Free Markets, Free People


Is China heading us toward another global recession?

I found this interesting:

Chinese policy makers seem unwilling to accept that downturns are perfectly normal even for economic superpowers, as the U.S. has often demonstrated. Over the past century the U.S. economy experienced a dozen recessions and a Great Depression even as it remained the world’s leading economy. But Beijing has little tolerance for business cycles and is now reviving efforts to stimulate sectors that it had otherwise wanted to see fade in importance, from property to infrastructure to exports. Given the over-investment in these areas and the cloud of debt that still hangs over the Chinese economy, these efforts are unlikely to lead to a sustained upturn. While China reported that its GDP grew exactly in line with its growth target of 7% in the first and second quarters this year, all other independent data, from electricity production to car sales, indicate the economy is growing closer to 5%.

That leaves the global economy perilously close to recession territory. In the first half of 2015, global economic output expanded by barely 2%, making it the weakest two-quarter period since the expansion began in mid-2009. Industrial production and world trade growth were flat, developments that in the past have corresponded with global recessions.

Funny how that “5 year plan” reporting hasn’t changed a bit.  And, of course, we too get that sort of reporting from out government too. Don’t believe it?  Just ask Bernie Sanders about the real unemployment rate.

Yup, if it comes to a global downturn again, as with the last time, it will be caused by … government.


Slouching our way to oppression

Again we are inundated with the usual and unusual via the internet.  Let’s take a look at a few.

It’s called “projection” Mr. Carter:

In a new interview, former Democrat President Jimmy Carter slammed America as a “racist” nation that refuses to let “old wounds” heal.

Carter spoke to the liberal AARP retirement group in an interview that was released late this week. At one point, Carter said that dreams of a color-blind society are still unrealized in the U.S.

“The recent publicity about mistreatment of black people in the judicial and police realm has been a reminder that the dreams of the civil rights movement have not been realized,” Carter said.

Carter continued insisting that “Americans still have racist tendencies or feelings of superiority to people of color.”

Unless he’s speaking for himself, he damn sure isn’t speaking for me.  I’m not sure where he gets off with trying to tag all Americans with “racist tendencies” or “feelings of superiority to people of color”.  And one must remember the party he’s affiliated with and it’s history in the region of the country from which he hails

Would someone inform this idiot that her 15 minutes of fame are over?

Emma Sulkowicz, the Columbia graduate famous across the country as “Mattress Girl” after she hauled a mattress around campus for a year to protest the school’s handling of her alleged rape, has apparently released a sex tape recreating her alleged rape.

Like the Rolling Stone “rape” story out of UVa, she is a fraud.  Now Sulkowicz inflicts this nasty little piece of work on the internet?  Shuffle off to  … wherever, lady.  You’ve overstayed your welcome and our tolerance.

Lord they must think we’re dumb (“Wizard’s first rule).  NOAA has suddenly discovered “adjustments” in temperature data that conveniently wipes out the 15 year hiatus on warming:

To increase the rate in warming, NOAA scientists put more weight on certain ocean buoy arrays, adjusted ship-based temperature readings upward, and slightly raised land-based temperatures as well. Scientists said adjusted ship-based temperature data “had the largest impact on trends for the 2000-2014 time period, accounting for 0.030°C of the 0.064°C trend difference.” They added that the “buoy offset correction contributed 0.014°C… to the difference, and the additional weight given to the buoys because of their greater accuracy contributed 0.012°C.”

This, my friends, is not science.  This is adjusting the data to get the result one wants.  And we all know what that is.


Incompetence, as usual:

The federal government is notifying up to 4 million current and former employees that their personal financial data may have been breached by a hack attack from China, the Obama administration said Thursday.

Credit card data, banking records, and other forms of financial information could have been stolen in the attack, affecting people across the spectrum of the federal government, officials said.

Two U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because it is an ongoing investigation, said hackers working with China are the main suspects.

Hey, I know, let’s trust them with our medical records, shall we?

Opacity, as usual:

New testimony reveals that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) used “hundreds of attorneys” to hide critical information from Congress’s investigation of the IRS targeting of conservatives.

According to new congressional bombshell testimony today, the IRS set up a previously unknown “special project team” comprised of “hundreds of attorneys,” including the IRS Chief Counsel (one of only two politically appointed positions at the IRS).

The “special project” this team was given?  Concealing information from Congress.

The IRS’s director of privacy, governmental liaison, and disclosure division, Mary Howard, testified that soon after the IRS targeting scandal was revealed, the IRS “amassed hundreds of attorneys to go through the documents [requested by Congress] and redact them.”

Our government is becoming more and more of a criminal conspiracy daily.

Why are so many poor people obese?  Well, as the SJWs would like you to believe its because of “food deserts”.  That is they don’t have access to nutritious food, but are stuck with fast food, etc.  A new study says “not so fast”:

The paper — “What Drives Nutritional Disparities? Retail Access and Food Purchases Across the Socioeconomic Spectrum,” by economists Jessie Handbury, Ilya Rahkovsky and Molly Schnell — found that “systematic socioeconomic disparities in household purchases persist after controlling for access.”

Translation: Even when healthful food choices are available, low-income consumers don’t always take them.

As a result, the authors suggest, local policies intended to punish fast-food purveyors, liquor stores, quickie markets and other sellers of high-calorie, low-nutrition food might not be the best way to go.

One thing that can make a difference is education. Low-income households with higher education levels, the authors say, “purchase more healthful foods.” Those with low income and low education “respond very little” to having healthful foods available.

Of course this won’t deter SJWs from trying to limit choice even more, will it.  After all, they always know best how you should live your lives.

Finally a little piece on “Progressives: The target is never what it seems” which hits on some points we’ve talked about here many times.

I have written  (here and here) how progressives are masters are distorting words and redefining them so that they no longer are even close to their original meanings. “Liberal” and “gay,” of course, are probably the most such distorted words. Words are the ammunition of discussion and debate, and if one side is allowed to select the ammunition, well, the ensuing discussions and debates are to be expectedly one-sided.

When you’re allowed to redefine words within the narrative, you own the narrative.  And when you own the narrative and you’re a progressive, you end up driving the cultural bus off a cliff.


How to increase China’s influence and enable China’s global energy policy in two words

And those two words are “Barack Obama”.

I don’t know about you but I’ve gotten real tired of seeing the US play the dope on the world stage these last 6 years.  I’ve touched on this before, but it doesn’t get much coverage and is indicative of how much foreign policy damage this administration is doing.  I touched on this earlier, but I’m fascinated by how totally tone-deaf and inept this administration appears to be.

The story, as the administration wants it to unfold:

The US government has stepped up pressure on the World Bank not to fund coal-fired power plants in developing countries. In a letter sent to the World Bank United States Executive Director Whitney Debevoise said, “The Obama Administration believes that the Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) have a potentially critical role to play in the future international framework for climate finance, and, in particular, to assist developing countries in mitigating greenhouse gas emissions and strengthening their economies’ resilience to climate risks.” Following Debevoise’s controversial guidelines, the axe has already fallen on Pakistan’s Thar Coal and Energy Project on the grounds that “the limited financing available from the Bank should be directed toward investments that address energy supply shortfalls in an environmentally sustainable manner’’.

So there Pakistan?  No coal fired plants for you! We have spoken!

Oh, wait:

Chinese President Xi Jinping is set to unveil a $46 billion infrastructure spending plan in Pakistan that is a centerpiece of Beijing’s ambitions to open new trade and transport routes across Asia and challenge the U.S. as the dominant regional power. The largest part of the project would provide electricity to energy-starved Pakistan, based mostly on building new coal-fired power plants.

It’s just blatant now … total disrespect for the US.  Even our ally in the region, Australia, has had enough.  Japan is tired of the posturing and pushing of ideology in support of something science doesn’t support much less prove.  More importantly, they’re not going to play ball anymore and aren’t making any bones about it.

Who do you suppose Pakistan is looking too for leadership in the energy sector now? Who do you suppose they might see as a champion of their economic growth?

The Geological survey of Pakistan reveals that 175 billion ton of coal is buried under the Thar Desert. These coal reserves alone are equivalent to total combined oil reserves (375 Billion Barrels) of Saudi Arabia and Iran. The coal deposits in Thar can change the fate of the country if utilised in a proper way. The coal reserves at Thar Desert are estimated around 850 trillion cubic feet (TCF) of gas, and are worth USD 25 trillion.  According to experts, if this single resource is used properly, we not only can cater to the electricity requirements of the country for next 300 years but also save almost four billion dollars in staggering oil import bills.

And if Pakistan feels that way, what about India?

India is hoping a new China-backed multilateral lender will fund coal-based energy projects, an official said, putting it in direct conflict with the World Bank, whose chief has maintained that it would stick to its restrictions on such lending. A senior Indian official told Reuters the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), sponsored by China, is expected to allow funding of coal-fired power plants that the World Bank has almost totally blocked. “When you have 1.3 billion people starved of electricity access and the rest of the world has created a carbon space, at this point denying funding is denying access to cheap energy,” said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

So now “rich America” is trying to force developing countries to forgo cheap energy in the name of  … ideology.  Hey, wasn’t Obama the guy always apologizing for the way he felt America bullied other countries?

Well, at least he only bullies allies.


Woohoo, Marx is cool again

Marx is making a comeback?  Yes friends please read this bit of propaganda  (beside the nonsense put forward by the “Marxist thinkers” – wait, isn’t that an oxymoron?):

…The Communist Manifesto: "What the bourgeoisie therefore produces, above all, are its own grave-diggers. Its fall and the victory of the proletariat are equally inevitable."


Today, 164 years after Marx and Engels wrote about grave-diggers, the truth is almost the exact opposite. The proletariat, far from burying capitalism, are keeping it on life support. Overworked, underpaid workers ostensibly liberated by the largest socialist revolution in history (China’s) are driven to the brink of suicide to keep those in the west playing with their iPads. Chinese money bankrolls an otherwise bankrupt America.

The irony is scarcely wasted on leading Marxist thinkers. "The domination of capitalism globally depends today on the existence of a Chinese Communist party that gives de-localised capitalist enterprises cheap labour to lower prices and deprive workers of the rights of self-organisation," says Jacques Rancière, the French marxist thinker and Professor of Philosophy at the University of Paris VIII. "Happily, it is possible to hope for a world less absurd and more just than today’s."

Can anyone spot the elephant NOT in the room?  No? 

What is missing in this supposed formula of disaster in the West?  Why Western government profligacy usually driven by what?  Social welfare programs.   And they’ve produced what?.  Unsustainable debt.  Unsustainable spending.  Crony capitalism.  Etc.

What happened in the West wasn’t, as the left keeps trying so hard to claim, a matter of capitalism or free markets going bad (or unchecked, or unregulated, or, well you name it).

What happened was mostly a product of crony capitalism, much of the problem driven by government policy.  Because of that collusion all the warning signs a market would have sent were paved over or ignored.  It was as much a problem of government policy driving perverse incentives as “greed”.   Greece did not happen because of capitalism.  And, frankly, neither was what happened here a result of capitalism.  Not, at least, as anyone who knows what the word means would define it.

So the real irony is that where a country begins to let markets work as they should – note the word “begins” – it sees rapid and incredible growth as well as spreading prosperity.  That would be China.  And the fact that China is still a Communist country doesn’t at all mean their “socialism with Chinese characteristics” is the reason they’re doing well economically (as they’ll find out soon enough when their bubble bursts).

Mostly, in China’s case, it was a matter of timing, which, by the way, is beginning to turn on them.  Some of the industries that settled in China are looking or locating in India (which, for lack of a better term, is about to become the “new China”).

Why?  Because the prosperity that China has enjoyed because it was well positioned to take advantage of the global markets at the time has driven expectations in China up exponentially.  That means demands for higher wages and better benefits.  That means a higher cost of doing business which will eventually see China priced out of certain markets and industries it now enjoys some exclusivity in.

That’s capitalism and my guess is the Chinese will do everything in their totalitarian power to fight it and thereby hold back the progress of their people.  That’s  how socialism/communism works.

So let Marx make a comeback.  As with most of these periodic absurd paeans to socialism that usually begin in academia, what is always, always, always swept under the rug is that Marxism in its various forms last century was the cause of the following deaths:

Given those numbers (by the way I think the Latin American numbers are low, especially if they include Cuba), it still boggles the mind that somehow there exist out there people who claim to be “Marxist thinkers” and that anyone takes them seriously or, in fact, gives them the time of the day.

It reminds me of the Che chic.  The elevation of a sociopathic mass murderer to cult revolutionary status.  The Horst Wessel of Communism. 

A man who spent much of his time executing helpless prisoners (to include kids) has been scrubbed by people much like the “Marxist thinkers” above to be reborn as some ideal revolutionary.  But under that veneer, he still remains a sociopathic mass murderer  that was bent on achieving the totalitarian subjugation of the people of Cuba and anywhere else he could spread his “Marxist revolution”.

That’s precisely what you’re seeing with the nonsense about Marx being reborn.  A new paint job on the same old totalitarian killing machine.  It makes you wonder about the intellectual heft of those who would, once again, fall for the false promises of an ideology which has proven its bankruptcy with the lives of over 90+ million people.

But they’re out there.

China makes reincarnation without government permission illegal

No, really, you read it right.  The Chinese government has banned reincarnation without government permission.

In one of history’s more absurd acts of totalitarianism, China has banned Buddhist monks in Tibet from reincarnating without government permission. According to a statement issued by the State Administration for Religious Affairs, the law, which goes into effect next month and strictly stipulates the procedures by which one is to reincarnate, is "an important move to institutionalize management of reincarnation."

Actually, despite the article’s claim (and as the article eventually points out), it really isn’t as an absurd of an act as it may seem, even though it is certainly representative of totalitarianism.

In fact, it is all about China’s war with the Dalai Lama.

At 72, the Dalai Lama, who  has lived in India since 1959, is beginning to plan his succession, saying that he refuses to be reborn in Tibet so long as it’s under Chinese control. Assuming he’s able to master the feat of controlling his rebirth, as Dalai Lamas supposedly have for the last 600 years, the situation is shaping up in which there could be two Dalai Lamas: one picked by the Chinese government, the other by Buddhist monks.

We can all figure out how that will work. 

The Chinese communists surface very visibly every now and then as if to remind everyone that China is far from a free country.  And, in such a totalitarian country, no detail is too small for the government to ignore … even something in which it likely doesn’t even believe.


Twitter: @McQandO

$2 billion US dollars to Brazil, but the oil will go to China

Remember this?

The U.S. is going to lend billions of dollars to Brazil’s state-owned oil company, Petrobras, to finance exploration of the huge offshore discovery in Brazil’s Tupi oil field in the Santos Basin near Rio de Janeiro. Brazil’s planning minister confirmed that White House National Security Adviser James Jones met this month with Brazilian officials to talk about the loan.

The U.S. Export-Import Bank tells us it has issued a "preliminary commitment" letter to Petrobras in the amount of $2 billion and has discussed with Brazil the possibility of increasing that amount. Ex-I’m Bank says it has not decided whether the money will come in the form of a direct loan or loan guarantees. Either way, this corporate foreign aid may strike some readers as odd, given that the U.S. Treasury seems desperate for cash and Petrobras is one of the largest corporations in the Americas.

And  this?

“We want to work with you. We want to help with technology and support to develop these oil reserves safely, and, when you’re ready to start selling, we want to be one of your best customers.”

Mr. Obama was saying that while he was drastically slowing down leasing and permitting in the US and whining about “subsides” to US oil corporations.  We apparently can subsidize government controlled oil companies in foreign countries, but not here (and I’m not arguing for subsidies here – just pointing out the usual Obama contradiction – kind of like he’s against bailouts, except for Chrysler, GM, Solyndra, etc.)

Well, that little jump-start of ObamaDollars has indeed helped “develop these oil reserves”.  And the beneficiary?

Off the coast of Rio de Janeiro — below a mile of water and two miles of shifting rock, sand and salt — is an ultradeep sea of oil that could turn Brazil into the world’s fourth-largest oil producer, behind Russia, Saudi Arabia and the United States.

The country’s state-controlled oil company, Petrobras, expects to pump 4.9 million barrels a day from the country’s oil fields by 2020, with 40 percent of that coming from the seabed. One and a half million barrels will be bound for export markets.

The United States wants it, but China is getting it.

Less than a month after President Obama visited Brazil in March to make a pitch for oil, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff was off to Beijing to sign oil contracts with two huge state-owned Chinese companies.

Well done, Mr. Obama.

[HT: Red Country]


Twitter: @McQandO

Iran, the Straits of Hormuz and “Armageddon”

Iran is supposedly being sternly warned that attempting to close the Straits of Hormuz will not be tolerated.  The Iranians have put forward a bill in their Parliament which would require warships from any nation desiring to transit the Straits to get the permission of Iran first.

Of course, the Straits are considered by the rest of the world as “international waters” while the premise of the Iranians is they’re national waters subject to the control of Iran.

Most experts believe that this has been precipitated by sanctions imposed on Iran by much of the world, but especially the Western powers.  Closing the Straits of Hormuz would be viewed by most of them as an act of war.

So, per the New York Times, a secret channel has been opened with Iran’s top leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in which he has been informed the US would consider any such attempt to close the Straits as “a red line” that would provoke a response.

DoD has made the position publically official:

Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said this past weekend that the United States would “take action and reopen the strait,” which could be accomplished only by military means, including minesweepers, warship escorts and potentially airstrikes. Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta told troops in Texas on Thursday that the United States would not tolerate Iran’s closing of the strait.

So the line is drawn.  The hand is closed into a fist with a warning.  Bluff or promise?  Will Iran test it to see?

Here’s why some think they won’t:

Blocking the route for the vast majority of Iran’s petroleum exports — and for its food and consumer imports — would amount to economic suicide.

“They would basically be taking a vow of poverty with themselves,” said Dennis B. Ross, who until last month was one of President Obama’s most influential advisers on Iran. “I don’t think they’re in such a mood of self sacrifice.”

Of course fanatics often don’t think or reason in rational terms, but Ross has a point.

Meanwhile, as the sanctions continue to bite, Iran’s president is finishing up a South American swing to shore up support (and resources one supposes) for his regime from the usual suspects – Chavez, Ortega and their band of merry socialists.  China is also a player in all of this, although not a particularly enthusiastic one.  Iran exports 450,000 barrels a day of oil, which is now not being bought by Europe or the US.  So it sees an opportunity here to up its share of that total.  John Foley thinks China will fudge on sanctions, at least partially.  That, of course, could extend the drama.

And while all of this is going on, Iranian nuclear scientists are blowing up pointing to some sort of effort by some nation(s) or group to slow and frustrate what everyone believes is Iran’s push for nuclear weapons.  That, by the way, may be part of the discussions in South America if you get my drift.

Don’t know if you noticed recently, but the Doomsday Clock has added a minute, the first since 2007 when it subtracted one.  We’re no 4 figurative minutes from “Armageddon”.  Iran certainly figures in the move.

So far, the “reset” is going just swimmingly, isn’t it?


Twitter: @McQandO

Obama’s new defense strategy: Prescient or problematic?

Over the years I have seen more “new” defense strategies than one can shake a stick at.  And I’ve noticed one thing about all of them: for the most part they’ve been uniformly wrong.  We have mostly had an abysmal record in divining what sort of a military we need in the future, and I doubt this particular version will be any better.  Here’s POLITOCO’s Morning Defenses’ summary:

THERE WERE NO BIG SURPRISES IN THURSDAY’S ANNOUNCEMENT, mainly because the most important real-world effects of the new strategy won’t be known until the president’s budget proposal is released. Reaction was mainly predictable as well – Republicans were concerned about weakening U.S. power in a dangerous world, progressives blasted it as too timid and a lost opportunity for Pentagon reform, and veterans groups are concerned about future benefit cuts.

THE REAL TEST WILL BE whether the strategy will result in a military force capable of handling the unintended consequences of world events. The president is sitting comfortably right now – he’s ended U.S. involvement in Iraq, set a path for withdrawal in Afghanistan and seriously weakened Al Qaeda. Libya looks like a success story for the multilateral cooperation the strategy emphasizes for the future, and there are signs the sanctions on Iran are starting to bite. But any or all of these situations could turn for the worse in a heartbeat, and wake up U.S. voters who right now aren’t really paying attention. Nothing is settled.

IT’S ALL ABOUT RISK – Military leaders acknowledge and accept that the new strategy brings new risks, which they consider acceptable in the current environment. The United States can get away with a smaller army because its leaders don’t expect to be fighting any large ground wars in the future …

I’d actually argue that some of the assessments made in the middle paragraph are debatable.  Libya, for instance, seems anything but a success with Islamist militias poised to take over.  It certainly may be seen as a “military” success, but military success should tied to a strategy of overall success, not just whether it was able to defeat a rag-tag enemy.  After all the the military is but the blunt force of foreign policy, used when all less violent means have been exhausted.  There should be an acceptable outcome tied to its use.  Libya’s descent into Islamic extremism seems to argue against “success” on the whole.  Couple that with the fact that al Qaeda has set up shop there, and you could argue that even if al Qaeda has been “seriously weakened”, it has just been given a new lease on life in Libya.

That said, let’s talk about the defense cuts.  The last paragraph is obviously the key to the strategy.  It is about assessing risk and accepting that risk based on that assessment.  The problem is the phrase “acceptable in the current environment”.  The obvious point is that what is “acceptable in the current environment” may be problematic in any future environment.  

So what is happening here is a political position/decision is being dressed up as a military assessment in order to justify the political position.  We’ll cut land forces and concentrate on air and sea forces.

But where are we fighting right now?  Certainly not in the air or at sea.

The Army is already is slated to drop to a force of 520,000 from 570,000, but Mr. Panetta views even that reduction as too expensive and unnecessary and has endorsed an Army of 490,000 troops as sufficient, officials said.

The defense secretary has made clear that the reduction should be carried out carefully, and over several years, so that combat veterans are not flooding into a tough employment market and military families do not feel that the government is breaking trust after a decade of sacrifice, officials said.

A smaller Army would be a clear sign that the Pentagon does not anticipate conducting another expensive, troop-intensive counterinsurgency campaign, like those waged in Afghanistan and Iraq. Nor would the military be able to carry out two sustained ground wars at one time, as was required under past national military strategies.

The last sentence is pure bull squat.  National strategy goes by the boards when national necessity demands we fight “two sustained ground wars at one time” whether we like it or not.  The strategy would simply mean we’d end up fighting those two ground wars with a less capable force than we have now.  The other unsaid thing here is if you think we used the heck out of the Army National Guard in the last decade, just watch if something unforeseen happens after these cuts are made.

Also wrapped up in this new “national strategy” is some naive nonsense:

"As Libya showed, you don’t necessarily have to have boots on the ground all the time," an official said, explaining the White House view.

"We are refining our strategy to something that is more realistic," the official added.

Sorry to break it to the White House, but that’s not a “realistic strategy”.  It’s a wish.  I can’t tell you how many times, since the advent of the airplane in combat, I’ve heard it said that the necessity of maintaining ground troops is coming to an end.

Yet here we are, with troops in Afghanistan and 10 years of troops in Iraq.  Libya was a one-of that still hasn’t come to a conclusion and as I note above, what we’re seeing now doesn’t appear to improve the situation for the US – and that should be the goal of any sort of intervention.   I certainly appreciate the desire not to nation build, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you need less ground troops available in a very dangerous and volatile world.  Air and sea are combat multipliers, but as always, the only sort of units that can take and hold ground are ground combat units.  That hasn’t changed in a thousand years.  If you want to talk about contingencies, there are more of them that require those sorts of forces than don’t.

Finally, with all that said, what about the pivot toward China as our new, what’s the term, ah, “adversary”?   Is there some clever guy who has managed to come up with a strategy that will require no ground troops in any sort of a confrontational scenario with our new “adversary”?

Of course not.  Korean peninsula?  Taiwan?  Here we pivot toward what could be a massive threat which itself has a huge land army and we do what?  Cut ours.  Because we “think” that it won’t be necessary to have such a capability should our “adversary” become our “enemy”?  

I’m not saying they will, I’m just pointing out that the strategy – cut Army and Marines and pivot toward China which has one of the largest land armies in the world – doesn’t seem particularly well thought out.  But I’m not surprised by that.  Again, when you tailor a strategy to support a political position/decision, such “strategies” rarely are.

Oh, and don’t forget:

The military could be forced to cut another $600 billion in defense spending over 10 years unless Congress takes action to stop a second round of cuts mandated in the August accord.



Twitter: @McQandO

China buys stake in US shale gas field

While we dither and delay about fracking and permits and put a critical bit of energy infrastructure on hold (Keystone XL pipeline), China is aggressively pursuing energy assets … even in the US.  The WSJ carries the story (subscription):

China continued its push into the U.S. oil patch, with a state-owned energy company striking a deal to help develop several shale fields in Ohio, Michigan and elsewhere.

China Petrochemical Corp.’s $2.5 billion deal with Devon Energy Corp., announced Tuesday morning, marks the third billion-dollar-plus joint venture that foreign energy firms have signed with U.S. explorers in as many weeks.

Known as Sinopec, China Petrochemical is making its first foray into the U.S. by buying a one-third stake in Devon’s acreage in five emerging fields—four shale plays and one limestone field.

Seems it will be up to the Chinese government to fund jobs in those areas while ours erects barriers in other areas.

While we continue to suffer from high unemployment, there are jobs all over the Midwest and the Gulf coast that could be created (and, yes, saved) by aggressive investment in oil and gas development.  Most of that investment would be private.  But it would require the government to get out of the way.  And that is something this very ideological administration can’t seem to make itself do.

Instead we have the usual war against “Big Oil” going on (ideological fights usually are against some “Big” enemy) to the point that an industry which could be pulling us out of this recession and helping drop unemployment numbers is mostly reduced to sitting on the sidelines while ideologues argue, vent and frustrate any effort to do so.

Of course the point is someone somewhere is going to try to develop and take those energy assets.  China is going to make a relatively small investment to see what it can take out of here.  And if we don’t want what the Keystone XL pipeline would bring  – besides a whole bunch of jobs I mean – China is prepared to take that as well.

Maybe its just me but for some reason I just find the worlds “myopic” and “stupid” poor descriptors for the policy this administration is following concerning oil and gas exploitation.  They’re just too mild. 

We have an economy hurting for jobs.  We have a nation that needs cheap energy.  We have an industry ready, willing and able to provide both.  And we have roadblock after roadblock placed in front of them by government.

This, in my not so humble opinion, should be one of the major talking points for the GOP.  We need energy.  We need jobs.  What we don’t need is an administration that places its ideology over the best interests of the nation and its people.


Twitter: @McQandO

Patriot missiles found on China bound ship

Your odd and disturbing national security story of the day:

The MS Thor Liberty left port in Emden, northern Germany, on 13 December and docked two days later in Kotka, southern Finland, to pick up a cargo of anchor chains, said Finnish Customs spokesman Petri Lounatmaa.

It was bound for the Chinese port of Shanghai but there was no indication for whom the military cargo was destined.

Routine checks by Finland’s traffic safety authority revealed a load of up to 160 tonnes of improperly packed nitroguanidine, a low-sensitivity explosive with a high detonation speed.

"Actually in our investigation at the moment, we have got the information that we found 69 Patriot missiles on the ship and around 160 tonnes of explosives," said Detective Superintendent Timo Virtanen from the Finnish National Bureau of Investigation.

69 Patriot missiles is not some minor load.  That’s a bunch of missiles.  Were they hijacked?

They belong to somebody.   Of course, remember we provide Patriot missiles to our “allies” too. 

How in the world do 69 Patriot missiles go missing and end up on a ship bound for China (why spend the money to develop technology when you can steal it and reverse engineer it)?



Twitter: @McQandO