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Old 07-06-2005, 10:45 AM   #1 (permalink)
If The U.S is at War, What Do These Lobbyists Think They Are Doing?

Do some of the president's most prominent financial backers think that they "can have it both ways?" Does the president think so? The administration tells us that "we are a nation at war", "support the troops", "you are either with us, or you are against us", and that criticism of the president's policies in Iraq and Gitmo, and about "pre-emptive war", "undermines the troops" ,and the "war on terror".

It appears that some of the president's prominent, and presumably influential political financial backers are working for the Chinese government owned CNOOC state oil company, in it's bid to thwart Chevron's purchase of Unocal, the third largest U.S. oil company.

Is it all just a smokescreen, so that the businessmen and lawyers with the most political influence can profit as they undermine the economy and the "war effort" for their own, immediate financial gain. Is the "liberal" MSM covering this story adequately?

This ties in with the China/Russia thread that I started yesterday, but IMO, it deserves it's own spotlight. If the threat to the U.S. is real, isn't this approaching a category of unacceptable conflict of interests? IMO, the litany of items that are reflexively dismissed by supporters of the administration as "Bush Bashing", because that is what "Bush Haters" do, is growing too vast to be dismissed as "just politics"!

Why is the "liberal media", not "all over this"?
CNOOC eyes help from firms with Bush ties

By Adam Entous | June 30, 2005

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A Chinese oil company making a blockbuster bid to buy a U.S. oil producer is lobbying for the deal using firms whose top ranks include some of President Bush's biggest fund-raisers, members of administration boards on intelligence and trade, and former campaign advisers.

China's state-owned CNOOC Ltd. has offered $18.5 billion in cash to acquire California-based Unocal Corp., sparking a backlash on Thursday in the U.S. House of Representatives, which voted overwhelmingly to try to block the Bush administration from approving the proposed deal. Opponents fear Beijing may be trying to corner world supplies at a time of rising gasoline prices and global competition for crude.

Some Republican insiders are also concerned about political fallout over a web of connections between the Bush White House and CNOOC's paid advocates in Washington -- the law firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP and media advisers Public Strategies Inc.

Akin Gump partners Alan Feld and James Langdon, and senior adviser and former U.S. Rep. Bill Paxon, rank among Bush's $100,000 fund-raising "pioneers," according to Texans for Public Justice, which tracks political donations.

Bush's media adviser in both presidential campaigns, Mark McKinnon, is vice chairman of Texas-based Public Strategies.

"Certainly Akin Gump has access in part because of its campaign contributions to Bush's political career," said Craig McDonald, director of Texans for Public Justice.

Republican consultant Charlie Black was skeptical. "Friendship doesn't get you very far when you're developing policy," he said.


The White House has yet to take a public position on the proposed CNOOC deal, which could be blocked on national security grounds. Sources said an internal debate has started, pitting administration free traders against defense hawks worried about China's growing clout.

"It's a real fault line and the fact that all of Bush's friends are working for the communist Chinese while gas prices are at $2.50" concerns some of his fellow Republicans, said a prominent Republican consultant who declined to be named because of the sensitivity of the matter.

White House spokesman Scott McClellan said an inter-agency review would address any national security concerns, and that he knew of no involvement by former or current Bush advisers in CNOOC's bid for Unocal, the ninth largest U.S. oil and gas producer.

U.S. Treasury Department spokesman Tony Fratto said any inter-agency review would be "strictly on the merits."

CNOOC's bid topped a $16 billion-plus offer that Unocal had already accepted from Chevron Corp., also based in California. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who once served on the board of Chevron, has recused herself from the matter.

Public Strategies' point man on CNOOC, Mark Palmer, rebuffed questions about the firm's ties to the White House as "a red herring and a ghost story."

"We are a corporate communications consulting firm and are providing a service to our client. We're not lobbying," Palmer said, adding that McKinnon would not work on the CNOOC campaign "at all."


Bush appointed Langdon, a long-time friend and fundraiser, earlier this year to serve as chairman of both his Foreign Intelligence Advisory and Intelligence Oversight Boards.

The lawyer that will steer CNOOC through an inter-agency review by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States -- Akin Gump partner Edward Rubinoff -- is a member of the president's export council subcommittee on export administration, which advises the administration on export controls and security-related trade issues.

The Committee on Foreign Investment would determine whether the deal poses any risk to national or economic security.

Daniel Spiegel, a member of Akin Gump's CNOOC team and a former Clinton administration appointee, said Langdon has decided to recuse himself from CNOOC matters at the firm because of his role on Bush's intelligence advisory board.

"It is extremely unlikely that this issue would ever come up before the presidential advisory board that Langdon is on. If it did, he would recuse himself from it," a Langdon spokeswoman said.

Rubinoff does not plan to recuse himself, Spiegel said, "because this board that he is on is a high-level technical advisory committee on export matters, which is not what is involved here."

Paxon, who chaired Bush's transition advisory team after serving as a key adviser in the 2000 campaign, will be "assisting" in the CNOOC effort, Spiegel said, adding that any past fund-raising activities were irrelevant. Feld will have "no involvement with the CNOOC matter," Spiegel said. (Additional reporting by Steve Holland and Richard Cowan)
Unocal suitors make pitches
By Steve Lohr The New York Times


.........To counter Chevron's home-field advantage, Cnooc has moved quickly to enlist lobbyists and policy and media advisers of its own. It has signed up Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, the law firm whose partners include major fund-raisers for Bush like Alan Feld and James Langdon Jr. Another major Bush fund-raiser, Bill Paxon, a former House Republican from New York, is a senior adviser to Akin Gump.

The media adviser for Cnooc's takeover fight is Public Strategies, whose vice chairman is Mark McKinnon, who guided Bush's media campaign in the 2000 and 2004 elections.

The Chevron side is certainly winning the early rounds in Washington. The House of Representatives, by huge majorities, passed two measures last Thursday that protest the Chinese bid: an amendment to cut off money for any government review that might allow the Chinese offer to proceed, and a nonbinding resolution that lists a litany of objections to the bid and calls on Bush to order an immediate investigation on national security grounds.

The competition for Unocal touches a host of U.S. anxieties about China that have little to do with the merits of the bids by Chevron and Cnooc. China's rapid rise as an economic power, its military ambitions and U.S. jobs lost to efficient Chinese manufacturers are among the concerns.

"What we're seeing in Washington shows the hysteria about China," said William Reinsch, a former trade official in the Clinton administration who is a member of United States-China Economic and Security Review Commission, an advisory group to Congress. "It means that any deal like this is going to be debated in a red-hot rhetorical atmosphere."..........
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Old 07-06-2005, 10:57 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Much Ado About Nothing. Unocal is way overpriced (my opinion, not based on anything). I say let them have it, then go alternate energy. If the deal doesn't go through, then you can't say the US only cares about money. It's a hell of a deal.
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Old 07-06-2005, 11:06 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Host I think you are looking at this from the wrong perspective. Tying this up with the usual "War on Terror" rehtoric does the story no justice.

The fact is that the administration approved to hand over a major US corporation to China. This at a time when our production capabilities are lower then ever. On top of this China and the US are in direct competition for the remaining world energy reserves. From my perspective it shows that either Bush has complete disregard for the China economic threat or he has information which makes this deal look harmeless or even beneficial to the US. I don't have enough info on the deal to make up my mind.
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Old 07-06-2005, 11:06 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I agree much ado ab out nothing.

A Washington Lobby firm with ties to the current administration, and, gasp, high ranking executives from the party in power. Oh the horror.

I wonder how the entire executive ranks shake out. I'll bet dollars to your donuts that it's a pretty close split 50-50 down the middle.

That's what makes a successful lobby firm. The ability to peddle influence equally.

But to answer this question specifically:

Originally Posted by host
Why is the "liberal media", not "all over this"?
Because there is nothing to be all over.

Your quip with the Chinese firm 'undermining' chevron's bid is a very interesting choice of euphamisms. For goodness sakes, if raising the bidding by a half a billion or so, and paying more for the right lobbying firm to smooth the transaction through (even still not a sure thing) is 'undermining...' what would be a fairer way to do this?

And what does the "war on terror" have to do with this?

It's alot easier to ask for forgiveness then it is to ask for permission.
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Old 07-06-2005, 11:49 AM   #5 (permalink)
Originally Posted by jorgelito
Much Ado About Nothing. Unocal is way overpriced (my opinion, not based on anything). I say let them have it, then go alternate energy. If the deal doesn't go through, then you can't say the US only cares about money. It's a hell of a deal.
I guess everyone is in agreement then...........
Why is America Worried?
Fu Chengyu Updated: 2005-07-06 11:24

Two weeks ago, our company, Cnooc Ltd., extended a friendly, all-cash offer to Unocal's board of directors. After being invited to engage in dialogue with Unocal earlier this year, we entered detailed negotiations regarding a possible merger. We have made our offer because Unocal's asset base -- 70% of its oil and gas reserves are close to Asian markets where we operate -- fits our business extremely well. We are listed on the New York and Hong Kong Stock Exchanges and have fiduciary obligations to all of our shareholders. We believe this merger will offer our shareholders, which include many leading U.S. institutional investors, tremendous growth opportunities.......
The problems I see are that people who Bush owes are selling their influence to a Chinese corp. with a majority of it's stock owned by the People's Republic of China, to help them buy the third largest U.S. domeciled oil company, while the president is telling the troops and the people that this country is in such peril that it is necessary to wage a long, hard war with nearly 11,000 seriously wounded or dead U.S. troops, so far. Forgive my alarmist concerns and my disgust at the greed motivated hypocrisy.
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Old 07-06-2005, 12:51 PM   #6 (permalink)
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well, stock has traded internationally since about 1970--which means that since 1970 the alignment of corporate location and ownership has meant nothing, the notion of nationally-based corporations means nothing, and so forth.
this is but one of many factors that prompts me to see in something like bushworld nothing but a reactionary type politics--not just in the old marxist sense of the term, but one that is about transforming the discourse of nationalism away from the myriad dynamics unfolding around it that tend to make nationalism obsolete.
i also see the nationalist-based critiques of this as more a symptom of the problems that faced "the left"--whatever that is (rightwing nonsense about it aside, of course--the are doing for the category of "the left" what stalinism did to the category "fascism" which came to mean "anyone we dont like" and nothing more)--they---maybe we--are caught between trying to generate a politically and descriptively compelling analysis of globalizing capitalism and fashioning new types of organization/politics around that on the one hand, and residuum of a more national-populist rhetoric on the other.

i mean what really *is* the problem with all this? that cnooc is based in china? why is that any better or worse than, say, the enormous bubble of real estate speculation driven by japanese money in the 1980s?

i understand why the arguments are being made by you, host, but less what you really see them as doing. parallel stuff was in f911 as well, concerning the saudis--and that was by far the least interesting or even useful segment of the film. because it seemed to traffic in conservative xenophobic logic rahter than offering anything like a counter to it.
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Old 07-06-2005, 03:18 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Interesting..... had this been Clinton we'd be hearing how he was giving "aid to the enemy and selling our country to China" for weeks. The GOP would be demanding investigations and impeachment hearings for treason....

Yet, it is Bush so the story is considered no big deal, much ado about nothing and so on and so forth.

Again it adds to China's control over our economy and the "communists", those the GOP claim to be the enemy to our way of life, will control even more of us and have more political leverage.
I just love people who use the excuse "I use/do this because I LOVE the feeling/joy/happiness it brings me" and expect you to be ok with that as you watch them destroy their life blindly following. My response is, "I like to put forks in an eletrical socket, just LOVE that feeling, can't ever get enough of it, so will you let me put this copper fork in that electric socket?"
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Old 07-06-2005, 03:29 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Location: People's Republic of KKKalifornia
BUt Host, you do raise a good point I think. I recall the Clinton years when Asian firms also hired lobby firms to "gain influence". I think the Lippo Group and some others.

In my opinion, that's exactly what makes the debate/discussion interesting. That is, things aren't static, they change all the time.

Pan, do you remember the Clinton years? I'm a bit hazy but I seem to recall the GOP calling out the Dems and Clinton Admin on it (I think). I created quite a stir and even affected Asian-Americans trying to assert their own political ambitions (sadly, Americans don't differentiate between Asians and Asian-Americans).

There's just too many variables, too many possibilitites at play to apply one singular monolithic brush and paint things a certain way. Maybe a business transaction really is a business transaction. Or perhaps there is a double standard or something insidious going on.

Host, maybe the "liberal" media didn't jump on it cause it's tired of getting burned all the time so it's being more "cautious" (selective?). Given the past few years, I could see why.
"The race is not always to the swift, nor battle to the strong, but
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Old 07-06-2005, 03:48 PM   #9 (permalink)
I'm actually in the middle ground when it comes to this story.

On one hand, I do tend to think there is a degree of hypocrisy in the current US administration. They're all for "free trade" and opening up markets... until it actually affects American companies and American jobs.

On the other hand, I say "So what? Let the Chinese buy whatever they want".

You reap what you sow.

As I said in my contribution to host's other thread, the real "threat" to America is not terrrorism (which is pretty minor in the scheme of things), but with economic stagnation and the emergence of ASEAN countries as the world's economic power-houses. It is Chinese entrepreneurs that will bring about the end of America's hegemony and not some crazy religious fanantic hiding in a cave somewhere.

Mr Mephisto
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Old 07-06-2005, 06:27 PM   #10 (permalink)
All important elusive independent swing voter...
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Location: People's Republic of KKKalifornia
Has anypne read Friedman's "The World Is Getting Flatter"? I haven't but I have read snippets. It's related.

To draw from it, the further the world becomes integrated (globalization) and interdependent, the more stable. For example, because China holds so many dollars it is in its interest to make sure the US dollar does not "crash", unless it's writing it off. Likewise, the more investments, FDI, not just trade but actual capital investments create a mutually interdependent situation.

The last time I was in Beijing, kids were wearing Air Jordans, sipping Frappacinnos and I saw three Ferraris zippin around. Britney ruled the airwaves alongside local acts and it seemed to me (my observation) that capitalism ruled the day.
Steakhouses and Californian wines are the new fad along with Hagen Daz (a US company). GM just opened a plant, IBM is now partially owned by China.

One way to look at it is that we created a new consumer base which is presumabley good for US (IMO).

I don't think there is any reason to panic but it is always good to be on our toes to stay competitive. THere is cooperation in there somewhere, I can feel it (again, my opinion).

But that doesn't mean I would be comfortable if China bought Boeing, Northrup Grumman, Lokheed, and Raytheon. In fact I'd probably freak out.

Good for the Chinese, it seems like they're learning the Yankee Doodle. Could democracy be next?
"The race is not always to the swift, nor battle to the strong, but
to the one that endures to the end."

"Demand more from yourself, more than anyone else could ever ask!"

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Old 07-07-2005, 02:51 AM   #11 (permalink)
Originally Posted by Mr Mephisto

............ but with economic stagnation and the emergence of ASEAN countries as the world's economic power-houses. It is Chinese entrepreneurs that will bring about the end of America's hegemony and not some crazy religious fanantic hiding in a cave somewhere.

Mr Mephisto

There probably is more truth to that statement than any politician wants to admit.
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