Thursday, February 20, 2003

Autism, Taxes, and Deception Most Foul

Cleaning out my 'sent' folder, I came across an email I had sent to a few people last year, on December 2nd. Here it is, in full:

"I have to admit...I think I may have been deceived. In all my fuss (and a few other people's fuss) about the whole Autism issue, I overlooked a different provision of the Homeland Security bill that was put in at the last minute: The evisceration of a law that would make it illegal for corporations to receive government contracts if they moved offshore to avoid paying US taxes. (Read Arianna Huffington's superb column on this. But I'm sure you've already read it. Right? Right.) This is huge, huge, huge after all the corporate scandals earlier this year and the bluster we received as a result...and my cynical mind is thinking dark thoughts about deliberate misdirection on the part of the White House towards a more gut-level issue, namely Autism, that they knew would peter out after a few days, because they can explain that one a whole lot better (by which I mean, with lies that are less obviously lies) than they can this "government money to tax-dodging corporations" thing.

"Now, I don't want to attribute supernatural powers to Karl Rove. He's not the AntiChrist- by which I mean, I'm sure his parents are kind and loving people, and not actually Lucifer Morning Star, the Prince of Darkness. However, it doesn't seem so odd an idea. They had to know that the Left was ready to pounce on any potential abuses of the Homeland Security bill. Is it so unreasonable to think that they might have tossed us a nice juicy issue to get our hands on while they snuck the other stuff under the radar? (Although if the lukewarm response by the mainstream media and the already diminishing outrage among a few left-wing blogs is the Left's version of a pounce, then I am very frightened indeed)

"They even gave themselves a way out in promising to revisit the issue when Congress comes back in session. Hell, it could even become an Ari Fleischer talking point: "On this issue, the President decided, as a matter of conscience, to show strong leadership and oppose this effort by a few [conveniently nameless] congressman within his own party." Republican parents of autistic children and their friends could once again support Bush with a clean conscience, and he might even win over a few left-leaning parents with his "courageous" stand against the hardliners in his own party.

"Raising an issue as cover for something else, then gaining points on both sides of the aisle for shooting it down. If it weren't being used for such evil purposes, I'd admire it.

"But then, maybe I'm just being paranoid."

You know what? With the exception of the way in which the thimerasol provision was dropped (I expected there to be more fanfare [although that can probably be explained by the fact that the new Majority Leader has tried to put this kind of thing in before. They had to low-profile it, or it would have tarnished that saintly image he's developed in the last two months]; the White House did receive some credit for it, though), I am convinced that I was right.

After all, the thimerasol provision only benefited a handful of companies, specifically Eli-Lilly. The offshore-incorporation stuff potentially helps all of their corporate donors.

Or am I still being paranoid?

Update: MB of Wampum has pointed out to me that the offshore corporation loophole was eliminated along with the thimerasol protections. The legislation would "Eliminate a loophole related to so-called inverted corporations – corporations that moved their headquarters offshore to avoid federal taxes – to clarify that federal contracts will only be awarded to these companies when deemed essential to national security."
So, I am completely Wrong About Everything in this post. So it goes... Although, really, I'm still suspicious about exactly how one deems a contract necessary to National it just because George Bush says so? Because we all know how that would work out...

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