- Syndicated columnist Bob Scheer on the Bush-Enron
- Enron is Whitewater in spades. This isn't just some
land investment like the one dredged up by right-wing enemies to haunt
the Clinton White House--but rather it has the makings of the greatest
presidential scandal since the Teapot Dome.
- The Bush administration has a long and intimate
with Enron, whose much-discredited chairman, Kenneth L. Lay, was a primary
financial backer of George W. Bush's rise to the presidency.
- It was Enron that provided the model that gives the
corporate hotshots everything they want in return for bankrolling political
- What did Enron get in return for its contributions? It
got its way on deregulation, for one thing. Remember when the
refused to assist California and other states during the energy crisis,
and consumers paid the steep price?
- So greedy was Enron that it locked its own workers into
a pension plan based on inflated company stock values and suspect hidden
partnerships, while the top leadership led by Lay made out like bandits.
- * Here's the wit and wisdom of Molly Ivins writing about
the Bush Administration's assault on American liberties since 9/11
- While Operation Enduring Freedom continues in
enduring freedom is not looking so good here at home - -
- Ashcroft's urpily named PATRIOT Act permits government
agents to search a suspect's home without notification. In J. Edgar
day, this was known as "a black-bag job." Ashcroft's `secret
searches' provision can now extend to all criminal cases and can include
taking photographs, the contents of your hard drive and other property.
This is now a permanent part of the law, not subject to any `sunset review'
- Many of our tough-minded brethren, to whom it is
clear that less freedom equals more security, have dismissed complaints
by saying, after all, these measures only apply to non-citizens, and
the worst parts of it will sunset in four years. Wrong. This means you,
fellow citizens - if you happen to know someone whose brother-in-law rented
a garage apartment to a guy who knew someone who might be a
- The government can now delve into personal and private
records of individuals even if they cannot be directly connected to a
or foreign government. Bank records, emails, library records, even the
track of discount cards at grocery stories can be obtained on individuals
without establishing any connection to a terrorist before a judge.
- Ashcroft and Co. essentially say, "Trust us, we
won't misuse these new laws." But in fact the FBI and the CIA have
repeatedly violated such trust to spy on everyone from Martin Luther King
Jr. to Jean Seberg. That's why the checks were there to begin with.
- Lest you think our only attorney general does not care
about rights, I point out that when it comes to the 550 he has
since September, without evidence, without charges, without identification
and without legal counsel, he so fully respects the Second Amendment rights
of these non-citizens that he has reversed the Justice Department's
stand to forbid the FBI to check on its gun- purchase records in order
to protect their privacy. Also, Ashcroft fully believes in the rights of
the unborn. The born are on their own.
- * Thirdly, a tax windfall to the corporate giants while
the needs of record numbers of unemployed workers and their families are
- WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Noting
low consumer confidence, postponed business investments and concern about
the retail holiday season, Sen. Jean Carnahan, D-Missouri, said that
should act now," but House Republicans are trying to push through
a bill -- with President Bush's support -- that won't help those who need
- Carnahan said, "It would be a windfall for the
among us, but offers almost nothing to working families." He accused
the Republicans of "ignoring the advice of economists" and
a "bipartisan agreement" on a set of principles for any stimulus
- The White House, however, calls a Democratic-backed
bill "nothing more than a Democrat spending proposal." The House
bill backed by Bush contains about $100 billion in tax cuts.
- "Congress approved $15 billion to bail out the
industry, but did nothing for the workers," said Carnahan, who has
sponsored a bill in the Senate to provide economic benefits, job training,
and health coverage to airline industry workers who were laid off as a
result of the attacks.
- * And in the nuclear arena, columnist Arianna Huffington
says Bush is actually supporting China's aggressive nuclear arms build-up
in order to justify his silly Star Wars II boondoggle --
- So just how far is the White House willing to go to build
support across the globe for its missile defense shield obsession? Further
than any sane person would imagine.
- According to recently published reports, the
is prepared to wink at a Chinese nuclear buildup in exchange for China's
acquiescence to Bush's Star Wars fantasy. So, to make the world more
we're going to make the world less safe.
- Even Republicans are aghast -- but not aghast enough.
Arlen Specter, a leading Republican on the Senate Appropriations Committee,
called the strategy to offset Chinese objections to the U.S. missile shield
"much too soon." He should have called it "much too
How else would you describe igniting an arms race in Asia and ending a
30-year ban on nuclear testing?
- Power-worship blurs political judgement because it leads,
almost unavoidably, to the belief that present trends will continue.
is winning at the moment will always seem to be invincible. -- George