Have nothing to do with the [evil] things that people do, things that belong to the darkness. Instead, bring them out to the light... [For] when all things are brought out into the light, then their true nature is clearly revealed...

-Ephesians 5:11-13

Tag Archives: Cartel

OPEC Members Continue Non-compliance

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, August 11, 2017:

English: Flag of the Organization of Petroleum...

The Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA) noted in its latest report released on Friday that non-compliance among OPEC’s members, and those non-members who also agreed to cut oil production, increased again in July. Non-compliance is the death knell for any cartel, and OPEC is no exception.

Specifically, non-compliance among the cartel’s members rose to 25 percent in July, the highest since the agreement was inked in January. Among non-OPEC members who signed on to that agreement, non-compliance was at 33 percent in July.

Put another way,

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Fracking’s Vicious Cycle Making Bondholders Nervous

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, July 20, 2017:

King Abdullah ibn Abdul Aziz in 2002

King Abdullah ibn Abdul Aziz

Investors in high-yield bonds issued by small fracking companies are getting nervous. Last year those bonds, according to Bloomberg, gained some 38 percent as they rebounded from lows set earlier. In June they slipped two percent. In the bond business, that’s enough to make bond fund managers and individual investors nervous. It’s bad enough that the S&P 500 Energy Sector Index of energy stocks has lost 16 percent so far this year. What’s worse is the vicious cycle that frackers find themselves in.

For instance,

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Crude Oil to Climb to $60 a Barrel, Claim Aramco’s CEO, Citi, and Goldman

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, July 10, 2017:  

English: Flag of the Organization of Petroleum...

Claiming that the worldwide demand for crude oil will jump by 20 million barrels of oil per day over the next five years, Amin Nasser, the CEO of Saudi Aramco, said, “Investments in smaller increments such as [U.S.] shale oil will just not cut it.” Speaking at the World Petroleum Congress in Istanbul last week, Nasser said:

If we look at the long-term situation of oil supplies, for example, the picture is becoming increasingly worrying.

 

Financial investors are shying away from making much-needed large investments in oil exploration, long-term development and the related infrastructure….

 

New discoveries are also on a downtrend. The volume of conventional [non-shale] oil discovered around the world over the past four years has more than halved compared with the previous four.

Speaking to his own interest, Nasser is trying to talk up the value of his company, which remains on schedule to sell five percent of itself in what some are calling “the world’s largest IPO [initial public offering].” To stress the point, Nasser said

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Crude Oil’s Bear Market Is Crushing OPEC

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, July 3, 2017: 

Map of the territory and area covered by prese...

Map of the territory and area covered by present-day Saudi Arabia.

The world’s price of crude oil fell farther in the first six months of 2017 than in any six-month period in the last 19 years. From its peak in January it dropped by more than 21 percent by the middle of June, qualifying it in Wall Street jargon as a “bear market.”

This isn’t part of OPEC’s plan. The once-influential cartel was sure that by taking 1.8 million barrels a day of crude oil production off the world markets, the world price of oil would shortly hit its target of $60. And it almost made it, rising to $57 a barrel before beginning its long and crushing decline.

OPEC was sabotaged not only by noncompliance among its members and production from those to which it gave a pass (Libya and Nigeria), who produced more than was expected, but also by

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OPEC Continues its Descent into History as an Unlamented Footnote

Embed from Getty Images

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, July 3, 2017: 

Two weeks ago, the world price of crude oil officially entered a bear market, down more than 21 percent from its high early in the year. OPEC’s plan appeared to be on track, taking enough production off the market to drive the price to $60 a barrel. That decline has enormous implications for the cartel’s members, as nearly all of them need the revenues to keep their welfare and warfare states fully funded. The decline must be especially painful for Saudi Arabia, the leader of the pack, which announced plans last year to sell part (estimated to be between five and ten percent) of its precious Saudi Aramco oil company. The company, thanks to deliberately opaque disclosures, was estimated to be worth, depending on the price of oil, between $2 trillion and $10 trillion.

That’s the operative word: “depending.” OPEC had big plans for the funds it hoped to raise, encapsulated as its “Vision 2030.” As Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, the nation’s Chairman of the Council of Economic and Development Affairs, wrote:

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Enjoying Record Low Gas Prices? Thank a Fracker!

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, June 27, 2017:  

On November 17, gas prices had dropped to $1.9...

Of the estimated 44 million Americans who will travel over the upcoming Independence Day holiday weekend (a record, by the way), 37.5 million of them will drive to their destinations. Along the way they will not only spend nearly a dollar a gallon less for gas than they have over the last 10 years on average, they will spend less on gas than any Independence Day since AAA has been keeping records. In addition, this will be the first time in nearly two decades that they will be spending less for gas in July than they did in January. On average over the last decade gas prices have been 47 cents a gallon higher on the Fourth of July than on New Year’s Day.

Consumers are always the ultimate beneficiaries of improved technologies, as producers are

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Oil Expert Yardeni: OPEC Should Break Agreement, Produce All It Can

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, June 21, 2017: 

In Dr. Ed’s Blog, Ed Yardeni, for 25 years one of the industry’s leading energy strategists, proposed on Wednesday that OPEC should consider going back to Plan A to fund members’ treasuries as Plan B clearly isn’t working:

Rather than [attempting to prop] up the price [of crude oil], maybe OPEC should sell as much of their oil as they can at lower prices to slow down the pace of technological innovation that may eventually put them out of business.

Plan A, it will be remembered,

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More OPEC Bad News: Increases in World Oil Supplies Overwhelming Its Cuts

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, June 14, 2017:  

English: Map of OPEC countries. Dark green = m...

English: Map of OPEC countries. Dark green = member states, Light green = former member states. Light Grey = Prospective members.

In its regular monthly oil market report, the International Energy Agency (IEA) stated that the world’s supply of crude oil increased in April by 18 million barrels just when it was expected to decline. To add to OPEC’s woes —OPEC is unsuccessfully trying to reduce the world’s oil supplies by cutting production so as to raise oil prices enough to fund the countries’ welfare states —  the agency also said it expected U.S. producers to increase their production by 430,000 barrels a day this year over last year, and by 780,000 barrels a day in 2018. The agency added that even this might be too pessimistic: “Such is the dynamism of this extraordinary, very diverse industry it is possible that growth [in crude oil inventories] will be faster [than we estimate].”

Its report makes for sobering reading for OPEC’s 13 members and the other 10 nonmembers who extended a production cut agreement to March 2018:

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Alaska’s North Slope Oil Reserves Are “Open for Business”

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, June 1, 2017:  

Map of northern Alaska showing location of , A...

Map of northern Alaska showing location of , ANWR-1002 area, and the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPRA).

Following a six-day trip to northern Alaska, Trump’s Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke signed an order on Wednesday in Anchorage that reverses a 2013 Obama administration executive order. That 2013 order removed half of the immense National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPRA) on Alaska’s North Slope from consideration for energy development. Said Zinke:

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OPEC to Extend Oil Production Cuts Another Nine Months

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, May 24, 2017: 

Now that “everyone is on board” with a nine-month extension of last November’s agreement to cut production by OPEC, tomorrow’s meeting of the cartel in Vienna is expected to rubber-stamp that extension. Saudi Arabia’s oil minister, Khalid al-Falih, upon returning from Iraq on Monday, said, “We think we have everybody on board. Everybody I’ve talked to indicated that nine months [is] a wise decision.”

Iraq was the most egregious cheater under the November agreement, first complaining that the production numbers upon which its “participation” was based were too high, and then being very slow in implementing those cuts. The slack was picked up by Saudi Arabia, which cut more than it agreed to.

The overall goal of the cuts is to

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North Dakota Oil Production Jumps as Access Pipeline Nears Completion

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, May 15, 2017:

The latest report from North Dakota’s state oil and gas division showed that crude oil production for March is back up over a million barrels a day, an increase of nearly nine percent since December and almost double what the state produced five years ago.

The boom is back.

In Bismarck there are hundreds more jobs being offered than takers, according to the Associated Press (AP), with “for hire” signs appearing once again in stores, shops, and restaurants downtown. In Williston there are 500 more job listings today than there were a year ago. Williston Republican state senator Brad Bekkedahl, whose district sits on top of the massive Bakken oil shale deposits, told the AP, “There is a long-term optimism that was not here a year ago.”

In the oil business, “long-term” is measured in months, not years or decades. In March 2012 there were 6,954 oil wells producing 580,000 barrels of crude every day. In March this year 13,632 wells produced 1.025 million barrels daily.

And it’s not all due to the Dakota Access pipeline,

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Russia, Saudi Arabia Release Trial Balloon: Extend Production Cut by a Year

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, May 15, 2017: 

In a joint statement released on Monday, oil ministers from Russia and Saudi Arabia said the present crude oil production reduction agreement reached last November should be extended for another year. The original target was a reduction of world crude inventories down to its five-year average. Since the present agreement didn’t come close, it should be extended, said Saudi energy minister Khalid al-Falih:

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Bakken is OPEC’s Elephant in Its Living Room

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, May 15, 2017:

Setting the stage for the OPEC meeting on May 25, Saudi Arabias Oil Minister Khalid al-Falih, promised on Friday that OPEC will do whatever it takes to rebalance the global oil market. Whatever that means, and whatever comes out of that meeting, it wont be enough torebalance the oil market (rebalance: raise the price of oil sufficiently to reduce significantly the deficits the cartels members are currently running).

If the cartel repeats and extends the present agreement by six months, its likely to have the same impact: immeasurably small. The last agreement promised to cut 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) from its overall production. It managed to cut production by less than half that, 800,000 bpd. In the grand scheme of things (world production of oil is just over 80 million bpd), this represents a one percent reduction in global production of crude. Wahoo.

What will be discussed in Vienna will no doubt include who is going to be doing the heavy lifting, and how much. Will there be exceptions to the extension as there is in the present one? Will there be failures to comply, as there were under the present one? Will there be sanctions applied to those who cheat? What about non-members? Will they somehow be persuaded to engage in the farcical extension? From here the meeting has all the makings of Shakespeares comedy “Much Ado About Nothing.”

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Ruling for Big Taxi in Europe Could Spell End for Uber, Lyft, Airbnb

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, May 12, 2017:

In what could spell the end of Uber (and by inference other digital information providers such as Lyft and Airbnb) in Europe, an advisor to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has recommended that the court treat Uber as a “transportation service” and not a digital information service.

Advocate General Maciej Szpunar, a Polish lawyer, whose opinion carries such great weight among the 15 judges making up the ECJ that they usually follow it, said on Thursday: “The Uber electronic platform, whilst innovative, falls within the field of transport. Uber can thus be required to obtain the necessary licenses and authorizations under national law.”

Translation: Uber must now look and act like Big Taxi. Drivers cannot be “amateurs” but

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OPEC Increasingly Irrelevant as Cartel Seeks to Extend Output-cut Deal

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, May 3, 2017: 

English: Flag of the Organization of Petroleum...

Gregory Brew’s statement from Oilprice.com on Tuesday was spot on: “OPEC Begins to Unravel.” Except that the unraveling began years ago as entrepreneurs in the United States found a way to tap underground shale profitably.

OPEC faces an essentially insurmountable task. On May 25, oil ministers from all 13 of the cartel’s members will meet in Vienna to decide whether or not its present oil output cut agreement should be extended. Either way, OPEC’s doom as the prime determiner of world crude oil prices is likely sealed.

If they decide not to extend the output cut, the world will know that OPEC is finished. The ministers will depart Vienna and tell their governments that

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Senator Ted Cruz Introduces Bill to Have Drug Lord El Chapo Pay for the Wall

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, May 1, 2017: 

When Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) introduced his bill — the Ensuring Lawful Collection of Hidden Assets to Provide Order (EL CHAPO) Act — on Tuesday, he said the $14 billion seized from the Mexican drug lord would help build President Trump’s wall:

$14 billion dollars will go a long way toward building a wall that will keep Americans safe and hinder the illegal flow of drugs, weapons, and individuals across our southern border.

The money isn’t available just for the taking, added Cruz:

The U.S. government is currently seeking the criminal forfeiture of more than $14 billion in drug proceeds and profits from El Chapo, the former leader of the Sinaloa drug cartel who was recently extradited to the U.S. to face criminal prosecution for numerous alleged drug-related crimes, including conspiracy to commit murder and money laundering.

As part of the agreement between Mexico and U.S. authorities, El Chapo won’t face the death penalty, but his confiscated assets might be available if Cruz’s bill passes the Senate and the House, and is signed into law by the president. Confiscated assets such as these are usually directed to law enforcement efforts in the United States.

Cruz told Tucker Carlson on Fox News’s “Tucker Carlson Tonight” on Wednesday that it’s “only fitting” that drug money be used to build the wall:

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Is History About to Repeat Itself – Building the Wall to Keep Drugs Out?

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, May 1, 2017:

Cover of "Last Call: The Rise and Fall of...

As Samuel Taylor Coleridge expressed it, “If men could learn from history, what lessons it might teach us! But passion and party blind our eyes, and the light which experience gives us is a lantern on the stern which shines only on the waves behind.”

Those unfamiliar with the lessons history teaches regarding attempts to legislate morality are about to get another one. One of those, surprisingly, is the Republican Senator from Texas who has just introduced a bill to let El Chapo pay for the wall. After all, said Ted Cruz, it’s “only fitting.” Cruz told Tucker Carlson on Fox News’ “Tucker Carlson Tonight” on Wednesday:

These drug cartels are the ones crossing the border with impunity, smuggling drugs, smuggling narcotics, engaged in human trafficking. They’re the ones violating our laws and it’s only fitting that their ill-gotten gains fund securing the border.

Cruz’s bill specifically targets El Chapo’s assets for use in building the wall:

All illegally obtained profits resulting from any criminal drug trafficking enterprise led by Joaquin Archivaldo Guzman Loera (commonly known as “El Chapo”), which are criminally forfeited to the United States Government as a result of the conviction of [El Chapo] … shall be reserved for security measures along the border between the United States and Mexico, including the completion of a wall along such border, for the purpose of stemming the flow of illegal narcotics into the United States and furthering the Nation’s security.

Cruz sounded very much like another member of Congress who hasn’t read, or remembered, his history: Rep. James Sensenbrenner. In March Sensenbrenner offered his bill, cleverly titled the BUILD WALL (Build Up Illegal Line Defenses With Assets Lawfully Lifted) Act, explaining:

If we do nothing, we put the people of this nation at risk, as well as allow illegal immigrants to take away jobs, opportunities, and social funding from U.S. citizens – all at the expense of the American taxpayer. The BUILD WALL Act is a creative solution to a complex problem.

When quizzed about his bill in March, Sensenbrenner reiterated the case that drug lords should rightly pay for the wall:

This is a way to fulfill the president’s desire to have Mexico pay for the wall. Having the money seized from Mexican drug cartels would mean that bad Mexicans would end up paying for the wall – the bad Mexicans [who] have been terrorizing the good Mexicans with crime and kidnappings and murders within Mexico itself.

But why is no one asking the real question: if the wall is built, will it work in keeping drugs and criminals out of the United States? Or will it, just like the Volstead Act, cause misery beyond measure, with consequences still being felt today nearly a hundred years later?

Films over the last few decades have attempted to answer that question, films such as The Untouchables (1987) or, more recently, Lawless (2012) which just touch on the horrors inflicted upon innocents as those illegal liquor merchants plied their wares, operating as simply businessmen doing their best to “meet a demand.”

As Borderland Beat, the relatively unknown but highly-regarded source of information about the border drug wars, recently noted: “With U.S. support Mexican authorities have been able to kill or capture 33 out of the 37 most dangerous cartel leaders. The recent extradition of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman to the United States is a testament to the value of high-level cooperation between the two countries. As a result of these notable successes, several larger cartels have fractured and have descended into in-fighting.”

But they haven’t gone away. That have reorganized, are adapting to the new reality, and continue their drug trafficking. First, they consider themselves as businessmen providing a product to meet market demand. Thwarting border protections is an industry in its own right, whether it’s developing tunnels (with electric lights, air-conditioning and motion sensors) under the border, or creating false documentation to get their mules through border checkpoints. They still have immense resources and can buy all the talent they need to counter any protective schemes the Trump administration might dream up.

When they wish to move large sums of cash across the border, the cartels have used “cloned” vehicles that resemble official cars. When that fails, they buy up and ship across the border vast numbers of gift cards, thus reducing law enforcement’s ability to track down the movement of money.

When drones become pesky, they develop countermeasures to defend against them. And they are developing “narco drones” of their own to deliver drugs across the border to the U.S.

In addition, they have the resources to bribe successfully hundreds of Department of Homeland Security employees who have taken in nearly $15 million in bribes since 2006. As Borderland Beat notes, all of this means “that a new border wall will not end or significantly reduce the capabilities and power of Mexican drug cartels. From the days of tequila smuggling into the United States during Prohibition, illicit trafficking across the southwest border has remained a constant.”

As Kyle Smith wrote in his review of “Prohibition,” a PBS special a few years ago:

Banning the sale or manufacture of alcohol made ours “a nation of scofflaws,” as Burns and Novick entitle the second episode of their miniseries. After an initial dip in alcohol consumption, booze sales spiked, with one cop estimating there were 32,000 speakeasies in New York City.

 

No one who backed the 18th Amendment thought much about the additional police needed to enforce it, the ease with which those police would be bought off, the job losses it would cause, or the innocent bystanders who would be shot when the government decided to crack down.

 

Prohibition lessened respect for the rule of law and created a big business in bootlegging, which in turn led to murder and mayhem on the streets. Organized crime barely existed before the Al Capones of the world found their calling in Prohibition, and in order to lessen turf wars the gangland bosses began to carve out spheres of influence on a nationwide scale.

 

“Prohibition was the finishing school, the college and the graduate school for the criminal syndicates of America,” says Dan Okrent, author of “Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition,” in the film.

If the wall is built (regardless of who pays for it), people like Cruz and Sensenbrenner (and others who should know better) are very likely to learn this lesson from history: one cannot legislate morality, and attempts to do so are likely to have painfully negative and long-lasting consequences. Unfortunately, Coleridge’s lantern, for many, shines only on the waves behind.


Sources:

History quotes

The New York Post: What we learned from Prohibition

Fox News: Sen. Ted Cruz: ‘It’s only fitting’ cartel money be used for border wall

Washington Examiner: Jim Sensenbrenner: Make Mexican cartels pay for the wall

Borderland Beat: THE BORDER WALL: MAKING MEXICAN DRUG CARTELS GREAT AGAIN

Background on Borderland Beat

Conservative Tribune: Congressman: Pay for Border Wall by Seizing Money From Mexican Drug Cartels

CNNOfficial: Mexican cartels use money, sex to bribe U.S. border agents

Breitbart: Ted Cruz Calls for $14 Billion Seized from ‘El Chapo’ to Fund Border Wall

Text of Cruz’s bill, S.939

The Untouchables (1987)

Lawless (2012)

Supreme Court Blows Up Big Taxi

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, April 28, 2017:

Orange Colour Taxis.

Big Taxi just had a Belshazzar moment. In Chapter 5 of Daniel, Belshazzar, the son of Nebuchadnezzar, was hosting a feast and drinking from holy vessels that had been looted from Israel’s first temple. The hand of God appeared, writing on the wall. Daniel is called and reads it: “God has numbered your days.”

When the Supreme Court declined on Monday to consider an appeal from Big Taxi in Chicago, the handwriting was on the wall: your days are numbered.

Its days were numbered when

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Supreme Court’s Non-decision Expands Passenger Ridesharing Freedom

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, April 27, 2017: 

By declining to hear an appeal, the Supreme Court on Monday essentially declared that rules protecting the taxi cartel in Chicago were null and void, thus expanding passenger freedom. As an attorney with the Institute for Justice (IJ), which represented Chicago Uber driver Dan Burgess, explained: “Today’s decision makes clear what [IJ] has said for years. The Constitution does not require [city] governments to stick with outdated protectionist regulations in the face of technological innovation.”

When Uber and other ride-sharing companies entered the Chicago market several years ago, they soon became a thorn in the side of the taxi cartel that had operated under protectionist rules dating back to 1937. Those rules

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Triggerman in Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry’s Death Finally Arrested

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Thursday, April 13, 2017:

English: Official portrait of United States At...

Eric Holder, the man behind the operation, who denied it all.

On the evening of December 14, 2010, U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and other BORTAC (Border Patrol Tactical Unit) agents were patrolling Peck Canyon in Santa Cruz County, Arizona, about 11 miles north of the Mexico border. They ran into five members of a “rip crew” — low-level drug cartel operatives looking for drug smugglers to rob — and attempted to arrest them. When Terry and the others fired non-lethal beanbag rounds, the rip crew responded with automatic fire from AK-47 rifles. In the resulting firefight, Terry was killed. The suspected triggerman, Heraclio Osorio-Arellanes, was arrested on Wednesday on a ranch on the border of the Mexican states of Sinaloa and Chihuahua.

His arrest was the result of a coordinated effort by the DEA, U.S. Marshalls, and BORTAC. This ends the search for the fifth and final member of that rip crew. The other four are serving long prison sentences for their part in the incident.

Terry’s death, it will be remembered,

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Many of the articles on Light from the Right first appeared on either The New American or the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor.