Rape what you Sow

The media calls them migrants. Migrants move about picking fruits and vegetables, and sleeping under the stars, beside a campfire, with a lonesome harmonica tune wafting across the cooling desert scrub. the people flooding in desperation into Europe are not migrants. They are not migrating, as the Pentagon and media describes, they are fleeing. Who flees? Migrants don’t flee. Refugees flee.

Refugees on the other hand are victims, and the end of every victim is a perpetrator. One has to wonder whether out of some latent and subverted sense of guilt if the West is even capable of describing hundreds of thousands of Syrians, Kurds and Africans flooding into Europe for safety and survival as refugees. Migrants make them all seem rather benign, as if they were all out wandering anyways and they all just happened upon Europe and the West. Calling them refugees demands answers. It is in itself an accusation, a charge that requires explaining, and explaining its sins is hardly in the lexicon historically of the so-described Christian West. It begs the question of who is responsible.

Just as an aside, I might have said “so-called” Christian West, as if the concept of Christianity isn’t already steeped and soaked in blood and brutality and genocide, just as its brethren Judaism and Islam and their cousins Buddhism and Hinduism. No favorites here. Religion has been the singular most divisive and destructive and addictive force in human history. But don’t we have pretty buildings? Morality, often confused with religion is a human quality, one all too often confused and convoluted and hijacked by religion.

But the Christian West has bartered its soul in conquests either explicitly for a specific god, in beseeching gods favors in wars and crusades or in condemning the “Un-saved in Christ” as heathens, barbarians, less than human (re: the Constitution regarding indigenous Americans and African slaves as less than a person or not a person at all). It’s precisely the same as when Israel bombs Palestinians for protesting settlements on the West Bank and Gaza-a defacto sort of laizzez faire genocide-or when ISIS tosses gay people off buildings in the name of Islamic piety and purity. So while the culprits of the current crisis span the religious spectrum, it is the West now sowing what it raped.

The West, paid and enjoined by its lust for oil, habited by a conscienceless consumerism has played a divide and conquer game over oil and resources across the Mideast. It has preyed on divisions within Islam, divisions within cultures and good old fashioned bigotry through the eager extortion and bribery of egomaniacal and self-serving regional governments, oligarchs, sovereign and leaders. Arguably Saddam Hussein made the mistake of doing what the West had done for decades when he attacked Iran and then Kuwait for control of oil that would ultimately find its way to Europe and America. The first George Bush took the bait to reassert Western hegemony over oil, a policy Bill Clinton continued and which the second Bush quite purposely accelerated to lock down and undercut OPEC and middle eastern oil producers to the benefit of big oil and market speculators Evidence how the price of a barrel of oil jumped following the invasion in 2004 2013’s record $100 plus benchmarks. ISIS is but a regrettable and terrible eventuality of those policies. http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/us-to-revamp-training-program-to-fight-isis/ar-AAe1wd9?ocid=U146DHP

They made it personal to us by sending our children and spouses off to war, lamenting the heroic sacrifice of the dead and wounded and by regularly reminding us of terrorism and the September 11th attacks. They confused religion, morality and desire. They made it about cheap crap and necessitating that you anguish over the price of gas for that precious and miniscule 5 or 10 days of vacation you get annually. The truth is none of this would ever have happened if not for the short sighted greed economy paraded as capitalism. Capitalism actually is about markets. This was about manipulation all along. Well the face of that greed economy and manipulation is on the faces of the dead children washing up like some Biblical catastrophe and of those desperate to find a corner of the world that holds stability and promise. There is no difference in their circumstance and that of millions of undocumented immigrants, or rather economic refugees in this country, most of them driven by our own policies. That is irony.

And we’ll hear the Right and nationalists across Europe and in this country panicked about terrorism and crimes, worrying about extremists in the midst of these people. Given the genocidal irresponsibility with which the West has comported itself, it might do well to fear anyone who has figured out that greed, politicians, and a public so distracted by endless trips to the mall or to the latest club at the expense of demanding oversight, morality and accountability from their elected officials are to blame. In the meantime, all of us in the West, in America and Europe bear substantial responsibility for the plight of this historic refugee crisis. We can begin making amends, by showing them mercy and hospitality and compassion and urgency or we can continue to sow what we rape.


Listen Saturday’s from 11am-1pm to WC Turck, Brian Murray and guests on Chicago’s real alternative media, AM1680, Q4 radio, streaming at www.que4.org.
CAM00236WC Turck is an author, artist, playwright and talk radio host in Chicago. He has been called the most dangerous voice on the Left. His new book “A Tragic Fate: is an unflinching look at the events leading up to the shooting down of Malaysia Air Flight 17.” His first novel, “Broken” was recommended by NAMI for its treatment of PTSD. In 2006 he published “Everything for Love,” a memoir of his experiences during the siege of Sarajevo. He wrote and produced two critically acclaimed plays, “Occupy my Heart” and “The People’s Republic of Edward Snowden.” He works with the homeless and foreclosure victims in Chicago. He partners in a weekly radio show dedicated to issues, society and politics with cohost, activist and artist Brian Murray For more information, past shows, videos and articles, visit www.revolutioandbeer.com


The Illinois Policy Institute (IPI) is a conservative think tank with offices in Chicago and Springfield, Illinois, and member of the State Policy Network. IPI is a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) as of 2011. IPI is also a member of ALEC’s Health and Human Services Task Force and Education Task Force. Senior Budget and Tax Policy Analyst, Amanda Griffin-Johnson, presented model legislation (the “State Employee Health Savings Account Act”) to the HHS task force at ALEC’s 2011 annual meeting.[4] Collin Hitt, Director of Education Policy, is a private sector member of the Education Task Force representing IPI. He sponsored the “Local Government Transparency Act” at the ALEC 2011 States and Nation Policy Summit. In its 2006 annual report the Cato Institute states that it made a grant of $50,000 to the Illinois Policy Institute. The Cato Institute is a libertarian think tank founded by Charles G. Koch and funded by the Koch brothers.

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Big Oil’s Bait and Switch

U.S. Running Out Of Oil Storage? Blame Canada

http://www.msn.com/en-us/money/companies/us-running-out-of-oil-storage-blame-canada/ar-BBidX13?ocid=U146DHP
Oil storage tanks are filling up. There’s a concern, highlighted by this AP story yesterday, that sometime in April U.S. storage could hit “tank tops.” With too much oil and not enough places to put it, the natural market response would be for the price of crude to plummet, maybe even down into the $20 range, deepening the nightmare for America’s frackers and possibly catalyzing a round of defaults and bankruptcies.
At first glance the reasons for the buildup in oil storage seems obvious. America’s oil companies are simply fracking out too much light, sweet crude, right? They are. But that’s not the cause of the glut at the storage hub in Cushing, Okla. A report out this week from the Energy Aspects consultancy explains that the issue is more complicated than that. Blame Canada.
Energy Aspects says that it’s not the American frackers at all. Rather the culprit is barrels of heavy Canadian crude backing up there on their way to Houston.
In November, pipeline company Enbridge started up its $3 billion Flanagan South pipeline. The line originates in Pontiac, Michigan and carries about 550,000 bpd of oil across Illinois, Missouri, Kansas and down to Cushing.
Flanagan South was a watershed project because it accomplishes what Keystone XL was supposed to — creates the first high-volume, direct connection between the heavy oil fields of western Canada and America’s refining megaplex on the Gulf Coast. The only material difference between the two: Keystone would go right over the U.S.-Canada border (and thus require State Dept. approvals), while Flanagan picks up oil that a separate pipeline brings in to Pontiac.
When this heavy oil gets to Cushing, customers paying to send their oil on the line (called “shippers”) have the option of storing it for a time at the hub, or sending it on down to the Gulf via the newly completed Seaway Twin pipeline, owned by Enbridge and Enterprise Products Partners.
If prices were higher for the heavy Canadian crude, those shippers might prefer to send it straight down Seaway. But because of the “contango” situation in the oil markets now — where the price of oil for delivery six months from now is higher than the current spot price — these shippers would rather store it and wait.
Energy Aspects notes that since Flanagan started up in late November it has delivered about 33 million barrels into Cushing, while the Seaway Twin has only taken 15 million of those on down to Houston, leaving 18 million extra parked in Cushing, which has about 75 million barrels of total storage capacity.

In addition to contango incentivizing storage, the heavy Canadian oil is competing with even cheaper heavy and medium grades from Mexico and Brazil, as well as a new slug of medium, sour production out of the deepwater Gulf of Mexico. Why are those crudes cheaper? Because as tight as storage is getting at Cushing, it’s even tighter in the Atlantic basin, with shippers even chartering out supertankers to store their oil on the high seas.
It hasn’t helped matters that Gulf Coast refineries have been hit by unplanned outages such as a labor union strike, which reduced demand. With so much cheap oil right now, U.S. refiners will be running their plants full out.
Will there be buyers though? China’s imports of petroleum products in January were reportedly down by nearly half from a year ago as its own refineries expand. The Saudis have also started up their Yanbu refinery. And even beleaguered European refineries have been ramping up to make some rare profits from cheap oil.
So with weak demand it looks like U.S. oil storage will just keep filling up. The good thing is that outside of Cushing there’s still some room. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, 60% of total U.S. oil storage is currently filled, compared with 48% a year ago. Cushing, they say, is 67% filled. Drillers should count on some tough weeks ahead for oil prices.

Listen Saturday’s from 11am-1pm to WC Turck, Brian Murray and guests on Chicago’s real alternative media, AM1680, Q4 radio, streaming at www.que4.org.
CAM00236WC Turck is an author, artist, playwright and talk radio host in Chicago. He has been called the most dangerous voice on the Left. His new book “Shoot Down: is an unflinching look at the events leading up to the shooting down of Malaysia Air Flight 17.” His first novel, “Broken” was recommended by NAMI for its treatment of PTSD. In 2006 he published “Everything for Love,” a memoir of his experiences during the siege of Sarajevo. He wrote and produced two critically acclaimed plays, “Occupy my Heart” and “The People’s Republic of Edward Snowden.” He works with the homeless and foreclosure victims in Chicago. He partners in a weekly radio show dedicated to issues, society and politics with cohost, activist and artist Brian Murray For more information, past shows, videos and articles, visit www.revolutioandbeer.com


The Illinois Policy Institute (IPI) is a conservative think tank with offices in Chicago and Springfield, Illinois, and member of the State Policy Network. IPI is a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) as of 2011. IPI is also a member of ALEC’s Health and Human Services Task Force and Education Task Force. Senior Budget and Tax Policy Analyst, Amanda Griffin-Johnson, presented model legislation (the “State Employee Health Savings Account Act”) to the HHS task force at ALEC’s 2011 annual meeting.[4] Collin Hitt, Director of Education Policy, is a private sector member of the Education Task Force representing IPI. He sponsored the “Local Government Transparency Act” at the ALEC 2011 States and Nation Policy Summit. In its 2006 annual report the Cato Institute states that it made a grant of $50,000 to the Illinois Policy Institute. The Cato Institute is a libertarian think tank founded by Charles G. Koch and funded by the Koch brothers.

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Stealing the Climate at COP 20

It really is the picture of true hypocrisy. The statements today by Secretary of State John Kerry at the COP 20 Climate talks in Lima Peru and recent statements by President Obama stand in stark contrast to their actions with regards to fossil fuel. US policy is also connected directly to the crash of a Malaysian jetliner earlier this year over Ukraine. They also show a substantial lack of understanding on how climate change affects current geopolitical issues and how it will drive those issues in the coming tears and decades and beyond. Kerry, in his speech, disconnected them from climate change:

“Measured against the array of global threats that we face today – and there are many – terrorism, extremism, epidemics, poverty, nuclear proliferation – all challenges that know no borders – climate change absolutely ranks up there equal with all of them. And I challenge anyone who has thought about the science or listened – actually listened carefully to national security experts tell us that these dangers are real…”

The fact is, under the current geopolitical climate, driven by rogue capitalism, corporate greed, and short term economic vision most often defined by oil and gas revenues, the specter of climate catastrophe guarantees the expansion of poverty, epidemics and the potential for war. The so called war on ISIS carries a dimension of the climate crisis as fresh water sources around the planet become increasingly imperiled. While both a natural regional route and a historically strategic place, ISIS has sought quite specifically to control the Euphrates Tigris delta, the region’s preeminent source of water.

COP20, a politicized and coopted event favoring big oil propagandists over true climate science and climate activists served to highlight, along with Kerry’s statements the insincerity and lack of determination by world leaders. More from Kerry:

“The science of climate change is science, and it is screaming at us, warning us, compelling us – hopefully – to act. Ninety-seven percent of peer- reviewed climate studies have confirmed that climate change is happening and that human activity is responsible. And I’ve been involved, as many of you have, in public policy debates for a long time. It’s pretty rare to get a simple majority or a supermajority of studies to say the same thing, but 97 percent over 20-plus years – that is a dramatic statement of fact that no one of good conscience or good faith should be able to ignore. …And they agree that if we continue down the same path that we are on today, the world as we know it will change profoundly and it will change dramatically for the worse.”

Meanwhile, Kerry’s stalwart rhetoric does not reflect his actions and the actions of the administration. President Obama and democrats sent very mixed signals and teetered towards approval of the XL Keystone pipeline in a bid to help Louisiana Democrat Mary Landrieu’s failing election runoff earlier this month. Landrieu was in favor of Keystone. Kerry remains silent on Keystone ahead of his recommendation regarding the future of the pipeline. Indeed, even after the ultimate political demise of Mary Landrieu, and after alienating a great many progressives over Keystone and the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, which would be catastrophic for the climate, the Obama administration continues to flip flop on climate issues.

The worst part, is that the Administration’s political gaming, weighed quite transparently by oil and gas interests is causing lives that can be directly attributed to climate issues and the global race for every last drop, tar sand or to squeeze that dark liquid from rocks. In July, 300 people died when a commercial airliner was shot down over Ukraine. That war is quite literally a fight between the US and Russia over vast oil and gas reserves, with the US posturing towards reserves in the north, while Russia struggles for reserves in Crimea and the Black Sea. Caught in the crossfire was Malaysian Airlines Flight 17, downed in a case of mistaken identity by pro-Russian rebels.

Despite blustering, the Administration’s fingerprints are on that war crime equally with Putin’s. The children of both Vice President Joe Biden and John Kerry are directly involved with Burisma, Ukraine’s largest oil and gas concern. Hunter Biden and Christopher Heinz, Kerry’s stepson, regardless of denials carry the weight of the US government. In June 2014 Hunter Biden, sporting an American flag lapel pin attended the inauguration of Petro Poroshenko as Ukraine’s new president, telling the new leader, a billionaire and businessman that “there is a window for peace and you know as well as anyone that it will not stay open indefinitely … America is with you.”

But America is not with Ukraine in a blood for oil folly. Kerry and the administration must hear the words they so eloquently pander, like stage dressing for the poison of fossil fuels were are being fed. They must hear those words and change them into action, even though it may already be too late to prevent the head on collision between humanity and global climate change. No longer are we talking about prevention, but rather about survival. A decade or two ago we might have used action to mitigate the catastrophe, now we need it in order to exist.

Read the full transcript of Kerry’s speech here http://tomnelson.blogspot.com/2014/12/kerrys-cop20-speech-was-packed-with.html

Listen Saturday’s from 11am-1pm to WC Turck, Brian Murray and guests on Chicago’s real alternative media, AM1680, Q4 radio, streaming at www.que4.org.
CAM00236WC Turck is an author, artist, playwright and talk radio host in Chicago. He has been called the most dangerous voice on the Left. He is currently working on a new book “Shoot Down: An unflinching look at the events leading up to the shooting down of Malaysia Air Flight 17.” His first novel, “Broken” was recommended by NAMI for its treatment of PTSD. In 2006 he published “Everything for Love,” a memoir of his experiences during the siege of Sarajevo. He wrote and produced two critically acclaimed plays, “Occupy my Heart” and “The People’s Republic of Edward Snowden.” He works with the homeless and foreclosure victims in Chicago. He partners in a weekly radio show dedicated to issues, society and politics with cohost, activist and artist Brian Murray For more information, past shows, videos and articles, visit www.revolutioandbeer.com


The Illinois Policy Institute (IPI) is a conservative think tank with offices in Chicago and Springfield, Illinois, and member of the State Policy Network. IPI is a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) as of 2011. IPI is also a member of ALEC’s Health and Human Services Task Force and Education Task Force. Senior Budget and Tax Policy Analyst, Amanda Griffin-Johnson, presented model legislation (the “State Employee Health Savings Account Act”) to the HHS task force at ALEC’s 2011 annual meeting.[4] Collin Hitt, Director of Education Policy, is a private sector member of the Education Task Force representing IPI. He sponsored the “Local Government Transparency Act” at the ALEC 2011 States and Nation Policy Summit. In its 2006 annual report the Cato Institute states that it made a grant of $50,000 to the Illinois Policy Institute. The Cato Institute is a libertarian think tank founded by Charles G. Koch and funded by the Koch brothers.

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Ukraine War, MH-17 and XL Keystone pipeline

Throughout the winter and spring of 2014 that so-called anti-Obama Press resounded with base and insulting comparisons and contrasts about the two leaders. Charles Krauthammer called Putin and Obama mismatched in favor of President Putin. The level of commentary from sources such as FOX News and others descended quickly from there. Broadcasters gleefully talked about Putin’s manliness in contrast to Obama in the most obtuse and latently homo-erotic manner. Talk host Sean Hannity, with KT McFarland gushed Vladimir Putin’s “rock-hard abs.”

Another site put it this way:

On one hand you have the former KGB agent, Putin, who is seen as an uber masculine machine and a picture of physical strength and stamina. Photos have surfaced on the internet with him (shirtless) riding on the back of a horse and a photo shopped grizzly bear in the wild; an image that would suggest he’s a real manly man. He is a proud Russian with a large ego and is precise about what he says and means and does what he says he will do. On the other hand, you have Obama, the former community organizer who is seen as a mom-jeans-wearing “Steve Urkel” type. Instead of horses and bears, he prefers a Daisy 3 speed bike and a safety helmet as his means of transportation…http://clashdaily.com/2014/03/putinobama-phenomenon-james-bond-vs-steve-urkel/

Former Republican Presidential candidate Allen West even went so far as to demean the first lady Michelle Obama’s appearance in comparison to Putin’s wife: “Putin married this soft-spoken beauty…Obama…..well….”

But it may all have been a ruse, or at least a broader effort to delude or confuse the public about what was really at play over Ukraine. At the very least criticism of the Obama administration seemed designed to make broader arguments in support of the Keystone XL pipeline debate in the United States and to shift European dependence on Russian gas with dependence on American gas, or at the very least Ukrainian gas which was more and more under nominal, if not direct, US control. In early March Fox contributor and big-energy advocate KT McFarland offered Obama advice on dealing with Putin and the Russians.

“We can do what we did in the 1980s,” she said, “push down the price of oil, in this case by fracking and use our abundance of natural gas resources that we’ve had just in the last few years and start selling them to Europe. What would that do for Putin? If he can’t have high oil prices and high gas prices to Europe, he can’t meet payroll. If the cost per barrel goes below a hundred dollars per barrel Putin is in trouble…”

McFarland was referring to manipulations in the market and a collapse of quotas under OPEC in 1985 that had a devastating impact on the Russian economy, which was emerging as the world’s biggest oil and gas producer at the time. For McFarland, who regularly blusters about the so-called “free market” unburdened by government interference and regulations, the statements seemed a glaring contradiction.

It was already obvious, as the world reacted to Russia’s annexation efforts of Crimea, in early 2014 that the Russian Ruble was Putin’s Achilles heel. It was too closely dependent on oil, of which the total Russian economy was dependent. That would have been obvious to the Obama administration as well. Just three days after McFarland’s remarks Businessweek published an article connecting Ukraine and the viability of the Keystone XL Pipeline. Soon after Senator Mary Landrieu, democrat and chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, began making the case that the pipeline would offer a solution to Europe’s gas worries.

On March 27th, in the wake of Washington’s first round of sanctions on prominent Russian individuals, many connected directly to Russia’s energy concerns, Landrieu released a statement following passage of a bill authorizing $1 billion in loan guarantees to Ukraine:

“Today’s vote to provide $1 billion in loan guarantees to help stabilize Ukraine’s economy is a good first step toward helping the millions of Ukrainians and Eastern Europeans affected by the tyrannical ambitions of Vladimir Putin. I am committed to bolstering this effort. As Chair of the Senate Energy Committee, I will continue my work to increase domestic energy production and make the US a global leader in energy exports. America can and should be an energy superpower that helps our allies across the globe. One of Putin’s greatest weapons is the gas that Russia produces and sells to countries like the Ukraine and Lithuania. By entering the market and giving these nations someplace else to buy gas, we will break the stranglehold of despots like Putin, who use their energy stockpiles to crush the freedoms of neighboring nations. The last thing President Putin and his cronies wants is competition from the United States of America in the energy race, and I look forward to playing a leading role to bring energy security and independence to America and its democratic allies around the world to advance the cause of freedom. ”

The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 98-2. A strong case can be made that the Ukrainian people were not the primary reason for the vote.

That spring, on nervousness regarding Russian troop concentrations on the Ukraine border, the Crimea and disruptions in oil helped drive the price of oil to around an average of$105 per barrel. The price dropped, unseasonably, and with additional concerns over Islamic State successes in Iraq and Syria to under $95 a barrel; odd given the inherent emotional uncertainty in investors who generally reacted on far less than the market was facing during the summer of 2014. Regardless, the weakness in the oil market was great news for the US public and helped to spur consumer spending. It also benefitted Halliburton, already actively engaged in Ukraine, making its stocks more attractive and accessible to investors.


CAM00236WC Turck is an author, artist, playwright and talk radio host in Chicago. He has been called the most dangerous voice on the Left. He is currently working on a new book “Shoot Down: An unflinching look at the events leading up to the shooting down of Malaysia Air Flight 17.” His first novel, “Broken” was recommended by NAMI for its treatment of PTSD. In 2006 he published “Everything for Love,” a memoir of his experiences during the siege of Sarajevo. He wrote and produced two critically acclaimed plays, “Occupy my Heart” and “The People’s Republic of Edward Snowden.” He works with the homeless and foreclosure victims in Chicago. He partners in a weekly radio show dedicated to issues, society and politics with cohost, activist and artist Brian Murray For more information, past shows, videos and articles, visit www.revolutioandbeer.com


The Illinois Policy Institute (IPI) is a conservative think tank with offices in Chicago and Springfield, Illinois, and member of the State Policy Network. IPI is a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) as of 2011. IPI is also a member of ALEC’s Health and Human Services Task Force and Education Task Force. Senior Budget and Tax Policy Analyst, Amanda Griffin-Johnson, presented model legislation (the “State Employee Health Savings Account Act”) to the HHS task force at ALEC’s 2011 annual meeting.[4] Collin Hitt, Director of Education Policy, is a private sector member of the Education Task Force representing IPI. He sponsored the “Local Government Transparency Act” at the ALEC 2011 States and Nation Policy Summit. In its 2006 annual report the Cato Institute states that it made a grant of $50,000 to the Illinois Policy Institute. The Cato Institute is a libertarian think tank founded by Charles G. Koch and funded by the Koch brothers.

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The Price of Gas: Bigger than you think

James Inhofe, R-Oklahoma is now the new chair of the Senate Environmental Committee. That’s sort of like making Adolph Eichmann manager of a Kosher food company. What does that have to do with the price of gas? I’m getting to that.

First, before you think the current low price of gas is a good thing, you should know why. There are a lot of forces right now struggling over the price of a barrel of crude oil. A collapse in the price of oil is dangerous to global piece, and the world is precariously at the brink of just that. For example, in a previous article Brian and I discussed the superpower struggle over Crimean and Ukrainian gas and oil reserves, and how that contributed to the shootdown by pro-Russian rebels of Malaysian Air Flight 17, killing all 298 aboard. Russia’s still fairly rudimentary economy is almost exclusively based on oil. To keep his nation running comfortably Russian President Putin needs the cost per barrel to be just around $110. You may have read about massive Russian air incursions over Europe. Putin is attempting to sway the crude oil market and drive the price up by maintaining tensions. That’s a dangerous game. So is the potential collapse of the Russian economy, or massive unrest. One of the Obama administration’s strategies has been to manipulate the market and drive the cost of oil down to punish Russia for its actions in Ukraine. And you thought that it was all about the dictates of the marketplace guiding the cost of oil and gas. Bless your heart.

But wait, there’s more! The Saudis have been glutting the market with oil to drop the price as well. Why? Two reasons. ISIS is selling so much cheap oil on the blackmarket that legitimate markets are feeling the sting. One of the biggest buyers of ISIS illegal oil is our friends, and NATO and European Union member, Turkey. In my opinion for that and their pro-ISIS belligerence with the Kurds, Turkey should be expelled by the EU and NATO and face punishing sanctions. The other pressure on the Saudis is Fracking in the US and Canada of that filthy, polluting tar sands crude. The Saudi’s goal by lowering the price of oil is to make it far too expansive for Frackers and tar sands producers.

The benefit, it might appear is for consumers. Consumer spending accounts for about 70% of the US economy. When the price of gas drops, the ability to spend by consumers goes up, although it appeared that the debt burdened US consumer, with stagnate wages might have exceeded its debt to income ratio, as spending dropped .2% in September. The concentration of wealth system strangling the economy currently creates a false market. It creates consumer puppets who are merely cash machines to government coffers and ever more wealthy corporations. They do not want you to have any control over the marketplace or economy, but only to remain manipulated for their profit. In that system the consumer has no control.

The good news is that the working class needs time to adjust to lower energy prices, and that might become evident in the October figures, although the price of gas was inching up going into November. If they rebound to August and early September levels any consumer gain would be lost. The slow bleeding of high transportation costs would continue apace for working class and poor families.

The first important thing to realize about the US economy, indeed the world economy, is that it is not structured around any particular economic theory, and no universal marketplace ideal. The economy of the world is a mad patchwork of cobbled together ideas, emotions and trust levels, all broadly bound by a complex set of assumptions. But at the end of all that one thing is universal, and that is the basic notion that if consumers have more money, they will generally buy more stuff. If fuel costs are low enough then the money consumers might otherwise spend on energy needs is diverted and spread throughout the economy.

The more of that income that is discretionary, that is not going directly to survival needs, the more power resides with the consumer. That is the reason behind the wealth disparity in America. It is by design. With less money moving freely in the engine of the economy, debt is increased and those who control the assets control the consumer. But because we know that when prices are lower, spending goes up, and when gas prices are lower that the economy improves, why not extend that argument, and take it to the logical conclusion. The key lies in energy, and the American consumer has power to drive down the costs of energy. That would also directly assail the economic hegemony of the 1%. Here’s how.

Despite dramatic improvements in solar and wind power, 85% of America’s energy consumption comes from fossil fuel. Agricultural production eats up most of that, through wasteful manufacture of artificial fertilizers and pesticides, and in canning. Simply eating fresh vegetables, locally sourcing as little as a 1/3 of your vegetables and cutting meat consumption by 10%, or about 18 pounds of meat per year, would lower your medical costs, help the environment, spur local economic growth and force greater efficiency in the market. Nationally, savings in health care from a cleaner economy are estimated at almost $100 billion annually. An enormous amount of energy is wasted in packaging, processing and storing food.

James Inhofe has openly expressed his disdain for hybrid and electric cars. But Inhofe is bought and paid for by major corporate donors, including big oil. He works for the 1%-ers who want you to be a faceless, manipulated consumer. By switching to or supporting hybrid and electric cars the gas and oil royalty of the country and the world would finally be deposed, and once again we would have some say in the marketplace instead of mere victims, or fish swimming against an ever increasing current of manipulation, control and corruption. Just a thought…


CAM00236WC Turck is an author, artist, playwright and talk radio host in Chicago. He has been called the most dangerous voice on the Left. He is currently working on a new book “Shoot Down: An unflinching look at the events leading up to the shooting down of Malaysia Air Flight 17.” His first novel, “Broken” was recommended by NAMI for its treatment of PTSD. In 2006 he published “Everything for Love,” a memoir of his experiences during the siege of Sarajevo. He wrote and produced two critically acclaimed plays, “Occupy my Heart” and “The People’s Republic of Edward Snowden.” He works with the homeless and foreclosure victims in Chicago. He partners in a weekly radio show dedicated to issues, society and politics with cohost, activist and artist Brian Murray For more information, past shows, videos and articles, visit www.revolutioandbeer.com


The Illinois Policy Institute (IPI) is a conservative think tank with offices in Chicago and Springfield, Illinois, and member of the State Policy Network. IPI is a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) as of 2011. IPI is also a member of ALEC’s Health and Human Services Task Force and Education Task Force. Senior Budget and Tax Policy Analyst, Amanda Griffin-Johnson, presented model legislation (the “State Employee Health Savings Account Act”) to the HHS task force at ALEC’s 2011 annual meeting.[4] Collin Hitt, Director of Education Policy, is a private sector member of the Education Task Force representing IPI. He sponsored the “Local Government Transparency Act” at the ALEC 2011 States and Nation Policy Summit. In its 2006 annual report the Cato Institute states that it made a grant of $50,000 to the Illinois Policy Institute. The Cato Institute is a libertarian think tank founded by Charles G. Koch and funded by the Koch brothers.

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The Case Against an Oil-based Economy

Sean Hannity in his propaganda screed the other day was unequivocal. He has, in the past few months been involved in “getting America back to work,” on his radio show and FOX News network. In reality it has been a commercial for tar sands and fracking. Revolution and Beer in a series of shows with environmental activist Dr Lora Chamberlain, and in an earlier blog showed that the promise of high paying jobs in North Dakota’s Bakken Oil fields was a dangerous illusion.

We brought to you the voices of people currently working there on the lack of housing, and what was available was going for confiscatory prices. Hannity’s Shangri-oil in North Dakota had made life dangerous for women, bred crime, caused significant pollution and left many stranded and destitute in the winter-harsh climes of the North West. Still Hannity and others claimed there was a near endless supply of jobs in excess of $100 thousand per year salaries. On his show this week, despite his industry guests saying that most jobs started at $30-40,000, he kept quoting jobs at $90,000 or more, in a pitch that would make a school-yard crack dealer blush. Then he said something even more obscene, but true: That the US is an oil-driven economy.

I couldn’t argue, because, sadly it is true, and that is not a good thing. In fact for our economy, for stability and for our future it is more than just potentially disastrous, it is disaster in which the clock is already ticking. The economics are simple, and there are glaring and recent examples that prove that eventuality.

Recently the Dutch Safety Board released preliminary findings on the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight 17 over Ukraine in July. The report fell far short, and left more questions than answers. It also did not provide a backdrop to the disaster and the significant geopolitical and economic issues that contributed to the shooting down of a commercial airliner and the loss of all 298 on board. But those factors are significant and involve a superpower land grab for oil and gas concerns in eastern Ukraine-site of the bitterest fighting- and the Crimea. In a previous piece Revolution and Beer detailed much of that oil and gas rush, and named names. See “Obama’s missteps as tension mounts between NATO and Moscow. An excerpt from the upcoming book, “A TRAGIC FATE: Politics, Oil, the crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17and the Looming Threats to Civil Aviation” by Revolution and Beer’s WC Turck.”

The Russian economy is almost solely based on oil and gas, by most estimates around 70%, which is an astounding and frightening number. Their budget depends on a barrel price of around $114. The current price, as of this writing for a barrel of Brent Crude is about $97/barrel. A tactic of the Obama administration’s sanctions against Russia- targeting primarily oil and gas concerns, has been to force down the cost of oil in order to strangle the Russian economy. Putin has replied by stoking military action as the one card he has to play in order to shock the market, maintain a modicum of insecurity and keep the prices as high as possible. In the short term the big oil and gas concerns in the West will suffer, but in the long term they will reap untold rewards. Russian firms and banks, and the whole of the Russian economy is on a long slow slide to insolvency because of the state of its infrastructure, a lack of technical capability and reliance on oil and gas.

But to a lesser extent the US economy is far too dependent on oil and gas as well. That dependency, as reserves and supplies mature, peak and decline will drag the US economy down as well. It also leaves us vulnerable to manipulation from foreign threats. No rational industry analyst believes that the US could ever supply its entire domestic and oil needs at current usage. Everyone agrees that oil and gas are finite resources that eventually will run out, or at the very least become cost prohibitive as research and extraction costs far outpace profits. It is also true that, at current technology, green energy alone could not support the US energy and transportation needs fully. Of course the argument to that is that in 1987 current technology could not support modern cellphone technology.

Green tech, most especially electric vehicles, and solar and wind power could currently offset a significant portion of the country’s needs at current technology. The effort must be, for all of those who believe that the country faces significant threats from abroad, must acknowledge that a preeminent reliance on oil is a virtual gun to the head of the nation. Reliance on renewable sources of energy, and in research to expand the availability and reliability of renewable is the only thing that will ultimately protect us from being blackmailed, or having our economy collapsed. The benefits resonate far beyond the growing threats to the nation, and include a boom in green jobs and a benefit to our environment. One is a short-sighted view by those simply interested in profits and those looking for long term viable solutions.

It is all rather like the squirrel in autumn who collects nuts without building an adequate nest through the winter, and the squirrel who collects enough nuts while also building an adequate nest that will protect it and its offspring from a harsh winter. It is really a rather simple lesson

CAM00236WC Turck is an author, artist, playwright and talk radio host in Chicago. He has been called the most dangerous voice on the Left. He is currently working on a new book “Shoot Down: An unflinching look at the events leading up to the shooting down of Malaysia Air Flight 17.” His first novel, “Broken” was recommended by NAMI for its treatment of PTSD. In 2006 he published “Everything for Love,” a memoir of his experiences during the siege of Sarajevo. He wrote and produced two critically acclaimed plays, “Occupy my Heart” and “The People’s Republic of Edward Snowden.” He works with the homeless and foreclosure victims in Chicago. He partners in a weekly radio show dedicated to issues, society and politics with cohost, activist and artist Brian Murray For more information, past shows, videos and articles, visit www.revolutioandbeer.com

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Obama’s misteps as tension mounts between NATO and Moscow. An excerpt from the upcoming book, “A TRAGIC FATE: Politics, Oil, the crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17and the Looming Threats to Civil Aviation” by Revolution and Beer’s WC Turck

One could not concoct a better scenario for conspiracy and intrigue. The scope and spectrum of the international impact bespeaks the integration of world markets with politics and the micro dynamics of men killing men on an obscure battlefield. The sheer timing of events that Thursday, July 17th 2014 is the stuff of conspiracy, and could not have come together more precisely. Immediately it called to mind the curious and still unexplained activity in the stock market immediately prior to September 11, 2001, when massive bets were made that United Airlines and American Airlines stocks would drop. Stocks sank precipitously for both airlines, which had each lost 2 aircraft in the September attacks.

The problem with history is most often the failure of proper perspective. The trouble with conspiracy or at least the appearance of conspiracy, sometimes is a consequence of a lack of true context, or that it is simply an intentional tool for partisanship. Which isn’t to negate the fact that true conspiracies do occur, and in the aggregate that may well prove true for the tragedy surrounding the shooting down of MH-17. Setting that aside for the moment, what is critical is a consolidation, as best as can be amassed of the context, the events and the human scope of a terrible tragedy and perhaps a criminal act of war.

At the very least, the tragedy indicts all of the parties involved in the conflict. It indicts the Russians and their Ukrainian separatist proxies in eastern Ukraine. While the West may be blamed for missing or even exploiting Russia’s territorial anxieties, Russia cannot simply pander to those anxieties if they expect to interact equitably on the international stage.

Russia is as complex and filled with contradictions as any nation or individual, but basic assumptions can be drawn. These descriptors are illustrative in gaining some understanding of the Russian heart and mind. It is in that understanding that the gaps to building strategies, finding solutions and overcoming issues like the current crisis in Ukraine may be bridged.

There is an exuberant pride tempered by melancholy and stoicism and deepened by the fatalistic resignation to hardship, rooted by a strong and linear traditional heritage. Russia is, by and large, a patriarchal society, with hardly more than a generation, at the time of the MH-17 incident, since the end of the Cold War and opening of the Berlin Wall.

The population of Russia itself, plagued by emigration, poverty, low birth rates and alcoholism has been in decline since that period. Life expectancy for men has remained relatively stagnate since 1959. An April 2012 article in Forbes noted that while Moscow has more billionaires than London and New York, that nearly 20 million Russians lived below the poverty line. Percentage wise in comparison to the United States, the basic number same about the same, however, the standards in either country are much different.
There is a rejection by Russians of the notion of a once great nation broken by the West, and yet that notion nonetheless haunts that rejection. For many Russians the question of who actually won and lost the Cold War is a deeply arguable point. _h0_w628_m6_otrue_lfalse

What all of this argues is that the West has consistently misread and misunderstood Russia and the Russian mind, to the detriment of true progress between nations. In Ukraine, despite the lofty slogans and machinations of democratic principles and sovereignty, Russia feels more than compelled to maintain its interests and security.

The Russians have also acted every bit as bullishly as the West in pursuit of interests outside its own borders, especially with countries it shares a border with. With Ukraine, and the lusty appeal of oil and gas riches in Crimea, the stakes for Russia could not be higher. Add to that an ethnic Russian constituency in strategically import regions of Ukraine and Crimea and the mix becomes volatile. When Russian forces moved into Ukraine on August 29th, 2014 in support of rebel forces fighting Ukrainian forces in key coastal towns on the Sea of Azov, the ultimate strategy was nakedly transparent. The move would consolidate Russia’s direct control over the Sea of Azov, and provide unfettered access to Ukraine along a key road.

From the start of the crisis in Ukraine the West acted out of a mixture of short-sighted greed and fundamental ambivalence to the Russian perspective. Russia acted like a dog chasing a not-too-distant bone. Caught in the middle, on the ground and in the skies are civilians.

In August 1999, former President Clinton met then Russian President Boris Yeltsin’s handpicked successor for the first time. Yeltsin, the son of a mining engineer. Like his predecessor, Yeltsin understood that rebuilding the fracturing Soviet economy was a lost cause without fundamental political and social reforms. Yeltsin was a true reformer, and championed the cause of battling government corruption. His decision to pick a young and politically astute former KGB agent named Vladimir Putin was hardly a rash or ill-informed action for the ailing reformer, Yeltsin. Putin’s record as he rose through the ranks of Russia’s volatile politics reflected at once one of reform, strength and vision.

Clinton noted in his memoir, My Life, that “Putin presented a stark contrast to Yeltsin. Yeltsin was large and stocky; Putin was compact and extremely fit from years of martial arts practice. Yeltsin was voluble; the former KGB agent was measured and precise. I came away from the meeting believing that Yeltsin had picked a successor who had the skills and capacity for hard work necessary to manage Russia’s turbulent political and economical life better than Yeltsin could, given his health problems; Putin had the toughness to defend Russia’s interests and defend Yeltsin’s legacy.”

The final point is debatable, but Putin had a tough uphill battle to defend or reform a system and society far different from the West. In the vacuum created by the collapse of the Soviet system, corporatism and a rise of an exceedingly wealthy and powerful oligarchy wrested control of the economy and with it the reigns of true power. By 2008, according to Forbes, there were 87 billionaire’s in Russia, with a net worth of half a trillion Dollars. Despite Putin’s efforts at reforms, poverty remains an issue, while the quality of life of the average Russian has stagnated or declined. Former defense secretary Robert gates summed up in a January 2014 interview with radio host Hugh Hewitt his perception of Putin’s shortcomings:

“I think Putin is bad for Russia. And I think right now, it’s the Russians that are paying the greatest cost for him being in power, and he potentially could be president of Russia until 2024. And his refusal to open the country up politically, his refusal to encourage, and provide predictability for foreign investment, his regard of all the natural resources as a kind of a natural patrimony, so not any encouraging foreign investment there, and frankly, stealing from Western companies by expropriating what they’ve invested. Russia just has a number of problems. I think that former President Medvedev, who is now again the prime minister, had a pretty good idea what was wrong with Russia and what needed to be done to fix it. But Putin pushed him out of the way. And my own view is, as I say in the book, is Putin’s a man of the past. He’s all about lost glory, lost empire, lost power. And he’s, while he will cooperate with us in certain areas, and one example is he did let the sanctions on Iran go through the U.N. He did agree not to provide the S-300, very advanced air defense system, to the Iranians. And he did let our military equipment go across the Trans-Siberian Railroad to Afghanistan. Even with all that, he’s not going to miss an opportunity to embarrass us or create problems for us.”

But the fact that Medvedev could be brushed aside by Putin is evidence that is was not the right leader to reign in the oligarchs, battle rampant crime and corruption and satisfy flagging Russian national pride as their patriarchal icon. That speaks to Gate’s over simplification that Putin is a man of the past; about lost glory, lost empire, lost power. In national security, national pride and ego are equally important components. Likewise they are critical to forging a national focus, whether political, social or economic, and that is the key to Putin’s power and perspective.

But the blame is hardly all on the West’s side. Putin also has shown a fundamental ignorance of the Western perspective. From the short-term gains of defense spending and arms sales to exports of gas and oil, while Putin has used these as rudimentary peasant-like marketplace tools to maintain or wield power. He seems not to understand or care that the West, and particularly the Obama administration, convolutes vague notions of freedom with unfettered or predatory market economics. Russian banks are bludgeon tools to the state run defense and oil concerns, spinning their wheels in a bid with China and other nations to create a new monetary alternative, or simply keep the Ruble afloat with the burden of 21st Century oil and gas realities around its neck.

The Russian market reforms of the 1990s saw the privatization of certain sectors of the economy. The exceptions were in defense and oil, which remained solidly, strategically and predictably in the state’s hands. It belies several differences, socially, economically and politically from the West and the United States. The first is that Russia and its economy are ties to the production, refining and sale of oil and gas far more than the US. An estimated 40% of Europe’s gas needs are pipelined from Russia through Ukraine, and some 70% of the country’s exports are oil and gas. A correlation can be made between the rise of oil prices since the mid 1990s and the precipitous rise of Russia’s gross domestic product, GDP. When, following US led sanctions in the wake of the downing of MH-17, Putin remarked that they did not even consider the vast oil and gas reserves in the Crimea region, even the average observer would have believed it a work of fiction.

That, for a nation so animated historically over the vehement, often blind defense of its borders, as in the cases of KAL 902 and 007, the near monopolistic dependence on oil and gas exports is a supreme and potentially disastrous liability. It is that weakness which the Obama administration sought to exploit with sanctions beginning in the winter 2014 over Crimea, and mounting that summer over MH-17, Russian military incursions and rebel support in eastern Ukraine.

At a fundraiser for her eventual 2016 presidential bid, Hillary Clinton was quoted in the Long Beach Press Telegram that Putin’s actions in Crimea sounds familiar, it’s what Hitler did back in the ’30s, All the Germans that were … the ethnic Germans, the Germans by ancestry who were in places like Czechoslovakia and Romania and other places, Hitler kept saying, They’re not being treated right. I must go and protect my people,’ and that’s what’s gotten everybody so nervous.”

Nor is Putin, as the hawkish Arizona Senator John McCain described on FOX News in August, a thug with aspirations of reawakening the Russian bear.

Both were ridiculous statements. What Vladimir Putin is not is Hitler and he is not a thug. Crimea is not Czechoslovakia or the Sudetenland. But Putin also cannot be absolved of violations of international law. The recognition of sovereign national borders is a tenant of 21st Century international stability. There can be no dispute that Russia and Putin have failed to adequately respect the territorial integrity of Ukraine in a grab for oil, gas and strategic resources, but then neither has the West. In the case of Ukraine, both Russia and the West are guilty of violating international law with respect to Ukraine’s sovereignty and independence. Putin’s willingness to use the cover of so-called ethnic and national sympathizes is cynical and antithetical to the interests of Russia and its people. Sadly, he is left with few options.

Still, the lessons of history cannot be ignored. The sanctions and pressure from the US and the West may have enlivened many of those old Russian anxieties. Vladimir Putin, who entered the KGB in the dangerous years of the mid-1980s would not have been immune from pervasive, even obsessive fears of a US-led first strike against the Soviet Union. There are indications some of those old Russian fears about outside threats began to surface with Putin. Germany’s Bild Newspaper reported on a telephone conversation between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Obama in which she reportedly wondered whether Putin was “still in touch with reality.”

By July Merkel seemed to have amended those views, which may revealed a moment of frustration for the German leader. Meeting before the World Cup soccer finals in Brazil on July 13th, days before the shoot down, there seemed some small movement towards progress. Spokesman for Putin, Dmitry Peskov told Reuters that both leaders had “stressed the necessity to urgently resume the work of a contact group on Ukraine, possibly in the format of a video conference. It is their common opinion that, in order for the contact group to resume its work, a ceasefire needs to be declared as soon as possible.”

Additional blame in the Ukraine crisis must be leveled directly at the Press. It was natural that the Russian press would side with Putin. In the United States the growing crisis became something far less predictable. A partisan, decidedly anti-Obama American press helped to stir a substantial component of egotism which became a part of the impasse and competition between Obama and Putin, and by extension; the US and Russia. The effect was to convolute the facts of what was happening in Ukraine and to undermine the public’s opportunity to understand the stakes involved in the crisis.

Throughout the winter and spring of 2014 that so-called anti-Obama Press resounded with base and insulting comparisons and contrasts about the two leaders. Charles Krauthammer called Putin and Obama mismatched in favor of President Putin. The level of commentary from sources such as FOX News and others descended quickly from there. Broadcasters gleefully talked about Putin’s manliness in contrast to Obama in the most obtuse and latently homo-erotic manner. Talk host Sean Hannity, with KT McFarland described Vladimir Putin’s “rock-hard abs.” One site put it this way:

On one hand you have the former KGB agent, Putin, who is seen as an uber masculine machine and a picture of physical strength and stamina. Photos have surfaced on the internet with him (shirtless) riding on the back of a horse and a photo shopped grizzly bear in the wild; an image that would suggest he’s a real manly man. He is a proud Russian with a large ego and is precise about what he says and means and does what he says he will do. On the other hand, you have Obama, the former community organizer who is seen as a mom-jeans-wearing “Steve Urkel” type. Instead of horses and bears, he prefers a Daisy 3 speed bike and a safety helmet as his means of transportation…http://clashdaily.com/2014/03/putinobama-phenomenon-james-bond-vs-steve-urkel/

Former Presidential candidate Allen West even went so far as to demean the first lady Michelle Obama’s appearance in comparison to Putin’s wife: “Putin married this soft-spoken beauty…Obama…..well….”

But it may all have been a ruse, or at least a broader effort to delude or confuse the public about what was really at play over Ukraine. At the very least criticism of the Obama administration seemed designed to make broader arguments in support of the Keystone XL pipeline debate in the United States and to shift European dependence on Russian gas with dependence on American gas, or at the very least Ukrainian gas which was more and more under nominal, if not direct US control. In early March Fox contributor and big-energy advocate KT McFarland offered Obama advice on dealing with Putin and the Russians.

“We can do what we did in the 1980s,” she said, “push down the price of oil, in this case by fracking and use our abundance of natural gas resources that we’ve had just in the last few years and start selling them to Europe. What would that do for Putin? If he can’t have high oil prices and high gas prices to Europe, he can’t meet payroll. If the cost per barrel goes below a hundred dollars per barrel Putin is in trouble…”

McFarland was referring to manipulations in the market and a collapse of quotas under OPEC in 1985 that had a devastating impact on the Russian economy, which was emerging as the world’s biggest oil and gas producer at the time. For McFarland, who regularly blusters about the so-called “free market” unburdened by government interference and regulations, the statements seemed a glaring contradiction.

It was already obvious, as the world reacted to Russia’s annexation efforts of Crimea, in early 2014 that the Russian Ruble was Putin’s Achilles heel. It was too closely dependent on oil, of which the total Russian economy was dependent. That would have been obvious to the Obama administration as well. Just three days after McFarland’s remarks Businessweek published an article connecting Ukraine and the viability of the Keystone XL Pipeline. Soon after Senator Mary Landrieu, democrat and chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, began making the case that the pipeline would offer a solution to Europe’s gas worries.

On March 27th,, in the wake of Washington’s first round of sanctions on individuals, many connected directly to Russia’s energy concerns, Landrieu released a statement following passage of a bill authorizing $1 billion in loan guarantees to Ukraine:

“Today’s vote to provide $1 billion in loan guarantees to help stabilize Ukraine’s economy is a good first step toward helping the millions of Ukrainians and Eastern Europeans affected by the tyrannical ambitions of Vladimir Putin. I am committed to bolstering this effort. As Chair of the Senate Energy Committee, I will continue my work to increase domestic energy production and make the US a global leader in energy exports. America can and should be an energy superpower that helps our allies across the globe. One of Putin’s greatest weapons is the gas that Russia produces and sells to countries like the Ukraine and Lithuania. By entering the market and giving these nations someplace else to buy gas, we will break the stranglehold of despots like Putin, who use their energy stockpiles to crush the freedoms of neighboring nations. The last thing President Putin and his cronies wants is competition from the United States of America in the energy race, and I look forward to playing a leading role to bring energy security and independence to America and its democratic allies around the world to advance the cause of freedom. ”

The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 98-2. A strong case can be made that the Ukrainian people were not the primary reason for the vote.

That spring, on nervousness regarding Russian troop concentrations on the Ukraine border, Crimea and disruptions in oil helped drive the price of oil to around an average of$105 per barrel. The price dropped, unseasonably, and with additional concerns over Islamic State successes in Iraq and Syria to under $95 a barrel; odd given the inherent emotional uncertainty in investors who generally reacted on far less than the market was facing during the summer of 2014. The weakness in the oil market was great news for the US public and helped to spur consumer spending. It also benefitted Halliburton, actively engaged in Ukraine, making its stocks more attractive and accessible to investors.

The price per barrel of oil is a key factor here, for both Russia and the US. Russia budget’s its economy based on an average per barrel cost for oil of around $114. Below that, given their near monopolistic reliance on oil, the effects of lower oil costs begin strangling the economy very quickly. The effect is opposite that of Europe and, in particular, the United States, in which a drop in oil prices can have a benefit to the economy, particularly on the consumer side. Russia’s best card to play in that dangerous game was to maintain heightened tensions and the threat of direct military intervention in Ukraine, which is exactly what happened at the end of August. In part on rising tensions, reports of Russian regulars fighting in Ukraine and Kiev’s fears of a full scale conflict, the price of crude oil had climbed above $103 per barrel.

The downing of MH-17 changed everything. And there is reason to believe that the Russian leadership was just as shocked by the tragedy as the rest of the world. That eve3ning, meeting with economic advisors he released a statement, which was translated by the Associated Press:

You know that a terrible event occurred today in the sky over Ukraine, an awful tragedy — a civilian plane was killed, 285 people, according to preliminary information, were killed.
On behalf of the Russian leadership and the Russian government, we express condolences to the bereaved families, the governments of those countries whose nationals were on that plane. I ask you to honor their memory.
In this regard, I want to note that this tragedy would not have happened if there were peace on this land, if the military actions had not been renewed in southeast Ukraine. And, certainly, the state over whose territory this occurred bears responsibility for this awful tragedy.
I have already given instructions to the military departments to provide all necessary assistance in the investigation of this crime. And I also ask the government of the Russian Federation through the available civilian agencies that have the capability to do everything for a thorough investigation of this event. We will do everything — everything that depends on us, anyway — in order that the objective picture of what happened is part of the public domain here, in Ukraine and in the rest of the world. This is an absolutely unacceptable thing, and no one has the right to let this pass without the appropriate conclusions and without all of us having objective information about the incident.

But what other consequence could the use of violence and force by both the US-backed Kiev government and the Russian-backed rebels have? MH-17 was a tragedy waiting to happen.

Regardless of who fired the missile the US and Russian leadership had created the environment which allowed the tragedy to take place. All the parties to the conflict had been distracted in the rush for resources and in the folly of what amounted to a national pissing contest that no one was concerned for the safety of international civilian air travel. The airlines placed their trust in authorities whose facilities and priorities lay elsewhere. What appeared at first appeared to be an open window for peace, from those casual discussions between Chancellor Merkel and Putin in Brazil, and which might have prevented the destruction of MH-17, had been extinguished in the blink of an eye.

By late August those strains were showing once more. As Ukrainian forces pressed their assaults in the east and against Luhansk and Donetsk. While government forces appeared to advance in the north east, Russian-backed rebels had suddenly opened up a new front along the northern coast on the Sea of Azov. Putin’s statements on the 29th appeared defiant, but betrayed a growing pressure for the Russian leader as he compared Ukrainian military actions against Luhansk and Donetsk to the Nazi siege of Leningrad during the Second World War.

“Small villages and large cities surrounded by the Ukrainian army which is directly hitting residential areas with the aim of destroying the infrastructure,” Putin said. “It sadly reminds me the events of the Second World War, when German fascist … occupiers surrounded our cities.”

The statement was imprudent; theatre for ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine and Crimea, and for the folks at home. It also illustrates that pillar of Russian national identity and its inherent insecurity forever mired in a past defined through centuries of invasion. It may be an oversimplification in the Russian mind, but what becomes culture and heritage for any nation is of a history and choosing all its own.

As the current figurehead of that culture and history, there are differing views of Vladimir Putin. They are all subjective. What is not in dispute is that he is Russian, and his prime motivation will be towards the security and prosperity of his homeland, and to that task he seems singularly focused.

CAM00236WC Turck is an author, artist, playwright and talk radio host in Chicago. He has been called the most dangerous voice on the Left. He is currently working on a new book “Shoot Down: An unflinching look at the events leading up to the shooting down of Malaysia Air Flight 17.” His first novel, “Broken” was recommended by NAMI for its treatment of PTSD. In 2006 he published “Everything for Love,” a memoir of his experiences during the siege of Sarajevo. He wrote and produced two critically acclaimed plays, “Occupy my Heart” and “The People’s Republic of Edward Snowden.” He works with the homeless and foreclosure victims in Chicago. He partners in a weekly radio show dedicated to issues, society and politics with cohost, activist and artist Brian Murray For more information, past shows, videos and articles, visit www.revolutioandbeer.com

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Europe, Ukraine, Gas and the superpower sandwich. A new rant from the FILTHY PUNDIT (He ought to have his mouth washed out with soap)

Did Europe just become the bitch to the United States over the issue of gas exports from Russia? That’s how things are beginning to look as winter approaches and the disruption of gas from Russia amid the Ukraine crisis could lead to higher fuel costs and crash the EU’s already sluggish climb out of recession. Yesterday a semi-fossilized Senator John McCain said that he is working on a plan to alleviate Europe’s gas concerns within 2 years. Russia and the US have been using Ukraine’s strife in a gas and oil grab. The US targets the gas rich northeast region and Russia got huge reserves off the Crimean Black Sea coast. They could give a shit for Ukraine’s independence of the glorious ascendency of ethnic Russians in Crimea. It is about the oil. It’s always about the oil. The US could care less about Russian trade, which this country can piss away in a day of spending, but to the Europeans, particularly for winter heating gas that trade is sort of important. Unless you think its a good thing to freeze off some old Euro-grandmas? The US has pushed trade sanctions hard, using the emotion of the crash of MH-17 to drill it home and turn Europe from an emerging power broker and player in the Ukraine issue into a beggar unsure whether to kick the dead of the Malaysian crash and fuck over Ukraine’s EU aspirations by sucking Russian dick over gas to protect its economy, or if it should bend over and take it in the ass from the United States and hope for a half-hearted reach-around, likely by McCain. Either way, for the Europeans, and the Ukrainians, being trapped in the middle between to bigger and more powerful pimps like Russia and the US means eventually you are going to have to blow someone. Now how is that for cogent analysis of complex international and geo-political topics?

CAM00236WC Turck is an author, artist, playwright and talk radio host in Chicago. He has been called the most dangerous voice on the Left. He is currently working on a new book “Shoot Down: An unflinching look at the events leading up to the shooting down of Malaysia Air Flight 17.” His first novel, “Broken” was recommended by NAMI for its treatment of PTSD. In 2006 he published “Everything for Love,” a memoir of his experiences during the siege of Sarajevo. He wrote and produced two critically acclaimed plays, “Occupy my Heart” and “The People’s Republic of Edward Snowden.” He works with the homeless and foreclosure victims in Chicago. He partners in a weekly radio show dedicated to issues, society and politics with cohost, activist and artist Brian Murray For more information, past shows, videos and articles, visit www.revolutioandbeer.com

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Over gas???? Are you $%#@ing kidding me? A new rant from the FILTHY PUNDIT(He ought to have his mouth washed out) Politics, way over the %$#@ing top!………………..I am an asshole. Here I am making all these impassioned fucking arguments about how I identify with Palestinians, cuz three big bullies beat the shit out of me when I was a kid, kicking me in the face, stomping my check and kicking me in the nuts until I pissed blood, all the while saying that if I insisted on defending myself I would just make it worse. But gas? Seriously? Israel’s attack on Gaza is about fucking gas! Surprised the shit out of me. Here I am thinking this is some sort of racist shit between a small minority of racist fucking Israelis and the assholes in Hamas, and then I come across this, “War and Natural Gas: The Israeli Invasion and Gaza’s Offshore Gas Fields” put out by Global Research. They start with “global” so we know they are clearly fucking commies and “research” which implies they know shit and that means their fucking elitists, so fuck them. One story, right? It’s like jerking off just once. Its okay if you’re Mario fucking Rubio or some Christian evangelical rightwinger closet homo (It’s alright that I use the word since all my gay friends think I’m an asshole too), but not for the rest of us. That’s called evidence, and I found a shitload of it. Thinking, ‘there goes Filthy Pundit again spouting from suck-dick liberal sources just to make his slanted case? Yeah? Well bend over and prepared to be served some truth, you rightwing assholes! How about from www.jewishpress.com or www.investingchannel.com, ya fucks? Let’s try one more for most of you asshole fucking Republicans, because surprise, surprise, apparently you can fit a lot more up that tight white neo-pig sucking ass of yours. Have you been practicing on weekends down behind the YMCA with confused young men while the wife is asleep? Is that why they call it a RECT-ory? How about www.profitableinvestingtips.com then? So all those fucking Palestinian kids, and a couple of innocent Jews died so fucking Netanyahu and his Nazi-fuck cabal can make a fucking dollar? Or Hamas can hoard it in some sick fucking power play, like a fat kid locked in a Reeses Peanut Butter Cup warehouse. And we are being told that it’s about Israel’s right to fucking exist? Or about some goddamned Hamas rockets that have the accuracy of a fart on a windy day? How fucked is that? Where the fuck are our government officials about what is really happening? Why doesn’t even the liberal media pound the desk over this? Free media, my goddamned ass! Fuck your First amendment! You sold it away years ago to the highest corporate bidder, or you let it whither while you were jacking off to Second amendment I need to have my gun at Starbucks NRA marketing shit. And fuck Hamas too, while I’m at it, for playing the babies against Jews game, or the Muslims against Jews game. It’s a fraud and a manipulation and fuck you for doing it. We need gas and oil that badly that we need to bomb women and fucking children in schools, hospitals and motherfucking markets? WHAT THE FUCK!!!!

gas-fields-off-gaza

Here are your links. Learn something:
http://www.profitableinvestingtips.com/investing/natural-gas-reserves-war-in-gaza
www.offshore-technology.com/projects/gaza-marine-gas-field
www.business.financialpost.com/2013/08/29/israels-natural-gas-reserves
www.jewishpress.com/news/new-israeli-oil-find-near-gaza
www.investingchannel.com/…/119793/War-in-Gaza–War-Over-Natural-Gas
www.theguardian.com
www.globalresearch.ca/war-and-natural-gas-

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/earth-insight/2014/jul/09/israel-war-gaza-palestine-natural-gas-energy-crisis

WC Turck is an author, artist, playwright and talk radio host in Chicago. He has been called the most dangerous voice on the Left. He is currently working on a new book “Shoot Down: An unflinching look at the events leading up to the shooting down of Malaysia Air Flight 17.” His first novel, “Broken” was recommended by NAMI for its treatment of PTSD. In 2006 he published “Everything for Love,” a memoir of his experiences during the siege of Sarajevo. He wrote and produced two critically acclaimed plays, “Occupy my Heart” and “The People’s Republic of Edward Snowden.” He works with the homeless and foreclosure victims in Chicago. He partners in a weekly radio show dedicated to issues, society and politics with cohost, activist and artist Brian Murray For more information, past shows, videos and articles, visit www.revolutioandbeer.com

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Manipulated into War? Of Oil, Syria and the mistakes of the past

Are oil interests driving the price of oil up by using the Syrian conflict as an excuse? Even a simple look at the market reveals some uncomfortable insights. If true, the cynical manipulation of the market, and the blatant disregard for human lives would place the international community on course to repeat the upheavals and tragedies that have come to define the last 30 years with multiple wars for oil.

Syria is ranked a very distant 32nd among oil producing nations in 2009, with a downward trend towards reserves and will, according to analysts, become an oil importer by the end of the decade. The war in Syria has not affected oil prices so far, despite nearly two years of bloody fighting. No oil routes are affected by the current fighting, and international intervention would secure even more any routes potentially threatened shipping routes.

The U.S. Energy Information Agency reported ‘that Syrian government revenues are severely limited by the loss of oil export capabilities, particularly the lost access to European markets, which in 2011 imported $3.6 billion worth of oil from Syria according to news reports.’ http://www.eia.gov/countries/cab.cfm?fips=SY. Again, these numbers reflect exports before sanctions, and that up to now no significant impact was realized in energy markets from the conflict, until now.

In 2009 the Oxford Business Group’s Syria Report showed that oil exports accounted for 23% of government revenues, 20% of exports, and 22% of GDP in 2008. Syria exported about 150,000 barrels per day in 2008, and oil accounted for a majority of the country’s export income. Since March 2011 production of oil has been down more than 50%, costing the nation more than $3.5 billion in revenue.

Assad has however secured foreign investment in its oil industry aimed at boosting output. It is the investment from countries like Iraq, Iran, Venezuela, Russia, China and India that is at risk. According to the EIA report :

The SPC operates through several subsidiaries, with the most notable being the Al-Furat Petroleum Company (AFPC), which is a joint venture between the SPC, Royal Dutch Shell, the Chinese National Petroleum Company (CNPC), and India’s Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC). Other SPC subsidiaries include the Deir Ez-zor Petroleum Company, the Syria-Sino Alkawkab Oil Company, the Hayan Petroleum Company, the Oudeh Petroleum Company, and the Dijla Petroleum Company. Other international oil companies with interests in Syria include Gulfsands, Sinopec, and Total, and several other smaller companies also have stakes in the Syrian oil sector.
It is notable that Royal Dutch Shell appears to have maintained an interest in the market despite European sanctions against Syrian oil imports into European markets.

Despite all of this, in part on news of a possible international military response to the conflict in Syrian that crude oil prices spiked to an 18 month high. Why now? Why not at any point previously in the conflict. Crude oil prices have been trending downward recently.

Taken together, it would seem to indicate a massive manipulation of the market, and that the Syrian conflict offers a prime excuse and cover for that manipulation. The reason that becomes problematic is that it reveals greater concern for markets than lives, which ultimately drives irresponsible short-term action and inaction by market-focused governments. This strategy is pragmatically based and short-sighted, as was all too evident with Western support of Afghani-freedom fighters during the Soviet occupation. The West became involved for self-serving reasons and then abandoned the Afghan and Pakistani people victimized by the conflict. That led subsequently to a rise of the Taliban, Osama bin Laden and more than a decade of disaster.

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