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Daily Tech News 30 November 2023 | Main | Mid-Morning Art Thread
November 30, 2023

The Morning Report — 11/30/23


Good morning, kids. The breaking story this morning is the death of former secretary of state Henry Kissinger at 100 years old. It's more than a bit tragically ironic that arguably one of the shrewdest diplomatic minds who helped guide and foster American foreign policy dominance and leadership through several major world crises, several in the Middle East, passes into history while the nation he championed is utterly bereft of leadership, competence and ethics that has led us to the most dangerous level of global instability in 75 years.

He was right about some things, wrong about others, but you at least had the sense that when Kissinger faced off with world leaders and opponents, American interests were well represented and defended. Compare and contrast to individuals like Madeline Albright, John Kerry, Hillary Clinton and Tony Blinken.

Kissinger was a creature of the Cold War and its attendant geopolitics. The East vs West paradigm is long gone, but it has been replaced by a global conflict pitting billionaire oligarchs out of Davos against Beijing against a growing global Islamist movement, with corrupt politicians engaged in kabuki theatrics, pretending business as usual is still the order of the day.

The common denominator here is the chaos and descent into madness we have been witnessing is a result of the absence of America as the guarantor of the global order which has emboldened all of the aforementioned. That doesn't mean war for the hell of it like in Iraq or Afghanistan. But when we were energy independent at home, as well as promoting sane trade and tariff policies that could have brought industry back to the USA and secured our economy for the long term, China and Iran would not have been the problems they are now. And with the Abraham Accords, 10/7 might never have happened.

Oh well. Fin de siècle.

In this week's little-noted news of great importance, the fraternal socialist brotherhood government of Venezuela will hold a referendum on Sunday officially annexing the border region of tiny neighboring Guyana — a border region encompassing two-thirds of tiny neighboring Guyana. Whoever told you socialists aren't greedy was lying. And a socialist. But I repeat myself.

Anyway, Nicolás Maduro's United Socialist Party government authorized the referendum back in October and has been using "leaflets, reggaeton, videos, and other content" to stir up nationalist fury over lands Venezuela has long claimed but never bothered to fight for.

Perhaps until now. . .

. . . Who had "Venezuela and Brazil Fighting It Out Over Guyana" on their 2024 Global Doom Edition™ Bingo card?

International organizations have recognized Guyana's existing border since 1899. Caracas has been content until now to leave well enough alone. So why is Maduro suddenly getting frisky? Oil. Lots and lots of oil.

Discoveries over the last decade put Guyana's reserves at 11 billion barrels, on par with other mid-tier producers like Norway, Brazil, and Algeria — not bad for a country of fewer than 800,000 people. Imagine a poor family of four suddenly inheriting a large bank, and you'll get an idea of the windfall coming Guyana's way.

"But wait a minute," I can hear you ask, "doesn't Venezuela have more oil than that? Like, a lot more?"

Indeed. Venezuela's proven reserves are 308 billion barrels — the largest in the world and 28 times the size of Guyana's comparatively puny stash. Venezuela invading Guyana for the oil would be like Canada organizing an invasion of Vermont to steal their snow.

But socialists have run Venezuela for the last 20 years or so, and you know what that means: it doesn't matter how much oil is under the ground because they've run the domestic oil industry into the ground. Oil production in the world's most oil-rich country has been in decline since 2012, following years of official neglect.

After socialists are done eating their own country's seed corn, it's almost inevitable that they begin to covet their neighbor's seed corn. Pity poor Guyana's sudden windfall.

There might, however, be one more reason why Maduro has chosen now to move his country to a war footing. The Biden Administration began lifting sanctions on Venezuela last year, just like it lifted sanctions on Hamas's sponsor, Iran, two years before Hamas launched its terror invasion of southern Israel last month.

I see a pattern developing here, and I bet you do, too. 

And Venezuela's big ally is . . . Iran. Good thing we have our priorities straight in DC.

The Biden administration’s Department of Homeland Security has had federal air marshals following people for years who flew to Washington, D.C., on January 6, 2021, even if they did not go to the Capitol and were never charged with a crime, according to an association representing air marshals.

Air marshals were allegedly pulled off of sensitive missions to follow potential conservatives, suggesting that not only was a law enforcement agency politicized, but that people with no involvement in politics might have been placed at risk as a result. The finding comes amidst the revelation that the FBI let an apparent child rapist go free to pursue January 6 cases.

Five days after the January 6, 2021, protest at the Capitol, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) and then-Rep. John Katko (R-NY) wrote to the head of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), David Pekoske, to demand that the agency “disrupt the travel of terrorists who just attacked the seat of the U.S. government,” citing “online chatter” as evidence that they might be al-Qaeda-style bombers.

Soon, TSA appeared to be doing just that — a situation discovered only because of an almost comical situation in which one air marshal was forced to monitor another air marshal because his wife was in D.C. during that time period.

In January 2023, David Londo and Sonya LaBosco, the president and executive director of the Air Marshal National Council, an association that represents air marshals, wrote to House leaders saying that innocent Americans were being put on watchlists. . .

. . . One January 6 defendant, Kirstyn Niemela — a 5’6” lesbian who was charged with only misdemeanors – said at sentencing that “I have also been red flagged at the airport, and I have to go through extra security while other passengers stare at me as if I’m a terrorist. I have had other passengers come up to me — which I have videos of all of this – and tell me that undercover police or air marshals were watching and following me, and they even peeked inside the ladies’ room while I was in there. This is extremely humiliating, totally unnecessary.”

. . . The Air Marshal National Council said that TSA had repurposed a domestic surveillance program called “Quiet Skies” to follow people who may have been even weakly linked to January 6. The program, which FAMS initially kept secret not only from the public but even from other government agencies, allows air marshals to flag and follow people who are “unknown or partially known terrorists” who are “not under investigation by any agency and are not in the Terrorist Screening Data base.” The DHS Inspector General found in 2020 that it has never found a single threat to aviation security.

NOTE: The opinions expressed in the links may or may not reflect my own. I include them because of their relevance to the discussion of a particular issue.

ALSO: The Morning Report is cross-posted at CutJibNewsletter.com if you want to continue the conversation all day.

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