OPINION: What is a Professional?

I worked as a “bus boy” (politically incorrect—oh well) in my teens. I was fast, thorough, and didn’t break dishes. I’ll never forget something my boss said to me. “You are so good at bussing tables. Is your goal in life to be a professional bus boy?”

I thought about my answer, even though, in reflection, it was probably a rhetorical question. I responded. “I want to be a professional at any and every job I do.” Because of that approach to work, I did not remain a professional bus boy!

The Webster definitions of the word “professional” varies. They include, but are not limited to, the following:.

  • exhibiting a courteous, conscientious, and generally businesslike manner in the workplace
  • engaged in by persons receiving financial return
  • following a line of conduct as though it were a profession

As bus boy, I felt I satisfied all three of these definitions. Funny how these definitions don’t directly refer to an academic degree. Geez, maybe there’s more to being a professional than a college degree.

My new manager of corporate communications had just graduated from college. She was ten years my junior. The only reason I bring up her age is that I had ten years of working experience that she lacked. But that’s okay. What wasn’t okay was her attitude of superiority, which I considered unprofessional.

I was editor of a company newsletter and had been doing that for several years prior to her arrival. When I brought my draft newsletter to her for her signoff, she took it and kept it for several days, causing an unnecessary rush on the printer. When she did return it, she had bled all over it. I recall her one recurring punctuation edit was moving the period to the outside of an end quotation mark. I asked her what her source was for doing that. She said it was because she had a degree in journalism and had published many newsletters at college, and I didn’t have a college degree. Great reasoning? I don’t think so.

My next question got me a nastygram for insubordination. “Please tell me what writing source tells you to put the period after the end quote.” She walked away.

That afternoon I gathered the dictionary, the Chicago Manual of Style, the AP Stylebook, and several other reference books. I flagged the punctuation issue in each and placed them on her desk. I told her I would not change that punctuation unless she could show me her reference, because I wanted to preserve my professionalism. Then I asked her to please bring in several of the newsletters she published in college, so I had a better idea of her preferences for layout and style. She never did bring them. She merely wrote me up with a ding in my personnel file. I’m proud of that ding. I asked nicely, professionally. I didn’t care if she was young, inexperienced, and had her bachelor’s. I just wanted to do things right.

Since I lack the academic credential, I found myself carefully researching things that some degreed “professionals” seem to take for granted. They are right because they have the degree, and that’s good enough for them. It isn’t good enough for me.

In my spare time, I wrote for no pay at all just to get a portfolio together. It was a tough road, but it paid off in the long run—emphasis on “long.” Please don’t misunderstand me. I am all for higher education. If I had had a degree in combination with my work ethic, I might have had more doors opened and reached financial goals decades sooner. But education is what you make of it. Some party their way through college and manage to graduate by the skin of their teeth. Some cheat. Some breeze through college because they’re really smart. Some must work extra hard to pass. Many just give up and drop out.

Through my survival instincts, I quickly learned ways to help me overcome my lack of credentials. I explained emphatically to prospective employers that I’m smart enough to apply what I know, confident enough to admit when I don’t know, and always determined to learn quickly what I need to know. Ignorance is not knowing. The word “ignorance” gets such a bad rap. We are all ignorant in some regard since no one knows everything. However, choosing to remain ignorant is just plain unprofessional, on the edge of stupid. And, as my surrogate brother says, you can’t fix stupid.

I also stressed the importance of a good work ethic and potential to wear more than one hat. I even offered to work for a probationary period for less money just for the chance to prove myself and the value I could bring to the job. I always got hired. Good and honest communication is critical to success, with or without a college degree.

We encouraged our daughter to go to college but also warned her that we would not support failure. When she ended up on academic probation, we cut the money. We’re very proud of her because, quite a few years later, she had funded her education and graduated, even though she was older than many graduates. It may have taken her longer, but she was determined. She is the first in our family to earn a college degree. My mother and father both quit while in high school. My husband also quit high school. He earned his GED and further education in Navy Nuclear Power School, which eventually landed him a senior engineer position with a major corporation. With many businesses, experience and application trump credentials. Although I did graduate from high school, I wish I had had the opportunity to go to college decades ago. From what I see of today’s culture, I know that a degree doesn’t necessarily validate a person’s intelligence or work ethic. Unfortunately.

Someone once told us that we must live in a “good” school district to be sure our daughter got a quality education. Although public schools have their drawbacks, I have concluded that education and the ability to learn comes from within oneself and with help and encouragement of family. Even with some substandard teachers and schools, I assured our daughter that she could learn as much or as little as she wanted. There was always the library for research, the newspaper for current events (that’s questionable these days), listening to others and being able to analyze sources. Learning is a continual element of life if we accept the fact that it isn’t always obtained traditionally. We stop learning and we stop living.

Maybe I’m a professional learner. I see every person in our lives as a teacher, whether they realize it or not. There’s always something to learn. Every drive we take we can learn from what we see out the window. Every task, whether at home, at work or at play, can teach. How can we do things better, faster, smarter, or more productively? How can we communicate better, with truth and information, with clarity and lack of ambiguity? How can we do better, for ourselves, for our loved ones and friends, for our employer? Professionalism is the link to answer all these questions.

Now you know more about me than you ever thought you would—or ever cared to know.

Be safe, stay informed, and thanks for reading!

© 2019 Dee Armstrong All Rights Reserved

Hatred for Trump Transcends Safeguarding Americans

By Kelleigh Nelson

A bureaucrat is the most despicable of men, though he is needed as vultures are needed, but one hardly admires vultures whom bureaucrats so strangely resemble. I have yet to meet a bureaucrat who was not petty, dull, almost witless, crafty or stupid, an oppressor or a thief, a holder of little authority in which he delights, as a boy delights in possessing a vicious dog. Who can trust such creatures?  Marcus Tullius Cicero

Politicians are not born; they are excreted. Marcus Tullius Cicero

The above quotes from Cicero were long ago, as is this quote from President George Washington, the Father of our Nation at his Farewell Address September 19, 1796, “However [political parties] may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.”

Today is no different than the days of Cicero who died 43 years BC, and Washington who died in 1799.  See the Book of Ecclesiastes.

The Twelve Betrayals

Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer believe spending $5 billion for a wall is a waste of money, but $155 billion per year in support to illegals is a human right.  The twelve republicans who went against our President’s wishes to secure our border and protect American citizens from terrorists, drug pushers, child traffickers, MS-13 gangs, and criminal aliens have every excuse in the book, but none of them can withstand the scrutiny of Trump’s supporters.

How many outcries did we hear when past presidents proclaimed multiple national emergencies?  Very few!  Here’s the list all the way back to President Jimmy Carter. 

The National Emergencies Act (NEA) (Pub.L. 94–412, 90 Stat. 1255, enacted September 14, 1976, and signed by Republican President Gerald Ford, (codified at 50 U.S.C. § 1601–1651) is a United States federal law passed to end all previous national emergencies and to formalize the emergency powers of the President.

The following twelve Senators who voted against our President’s National Emergency were NeverTrumpers.

The following comments about the Senators who betrayed our President match the order of the photos.  These Senators and more disavow the Republican party platform of pro-life and a border wall, both of which were secured at Republican conventions by Phyllis Schlafly, founder of Phyllis Schlafly Eagles.  These Senators are some of the “Kingmakers” Phyllis spoke about in her book, A Choice Not an Echo.  They are not Constitutional Conservatives.

Sen. Roger Wicker (Mississippi) Wicker said in a statement earlier this week: “The precedent we set this year might empower a future liberal President to declare emergencies to enact gun control or to address ‘climate emergencies,’ or even to tear down the wall we are building today.” Wicker, an Air Force veteran, won re-election comfortably last fall in a state Trump carried by nearly 20 points in 2016.

Sen. Marco Rubio (Florida) Marco used the same excuse as Wicker.  However, in 2011, Rubio hoped to polish his foreign policy credentials for an eventual presidential campaign, and so he thoroughly backed Hillary Clinton’s War on Libya. Following the murder of Gaddafi, Rubio, McCain and Graham celebrated with the rebels they helped to arm, just a year before these rebels attacked the embassy in Benghazi. We know the rest of the story.  And Rubio loved the H-1B Visas for foreign aliens who replaced American workers at Disney World, after they had to train them!  He actually has proposed that we triple the Visas.  Of course, Disney is one of Rubio’s biggest financial boosters.

Sen. Rob Portman (Ohio) Portman had worked with Mike Lee on the compromise resolution. The two-term senator said that while he supported Trump’s request for border wall funding, an emergency declaration is not necessary to secure those funds, and that the declaration would set a “dangerous precedent.”  Sure, protecting Americans from criminal illegals is beyond your understanding.  His association with Mike Lee lets us know Portman is another NeverTrumper.

Sen. Susan Collins (Maine) Ahhh yes, Susan Collins who voted for Justice Kavanaugh, and was applauded.  However, this pro-abort Senator has close ties to both of the Bush presidents.  And now, National Collins-mania reached a frenzy after a recent appearance on Maine Public Radio, in which she seemed to endorse the idea of the Senate Intelligence Committee subpoenaing Trump’s tax returns as part of its investigation into ties with Russia.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) Lisa Murkowski is another pro-abort Senator.  The Republican platform is pro-life, but you’d never know it by some of the Republicans in the House and Senate.

Sen. Pat Toomey (Pennsylvania) Toomey replaced Arlen Spector in the Senate.  He is an anti-gunner, he wants laws tightened, as though the guns and the second amendment are the problems.  Democrat Joe Manchin and Toomey joined in a proposal for universal background checks for gun purchases, which failed. He has disagreed with Trump many times, and like the rest of these 12, he claims the National Emergency is a “separation of powers issue.”  It didn’t seem to bother him when used by previous presidents.

Sen. Roy Blunt (Missouri) Blunt claims he too is concerned about the precedent Trump’s National Emergency would set.  Apparently, it didn’t bother Blunt when Presidents Clinton, Bush or Obama used the National Emergency Act which was signed by President Gerald Ford in 1976.  Senator Blunt was a Congressional Representative from 1977 to 2011 when he became a Senator.

Sen. Lamar Alexander (Tennessee) Good old Lamar, the man who joined with our corrupt “Christian Conservative” Governor Bill Haslam, owner of the FBI raided Pilot Oil/Flying J to promote state internet sales taxes.  Senator Alexander agreed with Obama Education Czar Arne Duncan regarding common core standards, and Skinnerian behavioral training in our government schools.  For more information on Alexander, read my four-part article on this neo-con Trotskyite.

Sen. Mitt Romney (Utah) Willard Mitt Romney absolutely hates Donald Trump, despite the fact that Trump endorsed and funded Romney when he ran against Obama in 2012.  Romney’s running mate was former Speaker Paul Ryan, another NeverTrumper.  While Governor of Massachusetts, Romney was ahead of Obama in promoting government-controlled healthcare, which financed abortion with a $50 co-pay and funded abortion statewide through taxpayer monies.  He opposed a Massachusetts Defense of Marriage Constitutional amendment, and said homosexuals should be allowed in the boy scouts.  Governor Romney officially celebrated “Gay-Straight Youth Pride Day,” and sat on the board of directors for a leading purveyor of pornography without opposing the corporation’s exploitation of women.  As for Smart Growth and UN Agenda 21, Romney is all for it.  Link

Sen. Rand Paul (Kentucky) “What is underappreciated is their passion for freedom, and their commitment to ideas.  Unlike many crony capitalists who troll the halls of Congress looking for favors, the Kochs have consistently lobbied against special-interest politics.” The Senator said this right after he announced he was running for President in April of 2015.  I believe Rand’s comments stem from the fact that he may have received Koch funding for his presidential run.

Like the Kochs, Rand Paul is a libertarian, but Rand claims to be pro-life, yet he finds no problem with pro-aborts like the two brothers.  Koch-sponsored libertarianism means open borders, legal dope and prostitution, abortion and gay rights, extreme pornography, an American military withdrawal from the rest of the world, and “free trade” with Russia and China. Link

Senator Paul is promoting a Constitutional Convention as are the Kochs who massively fund American Legislative Exchange Council, an organization who has promoted a con-con for decades, and which was founded by the first President of Heritage Foundation. Link

Sen. Jerry Moran (Kansas) Moran is just like the rest of the neo-cons, he believes the law passed by Congress giving the President National Emergency powers is unconstitutional. Senator Moran voted against President Trump’s 2017 executive order imposing a temporary ban on entry to the U.S. to citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries.  Moran only announced his support for Trump after he became the presumptive nominee.

Sen. Mike Lee (Utah) Lee has never supported Trump and tried his best, along with Ken Cuccinelli, to derail him from becoming the nominee.  Now, Lee has introduced legislation to curb the president’s power to declare a national emergency.  Under Lee’s proposal, if a president were to declare a national emergency, Congress would have to approve it within 30 days or it would automatically expire.  The Senator loves free trade, loves H-1B Visas, and supported legislation that would bring more Muslims into America.  Link  Lee has joined with democrats like Durbin and Schumer to vote against mandatory prison sentences for deported illegal aliens who enter our country again. This bill was in response to the illegal who killed Kathryn Steinle and had re-entered the U.S. five times.

Not a single one of these Republicans are true Constitutional conservatives. Trump vetoed their vote, and this is what he said about his first veto.

Illegal Immigration

President Trump is fighting to protect American citizens from criminal illegal aliens, and from the destruction of this country via the Islamic refugee resettlement programs.  The Socialist Democrat Party fights him at every turn, and many Republicans join with them to derail the President’s promises to the American people.

There is nothing immoral about protecting America’s citizens although the Democrat Party claims it is.  Congress passed the National Emergencies Act during the Ford administration, and nothing in the law says the President can’t use his own judgment in declaring an emergency.

President Trump has publicly warned the governments of Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala that if they don’t take steps to stop the latest caravan of bogus asylum invaders, he will cut off aid to the countries. While this is a good first step, it won’t deter the invasion unless we stop admitting the invaders and implementing catch-and-release under orders from illegitimate court rulings, as we did with the previous caravan and countless tens of thousands of others coming in with less pomp. And that would hold true even with a border wall. They just come to our points of entry, surrender themselves, get released into our communities, and never show up to their hearings until and unless they wind up committing crimes.

Our Sovereignty at Risk

Anyone who tells you that the president doesn’t have the authority to exclude anyone for any reason doesn’t deserve to live in a sovereign nation. Sovereignty trumps everything. There is nothing in our statutes that forces the president to admit anyone he feels is a problem. In fact, as Conservative Review has previously noted, he has inherent executive powers from Article II, as well as delegated authority from Congress under existing law, to stop taking in immigrants at the border or through visas for as much time as he deems necessary.

It all boils down to bogus asylum and catch-and-release. Either Trump ends those, or everything else is just talk. While Trump is right to ask Congress to step in, we’ve noted before that the statute is already clear that these people do not qualify as asylees and that the unaccompanied teenagers do not qualify as refugees.

As the Supreme Court said in a landmark 1950 case, “The exclusion of aliens is a fundamental act of sovereignty. The right to do so stems not alone from legislative power but is inherent in the executive power to control the foreign affairs of the nation.”

This is why for the first 100 years of our country, immigration was entirely controlled by diplomatic correspondence through the State Department. The president was clearly using this authority when communicating with the leader of the country of origin of this caravan.

Trump can simply shut the door and demand that any legitimate asylum claims be processed through our 10 or so consulates in Mexico.  The president needs to threaten not just Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador, but Mexico with diplomatic sanctions.

 As Jessica Vaughan, director of policy studies at the Center for Immigration Studies, told Daniel Horowitz in an email, “The president should be leaning on Mexico and the sending nations that their facilitation of this problem is immoral, shameful, and will adversely affect our bilateral relationship.”  Link

In declaring a state of emergency pursuant to the NEA, President Trump is using pre-existing statutory authority to address a legitimate crisis created by lawless conduct at and beyond our southern border. Our president is protecting our country’s borders through means contemplated by Congress and used many times by past presidents for matters less directly threatening than those present on the southern border.  Link

Let the Congress critters know what you think and that you support our President!

© 2019 Kelleigh Nelson All Rights Reserved


Email Kelleigh:  Proverbs133@bellsouth.net

There is an education scandal way beyond what’s in the news

By J. D. Pendry

Do you really think this college admissions scandal is new?  A new racket?  Just look at some of those we know supposedly educated at highfalutin institutions of higher learning.  Our political families?  People who would die rather than hob nob with the peasants over at the public school.  It’s always been that way.  Daddy donates a few million and junior is admitted.  Even if junior is dumb as a box of rocks.  President’s kid?  Pick any school.  According to Ben Shapiro, a brilliant young man and Harvard Law graduate, these children of the wealthy are not going to school to learn a skill set.  They’re going there for the credential and the lifelong social connections – another participation trophy.  Yep, these are the people with their “credential” and “connections” who end up running our country.  Certainly, it’s not every wealthy kid just as certain as it is that there are principled and ethical parents who actually worked hard for what they have and believe their children should do the same, but from the evidence it’s easy to surmise it is many.

I’m not going to delve too deeply into our education system as American Journal is privileged to have an expert on our team, who I expect will have plenty to say about that in future posts.

“What are the humanities?  The humanities can be described as the study of how people process and document the human experience. Since humans have been able, we have used philosophy, literature, religion, art, music, history and language to understand and record our world. These modes of expression have become some of the subjects that traditionally fall under the humanities umbrella. Knowledge of these records of human experience gives us the opportunity to feel a sense of connection to those who have come before us, as well as to our contemporaries.” Stanford Humanities Center

When we consider these young people who are mostly getting degrees in the humanities, which has expanded to encompass things beyond classic humanities such as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender studies, what is their likely career path?  It’s academia, government, journalism and similar occupations because they have nothing to offer industries that need engineers, mathematicians, scientists or other skills. Don’t misunderstand, I know there are value to the degrees.  We must know our history.  We must have people who are skilled at running a free and fair press.  We must have teachers and as bad as it may be most days, someone to run our government.

Each year our universities, elite and not so elite, turn out into society, legions of young people who know “how process and document the human experience.”  They take that education and the “sense of connection” and just want to make our lives better.  Humanities subjects themselves are important to any society, but I’m left to ponder what additions to these areas of study do professors offer their students.  Do they get history lessons accompanied by a fact less possibly tainted worldview?

I am left to wonder when I see and hear these young people root for Socialism while offering disdain for capitalism.  I hear them defending and demanding democracy when we are a representative republic not a pure democracy.  I hear them demanding that we abandon the Electoral College and instead rely on a national popular vote to elect a president clearly not understanding that to do so would mean east and west coast population centers turning the rest of the country into voiceless serfdom – and that unfortunately is the stuff civil wars are made of.  They oppose voter identification laws while supporting sanctuary cities and in some cases sanctuary states for illegal immigrants.  They think 16 year old children should vote, as their matron Nancy Pelosi declared, “I think it’s really important to capture kids when they’re in high school, when they’re interested in all of this, when they’re learning about the government, to be able to vote.”  Exactly, Madame Speaker, when they have zero life experience and are easily emotionally manipulated, “Our world is going to end in 12 years if we don’t address climate change!”  I was 16 once and was never “interested in all this” but I was as gullible as any 16 year old could be.  They also believe illegal immigrants should be allowed to vote, might I add legally.  Write it down, it’s the next voting rights move.  They listen to Bernie Sanders and cheer for free Medicare for all, discounting the millions upon millions who were forced into the system and now depend on it.  A guaranteed living wage that will close the doors on small business quicker than you can say bankruptcy.  And it goes on and on and on until we get to free college for all the voting age 18-year olds and maybe 16 as well.

There are millions of Americans like me.  We do not have a lot, but we’re okay.  We worked decades for what we do have and that makes us appreciate things more, especially our free country.  But the system made us dependent.  Dependent on a military pension or some other, social security, and our often-piddling retirement accounts.  All of which will disappear in a puff of smoke when our children educated in the “human experience” with a healthy dose of 60’s activism votes for utopia.  They tell me however, they’re no longer interested in old white men so it’s not likely to be Bernie who does us in.  Kamala and Spartacus?

© 2019 J. D. Pendry  J. D. Pendry’s American Journal  Email: jd@jdpendry.com

The Snake and Different Shades of Pale

By J. D. Pendry

When God created mankind, he made them in the likeness of God. He created them male and female and blessed them. And he named them “Mankind” when they were created.Genesis 5:1-2

Jesus loves the little children
All the children of the world
Red, brown, yellow
Black and white
They are precious in His sight.
Jesus loves the little children
Of the world.
Original Lyrics by C. Herbert Woolston

Mankind.  Each one of us made in God’s likeness.  Each one of us a different shade of pale.  People declare that no one knows what God looks like.  No one knows if He is white, black, brown, red, yellow.  But we do know.  He is all of those.  “When God created mankind, he made them in the likeness of God.”  The specifications, as far as I can tell from scripture, did not include colors.  Still, as humankind tends to do, we began judging people, among a hundred other things, because of their skin tone.  Sometimes we forget.  Since none of us have seen God and lived to talk about it, let’s accept that everyone you see is “in the likeness of God.”  If you accept that there is a God, doesn’t it follow that you believe He made all of us in His likeness.  Then shouldn’t we also love our neighbors as ourselves.

I am neither Preacher nor Biblical scholar, but what I know is from the time Adam and Eve ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, the mankind God created in His likeness have been turning away from Him.  Ever since the serpent convinced them, you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Apparently, we are not very good at being like God. He does a much better job separating good from evil.

Take a look around.  Everyone seems focused on skin tone or some other identity.  We hear about people of color.  We are all people of color, different shades of one color.  We are one race.  The human race.  And we are allowing ourselves to be torn apart.  Torn apart by people who have no interest in loving their neighbor.  They prefer the snake’s approach of separating us from God and then from each other all the while trying to convince us evil is good.

Here in America our national motto is “In God We Trust.”  When we return to our founding documents, we find declarations owing to our Creator, appealing to His judgement on the goodness of our intentions, and asking for his protection as we go forth:

“We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed, by their Creator, with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.”

“We, therefore, the Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions…”

“And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”

Biblically, we have but one identity, “made in the likeness of God. He created them male and female and blessed them.” Anything beyond that is a worldly invention, not a creation of God.  We have given away our one identity and replaced it with skin tones, gender, political ideology, religion, and you name it.  It is up to each one of us the choose a path.  The serpent’s or God’s.

For us, it’s becoming increasingly difficult.  Through many of our man-made laws, we mock God.  There are snakes among us constantly spreading hatred and pushing us away from one another rather than bringing us together.  We witness that 24 hours a day in our unending news cycles.  We have moved a great distance from the nation that believed we were endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights, that appealed to the Supreme Judge of the world for His blessing, and actively sought the protection of divine Providence.  In my view of the world, if we continue on our current path God will do what He’s done before.

…if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14

© 2019 J. D. Pendry  J. D. Pendry’s American Journal

Venezuela’s Road to Disaster is Littered with Chinese Debt

By Kelleigh Nelson

I barely need to reiterate what you already know: the close links that exist between our people and the people of Venezuela and Hugo Chavez, the promoter of the Bolivarian Revolution and the United Socialist Party he founded. Fidel Castro

When you see people starving in Venezuela and fleeing into neighboring countries and realize that this is a country that once had the world’s largest oil reserves, you realize that they’ve ruined a very good prospect with ideas that sounded good but didn’t turn out well.  Thomas Sowell

We’re in a global war, facing an enemy alliance that runs from Pyongyang, North Korea, to Havana, Cuba, and Caracas, Venezuela. General Michael T. Flynn

Venezuela sits at the northern tip of South America with Columbia on the west and Guyana on the east.  The country is collapsing. The constant blackouts have put hundreds of patients at risk and many have already died, food is rotting, and water is at a shortage. According to media reports, schoolchildren and oil workers have begun passing out from hunger, and sick Venezuelans have scoured veterinary offices for medicine. Link  Malaria, measles, and diphtheria have returned with a vengeance. The country’s infrastructure is falling apart along with their decaying power grid, and telecommunication networks have collapsed.

America has offered humanitarian aid, but Maduro has rejected it.  He is taking his cues from communist Havana.  Unfortunately, Venezuela never diversified; oil dominates their exports and government revenue and barrel prices of oil are down.

With Venezuela’s collapse, Maduro is begging Beijing; China’s price will be high as Venezuela’s debt to them is already in the billions.  Xi Jinping needs a presence of power that encourages foreign governments to believe they should play ball with Beijing, not Washington. And that means China’s increased military presence around the world, and what better place than Venezuela or one of her islands in the southern Caribbean.

Would Maduro risk U.S. ire by allowing Chinese basing rights? I think so. Maduro is already increasing his rhetoric against Washington and has repeatedly threatened Colombia. At the same time, the Venezuelan leader knows the U.S. and its allies believe he is an irredeemable despot: They want no part of a rapprochement with his regime.

Xi Jinping, Putin and Maduro


The Venezuelan and Chinese economies seem like they could hardly have less in common. The government of Nicolas Maduro has looted the state-run oil monopoly company Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) to pay for the “Bolivarian revolution,” the socialist movement under the late leader Hugo Chavez. Eleven billion has been stolen from PDVSA in a decade.

With oil prices down, the country is unable even to repair rigs or pay workers to generate income, and the government now faces the prospect of a mass uprising. Meanwhile, half a globe away, China’s gleaming malls stand in stark contrast to Venezuela’s empty shelves.

But Venezuela’s ruinous state has more to do with China than one would think, specifically, with Chinese President Xi Jinping’s plan for expanding China’s global influence through financial diplomacy.

Thanks to a malevolent dictatorship pushing disastrous economic policies aided by another communist benefactor willing to extend near bottomless credit, the country is at collapse. This same toxic mix is present throughout many of the countries receiving large amounts of Chinese lending under China’s Belt and Road Initiative.  China provides large amounts of ruinous lending that pushes developing countries to financial ruin.  The Belt and Road Initiative scheme isn’t offering concessionary lending or international aid but market-based lending rates with high-interest loans. The borrower countries then have to use Chinese firms, inputs, and workers to build out their railways and ports. The Chinese firms are third rate at best.

Since the economic shift in Venezuela, up to 5 million Venezuelans are estimated to have left the country crossing the border mostly to Columbia, while inflation in Venezuela hovers around 1 million percent.

According to a UN report, about 90 percent of the population lives in poverty. The country’s oil revenue is at its lowest in three decades.

America Supports Opposition Leader Juan Guaido

The two communist countries of China and Russia have kept Venezuela afloat by lending billions to the economically crippled petrostate, sometimes with cheap oil thrown in as a sweetener for the two creditors.  “Not only are they getting oil, but they’ve also gained access to pretty good acreage in Venezuela,” said Helima Croft, global head of commodity strategy at RBC Capital Markets

Those deals were struck with President Maduro, whose leadership is facing a serious challenge from Juan Guaido, and it’s not clear what happens to that debt if Maduro is kicked out of office.  America would like to see Guaido take over the country, and apparently so would the Venezuelan people.  However, Russia and China are working in and out of the shadows, complicating U.S. efforts to foster change.

Venezuela is indebted to external creditors by a total of something close to $100 billion.  Yet, the socialist state is home to the largest oil reserves on the planet, but endemic corruption has devastated its economy. Beijing and Moscow have helped the country stave off collapse by repeatedly extending financial lifelines — to the tune of tens of billions of dollars over the last decade. 

Maduro’s re-election last year was marred by charges of widespread vote-rigging, vote-buying, and other irregularities, but more fundamentally it failed to meet constitutional requirements. As such, Guaido, due to his role as head of the National Assembly, appears to be the legitimate president.

Guaido has been recognized by the U.S., Canada, Brazil, Peru, Colombia, and a slew of European countries.

China and Russia Support Maduro

Juan Guaido is not recognized by either China or Russia. They back Maduro to the hilt because they have much to lose if his leftist government falls. From 2007 to 2014, China lent Venezuela $63 billion — 53 percent of all its lending to Latin America during this time. Of that amount, somewhere between $10-$25 billion remains outstanding to China and Russia’s state-backed oil company Rosneft is owed another $2.3 billion, excluding interest.

There was an important catch to this largesse; to guarantee repayment, Beijing insisted on being repaid in oil, but when oil dropped to $30 a barrel in 2016, this caused Venezuela’s price tag for serving its debt to explode. To repay Beijing, Venezuela must now ship two barrels of oil for every single barrel it originally agreed to.  Chavez’ 2002-2003 purge of 25,000 skilled oil workers at PDVSA resulted in massive problems.  As well, reinvestment in the fields and help from foreign oil firms was gone.  Venezuela struck it poor.

Venezuela’s mother lode, the Orinoco heavy oil belt, holds more than a trillion barrels of tarlike bitumen, which makes it much more difficult to extract because when it comes out of the ground, it’s almost solid and cannot flow through pipelines.  It then needs to be upgraded to something resembling liquid oil before sale. Doing all that takes the kind of cash and sophisticated know-how PDVSA lacked at the time. 

The heavy oil needs chemicals, diluting agents such as naphtha, to turn into a lighter substance that can eventually be exported. Sanctions include a ban on US firms exporting these agents to Venezuela.

Military Advantages

“Russia and China are using Venezuela as a proxy conflict to challenge the U.S. This is more than just economic support. Russia and China are leveraging its economic support to establish a military-industrial presence in Venezuela,” Joseph Humire, executive director of the Center for a Secure Free Society, an independent global research group, told Fox News.

China and Russia maintain crucial military facilities in the country, such as China’s satellite-tracking facility inside the Capitan Manuel Rios Air Base in Guarico, while Russia has a cyber presence at the Naval Base Antonio Diaz “Bandi” in La Orchilla, an island north of Caracas.  Link

According to one U.S. intelligence and defense official, who was not authorized to speak on the record, the threat of “asymmetric warfare” looms large as the Venezuelan crisis deepens – especially given Russia’s supply of arms and equipment to its Venezuela ally. “Maduro still sits on the largest proven oil reserves in the world. That’s the grand prize. China could say that the more Venezuela becomes a pariah, the cheaper they want it,” noted the intelligence insider. “And the more leverage Russia then has to build a bigger base in the Western Hemisphere, and closer to the United States nonetheless.”

“At a minimum, they could harass the United States, if not cause a lot more trouble. This makes the Cuban Missile Crisis look like child’s play.”  Link

Venezuela and Iran

In General Michael T. Flynn’s book, The Field of Fight: How We Can Win the Global War Against Radical Islam and Its Allies, he states, “The war is on.  We face a working coalition that extends from North Korea and China to Russia, Iran, Syria, Cuba, Bolivia, Venezuela, and Nicaragua.  We are under attack, not only from nation-states directly, but also from al Qaeda, Hezbollah, ISIS, and countless other terrorist groups.  Suffice to say, the same sort of cooperation binds together jihadis, Communists, and garden-variety tyrants.”

“Once we bailed out of Iraq in 2011, the power of the Islamic Republic immediately expanded and rapidly filled the void left by our departure.  The mullahs have already established strategic alliances in our own hemisphere with Cuba and Venezuela and are working closely with Russia and China.”

General Michael T. Flynn is absolutely correct.

As Iran and Venezuela become increasingly isolated and sanctioned by the U.S and much of the international community, the two governments are said to be tightening their bond – with the help of Tehran’s proxy group, Hezbollah, in the middle of the action.

Training between Iran and Venezuela has increased in the past few years as part of a larger plan between the Venezuelan regime, consisting of increasing the number of Hezbollah operatives and their supporters across Latin America,” Johan Obdola, President of the Canada-based Global Organization for Intelligence (IOSI) and former counter-narcotics chief in Venezuela, told Fox News. Hassan Rouhani and Nicolas Maduro have established a very firm and close relationship, which was of course initiated by Chavez.”

Drug Trafficking, Iran and Cuba

Caracas, Venezuela and Havana, Cuba are the only two places Tehran, Iran can fly into or out of with people and contraband.  Both are sanctioned by the United States. Venezuela’s ambassador to the United States is defending his country’s controversial airline service to the capitals of Syria and Iran — both countries that are designated by the U.S. as state sponsors of terrorism.

Drug trafficking within the Venezuelan regime is called, “The Cartel of the Suns.”  Criminal cartels have always run drug trafficking but in Venezuela it is managed from within government.  Instead of sidelining those accused of drug trafficking, Maduro has promoted them to the highest offices, perhaps calculating that they have the most to lose if his regime falls and will therefore fight the hardest to preserve it.

The most powerful figures in the Bolivarian regime now have the taint of drug trafficking to differing degrees.

Colombia’s criminal groups and Venezuelan political officials are connected to one another by the cocaine supply chain. Colombian groups produce coca and refine it into cocaine, and some Venezuelan elites’ profit from its transit through their country. Though government action has weakened Colombia’s insurgents and other drug traffickers, the cocaine trade remains a key, illicit industry that will continue to affect both countries.

In 2005 Venezuela severed ties with the United States Drug Enforcement (DEA), accusing its representatives of spying.  Following the departure of the DEA from Venezuela and the expansion of DEA’s partnership with Colombia in 2005, Venezuela became more attractive to drug traffickers.  Between 2008 and 2012, Venezuela’s cocaine seizure ranking among other countries declined, going from being ranked fourth in the world for cocaine seizures in 2008 to sixth in the world in 2012.

Venezuela has been a path to the United States for illegal drugs originating in Colombia, through Central America and Mexico and Caribbean countries such as Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico.

Conclusion

While Chinese engagement could be seen by other Latin American countries as an attractive path to development, the short-term benefits often lead to long-term dependency. Chinese investments focus on extracting natural resources and trading high value-added manufactures from China for Latin American commodities. China’s appetite for commodities will only increase. Link Their plan is global…in 30 years they expect to be the world’s superpower.

© 2019 Kelleigh Nelson All Rights Reserved

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