Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Predictions Update

I take time out from my furious summer book writing regimine to crow about one of my new year’s eve predictions that came true this week:

"The media will float rumors about Dick Cheney’s health, mostly to cause trouble in the GOP."

Don’t look back at the rest of my predictions; they were pretty bad (Dean wrapping up the nomination by March, picking Richardson for his running mate, etc.)

Discussions - 13 Comments

I believe that is a misstatement of what the press is doing. The press is discussing Bush dumping Cheney for political reasons and blaming it on his health. Not necessarily better, but different.

Mr. Brandow is correct, even if he avoided the heart of the matter. Yes, if Dick Cheney is dumped, the "official" reason will probably be health. But Cheney’s past and current association with Halliburton, as well as the ongoing investigations about his role in the corrupt practices of his former company, will prove to be too costly for Bush. It also doesn’t look good when the former company of your vice president is making huge profits in helping to establish "freedom and democracy" in Iraq. As if Bush doesn’t have enough to worry about.

This is one of the fine urban myths of the Moore set. Cheney does not receive one dime of profit from Halliburton’s activities in Iraq. He divested all his holdings prior to taking the post of VP. While he was given stock options, he turned turned those over to a trust for charity. He did receive a yearly stipend as part of his deferred compensation upon leaving Halliburton, but this compensation is 1) fixed, and 2) insured. This means that no matter how well or how poorly Halliburton does (even to the point of financial collapse), Mr. Cheney’s deferred compensation would not change. Of course, none of that matters, since he also has donated his deferred compensation to charity as well. So to claim that Mr. Cheney is profiting from Iraq is simply erroneous.

Halliburton also had similar arrangements with the Clinton Administration. Why is it so odd that they are involved with the Bush Administration, especially considering what Robert Alt just pointed out?

Mr. Alt: You don’t seem to do too well in reading comprehension, so let me help you out. Let’s go back up to what I said: "when the former company of your vice president is making huge profits..." Now let’s replay what you said: "to claim that Mr. Cheney is profiting from Iraq is simply erroneous." For someone with a high powered education, you certainly seem to get convieniently careless when it comes to pertinent details.
Then in reference to the stock options Cheney receives from Halliburton, you claim: "he turned turned those over to a trust for charity." I’m sure that someone with your background in the law won’t object to me asking for evidence: besides what Cheney has claimed, what other source do you have to substantiate this assertion? Note: please do not post unsubstantiated references from right wing web sites which merely parrot Cheney’s claims.
Continuing, you said in reference to the deferred compensation: "this compensation is 1) fixed, and 2) insured. This means that no matter how well or how poorly Halliburton does (even to the point of financial collapse), Mr. Cheney’s deferred compensation would not change."
I think most people would agree that’s a pretty sweet deal. You finally conclude with "Of course, none of that matters, since he also has donated his deferred compensation to charity as well." Again, I hope you don’t mind me asking -besides the say so of Dick Cheney, you know this how? Can you name some charities for us?
But, as usual, you did not address the substance of my post: Halliburton is now being formally investigated by SEC regulators over its possible illegal payoffs to Nigeria(well known to be one of the most corrupt and brutal regimes at the time). This is in addition to ongoing investigations by the DOJ concerning Halliburton’s accounting practices. The period in question is, to the best of my knowledge, 1995-2000 when Dick Cheney was head of the company. I’m sure your little brush off will play well with your hypocritical right wing friends, but you’ve dodged the heart of the matter once again.

Mr. Gordon: You selectively cite yourself. You now argue that you did not say that Cheney is profiting. No, you just said: "Cheney’s past and current association with Halliburton . . . ." So if you did not mean profit, what did you mean? The other options seem really silly, so please do explain. I’m sure we would all like to hear--unless of course your intent was to hide behind debate tactics that would surely score points at GW jr. high school.

You conclude that Mr. Cheney’s deferred compensation package being insured is a sweet deal. You miss the point: even if he were keeping the money instead of donating it to charity, there would be no incentive for him to support activities which would help Haliburton. He (or in this case, his charities) does not make one cent more if Haliburton stock goes through the roof, and he (or in this case, his charities) would not make one cent less if Haliburton went belly up. Therefore the oft made arguments about Cheney making decisions to line his pocket amount to nothing. As for a source for Cheney’s charitable activities, I saw it on that bastion of conservative talk: CNN.


As for the substance of your post, well, it shows that your knowledge of politics is thinner than your debating skills. It is well known that Cheney has been associated with Haliburton, which the Dems have done their best to demonize for four years. Any negative effect has already been done, and Kerry still can’t get any traction. Why, other than your established partisan zeal, would Bush then decide to part with Cheney based on "old news?" The reason to release Cheney would be if the President wanted to position someone in the VP slot who would be in the physical condition to run for the POTUS slot in four years. At this point, it appears that Bush is not concerned with that, given that being VP does not provide a tremendous historical advantage.

As for Mr. Gordon’s request for proof that Cheney has indeed followed through on his charitable proclamations, I suspect the proof is available in his tax returns, which I believe he releases. Have a look.

Steve, I followed up on your suggestion and searched for the Cheney’s returns. What I found was actually a summary, without any itemization. On the other hand, it appears as if the Cheney’s made substantial charitable contributions, but most of those came from his wife’s royalties. The breakdown isn’t clear since the link doesn’t say anything about the way the taxes were filed. However, if anyone finds a breakdown which clearly shows that Cheney donated all of his deferred comp(evidently 178k for last year) to charity, then I’ll be the first to admit my error.

Now as to Mr. Alt’s last missive.
I’ll stand behind my original post. In reference to the partial cite you made(the one you conveniently clipped), the complete statement was "But Cheney’s past and current association with Halliburton, as well as the ongoing investigations about his role in the corrupt practices of his former company, will prove to be too costly for Bush." Comment: the last part of that statement is my own assessment, whereas the first part is a matter of established fact which leads me to that assessment. I also said that it didn’t look good when the **former company** of the vice president is making huge profits, a detail which, not surprisingly, you overlooked. Now you go on to make a big deal about his deferred comp being fixed. You seem to think this has some significance because you go on to say that he "does not make one cent more if Haliburton stock goes through the roof, and he (or in this case, his charities) would not make one cent less if Haliburton went belly up." Translation: the guy has a guaranteed income of over $150k/yr -a sweet deal by any standard. Even if it does all go to charity though, that’s really not what we’re talking about here. Now we get to the heart of the matter. In the last part of your post in regards to Cheney’s past association with Halliburton, you say that "the Dems have done their best to demonize" this for four years. You are free to try and inject this into a partisan political context as much as you like, but it’s not about politics at all, unless you’re accusing, for example, the DOJ or the SEC of using their investigatory powers for political purposes. Are you? You then end in a feeble attempt to brush this all off as "old news."
The facts are these Mr. Alt: 1)It has been the SEC(and not the dems as you have claimed) that has been investigating Halliburton, 2) the period of that investigation is 1995-2000 when Dick Cheney was the head of the company, 3)that investigation became formal in the early part of June of this year, which isn’t exactly what most folks would call "old news." this is significant because it means that subpoena power could now be used, 4)The focus of the investigation is whether or not Halliburton and the TSKJ consortium to which to it was partnered violated the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in an alleged bribe of 180 million dollars to the regime of Sani Abacha, a dictator of Nigeria well known for being corrupt and brutal to his people. Of course there are other ongoing investigations of Halliburton, but those are other stories.

I did appreciate your comment about jr high school and debating skills, so now it’s my turn: You have a law degree from a well known school and have claimed on more than one occasion to be fond of arguing your position. So, when are you going to argue your first case in a court of law or submit your first paper? But perhaps you’re not anxious to step into the arena among your peers. If so, that’s perfectly understandable. Don’t you think it’s time to do some serious debating, instead of wasting your talents on someone with thin debating skills?

Good lord, what a bunch of squabbling about nothing.

Cheney’s going nowhere unless Cheney decides he’s going somewhere (say, to fix CIA), which is extremely doubtful.

Hayward is exactly right -- the NY Times is floating unsubstantiated gossip on its front page to cause trouble for the GOP. The actual floating should neither shock nor surprise, but the front page prominence suggests that the post-Raines Times may still need some work.

Not that it is any of your business, but I have already published in a legal journal, participated in debates, and participated in cases before numerous federal and state courts. Contrary to your baseless assertion, I have not strayed from mixing it up with peers, but have invited interaction with those on the other side of the aisle. But I shall now take your kind counsel, and will heretofore stop wasting my time with your comments.

As a professional in retirement planning, I thought I should clarify the "fixed and insured" part of this discussion. The deffered compensation that Mr. Cheney receives is part of a non qualified deffered compesation plan. It is essentially a 401(k) plan (which is qualified), that is not qualified. While CEO of Haliburton, he deferred compensation into this plan, and is now taking the distribution. This allows him to take further advantage of some tax laws, and potentially further employer match. Mr. Cheney contributed to the plan out of his own compensation. This money has been invested in the market (again like the 401(k) assets), and is paid out to him in increments as defined by the provisions of the plan.

The assets are actually held in Rabbi Trust meaning that they are still assets of Haliburton, and in the event of a declaration of Bankruptcy can be taken (this is the major distinction between a qualified and non-qualified plan). Thus the assets are not insured (neither against creditors nor against market conditions).

Mr. Gordon, deferred compenstaion plans are a "sweet deal", I hope that your employer offers you a 401(k) plan. It is a great way to save for retirement.

John

Thanks for the info, John. I used to have a 401k, but recently converted it to something more lucrative. Or so I’ve been advised.
Robert: had no idea you’d bail quite so easily. Bye for now.

Cheney is profiting from Haliburton being in Iraq. He is prasining the war for his own personal benefit.

Leave a Comment

* denotes a required field
 

No TrackBacks
TrackBack URL: http://nlt.ashbrook.org/movabletype/mt-tb.cgi/4586