September 9, 2007

Hmm, nice to have friends

In high places. Why, I remember in the olden days, whenever one of Clinton's friends got a contract or cushy job, they were referred to as a FOB (Friend of Bill) and that wasn't meant as a compliment. One of the more amazing aspects of the Bush administration has been their ability to disparage aspects of the Clinton admin and then do that same thing, only worse without consequence. Clinton was accused of being in campaign mode constantly--Bush and Rove made them look like amateurs. Republicans liked to accuse Clinton of politicizing everything (even though on many key policy issues, Clinton actually hired and listened to experts)--Bush and Rove and Cheney indeed have politicized everything from climate studies to reproductive health. Or the actual Department of Justice, which even the sleazy Bradley Schlozman admitted hired only partisan hacks:
Bradley Schlozman, the former Justice Department official and U.S. attorney who's been at the center of the firings controversy, admitted that he'd once urged hiring certain prosecutors for his office based on their political affiliation. It's against civil service laws to do so.

So how has Bush dealt with the pesky "Lincoln Bedroom" scandal? I have no idea if he sold it to the highest bidder, but he has done much, much worse. As Rajiv Chandrasekaran demonstrated in Imperial life in the Emerald City, Iraqi Reconstruction jobs went to Bush loyalists even if they were idiots. Applicants were asked about their stance on Roe v. Wade, and others undertook an anti-smoking campaign rather than trying to just stop the killing.

Oh, and the corruption and fraud? Yeah, Bush has responded to that, hasn't he? Yes, by punishing whistleblowers. Nothing makes corruption and fraud disappear when you punish those who point it out.

So, with that background, you can understand why I am a bit skeptical when I read on TalkingPointsMemo that an Oil company from Texas (Hunt Oil) has secured a contract to extract Kurdish Oil supplies. Hell, it might be a good deal for everyone, I don't know. Might help the Kurds, and might add to regional stability. I have no idea. But Josh looked at Mr. Hunt's bio:
'In October 2001 and again in January 2006, Mr. Hunt was appointed by President George W. Bush to the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board in Washington, D.C.'"
I am not naive. I know this occurs on both sides of the aisle. But what puzzles me is that from the very beginning with Haliburton and Brown and Root, or through the outsourcing of Walter Reed, these people have actually made no pretense of anything other than helping their rich friends.

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