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Exclusive: Rep. Al Green tells BLP Russians after U.S. cold-water drilling technology for Black Sea

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The Democratic Texas congressman who forced the Dec. 6 vote on the impeachment of President Donald J. Trump told Big League Politics Tuesday he is not satisfied that Republicans in Congress or the Trump administration are defending vital cold-water drilling technology from Russian poaching.

“I think that we have seen an unusual affinity for the Russians from this administration and I am concerned that this affinity may not be in the best interest of our technology–when it comes to the Black Sea,” said Rep. Alexander Green (D.-Texas), whose district includes most of southeast Houston.

Minutes before Green spoke to BLP, the congressman shared his concerns at the hearing of The Monetary Policy and Trade Subcommittee of the House Financial Services Committee held at the Rayburn House Office Building. The hearing was focused on the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, the board inside the Treasury Department that approves and disapproves capital investments from overseas.

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Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Garland H. “Andy” Barr IV (R.-Ky.) opened the hearing by reminding his colleagues that America has traditionally welcomed foreign investment, but there have been times, such as in the 1970s, when OPEC nations flush with “petrodollars” were buying up U.S. property and businesses and in the 1990s, when Japanese individuals and companies, enjoying that country’s last major boom, were also shopping for U.S. properties.

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Barr said he was open to reforming CFIUS and its rules in light of the new trend of buying from the China.

Rep. Garland H. “Andy” Barr (R.-Ky.)

“Working together we can modernize the CFIUS review process so that it better addresses security threats, while avoiding undue harm to U.S. business at home or to its efforts to compete abroad,” he said.

Green redirected the hearing to the transfer of technology.

“I am concerned about energy, I am a representative from the state of Texas,” Green said to his colleagues on the subcommittee. “My concern emanates from technology that Russians don’t have. They seem to have the ability to drill, but really the technology.” and ability as is needed to drill in the Black Sea, where it is extremely cold.”

Rep. Alexander Green (D.-Texas)

Green said that in 2012, Rex Tillerson, then the CEO of Exxon-Mobil and now the secretary of state, signed a deal with the Russians that would have had his company partner with the Russians in Black Sea drilling.

The deal was thwarted, but Green said the question still remains how could an American company come so close to helping the Russians.

Admiral Dennis C. Blair, co-chairman of the Commission on the Theft of American Intellectual Property, and former Director of National Intelligence and member of the National Security Council under President George W. Bush, told Green that it was was a very complicated question.

Blair told Green that an increase in the world’s oil supply was a good thing for the U.S. economy.

The admiral said there he had no economic objection, because American companies in these partnerships have learned how to protect their proprietary tools, but there were geopolitical considerations.

Theodore W. Kassinger, a partner in the Washington law firm of O’Melveny & Myers, and a former deputy Commerce secretary also for Bush fils, said to the congressman that as a practical matter, such cooperation as was set up in 2012 could not happen today because of the sanctions against Russia after its 2014 invasion of Ukraine.

Kassinger said as a theoretical matter, because there is no monopoly on cold-water drilling, it might be better for American companies to get the business instead of someone else.

Speaking afterwards to BLP that access to cold-water drilling technology is very important to the Russians and it may have been a factor in their involvement in the 2016 presidential campaign.

The Texan said the Russian have a massive naval base in the Black Sea port of Sevastopol and their naval forces would are poised to protect more Russian drilling in the Black Sea if it would come to pass.

“Russia is a cold-water country” Green said. “They have very few outlets to warm water. They have Tartus in Syria, where they have a base, a very small base, and they have the Black Sea, which allows them to get into the Mediterranean–I mention this point, because they need our technology to acquire additional opportunities to move their oil, not only to their country, but to their military.”

Green said he appreciated the subcommittee bring up the panel, which in addition to Blair and Kassinger included Scott Kennedy, the director of the Project on Chinese Business & Political Economy at the Washington-based Center for Strategic & International Studies and Derek M. Scissors, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.

It is important for Americans to be able to compete without jeopardizing American national security by strengthening our rivals at our expense, he said.

“That is why we are holding the hearing, so as to make sure we find methodologies, by which we can do business without giving up technology,” he said.

Monetary Policy and Trade Subcommittee met today to evaluate the operations of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) and the challenges posed by a changing global economy.

Watch Rep. Alexander Green (D.-Texas)speak with BLP reporter Neil W. McCabe and Capitol Intelligence reporter Peter K. Semler.

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Big League Economics

Leaked Amazon Memo Shows How the Globalist Company Demonizes Their Own Workers

Bezos has been bad!

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A leaked memo from Amazon showed how the company’s CEO Jeff Bezos attended a recent meeting in which Amazon executives plotted ways to demonize a top labor organizer.

Notes from the meeting indicate that the Amazon executives are plotting a campaign to destroy the reputation of former warehouse employee Christian Smalls, an organizer who has been trying to rally Amazon workers for better wages and more benefits. They said that Smalls was “not smart or articulate,” and they hoped to make him “the face of the entire union/organizing movement.”

“He’s not smart, or articulate, and to the extent the press wants to focus on us versus him, we will be in a much stronger PR position than simply explaining for the umpteenth time how we’re trying to protect workers,” wrote Amazon General Counsel David Zapolsky in meeting notes that were circulated throughout forwarded widely within the company.

This was apparently discussed during a daily meeting that was meant to be centered around coordinating a response to the coronavirus pandemic.

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“We go over the update on what’s happening around the world with our employees and with our customers and our businesses. We also spend a significant amount of time just brainstorming about what else we can do [about coronavirus],” Amazon SVP of Global Corporate Affairs Jay Carney said to describe the meeting while appearing on CNN.

But apparently their coronavirus meeting was diverted into plotting new ways to punish workers during the crisis. Amazon terminated Smalls last week after he led a protest at a Staten Island distribution facility in which several workers walked out on the job to send a message. Amazon is claiming that Smalls was fired for violating a mandatory 14-day quarantine after coming in contact with an employee who tested positive for coronavirus.

Smalls disputes the story that is being spread by Amazon about why he was fired. He is saying that his firing had nothing to do with alleged contact with an employee who tested positive for coronavirus. He claims he was fired because of concerns that he brought up with management regarding sanitation standards at the warehouse. Smalls also believes that Amazon is not being truthful about the number of workers who have been infected with coronavirus.

Other notes from the meeting lay out Amazon’s devious plan to target Smalls and make him the focal point of any response to public concerns regarding worker safety.

“We should spend the first part of our response strongly laying out the case for why the organizer’s conduct was immoral, unacceptable, and arguably illegal, in detail, and only then follow with our usual talking points about worker safety,” wrote Zapolsky in his notes from the meeting.

“Make him the most interesting part of the story, and if possible make him the face of the entire union/organizing movement,” he added.

Zapolsky attempted to rationalize his anti-worker sentiments in a groveling statement issued to VICE News after realizing his notes went public.

“I was frustrated and upset that an Amazon employee would endanger the health and safety of other Amazonians by repeatedly returning to the premises after having been warned to quarantine himself after exposure to virus Covid-19,” he said. “I let my emotions draft my words and get the better of me.”

Bezos’ brand of globalism does not put American workers first, and the coronavirus pandemic is seen by Amazon as just another excuse for the billionaire technocrat to put the squeeze on labor.

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