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Fitting salute to a fracking king 

LowDown

Rex Tillerson is mad. In fact, Fracking Mad.

This 61-year old farmer from Bartonville, Texas, is another victim of Big Oil's fracking boom that has invaded people's homes and lives from upstate New York to Southern California. Polluted air, contaminated water, depleted aquifers, multiple health problems and even an inexplicable epidemic of earthquakes are a few of the side effects caused by this massively destructive drilling process.

But the frackers hadn't counted on Rex getting mad, speaking out, and suing the bastards. What ticked off Tillerson was the erection of a 160-foot-tall water tower built by a company that can provide millions of gallons of water for fracking gas wells.

But Rex is no environmentalist, so his objection is not to the waste and contamination of people's water. Nor does he object at all to fracking. Rather, he's hopping mad because the 15-story tower stands above the tree line on his 83-acre, $5 million horse farm, spoiling his view.

Tillerson, you see, is not just some local dirt farmer. He says he and his wife moved here to have a weekend getaway so they can enjoy the rural lifestyle. He's not a farmer, at all — unless you count "farming the government" and harvesting billions of dollars in special tax breaks and subsidies. Rex (whose name means "king" in Latin), is the $40-million-a-year CEO of ExxonMobil.

Now, guess which oil giant is the biggest fracker in the U.S. Right? ExxonMobil.

So what we have here is a case of "phallic justice" — an upright, cylindrical water tower that's part of the fracking infrastructure, symbolically extending the middle-finger salute to ExxonMobil's CEO every time he visits his horsey farm. How fitting that a guy who's gained a personal fortune from the ugliness of fracking now has some of that ugliness right in his face.

Jim Hightower is the best-selling author of Swim Against the Current: Even a Dead Fish Can Go With the Flow, on sale now from Wiley Publishing. For more information, visit jimhightower.com.

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