Sunday, March 11, 2007

White House and EPA solve pesky hazmat problem

Composite image; photo credits to:
Pablo Gonzalez Varga and Doug Mills/The New York Times

From the March 2007 issue of The Scientist:
“In February of 2006, the White House proposed cutting $2 million of the $2.5 million budget for EPA libraries. It is a huge cut to the libraries, but a blip against the $8 billion EPA budget.”
That is a budget cut of fully 80 percent, which can only be intended to destroy EPA’s ability to gather and store the information it needs to fulfill its legislated mandate. The destruction of library holdings has already commenced, which means that first we taxpayers paid for the collection of all this data, and now we’re paying for it to be destroyed.

Although it is always risky to speculate on the motivations of others, this seems to be a clear case of destroying inconvenient evidence in order to prevent that evidence from becoming troublesome, and it is also a way to gut the agency from within, surreptitiously. Because without its institutional memory, and without the evidence it needs in order to act, the EPA becomes nothing more than a stooge as it pretends to carry out its mission. This will prove to be mighty convenient to the Bush administration.

Another privatization success story

Cerberus, guarding Hades, allowing entry but not exit.
Watercolor by William Blake (from Wikipedia)
“In Dante’s Divine Comedy, Dante encounters Cerberus in the third circle of Hell where he guards the souls of the Gluttonous as he ‘barks over them with his three fold throat,’ ‘rendering them piecemeal.’ The text describes Cerberus as often flaying the cursed with his claws and barking very loudly with all three heads. As for the afflicted, they must live under Cerberus’s cruel actions while they continually lie in a mire with ice, hail, and discoloured water ceaselessly raining down upon them.” - Wikipedia
Washington Post, 10 March 2007:
“Some Democratic lawmakers have questioned the decision to hire IAP Worldwide Services, a contractor with connections to the Bush administration and to KBR, a Halliburton subsidiary…

“IAP is owned by Cerberus Capital Management LP, an asset-management firm chaired by former Treasury secretary John W. Snow…

“IAP won a $120 million contract to maintain and operate Walter Reed facilities. The decision reversed a 2004 finding by the Army that it would be more cost-effective to keep the work in-house.”
Silly Army. They surely knew that cost-effectiveness was never the issue, and that this finding would never pass muster with the White House OMB. How can the White House’s favored corporations skim their billions in profits off of people’s labors when people are paid directly by the government for their labor?

The only problem is that Cerberus is directing his guarding duties in the wrong direction. It’s the folks at IAP and Halliburton and KBR and the White House who are the gluttons whose appetites ought to be the issue. This is the perversion that has resulted in the abysmal treatment of our wounded veterans at Walter Reed. Of course, the Pentagon’s solution to this problem is simply to close Walter Reed—by 2011 according to the same Washington Post article. No telling where they plan to warehouse the wounded then.

In case you weren’t sure…

…where their loyalties lie:
“Halliburton Will Move HQ to Dubai”