Monday, September 26, 2005

Blindfaced lies

Few things in life are more fun than observing a politician attempt to squirm out of an obvious baldfaced lie.

In June, Frist ordered his portfolio managers to sell his family's shares in HCA Inc., the nation's largest hospital chain, which was founded by Frist's father and brother. A month later, the stock's price dropped nine percent in a single day because of a warning from the company about weakening earnings.

Stockholders are not permitted to trade stock based on inside information; whether Frist possessed any appears to be at the heart of probes by the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission.

A few years ago Senator Frist referred to his blind trust:

"I put this into a blind trust. So as far as I know, I own no HCA stock."

Events have conspired to render that phrase quaint, apparently as per this statement from his staff.

. . . the senator 'had no information about the company or its performance that was not available to the public when he directed the trustees to sell the HCA stock.'"

That sentence is parsed so tightly it literally squeaks. What the public has available are obscure filings that the SEC requires when certain corporate managers buy or sell stock. Obviously, if the corporate CEOs have a clue how the company is doing, they see the oncoming train-wreck in the share price and bail out ahead of time. Those sales would show up in public documents and so that's the line of reasoning behind the statement.

Except that it's a pretty good guess that Sen Frist wasn't scouring the internet looking for such information. He probably heard thru the grapevine from friends he has that still work for the corporation his father founded and so decided to bail out of his positions in his "blind trust" before it subsequently dropped nearly 30%"

Frist, if you'll recall, is a serial prevaricator. His famous hour long review of Terry Schiavo's video resulted in the following diagnosis:"I have looked at the video footage. Based on the footage provided to me, which was part of the facts of the case, she does respond."

After the autopsy revealed that not only was Schiavo blind but half her brain was necrotic muck, Frist responded, "I never said 'She responded."