contemporary american politics are like latte’: the scum rises to the top. in an era marked by unprecedented derogation of duty by top public officials and the military, only the most egregious abuses of office at the very highest levels even make it past my transom these days. here’s the newest one.
fact: vice-president dick cheney has sealed records pertaining to the formulation of the bush administration’s energy policy. in doing so, the proceedings at these meetings between himself, administration officials and energy industry leaders have been made secret. the vice president doesn’t trust the public to know what oil company said what to whom at these meetings.
fact: the vice-president has many personal ties to the energy industry as well as the defense contracting / construction industries.
fact: the vice-president, while sitting in the second-highest office in the land, receives hundreds of thousands of dollars in checks from his former company, a defense contractor named haliburton.
fact: the president, while campaigning in 2000, used the private jet of kenneth lay (ceo of the disgraced enron corporation)
inference: the texas-based energy and construction industry has lots of friends in the white house. the most famously corrupt of these companies, enron, was so chummy with g.w. bush, the ceo lent him his private jet to help him get elected.
fact: the vice-president is being sued by watchog and environmental groups to unseal the records of those energy policy meetings. these groups are rightly concerned about the vice-president’s secrecy combined with his financial ties to the oil and energy industry. the lawsuit has proceeded to the u.s. supreme court, where it will be heard next month.
inference: the u.s. supreme court will take seriously the matter of the vice-president’s secrecy and will act on behalf of anyone not benefiting from any sweet deals cut at these secret meetings – in other words, act on behalf of the american people.
horrible, sickening fact defeating the previous inferece: u.s. supreme court justice anton scalia and vice-president dick cheney just went on a duck hunting trip together in louisiana.
i bet none of this makes much difference to the republicans in your workplace or family. because it’s clear that right now, we are in the middle of a grand experiment in distraction – how much can a corrupt administration get away with, anyway?
the real question is: what can’t they get away with?