TALK & OPINIONS BY SILVIO CANTO JR.

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Archive for August 2017

Mexico looking beyond Pemex

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For years, Pemex has been one of the biggest sacred cows in the world. It’s no coincidence that the Pemex tower stands in Mexico City for everyone to see.   

For some it is a symbol of the Mexican revolution.   

For many others, it is a symbol of corruption and ineffectiveness. Please add me to this group. 

In recent years, President Pena-Pieto has been trying to reform Pemex. It appears that he may have found a way of going around Pemex’s rigid rules and bringing much necessary foreign investment.

It looks like Mexico’s promising Shale Region is showing the way, according to this interesting article by Jamie Horgan:    

 

Don’t look now, but Mexico is hoping that its recent energy reforms will turn the shale boom from a uniquely American phenomenon into a uniquely North American one. This summer, Mexico opened up onshore blocks of its Burgos basin region, just south of Texas.

To date, the country’s state-owned oil company Pemex has been unable to successfully start commercial production in the basin, in part due to geology but certainly also the result of the company’s lack of expertise in shale. 

Now that Mexico’s oil and gas reserves are being opened up to private (and foreign) companies, there’s an opportunity for firms with the personnel, the experience, the equipment, and the culture necessary to get the country’s shale production up off (or maybe more accurately out of) the ground.

Prior to Mexico’s market reforms, Pemex was in a tailspin. The company was running the Red Queen’s race, spending more money and hiring more personnel while seeing production fall precipitously as fields matured. President Enrique Peña Nieto pushed through unpopular reforms to open Mexico’s struggling oil and gas industry up to competition, and after some fits and starts he’s seen that effort rewarded: on one day in July, there was a “world-class” oil discovery in the Gulf of Mexico by a group of private companies, a major increase in the estimated potential of another offshore field, and the successful sale of 21 out of 24 other offshore blocks on auction. 

In other words, there’s a lot of momentum building up in Mexico’s offshore hydrocarbon industry.

Onshore, progress has been slower, but Mexican shale — especially in the Burgos basin — looks to be a winner.     

We hope that it is a winner indeed.   

Mexico is the ultimate underachiever when it comes to energy. It started in the 1930s when President Lazaro Cardenas nationalized foreign oil companies. Unfortunately, Pemex grew over the years into a corrupt enterprise. It is not very good at finding oil, as just about any Mexican will privately admit. Instead, it is a state agency that abuses small companies, hires for purely political reasons and has kept Mexico as an undeveloped country.

As I told a group of Mexicans at a U.S.-Mexico Chamber meeting a few years ago: “Privatize PEMEX and you will quickly run out of hotel rooms in Mexico. In other words, you won’t be to lodge all of the investors looking to invest in Mexico.”    

After my talk, a couple of Mexican businessmen shook my hand and agreed with my assessment. However, one whispered in my ear: “Vaca sagrada, amigo, vaca sagrada”. (In Spanish, sacred cow, my friend, sacred cow)

Hopefully, shale oil will start the crackup of Mexico’s sacred cow. It would be the start of turning Mexico into the economy that most of us believe it should be.    

Of course, it will be hard but shale oil development may just be the light at the end of the tunnel.    

P.S. You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.

 

Written by scantojr

August 28, 2017 at 7:42 am

The week in review with Bill Katz, the editor of Urgent Agenda

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Guest: Bill Katz, the editor of Urgent Agenda………we will look at another turbulent week for President Trump…….a pardon for the Sheriff in Arizona……another person leaves the Trump team……..is this chaos or is President Trump listening to Chief Of Staff Kelly……….North Korea back with a few missiles this week………..the Democrats and the politics of Confederate symbols plus identity politics……………and other stories…………

Click to listen:

Source: The week in review with Bill Katz, the editor of Urgent Agenda 08/27 by Silvio Canto Jr | News Podcasts

Written by scantojr

August 27, 2017 at 9:00 pm

Wonder what LBJ would think of the Democratic Party today

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About ten years ago, our family was driving in South Texas, and we a saw a sign about the birthplace of Lyndon B. Johnson.

It was a reminder that LBJ was born here.  He was born August 27, 1908 not far from Johnson City, a place that his family had settled.

It was an even bigger reminder of how irrelevant he’s become to the Texas Democratic Party.  

The legend of LBJ is a lost memory in Texas politics.

In 1948, a young LBJ performed a miracle to win the U.S. Senate election.  

 

In 1960, Texas Democrats voted for the Kennedy-Johnson ticket in a controversial election.

In 1976, Texas voted for Carter in another very close contest.  Texas gave then-governor Carter the 26 electoral votes that helped him get to 290 and victory.

What a difference for today’s Democratic Party.

Not long ago, there were Texas Democrats like Senator Lloyd Bentsen, a conservative Democrat.  He defeated then-businessman George H.W. Bush for the U.S. Senate in 1970.  

The history of Democrats in Texas makes for very enjoyable reading, as you can see in this rather lengthy but fascinating history of the party.  I found this part on recent Texas history so important:

Factional infighting in the Democratic party declined during the 1960s. First Johnson’s presidential ambitions and then his presidency dominated Texas politics in that decade. In 1959 the state legislature authorized a measure moving the Democratic primary from July to May and permitting candidates to run simultaneously for two offices, thus allowing Johnson to run for the Senate and the presidency. (This measure, dubbed the LBJ law, also benefited Lloyd Bentsen’s dual run for the vice-presidency and the Senate in 1988.)

Despite efforts by the Democrats of Texas to secure the support of state convention delegates and power within the party machinery, conservative Democrats retained control. Through the work of LBJ and the Viva Kennedy-Viva Johnson clubs, the Democrats narrowly carried Texas in 1960, reversing the direction of the 1952 and 1956 presidential elections in Texas. 

Similarly, the 1961 special election to fill Johnson’s Senate seat had a lasting effect on Democratic party organization in Texas. After Yarborough’s unexpected victory in the 1957 special election, conservative Democrats in the state legislature amended the election laws to require a run-off in special elections when no candidate received at least 50 percent plus one vote. In 1961, within a field of seventy-two candidates, three individuals made a strong claim for the liberal vote, thus dividing liberal strength and opening the way for a runoff between William A. Blakley, the interim senator and a conservative Texas Democrat, and John G. Tower, the only viable Republican candidate in the race. 

Liberal Democrats thought Blakley as conservative as Tower and opted either to “go fishing” during the run-off or support Tower, thinking it would be easier to oust him in 1966 with a more liberal Democratic challenger. Tower, however, easily won his next two reelection bids and eked out a third in 1978. Liberals also hoped that a Republican victory would encourage the development of an effective Republican party in the state and allow moderates and liberals to gain control of the state Democratic party. Indeed, Texas Democrats statewide remained divided between liberals who supported Ralph Yarborough and moderates who backed LBJ. The two factions waged war over the gubernatorial contest in 1962, when John B. Connally, a moderate to conservative Democrat associated with the Johnson wing of the party, was elected. 

As governor, Connally concentrated his efforts on economic development but received criticism from liberals who thought he neglected minorities and the poor. 

The Kennedy assassination on November 22, 1963, which traumatized the citizens of Texas, also deeply shook the state Democratic party since it propelled Johnson into the White House and created the need for a greater degree of accommodation between moderate and liberal Texas Democrats. In the 1964 presidential race Johnson carried his home state with ease. 

In the middle to late 1960s, however, Connally’s iron rule of the State Democratic Executive Committee further weakened the liberal forces within the state Democratic party. 

The results of the 1968 presidential election in Texas also emphasized the sagging fortunes of the Democratic party in Texas, as Hubert Humphrey barely managed to carry the state.

My guess is that most of today’s Texas Democrats do not have a clue of this history or the names mentioned.

Texas Democrats all sound alike today.  There is no ideological diversity as you saw in the state party that produced a man like Lyndon Johnson and others. 

There are no conservative Democrats – just very liberal Democrats who subscribe to the same message of income redistribution and identity politics.  They are Obama Democrats rather than Texas Democrats.

Where are the Texas Democrats calling on the party to be more centrist?  They don’t exist, and that’s why the party is so boring and cannot compete statewide in a dynamic state.

Yes, there is calm in the Democrat ranks – the kind of calm that happens when nothing is going on.

Wonder what LBJ would say of his party today, especially the ones who want to take down symbols of the old South?  To say the least, LBJ would not recognize his party on another anniversary of his birth in 1908.  Sadly, most of these liberal Texas Democrats would not identify him, either.

P.S. You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.

 

Written by scantojr

August 27, 2017 at 7:00 am

Too much “identity” in Democrats’ politics these days

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We’ve been talking about “identity politics” for some time.   We’ve seen how “identity politics” has divided Americans and made conversation impossible.

Well, it’s good to see that one Democrat is warning his party about it in a brand new book by Professor Mark Lilla:

 

In a recent book review by Peter Berkowitz, he summarizes the thesis like this:   

Last November, shortly after the election, he called in the New York Times for fellow liberals to face up to their party’s portion of responsibility for Trump’s victory, which Lilla traced to the rise “identity liberalism.”

His contention that “American liberalism has slipped into a kind of moral panic about racial, gender and sexual identity that has distorted liberalism’s message and prevented it from becoming a unifying force capable of governing” provoked outrage on the left

Let’s hope that serious Democrats take a little time off from “the resistance” or bringing down monuments, and read this book.     It may help them win a few elections.

P.S. You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.

Written by scantojr

August 26, 2017 at 10:00 pm

Down goes Macron, down goes Macron

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A few months, I predicted that President Macron’s approvals would drop in a year.    I was wrong:  They’ve dropped in months.    More people disapprove than approve!

According to news reports, President Macron is facing public backlash over “…labor reform, a standoff with the military and cuts to housing assistance.”  

To be fair, governing is hard and France faces serious structural problems, i.e. too many taxes and regulations!

How can you create jobs for young people with such high taxes and regulations?  The simple answer is that you can’t.   

P.S. You can listen to my show (Canto Talk) and follow me on Twitter.

Written by scantojr

August 26, 2017 at 9:30 pm

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The storm in Texas and a few other thoughts

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We will look at the storm in South Texas, specially the Gulf areas…..more headlines out of the Trump White House……….LBJ was born in 1908 but would he recognize today’s Democrat Party?……..more fights over symbols and history……..

Click to listen: 

Source: The storm in Texas and a few other thoughts 08/26 by Silvio Canto Jr | News Podcasts

Written by scantojr

August 26, 2017 at 9:00 pm

August 26, 1987: Paul Molitor’s streak ends at 39

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On this day in 1987, Paul Molitor went 0-for-4 and the streak was over:     

Molitor finished the streak with a .415 batting average and raised his batting average from .323 to as high as .370 during it. In the 39 games, he was so efficient that he had a hit in his first or second plate appearances 22 times and went to his last at-bat only three times.
He’d been going for his 40th consecutive game, which would have tied him for the sixth-longest streak of all-time, that one by Ty Cobb in 1911.
“Really, it’s mind-boggling to be named in company like that,” he said. “It’s an honor, and something I’ll always treasure.”

It is still the 7th longest streak and the best since Pete Rose in 1978 and Joe DiMaggio in 1941.

Molitor broke with the Brewers in 1978.   He went on to have a marvelous career:  .306 average, 3,319 hits, & 1,307 RBI.   

He hit .355 for the Brewers in the 1982 World Series and was the 1993 World Series MVP when Toronto beat Philadelphia.

Just a great player and currently the manager of the Minnesota Twins.

 

Written by scantojr

August 26, 2017 at 1:00 pm