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:
May 30, 2016
Ron Jacobs
The State of the Left: Many Movements, Too Many Goals?
James Abourezk
The Intricacies of Language
Porfirio Quintano
Hillary, Honduras, and the Murder of My Friend Berta
Patrick Cockburn
Airstrikes on ISIS are Reducing Their Cities to Ruins
Uri Avnery
The Center Doesn’t Hold
Raouf Halaby
The Sailors of the USS Liberty: They, Too, Deserve to Be Honored
Rodrigue Tremblay
Barack Obama’s Legacy: What Happened?
Matt Peppe
Just the Facts: The Speech Obama Should Have Given at Hiroshima
Deborah James
Trade Pacts and Deregulation: Latest Leaks Reveal Core Problem with TISA
Michael Donnelly
Still Wavy After All These Years: Flower Geezer Turns 80
Ralph Nader
The Funny Business of Farm Credit
Paul Craig Roberts
Memorial Day and the Glorification of Past Wars
Colin Todhunter
From Albrecht to Monsanto: A System Not Run for the Public Good Can Never Serve the Public Good
Rivera Sun
White Rose Begins Leaflet Campaigns June 1942
Tom H. Hastings
Field Report from the Dick Cheney Hunting Instruction Manual
Weekend Edition
May 27, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Pilger
Silencing America as It Prepares for War
Rob Urie
By the Numbers: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are Fringe Candidates
Paul Street
Feel the Hate
Daniel Raventós - Julie Wark
Basic Income Gathers Steam Across Europe
Andrew Levine
Hillary’s Gun Gambit
Jeffrey St. Clair
Hand Jobs: Heidegger, Hitler and Trump
S. Brian Willson
Remembering All the Deaths From All of Our Wars
Dave Lindorff
With Clinton’s Nixonian Email Scandal Deepening, Sanders Must Demand Answers
Pete Dolack
Millions for the Boss, Cuts for You!
Peter Lee
To Hell and Back: Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Gunnar Westberg
Close Calls: We Were Much Closer to Nuclear Annihilation Than We Ever Knew
Karl Grossman
Long Island as a Nuclear Park
Binoy Kampmark
Sweden’s Assange Problem: The District Court Ruling
Robert Fisk
Why the US Dropped Its Demand That Assad Must Go
Martha Rosenberg – Ronnie Cummins
Bayer and Monsanto: a Marriage Made in Hell
Brian Cloughley
Pivoting to War
Stavros Mavroudeas
Blatant Hypocrisy: the Latest Late-Night Bailout of Greece
Arun Gupta
A War of All Against All
Dan Kovalik
NPR, Yemen & the Downplaying of U.S. War Crimes
Randy Blazak
Thugs, Bullies, and Donald J. Trump: The Perils of Wounded Masculinity
Murray Dobbin
Are We Witnessing the Beginning of the End of Globalization?
Daniel Falcone
Urban Injustice: How Ghettos Happen, an Interview with David Hilfiker
Gloria Jimenez
In Honduras, USAID Was in Bed with Berta Cáceres’ Accused Killers
Kent Paterson
The Old Braceros Fight On
Lawrence Reichard
The Seemingly Endless Indignities of Air Travel: Report from the Losing Side of Class Warfare
Peter Berllios
Bernie and Utopia
Stan Cox – Paul Cox
Indonesia’s Unnatural Mud Disaster Turns Ten
Linda Pentz Gunter
Obama in Hiroshima: Time to Say “Sorry” and “Ban the Bomb”
George Souvlis
How the West Came to Rule: an Interview with Alexander Anievas
Julian Vigo
The Government and Your i-Phone: the Latest Threat to Privacy
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail