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Tuesday, April 27, 2004

There's a deep mystery surrounding Dick Cheney's energy task force, but it's not about what happened back in 2001. Clearly, energy industry executives dictated the content of a report that served their interests.

The real mystery is why the Bush administration has engaged in a three-year fight — which reaches the Supreme Court today — to hide the details of a story whose broad outline we already know.

One possibility is that there is some kind of incriminating evidence in the task force's records. Another is that the administration fears that full disclosure will highlight its chummy relationship with the energy industry. But there's a third possibility: that the administration is really taking a stand on principle. And that's what scares me.

Could there be a smoking gun in the records? Well, maybe Mr. Cheney was already divvying up Iraq's oil fields in 2001, but I'd be surprised to find anything that clear-cut. It's more likely that the administration fears that releasing the task force's records would alert the public to the obvious.

Those of us who have been following such things know that the Bush administration is so deeply enmeshed in the energy industry that it's hard to know where one ends and the other begins. Campaign contributions are part of it, but it's also personal: George Bush and Dick Cheney are only two of the many members of the administration who grew rich by relying on the kindness of energy companies. Indeed, the day after the executive director of Mr. Cheney's task force left the government, he went into business as an energy industry lobbyist.

In return, the Bush administration has given energy companies a lot to celebrate. One policy decision alone, effectively scrapping "new source review" in regulating power plant pollution, is worth billions of dollars to industry donors.



Paul Krugman's latest column from the Times. One of his less fanciful pieces, but one that's pointing out some scary bullshit the administration's been pulling. Which too few of us are aware of, it seems.

Go, read. You might have to go through the registration, but it's free, and your head will be a little smarter for it.

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All Contents Copyright 2008 W.H.Hardwick