HIGHTOWER: The Company Bush Keeps

Not content to fill his cabinet with corporate CEOs, directors, and lobbyists, George W. Bush is trying to corporatize all the other top policy-making positions of government, too.

Take the Defense Department, the most bureaucratic, wasteful, fraud-ridden agency of all, which funnels billions of our tax dollars each year into the pockets of such weapons makers as Northrop Grumman and General Dynamics.   So guess who George chose to be secretary of the Air Force?  James Roche, vice president of Northrop Grumman, which happens to be seeking billions-of-dollars in new contracts from the Air Force.  Likewise, for Secretary of the Navy, George chose Gordon England, vice president of General Dynamics, which happens to be seeking billions-of-dollars in new contracts from the Navy.

Meanwhile, Bush has named  Linda Fisher to be deputy administrator of the EPA.  She was   top Washington lobbyist for Monsanto, which is seeking many environmental favors from the EPA.  Also, to head the Council on Environmental Quality, George chose James Conaughton, a Washington attorney for General Electric, ARCO, and other polluters.  And, to be number two at the Interior Department, which oversees mining on public lands, Bush picked J. Steven Griles, a lobbyist for the National Mining Association.

A spokesman for a corporate-funded think tank praised George W for putting these corporate creatures in charge of agencies that can benefit their former employers:  "Who better to know how the business runs than those who have run the business?" he said.  Of course, that's exactly the problem-the people who were outside experts at twisting government to serve corporate interests are now on the inside to do the twisting.  The only difference is their location . . . and the fact that their paychecks now come from us taxpayers, rather than from the corporations they serve.

This is Jim Hightower saying . . .At least there's no pretending in this administration about who's in charge-our government is now openly controlled by Bush Incorporated.

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