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The Real Cabal - Corporate Government

By m0rzo in Op-Ed
Thu Apr 11, 2002 at 01:58:10 PM EST
Tags: Politics (all tags)
Politics

In 2002, Enron, the 7th largest corporation in the United States (16th largest in the world) crashed spectacularly becoming the largest bankruptcy in corporate history. After the initial confusing turbulence, the rubble settled and revelations about Enron began to emerge at an alarming rate. Despite its immense size and complexity and its seemingly massive profits, Enron had managed to pay absolutely no taxes for 4 out of the last 5 years.


Enron, it became clear, had thousands of off-shore partnerships most of which had been established by its former Chief Financial Officer, Andrew. S. Fastow. The company had a sprawling accounting mess which allowed over $1billion in debt to be filtered through these partnerships. Through a combination of mismanagement and downright deceit, Enron inflated profits massively by hiding these debts which led, ultimately, to a collapse in share prices.

More of a disclosure, however, was exactly how intrinsically linked Enron had become with governments throughout the world. The myth of globalisation which says that it reduces politics to a mere irrelevance was debunked. This, it emerged, was one of the most indecorous meshes of political and corporate power ever.

Enron's descent into bankruptcy came as no surprise to some. Many groups such as Corp Watch, the Multinational Monitor, Public Citizen, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch knew of Enron's pervading predisposition for corruption before its insolvency. The trouble was, few in power, both in the media and in government, wanted to listen when they were riding high.

One of the biggest stories that emerged from this whole affair was the extent to which Enron had become linked to the Bush Administration, the Republican Party and various other key political cabals throughout the world. It emerged that Enron had a grotesque amount of influence within the affluent halls of power in the United States.

Chairman Kenneth Lay (or "Kenny Boy" as he was affectionately known) struck up an agreeable friendship with President George. W. Bush and they became golfing buddies. The pair must have been on exceptional terms for Bush to have coined him such a familiar nickname. Enron also almost certainly had more influence on Vice President Richard Cheney's Energy Policy than any other organisation. Cheney or his aides met with Enron at least six times during the course of 2001 alone.

An insight into exactly how far Enron had its steel-toed boots over the threshold of American politics is illustrated by the personalities it managed to manipulate. Amongst them was Tom DeLay, the Texas House Republican Majority Whip who received $28,000 from Enron in campaign contributions. His Political Action Committee, `Americans for a Republican Majority', received over $50,000 from 1995 - 2000. DeLay has been one of the fiercest advocates for energy deregulation in Congress, so it serves as no surprise that Enron would take an interest in him.

Other characters that have benefited from Enron's `generosity' include:

Linda Robertson - Robertson was a senior U.S Treasury Official during the presidency of Bill Clinton. During this time she was paid by Enron to fly to Enron's executive headquarters to talk with company management. Enron saw Robertson as an important connection between Congress and the Whitehouse.

Wendy Gramm and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission - In 1993, Wendy Gramm and the Commission allowed an exemption of energy derivatives from government oversight. This move was welcomed, of course, by Enron and 5 days later she resigned from her position within government and took a place on the Enron board. Wendy Gramm still holds this position to this day.

Karl Grove - President Bush's most prominent advisor sold between $100,000 and $250,000 of Enron stock amidst claims that he had a conflict of interest.

The degree to which Enron had influence in the corridors of power seems illimitable. For example, in India the company was lambasted for their role in suppressing peasant dissent. It was its misadventure in the small Indian coastal town of Dabhol which earned it an investigation from both Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International.

In 1992, the Enron Corp. announced it would build a $3 billion natural-gas power plant in Dabhol in the western state of Maharashtra. This investment was the biggest in India's history. Local villagers staged protests on the grounds that the environment and their livelihoods would suffer. A Human Rights Watch report stated instances of police brutality in suppressing the mostly peaceful protests. Interestingly, the State Police held responsible for these abuses provided paid security for Dabhol Power Corporation, the Bechtel Corp. and General Electric, all of which were overseen by Enron. The corporation effectively paid goons to issue a beating to the villagers in order to repress their vocal opposition.

Internationally acclaimed pressure group, Human Rights Watch's report stated:

"Enron is now being widely accused of arrogance and lack of transparency, but the people of Dabhol have known that all along. Enron was complicit in human rights abuse in India for several years."

The British left-wing newspaper, the Guardian, in a special report entitled Blair Mired in Enron Row (January 29th, 2002) implied that Enron also managed to gain a foot-hold in British politics. The opposition Conservative Party dubbed it, "A very murky business for the Government" and Downing Street quickly leapt to defend itself.

Enron's courtship with the Blair Government, if one digs deep enough, goes back a long way. Prime Minister Tony Blair accepted Enron sponsorship for countless Labour Party conferences. In 1998, after one such conference, former Government Minister Peter Mandelson gave preference to Enron allowing it to buy Wessex Water.

Karl Milner, a former aide to British Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown, and an Enron Europe recruit disclosed to an undercover Guardian reporter;

"We have many friends in government. They like to run things past us some days in advance to get our point of view."

In 2001 the British Government awarded Chairman of Enron Europe, Ralph Hodge, a CBE `for services to the power generation and gas advertising.'

Britain's involvement with Enron has been conveniently shadowed by the recent events of September 11th and the war in Afghanistan which has followed. The same goes for the Bush administration - such a scandal in peace time would surely have been on the same scale as Nixon's Watergate affair.

Enron, by no means, is the only corporation that seems to have affected the balance of power within governments. There are many examples of where a company or eminent individual seems to have had an evident amount of influence suggesting some kind of mutual profit being attained.

For example, the cash-for-passports scandal which rocked the British political establishment back in 2000. Again, Peter Mandelson played a key role. He is alleged to have granted two extremely wealthy Indian brothers British citizenship in exchange for an investment into the condemned Millennium Dome's `Faith Zone.'

Recently the Government proposed a ban on tobacco advertising in Formula One racing. Many believed that such a ban would lead to a lack of financing and eventually kill the sport. Self-appointed head of Formula One, Bernie Ecclestone, another extremely wealthy businessman was particularly hostile to the plans. It was also revealed that Bernie Ecclestone was a major Labour Party benefactor. A ban on cigarette advertising was differed for Formula One.

In February 2002, the papers furiously proclaimed how Tony Blair had privately given his backing to Indian businessman, Lakshi Mittal and a proposed Romanian steel deal. Blair did this despite the fact that this was not a British company, and Downing Street dismissed the furore that followed saying Mr. Blair was "unapologetic." It then emerged that Mittal had made a 125,000 donation to the Labour Party.

Is a non-objective government that diligently serves the people that elected it too much to ask for? As this essay shows, Western governments seem to be all too easily persuaded by the vast bribes waved beneath their noses by big business.

Does the fate of stable governments lie in who can provide the most cash, rendering the electorate obsolete? The ethical questions that such influence raises do not, I believe, have to be pointed out by me. It is clear to any observer that corporations are pushing their own agendas through successive governments and it's been going on for some time. Do we, as society, need to stop being so inert and passive? The voters are the only ones who possess the power to force governments to be accountable for their actions.

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The Real Cabal - Corporate Government | 101 comments (88 topical, 13 editorial, 0 hidden)
Additional bit (4.16 / 6) (#4)
by wiredog on Thu Apr 11, 2002 at 12:36:11 PM EST

A Washington Post Editorial today about Wall Street's 'Big Lie'

Peoples Front To Reunite Gondwanaland: "Stop the Laurasian Separatist Movement!"
Nice. (none / 0) (#33)
by porkchop_d_clown on Thu Apr 11, 2002 at 02:26:30 PM EST

Not a new argument, but those e-mails are certainly a "smoking gun".


--
I'm not a sexist pig!
I'm a plain-old-everyday pig!


[ Parent ]
Yeah (none / 0) (#43)
by wiredog on Thu Apr 11, 2002 at 02:48:28 PM EST

The sort of things prosecutors just love to get their hands on.

Peoples Front To Reunite Gondwanaland: "Stop the Laurasian Separatist Movement!"
[ Parent ]
Two quick points... (4.57 / 14) (#10)
by sasseriansection on Thu Apr 11, 2002 at 12:54:27 PM EST

1)Enron donated money to both Republican and Democratic parties. While the money donated to the Republicans did not get them a bail out or cover up, their donation to the Democratic party under the previous administration came a few days prior to the India power plant being sealed. The allegations for political influence is NOT just limited to the current administrations.

2) The 'Energy Policy' problem.
a) Enron has been consulted for energy policy questions for the previous 10 years.
b) If I want to know how to clean the environment, I don't talk to the car manufacturers. Same with energy. If I want to know about problems facing energy, I don't talk to the environmentalists. When you need an answer, you talk to people who are most familiar with the problems.

Other than that, I say fry the bastards for cooking the books and screwing the shareholders and employees.
------------ ------------

answers (5.00 / 2) (#49)
by leifb on Thu Apr 11, 2002 at 03:11:04 PM EST

When you need an answer, you talk to people who are most familiar with the problems.

 Yes, when you need an answer.

 If you need an impartial answer, you ask people who are familiar with the problems and have no vested interest. Lacking those, you ask informed people with a variety of vested interests.

Or do you take the dealer's word that the drug has no negative effects?

[ Parent ]

No such thing as impartial answers (4.00 / 1) (#57)
by cr8dle2grave on Thu Apr 11, 2002 at 04:21:25 PM EST

How exactly does one find an impartial perspective on policy issues which are by definition a delicate balance of competing interests.

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
Matter of degree and perspective. (4.00 / 1) (#92)
by jolly st nick on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 09:20:47 AM EST

The pig may have some interest in the management of the chicken coop. The fox's interest is greater.

[ Parent ]
1: wrong. 2: not quite. (5.00 / 2) (#86)
by freefall on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 05:59:27 AM EST

You're missing the point. If Enron financed both Republicans AND Democrats, then that just makes things WORSE, not better. Are you happy with a system where the criminals not only bribed your CURRENT president, but ALSO bribed anyone who had a remote chance of beating him?

As for the energy issue ... I don't think you understand that either. Let's see ... energy is a trans-national utility. It is a massive network that requires interoperability at every point. The best and most effecient way to manage this is through some sort of centralized control. How MUCH centralized control? That's was the recent debate over energy degulation.

It's certainly in Enron's favour to see energy deregulated and put into the hands of a select few groups in the private sector.

It appears that Enron influenced this decision in many ways. If you want to know about energy, you talk to energy experts. Not Enron executives. Unless you want to know what hawks like Enron will do AFTER energy is deregulated. See?

[ Parent ]
1: missed the point 2: stick with the experts (none / 0) (#100)
by sasseriansection on Fri Apr 19, 2002 at 03:36:49 AM EST

You're missing the point. If Enron financed both Republicans AND Democrats, then that just makes things WORSE, not better. Are you happy with a system where the criminals not only bribed your CURRENT president, but ALSO bribed anyone who had a remote chance of beating him?

First, it's not a bribe, it's campaign contributions. Second, Enron did not get a bailout/coverup for their donations to the current administration, but they did get a power plant in india due to the direct and willful actions of the previous administration. That's what I was attempting to illustrate; that their contribution to the Bush campaign was not worth it.

As for the energy issue ... I don't think you understand that either. Let's see ... energy is a trans-national utility. It is a massive network that requires interoperability at every point. The best and most effecient way to manage this is through some sort of centralized control. How MUCH centralized control? That's was the recent debate over energy degulation.

That's funny, because the anti corporate types were arguing that deregulation was solely so that energy brokers didn't have to declare from where or on what they made their money. Sounds like the tune has been changed after the orchestra has played.

It's certainly in Enron's favour to see energy deregulated and put into the hands of a select few groups in the private sector.

Welcome to capitalism. However, it is NOT in the administration's best interest to allow this to happen. Welcome to democracy.

It appears that Enron influenced this decision in many ways. If you want to know about energy, you talk to energy experts. Not Enron executives. Unless you want to know what hawks like Enron will do AFTER energy is deregulated. See?

I'm sorry, but if I am a policy maker, I will go to someone who is blazing the trail in that sector. If I wanted to know about computers, I would give gates a call. Video games, I'd give sony or nintendo a buzz. Cars? Well pick one of the many manufacturers, and they would be the first in my office to tell me about where their business is heading. Granted, in hind sight, Enron execs probably were not the best choice to consult for policy. But who knew that back in 95-00? No one. Enron was heralded as a forerunner in their field, and not one word of concern was raised(seriously) over their business practices.

I'll give you two points:
1) Should've could've would've 2) Don't try to debate after 6 whiskey sours

#2 is where I'm at, unfortunately.
------------ ------------
[ Parent ]

Disagree with some, but +1 to the article (4.00 / 9) (#14)
by Torgos Pizza on Thu Apr 11, 2002 at 01:06:27 PM EST

I think that any conspiracy between Enron and government is mostly hot air. It's more a story of corporate greed and incompetence than a secret cabal group or the Illuminati out to start a new world order.

Much has been made about campaign contributions to the Bush administration. Perhaps those who live outside the state don't understand Texas politics. Enron was contributing money to anyone, regardless of party affiliation, who looked like a winner. Over the past 20 years, Texas has made a shift from conservative Southern Democrats to a similar ideological Republican voting base. Since the Reagan days, Texas politics has played a greater and greater role in national government.

Bush I and Bush II, Cheney, DeLay, Gramm, Armey... the list goes on and on. All Texans, all powerful men in Washington. Now if you're a Texas company wanting to make a quick buck and wanting more influence in helping your company, wouldn't you want to contribute money to those men in power? Enron even gave money to Democrats in leadership positions. All done out of greed.

Conspiracy? Yes on Enron's part. I'm afraid that our elected officials were just guilty of doing business as usual, blindly trusting corporations to do the right thing. Stupidity? There's plenty to go around on every politician and business exec. Politicians are just too willing to blindly accept corporation's cash and word that they have the public interests at heart.

I intend to live forever, or die trying.

The politicians are equally guilty (3.00 / 2) (#85)
by freefall on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 05:48:05 AM EST

whether they knew it or not. The fact that a political campaign for the presidency was partially financed by a company that evaded taxes and essentially laundered billions of dollars is in itself a troubling thought. Criminals are financing prediential campaigns?

The fact that they finance ANYONE who has a chance at becoming powerfull is even more troubling. What the hell kind of system is this?

[ Parent ]
Enron never made any real money (4.71 / 7) (#15)
by bill_mcgonigle on Thu Apr 11, 2002 at 01:06:38 PM EST

It was all a shell game. From a CS point of view, they were setup in an infinite recursion loop. They'd have some debt, make a new off-shore partner, and offload the debt onto the off-shore partner in exchange for stock or other arrangments. This couldn't go on forever, but it made alot of executives rich. In CS terms, they finally smashed their stack.

Look, Enron is made out to be a much bigger deal that it really was. Who was Enron 10 years ago? Right, this isn't BP going out of business. They had a dishonest but legal accounting scam going on and Arthur Anderson played along, which is what fooled many investors. Maybe there should have been some rules in place to prevent this, but that's a policy scandal, not a political scandal. As investor I've been divesting from any company using Arthur Anderson as their accountant, because I now know their financial audits can't be trusted as a reliable source of investment research. If everybody made this common sense move, every corporation would dump Arthur Anderson, and the market would take care of itself. Apathy is the market's real problem.

It's a big deal (none / 0) (#21)
by PhillipW on Thu Apr 11, 2002 at 01:43:54 PM EST

Especially if you're an Enron employee that has been screwed over.

-Phil
[ Parent ]
What about Enron investors? (none / 0) (#48)
by Rk on Thu Apr 11, 2002 at 03:09:58 PM EST

No offense, but people who invested money into Enron, without knowing of it's dubious accounting, probably lost more than most employees did. I don't know how much you personally lost, but many people - normal, middle class people, not necessarily professional stock traders - invest much of their life savings into a company that looks promising.

[ Parent ]
5% max (5.00 / 1) (#59)
by bill_mcgonigle on Thu Apr 11, 2002 at 04:43:53 PM EST

That's how much good planners will tell you to invest in any one company. Diversify, Diversifiy, Diversify. Hopefully Enron will open people's eyes to this, so it won't be such a problem next time around.

I break this rule myself sometimes, but I stare the risks square in the eye.


[ Parent ]
that's the problem (3.00 / 1) (#88)
by freefall on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 06:08:09 AM EST

Enron didn't diversify it's own employees' pension plans and whatever else it is American companies do with their employee's money. I'm not famaliar with the details, but I know that Enron took its employees' funds and invested them in its own shell corporations. When Enron and the shells came down, the employees' money disappeared into thin air.

[ Parent ]
Not that many of them (none / 0) (#58)
by bill_mcgonigle on Thu Apr 11, 2002 at 04:41:51 PM EST

Yes, it's a sad story for them, but compared to the economy there are very very few Enron employees. 60% of the workforce is employeed by small businesses, it's just that their disappearances are a pitter-patter to Enron's cannonball. But the employees there who receive no 401k or worthless stock options are in the same position. Noone stopped any Enron employee from investing in a properly diversified IRA outside of Enron. Yeah, no match, but good finance.


[ Parent ]
well... (3.00 / 1) (#46)
by Danse on Thu Apr 11, 2002 at 02:58:00 PM EST

Clients have been dumping Arthur Anderson left and right lately, so perhaps that may be an improvement. Arthur Anderson will no longer be a Top 5 accounting firm, and may end up being absorbed by some other firm(s).






An honest debate between Bush and Kerry
[ Parent ]
refresh my memory (4.00 / 4) (#50)
by leifb on Thu Apr 11, 2002 at 03:18:43 PM EST

Accounting practices at Arthur Anderson differ from those at KPMG, D&T, E&Y or PWC... how, exactly?

KPMG is facing a bucket of similar shit over what they've let Xerox get away with in the last five years. Granted it's not the truckload that buried Anderson, but it's the same elephant.

Everyone has their skeletons. Some have just been a little luckier about keeping the closet door shut.

[ Parent ]

Everyone? (none / 0) (#60)
by wurp on Thu Apr 11, 2002 at 04:55:28 PM EST

"Everyone has their skeletons. Some have just been a little luckier about keeping the closet door shut."


I think that's a bad attitude to take. I don't know if all accounting firms have bad practices or not, and neither do you. If we assume everyone is equally crooked, and the only difference is how well they cover it up, we will never figure out who we can trust.

I know that I'm not crooked, and I know that there is definitely a range in the ethics of people and companies. All we can do is do our best to figure out who's doing wrong and do our best to make it stop. Assuming everyone does equal wrong is no way to improve our lot.


---
Buy my stuff
[ Parent ]
"Everyone" (4.00 / 1) (#74)
by leifb on Thu Apr 11, 2002 at 10:46:57 PM EST

1) Point well taken. I did over-generalize.

2) However.

The problem with Enron/Anderson and Xerox/KPMG boils down this: the companies in question threatened to take their business elsewhere if the auditors didn't approve "aggressive" accounting tactics. Small scale, they arranged for people to be transferred or fired for making honest evaluations of the company's business. Large scale, they would have gone shopping for someone who was agreeable. And they wouldn't have far to look, since they were likely being courted by the other Big Four, and a smattering of smaller groups eager to please.

So how large does a hierarchy have to be before you're statistically guaranteed to find someone who isn't averse to telling a subordinate to shut up and do his job? How much money has to be involved?

For the tens of millions involved in an account like that, I'd believe 50 people could go uncorrupted. The ten thousand+ in each of the Big Five? I really can't believe that.

[ Parent ]

Possible (4.00 / 1) (#78)
by Souhait on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 01:07:36 AM EST

My dad is a tax partner at E&Y and he's been incredibly busy after Arthur Andersen took its nosedive... as I understand most of the partners of Arthur Andersen are looking to merge with the other Big Four in a piecemeal (sp?) fashion... the Dallas group of partners will go with some company, the LA group with some (possibly other) company. Oh, and I'm about as positive as can be that my dad isn't corrupt... possibly most of Arthur Andersen wasn't corrupt, either, and the few partners that worked on Enron brought the whole company down.

[ Parent ]
Corruption (4.00 / 1) (#80)
by leifb on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 04:14:33 AM EST

Oh, and I'm about as positive as can be that my dad isn't corrupt... possibly most of Arthur Andersen wasn't corrupt, either, and the few partners that worked on Enron brought the whole company down.

But the mestakes weren't permitted by corruption so much as by concern with customer satisfaction, meeting goals and metrics, and not rocking the boat. Any mixture of these could be enough to let a few things slide.

Arguably, it was one single partner that sunk the ship. I really doubt Anderson would have lost this much if it weren't for the endictment, and it seems unlikely that the indictment would have come about except Duncan shredded evidence.

[ Parent ]

Why this is a BIG deal (none / 0) (#83)
by freefall on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 05:40:08 AM EST

A third of the US government is dedicated to the task of creating and revising legislation. That is, laws which restrict what we can and cannot do. Some of these laws are nice, while others are not, depending on your particular situation and the law in question. One of the many paradoxes of western government is how easy it is to make money through legislation. For example, say the government deems a high-demand product or service illegal. The business of providing this product/service will continue anyway, as the high demand will still exists (crime is inevitable). However, the money made from such illegall business activities is also illegall and therefor impossible to tax in America. *(although this in not the case in some places, such as Holland -- this allows those coffee shops in Amsterdam to stay open). So it would seem that it's in the government's best interest to make everything legall, and just tax it. Of course this isn't very practical. A better solution, from the government's perspective, would be to find a way to make money off of illegal activies without legalizing them. It turns out that this isn't just a better solution; the government can potentially make MORE money (as a percentage) off of something that is ILLEGAL than it can off of something that is LEGALL. Think of all the things that are illegal. Imagine the amount of money that all those things represent. Money laundering is concidered to be a $500 billion / year "problem." Now concider this ... If a particularly industrious group were able to effeciently launder vast amounts of money, and maintain political connections at the same time, wouldn't it be in everyone's best interest to make MORE things illegal, then monopolize all the illegal money that is inevitably created through a money laundering operations? The link between money launderers and politicians CERTAINLY exists. Here's proof: http://www.aci.net/kalliste/bcciindex.htm http://www.google.com/search?q=BCCI+Abedi And money laundering / shady accounting is certainly is a thriving business. Enron is proof of that, and so is this: http://www.google.com/search?q=%22money+laundering%22+passports THEREFOR, corrupt links between corporations, which control/trade vast amounts of money, and governments, are a direct and very real threat to individual liberties and freedom. Furthermore, this sort of cheating causing unfair distribution of massive sums of money. In a capitalist market, if hard working and honest people are not rewarded above and beyond their inferiors, the system itself is worthless, uncapitalist and not really worth being a part of. The Enron conspiracy is a matter that requires conciderable attention from everyone.

[ Parent ]
WHY It's a Big Deal (READ THIS ONE) (4.75 / 4) (#84)
by freefall on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 05:41:27 AM EST

A third of the US government is dedicated to the task of creating and revising legislation. That is, laws which restrict what we can and cannot do. Some of these laws are nice, while others are not, depending on your particular situation and the law in question.

One of the many paradoxes of western government is how easy it is to make money through legislation. For example, say the government deems a high-demand product or service illegal. The business of providing this product/service will continue anyway, as the high demand will still exists (crime is inevitable). However, the money made from such illegall business activities is also illegall and therefor impossible to tax in America. *(although this in not the case in some places, such as Holland -- this allows those coffee shops in Amsterdam to stay open).

So it would seem that it's in the government's best interest to make everything legall, and just tax it. Of course this isn't very practical. A better solution, from the government's perspective, would be to find a way to make money off of illegal activies without legalizing them.

It turns out that this isn't just a better solution; the government can potentially make MORE money (as a percentage) off of something that is ILLEGAL than it can off of something that is LEGALL. Think of all the things that are illegal. Imagine the amount of money that all those things represent. Money laundering is concidered to be a $500 billion / year "problem." Now concider this ...

If a particularly industrious group were able to effeciently launder vast amounts of money, and maintain political connections at the same time, wouldn't it be in everyone's best interest to make MORE things illegal, then monopolize all the illegal money that is inevitably created through a money laundering operations?

The link between money launderers and politicians CERTAINLY exists. Here's proof:
http://www.aci.net/kalliste/bcciindex.htm
http://www.google.com/search?q=BCCI+Abedi

And money laundering / shady accounting is certainly is a thriving business. Enron is proof of that, and so is this:
http://www.google.com/search?q=%22money+laundering%22+passports


THEREFOR, corrupt links between corporations, which control/trade vast amounts of money, and governments, are a direct and very real threat to individual liberties and freedom. Furthermore, this sort of cheating causing unfair distribution of massive sums of money. In a capitalist market, if hard working and honest people are not rewarded above and beyond their inferiors, the system itself is worthless, uncapitalist and not really worth being a part of. The Enron conspiracy is a matter that requires conciderable attention from everyone.

[ Parent ]
Another Enron good 'ol boy (4.00 / 4) (#18)
by imrdkl on Thu Apr 11, 2002 at 01:27:33 PM EST

Robert Rubin, former Treasury secretary to Bill Clinton. (unsure how Robertson fits in here) Rubin reportedly went first to the feds, when he got no joy there, he tried to influence the decision by Moody's to downgrade Enron credit.

A surprising number of Clinton folks have had their hands in the cookie jar, it seems.

surprising number? (none / 0) (#35)
by mulvaney on Thu Apr 11, 2002 at 02:31:58 PM EST

So what is the surprising number, exactly? It sure looks like "one" from your post, which is surprisingly low. But I get the feeling that's not what you meant...

-Mike

[ Parent ]
Linda Robertson (none / 0) (#47)
by imrdkl on Thu Apr 11, 2002 at 02:59:49 PM EST

is actually named in the story. Is two enough to be surprised? How many would it take for you?

[ Parent ]
Cheney: Why the poor customer service? (3.53 / 13) (#19)
by CaptainSuperBoy on Thu Apr 11, 2002 at 01:27:39 PM EST

Cheney or his aides met with Enron at least six times during the course of 2001 alone.

Only six times, Dick? I try to meet with clients at least every few weeks.. I guess Dick Cheney is a busy man, but he should at least treat his customers a little better. He provides a service to corporations, but he does run the risk of losing some of their business to the Democrats if he continues to be detached and inaccessible to his clients. The policymaker-prostitution business is a cutthroat one, and it's clearly a buyer's market - politicians seem to be falling over themselves trying to satisfy as many special interests as they can. Dick, this is no way to treat a valuable paying customer.

--
jimmysquid.com - I take pictures.

Political Reward system (3.75 / 4) (#20)
by dbc001 on Thu Apr 11, 2002 at 01:42:51 PM EST

I firmly believe that politics will always be dishonest until we can develop a better reward system. The problem with politicians is that the political field attracts mostly scumbags. I knew a guy who wanted to go into politics, and it was very clear to anyone who talked to him that he was a scumbag. So somehow we need to reward politicians with more respect and admiration and remove the ample opportunities for dishonesty & financial gain.

Perhaps politicians should be in the public eye even more than they already are. Perhaps more about their backgrounds should be made public. Now that I think about it, there should be a lot more publicly available data about politicians finances. I also believe that corporations should not be allowed to influence politics in any financial way.

Fundamental changes must be made not to the political process but to the reward system upon which politics is based.

-dbc

The Public Eye Needs To Change (4.33 / 3) (#25)
by quasipalm on Thu Apr 11, 2002 at 02:06:48 PM EST

I don't think we need more info about politicians; we just need different sorts of info. For example: we should learn about where a politician's financing is coming from, what sorts of friends they have inside what companies, what previous experience makes them qualified for their position, etc.

But conversely, we definitely need less information about their personal life. I have several friends that I think we would be great leaders, but because they smoked pot or did coke in high school or had an affair or are gay or Muslim or a heavy drinker or blah, blah, blah, they would most likely be shot down by the opposition based on so-called "issues of character". The only people that are left when you have a "no skeletons in the closet" policy are career politicians that aren't real people with real issues and concerns.

I largely blame both the tabloid media for perpetuating "scandal" stories and the fundamentalists that care about such stories for a broken political system that gets career politicians elected instead of real people.

(hi)
[ Parent ]
Absolutely. (none / 0) (#70)
by deefer on Thu Apr 11, 2002 at 07:06:48 PM EST

I don't care who a politician is fucking.

But I *do* care who's keeping *my* politician in their pocket.


Kill the baddies.
Get the girl.
And save the entire planet.

[ Parent ]

Cut out politicians (none / 0) (#77)
by mogador on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 12:24:29 AM EST

Your spot on their mate. In fact most people with any character have a few skeletons in their closet that would instantly disqualify them for any sort of political office. Basically politcs is left to a few very powerful/rich people whose influence can squash any scandal and a vast sea of mediocre characterless hacks who go to Washington because they were too ugly to worrk in Hollywood and too dumb to do anything else. Sad but true

[ Parent ]
But there's already a very popular reward system (4.66 / 3) (#34)
by carbon on Thu Apr 11, 2002 at 02:27:38 PM EST

It's called cold, hard cash. Politicians find themselves very rewarded for it. Haven't you noticed that it's the whole reason, pretty much, behind the Enron BS? Politicians and executives trying to make money, lots and lots of money, irregardless of the effects.

It sort of reminds you of that one Three Dead Trolls in a Baggie song, "Behind the scenes at Microsoft":

Microsoft exec (crying): "You know Wes, all we here at Microsoft wanted was for people to like us. Everyone's always mad at us! We're always in court, the molemen are all grumpy..."
Interviewer: "Here, have a hanky"
Microsoft exec: "Thanks ....All we ever wanted was love!"
Interviwer: "So there you have it. All Microsoft ever wanted, was love. That, and billions and billions of dollars."
Microsoft exec: "Yeah, that's good too."
Interviewer: "Look, give me my hanky back."
Microsoft exec: "It's mine now!"


Wasn't Dr. Claus the bad guy on Inspector Gadget? - dirvish
[ Parent ]
Finances (4.00 / 1) (#40)
by broken77 on Thu Apr 11, 2002 at 02:39:39 PM EST

Now that I think about it, there should be a lot more publicly available data about politicians finances.
Do you know about opensecrets.org?

I'm starting to doubt all this happy propaganda about Islam being a religion of peace. Heck, it's just as bad as Christianity. -- Dphitz
[ Parent ]

secrets are not open (none / 0) (#87)
by freefall on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 06:03:30 AM EST

http://www.google.com/search?q=%22money+laundering%22+passports

Obviously there are many ways for politicians to hide their finances from people like opensecrets.org

[ Parent ]
Politicians (5.00 / 2) (#63)
by yenisey on Thu Apr 11, 2002 at 05:10:06 PM EST

To create a better (fairer) system of government:

* Politicians are randomly chosen.

* No-one who wants to be in government is allowed.

* One term of office only.

(Arthur C Clark - Songs of Distant Earth)


--

-- Every step we take appears to be an unavoidable consequence of the preceding one.
[ Parent ]
No. (2.00 / 1) (#69)
by deefer on Thu Apr 11, 2002 at 07:04:37 PM EST

Pay them a fuckload of cash.

But no "seat of the board of directors". No more "donations from politically concerned ethical (their words, not mine) businesses."

Politicians *should* be above question, financially. Policy wise, let the free press have at 'em. Pay politicians well, and pay them out of the public purse. I'd be prepared to pay a higher rate of tax for that. Bearing in mind I get nailed at the highest rate of tax for the vast proportion of the cash that I earn. Tax the rich to keep the politicians straight. I don't mind paying for that.


Kill the baddies.
Get the girl.
And save the entire planet.

[ Parent ]

that's idiotic (5.00 / 1) (#81)
by freefall on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 05:10:09 AM EST

Obviously the current system of politics is corrupted. Hey ... who can point out a politicial system even half the size of America's, that isn't corrupt? Come to think of it, I doubt there's a single government that hasn't had corruption at the highest levels.

So your solution is to give the SAME people MORE money? The biggest problem is that politicians will be able to finance their future careers using money earned in previous terms, exponentially rapidly increasing the power and wealth of a select few.

What makes you think you can ever pay them enough anyway? The US President makes somewhere around $400,000/yr, afaik. On top of that he gets to live in a billion dollar house. So how much do you propose to pay these people? If you give each Congress member a million dollars per year, Enron-types will give them 10 million. If you give them 10, the bribes will go up to 100. And so on; there's a lot of bribe money in the world.

By the by, your website has an entire section entitled "Script Kiddies" so I'm not sure what you means by "the vast portions of cash that I earn."

[ Parent ]
400K is not that much money (none / 0) (#101)
by boy programmer on Tue Apr 23, 2002 at 11:26:51 PM EST

compared to the higher levels of management in the private sector, 400K is chump change- I would hope that the president is worth more than 4 or 5 experienced programmers.

[ Parent ]
Bush and Enron? What about Clinton? Congress? (3.66 / 3) (#22)
by porkchop_d_clown on Thu Apr 11, 2002 at 01:52:10 PM EST

Enron's been around for what, 20 years? you mentioned that they hadn't paid taxes in the last 4 of 5 years. That's 3 or 4 years before Bush came to power.

Basically, Bush was in office just in time for Enron to die. What about Clinton, or Bush the Elder, for that matter? We're they clean on this, or haven't you bothered to check?

I'm not saying that there aren't connections between Bush and Enron - you've documented them well. But I find it interesting that you didn't bother learning about what links existed during most of the time Enron was engaged in all this collusion and corruption.


--
I'm not a sexist pig!
I'm a plain-old-everyday pig!


OT: we're versus were (5.00 / 2) (#54)
by Rk on Thu Apr 11, 2002 at 03:44:25 PM EST

OK, I've noticed this a lot on K5 and TOS.

Why is it so hard to differentiate between were and we're? The same goes for it's and its.

were - plural of was. Eg: I was there. They were there.
we're - abbreviation of we are. Eg: We're here now.

it's - abbreviation of "it is"
its - neutral possesive (as opposed to my, your, his, her etc)

[ Parent ]
The one that pisses me off.. (none / 0) (#64)
by skim123 on Thu Apr 11, 2002 at 06:24:06 PM EST

your vs. you're

See that a lot all over the Net and it's really annoying. Your a good man for bringing up these corrections.

Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
PT Barnum


[ Parent ]
Don't even get me started (5.00 / 1) (#68)
by deefer on Thu Apr 11, 2002 at 06:59:03 PM EST

On loose vs lose.

C'mon, it's not like it's complicated or anything...


Kill the baddies.
Get the girl.
And save the entire planet.

[ Parent ]

Not to mention (none / 0) (#71)
by duien on Thu Apr 11, 2002 at 07:17:18 PM EST

their vs. they're affect vs. effect And apsotrophe-s just in general... "i like taco's"

[ Parent ]
I agree... (5.00 / 1) (#72)
by deefer on Thu Apr 11, 2002 at 07:28:21 PM EST

but, phonetically, they're identical. I can forgive a their/they're confusion, they're pronounced the same. But only just. But loooooooooose vs luse? (phonetic) drives me bonkers.

OK, I accept that people whose 1st language is other than English may make these mistakes. Dyslexics too. But people whose mother tongue is English? Gak, let's set a better example for those trying/struggling with written English.

And you USians better shape up with your spelling of "initialise", too! :)


Kill the baddies.
Get the girl.
And save the entire planet.

[ Parent ]

Hmmm (none / 0) (#79)
by Souhait on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 01:11:20 AM EST

Perhaps it's a typo? I find myself throwing random apostrophes in on occasion and having to catch myself. Also, I have made a your/you're mistake, too, but I can clearly differentiate between the two and am occasionally bugged when I see the mistake. It's not necessarily due to ignorance... maybe the guy just forgot to proof read. Or he missed it while proof reading. Or... :::shrug:::

[ Parent ]
oh god... (none / 0) (#82)
by martingale on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 05:34:23 AM EST

Don't get me started on inappropriate ('s)s, hate'em, hate'em, hate'em, 'sright!



[ Parent ]
Obligatory Bob link (none / 0) (#73)
by Happy Monkey on Thu Apr 11, 2002 at 08:03:23 PM EST

Bob's Apostrophe Manual
___
Length 17, Width 3
[ Parent ]
In this case, that was just me fat-fingering it. (none / 0) (#76)
by porkchop_d_clown on Thu Apr 11, 2002 at 11:29:43 PM EST

I know the difference, I just mangled it when I typed and obviously didn't pay enough attention when I previewed the result.

I guess I didn't notice the ' since the result was still (techinically) a legal word. Dunno.


--
I'm not a sexist pig!
I'm a plain-old-everyday pig!


[ Parent ]
Bush and Nicknames (4.00 / 6) (#23)
by jmzero on Thu Apr 11, 2002 at 02:02:32 PM EST

The pair must have been on exceptional terms for Bush to have coined him such a familiar nickname

Bush gives everybody a nickname -

Here's a short list

Lots of people make fun of it.

Bush probably has a nickname for you. Doesn't mean he knows you.
.
"Let's not stir that bag of worms." - my lovely wife
Bush and Lay knew each other. (5.00 / 1) (#97)
by forii on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 10:05:37 PM EST

They sure knew each other well enough to send birthday greetings and condolences on knee surgery to each other. Quite a few letters, too.

Read Bush and Lay's letters
Proud member of the ACLU, the NRA, and the EFF.
[ Parent ]

And what about Global Crossings? (2.80 / 10) (#24)
by porkchop_d_clown on Thu Apr 11, 2002 at 02:03:46 PM EST

Global Crossings was the second largest bankruptcy in history, and went under about the same time as Enron, with similar accusations, except that they related to Dennis Hastert, a congressional democrat type.

Were the events similar? Different?

Sorry, but one company is an example but not neccessarily proof of concept. If you could show that other companies have had similar influence, it would be a much stronger argument.


--
I'm not a sexist pig!
I'm a plain-old-everyday pig!


Right. (5.00 / 3) (#26)
by m0rzo on Thu Apr 11, 2002 at 02:08:38 PM EST

The articles main premise is the influence corporations hold over government. Enron is just a part of this, albeit large. If you read the article you would see how I moved on to the Hindujah Brothers' passport fiasco, formula one tobacco advertising and Mittal Steel. Really, going on to talk about what you've mentioned would border more or less on a thesis, far exceeding the boundaries of a K5 article. I'm just trying to present what is a microcosm for a much bigger problem.


My last sig was just plain offensive.
[ Parent ]

Uneven coverage, then. (none / 0) (#29)
by porkchop_d_clown on Thu Apr 11, 2002 at 02:18:47 PM EST

Your first 2/3rds are about Enron, which, frankly is being done to death, and then a couple of sentences each about several other scandals. I honestly don't know anything about these other scandals you mention, so I can't really discuss whether they show corruption or excessive influence or not.


--
I'm not a sexist pig!
I'm a plain-old-everyday pig!


[ Parent ]
Sorry... (none / 0) (#30)
by m0rzo on Thu Apr 11, 2002 at 02:23:50 PM EST

If you feel so strongly then you should have just voted it down.


My last sig was just plain offensive.
[ Parent ]

What? Am I flaming you? (none / 0) (#32)
by porkchop_d_clown on Thu Apr 11, 2002 at 02:25:22 PM EST

Why bother even writing a story if your not willing to defend it?

You wanted a discussion, I'm discussing. Or does "discussion" mean I have to agree with you?


--
I'm not a sexist pig!
I'm a plain-old-everyday pig!


[ Parent ]
Look... (5.00 / 1) (#36)
by m0rzo on Thu Apr 11, 2002 at 02:32:13 PM EST

Cool down. You've told me I gave uneven coverage, I didn't say you'd flamed me or anything. I've defended my article to the extent where I'm saying that I chose Enron because, let's be honest, it's the most notable. If I were to mention every single incident where government has succumbed to corporate cash then I would have to write a book.

You say that the coverage I have given is uneven; I'll agree. There, nothing to argue about and nothing to defend. Generally speaking, if I find an article to be biased or not to my approval I don't vote it +1FP.


My last sig was just plain offensive.
[ Parent ]

LoL. (5.00 / 1) (#39)
by porkchop_d_clown on Thu Apr 11, 2002 at 02:38:08 PM EST

What, exactly, have I said or written that implies I'm all heated up? Your the one getting defensive.

And, if you vote down stories just because you don't like the author's bias, isn't that, well, biased?

Discussion implies debate - you know, give and take?


--
I'm not a sexist pig!
I'm a plain-old-everyday pig!


[ Parent ]
Good Lord (5.00 / 3) (#45)
by wiredog on Thu Apr 11, 2002 at 02:52:16 PM EST

A flamewar over whether or not this is a flamewar. Only on kuro5hin.

Peoples Front To Reunite Gondwanaland: "Stop the Laurasian Separatist Movement!"
[ Parent ]
you got a problem with that, buddy? (none / 0) (#75)
by porkchop_d_clown on Thu Apr 11, 2002 at 11:13:07 PM EST

Why, where I come from we have a long tradition of arguing about whether or not we're arguing! Not to mention the fights over what it is we're fighting about!

Come to think of it, it kind of sounds like the Middle East, doesn't it?


--
I'm not a sexist pig!
I'm a plain-old-everyday pig!


[ Parent ]
Uneven? (4.00 / 1) (#67)
by deefer on Thu Apr 11, 2002 at 06:57:14 PM EST

Of course! The article is only so long, after all. Were m0rzo to present a complete list of corporate bribery of govt then you'd be screaming "-1 article tooooooo long".

As it is, the article provides 3 verifiable examples of corporate/govt interoperation. Which provides a good bedrock for discussion. Isn't that what we're here for?


Kill the baddies.
Get the girl.
And save the entire planet.

[ Parent ]

Dennis Hastert is a Republican (5.00 / 3) (#28)
by mulvaney on Thu Apr 11, 2002 at 02:18:02 PM EST

Dennis Hastert, a congressional democrat type.
That's an interesting statement, considering that Dennis Hastert is the Speaker of the House, and as such, the leader of the Republicans in the House.

-Mike

[ Parent ]

Heh. My bad. (4.00 / 2) (#31)
by porkchop_d_clown on Thu Apr 11, 2002 at 02:23:57 PM EST

Where is that clue? I know I had one just a minute ago...

Duh.

the person I was thinking of was actually Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe who made $18 million from Global Crossing before it went under.


--
I'm not a sexist pig!
I'm a plain-old-everyday pig!


[ Parent ]
hmm... (none / 0) (#37)
by Danse on Thu Apr 11, 2002 at 02:36:50 PM EST

I've heard a decent amount about Global Crossing, but certainly not as much as I've heard about Enron. It probably is a case of uneven coverage. Enron/Arthur Anderson naturally gets the lion's share of the attention as they were linked pretty much directly to the White House, thus making it something of a bigger deal to everyone. I think you have a point, though. We should be hearing more about Global Crossing. Maybe someone will post an article about it here.






An honest debate between Bush and Kerry
[ Parent ]
Where is that clue? (none / 0) (#44)
by wiredog on Thu Apr 11, 2002 at 02:51:08 PM EST

OK, that one goes into the file of "funny things I've seen on the net" that I've been building up for a few years.

Peoples Front To Reunite Gondwanaland: "Stop the Laurasian Separatist Movement!"
[ Parent ]
Passive voters (3.44 / 9) (#27)
by porkchop_d_clown on Thu Apr 11, 2002 at 02:08:54 PM EST

Western voters are passive because, by and large, the western governments supply what they want.

As long the power flowes, the sewers work, the schools are open and I've got a job, all I want from my government is for them to leave me alone. I suspect that is a common attitude.


--
I'm not a sexist pig!
I'm a plain-old-everyday pig!


i tend to agree.... (1.50 / 2) (#38)
by techwolf on Thu Apr 11, 2002 at 02:37:24 PM EST

......until the government starts to stomp on the rest of my rights, such as my guns rights, and the free speach rights, ect.... the list goes on. I think we need to show the gorvernm,ents of tyhe world that power lay with THE F___ING PEOPLE NOT THEM!!
"The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government." - Thomas Jefferson
[ Parent ]
Not In My Back Yard! (none / 0) (#41)
by porkchop_d_clown on Thu Apr 11, 2002 at 02:43:23 PM EST

I dunno if people in other countries use the term "NIMBY" (Not In My Back Yard) to describe this phenomenon but it's a good description. People wouldn't have cared about Enron's links to different governments if they hadn't splattered all over so many stock portfolios.

It's a tough point - I mean, I often have opinions, strong opinions, (to quote W.) but real life keeps interfering with my ability to actually worry about Tony Blair's interactions with Indian businessmen.


--
I'm not a sexist pig!
I'm a plain-old-everyday pig!


[ Parent ]
NIMBY (5.00 / 3) (#52)
by Rk on Thu Apr 11, 2002 at 03:31:39 PM EST

NIMBY doesn't quite meet that definition. NIMBYs are people who oppose constructions that are necessary and/or desirable because they don't want to live nearby. Common targets of NIMBYism include power plants (include those that utilise renewable sources - I've heard of NIMBYs protesting against wind turbines before), airports (even though the same people have no problems with the advantages that air travel brings), waste disposal (understandable, but it needs to go *somewhere*), dams (not necessarily because their property will be flooded, rather because they don't want to live near such a building), large structures of a general nature (like high-rise buildings, congress centres, sports stadiums) and even plain new houses and/or offices.

NIMBYs oppose structures build withing a radius of x from there residence, where x is inversely proportional to how evil the structure is seen to be.

Environmentalists/conservationists/historic building preservers (for want of a more appropriate name), who generally reject the aforementioned structures, are not NIMBYs. In this sense, not caring about things that don't effect you is the opposite of NIMBYism, which is namely _only_ caring about things that effect you directly, damn the rest of the world. It's a kind of hypocrisy, like driving around an extra large SUV and then calling for the federal government to reduce sulphur dioxide emissions.

[Personal note - I live near a reasonably major airport (Zurich-Kloten, which had ~21m passengers last year) and people who moved into Kloten just a year ago and are now whinging about aircraft noise and demanding the federal goverment put all kind of restrictions on flights leaving or arriving at the airport, despite the fact that Zurich-Kloten already has some of Europe's strictest noise regulations, really get on my nerves.]

[ Parent ]
Two interpretations (none / 0) (#56)
by BlowCat on Thu Apr 11, 2002 at 04:04:19 PM EST

I think you are both right. I've seen both interpretations of NIMBY:

1) I don't care because it's not happening in my backyard (i.e. I don't care about the government)

2) Do it somewhere else but not in my backyard.

Its similar, but not the same.

[ Parent ]

Yep. (4.00 / 1) (#66)
by deefer on Thu Apr 11, 2002 at 06:53:22 PM EST

how evil the structure is seen to be.

And normally, this is translated into "how much will my property be worth when power station X fires up, compared to now ?"


Kill the baddies.
Get the girl.
And save the entire planet.

[ Parent ]

I feel a song coming on (4.40 / 5) (#53)
by epepke on Thu Apr 11, 2002 at 03:36:18 PM EST

This reminded me of a song by Frank Zappa called "Society Pages." I think it's oddly appropriate when talking about Enron:

You're the old lady from the society pages
From a small town somewhere I used to be.
You...
Owned the paper and a bunch of other stuff
That didn't appeal to me.

Old lady, old lady...

The hospital plans, your brother drew 'em up
You ran the paper and the charity ball.
Every day on the third or fourth page
There you was. You was quite the rage.

Somehow you was all kind of cheap and wrong
Just like in a lot of small towns where folks like you hang around too long
And pass out jobs to your relatives and such.
Long as the trash gets picked up
So long as the trash gets picked up
Just so the trash don't pile up
Someday you won't be on page three or page four any more.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
Interested? go read ... (2.00 / 1) (#55)
by jmd2121 on Thu Apr 11, 2002 at 03:49:01 PM EST


go read here


http://newslavery.org



[ Parent ]
Morals? (4.00 / 4) (#61)
by wurp on Thu Apr 11, 2002 at 05:00:50 PM EST

I am astounded by the lack of moral fortitude (or indeed, morality at all) that so many people seem to have!

You're telling me that as long as you're fat & happy, you don't care if other people are being beaten by cops for the way they look, or starving because local politics preclude them making a living wage, or if children are being pimped out?

I have problems overcoming my own apathy, but at least I know that I'm doing wrong when I take no action.
---
Buy my stuff
[ Parent ]
You're right. (none / 0) (#65)
by deefer on Thu Apr 11, 2002 at 06:51:02 PM EST

And I damn well wish you weren't.

What fuels the problem is the apathy and the indifference of your average voter. I'd like to say I'm different, but all of our eyes glaze over when the government promises us shiny things...

But we never collect.


Kill the baddies.
Get the girl.
And save the entire planet.

[ Parent ]

We should form (none / 0) (#93)
by wurp on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 09:56:18 AM EST

a support group. Maybe we can fire each other up into actually doing something about the sorry state of so many people's lives.
---
Buy my stuff
[ Parent ]
Am I blind? (2.00 / 1) (#98)
by HDwebdev on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 10:32:02 PM EST

I must have missed the part where he said (or even implied) 'i want people who look different to get beaten by cops'...

[ Parent ]
Where he implied... (5.00 / 1) (#99)
by wurp on Sat Apr 13, 2002 at 12:16:18 AM EST

that he didn't care if people who look funny are beaten by cops:

"As long the power flowes, the sewers work, the schools are open and I've got a job, all I want from my government is for them to leave me alone. I suspect that is a common attitude. "

This seems like a pretty strong implication, verging on directly stating, "I don't care what happens to anyone else, as long as things are nice for me."

The reason I went for those specific examples is that they are things that actually happen in the world, while our government (and us) are busy making us more comfortable and ignore the strife that goes on elsewhere.

It's possible that all he was saying is that he doesn't think it's the government's job to do anything more than he listed, and other organizations should be responsible for doing more than that. If so, I apologize for any implications that he is in any way morally deficient, but I still think the point stands: we are too damn busy spending what in other parts of the world would be very extravagant amounts of wealth making ourselves marginally more comfortable to help the people in the world who are really suffering.
---
Buy my stuff
[ Parent ]

Worse than a slave (4.00 / 1) (#89)
by freefall on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 06:20:10 AM EST

By resigning political power and will to your government, simply because it provides you with a seemingly good lifestyle, you're just a slave to the "hand that feeds you". But that is only the begining.

If it were up to them, the government would have everyone think like this. The less we care about government, the less we care about eachother and ourselves.

By ignoring the issues faced by your fellow man, you're reducing yourself to a lone slave of the system. You work, and consume and pay taxes, and keep this cycle going forever, without ever worrying about what's happening outside of your living room, away from your television. This is an insane way of living, if I've ever seen one.

Political apathy is a disgracefull and primitive state of being.

[ Parent ]
Tell me that (3.00 / 1) (#95)
by porkchop_d_clown on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 02:49:34 PM EST

Tell me that after you've spent a few years struggling to pay the bills and raise a family.

Sorry, dude, but a given human being has a finite intellect. When all your time and ability is consumed by day to day problems do you really expect someone to spend a lot of energy worrying about things that might be problems for someone else?

And in any case, you didn't even read the whole post. Like any good American, I expect my government to leave me alone. As opposed to say, Europe, where the governments basically own their citizens lock stock and health plan.


--
Uhhh.... Where did I drop that clue?
I know I had one just a minute ago!


[ Parent ]
paying taxes (4.42 / 7) (#42)
by khallow on Thu Apr 11, 2002 at 02:47:44 PM EST

I don't know all of Enron's tricks for avoiding taxes, but a common trick that companies use pushes taxes onto their employees (though the employees get extra compensation for it). Namely, a company gives an employee stock options and then performs an accounting trick when the employee exercises the option. The difference between the strike price and the actual price of the stock is treated as a loss on the company's books - even though the average company creates and issues the share for this occasion. Hence, a significant portion of profit can be hidden via stock options. I've heard that Microsoft has managed to avoid taxes for several years in this way.

OTOH, the employee pays taxes (or if the amount is sufficient, the alternate minimum tax) on the difference between the strike price and the current market prices. Hence, the move effectively shifts some of the tax burden from the employer to employee. The point is that saying "Enron didn't pay taxes in four out of five years" neglects that its employees paid significant extra taxes through exercising stock options.

Stating the obvious since 1969.

Cisco too (3.66 / 3) (#51)
by pbryson on Thu Apr 11, 2002 at 03:31:23 PM EST

A couple years ago I remember hearing something about Cisco not paying much tax, and it being related to stock options. I'd venture a guess that it was the same scenerio you mentioned.


- - - - - - - - -
Paul
http://www.technocore.org
- - - - - - - - -

[ Parent ]
hrm well what about things like the IMF? (none / 0) (#90)
by xjnfx on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 06:28:29 AM EST

who live out tax free existences...while our (or at least my [i dont know wherew you are]) politicians make meaningless tax breaks to the public...

[ Parent ]
IMF isn't a corporation (none / 0) (#94)
by khallow on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 01:02:25 PM EST

I'm not sure what the legal status of the IMF is, but it certainly isn't a corporation. My guess is that it simply isn't beholding to US law as an entity chartered under international treaty.

Stating the obvious since 1969.
[ Parent ]

Enron and Argentina (4.40 / 5) (#62)
by jazzido on Thu Apr 11, 2002 at 05:09:36 PM EST

The vast majority of argentinians agree that Menem, president in the 89-99 period made the country fall on its knees, among other things, by doing everything the Bush family would ask him.

This article is about one of those things:
[...]Enron, for its part, couldn't have appointed an Argentine president more favorable to its interests. A right-wing follower of Juan Peron, Menem was eager to open his country to American enterprise -- and his own lavish spending. He took to traveling with a huge entourage aboard Tango-01, his $66- million presidential jet. The Bushes took an immediate liking to him. The day after the 1989 election, Neil Bush arrived in Buenos Aires for a tennis match with the president-elect. The following year, President Bush made the first of eight trips to see Menem, becoming the first U.S. chief executive since Eisenhower to visit Argentina.

--
"Patriotism is the last resource of scoundrels" (Samuel Johnson)

people love big corporations (none / 0) (#91)
by turmeric on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 09:13:02 AM EST

its sort of like having a favorite football team or being patriotic, except that there is the vague promise that if you join the 'team' then you will get a shitload of stock dividends or maybe even get hired and payed a shitload of money, as your corporate 'team' beats the crap out of the competition and takes all the money for themselves, and you. i mean, who would want to be on the losing corporate team? no money in that!

Huh? (none / 0) (#96)
by porkchop_d_clown on Fri Apr 12, 2002 at 02:53:34 PM EST

I've never run into anyone who "rooted" for a corporation. I know lots of people who work for them because they don't want the risks involved in working for a small company, or as an independent, but I can't think of any

--
Uhhh.... Where did I drop that clue?
I know I had one just a minute ago!


[ Parent ]
The Real Cabal - Corporate Government | 101 comments (88 topical, 13 editorial, 0 hidden)
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