Nothing in Stone
Sunday February 15, 2004
I'll level with you, I had no knowledge of the word "palimpsest" until Gore Vidal wrote one of his revealing and intriguing books and used it as the title. I wish that it had more exposure than just sitting there in the dictionary between palfrey" and "palindrome." It has a useful meaning in these hectic political, mudslinging times. One description given to us in Webster's is, "writing material used two or three times after earlier writing has been erased."
These are the most palimpsestuous of times.
The records of Lt. George W. Bush's service in the air national guard.
The President's claim that his would be a modest foreign policy.
His constantly repeated slogan or brag that he was "a uniter not a divider". (Have you ever, in your lifetime, known the country to be as polarized politically?)
The reasons for the war and the information on which it has all been based. Here we have a case of palimpsest upon palimpsest.
His tax cuts for the well-heeled and claims that the economy has been helped by that action.
The job losses and massive deficits.
The administration's attack on our personal freedoms with the Patriot Act and his defense of the unconstitutional Partial Birth Abortion Act of last year has proceeded from his campaign to ruin women's reproductive rights and has attacked the rights of all Americans.
One could say so much more ...and we will between now and election day.
A clarification from me. I said in yesterday's journal that I had a strange feeling that Dick Cheney might not seek to continue in the office as the man a heartbeat away from the presidency. Perhaps I should have said something more blunt; does Bush want Cheney on the ticket. Dare he make a change? Is Mr. Cheney an asset?
Consider the lead editorial in today's International Herald Tribune, extracted from The Boston Globe. They point out that the Justice Department, the Securities and Exchange Commission, French prosecutors and the Nigerian government are all currently investigating allegations that one of the subsidiaries of Haliburton paid millions of dollars in bribes to Nigerian officials in the 1990's.
Vice President Dick Cheney was the CEO of Haliburton at the time.
Here's a question I'd love to get the chance to ask the Vice President.
"Mr. Cheney, I am asking about the allegations which have grown out of a successful bid by an international consortium to build a $4 billion liquefied natural gas plant in Nigeria. It is alleged that $180 million was paid in bribes. Did you know this was going on? Did this meet with your approval?...or were you out of the loop?"
"If the payments were made and you weren't aware that would point to you not being the hands-on leader that you supposedly were. If you were aware, then couldn't you be charged with violating the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act."
"'Nuther words, Mr. Vice President, don't you owe us an explanation of what role ...if any ...you had in the Nigerian bribes."
To quote from the Boston Globe editorial, "Because the Nigerian affair occurred under Cheney's watch at Haliburton, it has the potential to have a greater bearing on his political future than allegations of war profiteering by Haliburton or its subcontractors in Iraq after he left the chief executive's chair."