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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 12/8/10

Oil Addiction and the American Dream

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Message brigitte wallace
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A win win situation

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Oil exploration and drilling goes back to the early colonial era. Certainly we found a bit of black gold in Texas, California and other American soil, but very quickly it was obvious that it would be found in much larger quantity in the Middle East and places where property rights would not interfere. English and American entrepreneurs bought huge concessions, in Iran (then Persia), Egypt, Libya, thousands of square miles leases from countries that were not democracies, but split among tribal and sectarian lords while overall under British, French, and Dutch rule. Colonialism was not about keeping peace between the indigenous sects and tribes, it was not about bringing modern commodities, such as electricity, sanitation and rail to underdeveloped nations, that was merely necessary to commerce, it was not about the Christianization of what was deemed a superstitious pagan lot, it was not even about expansion, it was entirely about money making. Colonialism was (is) the manipulation of executive, legislative, judicial branches and economic and political affairs to establish the systematic plundering of an overseas country and its resources.

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The colonized countries slowly rose from poverty and ignorance and equipped with infrastructure and a system of government, newly armed with education and a burgeoning middle class fought, and in most cases, because the colony or commonwealth had indeed become more troublesome and costly to upkeep, was granted its independence with great hopes of new profitable, locked- in alliances.

At that point we are still in total control of the natural resources of that country and we have merely shifted the cost of extracting and producing ourselves by handing over titles of ownership, while retaining the control of operations and all rights. We are now paying taxes and dues, for products and services to the new owners, but overall, as it always was, the rich, who now include a few indigenous princes and princesses, are getting very rich. Everybody is happily synchronizing their politics of oil dependency in all matters.

Over time, alliances are questioned and the profitable arrangements soured. By now the wealth of the world rests on 5% of selected individuals who are involved in government policies, whether English, French, Dutch or American, it is tied entirely to the resources extracted from the soil of these developing countries. Diamonds, Uranium, minerals

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Gold, and above all Crude Oil. For decades, the powers have made sure to lock oil as the primary energy source, have made sure that manufacture utilizes oil as the primary raw material, that from transport to utilities, from fiber to plastics our economy depends entirely on crude oil , while our currency is still measured in Gold. Breaking the dependency on oil is not profitable. The only other highly business profitable is armament and the business of war with all its exclusive services and manufacturing contracts. So when we can't have oil on our terms, we wage wars to get it. For the most part, the same people own the rights. Any pretense of humanistic concern goes, with or without our elected officials's permission because they are only interested in their own wealth and careers and easily quieted. It's a win win situation. In today's much depressed economy, the rich are getting richer by leaps and bond. OK, BP has paid a few billions dollars in cleaning and payouts, but that is much less than their earnings in a year and they count on the IRS to refund it all to them with billions of tax credits.

So we are addicted to oil.

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After WWII when oil was abundant, cheap and securing influential Fortunes, the selected few decided in favor of the interstate over the railroad, shaping for ever a society of oil addiction. Cities expanded out to suburbs, broadening the service and utility geographic grid, forming the American dream of owning a house on a lot and a car to drive to and from it. No turning back then. Soon, women who had been involved in the previous war's efforts and their daughters did not want to be home makers anymore and as prices rose and wish lists grew longer a second income was paired with a second vehicle. Everybody felt like somebody when taking a drive. Cars are the most photographed subject of Americana; it is a man's pride and joy, a woman's emancipation, a symbol of upper mobility, of a man and his family right to happiness.

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The rich are becoming rich as kings and the poor have moved into the middle class and for the destitute ".. at least there is hope.

Powered by more fossil fuel, factories weave crude oil into carbon fibers and plastics, oil is present in very step of our lives, we wear it, we walk on it, we ride on it, we store our food in it. Every Thursday night, fifteen ladies put on their nylons and sashed polyester dress, drive their cars a few miles to meet for a Tupperware party where they will seat on squeaky vinyl chairs around a sparkling laminate kitchen table that stands on a chequered linoleum floor. In cities heating oil replaces coal and jet fuel gives us the moon. Oil is our birth right. Genius scientists have come to America working toward a bright dream of freedom, well earned money and a piece of the pie in the sky. African Americans win the Civil Rights Act. We are proud to be Americans.

A showcase of democracy and justice for all.

Now who would want to mess up such a good thing?

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The rich are rich beyond our imagination; foreign oil is owned by Western corporations; it is theirs to extract, refine, distribute, sell, regulate. There is enough of it to make extraordinary fortunes, enough for the next 50 years, perhaps longer, perhaps not endless. But it is unthinkable that the host countries might not be compliant any longer, while they benefit from such a good arrangement, their sons are getting an Oxford, Harvard or Stanford education, they have indoor plumbing and a middle class ! Rebel? For ideological reasons of all things?! Besides they can always be threatened into behaving. Oil and Mineral corporations, and Western military, namely English, French and Americans have worked side by side for decades, effectively blurring the people's perception of National Defense versus Corporate Interest. It is all about money. We use words like billions and trillions but we have no comprehension of how much money that really is. How much such phenomenal amounts of money could accomplish at home. And now Greed has made us some powerful enemies.

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I was born in Paris France in 1953, the daughter of a well respected song writer father and liberal snob mother. My uncontained rebellious sentiments toward a very critical upbringing and by extension my perception of a stifling French culture, (more...)
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