Category Archives: Energy

Teslian eFleas, by Eric Peters

Tesla makes itself part of China’s surveillance state. From Eric Peters at theburningplatform.com:

When corporations get into bed with government, it’s uswho get the fleas. Obamacare, for instance.

Big Med plus Big Government.

Sometimes, you can’t actually see the fleas. But they’re there, just the same.

An example of this unwholesome symbiosis has just emerged – in China. But it involves an American company, Tesla – which sells the same cars here.

Turns out Tesla – which builds electric cars but makes money by leveraging government mandates  – has set up its EVs to live-feed information about where each of their cars is at any given moment directly to the Chinese government.

Their car italicized to make the point that it’s not really your car when someone else has open access to it  – and so, to your life. The car tracks your movements, records where you’ve been, how long you stayed.

The government takes note.

According to the Associated Press, which broke the story, the Chinese government merely wishes to obtain “data points” for the purpose of “infrastructure planning” and – of course – to “improve public safety.”

How isn’t specified.

Continue reading

Advertisements

Trump’s Foreign Policy War on Americans, by Sheldon Richman

When it comes to foreign policy, the new boss has been the same as the old bosses stretching back to Truman. From Sheldon Richman at antiwar.com:

Beyond any reasonable doubt, in substance if not in appearance, Donald Trump is a thoroughly conventional American politician. It’s a wonder that anyone requires proof at this late date.

This couldn’t be clearer than in foreign policy. Some of us who understand the links among freedom, free trade, durable prosperity, and a noninterventionist foreign policy always doubted the sincerity of Trump’s occasional renegade soundbites during his presidential campaign. But some fantasists fell for them, and they refuse to let go of their tissue-thin hope that this execrable man will liquidate the American empire. Nothing will convince them, so efforts at persuasion are futile.

The funny thing is that Trump himself seems to be working hardest to persuade those supporters that he has no intention of changing U.S. foreign policy. He would no more liquidate America’s global empire than liquidate his own global business empire. Alas, America is not going anywhere. Sure, he may hector imperial allies to spend more on their militaries (while insisting he respects their sovereignty), but that’s just a show. He’s an all-in imperialist, so we shouldn’t be fooled by the staged populism that sometimes is mistaken for come-home-Americanism. America First in practice embodies George H. W. Bush’s summation of America’s foreign policy: “What we say goes.”

Continue reading

Oil Sends A “Crude Warning”, by Lance Roberts

Weakness in the price of oil often signals weakness in the overall economy. From Lance Roberts at realinvestmentadvice.com:

Oil Sends A “Crude Warning”

As with many Americans, I am on the road with the family making the traditional holiday rounds. Of course, my family is more “The Griswolds” than “The Waltons. but even with all of the antics, comedy, and occasional drama, it is always an enjoyable time of the year.

However, I did wake up from my tryptophan-induced coma long enough to pen a few thoughts on the crash in crude oil and the message it is sending.

On Monday, I am publishing an article on the fallacy that “falling energy prices are an economic boost.” It isn’t, and we dig into all the reasons why in that article.

However, the short version is that oil prices are a reflection of supply and demand. Global demand has already been falling for the last several months and oil prices are now waking up that reality. More importantly, falling oil prices are going to put the Fed in a very tough position in the next couple of months as the expected surge in inflationary pressures, in order to justify higher rates, once again fails to appear. The chart below shows breakeven 5-year and 10-year inflation rates versus oil prices.

Continue reading

Washington’s Erroneous Notion That the Persian Gulf Is an American Lake, by David Stockman

The Middle East and the US both would be much better off if the latter had stayed out of the former. From David Stockman at antiwar.com:

Read part 1, part 2, part 3, and part 4.

The terrorist threat that has arisen from the Sunni side of the Islamic divide is largely of Washington’s own making; and it is being nurtured by endless US meddling in the region’s politics and by the bombing and droning campaigns against Washington’s self-created enemies.

At the root of Sunni based terrorism is the long-standing Washington error that America’s security and economic well-being depends upon keeping an armada in the Persian Gulf in order to protect the surrounding oilfields and the flow of tankers through the straits of Hormuz.

That doctrine has been wrong from the day it was officially enunciated by one of America’s great economic ignoramuses, Henry Kissinger, at the time of the original oil crisis in 1973. The 45 years since then have proven in spades that its doesn’t matter who controls the oilfields, and that the only effective cure for high oil prices is the free market.

Every tin pot dictatorship from Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi to Hugo Chavez in Venezuela to Saddam Hussein, to the bloody-minded chieftains of Nigeria, to the purportedly medieval Mullahs and fanatical Revolutionary Guards of Iran has produced oil. And usually all they could because almost always they desperately needed the revenue.

For crying out loud, even the barbaric thugs of ISIS milked every possible drop of petroleum from the tiny, wheezing oilfields scattered around their backwater domain before they were finally driven out. So there is no economic case whatsoever for Imperial Washington’s massive military presence in the middle east.

Continue reading

Behind the North Korean Curtain, Part I

North Korea is far different from the way it is usually portrayed, according to a seasoned international traveler who has spent a fair amount of time there. From Joel Bowman at internationalman.com:

Joel Bowman talks to Kolja Spöri

Joel Bowman: Good day, Kolja. Thanks very much for taking the time to speak with International Man today. Where in the world do we find you right now?

Kolja Spöri: Merhaba, Joel! I am just in Istanbul at the airport, in transit to Munich, coming from Baghdad.

JB: Having literally written the book “I’ve Been Everywhere” (in German: Ich war überall), you certainly fit the bill as a true International Man. I imagine our conversation could go in many directions today, but I wanted to start with a particular trip you embarked on earlier this year that must have been quite eye-opening, even by your own standards.

When most people think of taking a vacation, they might imagine heading down to Florida, or the Bahamas, or maybe nipping over to Hawaii. You decided, instead, to opt for the decidedly cooler climes of Pyongyang, capital of North Korea. What inspired you to set off on an adventure to one of the so-called “Axis of Evil” countries?

KS: There’s actually warm weather and good surfing in North Korea in the summer! But yes, I have been a world traveler for a long time, both privately and on business trips. My goal became to visit every country in the world. It was just a natural thing that I would also visit North Korea on the way. North Korea is a good example where I learned that our Western view on the world does not always hold true, or at least the narratives that we are spoon fed from our Western media and our Western education system.

Fifteen years ago, I was in South Korea visiting the demilitarized zone in Panmunjom, from the south. And at that time, already 15 years ago, I had a feeling that something was wrong about the way I was taught to look at things. Now that I’ve seen the border from the other side, from the north, I have a much clearer picture of where I was wrong, and where maybe many of us are wrong in the West.

I want to make clear that I don’t defend the North Korean system. After all, I am an Austrian School Libertarian. But I use the small case study of North Korea to build a strong case against our Western regime.

Continue reading

Still No Peace On Earth, by David Stockman

The United States blew the best opportunity for peace in several generations. From David Stockman at antiwar.com:

Read part 1, part 2, and part 3

When the Berlin Wall fell in November 1989 and the death of the Soviet Union was confirmed two years later as Boris Yeltsin courageously stood down the red army tanks in front of Moscow’s White House, a dark era in human history came to an end.

As we have seen, the world had descended into what was in effect an unbroken global war, incepting with the mobilization of the armies of old Europe in August 1914. The “77 Years War” is the appropriate name for it.

If you want to count bodies, 150 million were killed by all the depredations which germinated in the Great War, its foolish aftermath at Versailles, and the march of history into the second world war and cold war which followed inexorably thereupon.

To wit, upwards of 8% of the human race was wiped-out during that span. The toll encompassed the madness of trench warfare during 1914-1918; the murderous regimes of Soviet and Nazi totalitarianism that rose from the ashes of the Great War and Versailles; and then the carnage of WWII and all the lesser (unnecessary) wars and invasions of the Cold War including Korea and Vietnam.

So the seminal point cannot be gainsaid. The end of the cold war meant the chance for a new start toward world peace was finally at hand. Yet 27 years later there is still no peace because Imperial Washington confounds it.

Continue reading

“We Feel Comfortable Back-to-Back”: The Unlikely Comrades Of Trump’s Trade War, by Tyler Durden

The US has driven China and Russia into an alliance that’s going surprisingly well. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

“There is no sense of threat from Russia. We feel comfortable back-to-back.” A new deep dive by Bloomberg examining the growing closeness of Russia and China as both face down increased U.S. pressures and sanctions contains some deeply revealing quotes by analysts as well as a high official in the Chinese communist government reacting to Trump’s trade war.

Russia and China, Bloomberg begins, are currently “as close as at any time in their 400 years of shared history.”

Toasting a $400 billion energy deal in 2014, via WSJ

Continue reading