Amnesia: Buried in Paper
by Tommy Ates
Well, well, what a difference a humongous financial collapse
can make! The Bush administration is now getting bushwhacked
with inquiries and rumors regarding the Enron meltdown. Who
would have thought the Houston-based oil broker, whose dealings
in hidden partnerships and "cooked" financial records
to hide enormous losses (plus, being America's seventh largest
company) would have finally healed Washington from patriot
amnesia stemming from the September attacks? Well, I'll be!
Money does buy happiness!
In terms of "good old boys," we can add Treasury
Secretary Paul O'Neill and Commerce Secretary Donald Evans
to the "see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil' crew,
even though the devil knocked on the door and they answered.
No wonder the nation's economic policy cannot see the forest
for the trees - it is at the political donor's beck and call.
All the while, Presidential spokesperson Ari Fleischer says
the Bush administration had no prior knowledge of Enron's
predicament, or that they did not intervene on the company's
behalf, to the disbelief of many in Congress. How can executives
be able to contact secretaries of the Cabinet and not have
word go to the President? It's a shame that the Bush administration
may not haveb lown the whistle on Enron's dirty dealings before
thousands of innocent workers lost their jobs and retirement
But seriously, can anyone really be surprised that Enron
executives (Chairman Kenneth Lay and co.) had access to heads
of the Treasury and Labor departments to give them the heads
up and possible help? After all, Enron has been President
Bush's biggest contributor and the company's mammoth political
contributions helped push many Republicans into office. The
Enron debacle is a prime example of money buying access and
how the corporation can circumvent laws, enabling the legality
of white-collar robbery of the lower-classes.
To make things worse, the Republican administration never
offered to provide relief for the employees or suggest solutions
(via resolutions) to make corporate behavior like Enron's
less likely to occur. An official not telling how a stock
price once valued at $83 could plummet to less than a dollar
undermines the public trust. With no agenda, yet quiet smiles
in the cabinets' public statements, more Americans are realizing
that Attorney General John Ashcroft and Interior Secretary
Gale Norton are not just conservative anomalies, rather they
are part of a wider, greater effort of conservative appointees
to provide legislative cover for big business to generate
greater profits as the average, working-class American suffers.
Meanwhile, all the flying paper (not from World Trade Center)
nearly blinds everyone to the little told plight of indigent,
migrant workers who have helped to clean up Ground Zero. Many
of these working-class laborers (who worked alongside firemen
and police) were recruited by contractor firms to clean at
the site, as well as the streets in downtown New York. But
even in the extreme sadness of the tragedy, business continued
as normal, with many workers being stiffed in pay and forced
to work long hours. Now many of these unsung (and unappreciated)
heroes are developing throat and lung ailments due to their
Unfortunately, the Bush administration has not taken an active
step in protecting its most vulnerable workers; but luckily
New York State is attempting to accommodate their needs. Apparently
the administration is taking a cue from Enron - accept the
credit they didn't create and leave the voiceless others holding
However, the migrant workers are not alone in their plight,
many downtown residents, firemen, and police officers are
also suffering from ailments due to the smoke and ash that
permeated the air as the towers fell. Many of them are now
on personal leave unable to work. The EPA declared it safe
for residents (and workers) that the area was safe to return
to in less than a week. Could it be that the Office of Homeland
Security spoke too soon in the "Keep America Rolling" campaign?
I hope not; there do not need to be more innocent victims
post-Sept. 11 besides those killed in New York, the Pentagon,
and in Pennsylvania - not to mention Afghan civilians, and
hundreds of detained Arabic men.
As for the Enron-gate distraction, will there be criminal
charges ordered in the wake of the multi-million dollar theft?
Maybe. Will the executives still keep most, if not, all of
the booty? You betcha! The American justice system in action
- for a price!
Yes, folks; it may be sad; but I, for one, am ironically
comforted to see that human nature is no different from the
system under which we live: be it a rich man doing insider
trading or a poor man performing a bank robbery, greed is
Tommy Ates loves the left because the left is always right!
He wants to help the underdog become the Top Dog...