Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Newest Beltway Scandal; Come On Down!


The Administration's bungling of Hurricane Katrina. Ouch!
The indictment of Lewis Libby. Ouch!
The death of the 2,000th American serviceman in Iraq. Ouch!
The dark clouds of faulty pre-war intelligence. Ouch! Now this:

Tomorrow's Washington Post is reporting--similar to the false reasons for war in Iraq that we suspected all along--that executives from Big Oil, indeed, participated in Vice President Cheney's ultra-secret Energy Task Force in the spring of 2001.

Dana Milbank and Justin Blum have obtained detailed Secret Service logs that show executives from Exxon Mobil Corp., ConocoPhillips, Shell Oil Co. and BP America Inc. met with the Task Force's executive director and an aide to Cheney at the White House.

In hindsight, it seems Sen. Ted Stevens' (R-AS) request not to swear in the five executives last week when they testified before the Energy and Commerce committee was a convenient stroke of luck for the oilmen. When Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) queried them about each companies involvement in Cheney's energy task force, three of the five flatly denied it, while BP America's CEO wasn't sure and Shell's CEO has only been on the job for a year.
Toward the end of the hearing, Lautenberg asked the five executives: "Did your company or any representatives of your companies participate in Vice President Cheney's energy task force in 2001?" When there was no response, Lautenberg added: "The meeting . . . "

"No," said Raymond [ExxonMobil].

"No," said Chevron Chairman David J. O'Reilly.

"We did not, no," Mulva said [ConocoPhillips].

"To be honest, I don't know," said BP America chief executive Ross Pillari, who came to the job in August 2001. "I wasn't here then."

"But your company was here," Lautenberg replied.

"Yes," Pillari said.

Shell Oil president John Hofmeister, who has held his job since earlier this year, answered last. "Not to my knowledge," he said.

Just how long can this precarious house of cards continue to stand before this administration topples in grand fashion? The American people are nearing critical mass in how much they will put up with from their President. Not only has this president betrayed the trust of the American people but now it's becoming more apparent that his policies were drawn up by ruthless, money-grubbing Oil companies bent of swindling every bit of the country's gas money.

If this sort of corruption continues to emanate from our Republican leaders, then pundits can forget about the demise of the Bush-style of governance in this country and begin to wonder whether a huge progressive renaissance is in our future.

We can only hope.


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