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  D.F.'s Column Archive
May 17, 2006
Halliburton: The Puppy Kickers Convene in Duncan

Who steals pennies from retired old ladies’ piggy banks, kicks puppies and boils small children to be served over toast at breakfast?


Halliburton. Of course.


The Company Once Headed By Vice President Dick Cheney (that is the official name) is in the business of showing up whenever there is a war, a disaster or just really bad stuff going on, and profiteering from same. Take, for example, when your neighbor stabs his wife to death. Who gets a $37 million contract to scrub the blood? Halliburton. Or when a nursing home is knocked down with a bulldozer in the middle of the night to make room for a combination Wal-Mart and Republican headquarters? Well who do you think changes the oil on that bulldozer?


You guessed it. Dick Cheney himself comes out and does it. Oh, I know, he hasn’t worked for Halliburton for six years. He “resigned.” And “sold his stock.”  Sure. Halliburton’s profit?  $78 trillion.


Legends are funnier than facts, and I would rather be funny than right, but Halliburton is actually an oil services firm that can do a lot of things no one else in America can do, which is how they end up getting those notorious no-bid contracts. (Show me a company that wants to go through a bid process instead of just getting a contract unopposed, I’ll show you a company you made up out of thin air.)


Halliburton also gets criticized for just about everything. Their profits. Their political affiliations. Their existence. You name it, someone doesn’t like it.


So when this dastardly crude cabal decided to book its annual meeting in Duncan, Oklahoma – well, people couldn’t stand for that.


“Halliburton is having its annual meeting in Duncan, Oklahoma! Duncan, Oklahoma! We can’t stand for this!”


“Right! We can’t stand for this!”               


“Definitely not!”


“Why can’t we stand for this?”




“What is our problem with their going to Duncan? I mean, I know, we protest everything Halliburton does. That’s why we’re the Halliburton Is The Devil Club. But usually we come up with some reason for the stuff we complain about. What’s wrong with Duncan?”


Hmm. A deep, contemplative moment at Halliburton Is The Devil Headquarters. Perhaps they should ask Maureen Haver, a spokeswoman for something called the Houston Global Awareness Collective. (Heard about the globe? Yeah. OK, you’re aware. Want to join our collective?)


Haver was arrested at last year’s Halliburton annual meeting, and is worried that she might not be able to repeat the stunt – er, act of civil disobedience – in Duncan. She might be on to something. Duncan’s population is just over 22,000, and they might need their police officers to focus on catching, you know, actual criminals? Besides, according to Haver, the Duncan police work for you-know-who.


"They're relocating to a city where they don't actually have to be accountable to their own shareholders," she said. "They're going to a town they have in their pocket."


Halliburton officials do offer a fairly plausible explanation for why they are holding their meeting in this quiet outpost. Apparently the company was – how shall we say? – founded there. Perhaps enough of a connection to convince critics that nothing untoward is going on here?


Please. What kind of critics do you think these people are? They know Halliburton is just trying to escape the spotlight. After all, Halliburton isn’t prepared for criticism. It’s so unaccustomed to it.


Annual shareholder meetings of public companies are bound to be seen by some shareholders as their annual opportunity to seize a moment in the sun.


“We shareholders are upset about executive pay!”


Duly noted.


“We shareholders want bigger dividends!”


We’ll look into that.


“We shareholders are upset at these massive, no-bid government contracts!”


Um, why?


Isn’t this what’s great about America? Anyone can own stock in a company they lambaste and criticize without having the slightest idea what they’re talking about. Anyone can show up and protest an event because it was located in a place that was impossible for protesters to find.


They say Halliburton executives will be staying in commoner hotel rooms in Duncan, the kind where the door leads to a parking lot. Those beasts! The anti-globalization kooks are looking for them at the Waldorf-Astoria – there’s a Starbuck’s in the lobby, you know – and they have no idea how to recognize a parking lot.


Which is just as well, because they’re going to bulldoze it anyway, and build a foundry to throw workers into. Don’t tell anyone. They like to keep a low profile.


© 2006 North Star Writers Group. May not be republished without permission.


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