commentary on Politics and a little bit of everything else

Tony Hayward: All Washed Up?…….The Oligarch Kings…..

Well may he have been seen with his head in his hands at that press conference at the weekend.   For oor wee Tone is simply the latest victim of the broken well in the Gulf of Mexico.  We can add him to the pelicans and the ruins of America’s oil strategy.  President Obama has clearly been taking the trouble to finger Tony Hayward as the villain of the piece in the ongoing on-growing mess that is the Gulf of Mexico burst.

At the weekend and totally at sea, Obama publically stated that after Tony’s ill thought out and injurious remarks about “wanting his life back” and that the mess was “only tiny in comparison to all that water” he would not employ him.  The question now must be – will BP?  They sure don’t want to go down with all hands.  There will be questions being asked in BP as to when he goes, not if.  Who will shove him overboard first, the board or the shareholders?

Obama wants it nice and simple, and above all as far away from the White House as he can get it.

Obama needs to appear tough, resilient and above all else effective.  He can’t be any of these.  He can’t fix the leak, and there are no government resources that he can employ that can.  No Bruce Willis to call on,  no Thunderbirds and International Rescue either.  Just a burst pipe at the bottom of a mile’s depth of sea.  Impotency is a President’s worst nightmare.  It makes you look like Jimmy Carter.

You wonder why they allowed drilling there when they didn’t have cast iron assurances that the technology worked.  Ah yes, regulators – so that’ll be like the banks then, they were regulated too. That and an absolute need to be energy self sufficient made them rush into deep water.

So Obama talks tough for a domestic audience.  He has irritated his allies by referring incorrectly to BP as British Petroleum which is as out-dated as calling it Anglo-Persian Oil.  The Brits are a trifle tender on the subject of their big brother at the moment.  Truth is BP is only 44% British and is 39% American.  And of the American interest 14% are private individuals.  If he does stop the payment of a dividend then he denies US private individuals $4 billion!  A real vote winner that.


June 11, 2010 Posted by | Blogs, Breaking News, Counterpoints, Ecology, Government, Health, Politics, The Economy, Travel, Updates | , , , | 5 Comments

The Oligarch Kings…..The United Fruit Company…..The CIA…Coups…And Bananas…..

Although Rockefeller is best remembered for his oil money and his political family – his grandson was Vice President, he had interests in other monopolies too, copper, tobacco and perhaps least recalled – bananas.

He was the money in The United Fruit Company which appeared on the surface to be a fairly anodyne, if not stultifying boring firm engaged in trying to persuade the children of 50’s America in the health giving properties of milk and bananas.  Not exactly world shaking stuff.

Unless you had the misfortune to live in Central America.

The United Fruit Company had plantations in Columbia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Panama, Santo Dominica and most infamously Guatemala.  A number of these states have had problematic relations with the USA ever since.  At the height of its powers The United Fruit Company owned a staggering 42% of the entire country of Guatemala and paid not one cent in tax on any of it.

The company also owned the railways, the telephone system, the ports and a large fleet of ships build by some of the finest shipyards in the world.

Not unsurprisingly the people of Guatemala took against this foreign domination, and when offered the opportunity in an election in 1951 to voice an opinion – voted in their droves for Jacobo Arbenz.  Arbenz had suggested the not overly revolutionary idea of buying out some of the lands that the Company was not actually using so that landless people might grow food to eat.  It wasn’t even appropriation.  Arbenz said he would pay them the agreed value The United Fruit Company stated on their own returns.  Cute!  I mean an American company would never ever undervalue its own assets for tax purposes now would it?

The company took umbrage at the utter impertinence of this jumped up peon and aided a coup of disaffected Guatemalan army officers who invaded from Honduras with covert assistance from the CIA in an operation known as PBSUCCESS.  They had persuaded Truman and Eisenhower that Arbenz was going to take the country over to the dark side and ally the country to the USSR.

So, who were these business men?  Well at the time of the Guatemalan coup we find the following closely connected with the board of United Fruit.

John Foster Dulles and the firm of Sullivan & Cromwell, had been legal council for the UFC for decades and John Foster Dulles was also a major shareholder in UFC.  And at the time John Foster Dulles was also the Secretary of State under President Dwight D Eisenhower.  Dulles’s grandfather had also been Secretary’s of State in the time of President Ben Harrison……


May 31, 2010 Posted by | Blogs, Counterpoints, Family, Food, Government, Law, Media, Men, Military, PoliticalDog Calls, Politics, The Economy, Travel, Updates | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Oligarchy Kings……America’s Financial Oligarchy……

Catch a falling buck and put it in your pocket never ever let it go….

I had been considering where the money for our young oligarchs comes from. Speculating on the possibility that they have decided to cover their bases in the financial sector, as well as the political,  I happed upon Lorimer Wilson’s excellent article“America’s Financial Oligarchy is still in control”.  Here he reprises Simon Johnson a chief accountant with the IMF in 2007 and 2008 who wrote “The Quiet Coup” in the May 2009 issue of the Atlantic magazine.

It is a little old, being from 6 April 2009, but as relevant today as then.  I recommend you read it.

“The crash has laid bare many unpleasant truths about the United States.  One of the most alarming is that the finance industry has effectively captured our government” says Johnson.  “If the IMF could speak freely about the US it would tell us what it tells all countries in this situation: recovery will fail unless we break the financial oligarchy that is blocking essential reform and if we are to prevent a true depression, we’re running out of time”.

Well, serious stuff indeed, and the rest of the article suggests various ways forward.  But I was struck by the idea here that there was also a Financial Oligarchy in the US to go along with the Political one.  Two oligarchies in the one country?  No.  I think it’s two aspects of the one oligarchy and that, should we decide to poke about on the boards of directors, we might start to meet all sorts of old friends.


May 26, 2010 Posted by | Blogs, Counterpoints, Family, Government, Media, Politics, The Economy, Updates | , | 2 Comments

Has She The Wright Stuff?….From The Oligarch Kings……

How strange.  Janet Rampton Warburton, the daughter of a former Governor of Utah Calvin Rampton, is urging Democrat voters to dump Democrat Representative Jim Matheson, himself the son of another former Governor of Utah Scott Matheson, in favour of what looks like a complete outsider.

Claudia Wright has forced Jim Matheson into a June 22 run-off in the primaries.  Fun or what?  Because Claudia comes over a deal more liberal than you’d expect most Utah politicians to be.  For starters she is an openly gay woman who lives with her partner.

But, and for the genealogically minded – this is the one killer fact, she is also noted everywhere you look, in papers, or on the web, as being the great, great grand-daughter of Brigham Young.  And way out (it never gets more way out than Utah) west that’s like saying you are descended from Moses.

Because in Utah you are.

Brigham Young is the big figure in the history and mythology of the coming of the Mormons to Salt Lake City.  His name is everywhere and portraits and statues are legion.  So far so good, but does that in itself mark her for interest in a blog on oligarchical political families?  It is also certainly true that Brigham had something between 27 and 60 wives and even I haven’t a clue how many children that produced, which alone might mean a fair family vote if they all stand behind the family candidate!

What might be less clear to outsiders is that shouting “Brigham Young knew my great great granny” also means “I am an oligarch”.


May 20, 2010 Posted by | Blogs, Family, Government, Media, Men, Other Things, Politics, Polls, Projections, Updates, Women | , , | 2 Comments

“Spoken From The Heart” by Laura Bush: A Book Review…from the Oligarchkings…….

From The Oligarchkings……

From I was struck by this volume in my local bookseller if, for no other reason than the slightly boss-eyed look of its author.  “Spoken from the Heart” by Laura Bush, the former First Lady should be a vivid insiders eye view of life within one of the most controversial White Houses of recent years.  It should be pulsing with tension, loaded with insight, and dotted about with little gems of indiscretion.

It is written, after all, by a woman passionate about reading.  Laura Bush, we were told, is avid for the cause of literacy and is herself a professional librarian.  So it was astonishing to find it “helped” by writer Lyric Winik.  A ghost!  Ye gods and little fish!

Oh dear, oh dear.

Still, between them, we are given a lyrical enough vision of growing up in small town Texas during the 50’s.  We get the life etched in wind and sand, we feel for the personal loneliness of this sensitive soul and empathised with her grief over that fatal car crash.  So far, so ok.

It’s once ol’ Gee Dubya hoves up on the scene that it all goes flat.  We don’t get what the attraction is.  So Laura what was it that attracted you to millionaire George Walker Bush?

Laura’s relations with the rest of the Bush clan are elided over.  Nowhere do we get her oft quoted nickname for Barbara Bush of “Don Corlione”.  The booze is whitewashed, and we just see the domestic routine of dull, boring people.  She seems not to get the strength of the feelings that GW roused in people, and only gives us platitudes about it all working out for the best.

Even the anecdotes are feeble.  The best (and boy did I have to look hard) is that on a trip to Germany for a G7 conference, GW got food poisoning and had to have a lie down.  A lie down?  Dear grief woman is that it?


May 13, 2010 Posted by | Blogs, Counterpoints, Entertainment, Family, Government, Media, Men, Politics, Updates, Women | , , | 3 Comments

Guess Post from the Oligarch Kings……Bob Bennet……

The Dog is happy to feature a new post from another site……

Let me know what you think……

The latest shock story regarding the up coming mid-term elections is that three term veteran Senator Bob Bennett (R-Utah) has been bounced off the listing at the primaries stage.  It was known that the Senator had been fingered as the target of Tea Party activists intent of stripping out the more liberal Republicans from the elections.

At 76 Bob wasn’t exactly in the first flush of youth, so you had to wonder how long the old chap intended to remain as Senator. Also, his giving Wall Street a bail out and his cross-party support of health care did rather make him a marked man.

So why am I, and why is this blog, interested in the tribulations of old Bobby Bennett?  Well, Bennett is an oligarch, a member of old established elite families in his area of the Mid West.  Most people might remember his father, Senator Wallace Foster Bennett, also Senator for Utah.

Some might even have heard that grandpappy was Heber J Grant, one time member of the Legislature and long-time (1918-1945) President of the Mormon church.

But it’s through his great- grandfather that we find the real interest.  David Hanmer Wells was the Mayor of Salt Lake City and in good Mormon fashion married six wives.  One, Louisa Ira, had also married John D Lee and we met Mr Lee before in my posting “Oodles of Udalls” on 24th May.


May 9, 2010 Posted by | Blogs, Family, Government, Media, Men, Other Things, Politics, Updates | , | Leave a comment