BRANDOLAND: Talking to God...For You!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Big Daddy, Big Oil


By now, you should know that --

Document Says Oil Chiefs Met With Cheney Task Force

Gee. You're kidding:
A White House document shows that executives from big oil companies met with Vice President Cheney's energy task force in 2001 -- something long suspected by environmentalists but denied as recently as last week by industry officials testifying before Congress.

The document, obtained this week by The Washington Post, shows that officials from Exxon Mobil Corp., Conoco (before its merger with Phillips), Shell Oil Co. and BP America Inc. met in the White House complex with the Cheney aides who were developing a national energy policy, parts of which became law and parts of which are still being debated.
Like drilling in ANWR.
In a joint hearing last week of the Senate Energy and Commerce committees, the chief executives of Exxon Mobil Corp., Chevron Corp. and ConocoPhillips their firms saiddid not participate in the 2001 task force.

The president of Shell Oil said his company did not participate "to my knowledge," and the chief of BP America Inc. said he did not know.

Chevron was not named in the White House document, but the Government Accountability Office has found that Chevron was one of several companies that "gave detailed energy policy recommendations" to the task force.
"We'd like to get the price of gas up to three bucks in Southern California."

"By the summer of '05, definitely."

"Done and done."

(Still $2.77 at the Mobil on Silverlake and the 101.)
The task force's activities attracted complaints from environmentalists, who said they were shut out of the task force discussions while corporate interests were present. The meetings were held in secret and the White House refused to release a list of participants. The task force was made up primarily of Cabinet-level officials. Judicial Watch and the Sierra Club unsuccessfully sued to obtain the records.
Wikipedia: "The organisations Judicial Watch and Sierra Club launched a law suit (U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia: Judicial Watch Inc. v. Department of Energy, et al., Civil Action No. 01-0981) under the FOIA to gain access to the task force's materials."

However, if you go here, you'll see that Judicial Watch obtained some documents (from the Commerce Dept.) used during the task force.


And the task force met in...?

The spring of '01.

Before 9/11.

Think, think, think.
Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), who posed the question about the task force, said he will ask the Justice Department today to investigate.


Toward the end of (last week's) hearing, Lautenberg asked the five executives: "Did your company or any representatives of your companies participate in Vice President Cheney's energy task force in 2001?"

When there was no response, Lautenberg added: "The meeting . . . "

"No," said Raymond.

"No," said Chevron Chairman David J. O'Reilly.

"We did not, no," Mulva said.

"To be honest, I don't know," said BP America chief executive Ross Pillari, who came to the job in August 2001. "I wasn't here then."

"But your company was here," Lautenberg replied.

"Yes," Pillari said.

Shell Oil president John Hofmeister, who has held his job since earlier this year, answered last. "Not to my knowledge," he said.
As you might imagine, those execs were not under oath.

Pure comedy.

Now, back to the point that "environmentalists" (read "liberals") have long "suspected" that Cheney consulted with big oil and energy.

Of course they knew!

A simple Google search (Cheney, energy task force, 2001) will take you everywhere you need to go.

Like here: Cheney won't turn over energy task force records

From July, 2001:
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Vice President Dick Cheney refused a General Accounting Office demand for records of the task force that laid the groundwork for President Bush's national energy policy, his spokeswoman said Thursday.

"We are acting 100 percent within the law, and the GAO does not have the authority to make this request," said Cheney spokeswoman Juleanna Glover-Weiss.


GAO officials want to know the names of people who met with the task force during nine different meetings; the names of the six professional staff assigned to the vice president's office; information about staff meetings with outside individuals consulted on the energy policy.

The agency also wants records of Cheney's meetings with outside individuals about the energy policy and all records on the cost of developing the national energy policy.
"Outside individuals" is a nice way of saying "oil execs."

And Ken Lay:
Waxman and Dingell want to know whether the task force met with major Bush campaign contributors. One Bush friend and large contributor -- Enron CEO Kenneth Lay -- was among those the task force consulted.

Waxman and Dingell allege other major GOP contributors were consulted.
And now we know that "they" were.

Also: Company With Ties To VP Cheney's Energy Task Force Faces Criminal Indictment For Gaming California Electricity Market

From Common Dreams, 5/22/04:
Three years ago, while California’s energy crisis was spiraling out of control, Vice President Dick Cheney secretly met with half-dozen corporate executives of the country’s largest energy companies to hammer out a national energy policy for President George W. Bush.

Cheney appeared on a number of news programs in May 2001 to promote his new energy policy, which turned out to be a boon for the energy industries, but abandoned consumers and environmental groups.

Naturally, during some of those interviews, Cheney was asked whether a handful of the energy companies that sold electricity in California and stood to benefit financially from the new policy were behaving like a “cartel” and manipulating prices in the state’s deregulated electricity market.

“No,” Cheney said in a May 17, 2001 interview with PBS‘ “Frontline;” a day after the final energy policy report was released. "The problem you had in California was caused by a combination of things--an unwise regulatory scheme, because they didn't really deregulate. Now they're trapped from unwise regulatory schemes, plus not having addressed the supply side of the issue. They've obviously created major problems for themselves...”
This was the stage that was set for the Terminator.
Later this month, the United States Attorney’s office in the Northern District of California is expected to issue its first criminal indictment against an energy company for manipulating wholesale energy prices in California that could boost the state‘s claims that it‘s owed billions in refunds for overcharges. The company at the center of the probe is Houston-based Reliant Resources, Inc.

Reliant said in a news release March 8 that it was notified by the US Attorney’s office about the pending indictment, which stems from allegations that the company deliberately shut down its power plants in California for a few days in June 2000, creating an artificial shortage and causing wholesale prices to skyrocket.

This leads us to...

Greg Palast, 10/03/03:
It's not what Arnold Schwarzenegger did to the girls a decade back that should raise an eyebrow. According to a series of memoranda our office obtained today, it's his dalliance with the boys in a hotel room just two years ago that's the real scandal.

The wannabe governor has yet to deny that on May 17, 2001, at the Peninsula Hotel in Los Angeles, he had consensual political intercourse with Enron chieftain Kenneth Lay.
Ken Lay.

Wonder what they talked about?

Hey now.
The biggest single threat to Ken Lay and the electricity lords is a private lawsuit filed last year under California's unique Civil Code provision 17200, the "Unfair Business Practices Act."

This litigation, heading to trial now in Los Angeles, would make the power companies return the $9 billion they filched from California electricity and gas customers.

It takes real cojones to bring such a suit. Who's the plaintiff taking on the bad guys? Cruz Bustamante, Lieutenant Governor and reluctant leading candidate against Schwarzenegger.


Once Arnold is Governor, he blesses the sweetheart settlements with the power companies. When that happens, Bustamante's court cases are probably lost. There aren't many judges who will let a case go to trial to protect a state if that a governor has already allowed the matter to be "settled" by a regulatory agency.

So think about this. The state of California is in the hole by $8 billion for the coming year.
Needless to say, Arnie became the governator.

My head hurts.

I'm in serious tin-foil hat territory.

More later...


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