BRANDOLAND: Talking to God...For You!

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Bongo Goes to Washington

Quickly -

Have to deal with stuff this morning, but I thought you should know that --

Oil chiefs unfazed by Republican grilling

You didn't think they'd get scared, did ya?
Top executives from the oil industry are expected to stand their ground when they testify on Wednesday before Congress on the politically charged issue of high energy prices.


Although there were suggestions on Tuesday that one of the big companies might offer to hold emergency reserves of petroleum products, such as petrol, the mood of the executives headed to Washington was said to be unapologetic.

Mark Boudreaux, spokesman for ExxonMobil, hinted at the executives' line of defence, saying: “Washington operates in terms of two, four and six-year cycles.

We operate on decades.”


Among the industry leaders called to testify are Lee Raymond of Exxon, James Mulva of ConocoPhilips and Dave O'Reilly, Chevron's chairman and CEO.

Mr Raymond on Monday called on the US to take a long-term view of energy policy, and to spur the broadest possible development of resources to meet future demand.

He also dismissed the idea of energy independence, saying the US should instead diversifying overseas sources of oil and gas, deepen partnerships with foreign governments and expand global trade and investment. “No nation, including the United States, can insulate itself from global energy challenges,” he said.

One senior European executive was blunter:

“Oil companies already give enough. In terms of substance, Washington lawmakers will get nothing.”

The BIG story, though --

Lobbyist Sought $9 Million to Set Bush Meeting

And got it.

I'm chasing after the wrong career:
WASHINGTON, Nov. 9 - The lobbyist Jack Abramoff asked for $9 million in 2003 from the president of a West African nation to arrange a meeting with President Bush and directed his fees to a Maryland company now under federal scrutiny, according to newly disclosed documents.

The African leader, President Omar Bongo of Gabon, met with President Bush in the Oval Office on May 26, 2004, 10 months after Mr. Abramoff made the offer.
President Bongo?


(Insert bad joke here.)
There has been no evidence in the public record that Mr. Abramoff had any role in organizing the meeting or that he received any money or had a signed contract with Gabon.
No evidence in the public record.

Obviously, there's plenty of evidence in the, uh, private record.
In a draft agreement with Gabon dated Aug. 7, 2003, Mr. Abramoff and his associates asked that $9 million in lobbying fees be paid through wire transfers - three of them, each for $3 million - to GrassRoots instead of the Washington offices of Greenberg Traurig, the large lobbying firm where he did most of his work.

The agreement promised a "public relations effort related to promoting Gabon and securing a visit for President Bongo with the president of the United States."
Okay then.
White House and State Department officials described Mr. Bush's meeting with President Bongo, whose government is regularly accused by the United States of human rights abuses, as routine.
"You like baseball?"

"Yes. We see it on the TV."

"You guys have TV? Man, I learned something new today."
The officials said they knew of no involvement by Mr. Abramoff in the arrangements. Officials at Gabon's embassy in Washington did not respond to written questions.

"This went through normal staffing channels," said Trent Duffy, a White House spokesman, who said the meeting was "part of the president's outreach to the continent of Africa."
Normal channels.

Hopefully, the "normal channel" goes "Abramoff to Norquist to Rove."


More later.

"Here's a hat. 'Texas Rangers.' That's my team."

"I shall wear this proudly."

"Whaddaya know? You kinda look like 'El Duque.' But with a moustache."

"Excuse me?"

"Don't worry. He's a great player."


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