Radically Inept
Friday, March 26, 2004
  Conflict of Interest? The LA Times has this article, Perchlorate Information Withheld, Suit Alleges by Miguel Bustillo, that I found through a newsletter I get from Center For Public Environmental Oversight.
The Bush administration is illegally withholding information about the ill effects of ammonium perchlorate, a rocket fuel ingredient that has tainted water supplies in at least 29 states, according to a lawsuit filed Wednesday in L.A. by the Natural Resources Defense Council.

The environmental group contends that the administration has broken the law by failing to turn over documents in response to requests for perchlorate-related records under the Freedom of Information Act...

...Studies of laboratory rats have shown that tiny doses of perchlorate can affect the thyroid's production of hormones crucial to development in early childhood. However, the level at which it poses a danger to humans is unclear.

Now I a have a few of problems with this (besides how the lead paragraph is worded; I'm allowed to editorialize, I don't want my news to do so). First, this administration's continued efforts to stifle the people's right to access environmental health information, whether or not it is true in this particular case, the administration has a policy of finding reasons for not complying with any FOIA requests unless forced to comply. Second, I have been following the perchlorate contamination issue for sometime, the administration appears to be once again practicing their policy of 'sound' science, which is code for "make the science fit what we want". Third, is what I alluded to in the title, the appearance of a conflict of interest.The fact that Papa Bush is a member of the Carlyle Group which is reportedly the 11th largest US defense contractor. And its membership reads like a who's who of former high ranking officials of past administraions, both here in the US and England:
The Carlyle Group : Senior Management Team: "Team Members
Chairman Louis V. Gerstner, Jr.
Chairman of Carlyle Europe The Rt. Honorable John Major, CH
Chairman Emeritus Frank C. Carlucci
Founders William E. Conway, Jr.
Daniel A. D'Aniello
David M. Rubenstein
Senior Counselor James A. Baker, III
Senior Advisors Richard G. Darman
Arthur Levitt"

And, in this case coupled specifically with this item:

The Carlyle Group: Aerospace & Defense Investments: "For more than a decade, Carlyle has been the leading private equity investor in the aerospace and defense industries completing 27 transactions representing a combined purchase price of more than $5.8 billion."

So, if I'm Baby Bush, not only does my father and his friends stand to lose big if perchlorate is found to be a pollutant on the magnitude of what many scientists believe it to be, and then are subsequently held liable for damages and clean up, but I stand to lose a sizeable chunk of my inheritance. And, I'm just not sure why the American media isn't on this. There is plenty of coverage in the 'fringe' media, but I've really heard nothing in the mainstream, though even the Economist, hardly a member of the American SCLM, had this Economist.com | The Carlyle Group to say in its June '03 article, "The Carlyle Group: C for capitalism":
"You need not be a conspiracy theorist, though, to be concerned about what lies behind Carlyle's success. Can a firm that is so deeply embedded in the iron triangle where industry, government and the military converge be good for democracy? Carlyle arguably takes to a new level the military-industrial complex that President Eisenhower feared might “endanger our liberties or democratic process”. What red-blooded capitalist can truly admire a firm built, to a significant degree, on cronyism; surely, this sort of access capitalism is for ghastly places like Russia, China or Africa, not the land of the free market?"

In fact, I was surprised that the US SCLM media did not make a big deal of this from the outset, when Baby Bush was appointed president.

Though this is not specifically a perchlorate item, fourth, considering the range of weapon systems, military equipment and vehicles the Carlyle Group produces, how much directly does Baby Bush stand to inherit from this endless war? Every time an item is damaged or destroyed a replenishment order is generated, and I have no idea but I bet if someone were to give me a penny on the dollar, I would be extremely happy.

So, the current situation concerning the administration's unwillingness to allow the EPA to establish a perchlorate standard, coupled with its refusal to allow citizens to know the extent of the contamination whcih potentially affects the health of their children, make me at least wonder, is it all to protect the Bush family wealth? Should not the president of the US be beyound these doubts of conflict of interest?

Well, don't worry, when these matters go to court, and ultimately to the Supreme Court, we can expect to find impartial, Air Force 2, duck hunting justice.

Ah, the first rant of the day feels good.  
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