CORRUPT GOVERNMENT COMMENTARY:
The "War for Oil" Comes Home
The war isn't on terror, but on anything and everything that might impinge in the slightest degree on the profits, power and privilege of the tiny clique of predatory elites that Bush represents.The "War for Oil" is not just being fought in Iraq, you know. For as the Warmonger-in-Chief never tires of telling us, the "Homeland" itself is a major front in his never-ending war on – not terror, because his policies are fomenting and exacerbating terrorism around the world – but on anything and everything that might impinge in the slightest degree on the profits, power and privilege of the tiny clique of predatory elites that he represents.
The NYT story "U.S. Drops Bid Over Royalties From Chevron", an excellent piece of explanatory journalism by Edmund Andrews, lays out the details of the scam – just one of many by which Big Oil uses its hired hands in Washington to cheat the American people out of billions of dollars in fees and royalties from the use of public land for corporate profit. As Andrews makes clear, the entire system is honeycombed with sweetheart clauses and deliberate ambiguities that allow the oil barons to take vast rake-offs – some of which they obligingly return in various forms of baksheesh to their political servants.
These companies and their ungodly profits are sustained at every turn by the infrastructure supported by American taxpayers. Who pays for the roads that distribute their wares? Who pays for the police, the power grid, the sewer lines, the education system, the legal system and every other element that supports the existence of modern commerce? Who pays for the armies that politicians have sent all over the world to secure Big Oil's pipelines and its ready access to the resources of other nations? Whose sons and daughters die in these military actions? Without this incomprehensively vast network of support, without the blood and treasure of the American people, the oil companies could never make a dime of profit; they'd be left with useless barrels of dinosaur juice to peddle as novelities at the county fair.
Yet not only do they reap these gargantuan private profits from public support – and from generations of politically assisted land swindles, sweetheart deals and special favors – they game the system in every possible way to escape or reduce their own contributions to the common insfrastructure. Jim Smith and Mary Jones can die for them in Iraq or Colombia; whole cities can groan under a creaking, decaying, underfunded infrastructure; but the oil barons will still slither and scheme to claw back every penny they can from the already mild obligations the system places upon them.
Excerpts from the NYT:
The Interior Department has dropped claims that the Chevron Corporation systematically underpaid the government for natural gas produced in the Gulf of Mexico, a decision that could allow energy companies to avoid paying hundreds of millions of dollars in royalties.
Chris Floyd is an American journalist. His work has appeared in print and online in venues all over the world, including the Nation, CounterPunch, Columbia Journalism Review, the Christian Science Monitor, Il Manifesto, the Moscow Times and many others. He is the author of Empire Burlesque: High Crimes and Low Comedy in the Bush Imperium, and is co-founder and editor of the "Empire Burlesque" political blog. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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This story was published on October 31, 2006.