Monthly Archives: July 2002

Dick Cheney and the Ghost of Spiro Agnew

Dick Cheney
There’s a whiff of scandal in the air over Washington D.C., and it isn’t just a leak in Strom Thurmond’s colostomy bag (at least not this time). No, this month the unmistakable scent of inpropriety is blowing in from Wall Street. Another charge of corporate greed, another huge company accused of accounting improprieties. Who’s our contestant this week? Let me give you a hint: they provide a variety of services, products, maintenance, engineering and construction to energy, industrial and governmental customers. They’re based in Dallas. And their former chairman and CEO left the company a couple of years ago for a job in the public sector. Give up? The company is Halliburton Co., and the former CEO is your Vice President and mine, Dick Cheney. The charges? That the company overstated revenues by $445 million from 1999 thru 2001. The big question: is this a charge that’s going to stick?

Corporate financial scandals have been all the rage of late, and so far three corporations have borne the brunt of bad press: Enron, Arthur Andersen, and WorldCom. In the flood of stories being written about these three card monte dealers, there’s a real danger that the actvities of Halliburton will be overlooked. And that would be a real shame, because none of the other scandals have such a direct tie to September 11th. In the wake of the terrorist attacks, the American Military-Industrial complex has gone into high gear. Somebody has to support military operations in places like Afghanistan, and at least one of those somebodies is KBR, a unit of Halliburton Corp. The Army and Navy have awarded KBR a ten year contract as their exclusive logistics supplier, and have given KBR a blank check to do the job. KBR’s contract with the US Army is the Army’s only logistical contract without an estimated cost. Its anyone’s guess how much this agreement will funnel into Halliburton’s coffers, but last year the company attributed $13 billion in revenue to government contracts. Now that America has “lost it’s innocence” and the Pentagon is contemplating action against Iraq, that figure could easily double or triple in 2002. Compare the dollar amounts with those in the Enron or WorldCom cases, and you’ll find that Halliburton is easily in the same league. Add the White House connection and you’ve got a scandal far more compelling than any of the questionable deals the Clintons made in Arkansas.

So why isn’t the Cheney/Halliburton connection making bigger headlines? There are a number of factors at play:

  • The 9/11 effect: The administration may not be getting a free ride from the press because of the WTC attack anymore, but they’re definitely getting a reduced fare. In 21st century America, the power of the press is concentrated in a handful of conglomerates. Any editorial decisions taken impact dozens (if not hundreds) of media outlets. Opinion polls still show the President riding high, and the conglomerates are going to stick with a winner.
  • Bipartisonship: Democrats who live in glass houses tend not to throw stones. They know that Republicans are better at shady business dealings than they are. Not that the Dems let that stop them from cutting shady business deals of their own, they just aren’t as good at covering their tracks. Furthermore, both parties realize that scandal is damaging to both of them. If the public decides that both parties are overrun with porcine crooks feeding at the public trough, they might actually elect some third party candidates, and that’s bad for everyone with a vested interest in the status quo.
  • No sex angle: Whitewater was a fairly minor scandal when it was about real estate deals and cattle futures. It turned into a major scandal when it was about the President getting blow jobs from an intern in the Oval Office. Financial scandals are complex and not very titilating. The average American finds them as enjoyable as balancing their checking account. There’s nowhere near as much puritanical shame in cooking the books as there is in a pillar of the community spooging on some young thing’s dress. Don’t expect a sex angle to emerge in this one. Republicans know that Democrats are better at extramarital sex than they are (Gary Condit excluded), and there’s no evidence that Cheney has an eye for the ladies.
  • So will this turn into a major league scandal? I think it depends on all the other scandals. Cheney’s Halliburton dealings can be managed for the time being. An Arthur Andersen promotional video from 1996 featuring Dick Cheney surfaced last week. Cheney’s comments from the video are pretty embarassing for him:

    “One of the things I like that they do for us is that, in effect, 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 the normal by-the-books audit arrangement.”

    However, the spectacle of WorldCom CEO Bernie Ebbers taking the fifth in front of Congress took most of the attention away from the Andersen video. There were also rumblings about some loans Dubya received from Harken Energy Corp. when he served on their board of directors in the 1980′s. The more play people like Bernie Ebbers get in the press, the less Cheney has to worry about. But if the press uncovers more dirt on our President’s past business dealings, Cheney may be in trouble. Managing the Cheney scandal is a priority for the administration, but managing Dubya’s scandals will trump all other concerns. Cutting Cheney loose on the pretense of his heart troubles would be a quick and easy way to distance the President from the scandal, and the code of the Beltway would require Cheney to “take one for the team”. But if that ever comes to pass, one has to wonder if Dick Cheney will take any comfort in what happened to Spiro Agnew’s boss?

    The Fourth of July

    “June 29 — Federal authorities have issued a secret alert to state and local law enforcement agencies warning them of the possibility of a terrorist attack in the United States around the Fourth of July holiday, senior government officials said.”
    -New York Times, National Section

    “How secret can it be?” -buck

    Live Cams from around the Country:

    Statue of Liberty

    Statue of Liberty Cam

    Washington D.C. Live Cam

    Fifth Ave from the SE corner of 45th St. NYC

    The Alamo Cam (remember?)

    Las Vegas Cam

    Old Navy July 4 shirt

    The Traditional Wear Since 1998 7/4

    Phoenix, AZ July 2002

    An extended stay in Phoenix during the summertime.

    “Buck”, I hear you saying “why not go someplace cooler that sells legal fireworks?”

    It’s a fair question and one I’ve asked myself quite a few times in the last weeks of my 111 average degree stay. hokey, Toronto is 100 degrees on a Sunday afternoon, that’s just one place that shouldn’t be, look around on the weather channel, where would you go? Fireworks. We’re still close to the mexican border, fireworks are plentiful.

    “But Buck, fireworks are illegal in Arizona.”

    You don’t say? Well, the guns aren’t. I’ve got a concealed weapons permit and a load of ammo set to go off should the terrorists decide to jump into action.

    Except they wont. Why should they? All they have to do is sit back and let the media do the terror for them. Every top government official has issued irresponsible statements of “terror coming to your town. Terror coming to our shores”. Don’t that make your astral nads shrivel? This fourth of july is just about an open invitation for someone to strap on some half-sticks and light the fuse for Allah. Headlines goading the faithful into a reverent gut oozing puddle. Or just some homegrown nutcase who let’s the voices take over. The voices are probably coming from the television newscast or the 18 hour Chuck Norris-a-thon on USA network.

    Who needs terrorists when you got Beavis in the Woods?

    good god. Colorado and Arizona scorched, burned, altered forever in the recent fires. Dreadful damage, lives of pets and people put in the balance. and it goes back to folks that were actually a part of the services keeping us safe from fire.

    The stories are sketchy on two fire causes. The one for Chediski in Northern Arizona was admittedly started by a man who was lost in the forest and he was signalling for help by lighting a fire. I’d like to personally beat that snivelling pussy to a pulp. Any four hour survivalist training tape would have showed him all he needed to know about getting around in the forest. There is no reason why every single american shouldn’t have this information.
    The Colorado fire was started by a forest ranger gal who’s story changes with the telling. The most told though is that she recieved a letter from her ex-husband that so enraged her she had to set fire to it. Fair enough, my three ex-wives could have that same effect on me and there are more than a few bullet holes in the side of my barn after having to deal with one of them.

    But lady, you were in charge of your section of forest, you knew the fire danger level was at the highest alert, such a high alert that even the average citizen was being warned by emails, news bulletins, weather channels, local fire depts. The information was everywhere and I know it was it even more so for you not to mention you had extensive training and experience in your field. That you were so furious with your ex-husband is understandable but your reckless disregard of nature and man is criminal. For what you are going to get sentenced for this fire you could have gone and killed the guy, maybe his new young, skinny, girlfriend (I’m speculating here) and still got less time for a crime of passion.
    There is no crime of passion excuse when you’ve burned up and out animals, people, forests. Lost people their liveliehood to even attempt to make a comeback in their home area.
    You do the maximum time, sister.

    And speaking of Livelihood, Leonard from the Apache Resevation wanted to have one so bad that he started a fire so he could be called up in his volunteer fireman capacity. Told a lady he was talking to a fire was coming and he had to go home and wait for the call. Leonard said he didn’t know the fire would start so fast or so big. What kind of volunteer fireman wouldn’t know that? Volunteer Retard is what Leonard is. You get an indian who actually wants to get a job and this is what he does. Was the casino not hiring, Leonard? Bullshit.
    You too should have the maximum sentence.

    At the Command with God

    The 4th of July will be a working day at the Alien Jesus Command. Re-doing the webpage, re-filling the beer cooler. All of us went down to Old Navy and bought our 4th of July t-shirts that we’ll be wearing. God Bless America. Can I say that anymore?

    Sure I can say it, just not in a school or public building.

    You may be suprised that I am in favor of dropping the God from our Pledge of Allegiance.

    I don’t like what God means in this country. Falwell’s God, Pat Robertson’s God, Joseph McCarthey’s God. They all get up there (well not Joe, he burns in hell) and say the founding fathers would be rolling in their graves at this being left out.

    No, no they wouldn’t. There was no pledge of allegiance during our founding father’s day. there was no flag either. The founding fathers didn’t want to pledge allegience to king or country, they were adamant about that. The pledge, the flag, the god, were all introduced a century after the founding fathers in much the same way that santa was introduced by Coca Cola and Mother’s Day was by Hallmark.

    And talking about the “founding fathers” in such reverent tones. Read up on your history. They started this country so they wouldn’t have to pay taxes and debt to england, so they could sell their goods here at higher prices. It was a financial political move on their parts. Boston Tea Party? They burned the british tea because it was going to be sold cheaper than the tea they were selling, it would have wiped them out. It was for personal profit that this country was started. A tradition that is more evident than ever these days.

    I wouldn’t want a God from the Founding Fathers even if they had introduced one. well they did, but it was secret masonic one eyed, three penis’d god. Put that on the flag you morons.

    So another 4th of July in the desert with my friends and collegues.

    The fires burn out, the burgers burn up, and the heat is always on. I hope a kinder, wiser God blesses you, your country, your world.

    A really A-1 god doesn’t give a crap about your flag though.

    I’m Buck Huff, Happy Trails.