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Market Rigged for Insiders

July 20, 2002

Re "Why Investigation of Bush's Stock Sale 'Just Didn't Pan Out,' " July 14: If this analysis is true, then insider trading laws are a big scam. True insiders, like President Bush, need only have their high-priced corporate attorneys structure the "insider" deal so that it is legal. The real purpose of insider trading laws is, therefore, to keep us, the great unwashed, from participating in the rich man's game.

If confidence in the market is to be restored, we need new, tougher laws and regulations on the stock market. I'm certainly not going to put any more of my hard-earned money in a market rigged to funnel my retirement funds into the pockets of already-wealthy insiders, even if one of them is my president.

Kevin B. Powell

Long Beach

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I have a proposition for Bush. When he and Vice President Dick Cheney release all SEC information on Harken and Halliburton dealings, I'll start investing in the stock market again. Fair enough?

Jack Kenna

Whittier

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Ronald Brownstein has ostensibly joined the cacophonous chorus of those political opportunists who are singing what they believe will be Bush's swan song ("Bush's Troublesome Week May Be Just the Beginning," news analysis, July 13). But the state of our nation and the state of Bush's presidency are strong. Does anybody have the temerity to suggest that the vox populi will be shocked over a few alleged business compromises that desperate Democrats have dug up on Bush--even after President Clinton forever lowered the bar on the public's expectations for presidential moral fortitude while raising the public's threshold for all that smacks of a scandal?

Are recent disclosures about Bush's past the beginning of the end for Bush? Is this the lurking nemesis that Democrats have been pining for? Are we hearing Bush's swan song? It ain't over until the intern sings.

Bruce L. Thiessen

Sacramento

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Charlotte Allen (Opinion, July 14) does her best to lay the blame for the nose dive in public confidence suffered by the corporate community on the Clinton administration, saying, in effect, that no one complained when times were good. Her solution is "a stringent network of criminal sanctions and enforcement mechanisms and a culture in U.S. business that rewards the honorable."

Who will perform those admirable tasks? The Bush administration? The same ones who have attempted to dismantle any and all controls over the right of businesses to get whatever they want in any way they can? The ones who defended, in the name of a free market, Enron's right to hold the citizens of California hostage? Will the people who have done everything possible to turn over public lands for private profit suddenly create a culture of rewarding the honorable?

It's true, profits drive our economy and, if the market isn't skewed, some leftovers trickle down to fuel our enviable lifestyle. But when the locks are taken off the henhouse and the door is opened wide, who can blame the foxes for cleaning up? Foxes know no honor, only dinner.

Robert L. Kellogg

Del Mar

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George H.W. Bush was blamed for the recession because he allowed deficits to grow, which increased interest rates and killed the economy. George W. Bush is linked to our current corporate meltdown because he received the sort of loans that he now speaks out against, he failed to report a stock sale as required by law and then changed his story about why he failed to report it, and he took money from Enron and then allowed it to make energy policy for his administration. In addition, George W.'s tax cuts for the wealthy have caused a deficit that will lead to higher interest rates and once again cripple the economy. When it comes to the economy, Bush Sr. just didn't get it, and Bush Jr. is showing no signs of understanding it any better.

Toby Rogers

Pasadena

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I think Allen is right to say that Bush is not to blame for what the CEOs of Enron, WorldCom, etc., did. At the same time, she is also wrong to blame Clinton. The big supporters of deregulation were the members of both parties who were anxious to please their corporate contributors for the sake of big money for getting reelected. Ms. Allen, it was the CEOs who cooked the books and walked away with hundreds of millions of dollars. Don't blame the investors for trying to make 10% on their money, as if that was greedy.

John Wisdom Dancer

Canoga Park

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My thanks to John Balzar (Commentary, July 14) for cutting through the obfuscation of those omnipresent, well-compensated spin doctors. The raison d'etre for an endless, multimillion-dollar rage against the sexual excesses (and perjury) of Clinton was the belief that our national executives should be held to a higher moral standard. That argument has now conveniently been cast aside by Dubya and his handlers, and we are being asked to wink at Bush, Cheney, Army Secretary Thomas White and others for multimillions of dollars in blatant greed, improper corporate influence, fiduciary malfeasance and stock market manipulation. Where is a special prosecutor when we truly need one?

Harry Shannon

Studio City

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