Monday, February 23, 2004

Spiro Cheney

Dick Cheney's corruption is breathtaking:

  1. Cheney was CEO of Halliburton from 1995 to 2000.

  2. During that time he managed to revive the long-suffering stock price of Halliburton by using some Enron-style fancy accounting. In what has to be one of the biggest bone-head moves in American corporate history, he also managed to acquire liability-rich Dresser Industries (Dresser is one of the great corporations in American conspiracy theory, being the first place where father George Bush worked, and being connected to Tom Slick and through him to the use of cryptozoology as a cover for spying and to the JFK assassination).

  3. Cheney is still receiving a salary of something over $100,000 a year from Halliburton.

  4. Cheney's main continuing benefit from Halliburton takes the form of stock options. No one seems to be certain how much these are worth, but it is in the millions of dollars, and increases as the value of Halliburton stock goes up. If you want to do the math, you can see how the increased value of Halliburton stock in recent months is crucial, given the option prices, for Cheney to make a killing on the options. Cheney has proposed to deal with this obvious conflict by donating profits from these stock options to charity and not taking a tax deduction for the donation (and buying insurance to cover the possibility of Halliburton going under). There are four issues with this:

    • Just when is he going to get around to do this? He started talking about it during the election campaign, and it is now three or four years later. How hard can it be for him to pick up a phone and tell his lawyer to make it happen? He can't argue that he is waiting for the share price to go up, unless he is also prepared to concede that he has some control over the share price. You can see what is going to happen. He will drag this out until he is out of politics, and then claim that he no longer has to donate the profits to charity as he is no longer in a conflict situation! In any event, who is in a position to monitor his compliance with his promise?

    • Donating the profits to charity doesn't solve the problem, as he will still have the benefit of controlling the use of the money (like funding another right-wing think tank).

    • Cheney, as well as others connected to the Bush Administration, has other very large financial interests that will benefit greatly with the financial health of Halliburton.

    • In all the discussions about the stock options and buying insurance for the unlikely event of Halliburton's insolvency, especially unlikely with Cheney in control of the American government and the disposition of military contracts, everyone seems to have forgotten that Cheney is still receiving the cash payments from Halliburton.

  5. Cheney's philosophy of mega-privatization of practically every function of the military that can be ceded to a parasitic corporation has allowed companies like Halliburton and its ilk to flourish. This is at the expense of American soldiers who have to suffer under the shoddy, overpriced service provided by Halliburton and similar companies.

  6. Halliburton is making out like a bandit in Iraq. Literally. The amount of corruption in what seems like every massive contract awarded to Halliburton is staggering.

  7. Halliburton has suddenly become the largest private contractor for American forces in Iraq ($11 billion in contracts and counting), all on the basis of contracts awarded when Cheney is effectively running the United States. No one can possibly believe that he has nothing to do with this. The Pentagon staff surely knows the wrath they would face if contracts were not awarded in accordance with Cheney's obvious wishes.

  8. The war on which these contracts depend was waged based on a series of lies largely told by none other than Dick Cheney.

Sometimes they make it too easy to be a conspiracy theorist. The Cheney-Halliburton connection has to be the largest and most blatant example of corruption in modern American history. Cheney is the effective President of the United States, and is clearly behind the awarding of massive contracts to a corporation that continues to pay him. If this were happening in Nigeria we'd sneer at the corruption, but in the American context it is beyond belief. Spiro Agnew had to resign over allegations that he received payoffs from engineers seeking contracts when he was Baltimore county executive and governor of Maryland. Spiro had nothing on Dick. The amounts of money Spiro stole would be chump change for Cheney. The best part of all this is that Cheney is going to get away with it.