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Bush Took Oil Firm's Loans as Director
July 11, 2002 11:06 AM   Subscribe

Bush Took Oil Firm's Loans as Director "As a Texas businessman, President Bush took two low-interest loans from an oil company where he was a member of the board of directors, engaging in a practice he condemned this week in his plan to stem corporate abuse and accounting fraud."
do as i say, not as i do?
posted by saralovering (118 comments total)

 
zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz (and I didn't even have to spell check it.)
posted by mikegre at 11:13 AM on July 11, 2002


Actually, "do as I say, not as I used to do." I don't think it's a big secret, or that he's denying it. He obviously now thinks it's wrong. Is that hypocritical?
posted by pardonyou? at 11:18 AM on July 11, 2002


Boredom as schtick? And so quick on the draw, too. For me, I love posts about abuses of power by hypocrites.
posted by poseur at 11:21 AM on July 11, 2002


Sara: Indeed. Bush seems to be losing credibility awfully quickly. How can he possibly condemn any executives from Enron, Worldcom, Xerox, etc. when he pulls the same shenanigans?

Pardonyou?: Yeah, that is hypocritical.
posted by bshort at 11:22 AM on July 11, 2002


I suppose then you are in favor of him doing nothing about all this corporate irresponsibility?

Perhaps he shouldn't be allowed to warn people of the dangers of alcohol abuse either. Maybe he shouldn't tell people not to drink and drive as well.
posted by revbrian at 11:23 AM on July 11, 2002


Nope, on the contrary, I think he should do something about it, but I think he should do something that is actually effective (he could start with expensing stock options) rather than just putting up a bunch of proposals that will prove to be ineffective and which do not address the essential problems.

And yeah, he probably shouldn't bring up the drinking and snorting coke thing either.
posted by bshort at 11:27 AM on July 11, 2002


Odd. Bet you guys were all over Clinton about that Whitewater property deal - of which he had been cleared before he was re-investigated (and again cleared) and he certainly wasn't doing it when in the White House.
posted by Red58 at 11:28 AM on July 11, 2002


And Clinton actually lost money on whitewater
posted by themikeb at 11:32 AM on July 11, 2002


[...do not address the essential problems.]

It looks to me like the market is doing all the correcting that needs to be done.

I'd just like to see the laws changed so that some guy in a business suit stealing a million dollars with a pen is punished as much as a guy in a jumpsuit robbing a bank for the same amount.

I don't remember Clinton/Gore even talking about this, let alone doing anything about it. Odd, since most of it appears to have started during that administration. Of course, I'm probably mistaken.
posted by revbrian at 11:33 AM on July 11, 2002


zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz (and I didn't even have to spell check it.)

Yes, reality can be so tedious, can't it?

(and I believe you were supposed to spell that "yawn")
posted by rushmc at 11:33 AM on July 11, 2002


mikegre certainly seems to need more sleep; he's always so tired!

re: Bush's apparent hypocrisy. The thing is, he didn't start objecting to these sort of practices until it became a political issue. Remember, in the first year of his term, Bush was appointing ex-Enron officers to administration positions and consulting Enron about his "energy policy". The fact that Harken did, with Bush as a member of the board, many of the things that brought about Enron's demise is evidence that Bush understood how the energy industry operated. He can't claim ignorance, at least not without admitting that he, like those board members he denounced Tuesday, was ethically hands-off. His closeness to Enron is evidence that he had no problems with these practices. Until, of course, it became an issue, at which point he made a prompt about-face.
posted by mr_roboto at 11:35 AM on July 11, 2002


Since Harken bought Bush's failed Spectrum 7 oil exploration company for his name alone--see cheatsheet here--and all subsequent transactions were to facilitate Bush's enrichment, can we perhaps blame Clinton for this moral laxity?

--after all, the whole thing was first brought up during his administration...
posted by y2karl at 11:37 AM on July 11, 2002


Odd, since most of it appears to have started during that administration.

So your contention is that Bill Clinton is responsible for any actions of George W. Bush (and all other corporate executives) that took place while Clinton was president? That's an, um, interesting way of assigning culpability....
posted by rushmc at 11:38 AM on July 11, 2002


oh, I see revbrian has made this point.

Too bad the money changed hands and Bush got a pass from his former personal lawyer during his dad's administration...
posted by y2karl at 11:40 AM on July 11, 2002


revbrian : "It looks to me like the market is doing all the correcting that needs to be done. "

On the contrary. Unless there are measures taken to address the systemic problems in accounting, brokering, and in the governance structure of companies, what will stop companies from perpetuating the same crimes in the future?

In a perfect situation, with perfect corporate transparency, laissez-faire capitalism is a fine idea (much like pure communism), but once corporations are able to lie to investors and regulators and are congratulated for it, the whole system falls apart.

Why do you think that efforts to force corporations to report their internal state in an honest manner are such a bad idea?
posted by bshort at 11:40 AM on July 11, 2002


Hey guys, lay off Mike Egre - he's absolutely hilarious. Do it again Mike, do it again!
posted by niceness at 11:41 AM on July 11, 2002


"It looks to me like the market is doing all the correcting that needs to be done. "

Absolutely, it's doing all the correcting needed for a market that can't trust it's President.

The skeletons keep on rattling: check the news a few times a day for more sleaze - Bush's hypocrisy and conflicts of interests will keep on coming.
posted by niceness at 11:50 AM on July 11, 2002


I love posts about abuses of power

"Harken offered the loans to directors to buy shares in the company as part of an incentive for board members "to have a long-term commitment with the company."

Yeah, what an abuse. Somebody get the firing squad.

Gotta love HysteriaFilter.
posted by ljromanoff at 11:53 AM on July 11, 2002


The Bush administration seems to dismiss anything that happened before Sept. 11th as old news, and not worth discussing, but that is exactly what we should be discussing. How many of us are battling debt however we can with hefty interest rates while corporate board members take low interest loans from the companies they are supposed to be making profitable? Is this fair? Can you get a low interest loan from the place you work at (and, will you be expected to pay it back?)?

It seems that Bush's past activities are excatly what is wrong with corporate America, and his lackluster proposals to change things for the better far so far shot of what is needed that I have taped Bush's picture next to the word hypocrite in my dictionary. If Bush wants to change the opinion of corporate America then he needs to make the CEOs and other top executives play by the same rules that the rest of us have to deal with. That include all the shitty crap that we have to deal with to get and keep a job; background checks, drug tests, crappy pay, bad health insurance and let's not forget paying taxes.

If he does nothing else (which is likely anyway), Bush needs to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate his dealings with Harken, and he needs to do it soon. Bush needs to play by the same rules that the GOP applied to Clinton. That includes a special prosecutor and the expectations of integrity in every thing he does since birth.

Personally, I have more respect for Clinton for all the shit that he took from critics and still he did a great job running the country. Bush can't seem to make things work when he gets money fed to him with a silver spoon.

My raised hand asking the President to fix America and make things better is quickly turning into a more one fingered gesture. He doesn't care about anyone other than his rich buddies.

America had better trust in God, because our President certainly is not looking out for us.
posted by DragonBoy at 12:02 PM on July 11, 2002


I love when conservatives refer to "market corrections" like they happen in some sort of vacuum, when in reality, "market corrections" always result in lost jobs, lost employee benefits, lost pension dollars, and a hundred other forms of instability. Meanwhile, the CEOs and management just lay low for a while then use their good-ole-boy connections to jump on board another company despite their previous incompetent and/or fraudulent performance.

It's also cute when these same people cry about government interference in the marketplace, which they claim will ruin the infallible "free market system." They seem to have fewer problems, though, with federal bailouts, huge tax breaks, and other favoritism showered on large companies.
posted by conquistador at 12:03 PM on July 11, 2002


ljromanoff:

The point isn't necessarily the Bush committed a crime, but rather that his personal practice of actions he has subsequently condemned demonstrates a lack of honesty and integrity. From a president who promised to restore dignity and honor to the White House. Frankly, I don't understand why anyone ever bought that line. It was clear to me from day one that Bush is a lying sack of shit, just like Clinton. Bush I was also a lying sack of shit, as were Reagan, Ford, and Nixon. Jimmy Carter, on the other hand, never told a lie in his life. God bless Jimmy Carter.

Tangent. Sorry. Anyway, my point is that to the extent that Bush has been exposed to possess a lack of honesty and integrity, he has failed to restore dignity and honor to the White House. This makes his presidency a failure by the standards he himself has established.
posted by mr_roboto at 12:06 PM on July 11, 2002


"Harken offered the loans to directors to buy shares in the company as part of an incentive for board members "to have a long-term commitment with the company."

Yeah, what an abuse. Somebody get the firing squad.


And to think Ari Fleischer gets paid for this sort of spin when there are so many prospective interns out there...
posted by y2karl at 12:08 PM on July 11, 2002


ljromanoff- You're kidding right? Bush turned around and sold $800k worth of shares a few years later just before the company announced major losses. Just what, exactly, is your definition of "long-term commitment"?

To clarify mr_roboto's excellent points about Bush's hypocrisy- this is just another in a series of events that shows how Bush will act one way, then make a 180-degree turn when it's politically expedient- see also "budget deficits", "active involvement in foreign policy".
posted by mkultra at 12:08 PM on July 11, 2002


It's also cute when these same people cry about government interference in the marketplace, which they claim will ruin the infallible "free market system." They seem to have fewer problems, though, with federal bailouts, huge tax breaks, and other favoritism showered on large companies.

Hey, thanks for displaying a classic strawman argument. Maybe you should go out and find one of these "conservatives" you refer to who actually argue for federal bailouts and for a free-market economy at the same time. I'd like to meet one.
posted by ljromanoff at 12:08 PM on July 11, 2002


The point isn't necessarily the Bush committed a crime, but rather that his personal practice of actions he has subsequently condemned demonstrates a lack of honesty and integrity.

Please explain to me what exactly dishonest about accepting a loan from a company that employs you? If your company offered you a low interest loan would you turn it down?

Bush turned around and sold $800k worth of shares a few years later just before the company announced major losses.

Right. Well, the SEC knows more about that than you do and they concluded there was no case.
posted by ljromanoff at 12:18 PM on July 11, 2002


He did it when the practice was fairly common, accepted, and not abused. He paid it back as well (in stock though).
posted by tomplus2 at 12:19 PM on July 11, 2002


ljromanoff suggests:
Maybe you should go out and find one of these "conservatives" you refer to who actually argue for federal bailouts and for a free-market economy at the same time.

And I am happy to oblige:

"Compassionate conservatism applies conservative, free-market principles to the real job of helping real people, all people, including the poor and the disadvantaged."
-G.W. Bush

"The administration and congressional leaders of both parties have agreed to deliver emergency aid to keep our airlines flying..."
-G.W. Bush
posted by mr_roboto at 12:25 PM on July 11, 2002


Don't change the argument. My issue is not with the legality of his sale (which has been endlessly debated), but with your insinuation that Bush's loan from Harken was a harmless, commonplace gesture of goodwill from a company to one of its Directors as an incentive for a long-term commitment. Bush's sale of the stock (legality aside) shows that he bailed when the going got tough. He harbored no commitment to anything other than his wallet.
posted by mkultra at 12:26 PM on July 11, 2002


ljromanoff,

I have never worked for a company that offered anything more than a 15% discount on purchases (Walgreens - the best High school job to have). The company I work for now won't even hire me )and they have been profitable for longer than I've been alive). They contract me, no sick pay, no vacation, no training budget, no 40% discount on stock. Hell, they don't even forgive me for the MP3s that they made me remove from the hard drive of the computer they 'let' me use.

And yet, after all this treatment, they still expect me "to have a long-term commitment with the company." At the same time, the folks at the top of corporations get 450% more than the average rank and file employee. And what do these people get?

elected
posted by DragonBoy at 12:29 PM on July 11, 2002


Please explain to me what exactly dishonest about accepting a loan from a company that employs you?

Two points:
1. He wasn't an employee, but rather a member of the Board of Directors. Accepting a loan created a conflict of interest.
2. The problem isn't the loan itself, but rather participating in the practice yesterday while condemning it today. This is dishonest; the particular name we typically reserve for this sort of dishonesty is "hypocrisy".

Well, the SEC knows more about that than you do and they concluded there was no case.

Of course, if I were ever to have the SEC investigate me, I would hope that the president would be my father and the head of the SEC my former personal lawyer. This is just the sort of conflict of interest for which the independent prosecutor statute was written.
posted by mr_roboto at 12:33 PM on July 11, 2002


And I am happy to oblige:

"Compassionate conservatism applies conservative, free-market principles to the real job of helping real people, all people, including the poor and the disadvantaged."
-G.W. Bush


I do not consider Bush a conservative. I don't know what he considers himself, you'd have to ask him.

My issue is not with the legality of his sale

Nor should it be, as the loan wasn't illegal.

your insinuation that Bush's loan from Harken was a harmless, commonplace gesture of goodwill from a company to one of its Directors as an incentive for a long-term commitment.

Insinuation? Harkin offered the loans to everyone on the board. What exactly would you call it other than an goodwill gesture?

He harbored no commitment to anything other than his wallet.

Let us assume you have any way of actually knowing this to be the case. What is your point, exactly? That he doesn't have the right to sell stocks he owns?

The problem isn't the loan itself, but rather participating in the practice yesterday while condemning it today. This is dishonest.

Only if the circumstances have remained identical, which of course they have not. Corporations making private loans to employees and board members may or may not have led to other abuses, which is why they are being included in the change in the law. Bush's inclusion of a condemnation of such loans is not an argument that they have always been wrong (which would either be hypocrisy or merely a change of viewpoint) but that such loans are being abused now and for that reason must be ended.
posted by ljromanoff at 12:47 PM on July 11, 2002


ljromanoff,

A couple of readings for you:

1) CNN story quoting from the letter the SEC sent to Bush's lawyers after the insider trading investigation:
"In a letter to Bush's lawyer... the SEC said that 'the investigation has been terminated as to the conduct of Mr. Bush... at this time, no enforcement action is contemplated with respect to him.'

However, the letter went on to say that it 'must in no way be construed as indicating that the party has been exonerated or that no action may ultimately result' from the investigation.
"
2) Editorial from the SF Gate revealing that the White House is now issuing a different story than Bush used at the time of the investigation:
"White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said Wednesday that Bush's tardy SEC filings were the result of a "clerical mistake" by Harken lawyers.

However, Bush said in 1994 that he had indeed filed all the required forms on time and that the SEC must have misplaced them.
"
3) PDF of an SEC memo (obtained by the Center for Public Integrity) detailing that Bush violated SEC regulations at least 4 different times, while the evidence exists that he knew the rules (he filed on time once).
posted by Irontom at 12:51 PM on July 11, 2002


ljromanoff: So you don't consider Dubya a conservative? How would you characterize him, then?
posted by bshort at 12:53 PM on July 11, 2002


White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said Wednesday that Bush's tardy SEC filings were the result of a "clerical mistake" by Harken lawyers.

However, Bush said in 1994 that he had indeed filed all the required forms on time and that the SEC must have misplaced them.


Yeah, I guess it's impossible that Bush may have learned that Harken made the error rather than the SEC in those intervening eight years. Pretty scandalous stuff you've got there.
posted by ljromanoff at 12:57 PM on July 11, 2002


I do not consider Bush a conservative. I don't know what he considers himself, you'd have to ask him.

Actually, I wouldn't have to ask him. He considers himself a "compassionate conservative". He was very vocal about this during his governorship of Texas and his presidential campaign. Do you seriously claim, lj, that you do not know that Bush considers himself a "compassionate conservative"? To admit such a thing betrays a stunning ignorance of contemporary American politics.
posted by mr_roboto at 12:58 PM on July 11, 2002


ljromanoff, I'm disengaging from this argument. You clearly have no desire to counter my points as stated in sum, but rather choose to waste your effort picking apart individual phrases out of context. I know too many lawyers to fall for that.
posted by mkultra at 12:58 PM on July 11, 2002


What is your point, exactly? That he doesn't have the right to sell stocks he owns?

No. He cannot legally make the sale based upon insider information, which he apparently had. That the stock tanked less than two weeks later after the company began showing large losses points to him having prior knowledge and making the sale due to this insider knowledge.

And his 'misplaced filing' points to a cover-up.

See also Stewart, Martha
posted by dogmatic at 1:00 PM on July 11, 2002


No. He cannot legally make the sale based upon insider information, which he apparently had. That the stock tanked less than two weeks later after the company began showing large losses points to him having prior knowledge and making the sale due to this insider knowledge.

And his 'misplaced filing' points to a cover-up.


That's a lot of assumptions on your part.
posted by ljromanoff at 1:01 PM on July 11, 2002


Three-fourths of the way into the article, I found what was to me the most troubling paragraph:

Vice President Cheney also is receiving unwanted attention to his corporate past. The SEC is investigating an accounting practice begun by Halliburton Co., the Dallas-based energy services company, when Cheney was chief executive before joining Bush's campaign ticket.

Yes, Bush is a big hypocrite, and though his corporate behavior was unethical, it was mostly legal. (I do think, though, that he's guilty of insider trading -- reporting late was not a coincidence.) But Cheney might have had a direct hand in illegal accounting practices.....that's extremely serious.
posted by jennak at 1:04 PM on July 11, 2002


Do you seriously claim, lj, that you do not know that Bush considers himself a "compassionate conservative"?

If I consider myself a "classical liberal" does that mean I consider myself a "liberal"? Does Bush's "compassionate conservatism" make him a conservative?
posted by ljromanoff at 1:05 PM on July 11, 2002


The problem isn't the loan itself, but rather participating in the practice yesterday while condemning it today. This is dishonest.

Only if the circumstances have remained identical, which of course they have not.


I agree that the circumstances have changed: certain hands have been caught in certain cookie jars, and it is now politically expedient to condemn loans to board members. Bush is all about political expediency.
posted by mr_roboto at 1:05 PM on July 11, 2002


ljromanoff suggests:
Maybe you should go out and find one of these "conservatives" you refer to who actually argue for federal bailouts and for a free-market economy at the same time.

I'll start with three.

Exhibit A:
The recent airline bailout, pushed by Bush, gave fat checks to airline CEOs, but ignored workers and taxpayers. Meanwhile, airline deregulation continues to be touted by Republicans.

Exhibit B:
Republicans oppose clamping down on the credit card industry. Meanwhile, predatory lending practices continue.

Exhibit C:
Republicans consistently fight any significant measure of corporate oversight. Meanwhile, the Bush administration continues to line the pockets of corporate America, including the likes of Enron and Worldcom.

I'll leave for later any discussion of the coal industry, the insurance industry, the pharmaceutical industry, the.....
posted by conquistador at 1:06 PM on July 11, 2002


If I consider myself a "classical liberal" does that mean I consider myself a "liberal"?

Yes it does. I means you consider yourself a classical liberal, in fact. That would be the kind of liberal you consider yourself to be.

Does Bush's "compassionate conservatism" make him a conservative?

Not necessarily. You claimed earlier, however, that you do not know what Bush considers himself. You should know that Bush considers himself a compassionate conservative. This means that Bush considers himself to be a conservative. The kind of conservative that Bush considers himself to be is a compassionate conservative.
posted by mr_roboto at 1:10 PM on July 11, 2002


ljromanoff--

So you're willing to believe that a $900,000 sale of stock by one of the company's directors immediately prior to said stock tanking is a pure coincidence?

Even if other insiders have acknowledged that said director was aware of the company's financial situation?

Well, then that director would have been using much less brain power than his enemies would like to credit him with if he could make such an informed decision with no apparent conflict of interest.
posted by dogmatic at 1:11 PM on July 11, 2002


lj: "If I consider myself a "classical liberal" does that mean I consider myself a "liberal"? Does Bush's "compassionate conservatism" make him a conservative?"

That's like stoners wondering whether what you mean by the color blue is what I mean by the color blue. Language is not defined on a personal basis but on a "cultural" one (culture in this case being the language group, not necessarily the local nation-state). You could go around claiming that you're using the phoneme stucture "cat" to represent canines, but unless you can successfully communicate with others that share that same symbolic representation, you're just going to be wrong.

So, if you consider the set of things that Dubya appears to believe, then yes, those things would rather decidedly place him in the camp that most of the American populace would consider "conservative".
posted by bshort at 1:12 PM on July 11, 2002


bshort- THANK YOU.
lj- STOP TROLLING.
posted by mkultra at 1:17 PM on July 11, 2002


Bush is all about political expediency.

Or he's all about responding to national problems. Just depends on your perspective I guess.

And, conquistador, Republican and conservative do not have the same meaning. Just ask Arlen Specter, Lincoln Chafee, or Olympia Snowe.

If I consider myself a "classical liberal" does that mean I consider myself a "liberal"?

Yes it does. I means you consider yourself a classical liberal, in fact. That would be the kind of liberal you consider yourself to be.


Well, I suppose. But being a "classical liberal" politically has very little in common with contemporary liberalism. Consequently, one can not call Bush a conservative necessarily because his particular label of choice includes that word.

You should know that Bush considers himself a compassionate conservative.

Fair enough, but I don't know if he considers himself a conservative without the modifier.

So you're willing to believe that a $900,000 sale of stock by one of the company's directors immediately prior to said stock tanking is a pure coincidence?

I'm willing not to jump to conclusions about a situation that neither you nor I have complete knowledge about.

So, if you consider the set of things that Dubya appears to believe, then yes, those things would rather decidedly place him in the camp that most of the American populace would consider "conservative".

I don't think all that many self-labelled "conservatives" would agree with that conclusion.
posted by ljromanoff at 1:21 PM on July 11, 2002


conquistador : awesome, thanks for the links
mkultra : You're welcome :-) Poor semantic arguments like lj's are one of my pet peeves.
posted by bshort at 1:23 PM on July 11, 2002


lj : "I don't think all that many self-labelled "conservatives" would agree with that conclusion."

To belabor my point, it doesn't matter what you call yourself, it matters what others call you. You can claim that you're left, right, center, green, or whatever, but if your stated opinions don't jibe with others of your stated persuasion, then you're standing under the wrong banner.
posted by bshort at 1:29 PM on July 11, 2002


According to Conason:

"Months before Bush cashed out most of his stock in June 1990, he had attracted the benign attention of the Gulf sheikdom of Bahrain. The sheiks generously awarded an exclusive offshore drilling contract to Harken – despite the fact that the small, poorly-run company had neither the experience nor the capital for such a huge venture. The story in today’s Times notes that the Bass oil interests of Fort Worth were completing a deal with Harken to do the real work in Bahrain around the same time that Bush sold his shares.

"That "good news" about the Bass family briefly pumped Harken’s stock price a month after Bush sold. But the much bigger news was the Bahrain deal itself, which had been announced six months earlier. And apparently it was during the discussions in 1989 with the Bahraini authorities – which began after Bush Senior became President -- that Harken gave Bush, but no other outside director, another sweetheart loan of $84,000."

posted by homunculus at 1:29 PM on July 11, 2002


I'm willing not to jump to conclusions about a situation that neither you nor I have complete knowledge about.

That you and I are not aware of the full details is not surprising. That the SEC is not aware of the full details is also not surprising. The fact is, no one knows the full details of the situation except W himself. Does that mean that a regulatory body, or a judiciary committee, or god forbid, a man on the street, can't form an opinion based upon knowledge that is available to them?

I suppose that you'd prefer no one to draw conclusions, or worse, that no one ask questions about what is to everyone else fairly transparent criminal activity.

You still have yet to respond to claims that the original SEC investigation was not officially closed, or that it was fixed, as it happened during Bush I's time in office. But then, I guess you wouldn't want to jump to conclusions about an investigation into white-collar criminal activities by the President's son being halted for political reasons, would you?
posted by dogmatic at 1:35 PM on July 11, 2002


In case anyone is interested, the SEC has a fairly extensive explanation of insider trading.

It seems the most relevant section is:
Examples of insider trading cases that have been brought by the SEC are cases against:
  • Corporate officers, directors, and employees who traded the corporation's securities after learning of significant, confidential corporate developments;
...
You can also get information on Forms 3, 4, and 5.

Also, it seems they pay bounties on information leading to a conviction of someone for insider trading.
posted by bshort at 1:43 PM on July 11, 2002


To belabor my point, it doesn't matter what you call yourself, it matters what others call you.

Well, exactly. How many people are calling Bush conservative in an attempt to accurately describe his views? There's plenty of examples of his policies or initiatives that are not consistent with what is generally thought of as "conservative ideology." Therefore, to use him as some sort of example of a "conservative" is disingenuous, particularly since he himself doesn't even aspire to the label without his own particular modification to it.

Does that mean that a regulatory body, or a judiciary committee, or god forbid, a man on the street, can't form an opinion based upon knowledge that is available to them? I suppose that you'd prefer no one to draw conclusions, or worse, that no one ask questions about what is to everyone else fairly transparent criminal activity.

The point is that you (unlike the relevant players and regulatory bodies) have nowhere near enough information to make claims like "criminal activity." Charges like that are based on nothing more than your own biases because unless you are much more intimately involved with the situation than you so far have acknowledged, you have no grounds to draw that conclusion.

You still have yet to respond to claims that the original SEC investigation was not officially closed, or that it was fixed, as it happened during Bush I's time in office.

Perhaps if there was some merit, or evidence, or anything at all to the charge that the SEC investigation was "fixed" there would be reason to respond.
posted by ljromanoff at 1:45 PM on July 11, 2002


You should know that Bush considers himself a compassionate conservative.

Fair enough, but I don't know if he considers himself a conservative without the modifier.


What color is the sky in your world, lj? Is a fast horse a horse? Is a big airplane an airplane? Is a pretty flower a flower? Adjectives add descriptive qualities to the nouns they modify. The noun retains its essence. Therefore, a compassionate conservative is a conservative.

Once possible exception: you could argue that "compassionate conservative" is an oxymoronic construction; that a conservative political viewpoint is inherently incompatible with human compassion. Is that the point you're trying to make?
posted by mr_roboto at 1:49 PM on July 11, 2002


I'm not convinced that ljromanoff really is a ljromanoff. It seems to me that blue is red but not the other way around. Words don't always make sentences, you know. If you want to keep putting thoughts in my head, then stop. One thing's for certain: Bush is Bush. Oh, wait, that's wrong.
posted by hackly_fracture at 1:50 PM on July 11, 2002


lj: "Well, exactly. How many people are calling Bush conservative in an attempt to accurately describe his views? There's plenty of examples of his policies or initiatives that are not consistent with what is generally thought of as "conservative ideology." Therefore, to use him as some sort of example of a "conservative" is disingenuous, particularly since he himself doesn't even aspire to the label without his own particular modification to it."

Wait, bear with me here a second. You're saying that people that are calling Bush "conservative", something that he already calls himself, are somehow attempting to disparage either him or all conservatives?

In your strange little world, what does someone have to do to be a true conservative?

The compassionate conservative label was a clear attempt by Dubya (or, more likely, by his advisers) to appeal to voters who traditionally identify as liberal or moderate. It turns out that he hasn't really ever given (to my knowledge) a good explanation of what he means by the "compassionate" part of the label, and by all of his stated actions and beliefs he appears to be a very very traditional conservative.

on preview: mr_roboto : well said
posted by bshort at 1:56 PM on July 11, 2002


The point is that you (unlike the relevant players and regulatory bodies) have nowhere near enough information to make claims like "criminal activity."

Bush broke the law. This is known, in common parlance, as "criminal." That is, unless you have your own secret, special definition of "criminal," as you apparently do for "conservative."

Perhaps if there was some merit, or evidence, or anything at all to the charge that the SEC investigation was "fixed" there would be reason to respond.

Based on past experience, I think there's more than enough evidence to launch an eight year investigation at a cost to the taxpayers of over $70 million.
posted by Ty Webb at 2:02 PM on July 11, 2002


The point is that you (unlike the relevant players and regulatory bodies) have nowhere near enough information to make claims like "criminal activity." Charges like that are based on nothing more than your own biases because unless you are much more intimately involved with the situation than you so far have acknowledged, you have no grounds to draw that conclusion.

Sir, if I were a relevant player in such a position, I would need be one of the buddies or relatives of the relevant parties, as noted by mr_roboto above. Which, I think we both can agree, is a conflict of interest. But I'm guessing that I don't have the rank, status, or polish, to determine what constitutes a conflict of interest in matters of politics or law.

In other words, what-the-fuck-ever.

Links have been thrown at you pointing out how, 1) Bush's sale was most likely insider trading, as he was aware of the financial condition and dealings of the company in question beyond the information available to the company's other shareholders and sold the stock anyway and 2) the SEC investigation was conducted by political allies of the Bushes and was not officially closed (Bush was not officially exonerated from charges), and the best you can do is argue the semantics of the word conservative and suggest that those with legitimate questions allow politically-motivated regulators to decide the guilt or innocence of a highly-connected public figure.

I call bullshit on that. Just as you would no doubt call bullshit on Janet Reno investigating the prior infidelities of one William Jefferson Clinton as a conflict of interest.

Here's where I stand:

Evidence of criminal activity exists. The previous investigation was not satisfactorily closed. The previous investigation was conducted by someone with possible political motivation not to find fault with the man being investigated.

Can you actually refute any of these claims, are you just going to appeal that you and I, as commoners of this great land, cannot possibly know whether or not any of this is true, and therefore we should just, um, give up?
posted by dogmatic at 2:10 PM on July 11, 2002


Maybe I'm missing something here so correct me if I'm wrong. Wouldn't a good reason to loan company money to a CEO or Board Member for the express purpose of buying company stock be to pump up the stock price. I mean we are not talking about a couple bucks here. WorldCom's CEO received $400 million in company loans to purchase stock. A purchase of that much stock whether in one day or over a period of time would increase the stock price and the value of the company. If a company were in trouble or looking for an influx of cash, making a (presumably) tax deductible loan for the purchase of it's own stock is a win win situation. I guess it's legal but it's shady.
posted by bas67 at 2:14 PM on July 11, 2002


Adjectives add descriptive qualities to the nouns they modify. The noun retains its essence. Therefore, a compassionate conservative is a conservative.


"Compassionate conservative" describes an ideology that deviates from conservatism. Whether or not it is more or less "compassionate" is a separate argument. If Bush, or whomever chooses to use it, wasn't deviating from what is considered "conservative" he wouldn't have needed the modifier. So, no, a "compassionate conservative" is not a "conservative." To go back to my earlier example, much of what a "classical liberal" believes differs radically from what is generally referred to as "liberalism." In that sense, a "classical liberal" is not a "liberal."


by all of his stated actions and beliefs he appears to be a very very traditional conservative.

Should I assume you are ignorant of his policies or what conservatives generally believe?

Here's a short list of non-conservative actions by the president: the recent farm bill, trade protectionism on steel and lumber, signing the campaign finance reform bill, and the recent Amtrak bailout.
posted by ljromanoff at 2:22 PM on July 11, 2002


If Bush, or whomever chooses to use it, wasn't deviating from what is considered "conservative" he wouldn't have needed the modifier.

Bullshit. It's a subcategory, not a "deviation". If it weren't conservative, it wouldn't be called conservative. Remember, what we're discussing here is what Bush considers himself, not his adherence to some ideal. If Bush did not consider himself a conservative, he would not call himself a conservative, compassionate or otherwise. This is silly. Out.
posted by mr_roboto at 2:31 PM on July 11, 2002


According to Bush's bio on Whitehouse.gov:
George W. Bush is the 43rd President of the United States. Formerly the 46th Governor of the State of Texas, President Bush has earned a reputation as a compassionate conservative who shapes policy based on the principles of limited government, personal responsibility, strong families and local control.
Doesn't quite jibe with, as you said, the recent farm bill, trade protectionism, etc. does it?

Also, I found this with this quote:
...The new president has called this philosophy "compassionate conservatism." "I am convinced a conservative philosophy is a compassionate philosophy that frees individuals to achieve their highest potential," he told the voters. "It is conservative to cut taxes and compassionate to give people more money to spend. It is conservative to insist upon local control of schools and high standards and results; it is compassionate to make sure every child learns to read and no one is left behind. It is conservative to reform the welfare system by insisting on work; it's compassionate to free people from dependency on government. It is conservative to reform the juvenile justice code to insist on consequences for bad behavior; it is compassionate to recognize that discipline and love go hand-in-hand."
Bush believes that this note of conservatism is "neither soft nor fuzzy. It is clear and compelling. It focuses not on good intentions but on good results. Compassionate conservatism applies conservative, free-market principles to the real job of helping real people, all people, including the poor and the disadvantaged. ...
So can we agree that he's a conservative, and leave it at that?
posted by bshort at 2:36 PM on July 11, 2002


Bullshit. It's a subcategory, not a "deviation". If it weren't conservative, it wouldn't be called conservative. Remember, what we're discussing here is what Bush considers himself, not his adherence to some ideal.

Yes, and he doesn't call himself a conservative, he calls himself a "compassionate conservative." If I called myself a "former conservative" would I still be a conservative? Obviously not. The presence of the word "conservative" in the label doesn't mean that the label, regardless of the adjective, is still a synonym of conservative. And certainly he supports legislation and policies that are not based in conservative ideology.
posted by ljromanoff at 2:38 PM on July 11, 2002


We could always agree that he's just as much a hypocrite when it comes to 'conservatism' as he is when it comes to 'business ethics'.
posted by riviera at 2:39 PM on July 11, 2002


lj : "If I called myself a "former conservative" would I still be a conservative?"

You're missing the point. I'm not sure if its intentional and you're really really this dense, or if you're just a troll and you love the attention, but lets try it this way.

In the pharse "compassionate conservative", "compassionate" is an adjective modifying "conservative" and denoting a current state of being. (specifically, the state of being a conservative who is compassionate)

In the phrase "former conservative", "former" is an adjective modifying "conservative" and denoting a previous state in time.

So, if you're a former conservative, then no, you're not currently a conservative, but you were at some time in the past.

Just like if you're a compassionate conservative then you're a conservative who is considered (or considers themselves to be) compassionate.

I could explain it with a sock puppet, if you'd like.
posted by bshort at 2:50 PM on July 11, 2002


From a different perspective, as I see this in Texas.
A fellow I work with was put down by some of the board he serves with, at a credit union. Why? He chose to finance a car he purchased, elsewhere.

Can I ask, if you are this and Bush is this, does this always put you in "these". A label, I rip most of mine from the collar of my shirts, they itch. Labels on the front I try to avoid.
And these are big politicians, what is new, just we know more, I'm realizing. Don't bash each other over someone's faults. What feet of clay do you have, I wear mine in a size 8 to 8 1/2, boot cut 9.

We all know what is illegal yet they seem to keep happening. I'm not a representative, just a peon with a vote that really means even less. As the president is elected by an electoral college, do you know one personally, or the group, or even met one? Since I'm unwilling and too tired to care anymore which is really a bad thing. I'm going bird watching as I know there is nothing I can do to change a bird...................
posted by thomcatspike at 2:57 PM on July 11, 2002


"...if you are this and Bush is this, does this always put you in 'these'."

thomcatspike, that is possibly the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.

"As the president is elected by an electoral college, do you know one personally, or the group, or even met one?"

Actually, my grandfather was an elector once. I think it was in '68. I have no idea for which party, though. Probably Republican, though he did have some ideas that weren't necessarily in line with the (R) platform.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 3:07 PM on July 11, 2002


lj, if you read the quotes, he calls himself a compassionate conservative because he is convinced that the convervative philosophy [editor's notice: conservative is unmodified here] is a compassionate philosophy.

In other words. he calls himself this not because he deviates from conservatism, but because he believes that conservatism is compassionate by nature. It doesn't really matter whether or not he's one of the two remaining True Conservatives™ on earth according to your definitions. What matters is that nearly everybody in America (conservatives included) consider him a conservative.
posted by jnthnjng at 3:10 PM on July 11, 2002


" Remember, what we're discussing here is what Bush considers himself, not his adherence to some ideal."

There have been more posts here about what Bush is, than what he did. Silly me, I thought this was a political discussion. Not a lecture on the meaning of words.
posted by bas67 at 3:13 PM on July 11, 2002


Jimmy Carter, on the other hand, never told a lie in his life.

I think it was his honestly, especially with respect to the energy crisis and statements that people needed to learn to live with less, that sent him straight outta office after one term. Helluva guy.
posted by holycola at 3:14 PM on July 11, 2002


There have been more posts here about what Bush is, than what he did. Silly me, I thought this was a political discussion.

Yeah, well. ljr bowed out of that one.
posted by dogmatic at 3:21 PM on July 11, 2002


I look forward to Bush's imminent crackdown on drunk drivers and those who have gone AWOL from the National Guard...
posted by troybob at 5:20 PM on July 11, 2002


I guess the thing is not so much that the loan was such a big deal, it's that Bush has decided to sound all righteous in his denouncement of the same exact behavior. Bush's SEC violations are certainly more ethically questionable than the loans. For one thing, he broke the law in the stock-sale case; the loans were perfectly legal, and now have simply been exposed for their corrupting tendencies.

And it isn't so much that Bush's hypocrisy should keep him from speaking out against -- and making policies preventing -- similar corruption and unethical behavior. It's that he only decided to speak out when it was politically expedient, and even then took such meager, ineffectual steps that he still manages to protect his good buddies in Big Business while covering his political ass by looking like he's actually doing something consequential. Meanwhile back in the Oval Office, they're having a good chuckle.
posted by brookish at 6:01 PM on July 11, 2002


How I wish someone would nail this fucker and his gang of white-collar criminals and warmonger thugs to some trees.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:13 PM on July 11, 2002


Just like if you're a compassionate conservative then you're a conservative who is considered (or considers themselves to be) compassionate.

Sorry, but no. A "compassionate conservative" is a different political animal than a conservative who is compassionate much like a "national socialist" is a different political entity than merely someone who believes that socialism is a good method of national organization. Furthermore, compassion is not measured by one's ideology.

Whatever a "compassionate conservative" is has to be defined by the originator of the term, namely G.W. Bush. And he varies from conservative ideology on a fairly regular basis, so assuming that he is a good example of conservatism is pretty dubious, as is equating his particular belief system with conservatism - regardless of what he has chosen to label it.

What matters is that nearly everybody in America (conservatives included) consider him a conservative.

Really? Have you taken a poll?

Yeah, well. ljr bowed out of that one.

Yeah, well. Maybe bring more to the discussion next time than your own suppositions and there'll be more to discuss.
posted by ljromanoff at 6:31 PM on July 11, 2002


Talk about quibbling over semantics...
posted by inpHilltr8r at 6:40 PM on July 11, 2002


This thread makes baby Jesus cry. Can I call Godwin's law on the mention of National Socialism?
posted by mr_roboto at 6:57 PM on July 11, 2002


Yeah, well. Maybe bring more to the discussion next time than your own suppositions and there'll be more to discuss.

For the third time--

Would you care to refute any of those suppositions in any detail (ie possible evidence of a crime, an SEC investigation not actually closed, or the political motivations of the SEC head at the time), or are you satisfied with attacking my person?

Because to tell the truth, you've done extremely little to advance the argument that there should not be another investigation other than to call out my motivations for wanting one.
posted by dogmatic at 7:09 PM on July 11, 2002


He was lax on business: "Friendlier SEC", that is, making it easier to bilk everyone. You know anyone bilked? I know a few, and I don't know anybody. How many of the people with those stickers on their car got the juice sucked out of them recently? and this guy wanted to make it easier...
posted by mblandi at 7:36 PM on July 11, 2002


Lots of billygoats walking over ljromanoff's bridge tonight...
posted by Dirjy at 8:18 PM on July 11, 2002


Can I talk about Nazi's so this thread can be over?
posted by Espoo2 at 9:21 PM on July 11, 2002




posted by Espoo2 at 9:47 PM on July 11, 2002


Espoo2 : actually, lj beat you to it.
posted by bshort at 9:50 PM on July 11, 2002


Now we get to the heart of the matter. In a way, I agree with Bush. Enron, WorldCom, Global Crossing and all the rest are exceptions if only because of some teeny-weeny accounting errors in which billions of expenses were reported as profits. Bush, though, thinks the rest of corporate America is just hunky-dory while I think it just stinks.

It is, after all, the average top CEO who gets about $10 million a year while his average employee gets $25,466.

It is the average CEO who has seen his compensation zoom from 70 times the average worker's in 1985 to 410 times today.

It's these figures that drive home the point that relatively few people have benefited from the system that Bush lauds, while a whole lot of people are getting almost nothing. The system may be wonderful, but it is truly wonderful for CEOs and other corporate officers. Like feudal barons, they can pillage their companies, leaving the serfs to starve.


And don't forget...
posted by y2karl at 11:04 PM on July 11, 2002


possible evidence of a crime, an SEC investigation not actually closed

dogmatic, provide this thread with some proof, incontrovertible, no less, that Bush is guilty. Otherwise you're just as bad as every other hyena in here crying foul. Bush isn't a criminal, YET. Prove it, for Gad's sake. Otherwise, quite crying wolf. The SEC backed off. The SEC said the case was not closed, but has no damning evidence. Do you know something?

I wanted to write this earlier, but hell...I was smarter at the time: all ya'll want Bush to burn. Congratulations. But the fact is this: the SEC has more information than some stupid newspaper article. If there was something to say, they'd say it. Liberal bias and all, you know...if Bush was profoundly guilty, every newspaper in America would love to publish it, if only to circulate a few more papers. My point? You got nothing...Cheney, as mentioned previously, is another story. However, GWB has avoided any charges from the SEC and there isn't much ya'll can do about it.

You want to continue and bitch that he's a hypocrite? Be my guest. But the only ears that can hear you are the same ignorant ears that have always felt that Bush is a crook. Summation? This is a non-story. Bush's approval rating will not fall until you find a credible story. Hell, I don't care if Bush gets impeached, but surely, truly, you are as bad as those Republicans going after Clinton's BJ if you continue to bring out pitchforks for non-stories.
posted by BlueTrain at 11:12 PM on July 11, 2002


I wanted to write this earlier, but hell...I was smarter at the time: all ya'll want Bush to burn. Congratulations. But the fact is this: the SEC has more information than some stupid newspaper article. If there was something to say, they'd say it.

Paul Krugman, on the other hand:

Mr. Bush claims that he was "vetted" by the S.E.C. In fact, the agency's investigation was peculiarly perfunctory. It somehow decided that Mr. Bush's perfectly timed stock sale did not reflect inside information without interviewing him, or any other members of Harken's board. Maybe top officials at the S.E.C. felt they already knew enough about Mr. Bush: his father, the president, had appointed a good friend as S.E.C. chairman. And the general counsel, who would normally make decisions about legal action, had previously been George W. Bush's personal lawyer — he negotiated the purchase of the Texas Rangers. I am not making this up.

Most corporate wrongdoers won't be quite as well connected as the young Mr. Bush; but like him, they will expect, and probably receive, kid-glove treatment. In an interesting parallel, today's S.E.C., which claims to be investigating the highly questionable accounting at Halliburton that turned a loss into a reported profit, has yet to interview the C.E.O. at the time — Dick Cheney.

posted by y2karl at 11:39 PM on July 11, 2002


How would you like me to respond, y2karl? I'm wrong? Because you know that I'm not...your piece was an editorial. An opinion. A blip. He pointed some nasty fingers, but what, exactly, is the solution then? Would you like another $70 million dollar investigation, only for the Republicans to bitch about it in 2006 when the Democrats are vying for seats in Congress and a future presidential election?

Votes, baby...this is what all this hoopla is all about. Let's get a Democrat back in the White House, is what this entire thread represents. Truth is it might just work. Idiots were dumb enough to believe it in 2000. Idiots are dumb enough to believe it in 2004.

I truly wish politics were about educating the public, instead of simple manipulation to further personal agendas.
posted by BlueTrain at 11:51 PM on July 11, 2002


Ah, I see: only your opinions--But the fact is this: the SEC has more information than some stupid newspaper article. If there was something to say, they'd say it.--are facts. Silly me.
posted by y2karl at 11:59 PM on July 11, 2002


dogmatic, provide this thread with some proof, incontrovertible, no less, that Bush is guilty. Otherwise you're just as bad as every other hyena in here crying foul. Bush isn't a criminal, YET. Prove it, for Gad's sake. Otherwise, quite crying wolf. The SEC backed off. The SEC said the case was not closed, but has no damning evidence. Do you know something?

I know what everyone else knows -- that the SEC backed off under political pressure and for political reasons. If you can show how such an investigation could not possibly be compromised by Bush Sr's position as president, or perhaps the SEC chairman's personal relationship with the parties involved, I'd like to see it. Otherwise, it was a tainted investigation from the start, and because of that worth diddly squat.

He pointed some nasty fingers, but what, exactly, is the solution then? Would you like another $70 million dollar investigation, only for the Republicans to bitch about it in 2006 when the Democrats are vying for seats in Congress and a future presidential election?

Hell, why not? A president was impeached for much less than this. For what, perjury? For lying about an affair. C'mon. This is much juicier. You've got perjury, and securities fraud, and conspiracy on the line here between not one, but two administrations. And, well, that's just damn beautiful in my eyes.

What would you prefer, that we turn the other cheek while the robber barons continue to loot and pillage our beautiful nation?

I truly wish politics were about educating the public, instead of simple manipulation to further personal agendas.

I truly wish that the guilt of white collar crime were not decided on who one knows, who's one's daddy, or how much one's willing to pay.
posted by dogmatic at 1:30 AM on July 12, 2002


Let's get a Democrat back in the White House, is what this entire thread represents

BJs. Corporate crime. BJs. Corporate crime.

I'll take BJs for eight years, Alex.
posted by owillis at 1:40 AM on July 12, 2002


BlueTrain: dogmatic, provide this thread with some proof, incontrovertible, no less, that Bush is guilty
I think you're cofusing a discussion thread with a court of law.
posted by talos at 3:45 AM on July 12, 2002


How would you like me to respond, y2karl? I'm wrong?

How did Zeppelin's Kashmir go? Ah yes...

Oooh, makes me wonder, oooh, makes me wonder!

posted by y2karl at 7:16 AM on July 12, 2002


I know what everyone else knows -- that the SEC backed off under political pressure and for political reasons. If you can show how such an investigation could not possibly be compromised by Bush Sr's position as president, or perhaps the SEC chairman's personal relationship with the parties involved, I'd like to see it. Otherwise, it was a tainted investigation from the start, and because of that worth diddly squat.

So when you saw some magician saw a woman in half one time, did you really believe it happened?

What something "looks like" to you doesn't make it so. Everyone knows that the SEC backed off under political pressure? How do they know? Where's the evidence? Even a little tiny amount of evidence? Surely there must be some evidence if "everyone knows"! Maybe present some here? Then we can discuss. Otherwise, your hysterical ranting serves no purpose.
posted by ljromanoff at 8:07 AM on July 12, 2002


What something "looks like" to you doesn't make it so. Everyone knows that the SEC backed off under political pressure? How do they know? Where's the evidence? Even a little tiny amount of evidence? Surely there must be some evidence if "everyone knows"! Maybe present some here? Then we can discuss. Otherwise, your hysterical ranting serves no purpose.
----posted by ljromanoff

You seem to be unable to accept the central point of the arguments presented. I will pretend for a few more seconds that it is because you don't see it, rather than won't see it, and post it:

There is reasonable suspicion regarding these issues, and we would like to see them investigated. A large number of people (here anyway) fell that an investigation headed by someone who used to work for the person being investigated, and receiving authority from that person's father, MIGHT present less than 100% accurate results. And we want a nice, long investigation to determine exactly what is going on here.

I am most certainly not saying that he is guilty. I am saying , to break out an old saw, "why let the fox guard the henhouse?" (get it?..magician reference...old saw...aahhhh..i am not funny)

Seriously, are you honestly saying that the SEC's decision to "investigate no further at that time" should not be reviewed and investigated closer? Why not? Isn't there a pretty good reason to suspect a conflict of interest by SEC general counsel? Why not?
posted by das_2099 at 8:54 AM on July 12, 2002


So when you saw some magician saw a woman in half one time, did you really believe it happened?

For about as long as I believed the current half hearted protestations of innocence.
posted by inpHilltr8r at 9:35 AM on July 12, 2002


now, now, das_2099, remember that in regards to all things concerning G. W. Bush--when it comes to proof, lj has rigorous standards...
posted by y2karl at 9:36 AM on July 12, 2002


wow,

The thread would appear to be dead. LJ appears to have given up. Did you guys know that LJ's Web Design Firm did work on the design of the Libertarian.org website. Curiouser and curiouser.

wong

posted by Wong Fei-hung at 12:22 PM on July 12, 2002


Seriously, are you honestly saying that the SEC's decision to "investigate no further at that time" should not be reviewed and investigated closer? Why not? Isn't there a pretty good reason to suspect a conflict of interest by SEC general counsel? Why not?

das, I tried that. lj can't refute the evidence. He can only question your ability to make a semi-intelligent deduction based on the information available to you. As if the SEC, without an actual formal inquiry into the matter, is any more informed to make a public decision on W's guilt or innocence than I am.

Of course, lj can't prove that the SEC didn't launch a full and complete investigation. That much has been established. He can only argue the limits of what someone other than the SEC knows. And so it goes.

Such is the state of rhetoric amongst Bush's sympathizers -- 'You don't know the whole story, how dare you assume that!,' as if the state of guilt or innocence should be any more sacred for a Republican than a Democrat. Face it, Bush smells of graft as Clinton smelled of pussy. But then, liking pussy was never a felony.
posted by dogmatic at 1:28 PM on July 12, 2002


I love it. lj's trolling style of "argument" is a hoot in itself, but the way he pretends to hold the high ground -- "Maybe bring more to the discussion next time than your own suppositions," "your hysterical rantings," etc. -- is icing on the cake.

He challenges someone to provide examples of people who praise the free market but ignore free market principles when those principles are inconvenient. People easily rise to the challenge. lj's response is to change the subject. I gather there's a reason to continue arguing with someone who never admits he's wrong, but it's not clear what that reason would be. Can anyone clarify?
posted by mediareport at 2:12 PM on July 12, 2002


There is reasonable suspicion regarding these issues, and we would like to see them investigated

The fact that G.W. Bush is who he is does not create "reasonable" suspicion. As those calling for some sort of investigation haven't produced anything more than "his father was president, so it must be suspicious," I fail to see what the point of pursuing this is. Again, where's the evidence that something inappropriate happened?

lj can't refute the evidence

What evidence? Please present some!

lj can't prove that the SEC didn't launch a full and complete investigation.

You're the one claiming that something inappropriate happened. You're making the case - the burden of proof is on you, not me.

Such is the state of rhetoric amongst Bush's sympathizers

I am not a Bush sympathizer. Keep those falsehoods rolling, buddy.

People easily rise to the challenge. lj's response is to change the subject.

The example was Bush, not in my opinion anything close to a good example. When did I change the subject?
posted by ljromanoff at 2:20 PM on July 12, 2002


Hey, what's this? You have to be a subscriber to get the full story.
posted by mblandi at 2:39 PM on July 12, 2002


Mr. Bush is not a real reformer; he just plays one on TV.
posted by muckster at 3:04 PM on July 12, 2002


Oh, muckster-gan...
posted by y2karl at 3:55 PM on July 12, 2002


Guys, give up on ljromanoff -- it's hopeless. This is how he always 'debates': quibble endlessly over a semantic side issue, while pointedly ignoring the main thrust of the argument. Then, when everyone else has gotten exasperated and moved on, declare victory.

Not worth the wasted breath.
posted by ook at 4:29 PM on July 12, 2002


This is how he always 'debates'

Boy, you've got me on that one. I'm honored to know that you've had me under constant surveillance my entire life.

Incidentally, since you so blatantly missed the point last time around, correcting someone's factual mistake without being baited into an entirely different argument isn't 'quibbling endlessly over a semantic side issue'.
posted by ljromanoff at 4:46 PM on July 12, 2002


Oops, y2karl. I did follow the thread, but skipped some of the more tedious parts. Your (fine) post was a casualty of lj induced scrolling.
posted by muckster at 4:47 PM on July 12, 2002


Sometimes I wish there was a "mute" button for people like lj. Although I'm sure he wishes the same for those he argues with.

Actually, scratch that. I don't want a "mute" button. I want an "activate logic" button. That way we might have an intelligent discussion with him.
posted by bshort at 4:55 PM on July 12, 2002


Actually, scratch that. I don't want a "mute" button. I want an "activate logic" button. That way we might have an intelligent discussion with him.

When all else fails, fire up the insults, eh, bshort?

Unimpressive, to say the least.
posted by ljromanoff at 4:59 PM on July 12, 2002


Well, I'm only insulting you if you think that you're not being logical.

I just wish that, like ook said, you'd argue the issue instead of quibbling over things like the definition of compassionate conservative and whether the public has any business being suspicious over Dubya's stock trades and "loans".
posted by bshort at 5:04 PM on July 12, 2002


You're just going through the motions, lj, running on empty, reduced to the plain and simple same old same old Making Yourself Right By Making The Other Guy Wrong--your heart is just not into sticking up for G. W. in order to stick it to the evil liberals these days--you sound depressed.

Counting coup is just not delivering the old oomph anymore....
posted by y2karl at 5:10 PM on July 12, 2002


I just wish that, like ook said, you'd argue the issue instead of quibbling over things like the definition of compassionate conservative

Well, there were two things on the table, weren't there? One of which was a perfectly valid discussion about whether or not Bush is a good example of conservatism. If the debate was of so little interest to you, why engage in it?

and whether the public has any business being suspicious over Dubya's stock trades and "loans".

Oh for crying out loud. The issue is not whether the public has any business being suspicious over Bush's stock trades and loans (your scare quotes are cheap and unnecessary) - the public can be suspicious about whatever they want. The issue is whether there is any merit in being suspicious about them. I still have yet to read any substantive evidence of any wrongdoing by Bush, or any evidence that the SEC was somehow predisposed to give him a walk on any alleged wrongdoing. The argument that because George H.W. Bush was president at the time necessarily means that the SEC was giving George W. Bush a pass is not an argument at all if there's nothing to back it up.

Obviously, there are some who use MetaFilter who are happy to believe the worst about Bush and don't feel much need for any rigorous examination of their views. That's fine for them, I suppose. But even though I didn't vote for Bush in 2000, nor will I be voting for him in 2004, I'm not simply going to jump on the bandwagon and buy into every so-called "scandal" story - particularly when there's no real facts to back up the allegations.
posted by ljromanoff at 5:15 PM on July 12, 2002


I'm honored to know that you've had me under constant surveillance my entire life.

Hey, look at that! A semantic side issue to quibble over!

since you so blatantly missed the point last time around, correcting someone's factual mistake without being baited into an entirely different argument isn't 'quibbling endlessly over a semantic side issue'.

Whatever. If anyone cares to, they can read the thread themselves and decide for themselves who was 'missing the point' and who was just plain avoiding it.
posted by ook at 5:31 PM on July 12, 2002


Metafilter: You're wrong. No you're wrong.
posted by Shadowkeeper at 5:34 PM on July 12, 2002


I'm not simply going to jump on the bandwagon and buy into every so-called "scandal" story - particularly when there's no real facts to back up the allegations.

Unless it concerns the transition between the Clinton and Bush administrations. I believe that this thread has been mainly about hypocrisy.
posted by riviera at 5:43 PM on July 12, 2002


I believe that this thread has been mainly about hypocrisy.

Or simply that the shoe is on the other foot, for now.

I truly don't give two hoots about ljromanoff, but all ya'll are ignorant to the obvious fact that there ARE NO CHARGES AGAINST BUSH. While you continue to argue that ljromanoff is a troll, has no logic, blah blah freaking blah, your point remains stagnant and unsubstantiated. Basically, both sides are playing the same game against each other.

If anyone cares to, they can read the thread themselves and decide for themselves who was 'missing the point' and who was just plain avoiding it.

Yeah...here's the point. Partisan politics. If you can prove Bush to be guilty of any crime, go for it. He snorted coke. Okay...prove it. He illegally accepted loans as a member of the Board of directors. Prove it. Bottom line has remained consistent in this entire thread...you cannot prove, nor could the SEC, that Bush is guilty of anything.

God ljromanoff, you're such a troll for arguing facts instead of conspiracies.
posted by BlueTrain at 1:55 AM on July 13, 2002


I like how you stick to your guns lj. But christ almighty, if you don't have one point that deals in the lack of ethics this CURRENT controversy is couched in.

You're kinda like bush himself. He never tackle's a question with an actual answer (well, he can't), but in between questions, he throws in little sidebar, humorous remarks that enables the microphones present to capture laughter. He stands in front of a backdrop bearing the words hundreds of times "Corporate Responsibility", knowing full well his ESPN viewing constituency didn't catch a minute of it. But the manufactured photo-op, so all those day trading, car selling, money counting sports-fan stiffs could see on the front page of the newspaper a photo of Bush=Corporate Responsibility accompanying an article they'd never read as they clamored for the sports and business inserts was cunning.

Not that you're funny (god, nor is bush). But your technique has always focused on arguing semantics and slips of conversational logic, going way back. Do you stand for anything lj? Or are you merely a troll who loves the return favor?

Something about you reminds me of the old time admonishment :Keep Your Eye on the Pea!
posted by crasspastor at 3:38 AM on July 13, 2002


A semantic side issue to quibble over!

Is it? Are you really defending your painfully sloppy language? I guess you are. Well, enjoy it.

Do you stand for anything lj?

Since some have accused me of being an ideologue apparently I must. I guess you just weren't paying attention.
posted by ljromanoff at 7:40 AM on July 13, 2002


Keep Your Eye on the Pea!

Illustration.
posted by y2karl at 7:45 AM on July 13, 2002


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