Man Without Qualities

Thursday, July 25, 2002

Take a Pill

It's interesting to watch certain of the more hysterical corners of the left come to the conclusion that they absolutely MUST stand up for investment banks and bankers.

When someone gets this hysterical trying to stop an inverstigation, even a questioning of Robert Rubin, where such steps are entirely consistent with New York Times revelations about Citigroup's transactions with Enron, it is likely that the hysteric feels deeply that his interests are threatened in a big way. In this case, the hysteric goes so far as to blast Slate reporter Timothy Noah for raising the obvious question "What About Bob Rubin?" and even links to Citigroup's own press release calling the New York Times story a big error. That neither of the New York Times nor Slate is generally considered to be partisan right wing rags seems to elude Counterspin, to whom they have become mere Republican hacks. Perhaps Counterspin will also want to update with an attack on Tony Adragna for writing right wing agitprop.

The Man Without Qualities has more than once stated that it is unlikely that the Citigroup or Morgan transactions constitute major wrongs. And I have also stated several times (here, here and here, for example) that it is premature to point acusations at Mr. Rubin. But that doesn't stop the hysteric behind the keypad at Counterspin from characterizing a clear need for an investigation as "accusation by innuendo, and implication," even though that very post says: "Mr. Rubin's statements should be carefully investigated and he should be charged or cleared as quickly as possible, as the evidence indicates." And in another post I wrote: "[T]he matter has not yet come to the point of identifying a particular supposedly false statement of Mr. Rubin to a particular government official. And I have not suggested the matter has come to that point. What I have suggested is that Mr. Rubin should be investigated. I have not accused Mr. Rubin of any crime."

Counterspin advances the most bizarre "defense' of Mr. Rubin's call to Peter Fisher that I have seen yet:

"Rubin ADMITS he called up Treasury and asked whether or not something could be worked out to avoid Moody's eventual downgrading Enron. The reason for this was obvious. Citigroup was orchestrating a merger between Enron and Dynegy, Inc."

It is unlikely that Mr. Rubin would make a call to the United States Treasury to advance a merger that Citigroup was orchestrating between Enron and Dynegy without first doing a thorough check on Enron and Citigroup's relationship with it. So Counterspin's argument would mean that at the time of the Fisher call Mr. Rubin had much greater knowledge of that relationship than Mr. Rubin's defenders have asserted. The more Mr. Rubin knew at the time of the call, the more vulnerable he may be under the False Statements Act for not revealing it.

It's fairly clear that Counterspin and like minded people oppose an investigation or questioning of Mr. Rubin, despite the ample basis for such steps, simply because of fears of what such an investigation or questioning might turn up.

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