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A Modest Proposal
January 31, 2002
by Isaac Peterson

Much as I've tried, I can't avoid piling on and writing about Enron.

There are so many facts coming out every day, some days I spend all my free time reading about the collapse of the corporation that owned the White House. And it's looking more and more like that's exactly what Enron did. Actually, it looks like they made investments in the rest of the government and the judiciary, too. There are so many people in both parties who took massive amounts of money from not just Enron, but Arthur Andersen, too. If everyone who took money from those two has to recuse (excuse) themselves from handling the investigations, that would pretty much leave just a little old lady from Pasadena and Billy Bob Bodine from the Ozarks.

One of the things that's blowing me away is that lots of people don't seem to be buying the spin from the White House and the rest of the GOP. Polls just came out saying that most people believe this is more a Republican scandal than a Democratic one. And regardless what Ari Fleischer or any of the spinmeisters are saying, this is a scandal. Anyone who says otherwise is living in Denial, Idaho.

We've seen George W. Gump try to play the victim when he said his mother in law had lost $8,000 in Enron stock. Boo hoo, George. $8,000 is probably less than what you guys hide in the cookie jar. This one was after he had been caught in a lie saying that Kenneth Lay supported Ann Richards in the 1984 governor's race. Yes he did, but he gave about 3 times as much to Gump. And I couldn't have been any more surprised than Gump was when the media pointed out the lie. Honor and integrity, my ass!

One of the main points to take way from this whole Enron/Arthur Andersen biz is that they handed out money to both sides of the aisle. Sure, there were Democrats that got money from Enron. But it's hard for me to believe that John Dingell getting $19,500 since 1989 to now makes him quite as bought and paid for as the millions that went to Gump and the administration. Republicans got the lion's share of what was handed out. That, and the way they've been tripping over their tongues the last few weeks are making this look more like their scandal. Cheney is definitely not helping their cause by refusing to release details of who had input into our 'energy policy.'

Enron gave money to both sides, and if you think it was because they were interested in good government, I've got got some Enron stock I'll sell you for only $80.00 a share.

Everyone I know personally who has contributed to a campaign did so because they thought that candidate would be the best representative for her or his best interests. They do not give money to their candidate and money to their opponent also. When corporations do that, you can bet that they are not looking at is as a contribution, but an investment. Hedging their bets means that no matter which wins, that corporation owns a piece of them.

No one is going to convince me that Enron's money didn't have anything to do with the administration looking the other way while Enron raped California, or that the 17 provisions in "our" energy policy that benefited Enron was just a coincidence. It will take a smoother talker than Ari Fleischer or Mary Matalin to get me to believe that the revolving door between Enron and the top levels of the adminstration didn't have anything to do with how this government has run the last year. This adminstration is top heavy with people who were also employed or retained by Enron. No way is it a coincidence that Enron made contributions and got exemptions from laws that would have kept them from doing much of the wrong they did. No way that the lapse in oversight about the way they handled their pension fund and screwed their employees was 'just one of those things.' That's harder to swallow than a half-chewed pretzel.

I want to be careful not to imply guilt just by association, but the temptation is too strong. When I hear George W. Gump say that Enron is a model for how the government should be run and a model for privatizing Social Security, I can't help myself. When I find out that Ken Lay had de facto approval over who filled positions in the administration regarding energy, and was considered for a position himself, I don't need to be Columbo to get a clue about what was going on.

Using Enron as a model for how businesses (and the government) should be run is like watching porno movies to learn how to have a stable, committed relationship.

I'm sure Gump wouldn't agree with me, but it looks like what happened was due to the actions of 'evildoers' and 'tearists.' You know those Enron employees were terrified when they saw their retirement funds disappear like George W. from military duty. What Enron did to consumers in California with the fake energy crisis, mainpulating every market they had their fingers in, buying influence at the top levels of government, and certainly causing their employees to lose their life savings - all of that was evil. Didn't Gump vow to wipe out all evil back in September? He has said he was outraged over the Enron mess, but I have no doubt that what he meant was that he was outraged that they got caught. And there isn't a doubt in my mind that there already aren't plans being made and arms getting twisted to keep Kenny Boy Lay as far as away from prison as possible.

When I think of the crap Clinton went through year after year for losing money on a failed land deal and having an affair outside his marriage, I get angry thinking that these people up to their eyeballs in Enron could skate for the very real crimes they committed. It is entirely possible that a handful of lower level scapegoats will get handed prison sentences while the heavy hitters get soft time in a country club prison - if they get anything at all. Fines won't do it in this case - BILLIONS were stolen by the people involved. And I would not be surprised to see Presidential pardons issued. It's happened before with the Senior Gump, and it wouldn't surprise me in the least to see Gump, the Sequel follow in the old man's footsteps. Apple trees grow apples, after all.

So here's my proposal: let's round up all the people involved in the Enron/Arthur Andersen mess. Then we set up secret civilian tribunals and give them total authority. We leave the punishment completely up to them, with no chance for review or appeal. Whatever the tribunal says, goes. And we give former Enron employees first crack at serving on the panels.

What do you say?

Isaac Peterson is still not over it.

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