Tuesday, October 10, 2006

You're the devil in disguise

James Baker (yeah, that James Baker) was on The Daily Show hawking his new book, charmingly and self-deprecatingly titled: 'Work Hard, Study...and Keep Out of Politics!'

(Note: no link to the book. Following my friend Lambert's policy, I now support DCOW. Read about it at the bottom*. We now continue with our regularly scheduled show.)

In the book, Baker says charmingly that the Defense Department made:

"a number of costly mistakes, including disbanding the Iraqi army, outlawing the Baath Party, failing to secure weapons depots, and perhaps never committing enough troops to successfully pacify the country. One thing for sure: the difficulty of winning the peace was severely underestimated."

. . . "I am no longer asked why we did not remove Saddam in 1991!"

Almost seems sane, although like all reformed war floggers, he's morally and ethically several years late and billions of dollars short. Still, may he yet be forgiven? After all, he seems so nice.

Not so fast.

This reviewer states:
Nothing illustrates Baker's reputation and the Bush family's faith in his loyalty more than the fact that he was asked to represent George W. Bush's interests in the 2000 Florida election controversy. In 30 pages Baker explains how he organized a legal and political campaign to preserve Bush's victory in that state and thereby give the Texas governor the 25 electoral college votes he needed to win the presidency. Baker does reveal in this chapter that, while his wife is a friend of Tipper Gore, he took the case in part because he held a personal grudge against Al Gore: In the 1992 campaign Gore had questioned the personal integrity of both Baker and the first President Bush.

So for a perceived slight, he saddles us with the defective son of an old tennis buddy. Bastard.

Here'w who he really is.

The Nation: Until now, there has been no concrete evidence that Baker's loyalties are split, or that his power as Special Presidential Envoy--an unpaid position--has been used to benefit any of his corporate clients or employers. But according to documents obtained by The Nation, that is precisely what has happened. Carlyle has sought to secure an extraordinary $1 billion investment from the Kuwaiti government, with Baker's influence as debt envoy being used as a crucial lever.

Political Friendster
: Baker Institute for Public Policy, a think-tank set up by James Baker, delivered the secret recommendations to Cheney's White House Energy task force. Advisors were Ken Lay, the disgraced former chief executive of Enron, Luis Giusti, a Shell non-executive director; John Manzoni, regional president of BP and David O'Reilly, chief executive of ChevronTexaco.

Political Friendster
: Baker sent Bolton to stop Floridans from counting Al Gore's votes in 2000. Bolton said it himself when he busted into a room where election workers were, you know, doing the democracy thing. "I'm here to stop the count," Bolton said.

Common Dreams: Baker Botts has an extensive presence in the Middle East, with an office in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and a business alliance with a firm in the United Arab Emirates. On its Web site, the firm touts the "perspective and experience of James A. Baker III, 61st U.S. secretary of state" as someone "who offers the firm's clients an additional resource on which to rely regarding their activities in the region."

Baker Botts also represents Halliburton Co., the Texas oil-services giant once headed by Vice President Dick Cheney. Pentagon officials recently alleged that Halliburton overcharged the U.S. government by $61 million for gasoline in Iraq. Halliburton has said that a Kuwaiti company, the only approved supplier, charged a high price for the gas.

The Carlyle Group, with $17.5 billion in assets, has included other high-profile former leaders besides Baker and the former President Bush - who retired in October - such as former Defense Secretary Frank Carlucci. Carlyle largely does defense-related work in 12 countries. It has offices around the world, including Seoul and Tokyo, the capitals Baker will visit next.

Kindly, charming James? Right.

You know, they said Ted Bundy was such a charming fellow, too. I'm just saying...

* Don't Click On Wingnuts. Every time you click through to a Right-Wing website or a Winger pundit's web page, you increase the value of advertising on that site. The link is there for reference, but don't click on it, if you can help it. Definitely don't click on their ads. It only helps their bottom line. Discussed here.