Wednesday, November 5, 2008

And now.... Gold....

Chavez is making a clean sweep nationalizing industries which affect Venezuela's national resources. This time he's taking over the largest gold mine. This time it's a Canadian company he's going to expropriate the resource from.

What's left? Aluminum? Or maybe that's already been nationalized.

I guess Chavez has to do something to increase government revenues since oil prices are hovering in the $60's. Surely private industry in Venezuela isn't going to make up for lost profit in the oil market by expanding production and contributing to the tax base.

Why doesn't Chavez just get it over with and declare Venezuela a communist state, and take over all private enterprises? He could name himself Premier for life....

Sunday, November 2, 2008

El Burro quiere hablar....

Pero solamente con el negro.... And this donkey isn't the donkey in the Shrek movies.

So Chavez wants to talk with Obama, if Obama wins the US elections. As Obama has already stated, he's willing to accept an invitation to talk. Maybe Obama has already called to accept, since he's acting as if he's already won. (Hey, do you think that when Obama says 'righteous wind' he means that his flatulence doesn't smell?)

Interesting quote from Chavez:
"I send an overture to the black man, from us here, who are of Indigenous,
black, Caribbean, South American race"

Is there such a thing as a "South American race"? The only native South Americans are the indigenous peoples. Chavez himself is a mix, part of which is African I'm sure. But a "South American race"?

Fact is, the whole world wants Obama to win. Go figure. We didn't do what the world wanted in Iraq, but I'm sure the good ole US of A will come through this time - if you believe the polls that is.

Hollywood elite: Destination Venezuela?

Drudge has a link to an article about how the Hollywood liberals are wringing their hands over a possible Obama defeat.

I'll spare you all of my soapbox commentary on the article (why didn't Barbara Streisand and Alec Baldwin move out of the country after the 2000 and 2004 elections? why would there be blood in the streets if Obama loses, but no if McCain loses? who really carese what Susan Sarandon and hubby/partner Tim Robbins think?)

The reason I bring up this article is I noticed Venezuela wasn't mentioned as a possible destination for these folks if McCain wins. I wonder why.... Sean Penn seems to have an affinity for Chavez and Venezuela, along with Danny Glover and that Spacey guy. Why not Venezuela?

Nope, just Canada.

Maybe Chavez is too liberal/socialist/dictatorial for even the Hollywood libs.... :-)

Chavez Redux: Part Dux

Yes, I know, I misspelled 'deux'. I apologize to my one other reader if they don't get my lame sense of humor.

I also apologize for continuing a bit off track on the US Presidential Elections, but please be patient.

As I was taking my shower today, I was wondering why Obama would want to create a 'civilian national security force'. What 'national security objectives that we've set' would require a civilian national security force established that is just as powerful, just as well funded as the 5 branches of the US Military? (I throw the US Coast Guard in as a branch.)

I compared this statement to what Chavez wants/is doing in Venezuela with armed Bolivarian circles.

At least Chavez has an excuse (or at least an imaginery one): the ongoing impending invasion by the US imperialists. Chavez has vowed that given such an invasion, the US would meet an armed civilian resistance that would keep them out. Of course, the REAL threat to Chavez and the REAL reason for his arming civilians is that he can't trust his own military - something he should be intimately familiar with as he was thrown in prison in the 90's for helping lead a military coup against the Venezuelan President. But I digress.

Back to the US Civilian National Security Force. What does that mean? And why does it need to be equally funded and as powerful as the US Military?

Of course, like many Obama sound bites, we don't know what he means because he has yet to define it.

Alot of possibilities float around in my head: everything from expanding Big Brother (making the Patriot Act like like a fairy tale), to buffering himself against the US Military knowing his policies may not sit well with military leaders.

The only national security objectives I am aware of currently are ones dealing with the new world rising out of the ashes of 9/11 - global terrorism. The US has yet to suffer another terrorist attack on it's own soil since that tragic day, thankfully in large part to swift action taken by President Bush and the military in taking out the Taliban in Afghanistan and putting Osama Bin Laden on the run. Have we caught bin Laden? No. Has his network been dismantled? No. Has it been crippled? Yes.

So that begs the question - why do we need a 'civilian national security force'? Is our military not already meeting our national security objectives by keeping terrorism out of the US?

It appears to me that if this is to be a civilian force, it is not meant to be deployed overseas. It is meant to act on US soil. For what reason? Don't we already have National Guard units which are at the disposal of governors of the States? Don't cities and counties have police and sherriffs in place to keep the peace and enforce local laws?

Progressives cry foul about the erosion of the Posse Comitatus and Insurrection Acts under President Bush. The John Warner Defense Authorization Act of 2007 allows "the President may employ the armed forces, including the National Guard in Federal service, to restore public order and enforce the laws of the United States when, as a result of a natural disaster, epidemic, or other serious public health emergency, terrorist attack or incident, or other condition in any State or possession of the United States, the President determines that domestic violence has occurred to such an extent that the constituted authorities of the State or possession are incapable of ("refuse" or "fail" in) maintaining public order, "in order to suppress, in any State, any insurrection, domestic violence, unlawful combination, or conspiracy."

Pretty scary, huh? If you listen to Air America, they've made a big deal out of it. I wonder if they are making a big deal out of Obama's comment to raise a civilian national security force, which on the surface has the same potential as the above statements. Something tells me that they aren't.

There are other questions which need asking as well. What would the command structure of this civilian national security force look like? Who would have oversight over this new force? Would they have their own version of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, or would they adopt the UCMJ? Would they be used to enforce federal laws?

Of course the main stream media won't ask these questions. They are too busy worrying about who gets to sit on the plane with Obama.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

PDVSA Drilling capacity

We've all seen the drop in the price per barrel of oil drop precipitiously in the past few weeks, losing more than half it's value from the year's high of $147.

OPEC correspondingly announced a mandatory reduction of output for it's cartel members of 1.5 million barrels (or so), and are calling for a further output reduction if oil prices don't stabilize between $70 and $90.

So where does that leave Venezuela? See Miguel Octavio's blog entry on current Venezuelan oil output and it's affect on oil revenues collected from oil. To summarize, Venezuela already doesn't produce as much as it's allotted by OPEC, because revenue from PDVSA has been siphoned off "for the people". Investment back into oil drilling just isn't there, and it's hurting output.

So Venezuela is looking for partners to help develop the heavy crude fields of the Orinoco basin. This oil requires much more investment to develop because it has to be preprocessed before it can be refined.

But the funny thing is, no one is really clamoring to bid on this project, because of not only the investment requirements and the current economic climate affecting the world, but the craziness that is Chavez. Who is to say that Chavez won't change the terms of the deals when times are tough and he needs more money? As it is with the terms in place (own only 40% of the project, pay royalties and taxes reducing your revenue by 85%, sharing proprietary technology, PDVSA running the show and hiring the workers), I would shy away from a deal like that. I wonder why the private companies like Chevron stayed in Venezuela. Maybe they figured their getting raked over the coals was a small price to pay in the interim until someone with more sense gained control of the government there.

With his nationalization projects, Chavez has effectively closed off investments in the Venezuelan economy from private corporations. Sure, he's got the Russians and the Chinese and even the Iranians, but those are like minded governments looking for a strategic partner.

Could the US be headed in the same direction? Let's hope not!!

Chavez Redux?

Okay, so I was doing my usual browsing of Drudge when I saw a link with the words Obama Vows To Create 'Civilian National Security Force'...

My first thought was "No way.... That's exactly what Chavez is doing in Venezuela with the armed Bolivarian circles!!"

Then I saw the video, and sure enough. Sounds like Obama wants to do something similar.


What is this country coming too?!?! And Barney Frank wants to reduce the military budget by 25% to boot. Interesting, don't you think?

I've refrained from commenting on the US Presidential race in this blog, because there is plenty of that going around and that's not the purpose of this blog. But when circumstances overlap like this, I can't help but comment.