Your typical empire invades countries to seize their resources, impose political control and levy taxes. That was true of every empire from the ancient Romans to the Brits and the Soviets.

Politics are swamped with Greek unpayable debt and Hippies occupying financial parks downtown of major metropoles. All this time, people all over the planet burn gas and oil to generate heat and light, to travel or to produce industrial goods. Trading raw materials is a business beyond Apple or Intel, and sometimes even beyond crude oil exporters such as Saudi Arabia and Venezuela.

BEIJING – China's biggest producer of rare earths is suspending production for one month in hopes of boosting slumping prices of the exotic minerals used in mobile phones and other high-tech products.

This week's move by Inner Mongolia Baotou Steel Rare-Earth (Group) Hi-Tech might fuel tensions with the United States and Europe. They have questioned Beijing's decision announced earlier to limit exports while it tries to develop its own manufacturers of magnets and other products made of rare earths.

Introduction to Thomas Sowell's Thoughts on the Current Landscape

Not much intro needed here; Thomas Sowell is as clear and precise as ever. What about an 81-year-old who can write and reason as well as he does. Rare bird indeed. Interesting to see what his thoughts are because he thinks them out so well before putting them to print. No popping off by Thomas Sowell; that is something in itself to appreciate. You won't find any such nonsense as "it is what it is," which may be one of the more idiotic half-statements to pop up in our simplistic world. 

I have placed a couple of comments in paren.

Enjoy, Elmo Robbins

Harold Hamm is the Oklahoma-based founder and CEO of Continental Resources (America’s 14th-largest oil company), and the original discoverer of the gigantic and prolific Bakken oil fields of Montana and North Dakota. He estimates "that the entire field, fully developed, in Bakken is 24 billion barrels" as opposed to government estimates at between four and five billion barrels. The US is a top world crude oil producer and can become "completely energy independent by the end of the decade." 

The last week, several economical and political events turned the crude oil prices in a climbing direction.

The West Texas Intermediate and also the Brent light are climbing on a straight way upward.

Yet another example of politically correct "science" of the Anthropogenig (man-made) Global Warming cult. Columbus is now blamed for the Little Ice Age. Oh no, really? Yes! Sure, Columbus brought deforestation (or reforestation, doesn't matter) to America and that "manipulated the climate" of our planet. Oh my, oh my.

Can't find a better answer than the following Slashdot rant appealing to common sense: 

It looks like there has to be every year some oil catastrophe somewhere in the world. Last year the Gulf of Mexico, now the coast of New Zealand - not to talk about the sad events in the North Sea, where the Wappenmeer is one of the most endangered seas of the world.

Politics and regulations, not supply and demand, hide behind oil and gas prices! Yes, we figured that out, and here's yet another sample case, confirming predictions that our planet is packed with huge (practically unlimited) fuel resources. Our economies would have a hard time to exhaust all natural gas and crude oil reserves over several centuries. And by the way, another pertinent prediction would allow a century or so for new and smarter scientists of the morrow to extract the works of Nikola Tesla from the secret drawers and give us public portable ZPM's. So that most of the oil and gas will remain, forgotten, beneath the dust of a legacy industrial gone age.

Nowadays it is a trend to shot down old, polluting coal plants and renovate them into modern high-technical natural gas burning facilities. A great idea for the environment, as far as natural gas is much cleaner and cheaper than coal or crude oil, but even that doesn’t minimize the costs of a plant like this.