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I’ll Take The Community Organizer

I keep hearing people degrading the President because of his previous experience as a community organizer. There are some right-wing pundits who refer to him only as The Community Organizer with no apparent fear that they might be alienating thousands of voters who are, in fact, hard-working community organizers – a job that is undoubtedly many times more involved and difficult that punditry.
By all accounts, President Obama was very successful in his past role. For three years he helped improve the lives of poor families

Obama out and about in the Community

in high crime areas through a church-based organization. For this difficult job, Obama was paid the spectacular sum of $12,000 a year.  According to the organization’s records, he was responsible for greatly increasing the size of the organization by bringing churches and other civic organizations on board.
By contrast, Bush the Lesser held an MBA, was a former chief executive officer, and had more CEOs and private business executives in his White House than any other president. In fact, Bush comes from a long line of corporate executives (many with questionable ethics). In the same vein that Obama’s critics make much of his experience, team Bush made much of his business credentials. So then, let’s take a look at his record in private industry shall we?
Bush launched his first oil company, Arbusto in 1979. After failing miserably for 5 years, he sold the company in 1984 to Spectrum 7, a deal which made him the CEO of Spectrum. Spectrum, a previously successful oil giant, began immediately to lose money. Two years later, in 1986, Spectrum was saved by a merger with Harken Energy. In the merger, Bush became a director at Harken.

Guess what?  Harken began to tank.  Like any good executive, and against the specific advice of Harken’s  lawyer, Bush sold his stock in the company just before that stock took a nose dive and only three days before Harken was expected to run out of money.  The Securities and Exchange Commission at the time was chaired by Richard Breeden, a family friend of Bush and nominated to the post by Bush the Elder.  The SEC’s general counsel at the time was James Doty, who had represented Bush before in his bid to buy into the Texas Rangers baseball team.  Doty did recuse himself from the investigation. Bush’s attorney in the investigation was Robert Jordan who had previously been partners with both Doty and Breeden at James Baker’s law firm. Surprisingly, the SEC found no evidence of insider trading.  The day after the SEC announced it would not charge Bush with insider trading, Jordan, his attorney, turned over the memo from Harken’s counsel to Bush that advised him not to sell the stock.  It read, “The act of trading, particularly if close in time to the receipt of the inside information, is strong evidence that the insider’s investment decision was based on the inside information… the insider should be advised not to sell”.

When questions arose about this during Bush the Lesser’s presidency, he refused to allow the SEC to release its full report on its investigation on the sale of his Harken stock.

Just two more corporate fat cats masquerading as good ol' boys.

As to the other CEOs and execs in Bush’s administration, they include such pillars of ethics and integrity as Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice, Paul O’Neill, Gale Norton, Donald L. Evans, and Michael Powell.

Cheney, as CEO of Halliburton did extensive business with Saddam Hussein between the two Bush wars, changed the company’s accounting practices setting up offshore tax shelters by moving millions of US dollars out of the country in order to avoid paying the taxes it owed.  The shelters and subsidiaries, set up by Arthur-Anderson, the same firm used by and implicated with Enron, were set up in the Cayman Islands, just as Enron’s were.  Cheney set up a total of 44 new tax dodging subsidiaries for Halliburton.  Under Cheney, Halliburton went from paying taxes to receiving an $85 million tax rebate check.  During his reign as its CEO and between his stints in Bush presidential administrations, Halliburton was able to secure billions in government contracts and $2 million in fines for overbilling the government (a practice Halliburton continues to this day).  Like his boss, Cheney sold $18.5 million in Halliburton stock just two months before the company made announcements causing its stock prices to plunge of 75%.

Colin Powell served on the boards of both Gulfstream Aerospace and America Online.  His son, Michael Powell, was named the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, just in time to be the only member of the FCC to advocate the merger of AOL and Time Warner go through with absolutely no investigation whatsoever.

Bear in mind also that these people served in the private business sector during the time of American history that is most rife with corporate scandal and illegal and unethical activity.  Often they had strong ties with some of the worst offenders such as Enron.

With the combined experience, knowledge and business savvy of Team Bush, and while ignoring the advice of Noble prize-winning economists, Wall Street insiders and previous administration economists, the nation was brought to the brink of another Great Depression. Given their record of ineptitude, deceit and bullheadedness, I’ll take the Community Organizer over the CEO any day of the week.
Cross-posted from the original article on Cons-Lie

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