What bokononists whisper whenever they think of how complicated and unpredictable the machinery of life really is.

By Elton Beard

There are two kinds of people in the world, those who divide people into two kinds and those who don't. I don't.

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Saturday, July 13, 2002
1:00 AM PDT
Bush asked a rhetorical question during his speech in Minnesota on Thursday.

I believe people have taken a step back, and asked, what's important in life? You know, the bottom line and this corporate America stuff, is that important? Or is serving your neighbor, loving your neighbor like you'd like to be loved yourself?
Rhetorical or not, I can't resist a retort.
Dear Mr. Bush,

I love my neighbor, but that does not make this corporate America stuff any less important to me as it has severely impacted my job, business and investment prospects, not to mention my retirement plans.

Elton Beard

Friday, July 12, 2002
11:30 AM PDT
Synthesis. T C MITS puts it all together. But should we worry about Pasadena, California or Pasadena, Texas?

9:30 AM PDT
Busted! When asked to describe his involvement in Harken's sham sale of Aloha while he was a company Director and member of the Audit Committee, Bush's reply was "You need to look back at the Directors Minutes". Well, the LA Times has looked:

Based on a review of publicly released Securities and Exchange Commission filings, meeting minutes, memos and correspondence from that period, there is no evidence that Bush, or any of the other directors, raised objections or expressed concern about the Aloha deal.

Experts on corporate governance say that as an independent director and one of only three members of the audit committee, Bush was in a position to exercise an important oversight role but apparently failed to do so.

Last Saturday, I wrote that "Bush was a pioneer of corporate corruption, engaging in Raptor-style schemes long before they became fashionable." The experts quoted by the LA Times agree:
The Aloha sale was so similar to what Enron Corp. did to hide its losses that Harken could have served as a model for the now-disgraced company, one accounting expert said.

"The people at Enron could have gone to school on this thing," said Alfred King, former managing director of the Institute of Management Accountants, vice chairman of Milwaukee-based Valuation Research Corp. and former advisor to the Financial Accounting Standards Board.

"They sold to themselves and recorded a profit," King said. "That's exactly what Enron did on a number of those off-balance-sheet transactions. On this one transaction at least, it's almost identical."

Avedon Carol of Sideshow has predicted that if the Harken mess heats up for Bush, we should expect another terror alert. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, July 10, 2002
8:15 PM PDT
And now for Richard B. Cheney. The long-awaited Anderson promotional video (RealMedia) featuring then-Halliburton CEO Richard Cheney has been re-released by the BBC, embedded in this story.

Cheney's bit is between minutes 2:47 and 3:24 on the video.

One of the things I like that they do for us is 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 just sort of the normal, by-the-books auditing arrangements.

Tuesday, July 9, 2002
6:45 PM PDT

The Trial.

Judge: how do you plead to the charge of theft?

Thief: Well, back when I was taking other people's things, I thought it was perfectly OK to steal. But now that you've caught me, I realize that sometimes things aren't exactly black or white, when it comes to accounting procedures for other people's property. So I'll give back the stuff I stole, except for the things that I've already sold, and we'll call it even, OK?

Judge: I sentence you to a call on your better nature to create a new ethic of personal responsibility, so that you may regain the trust of the American people.

12:30 PM PDT
Malfeasance: the liberal media give Bush an undeserved pass. Bush, no friend of the English language, invented a new word during yesterday's news conference. The White House dutifully and phonetically transcribed the new word as "malfeance", but the nation's newspapers of record have apparently decided that the public doesn't need to know about Bush's relationship with the language. So the New York Times transcript corrects reality by substituting the word "malfeasance" for what Bush actually said, while the Washington Post transcript goes one better by twice misquoting Bush as having said "there was no malfeasance (sic)", thus precisely inverting the meaning of the notation "(sic)".

Laura Bush
The media may give Bush a pass on bad English but think of how Laura Bush, a librarian, must feel about her husband's diction. Oh the humanities, oh the horror!

Now is the time for conservative defenders of Western Civilization like Lynn Cheney and Joe Lieberman to mount the barricades and defend against this assault on the very foundation of our culture, the English language. And besides, rich boys deserve to be protected from dreaded "social promotion" just as much as do poor kids, don't they?

Monday, July 8, 2002
7:00 PM PDT
No malfeance. The following explanation by Bush of how Harken's phony Aloha transaction differs from those of Enron is copied verbatim from the official White House Transcript of today's surprise news conference, so the whole thing is [sic].

Q Thank you. The accounting procedures at Harken and Aloha have been compared to what went on at Enron. Would you agree with that?


Q Why not, sir?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, again, this is -- there was no malfeance involved. This was an honest disagreement about accounting procedures. And the SEC took a good look at it and decided that the procedures used by the auditors and the accounting firm needed to -- were not the right procedure in this particular case, or the right ruling, and, therefore, asked Harken to restate earnings, which it did. I mean, that's the way the SEC works. That's the proper role of an oversight group.

There was no malfeance, no attempt to hide anything. It was just an accounting firm making a decision, along with the corporate officers, as to how to account for a complex transaction.

No attempt to hide anything? The "accounting procedure" Bush talks about was exactly an attempt by Harken to hide losses from investors by cooking the books with the phony Aloha transaction, while Bush was on the company's Board of Directors and Audit Committee. True, Harken was ultimately caught by the Securities and Exchange Commission -- but Bush pretends that being caught and reversed, but not punished, is equivalent to being exonerated. Will he get away with this story? Stay tuned.

2:30 PM PDT
Sometimes things aren't exactly black or white. The Bush news conference is still in progress but here's my transcribed insta-snippet:

Q: The question I asked you before, the accounting, the sale itself of the subsidiary, did you favor that, were you involved?

GWB: You need to look back at the Directors Minutes, but all I can tell you is, is that in the corporate world sometimes things aren't exactly black or white, when it comes to accounting procedures.

Savor the moment.


July      8th - July     14th, 2002
July      1st - July      7th, 2002
June     24th - June     30th, 2002
June      3rd - June      9th, 2002
May      20th - May      26th, 2002
May      13th - May      19th, 2002
May       6th - May      12th, 2002
April    22nd - April    28th, 2002
April     1st - April     7th, 2002
March    25th - March    31st, 2002
March    18th - March    24th, 2002
March    11th - March    17th, 2002
March     4th - March    10th, 2002
February 25th - March     3rd, 2002
February 18th - February 24th, 2002
February  4th - February 10th, 2002
January  28th - February  3rd, 2002
January  21th - January  27th, 2002
January   6th - January  13th, 2002
December 10th - December 16th, 2001
December  3rd - December  9th, 2001
November 26th - December  2nd, 2001
November 19th - November 25th, 2001
November 11th - November 18th, 2001
November  4th - November 10th, 2001
October  11th - November  3rd, 2001

Busy, busy, busy.

What bokononists whisper whenever they think of how complicated and unpredictable the machinery of life really is.


The floggings will cease when morale improves.
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