It’s not about Vladimir’s vanity

Dear President Trump,

What’s the thread connecting a call from our daughter in the middle of the night last night about the Cave fire evacuation zone closing in on Santa Barbara and the following happy quip from your BFF Vladimir?

“Thank God no one is accusing us anymore of interfering in the U.S. elections,” Russian President Vladimir Putin recently said. “Now, they’re accusing Ukraine. Well, they should figure it out among themselves.”

Before I connect the dots for you, if you were someone other than yourself you might want reassurance that our daughter is ok so I’ll tell you that the evacuation zone is a mile East of Santa Barbara and the UCSB campus in Isle Vista so we are on edge and worried, but not freaking out this morning. Our daughter is scheduled to come home for Thanksgiving break later today and will be out of harm’s way soon, which is lovely for her and for us, but obviously does nothing for those who are stuck there or the burning terrain (and her flight home will add to the root problem as will my drive in to work).

Ok, in those last asides I dropped hints about the connection between a climate change driven wild fire near our daughter and Vladimir cheerily waving off the US intelligence community and the Mueller report about Russian election interference. Of course we all (including you and your lying props) know it was Russia, not Ukraine, that messed with the 2016 elections and there’s no dispute about this in the mainstream media.

However, most news outlets seem to be maintaining a willful ignorance about why Vladimir has worked so very, very hard to f*ck with us and the rest of the West. This quote from Michael Gearson’s WP editorial this morning is a good example (he’s contrasting the current situation where you and your right-wing posse are leading the effort to whitewash Vladimir and Russia’s wrongs with how the left did this during the Cold War):

“Now, however, it is portions of the right that play down Russian influence and suppress evidence of Russian crimes. And for what? To serve the endless vanity of our own bargain-basement Putin.”

Well, I don’t know the extent to which Vladimir’s vanity is or isn’t a factor, but if we dig a tiny bit below the surface we come to the hard fact that he’s centered Russia’s entire economy around oil and gas. And with an economy (and personally lavish lifestyle) that is completely dependent on oil and gas, the leader of such a country is not exactly going to be all in on any global efforts to check the oil and gas industry in the interest of the common good.

So what better way to protect one’s one and only resource of value than to install a useful idiot at the helm of the largest fossil fuel consuming country and ‘help’ him see that it’s in his own best interest to pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement and to go ahead and relax all those pesky government regulations aimed at reining in the O&G industry. Win-win-win-win for Vladimir with more than enough bennies left over for you and yours.

I’m not saying Vladimir is single-handedly responsible for the fires in California or the flooding in Texas, etc. – we’ve all ignored the warnings for a very long time because even though many are suffering from climate change related hardship, the system has not been intolerable for most of us fossil fuel burners (and big agriculture eaters) and thus far we’ve not been disposed to abolish said system. What I am saying, though, that as I wrap up reading Rachel Maddow’s book, Blowout, and follow the threads in the news, it’s clear that Russia’s efforts to subvert Western democracies is way more about stymying climate change mitigation efforts to keep oil and gas revenues flowing and than it is about his vanity.

May we be safe from greedy, antisocial plotters.
May we be willing to connect all the dots.
May we come together for the future.
May we not ever make peace with your lies.

Tracy Simpson

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