“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Telegraph reporting China to buy sixth of Nigeria's oil reserves

The move by CNOOC, the Chinese state-controlled oil giant, to acquire concessions in 23 prime blocks could create conflict with western oil groups including Shell, Chevron, Total and ExxonMobil who already own stakes in the blocks.

If all CNOOC’s bids were accepted they would double China’s oil reserves in Africa where China has sealed a number of successful oil-for-infrastructure deals in recent years in countries like Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The letter, dated August 13 and published by the Financial Times newspaper detailed talks between CNOOC’s representative in Nigeria, Sunrise, and the office of Nigeria's President Umaru Yar'Adua.

While rejecting CNOOC’s initial offer – rumoured to be between $30bn-$50bn (£1.8bn-£31.4bn) and it added: “Your interest in all the listed blocks will be considered if your revised offer is favourable.”

It remains unclear from the letter whether the 49pc stakes CNOOC is seeking would come from the holdings of western oil major or their joint-venture partner, Nigeria’s state owned oil company.

A spokesman for President Yar'Adua confirmed that negotiations with Sunrise/CNOOC and “all other” industry stakeholders were ongoing, adding that “the federal government has not taken any final position on the issue.”

A cash-rich China has used the global financial crisis as an opportunity for a strategic expansion in oil and other commodities that it needs to fuel its rapidly expanding economy.

Nigeria’s parliament is currently debating a bill to restructure the country’s energy sector which is riddled with corruption and in desperate need of investment.

However any deal between Nigeria and China would have to overcome a number of political hurdles following a number of failed oil-for-infrastructure deals with the previous administration which became mired in damaging corruption allegations.

Those difficulties have led some analysts to speculate that the Nigerian authorities might be using the Chinese offer to extract more favourable terms from western companies already holding concessions.

China’s popular image in Nigeria was damaged by recent reports that China had requested permission to cremate 30 Nigerians who had died in Chinese jails after being arrested on fraud, immigration or drugs offences.

A committee of Nigerian MPs responded by calling on Nigeria’s government for a tit-for-tat investigation into the immigration status of the 20,000 Chinese estimated to be resident in Nigeria.

Abike Dabiri-Erewa, the head of the House of Representatives Committee on the Diaspora, told a press conference that Nigeria could no longer accept a situation where its people were being "maltreated and dehumanised abroad".


  1. I found this interesting in light of our previous post:

    The Telegraph, IMO, one of the finest English language newspapers, is quite pleased to welcome links by bloggers.

    Let me know what you think. (as if I could stop you, or wanted to, which I don't!)

  2. Minimums Republicans need to do to rebuild and become a majority party again:

    1. It is hard to argue that 1 trillion on fixing healthcare to help prevent the whole thing from collapsing on 306 million Americans shortly is reckless...but that 1 trillion spent to "help the noble Iraqi Freedom Lovers!!! - create a magnificent new nation" was wise money, well spent.

    Or that a new trillion-dollar war against Iran would be a brilliant thing rather than rescue a huge part of the US citizenry from healthcare collapsing or their loss of economic competitiveness.

    2. Alternatives do not mean Sarah Palin chanting 30-year old Reaganomics slogans. Not when so much of Voodoo economics has clearly, blatantly failed in the public's eyes from Wall Street dereg to destruction of so many great jobs from unfettered "Free Trade with China for the Cause of Freedom for Freedom Lovers!!" Questions about the wrecking of the US manufacturing base meet a typical kneejerk Reagan quote about how "the US worker can outproduce and out-compete any nations workers, by golly!" Ignoring reality. (And the fact Reagan himself set quotas and tariffs).

    3. What exactly is the Republican answer to decaying cities, huge areas of the country devestated by permanent or long-term at least loss of good jobs overseas? The concentration of US wealth in the hands of a few? Predictably, it is "more tax cuts for the wealthy" and "Freedom!! Accounts" so people can use their vast surplus disposable income to set up private healthcare accounts and private social security.

    4. What is the Republican answer to women now thoroughly spooked by the Religious Right's anti-abortion zealotry and the Terri Schiavo Fiasco? What is their answer to attract minorities? Other than "work hard" someday you'll be a millionaire..honest!

    5. To a range of social issues, changing demography, the reality of America's fiscal collapse and China's Rise, and being overextended abroad - we only seem to get "We need more war! Have to take care of 18 foreign crises in the name of American Empire. And any domestic matter can be best looked at from a good 'ol Reagan quote about good 'ol values.

    To succeed, Republicans have to:

    a.. Suppress the nutty part of the Religious Right and regain the lost woman vote.

    b. Determine a way to close the vast gap in income and allocation of new wealth gains mainly to the top 1%.

    c. Policies that address the collapse of US businesses and huge debt due to Free Trade.

    d. Have a viable alternative to address the healthcare crisis.

    e. Acknowledgement that supply side economics failed miserably, that "high tech!!" does not mean unlimited resources, and say how Republicans are reformed from favoring the Rich, from reckless Bush II type spending and fiscal irresponsibility, and thirst for starting more wars to Help Our Special Friend/"Spread Freedom!!".

    f. Be able to journey outside the South and say things that interest the average voter in Michigan, Colorado, Pennsylvania....even California or Connecticut.

    g. Abandon the anti-educated voter message that instead glorifies the "regular Joe the Plumber" kinda guy and not "them college educated kinda folks that can find Bra-frikkin' Zill on a map and did well in algebra with the rest of the twerps while I was puttin' mag wheels on my Amuuurican car!
    Like it or not, college educated voters are not "impure" from the taint of their "libraul egghead teachers" - they are a huge demographic.

  3. At German Chancellor’s Side, a New Political Power Broker Emerges

    BERLIN — The politician everyone was talking about in the German capital the morning after national elections was not Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose party won the most votes, but the small-party kingmaker set to solidify the chancellor’s hold on power. And soon, the rest of the world will become acquainted with the new leading figure, the Free Democrats’ Guido Westerwelle.

    If longstanding German tradition holds, Mr. Westerwelle will be named vice chancellor and foreign minister in the new government, his reward for steering his free-market, pro-business party to its best result yet in a federal election.

  4. Tell us, doug, how do you feel about that German political development?

  5. Anonymous sounds like one of my neighbors. He's a Dartmouth grad, from Maine, quite well to do. Think Rockefeller Republican.

  6. My two cents on the short-lived
    EB Whirled Map.

    It presented no advertising on the EB and portrayed no information other than a stationay graphic. The utility (marginal) came when the user left the EB and went to another site to view the statistics. I do not believe that the map of whirled wide hits compromised us anymore than a link to someone's advertisement ridden blog.

  7. As to Afpakistan, doug, and the heroin trade. I do not know who "controls" it, but the US and EU are the only folks there with an organized fighting force.

    They are the only ones there with air supremacy and the only ones with effective herbicides.

    The US military built the irrigation systems that supply the poppy fields.
    Back in the 1950's.

    So, while I doubt the US military is in active control of the "trade", there is no doubt they support and protect those that are.

  8. And a required part in any National Government, whit.

    Without the "Rockefeller Republicans" there is no "National" Republican Party.

    Without the "Governator" there is no California Republican Party.

    Count all the land mass and counties you want, but the majority of the people, the electorate, have rejected the managerial skills of the Republicans.

    The claims that "Health Care Reform" is to expensive, coupled with calls for continued foreign adventures, that is a sure loser.

    Calls for stepping back from those adventures, characterized as isolationist and defeatist.

    While the realities are the goings on in Afpakistan and Iran have little impact upon US, as long as the oil flows smoooooothly.

  9. I also have read the reports, doug, of how the Taliban had slashed the amount of available raw product that was being cultivated, the year before the US intervened, militarily.
    That'd have been in 2000.

    The "dots" are there, connect 'em any way you want.

  10. “War is just a racket. A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of people. Only a small inside group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few at the expense of the masses.


    There isn't a trick in the racketeering bag that the military gang is blind to. It has its "finger men" to point out enemies, its "muscle men" to destroy enemies, its "brain men" to plan war preparations, and a "Big Boss" Super-Nationalistic-Capitalism.

    It may seem odd for me, a military man to adopt such a comparison. Truthfulness compels me to. I spent thirty- three years and four months in active military service as a member of this country's most agile military force, the Marine Corps. I served in all commissioned ranks from Second Lieutenant to Major-General. And during that period, I spent most of my time being a high class muscle- man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism.

    I suspected I was just part of a racket at the time. Now I am sure of it. Like all the members of the military profession, I never had a thought of my own until I left the service. My mental faculties remained in suspended animation while I obeyed the orders of higher-ups. This is typical with everyone in the military service.

    I helped make Mexico, especially Tampico, safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefits of Wall Street. The record of racketeering is long. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. In China I helped to see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested.

    During those years, I had, as the boys in the back room would say, a swell racket.

    Looking back on it, I feel that I could have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.”

    Major General Smedley Butler USMC

    Twice awarded the Medal of Honor.

  11. Those "stove pipes" of information assessment, they are self created.

  12. Spartan Mother: "Come home with your shield or on it."

    Obama: "Sorry Russia and Iran, we're dismantling our missile shield now.

  13. No, T, we are not.
    It has not been built, so it cannot be "dismantled".
    The Aegis Combat Sysytem more than capable of handling the threat from Iran.

  14. This comment has been removed by the author.

  15. Did the Russell Company, well documented opium traders, morph into the Carlyle Group?

    Are the elites from our past connected to those of our present?

    I do not have that answer, but the same family names and fraternity houses string a thread through the board rooms of both companies and the Federal government.

  16. I thot you were too preoccupied with the wreckage wrought by the Wall Street/Government Cabal to blog so!

    1. Polls don't support you at all, wrt healthcare.

    2. They do wrt long (losing) wars.

    So I disagree w/1, agree w/2.

  17. ...and it pleasures me to see the Euros retreat from Socialism.
    Not as much as those guys on Folsom Street were pleasured, but it's only politics, not sex.

  18. Back to the post at hand. The thing to take notice of, is not that China will own that oil, rather than Nigeria, or Shell, or Exxon, etc., but that a bunch of real smart people with the world's largest "Stash of Cash" is running around the world with their hair on fire buying oil fields.

    Somebody needs to "Admit" to the problem at hand. Real, Real Soon.

  19. I agree w/Whit wrt to the map.
    Seems like J Willie, Whit, and I are a little less paranoid than Deuce.
    ...but then, Deuce does most of the work.

  20. Denile to the bitter end Rufus!

  21. Which polls, doug.
    One was reported two days ago that had the majority of GOPers, the electorate, favoring a "public option".

    The polls, they have little bearing on the goings on in DC. Something will pass, as I've always said.

    What it is going to be, still in the air. But the fact that it has retreated from above the fold, on Page One, replaced by "War", bodes ill for those that support the status que.

    Change is coming, bank on it.

    I don't have the time to pontificate, at length, doug, thanks to Mr Bush, McCain and Gramm.

    The Three Musketeers of GOP induced economic failure.

  22. American Liberal Consumer:
    "I hate Big Oil
    Fill her up, please.
    (@ "American" prices, they add.)

  23. Yeah, the Dems had nothing to do with it, 'Rat.
    Not a thing.
    Carry on.

  24. (Support for Health Care Plan Hits New Low)

    Seems clear enough to me, regardless of what the Corrupt Fascists in DC come up with.

    ...but they're Democrats...
    Above Criticism.

  25. Rasmussen's trick is he polls those that are likely to vote, leaving out all the scum-sucking parasites that can't summon up the energy to do so.
    IOW, the (non-voting) Democrat Base.

  26. "the majority of GOPers, the electorate, favoring a "public option"."
    My Mom's from Missourri,
    Show Me!

  27. Like those that put O'Messiah in office?

  28. A Hell of a lot of people are having second thoughts.
    The young ones are going back to being apathetic.

  29. Who wants a President that is less pro America than the French Guy?

    ...yeah, they're out there.
    Way out there, and not the majority.

  30. The Dems did not have the White House, the Senate and the House, doug.
    The Republicans did.

    Spin that anyway you'd like.
    Phil Gramm wrote the deregulation statutes, or had it done. He was the sponsor, Mr House Mouse of Enron.

    There is no escaping that.
    That the GOP, Team43 mismanaged the energy issue, a fact.

    I blame those that had the authority, those sitting where the "buck" stops. Were there Dems in the room, sure enough, but they were just along for the ride, Mr Bush was charged with steering the bandwagon.
    And he did.

    In reality most of the Dems moves since 20Jan09 have been positive. The market has rebounded to the 10,000 range.
    Recreating wealth, here in the USA, as it did.

    Housing, here, is still laughable, though.

    Pull the rug out from under the Chinese economy, then watch our house of cards really collapse.

  31. "In reality most of the Dems moves since 20Jan09 have been positive."
    That's a classic:
    Give the money, and more power, to the crooks that caused the mess.
    That'll fix er!

  32. ...which is why housing remains a mess.
    Repeat Japanese mistakes, you get a Japanese result.

  33. It does seem to be working, at least in the short term, doug.

    The financial elites are not being arrested, but empowered. That Team Obamaerica did not call for the repeal of TARP, more than understandable. It further concentrates power, the dream of most Federal Socialists.

    Which is what the Republicans are.

  34. But the binary choice is no choice, at all. There being no difference 'tween the two.

    It is a unitary political system that we have. There is no ideological difference. Only the constituents differ.

    A thousand points of light illuminate that reality.

  35. AZ Leads the way, 'Rat!
    Shit, or git off the pot!
    State's Rights Rule!

    In Some States, a Push to Ban Mandate on Insurance

    ST. PAUL — In more than a dozen statehouses across the country, a small but growing group of lawmakers is pressing for state constitutional amendments that would outlaw a crucial element of the health care plans under discussion in Washington: the requirement that nearly everyone buy insurance or pay a penalty.

    Approval of the measures, the lawmakers suggest, would set off a legal battle over the rights of states versus the reach of federal power — an issue that is, for some, central to the current health care debate but also one that has tentacles stretching into many other matters, including education and drug policy.

    Opponents of the measures and some constitutional scholars say the proposals are mostly symbolic, intended to send a message of political protest, and have little chance of succeeding in court over the long run. But they acknowledge that the measures could create legal collisions that would be both expensive and cause delays to health care changes, and could be a rallying point for opponents in the increasingly tense debate.

    “This does head us for a legal showdown,” said Christie Herrera, an official at the American Legislative Exchange Council, a group in Washington that advocates limited government and free markets, and that earlier this month offered guidance to lawmakers in more than a dozen states in a conference call on the state amendments.

    So far, the notion has been presented in at least 10 states (though it has already been rejected or left behind in committees in some of them), and lawmakers in four other states have said they will soon offer similar measures in what has grown into a coordinated effort at resistance.
    (Arizona, which has placed the amendment on its ballot in 2010, seems the furthest along.)

  36. No Republican never has, and never will get away with some of the stuff BHO has.
    Crucial difference:
    The Media.

  37. The Commerce Clause will carry the day, with the Supremes, doug.
    It always does, even when there is no commerce involved.

    Health Care and insurance, that definitely involves commerce. The Federals will usurp the authority, guaranteed.

  38. I, actually, pretty much agree with you, Doug; it's just that that was such a pretty one, laying right out over the plate, that I had to take a "swat" at it.


  39. Sure, 5 - 4 in the Supremes; maybe even 6 - 3. Hell, it could even go 7 - 2, with only Scalia, and Thomas dissenting.

  40. Medical marijuana cases prove the point, rufus.

    Grow your own, never for sale, marijuana is covered by the Commerce Clause.

    Health Insurance certainly will be.

  41. Of course, the Key, overlooked phrase there is, "trying to pass Constitutional Amendments.

    Them Consteeetushunal amindmints is hard to pass. Gotta find a state where 2/3 are against healthcare Reeform.

  42. Then, you gotta get it past the Soopremes.

  43. Fuck the Feds!
    (at least if feels good to say it)

  44. First: The ten billion barrels of new discoveries reported so far do initially sound encouraging: if the second half of 2009 is as productive, that means a total of 20 billion barrels of new oil will eventually be available to consumers as a result of discoveries this year. But how much oil does the world use annually? In recent years, that amount has hovered within the range of 29-31 billion barrels. Therefore (assuming continued good results throughout 2009), in its most successful recent year of exploration efforts, the oil industry will have found only two-thirds of the amount it extracted from previously discovered oilfields.

    From This Article.

    Also, these discoveries won't even be producing for 10 years, or so.

  45. Cleveland Clinic Facts
    Every Life Deserves World Class Care

    Where ‘too sick to travel’ need not apply.
    In the past, all that stood between critically ill patients and care was the difficult trip here. That's why we are one of the few hospitals to staff our flights with physicians and nurses — so we can deliver world class care in the air. We will do 5,000 transports this year alone, with 170 of those via jet. In the past we’ve had transports from 28 states and eight countries around the world.
    Or in Doug's World:
    Every Tax-Paying Citizen that takes the effort.

  46. Rubin offered several explanations as to why oil prices will soon rise significantly. First, he said that today's most important oil sources, like the Athabasca Oil Sands in northeastern Alberta, are far more expensive to use than prior supplies. Another problem, he said, is that prices in oil-producing countries like Saudi Arabia and Venezuela allow unhindered consumption. Finally, cheap cars in India and China, such as the $2,200 Tata Nano, are adding to the existing explosion in world oil demand that undermines consumer cutbacks on oil use in the United States and Canada.

    "Every person who gets a Tata gets a straw to start sucking at a world gasoline supply that has not grown in the last four years. The more that they suck, the less that we suck, and what we do suck and slurp up costs us increasingly more," said Rubin.

    Jeff Rubin warns of imminent triple-digit oil prices

  47. Only hope is the coming World Depression, Rufus.
    Look at the bright side!

  48. More people are looking at Sweet Sorghum, Rat.

  49. Arizona Senator John McCain was the Republican Party’s presidential nominee in 2008, but he’s always had a challenging relationship with the GOP’s base voters.

    A new Rasmussen Reports statewide telephone survey finds that 61% of Arizona Republicans think McCain has lost touch with those in his own party. That’s up eleven points from 50% in May. Only 33% of the Republican faithful in the state believe McCain has done a good job representing GOP values.

    The good news for McCain is that his numbers aren’t as bad as some of his colleagues. Nationally, 74% of Republican voters say their representatives in Congress have lost touch with the GOP base.

  50. 'Rat's Rocky/W Bush Repubs, who he says represent Pub Voters!

    Pure Delusion.

  51. I see the ole potato was kicked from the Elephant blog roll.


  52. Bombardier Transportation’s Chinese joint venture, Bombardier Sifang (Qingdao) Transportation Ltd., has been selected by the Chinese Ministry of Railways (MOR) to supply 80 ZEFIRO 380 very high speed trains (1,120 cars) for the country’s rapidly growing high speed rail network. The contract, including 20 eight-car trainsets and 60 sixteen-car trainsets, is valued at an estimated 27.4 billion Chinese Renminbis (US$4 billion, €2.7 billion). Bombardier’s share of the contract is estimated at 13.5 billion Chinese Renminbis, (US$2 billion, €1.3 billion).The first train is scheduled for delivery in 2012 with final deliveries expected in 2014.

    China - Is there Anything they can't do? (With Our Money?)

  53. I see the ole potato was kicked from the Elephant blog roll.

    I Liked the 'tater. Whassup wit dat, Deuce? We couldn't affort the ink?

  54. Nothing personal about Ash.

    I do look at the blogroll and if I find there is no longer any interest by the host, I take it down. Ash just ain't ranting.:

    Here is the latest from Ash rants.
    THURSDAY, MARCH 12, 2009 is the place to go

  55. Well, there you go, Ash.

    You quit "ranting."

    March 12th?

  56. hunh, the latest post was made May 22nd. I didn't figure you guys wanted me to notify you each time I made a new entry. Mind you we have slacked off since May what with the difficulty of posting fully animated bits and summer fun....but there are a number of new anims put up since March.

    Check 'em out at

  57. There are 6 new posts since March 12th. The Sham Wow one actually got some relatively decent action at YouTube.

  58. Make it a clickable link, an you've got a deal.

  59. I don't have a dog in the fight, any more, doug.

    McCain may have lost touch with the "base" but he'll easily win reelection.
    Which is what matters, if you're McCain. Those that are "in touch", why they lose in the General Election, every time.

    My own once, back in the day, Congressman, the sportscaster whose name escapes me at the moment ...
    He was "in touch" with the base and a "National" spokesman for the House GOP as well.
    Got whipped on by a university town mayor. A liberal's liberal.

  60. The pendulum swings both ways.

  61. This comment has been removed by the author.

  62. Artillery and air support were routinely denied Marines in Vietnam for the same reason they are being denied now.

    Even 60mm mortar cover (fielded by every company) was often denied.

  63. Well, I never saw it, or heard of it.

  64. May have been routinely denied, after we left, Vietnam.

  65. Johnson's "War Room" had "friendly villages" flagged. Interestingly, the NVA readily picked up on this little O/C trait.

  66. Probably, I diddy-maued in Nov 67'. Or, we were just lucky.

  67. Dems shot down "public option" in finance committee.

  68. Wouldn't it be a kick in the ass if the "blue dogs" actually came through?

  69. Rufus: Dems shot down "public option" in finance committee.

    Ever see that movie where Michael Douglas thought he drowned Glen Close in the bath tub, but then she woke up again to attack?

  70. Yeah, T, this sucker is Zombie, fer sure.

    I wouldn't bet a plugged nickel on how this deal is going to go.

    Every 'spert on tv leans into the camera, and telly you ezzakly how this thing's coming down; and they All disagree.

    I supported a bill similar to the one in Mass, not thinking that even the asshat Reid would consider trying to ram a gov option through in reconciliation.

    I mighta been rong. Oops.

  71. MANILA - Two US soldiers were killed in a landmine explosion in Jolo island on Tuesday, marking the first reported casualties among US soldiers deployed in Mindanao since 2002.

  72. "Most students of the Vietnam War agree that one major reason for America’s poor showing and seeming ineptness at times was the way President Lyndon Johnson micromanaged the war from Washington. Papers, archives, and diaries are replete with request for air strikes being countermanded from the White House even as platoons of men were under intense fire. LBJ insisted on making every call of consequence. He not only told his generals which objectives he wanted attacked, he insisted they use tactics he dictated. Anyone who is even a casual observer of history realizes that this is a terribly inefficient way to fight a war. Many lives were lost needlessly because the person making the decision had no stake in implementing that decision."

    This would be a topical inquiry for our resident conspiratorialist. Of course, there will be no Israelis to take the blame...well, not rationally...but, then, when has that ever stood in the way of a cant rant...

  73. I knew I had screwed the pooch big time when, on the first day in country I asked a little Vietnamese man how his war was going,

    and he said, "OH, NO, Not MY War. Johnson's War.

    Aww, Shit! 13 Months to go, and it Ain't "HIS" War.

    How did Mama Rufus ever have a Kid this Damned Dumb?

  74. Ex-Vietnamese girlfriend. I was at her parents place making small talk with her dad.

    Doesn't speak english. Or not much at all.

    He was really proud to have an American in his house. Got out his box of war medals from way back in the top shelf of his closet to show me.

    Girlfriend says, 'he never does that.'. She says, 'I've only seen them once a long time ago.'

    He was a spotter in the war. Ran around in the jungle and found enemy targets then called in air strikes.

    He also used to get paid bonus money for finding any weapons caches. Pretty good at what he did, apprantly.

    Showed me some x-rays of a couple of bullets still lodged in his legs.

    Just b.s.'ing with him and said, 'how come we lost the war?'. He misunderstood and me and thought I said 'you'.

    He pointed his finger at me and said, 'not me, you!!' He was pretty adamant.

    The look in his eye...

    He's still really pissed off at us for cuttin' tail.