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Counting On The Fear Premium
June 5, 2004
By Richard A. Stitt

Enron, the nation's seventh-largest company in 2001, and their accomplices like the Arthur Anderson accounting firm, are emblematic of the entire Bush/Cheney administration.

Remember Army chief Thomas White? He's now gone, but as a major executive officer with Enron he attempted to have Enron control all energy contracts with the US military and schemed to have Enron become the sole provider of electricity to all military bases.

Army Secretary Thomas White was a high-ranking Enron executive for 11 years and headed Enron Energy Services (EES), which investigators believe rigged California's energy market and cooked the books to inflate profits and cheat investors. According to several news reports, after taking office he had 77 phone calls with company insiders and sold millions in company stock shortly before the company's collapse vaporized the retirement funds of employees.

Although this was almost four years ago, little has changed. The entire administration has been, and is still, in collusion with Enron and former Enron executives in spite of the $63 billion bankruptcy. According to the Center for Public Integrity, Enron, even with a name change, is still Bush's second largest campaign contributor.

The Bush/Cheney administration is still in bed with the energy swindlers and they are the prime motivators behind Big Oil's extortion of the public and the run-up in the oil and gasoline prices which are affecting all Americans today. They toss out pallid little bits of propaganda claiming that these high prices are part of the terrorist "fear premium" which is adding, according to some energy analysts, to the price of a barrel of oil.

California was swindled out of more than $10 billion and businesses lost an additional $35 billion as a result of market rigging and skyrocketing energy costs in 2001, before the Enron bankruptcy.

It is no coincidence, then, that the "energy crisis" abated almost instantly once the Enron swindle unraveled.

In several instances during the summer of 2001 Dynergy, Reliant, El Paso Corp., and Enron, to name a few of the Bush extortionists, colluded to ratchet up electricity prices that exceeded $3,000 per megawatt hour in California.

Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham, and FERC Chairman Pat Wood conspired to punish California, Washington and Oregon, decreeing that the soaring prices were part of the market forces and that the exorbitant, obscene $3,000 per megawatt hour charged by their swindling, corrupt corporate contributors was "fair and reasonable."

Yet, it was Bush/Cheney who, almost immediately after assuming office in 2001, created the huge plummet in the stock market and caused the biggest energy crisis in history. By blind-siding the public, they hoped to hit them hard with the "crisis" and quickly force deregulation in the electricity markets and energy transmission systems and turn it all over to their corrupt corporate benefactors.

Although we are now being told that Iraq's oil output is higher than the prewar levels, one might logically ask where is the dividend to the American people, especially given the fact that oil prices were lower in April 2003 than they are now?

Soon, we will be treated to yet another insult and slap in the face as Scalia and the phalanx of five US Supreme Court lackeys who appointed Bush/Cheney to office via judicial fiat, hand down a ruling favoring the nondisclosure of the closed-door secret documents and proceedings that Cheney's Energy Task Force set up in early 2001. The outcome of this secretive panel ultimately resulted in the extortion of billions of dollars from electricity rate payers in several Western states.

Justice Antonin Scalia, duck hunting buddy of Dick Cheney and most admired by G. W. Bush, claims there is no conflict of interest in the Energy Task Force decision which he will soon rule on, even though he is personal friends with Cheney. He refuses to recuse himself from the case in which Cheney claims the public has no right to know this information and that his Energy Task Force participants must be kept secret.

Why should Scalia recuse himself when one of the justices, Clarence Thomas, personally appointed by the father of G. W. Bush, was one of the deciding votes which installed G. W. Bush in the White House?

In any other court in the land the appearance of a conflict of interest such as this would be absolute if a judge was appointed by either the defendant's or the plaintiff's father. It would never be tolerated. But, as has been the case with the Bush regime, they feel they don't need to play by any such rules.

Bush unilaterally and dictatorially prescribes his own laws, seeking out legal obfuscation to reinterpret the law's intent to endorse and authenticate his policies and mandates.

In order to circumvent constitutional statutes, Bush leans on the fealty of his Star Chamber of five Republican justices who have become nothing but boot-lickers to enforce his demands. This process has worked well for Bush, especially after 9/11, allowing him to effectively exercise his own monarchical, and self-perceived, prerogatives, particularly in defiance of civil liberties of the people and the US Constitution Bill of Rights.

In Bob Woodward's book interview, Bush is quoted as saying "I do not need to explain why I say things - That's the interesting thing about being the President. Maybe somebody needs to explain to me why they say something, but I don't feel like I owe anybody and explanation."

A recent such ruling came from the White House counsel in which Bush sought, and received carte blanche authority to incarcerate, interrogate and torture prisoners which are held at Camp X-ray, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. Though initially the Bush administration tried to confine the prisoner abuse charges to a handful of enlisted scapegoats it became clear, after some exhaustive investigative reporting, that the prisoner abuse authority rolled uphill, not down.

Alberto Gonzales, White House counsel, declared that Bush essentially could do whatever he wants, and decreed that the Geneva Convention Accords are "obsolete." Gonzales' memo reads, "In my judgment, this new paradigm renders obsolete Geneva's strict limitations on questioning of enemy prisoners and renders quaint some of its provisions..." The operating phrase, "renders obsolete" is all Bush needed to effectively engage in whatever means he and his defense secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, deemed permissible.

Therefore, anything goes, including torture. The beauty of it all is that Bush doesn't need to worry about congressional accountability because he has a compliant, gutless, right-wing Republican-controlled US Congress who are more protective of their Party and Bush/Cheney than they are in the security and welfare of our country.

In times past, with genuine statesmen who aspired to practice honor and integrity, this regime would have been impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors. But then again, these same statesmen would never have permitted the judiciary to subvert our democracy in the first place.

We can predict what the Energy Task Force decision will be: Scalia will be one of the deciding votes in a 5-4 ruling with the usual slam-dunk Clarence Thomas, William Rehnquist, William Kennedy and Sandra Day O'Connor standing firm against the Constitutional guarantee of the people's right to know the details and the corporate participants of the nation's future energy needs. These five will not be prone to rule against Cheney because they are not about to impugn their own flawed 2000 decision which usurped democratic rule and allowed the ascension of the Bush/Cheney regime to the White House.

As we edge closer to the November election, G. W. Bush is once again playing the Fear and Crisis cards. Last week, Attorney General John Ashcroft, encouraged no doubt by Karl Rove and Andrew Card, trotted out two-year-old information about seven al-Qaeda suspects, taking the public's pulse to determine just how far they might be able to craft their "new model" weeks before Election Day.

Though Jose Padilla has been incarcerated for over two years, we suddenly have new charges that he planned to blow up buildings in the US. However old this information is, it is important to Bush's DOJ that the public's memory is cold enough to think of it as newly discovered and therefore worthy of upping the anxiety level of the US population.

Now that we have lost the independent judiciary and now that our country is dominated by a gutless, compliant US Congress full of Bush toadies, Bush and his PR and communications handlers, Karl Rove, Andrew Card, Ed Gillespie, Karen Hughes and Dan Bartlett are fine-tuning their strategy of fear, terrorism and war forever.

With Bush's recent attempts at deflecting attention from the growing insurgent attacks, the daily civilian and US military killed and wounded in Iraq, we are witnessing only a preview of the "Fear Premium" as a test for Bush and his handlers to see just how much the public falls for it between now and November.

Judging by the response from Bush's false claims of Saddam Hussein's possession of WMD, the fallout from Alberto Gonzales' Abu Ghraib "state-authorized prisoner beatings" memo and John Ashcroft's pronouncements that the US will be "hit hard" this summer, the public has become more circumspect and more distrustful of a government which has demanded unchecked information into the personal lives of all Americans and absolute unchecked power over the people while objecting to and showing the utmost resistance to any accountability for their own secretive, duplicitous and disastrous policies.

But the biggest fear premium is yet to come for the Bush/Cheney regime: an election in November which will reestablish the right of the citizens to self-rule and the affirmation that the leaders in a democracy are still accountable to the people.

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