Kevin McHall
Questions the media probably won't ask George W. Bush
Fri Aug 8 23:37:52 2003

Questions the media probably won't ask George W. Bush

* In 1984, after your firm, Arbusto Energy, had fallen on hard times, you managed to get a job as the 30-something president of Spectrum 7 Energy Corporation, the firm that purchased Arbusto. You also got 14% of the Spectrum's stock. Meanwhile, your 50 investors in Arbusto got paid off at about 20 cents on the dollar. Is this the sort of thing your new economic advisor, Lawrence Lindsey, was thinking of when he said Americans had become too greedy?
* Or might he have been thinking of the deal in 1986 when, after Spectrum 7 had lost $400,000 in six months, you sold it to Harken Energy, becoming a major Harken stockholder and receiving a good salary as a director and consultant?
* Or was it that time when you sold two-thirds of your Harken stock for a 200% profit on June 22, 1990, just 40 days before the start of the Gulf War and one week before the company announced a $23 million quarterly loss, setting off a 60% drop in share price over the next six months?
* Why were you so valuable to these companies given your less than impressive business acumen?
* When you and your Harken partners ran short of cash and hooked up with investment banker Jackson Stephens of Little Rock, Arkansas, he got you a $25 million stock purchase by Union Bank of Switzerland. Did you know that Sheik Abdullah Bakhsh, who joined your board as a part of the deal, was connected to BCCI? Did you know that the United Bank was connected to BCCI (including its operations in Panama), the Nugan Hand Bank (a notorious CIA-front in Australia), and Ferdinand Marcos?
* Did you know that it was Jackson Stephens who introduced the players in what would turn out to be the infamous First American-BCCI deal?
Why do your think the government of Bahrain chose Harken to drill its offshore wells even though it had never dug overseas or in water before? Why do you think it chose Harken, with no relevant experience, over Amoco, with plenty of it? Did you ever discuss with your dad Harken-Bahrain deal? Did any sheiks or other officials ever express any concern over the failure of Harken to find any oil? Do you think they really cared?
* Tell us again why you waited almost a year past the legal deadline to file the necessary SEC report on your Harken stock deal.
You borrowed $180,000 from Harken at a low rate. Did you ever pay it back or was it included among that $341,000 Harken listed in SEC documents as loaned to executives and later forgiven?
* You have worked closely with a number of persons with CIA ties. Do you think it is healthy for the country to have three presidents in a row so closely connected with this intelligence agency?
Do you think it is healthy for the country to have three presidents in a row who are Yale men?
* Your grandfather Prescott was on the board of Brown Harriman which helped provide some of the financing for the Soviet and Nazi regimes. Do you think this was a wise idea?
* As president would you continue this tradition in our policy towards China?
* During World War II your grandfather had property seized under the Trading with Enemy Act. Was he pro-Nazi or just a proto-neo-capitalist ahead of his time?
* What is the American voter to make of the fact that two of your brothers, one father, one grandfather, and one uncle have been involved in unseemly scandals of one sort or another? How do you distinguish your ethical code from theirs?
* One of your Uncle Prescott's hot deals resulted in an early but major transfer of sensitive technology to the Chinese government. Your father in 1989 lifted sanctions that blocked such ventures. Do you approve of Uncle Prescott and your father's behavior in these matters? As president would you allow such deals to continue?
* Do you approve of your uncle and father's role in what has become to be known as the "October Surprise?"
* You invested $600,000 in the Texas Rangers and later sold out for $15 million. What did you do for the Rangers in between? How much of this profit reflected your ability to get the city of Arlington to condemn land for a ball park at 1/6 its true worth and then impose a 1/2 cent sales tax to subsidize your business? Is this an example of what you meant in 1993 when you said, "The best way to allocate resources in our society is through the marketplace. Not through a governing elite?"
* Can you name a business deal you have been in that hasn't raised ethical questions? That has made a profit without some form of government subsidy?
* Why did you have to hire private investigators to find out what dirt private investigators might be able to dig up on you?
Do you think that you have used more or less cocaine than, say, Marion Barry or Bill Clinton?
Discuss this remark by Michael King in the Texas Observer: "Although by his own admission George W. was an indifferent student, he was nevertheless the deserving-by-both beneficiary of the oldest most illegitimate, and most sacrosanct form of affirmative action. . . It's business as usual."
* Since you want to help "instill individual responsibility" and give people a "future of opportunity, instead of dependence on government," why did you and your neighbors at the exclusive Rainbo Club development get a tax break from your government?
* In what ways do such tax breaks differ from welfare benefits other than that welfare recipients are more needy?
* Do you believe that being a member of a secret society dedicated to promoting fraternal nepotism in public office is consistent with being president of a democracy?
* If the words "skull and bones" are mentioned at a White House news conference, will you -- as the tradition of the society demands -- feel compelled to leave the room?



Richard Cheney and Joe Lieberman are two of the most curious choices for vice president of recent times. While commentators have come up with a number of contorted explanations, the most obvious one is being ignored: Cheney and Lieberman's real constituency is not a collection of voters but the defense industry, which they can be expected to serve as faithfully as they have in the past. Lieberman comes from the land of the Sikorsky helicopters and told Connecticut voters as recently as last October that "In my view, one layoff is one too many because each and every worker represents the very heart and soul of our national defense."

Selecting a couple of reliable Pentagon pimps is important at this time for reasons not widely reported: there is strong bipartisan support for a planned massive increase in defense spending. The build-up would raise the size of the Pentagon budget relative to GDP by about 50%.

This is not a secret plan. For example, Defense Daily reported on August 16 that the Marine Commandant, General James Jones, was talking about going from "about 2.9 percent through a gradual ramp-up to about 4 and 4.5 percent of the US Gross Domestic Product. And the Washington Post said: "The nation's military leaders say they will loyally obey the president's marching orders until the moment he leaves office in January. But when it comes to money matters, they already are targeting the next administration."

Just in the short term, the increases sought are "equal to almost the entire budget for the Education Department." Said a civilian Pentagon official, "the service requests have been unrestrained." Writes the Post:

"'We're going for the big money,' said an officer on the staff of the Joint Chiefs, adding that his bosses are 'a little bit like kids in the candy store.'"

The military especially likes Bush but won't be disappointed with Gore who told the Veterans of Foreign Wars a few years ago:

"It is the Republican Congress themselves that would cut defense at the turn of the century to try to make their numbers fit together. Again, look beyond the rhetoric and look at the facts. Let me repeat. It is the Republican defense budget, not President Clinton's, that drops in the next century. President Clinton's budget, which is also there for your to see, does not. It increases."

* * *

PUBLIC I: Under the guidance of Richard Cheney, a get-the-government-out-of-my-face conservative, Halliburton Company over the past five years has emerged as a corporate welfare hog, benefiting from at least $3.8 billion in federal contracts and taxpayer-insured loans. One of these loans was approved in April by the US Export-Import Bank. It guaranteed $489 million in credits to a Russian oil company whose roots are imbedded in a legacy of KGB and Communist Party corruption, as well as drug trafficking and organized crime funds, according to Russian and US sources and documents. Those claims are hotly disputed by the Russian oil firm's holding company . . . If Halliburton has benefited from government generosity, it also has reciprocated with substantial political contributions, largely to Republicans. During Cheney's five years at the helm, the company has donated $1,212,000 in soft and hard money to candidates and parties, according to numbers compiled by the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics. In the five years prior to his arrival, the company had given $534,750.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS reports that GOP vice presidential candidate Dick Cheney failed to vote in 14 of 16 elections since moving to Texas in 1995. Cheney's Democratic rival for the vice presidency, Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, has a five-for-six rate of election participation over the same period according to the paper.

1987 was a big year in the Reagan administration. The Iran-Contra chickens were coming home to roost. The previous December, CIA director William Casey had developed a brain tumor and lost his ability to speak. In February 1987 he resigned and died soon afterwards. That same month, former National Security Director Robert McFarlane tried to commit suicide. Also in February, the Tower Commission laid the blame on White House chief of staff Donald Regan for the "chaos that descended upon the White House" in the Iran-Contra affair. The commission praised Bush for his "vigorous reaffirmation of US opposition to terrorism in all forms" Regan was forced to resign.In November a joint congressional investigation of Iran Contra issued a bland report that cleared Vice President Bush. Key to the exculpation was senior House Republican member Richard Cheney. When he became president Bush appointed Tower as Defense Secretary and fellow Tower Commission member Brent Scowcroft as national security adviser. The Senate refused to confirm Tower and Bush named the loyal Cheney in his stead.

Cheney's voting record was slightly more conservative than mine -- Newt Gingrich. In 10 years in the House, [Dick Cheney]... chocked up a conservative voting record that rivaled Senator Jesse Helms's. -- Business Week

GREG PIERCE, WASHINGTON TIMES: As secretary of defense, Richard B. Cheney entertained major Republican contributors at private meetings at the Pentagon, the Associated Press reports, citing documents gathered by congressional fund-raising investigators. Mr. Cheney was host for at least two GOP donor gatherings inside the Defense Department in 1991 and in 1992, the records show. "If he's having an open house for contributors at the Pentagon, it does bring back reminiscences of the Lincoln Bedroom," said Larry Makinson, executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics . . . On Aug. 19, 1992, members of the Presidential Roundtable (minimum donation $5,000) attended a briefing with Mr. Cheney . . . A Republican National Committee brochure that touted the benefits of joining the Presidential Roundtable included a picture of Mr. Cheney briefing members at the Pentagon.

SAM SMITH, "WHOSE WAR IS IT?," TPR 1992: George Bush's behavior in [the Iraq] affair is bizarre even by presidential standards, let alone constitutional ones. He has barely consulted the joint chiefs of staff while making a commitment of American troops close to that in Vietnam. When Defense Secretary Cheney made a televised announcement that the US might be sending more troops to Saudi Arabia, Gen. Colin Powell learned of it while on his way back from the Middle East. And the president has clearly not consulted Congress. The question inevitably arises: whose war is this going to be? Sununu's? Cheney's? Millie's? Some of the speculation has bordered on the grotesque. The emir of conventional journalism, David Broder, wrote on November 18: "It is almost impossible to imagine a more serious, calm, cautious, rational and prudent set of people than those the president has assembled." The New York Times's R. W. Apple Jr., who got off to a bad start in August characterizing Bush as "tough" and "statesmanlike," had recovered enough by December to write: "Right from the start, foreign policy professionals have complained that Mr. Bush, something of a foreign policy professional himself, has drawn the circle too tight, limiting discussions of really important positions to himself, Secretary of State James A. Baker 3rd, Defense Secretary Dick Cheney and Brent Scowcroft, his national security advisor." One foreign editor on the case described the vision of the White House as being as though looking through a "rifle sight." There is no apparent consideration of long-term effects, cultural factors, the links with other regional issues or history. I suspect that for George Bush, invading Iraq would not really be a war at all, but as with Noriega, more of a personal match -- tennis by other means. An old preppie treating the whole world as his country club.

TPR, FEBRUARY 1992: Extra! reports that People magazine's Dirk Mathison made three surreptitious visits [to Bohemian Grove] last July, aided by members of the Bohemian Grove Action Network. Among the activities he witnessed was a speech by former Navy Secretary John Lehman, who said the Pentagon estimated that 200,000 Iraqis were killed in the recent war. Other policy addresses were by Richard Cheney, Joseph Califano, and Elliott Richardson. Mathesin, however, was recognized by an official of Time Warner (People's owner), who made him leave. Mathesin had plenty of material and turned in a story, but after an initially enthusiastic response, the piece was killed, just as early stories on the Grove for NPR and Time had been scotched.

State rankings of Texas
under George Bush

- Teacher salaries at beginning of 1st term , 36
- Teacher salaries at beginning of 2nd term, 38
- Teacher salaries plus benefits, 50
- High school completion rate, 48
- SAT scores - 1996 combined math & verbal: 995, 44
- SAT scores - 1998 combined math & verbal: 995, 44
- Highest % of children without health insurance, 1
- Highest % of poor working parents without insurance, 1
- Highest % of population without health insurance, 2
- Highest number of people stripped of Medicare benefits, 1
- Highest teen birth rate, 5
- Per capita funding for public health, 48
- Delivery of social services, 47
- Mothers receiving prenatal care, 45
- Child support collections, 45
- Number of executions, 1
- Teen smoking - down nationally, flat in Texas,
- Teen drug use - down nationally, up 30% in Texas
- Pollution released by manufacturing plants, 1
- Greenhouse gas emissions, 1
- Spending for parks and recreation, 48
- Spending for the arts, 48
- Public libraries and branches, 46
- Spending for the environment, 49
- Best place to raise children, 48
- Home ownership, 44
- Highest homes insurance rates in the nation, 1
- Spending for police protection, 47


Similarities between the candidates:

- Father was a powerful Washington insider
- Opposes raising the minimum wage to match the cost of living
- Supports corporate-managed trade: (NAFTA, WTO & IMF)
- Favored repeal of federal guarantee of assistance to poor children
- Got rich in a business subsidized by taxpayers Bush: oil & gas, baseball stadiums; Gore: agribusiness
- Supports Federal Reserve policy of keeping wages low to prop up stock prices

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