Everyone should read Rachel Maddow’s new book, titled "Blowout,” to better understand Russia-Ukraine current affairs in a context that informs the impeachment inquiry.
Russia sent Veselnitskaya to Trump’s campaign to express Russia’s desire for the U.S. to lift sanctions, under a promise of dirt on Hillary Clinton, because Russia wants drilling partners – Oklahoma oil men – to expand its fossil fuels capacity. Maddow details the swath of history we Okies kinda-sorta know: Harold Hamm’s biggest divorce in Oklahoma history; the death of Aubrey McClendon; and Mike Cantrell’s wheeler-dealing.
Maddow’s book is a great introduction for this week’s revelation by Donald Trump that he called Ukrainian leader Zelenskiy at the behest of Energy Secretary Rick Perry regarding liquefied natural gas. Perry wasted no time in clarifying he never mentioned the Bidens. But like Homer Simpson, who was never very good at keeping a secret, Trump has exposed the tip of an iceberg that goes beyond typical government-to-government diplomacy. Perry apparently has been trying to install a fresh new "friendly" board of directors on Ukrainian LNG giant Naftogaz, which would include one or more key Republican campaign donors. Perry characterizes the move as within the scope of his work as energy secretary to improve U.S. oilmen’s ability to do business in Ukraine. And it would be, if Perry weren’t blatantly installing pay-to-play GOP campaign donor allies.
Two Russian-born Florida real estate developers, Parnas and Fruman, and Florida oil magnate Harry Sargeant III, donated at least $325,000 to a Trump-affiliated political action committee. Sargeant donated over a million dollars to Republicans, according to the Associated Press. Replacing Naftogaz’s leadership, empaneling Naftogaz insider for CEO, and installing a new gangbusters U.S. ambassador to Ukraine would grease the wheels toward the stated dream of exporting 100 tankers a year of LNG to Naftogaz. Rudy Guiliani says he met in March to discuss, not Ukraine, with these entrepreneurs, but Uzbekistan. He admits discussing replacing the ambassador, though.
The plan Perry lobbied to Zelenskiy is to replace Naftogaz’s board under one Michael Bleyzer. Salon reported in 2014 that Bleyzer was a Soviet-born Houstonian who emerged as a private equity manager, after a career at Exxon, with a billion-dollar portfolio and a Texas mansion worth over $5 million. You’ve heard the oligarch success story before: Ideally situated loyalists purchased capitalizing state-run services and found themselves as profiteers to essential commodities, utilities and services. Bleyzer refers to these quasi-state quasi-private enterprises as "hybrid investments." Salon characterized Bleyzer as a pro-Ukrainian and as an advocate for Ukrainian self-determinism.
Meanwhile, Ukraine reports that it will, in fact, review whether to investigate Hunter Biden, who headed up the international legal department of Burisma, Ukraine’s largest natural gas company.
It is America’s business to ensure fair future elections and to investigate whether any U.S. official (be he secretary of energy, vice president or president) has used an office of trust as a public servant to seek or procure political advantage or become indebted to foreign nationals through emoluments, bribery, extortion, quid pro quo, high crimes or misdemeanors. Ukrainian matters are outside the practical reach of the Department of Justice, but impeachment may be necessary to insure fair elections.
Presently the Federal Election Commission is non-feasant until Donald Trump and Congress fill vacancies so as to give the FEC an operating quorum. All American voters are entitled to a working FEC so upcoming elections will be fair and representative of the will of the people.
Settle in to read Maddow’s book for background on global fossil fuels energy dynamics in the context of current events.
Kathy Tibbits is a Cherokee citizen, attorney, and artist living at Lake Tenkiller.