Tuesday, December 31, 2019

The 365 Day Hangover - Happy New Year - Drive Carefully

Today is the last day of 2019 and I have a monumental hangover - a hangover that everyone in the country is suffering from - a hangover that's lasted 365 days.
To be accurate, this binge started on January 20th, 2017. Although a case can be made that it started on June 16th, 2015 or November 4th, 2008 or decades earlier on April 12th, 1861 or July 4th, 1776 or August 13th, 1619.
For practical purposes, and in the interests of brevity, I will credit January 1st, 2019 as the date it began. For those of you who like to correlate dates to Bible verses, I urge you to read Jeremiah 1:1-19.
I'm obviously not speaking about a drug or alcohol induced hangover. I am speaking about the kind of experience you have when buried alive after an earthquake or washed away during a tsunami - a feeling of total disorientation - like what you feel during an alien abduction.
Donald Trump has finally been impeached. 2020 is an election year. The year will start with mayhem and go rapidly downhill from there.
That's Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Graham and all the other Senate Republicans in all those car insurance ads. They're setting the stage for the Impeachment trial by throwing everything they have at the American people in an effort to distract us from arriving safely on November 3rd, 2020.
Nancy Pelosi is driving the car at the moment. She has allowed Mayhem to take over the backseat. After doing everything she could to prevent an Impeachment to take place, she was finally forced to allow the House to move on Impeachment.
If Nancy seems a bit unnerved, it's because she, arguably, has waited too long to begin the Impeachment journey and she has not taken adequate provisions. She is now following in the footsteps of the Donner Party.
The Impeachment journey should have started in May after Mueller released his report on Russian interference in our elections. Mueller handed in a ready to go, thoroughly researched Impeachment package.
Mueller had also completed several successful criminal prosecutions that could have provided cooperative witnesses in an Impeachment hearing. Oh well!
Hey, I'm not even mentioning all the Emoluments violations that warranted their own Articles of Impeachment. The Trumps are nothing if not exploiters and opportunists.
Don't get me wrong. I totally support what the House Democrats have done with the two Articles of Impeachment they approved. I totally support what Nancy is now doing in delaying turning over the Articles of Impeachment to the Senate. Let's face it, Trump is now between a rock and a hard place.
I just hope we don't end up stuck in the snow and turning to cannibalism to survive. Although, we are already seeing evidence of cannibalism. People are already threatening to revolt and have a second Civil War.
The debate over the Senate trial has to do with witnesses being called and evidence being presented. I'll make this simple. All of Trump's people are willing to stonewall and support Trump from afar. None of them are willing to commit perjury for him.
Which explains why Trump pardoning Stone and Flynn is now being discussed in the media. Trump has to find a way to reassure witnesses who commit perjury on his behalf that he will be there when the time comes.
Somehow, the car Pelosi is driving will be cloned many times. Mayhem will still be in the backseat, but other drivers will take the wheel and try to get us safely to Election Day.
Sadly, all these cars will be on the road at the same time. There are cars for all of the primaries and for each of the candidates and for all of the conventions and for all of the elections that will take place across the country.
Here's wishing everyone a Happy New Year!
Personally, I will not be ingesting any mind and/or mood altering substances. I'm staying stone cold sober, focusing like a laser and voting Blue No Matter Who in 2020.
Holy Moly!

Monday, November 18, 2019

This Fight Is Our Fight

I've taken the title for this essay from Elizabeth Warren. I just finished her book, "This Fight Is Our Fight". This essay is not about her book.
The Impeachment hearings are entering their second week. What we are learning is disturbing. What's more disturbing is the fact that it has taken this long for the Impeachment process to begin.

Trump should never have been allowed to run as a Republican. During the primaries, the Republicans were openly critical of Trump. They remained openly critical through the 2016 campaign.
It wasn't until after Trump won the election that the Republicans embraced him - and they did so shamelessly.
The Republicans controlled the House and Senate in 2017. They should have Impeached Trump almost immediately. There was enough credible information about Trump to know he had worked with and was indebted to Russia. He was and still is a security threat to our country.
Trump also had a long history of criminal behavior. He was simply unfit for the office of President. The Republican majority in the House should have Impeached him and the Republican majority in the Senate should have found him guilty and banned him from ever holding public office again. The Republican Party is solely responsible for the damage Trump has done to our country.
It was left to us to correct this. It was our fight and we rose to the occasion in 2018. We elected a Democratic majority to the House. The House has exclusive Constitutional authority when it comes to Impeachment.
It was reasonable for the Democrats to wait for Mueller to conclude his investigation before beginning Impeachment. Mueller concluded his investigation and turned in his report in May, 2019.
The report was a complete Impeachment package. It documented numerous instances of obstruction of justice and reported numerous instances of Trump and his people colluding with Russia. It was a present and it might as well have had a bow on it.
To the dismay of many of us who voted to give the Democrats the House in 2018, the House did not begin Impeachment hearings. Instead they downplayed the excellent work that Mueller did.
It was left to us to correct this. It was our fight and we rose to the occasion once again in 2019. We called our representatives and demanded that they start Impeachment proceedings. On October 31st, the House voted to begin an Impeachment inquiry.
Since the country was founded, this has always been our fight. Ben Franklin knew it and cautioned us.
To their credit, the House Democrats are conducting an excellent Impeachment inquiry now. Adam Schiff is performing impeccably as the committee's chairman. Depositions are being taken, transcripts are being released and public hearing are happening.
For their part, the Republicans on the committee are doing all they can to obstruct and confound the hearings. They are lying blatantly, without shame.
As excellent a job as the Democrats are doing, the heroes of these hearings are the witnesses who have come forward and testified. They have put themselves and their careers at risk. They have been vilified publicly by the Republicans. Ambassador Yovanovitch was even criticized by Trump while she was giving her testimony.
This is very much our fight. Whatever happens with Trump's Impeachment, this will continue to be our fight through the 2020 elections and beyond.
We cannot afford to sit back and rely solely on any politician/s to rescue us or keep our country from descending into fascism. The fate of the country rides on the outcome of the 2020 elections. We must vote united. We must pull together to get rid of the Republican crime syndicate that is destroying our country.
Which brings me to Elizabeth Warren and her excellent book. Warren has provided us with an outline of the key issues facing us. Regardless of who you back or where you stand, we should all be advocating for honest, in-depth, intelligent discussions/debates on the part of the candidates.
Warren provides us with historical background as well. Every candidate should be addressing and speaking to the topics she's presented and the issues she's raised.
This fight is our fight. We can't let the news media turn the elections into entertainment. We can't let the party leadership pick our candidates for us. We can't ignore the problems we face. We won't survive another 4 years of Trump.
Holy Moly!

Monday, October 28, 2019

The Theory Of Everything - 24 Was The Charm

I've read dozens of books since Trump was elected, all in an effort to understand what exactly is happening. I'm not comfortable with chaos and chaos is all I've had to work with.
I read books having to do with Russia, the Kochs, personal reports, political theory, bureaucracy, crime, investigation, the Constitution and whatever else seemed relevant.
I started this blog on January 1, 2017. I've written hundreds of essays. I've surrendered myself to the Spirit and accepted the responsibilities as prophet of the Church of the Holy Moly.
I simply wanted to make sense of everything. Making sense of everything was my quest. I was looking for the Holy Grail of understanding.
If Diogenes was doomed in his quest for a single honest man, how much harder was my task? How long would it take me? I was already in my 70s. What were the odds?
As it turns out, my odds were good. I found the unifying theory. It was all there neatly packaged and eloquently articulated in the 24th book I read. Yes, 24 was the charm.
24 was "Blowout" by Rachel Maddow. Who knew? Who woulda' thunk it?
The Theory of Everything has everything to do with oil and gas. Yeah, oil and gas and the industry that controls the production of oil and gas. To be more specific, it has everything to do with the people who have controlled and currently control that industry and the corporations they represent.
From its very beginning, the oil and gas industry has sought to control the oil and gas resources of this planet.
The oil and gas industry is not a geopolitical entity. It is a profit driven industry. It competes with democratic geopolitical entities such as the United States.
These private and public corporations don't like regulation and they don't like being taxed.
They want to do whatever they want without interference and without regard for the destruction they cause to our lives, our environment and our planet.
Our futures are being sacrificed for their profits.
To protect their control and their profits, they spend whatever they have to in order to buy politicians and governments.
Democracies are their number one problem. Buying a dictator is easy peasy compared to buying all the people who are elected and dependent upon voters for their re-election.
Dang those constitutional democracies and their voting citizens. Kleptocracy and dictatorship are where it's at.
So what if supporting a dictator or corrupting a politician creates misery, death, species extinction and planetary destruction.
I mean who's gonna' stand in their way? Who is there to oppose them?
Here are some simple facts to keep in mind for the purpose of this discussion:

1. The oil and gas industry is the richest industry on Earth.
2. The oil and gas industry is driven by profits.
3. Russia has some of the largest oil and gas resources in the world.
4. Russia is a kleptocracy run by a ruthless dictator.
5. Putin's criminal actions have brought Russia to the brink of economic ruin.
6. American oil and gas companies want to exploit Russia's oil and gas resources.
7. American oil and gas companies were on the verge of concluding an extremely profitable, multi-billion dollar, deal with Russia when Russia invaded Ukraine. Rex Tillerson negotiated that deal.
8. Russia's invasion of Ukraine resulted in the United States placing economic sanctions on Russia that precluded American oil and gas companies from making deals with Russia.
9. American financial institutions are also interested in making deals with Russian kleptocrats.
10. The sanctions make it very difficult for Putin and his mob to launder all the money they have stolen from the Russian people.
11. Getting rid of sanctions is the key to opening up a vastly profitable Russian fossil fuel market to American oil and gas companies, and American financial institutions.
12. There was bi-partisan support for the sanctions on Russia before the 2016 elections.
13. Russia needed to get rid of the sanctions and it started pouring millions into the pockets of American politicians and the groups that supported them.
14. American oil and gas companies, and American financial institutions have also been pouring millions into the pockets of American politicians all along.
15. Ukraine is vital to the distribution of Russia's oil and gas.
16. Russia supplies many of our European allies with oil and gas.
17. Russian oil and gas flows to Europe through Ukraine.
18. Putin and the Russian kleptocrats siphon off much of the money that Russia pays to Ukrainian oil and gas middlemen.
19. Ukrainian oil and gas middlemen are part of the Russian mob.
20. Russia's desire for expansion is kept in check by the EU and NATO.
21. Turkey is a member of NATO.
22. Syria is bordered on the North by Turkey and on the East by Iraq.
23. The Middle East is rich in oil and gas natural resources.
24. Saudi Arabia is rich in oil and gas natural resources.
25. Saudi Arabia and Iran are competing for control in the Middle East.
26. Iran is allied with Syria and Yemen.
27. Saudi Arabia sits between Syria, Iraq and Iran in the North and Yemen in the South.
28. Northern Iraq is primarily Kurdish and North Eastern Syria has lots of Kurds.
29. Turkey regards the Kurds as a threat.
30. The Industrial Revolution, transformed the geopolitics on our planet.
31. Industrialized nations dominated non-industrialized nations in their attempts to secure vital natural resources.
32. The Industrial Revolution requires fossil fuels in order to continue.
33. Today's fossil fuels of choice are oil and gas. Initially it was coal.

Simply put, following the flow of oil and gas is essential to understanding geopolitics on the planet Earth. It's been this way since oil and gas replaced coal as the fuel of choice for the Industrialized nations.

Who's got the fossil fuels, who wants them, how they are transported and who opposes their use and distribution is fundamental to understanding everything.
It also helps to understand what is driving the boys who are currently controlling our oil and gas industry.
It also helps to understand how our geopolitical leaders see the world and how they strategize.
Oil and gas are converted to money. Money is the universal currency. The money boys and girls running our financial services industry want anything that interferes with their ability to profit from manipulating and laundering money stopped.
Oil and gas are the most valuable commodities on Earth, so the people controlling our oil and gas industries want anything that impedes or interferes with their producing and distributing oil and gas stopped.
They want an end to all regulation. They want to drill in deep water. They want to frack and drill everywhere. They don't care if they cause earthquakes, pollute the air and water, and jeopardize our health.
The oil and gas folks also want to eliminate any threat to their control of energy. They don't want renewable energy or electric and hydrogen powered cars.
One of the first things Ronald Reagan did after being elected President was have the Solar Panels installed by Jimmy Carter removed from the White House.
There are vast amounts of oil and gas that can be converted to money in Russia and sanctions are preventing that from happening.
Vladimir Putin wants the sanctions lifted. All his plans are stymied as long as they are in place.
The key to lifting the sanctions on Russia can be found in Ukraine. If Ukraine welcomes Russia's occupation, that would mitigate or eliminate the reason for sanctioning Russia. 
If we can pressure the Ukrainian President into surrendering to Russian intrusion by withholding the funds we promised for Ukrainian security and defense, the sanctions might be lifted.
If we send a non-government emissary to coerce the Ukraine President, all the better.
He is not as easily restricted from working with Russian mobsters. If one of those mobsters is being held awaiting extradition to the United States for crimes he committed here, all the better, because that mobster is willing to pay big money to stop from being deported.
Rudy can also get help and guidance from Trump's former campaign manager who was had worked with Ukrainian mobsters to get Russian puppets elected and put in control of Ukraine. Paul has an incentive to do anything he can to further Trump's wishes since he is currently in prison and hoping for a pardon.
Paul knew who to steer Rudy to and instructed Rudy on how to approach the Russian mob. Firtash funded some of his own associates and they actually hired Rudy, who was Trump's personal attorney at the time. It helped that these boys were already known to Trump and others in his administration.
This all exploded when Firtash's thugs were arrested at the airport getting ready to board a plane to Vienna. They were eating lunch with Rudy in the airport immediately prior to their planned for departure.
Rudy was working with these guy to get our former ambassador to Ukraine removed. Ambassador Yovanovich was competent, honest and loyal to the U.S. 

She would not go along with any plan to either extort the Ukrainian President into acceding to Putin's wishes or launch a bogus investigation to smear Joe Biden, who Trump was worried about as his main political adversary in 2020.
Trump had also ordered Energy Secretary Rick Perry, European Union Ambassador Gordon Sondland and special envoy Kurt Volker to work with Rudy to get Yovanowich removed. Those boys actually referred to themselves as the Three Amigos.
Trump also got Mike Pence, William Barr, Mike Pompeo and Mick Mulvaney involved in coercing Ukrainian President Zelensky to investigate Biden. Barr even went to Italy to pressure the Italian President to investigate Biden.
Oh my! It's easy to get lost in this maze of crime and treachery. Let's jump over to Turkey.Turkey is not as confusing. Mike Flynn, who was Trump's National Security Adviser, was arrested and convicted of crimes related to secret work he was doing for Erdogan.
Robert Mueller successfully prosecuted both Manafort and Flynn. Their crimes were uncovered during his investigation of Russian interference during our 2016 elections.
This is all documented in "The Mueller Report".
Flynn was working to get a Turkish cleric, Fethullah Gulen, sent back to Turkey because Erdogan believed Gulen was responsible for orchestrating a coup to remove Erdogan from power.
Caving in to Turkey by withdrawing our troops from Syria and abandoning our allies, the Kurds, gave Russia effective control of Syria and allowed Erdogan to kill or drive Kurds from Syria's border.
There is no country in the Middle East that can stand up to us militarily. We are the world's foremost nuclear power. Our concern in the Middle East was motivated by the oil and gas resources in the area.
Now the world's second largest nuclear power has replaced us in the Middle East without firing a shot. Putin wants to control the world's oil and gas supplies. He want's to break the back of the EU and destroy NATO in the process.
Toward that end, he has found the perfect opportunist - a failed businessman who has resorted to crime and treason to stave off bankruptcy - a two bit punk - an imbecile motivated by greed - a narcissistic psychopath who cares for no one.
In the interest of brevity, I am glossing over all this. There is simply too much information to process and present in a single blog post.
What can be said in a single sentence is that underneath all this insanity, crime and intrigue is the desire to extract, process and transport oil and gas unimpeded by legitimate geopolitical and environmental concerns.
Thank you Rachel Maddow for providing us with a thoughtful, intelligent book that is simple to understand.
The men who control our oil and gas industry are fracturing our planet in an effort to extract the oil and gas they so desire.
Maximizing profits doesn't justify the destruction these men cause. Enabling brutal dictators in pursuit of those profits in inexcusable.
Maybe oil and gas were buried deep inside the Earth for a reason.
Rachel's eloquence is beyond my ability to summarize adequately. I have chosen 3 sentences to quote.

"Russia's Resource Curse has become a malignant tumor spreading through the rest of the world." Chapter 27, "ALL THEY HAVE IS THIS", Page 336

"The real genius of the oil and gas industry is the magic trick it does - again and again - in which it uses the hugely remunerative prospect of oil and gas profits to hypnotize otherwise sentient landowners and lawmakers and even whole countries into plighting their troth to the drillers."

"That's how we get the twin engines of petroleum powered governance, which suck the life out of democracies everywhere: corruption, in which the industry effectively owns politicians; and capture, in which the industry effectively owns the whole government."

Holy Moly!