The Weekly Watch

The Oily, Greasy, Slippery Slope of American Empire

Last week I posed the question asking why the oligarchs are destroying our ecosystem when they too will suffer the biological consequences. The more I thought about this question, I started hypothesizing that they too are owned by the very corporations they started...or at least operate in order to promote their corporations' profits rather than improving the human condition (and their own condition despite their claim of philanthropy). The oil companies make my point ...destroying ecosystems for profits in order to fulfill their bank loans.

tar sands.jpg

Look at the Alberta Tar Sands...the dirtiest oil Extraction process imaginable

The corporate octopus is multi-armed. Big oil is just one of the tangled tentacles. Banks, the MIC, health care/insurance, and other powerful interests are also involved, but big oil is central to our dilemma and the focus of today's column. However there is a need to touch on these other forces in order to tell the story....

The oil industry is a powerhouse with control over land, resources, politics and more. In this episode of The Empire Files, Abby Martin uncovers big oil's strong-arm reach--its growth, its crimes, its power and its impunity. (28 min)

We'll stick with Abby as she tells the story of the way Chevron has behaved in the Amazon. Rape and pillage might be good descriptors. (full hour documentary)
Abby's short summary of Chevron (7 min)

What brought this to mind this week was an episode of Keiser Report...

I've seen it recommended in various essays around c99, and it is well worth a watch if you can spare the time (26 min). Max and Stacy discuss the latest study demonstrating that it is fracking alone that has caused a huge surge in methane emissions, not industrial farming, which had been blamed by some in the media.
They also react to the news of the US wanting to buy Greenland, and what the idea means in the larger geo-economic picture. In the second half, Max interviews independent journalist JP Sottile about his latest article -
... about the carbon feedback loop driving the US military machine. The military is used to secure oil resources that are heating up the planet, which is causing climate instability and creating a further demand, they say, for further military deployments.

The other big take away is that US aggression toward oil rich nations is designed to prevent or at least reduce oil production in those countries in order to drive up the price of our fracked gas until it is profitable. US companies are underwater from borrowing for fracked wells. The banks and oligarchs want to keep this unsustainable system going...instead of the sane stop fracking!

To profit as much as possible from fossil fuels before markets fall under the weight of climate chaos and better alternatives, industry and its allies tell us fracked gas is a climate solution. It’s not.

So it comes as little surprise that despite opposition from the regulated industry to a roll back and overwhelming public support for more efficient vehicles, the Trump administration is launching a direct attack on California’s long held authority to clean up vehicle pollution.


Why are we in denial? Cause the oligarchs own the media and manipulate enough people to create doubt. Consider the approach of the Koch brothers. (video or transcript)

It is impossible to talk about dirty energy money and corruption without mentioning the Koch brothers. Before 2011, two of the wealthiest men in America were able to operate in almost complete secrecy while they spread misinformation about climate change and attempted to dismantle environmental protections:

The volume of Koch Industries’ toxic output is staggering. According to the University of Massachusetts Amherst’s Political Economy Research Institute, only three companies rank among the top 30 polluters of America’s air, water and climate: ExxonMobil, American Electric Power and Koch Industries. Thanks in part to its 2005 purchase of paper-mill giant Georgia-Pacific, Koch Industries dumps more pollutants into the nation’s waterways than General Electric and International Paper combined. The company ranks 13th in the nation for toxic air pollution. Koch’s climate pollution, meanwhile, outpaces oil giants including Valero, Chevron and Shell. Across its businesses, Koch generates 24 million metric tons of greenhouse gases a year.

Here's another 30 min documentary...Narrated by esteemed actor Emma Thompson, the documentary "The Doubt Machine: Inside the Koch Brothers' War on Climate Science" reveals how the Koch Brothers have used their vast wealth to ensure the American political system takes no action on climate change, and are attempting to buy the 2016 Congressional elections (sorry no transcript)

...and one more for good measure (2 min trailer)
Billionaires David and Charles Koch have been handed the ability to buy our democracy in the form of giant checks to the House, Senate, and soon, possibly even the Presidency. (55 min)

David Koch may be dead, but his legacy of support for far-right politics and climate change denial lives on. The New York Times, however, chose to focus more on his love for the ballet than on his pollution and profiteering.

At least the dims discussed climate chaos this week...with the notable exclusion of Tulsi. Here's some analysis of the different approaches (video or text)

Yes, we are forked


This 2 min ad has appeared on c99 this week, but worth a gander if you missed it...

Climate campaigners already have registered over 2,500 strikes worldwide, with more than 450 actions planned for the United States, the advocacy group announced in a statement Friday. To register for an event or find one near you, visit For U.S. strikes, visit


Jimmy Dore talks with Nick Branna about the upcoming strike in DC (33 min)

Watch a special event in New York City hosted by Naomi Klein, author of the forthcoming book “On Fire: The (Burning) Case for a Green New Deal,” and headlined by trailblazing climate activist Greta Thunberg, author of “No One Is Too Small to Make a Difference.” Together with youth leaders Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, Xiye Bastida, and Vic Barrett, as well as Indigenous Amazon leader Tuntiak Katan, Thunberg and Klein will help us envision a just and sustainable future, confront our climate emergency, and discuss the emerging cross-generational, transnational movement — including people of all races, classes, and backgrounds — that is our best hope for a sustainable planet. The livestream begins on Monday, September 9 at 7 p.m. ET.

Militarism and climate disaster

The U.S. Department of Defense is both the nation's and the world's, largest polluter. Producing more hazardous waste than the five largest U.S. chemical companies combined, the U.S. Department of Defense has left its toxic legacy throughout the world in the form of depleted uranium, oil, jet fuel, pesticides, defoliants like Agent Orange and lead, among others.

By every measure, the Pentagon is the largest institutional user of petroleum products and energy … Yet, the Pentagon has a blanket exemption in all international climate agreements … Any talk of climate change which does not include the military is nothing but hot air

Additionally the US has been spreading depleted uranium all over the planet...

We just can't stop...

Yemen is a nightmare, a catastrophe, a mess—and the United States is highly complicit in the whole disaster. Refueling Saudi aircraft in-flight, providing targeting intelligence to the kingdom and selling the requisite bombs that have been dropped for years now on Yemeni civilians places the 100,000-plus deaths, millions of refugees, and (still) starving children squarely on the American conscience. If, that is, Washington can still claim to have a conscience.

Meanwhile we beat the war drum with Iran...(video or text)

Washington escalates “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran

The US and the Taliban are about to sign an agreement to withdraw 14,000 US troops from Afghanistan, potentially ending the longest war in US history. However, the Afghans will not see an end to fighting yet, says The Independent's Patrick Cockburn (video or text)

A blast in Kabul, Afghanistan killed at least 10 and wounded 40 people on Thursday. The Taliban has taken responsibility for the attack. Three days earlier, an explosion killed 16 and wounded more than 100. Is the tentative peace deal between US and Taliban over before it began? (6 min)

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, however, is so far declining to sign what Time magazine calls a “risky” deal that would wind down, if not end, the conflict.

And they don't want us to know or discuss all our dirty little actions around the world..

The US military has issued a call for research proposals from technology partners for the development of an automated system capable of scanning the entire internet and locating and censoring content deemed as “false media assets” and “disinformation.” According to government documents, the requested solution would provide “innovative semantic technologies for analyzing media” that will help “identify, deter, and understand adversary disinformation campaigns.”

Politics and Climate denial...

The Progressive Policy Institute, a centrist Democratic think tank that grew out of the party’s pro-business wing in the 1980s and ’90s, received $50,000 from Exxon Mobil in 2018 via its parent organization, the Third Way Foundation, according to the oil giant’s 2018 Worldwide Giving Report.

How Larry Fink, Joe Biden’s Wall Street Ally, Profits From Amazon Cattle Ranching, a Force Behind Deforestation

The day after Joe Biden participates in CNN’s climate forum in New York, the former vice president will head to a high-dollar fundraiser co-hosted by a founder of a fossil fuel company, Andrew Goldman, a co-founder of Western LNG, a natural gas production company based in Houston, Texas

Of course it isn't just the dims. The rethugs are worse.

Jimmy takes Bernie to task for promoting Russiagate (10 min)

You think they mislead us about politics? I do, but perhaps worse is the way the medical system misleads us about health. This is a great interview with William Davis MD, cardiologist extraordinaire and author of the “Wheatbelly” series, “Track Your Plaque”, “Undoctored” and many other superb books. He begins the conversation..

“treat your cholesterol” is lousy, outdated marker for the factors that actually do cause heart disease that should have been abandoned, by the way 40 years ago, but still in use because the statin drug industry profits from that ridiculous piece of misinformation.

(video, audio, or text)

Human nature does not change. It follows its familiar and cyclical patterns. Yes, this time, when we go down the whole planet will go with us. But until then we will be mesmerized by fools and con artists. What are demagogues like Donald Trump and Boris Johnson, positive psychologists and Candide-like prognosticators such as Steven Pinker other than charlatans who insist the tragedy facing us is not real? What are the technocrats and scientists arguing that education and Western civilization can turn us into rational beings other than shamans? What are the corporate titans who make their fortunes off the arms, chemical, fossil fuel and animal agriculture industries that are destroying the natural world other than high priests demanding human sacrifice?

Chris Hedges joins Richard Wolff to talk about a declining, decaying capitalism at the 29 min mark (sorry no transcript)

Abby Martin sat down last week with Marxist Economist Richard Wolff to discuss the growing popularity of socialism under Trump and its historical roots in America, misconceptions about Russia and China’s economic success and Marx’s theory of alienation and monopoly capitalism. (27 min)

Media Failure...

This Labor Day, The Washington Post and the New York Times had touching stories of workers in various jobs from a human interest point of view. There was little space devoted to labor policies, labor reforms, worker safety, the persistent private pension crisis, and the huge power imbalance in labor/management relations. NBC’s Meet the Press, anchored by Chuck Todd, is symptomatic of the media’s indifference to showcasing Labor leaders on Labor Day.

Great interview with Jimmy Dore, Matt Taibbi, and Katie Halper (starts at the 30 min mark)

Journalist John Pilger has delivered a stark warning from WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange, who said that his persecution is intended to kill dissent. “Speak up now,” Pilger said, or face “the silence of a new kind of tyranny.” (8.5 min)

The US journey to empire has been an oily slide into the depths of denial, repression, and aggression. It is time to start anew. It is time to speak up as John Pilger so eloquently said above. It is time to stop fracking and selling dirty fuels. It is time to create societies based on cooperation instead of competition. If our species is to survive we must begin these transitions. Do we have the stamina and drive to do so, or will we roll over and accept our fate? Time will tell.

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Raggedy Ann's picture

So much is happening in our world, right now. You have brought me many things to watch and contemplate about these happenings in our world.

I'm calling world peace in 10 years. There's no where else to go.

We got a nice rain yesterday and we're hoping for another shower today. It's been dry and brittle the last few weeks, as our monsoons never really materialized.

Have a beautiful, and maybe rain for us, Sunday, folks! Pleasantry

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"When will our conscience's grow so tender that we will act to prevent human misery rather than avenge it?" Eleanor Roosevelt

"The secret of change is to focus all your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new." Socrates (469-399 BC)

Lookout's picture

@Raggedy Ann

So glad to hear about your rain. We finally got a 2" rain a week or so ago. Ironically no rain out of Hurricane Dorian last week. We're dry again. Having to water the fall crops. I watered the young chestnut trees too.

I highly recommend the top clip of Max and least the last half with the interview. Such a revealing look at our oily empire.

Well all the best. Have a good week!

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

magiamma's picture

Thanks as always for all the work you put into these. I refer to them often and frequently. So there is that. Lol

September 20-27
October 7-18

Here is a link to the study for the Max and Stacy report on fracking:

Fracking prompts global spike in atmospheric methane, study suggests
Science Daily 9-15-19

As methane concentrations increase in the Earth's atmosphere, chemical fingerprints point to a probable source: shale oil and gas, … The research suggests that this methane has less carbon-13 relative to carbon-12 (denoting the weight of the carbon atom at the centre of the methane molecule) than does methane from conventional natural gas and other fossil fuels such as coal. This carbon-13 signature means that since the use of high-volume hydraulic fracturing -- commonly called fracking -- shale gas has increased in its share of global natural gas production and has released more methane into the atmosphere, … "This recent increase in methane is massive," Howarth said. "It's globally significant. It's contributed to some of the increase in global warming we've seen and shale gas is a major player." "If we can stop pouring methane into the atmosphere, it will dissipate," he said. "It goes away pretty quickly, compared to carbon dioxide. It's the low-hanging fruit to slow global warming."

And thanks so much for the tip on the Climate Strike ad. So right on. I have shared it a bunch with folks on my phone. They are rapt. It so works.

And this !!!

The other big take away is that US aggression toward oil rich nations is designed to prevent or at least reduce oil production in those countries in order to drive up the price of our fracked gas until it is profitable. US companies are underwater from borrowing for fracked wells. The banks and oligarchs want to keep this unsustainable system going...instead of the sane stop fracking!

We are so FRACKED UP. What are we thinking. Not.

Visualize the climate strike becoming a sea change.

Have a good one...

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Stop Climate Change Silence - Start the Conversation

Hot Air Website, Twitter, Facebook

Lookout's picture


I'm hoping the strikes are a turning point in the US. I think the work of XR has awoken the UK, perhaps we will follow suit.

I think I'm going to set up a art messaging exhibit at the 4 way stop in town.

I'm thinking something along the lines of:

Stop deforestation and wildfires.
Stop the loss of Earth's ice.
Stop the loss of species.
Stop the endless wars.

All with pictures/art and an example or two.

Everyone passing through town would have to read at least one message.

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

magiamma's picture

@Lookout @Lookout

See the weekly schedule here - just for kicks -

this is the one that sc4b and ccl are planning

Participants will be creating a forest of climate crises and climate adaptations/solutions headlines. Each of us will hold a sign with an actual climate crisis headline on one side, and an actual headline. Each sign will be unique.

So what makes it a forest? Our formation. We will deploy ourselves on both sides of a busy block of Pacific Ave on Tuesday and on Cooper St. on Thursday. We will space ourselves like trees in a forest so people going about their business will have to weave their way among us, like walking through a forest. Some of us will be clustered and some will be spaced out randomly, like a forest. In our pocket each of us will have a cell phone whose alarm is set to go off at some point during the 1.5 hours that we will be rooted on the sidewalk. As our alarms multiply, so will the effect of walking through the headlines forest.

Edit to say I love your idea. I think the fires and the disappearing wildlife will get people attention.

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Stop Climate Change Silence - Start the Conversation

Hot Air Website, Twitter, Facebook

Lookout's picture


Here's another good ad from XR

Here's wishing for effective actions...all the best with yours!

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

Azazello's picture

Here's some more stuff to watch.
Danny Sjursen has emerged as a powerful anti-war voice. Here he is with RJ Eskow.

Chris Hedges with Charles Derber on Dismantling security tales.

Shaun Attwood reads from Virginia Giuffre's statement in the Epstein case.
Sordid details here, Part 1, YouTube, (13 min.) and here, Part 2, YouTube, (13 min.)
Have a nice day.

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Lookout's picture


He wrote the yemen piece posted in the essay. Thanks for the links! I think I first saw the Keiser piece I recommended when you posted it in the EB sometime this week. I appreciate your clips.

Aaron had an interesting piece on Epstein this week too

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

smiley7's picture

Naomi Klein gave a marvelous speech at a Surise forum a couple of months ago calling for a new WPA for climate change, working in every community.

So, a big thanks for the heads-up, bookmarked and thanks for the William Davis MD, cardiologist link. Don't plan to ever take any of those statin drugs again.

Growing spoiled by beautiful days, nice and quiet on main this morning, football revelers gone or sleeping late. Smile

Thanks for another packed-full Watch.

Off the mountain, tomorrow, dread the long drive.

Think i'll make some scratch pancakes and indulge in a late Sunday brunch, have a good one.

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Lookout's picture


The Davis piece is worth your time IMO. I've been making almond flour pancakes and they are yummy. Be careful on your drive. It is strange to leave the mountain and experience the big world. Take care friend.

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

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ggersh's picture

@gjohnsit women doing propaganda, lies and govt BS.

Not a one of the view women get any fact correct
irt Assange

and in the meantime

Mueller Helped Saudis Cover Up Involvement In 9/11 Attacks: Lawsuit

Servant of the 'Deep State'


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“Awesome! I always wondered what it was like to live during the times of the Civil War, Spanish Flu, Great Depression, Civil Rights Movement, Watergate, & the Dust Bowl. Not all at once mind you, but ya know, ‘beggars/choosers” and all.”

Lookout's picture


...was Bob in Portland's essay

Life long CIA connections.

All the best!

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

Lookout's picture


purposely smears Julian at every opportunity. It is so sad the US is torturing both he and Chelsea for telling people about US war crimes.

Thanks for the clip!

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

snoopydawg's picture

This is disgusting, but it's good to see so many people seeing it for what it is.

About the Afghanistan peace talks... not going to happen. We will be there for another 20-30 years unless this empire collapses.

People are busy rewriting history again. I don't remember that the Taliban attacked this country on 9/11. IIRC it was supposedly Osama Bin Laden with help from his family in the Saudi government which the FBI knew all about.

Hey remember the 28 pages that showed exactly how the Saudis helped support the alleged terrorists that were declassified during Obama's tenure and got barely any coverage on the media? I do. But sure let's keep throwing our troops out for cannon fodder. 3 more soldiers died this week and for what? Oil, gas and minerals. Oh yeah and so the CIA can import opium into the states so we can throw more people in prison. Great money making scheme.

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“Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.” - John Adams

Lookout's picture

@snoopydawg give peace a chance. TPTB have no interest in peace, war is too profitable. So round we go. Thanks for the info. Sad to see all the propaganda on the idiot box...including corporate news.

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

you point out that the US DOD is the largest polluter in the world and is defending US energy interests among other things

and Trump with Israel is being tough on Iran

well, being a bully doesn't always pay off when there are other big guys on the block

Juan Cole today

Israeli PM Netanyahu’s Himalayan Miscalculation on Iran: Bringing China into the Mideast

Instead, Netanyahu and Trump have pushed Iran straight into the arms of China which is investing $400 billion in the country and which is now taking most of Iran’s oil exports. China seems intent on integrating Iran into its economy even more robustly than it had proposed with Pakistan.

In foreign policy, China supports the al-Assad government in Syria and so is a silent partner with Iran and Russia in this regard. Hawks in Washington had hoped to see al-Assad overthrown in favor of Sunni fundamentalists who might join a US-Saudi-Israel axis (this was always a pipe dream and some of the actual Sunni fundamentalists affiliated to al-Qaeda).

China has investments in Iraqi petroleum and was extremely alarmed by so-called Islamic State group or ISIL, which it was afraid would infect the 20 million Chinese Muslims with radicalism. It is therefore happy enough to have a strong Shiite anti-ISIL government in Baghdad allied with equally anti-ISIL Shiite Iran.

In short, China’s close embrace of Iran requires no significant change in Iranian foreign policy, and indeed, promises to strengthen Iran in such a way as to enable it to continue its present policies in the Middle East.

Nor is China interested in the least in Iran’s human rights record or how democratic its government is.

Isn't it ironic that the clown president is hastening the world's response to the climate while trying to destroy all the US climate science he can. Just like his fool's errand to destroy Iran

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Lookout's picture


can't come soon enough. Perhaps the dollar will lose it's power?

Thanks for the article! Seem the only allies we have are dictators like Bolsonaro, MBS, and jerks like nitwityahoo. Says a lot about what we've become.

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”