Smoke and mirrors

For a clear example of the current administration’s slight-of-hand, check out’s posting of an article titled “Gonzales says the Constitution doesn’t guarantee habeas corpus: Attorney general’s remarks on citizens’ right astound the chair of Senate judiciary panel,” by Bob Egelko, Chronicle Staff Writer on Wednesday, January 24, 2007.
And while you are checking it out, look carefully into the tight little corners in current politics. George W. Bush knows that he is the lamest of ducks at this point, so he will keep everyone distracted with the war and his puny and short-sighted suggestions on health care and energy that are all smoke and mirrors. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, he will set up escape routes for cronies and fortifiy protections for their wealth and power. On the front page issues, he is still serving his base:

  • His energy proposal is couched in populist language, but it is too little too late with goals too far away. The immediate beneficiaries are still the same elite he has served throughout his presidency. If we double the US Petroleum reserves, the winners will be the oil companies. Consumer investment funds that bought oil futures have been pulling out, so your “privately invested retirement funds” won’t get any money for the additional oil the US government adds to the reserves.
  • His health care insurance proposition won’t help anyone but the insurance companies. It will raise taxes on working people who have employer-paid health insurance, but it is not generous enough to help people who can’t afford health insurance. Furthermore, it does not address the abusive system of closed negotiated networks that insurance companies have constructed to squeeze physicians, hospitals, and patients. The “in network/out of network” system is the juicer that makes sure everyone pays the maximum to the insurance company. Either your doctor pays them, or you pay them, or your employer pays them.
  • His new initiative in Iraq is business as usual with a new set of generals who have agreed to agree with him. The same people are still getting the government contracts, and as Kerry-him-with-his-foot-in-his-mouth accurately observed, the same young people who are mostly not from the Bush base are deployed and more of the same people are dying.

You can spend a lot of time looking for anything new from this president. He hopes that you will. Meanwhile he will back-door continued Patriot Act abuses of human rights, continue his campaign to stack federal courts and install his supporters as US Attorneys, and move his powers to circumvent law to a less visible level.

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