Monday, September 24, 2007

That Sinking Feeling

The news led with a story on a corruption investigation involving Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, home of the Middle East's "model democracy". The problem is the Jewish state came in 34th on government openness and transparency according to an international group monitoring corruption. The United States, after 6 years under a President who promised to run an open and transparent office, stands at number 20. But how open and transparent is George W. Bush?

With the question of a politically connected private equity underwriter's free media pass on two recent deals with Dubai government controlled companies fresh on my mind, I explored cyberspace. Even with the White House and The Carlyle Group sharing square footage on Pennsylvania Avenue and the revolving door of ex-senior government officials that now manage industry segments for the PEU, what other connections exist?

It turns out George W. Bush sat on the board of a Carlyle affiliate, Caterair. He served from 1990 to 1994. The company imploded from its heavy debt load. And the open and transparent "governor to be" scrubbed his resume clean of the fresh debacle, according to the Dallas Morning News. What intrigued the newspaper was that Bush had dropped the Caterair connection from his official campaign résumé in August 1994.

This small nugget helped answer two of my questions. One, how does The Carlyle Group get free passes on sales of U.S. assets to Dubai based companies when others get tight scrutiny? The President made no mention of either recent Carlyle sale in his White House Press Conference, even when asked about Dubia's owning part of the NASDAQ.

And two, why does George W. Bush lie so much? Apparently he has a long history of it. But my greatest fear is these two morally challenged, unpopular leaders, Bush and Olmert, will try to take the focus off their investigations. And guess who just came to New York to provide them the perfect opportunity? Can anyone sing "Bombs over Tehran" without crying on behalf of the innocents, maimed and killed due to the world's corrupt and selfish leaders?