|for GAS CRISIS...|
in today's New York Times..."WAYNE, Mich., June 27 -- Gov. George W. Bush of Texas said today that if he was president [sic], he would bring down gasoline prices through sheer force of personality, by creating enough political good will with oil-producing nations that they would increase their supply of crude. "I would work with our friends in OPEC to convince them to open up the spigot, to increase the supply," Mr. Bush, the presumptive Republican candidate for president, told reporters here today. "Use the capital that my administration will earn, with the Kuwaitis or the Saudis, and convince them to open up the spigot.""
in Bush Watch on March 9..."The sub-text of these remarks is the relationship Bush's father has with members of the OPEC alliance, relationships forged over many years as oil entrepreneur, vice-president, and president. Some who heard Bush's remarks may have been unsure about ["our friends"]. Was Bush talking about the U.S. relationship with OPEC or his family's relationsip with those who are in a position to manipulate U.S. oil prices if they so choose?...What better time, then, to...call in some family chips and [gain] some informal understandings leading to increased oil production, thereby lowering domestic costs and impressing a grateful electorate." It gets even better below.
BUSH OIL SCANDAL? BUSINESS BUDDIES REWARDED.
"George W. Bush's call last year to help beleaguered independent oil producers resulted in a $1 million tax break for the company of former Bush business partner Richard Rainwater, according to state records. Pioneer Natural Resources Co., based in Irving, was the biggest beneficiary of the tax cut, which Mr. Bush expedited with an emergency declaration because of low oil prices. Mr. Bush urged the Legislature to take action to help small oil producers because of "desperate conditions" in the oil patch. According to state tax records, Pioneer reaped a $1 million savings in severance taxes, the most of any company that got relief. Mr. Rainwater engineered a 1997 merger that created the company and is its largest single individual stockholder.
"It's a practice we see throughout this administration," said Tom Smith of Public Citizen, a nonprofit consumer watchdog group. "We have to ask whether or not this is another opportunity for Bush to benefit his business buddies." ... Mr. Rainwater, a $100,000 contributor to Mr. Bush's 1994 gubernatorial campaign, was a partner in the Texas Rangers and other energy and real estate concerns with Mr. Bush. Records indicate the partnerships accounted for most of Mr. Bush's earnings before he was elected governor in 1994. The subsequent sale of the Texas Rangers in 1998 earned Mr. Bush $16 million on a $600,000 investment and has provided the bulk of his wealth, according to tax records. In a 1994 interview, Mr. Rainwater said, "George Bush happens to be one of about 100 people that can make the statement that their involvement with Richard Rainwater has had a very positive effect."
"The call for emergency tax relief for the oil industry was Mr. Bush's first action of the 1999 legislative session. Backers said the bill would keep small, semi-productive wells open.... "The Texas oil and gas sector was in a desperate situation last year and he supported the legislation to help small independent producers and their oil field workers and their families," said Scott McClellan, a Bush campaign spokesman. According to tax records from the state comptroller's office, Pioneer received the largest tax cut, followed by Chevron ($722,000), Texaco ($632,000), Exxon ($449,000) and Union Oil of California ($330,000).
"It was dressed up as for the little guy, but it was evident from everything it was going to be the big boys who would benefit from it, the ones who support the Republicans and the governor," said Rep. Kevin Bailey, D-Houston.... Tom Brown Inc. of Midland, which is headed by Mr. Bush's campaign finance director, Don Evans, was listed in state records as receiving an $18,466 tax cut.... "He makes his decisions based on what is right for Texas," said Scott McClellan, a Bush campaign spokesman. "And as president he will make his decisions on what is right for America." --Wayne Slater
by Politex, Bush Watch (www.bushwatch.com)
People are starting to get real antsy about the rising price of oil, particularly those voters who have invested in SUV's and are finding their commutes to be getting nearly as costly as their mortgage payments, as the price of gasoline begins to near the $2/gallon mark. This is a great time for one of the presidential candidates to step in and save the day, gathering in November IOU's from the voters at the same time. George W. Bush, for one, probably thinks that would be a great move, particularly since, in the mind of at least one economic pundit, he was instrumental in causing the shortage in the first place. But before getting to that, let's look at Bush's strategy for solving any U.S. oil shortage.
Writing in the Washington Post on Wednesday, March 8, David Ignatius said that Bush's plan would be to tap the government's Strategic Petroleum Reserve, which has been understood to be a buffer against a shortage during a time of war. Ignatius states that Bush said using the reserve to bring down the cost of heating fuel "was an option we should consider" back in December, causing Steve Forbes to ask, "Why wait?" At that point the cost of heating oil for primary voters was going up as the cold weather was beginning to set in.
At present, however, Ignatius doesn't think Bush's December plan was such a good idea: "What kind of free marketeers are these Republicans? They would take an oil reserve that has been acquired and maintained at great cost--to provide a strategic buffer against a foreign oil embargo or other supply interruption--and dump it on the market to suppress a short-term spike in prices. It's a seriously bad idea, and also a sign of the times." Not to worry, because by the evening of January 27 during the Manchester, New Hampshire debaate, Bush wasn't suggesting that option at all.
On the previous day Energy Secretary Bill Richardson told reporters that the Strategic Petroleum Reserve was not for sale, since it was needed for emergencies much more severe than the rising cost of heating fuel. Bush concurred: "I agree with the energy secretary that the Strategic Petroleum Reserve is meant for a national wartime emergency." Bush went on to suggest that in the long run we should become less dependent on OPEC by putting more money into exploration, and in the short run we should back the low-income heating assistance program.
Dubya was also asked what pressures should be placed upon OPEC to increase production, and here it gets interesting: "The president of the United States must jawbone OPEC members to lower the price. And if in fact there is collusion amongst big oil, he ought to intercede there as well...We've got good relations with a lot of members of OPEC. If the president does his job, the president will earn capital in the Middle East and the president should have good standing with those nations...It needs to be explained to them it's in their best interests. And I will do so." The sub-text of these remarks is the relationship Bush's father has with members of the OPEC alliance, relationships forged over many years as oil entrepreneur, vice-president, and president. Some who heard Bush's remarks may have been unsure about the "we." Was Bush talking about the U.S. relationship with OPEC or his family's relationsip with those who are in a position to manipulate U.S. oil prices if they so choose?
In the March 6 issue of Barron's, gadfly economist Alan Abelson makes a seemingly preposterous assertion, then goes on to consider its merits: "Crude conspiracy. That's what's behind the spectacular rise in oil prices. And that's why we poor suckers are paying over $2 for a gallon of heating oil and soon will be paying that much for gasoline. Oh, we know it sounds like another of those nutty notions cooked up by weirdos wearing beanie caps crowned by little whirling propellers. But trust us, it's the truth! The wonder is, it's so darned obvious, how in the world has it escaped exposure? Who are the conspirators? We won't beat around the bush -- especially since George W. happens to be one of them. The others: Alan Greenspan and the born-again cartel known as OPEC. Far-fetched? Perhaps. Logical? You bet."
With respect to Bush's part in the "conspiracy," Abelsoon conjectures that OPEC's " movers and sheikers owe his dad for saving their skins (and their billions) back in '91." (For confirmation of the Bush influence in the Middle East, see Elizabeth Mitchell's description in "W: Revenge of the Bush Dynasty," 262.) And what Bush will get out of it is obvious, according to Abelson, an incensed electorate who will blame their exorbitant gas and oil costs on the Clinton-Gore administration, earning Bush valuable votes in November. But wait, Mr Abelson, there's more.
Now that Bush's Super Tuesday victories have turned the roiling Republican waters placid, at least until the national convention where McCain plans to use his delegates to fight for changes in the party platform, the Texas governor can follow through with his previously-announced plan to journey abroad, a kind of post-graduate trip to brush up on the names of those obscure world leaders. What better time, then, to visit the OPEC countries, call in some family chips, and return to the United States with some informal understandings leading to increased oil production, thereby lowering domestic costs and impressing a grateful electorate. Then Bush could begin the next stage of his campaign promising the voters more of the same leadership if he were to be elected president. 3/9/00
Image by Wizard of Whimsy (c)2000
1st in Children without Health Insurance %...1st in Toxic Air Releases...1st in Smog Days (Houston)...1st in poorest counties(3)...3rd in Hunger %...5th in Highest Teen Birth Rate...41st in Breast Cancer Screenings...45th in Mothers Receiving Pre-Natal Care...46th in Public Libraries and Branches...46th in High School Completion Rate...46th in Water Resources Protection...47th in Delivery of Social Services...48th in Literacy...48th in Per Capita Funding for Public Health...48 in Best Place to Raise Children (29th before Bush)*...48th in Spending for Parks and Recreation...48th in Spending for the Arts...49th in Spending for the Environment...50th in Women with Health Insurance...50th in Teachers' Salaries plus Benefits...
*Children's Rights Council. further documentation
Only one accredited child-care center exists for every 2,637 children. A fourth of children still are not immunized by age 2. --Texas Freedom Network.