Mafia-style Tactics

Yesterday The America Thinker posted an article about a recent event in Seattle.

The article reports:

Grocery retailer Trader Joe’s, which refused to cave in to political correctness in its product names, is experiencing new problems with Black Lives Matter protesters in Seattle, according to Breitbart News:

Black Lives Matter protesters pushed their way into a Seattle Trader Joe’s demanding the company give “15 percent at least.” The group has repeated the tactic of harassing the store’s staff and customers over the past few months.

A video tweeted Thursday night shows a large group of BLM activists entering a Seattle Trader Joe’s store. They chanted and beat drums as they marched through the grocery chain location.

Seattle has five Trader Joe’s locations, and Breitbart reports that three of them have been hit in this way.  It shows that Trader Joe’s, which resisted the demands, remains a target, based on Seattle’s failure to send police to protect them.

A Tweet included in the article notes:

This is exactly how mafia works. Either you pay us something – il “pizzo” it’s called in Italian – or we burn down the place at least. This can happen when the State is absent, that’s why defunding the police in crucial in every mafia system.

The article concludes:

BLM is led by “trained Marxists” who just happened to have learned their tactics at Hugo Chávez’s knee.  Here’s a piece I did on their pilgrimages to Caracas, where these kinds of shakedowns are what goes on in that hellhole.  And don’t think the Chavista agenda they embrace isn’t to harm the entire U.S.  Here’s one I wrote from 2019.  Venezuelans, too, have noticed the similarities.

Now their successors in the U.S. are turning Seattle into a hellhole, too, complete with Venezuela-style shakedowns. 

Seattle is getting pretty comparable to Caracas without police to enforce rule of law just on crime and disorder alone, but Trader Joe’s is no battered Venezuelan storefront shop.  It’s a huge national private corporation whose structure protects it from activist shareholders stirring up the pot and agitators calling for woke acts, allowing it to do what it always does which is put the interests of its customers first.  Instead of pay the danegeld, Trader Joe’s is in a position to walk out.

It’s shown backbone in standing up to rioters, and who knows how many shakedowns it has fended off.  But if it gets bad — and recall that Breitbart notes that three stores in Seattle have been targeted — it may well decide that the cost of doing business in Seattle outweighs the benefits and pull out of the city and open up someplace less mafia-like.

By then, the city may become a food desert — self-inflicted, based on the majority’s voting choices.

At some point, we are going to hear people who live in the cities that have refused to deal with the BLM protestors complain that there are no convenient grocery stores or other markets. At that point they will have only themselves to blame–if you keep electing people who refuse to enforce the law, eventually you have no law.

A Short History Lesson

Many Americans have not been taught the history of socialism in America. In November 2011 Liberty Under Fire posted a short article about the Pilgrims’ experiment with socialism.

The article reports:

William Bradford, the colony’s governor its first 30 years, wrote of the agreement between the Pilgrim passengers and the financial “Adventurers” in his book Of Plymouth Plantation. He noted that the seven-year contract signed July 1, 1620, before leaving Plymouth England, stipulated that the Pilgrims were to pool, for common benefit, “all profits and benefits that are got by trade, traffic, trucking, working, fishing, or any other means of any person or persons…” It further noted “that at the end of the seven years, the capital and profits, viz. the houses, lands, goods and chattels, be equally divided betwixt the Adventurers and Planters…” During this time the colonists were to “have their meat, drink, apparel, and all provisions out of the common stock and goods of the said colony.” It doesn’t get more socialistic than this because the government divvied out the goods and loafers received the same as those who worked.

The first two years the result was shortages and starvation. About half the colonists died. No one did more than the minimal because the incentive to excel was destroyed. The industrious were neutralized. Bradford wrote of the scarcity of food “no supply was heard of, neither knew they when they might expect any.” The socialist experiment Bradford added, “was found to breed much confusion and discontent and retard much employment that would have been to the benefit and comfort. For the young men, that were most able and fit for labour and service, did repine that they should spend their time and strength to work for other men’s wives and children without any recompense….” In other words, socialism made strong men lazy. In another book written by the same author, History of Plymouth Plantation, Bradford spoke of another problem because of the government created famine—thievery. Even in this Christian community, “much was stolen both by night and day….”

After two years of such, with the survival of the colony at stake, they contemplated upon “how they might raise as much corn as they could, and obtain a better crop than they had done, that they might not still thus languish in misery.” They opted to abandon the incentive killing socialist contract in favor of the free market. And so they “assigned to every family a parcel of land, according to the proportion of their number, for that end…”

The effects were almost immediate. A delighted Governor Bradford wrote: “This had very good success, for it made all hands very industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been by any means the Governor… could use, and saved him a great deal of trouble, and gave far better content. The women now went willingly into the field, and took their little ones with them to set corn; which before would allege weakness and inability; whom to have compelled would have been thought great tyranny and oppression.” In other words, the free market is a much greater stimulus than governmental force. The Pilgrims now wished to work because they got to keep the benefits of their labor. “Instead of famine now God gave them plenty,” Bradford wrote, “and the face of things was changed, to the rejoicing of the hearts of many, for which they blessed God…. Any general want or famine hath not been amongst them since to this day.”

The article notes that secure property rights are the key to prosperity. This principle was  embraced recently by Hernando de Soto.who has focused on a revolutionary concept that is having repercussions throughout the world’s poor countries: the lack of formal property rights is the source of poverty in poor countries. (see article here)

We have watched the decline of Venezuela as they have moved into socialism (article here). We need to learn the lessons of history–not repeat the mistakes.

This Is Not A Surprise

Yesterday The New York Times posted an article about recent events in Venezuela.

The article reports:

For the first time in a century, there are no rigs searching for oil in Venezuela.

Wells that once tapped the world’s largest crude reserves are abandoned or left to flare toxic gases that cast an orange glow over depressed oil towns.

Refineries that once processed oil for export are rusting hulks, leaking crude that blackens shorelines and coats the water in an oily sheen.

Fuel shortages have brought the country to a standstill. At gas stations, lines go on for miles.

Venezuela’s colossal oil sector, which shaped the country and the international energy market for a century, has come to a near halt, with production reduced to a trickle by years of gross mismanagement and American sanctions. The collapse is leaving behind a destroyed economy and a devastated environment, and, many analysts say, bringing to an end the era of Venezuela as an energy powerhouse.

First of all, American sanctions are a very small part of the problem. When the government began taking over industries, it did not know how to run them successfully and there was no real incentive for innovation and progress. Innovation and progress are much more commonly associated with the free market than socialism. This was entirely predictable.

In November 2013, I posted an article reporting the following:

On Friday the Associated Press reported that PDVSA, the government-owned oil producer in Venezuela, seized control of two oil rigs owned by a unit of Houston-based Superior Energy Services. The company had shut down the rigs because the Venezuela oil monopoly was behind on payments.

Nicolas Maduro, the successor to Hugo Chavez, has not taken over any industries during the six months he has been President of Venezuela. This is the first move he has made in that direction. When Hugo Chavez began taking over industries, one news analyst observed that it would be difficult for him to keep those industries running at their profit levels without the knowledge of the companies that owned them. The seizure of these two rigs, which are repair rigs, is an illustration of that point.

Before socialism, Venezuela was one of the richest nations in South America. They had a booming economy. Now people are starving. The is the fruit of socialism. People are designed to work for a reward. When there is no reward for extra work, there is no extra work done. The Pilgrims attempted a communal system of farming when they originally settled Plymouth. They abandoned the idea and gave each family their own plot of land to farm after they nearly starved to death. America tried socialism already. It didn’t work. Now we have a candidate who embraces socialistic policies running for President. If Joe Biden is elected, America will eventually go the way of Venezuela.

Looking For Your Keys On The Wrong Side Of The Street

There is an old joke about a man walking around under a street light who was asked by a passerby what he was doing. The man replied that he was looking for his car keys that had fallen out of his pocket when he got out of the car. The passerby pointed out that the car was parked on the other side of the street and asked why the man was looking on the wrong side of the street, The man replied, “The light is better over here.” That is what is currently happening at the United Nations.

Yesterday The Washington Examiner reported that the United Nations Human Rights Council is holding an “urgent” debate on police brutality and systemic racism.

The article reports:

While the UNHRC president says the debate is not just about the United States, it’s clear the U.S. is the primary subject as the killing of George Floyd was the catalyst for the meeting. And it’s clear that the conclusion the council will reach is a sham.

The article notes some of the history of the United Nations Human Rights Council:

The council is an abomination because most of the countries it should be examining are sitting members of the body. China and Cuba were members until the end of last year. Qatar, which has been using slave labor to build stadiums for the 2022 World Cup, is a sitting member. Nicolas Maduro’s socialist dictatorship didn’t stop Venezuela from becoming a member this year, nor did Libya’s human rights abuses or Mauritania’s slavery.

There’s a reason the Human Rights Council was the original whipping boy of U.N. critics before the World Health Organization was revealed to be a Chinese puppet. “The Human Rights Council is a poor defender of human rights, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said when the U.S. withdrew from the council in 2018, “But worse than that, the Human Rights Council has become an exercise in shameless hypocrisy with many of the world’s worst human rights abuses going ignored.”

The U.S. was right in its assessment in 2018, and the show trial that council members will make of the U.S. won’t mean much of anything. But in principle, the Human Rights Council’s existence is just an exercise in appeasing real human rights abusers. Between this and the World Health Organization’s debacle over the coronavirus and China, it’s time for Americans to start considering real alternatives to the U.N.

I guess the way to avoid criticism by the United Nations for civil rights violations is to actually be a member of the Human Rights Council. At least that is the way it has worked so far.

Misplaced Concern For Human Rights

CBN News is reporting today that the United Nations has released a list of companies that have businesses in areas Israel captured as a result of the 1967 Six-Day War.

The article reports:

The list was designed to punish more than a hundred companies doing business in east Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the Golan Heights. Israel froze ties with the council’s leader, accusing the office of serving the BDS (boycott, divestment, sanction) campaign.

Reaction came quickly after the report’s release and US Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) accused the council of persecuting Israel while protecting the world’s worst tyrants. He called on the body to “investigate the crimes of its own members instead of obsessing over the Jewish state.”

The UN has a history of actions against Israel. The United Nations Human Rights Council was created in 2006. Since then, it has issued 45 resolutions against Israel, about 45% of all country-specific resolutions issued. The United Nations Human Rights Council includes Afghanistan, Pakistan, Qatar, Venezuela, and Libya. None of these countries are stellar examples of human rights.

The article notes:

After the release of the database Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to boycott those who boycott Israel, calling the Human Rights Council a “biased body that is devoid of influence.” His political rival, Benny Gantz, also condemned the publication, calling it a “dark day” for human rights.

Jason Greenblatt, one of the architects of President Trump’s Middle East peace plan, told CBN News the public should be pro-active against the boycott movement.

“First of all, shame on them. You know, they were working on this, they held it back and now after a peace plan is launched they go ahead and do that, shame on the Human Rights Council. The UN is a terrible place for Israel. I would actually encourage all of your viewers to write letters to [UN Secretary-General António Guterres] and protest that,” said Greenblatt.

…Ironically, any resulting boycotts would likely hurt Palestinians the most. For example, CBN News has reported how international pressure forced the SodaStream company to leave Mishor Adumim and move to Israel costing many of the 500 Palestinian employees their jobs.

“The Palestinians certainly stand to suffer if these types of measures are put in place. It will harm companies that employ Palestinians; it will harm companies that provide goods and services to Palestinians,” NGO Monitor’s Yona Schiffmiller told CBN News.

He also said the majority of the list’s information came from BDS linked groups.

“I think it’s also important to note that the activities these companies are being targeted for are completely legitimate. There is no international standard that bars business activity in occupied territories or in settlements,” Schiffmiller explained.

“Many of the companies that we’re talking about are conducting activities that are outlined in the Oslo Accords. So, these are internationally recognized agreements between Israel and the Palestinians that the UN is now completely disregarding by putting out this list,” he concluded.

The article concludes with actions that anyone can take to fight this:

Just last year, 600 businessmen and women from more than 50 countries will come to Israel to connect with and invest in Israeli business leaders for the second-annual ARISE conference.

“We’re really tackling some of the greatest crises around the world. And so, we’ve invited them to connect with Israeli businesses and meet face to face and create those connections and transactions that will help bring Israeli innovation to the world,” ARISE Founder and President Adv. Calev Myers told CBN News.

Over the last few years, various states in the US have passed laws against boycotting Israel. Schiffmiller said the international community is within its rights to stop supporting a UN body that’s potentially harming these companies.

STOP THE BOYCOTT OF ISRAEL! 
Sign the Petition
Text “STOPBDS” to 41-444
VISIT: CBN.COM/STOPBDS

Please do.

Will Solving The Immediate Problem Actually Accomplish Anything?

A website called nffonline.com notes:

‘Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.’ (George Santayana-1905). In a 1948 speech to the House of Commons, Winston Churchill changed the quote slightly when he said (paraphrased), ‘Those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it.’

Today Venezuela was rocked by violence as opposition leader Juan Guaidó attempted to revive his movement to seize power in Venezuela.

The Associated Press is reporting today:

The violent street battles that erupted in parts of Caracas were the most serious challenge yet to Maduro’s rule. Still, the rebellion, dubbed “Operation Freedom,” seemed to have garnered only limited military support.

In one dramatic incident during a chaotic day, several armored vehicles plowed into a group of anti-government demonstrators trying to storm the capital’s air base, hitting at least two protesters.

Russia has troops in Venezuela as does Cuba. The Monroe Doctrine applies to the Russian involvement; it doesn’t cover the Cuban involvement. So should America get involved, to what degree, and how? Well, let’s look at history. I can’t think of any incidence where we have been involved in an overthrow of a government (no matter how tyrannical) and had a positive outcome. The only positive examples that you might be able to come up with would be Germany, Italy, and Japan (World War II). That was an entire world-wide war–not the overthrow of a country’s government. We have no history of replacing dictatorships with democracies and having everyone live happily ever after.

But for the sake of argument, let’s look at how American involvement that put Juan Guaidó in charge would change things. The generals in Venezuela are involved with the drug cartels that ship drugs into America through Mexico. Until we deal with the drug problem on our southern border, the corruption in the Venezuela military will continue. Can a country exist as a free country with a corrupt military that is working with the drug cartels?

We are back again to seeing the impact of a porous southern border that allows drugs to flow into our country and drug lords make enormous sums of money sending those drugs into our country. Unless we take the market away from the military generals in Venezuela and the drug cartels, any move we make to bring freedom to Venezuela will be in vain.

Propping Up A Dictator

One America News is reporting today that two Russian air force planes landed in Venezuela’s main airport on Saturday carrying a Russian defense official and nearly 100 troops. This is reported by a local journalist.

The article reports:

Reporter Javier Mayorca wrote on Twitter on Saturday that the first plane carried Vasily Tonkoshkurov, chief of staff of the ground forces, adding that the second was a cargo plane carrying 35 tonnes of material.

An Ilyushin IL-62 passenger jet and an Antonov AN-124 military cargo plane left for Caracas on Friday from Russian military airport Chkalovsky, stopping along the way in Syria, according to flight-tracking website Flightradar24.

The cargo plane left Caracas on Sunday afternoon, according to Adsbexchange, another flight-tracking site.

It sounds as if the Russians are attempting to duplicate what they did in Cuba many years ago, support an unpopular dictator who will be a thorn in the side of America. The Russians have another reason to want to keep Venezuela indirectly under their control.

On March 22nd The Miami Herald reported:

Cuba would have to spend nearly $2 billion a year to meet its domestic oil needs if Venezuela’s National Assembly and interim president Juan Guaidó manage to stop deliveries to the Caribbean island.

“Cuba’s demand for oil is about 130,000 barrels per day, and Cuba produces about 50,000 barrels per day, which means a deficit of about 80,000 barrels per day,” said Jorge Piñón, director of the Latin American Energy Program at the University of Texas at Austin.

Piñón estimates that Cuba has fuel reserves for about 45 days. But the end of deliveries by Venezuela’s PDVSA oil company would force the government to spend nearly $5.2 million per day at the market price of $65 per barrel for the 80,000 barrels per day it would need to import to meet demand.

By the end of one year, that would add up to nearly $2 billion for an economy that economists agree has not reached 2 percent annual growth in recent years and has probably experienced a recession.

The National Assembly, controlled by the opposition, recently ordered a suspension of crude shipments to Cuba, which started under an agreement to exchange oil for medical services negotiated by the late Fidel Castro and Hugo Chávez.

PDVSA now ships an estimated 40,000 to 50,000 barrels per day to Cuba, not quite half of what the oil company sent before it spiraled into an unprecedented crisis under the Nicolás Maduro regime.

There is also another aspect of Venezuela’s oil shipments.

In November 2013, I reported:

On Friday the Associated Press reported that PDVSA, the government-owned oil producer in Venezuela, seized control of two oil rigs owned by a unit of Houston-based Superior Energy Services. The company had shut down the rigs because the Venezuela oil monopoly was behind on payments.

Nicolas Maduro, the successor to Hugo Chavez, has not taken over any industries during the six months he has been President of Venezuela. This is the first move he has made in that direction. When Hugo Chavez began taking over industries, one news analyst observed that it would be difficult for him to keep those industries running at their profit levels without the knowledge of the companies that owned them. The seizure of these two rigs, which are repair rigs, is an illustration of that point.

Like it or not, free enterprise generates more wealth for more people than socialism.

It is a safe bet that oil production is only a fraction of what it was before Maduro took over the oil industry. That adds to the financial woes of Venezuela and will also have an impact of Cuba.

Following The Money On Renewable Energy

John Hinderaker at Power Line Blog posted an article yesterday about the cost of the a green energy proposal in Minnesota. The article illustrates what will happen if this sort of program is attempted on a national scale.

The article reports:

Today Center of the American Experiment released a groundbreaking paper that addresses a relatively mild “green” proposal: legislation that would raise the renewable energy standard in Minnesota from 25% to 50%. Two of my staffers have been working on the paper for months, drawing on publicly available (but rarely consulted) sources to understand what would be necessary to achieve that 50% goal, what it would cost, how it would impact the state’s economy, and what effect it would have on global temperatures.

The paper is titled “Doubling Down on Failure: How a 50 Percent by 2030 Renewable Energy Standard Would Cost Minnesota $80.2 Billion.” With appendices, it runs to 75 pages. I am not aware of a similarly comprehensive analysis that has been done of any “green” proposal at either the state or the federal level. The paper is fully transparent: all assumptions, data and calculations are clearly set forth. The appendices are largely spread sheets. If anyone disagrees with the report’s conclusions, it should be easy to identify where and why those disagreements arise. You can read the paper here.

The article cites a few highlights from the report:

* Building and maintaining “green” wind and solar facilities, along with transmission lines and necessary natural gas complementary plants (to provide electricity when the wind isn’t blowing, i.e. 60% of the time), would cost $80.2 billion through 2050. For a state like Minnesota, that number is out of the question.

* Every household in Minnesota would pay an average of $1,200 per year, in 2016 dollars, through higher electricity rates and otherwise.

* Electricity prices would rise by 40.2%.

* Electricity-intensive industries like mining, agriculture, manufacturing and health care would be hurt the most. Once again, urban greenies are hammering rural, and physically productive, America. [That last is my commentary, not found in the executive summary.]

* Higher electricity prices are a dead loss that will reduce spending in other areas as household budgets are squeezed. Therefore, according to economist John Phelan, using the generally accepted IMPLAN software, achieving the 50% renewable goal would cost Minnesota 21,000 permanent jobs, and reduce the state’s GDP by $3.1 billion annually. It is one small step on the road to Venezuela.

This really does not sound like a good idea. The push for green energy has always been about government power–whether at the state or federal level. It is interesting that the political left has chosen to attack fossil fuels just at the time when America has achieved energy independence because of fossil fuels and fossil fuels are driving our economic success. Economic success is the enemy of those who espouse socialism–if people are become prosperous, why would they want something different?

The Details Matter

Campus Reform posted an article today about college students’ reaction to Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal. As might be expected, the students loved the idea–until they learned the details.

YouTube posted the video of the students’ reactions:

So what can we learn from this? When the 2020 campaign begins (actually, it already has), the key to success for Republicans will be getting the information out about what the Green New Deal actually entails and what socialism actually is. The example of Venezuela does not have traction for some reason, but when college students are confronted with the idea of people who don’t contribute to society getting paid, they seem to wake up a bit.  Venezuela is a striking example of a socialist society–there is no middle class–the majority of the population is equally poor. A small minority of the population is extremely wealthy. That’s not economic justice–that’s theft.

Consequences Of Good Economic Policy

On Friday, Investor’s Business Daily posted an editorial about The Heritage Foundation’s 25th annual “Index of Economic Freedom.”

The editorial reports:

In just one year, the U.S. climbed six places to 12th worldwide on the Heritage Foundation’s 25th annual “Index of Economic Freedom.” The U.S. index score of 76.8 is the highest since 2011, the report says.

Heritage bases its annual rankings on a dozen different measures of economic freedom, such as tax burden, protection of property rights, tax burden trade policies, labor laws, judicial effectiveness.

…In fact, during Obama’s tenure, the U.S. plunged from 6th place down to 18th on the Heritage freedom rank, in the wake of tax hikes and massive new financial, insurance and environmental regulations.

The editorial explains the importance of these ratings:

Why do these rankings matter? As Heritage explains, there’s a clear correlation between economic freedom and prosperity. The freer an economy is, the more prosperous its people.

Heritage finds that in countries consistently rated “free” or “mostly free,” average incomes are twice that of all other countries, and five times that of “repressed” economies.

The most striking example of the connection between freedom and prosperity is Venezuela. One of the wealthiest countries in South America before socialist dictator Hugo Chávez took control, Venezuela is now racked with hyperinflation, starvation, and political chaos.

But you can see the same impact in the U.S. as well.

The editorial concludes:

And the benefits of this growth are widespread. The unemployment rate was just 3.9% at the end of the year. The job market is so vibrant right now that it’s pulling people off the sidelines to look for work. In fact, the number of people who aren’t in the labor force actually declined last year. That hasn’t happened since 1996 — which was in the middle of the Clinton boom. Wage growth is accelerating, and median household incomes are at record highs.

The freedom index is a powerful reminder that while redistributionist policies — like those currently in favor among Democrats — might be emotionally satisfying, they won’t grow the economy or boost prosperity.

It will be interesting where our rating is next year in view of the fact that the Democrats now control the House of Representatives.

When Governments Go Awry

The American Thinker posted an article today about what is happening in South Africa. South Africa’s president, Cyril Ramaphosa and his political party are planning to amend to South African Constitution to allow the taking of farmland owned by white residents of the country without compensation. Cyril Ramaphosa  regards this as the last step on the country’s program of land reform.

According to a BBC report:

The country’s white minority is believed to have a disproportionate hold over land, with a few thousand white commercial farmers possessing the most fertile lands.

Somehow I don’t think this is going to work.

The article at The American Thinker points out the history of this sort of action:

Ramaphosa may think it’s money-for-nothing to legislate his way into free land for the people whose support he wants down the line, but it doesn’t work that way. The expropriated farms will soon be ravaged, just as they were in Stalin’s Ukraine or Chavez’s Venezuela, not to mention, Mugabe’s utterly miserable Zimbabwe right next door, and South Africa, too, will become a wasteland. It all looks real nice right now, but the change over just a few years after this move will be amazing.

I saw it myself in Venezuela, where ravaged sugar fields in Cojedes state, out on the llano, were on one half of the roadside, the expropriated-land half, with miserable looking people sitting under a half-tent with a ragged Venezuelan flag flying overhead. On the other side, there was a still crisp, clean, working sugar farm, obviously the next target. Private ownership, vs. public expropriation were visible with one glance. Bloomberg did a piece on the same horror in neighboring Portuguesa state in 2017.

For whatever reason, people appreciate things more when they have to earn them. Also, if people are suddenly given a large commercial farm, will they have the knowledge and ability to run it? That is the problem. When Venezuela took over the American oil wells, the government did not have the ability to keep the oil wells repaired and in good working order. The oil production of Venezuela began to drop shortly after the government took over the oil wells. We can expect the same thing to happen with the large commercial farms in South Africa.

I understand that South Africa has had some racial problems and people have not always been treated well. However, stealing land from people who have worked hard to farm it is not the answer. It might make more sense to compensate the farmers for part of their land and create a cooperative to help the new owners of  farms learn how to work the land. By allowing the current farmers to keep a large part of their land, you insure that the economy will be sustained as it goes through the change of helping the South Africans learn to work their part of the land.

Common Sense Is Slowing Arriving In America Regarding The United Nations

Yesterday Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley announced that the United States will be withdrawing from the United Nations Human Rights Council. Some of the current members of the Human Rights Council are Afghanistan, Angola, Burundi, China, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Cuba, Iraq, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela. The Human Rights Council does not have a history or actually protecting human rights.

The following is from Wikipedia, but still is noteworthy:

Since its creation in 2006—the Council had resolved almost more resolutions condemning Israel than on the rest of the world combined. The 45 resolutions comprised almost half (45.9%) of all country-specific resolutions passed by the Council, not counting those under Agenda Item 10 (countries requiring technical assistance).[1] From 1967 to 1989 the UN Security Council adopted 131 resolutions directly addressing the Arab–Israeli conflict. In early Security Council practice, resolutions did not directly invoke Chapter VII. They made an explicit determination of a threat, breach of the peace, or act of aggression, and ordered an action in accordance with Article 39 or 40. Resolution 54 determined that a threat to peace existed within the meaning of Article 39 of the Charter, reiterated the need for a truce, and ordered a cease-fire pursuant to Article 40 of the Charter. Although the phrase “Acting under Chapter VII” was never mentioned as the basis for the action taken, the chapter’s authority was being used.

One thing to consider when looking at how the United Nations began and where it is now is the creation of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) in 1969. In 2011, this group was renamed the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation. The original charter of the organization emphasized the goal of “revitalizing Islam’s pioneering role in the world.” The group consists of 57 members, including Sunni and Shia states. Its membership is not limited to Arab states. This group has become a major power bloc in the United Nations and bears much of the responsibility for the anti-democratic turn the United Nations has taken. The United Nations no longer supports freedom–it has become a place where dictators can parade as great leaders while their people are starving or imprisoned.

Leaving the United Nations Human Rights Council is the right thing to do. The next step is to leave the United Nations entirely.

Freeing American Hostages In Diverse Places

The Daily Caller posted an article today about one impact of the Trump Presidency that the mainstream media seems to have overlooked. Since he became President, President Trump has freed seventeen American prisoners detained by foreign governments.

The article reports:

“We’ve had 17 released, and we’re very proud of that record. Very proud. And we have others coming,” Trump said Saturday evening as he welcomed home Joshua Holt, an American citizen who had been detained in Venezuela for two years without trial.

Unlike his predecessor, the president has managed to bring these prisoners home without freeing terrorists or paying millions of dollars in suspected ransom payments.

The article lists the people brought home and the circumstances of their becoming prisoners in foreign countries. Please follow the link above to read the entire article–it is very interesting.

President Trump’s success in bringing these Americans back home is something he is to be praised for. Unfortunately I haven’t seen a lot of these stories in the mainstream media.

Reaping The Benefits Of America’s Energy Development

On Monday, Investor’s Business Daily posted a commentary on the current global oil market. The commentary noted that Russia has been working with OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) to cut oil production in an effort to keep oil prices artificially high (after all– it worked in the 1970’s).

The commentary reports:

Despite an uptick in oil prices, a closer look at the oil market unveils the real winner of curtailing crude exports: America. U.S. oil output broke through the 10 million barrels a day mark for the first time in half a century. And, according to a recent statement by the Director of the International Energy Agency, it could reach a record of 12.1 million barrels a day in 2023.

Although the price of a barrel of oil has somewhat retreated from the January $70 heights, it is still $10 above its level a year ago and more than double what it was during the price collapse in early 2016. This has been helped along by phenomenal discipline within OPEC+, as the agreement on production cuts between OPEC, Russia and nine more exporting countries is informally known. Apparently compliance has reached a surprising 138% — exporters have made bigger cuts than initially pledged.

The details of this show that one reason for the drop in production is the collapse of Venezuela‘s oil industry. Last year oil production in Venezuela shrunk by 20 percent– roughly 500,000 barrels a day. When the government nationalized the oil rigs in Venezuela, they had no idea how to maintain the rigs and maintain production, so production has continued to drop since that takeover. What has happened (and is happening) in Venezuela is a living example of the fact that socialism does not work.

The commentary concludes:

Arguably, leaders of the Gulf states and Russia are falling victim to politics, a field in which it’s better to be seen doing something than nothing. Especially when no one is sure what (if anything) would work. But who is the biggest economic winner in this game? Ironically, it’s America yet again.

Each time Saudi Arabia and their allies restrict exports, they prop up the price and create a vacant market share which then gives a boost to those producers outside the agreement that are not bound by quotas. The biggest among them is the United States. Naturally, thousands of American companies are keen for a free ride.

All of that is happening already. The U.S. has just overtaken Saudi Arabia in oil production and is expected to rival Russia soon. No wonder U.S. oil companies were expected to be especially cordial with the Saudi delegation during the princely visit. But one might imagine that on the sidelines of the meetings many Saudis will be scratching their heads and wondering how and why did they get themselves into this pickle.

America needs to be energy independent. It allows us to be in control of the fossil fuel that is the backbone of the current world economy. The 1970’s proved that was important.

Not Comforting News

Katie Pavlich posted an article at Townhall today about an investigative report done by CNN. The report states that the Venezuelan government has been issuing official passports in Iraq  to anyone who is willing to pay for them–even if they have ties to terrorism.

The article reports:

One confidential intelligence document obtained by CNN links Venezuela‘s new Vice President Tareck El Aissami to 173 Venezuelan passports and ID’s that were issued to individuals from the Middle East, including people connected to the terrorist group Hezbollah.  

The article at Townhall reminds us that Venezuela is a close ally of Iran. Iran is the backer and money behind Hezbollah. Until 9/11, Hezbollah was the most prevalent terrorist organization in the work, and before 9/11, responsible for more American deaths than any other terrorist organization. A dubious honor at best.

The article further reports:

ISIS, which has taken over large swaths of Iraq and Syria, has hundreds of millions of dollars at its disposal to purchase official passports. Additionally, the terror army has set up their own fraudulent passport system. 

President Trump recently signed an executive order barring all refugees and visas holders from seven countries, including Iraq and Syria, without proper vetting procedures.

I think this report shows the wisdom of that ban.

 

 

This Is How You Handle A Tyrant!

John Hinderaker at Power Line posted an article yesterday about Rex Tillerson, Donald Trump’s nominee for Secretary of State. I have to say that after reading the article, I like Rex Tillerson’s style. The story that follows is an example of quietly outsmarting someone who tries to take advantage of you.

The article quotes a Washington Post story that details what happened shortly after Tillerson became CEO of ExxonMobil. Hugo Chavez needed money and demanded more of the profits of the western oil companies in Venezuela. All of the companies agreed except ExxonMobil.

The Washington Post reports what happened next:

Chavez responded by nationalizing ExxonMobil’s considerable assets in the country, which the company valued at $10 billion. The losses were a big blow to Tillerson, who reportedly took the seizure as a personal affront.

Only Tillerson didn’t get mad, at least in public. He got even.

In the deep blue waters 120 miles off Guyana’s coast, the company scored a major oil discovery: as much as 1.4 billion barrels of high-quality crude. Tillerson told company shareholders the well, Liza-1, was the largest oil find anywhere in the world that year.

For tiny Guyana (population 800,000), the continent’s only English-speaking country and one of its poorest, it was a fortune-changing event, certain to mark a “before and after” in a country long isolated by language and geography.

The Stabroek block where ExxonMobil and its partners struck oil is off the coast of a patch of wild South American jungle known as the Essequibo territory. Venezuela and Guyana have haggled over it with oscillating levels of vehemence for more than 100 years. Amounting to two-thirds of Guyana’s surface area, it is, by any practical measure, a part of Guyana and populated by Guyanese people, albeit sparsely.

But Venezuelan claims on the land have long kept foreign investors out. In 2013, a research vessel exploring the area for U.S.-based Anadarko was intercepted by a Venezuelan warship, which temporarily detained the 36-member crew. It was a warning to other companies thinking of partnering with Guyana. Tillerson’s ExxonMobil went ahead anyway.

Maduro ordered military exercises along the border, appealed to the United Nations to intervene, and cast his country as a victim of “imperialist” aggression.

But Maduro was boxed in. Tillerson had taken him to school. And he was just getting warmed up. The company has moved quickly to drill more wells since then, racking up new discoveries in the area.

Think about it. Tillerson refused the wishes of a bully, elevated a more reasonable government in a South America country without violence, and made a profit. I like his style.

 

 

Propaganda Or Ignorance?

The dream of the political left is to have a successful socialistic state. The idea of everyone having everything they need and everyone being financially secure is wonderful. The only problem is that is doesn’t seem to work in real life. Europe is an example of government spending to provide government benefits, but does not seem to be prospering. A few years ago, the political left thought Venezuela was going to prove that socialism worked.

An article appeared in Salon Magazine with the title, “Hugo Chavez‘s economic miracle” with the subtitle, “The Venezuelan leader was often marginalized as a radical. But his brand of socialism achieved real economic gains.” Chavez’s early years were very successful. He served as President of Venezuela from 1999 to 2013. So what happened?

The article at Salon reports:

For instance, according to data compiled by the UK Guardian, Chavez’s first decade in office saw Venezuelan GDP more than double and both infant mortality and unemployment almost halved. Then there is a remarkable graph from the World Bank that shows that under Chavez’s brand of socialism, poverty in Venezuela plummeted (the Guardian reports that its “extreme poverty” rate fell from 23.4 percent in 1999 to 8.5 percent just a decade later). In all, that left the country with the third lowest poverty rate in Latin America. Additionally, as Weisbrot points out, “college enrollment has more than doubled, millions of people have access to health care for the first time and the number of people eligible for public pensions has quadrupled.”

 Part of Chavez’s success can be attributed to the high cost of oil during that time.

OilPricesHowever, the Venezuelan government began to take over private companies that were keeping the oil flowing. The government did not have the technical skill to continue to operative those companies successfully. (rightwinggranny) As the price of oil began to fall, there was no one to help increase the efficiency of oil production–the companies had been nationalized so there was no incentive. The free market was not allowed to work.

So where are they now. CBN News posted a story yesterday.

CBN News reported:

Venezuela, a country rich in natural resources, is the fifth largest exporter of oil in the world. Despite its assets, however, the economy is disintegrating.

Basic necessities are scarce, and inflation is skyrocketing, with some reports suggesting it could go as high as 700 percent.

“The people of Venezuela are suffering from violence, a world record of daily murders and random kidnappings,” European Union Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini said.

“They are suffering permanent shortages of food, basic goods, most medicines and medical care,” she continued. “Water is scarce and no longer guarantees the former sanitary standards. Even electricity is subject to frequent rationing.”

Socialism doesn’t work–when there is no incentive, people do not innovate. Even though it is not perfect, the free market is the only economic system in the world proven to lift people out of poverty and give everyone the opportunity to achieve. That is the history of socialism and the history of free market economics. I don’t know if the people at Salon knew that history and were hoping that Venezuela would be different, or if they didn’t know that history. Either way, the article misled anyone who does not understand economics.

Does the ignorance of economic policies and their consequences explain the acceptance of Bernie Sanders as a Presidential candidate?

Socialism Can Be Defeated

The Center for Security Policy is reporting today that the voters of Venezuela allocated 99 out of 167 seats to the Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD) and the governing United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) garnered 46 seats, with the remaining 22 seats still to be adjudicated. This vote represents the end of the socialist regime in Venezuela.

The article reports:

Founding organizations such as the Bolivarian Alliance of the Americas (ALBA), the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), the government propaganda satellite channel Telesur, as well as sponsoring economic partnerships like the Caribbean Petroleum consortium (PETROCARIBE), the Chavez administration curried favor and goodwill throughout Latin America, as other left-leaning governments were elected in Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, and Bolivia.

These institutions were meant to supplant the International Government Organizations regime which has been in place since the end of WWII and led by the United Nations and the Organization of American States.  In fact, Chavez had a very contentious relationship with both bodies, routinely denouncing the UN as a “stooge of imperialism” and the OAS as a “shameful” organization every time his authoritarian and undemocratic actions were criticized.

This is the beginning of a new day in Venezuela.

The article concludes:

The MUD now has its work cut out for them. The first order of business is to determine exactly how many deputies will take their seats in the new session on January 5th.  A super majority of 110 is needed to enact meaningful reforms, especially as the Venezuelan economy has been in a death spiral due to gross mismanagement combined with the decline in oil prices.

Congratulations to the voters of Venezuela for voting for freedom.

This Is A Very Interesting Statement

Fox Business posted a story today by Maria Bartiromo. The story included an amazing statement by Saudi billionaire businessman Prince Alwaleed bin Talal. The Prince stated that we will never see $100 a barrel oil again.

The article includes the following quote:

Saudi Arabia and all of the countries were caught off guard. No one anticipated it was going to happen. Anyone who says they anticipated this 50% drop (in price) is not saying the truth.

Because the minister of oil in Saudi Arabia just in July publicly said $100 is a good price for consumers and producers. And less than six months later, the price of oil collapses 50%.

Having said that, the decision to not reduce production was prudent, smart and shrewd. Because had Saudi Arabia cut its production by 1 or 2 million barrels, that 1 or 2 million would have been produced by others. Which means Saudi Arabia would have had two negatives, less oil produced, and lower prices. So, at least you got slammed and slapped on the face from one angle, which is the reduction of the price of oil, but not the reduction of production.

This is an interesting situation–the Saudis kept the production up so the price would go down. This seriously impacted the economies of Iran, Russia and Venezuela, and indirectly Cuba. It also made oil production in America less attractive–smaller profits. If the Saudis cut production to raise the price, American production comes back up and reduces the price. If the Saudis keep the price low, American production will be less, but will still exist.

I love the idea that we will never again see $100 a barrel oil. I am tired of being blackmailed by the Middle East oil producers. Maybe now we can stop funding terrorism.

Timing Is Everything

Yesterday the big news item was the opening of diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba. There is, however, a part of the story that is not being widely reported.

Bill Gertz posted an article yesterday at the Washington Times about an agreement signed between Russia and Cuba in May.

The article reports:

Months before President Obama announced on Wednesday that he is seeking to do away with decades of U.S. economic sanctions against the communist regime in Cuba, Russia concluded a security deal with Havana aimed at bolstering intelligence and military ties to the island dictatorship.

The Russia-Cuba agreement was announced May 16 when a memorandum was signed in Moscow establishing a joint working group between Russia’s Security Council and the Cuban Commission for National Security and Defense.

The security agreement comes amid fresh U.S. intelligence agency concerns that Russia is taking steps to follow through on plans to conduct strategic nuclear bomber flights over the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea, possibly with the help of Cuba and Venezuela.

Sometimes it just feels like Putin is playing chess while Obama is playing checkers.

Russia has been increasing its presence in the southern half of the Western Hemisphere for years. Russia has close ties to Venezuela. At the present time, however, both countries are in dire straits due to falling oil prices and are really not able to help each other very much. But in recent years, Venezuela has been extending the runway at Maiquetia international airport near Caracas. Some American officials believe that the extended runway will be able to accommodate the Russian Bear Hs, possibly equipped with nuclear-armed cruise missiles.

The article further reports:

The Russia-Cuba security agreement reached in May was announced by Nikolai Patrushev, former director of the Federal Security Service, the successor to the Soviet-era KGB, and currently secretary of the Security Council, the key arm of the administration of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“The situation in the world is changing fast and it is dynamic. That’s why we will need the ability to react to it promptly,” Mr. Patrushev told reporters May 16 in Moscow.

The Cuban delegation to Moscow at the time was headed by Col. Alejandro Castro, an Interior Ministry officer and son of current Cuban leader Raul Castro.

In July, Russian news outlets reported that Cuba had agreed to re-open the Soviet-era electronic listening post at Lourdes, Cuba. The facility, which spied on U.S. communications in the southern United States, was closed after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Mr. Putin later denied the spy post was being reopened.

Mr. Patrushev is Moscow’s point man for relations with Latin American states. In 2008, he traveled to Venezuela for talks with then-Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez at the time Russian and Venezuelan navy ships conducted joint exercises. Russia has supplied military equipment to the Venezuelan military.

This is not the time to do anything to bolster Cuba’s economy or standing in the world. All we are doing is propping up Cuba as its former sources of revenue, Venezuela and Russia, run out of money. This should have been the time for tough negotiations–not caving into anything the Cuban government wanted. President Obama has just made America less safe.

The Unintended Consequences Of American Oil Production

The Wall Street Journal today included an article by Daniel Yergin about the falling oil prices. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) met Thursday and decided not to cut oil production. That is a major policy change and will have worldwide impact. The demand for oil is no longer the basis for OPEC’s decisions–now the deciding factors are the surge in U.S. oil production and the new oil supply from Canada.

The article reports:

Since 2008—when fear of “peak oil,” after which global output would supposedly decline, was the dominant motif—U.S. oil production has risen 80%, to nine million barrels daily. The U.S. increase alone is greater than the output of every OPEC country except Saudi Arabia.

The world has experienced sudden supply gushers before. In the early 1930s, a flood of oil from East Texas drove prices down to 10 cents a barrel—and desperate gas station owners offered chickens as premiums to bring in customers. In the late 1950s, the rapidly swelling flow of Mideast oil led to price cuts that triggered the formation of OPEC.

Oil is currently selling at about $69 per barrel after hovering around $100 per barrel for the past three years. The shale oil being drilled in America is still economical to produce with prices between $50 and $69 per barrel, so the lower prices will not drive America from the world market.

So what are the international implications of cheap oil? The Russian budget is funded over 40% by oil, but Putin has built up a reserve of a few hundred billion dollars that will help Russia cope with the falling oil prices. Venezuela and Iran are also negatively impacted by falling oil prices. Just for the record, the building of the Keystone XL Pipeline would have a severe negative impact on the Venezuelan economy–the Gulf Coast refineries would replace the heavy oil from Venezuela with the Canadian oil.

There is, of course, the possibility that OPEC could change its mind in the Spring and cut output, but even if they were to do that, they would only be hurting themselves, as Canada and the United States would simply increase their production to make up the difference.

Socialism Doesn’t Work

In November of last year, the government of Venezuela seized control of two oil rigs owned by a unit of Houston-based Superior Energy Services. The company had shut down the rigs because the Venezuela oil monopoly was behind on payments.

On November 3, I posted an article about the takeover (rightwinggranny.com):

Nicolas Maduro, the successor to Hugo Chavez, has not taken over any industries during the six months he has been President of Venezuela. This is the first move he has made in that direction. When Hugo Chavez began taking over industries, one news analyst observed that it would be difficult for him to keep those industries running at their profit levels without the knowledge of the companies that owned them. The seizure of these two rigs, which are repair rigs, is an illustration of that point.

So where are we now? The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that despite being an oil-rich nation, Venezuela has now introduced food rationing.

The article states:

Here at Maracaibo’s supermarkets, hot and cranky consumers who were waiting in line recently pointed to the irony of Venezuela, a country with $114 billion in oil sales last year, having to ration toilet paper.

“It sort of makes me want to laugh, but I can’t,” said Nayibi Pineda, a hotel housekeeper. “How is it possible we’ve gotten to this extreme?”

Shoppers said the time waiting in line can stretch to more than five hours, a delay they chalk up to malfunctioning fingerprinting machines.

“I’ve spent hours standing in line, suffering in the sun,” shrieked a tearful Luzmarina Vargas, clad in a bright pink robe typical of the area’s Wayuu Indians.

Salvador González, the Zulia state finance director who oversees machines, said officials were requiring machines to be installed at each checkout point in order to shorten lines. Supermarkets must bear the cost of the machines, around $150 each.“Our objective is to guarantee cheap food,” he said in an interview.

It isn’t just food that’s rationed here. Officials shut off water to homes for up to 108 hours a week, say residents, because of problems with the water delivery system.

In the birthplace of Venezuela’s oil industry—the first well was drilled here in 1914—the sale of gasoline is also tightly controlled. Scanners read bar codes that are required on car windshields to limit drivers from filling up their sedans more than twice a week. The measure is designed to curb the sale of Venezuela’s heavily subsidized gasoline—which costs less than a penny per gallon—in neighboring Colombia, where a gallon goes for $4.50.

America learned in the days of the Pilgrims that communal property was not a good idea. The Free Republic has an article entitled “How Private Property Saved the Pilgrims” on its website.

The article states:

Bradford’s history of the colony records the decision:

 At length, after much debate of things, the Governor (with the advice of the chiefest amongst them) gave way that they should set corn every man for his own particular, and in that regard trust to themselves; in all other things to go in the general way as before. And so assigned to every family a parcel of land, according to the proportion of their number.
So the land they worked was converted into private property, which brought “very good success.” The colonists immediately became responsible for their own actions (and those of their immediate families), not for the actions of the whole community. Bradford also suggests in his history that more than land was privatized.

The system became self-policing. Knowing that the fruits of his labor would benefit his own family and dependents, the head of each household was given an incentive to work harder. He could know that his additional efforts would help specific people who depended on him. In short, the division of property established a proportion or “ratio” between act and consequence. Human action is deprived of rationality without it, and work will decline sharply as a result.

There are a number of basic principles that can be followed by a country that lead to prosperity. One of these principles is private property rights, another is free markets. When the government attempts to control the economy of a country, they find that they are in charge of an increasingly shrinking economy. Human nature says that people work the hardest when they know they will be rewarded for their efforts. If governments want financially successful countries, they need to remember that.

Trouble In Paradise

The Middle East oil countries have done very well during the past thirty or so years. The have combined to form the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and have raised the price of oil from somewhere near $5 a barrel to over $100 a barrel (although the cost of oil is currently dropping).

The Wall Street Journal reported today that as the Western countries begin to develop their oil resources, OPEC members are fighting over production quotas and prices.

The article reports:

But even modest cooperation between many members has broken down, and Saudi Arabia, in particular, has moved to act on its own. While it cut output earlier this summer, other members didn’t go along. Since then, it has dropped its prices.

Each member has a different tolerance for lower prices. Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia generally don’t need prices quite as high as Iran and Venezuela to keep their budgets in the black.

Late Friday, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Rafael Ramirez, who represents Caracas in the group, called for an urgent meeting to tackle falling prices. The group’s next regular meeting is set for late next month.

But on Sunday, Ali al-Omair, Kuwait’s oil minister, said there had been no invitation for such a meeting, suggesting the group would need to stomach lower prices. He said there was a natural floor to how low prices could fall—at about $76 to $77 per barrel—near what he said was the average production costs per barrel in Russia and the U.S.

The history of oil prices has often been that when the Middle East begins to drop their prices, Americans stop looking for cheaper oil in their own country. Considering the current instability in the Middle East in the OPEC nations, that would be a big mistake.

America needs to be energy independent for both economic and security reasons. It is time to develop our own resources.

An Opportunity Lost

Breitbart.com is reporting today that the Canadian government has approved plans for the Enbridge Northern Gateway Project, which will move 600,000 barrels a day of Alberta oil to the pacific coast town of Kitimat, British Columbia, where a new state-of-the-art super tanker port facility will be built to ship the oil to thirsty Asian ports. Obviously, this will create a large number of jobs for Canadians. I don’t begrudge the Canadians the economic boom that will be the result of this decision, but it is frustrating to me that America had the first chance to enjoy the economic boom the Keystone XL Pipeline would have brought. That chance is gone, and the oil will be used to build the Canadian and Chinese economies instead of the American economy. The environmental impact is no less than it would have been if America built the Keystone Pipeline, but because of President Obama’s continuing putting off of the project, America has lost the opportunity to have a reliable energy source close to home.

The article reports:

Rather than purchasing crude from a friendly and allied neighbor, the United States will most likely need to continue its reliance upon hostile sources like Venezuela. Energy analysts had hoped that construction of Keystone could have replaced almost half of the current U.S. daily crude purchases from that volatile, anti-American dictatorship, depriving Venezuela of the resources it relies upon to stay in power and fund its Cuban allies. 

Refusal to approve Keystone has forced suppliers to deliver their flammable crude via thousands of trucks and railcars traveling on America’s highways and railroads, rather than in a pipeline.  

The negative economic growth in the first quarter of 2014 is not the result of weather–it is the result of the bad economic policies of the Obama Administration. We need a Congress with the backbone to institute good economic policies regardless of what the President does.

Blocking American Prosperity

There is a strong entrepreneurial spirit in America. Sometimes that spirit gets a little overzealous, as in the tech boom of the nineties, but generally speaking, that is the spirit that drives the American economy. One reason for the slow recovery from the financial crisis of 2008 is that the entrepreneurial spirit is being blocked by the government.

On May 7, The Heritage Foundation posted an article on the development of American oil resources.

The article reports:

Production of crude oil in the United States is up to 8.36 million barrels per day—the highest since January 1988. The increased supply of oil has widespread economic benefits, but a new Congressional Research Service report shows that when the numbers are broken down by ownership it becomes clear that the situation could be even better. Although oil production overall has almost doubled in less than six years, production continues to fall on federally owned land areas.

The article included the following chart:

At the present moment, the federal government is subsidizing ‘green’ energy before the technology is workable and blocking the development of America’s own fossil fuel resources. The development of America’s oil resources is a national security issue as well as an economic issue. How would American diplomacy change if we were not dependent of Venezuela and the Middle East for our energy needs?

Enhanced by Zemanta