Bush Backs Unlimited Compensation For Wall Street CEOs

Today, the White House released a statement criticizing Congress’s potential plan to limit CEO compensation at the companies the federal government is bailing out, firmly standing against any “punitive measures�:

We certainly understand and are sympathetic to the sentiment regarding the pay of CEOs and senior management of these firms, but we have to focus on the problem, and the problem is that we need these firms to participate in the program and sell us this debt. Having punitive measures would provide a disincentive for firms to participate, and that would make the program much less likely to succeed.

CEO compensation and corporate governance in public companies are very important issues � especially when receiving taxpayer support � but we need to be focused on fixing this problem in our markets right now. We can and should return to those issues once we get this legislation passed.
President Bush also released another statement earlier today warning Congress against inserting any “unrelated provisions� � such as help for struggling homeowners � in the $700 billion Wall Street bailout.

The Bush administration’s position is unjustifiable. As ABC News reported:

Bush Administration Officials Rewrote Ethics Rules to Accommodate Partying

Editor's note: For more on the officials partying click here.

According to the new Interior Department Inspector General (IG) report, nearly a third of the Denver Minerals Management Service’s 55-person office “received gifts and gratuities from oil and gas companies.� Several employees have tried to claim that they were unaware of federal ethics guidelines. However, as the IG outlines, almost all these officials had attended ethics briefings and knew the rules:

Historians Fight Bush/Cheney to Stop Destruction of Presidential Records

Thirty-two of the nation’s leading historians have sent letters to congressional leaders calling on them to strengthen the Presidential Records Act (PRA). The effort, led by the Center for American Progress Action Fund and joined by the American Historical Association, the Organization of American Historians, and the National Coalition for History, notes that while the PRA requires the administration to preserve presidential records, “it fails to provide an effective means of enforcing compliance with that requirement.� (View the letters here and here.)

This effort has taken on increased urgency as the Bush administration prepares to leave office and may be ready to expunge the record on its tenure. Bush has already repeatedly manipulated and rewritten open government laws in order to cover up his wrongdoings:

Jack Abramoff is Going to Jail

Today, U.S. District Judge Ellen Huvelle sentenced disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff to four years in prison "on conspiracy and other charges after federal prosecutors recommended leniency due to Abramoff’s cooperation in pursuing corruption cases against lawmakers and former administration officials. He faced a maximum of 11 years under a plea deal reached in 2006."

Global Warming Deniers Cancel Meeting Due to Tropical Storm Fay

This week, Americans for Prosperity (AFP) planned to have town hall meetings in Ft. Myers and West Palm Beach, FL. As the Wonk Room's Brad Johnson notes, "AFP is a front group for the right-wing pollution company Koch Industries, with an agenda of attacking 'global warming alarmism' and promoting increased offshore drilling." In an ironic twist, AFP has canceled its meetings because of Tropical Storm Fay. From a message on the group's website:
Ft. Myers and West Palm Beach Town Hall Meetings Rescheduled
The August 19th Ft. Myers town hall and August 21st West Palm Beach town hall will be rescheduled as a result of Tropical Storm Fay. We apologize for any inconvenience.
More on how global warming intensifies tropical storms here.

Bill Kristol Makes Yet Another Error in the New York Times

Today in the New York print edition of the New York Times, columnist Bill Kristol attacks allegations that Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) may not have been in the “cone of silence� during Saturday’s Saddleback Civil Forum:
NBC’s Andrea Mitchell reported on “Meet the Press� that “the Obama people must feel that he didn’t do quite as well as they might have wanted to in that context. … What they’re putting out privately is that McCain may not have been in the cone of silence and may have had some ability to overhear what the questions were to Obama.�
That’s pretty astonishing, since there seems to be absolutely no basis for the charge. But the fact that Obama’s people made this suggestion means they know McCain outperformed him.
Kristol is wrong. In fact, the New York Times itself reports today that McCain “was not in a ‘cone of silence’ on Saturday night.� He was instead “in his motorcade on the way to the church� when Rev. Rick Warren was interviewing Obama.

Bush Administration Strong-Arms Prime Minister Maliki

In an interview with Der Spiegel released on Saturday, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki made international headlines when he endorsed Sen. Barack Obama's (D-IL) plan to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq within 16 months. On Sunday, however, the U.S. military distributed a vague statement from Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh, saying that Maliki's words had been "misunderstood and mistranslated." The clarification, however, failed to cite specific examples of errors.

In reality, Iraqi government officials may not have been worried about an error in translation. Instead, it appears that they were pressured by the Bush administration to walk back Maliki's statements :

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