by Alan Bisbort
Dec. 8, 2006 -- Hartford (apj.us) -- The other day I pulled in to my local Cheap-O Gas Mart to fill my Echo and noticed gas prices had begun inching up from when Id last filled up. I drove around afterwards and noticed prices were up at Exxon, Mobil, Texaco and Shell stations, as well. If Im not crazy, they seem to have been inching up for, oh, about a month now.
Hmmm. Lemme see what happened about a month ago? Could these bipolar gas prices have anything to do with the election? Gosh, do you think the oil companies would manipulate pricesknocking them down, down, down before the election to keep their Republican cronies in power, then jimmying them up, up and away now that Democrats are taking over the national train wreck? Nah, couldnt be
On the eve of the election that swept the old Republican Congress into the dustbin, my mind turned to such conspiracy theories. But here was the thing. One neednt be a card-carrying member of the Tinfoil Hat Society to believe in Republican conspiracies. They do their dirty deeds in the open, nothing secret or subtle about it. As for gas prices, they were down because the Saudis increased production as a favor to Bush, and all other oil producers (Venezuela, Nigeria) followed suit, to stay competitive.
Now that Bush is a Sir Lame Duckhead and the Republican Congress leaves office with (yes, you read it correctly!) a 13% approval rating, gas prices are inching up again. Oil company profits can be maximized and the stain of rising, even runaway gas prices will now accrue to the Democrats. Its what they call a win-win situation in corporate board roomsscrew the consumer and let someone else take the blame.
But is there a conspiracy?
You make the call. Joshua Holland has reported that in September, after the primaries were through, gas prices dropped fifty cents per gallon. Two weeks before the election, gas prices were at an annual low. One week after the election, prices rose five cents a gallon. Each week since has seen a similar rise. So that now, a month out from the election, prices seem on pace to reclaim that magic $3 per gallon figure by the new year.
Its no secret that the Saudi royal family loves the Bush family. All one need do is look at the photographs of them together, documentation that stretches back into George H.W. Bushs presidency. Grown men, swaddled in jewels and ornate headdresses holding hands with a Bush man, any Bush will do. Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan, Saudi ambassador to the U.S. is so close to the family hes nicknamed Bandar Bush. Bob Woodward, in a brief burp of truthfulness in mid-2004, told 60 Minutes (later, in his book, Plan of Attack) that Bandar pledged, as we get closer to the election, they could increase production several million barrels a day and the price would drop significantly. (They did; Bush allegedly won the election, give or take voting purges in Ohio).
After the 9/11 attacks, Osama bin Ladens extended Saudi family were
accorded special treatment. While Americans were grounded for three days,
the bin Laden family was allowed to fly unfettered out of the country, to
avoid answering unpleasant questions and possible legal consequences for
the terrorist act. It pays to be a Saudi friend of Bush.
Former CIA officer Robert Baer in his book, Sleeping With the Devil: How Washington Sold Our Soul for Saudi Crude, details how this came to be. From the mid-1930s until well into the 1960s, Saudi Arabia was a branch office of Americas oil giantsa Republican internationalists fantasy. The U.S. remained secure in the knowledge that Saudi oil would always be there for us, under the sand, cheap, and as safe as if it were locked up in Fort Knox. We built Saudi Arabias oil business and, for our efforts, got full and easy access to its crude. After the OPEC embargo in the mid-1970s crippled the US economy, however, the Saudis saw the power they have over us, enough power now to think they can sway our elections and dictate our national energy policy.
But this discussion predates oil. It starts with the fact that Saudi Arabia is not a country, per se. Its an autocratic kingdom created by King Ibn Saud in 1932, and it has not known a moment of democracy since. Women are repressed and crazed fundamentalists preach jihad against the West, a fact borne out by 15 of the 18 attackers on 9/11 being Saudi Arabian. My point is that our country policies, under Bush, are driven by unelected kings who live in palaces and really, deep down, hate us.
And, apparently, its not deep down any longer. Rather, its as out in the open as the Republicans collective crimes of the past six years. That is, private Saudi citizens (read: jewelry-encrusted oil barons and their 35 cousins as well as, in all likelihood, members of the bin Laden family, relocated from the U.S. after 9/11) are giving millions of dollars to Sunni insurgents in Iraq. Most of that cash is being used to buy weapons that will kill American soldiers. Though the Saudi government denies this is happening, even the Bush Family Official Whitewash Committeeaka, the Iraq Study Groupdiscovered that Saudis are a source of funding for Sunni Arab insurgents. If the ISG says a source of, you know that means, is THE major source of. Indeed, the AP reported that truck drivers are carrying boxes of cash from Saudi Arabia into Iraq. That money is headed to the insurgents.
Saudi Arabia, according to the Bush Family, is Americas staunchest ally in the Middle East. They are the people for whom Americas energy and foreign affairs policies are being crafted. If this is a conspiracy, its the most one-sided deal in world history.
When I was a wee lad, the Republicans ran a Swift Boat campaign against war hero John F. Kennedy when he was running for president against not-war-hero Dick Nixon. The attacks implied that, because JFK was Roman Catholic, hed take orders from a foreign powerthe Vatican. Theodore H. White wrote, Much to his dismay, [Kennedy] discovered that many southern Protestant groups still believed in old canards about every Catholic having to obey the Pope's commands unquestioningly. He finally decided to try to defeat the issue by meeting it head-on. On Sept. 13, 1960, Kennedy went into the lions den of Southern Baptist leaders and laid a lecture on them that essentially froze them in place. Its a beautiful polemic, worth your seeking out to read in its entirety.
Among the points he made was to call for an America where the separation of church and state is absolute -- where no Catholic prelate would tell the president (should he be Catholic) how to act and no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote. He asked voters to judge him on his political record, not on the basis of carefully selected quotations out of context from the statements of church leaders, usually in other countries, frequently in other centuries and always omitting, of course, the statement of the American bishops in 1948 which strongly endorsed church-state separation. He said he was not the Catholic candidate for president. I am the Democratic Party's candidate for president, who happens also to be Catholic. I do not speak for my church on public matters -- and the church does not speak for me.
Now, with George W. Bush and Dick Cheney in the White House, we really are being run by a foreign power. The two most powerful men in our government are essentially unofficial agents of Saudi Arabia. The United States is, in a sense, merely an annex of Saudi Arabia. Our real flag is the gas pump.
Call us Saudi America.
ALAN BISBORT is a columnist for the Hartford Advocate. His book, When You Read This, They Will Have Killed Me: The Life and Redemption of Caryl Chessman, Whose Execution Shook America, has been hailed as the definitive work on one of the most controversial cases in American judicial history. Published by Carroll & Graf, you can click here to order it from Powell Books.
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