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Lawmakers, Executives Slam Obama for Boosting Brazil’s Offshore Drilling March 23, 2011

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Republican lawmakers and oil industry executives are slamming President Obama for offering to help Brazil expand offshore drilling while U.S. production struggles to get back on its feet in the wake of the BP spill.

The president, on the first leg of his trip to Latin America, said in Brazil over the weekend that his administration wants to assist the Brazilian government “with technology and support” in developing its oil reserves — a black gold mine he said could hold twice as much oil as U.S. deposits.

“And when you’re ready to start selling, we want to be one of your best customers,” Obama said.

That message struck some at home as bizarre and misguided, considering the administration has stressed the need to wean the United States off foreign oil and move toward alternative fuels.

With U.S. oil exploration and drilling slowing to a crawl over the past year, they questioned why the president would throw U.S. weight behind Brazil, a country that also received a $2 billion loan for its state-owned oil company from the U.S. Export-Import Bank.

“We have abundant energy resources off Louisiana’s coast, but this administration has virtually shut down our offshore industry and instead is using Americans’ tax dollars to support drilling off the coast of Brazil,” Sen. David Vitter, R-La., said in a statement. “It’s ridiculous to ignore our own resources and continue going hat-in-hand to countries like Saudi Arabia and Brazil to beg them to produce more oil.”

Fresh off a three-country visit to the region, Obama is trying to improve relations with the powerhouses of Latin America. Gulf Oil CEO Joe Petrowski agreed it’s better to encourage production in more reliable Brazil than in the “inherently unstable” Middle East.

Still, he called Obama’s announcement “puzzling,” even “humorous.”

“More oil that is not concentrated in the Mideast is good for the world and good for America. It would be a lot better if we had the drilling here,” Petrowski told Fox News. “And it seems a double standard and it seems somewhat hypocritical to a country that desperately needs jobs … that we’re encouraging other countries to create the jobs that we need.”

Furor over drilling, or lack thereof, has returned to Capitol Hill in full force over the past couple months as the price of a gallon of gas nears the $4 mark. Democrats say the rising prices, destabilized in part by the turmoil in several Arab nations, are yet another reminder why the United States needs to pursue alternative sources of energy and improve energy efficiency.

Republicans say the United States needs to develop all resources available, but emphasizes domestic drilling and exploration.

House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings, R-Wash., complained that, with his comments in Brazil, Obama is pushing to deepen U.S. dependence on foreign oil.

“He appears to believe the answer is to shift our foreign energy dependence from one part of the world to another,” he said.

But the Obama administration stressed that Brazil’s emerging energy industry makes the country a vital partner. These are boom times for Brazilian energy exploration — recently discovered deepwater deposits of oil buried below thick salt layers are estimated to contain tens of billions of barrels.

Obama adviser Mike Froman told BBC Brasil that the discoveries make the country a “key actor in global energy markets.”

The administration launched what it called a “strategic energy dialogue” with Brazil. According to the White House, the cooperation will entail an upcoming meeting between Brazilian officials and U.S. Department of Interior representatives; a trade mission at the end of May; and workshops starting in the fall on deepwater production and environmental management.

The administration has recently inched forward on approving oil projects in the Gulf of Mexico.

Last month, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement issued the first deepwater drilling permit since the BP spill last spring.

Then the administration announced Monday that it approved a deepwater exploration plan for Shell Offshore Inc., the first such plan since the Deepwater Horizon rig explosion last April.

But Shane Guidry, CEO of rig towing company Harvey Gulf International Marine, said that, at a time of economic stress, the U.S. government should concentrate its energy investment inside the United States rather than Brazil.

“If you’re going to do something for one country, why not do it for yours?” he told Fox News.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2011/03/23/lawmakers-execs-slam-obama-boosting-brazils-offshore-drilling/#ixzz1HRnaqEeP

 

Pie in the Sky – John Browne Commentary January 27, 2011

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Pie in the Sky

By John Browne

Following the huge gains made by Republicans in the midterm elections, it was widely expected that President Obama would use the State of the Union address to signal a major policy shift toward the center of the political spectrum. On the surface, at least, he appeared to do just that, hinting that he took budget management very seriously and that Americans should be prepared for shared sacrifice. However, as the final applause still echoed in the House chamber, many astute pundits were left trying to make sense of the many contradictory policy prescriptions the President proffered.

Classical political maneuvering dictates that when clouds are grey, politicians must offer good news, tell jokes, and remind us warmly of our childhood (or in Obama’s version, America’s triumph over Russia in the Space Race). Disclosure of specific measures should be avoided at all costs. President Obama followed these tactics closely.

While he did address plans to cut non-defence, discretionary federal spending – a small fraction of the overall budget – the President also announced his intention to increase spending on several existing and new initiatives. The scope of the new initiatives will surely eclipse the modest cuts pledged.

The President was careful to refer to all his spending plans as “investments.” The word is used in order to illicit a pleasant feeling among voters who instinctively favor capitalism over socialism, not because any thinking person expects these resources to be better allocated than they would have been by the market. Governments don’t make investments because they aren’t subject to profit-and-loss feedback. Governments provide public goods for which no profit can be measured or expected – or else we would just have the private sector take care of it. This disingenuous use of the word investment disguises the fact that the President simply intends to borrow even more money to spend on public-sector jobs.

The essential point is that while jobs in the private sector create wealth, public sector jobs actually consume wealth. When I was a Member of the British Parliament, I represented a county that spent the least amount per pupil on education of anywhere in the entire country. Yet, the achievement level of the students was by far the highest. It was vivid proof that it is not the amount of money that is crucial to success, but the quality of the spending. If the President were to lower taxation, cut the number of government regulations, and replace a political atmosphere of uncertainty with one of certainty, he might stand a chance of reviving wealth creation.

More seriously, the President made no mention of the massive debt problems facing US state governments, such as California and Illinois. The potential eruption of these debt and currency problems could well dominate investment strategies for 2011.

Yesterday, the Congressional Budget Office issued a highly embarrassing assessment that the federal deficit for 2011 would rise from the previously projected $1.1 trillion to $1.48 trillion. At a stroke, this nullified the President’s debt reduction plans. The CBO also pointed out that Social Security posted a $45 billion deficit in 2010 and will bleed more than $600 billion over the next ten years. I assume these estimates to be conservative. It is clear that the President, and the rest of Congress for that matter (with the possible exception of Congressman Paul Ryan whose austere recommendations have been ignored by most of his fellow Republicans), are dancing around the bonfire of our sovereign credit and hoping that their twirls will distract us from the conflagration.

Also yesterday, the Federal Reserve’s policy statement claimed that its massive stimulus plans are working, and that it will maintain both QE II and near-zero rates well into 2011. If the economy were indeed improving, as Messrs. Bernanke and Obama claim, why would the Fed and the Treasury need to keep administering life support? Clearly the White House and the Fed have little confidence in their own assertions; so, how should average investors react to more promises which are highly unlikely to be kept?

Rather than buying into Washington’s scripted recovery propaganda, investors should focus on the bottom line. Low interest rates are distorting the value of money and the key investment relationship between risk and reward. One side effect is that investors are being incentivized to favor equities over fixed income. A lack of viable alternatives has likely played an unsung role in supporting the current stock market rally.

Investors would be well-advised to retain a jaundiced view of all political statements, especially those of central bankers and politicians positioning themselves for the next election. In 2011, investors should focus their eyes not on the sky, but at the brick wall our Union is fast approaching.

John Browne is a Senior Market Strategist at Euro-Pacific Capital. He’s been a member of English Parliament, an advisor to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, and currently serves as Lead Panelist for The Mangru Report. You can view all of his commentaries by CLICKING HERE NOW.

New Poll: Should Hillary Clinton Run Against Obama in 2012? November 8, 2010

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Obama Dances with Indian Children – Video of the Week November 7, 2010

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Top Headlines: November 5, 2010 November 5, 2010

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US Added Jobs Last Month for First Time Since May

GOP Leaders: Sarah Palin Must be Stopped

AIG loses $2.4 billion on asset sales

Health-care law likely to stay – for now

Obama: “Leadership Isn’t Just Legislation”

Toyota…Predicts Second-Half Plunge

 

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Why Obama Is No Roosevelt – WSJ Opinion Piece November 4, 2010

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Why Obama Is No Roosevelt

Roosevelt: ‘Your government has unmistakable confidence in your ability to hear the worst without flinching and losing heart.’ Obama: We don’t ‘always think clearly when we’re scared.’

By DOROTHY RABINOWITZ

Whatever the outcome of today’s election, this much is clear: It will be a long time before Americans ever again decide that the leadership of the nation should go to a legislator of negligible experience—with a voting record, as state and U.S. senator, consisting largely of “present,” and an election platform based on glowing promises of transcendence. A platform vowing, unforgettably, to restore us—a country lost to arrogance and crimes against humanity—to a place of respect in the world.

Deputy editor Daniel Henninger, editorial board member Matthew Kaminski, and WSJ.com columnist John Fund analyze tomorrow’s referendum on Obama-Pelosi governance.

We would win back our allies who, so far as we knew, hadn’t been lost anywhere. Though once Mr. Obama was elected and began dissing them with returned Churchill busts and airy claims of ignorance about the existence of any special relationship between the United States and Great Britain, the British, at least, have been feeling less like pals of old.

In the nearly 24 months since Mr. Obama’s election, popular enthusiasm for him has gone the way of his famous speeches—lyrical, inspired and unburdened by the weight of concrete thought.

About the ingratitude of Democratic voters the president brooded in a September Rolling Stone interview. “If people now want to take their ball and go home,” he declared, “that tells me folks weren’t serious in the first place.” His vice president, Joe Biden, had a few days earlier contributed his own distinctive effort to seduce Democrats back to the fold by telling them to “stop whining.”

The results of this charm campaign remain to be seen. What’s clear now is that we’ve heard quite enough about the “angry electorate”—a peculiarly reductive view of citizens who’ve managed to read all the signs and detect an administration they were not prepared to live with.

Martin Kozlowski

rabinowitz

rabinowitz

Nothing wakened their instincts more than the administration’s insistence on its health-care bill—its whiff of totalitarian will, its secretiveness, its display of cold assurance that the new president’s social agenda trumped everything.

But it was about far more than health-care reform, or joblessness, or the great ideological divide between the president and the rest of the country. It was about an accumulation of facts quietly taken in that told Americans that the man they had sent to the White House had neither the character or the capacity to lead the country.

Their president was the toast of Europe, masterful before the adoring crowds—but one who had remarkably soon proved unable to inspire, in citizens at home, any belief that he was a leader they could trust. Or one who trusted them or their instincts. His Democratic voters were unhappy? They, and their limited capacities, were to blame.

These are conspicuous breaks in the armor of civility and charm that candidate Obama once showed—and those breaks are multiplying.

At a Democratic fund-raiser a few weeks ago, the president noted, in explanation for the Democrats’ lack of enthusiasm, that facts and science and argument aren’t winning the day because “we’re hard-wired not to always think clearly when we’re scared.” The suggestion was clear: The Democrats’ growing resistance to his policies was a product of the public’s lack of intellectual capacity and their fears.

Decades ago another president directly addressed Americans in a time of far greater peril. “Your government has unmistakable confidence in your ability to hear the worst without flinching and losing heart,” Franklin Roosevelt told his national audience. The occasion was a fireside chat delivered Feb. 23, 1942. No radio address then or since has ever imparted a presidential message so remarkable in its detail, complexity and faith in its audience.

It was delivered just a few months after Pearl Harbor, a time when the Allied cause looked bleakest. It would be known to history as “The Map Speech.” The president had asked Americans to have a map at hand, “to follow with me the references I shall make to the world- encircling battle lines of this war.” He took them through those lines, the status of battles around the globe, the enemy’s objectives, centers of raw material and far more. By the time they had finished poring over their maps with him they had had a considerable education.

It is impossible to imagine what might have been the effect if the current president, who is regularly compared to FDR—always a source of amazement—had tried anything like a detailed address explaining, say, the new health-care bill. Though this would have required knowledge of what was actually in the bill (a likely problem) and a readiness to share that news (an even greater one).

Election Night at Opinion Journal

Visit WSJ.com on Tuesday night for live commentary from The Wall Street Journal editorial board.

Despite the ongoing work of legions grinding out endless new and improved proofs that FDR was a despoiler of democracy and our economic system, it is worth remembering the reason virtually all serious historians rank him among the top three of our greatest presidents.

Franklin Roosevelt led the nation through 12 years begun in incomparable national misery virtually to the end of the war. When he died, an anguished country mourned as it had not done since the death of Lincoln. Americans trusted him. The story is told of a man found weeping when Roosevelt’s funeral train went past, who was asked if he had known the president. “I didn’t know him,” he replied. “But he knew me.”

The times are now vastly different—no one expects a candidate with the powers of an FDR these days. But the requirements of leadership don’t change. Despite charm and intellect, Americans have never been able to see in Mr. Obama a president who spoke to them and for them. He has been their lecturer-in-chief, a planner of programs for his vision of a new and progressive society.

Plenty of suggestions, none of them feasible, are in the air now about how he can reposition himself for 2012, and move to the center. Mr. Obama is who he is: a man of deep-dyed ideological inclinations, with a persona to match. And that isn’t going away.

The Democrats may not take a complete battering in the current contest, but there is no doubt of the problems ahead. This election has everything to do with the man in the White House about whom Americans have lost their illusions. Illusions matter. Their loss is irrecoverable.

Ms. Rabinowitz is a member of the Journal’s editorial board.

“More of” or “Moron” – The Mangru Report – Episode 18 October 22, 2010

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Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is ready to do whatever it takes to whatever it takes to support the struggling recovery, but has declined to say how bad things are.

President Obama’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board has released their 8 recommendations for fixing the U.S. retirement system, but does it go far enough?

Citigroup’s Charles Prince and Robert Rubin failed to disclose that the company was taking massive loan losses in the subprime market. Should they prosecuted?

Watch the Mangru Report Panel of Experts composed of Anthony Pulieri (United Bullion Group), Richard Bernstein (Richard S. Bernstein & Associates), and Al Zucaro (World Trade Center Palm Beach) discuss what these leading financial and political decision makers are doing and whether the U.S. deserves “more of” these people or whether they are acting like “morons”.

This segment was sponsored by First Hour Trading, you can download their FREE Report, “How to make enough money in the first 59 minutes of the market” by CLICKING HERE NOW.

Lou Pritchett Interview with Dan Mangru – The Mangru Report on Fox Business – Episode 20 October 6, 2010

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Retired Corporate Executive Lou Pritchett set off a national firestorm with his eloquent “You Scare Me” open letter to President Barack Obama.  Since he wrote it millions of Americans have passed it along online and it has made Lou a Tea Party favorite. 

As one of the pioneers of partnering and a major business partner of Sam Walton of Wal-Mart, Lou Pritchett discusses why it’s important to have business experience in government.  Pritchett also tells Dan Mangru what he would have done if he were president to General Motors, how America can use it’s intellectual resources to be better, how to operate a small business in a recession, small business outsourcing, and whether the Tea Party should just “amuse” President Obama. 

Also vote on our poll of the day on the Tea Party.

Lou Pritchett’s Open Letter To Barack Obama October 3, 2010

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AN OPEN LETTER TO PRESIDENT OBAMA
(Be sure to watch Lou Pritchett today on The Mangru Report at 5:30 p.m. on Fox Business Network.)

Dear President Obama:

You are the thirteenth President under whom I have lived and unlike any of the others, you truly scare me.

You scare me because after months of exposure, I know nothing about you.

You scare me because I do not know how you paid for your expensive Ivy League education and your upscale lifestyle and housing with no visible signs of support.

You scare me because you did not spend the formative years of youth growing up in America and culturally you are not an American.

You scare me because you have never run a company or met a payroll.

You scare me because you have never had military experience, thus don’t understand it at its core.

You scare me because you lack humility and ‘class’, always blaming others.

You scare me because for over half your life you have aligned yourself with radical extremists who hate America and you refuse to publicly denounce these radicals who wish to see America fail.

You scare me because you are a cheerleader for the ‘blame America’ crowd and deliver this message abroad.

You scare me because you want to change America to a European style country where the government sector dominates instead of the private sector.

You scare me because you want to replace our health care system with a government controlled one.

You scare me because you prefer ‘wind mills’ to responsibly capitalizing on our own vast oil, coal and shale reserves.

You scare me because you want to kill the American capitalist goose that lays the golden egg which provides the highest standard of living in the world.

You scare me because you have begun to use ‘extortion’ tactics against certain banks and corporations.

You scare me because your own political party shrinks from challenging you on your wild and irresponsible spending proposals.

You scare me because you will not openly listen to or even consider opposing points of view from intelligent people.

You scare me because you falsely believe that you are both omnipotent and omniscient.

You scare me because the media gives you a free pass on everything you do.

You scare me because you demonize and want to silence the Limbaughs, Hannitys, O’Relllys and Becks who offer opposing, conservative points of view.

You scare me because you prefer controlling over governing.

Finally, you scare me because if you serve a second term I will probably not feel safe in writing a similar letter in 8 years.

Lou Pritchett

(Be sure to watch Lou Pritchett today on The Mangru Report at 5:30 p.m. on Fox Business Network.)

The author, Lou Pritchett, is a well-known public speaker who retired after a successful 36-year career as the VP World Sales for Proctor and Gamble.

Lou Pritchett is one of corporate America’s true living legends- an acclaimed author, dynamic teacher and one of the world’s highest rated speakers. Successful corporate executives everywhere recognize him as the foremost leader in change management. Lou changed the way America does business by creating an audacious concept that came to be known as “partnering.” Pritchett rose from soap salesman to Vice-President, Sales and Customer Development for Procter and Gamble and over the course of 36 years, made corporate history.

Be sure to watch Lou Pritchett today on The Mangru Report at 5:30 p.m. on Fox Business Network.

The GM Payback – Regulation Nation – Episode 14 – The Mangru Report August 16, 2010

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As President Obama continues to tour Detroit and tout the successes of government ownership of GM and Chrysler, the Mangru Report panel of experts explores whether the U.S. taxpayer will ever get their money back, and how that could be done.

Dan Mangru and Episode 14’s panel, which consists of John Browne (Euro-Pacific Capital), Anthony Pulieri (United Bullion Group), Alan Stone (Wall Street Research), and Jim Whelan (The James. R. Whelan Agency) discuss the state of the current automotive industry, GM sales, and GM’s plan for the largest IPO in U.S. history that is supposed to pay back the government.  This is segment is sponsored by Breitling Oil & Gas you can find them on the web at http://www.breitlingoil.com