Archive for the ‘National’ Category

“My Man Mitch” – “Dick Cheney’s Dick Cheney”

September 28th, 2009 1 comment

Lawrence Wilkerson looks at Shirley Anne Warshaw’s new book The Co-Presidency of Bush and Cheney. This is a comprehensive rendering of the Cheney’s evisceration of the country’s regulatory system, where my Governor, Mitch Daniel’s appears in a supporting role and referred to as “Dick Cheney’s Dick Cheney.”  This portrait gives the moniker “My Man Mitch” a whole new meaning.

via [ The Washington Note ]

Whether oil, gas, forestry, mining, fisheries, national parks, clean air, pharmaceuticals, food, endangered species – you name it – Cheney was the kingpin in the dismantling of relevant oversight and regulation.

Cheney managed this principally by putting into the regulatory or oversight positions within the executive branch of our government, people who either hailed from long service in the industry or field they were overseeing or regulating, or who had lobbied for that industry or field for long years, or a combination of the two.

Not content to have CEQ, EPA, the Departments of Energy, Agriculture, and Interior at his beck and call, Cheney went after the real seat of executive power – the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

The OMB was the ultimate reviewer of all proposed regulatory changes. Its director, Mitch Daniels, as Warshaw points out, was referred to as “Dick Cheney’s Dick Cheney.” Daniels, coming from the huge pharmaceutical company Eli Lily, knew big business. Sean O’Keefe, another Cheney man, was OMB’s deputy. And with John Graham and, later, Susan Dudley in the key regulatory positions at OMB, Cheney had a winning hand. Graham at Harvard and Dudley at George Mason University had both made names in risk management analysis concerning industrial pollution and corporate malfeasance that were shamefully full of holes but extremely pro-business.

In the case of Dudley, the analyses were underwritten by such sponsors as ExxonMobil and BP Amoco. From their positions in OMB’s office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Graham and Dudley gave Cheney the ultimate power to oversee and check if necessary almost everyone in the bureaucracy concerned with regulation-writing.

The Washington Note

A Local Impact
National policies are not abstractions when your community sits on the worlds greatest fresh water resource managed by several international treaties and is the home to three of the largest, wealthiest, and to a measurable degree dirtiest multinational industries; BP, ArcelorMittal, and US Steel. This is how policies have location with real effects. The legacy of Cheney’s energy task force and environmental policies continue today unopposed, and this has a real negative effect for East Chicago.

East Chicago is the site of BP’s Canadian Crude project. The BP project is GROUND ZERO for concentrating highly negative environmental impacts in a poor minority community while directing benefits elsewhere.

Recently BP convened the “Good Government Initiative,” essentially cutting-off political opposition to there project while simultaneously walking behind the public process to extract a tax abatement from East Chicago without a single public hearing. BP also effectively pushed through a flawed NPDES permit without a single political eyebrow raised, editorial written, or an environmental group objecting in Indiana. Instead of calling foul regional leaders, including the regional news paper – NWI Times, rallied behind BP against out-of-state opposition, by citing the bad environmental stewardship of others.

Categories: National, State

What Happened to Obama’s Office of Urban Policy?

April 28th, 2009 No comments

Matt Yglesias points me to the Root

I am also concerned:

In November 2008, less than one week after winning the votes of city dwellers by a margin of 28 points, President-elect Barack Obama announced he would reward them by creating the first-ever “White House Office of Urban Policy.” Like other new aspects of Obama’s executive branch, appointing a city czar was intended to fast-track communications among city governments, federal agencies and the White House. With great fanfare, Obama dispatched his friend and fellow Chicagoan Valerie Jarrett to tell America that he was making good on his campaign pledge to “stop seeing cities as the problem and start seeing them as the solution.”

The Root: What Happened to Obama’s Office of Urban Policy?

Categories: National, Urbanism

We Need a Kruschev Moment:

April 22nd, 2009 No comments

There are those who think America is on the verge of a Gorbachev moment of peaceful change or revolution. If we remember correctly Gorbachev came decades after Kruschev exposed the horrific and hidden crimes of the Stalinist era. Now, America can not in any way be compared to the Stalin era, but there are systematic crimes that do need to be surfaced to allow America to make the necessary institutional changes and confront the challenges in the coming decades. Otherwise, these institutions will continue wasting public energies fortifying themselves against exposure – Cheney and covering up his role in the energy task force, an illegal war in Iraq, lies about WMDs and Saddam’s relationship to Al-Qaeda, torture, is just ONE example. These entities are clogging up our bureaucracy and not contributing to solutions as America addresses the present challenges. I can not say how this will occur, and yes, I am excited about the prospect of getting beyond a kind of perestroika towards achieving great things.   


David kurtz over at Talking Points Memo hit-on an ancient sore spot from the cold war era with his post Time Marches Slowly.

It still rankles me two decades after the fact that Bill Casey died before he could be held to account in the Iran-contra scandal. Here’s hoping that Rummy and Cheney live long enough for the wheels of justice to finish grinding.

I completely concur with David’s sentiment.

If memory does not fail me, Casey suffered a seizure while being examined by a CIA physician the day before he was to testify before the House Select Committee on Intelligence. He died of a minor surgical procedure not Brain Cancer as stated at wikipedia.

Didn’t Casey’s surgeon also die a few weeks later?

   – just saying

Categories: National

The Bayh Bulletin: “We Prefer a GOP Budget”

April 3rd, 2009 1 comment

There goes my senator. 

Bayh and Nelson: We Prefer a GOP Budget | TPMDC.

I noted earlier that two of the Senate’s most conservative Democrats–Evan Bayh and Ben Nelson–voted against the Democrats’ budget. That’s not terribly surprising. The resolution wasn’t vulnerable to a filibuster, their votes weren’t strictly necessary, and, whether they were ideologically opposed to the measure that passed, or adhering to the demands of their conservative constituents, or bending to the whims of special interests, voting “no” allows them to say they voted “no” without necessarily wedding themselves to an alternative proposal.

Enter Mike Johanns, the freshman Republican senator from Nebraska whoseamendment preventing the Senate from passing climate change legislation through the reconciliation process passed on Tuesday.

He also authored a different measure–not an amendment, but a “motion to recommitt”–which would have scrapped the budget that passed and replaced it with a much more conservative version. Most significantly, it would have indexed non-defense, non-veterans discretionary spending to the expected rate of inflation. It failed 43-55–for all intents and purposes a mirror image of the vote on the final budget resolution. Which is to say that Bayh and Nelson voted for the “Johanns Budget”.

I don’t have all the details of the Johanns budget just yet, but will pass them along when I do. And I’ll place a call for comment to Bayh’s and Nelson’s staffs to see if there’s more to this than simply that the two would have preferred Johann’s budget to the Democrats’.


UPDATE: I noticed on april 8th a sudden increase in hits on the Bayh Bulletin coming from Washington D.C. just saying…

Categories: National

Nothing but Brinksmanship

February 24th, 2009 No comments

Strategy of brinksmanship overtakes free-market ideologues in the Republican party resulting in a massive anti-intellectual backlash. In the stimulus debate republicans relegated themselves to opposing the President at the expense of the health and welfare of the nation. With these tactics there is no way to policy. Just saying….


Boehner, House Republican Leaders Call for Federal Spending Freeze to Address Growing Budget Deficit

Categories: National

Katrina: Timeline

September 12th, 2005 No comments

For a good timeline on the events surrounding Hurricane Katrina visit Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo.

Categories: National