Nevada, Utah, and Venezuela: A tale of two oil and gas policy moves

What are US oil workers, chopped liver?

Possibly, if these events hadn’t all been concurrent, I mightn’t have noticed either tale, or the events it encompassed.

But they did all unfold at the same time.  And they struck me quite forcibly.

One struck me in particular, for reasons I suspect will be obvious.  So I’ll just mention that one at the outset, to get things started.

In October 2022, a batch of Venezuelan bonds bought by Goldman Saches back in May 2017 reached their final maturity date.  The bonds were against the Venezuelan state-owned oil and gas company, Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PDVSA).  They were nominally worth $2.8 billion when purchased for some $865 million in 2017.  Many business and political commentators thought it was a bad buy at the time: a use of investors’ money that was neither sound from a business standpoint nor impressive from a moral one. Continue reading “Nevada, Utah, and Venezuela: A tale of two oil and gas policy moves”


The chain gang (an Alfa-gate tale): From Senator MBNA, to Aon, to Twitter and Musk

Dots, links, and circles.

Checking in recently with some history of the Alfa-gate series of untoward Russia-hoax events, we unearthed some “degrees of separation” type dots through which the events linked, however innocently, to MBNA, the Delaware banking giant Joe Biden was at one time referred to as “the Senator from [i.e., “from MBNA”],” and other aspects of the Biden family enterprises.

The most pertinent TOC articles are here and here.  That’s where you’ll find background links for most of the assertions of fact below.

The reason for this opening exercise is to set the stage for broader links that reveal a big-picture pattern, one that goes beyond the links highlighted earlier.

This big-picture pattern goes beyond the known outlines of Alfa-gate and its parent -gates, Russiagate and Spygate.  In fact, it reaches all the way to Elon Musk’s bid to buy out Twitter, and for me illuminates the full meaning of “investor activism,” and how it appears to connect in at least some cases to the politics of interventionist government.

Starting with the MBNA thread, a brief summary:

Hunter Biden got a lucrative $100,000-a-year job at MBNA in 1996, Continue reading “The chain gang (an Alfa-gate tale): From Senator MBNA, to Aon, to Twitter and Musk”

The American Spring will be forward, not back

The constitution of hope and a future.

A tweet caught my eye today, and stirred up a need to write about the American situation and where we ought to be heading.  The tweet promoted a Human Events opinion piece by Jane Coleman, which is well worth the time and easy to commend to your perusal.

It’s about CRT as it is manifested in America’s schools, Continue reading “The American Spring will be forward, not back”

A question Congress needs to probe regarding FBI accountability for SCI data use

It sure acts broke, and we need to fix it.

This is a question I’ve been previewing since 2017, when information came out indicating that FISA Section 702 search-term queries were implicated in the surveillance of former President Trump and his associates.

The news last week that in 2012 the FBI put a remote “secure work environment” (SWE) at Perkins Coie – news verified by the FBI – has renewed the interest in the question, which from the public’s standpoint remains unanswered to this day.

The original question was this.  Has anyone used auditing tools on the FBI’s Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI) system to compile a record of what users were doing with Section 702 queries in 2015 and 2016?

The new question, in light of the SWE at Perkins Coie, is whether the auditing tools have been used to verify the nature of user transactions on and with that SWE element fielded at the law firm. Continue reading “A question Congress needs to probe regarding FBI accountability for SCI data use”

TOC Ready Room 19 Oct 2021; *UPDATE*

What’s wrong and right with the world today.

[Updates added at the bottom. – JED]

Greetings, readers.  This is the inaugural edition of the TOC Ready Room, which will be an open thread and drop-by briefing space in the spirit of the ready rooms used by military aviators.

My experience being with U.S. Navy ready rooms, the feature image is of a ready room on the carrier USS Constellation (CV64) used by a squadron from Carrier Air Wing 2.  The image is tagged as being from March 2003, when Constellation was on her final operational deployment supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.  (The CVW-2 patch is visible on one of the flight jackets, incidentally.)  Constellation was decommissioned only a few months later, in August 2003.

On a carrier, the ready room is used for planning and squadron briefings, but also serves as a gathering space subject to availability.  It’s the center of squadron life during underway periods and deployment.

The Ready Room posts will be added at least once a week, Continue reading “TOC Ready Room 19 Oct 2021; *UPDATE*”