Monday, June 16, 2008

Fun with Parsing!

Time to have some fun at the expense of some of the gas bags running the country into the ground. Today's edition features a couple of Senators who have been caught getting financial favors from Countrywide Financial, which is, as we know, the most evil organization to plague humanity since the Nazis.

First up we have Senator Kent Conrad from North Dakota. First, his statement:

Press Releases
June 14, 2008
Statement from Senator Kent Conrad on Countrywide Mortgages
Washington – Senator Kent Conrad issued the following statement today:

“After reviewing the email traffic at Countrywide provided to me by reporters, it appears Countrywide waived one point on my mortgage. Although I did not ask for or know that I was receiving a discount, and even though I was offered a competitive loan from another lender, I do not want to have received preferential treatment. Therefore I am writing a check today to Habitat for Humanity for $10,500.

“Our initial research indicates I did pay a prevailing rate for that loan. But we are continuing to seek objective information on that point, and I will take further action if it is warranted by the facts.

“Further, because it is clear from other email traffic at Countrywide just provided to me that they made an exception in providing a loan on my eight-unit apartment building in Bismarck, N.D., because they typically only made loans on properties with four units or less, I have decided to seek refinancing on that property from another lender.

“I believe the evidence showed that I paid more than full market rates on that loan. But I don’t want to leave any impression that I have received preferential treatment in my personal business dealings.”
Where to begin? Let's start with this phrase: "But I don’t want to leave any impression that I have received preferential treatment in my personal business dealings.” Okay, so by his own statement Countrywide waived one point off of his mortgage (saving him $10,500 to date) and Countrywide gave him a loan on a type of structure that they normally don't finance. So, how the hell is it that he DIDN'T get preferential treatment? This moron doesn't even have the intelligence to say "I don’t want to leave any impression that I have knowingly received preferential treatment." The insertion of "knowingly" would have at least kept him from issuing a statement that falsifies itself.

Second up we have Senator Chris Dodd, who is much better at covering his ass.
Statement from Dodd on mortgage
By ConnPolitics.tv Editor, on Jun 13, 2008

Here’s a statement from Sen. Chris Dodd regarding the report he got a special mortgage rate from Countrywide.

“As a United States Senator, I would never ask or expect to be treated differently than anyone else refinancing their home. This suggestion is outrageous and contrary to my entire career in public service.

“When my wife and I refinanced our loans in 2003, we did not seek or expect any favorable treatment. Just like millions of other Americans, we shopped around and received competitive rates.”
Well this is much better, since at least the statement doesn't contradict itself. However it is apparent that Dodd did receive preferential treatment from Countrywide Financial. So the question isn't whether or not Dodd received special treatment, since he did. The question is whether or not he knew about it.

But his statement is brilliant. It doesn't actually state that he didn't receive preferential treatment, just that he would "never ask or expect" such preferential treatment. And consider the second sentence:
"This suggestion is outrageous and contrary to my entire career in public service"
If one isn't careful, one will conclude that he is denying that he received preferential treatment, that such a suggestion is an outrage. However, the "this" in question could also refer to the suggestion that he knew about or asked for such treatment. In other words, he isn't denying that he got special treatment, just that it is outrageous to think that he asked for or expected special treatment. This is a beautiful example of denying one thing while leaving the impression of having denied something else entirely. Beautiful stuff! Plus his statement is concise, which diminishes the possibility of making a factual error. Senator Dodd, we salute you!

No comments: