Wednesday, July 31, 2002

What's taking so long?

I heard that some indictments of Worldcom CEOs was possibly coming soon, and I'm wondering, what about Enron? If they can find enough to indict the Worldcom guys this fast, then I guess nothing wrong happened at Enron, if they haven't found anything by now. We all know that the pResident doesn't want his buddies going to jail, and the only reason we are now getting the Corporate Fraud bill, is because now they have someone else to pick on. You watch, a bunch of guys will be rounded up and hauled off in cuffs, but Ken Lay will not be one of them.

Monday, July 29, 2002

Screw college, just get your ass to work

I can hardly contain myself at this quote from Dubya, who thinks that a college education won't help people get off of welfare:

"Under the way they're kind of writing it right now out of the Senate Finance Committee, some people could spend their entire five years — there's a five-year work requirement — on welfare going to college, Now, that's not my view of helping people become independent" Bush said.

What the .... I guess this is to be expected, when the village idiot is the pResident


Sunday, July 28, 2002

YACS (Yet Another Corporate Scandal)

Qwest admits that they used improper accounting practices to the tune of $1.16 Billion and will restate earnings for 1999-2001.

But this beats all I've ever seen, the Department of Justice recommended Qwest for long distance service just 3 days ago, even though they were under investigation by the SEC.

Arianna Moving Her Column To Bermuda

Arianna Huffington's latest article explains how to get all of the benefits of living and doing business in the US, all for free! My favorite line in this article is:

"Despite the billions being lost to these offshore tax havens, however, the Bush administration has shown little ardor for closing the loopholes. On the other hand, if you’re receiving the traditional sort of welfare, the meager check that arrives once a month for needy individuals, the president is determined to wean you from your bad habits."

Are you better off today than a year ago?

A recent poll shows that many Americans say NO



Thursday, July 25, 2002

My posts are going to be scarce this week due to some other commitments that are demanding my time this week. But be sure and click on the links to the left to some other great blogs.

Also, be sure to tune into the latest Joey Joe Joe Show, your alternative to conservative talk radio. These guys are great, they tell it like it is, and throw in some humour resulting in a very professionally done radio show, that is both entertaining and informative. If you don't listen, you are really missing out. This is a refreshing change from the right wing mumble jumble of the likes of Rush Limbaugh et al. But you can't really compare the two, because these guys give honest, common sense views of the issues of today, with in depth discussions which are backed up with facts and historic background.

Monday, July 22, 2002

Dubya's Corporate Crackdown

SatireWire released a story the other day that was very funny that you should read. Funny, that is, except for the fact that it is largely true. In the story, they say Dubya "promised to strengthen accounting laws, impose long prison terms for executives guilty of fraud, and punish any acts of corporate corruption that didn't happen in 1990" and "Also, it doesn't count if a person's last name begins with the letter 'B".

Gun Nut News

A wacko in Williamsburg Virginia opened fire with an assault rifle on a helicopter trying to land to pick up a businessman who lived nearby. Thinking it was a helicopter with terrorists, the man said it was just a natural reaction. I don't know about you, but it's scary to think that there are people like this roaming the streets and even worse, carrying guns. Read Story




Market Mayhem

The DOW has lost more than 1200 points in the past 2 weeks, so today has everyone on edge, wondering if the free fall will continue, or if we'll get a bit of a bounce that often follows heavy selling, even if it's short lived. But the Worldcom bankruptcy announcement is setting the stage for a lower opening. Right now about the only thing that can offset all of the bad news, is that there may be a sense that some of these beaten down stocks are now at bargain prices. More earnings come out this week, which could add to the pain, or maybe some surprise results will give a glimmer of hope.

One rule to always remember when it comes to stocks, and trying to guess the bottom, is "never try to catch a falling knife". If you aren't in, you may want to think about waiting for the market to stabilize before jumping in and doing some bargain hunting. For those already in, it's a tough call, if you sell now, you lock in your losses. But if you stay in, there could be more substantial downside. In any case, today will certainly be another interesting day on Wall Street.

There was no there, there

Last year a shareholder lawsuit against Worldcom for allegedly cooking the books was thrown out by a Reagan appointed judge who basically declared that there was no there, there (remind you of another story?). We now know different, but it goes to show how corporate and political ties can even corrupt the judges who oversee these cases.

Thursday, July 18, 2002

What's Wrong With This Story?

Newsmax reports that Clinton Admin expected a 9-11 style attack. Then they ask, why didn't they do anything about it?

Why didn't they do anything about it? Well, I don't remember a 9-11 style attack happening when Clinton was president. They did do something, they started focusing like a laser beam on terrorism, and unless I managed to miss a huge news story by sleeping for a few years, I don't remember a massive attack the scope of 9-11 happening on Clinton's watch. The problem is, when Dubya took over, Ashcroft had other priorities, like bustin prostitutes. The terrorist saw an opening because Ashcroft was busy fighting his own holy war, and they managed to strike us when we weren't looking.

So Newsmax, Rush Limburger, and all you Repugs who can't let go of Clinton, get a freaking life, you sound like a broken record with your "Clinton's fault" for everything that happens in the world today.

Inside the Poll Numbers

A CBS/ NY Times extensive poll has been conducted, and it doesn't look good. While Dubya's overall job approval rating remains high, when you get down to specific issues, most noteably the economy, this administration and the Republicans are in big trouble. The economy is the second most important issue (terrorism tops the list), so the scandals and the stock market are certainly having a very negative effect.

One of the more interesting numbers here, is that only 38% of the people have even heard about Bush's past business dealings, and only 28% have heard about Cheney's. This would seem to indicate, that as the fall elections get near and more people start paying attention, and the ads start running, that these poll numbers will likely drop even further in respect to the Bush Admin and the Republicans.

When asked which party is most influenced by big business, 53% said Republicans, and only 17% said Democrat. So as you can see, this issue is most likely going to be the deciding issue in the coming elections.

Wednesday, July 17, 2002

The Fix Is In

Dubya says that the SEC will clear Cheney of any wrongdoing. So you people working for the SEC, when the boss says he will be cleared, he will be cleared (wink wink). Got that?

Tuesday, July 16, 2002

Kudos to Lou Dobbs

When it comes to the corporate scandals and the economy, there are a lot of reporters, columnists and pundits who have come out and finally spoke honestly about Dubya, his administration, and the corporate greed that is tearing our country apart. After 9-11, we needed solidarity in this country, and criticism was almost non-existent. Even though I think dissent is good and healthy, I can understand why this was so. But now that some time has passed, and other issues besides the war on terrorism have made it back into the national debate, most noteably the economy and corporate scandals, there are many people that I admire who aren't afraid to speak out.

But one person has really gotten my attention, and I think the reason that I am taking the time to single him out, is because I never expected him to say what he is saying. Lou Dobbs is one of the leading business journalist in the nation. Call me cynical, but I usually don't exactly trust these business news shows, because I feel that a lot of what is reported is mostly one sided, usually painting as rosy a picture as possible, since so many of these people are investors, and have a stake in the economy doing good. The best example of this, is Kudlow and Cramer, who gushed over Bush's speach last week, and have consistently through these economically troubled times, touted the stock market and economy as being something that it obviously isn't. I can't even watch their show, because I just sit there and wonder "what planet are these guys from?"

I certainly haven't viewed Lou Dobbs in the past as someone I admired, nothing personal, to be honest, I really never paid him much attention. I just assumed he was like the rest. But lately he has really spoke strongly and honestly about what is going on in this country in respect to the corporate scandals, and is the first prominent business journalist who isn't afraid to tell it like it is. While I don't agree on his views on a lot of other issues, I think he is dead on right about what's going on in regards to corporate corruption.

Here are a few choice quotes from him, that I think will show what I am speaking of:

"There's a great deal of talk in Washington, and frankly, here about a crisis of confidence in the markets. But we also have another crisis, one that could be called a crisis of accountability. Not only do we, according to every poll I've seen, have a lack of confidence in the integrity of corporate America and the markets... we have a growing lack of confidence that anything will be done to punish those individuals who break the law"

"SEC Chairman Harvey Pitt pointed out here last night that he's demanded the 1000 largest companies must have their CEOs sign their financial statements within the next month. But almost nine months after the Enron scandal broke, no Enron executive has been charged with even a civil complaint, let alone a criminal charge"

"And who among you had the bright idea of creating another task force? There's already one task force working in Houston... it's called the Enron task force, and we haven't seen any results in seven months. Will you all finally figure out that the Justice Department and SEC have spent too many months investigating Enron, without any action? That the time for action is now? That the president's next speech on corporate ethics will have more power if it's preceded by indictments and arrests of, not a few bad apples or bad actors, but an ever growing list of corporate crooks? I can't wait for that next speech"

"There has been a culture of infectious greed in corporate America. It does not mean that people have been necessarily criminal in their behavior or necessarily unethical in their behavior but their behavior certainly has not been of the highest standards we expect from our business leaders, our government leaders, our political leaders"

"Stock options are a cause and they are a symptom. This excessive corporate compensation under which we are all living and is adjusting, but only slowly, is horrible. The average CEO in this country makes 500 times what the average employee in his or her company makes. That's horrible. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the military, for example, earns only 5 times what the average enlisted person makes. We have some serious adjustments to go through here"

Thank you Lou, for being a beacon of hope, that for those of us who work hard for an honest living, there is a voice out there on behalf of what really built this country and this economy. We understand that those at the top, usually deserve to be there and be compensated above the average worker. But the class envy isn't so much because they make more, it's because they make obscenely more at the expense of those of us who struggle to make ends meet, to provide for our family, and to pay for a decent education for our kids. For a country of such wealth, way too many people are seeing the American Dream disappear before their very eyes, wondering how this could happen in our great nation.

Check out the Dobbs Report web page, and tune into his show Moneyline on CNN
A Man of His Word

"George W. Bush signed a letter in 1990 saying he wouldn't sell any stock for at least six months in the struggling Texas oil company where he was a director. But 2 months later, with Harken Energy Corp. hit by a sudden financial crisis, Bush cashed out his shares for $848,560" says this article from the Associated Press.

Another Wild Day On Wall Street

Futures are down, indicating that the markets will open lower and continue it's downward slide unless something good comes from Greenspan today. Dow futures are down -150 points.

Check the Futures at cnnfn.com

Since Dubya's speech last week, the market has gone into pretty much a free fall. Yesterday, after Bush spoke again in Alabama, the DOW dropped 430 points (ouch), but a late rally likely spurred by shorts covering ahead of Greenspan, pared the losses and the DOW closed only down -45.

Some Key earnings will be released this week that will also help push the markets in one direction or the other. Among those reporting will be Microsoft, Intel, IBM, GM, and Daimler Chrysler.

The numbers released will undoubtedly be under a cloud of some suspicion, but since these numbers are the only thing investors have to go on, well, I think they will be willing to just take them at face value for now. So if earnings this week are improved, then there might be a bit of a rally, as investors are desperate for any kind of good news these days, regardless of whether the numbers might be a little "fuzzy".
Quote of the Week

"When George Bush talks, people listen -- and sell"
                                    - Joe Conason

Read Joe's latest article at Salon.com titled "Talk that's not cheap".
Dubya is for tax cuts unless ...

It appears that Bush got wealthy with assistance from the government. Texas had to increase taxes to help pay for a new stadium, putting up $150 million of taxpayer money to fund the construction. Read Krugman's article and Kristof's article about how Bush got wealthy off of a sweetheart deal, and off the backs of taxpayers.

Another think to note in Krugman's article that should get people's attention, is that when the Rangers team was sold, Bush's stake was $2.3 Million, but other partners of the deal gave some of their shares to Bush netting him an additional $12 Million, a gift, as you will, while he was governor. This makes what Torricelli was investigated for (receiving gifts) pale in comparison. But if you're last name is Bush, apparently you are above the law and any scrutiny.

Monday, July 15, 2002

Like A Rock

Bush Approval Rating drops to 62% according to latest Zogby Poll. Now that the media is no longer doing the bidding for the White House and propping up the Resident, his approval ratings are going down like the stock market. Trust me, the Bush admin is in full panic mode, watch out Iraq ...

Sunday, July 14, 2002

Halliburton CEO says Cheney Knew

Newsweek reports that the current CEO of Halliburton says Cheney knew all about the accounting practices at Halliburton. So Cheney can't play dumb like Dubya (I know what you're thinking...) Read Story

Saturday, July 13, 2002

Deep Pocket Part 3

I'm still trying to figure out, if Lee M Bass is the one who bought out Dubya's Harken stock, why would he do it? And the main reason for asking, is because of the secrecy surrounding the transaction there is something Dubya doesn't want us to know. Not necessarily because there's wrongdoing here, it could simply just be something that would be politically embarrassing. So even if we're barking up the wrong tree, in respect to Mr. Bass, there is a reason to be a bit suspicious, even the broker won't say who it is, and said that we'll never find out.

Now, we already suspect that the reason the SEC didn't pursue the case against Dubya, or even bother to interview him personally, was because his father was President at the time. That's an easy accusation to make. But what if the guy who bailed out Dubya, by buying up enough of his shares for him to get in on the Texas Rangers deal, was doing so as "payback" to Bush Sr. after Harken got exclusive rights to drill in Bahrain in which the Bass brothers helped bankroll the deal. It must be nice to have friends in high places, just ask Halliburton whose KBR unit has received lucrative additional contracts from the government to help fight the "war on terror".

Now, it must be said, that all of this is pure speculation, I'm not an investigative reporter. I have no resources to actually go and and dig up any proof of what I'm saying here. I just hope by bringing up the possibilities, or raising some questions, that someone who does have the resources will at least look into this matter, to see what it is that they don't want us to know.

Some of the timing here, would be pretty important. It appears that Harken got the exclusive drilling rights deal in Jan. 1990, and "Deep Pocket" bought out Dubya's Harken stock in June 1990 . So the "payback theory" sounds like it might have some credibility. Now if this deal was such a good deal, I was wondering why Dubya would want out. But it may be that Dubya might have been planning for life in politics, and baseball would certainly be a good way to get him out in the public spotlight before his run for governor of Texas in 1994.

I'm pretty much taking a day off today, but wanted to pass along a couple of links to some good stories, summarizing a terrible week for the prez and for Wall Street:

How Bush's World Turned Upside Down - Time Magazine

And this little nugget from TheStreet.com:

Raiders of the Lost Harken

Also be sure and scroll down on that link above and read the part about Fox News "We Report. You Decide if We're Idiots"




Friday, July 12, 2002

Look Who's Lying Now

A federal judge has accused the Bush admin of making purposefully misleading arguments while they were trying to defend Cheney's energy task force. The judge said "The administration's stunning arguments fly in the face of precedent".

Lying about sex is one thing, but lying about something like energy policy that affects each and every American can't be tolerated. Let's start the impeachment proceedings NOW! Read Story

Deep Pocket Continued ...

I was digging around, trying to find out who Lee might be (see previous post). Of course the first name off the top of my head was Lee Atwater, but that didn't seem to me a likely suspect. The only name that I ran across that seems to throw up some flags, was Lee M Bass.

Mr. Bass, a Texas oil billionaire, contributed to Dubya's 2000 campaign, and also to the recount (blocking) fund. According to Center for Public Integrity, he is Dubya's 5th largest career patron. When Harken won exclusive offshore drilling rights (which was kind of odd that they beat out larger better financed companies) in Bahrain in 1990, the Bass family bankrolled the venture.

In this story How George W. Bush Scored Big With the Texas Rangers one of the investors in the deal, was Richard Rainwater, who used to be the chief money manager for the Bass brothers. This of course is a very loose theory, with nothing to really tie it all together. But if you were to theorize about who named Lee you would suspect as being "Deep Pocket", Lee M Bass would be among the top suspects in my opinion.

"Deep Pocket"

In Watergate there was "Deep Throat", in Harkengate I give you "Deep Pocket". A mysterious un-named individual who bought 200,000+ shares of Dubya's Harken stock at $4. The broker involved in the transaction won't divulge who this person was. This article by Pete Yost of the Associated press notes the secrecy surrounding this transaction, and also says "If Bush had tried to sell such a large amount of Harken stock into the open market, it undoubtedly would have driven the price far below the $4 a share he was paid".

Due to the secrecy surrounding this story and stonewalling of related documents, I suspect that there is something here that Dubya is hiding beyond suspicion of insider trading. A handwritten note by the broker holds the only clue available, which said "s/212,140 at 4 to Lee for Bush." So we might guess that Lee is the name of the person, or perhaps a company that bought Dubyas shares. Only think that comes to mind for me, is Lee Atwater. But we'll have to do some more digging to uncover who "Deep Pocket" was. Developing ...

Building a Legacy

The first sign as to what will be Dubya's legacy, is a sign that was put up in New York yesterday, the Debt Clock. This clock, as you remember, had been there before, but was taken down 2 years ago after years of unprecendented peace and prosperity, which is the legacy of Bill Clinton. However, in his first year and a half, Dubya has managed to return us to war and deficits. I guess when he said he was going to take the country in a new direction, he wasn't kidding. At least he kept one campaign promise.

Gimme Shelter

The IRS has identified dozens of people who have used tax shelters and may have broken the law. Among these, is none other than Bill Simon, the Republican candidate for governor in California running against Gray Davis. Read Story

A Complete Farce?

Merril Lynch has found that if stock options were treated as an expense, that the total earnings for the S&P 500 companies in 2001 would have been 21% lower! This is scary, the abuses of companies by using such a variety of ways to hide debt and increasing profits artificially, is probably so widespread, that there is no way to fully comprehend the scope of these abuses. However, in the name of capitalism and free markets, the Republicans have been the lead enabler to ensure these types of scams are legal. Read story here

Beyond the Headline

I have to be honest here, when I first saw the headlines that Sesame Street was going to have an HIV positive muppet, my first thought was "whatever happened to kids just having some fun" (this is before I actually read the story). Children's shows like Sesame Street are also educational, but it just seemed to me that this was maybe too serious of an issue for little kids.

Then I read the story, and realized real quick that you can't just look at the headlines. The fact that Drudge ran this as the big story last night, leads me to believe that his intention was to rile up those right wing religio wackos, I could hear them screaming that this is nothing more than gay propaganda. Or at least that would be their first thought by reading the headlines, and knowing most of them, even after they read the story they would say the same thing.

Anyway, the real story here, is that they plan to run this additional muppet with HIV in Africa, where the AIDS epidemic is near catastrophic proportions. The idea here, is to educate kids about people with AIDS, without any kind of reference to sex, so that kids with AIDS or who know someone with AIDS, can be educated about some very basic things, mainly to take away some of the stigmatism associated with the disease. But to also deal with some safety issues, like what to do if you get a cut, or someone else gets a cut (who might be infected).

Given the gravity of this problem throughout the world, I think this is a very responsible move. Now I just hope an educated country like ours, can remove the same types of stigmatism and stereotypes that go along with this deadly disease, and help fight this battle against a disease that has devastated the world and even many in our own country.

Thursday, July 11, 2002

Leave no Billionaire Behind

Even this guy couldn't help getting in on the action of corporate greed and corruption:






Ross, I'd say you are finished...


Stock Tumble During Bush Term Is Biggest Since Nixon

Read Story then ask yourself "Are you better off today than you were before Dubya took office?" Just look at your 401k statement for the answer...

Drawing on Personal Experience

Dubya has been touted as the first President with an MBA. I guess they think that this makes him the better person for the job, than say, someone who has dedicated their life to public service. This unique qualification, as far as presidents go, means he can draw on his experience to do a better job as pResident. And when it comes to the crackdown on corporate "malfeance" (sic) Dubya has to look no further than his own record.

I have pretty much hit on most of his "experience" already, like the phony transactions at Harken to artificially inflate profits. But here's another little nugget, during his speach he also stated "I challenge compensation committees to put an end to all company loans to corporate officers".

Well, he should know about this, he got 2 loans from Harken. Dan Bartlett, the White House communications director, defended Dubya, stating that these loans are totally appropriate. Are you starting to see the problem here? Everything they are speaking out against, is somehow a-ok when it comes to Dubya doing it, it's just wrong if someone else does it. No Wonder the Dow has tanked more than 400 points since his speach. How is confidence going to be restored when the person in charge used these same greedy schemes at his own company?


Wednesday, July 10, 2002

Quote of the Week

"I get good advice, if you will, from their people based upon how we're doing business and how we're operating over and above the just sort of normal by-the-book auditing arrangement"

                                       - Dick Cheney

This quote was from an Arthur Anderson promotional video.

Naked Justice

If you haven't seen Julian Bond's speech at the NAACP National Convention in Houston, you really missed out. You might be able to catch a re-reun on C-Span. You have probably heard on the talk shows or read on the web, some of his jabs at the Bush Admin, such as saying that Ashcroft was "a cross between J. Edgar Hoover and Jerry Fallwell" and also saying Ashcroft was afraid of "naked justice". Funny but so true! But jokes aside, you really should watch his entire speech, which is one of the best speeches I have seen in quite a while.

Tuesday, July 09, 2002

Old News?

If Harken is old news and has been fully vetted, then why did Dubya say yesterday "he hasn't fully figured it out" either? Maybe it's time for a congressional investigation to settle this once and for all ...

Harvey Pitt should resign NOW!

Just recently, Arthur Anderson was convicted of obstruction of justice for shredding documents relating to Enron. Where do you think they got the idea that shredding documents when they knew they were about to be investigated was ok? Well, they got it from who was then their lawyer, and is now the head of the SEC, Harvey Pitt!

Pitt co-wrote an article titled "When Bad Things Happen to Good Companies: A Crisis Management Primer" which instructed companies to shred documents up and until the minute that a subpoena is officially served, asking them to "imagine all of their documents in the hands of a zealous regulator or on the front page of the New York Times" Link

I don't see how in the world anyone can defend Harvey Pitt, the person who should be ensuring these types of things don't happen, when he "wrote the book" on shredding. The Democrats better step up and insist that Pitt resign, and be relentless, or else the foxes will continue to guard the henhouse, and there will never be a sense of trust or integrity on Wall Street.

A quick comment:

Doubling the prison time for fraud does nothing to curb it, if no one is indicted. When we see Enron indictments and convictions, then, and only then, will we think that this administration is starting to get serious about cracking down on corrupt business practices ..

It's been fully vetted, next question please...

Well, here's my next question, for what purpose did the "complex transaction" by Harken serve, if not to hide debt, by offsetting them with phony profits?

Yesterday, when asked about Harken having to restate it's earnings, because the SEC determined that the sale of the Aloha subsidiary to insiders was a phony transaction, Dubya claimed that unlike the phony transactions at Enron and Worldcom, this was just a honest disagreement about accounting practices.

Accounting beside, I would like to know, for what purpose did selling a subsidiary to insiders using a company loan serve? I can only guess that the subsidiary was basically worthless if they couldn't find an outside company to purchase it. But they needed to sell it bad, because they needed some profits to book. So they come up with the idea of selling it to themselves (for all intents and purposes, this is what really happened) and booking the profits. The accounting disagreement, I suppose (I am no expert in this area), would be about them being able to hide the fact that this purchase was by insiders using company money.

Anyway, the SEC found this to be a phony transaction, and forced them to restate their earnings. So now I am wondering, now that the disagreement about how to account for this transaction has been settled, was there any legitimate purpose for this transaction under what the SEC ruled as what is acceptable accounting? The answer to that is "no". This transaction would never have taken place, if they knew ahead of time that they would have to fully account for all aspects of the transaction.

So in reality, this transaction wasn't that complex, other than the fact, that the absence of "black and white" accounting rules left a lot of gray area for these crooks to try to game the system. Harken got caught, just like Enron, Worldcom, etc. doing the exact same thing, and for Dubya to try to claim otherwise, assumes that all of us are less intelligent than him, which is a pretty bold assumption.

Bush says Rush is Wrong

If you've listened to Rush Limbaugh lately, you would know that the corporate corruption that we are seeing today, is the fault of none other than one Bill Clinton. Bill's brief lapse of moral judgement, a first in the history of the United States, has thrown our country into a moral crisis where everyone, including corporate CEO's who were the most ethical among us, now lack any sense of real decency. For that reason, Bill Clinton can be directly blamed for any and every crisis or instance of wrongdoing from this point forward.

However, in yesterdays press conference, oddly enough, Dubya was asked if the current corporate scandals were the fault of Bill Clinton. Dubya categorically denied this with a resounding "no". One has to wonder what the heck Dubya was thinking, to make such a statement contradicting common sense knowledge as proclaimed by a talent on loan from God. Maybe Dubya knows that Clinton and his administration did try to pass legislation that would regulate the way corporations do business, for instance seperating out accounting and consulting by accounting firms. But the Republicans in Congress (and yes, some Democrats) blocked any such legislation from becoming law. Maybe Dubya also knows that Henry Hyde and Bob Livingston succumbed to the temptation of another woman long before Monica was a household name.

Or maybe Dubya didn't want to judge, lest he be judged. This would be my guess. He certainly wouldn't want to be on record of blaming Bill Clinton for todays corporate scandals, knowing that he might face the same type of scrutiny as Bill did for his past business dealings. If he were to be faced with one ounce of the ton of scrutiny that Bill Clinton had to endure, he knows he would be busted, "big time".

Monday, July 08, 2002

Get over it?

I'm sorry, but I will never get over it. The Republicans just say this because they are in denial that anything wrong happened in Florida, when it comes to how Bush was able to "win" the 2000 Presidential election. This story, which I have yet to see on national news or the front page of papers, illustrates just one of the examples of how the Republicans conspired to ensure a Bush victory in Florida.

Purging voter rolls to ensure that those ineligible to vote, don't, was one of the Republican strategies in Florida. I totally disagree with the law that disqualifies ex-felons from voting, this was nothing more than the Republicans taking advantage of the fact that most felons were African-Americans who largely vote for Democrats. Ex-felons are still American citizens who have concerns and a stake in the voting process. Once someone has served their time for committing a crime, they should be allowed to resume their life, with the same rights as everyone else.

If you read the story above, I should point out one thing wrong with this settlement in the voting rights lawsuit. Which is the fact that no person is cited as being responsible for these records being inaccurate. It appears that everyone is content to just say, oops, without holding any individuals accountable for an aggregious, and arguably, purposeful attempt to disenfranchise voters.

Not only should we not "get over it", we and our leaders should be outraged! We should also demand to see the results of the recheck, to see just how many names on that list were actually eligible to vote, but were denied that right.

Anti-Peace

Republicans often complain about liberals being anti-war. So I'll turn that around and complain that conservatives are anti-peace. Republicans are all for going and bombing the dickens out of enemy countries and overthrowing hostile regimes. But when it comes to maintaining peace and ensuring that the new governments that take over are stable, well, that's someone else's problem.

This story today from AP, is very troubling. Even after the assasination of the Afganistan Vice President, the Bush administration is resisting our responsibility to ensure peace and stability in Afganistan. Don't we ever learn from the past? There is a quote, at the moment I can't remember who said this, but they said "history never repeats itself, but it sure rhymes". This administration better realize that we are nowhere close to victory, when it comes to the war on terrorism, and we better be committed to following through and doing everything it takes, otherwise all we've done is blown up a bunch of stuff for nothing.

One would think that Dubya and the Republicans aren't concerned about peace or winning the war on terrorism, but instead would like to drag out war indefinitely to prop up the party and the selected leader of the "free" world.


Saturday, July 06, 2002

Creative Accounting for Dummies

For those of you, who maybe don't really understand exactly how companies like Enron and Harken managed to hide their debt, here is an analogy that should be easy to understand.

Let's say I give you $1. Now, let's say you turn around buy a gadget from me (which cost me 5 cents) for a $1. Then I report that I made a 95 cent profit.

So now you're probably thinking "now wait a doggone minute, how could you have made a 95 cent profit? You gave me the $1 to buy it with, you actually should be 5 cents in the hole (the cost of the gadget)."

You see, the $1 I gave you, was in stock options in Adam X Inc. So even though in reality, I am 5 cents in the hole, I don't have to report the $1 I gave you in stock options as an expense. So when I release my quarterly statement, it appears that I am making a profit. Isn't that nifty?

Now, in reality, it's not quite that simple, and you'll have to multiply that $1 by several million. But that is basically one of the tricks used to hide debt, therefore boosting profits, and boosting your stock price. There are several other tricks like that, that are sort of legal, except for the fact that they are used to hide debt, which isn't legal.




Bush Approval Ratings

Dittoheads and freepers all across the internet continue to tout Dubya's high approval ratings. Although his ratings have dropped from it's highs, they are still very high. Democrats seem to be scratching their heads wondering, how can this be? Obviously, he would have very high ratings among Republicans, seeing as how he is turning back on every environmental law he can, promoting religion at every opportunity, and prosecuting the war on terrorism with a hard nose, no holds barred approach. Die hard right wing Republicans love this stuff. By every estimation, the country is pretty much split 50/50 when it comes to Republican vs Democrat. So then why is it that Dubya has such high approval numbers?

During wars, presidents have high approval ratings, no matter who they are. And Dubya has enjoyed record poll numbers because of this, higher than any president before. I believe that the main reason his approval numbers jumped to record levels, is because 9-11 was an attack on innocent civillians in our own homeland, which has never happened before.

Pearl Harbor hit close to home, but it was a military target that was struck. Other wars have been in far off nations where it didn't affect the lives or ordinary American citizens. But 9-11 hit home, not close to home, but a direct hit.

The American people now live in fear, albeit not a crippling fear, but it's always in the back of our mind that it could possibly happen to us. Therefore, we all want to win this fight against terrorism, and support the fight against terrorism. So, as long as the war on terrorism is the primary focus, Dubya is going to have high approval numbers.

But don't confuse the fact that people are supporting him in record numbers, with them all agreeing on how the fight against terrorism is being carried out, or how Dubya is carrying out the domestic agenda. Republicans have to be very careful here, because Dubya's high approval numbers give them a false sense of broad approval, and they become emboldened to push their most partisan and right wing agendas. This can backfire big time in the 2002 elections, and in the Presidential election in 2004 if they proceed with an agenda that the mojority of Americans don't agree with. Don't forget, Bush Sr. had good poll numbers right after the Gulf War, and yet one year later, he lost his bid for re-election.

Also remember, Dubya wouldn't have come as close to winning the presidency as he did, if he didn't campaign close to the center of right as he did. We have seen how the way he ran his campaign was nothing like the way he is running the country. Yucca mountain is one issue that comes to mind, when you consider what he said during the campaign, and what he is doing as president.

So we shouldn't worry about those high approval ratings, they only serve as false security for the President and the Republicans, which sets them up to pay a high price at the polls, for assuming that these numbers are reflective of the acceptance of right wing philosophy.

Friday, July 05, 2002

Do as I say, not as I do

The Harken story is old news, 12 years old to be exact. No charges were brought against Dubya, so what's the big deal?

The big deal is not what most people are focused on, which is the possibility of insider trading. Regardless of how Dubya's timely sale of his Harken stock has the appearance of insider trading, it would be very difficult (if not impossible) to prove. The fact that he filed late, for which Dubya blames everyone but himself, is not exactly a smoking gun regardless of who's fault it was. Whatever happened to taking accountability for your own actions as he preached during his campaign for President? Even though I say that it's not a smoking gun, the Bush admin is obviously a bit worried about it, leading them to blame it on someone else. Unfortunate for Dubya, who has never been accused of being very bright (although many think he's honest) forgot which lie he told last time, and the story changed. But let's move on to the real story.

Tuesday, Dubya is going to give a speech, in which he is apparently going to lay down the law to these major corporations involved in various accounting scandals. What happened at Worldcom has made him furious, which is basically the same thing that happened at Enron. For some odd reason, he wasn't as furious with Ken Lay, a man he barely knew who supported Ann Richards when Dubya ran against her for Texas Governor. But nevertheless, he's gonna give Wall Street a good tongue lashing, which is sure to make these corporate crooks hang their head in shame and straighten up their act.

But wait a minute, the very things he is reportedly going to criticize these corporations for, are the exact same things that was going on at Harken when he was on the Board of Directors and also on the Audit Committee. In 1989, the SEC forced Harken to restate it's earnings to reflect millions of dollars in losses that had been masked by the sale of a subsidiary to a group of insiders. This is the real story right here. This is the crux of what the current corporate scandals are all about, companies using phony transactions and creative accounting to hide debt, in order to artificially inflate their stock prices. Regardless of whether the CEOs and board members sold on inside information, they are selling for a profit at prices based on bogus data. And unlike the rest of the general public and shareholders, they know that the stock price is artificially inflated.

So when Dubya criticizes these companies, as they should be criticized, just remember that he's also talking to himself.

Read this op/ed by Jill Nelson, which is a very appropriate article following the July 4th holiday. As Americans, we can't just simply stand around waving the flag, we also have to face up to reality, and ask some tough questions of ourselves and of our leaders. We can't win the war on terrorism, by simply "putting a boot in their ass", as Toby Keith suggests in his "patriotic" song.

Well, I finally succumbed to the 'blogging craze, and have decided that this would be an easy way to post my thoughts on politics. I'm pretty busy, so maintaining a web site was completely out of the question. So a 'blog is a simple way to post your thoughts and opinions. Not that my opinion matters that much, but the issues that I will comment on should matter a lot. I don't have any idea really how this is going to go, so I'm just going to wing it, and pretty much be myself and post what I think, along with links to interesting stories found across the web dealing with politics.