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PARIS, THE NEW NORMAL? — Diana Johnstone files an in-depth report from Paris on the political reaction to the Charlie Hebdo shootings; The Treachery of the Black Political Class: Margaret Kimberley charts the rise and fall of the Congressional Black Caucus; The New Great Game: Pepe Escobar assays the game-changing new alliance between Russia and Turkey; Will the Frackers Go Bust? Joshua Frank reports on how the collapse of global oil prices might spell the end of the fracking frenzy in the Bakken Shale; The Future of the Giraffe: Ecologist Monica Bond reports from Tanzania on the frantic efforts to save one of the world’s most iconic species. Plus: Jeffrey St. Clair on Satire in the Service of Power; Chris Floyd on the Age of Terrorism and Absurdity; Mike Whitney on the Drop Dead Fed; John Wight on the rampant racism of Clint Eastwood’s “American Sniper;” John Walsh on Hillary Clinton and Lee Ballinger on the Gift of Anger.
Sermon on the Wellhead

Pat Robertson: Big Oil’s Televangelist

by SETH SANDRONSKY

You know U.S. Christian televangelist Pat Robertson of the Christian Coalition is tight with God. Such tightness has it privileges. One grabbing headlines now is the privilege to call for the U.S.-led liquidation of Hugo Chavez, Venezuela’s president, redistributing oil revenue to his nation’s low-income majority.

Further, he is looking to change Venezuela’s commercial relations with some of the world’s people, including low- and middle income Americans facing record gas prices this summer. Chavez also backs below-market oil prices for Caribbean nations. In sum, his energy economics threatens the unlimited expansion of prices and profits for Big Oil.

It has a big problem in Chavez, whose energy ideas would be wonderful for ordinary Cuban people (two-thirds of whom are blacks). Briefly, their daily struggles flow from the 40-plus years of the U.S. economic blockade and the fall of the former Soviet Union. Thus Robertson, with his juice card on 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, backs more blood for Big Oil, which must "grow or die" in all of its decadent grandeur.

For Robertson and the barons of Big Oil he speaks for, Chavez threatens to limit the growth of prices and profits for this valuable commodity. For the Christian televangelist, then, Chavez’ privileging of people over profits is a sin. For that this sinner must go, and quickly.

So we find Robertson of the neo-con choir basically shilling for Big Oil, a leading sector of the U.S. economy under the Bush White House. His role is to push the American political spectrum more to the decadent extreme. Some call this the right wing.

Big Oil’s profits are at record levels and headed up"but that is not enough. More profits are needed by investors. It matters not to them who or what feels the pain from rising oil prices and profits.

Even Wal Mart Stores, Inc., whose shoppers and workers are low-income Americans generally, is feeling the bite from Big Oil in the form of slower rates of profit. Millions of U.S. Wal-Mart shoppers and workers are spending less due to increases in gas pump prices. Here, we see a conflict between sectors of capital (retail vs. energy), which does not break its over-all unity against wage earners and their families.

Accordingly, it falls to Robertson, who funds George W. Bush and the GOP with big bucks, to demonize Chavez, democratically elected more than once to lead his nation. Decadent capital breeds decadent mouthpieces. Robertson is simply one of them.

SETH SANDRONSKY is a member of Sacramento Area Peace Action and a co-editor with Because People Matter, Sacramento’s progressive paper. He can be reached at ssandron@hotmail.com.