Monday, April 25, 2005

The demigods of OIL

CRAWFORD, Tex, April 25: Today, less than 200 miles northeast of where I live, President Bush played appreciative host to Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. Before the crown prince even arrived, Bush said the purpose of his Texas hospitality was to remind the prince that "A high oil price will damage markets, and he [the crown prince] knows that." The crown prince arrived, saying nothing to the press, and everything was a smiling handshake before the cameras, a closed door deal without the cameras or reporters.

Can anybody say "shades of 'Farenheit 9/11?'"

In his infamous film of 2004, Michael Moore had the gumption to show us clip after clip of Bush family and administration operatives shaking hands with Saudi leaders to seal the deals on a generation's worth of oil alliances - hundreds of billions in profit for those involved, tens of thousands of lives, a whole heating up world in the balance. Never has the web of one American family shaken so many Saudi hands.

It gets better (or worse - joke's on who?): in a photo accompanying the stories of today's meeting, it looks like Mr. Bush is actually strolling among the bluebonnets HOLDING hands with the shrouded sheik; no wonder the president admitted he had a "close personal relationship" with the prince.

For a bunch of supposedly public officials, there sure is a lot that goes on behind the scenes when the Saudis come to town. Last night in Dallas (hometown of his old alma mater and billion dollar baby, the hallowed and highly profitable Halliburton), Vice President Dick Cheney met with the crown prince, I'm sure to give him the pre-show lowdown in more measured and insinuating English. Mr. Cheney must really be pulling the strings, just as Mr. Moore implied, the wizard behind the curtain. Cheney was probably more than the warm up show; he probably set the ground rules for politically positive but congenial talks on how each country's movers and shakers stand to profit billions more in the next few years, with higher demand, higher production and, oh yes, higher prices. Bush can say, 'We're doing all we can to get you cheap gas - we're leaning on our Arab friends, and we're leaning on Congress to pass my ridiculously advantageous energy bill.'

Oil makes the world go round and round in the circle game, heated to a constant simmer if not a boil, a la Iraq, boiling over because of some imperialistic ambitions closely tied to the crude stuff.

More than anything else these days, it seems the human addiction for oil/fossil fuels/petroleum energy makes the billions burn in the movers and shakers pockets.

The bluebonnets were beautiful, and I'm sure that Bush ranch bar-b-que was top notch, oh so carefully seasoned to a sheik's taste.


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