Absurd Post of the Day

Oliver puts up the dumbest post I have seen in a long time:

For months we’ve been told that drawing a line between Halliburton and their giant contracts in Iraq and Vice President is sheer follly. C’mon, there’s no connection, he divested himself long ago.


Cheney may still have Halliburton ties

The report says that the deferred compensation that Cheney receives from Halliburton as well as the more than 433,000 stock options he possesses “is considered among the ‘ties’ retained in or ‘linkages to former employers’ that may ‘represent a continuing financial interest’ in those employers which makes them potential conflicts of interest.”

“As this C.R.S. report shows,” Lautenberg said, “The ethics standards for financial disclosure is clear. Vice President Cheney has a financial interest in Halliburton.”

Your vice president holds a total of $10,711,991.76 in his blood money at market close today.

Let’s not even get into Oliver and Frank Lautenberg’s misrepresentation of what this deferred compensation is. Let’s instead dive into Oliver’s comments, where he unloads this doozy in response to my asking him if anyone with Halliburton stock has ‘blood money’ on their hands:

No, John, someone who has sway over the military and can influence how they are used to gain personal profit is a war profiteer.

So, according to ‘moderate’ Democrat Oliver Willis, this WAS a war for oil and reconstruction bids. ‘Like Kryptonite for Stupid’ is Oliver’s slogan. More like a magnet than kyrptonite, if this is how he really thinks.

*** Update ***

Since Oliver still insists on calling Cheney a war profiteer, here are some articles which explain what the situation is. Byron York explains the situation best.

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32 replies
  1. 1
    Robin Roberts says:

    Oliver does his best to never let facts get in the way of a good hydrophobic performance.

  2. 2
    Oliver says:

    If the god-damned Vice President and other people in the administration stand to make financial gains based on the president’s use of the military, that’s an issue that shouldn’t be broached? Gimme a break John.

  3. 3
    John Cole says:

    That is just it, Oliver. If you would take a second to try to understand what those ‘deferred compensations’ were, rather than quoting Lautenberg indiscriminately and busting out the faux outrage, maybe then you wouldn’t post stupid comments like the one we are discussing right now.

    Because you didn’t, and chose instead to act as a lackey for the DNC, making a charge you don’t understand and aren’t willing to investigate, to include the worst charge possible- that the VP is doing what he is doing so he can be profit financially from his decisions, puts you somewhere intellectually between Justin Raimondo and Noam Chomsky. And for the record, Chomsky isn’t stupid- he probably knows he is full of shit when he makes charges like this.

    Then, when you are called on it- you bust out the ‘Help, help- My dissent is being crushed’ bullshit in the form of your last inane comment here. Of course, IF the President and VP are profiting off decisions they are making regarding the military, it is a question that should be broached. But since you have neither the energy nor desire to find out if they actually are- which they are not- it makes you lazy and stupid to resort to this sort of crap.

    And I bet you thought you could bully me with your bullshit rhetoric into apologizing to you. Check your fucking facts and try to understand something before you start calling people war profiteers. Have you wondered why the NY Times has not investigated Lautenberg’s press release?

  4. 4
    greg says:

    It’s a shame. Oliver and Calpundit used to be people you could read to get a sensible liberal perspective, rather than bottom feeders like Atrios and Hesoid.

    But the former two are becoming more and more like the latter two every day.

    At least at Oliver’s site there is still decent debate in the comments, whereas as Calpundit’s comments section has become the same as Atrios and Hesoid, where anyone who even tries to have a debate is called a troll or a Bush knee-padder or whatever.

  5. 5

    Ah, the Manichean nature of American discourse – you’re either for us or agin’ us, sainted or devils…

    …billion dollar no-bid contracts to a company with financial ties to the VP do need to be looked at…

    …removing a tyranical and murderous dictator in a pre-emptive strike can be seen as an effective, though unprecedented, role for the US, and wouldn’t instead be clever way to gain access to that country’s oil…

    …civility, gentlemen. Motivations are rarely uni-dimensional, clear cut and obvious…

  6. 6
    John Cole says:

    Don- If you would look into them, you would see that NOTHING the Veep does has any impact on them.

  7. 7
    dave says:

    Greg is right. Oliver’s site USED to be interesting to read because you could get a rational perspective that was slightly left of center. Now it’s just Atrios on a white background– Moonbat central. Flypaper to Stupid. But hey, it gets him mentioned in the newspapers, and that’s apparently what’s important to him.

  8. 8
    Terry says:

    That’s pretty good…”[Like] Flypaper to Stupid.” That would reflect a far more accurate depiction of the Site. Maybe you should forward over to the wombat from Boston.

  9. 9
    Oliver says:

    Name calling, reall nice. I don’t plan on bullying you with anything John. The facts remain that the Vice President stands to gain when Halliburton does well. He now claims that the money goes to charity, but there hasnt been evidence of that presented. The honorable thing to do would be for the veep to ditch his options and waive his compensation completely so it didn’t look so damn dirty.

    Look, after 9.11 I was willing to stand behind the president and with the right to fight terrorism – but over time I see that that side of the aisle is more interested in lining their pockets versus securing America. I’m going to keep saying so, and if you don’t like it oh well. I could be a “good” liberal like Alan Colmes and keep my trap shut, or I could be Oliver and call a spade a spade.

  10. 10
    John Cole says:

    Shorter Oliver Willis- I still don’t understand what deferred compensation is an I refuse to waste my time investigating what it might be when it is easier to sit here and be wrong.

  11. 11
    Pauly says:

    Well, I can make it easy for Oliver to understand:

    An arrangement in which a portion of an employee’s income is paid out at a date after which that income is actually earned. Examples of deferred compensation include pensions, retirement plans, and stock options. The primary benefit of most deferred compensation is the deferral of tax.

    Or this:
    DEFERRED COMPENSATION – An award made by an employer to compensate an employee in a future cost accounting period or periods for services rendered in one or more cost accounting periods before the date of the receipt of compensation by the employee.

    And to break it down even further, what this means is that Halliburton and Cheney set up a system to pay Cheney his past income in future pay periods instead of at the time he left. So what have we learned from this?

    1) Cheney is being paid past income now because deferred compensation’s purpose is to spread the payment over several future pay periods. How many companies can stand to pay out $10M+ in one lump sum and still remain in the black? Maybe Microsoft…

    2)The stock options that make up his compensation are stocks that are frozen at a certain price. It says that right in the Money article. Lautenberg said Halliburton stock options held by Cheney were 100,000 shares at $54.50 per share, 33,333 shares at $28.125 and 300,000 shares at $39.50 per share. Hence, present performance of the company does not hurt or benefit Cheney’s overall earnings.

    It took me about 5 minutes to find these definitions, examples and numbers online and another 1 minute to comprehend the “legalese”, as Lautenberg put it. And I’m just a deranged physicist. So how does Cheney gain, short of not losing his money as long as Halliburton continues to remain in non Chapter 13 business?

  12. 12
    Pauly says:

    An additional point or two:
    1) The money is insured so even if Halliburton burns all their assets and goes under, he is still paid.

    2) Lautenberg acknowledged that the money went to charity, so He now claims that the money goes to charity, but there hasnt been evidence of that presented. was apparently confirmed by Lautenberg, the guy trying to nail Cheney to the cross.

    Not a whole lot of wiggle room left in that argument.

  13. 13
    Oliver says:

    I’m well aware what deferred compensation is. It doesnt change the fact that the sitting vie president has a vested interest in the success of the company. ShorterJohnCole: Hey it’s a Republican, so he can get away with anything.

  14. 14
    greg says:

    I give Oliver points for persistence. Not just anyone could be bitch-slapped and proven wrong as much as he’s been and still keep coming back to make the same lame–and wrong–points.

  15. 15
    Pauly says:

    HOW DOES THAT GIVE HIM A VESTED INTEREST? Halliburton could be sold for 3 trillion dollars tomorrow and he will still get the same amount of money. It could go bankrupt and he’ll still get the same amount of money. The only interest is possibly in seeing his former company do well, much like you cheer on the Redskins, Oliver. And yes, I know you don’t own them, and have never owned the Redskins. But you are a fan, so you cheer their performance. Cheney has reason to see his former friends and associates do well in the same way.

    I have always, always, always given you a lot of latitude and the benefit of the doubt to let you fully explain yourself but you are being intentionally stubborn, thick-headed and immune to reason here. You can be wrong sometimes and the world won’t end. It happens.

  16. 16
    Terry says:

    I must say that most of you folks have a lot more patience with this fool, Oliver, than is warranted by his original post and subsequent comments here. In the real world in which most of us live and work, such demonstrations of innate stubborness (or stupidity) would lead to some form of censure or outright termination. I rather suspect the real solution is for him to stick to those relatively few things about which he may know something, i.e., football.

  17. 17
    Oliver says:

    The CRS study says that it “confirms that receiving deferred salary and holding stock options in a corporation does constitute a “financial interest” under Federal ethics standards”

    Hey, look, I’d prefer if the veep (no matter how much I dislike him) wasn’t implicated in somehting this unseemly – but he keeps saying he has no interest in Halliburton when the record says otherwise. It would be even less of an issue if we didn’t just write blank checks to Halliburton to reconstruct Iraq and had a standard bidding process in place.

  18. 18
    Pauly says:

    There’s a difference between “financial ties” and “getting rich off of the spoils of war”. One is a classification that is not necessarily illegal. The other is a blatant example of immorality, and a textbook case of government fraud, waste and abuse (using government resources for personal gain).

    I don’t take offense to financial ties, because as other articles linked to here state, they aren’t necessarily bad (as in this case) and don’t immediately point to illegal actions. However, that’s not the same as making money off of a war, as you suggested.

    Cheney’s mistake: opening himself up to public scrutiny and attack by not directly channeling the money to charities instead of having it go to him first. His crime: None that I can see.

  19. 19
    Robin Roberts says:

    There is no ‘blank check’ for Halliburton. For the oil well services contract, there was no time for competitive bidding and the work was scoped under an existing contract.

    Once again, Oliver, let no fact slow you down.

  20. 20
    John Cole says:

    Tis Blood Money- War Profiteering? Why? DCuz I am Oliver and I am a Democrat and I say so- even though it has been pointed out, well, 16 times now that I am wrong.

  21. 21
    Ricky says:


    You’re wrong on this and your rhetoric towards Cheney is over the line (to say the least). I think you know this.

    It won’t make you a Republican to say “oops, I went a little overboard in how I characterized the situation”.

    Folks, no need to go after Oliver personally (my opinion). If he won’t admit error, fine. But, OW, if you simply adjust your rhetoric (while maintainin criticism towards Cheney, just not the “he’s trying to profit off of war” stuff, which is whacked) you’ll gain credibility while still knocking around the admin.

    You guys have Drum’s site nailed, though. :)

  22. 22
    M. Scott Eiland says:

    Lautenberg lecturing someone about ethics in government–now *there’s* a candidate for “Ironic, Hypocritical Moment of the Year.” Subverted any more election laws lately, Frank?

  23. 23
    Kung Fu Monk says:

    If I’m not mistaken the Halliburton subsidiary that is doing some of the work in Iraq was already under contract by the US government from the Clinton Administration days.

  24. 24
    Pauly says:

    The best part about all this is that Oliver never admitted that he was wrong, and then on his site he starts attacking the same thing from any different angle he can, while never mentioning this. There’s no way that he could ever convince me to believe him when he won’t extend the same courtesy to others.

  25. 25
    TJ says:

    I work in the oil and gas business (not for Halliburton) and will throw in a few comments from that perspective. There are basically two companies, Schlumberger and Halliburton that have the resources to do oilfield work on the scale that is required in Iraq. Schlumberger has no heavy construction division (refinery repair and construction, highway building, port clearing, etc) so that leaves Halliburton as the only company with the capabilities to begin reconstructing Iraq immediately.

    Remember bidding work takes time. Agencies must develop scope of work and submit request for bids. Bidders need to analyze the requests, estimate costs and submit bids. Once the bids are submitted the requesting agency needs to analyze bids and then let contracts. All of this takes time. One of the biggest complaints has been the lack of progress in rebuilding Iraq. Requiring a bidding process in the beginning would have made things even slower.


  26. 26
    Kimmitt says:

    Someone is going to have to explain to me, in small words, why this is not an obvious beginning to an antitrust complaint.

  27. 27
    Mason says:

    Someone explain to me why it is?

  28. 28
    TJ says:

    Halliburton has competition in every business segment it has. However, Halliburton is one of the few companies that have a presence in almost every operation required to find and use oil. This includes everything from software for analyzing seismic data to refinery construction.

  29. 29
    Kimmitt says:

    Right, but if that vertical integration means that it is the only company which can reasonably be considered for billions of dollars of government contracts, then there is an obvious market failure which must be addressed.

  30. 30
    TJ says:

    What would be the best way to address the alleged market failure?

    Halliburton wanted to be able to provide a vertically integrated suite of services and it structured itself to do this. Halliburton’s structure has some business advantages but it also carries a distinct set of disadvantages. Other companies did not want to provide all of the same services so they came up with a different business models. The other business models also have a distinct set of advantages and disadvantages. I can’t think of a solution to the alleged problem that would not make things worse in some way.

    When a situation is stable enough to allow time for bidding Halliburton will have competition in almost every service it provides.

  31. 31
    David Perron says:

    Gawrsh, Halliburton is really the only company that can do the work, and that somehow means they’ve actively discouraged competition? What’s 1 plus 1 equal in that universe?

    Kudos to Oliver for sticking to his guns in the face of being just about as incorrect as it’s possible to be. I’ve been pointing these same things out for months now, but the Halliburton meme just won’t die. It must be an Area 51 thing; hell that one was true because I saw it in Independence Day.

  32. 32
    Dean's World says:

    Cheney Must Go

    It has recently been revealed that Vice President Dick Cheney has been receiving a deferred compensation salary package from his old company, Halliburton. As has…

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  1. Dean's World says:

    Cheney Must Go

    It has recently been revealed that Vice President Dick Cheney has been receiving a deferred compensation salary package from his old company, Halliburton. As has…

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