Bitching Brew

Saturday, February 18, 2006

My last post on the Subcommander-in-Chief (I'm bored of him) - time to rake some muck.

The man Dick Cheney shot has apologised to Cheney... for getting shot. Strange days indeed. But anyway.

Interesting report here - from the non-partisan Center for Public Integrity - about the Vice-President's unusual approach to lobbyists and travel disclosure rules.

It's not as if those in Cheney's office don't indulge in the type of junkets that are routinely funded by private sources. Instead of accepting reimbursement for such trips like other government travelers, it appears that his office labels them "official travel." As a result, however, the public is kept largely unaware of where he and his staff are traveling, with whom they are meeting with and how much it costs, even though tax dollars are covering the bill.


The Office of the Vice President did not return repeated phone calls seeking comment on its travel disclosure policies for this report.

Funny, he wouldn't take my calls either. ;)

And you can find another enlightening CPI report here, this time on Cheney's work before he took office.

Under the guidance of Richard Cheney, a get-the-government-out-of-my-face conservative, Halliburton Company over the past five years has emerged as a corporate welfare hog, benefiting from at least $3.8 billion in federal contracts and taxpayer-insured loans.

One of these loans was approved in April by the U.S. Export-Import Bank. It guaranteed $489 million in credits to a Russian oil company whose roots are imbedded in a legacy of KGB and Communist Party corruption, as well as drug trafficking and organized crime funds, according to Russian and U.S. sources and documents.

How times have changed. (I'm talking about the first paragraph.) I presume "get-the-government-out-of-my-face" refers to Dick Cheney's face. Either that or he uses "the government", "the people" and "the media" interchangeably. Nah. Maybe I'm too harsh...

Halliburton and its subsidiaries have undertaken foreign projects in which Ex-Im and its sister U.S. bank, the Overseas Private Investment Corp., have guaranteed or made direct loans totaling $1.5 billion, mostly over the last two years. That compares with a total of about $100 million the government banks insured and loaned in the five years before Cheney joined the company.

Under Cheney, Halliburton—largely through its Brown & Root subsidiary—has garnered $2.3 billion in U.S. government contracts. This is almost double the $1.2 billion it earned from the government in the five years before he arrived. Most of the contracts have been with the U.S. Army for engineering work in a variety of hot spots, including Bosnia, Albania, Kosovo and Haiti.


If he becomes vice president, according to a Halliburton official who admires Cheney but asked to remain anonymous, "the company's government contracts would obviously go through the roof."

Give that official a promotion, I say! Foresight is a valuable commodity in the corporate world.

Though there is no evidence that Cheney has espoused business dealings with criminal organizations, Cheney has said publicly that the government should lift restrictions on U.S. corporations in countries that the U.S. government says have sponsored terrorism, such as Libya and Iran.

Oh wait - you want more information? It's not too hard to find. I took this from a conservative site - a reprint from an old International Herald-Tribune piece. Lexis-Nexis turned up an abridged version published at the same time in the New York Times.

Mr. Cheney called in June for the lifting of U.S. sanctions on Iran. He called relations between Iran and the United States a ''tragedy,'' adding that one of the best ways to improve ties would be ''to allow American firms to do the same thing that most other firms around the world are able to do now, and that is to be active in Iran.''

He added, ''We're kept out of there primarily by our own government, which has made a decision that U.S. firms should not be allowed to invest significantly in Iran, and I think that's a mistake.''

Under Mr. Cheney, Halliburton has become a leading member of USA Engage, a lobbying group that seeks to lift sanctions. Halliburton is also a member of the board of the National Foreign Trade Council, a lobbying group that recently won a victory in the Supreme Court, which struck down a Massachusetts state law imposing state sanctions on companies doing business in Burma.

Mr. Cheney's company has already done business in countries still facing U.S. sanctions, including Libya and Iraq, the enemy Mr. Cheney helped vanquish in the Gulf War.

Burma? Sickening. For some reason, I don't think that case was taken on libertarian principles, hmm? I know, there's nothing very revolutionary in this post. But people forget.

I'm starting to dislike this man...

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