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Thread: Kronyism run wild

  1. #1

    Kronyism run wild

    FEMA might just be the tip of the iceberg. Smart and qualified people have been leaving gov't agencies for years, leaving these organizations weakened.

    [QUOTE]All the President's Friends


    The lethally inept response to Hurricane Katrina revealed to everyone that the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which earned universal praise during the Clinton years, is a shell of its former self. The hapless Michael Brown - who is no longer overseeing relief efforts but still heads the agency - has become a symbol of cronyism.

    But what we really should be asking is whether FEMA's decline and fall is unique, or part of a larger pattern. What other government functions have been crippled by politicization, cronyism and/or the departure of experienced professionals? How many FEMA's are there?

    Unfortunately, it's easy to find other agencies suffering from some version of the FEMA syndrome.

    The first example won't surprise you: the Environmental Protection Agency, which has a key role to play in Hurricane Katrina's aftermath, but which has seen a major exodus of experienced officials over the past few years. In particular, senior officials have left in protest over what they say is the Bush administration's unwillingness to enforce environmental law.

    Yesterday The Independent, the British newspaper, published an interview about the environmental aftermath of Katrina with Hugh Kaufman, a senior policy analyst in the agency's Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response, whom one suspects is planning to join the exodus. [B]"The budget has been cut," he said, "and inept political hacks have been put in key positions." That sounds familiar[/B], and given what we've learned over the last two weeks there's no reason to doubt that characterization - or to disregard his warning of an environmental cover-up in progress.

    What about the Food and Drug Administration? Serious questions have been raised about the agency's coziness with drug companies, and the agency's top official in charge of women's health issues resigned over the delay in approving Plan B, the morning-after pill, accusing the agency's head of overruling the professional staff on political grounds.

    Then there's the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, whose Republican chairman hired a consultant to identify liberal bias in its programs. The consultant apparently considered any criticism of the administration a sign of liberalism, even if it came from conservatives.

    You could say that these are all cases in which the Bush administration hasn't worried about degrading the quality of a government agency because it doesn't really believe in the agency's mission. But you can't say that about my other two examples.

    Even a conservative government needs an effective Treasury Department. Yet Treasury, which had high prestige and morale during the Clinton years, has fallen from grace.

    The public symbol of that fall is the fact that John Snow, who was obviously picked for his loyalty rather than his qualifications, is still Treasury secretary. Less obvious to the public is the hollowing out of the department's expertise. Many experienced staff members have left since 2000, and a number of key positions are either empty or filled only on an acting basis. [B]"There is no policy," an economist who was leaving the department after 22 years told The Washington Post, back in 2002. "If there are no pipes, why do you need a plumber?" So the best and brightest have been leaving.[/B]

    And finally, what about the department of Homeland Security itself? FEMA was neglected, some people say, because it was folded into a large agency that was focused on terrorist threats, not natural disasters. But what, exactly, is the department doing to protect us from terrorists?

    In 2004 Reuters reported a "steady exodus" of counterterrorism officials, who believed that the war in Iraq had taken precedence over the real terrorist threat. Why, then, should we believe that Homeland Security is being well run?

    Let's not forget that the administration's first choice to head the department was Bernard Kerik, a crony of Rudy Giuliani. And Mr. Kerik's nomination would have gone through if enterprising reporters hadn't turned up problems in his background that the F.B.I. somehow missed, just as it somehow didn't turn up the little problems in Michael Brown's résumé. How many lesser Keriks made it into other positions?

    The point is that Katrina should serve as a wakeup call, not just about FEMA, but about the executive branch as a whole. Everything I know suggests that it's in a sorry state - that an administration which doesn't treat governing seriously has created two, three, many FEMA's.



    [QUOTE]Bush allies getting Katrina work
    Companies with ties to the White House among the first awarded reconstruction deals.
    September 12, 2005: 5:57 AM EDT

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Companies with ties to the Bush White House and the former head of FEMA are clinching some of the administration's first disaster relief and reconstruction contracts in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

    At least two major corporate clients of lobbyist Joe Allbaugh, President Bush's former campaign manager and a former head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, have already been tapped to start recovery work along the battered Gulf Coast.

    One is Shaw Group Inc. (Research) and the other is Halliburton Co. (Research) subsidiary Kellogg Brown and Root. Vice President Dick Cheney is a former head of Halliburton.

    Bechtel National Inc., a unit of San Francisco-based Bechtel Corp., has also been selected by FEMA to provide short-term housing for people displaced by the hurricane. Bush named Bechtel's CEO to his Export Council and put the former CEO of Bechtel Energy in charge of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation.

    Experts say it has been common practice in both Republican and Democratic administrations for policy makers to take lobbying jobs once they leave office, and many of the same companies seeking contracts in the wake of Hurricane Katrina have already received billions of dollars for work in Iraq.

    Halliburton alone has earned more than $9 billion. Pentagon audits released by Democrats in June showed $1.03 billion in "questioned" costs and $422 million in "unsupported" costs for Halliburton's work in Iraq.

    But the web of Bush administration connections is attracting renewed attention from watchdog groups in the post-Katrina reconstruction rush. Congress has already appropriated more than $60 billion in emergency funding as a down payment on recovery efforts projected to cost well over $100 billion.

    "The government has got to stop stacking senior positions with people who are repeatedly cashing in on the public trust in order to further private commercial interests," said Danielle Brian, executive director of the Project on Government Oversight.

    Allbaugh formally registered as a lobbyist for Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg Brown and Root in February.

    In lobbying disclosure forms filed with the Senate, Allbaugh said his goal was to "educate the congressional and executive branch on defense, disaster relief and homeland security issues affecting Kellogg Brown and Root."

    Melissa Norcross, a Halliburton spokeswoman, said Allbaugh has not, since he was hired, "consulted on any specific contracts that the company is considering pursuing, nor has he been tasked by the company with any lobbying responsibilities."

    Allbaugh is also a friend of Michael Brown, director of FEMA who was removed as head of Katrina disaster relief and sent back to Washington amid allegations he had padded his resume.

    A few months after Allbaugh was hired by Halliburton, the company retained another high-level Bush appointee, Kirk Van Tine.

    Van Tine registered as a lobbyist for Halliburton six months after resigning as deputy transportation secretary, a position he held from December 2003 to December 2004.

    On Friday, Kellogg Brown & Root received $29.8 million in Pentagon contracts to begin rebuilding Navy bases in Louisiana and Mississippi. Norcross said the work was covered under a contract that the company negotiated before Allbaugh was hired.

    Halliburton continues to be a source of income for Cheney, who served as its chief executive officer from 1995 until 2000 when he joined the Republican ticket for the White House. According to tax filings released in April, Cheney's income included $194,852 in deferred pay from the company, which has also won billion-dollar government contracts in Iraq.

    Cheney's office said the amount of deferred compensation is fixed and is not affected by Halliburton's current economic performance or earnings.

    Allbaugh's other major client, Baton Rouge-based Shaw Group, has updated its Web site to say: "Hurricane Recovery Projects -- Apply Here!"

    Shaw said Thursday it has received a $100 million emergency FEMA contract for housing management and construction. Shaw also clinched a $100 million order on Friday from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

    Shaw Group spokesman Chris Sammons said Allbaugh was providing the company with "general consulting on business matters," and would not say whether he played a direct role in any of the Katrina deals. "We don't comment on specific consulting activities," he said.

    Last edited by bitonti; 09-12-2005 at 01:49 PM.

  2. #2
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    Krugman huh?

    Sorry - he has been exposed as a liar and fraud too many hundreds of times (literally) for me to read this column. Check out the Krugman Truth Squad - it's hilarious.

    He is a disgrace to my Alma Mater - I refuse to read this hack.

  3. #3
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    [QUOTE]On Saturday, had a piece titled "Firms with White House ties get Katrina contracts:"

    Companies with ties to the Bush White House and the former head of FEMA are clinching some of the administration's first disaster relief and reconstruction contracts in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

    At least two major corporate clients of lobbyist Joe Allbaugh, President Bush's former campaign manager and a former head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, have already been tapped to start recovery work along the battered Gulf Coast.

    One is Shaw Group Inc. and the other is Halliburton Co. subsidiary Kellogg Brown and Root. Vice President Dick Cheney is a former head of Halliburton.

    The Baton Rouge-based Shaw Group, CNN tells us, is a major corporate client of Joe Allbaugh, President Bush's former campaign manager and a former head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Among its Katrina-related contracts are this one valued up to $100 million from FEMA; and this one also valued up to $100 million from the Army Corps of Engineers.

    But in their zeal to embarrass the Bush administration, CNN overlooks one very fat and inconvenient fact--and embarrasses only itself.

    [B]The Shaw Group, a multi-billion-dollar conglomerate, is headed by Jim Bernhard, the current chairman of the Louisiana Democratic Party. Bernhard worked tirelessly for Democrat Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco's runoff campaign and served as co-chair of her transition team. Another Shaw executive was Blanco's campaign manager. Bernhard is back-scratching chums with Blanco, whom he has lent/offered the Shaw Group's corporate jets to on numerous occasions.[/B]

    So, why was none of this mentioned in CNN's Bush-profiteers-are-evil narrative?

    Fortunately for CNN, they weren't the only ones guilty of this glaring omission:

    [B]UPI failed to note that the CEO of the Shaw Group also happens to be the Louisiana Democratic Party chairman and beleaguered La. Gov. Kathleen Blanco's most influential crony.[/B]

    So did the London Observer.

    And Reuters/MSNBC. And the CBC.

    And the NYTimes (reprinted in the Minnesota Star Tribune, the Houston Chronicle, the Scotsman, and scores of media outlets around the world).


    What liberal bias?

    [B]Jim Bernhard Bio:[/B]

    [QUOTE]About Our Chairman

    J. M. Bernhard, Jr. is the Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Shaw Group Inc., a Fortune 500 company offering a broad range of services to the power, process, environmental, infrastructure and emergency response markets. The Company’s stock is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “SGR.” Under Mr. Bernhard’s leadership, The Shaw Group has grown dramatically and through a series of strategic acquisitions to over $3 billion in revenues since its inception in 1987. Shaw is one of the youngest companies to be named to the Fortune 500 and recently debuted on the magazine’s list of “America’s Most Admired Companies”. Headquartered in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, the Company employs over 18,000 people at its offices and operations in North America, South America, Europe, the Middle East and the Asia-Pacific region.

    In 2001, Mr. Bernhard was the recipient of the Ernst and Young “U.S. Entrepreneur of the Year” Award. His professional accomplishments were also featured in a cover story in the April 1, 2002 issue of Engineering News-Record.

    Mr. Bernhard was recently inducted into the LSU Alumni Association Hall of Distinction. He has received the Corporate Champions for Children Award, LSU College of Education’s “Special Recognition” Award. He was named Perpetual Founder of Catholic High School in Baton Rouge, and received the Tiger Athletic Foundation Augie Cross Memorial “Member of the Year” Award.

    An active participant in many civic and philanthropic endeavors, [SIZE=3][B]Mr. Bernhard was recently selected as Chairman of the Louisiana Democratic Party. [/B] [/SIZE] He co-chaired the transition team for the governor of Louisiana, Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco. Mr. Bernhard is also a member of Select Council for Revenues and Expenditures (SECURE) for Louisiana’s Future and serves on the Committee of 100 for the State of Louisiana. He is a major benefactor to both Louisiana State University, Louisiana Tech University and at Southern University, where he served as an adjunct professor. He is a member of numerous trade and civic organizations.

    Prior to founding The Shaw Group, Mr. Bernhard was Vice President and General Manager of Sunland Services, a state-of-the-art pipe fabrication company, which was later acquired by Shaw. He also served on the Board of Directors of Barnard and Burk Engineers & Constructors from 1984 to 1986.

    Mr. Bernhard is a native of Baton Rouge, Louisiana where he currently lives with his wife Dana and their children. He graduated from Louisiana State University in 1976 with a degree in Construction Management. Mr. Bernhard enjoys traveling, golf, hunting, fishing, and most importantly, spending time with his wife and children.


    [QUOTE]A Different Kind of Democrat

    [B]It will be interesting to see how Jim Bernhard balances the seemingly incompatible roles of big business leader and political party boss.
    After the pounding it took in the last round of elections, the Louisiana Democratic Party needed to search for new leadership. That's not a shot at former party chair Mike Skinner, a Lafayette attorney. Rather, it's a reflection of one of the fundamental rules of politics: winning matters.

    When the party chose Shaw Group CEO Jim Bernhard as its new chair several weeks ago, it signaled that it was ready for the kind of sea change that many believe the Democratic infrastructure needs at all levels, from the national headquarters down to the parish committees. [/B]

    Bernhard heads the Fortune 500 company headquartered in Baton Rouge, a company he built from the ground up in less than 15 years. It is now a $3 billion-a-year global enterprise with 18,000 employees.

    Bernhard, 50, didn't start dabbling in politics until recently. He backed former state Attorney General Richard Ieyoub for governor in 2003, then jumped head-long into Kathleen Blanco's runoff effort. They became fast friends. He co-chaired Blanco's transition team, then hired her campaign manager and political protege, attorney Jeff Jenkins, to work for Shaw. Last year, Bernhard toyed with the idea of running for the U.S. Senate, but opted instead to remain at Shaw.

    As a captain of industry whose company gets lots of government contracts, Bernhard might appear to be more at home in the GOP -- especially right now. He says he remains a Democrat because that party still strikes him as the one that cares more sincerely about America's poor and disadvantaged. All the same, his company recently donated $100,000 to President Bush's inauguration committee. Bernhard says he had nothing to do with that decision, but freely admits his company has a long history of giving to both parties -- and that it likely will continue to do so.

    Clearly, this is a different kind of Democratic Party leader. He won the job with Blanco's full support, and he appears to have the backing of other major Democratic players as well, including Congressman Bill Jefferson of New Orleans.

    What do Democrats think of his company's contributions to the GOP?

    "I told them up-front that there couldn't be any sort of litmus test, or else I wasn't the guy for the job," Bernhard says. "I think we need to move beyond that."

    Bernhard says his goal is to build a party that develops sound positions on important issues, then recruits candidates who support those policies. "I want to see us having debates about real issues, not personalities," he says. "We shouldn't be electing people just because they're popular."

    These days, Bernhard is criss-crossing the state to meet with newspaper editors and local party leaders, mostly introducing himself and his vision. As part of his effort to build a party of ideas, he wants to conduct thorough research into major issues, propose realistic solutions, and then present them for public debate. He says he will ask all 3,500 Democratic elected officials in the state to donate at least $100 each to help bankroll the party's rebuilding effort. "If you can't give $100 as an elected official, you can't really call yourself a Democrat," Bernhard says.

    Look for Bernhard to write a substantial check himself, which no doubt is a big reason he was given the job.

    Beyond that, it will be interesting to see how Bernhard balances the seemingly incompatible roles of big business leader and political party boss. He dismisses the notion that he will face serious conflicts of interest. For example, as Democratic Party leader, his job will be drafting candidates to run against Republican incumbents -- some of whom may have received donations from his company. Which entity will have first call on his loyalty?

    "I have never had any politician interfere with my company's efforts to get a government contract," Bernhard says. "I just don't think that's an issue." For now, the energetic Bernhard is in the throes of a political honeymoon. A Catholic parent who coaches his children's Little League teams, he may present exactly the kind of moderate face and style the party needs.



    [QUOTE]Shaw off to good new year

    Quarterly income for '05 starts at $10 million

    Advocate business writer

    The Shaw Group Inc. started fiscal 2005 on the right foot, posting quarterly income of $10 million, or 16 cents per share, compared with a loss of $49.6 million, or $1.07, during the first quarter of last year.
    The Baton Rouge engineering, construction, environmental services and pipemaking firm also reported that its Nuclear Technology Solutions unit will do the architecture and engineering for a $1.2 billion facility being built by Louisiana Energy Services in New Mexico. The plant will produce enriched uranium for the nation's nuclear power plants.

    The value of Shaw's portion of the contract was not released.

    Meanwhile, Shaw said its earnings from ongoing operations were $10.8 million, or 17 cents per share, for its first quarter.

    Shaw's results topped the average estimate for income of 14 cents per share from analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call.


    Shaw stock closed up $1.03, or 6.6 percent, to $16.57 on the New York Stock Exchange.

    Revenue for the quarter ending Nov. 30 totaled $828.1 million -- an increase of 28 percent from $646.9 million the year before -- and beat analyst predictions of $766.7 million.

    The sales boost outpaced the cost of revenue, which grew 18 percent to $751.7 million, as gross profit surged more than sixfold to $76.4 million, the company said.

    Power generation business revenue of $340.1 million accounted for 41 percent of total revenue, while environmental and infrastructure work brought in $331.3 million, or 40 percent of the total.

    Chief Executive Officer Jim Bernhard said in a conference call with analysts Friday that prospects are good for work related to the energy sector, some in gas-fired plants but also in nuclear-, coal- and alternate fuel-fired plants.

    "There's a lot of opportunity currently in the power market," he said.

    Bernhard said Shaw has high hopes for business related to coal, as sustained high natural gas prices have boosted the stock of coal as a fuel source.

    "The power market is, I believe, positioning itself to the high price of natural gas," Bernhard said.

    In the contract announced Friday, Louisiana Energy's partners in the National Enrichment Facility include Urenco Ltd., Westinghouse Electric Co. LLC and U.S. energy companies Duke Power, Entergy and Exelon.

    In a statement, LES cited Shaw's ability to meet the current building schedule and the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission's requirements as keys in the selection.

    Construction of the NEF project is expected to start in the fall of 2006.

    The plant, outside Eunice, N.M., was initially proposed in the late 1990s for a 442-acre site in Claiborne Parish in north Louisiana. Opponents accused the group of "environmental racism" for picking a site populated by poor black people.

    For the first quarter, Shaw cut its general and administrative expenses by 33 percent to $48.6 million from $72.3 million.

    The company ended the period with a backlog of $2.63 billion in its environmental and infrastructure division, $2.05 billion in power generation and $681 million in process industries.

    Bernhard said Shaw's backlog is down somewhat after finishing up some contracts and because of a lull around the time of the national elections.

    He said about 85 percent of the backlog is domestic and about $2.4 billion of it will be converted over the next 12 months.

    Bernhard said Shaw, which in recent years has secured a number of engineering and support contracts on government training and munitions facilities, expects to see growth in this area.

    "Military privatization continues to go well," Bernhard said, singling out military housing construction.

    Asked about a decline in revenue out of the Middle East, Bernhard said unsafe conditions make it difficult to achieve consistency on the balance sheet.

    Shaw is building a military base in Iraq in what Bernhard called "a challenging environment," though he noted there have been no casualties.

    "We do the work when we can and (are) able to …," he said.

    "It's difficult to project quarter to quarter what next quarter will be, $50 million or $10" million, he said.

    [B]Bernhard was not asked by analysts about this week's news articles and criticism of Gov. Kathleen Blanco and her husband for accepting invitations to fly on Shaw's corporate jet. Shaw has sought contracts with companies courted by Blanco. Bernhard was a co-chairman of Blanco's transition team and is seeking election today to the state Democratic Party chairman's post. Another Shaw executive was Blanco's campaign manager.[/B]
    During the conference call with analysts, Bernhard brought up the recent tsunami that hit east Asian nations.

    "We're deeply saddened by the destruction and the tremendous loss of life in the wake of tsunamis that have devastated that region," he said.

    Bernhard said Shaw will match any employee contributions to relief agencies and is offering its emergency response expertise.

    "It's appropriate that we all contribute to the relief efforts in whatever way we can," Bernhard said. [/QUOTE]

    :spank: :spank: :spank: :spank: :spank:
    Last edited by Come Back to NY; 09-12-2005 at 02:04 PM.

  4. #4
    Great job refuting Shaw - no articles refuting Halliburton I see.

  5. #5
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    [QUOTE=bitonti]Great job refuting Shaw - no articles refuting Halliburton I see.[/QUOTE]

    typcial lib cop-out when caught with their pants down, or, eh, hands in the cookie jar again....

  6. #6
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    Certainly breaking news.

    Prior to Bush, all appointments had been based soley on merit. :rofl:

  7. #7
    [QUOTE=Come Back to NY]typcial lib cop-out when caught with their pants down, or, eh, hands in the cookie jar again....[/QUOTE]

    I didn't cop out i said great job refuting half of the article now do the same for the other half?

    and what about the fact that many gov't agencies are looking like FEMA under Bush? Incompetant hacks in charge of EPA, Treasury, FDA and Homeland Security? That's not good.

  8. #8
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    and now this from the reliable, unbiased, straight-forward MSM:

    Mon Sep 12 2005 12:42:11 ET

    After weeks of intense Katrina coverage from the main press, LA TIMES guru and former CNN host Michael Kinsley divulges that CNN was coaching guests to artificially enhance emotions!

    Kinsley writes:

    "The TV news networks, which only a few months ago were piously suppressing emotional fireworks by their pundits, are now piously encouraging their news anchors to break out of the emotional straitjackets and express outrage. A Los Angeles Times colleague of mine, appearing on CNN last week to talk about Katrina, was told by a producer to 'get angry.'"

    Developing... [/QUOTE]

  9. #9
    [QUOTE=bitonti]Incompetant hacks in charge of.....Treasury......? That's not good.[/QUOTE]

    If you think John Snow is incompetant, you do nothing more than prove your own assine LIBERAL bias Bit. Snow is FAR from incompetant.

    [QUOTE]President George W. Bush nominated John William Snow to be the 73rd Secretary of the Treasury on January 13, 2003. The United States Senate unanimously confirmed Snow to the position on January 30, 2003 and he was sworn into office on February 3, 2003. As Secretary of the Treasury, Snow works closely with President Bush to strengthen economic growth and create jobs.

    Snow was Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of CSX Corporation, where he successfully guided the transportation company though a period of tremendous change. During Snow’s twenty years at CSX, he led the Corporation to refocus on its core railroad business, dramatically reduce injuries and train accidents, and improve its financial performance.

    Snow’s previous public service includes having served at the Department of Transportation as Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Deputy Undersecretary, Assistant Secretary for the Governmental Affairs, and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy, Plans and International Affairs.

    Snow’s knowledge of international industry stems from his tenure as Chairman of the Business Roundtable, the foremost business policy group comprised of 250 chief executive officers of the nation's largest companies. During his tenure as Chairman from 1994 through 1996, he played a major role in supporting passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

    Snow is also recognized as a leading champion of improved corporate governance practices. He is a former co-chairman of the influential Conference Board's Blue-Ribbon Commission on Public Trust and Private Enterprise. He also served as co-chairman of the National Commission on Financial Institution Reform, Recovery and Enforcement in 1992 that made recommendations following the savings and loan crisis.

    John Snow was born in Toledo, Ohio, on August 2, 1939, and graduated in 1962 from the University of Toledo. He later earned a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Virginia where he studied under two Nobel Prize winners. Snow graduated with a law degree from the George Washington University in 1967 and then taught economics at the University of Maryland, University of Virginia, as well as law at George Washington. He also served as a Visiting Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute in 1977 and a Distinguished Fellow at the Yale School of Management from 1978 until 1980.

    Snow lives in Richmond, Virginia with his wife Carolyn. He has three children and three grandchildren. [/QUOTE]

    So Bit, show me again where Mr. Snow is either unqualified for this post, or has been, as you claim, incompetant. Back up your words Bit.

  10. #10

    Snow is a competent cheat

    People's Weekly World Newspaper, 01/11/03 00:00

    One of the first items of business before the new Senate will be the confirmation of John W. Snow, President Bush’s choice for Treasury Secretary. Snow presently serves as chairman, president and chief executive of CSX, the freight and transportation conglomerate that operates the largest rail freight network in the eastern United States and several ocean-going cargo ships. Vice President Cheney led the search team that selected Snow.

    Snow is a former chairman of the Business Roundtable and has been active in the Business Council. He held high-level positions in the Department of Transportation under President Gerald Ford where he lobbied aggressively for deregulation and championed legislation limiting the amount of damages accident victims could collect.

    More recently Snow was one of the speakers at Bush’s Economic Summit and was one of the few corporate executives to meet with Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham while the administration was fashioning its energy policy last year. He is a long-time advocate of a balanced budget and, in 1995, was appointed by House Speaker Newt Gingrich to a GOP tax panel aimed at developing a “simpler” tax system.

    During Snow’s reign, CSX was cited by federal authorities for “significant” track safety violations. Snow has been described as a “poster child for all the things that are wrong about our pay-to-play system of financing campaigns” by Public Campaign, a campaign finance reform group. Nick Nyhart, the group’s executive director, said Snow’s appointment to the Bush Cabinet marks the beginning of a “perfect storm” of special interest greed and policy paybacks, as a Congress and White House more beholden to wealthy special interests than any in memory comes under pressure to deliver on a host of anti-consumer and anti-environment measures.

    Nyhart’s criticism is well founded. Under Snow’s leadership CSX has achieved the dubious distinction of being one of the 100 biggest overall campaign contributors to federal candidates and parties, shelling out $5.9 million between 1999 to 2002. Seventy-two percent of that total went to Republicans, including $25,750 to the Bush-Cheney campaign in 2000. In addition, Snow kicked in $75,000 to various federal campaigns.

    But he could afford it. During his 12-year tenure at CSX Snow received more than $50 million in compensation. Last year, he made $10.1 million in cash and stock grants and received stock options valued at $8 million. According to a Corporate Library survey, Snow is the third highest-paid chief executive among the CEOs of the nation’s l37 largest transportation companies.

    Snow has also been the beneficiary of two of the [B]questionable[/B]([B]This isn't questionable! IT IS CRIMINAL[/B]) corporate practices that came to light in recent months. In the first, CSX loaned Snow $24.5 million to purchase company stock valued at $32.3 million. But after the stock price dropped the company forgave the loan. Snow also benefited when he sold 120,000 shares of CSX stock this year less than a month before the company announced that its third-quarter outlook was not as rosy as had been predicted.

    Although the stock price dropped, Snow, knowing what was coming, dumped his stock in time to avoid losing approximately $750,000.

    In what many call the “eternal wealth syndrome,” Snow’s made out like one would expect of any self-respecting CEO these days when it comes to pensions: He will receive credit for 44 years of service despite the fact that he was on the CSX payroll for only 25 years. Moreover, his benefits will be based on his salary together with his bonus and the value of 250,000 shares of stock given him by the CSX board of directors. When it’s all added up, Snow will collect nearly $2.5 million a year for the rest of his life.

    Snow not only made CSX into a cash cow for Republican candidates, he also made it into a champion corporate tax dodger by fulfilling its motto to “pursue all available opportunities to pay the lowest federal, state and foreign taxes.” As a result of those efforts, [B]CSX paid no federal income tax at all in three of the four years between 1998 and 2001[/B]. Instead, CSX supplemented its $934 million in pretax U.S. profits over those years with $164 million in tax rebates from the federal government.

  11. #11
    So Bit, show me again where Mr. Snow is either unqualified for this post, or has been, as you claim, incompetant. Back up your words Bit.[/QUOTE]

    Warfish I am aware of Snow and his qualifications are fine on the surface. I have heard good things about him I have heard bad things about him - My dissatisfaction comes with this krugman paragraph

    [QUOTE]The public symbol of that fall is the fact that John Snow, who was obviously picked for his loyalty rather than his qualifications, is still Treasury secretary. [B]Less obvious to the public is the hollowing out of the department's expertise. Many experienced staff members have left since 2000, and a number of key positions are either empty or filled only on an acting basis. "There is no policy," an economist who was leaving the department after 22 years told The Washington Post, back in 2002. "If there are no pipes, why do you need a plumber?" So the best and brightest have been leaving.[/B][/QUOTE]

    obviously the first sentence is biased maybe ridiculously so - but if it's true that other valued management types are leaving that's not good either.

    it seems to becoming epidemic with this administration that good valuable people leave their positions due to differences with the administration. I don't know for a fact how true this is in the dep't of treasury in specific but if it is true that is troubling.

    so to clarify my problem isn't with any particular people it's more about the weakening of all these institutions, some of which we need in dire times, like FEMA.


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