The background

Dear Mr. Kurtz,

This is in response to your July 6 segment on "Reliable Sources."
Specifically, the portion you dedicated to your premise, "Is President Bush
getting a bum rap from reporters over the growing list of corporate scandals?".

Your angle is -- It seems unfair to reopen events from 13 years ago and
claiming that there is "no evidence" to question the explanations from the
White House, that he is merely guilty by association, and that all of
corporate America's woes are Clinton's fault.

First of all, if Bush is in fact innocent of any "wrong doings" then an open
and honest evaluation of all the facts should exonerate him, shouldn't it?

Perhaps if you did a more thorough job researching this topic--that is of
course if you ARE interested in the facts and aren't just another media
mouthpiece for this administration--you would understand that there are many,
many valid reasons to look into Bush's corporate past.

For instance, Bush was NOT cleared of any wrong doings by the SEC. It has
been reported that a 1993 letter from the SEC to Bush's lawyer emphasized
that its decision "must in no way be construed as indicating that (Bush) has
been exonerated." That was from the Dallas Morning News and mentioned in an
article by your  Washington Post. That in itself suggests that this case was
NEVER settled.

I want to also point out that the SEC Chairman who "investigated" GW Bush was
Richard Breeden who was appointed by Bush I, and the "investigation" into GW
Bush's Harken Energy insider trading took place while daddy was president. In
addition, the SEC's general counsel was James Doty, who handled the sale of
the Texas Rangers in 1989 to Bush Jr. and cronies. Coincidence?

His excuses ranged from (I'm paraphrasing) "the SEC lost my files" to "my
lawyers lost my files" to "it happened sooo long ago",  and "it was merely
like doing 60 in a 55."

Incidentally, the same--the VERY SAME--accounting firm at the center of the
current high profile corporate shenanigans of Enron and WorldCom was the
accounting firm for Harken--Arthur Andersen. Incredibly Andersen is also the
very same accounting firm who handled Dick Cheney's Haliburton. Coincidence?

I'd be very interested to see if treasury secretary Paul O'Neill's ALCOA
could pass the smell test.

An observer shouldn't overlook the fact that Bush Jr. wasn't merely an
overpaid clueless executive, he was on the company's audit committee and had
access too all the financial information of the company.

Therefore, not only did Bush profit from the exact same type of insider
trading that went on at Enron, the company was engaging in the exact same
accounting shenanigans, masking millions of dollars in losses by the sale of
a subsidiary to a group of insiders.  Was this the start of the accounting
scheme Anderson would use again and again?

The fact of the matter is Bush does have deep ties to big business. Contrary
to his public statements (lies) claiming he didn't even know Ken Lay of
Enron, Ken Lay was Bush's largest political contributor, was part of top
secret and largely still secret energy policy, and source of a number of Bush
appointees such as  secretary of the Army Thomas White, former vice chairman
of Enron Energy Services when it allegedly hid hundreds of millions of
dollars in losses and manipulated the California energy crisis.

As for trying to pin this on Clinton... Clinton tried to pass a number of
legislations to prevent accounting meltdowns. For example to separate
accounting and consulting businesses, tighter accounting standards, and tried
to reign in the rampant deregulation pushed by the Republicans who rallied
behind  "self-regulation," "free market," "less government" as if they
shouldn't abide by any laws.

This was pointed out earlier in this same program when you talked about
campaign finance reform with Senator John McCain. You seemed to agree with
him which undermines your premise of unfair press for Bush. Maybe that is why
you spent no time on that very important comment from Mr. McCain and abruptly
changed the topic. From the a transcript of your show:

MCCAIN: It smells bad and there is one selling point here and that is that
Mr. Levitt when he was head of the Securities and Exchange Commission, tried
to get changes in regulations to tighten up and the Congress of the United
States even threatened to cut off his money for his agency. Now that is a
smoking gun.

KURTZ: Yes, the media, I think, didn't do a terribly good job of covering
those fights at the time, although now obviously all of these WorldCom type
scandals are front page, top of the evening news. Before you go I've got to
ask you, what is this strange hold you have on reporters? A lot of people
felt during the 2000 campaign that the journalists riding your bus just fell
in love with you.

One prominent attorney who made a career of arguing for deregulation
throughout the Clinton years was Harvey Pitt. No doubt this was why Bush Jr.
chose him become his SEC chairman. So now we have an interesting situation
where the loudest voice for deregulation becomes the man in charge of regulation.

This seems to be the hallmark of Bush appointees--appoint a person whose
entire career was dedicated to undermining the high level post now appointed to.
Other examples: Spencer Abraham, Secretary of Energy opposed higher fuel
efficiency standards in cars, EPA head Christy Whitman abolished the environmental
prosecutor's office while Governor of New Jersey, Gale Norton, Secretary of the
Interior opposed the Endangered Species Act, Tommy Thomson, Secretary of
Health and Human Services proposed to underfund the Department of Welfare,
and Elliot Abrams, former Assistant Secretary of State for Reagan, a major
Iran-Contra figure and convicted felon for his role in that scandal who helped
orchestrate massive Human Rights violations in Central America now heads a
department for Human Rights. This is by no means a comprehensive list.

The fact of the matter is there are many, many reasons to look into Bush's
corporate past. With all his talk about "bringing honor and dignity back to
the White House," "Moral Clarity," "the first MBA president," "the CEO
president," etc., do we have a leader who measures up to his own standards?
Or are these just hollow words of a hollow man.

The finger pointing to Clinton is growing very tired.
When will this president take responsibility for...ANYTHING?

Let's now compare his prior corporate experience with his current national
fiscal policies. He once said that Enron was a model for Social Security.
Frightening thought isn't it? But the fact of the matter is there is no
difference in the Bush Social Security policy from the Enron pension plan.

Enron siphoned every penny out of that pension plan and put it directly in
the pockets of the rich corporate heads. Our Social Security savings are being
siphoned out of our pockets and into the pockets of the ultra rich beneficiaries
of the Bush tax cut. Think about this, by and large, the people who benefited
materially from the Bush tax cuts are the very people who made fortunes from
corporate malfeasance.  If Bush wants to restore financial confidence he should
start with protecting America's pension plan--Social Security.

The Conservatives spent eight years and 70 million dollars investigating
Clinton's tiny Whitewater deal and it didn't seem to bother you in the least.
How would Bush stand up to that sort of microscopic inspection?

It seems your "reliable source" for this was the White House itself. How else
could you be so misguided. Change your source or change your name.


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