My proposition from years past has been and remains today that the neo-liberal agenda is predicated on the assumption that the Big Lie theory is the rational choice over such clumsy phenomenon such as validity and facts and truth and hard-headed analysis ... Enron's success shows that it works, its accounting practices shows how it works, and the cast of villains and their friends shows who makes it work. As with the California energy scenario, so with the international aspirations of the Eagle Empire.
Delusions of Power [nytimes.com] - "They considered themselves tough-minded realists, and regarded doubters as fuzzy-minded whiners. They silenced those who questioned their premises, even though the skeptics included many of the government's own analysts. They were supremely confident — and yet with shocking speed everything they had said was proved awesomely wrong.
No, I'm not talking about the war; I'm talking about the energy task force that Dick Cheney led back in 2001. Yet there are some disturbing parallels. Right now, pundits are wondering how Mr. Cheney — who confidently predicted that our soldiers would be "greeted as liberators" — could have been so mistaken. But a devastating new report on the California energy crisis reminds us that Mr. Cheney has been equally confident, and equally wrong, about other issues.
In spring 2001 the lights were going out all over California. There were blackouts and brownouts, and the price of electricity was soaring. The Cheney task force was convened in the midst of that crisis. It concluded, in brief, that the energy crisis was a long-term problem caused by meddling bureaucrats and pesky environmentalists, who weren't letting big companies do what needed to be done. The solution? Scrap environmental rules, and give the energy industry multibillion-dollar subsidies.
Along the way, Mr. Cheney sneeringly dismissed energy conservation as a mere "sign of personal virtue" and scorned California officials who called for price controls and said the crisis was being exacerbated by market manipulation. [...]
In fact, the California energy crisis had nothing to do with environmental restrictions, and a lot to do with market manipulation. [...] the new report [ from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission] concludes that market manipulation was pervasive, and offers a mountain of direct evidence, including phone conversations, e-mail and memos. There's no longer any doubt: California's power shortages were largely artificial, created by energy companies to drive up prices and profits.
We may never know what really went on in the energy task force since the Bush administration has gone to extraordinary lengths to keep us from finding out. At first the nonpartisan General Accounting Office, which is supposed to act as an internal watchdog, seemed determined to pursue the matter. But [...] Congressional Republicans approached the agency's head and threatened to slash his budget unless he backed off.
And therein lies the broader moral. In the last two years Mr. Cheney and other top officials have gotten it wrong again and again — on energy, on the economy, on the budget. But political muscle has insulated them from any adverse consequences. So they, and the country, don't learn from their mistakes — and the mistakes keep getting bigger."
Fortunately for us, a sane and honest people eventually shrugs off the convenient comfort of domestic psy-ops and adopts a vigorous realism based on a rudely healthy appetite for unvarnished truth, right? right? Right?!