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July 20, 2000

Lies about gas price gouging

After Bill Clinton, Al Gore and various Congressional Democrats had pointed the finger of suspicion at Big Oil as the cause of astronomical gasoline prices in the midwest, the Washington Times obtained a copy of a memorandum from within the Clinton administration itself -- and this memo said no such thing. The internal memo mentions such factors as the Clinton administration's own special environmental rules on gasoline for the midwest as being among the reasons for the higher gas prices there. In other words, Clinton, Gore and the others all knew better before they started lying to the public and sending federal agencies out to investigate the oil companies. 

This is just another chapter in the corruption of the federal government in all its branches by this administration. Also corrupted have been the media allies of the Clinton administration, who have learned to spin the news almost as well as the White House liar's club. 

For example, the New York Times reported this story on page 28 of its Saturday morning edition -- which is the next thing to not publishing it at all. Moreover, the Times story headlined the fact that the Republican Speaker of the House had criticized the administration, based on this memo. 

But it is not news when Republicans and Democrats criticize each other. What is news is that the Clinton administration's own internal memo from early June provided facts completely contradicting the later statements of the president, the vice president, and others who have tried to mislead the public by pointing the finger of suspicion at oil companies. 

What is dangerous is the cynical use of the massive powers of the federal government to go after people, not because they have broken any law, but to save the political hide of those in charge of this power. One of the earliest and ugliest example of this was the phony FBI "investigation" of members of the White House travel office, whose jobs the Clintons wanted to give to their cronies from Arkansas. 

The president has the power to fire any White House staffers he wants to fire. But to avoid the political flack from firing what had traditionally been staffers who remained on from one administration to the next, the Clintons had to concoct some "crime" for which the travel office employees could be fired. 

Once put on trial in a court of law, the travel office staffers were acquitted in no time. But they were left with legal bills several times their annual salaries. 

This is the way things are done in corrupt Third World dictatorships. And it is the way the Clintons operated in Arkansas. But it was a new low for the federal government of the United States of America. 

When Richard Nixon was president, he only wanted to do the kinds of the things that Bill Clinton has done -- and gotten away with. Nixon spoke of having the Internal Revenue Service go after his political enemies. But the IRS not only did not do it, they audited Nixon himself while he was still in the White House. 

During the Clinton administration, however, the IRS has been auditing not only conservative think tanks but also women who have made accusations against Bill Clinton. The administration has violated federal laws by releasing the confidential personnel files of Linda Tripp -- and Attorney General Janet Reno has announced that she does not plan to prosecute this violation. 

Those who speculate about Bill Clinton's "legacy" need to understand that corruption of the federal government is a lasting -- and dangerous -- legacy of this administration. Freedom is the exception, not the rule, in this world. The prerequisites of freedom include not only constitutional guarantees, but also traditions and standards which punish those who violate the norms that enable those constitutional guarantees to work. 

With so much of the media and the public more concerned with showing how non-judgmental they can be than with protecting the norms that make our freedom possible, this administration has put us on the road to becoming just another corrupt country run at the whim of those in power. 

The Clinton administration's big lies about gasoline "price gouging" and sending federal agencies out to investigate Big Oil is just one in a long series of corrupt actions. If they get away with it, in courts and at election time, ever more corruption will follow in future administrations -- until this is no longer America. 

2000 Creators Syndicate, Inc.

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