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Chavez to Obama, 'Happy 4th. Now stick 'em up

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.

Should an attack on any group of Americans be considered an act of good will? Should a hostile takeover of natural resources be considered a threat? Should a foreign power have the right to unilaterally seize American assets with impunity?

Well I suppose if you're Barack Obama, and the foreign power is Hugo Chavez, and the group of Americans are associated with natural resources--specifically oil and natural gas, the answer is obviously no!

Here are the specifics. As of June 24, 2010 at 5:28pm EST, Hugo Chavez had initiated a hostile takeover of eleven oil rigs owned by the American company Helmerich and Payne. Make no mistake this rigs are not remotely mistakable as being the property of the government of Venezuela. But that made no difference to Chavez, and evidently not to the Obama administration, because to date they've taken no action to force Venezuela to return the ownership, and it is now four days into July.

Even more audaciously the "oil minister" of Venezuela goes on national television announcing the actions, claiming justification for the takeover due to Helmerich and Payne's rejection of a formal order from the Chavez government to resume drilling.

Leftists never call things what they actually are either, so you have to understand their code to truly comprehend Chavez's aggression.

He calls it "nationalizing" but in reality it is nothing short of felonies by theft. And when you consider the value and expense to drill each site with each rig the cost of the theft is in the billions of dollars.

Now would you like to know the truly secret irony of the entire matter? Helmerich and Payne had told Chavez to pound sand until he paid his bill. Estimates are that he is in arrears to the U.S. company to the tune of 100 million dollars. Chavez's "oil minister" claims that Helmerich and Payne were violating the agreement by squabbling over "service prices."

Back in the real world Helmerich and Payne said, "we only want to be paid for the work already performed."

Come now, someone actually getting paid for the work they do? How dare they? The insolence! The capitalist pigs!

Evidently the announcement caught Helmerich and Payne by surprise given that they were still in negotiations with Venezuelan puppets when the oil minister popped on to the television screens.

Helmerich and Payne have worked in Venezuela for over fifty years.

In response the weak-kneed imps over at the State department marched out a pimply faced junior spokesman who pronounced some very firm words about Venezuela needing to play nice or have more junior spokespersons from the State department issuing other voice-crackling words. He also attempted to intimidate Chavez into submission, "This is the latest in such an instance where international investors, their investments are being nationalized by the government of Venezuela. It doesn't speak or bode well for the investment climate there."

Oh that'll show 'em. Job well done pimple boy, now off with your nerdy state department pals to some neighborhood pub in DC where you can brag about your moment in the sun.

Problem is, in a world where deficit spending by governments is more rampant than oxygen, and in a universe where it means nothing to own the value, material goods, and intellectual and physical property of your own work, this is only going to happen more often.

Because truly how different is it for Chavez to steal under the nose of the watching world billions of dollars worth of equipment, property, and rights, and simultaneously refuse to pay what he'd already promised?

Better yet, how different is either of those two concepts than the financial scale and model that President Obama has signed into law with the passing of his health care "reform?"

Stealing from people is still theft. President Obama can afford to be laid back about his buddy Chavez stealing from an oil company, because they are an oil company. Patriotism, loyalty to his own nation, responsibility to the citizens under his stewardship, and the moral principle of not taking what does not belong to you--all be damned.

Chavez has "nationalized" (i.e. stolen) dozens of companies within Venezuela's borders going on years now. But this is the first time he's performed a hostile take-over of foreign-owned company or its properties.

In the neighborhood where I grew up, if Chris Greene or Daniel Boone (two bullies who lived in my neighborhood) tried to take my box of baseball cards, especially the one that had my 1972 mint Nolan Ryan card in it, they'd a had a fistfight on their hands they wouldn't be forgetting about anytime soon.

But apparently when it comes to billions of dollars of U.S. property, resources, and revenue (that taxes would be paid on for Washington programs) Obama can't even be bothered to wake up from his mid-summer nap.

What's next giving California back to Mexico?

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