Saturday, June 12, 2004

When you begin to look at both foreign and domestic policy in the Bush Administration over time, two things become clear. First, the direction of those policies represent a heist perpetrated on the American electorate of 2000. Second, the heist’s “inside man” is Vice President Dick Cheney (chief among the cabal of Rove, et al- The Oil Club, as a departed friend called them).

As for the existence of a heist—we’ve seen what happened in foreign policy. The war in Iraq was obviously planned well before September 11 and executed with the War on Terror as more a justification rather than a cause. Reading through accounts of early transition meetings and policy formation back in the wee months of Bush II make clear the inexorable direction of Iraq war policy. September 11 actually seems to have slowed down its implementation. The point is that this policy was formed without a mandate from the electorate. Did we hear about a plan to take on Saddam Hussein during the 2000 campaign? Did we hear that the US was about to drop any attempt to mediate peace between Israel and the Palestinians during the fall of 2000 and focus instead on putting American boots on the ground in the Middle East? Would most voters have entertained it?

Domestically, the Bush Presidential Campaign of 2000 stressed its moderate inclination. Was it planning to gut environmental regulations—not on your life fella! Would there be a willingness to work out economic policy in a big tent—You Betcha! Then, after taking the Presidency, the Administration turned around and met secretly with energy industry lobbyists until they’d worked out a plan to tear up environmental regulations and drill, drill, drill. Bush II cut off it’s own EPA Chief from said discussions and hung her out to dry by doing an about-face on promised carbon dioxide regulation, then pushed for power deregulation during a manufactured California energy crisis. They asked for quick approval of new dirty coal plants, because they were supposedly needed urgently. California was the bellwether, right?

Both fronts of hidden agenda have the handprint of Dick Cheney all over them. It should be inescapable to the close observer that Cheney is the handler-in chief. He’s responsible for recruiting his former boss, Donald Rumsfeld, to carry the big stick at Defense and seeing that while Colin Powell put a diplomatic spin on US policy abroad, that State had no substantive role in it’s formulation. He helped pack the White House OMB with hard-right economists like Larry Lindsey, while letting moderate Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill wait outside for smoke signals on tax policy, while the federal surplus turned into an enormous deficit. This White House is as much a reflection of poker-faced Dick Cheney as it is extreme and obsessed with secrecy.

You gotta hope that every supposedly moderate move made by the Administration during the upcoming election season gets the kind of press and electoral scrutiny that couldn’t be imagined four years ago.

You also gotta wonder how interested the President himself is in policy versus politics. Its almost as though the administration has divvyed up its work into Mr. Inside (Cheney) and Mr. Outside (the glad-handing President). Not that anyone should question George W. Bush’s credentials as an electioneering politician, but one really has to wonder about his level of interest in policy creation, beyond the “Big Picture.”

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

"I loved three things: drama, politics and sports, and I'm not sure they always come in that order."
-Ronald Reagan

"We were told four years ago that 17 million people went to bed hungry every night.  Well, that was probably true.  They were all on a diet."
--Ronald Reagan, 1964

"He (Reagan) demonstrated for all to see how far you can go in this life with a smile, a shoeshine and the nerve to put your own spin on the facts."
--David Nyhan, Boston Globe columnist

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

"We will not take any action that makes California's problems worse and that's why I oppose price caps."
President Bush, May 29, 2001.

Anybody think it's odd that it's taken three years to make the Enron tapes public, since the Justice Department has had them for most of that time? Guess not...

Sunday, June 06, 2004

Since I’m looking forward to seeing California friends soon, let’s dedicate this entry to them:

Anyone looking back to the “energy crisis” in California of a couple of years ago should really listen to the recently released audio tapes of Enron traders talking with West Coast power producers during that period. (WNYC-The Brian Lehrer Show June 4 History Lessons )

They are caught asking for generators to be taken offline “for 3 or 4 hours” at a time, while joking about shoving electricity rates “up grandma’s a**” in California during the calls.

Now I’ve got nothing against crude language spoken between traders and producers, go ahead, yuk it up. These tapes also show a willingness to break fraud laws, however, and that strikes me as an ethics problem. Not to mention how the supposed California “crisis” was a reason for the Bush administration to push more oil drilling, more hype about needing foreign energy, and of course, more deregulation of the power companies.

Since then we’ve had a massive East Coast blackout caused by, you guessed it, a largely unregulated power company, more relaxation of pollution standards, the collapse through fraud of Enron, a parade of former Bush Pioneer donors from said company to criminal court for fraud, and a little bitty war over, among other things, oil.

And now, the news that the California Crisis that caused their energy prices to go through the roof was manipulated in the first place.

Dunno about you, but I feel kinda used….

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