paying about 3% of my net business income to the state.  What I am angry about is the form that I am required to use to properly file my taxes.  It has grown in size over the years and this year it became so large the powers that be decided to slough off separate schedules for things that used to be a part of a one-page form.  Let me tell you about what is going on in the Colorado Department of Revenue for a bit today.
When I filed my first state income tax return, in 1979, the form was only a couple of lines long and did not even take up an entire page.  It was pretty simple.  I basically took my taxable income from my federal form and multiplied it by 5%.  That was how much I owed and that was the end of it.  The form I just filed with the state goes on for three solid pages and included another full page schedule that I needed to complete to file my taxes properly.  The schedule that got kicked off the main form this year was related to what the state calls "subtractions" from income.  The subtractions used to be on the main form but for some reason I do not understand they are now a separate schedule.  Interestingly enough, the "additions" to state income managed to remain on the primary form.  I wonder why?  It made no sense to kick the subtractions to a separate schedule because the list of subtractions is quite small and could have fit on the main form with no problems.  My guess is that the tax collectors thought it would be a good idea to make claiming subtractions from income more difficult, thus hoping fewer people would do it and state revenues would increase.  I would love to be on the inside of the revenue bureau and get to see just how many taxpayers decided to skip the hassle associated with the new schedule and simply paid a higher tax.  I bet it is significant.  That made me mad, but my anger got worse when I saw what the state had done with charitable contributions.
For some time now the state of Colorado has been permitting deductions from income for contributions to specific charities that the state favors.  These are above the line deductions and are available to anyone who is willing to give some cash to the groups favored by the tax collectors and the career politicians who select the favored groups each year.  The list of favored groups was pretty small when it first started several years ago.  This past year the list had grown to twenty different charities and the state had to create a separate schedule to contain all of them.
Here are some of the more interesting, from my perspective, charities that the State of Colorado wants me to contribute to:  Western Slope Military Veterans Cemetery Fund  (What?  Military veterans who die in the metro area don't get access to a free cemetery plot?), Pet Overpopulation Fund (I love this one.  Do the funds go for spaying the animals that come into the pound or just killing them?), Military Family Relief Fund (I am not sure what this fund does but we can't give too much to the heroes who have kept us free, can we?), Roundup River Ranch Fund (I have no idea what this is but I would suspect that some career politician has a financial interest in some place called the Roundup River Ranch.), Colorado for Healthy Landscapes Fund (Yea, Colorado is an ugly place.  We need more money to clean it up.), Colorado Healthy Rivers Fund (If the "landscapes" are entitled to some funds then the rivers should be as well, by golly!), and the Unwanted Horse Fund (I bet some meat packers would be willing to take these horses off our hands for free.).  What a lovely list of charitable options are presented to Colorado taxpayers each year.
The opportunity to get your charity on the list of state approved charities is no laughing matter.  According to the Denver Post, "Marketed as a simple way to donate to charities each tax season, the state-sanctioned program has raised more than $7 million in five years, all thanks to a voluntary checkoff on state income tax returns.  The nonprofits fortunate enough to make the list consider the program a godsend, helping the most popular causes to generate more than $150,000 with little effort.  But the official seal of approval obscures uncomfortable realities:  Most of the organizations receive no state oversight and won a spot with political clout."  I am shocked!  Imagine that!  The state approved charitable organizations obtained their state approval by means of "political clout."  Has that ever happened before?  I can just see it now....some charity has some money to dedicate to the reason it came into existence in the first place but the Trustees decide that the  money would be better spent ("invested" they would say) in lobbying some career politicians for a place on the chosen charity list.  If they can get on that list they can double or triple their resources. What a deal!
Why is the state involved in sponsoring charitable institutions?  What possible positive result can come out of the unholy union of charity and state?  Why are no churches or Christian institutions on the list of approved charities?  Why are horses, landscapes and rivers deemed to be of greater importance than needy people?  Who decides who gets on the list and how are those decisions made?  The entire process is filled with the potential for fraud.  And I am not so naive as to believe that it is not actually filled with fraud as well.  The State of Colorado needs to eliminate all check-off charities and get out of the charity business all together.  The longer it stays there the more disruption it will cause as it inevitably does what government programs always do....pick winners and losers. 

Monday, February 27, 2017

Economic Ignorance + Envy = Death

I read two fascinating reports about the state of life in Venezuela last week.  The first one, found here, mentioned that, "In a new sign that Venezuela’s financial crisis is morphing dangerously into a humanitarian one, a new nationwide survey shows that in the past year nearly 75 percent of the population lost an average of 19 pounds for lack of food. The extreme poor said they dropped even more weight than that. The 2016 Living Conditions Survey (Encovi, for its name in Spanish), conducted among 6,500 families, also found that as many as 32.5 percent eat only once or twice a day — the figure was 11.3 just a year ago."
The second story was in the Denver Post.  It began by informing me that, "Venezuela is so short on food that tens of thousands are going hungry or even starving.  Its murder rate is among the highest in the world.  Its economy is so crippled that the average shopper spends 35 hours a month waiting in line--three times more than in 2014.  Yet even as the country becomes increasingly unlivable, the socialist government is more entrenched than it has been in years.  A sense of hopelessness, a belief that nothing will really change, has settled over what was once among the richest nations in South America."
What happened to Venezuela?  The answer is a simple one.  Socialism killed Venezuela.  Did you hear that all you Bernie supporters?  If you want to see the end game of Bernie's economic beliefs just take a long look at Venezuela.  The Socialist Democracy of Amerika would quickly turn into the equivalent of Venezuela if the socialists who live in this land ever assumed total control of the government.
According to Wikipedia, "Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías  (28 July 1954 – 5 March 2013) was a Venezuelan politician who served as the 64th President of Venezuela from 1999 to 2013. He was also leader of the Fifth Republic Movement from its foundation in 1997 until 2007, when it merged with several other parties to form the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), which he led until 2012."  Chavez was a ruthless and self-serving dictator who destroyed the economy of his country by imposing his religiously held beliefs about socialism upon his underlings.  Venezuela is awash in oil. When oil prices were hovering around $120/barrel, good, old Hugo found himself awash in cash.  (He had nationalized all of the profit-seeking oil companies.)  After taking a nice percentage of the oil profits to finance his own lascivious lifestyle he passed on copious amounts of cash to the people, providing "free" healthcare, education, housing and food for many citizens of Venezuela.  As you would expect, he became very popular.  Who does not love it when the rulers they worship give them all they need for free?  Then oil collapsed to $30/ barrel.  Guess what happened next?
With virtually every citizen in the land on the government dole and with the government now bankrupt Hugo found himself in desperate straits.  Fortunately for him he died before things got ugly.  His socialist successor, a tyrant named Nicolas Maduro, continued his policies but with no money coming into the coffers from oil he did not have much to offer the people.  So what did the people do?  Did they reject the socialism that is directly responsible for the problems they are suffering today?  Of course not!  Did they come to their senses and embrace free market economics?  May it never be!  To reject socialism would be to reject the fundamental sinful human emotion of envy and nobody is ever going to do that.
The envy-filled citizens of Venezuela are doing exactly what any staid worshiper of government would do.  They are crying out with anger against their god of civil government and demanding some other deity in the ranks of government rise up and overthrow Maduro in order to bring back the good old days.  The fact that their economy is dead and will not be revived until they abandon socialism is lost on all of them.  Religious faith runs deep and frequently blinds the eyes. 
Former King Obama turned a blind eye and a cold should to the shenanigans in Venezuela.  Good for him.  At least in one case we have an example of how the SDA should conduct foreign policy.  King Donnie, on the other hand,  has already met with opponents of the Maduro government and has taken the ridiculous and harmful step of slapping drug sanctions upon Maduro's vice president.  The entirely symbolic action does nothing but serve Donnie's propaganda interests as he seeks to be seen as a good guy in the eyes of the Venezuelan people.  His efforts are misplaced however as the newspaper article declared that Donnie's actions "could alienate the vast majority of Venezuelans who still revere the late President Hugo Chavez."
The situation is this:  1) Venezuelan's love socialism, 2) Socialism is starving Venezuelans to death, 3) Venezuelans loved Chavez because he was the dictator when money was abundant and 4) Venezuelans hate Maduro because he is the dictator while money is scarce.  The one key ingredient found in each of the items listed above is a religious adoration for the tenets of socialism.  As long as men, following the envy in their hearts, call out to government to steal from the productive members of society in order to give to the lazy members of society they will experience mass starvation and death.  Venezuela's oil money only delayed the inevitable.  When it comes to the real world:   economic ignorance + envy = death.  There are no exceptions to this rule.  Is Bernie listening?  Are millennials listening?  I doubt it.  They are too busy fanning the fires of their envy for their neighbor's property.