FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Enron Creature

by David Vest

Far from being a sideshow that threatens merely to keep the White House “off-message,” the Enron scandal moves daily closer to being perceived as emblematic of the whole point of the Bush administration. It is increasingly clear that efforts to “prevent another Enron” need to be directed not merely to other high-flying companies but to the national economy as a whole.

One need only look at the roster of Bush appointees to see the extent to which people who came out of the Enron mentality (even if they did not personally help run the company into the ground while looting it) are now running the country. They are the same people who, according to Ari Fleischer, “looked at that” and concluded that the fall of Enron would have “no more impact on the overall economy.”

The problem is not that Enron and other companies like it bought access to the White House. The problem is that these Frankensteins of business were able to buy the White House itself and thought they owned the country. The problem is that Bush is their creature.

Here is the basic equation to bear in mind: Ken Lay and Jeffrey Skilling are to Enron as Bush and Cheney are to the U.S. economy.

The Bush agenda is to do to the nation what Ken Lay and his cronies did for Enron — loot it for the benefit of the people at the top. Loot the economy, loot the environment, loot the public wallet, leaving ordinary citizens to foot the bill and clean up the damage, like ruined Enron employees.

That is why Lay and company were invited to write Texas’ environmental regulations when Bush was governor there.

That is why Gale Norton was made Secretary of the Interior upon Bush’s accession to the presidency.

That is why there is concern that the conquest of Afghanistan will serve as prelude to the siphoning of Central Asian oil and gas reserves with a trans-Afghan pipeline, a great sucking sound thought to have originated in Sugar Land, Texas during Governor Bush’s term.

That is why massive tax cuts for the wealthiest of the wealthy — including a $254 million refund for Enron, a company that didn’t even pay taxes in four of the past five years — are the centerpiece of the Bush economic program.

That is why Lay and company were invited to write national energy policy.

That is why Cheney (“Yeth, master”) will not — cannot — dare not — come clean about his meetings with energy executives, any more than Lay now dares offer testimony (or answer questions) without invoking the Fifth Amendment or scoring an immunity deal.

When Bush told Congress and the nation that “the state of our union has never been stronger,” it was impossible not to think of Lay telling Enron employees that the company was in great shape, even as he and his fellow executives were dumping their stock.

If we judge the state of the union by the status of our civil liberties, has it ever been more precarious?

A budget surplus the size of many Enrons has disappeared since Bush took office, much of it handed over to the rich in tax cuts. Many among the unrich have lost not only their investments but their jobs and their savings. Images of Enron employees walking out of the building with their personal belongings in cardboard boxes offer a disturbing premonition of people vacating foreclosed homes. (For years Bush has been longing to do with Social Security what Lay did with the 401K plans of Enron workers.)

Governors and legislatures in most states search for ways to cut public services. The fate of the environment, from the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge to the dwindling forests of the Pacific Northwest, is hanging by a thread. The reproductive rights of women are in the hands of John Ashcroft.

Even if the pretzel-scarred creature (Bush), said to have “bonded” with the American public, must now turn on his creator (Lay), it may only signify that Enron’s unpardonable sin was letting itself get a little too far ahead of the curve.

It has been a long time since the creature has been able to read “Thomas the Tank Engine” to the children. Does the creature miss those days? Or is he listening keenly for the first sound of peasants massing with pitchforks and torches, coming unbonded and heading toward the castle?

He will most assuredly be listening intently for investigators whispering into the ears of subpoenaed witnesses, “Who can you give us?”

My money’s on Igor.

David Vest is a regular writer for CounterPunch, a poet and piano-player for the Pacific Northwest’s hottest blues band, The Cannonballs.

He can be reached at: davidvest@springmail.com

Visit his website at http://www.mindspring.com/~dcqv

DAVID VEST writes the Rebel Angel column for CounterPunch. He and his band, The Willing Victims, have just released a scorching new CD, Serve Me Right to Shuffle. His essay on Tammy Wynette is featured in CounterPunch’s new collection on art, music and sex, Serpents in the Garden.

More articles by:
July 26, 2016
Andrew Levine
Pillory Hillary Now
Kshama Sawant
A Call to Action: Walk Out from the Democratic National Convention!
Russell Mokhiber
The Rabble Rise Together Against Bernie, Barney, Elizabeth and Hillary
Jeffrey St. Clair
Don’t Cry For Me, DNC: Notes From the Democratic Convention
Ellen Brown
Japan’s “Helicopter Money” Play: Road to Hyperinflation or Cure for Debt Deflation?
Angie Beeman
Why Doesn’t Middle America Trust Hillary? She Thinks She’s Better Than Us and We Know It
Paul Street
An Update on the Hate…
Fran Shor
Beyond Trump vs Clinton
Richard W. Behan
The Banana Republic of America: Democracy Be Damned
Binoy Kampmark
Undermining Bernie Sanders: the DNC Campaign, WikiLeaks and Russia
Arun Gupta
Trickledown Revenge: the Racial Politics of Donald Trump
Sen. Bernard Sanders
What This Election is About: Speech to DNC Convention
David Swanson
DNC Now Less Popular Than Atheism
Linn Washington Jr.
‘Clintonville’ Reflects True Horror of Poverty in US
Deepak Tripathi
Britain in the Doldrums After the Brexit Vote
Louisa Willcox
Grizzly Threats: Arbitrary Lines on Political Maps
Robert J. Gould
Proactive Philanthropy: Don’t Wait, Reach Out!
Victor Grossman
Horror and Sorrow in Germany
Nyla Ali Khan
Regionalism, Ethnicity, and Trifurcation: All in the Name of National Integration
Andrew Feinberg
The Good TPP
400 US Academics
Letter to US Government Officials Concerning Recent Events in Turkey
July 25, 2016
Sharmini Peries - Michael Hudson
As the Election Turns: Trump the Anti-Neocon, Hillary the New Darling of the Neocons
Ted Rall
Hillary’s Strategy: Snub Liberal Democrats, Move Right to Nab Anti-Trump Republicans
William K. Black
Doubling Down on Wall Street: Hillary and Tim Kaine
Russell Mokhiber
Bernie Delegates Take on Bernie Sanders
Quincy Saul
Resurgent Mexico
Andy Thayer
Letter to a Bernie Activist
Patrick Cockburn
Erdogan is Strengthened by the Failed Coup, But Turkey is the Loser
Robert Fisk
The Hypocrisies of Terror Talk
Lee Hall
Purloined Platitudes and Bipartisan Bunk: An Adjunct’s View
Binoy Kampmark
The Futility of Collective Punishment: Russia, Doping and WADA
Nozomi Hayase
Cryptography as Democratic Weapon Against Demagoguery
Cesar Chelala
The Real Donald Trump
Julian Vigo
The UK’s Propaganda Machinery and State Surveillance of Muslim Children
Denis Conroy
Australia: Election Time Blues for Clones
Marjorie Cohn
Killing With Robots Increases Militarization of Police
David Swanson
RNC War Party, DNC War Makers
Eugene Schulman
The US Role in the Israeli-Palestine Conflict
Nauman Sadiq
Imran Khan’s Faustian Bargain
Peter Breschard
Kaine the Weepy Executioner
Weekend Edition
July 22, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
Good as Goldman: Hillary and Wall Street
Joseph E. Lowndes
From Silent Majority to White-Hot Rage: Observations from Cleveland
Paul Street
Political Correctness: Handle with Care
Richard Moser
Actions Express Priorities: 40 Years of Failed Lesser Evil Voting
Eric Draitser
Hillary and Tim Kaine: a Match Made on Wall Street
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail