Why We Need To Maintain Energy Independence

Yesterday Breitbart posted an article about some investment plans by the Communist Chinese.

The article reports:

Reuters reported Wednesday that “major Chinese investors” are in talks to buy a stake in Saudi Aramco, the national oil company of Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) mentioned the possibility of selling some Aramco stock in a television interview Tuesday.

…Reuters immediately noted China’s state-owned PetroChina and Sinopec previously expressed interest in buying up to five percent of Aramco in 2017. 

Aramco raised almost $30 billion with its initial public offering in 2019, providing a significant amount of the money needed to finance MBS’ “Saudi Vision 2030” plan to diversify the Saudi economy. 

The IPO ended up selling about 1.7 percent of the company’s stock, much of it to Saudi and Middle Eastern buyers. The record-breaking results were considered something of a disappointment compared to MBS’ original vision of selling 5 percent of the company and raising $100 billion.

The scaled-down IPO was partly a consequence of investors disputing the $2 trillion corporate valuation the Saudis put forward, and partly because Aramco was uncomfortable with some of the transparency requirements demanded by foreign investors. The dogged efforts of Iran’s terrorist proxies in Yemen to blow up Aramco facilities with missiles and drones were not helpful.

On Wednesday, “several sources” confirmed Chinese investors were part of the deal MBS mentioned in his interview, pointing to a sovereign wealth fund called China Investment Corporation (CIC) as a potential buyer.

The Renegade Tribune noted the following on November 7, 2018:

Nixon’s decision in 1971 to withdraw the United States from the gold standard greatly influenced the future direction of humanity. The US dollar rose in importance from the mid-1950s to become the world reserve currency as a result of the need for countries to use the dollar in trade. One of the most consumed commodities in the world is oil, and as is well known, the price is set by OPEC in US dollars, with this organization being strongly influenced by Saudi Arabia.

It is therefore towards Riyadh that we must look in order to understand the workings of the petrodollar. After the dollar was withdrawn from the gold standard, Washington made an arrangement with Riyadh to price oil solely in dollars. In return, the Saudis received protection and were granted a free hand in the region. This decision forced the rest of the world to hold a high amount of US dollars in their currency reserves, requiring the purchase of US treasuries. The relationship between the US dollar and oil breathed new life to this currency, placing it at the centre of the global financial and economic system. This privileged role enjoyed by the dollar allowed the United States to finance its economy through the simple process of printing its fiat currency, relying on its credibility and supported by the petrodollar that required other countries to store reserves of US treasuries in their basket of currencies.

This arrangement continued to sustain itself in spite of numerous wars (the Balkans, Iraq, Afghanistan), financial crises (the Black Monday of 1987, the Dotcom bubble of 2000, and Lehman Brothers’ subprime crisis of 2008), and the bankruptcies of sovereign states (Argentina in 1998). The explanation is to be found in the credibility of the US dollar and the US itself, with its ability to repay buyers of treasury bonds. In other words, as long as the US continues to maintain its dominance of the global financial and economic system, thanks to the dollar, its supremacy as a world superpower is hardly questioned. To maintain this influence on the currency markets and the special-drawing rights (SDR) basket, the pricing of oil in US dollars is crucial. This explains, at least partially, the impossibility of scaling down the relationship between Washington and Riyadh. Nobody should delude themselves into believing that this is the only reason why Saudi-US relations are important. Washington is swimming in the money showered by Saudi lobbies, and it is doubtful that those on the receiving end of such largesse will want to make the party stop.

Think about what the impact of large amounts of Chinese cash into Saudi Arabia might have on the current arrangement of the U.S. dollar as the world reserve currency. China has wanted to undo that arrangement for some time. Also consider the impact of the runaway spending proposals of the Biden administration and the impact they will have (if passed) on the value of the U.S. dollar. We may be headed for a perfect storm. One thing that would help us weather than storm would be energy independence.

What Is Happening In Our Colleges?

On Friday, Newmax reported that Lin Yang, an associate professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Florida (UF), has been charged with fraudulently obtaining a $1.75 million federal grant to conduct research that he stole for China.

The article reports:

Communist China has long benefitted from American-funded research stolen by Chinese academics who infiltrate colleges throughout the United States. This month a criminal indictment sheds light on a recent scheme allegedly masterminded by a Chinese professor at one of the nation’s top-ranked public universities.

His name is Lin Yang, a 43-year-old member of the Thousand Talents Program (TTP) operated by the Chinese government to transfer original ideas, technology and intellectual property from foreign institutions, especially American colleges.

TTP rewards Chinese scientists for stealing propriety information, usually funded by Uncle Sam.

The article notes:

A U.S. Senate investigation determined that not only has American-funded research long been stolen by China, but that the work is helping the communist nation meet its goal of becoming a world leader in science and technology.

China uses hundreds of government-funded talent recruitment plans, such as TTP, to incentivize individuals engaged in research and development in the U.S. to transmit information in exchange for salaries, research funding, lab space and other perks.

The communists then use the American research for their own economic and military gain.

The Trump administration addressed the problem by having the NIH  {National Institutes of Health} fire dozens of scientists last summer over their secret financial ties to communist China.

It is not clear how long they went undetected or how much taxpayer-funded research they stole, but at the time some 54 scientists got booted for failing to disclose a troubling financial arrangement with a foreign government.

In the overwhelming majority of cases — 93% — the cash came from China, according to an NIH investigation that started more than two years ago.

Unfortunately I doubt the Biden administration will continue to policy of tracking financial ties between American scientists and China. However, this story indicates a need to be wary of Chinese scientists doing research in America. What are these scientists doing with the results of their research?

A Broken Promise

Historically, Britain leased Hong Kong from China. However, in 1984, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Chinese Premier Zhao Ziyang negotiated the underlying plan for the lease to end, such that Hong Kong would remain a semi-autonomous region for a 50-year period after the lease ended. According to that agreement, Hong Kong would remain free and semi-autonomous until 2034. Unfortunately that is not what is happening.

Yesterday The Federalist reported that Joshua Wong and Agnes Chow were arrested and sent to prison on Wednesday following their involvement in a series of protests created in resistance to the Chinese Communist Party’s tightening control of the territory.

The article reports:

Joshua Wong received the heaviest sentence with 13 and a half months in prison, Agnes Chow was sentenced to 10 months, and Ivan Lam received seven months. While Wong has been charged in other cases, Chow is still facing potential charges of inciting secession and all of the activists are subject to further scrutiny from the Chinese government.

…Wong, Chow, and Lam were all part of a pro-democracy political party Demosisto, which disbanded shortly before the communist National People’s Congress passed a new “security” law in July that criminalizes regular protest activity as “terrorism” for disrupting traffic, “subversion” for disrupting any government agents, and “secession” for groups speaking of potential independence. Any attempt by protest groups to work with the members of the international community was also made a criminal offense.

Violators of the new legislation were subjected to harsh punishments including potential life in prison.

The activists previously pleaded guilty for participating in what was deemed an “unauthorized assembly” in front of police headquarters in June of last year when the pro-democracy protest movement first began to gain international attention.

As noted by the New York Times, both Wong and Lam, eventually joined by Chow, were influential in organizing and lifting Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement off of the ground. Nearly 10 years ago, the activists recognized the influence the Chinese Communist Party was having on their generation and began to coordinate protests against a “national education curriculum in Hong Kong schools, which they considered ‘brainwashing.’”

The young activists also helped organize the Umbrella Movement, a series of campaigns and protests against “limits on direct elections in 2014.”

When urgency and awareness picked up about the Hong Kongers’ fight for freedom in 2019 following protests over China’s intention to extradite criminal offenders to be tried in mainland China, they rose into the international spotlight as leaders of the movement.

This doesn’t sound as if China is living up to its part of the bargain. The really sad part is that no country in the world will stand up to China on this matter. In that case, we can expect a total end to freedom in Hong Kong.

Deflecting Voters From The Truth

Yesterday The Washington Free Beacon posted an article about some comments made by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.) on Thursday. Senator Feinstein described China as “growing into a respectable nation.” That is the same China that engages in slave labor, forced sterilization, religious persecution, and re-education camps. Sounds real respectable.

The article reports:

“We hold China as a potential trading partner, as a country that has pulled tens of millions of people out of poverty in a short period of time, and as a country growing into a respectable nation amongst other nations. I deeply believe that,” Feinstein said during a Senate Judiciary Committee meeting.

She said that stripping foreign sovereign immunity from China would be a “huge mistake” and claimed that allowing individuals to hold China accountable for the spread of the virus could allow other countries to do the same to the United States. Her firm defense of China comes after a new flood of reports showing human rights abuses perpetrated by the Chinese government. The Chinese Communist Party has organized the mass detention and forced sterilization of Uyghurs, a mostly Muslim ethnic minority, and drone footage showed blindfolded and shackled Uyghurs being forced onto trains.

Feinstein made the remarks during a Senate Judiciary Committee meeting debating a bill that would allow individuals to sue the Chinese government for its release and subsequent cover-up of the novel coronavirus.

The statement actual makes sense when you consider something else reported in the article:

Feinstein has also benefited from her husband’s relationship with China. She pushed for expanded trade relations with China as her husband’s company was partnering with business ventures in the country. She said that a “firewall” existed between her political career and her husband’s business interests.

Unfortunately Senator Feinstein is not the only Congressman with financial ties to China. Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is married to Elaine Chao. Her family owns a large shipping company in communist China. Does anyone believe that you could operate a large shipping company in communist China without the approval of the communist government? The connections and corruption in Washington runs deep. It is going to take more than I think we understand to drain the swamp.

Another Reason To Remove The United Nations From Lower Manhattan

Frankly all the United Nations has done for years is make bad decisions, snarl traffic in lower Manhattan, and provide an excuse for diplomats to avoid paying their tickets for double parking. Well, they are getting worse.

Townhall posted an article today about another bad decision by the United Nations.

The article reports:

As Americans prepared to celebrate our nation’s founding and the God-given rights that are protected by the US Constitution, China’s illegal and outrageous crackdown in Hong Kong officially escalated last week. As expected, the rubber-stamp communist “legislature” in Beijing passed a “security” law that effectively cripples the ‘one country, two systems’ arrangement to which China is bound by treaty until at least 2047. Pro-freedom activists have been rounded up and arrested, with concerns swirling that at least some show trials will take place on the Chinese mainland. What the regime is doing is patently illegal under international law. It is an abuse of human rights and a brazen affront to human liberty. And yet, the hopelessly corrupt “Human Rights” Council at the United Nations voted to bestow its blessing on the Communist government’s anti-freedom power grab. They didn’t stay neutral, mind you. They explicitly endorsed the abuse:

…Among the HRC member nations giving China the thumbs-up are Cuba, Iran, North Korea, “Palestine,” Syria, Yemen, and Zimbabwe. Yes, each of those counties is represented on the UN’s human rights body. Why isn’t the United States colored gold on the map above, given the government’s harsh public condemnations of these abuses? Because, quite rightly, the Trump administration pulled the US out of this farcical commission two years ago. I’ll remind you that the UN’s committee on women’s rights added…Iran last year. It’s all so ludicrous. When the HRC isn’t busy doing Communist China’s bidding, it spends much of its time condemning Israel for sport. And this disgusting Beijing lackeyism on the Hong Kong matter doesn’t come in a vacuum; it arrives in the context of ongoing and egregious human rights violations elsewhere in China:

Please follow the link above to read the rest of the story.

Even if you accept the premise that the United Nations was founded with good intentions and not as a future vehicle for one-world government, they have obviously lost their way.

Just for the record, the preamble to the United Nations Charter includes the following:

WE THE PEOPLES OF THE UNITED NATIONS DETERMINED

    • to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind, and
    • to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small, and
    • to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained, and
    • to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,

Their ruling on Hong Kong is in violation of a treaty and of international law. It is time for the United Nations to go away.

A Partial Solution–Not A Real One

On Friday, Reuters reported the following:

Britain is prepared to offer extended visa rights and a pathway to citizenship for almost 3 million Hong Kong residents in response to China’s push to impose national security legislation in the former British colony.

The national security legislation recently put in place in Hong Kong by China is going to have repercussions worldwide. As a free state, Hong Kong has been a global financial center. Its residents have enjoyed the fruits of that status. As simply another part of Communist China, Hong Kong will not have the same economy or status.

My first question is whether or not China will allow a mass exodus of Hong Kong residents. Is Hong Kong a valuable asset if the majority of the people leave? How many residents would be willing to give up the life they have known for the sake of freedom? According to worldometers.info, Hong Kong has a population of about 7.5 million. The median age of that population is about 44 years old.

The article reports:

Foreign minister Dominic Raab said on Thursday that if Beijing went ahead, Britain would extend the rights of 350,000 ‘British National Overseas’ passport holders.

On Friday the interior ministry said that this policy would apply to all BNOs currently in Hong Kong – a much larger group of around 2.9 million people according to British government figures.

“If China imposes this law, we will explore options to allow British Nationals Overseas to apply for leave to stay in the UK, including a path to citizenship,” Home Secretary Priti Patel said in a statement.

“We will continue to defend the rights and freedoms of the people of Hong Kong.”

The article concludes:

Beijing says the new legislation, likely to come into force before September, will tackle secession, subversion, terrorism and foreign interference in the city.

Chinese authorities and Hong Kong’s government say the legislation poses no threat to the city’s autonomy and the interests of foreign investors will be preserved.

Somehow I doubt that any of the claims China is currently making are true.

The Silver Lining?

I’m not ready to say that there is a silver lining to the coronavirus, but I will admit that there are lessons we can learn from it. The American Thinker posted an article today listing some of the lessons that can be learned from our experience with the coronavirus.

The article notes:

Businesses now see that their precious supply chains and just-in-time inventory models are laden with risk.  Also, the American public and even our brain-dead political class are now aware of the folly of being dependent on China for so much of our essential goods, especially prescription medicines and health care products.  Both these factors will accelerate the relocation of U.S. businesses out of communist China….

In January, President Trump restricted people coming in from China.  He was called this and that for that action, but now it can be seen that the president was both prudent and foresighted.  That is what leadership looks like.  Europe currently has a greater problem with the Wuhan Virus because it did not act in a similar fashion.  The Democrats and media will never give Trump credit for this, but the average person sees it, thus discrediting both the media and Democrats even more.  Plus it drives home the point once again that borders are vital to a nation’s security and well-being.

And speaking of the Europeans, they are in high dudgeon because on Thursday night, President Trump announced that the United States will suspend travel from 26 European countries into the U.S. for the next 30 days starting Friday, March 13.  Europe is complaining that it wasn’t consulted on the travel ban ahead of time.  But to consult with the Europeans would be to give them an opportunity to delay the ban when time is of the essence — or, even worse, to undermine it.  

I guess some lessons have to be learned the hard way.

The Obvious Is Sometimes Overlooked

On Friday, Frank Gaffney, Jr., posted an article at the Center for Security Policy about America’s dependence on China for the manufacturing of drugs.

The article reports:

Communist China has been waging “unrestricted warfare” against this country for decades. One of its most devastating lines of attack in that war has been the hollowing out of America’s industrial base. 

A stupefying case in point is the Chinese Communist Party’s success in destroying our nation’s capacity to manufacture prescription drugs – to the point where we are virtually completely dependent on China for our medicines. 

A recent poll of likely voters found that 83% were concerned about such a dependency. 76% worried that China may cut off the supply, devastating our health care system and people.

Rosemary Gibson, the co-author of China Rx, has warned about such a scenario for years. Now, in the midst of the coronavirus crisis, it is upon us. We need immediately to heed Ms. Gibson’s call urgently to reconstitute an America First drug manufacturing capability.

We have achieved energy independence which has increased our influence around the world. Now it is time to achieve drug independence.

 

Has The Desire For Cheaper Products Caused Americans To Forget Who They Are ?

Investors.com posted a story yesterday about a disturbing note found in a box of Halloween decorations sold at K-Mart.

The article reports:

Last October, Julie Keith, of Portland, Ore., opened up a kitschy box of “Totally Ghoul” Halloween decorations bought at Kmart and between two Styrofoam headstones found something more authentically jarring: an unsigned note in mangled English and Mandarin reading: “Sir: If you occasionally buy this product, please kindly resend this letter to the World Human Right Organization. Thousands of people here who are under the persicution of the Chinese Communist Party Government will thank and remember you forever. This product produced by Unit 8, Department 2, Mashanjia Labour Camp, Shenyang, Liaoning, China.”

The mysterious writer went on to note that the workers were effectively slaves, paid about $1.61 a month, with many prisoners sentenced to work there to punish them for belonging to Falun Gong, a peaceful meditation sect reviled by Beijing as a threat.

Meanwhile, what is the American media and business community saying about China? New York Times columnist Tom Friedman has stated, “One-party autocracy certainly has its drawbacks, but when it is led by a reasonably enlightened group of people, as China is today, it can also have great advantages.” He added that such a one-party state can “just impose” the policies that are needed. GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt has stated, “The one thing that actually works, state-run communism a bit — may not be your cup of tea, but their government works.” Please define ‘works.’

The article reminds us:

The main reason for the Obama administration’s lack of interest in human rights in China is because China enables the U.S. to continue its wild deficit spending. They’ve bought our silence on slave labor, in effect.

China now holds $1.16 trillion in U.S. treasury bonds, and is our largest creditor. So long as China enables Obama to spend cash at home, the silent screams will continue from China’s slave labor camps, only occasionally reaching the ears of the West.

The obvious reaction to this story is to say that we should no longer buy things that are made in China, but I am not sure that is the solution. Americans buy goods from China because those goods are less expensive than American made goods. Obviously, the American worker cannot compete with slave labor. As long as we are financing China through our overspending, our government and media will not even report what is going on in China.  I wonder if this story were widely reported if it would impact the buying habits of Americans. It is a concern that some of the American media and some of America’s business leader view the government of China as acceptable. If they truly believe that, are they willing to live there?

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