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The Gantseh Megillah

The Outspeaker

The unanswered questions regarding the Bush administration have continued to pile up in self-evident heaps. They are surpassed only by those questions that a servile press and what used to be the legislative branch of what used to be our government have not even asked. Very well, I have one that I have been asking myself for a few weeks. It concerns the much-discussed “Ports Deal” that has taken center stage in the three-ring circus of scandals that has become the Bush presidency.

The controversy, if the media is to be believed, seems to be centered solely on the issue of what particular foreign nation controls our ports. I have waited for weeks for some “journalist” or “statesman” to ask the obvious question, but not until Andy Rooney did so on Sixty Minutes last night was I “scooped.”

Why in the name of all that is sane do we need ANY foreign government to run our ports? Aren’t there enough American companies and ex-politicians to do the job? Could this be one of the jobs referred to by Bush when he referred to “jobs no American wants to do?”

Perhaps someone, somewhere is getting paid big bucks to lease these ports to foreigners?

Let’s see: What American family has strong financial ties to Arab nations? Who, when he claimed to have just heard of the deal a few days before, threatened the radical step of vetoing any legislation that might block the deal? He seemed to have made up what passes for his mind just as surely as he had made it up three years ago about invading Iraq.

Yes, I am accusing the Bush administration, and our idiot president PERSONALLY, of self-serving, criminal conduct. I would call for immediate and detailed congressional investigation of any and all government officials involved in this stinking mess, but I am not given to futile exercises. There will be no investigation, no oversight, and no revelations. There will simply be business as usual, and I use the word “business” advisedly.

On the same theme, when Bush first took office, I noted that gasoline prices hovered somewhere around $1.30 per gallon. On the eve of the war with Iraq, I noted in my diary that the price for a gallon of gas at my local station stood at $1.13. Some four years later, the price is just under $2.50, and shows no sign of ever dropping to pre-war levels. Again, what family is heavily invested in the oil industry? What family has long-standing personal ties to Saudi Arabia and Kuwait? Are there any others in the present administration who might profit from high energy prices? In short, “who profits?”

Paranoid? Let’s see…

From the NYT:
“WASHINGTON, Jan. 22 - At a time when energy prices and industry profits are soaring, the federal government collected little more money last year than it did five years ago from the companies that extracted more than $60 billion in oil and gas from publicly owned lands and coastal waters.

“If royalty payments in fiscal 2005 for natural gas had risen in step with market prices, the government would have received about $700 million more than it actually did, a three-month investigation by The New York Times has found.”

The article goes on:

“As a result, the nation's taxpayers - collectively, the biggest owner of American oil and gas reserves - have missed much of the recent energy bonanza.

“The disparities in gas prices parallel those uncovered just five years ago in a wave of scandals involving royalty payments for oil. Between 1998 and 2001, a dozen major companies, while admitting no wrongdoing, paid a total of $438 million to settle charges that they had fraudulently understated their sale prices for oil.

“Since then, the government has tightened its rules for oil payments. But with natural gas, the Bush administration recently loosened the rules and eased its audits intended to uncover cheating.”

Paranoid? I think not.

Since it first seized power, this administration has missed no opportunity to screw the middle class and poor. It has consistently favored the interests of the wealthy over the well being of the citizenry at large. It has failed at every opportunity to protect the very people who need protection the most. It has failed miserably to protect us from national disaster, terrorism, and economic decline. It has made absolutely no effort to fix the abysmal mess that our health care system has become.

On and on it goes, revelation after revelation, the buffoonery rising to the level of burlesque, and yet there seems to be no consequences to the glaring ineptitude and malfeasance of an administration that has become a government unto itself. Congress has become a parody of what the “Founding Fathers” (who were far from perfect themselves, and in any case are all deceased and safe from the consequences of any mistakes they might have made) envisioned.

Congress must pry, investigate, question, and otherwise serve to check the powers of the other two branches of government. This charter extends, horror of horrors, even to those criminals in their own party! We are not a nation born of “bi-partisanship.” We arose as a result of sometimes acrimonious debate, and, yes, paranoia.

Thanks once more to my Megillah friends for your indulgence. As always, I welcome any and all comment.

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