Oil and Finance: The Epic Corruption Continues 2010-2012

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It's like a travesty of justice. He is basically profiting off the misery of working people. That's what it comes down to. The reactions and disgust seem endless. Most damning of all is that the free market system to which Mr.

Exxon's Lee Raymond, "Steward of the Free Market System" | HuffPost

Raymond pledges such fealty had little to do with his company's egregious profits permitting his astronomical payout. The oil markets more than doubling of prices over the last couple of years, the quintupling of prices over the last six years, were all orchestrated by the OPEC Cartel with the cheerleading and public relations blitz led by Exxon-Mobil and its sister companies and the oil patch in general. Exxon Mobil produces some 2.

Were Raymond to collude with the OPEC Cartel in their ongoing game of disinformation and controlling production to manipulate prices instead of simply being their quiescent cheerleader and goodwill ambassador to our Government he would be collecting his pension from behind bars. So much for this stalwart protector of the free market and his admonishments on the greed of others.

The oil industry is running away with our future. Raymond is but one manifestation of the plague that has descended on us. We need action and we must demand action now, before it is too late. My thoughts on what needs be done to follow. US Edition U.

News U. HuffPost Personal Video Horoscopes. As for Iraq, it was already in the throes of revolutionary transition before the Arab Spring arrived. The U. In its place came an elected, Shiite Muslim-majority government, and an epidemic of sectarian conflict.

Syria is proving to be the most redoubtable bulwark of the old Arab order of unaccountable despotism. Though under tremendous economic and political pressures, the regime of Bashir Al Asaad in Damascus is holding fast to power. And it seems likely that before it is toppled, much more violence, even civil war, may blight this benighted country. The first is online social media. For several years, before the climactic events of , Egyptian youths had been demonstrating the usefulness of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube as platforms for dissent and for organizing mass street actions.

A striking example of how this cyberspace activity created a pre-revolutionary mood of anger revolved around the case of year-old Khaled Mohamed Said, who was beaten to death by Egyptian security thugs in When protests did break out in both Tunisia and Egypt, Twitter and mobile phone text messages were indispensable in alerting people to gathering spots and to police-heavy neighborhoods they should avoid. In Libya and Syria, YouTube was used to broadcast atrocities to the world.

The second major force that is bringing change to the Middle East is women.

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As countless televised scenes from the Arab Spring testified, women were on the barricades wherever uprisings occurred. Their participation was not surprising to those who know Arab women, whose toughness and tenacity are legendary. But now that the first phase of the Arab Awakening is over, these women still have an epic struggle ahead of them to secure the rights and equality that they are due. In Egypt, for example, almost 30 years of martial law ended, and the first truly free elections in decades were held. But on the other hand, democratic reforms in Egypt and elsewhere have not yet been consolidated in new, popularly supported political institutions.

Creating those institutions, as well as the democratic habits and mindset that should underpin them, will take years. There are other challenges in this phase of the Arab Awakening. In many states, including Egypt, Tunisia and Iraq, Islamist parties have gained new prominence and powers through elections. Secular-oriented Muslims, women and Christians are all alarmed, concerned that the energized Islamist trend will mean hard times ahead for them.

In the bellwether country of Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood and even more conservative Islamist parties took nearly 70 percent of the vote in recent parliamentary elections. The Islamist surge in the past year has raised fears about the possible onset of a new type of dictatorial regime. At the same time, the Islamists also face their greatest test. After decades in opposition, they now must prove their capability as rulers, delivering services and demonstrating that they can create a more just political and economic order.

The absence of a consensus on this matter is a major reason for political instability in Arab countries. Another challenge in this second, more difficult phase of the Arab Spring is economics, with Egypt the most worrisome case.


Oil and Finance: The Epic Corruption

Its tourist industry has been decimated and foreign confidence in its economic prospects is near zero, dampening investment. Events of last year have also unleashed waves of sectarian, religious and ethnic strife across the region. Christians have been murdered in Egypt and Iraq. Sunni-Shiite tensions have spiked across the region. And separatist tendencies based on tribal or ethnic affiliations, have appeared in Iraq, Yemen and Libya.

The Arab Spring has also created new uncertainty for Israel. With governments now forced to pay more attention to public opinion than before, most will be less willing to bow to U. Egypt especially, which had been almost a puppet of Washington in its dealings with Israel, has already shown that it will not be as pliant as before. Events of the past year have also changed the equation for the United States, whose popularity in the region is at a despairingly low ebb because of the Iraqi occupation and pro-Israel bias of its foreign policy.

The long-running quarrel between Washington and Cairo over U.


So the Arab journey begun more than a year ago is far from over, with an obstacle-strewn road lying ahead. If economic prospects do not brighten, if Arab youth continue to face high unemployment, or if ethnic, sectarian or religious violence soars, dictatorship may return as people tire of being hungry, jobless or insecure in their own home. Overcoming these challenges and creating new, democratic cultures and institutions are the tasks that now demand attention and endurance.

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