Monthly Archives: April 2017

Strength on display

girlbull

Sunday,  in the New York Daily News Voice of the People, a reader wrote:

“In regards to Kristen Visbal’s “Fearless Girl” statue and the heated debate on whether or not to keep it standing in front of Arturo Di Modica’s charging bull on Wall Street: While I am a feminist, and I will forever support anything that encourages the empowerment of girls, I sympathize with Di Modica. His sculpture was meant to symbolize the endless strength of the American people, the will to not give in to economic struggle, and the ability to endure and be steadfast against all obstacles. The newly added statue, while it symbolizes a powerful message, may now paint the bull in a negative light. The girl faces the bull, bravely and proudly staring it down in defiance. But the bull was never meant to be an object or entity to be defied. People are beginning to view it as the oppressive majority, while the girl is being viewed as the protagonist minority, never giving in. To offer a compromise, I think that the girl should be turned around. If the girl were facing the same direction as the bull, the two would be viewed as standing together, strong against all struggles, whether they be economic downfall or systemic oppression, instead of facing each other in a sort of confrontation.”  Sophie Nevel

I actually had thought of that as well. Just as with the recent controversy over the Emmett Till painting, I am happy the discussion about art, culture and society is breached at all.  But, the girl and the bull could be expanded upon in so many ways.  This idea, despite my shoddy workmanship and lack of software to make it a pretty representation, seems like a good one.

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Theory: Trump, Russia, and a possible trade scam

Image result for bauxite

If you know me, you know I’m a huge Rachel Maddow fan, and I enjoy her show openings probably more than a lot of people.  I call it “Professor Maddow time.”  The good professor has been telling us bit-by-bit of connections, assassinations, intrigue, and interesting history regarding Russia for quite a long time.

I’m one of those weirdos who pays close attention to her history lessons.  They may seem unrelated but they always get to a larger point.  Some folks don’t have the patience to pay attention, but I am one who does.

One of her most recent recent-history timelines had to do with Russian oligarchs and, in particular, aluminum magnate Oleg Derispaka. In her story she quoted the Associated Press:  

“President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, secretly worked for a Russian billionaire to advance the interests of Russian President Vladimir Putin a decade ago and proposed an ambitious political strategy to undermine anti-Russian opposition across former Soviet republics, The Associated Press has learned. The work appears to contradict assertions by the Trump administration and Manafort himself that he never worked for Russian interests.

“Manafort proposed in a confidential strategy plan as early as June 2005 that he would influence politics, business dealings and news coverage inside the United States, Europe and the former Soviet republics to benefit the Putin government, even as U.S.-Russia relations under Republican President George W. Bush grew worse.

“Manafort pitched the plans to Russian aluminum magnate Oleg Deripaska, a close Putin ally with whom Manafort eventually signed a $10 million annual contract beginning in 2006, according to interviews with several people familiar with payments to Manafort and business records obtained by the AP. Manafort and Deripaska maintained a business relationship until at least 2009, according to one person familiar with the work.”

Why might this be important is what Rachel asked and I am now asking? What does aluminum have to do with anything?

Well, with Donald Trump, it’s always important to “follow the money.”

So, let’s start with Russia.  Why is Russia suddenly so interested in Solar Power when Russia has been one of the largest natural gas exporters in the world?  It’s logical that the United States would be interested in staying on pretty good terms with Russia for that reason alone.  However, Russia has been running a little low on oil.

While Russia’s interest in solar power in the past has been pretty much non-existent, phys.org says: “Russia can be one of the most energy-competitive areas based on renewables.”

The International Business Times, in 2010, pointed out that Russia was indeed seeking to branch out into solar:

“A number of Russian private companies are creating joint ventures with Rusnano, the state technology corporation, to address local needs … Industry insiders said solar energy could become a real alternative for traditional energy sources in a number of the country’s regions.”

It continues:

“Russia is, however, behind Japan, the United States and Europe in promoting renewable energy. Many governments have support and incentive programs. Several states and countries have mandated that their power companies reach specific thresholds for share of power from renewable sources.”

Other countries have been in the lead and even outpaced the United States in renewable energy, and it would seem that Russia would most certainly not be really even seriously considering it. That assumption would be wrong.

Here are just a few stories that have popped up regarding solar energy lately.  All of them have a connection to Russia:

Not for nothing, these countries all have been on the top of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s visits, and President Donald Trump’s guests.

The thing that links all of these stories: Aluminum.

Even Elon Musk is giving Donald Trump his attention when it seems odd for him to do so Looking at Musk’s interest in solar, space travel, and other high-tech plans, though, it’s not a stretch.

Recently, with the strikes in Syria using Tomahawk missiles and stocks rising in that manufacturing sector, it also has been pointed out that Donald Trump owns stock in the Tomahawk missile manufacturer.  Not only that … he also owns stock in Alcoa – the third largest Aluminum manufacturer in the world.  And, of course Russia is going to defend Syria as much as possible since one of its largest natural resources is crude oil.  All of this conflict also is expected to cause some strain Saudi Arabia as well.

To pile on, Putin is now propping up Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro with whom he made a large deal with on mining one of its largest natural resource … bauxite.

Finally, for now, on March 17, Russia and China cemented what has been called an historic deal:

“Russian Federation aluminium titan U.C. Rusal announced yesterday the particulars on the firm’s joint offering of Panda Bonds … This offering is historic in nature, as it represents the first time a foreign company with global operations outside of China has entered the Chinese bond market via the Shanghai Stock Exchange.”

It may seem like nothing now, and I’ll gladly eat my words if I’m wrong.  With Trump everything has to do with money, and all of this is not implausible considering Carter Page was about to be used as a patsy spy to get insider information about trade sanctions:

“Russian intelligence officers had been given the task of gathering information on potential United States sanctions against their country, according to the F.B.I., and the three men were focused on economic issues in particular.”

This also could be a larger part of a potential scam that would benefit Russia as Trump’s first Executive Order was to withdraw from TPP.

” … on trade, he has a fairly clear vision that he’s pursuing quickly, in a way that’s bound to swiftly reshape the status of vital economic relationships and trade the world over.”

It’s all still sort of emerging bit by bit, so who really knows.  But, as Ms. Maddow would say: “Watch this space.”