Just a note of appreciation and thanks for Ms. Margot McMillen's piece entitled "No Strings" (3/1/02 TPP) We citizens have to reawaken our political will and activism from it's Rip van Winkle sleep and fight against this corrupt, corporate triad of Agribusiness, Chemical and Pharmaceutical industries. If the American people really wanted the Agribusiness giants, or other giant industry cartels like them, to be subsidized with our tax dollars, our representatives on Capitol Hill would pass the bills through the Congress and Senate with names like: The Mega Agriconglomerate Enrichment Program, or, Dump Unbelievable Amounts of Pesticides on Colombia Act, or the Paperwork Redundancy and Freedom to Own Multiple Vacation Homes bill. But we get names like: The Freedom to Farm program, or, Plan Colombia, or the Patient's Bill of Rights. Why? Because these corporately funded politicians know most Americans want the small family farmer to succeed. Most Americans aren't interested in Dow Chemical's bottom line. Most Americans would prefer access to universal health care. The names of these corporate welfare bills are written in order to deceive us as to who will actually benefit from them.
Remember ADM's corrupt price-fixing [executive], being quoted as saying that the consumer is ADM's enemy and their competitor's are their friend? "The nature of what's to come" evidently doesn't include small family farmers who work for an honest living? The protests against the WTO in Seattle, the World Bank and IMF protests and Ralph Nader's presidential campaign have really begun to rattle the elite's confidence. Scared, you say? Have you seen the proliferation of new commercials recently with angry protesters in the background? Madison Avenue is evidently not content with branding cars and soda pop anymore, but is being paid to smear and dismiss protesters; such as, those who follow their conscience and fight for social justice. These new ads portray civic activists as burnt out, '60's era hippie time warps. Like the glassy eyed guy staring at someone driving a shiny SUV droning "You must change. You must change." Or that soda ad using a Danny DeVito puppet, where all the protesters are very small, don't you know, and the executive's face lying in the lounge chair is anonymous. Humm. You know, don't look at the man behind the curtain (containing scoundrels like Kenneth Lay, working the puppets of government) just be like them. Conform and you'll be a winner. Protesters, they imply, are just whining losers. King George III probably called those protesters who refused to pay the tea tax losers too. But were they?
Charles A. Robinson
The facts keep dribbling out and it is becoming obvious that Enron executives were running a giant pyramid scheme. Even the pro-corporation corporate media is reporting this indisputable fact, but they have taken great care to avoid addressing a major implication.
G.W. Bush occupies the White House thanks to intervention by the Supreme Court, not because he actually won the election. He came close enough to winning to allow this, thanks to unprecedented contributions from Corporate America and Enron was his number one contributor. Democrats as well as Republicans who received contributions from Enron as well are "returning" Enron contributions by sending equivalent amounts to Enron Employee relief organizations and etc. That's nice, but the damage has been done. The votes that this stolen money bought need to be returned as well.
How the heck can you do that you ask? Very simple! Just transfer the % votes equivalent to the % campaign contributions received from Enron to opponents the politician defeated. If, after doing so, the politician would still have won, he or she can remain in office. If the transfer gives the opponent enough votes to win, the election results should be overturned.
In most cases, the election results would stand. As G.W. Bush actually lost the election without a transfer of votes, he might as well head for Texas immediately and all the pay offs to contributors he has arranged while in the White House should be undone.
A rare moment of epiphany ... anger over the destruction of our most basic civil liberties, fear of the coming collapse of the hyperinflated economy, wonder at our leaders' official embrace of Mossad-style interrogation techniques and keeping over a thousand human beings in isolated jails indefinitely without charging them, the infestation of our highest corridors of power with the corporate slimeys stealing their most poorly paid workers' futures ... the solution hits me! Torture Ken Lay until the *?#%! talks.
"How do you know when a politician is lying?" "His lips are moving."
Over and over people seem to be bewildered by the fact that Bush loudly proclaims one thing while doing something else; claiming to be "The Education President" while gutting support for education; listening to him swear that Enron got no help from the administration; watching while Abraham destroys energy policy, and proclaiming that we cannot afford one vital program after another while spending billions of dollars in destroying a country which was already destroyed. (How many children could you raise up to Harvard standards for the cost of ONE "Big Blue" daisycutter bomb?)
What people don't understand is that Bush's total political philosophy is informed by two factors; first, that his grandfather Prescott was one of Adolf Hitler's chief financiers; without him and Montague Norman, Hitler would never have come to be the power he was, and so not have been the force behind a lot of problems &emdash; but Bush still apparently believes Fascism to be a good idea (Ashcroft, etc.), and second, the Ronald Reagan Government Program philosophy, which can be summed up as follows: "Appoint avowed enemies of a program to head it; if it survives, it deserved to." Only Bush has carried it to absurd extremes &emdash; extremes Reagan never dared to, because he did not have a Congress of pussycats, as Bush has. And therein lies the problem. What we are supposed to have in this country is a system of checks and balances; what we actually have is a system of checks; bearing signatures like Ken Lay, or officers of Wyeth, Merck, Sharp & Dohme, ADM, Exxon, etc. We have a government of the acquiescent by the corrupt, and I have no simple solution for it except to suggest that if we made it a policy to routinely vote AGAINST anyone who has been in office more than four years, because it takes that long to become fully co-opted, we might get better government!
Edward G. Robles
Senator Daschle is right to challenge the administration's ongoing strategy and funding for the continuation and expansion of the war on terrorism; that's his job. If someone had challenged Enron's leadership and funding operations, many thousands of employees and investors would be better off today.
Following the attack on America, the administration asked for, and received, a "blank check" to fund the toppling of the Taliban, the destruction of Osama's al-Qaeda network, and the creation of the department of Homeland Security. Yet, they now bristle at the suggestion that they should be held accountable for results. True, the Taliban have been removed from governance, but where is Omar and his senior officials? What assurances are there that they are not now merely planning for their return to power? True, the al-Qaeda network has seemingly been disrupted, but where is Osama? More importantly, where are Osama's senior officials? There were initial estimates of over 3,000 al-Qaeda operatives in Afghanistan, yet, there are less than 500 al-Qaeda detainees! Where are they? There are now reports they are indeed re-grouping within Afghanistan to continue their "holy war." Although Americans feel safer on the homefront, the al-Qaeda "sleepers" reported to be in this country are still on the loose. Where are they? Why haven't they been apprehended? Why hasn't our domestic "anthraxer" been locked up? Why has there been such a meager meaningful accomplishment here at home?
In recognition of an ongoing expenditure of $1 billion per day, Americans expect there will be an ongoing accountability for results. Senator Daschle's courageous leadership should be applauded. The hysterical grousing of Senator Lott and Representative DeLay is a reflection of their failed leadership.
The same folks who want accountability in the Department of Education DON'T want it in the Department of Defense.
The same folks who DON'T want Darwinian Evolution taught in school want to turn America into a Social Darwinian lab.
The same folks who want to destroy every visage of Saddam Hussein in Iraq want to erect a statue of Ronald Reagan in every county in the United States, put him on money and Mount Rushmore.
The same folks who loudly profess a belief in the After Life are the last ones to want to go to Their Reward; 'tho they are more than willing for you to go ahead of them and will gladly send you on your way defending their lives and way of life.
The same folks who make millions performing "miracles" head to the doctor when they even suspect something is wrong with them, not to another "healer".
The same folks who don't want to pay taxes want to enjoy what taxes fund.
The same folks who condemn others for having several wives at once are most likely to practice serial monogamy.
The same folks who are sickened by those who "crawl into the bottle" to solve their problems are most likely to "crawl into the Bible" to solve theirs, with much the same results.
Chris Lane Gray
About two weeks ago [in February], I was watching CNN and heard Sen. Ernest Hollings [D-S.C.] address the Congress. He was speaking on the national debt report he had received that morning on the Internet NationalDebt.com. The report showed that the National Debt had not reduced by one cent but rather had been rising by around $350 billion a day. The debt owed the Social Security over $2.7 trillion. Sen. Hollings had stated a few years earlier that if the national debt would be decreased by any amount, that he would jump off the Capitol Dome. He stated there was no reduction in the debt now or in the future and the risk of him having to jump off the Capitol Dome would not happen in his lifetime.
A Bay Area newspaper does print the national debt a couple of times a week on the financial page. I have followed the debt report for over a year and have found no reduction in the debt.
Congress may claim to have balanced the Federal budget but they have failed to factor into the budget the $400 billion trade deficit. The $400 billion trade deficit far exceeds the so-called budget savings.
Editor's Note: According to the US Treasury's Public Debt Online (www.publicdebt.treas.gov), while the national debt did consistently rise from $2.3 trillion on Sept. 30, 1987, to $6 trillion on Feb. 28, 2002, it fell by $26 billion on March 1. It resumed growing the next day and reached $5,991,318,519,771.93 as of March 7.
The Enron corruption should be a wake up call for all politicians, and surely a realization that this mess is just the tip of the iceberg. What about Monsanto, Con-Agra, Archer Daniel Midland (ADM) and other giant agri-businesses. With hundreds of millions of dollars at their disposal for campaign contributions and hiring lobbyist, they're able to control government policies, keeping commodity prices low to the farmer, so they can continually rake in obscene profits selling high to the consumer. Government regulations exist to protect the public from concentrated economic powers. But what good are existing regulation if they are not enforced? There are anti-trust laws violated on a regular bases. Merging conglomerates seem to be able to operate above the law, with no fear of prosecution because of their vast wealth and political clout. If they are fined, its just considered the cost of doing business. It's time for President Bush to do what President Teddy Roosevelt did. Stop taking money from them. Break them up into smaller companies. The love of money and power leads to corruption. If our leaders don't have the back bone to do it, then we need to find some that will.
Have a good day.
Idaho Falls, Ida.
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