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COLUMN SEVENTY-FOUR, AUGUST 1, 2002
(Copyright 2002 The Blacklisted Journalist)

TWO BY MOLLY IVANS

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THE BUSHIES: STUPID IS AS STUPID DOES---OR DOESN'T DO!

Subject: FW: Miz Molly: Stop digging
Date: Wed, 12 Jun 2002 09:58:04 -0700
From: "venire" venire@znet.com
To: info@blacklistedjournalist.com
 

>From
<http://www.workingforchange.com/article.cfm?ItemId=13414&CFID=1716714&CFTOK
EN=97273240>   

Stupefying Stance on Global Warming  
by Molly Ivins
June 6, 2002
Baltimore Sun

AUSTIN, Texas - Throwing around words like "fantastic" and "stupefying" is considered bad form outside the tabloid press. But I'm damned if I know what else to say about the news that the Bush administration has decided that global warming is indeed taking place and they are planning to do exactly nothing about it.

Here we are in the middle of wallowing in this maddening, haunting and probably useless exercise in "Why didn't somebody do something?" debate. Sept. 11 left quite a bit of spilt milk on the floor, but even that disaster will pale against the consequences of unchecked global warming.

Yet here are the Bushies announcing right here and now that they know this disaster is coming but will not do anything to stop it. They will not even do anything to slow it down or soften its impact.

According to The New York Times, the United States has reported to the United Nations that global warming will substantially alter our climate in the next few decades, but the report "recommends adapting to inevitable changes. It does not recommend making rapidreductions in greenhouse gases to limit warming, the approach favored by many environmental groups and countries that have accepted the Kyoto Protocol, a climate treaty written in the Clinton administration that was rejected by Mr. Bush."

For the first time, the Bush administration acknowledges that global warming is mostly caused by humans burning fossil fuels, but it proposes to do exactly nothing about it.

"Adapt to the inevitable changes"? The changes are not inevitable. The changes, according to scientists, can be mitigated, the effects ameliorated, and at the very least we can stop aggravating the potential catastrophe. The First Rule of Holes is that when you are in one, you should stop digging. To keep right on doing what is already causing disastrous consequences is either insane or profoundly stupid.

Environmentalists do not underestimate the difficulties the United States faces in trying to wean itself from fossil fuel. Pretty much our entire transportation grid is based on the gasoline engine. "Lay rail" is one thing we could do. Switch to cars with hybrid engines, increase fuel efficiency standards, change as rapidly as possible to renewable energy sources - the menu of alternative behaviors is already long and it works. We can cut greenhouse gases; we can even do it dramatically. We are not helpless.

We are, however, currently governed by an administration of oil executives and people whose main guiding principle seems to be opposing anything Bill Clinton favored. This is both pathetic and ridiculous.

Here's an idea. Under the right-wing legal doctrine of "takings," whenever the government does something that reduces the value of your property, you have a right to sue. Mr. Bush is in fact busily appointing judges who uphold this doctrine. One thing global warming will do is destroy an awful lot of property value. So let's sue the government now.

To fail to take action in the face of a recognized threat is not only incredibly stupid, but also legally actionable. Misfeasance, malfeasance and nonfeasance can all be alleged, reckless, irresponsible conduct, failure of duty ... a litany of charges.

"In the next few decades," says the report. Let's call it 20 years, so most of us can expect we'll still be here. We'll live to see the meadows and the marshlands gone, the coasts going under and blasted by hurricanes, the Southwest dead of thirst and the whole problem getting worse because nothing has been done to stop it.

And when they hold the great congressional investigation in 20 years to find out who knew and who should have done something about it, they won't have to subpoena documents from the CIA and the FBI, no energy company will need to shred the evidence, the White House won't have to stonewall, no cover-up will be needed - because we will find that it was all on the front pages 20 years ago.

And whom will we blame then for not doing something in time?

Molly Ivins is a columnist for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.  ##

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WHY ISN'T CHENEY BEING INVESTIGATED LIKE CLINTON WAS?

Subject: FW: Miz Molly: Why no Whitewater treatment over Halliburton?
Date: Sun, 16 Jun 2002 12:29:46 -0700
From: "venire" venire@znet.com
To: info@blacklistedjournalist.com
 

>From <http://www.dfw.com/mld/startelegram/news/editorial/3432437.htm>http://www.dfw.com/mld/startelegram/news/editorial/3432437.htm 

Posted on Sun, Jun. 09, 2002
Why no Whitewater treatment over Halliburton?
Molly Ivins

AUSTIN - The Securities and Exchange Commission is now investigating Halliburton -- the company formerly run by Vice President Dick Cheney -- for accounting irregularities. What took so long?

Dick Cheney's record at Halliburton is one of the most under-covered stories of the past three years. When you consider all the time and ink spent on Whitewater, the neglect of the Cheney-Halliburton story is unfathomable.

The proximate cause of the SEC investigation is an "aggressive accounting practice" at Halliburton approved by the accounting firm Arthur Andersen -- a little matter of counting revenue that had not yet been received, $100 million worth.

The New York Times reports two former executives of Dresser Industries, which merged with Halliburton in 1998, say Halliburton used the accounting sham to cover up its losses. Dresser may have thought it got a bad deal in that merger because of that $100 million "anticipation" on the credit line, but the deal turned out to be much more sour for Halliburton.

Cheney bought himself a former Dresser subsidiary facing 292,000 claims for asbestos-caused health problems. He said at the time the merger was "one of the most exciting things I've ever been involved in" and predicted it would benefit Halliburton's customers, employees and shareholders.

The first thing that happened was Halliburton eliminated 10,000 jobs. (It was always amusing to hear Cheney on the campaign trail in 2000 claiming he had been out in the private sector "creating jobs.")

According to executives at Halliburton, Cheney knew about the asbestos liability before the merger and considered the risk. Because of the liability, Halliburton's stock has fallen from more than $60 to under $20.

In January, the company had to deny rumors it was going into bankruptcy. In other words, Cheney pretty well ruined the business. Of course, what the company wants to do now is have Congress pass a new law limiting asbestos liability.

Even more interesting is Halliburton's governmental record under Cheney. In an August 2000 report, the Center for Public Integrity noted that Cheney had said publicly the United States should lift restrictions on American corporations in countries listed by the government as sponsoring terrorism.

Hey, that was then, this is now.

Despite repeatedly claiming his company would not do business with Iraq -- he was defense secretary during the Persian Gulf War -- Halliburton racked up $23.8 million in sales to Iraq in '98 and '99. It did so by using two European subsidiaries, so Halliburton was not directly violating the sanctions against Iraq.

Hey, it was business.

And striking another blow for freedom from government interference, Cheney led Halliburton into the top ranks of corporate welfare hogs, benefiting from almost $2 billion in taxpayer-insured loans from the U.S. Export-Import Bank and the Overseas Private Investment Corp. In the five years before Cheney joined the company, it got a measly $100 million in government loans. Cheney also specialized in getting government contracts for the firm. During his five years as CEO, Halliburton got $2.3 billion in contracts, compared to only $1.2 billion in the five years before he took over.

Most of the government work was done by Halliburton subsidiary Brown & Root, the construction firm, thus reinstating a fine old Texas tradition. Brown & Root was Lyndon Johnson's major money source: It was to LBJ what Enron was to George W.

This brings to mind a famous story from the Kennedy-Johnson campaign in 1960 relished by Texans. It's after the election, and the Democrats win. Kennedy and Johnson are sittin' in the Oval Office the first day, and the phone rings. It's the Pope of Rome (Texans used to specify "of Rome," lest you should confuse him with some other pope) on the phone. He says, "John, my boy, the Vatican roof is leaking something fierce, we were hopin' y'all might fix it for us."

"Of course, Mr. Pope, sir. Just let me check with my vice president. Lyndon, the Pope's on the phone and wants to know if we can fix the Vatican roof for him."

"That's fine with me," says Johnson. "Just make sure Brown & Root gets the contract."

Nice to see tradition reassert itself.

Molly Ivins writes for Creators Syndicate. 5777 W. Century Blvd., Suite 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045 ##  

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