The Kingdom of Thieves
August 21, 2004
By Richard A. Stitt
The unilateral, go-it-alone, every-man-for-himself, preemptive-strike
policies of the Bush/Cheney administration have set the tone and
the template for the greedy, profiteering, dog-eat-dog slime now
ripping off the Florida victims of Hurricane Charley. But it goes
With the recent profiteering and price-gouging in the aftermath
of Hurricane Charley many people in Florida are now realizing the
brutality between a "helping hand" and just plain opportunism and
However, greed is precisely what propelled the Republican Party
and the Bush administration into total control of our country. Those
who criticize the militant Bush neo- conservatives as overreaching
in their quest to transform the world, and especially the Middle
East, are accused of being un-American and unpatriotic
Similarly, critics of the so-called market forces and entrepreneurship
promulgated by the Ponzi Scheme Wall Street crowd are vilified by
the Bush defenders. Surely, one would agree that after 13 cuts by
Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan in the Fed interest borrowing rate for
the corporate fat cats (eleven of them in a row), a $1.35 trillion
tax cut for the wealthiest 10% of the population, massive tax breaks
and subsidies to corporate giants and agribusinesses, huge defense
spending outlays, and an unprecedented borrowing spree, there would
be some expected increase in consumer spending and thus a temporary
spurt in the nation's Gross Domestic Product (GDP). But the truth
is most American wage earners have seen their paychecks decrease.
Inflation and outsourcing of jobs and cutbacks in pension and health
benefits have caused the earnings of the majority of workers in
the US to drop, not rise, as it has with the wealthiest 10 percent
of the population. According to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS),
adjusted for inflation, the income of all Americans fell by 9.2
percent from 2000 to 2002.
One only needs to go back to the early days of the administration
to see the initial power grab by the corrupt corporate Republican
benefactors such as the Bush/Cheney-orchestrated price-gouging energy
rip-off of over $40 billion by their largest corporate contributor,
Enron (which eventually went bankrupt to the tune of $63 billion),
from the Western states in 2001 to understand the enormity of the
biggest swindle in the history of our country under the stewardship
During that period when Californians were urged by State and local
authorities to cut back and conserve as much electricity use as
possible, Cheney remarked that "conservation is just a personal
virtue" and scoffed at the notion that an increase from $35 per
megawatt hour to $3,000 per megawatt hour was anything but "fair
and reasonable." And when Bush was asked (begged) by the affected
states to order the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)
to cap the costs and price-gouging, Bush cynically shrugged off
those pleas and said that the "market forces" of supply and demand
were working as intended.
Thus, the gauntlet was thrown down early by this captious mob of
thieves and we have been paying the price ever since. Price-gouging
and profiteering, then, have not only become representative of the
Bush/Cheney politics of greed, but have become the hallmark of the
entire administration both domestically, where our federal budget
deficit alone is nearly $500 billion for the fiscal year ending
September 30, and in foreign policy, where nearly $200 billion has
been tossed down the black hole of Iraq reconstruction with no end
In an interview several days after Hurricane Charley roared through
Florida one person asked, "Why do people try to capitalize on other
people's hardship and misery? Of course it angers me. They see an
opportunity and, fine, if you want to make a little money. But there's
a limit. This is ludicrous."
But nothing has changed since the five activist U. S. Supreme Court
justices mandated the installation of the Bush/Cheney junta in the
White House in December 2000. Republicans typically disparage the
misfortunes of the hurricane victims just as easily as they did
when there were rolling blackouts in California and other Western
states during the "energy crisis" in 2001. Some claim, as we often
hear by the Bush/Cheney deputies on Screech Radio and Fox News Network,
that these unfortunate victims put themselves in this position.
They go on to denigrate their circumstances, proclaiming that they
are just a "Bleeding Heart Libruls" who deserve no "sensitivity"
or sympathy for their misfortunes.
G. W. Bush is facing a moral dilemma here since he has clearly
demonized the use of the word "sensitive" (even though he used it
himself once saying "America should be sensitive about expressing
our power and influence") in dealing with human tragedy. Far from
the message of "compassionate conservatism" which we heard during
the Republican campaign in 2000, he and his sardonic, sneering second-in-command
Dick Cheney have sharply criticized John Kerry's use of that word
when he described his plans to salve over serious rifts caused by
the Bush administration with once-friendly US allies.
The profiteers in Florida have learned well from their mentors.
The corrupt Bush/Cheney Camorra and their complicit, rubber stamp
Republican-controlled US Congress have dispensed untold and unaccounted
for US taxpayer-funded billions in no bid contracts to greedy, parasitic
corporations such as Halliburton and their subsidiary, Kellogg Brown
In Florida, the price-gouging extortionists and profiteers are
now pouncing like jackals and vultures on a decaying carcass. These
predatory practices in times past would have been harshly criticized
as criminal acts, punishable in our courts of law. But in the world
of Bush/Cheney, profiteering at the expense of the less fortunate
has been elevated and celebrated as a State virtue in a winner-take-all
climate of greed.
In the last lines of Percy Bysshe Shelley's sonnet, Ozymandias,
"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
Nothing beside remains.
Round the decay of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.
On November 2 an opportunity will be available for the voters to
cast aside the petty monarch, G. W. Bush, and send him back to Crawford,
Texas where he can erect a monument to the breathtaking greed for
which he and his kingdom of thieves so brazenly represent.