by Rachel Maddow
(3.3 / 5)
Big Oil and Gas vs Capitalism–winner take everything In 2010, the words “earthquake wave” entered the Oklahoma lexicon. That same year, Michael Jackson’s cache of memorabilia— including his signature crystal-encrusted white glove— was sold at auction for over $1 million to a guy who was, technically, only the lowly forestry minister of Equatorial Guinea’s tiny nation. And in 2014, Ukrainian protesters stormed their former president’s palace then discovered a peacocks zoo, gold toilets, and a floating restaurant modeled on a Spanish galleon. There is a thread linking these incidents, impossible as it might seem, and Rachel Maddow follows it to its corrupted source: the unimaginably lucrative and equally corrupting oil and gas industry.
With her signature black humor, Maddow takes us on a globe-wide switchback trip, exposing Big Oil and Gas ‘ greed and corruption along the way, and drawing a startling inference about how and why the Russian government hacked the 2016 US election. He deftly demonstrates how Russia’s rich crude resources paradoxically stunted its production, forcing Putin to preserve his control by spreading the rot in Russia’s competitors, its neighbors, the most critical alliances of the West, and the United States. Chevron, BP and a host of other industry players are getting their star turn, most notably ExxonMobil and Rex Tillerson’s disappointingly well-behaved. In developed and developing countries, the oil and gas industry has undermined economies, fouled seas and lakes, and funded authoritarian criminals and murderers. But being angry at it is, according to Maddow, “like being upset when a lion brings down and eats a gazelle. You can’t really blame the lion. It’s in its nature.” Blowout is an appeal to curb the lion: stop subsidizing the world’s richest companies, fight for accountability, and check the power of the world’s most damaging industry and enablers. There has never been a higher risk. “Democracy either wins or fails,” as Maddow writes.