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Strangers with Candy

Written by Luke Burgess
Posted February 27, 2006

Dear Wealth Daily Reader,

It's a preschool lesson that all youngsters know: Never take candy from a stranger.

Yet it seems like that's exactly what the United States does every single day: takes candy from strangers. Except replace "candy" with "oil". Then replace "stranger" with "foreign, anti-American, terrorist-laden, autocratic tyrant ruled countries".

The entire Middle Eastern region, where the majority of U.S. oil imports originate, is a hot bed of death, corruption, and chaos. In fact, it's a modern day Hobbesian tale where life is characterized by 'No arts; no letters; no society; and which is worst of all, continual fear and danger of violent death; and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.'

The African oil exporting countries aren't much better. Algeria and Libya have a long history of functioning terrorist activities. In Nigeria, ethnic Ijaw militants are currently threatening to use rockets to attack oil tankers heading for the U.S. and have taken several westerners hostages.

Venezuelan president, Hugo Chávez, has openly stated that he plans to work with other criminal states in bringing down the "American Empire".

The countries that sell us our oil are not our friends, despite how they try to make themselves look good. They're the wolf in sheep's clothing.

Let's take Venezuela for example.

The Great Venezuelan Give Away

Citgo Petroleum Corp., a company fully owned by the government of Venezuela through its national oil company Petróleos de Venezuela, has been supplying millions of gallons of heating oil at a discounted rate to low income American families.

So far the program has allocated about 43 million gallons of oil, sold to low income American households at a 40 percent discount.

Citgo officials say that they expect to deliver more than 50 million gallons.

Delaware is the most recent state to take advantage of the program, joining Massachusetts, New York, Maine, Rhode Island, Vermont and Connecticut.

Supporters of the program point to the good willed nature of the program. But believe me. Chávez did not authorize giving any oil away without knowing that he was getting something in return.

This just in: Hugo Chávez is no Mother Teresa.

Chávez is clearly trying to politically milk his country's oil for every drop its worth. He is trying to build support for himself throughout the United States with the discounted oil program, while trying to make the U.S. government look like a fool.

Think about it. While his own countrymen live in poverty, Chávez is practically giving away his country's only worthy resource. Something doesn't add up.

The fact is, President Chávez doesn't care about America. The motivation behind this initiative is self-serving. If this program offered no benefit to Chávez, there'd be no program at all.

Now I'm not saying that we don't take the oil. Hell, I say take as much as he's willing to give us. But please do not buy into his farcical do-goodery.

In fact, the Venezuelan oil minister just threatened to halt all oil exports to the U.S.

Venezuela Ready to Halt Exported Oil to the U.S.

In an interview yesterday with Ultimas Noticias newspaper, Venezuelan Energy and Oil Minister and president of Petróleos de Venezuela, Rafael Ramirez, said that Venezuela, which supplies about 10% of U.S. oil imports, is preparing to diversify its hydrocarbon market.

"We're prepared to diversify our markets and will work toward that," Ramirez said to the newspaper. "The easiest thing is locating it. That will not be a problem."

Ramirez also gave the U.S. government a blunt warning saying that his country will suspend all oil exports to the United States in case of an aggression against Venezuela.

"If our country, our process, our constitution is attacked by the Bush administration," Ramirez warned, "we are not going to send any more oil."

And almost as if he was daring the U.S. government, Ramirez remarked, "We'll see then which of the two governments is able to manage this type of a situation better."

Now we've heard all this before. Such warnings have become part of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez's verbal arsenal against the Bush administration. But the latest threats, coupled with the increasing sale of oil to China, are a clear signal of Venezuela's seriousness about finding new buyers.

Ramirez indicated that his country will double exports to China this year as part of a long-term perspective, included in the refining capacity plans of the Asian nation.

Exporting the oil to other buyers, however, comes with an economic penalty.

That economic penalty comes mainly in the increased costs to transport the crude. China, for example, is a 30-day tanker trip from Venezuela, while the United States is just 5 days away. Chávez doesn't seem to mind the cost.

Our dependence on foreign oil has put us in a deadly situation. And our problem will get better only when we act to solve the problem instead of playing politics.

America didn't become the most powerful nation in the world by making nice with outlaw regimes like Iran and Venezuela, or local traitors like Cindy Sheehan.

Our great country became the shining beacon of freedom and prosperity we enjoy today by being fair when she can, and callous when she must.

My greatest concern right now is the future of America's energy security. And maybe, with a little push from the American people, Washington will make a real attempt to wean our country off foreign oil.


- Luke Burgess
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