Ray is a cheerful guy -- and he should be. His company recently signed the biggest oil exploration contract to come out of Iraq since the war began. Much to the chagrin of the Iraqi parliament, while they were trying to reach an agreement on their much-touted oil revenue sharing law, Ray cut his deal with the Kurdistan Regional Government, contributing to the collapse of the negotiations in Baghdad. Yet another benchmark missed, as if they were ever legitimate goals in the first place. Was there any flappy-jowled howling outrage from the Republicans in Congress? Any bellowing accusations of undermining the mission of our troops from right-wing loudmouths like Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly and Rush Limbaugh? Nope! Not a peep. Why? Ray is golden. Ray is untouchable. Ray is a "Loyal Bushie".Ray Hunt is your typical George W. Bush "fox in the henhouse" government appointee. You know the kind. His father, the late Texas oil man H. L. Hunt, started the company that Ray now owns and passed it on to him, so he was born with a silver spoon in his mouth. He subsequently did quite well for himself, getting on the board of directors for Dresser Industries, EDS, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, Pepsi, and (of course) Halliburton. He's also on the board of the American Petroleum Institute, a lobbying organization for the oil and natural gas industry. He donates plenty of money to the Republican party; so much money that he got himself appointed finance chairman of the Republican National Committee’s "Victory 2000" Committee. Why, he's such a good friend to the Bush family that he's even on the board of trustees for Poppy Bush's Presidential Library Foundation! In October 2001 (one month after 9/11) all of those contributions paid off in a big way for our pal Ray, when George W. Bush appointed him to the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board. According to the White House website:
"The President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board (PFIAB) provides advice to the President concerning the quality and adequacy of intelligence collection, of analysis and estimates, of counterintelligence, and of other intelligence activities. The PFIAB, through its Intelligence Oversight Board, also advises the President on the legality of foreign intelligence activities." "Through meetings with intelligence principals, substantive briefings, and visits to intelligence installations, the PFIAB seeks to identify deficiencies in the collection, analysis, and reporting of intelligence; to eliminate unnecessary duplication and functional overlap; and to ensure that major programs are responsive to clearly perceived needs and that the technology employed represents the product of the best minds and technical capabilities available in the nation." "In carrying out their mandate, the members of the PFIAB enjoy the confidence of the President and have access to all the information related to foreign intelligence that they need to fulfill their vital advisory role."
A billionaire Texas oil man who also sits on the board of Halliburton, advising the President on foreign intelligence collection? I wonder what kind of "vital" advice he was giving during the run-up to the Iraq war, considering all those no-bid contracts Halliburton got. I wonder what sort of relevant expertise he brought to such an important advisory board. I wonder if, as a member of this board, he might be privy to certain secret information long before it became public knowledge -- such as the fact that negotiations on the Iraqi oil revenue sharing law weren't going well, or that the Kurds were getting ready to pass their own law. A shrewd businessman with that type of insider information would know to get his people up to Kurdistan and cut a deal ahead of the competition; to "strike while the iron is hot", as the saying goes. I wonder who is really benefiting from Ray's position on the PFIAB -- the President, the intelligence community, the American people, or Ray?
One thing we do know -- Ray appreciated his appointment so much that in November 2005 he donated $35 million for a land purchase to build the George W. Bush Presidential Library! If you ask me, that's too much to pay when a woodshed behind old Poppy Bush's library would do just fine. I mean, how many books could this guy have?It's an old cliche that war has no winners, but it isn't true. The winners are people like Ray Hunt and the other Loyal Bushies. You won't see their sons and daughters going to war. They'll just use their wealth to influence politicians and loot your treasury; putting your nation in ever-increasing debt; sending your sons and daughters off to do the killing and dying necessary for them to secure those lucrative contracts. It's basically legal bribery, plain and simple, going on in plain view -- right in your face. They will also use that wealth to buy ownership in, and commercial time on television networks, so they can influence the content of the so-called "news" being piped into your living room every night, designed to convince you that the war is a just cause -- that you're going after WMD, fighting terrorists, spreading democracy, etc. And the propaganda works! Hey, Bush got re-elected, didn't he? Now you know why Ray is such a cheerful guy. He's laughing at you!