Entries Tagged 'Reviews' ↓

A Brief New Postscript to Blowout

For those interested in the Oil and Gas industry there is another book being promoted about an oil baron’s life story. It’s being heralded in book reviews here and abroad.

The name is of the man is Calouste Gulbenkian and the title of the book is Mr Five Percent: The many lives of Calouste Gulbenkian, the world’s richest man, by Jonathan Conlin (London: Profile Books Ltd., Southampton University, 2019, 416 pp)

Gulbenkian’s claims to fame are his large art collection left to the Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon, Portugal after his death in 1955.

He was a Turkish businessman of a wealthy Armenian living in Istanbul who made a name for himself that paralleled John D. Rockfeller and Jean Paul Getty in the early 20th century, making it into Life Magazine at the time by being called “the richest man in the world”.

Gulbenkian’s contribution to the oil industry was his dedication to creating international cartels that bypassed government controls, and championed vertical integration.

Vertical integration seems to be a practice purported to offer large advantages for the oil and gas field, but it’s a practice that has ignored costs and the inefficiencies of those companies to an extent that was harmful to the companies themselves, the economy, and financial markets.

Other names for this practice are “conglomeration”.

Today, the concern about the industry is more about fracking because of the even higher costs of this practice that can result in harmful “dis-economies”.

Others of course, defend the practice of vertical integration by pointing out some of its virtues, while on the other hand, The Motley Fool declares that today’s “Big Oil Companies are not integrated, just co-existing.”

Given that the oil and gas companies play a major role in climate change, this debate is one that should be discussed by our politicians, but unfortunately for our quality of life, isn’t in the forefront of the news today.

Yet, it looks like it soon will be given the climate crises taking place this past year!





Postscript to Review of Rachel Maddow’s Blowout

This book would be much improved by adding more to its index. Its sixteen page index is way too skimpy for a 406-page book; the index has a paucity of See or See also cross-references; omissions of significant events and inclusion of insignificant mentions, and no double-posting of topics where that is called for.

For example – Ukraine is under Putin, but under Ukraine there is no reference to Putin. Likewise, Carter-Page is listed under Page, not Carter-Page. And there’s no See reference to the name he is usually called.

There are noticeable omissions and commissions of page number mistakes too. Joe Biden is listed on pages 237-239, but there is nothing about him on pages 237 or 238, only page 239.

However, a significant thing about Pussy Riot is listed on page 239 but it’s not in the index, while an insignificant thing is listed on page 226.

On the other hand there is a significant discussion about Pussy Riot on pages 218-219, but the indexer left out Joe Biden’s reaction to that group’s fate at the hands of Putin (on page 219).

However, the biggest omission of all lies in not indexing Rachel’s NOTES ON SOURCES SECTION (pp. 371-390).

These twenty pages contain interesting narratives about each of the twenty-nine chapters in the book. There are names of people, places, and events galore in this section that are not in the index. But readers are very likely to overlook that section in the back of this book.

Truly, the publisher, Crown, an imprint of Random House, should be ashamed!

Review of Rachel Maddow’s Blowout

One of the things that annoys me about corrupt people is their use of the English language to confuse and hoodwink the rest of us.

I know this might sound like a petty complaint by an English major in college, but it isn’t really. 

We have seen these terms for decades: “protective strikes” (protective of whom or what?) “weapons of mass destruction,” or “natural” food, gas, and water (what part of Nature? Do our own bodies benefit from these things?)

Rachel Maddow’s new book Blowout is a New York Times bestseller. Rightly so! 

Especially because Rachel didn’t get the Democratic party to pony up to spend tens of thousands of dollars to buy hundreds of copies of her book to put it on the New York Times bestseller list. She earned her rating the honest way.

Yes, corruption is not always illegal as some people these days like to point out. But corruption always has negative consequences, often against innocent people who had nothing to do with it.

In particular, misuse of the English language fools a lot of us into complacency by omitting the full story or even through perverting the real story.  Continue reading →