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GWB's business experience
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Jul 10, 2002, 10:09 AM
 




Week of July 10 - 16, 2002

Mondo Washington
by James Ridgeway

George Bush, Failed Corporate Crook
Nitwit Scion Turns Avenger

President George Bush says he's outraged at the scams that have sent big-name companies crashing, and he's not going to take it anymore. Feeding the polls, Bush tells the nation he wants new laws to bring criminal charges against dirty-dealing CEOs who fake company books and destroy not only the public's trust but its savings as well.

In common parlance, what these execs are doing is called fraud, and common knowledge says Bush already has the power to do something about it. Yet again, the president is ducking a tough issue in favor of a PR operation. The problem for Bush is how to seem to be attacking corporate scoundrels while keeping their campaign contributions coming. This is, after all, an election year, and the GOP badly wants to recapture control of the Senate and widen its margin in the House.

If Bush really wanted to address the situation, all he'd have to do is to pick up the phone, call Attorney General John Ashcroft, and ask him to launch an investigation of any one of these CEOs for fraud, conspiracy, theft, obstruction of justice, or perjury. The president could also turn to the Securities and Exchange Commission, which can refer a civil case for criminal prosecution. Bush doesn't need additional legislation to do this. All he has to do is call. He refused to do that in the Enron case, even though his administration knew about the scandal months before the company went public with its bankruptcy. And he hasn't done it with any of the subsequent double-dealings.

Perhaps Bush's inaction stems from his own history of stumbling in the corporate back alleys. Last week, the media revived a case from the early '90s, where it looks like Bush was involved in insider trading with the stock of an oil company of which he was an official. He dumped the shares shortly before the firm tanked, then failed to report his activity to the Securities and Exchange Commission for months. The ensuing investigation, handled by an agency whose director was a Bush appointee and whose general counsel was Bush the younger's own former attorney, was dropped.

Though Bush has shown he can play the game, too, he's not quite ready for the majors. The big difference between him and a guy like Kenneth Lay is that Lay at least was successful. Before he left the world of commerce for a life in politics, Bush lost money time and again. "It was dreadful," one investor told The Wall Street Journal. "I think we got [back] maybe 20 cents on the dollar," said another.

The hapless Shrub took shelter under his family tree. Nowhere is this blue-blood network more evident than in the feeble activities of the president before he became governor of Texas. Consider this chronology, put together largely from research done by the Center for Public Integrity in Washington for its book The Buying of the President 2000.

• 1979-83: Fifty Bush family investors and friends, led by uncle Jonathan, a New York Republican Party official and an investment manager, fork over $4.7 million to set up young Bush in a company called Arbusto. It's a flop, and in 1982 gets a new name: Bush Exploration.

• 1984: Spectrum 7 Corporation, an Ohio oil exploration outfit owned by Dubya's Yalie pal William DeWitt Jr., buys out Bush Exploration, setting up young Bush as CEO at $75,000 a year and giving him 1.1 million shares of the firm's stock. Another flop. The company's fortunes soon sink, with $400,000 in losses and a debt of $3 million.

• 1986: In the nick of time, Bush and partners merge the failing Spectrum with Harken Oil, a Dallas exploration company, with a $2 million stock purchase. Bush puts up about $500,000 and gets a $120,000 annual consulting fee along with $131,250 in stock options. Harken is a small outfit, looking for oil opportunities within the U.S. Then out of the blue comes Harvard Management Corporation, an investment adviser for Harvard University's endowment portfolio. It pumps millions into the venture.

• 1990: Although Harken has no international expertise, it gets the attention of the Bahrain National Oil Company, which unexpectedly appears on the scene and bypasses big oil's Amoco and Chevron to sign a production agreement with the little Texas concern. The contract grants Harken exclusive rights to what seems to be a promising offshore area squeezed between two productive tracts owned by Saudi Arabia and Qatar. The Wall Street Journal speculates Bahrain was trying to cozy up to Daddy Bush, who was plotting an assault on Iraq after Saddam Hussein seized Kuwait.

Bass Enterprises Production Company finances the Bahrain drilling with $25 million, and Harvard Management raises its investment. A couple of members of the Fort Worth Bass family have places on Team 100, an elite business group contributing to the Republican National Committee.

In June, Harken drills two dry holes in Bahrain. The future looks bleak. Dubya dumps two-thirds of his Harken holdings (212,140 shares), for $848,560. He uses some of this money to buy into the Texas Rangers baseball club. This is a lot of stock to dump on the market all at once, and brokers say it was purchased by an unnamed institutional investor.

That August, Harken posts a loss of $23 million.

• January 1991: Daddy Bush attacks Iraq.

• February 1991: Dubya, as the official in charge at Harken, reports his big stock sale to the SEC—eight months late.

• April 1991: The SEC begins an investigation into Harken dealings. Chairman Richard Breeden, who had been appointed by the senior Bush and served him as an economic policy adviser, hails from Baker & Botts, a big Texas oil law firm where he was a partner. Inside the SEC, James Doty, general counsel and the official in charge of any litigation that might come out of the Harken investigation, is another alumnus of Baker & Botts. And as a private attorney, before joining the government, Doty represented the younger Bush in matters related to Dubya's ownership of the Rangers.

• 1993: The SEC ends its Harken investigation following perfunctory interviews.

The good people of Baker & Botts continued looking out for Shrub. Since 1993, Breeden, Doty, and other lawyers there have given him $182,050 for his various political campaigns, making the firm one of his biggest supporters.

That's how the network functioned in the Harken affair. Dubya also has historic mentors among his kin. During the Second World War, for example, the government investigated his grandfather, Prescott Bush, and his maternal great-grandfather, Bert Walker. Under the Trading With the Enemy Act, officials seized Bush stockholdings, charging that "huge sections of Prescott Bush's empire had been operated on behalf of Nazi Germany and had greatly assisted the German war effort."

When it comes to business, the contemporary Bush men have been equally good role models for Dubya. Think about it:

• Dubya brother Neil Bush made the news during the late 1980s because he was a director of Silverado Savings & Loan, which went broke and ended up costing taxpayers about $1 billion. In the Silverado case, federal investigators accused Neil of conflicts of interest, but he was never prosecuted. The Resolution Trust Company, set up to bail out bankrupt S&Ls, brought a civil suit against Bush and other Silverado officers. The case was eventually settled for $26.5 million.

• Prescott Bush Jr., a brother of Bush Senior, was reported in 1989 to have arranged investments in two U.S. firms by an alleged front company for the Japanese mob, a task for which he was allegedly paid $500,000. Prescott denied any knowledge of mob involvement.

• In 1991, Jonathan Bush, the Daddy Bush brother who spearheaded the family effort to get Dubya set up in business, was himself fined $30,000 in Massachusetts and several thousand in Connecticut for violating registration laws governing securities sales. He was barred from securities brokerage with the general public in Massachusetts for one year.

• Then there's George W.'s other brother, Jeb, currently standing for re-election as governor of Florida, who defaulted on a $4.5 million S&L loan in 1988, plunging the thrift over the edge. Jeb and his partners paid but 10 percent back.

With his own personal landscape a minefield of weird business dealings, Bush the younger has to watch his step. For him, leaving a few stones unturned might be a wise choice. Thus does he find himself at once making a show of righteous anger and shielding his wealthy friends. "You need to know that by far the vast majority, by far, of corporate America are above-board," he said, "and doing their job just the way you'd expect them to do."
     
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Jul 10, 2002, 10:34 AM
 
An NPR commentator yesterday characterized Bush's speech concerning corporate responsibility to be "A stern lecture that was short on substance."

Imagine that.

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Jul 10, 2002, 10:39 AM
 
Here's another one from the New York Times.

Slouching Toward Populism

By MAUREEN DOWD

ASHINGTON — It must be frustrating for the George Bushes.

They go through all the motions of proclaiming that they're self-made Texas bidnessmen.

They become president by acting more red-blooded than blue-blooded.

They whup small, backward countries that brutalize their own people and get dizzying approval ratings.

And then, after everything they've done, after all the laurels and plaudits, that darn economy gets its knickers in a twist.

And they are hounded by the same old question they have designed their lives to avoid: Can a Bush — born on third base but thinking he hit a triple — ever really understand the problems of the guys in the bleachers?

Despite the efforts of W. and Karl Rove to use Poppy's one-term presidency as a reverse playbook, to instead aim for the populist two-term touch of Ronald Reagan, the junior Bush now finds himself combating the same accusations of elitism that cost his father re-election.

By November 1991, with the demise of the blue-collar bard Lee Atwater and the decline of the economy, the rich white guys running the first Bush administration were openly admitting they were in a fog of privilege.

"Bush's idea of solving a domestic problem is to fire the maid and yell at the butler," chortled the Democratic senator Tom Harkin of Iowa.

The Democrats are going to town again on Bush obliviousness. America is repulsed by corporate gluttony and accounting racketeering. And the younger Bush must prove that his connection to the common man goes deeper than a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

The 180-degree turn from "Kenny Boy" to "Book Kenny" is going to be tricky.

How can Mr. Bush crack the whip on Big Business when he's a wholly owned subsidiary of it? His dynastic ties to business gave him his career in oil and baseball, provided the record-breaking $100 million that made him president, and spawned his C.E.O. administration.

How can Mr. Bush lecture companies on setting a moral tone, getting tough on accounting practices and ending "malfee-ance," as he calls it, when there are pesky questions about his own windfall at Harken Energy? (His $848,560 stock cash-in made Hillary, the Cattle Queen of commodities trading, look like a piker for only taking home $100,000.)

The president's speech on Wall Street yesterday was a Karl Rove production, making all the right noises, with the reassuring blue "Corporate Responsibility" backdrop. But TV viewers who looked lower on the screen could see the Dow arrow sliding down steadily, off 178 points for the day.

Mr. Rove pushed W. out to the White House press room on Monday so he would not seem to be evading corporate responsibility for himself while preaching it for others.

But the president was acting petulant. When a reporter asked why he did not attend the N.A.A.C.P. meeting in Houston this week, Mr. Bush impatiently brushed off the question, noting that Colin Powell and Condi Rice work for him. So, once you give the estimable Colin Powell a job, you don't need to reach out to the rest of the black community?

Like his father before him, the president resents being challenged — on his judgment or on his trustworthiness. He just wants the country to take it on faith that he and Dick Cheney, who got filthy rich at Halliburton, and Army Secretary Thomas White, who got filthy rich at Enron, are "good actors," as he puts it.

Poppy, at some level, always knew and subtly acknowledged that his Texas up-from-bootstraps story line was a pose. He never gave up the summers in Kennebunkport, the preppy threads, the patrician posture, the upward tilt of his chin.

Junior, with his pseudo-James-Dean-in-"Giant" lectern slouch, believes he's the real thing, coated in Midland dust. He sees himself as self-made and anti-elitist. But given his slacker start, he ended up relying even more on family connections for business and political success than his father did.

He bought a dusty ranch in Crawford to show he's not a New England preppy. But he got the money for the 1,600-acre spread by having the famous name of a New England preppy.

He talks the populist talk, while walking the elitist walk.
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Jul 10, 2002, 10:43 AM
 
Yep, there's another one from Maureen Dowd.
     
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Jul 10, 2002, 10:51 AM
 
Hmmm...

Looks like the only thing this article could pin on Dubya himself is that he was late in reporting a stock sale ten years ago. And that he sucks as a businessman, but I doubt anyone ever thought otherwise anyway, so let's focus on that first one.

One, Bush could have gotten away without correcting the error, back in those days. He instead chose to correct it, when he had nothing to gain and a whole lot to lose by doing so.

Two, this was ten years ago, and there is no evidence of him having done anything like this since then. This is not the first time people have tried to blast him on things he did many years ago but has not done since then. So tell me, if Clinton is allowed to change his ways, why isn't Dubya?

Three, I don't see what the crimes of his family -and certainly there apppear to have been some- have any truly significant bearing on him. Are you trying to judge the book by its cover?
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Jul 10, 2002, 11:33 AM
 
Riiiight. Because any writer who refers to President Bush as "Dubya" or "Nitwit Scion" and his father as "Daddy Bush" has to be an unbiased and legitimate evaluative source.
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Jul 10, 2002, 11:46 AM
 
</font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Geneva, Verdana, Arial, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="1" face="Geneva, Verdana, Arial, sans-serif">Originally posted by SimeyTheLimey:
<strong>Yep, there's another one from Maureen Dowd. </strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="1" face="Geneva, Verdana, Arial, sans-serif">Yes, and where, pray, has she gone off the mark, here?
You think this guy has any clue whatever about the life of everyday folk? NOt that GOre is any better. It is not a partisan thing. The guy knows as much about me as he does grammar. I may or may not have problems or kudos for his policies (it is irrelevant), but please, don't insult me by saying the guy is a populist. OR a vox pop. The very notion is patently absurd.

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Jul 10, 2002, 11:47 AM
 
</font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Geneva, Verdana, Arial, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="1" face="Geneva, Verdana, Arial, sans-serif">Originally posted by Joshua:
<strong>Riiiight. Because any writer who refers to President Bush as "Dubya" or "Nitwit Scion" and his father as "Daddy Bush" has to be an unbiased and legitimate evaluative source.</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="1" face="Geneva, Verdana, Arial, sans-serif">It is Op Ed. OPINION EDITORIAL. Bias is cemented in.

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Jul 10, 2002, 12:06 PM
 
Since I'm pretty agnostic on the crookedness of politicians (Democrat or Republican, I think they're all born liars), I'm not particularly interested in comparing the misdeeds of Bush vs. Clinton. But I do think that it's relevant to educate the public about Bush's public image vs. the private reality. The idea that he's not a Washington insider is laughable, the idea that he's just a regular fella is laughable, the idea that he's a smart, sensible businessman is laughable, and the idea that he's a "straight-shooter" is laughable. Unfortunately, the public tends to fall for this stuff because it always wants to believe that the new guy rides a white horse. But invariably, the flaws start to show. The question is whether people will tire of Dubbya's act as quickly as it tired of his father's act.

This stock trading thing smells bad, especially in the current atmosphere of corporate scandals, but I have a feeling that the Cheney-Halliburton thing is going to cause him bigger problems. In the end, it may not matter whether there was actual malfeasance - what will matter is public perception that these guys are neither interested in nor capable of understanding their problems. Which is pretty much what sunk George Sr.

Clinton may have been a borderline sociopath, but I think he maintained a surprisingly high level of popularity because he was born poor and got where he did through brains and determination. Dubbya can't make that claim (neither could Al Gore).

This doesn't necessarily mean that I want to see Dubbya brought down. I didn't vote for him because I didn't think he was sufficently experienced or intellectually engaged, but he does have some skills and may yet prove to be an effective leader. Only time will tell.
     
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Jul 10, 2002, 02:23 PM
 
</font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Geneva, Verdana, Arial, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="1" face="Geneva, Verdana, Arial, sans-serif">Originally posted by zigzag:
<strong>... but I have a feeling that the Cheney-Halliburton thing is going to cause him bigger problems. In the end ...</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="1" face="Geneva, Verdana, Arial, sans-serif">Let the games <a href="http://money.cnn.com/2002/07/10/news/cheney_lawsuit/index.htm" target="_blank">begin.</a>

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Jul 10, 2002, 02:29 PM
 
</font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Geneva, Verdana, Arial, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="1" face="Geneva, Verdana, Arial, sans-serif">Originally posted by zigzag:
<strong>Since I'm pretty agnostic on the crookedness of politicians (Democrat or Republican, I think they're all born liars), I'm not particularly interested in comparing the misdeeds of Bush vs. Clinton. But I do think that it's relevant to educate the public about Bush's public image vs. the private reality. The idea that he's not a Washington insider is laughable, the idea that he's just a regular fella is laughable, the idea that he's a smart, sensible businessman is laughable, and the idea that he's a "straight-shooter" is laughable. Unfortunately, the public tends to fall for this stuff because it always wants to believe that the new guy rides a white horse. But invariably, the flaws start to show. The question is whether people will tire of Dubbya's act as quickly as it tired of his father's act.

This stock trading thing smells bad, especially in the current atmosphere of corporate scandals, but I have a feeling that the Cheney-Halliburton thing is going to cause him bigger problems. In the end, it may not matter whether there was actual malfeasance - what will matter is public perception that these guys are neither interested in nor capable of understanding their problems. Which is pretty much what sunk George Sr.

Clinton may have been a borderline sociopath, but I think he maintained a surprisingly high level of popularity because he was born poor and got where he did through brains and determination. Dubbya can't make that claim (neither could Al Gore).

This doesn't necessarily mean that I want to see Dubbya brought down. I didn't vote for him because I didn't think he was sufficently experienced or intellectually engaged, but he does have some skills and may yet prove to be an effective leader. Only time will tell.</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="1" face="Geneva, Verdana, Arial, sans-serif">Well said! I agree with most of your statement, except for, "..he does have some skills and may yet prove to be an effective leader." He has been propped up by family money almost since day one, and it is only family money and connections that got him where he is! When he was governor, he was said to only spend a half day in the office, quickly reading through policy and suggestions by those around him, and then making a quick decision. He has never been know to be a policy originator, preferring to surround himself with people who do his thinking for him. IMHO, he is one of the most unqualified people ever to hold what should be the highest office in our country!
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Jul 10, 2002, 03:29 PM
 
</font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Geneva, Verdana, Arial, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="1" face="Geneva, Verdana, Arial, sans-serif">Originally posted by KarlG:
<strong>Well said! I agree with most of your statement, except for, "..he does have some skills and may yet prove to be an effective leader." He has been propped up by family money almost since day one, and it is only family money and connections that got him where he is! When he was governor, he was said to only spend a half day in the office, quickly reading through policy and suggestions by those around him, and then making a quick decision. He has never been know to be a policy originator, preferring to surround himself with people who do his thinking for him. IMHO, he is one of the most unqualified people ever to hold what should be the highest office in our country!</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="1" face="Geneva, Verdana, Arial, sans-serif">I'm inclined to agree, which is why I didn't vote for him, but at the same time I think that leadership qualities can take different forms. Dubbya is of the Reagan "Look at the big picture, be decisive and persuasive" school as opposed to the "God is in the details" school. I'm still willing to wait and see if Dubbya's highly-touted interpersonal and decision-making skills will see him through. Even Clinton, with all of his smarts, took a while to find his way.

I think an essential difference is that while Clinton relished the political arena, Bush disdains it. This often has its appeal in election season - Bush marketed himself as the anti-politician - but I don't know if it actually serves well in office, as his father learned. Reagan was somewhat detached as well, but he was much better at putting a positive, confident spin on things. Dubbya doesn't project the self-confidence and optimism that Reagan did. He still seems rather overwhelmed.
     
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Jul 10, 2002, 03:42 PM
 
</font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Geneva, Verdana, Arial, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="1" face="Geneva, Verdana, Arial, sans-serif">Originally posted by KarlG:
<strong>Well said! I agree with most of your statement, except for, "..he does have some skills and may yet prove to be an effective leader." He has been propped up by family money almost since day one, and it is only family money and connections that got him where he is! When he was governor, he was said to only spend a half day in the office, quickly reading through policy and suggestions by those around him, and then making a quick decision. He has never been know to be a policy originator, preferring to surround himself with people who do his thinking for him. IMHO, he is one of the most unqualified people ever to hold what should be the highest office in our country!</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="1" face="Geneva, Verdana, Arial, sans-serif">I second that...except that I think its possible to surround yourself with the right people to do your thinking for you...I just don't think that occured, with the exception of Powell.
     
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Jul 11, 2002, 04:54 PM
 
</font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Geneva, Verdana, Arial, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="1" face="Geneva, Verdana, Arial, sans-serif">Originally posted by zigzag:
<strong>This stock trading thing smells bad, especially in the current atmosphere of corporate scandals, but I have a feeling that the Cheney-Halliburton thing is going to cause him bigger problems. In the end, it may not matter whether there was actual malfeasance - what will matter is public perception that these guys are neither interested in nor capable of understanding their problems. Which is pretty much what sunk George Sr.</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="1" face="Geneva, Verdana, Arial, sans-serif">Well, it's the economy. So far Bush's economic policy consists entirely of enormous, budget-breaking tax cuts for the rich. And that's it.

The economy still isn't recovering because there is no investor confidence. And Bush has no credibility to restore confidence because he and a number of others in his administration themselves engaged in fraud. How can Ashcroft prosecute Kenneth Lay without also prosecuting Cheney, White, and Bush himself? My guess is that Bush will do nothing and just hope that things will blow over. They probably will, eventually. In the mean time, we're all still paying for his shady fortune.
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Jul 11, 2002, 05:46 PM
 
I can't believe it's taken almost 2 years into his presidency for people to start talking about Bush's very well known past as an incompetent and corrupt business man. Where was all this dialouge and attention during the damn elections? Just goes to show how Media decides what is news and when for their own purposes....

Failing to file the proper notices with the SEC for 34 months is indeed offensive. It's nothing he should go to jail for, but i think it speaks to his character. Was it insider trading? Sure looks that way. We was on the audit committee after all. Most people agree the SEC looked the other way because his Dad was the president and it wasn't a whole lot of money. Criminal? Possibly. Unethical? Entirely.

But everyone seems to be ignoring the more important nugget of his days with Harken. The fact that the company hid loses by creating a fake subsidiary that they sold to a fake concern. That's the Enron trick. Sure it's on a much smaller scale, but then again, Harken never really made any money to begin with. Harken cheated like Enron while Bush was a director of the company. Discuss.

Everyone in the White House wants America to believe that all of this is simply the work of "a few bad apples". Ok, let's accept that fact for sake of discussion. Let's see then. Of the 15 companies that constitute the big news scandals of the last year, 5 of them are intimately connected to key members of the Administration including Bush & Cheney. Intimately connected right up until the time they took office and even after they took office. That's 3 outa 5. Bush could've used someone with that kind of batting average when he was with the Rangers organization, that's for sure.

The bottom line is, we've reached an era when it is commonly acknowledged that money buys our politicians favors and corporations write out laws. It's been this way for a long time, but now it's actually widely accepted as fact by the should-be-voting public. The pervasiveness of corporate greed and lack of accountability has finally come to light for all to see (Nader might be crazy but he was right about this stuff so there!!).

In this new political reality, how can anyone endorse an administration that is so completely implicated in the precise activity that now is finally being addressed in the body Politic? The gig is up, boys. Elections, please....
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Jul 11, 2002, 06:54 PM
 
</font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Geneva, Verdana, Arial, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="1" face="Geneva, Verdana, Arial, sans-serif">Originally posted by thunderous_funker:
<strong>I can't believe it's taken almost 2 years into his presidency for people to start talking about Bush's very well known past as an incompetent and corrupt business man. Where was all this dialouge and attention during the damn elections?</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="1" face="Geneva, Verdana, Arial, sans-serif">I think this at least partly contradicts the idea of the "liberal media". I could be mistaken, but it seemed to me that Dubbya got relatively friendly press coverage during the campaign compared to Gore. I don't think it's a liberal-vs-conservative thing so much as a who's-the-fresher-and-more-personally-engaging-candidate thing. I think that both the press and the public are vulnerable to it, and it tends to feed on itself. Of course, now that the honeymoon with Dubbya is over, it can swing the other way. It happens with every President sooner or later.

</font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Geneva, Verdana, Arial, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="1" face="Geneva, Verdana, Arial, sans-serif"><strong>In this new political reality, how can anyone endorse an administration that is so completely implicated in the precise activity that now is finally being addressed in the body Politic? The gig is up, boys. Elections, please....</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="1" face="Geneva, Verdana, Arial, sans-serif">I guess I would only question whether it's a "new" political reality. As far as I can tell, in Washington, it's always been "money talks, BS walks." But then I'm a bit of a cynic. <img border="0" alt="[Hmmm]" title="" src="graemlins/hmmm.gif" />
     
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Jul 11, 2002, 07:55 PM
 
</font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Geneva, Verdana, Arial, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="1" face="Geneva, Verdana, Arial, sans-serif">Originally posted by zigzag:
<strong>I guess I would only question whether it's a "new" political reality. As far as I can tell, in Washington, it's always been "money talks, BS walks." But then I'm a bit of a cynic. <img border="0" alt="[Hmmm]" title="" src="graemlins/hmmm.gif" /> </strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="1" face="Geneva, Verdana, Arial, sans-serif">I was trying to convey that the secret is out. It's not just us malcontents and cynics that realize the truth of what's been going on for a very long time.

Remember the days when the details of compaign contributions and voting records simply wasn't discussed in the general media? Now it permeates nearly all congressional coverage. It's not the accussation of so-called conspiracy theorists and loonies. Everybody knows it now and admits it freely. Everybody. Finally. <img border="0" title="" alt="[Wink]" src="wink.gif" />
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Jul 11, 2002, 08:53 PM
 
</font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Geneva, Verdana, Arial, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="1" face="Geneva, Verdana, Arial, sans-serif">Originally posted by thunderous_funker:
<strong> </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Geneva, Verdana, Arial, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="1" face="Geneva, Verdana, Arial, sans-serif">Originally posted by zigzag:
<strong>I guess I would only question whether it's a "new" political reality. As far as I can tell, in Washington, it's always been "money talks, BS walks." But then I'm a bit of a cynic. <img border="0" alt="[Hmmm]" title="" src="graemlins/hmmm.gif" /> </strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="1" face="Geneva, Verdana, Arial, sans-serif">I was trying to convey that the secret is out. It's not just us malcontents and cynics that realize the truth of what's been going on for a very long time.

Remember the days when the details of compaign contributions and voting records simply wasn't discussed in the general media? Now it permeates nearly all congressional coverage. It's not the accussation of so-called conspiracy theorists and loonies. Everybody knows it now and admits it freely. Everybody. Finally. <img border="0" title="" alt="[Wink]" src="wink.gif" /> </strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="1" face="Geneva, Verdana, Arial, sans-serif">Yes, there needs to be some accountability in all of this. Some of my own suggestions:

</font>
  • <font size="1" face="Geneva, Verdana, Arial, sans-serif"> Require tha all votes in the legislature be on the record. Secret ballot is reserved for the public voting for officials, not for officials who need to be held accountable for their actions.
    </font></li>
  • <font size="1" face="Geneva, Verdana, Arial, sans-serif">Require that all public speeches be archived in at least text form. As of now, archival is optional and almost always edited.
    </font></li>
<font size="1" face="Geneva, Verdana, Arial, sans-serif">There's probably more that could be done, but those are two things that I can think of off the top of my head.
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Edit: UBB ate my first list item!

<small>[ 07-11-2002, 08:56 PM: Message edited by: BlackGriffen ]</small>
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Jul 12, 2002, 08:10 PM
 
He can't be too stringent. I mean, where else can get almost $8 million in "soft money" so he can roll back EPA pollution restrictions on industrial, oil, and refinery installations.

He has to able to make promises and accept bribes -- err, I mean accept "donations" for the next election campaign.

He has a 78% approval rating for a reason. Who gives a rats ass if he's not doing anything in particular, he's telling people what they want to hear. Like father, like son. While he's at it, might as well promise no new taxes like Bill Simon. No taxes and bigger tax breaks, that's how you get rid of a debt.
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Jul 13, 2002, 04:38 AM
 
Kinda funny if you ask me, that the day after the story about the lawsuit, Hallburton is all over the new york times with a self rightous story about how much money they are making from "the war effort". The cracks are starting to show. Even the NYT admits that the military could do their own dirty work cheaper.
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Jul 13, 2002, 05:59 AM
 
Yep, only six and a half more years of Dubya.

Choke on it, liberals.
     
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Jul 13, 2002, 06:20 AM
 
</font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Geneva, Verdana, Arial, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="1" face="Geneva, Verdana, Arial, sans-serif">Originally posted by TNproud2b:
<strong>Yep, only six and a half more years of Dubya.

Choke on it, liberals.</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="1" face="Geneva, Verdana, Arial, sans-serif">One can only hope that deomcrats control the house and senate during that time. I find it scary if any party controls the legislative and executive. Let's hope no more traitorous bills like the USA Patriot Act that destroy the rest of our freedoms.
     
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Jul 13, 2002, 06:40 AM
 
lookie, our first choking victim...
     
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Jul 13, 2002, 01:43 PM
 
First off there TN, I am proud to be called a liberal, and second off, everyone, including you is going to choke on it with GW's clean air act rollback (pandering to big business of course), I am already choking on it as living here in Western North Carolina, we have some of the worst pollution in the country, not his fault, but its only going to get worse under bush. Thirdly, it is only a matter of time till bush and cheney's past transgressions come back to haunt them (hallburton, harkin, etc--makes the whitewater stuff look like kindergarten games), and if they cannot manage to keep it under wraps until the next election, he won't be getting a second term (not to say that the dems will win, but he may not even be nominated by his own party) Sorry pal, but the guy is a complete and utter loser, but he makes a pretty decent puppet.
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Jul 13, 2002, 03:12 PM
 
This editorial by the Washington Post (no friend of Bush) sets out pretty clearly why the Harkin business has absolutely no traction for Democrats. If Daschle & Co. can't even get a liberal paper like the Post interested in this non-story, they really are wasting their time. Daschle might as well go back to sulking that the recession didn't last longer.

I have to post this in its entirety. A link is unavailable at this time.

The Washington Post
Copyright 2002, The Washington Post Co. All Rights Reserved
Friday, July 12, 2002
Editorial

The Harken Energy Distraction

AT HIS news conference on Monday, President Bush was beset with
questions about his business dealings of 12 years ago. In 1990 Mr. Bush
sold $848,560 worth of stock in Harken Energy Corp., eight days before
Harken finished its second quarter with a loss that drove the stock
price down. This episode raises two substantial questions and some
smaller ones. But most have been aired over the years, and one has been
the subject of a government investigation. Congress shouldn't let the
temptation to play politics with this issue distract it from corporate
reform.

The first substantial question is whether Mr. Bush sold the Harken
shares ahead of bad results because he had inside information. He was on
the company board, so the insider suspicion is natural. But the
Securities and Exchange Commission investigated the case and did not
take action, apparently because it could not find firm evidence of
wrongdoing. The SEC's chairman at the time was Richard Breeden, a
Republican who knew Mr. Bush's father but who was also a renowned
enforcement hawk. People who worked inside the SEC during the early
1990s reckon that the organization would have gone after the son of the
president if it had had sufficient evidence.

The second serious question is whether Mr. Bush is culpable for
Harken's dubious accounting. In 1989 Harken used a phony sale to bump up
its revenue; in 1991 the SEC forced the company to correct its numbers.
Mr. Bush was on Harken's audit committee, so he shares responsibility
for this episode. Moreover, the price Mr. Bush got for the shares he
sold in 1990 may have been inflated by the accounting trick. Mr. Bush
now proposes that chief executives who profit from accounting
misstatements be made to give back their money; the fact that Mr. Bush
himself may have profited from a misstatement is embarrassing. But it
was not illegal, and there is no suggestion that Mr. Bush played a role
in devising the accounting trick or that he sold the stock because he
realized a restatement was coming.

The remaining threads in the Harken story are no more compelling. Mr.
Bush was late in filing some of the paperwork relating to his stock
sale, but not so egregiously late as to trigger SEC discipline. He
accepted a loan from the company, a practice he now says should be
stopped. But the size of the loan was relatively modest, and there is
little shame in having participated in a legal practice years ago and
then advocating its reform when others turn out to have abused it.
Equally, as a member of Harken's board, Mr. Bush was supposed to oversee
the managers, but he simultaneously accepted consulting fees from them.
This is the kind of conflict that undermines the board independence Mr.
Bush now urges. But it has to be said that almost nobody -- this page
included -- objected to board members' accepting consulting fees before
the recent outbreak of scandals.

There are cases in which an official's past dealings deserve to become
a public issue: It will be interesting to see what emerges from the
SEC's investigation into Halliburton, the company that Vice President
Cheney headed until 2000. But the Harken story took place years ago. It
has already been investigated and aired. It affected far fewer people
than the billion-dollar scandals that have been in the news lately.
Congress's focus must now be on preventing more corporate dishonesty,
not on Harken. The real scandal involving President Bush is that he
claims to be outraged by corporate misbehavior but refuses to support
the bipartisan Senate bill that offers the best hope of progress.

<small>[ 07-13-2002, 03:17 PM: Message edited by: SimeyTheLimey ]</small>
     
   
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