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GLOBAL TRENDS - EDITORIAL
An Annex Research Editorial: Who Says Money Cannot Buy Presidency, Favors?
Enron’s Peons, Unocal’s Yokels
Bush League All-Stars
"Death Merchants," Oil Companies, Hijack U.S. Foreign Policy as Americans Act as Volunteer Hostages
PHOENIX, Feb. 4 - Who says money cannot buy a presidency? Yes, even Presidency of the United States. It’s just that the bigger the office, the bigger the price… But also the bigger the returns to the buyers of political favors.
Enter Enron’s Ken Lay, Bush Sr.’s close pal, by far the brightest of the Bush League All-Stars. With over $2.5 million in his own and corporate political contributions, Lay was by far the biggest financial supporter of “Dubya’s” campaigns. Which is why the President’s claim sounded so lame when he tried to deflect the blame. He said that Lay/Enron supported the Democrats. True… to the tune of less than half a million dollars. But the Bush League Republicans got more than $2 million from the failed energy company and its former chief (see the chart and Bush League table).
Besides, Lay spread his fortune around. This erstwhile political power broker seemed to try to buy favors left, right and center. He and his wife, for example, neither of them Jewish, were the biggest donors to the Holocaust Museum in Houston, agreeing to fund 10% of the museum’s $3 million budget, according to "Actualité juive", a French Jewish weekly (Jan. 24 issue). They also got our Pretzel Prez to be the guest of honor at a fund-raising dinner for the museum in March of last year.
(Also see, “Enron’s Croat Connection,” Appendix A of this report).
From social to economic influence, Lay and Enron had their fingerprints all over the Bush administration. In fact, “Enron’s One Good Return (Was) Political Investments,” read the headline of a Jan. 31 editorial by Wall Street Journal’s Albert Hunt.
Which is why when George W. Bush did an abrupt turn-about-face on Jan. 23 - from supporting Lay/Enron to criticizing both - he committed the ultimate sin of a politician and of the members of the world’s oldest profession. He didn’t stay bought! (“the only honest politician is one who stays bought,” according to an old political saw).
By contrast, Pretzel Prez’s Veep, Dick Cheney, isn’t even trying to distance himself from his ties to Lay/Enron. Claiming that he is supposedly protecting the executive privilege, Cheney has refused to release the details of his various meetings with Lay which were said to influence the Bush administration’s energy policy. In turn, the GAO office is now suing the White House in order to gain access to the transcripts of those meetings (talk about arrogance and obstinacy… one government branch having to sue another to get information!).
This much is clear… Lay/Enron first lobbied Washington to support a huge power plant in India which the World Bank called a white elephant eight years ago. Then it tried extortion (threat of Washington sanctions) to get $2 billion from India’s government. Writes the Journal’s Hunt:
“Vice President Cheney, on June 27, lobbied Indian opposition leader, Sonia Gandhi, on behalf of Enron, shortly after the Cheney energy task force specifically recommended promoting energy production India. What was Enron's role? Mr. Cheney won't say…
The Enron/India episode undercuts the administration's contention that it only followed its free-market principles. Treasury Secretary O'Neill approvingly noted that, "The genius of capitalism is people make good or bad decisions and they get to pay the consequences or enjoy the fruits."
Enron failed in India and, under a controversial and contested contract, wanted to be bailed out. Irrespective of whether a failure to do so would have hurt foreign investment in India, was it the role of the American government to seek such a favor for a big campaign contributor?”
Hunt answers his own rhetorical question:
Michael Jordan good for the NBA? Is Helen Hunt a great actress? Is Madonna
Of course, Enron/Lay were buying favors when they made huge contributions to the Bush campaign. India was just one of many episodes that illustrate that money can and does buy power and influence in our corrupt political system:
“Few special interests got more access
or results than Enron: legislative favors, a lax oversight of its risky
financial derivatives, tax breaks, unsurpassed input into the Cheney
energy legislation drafting process and most of what it wanted, and
reportedly even veto authority over regulatory appointees.
successes soured only when the company's fortunes turned south last
October. It was, as Democrats James Carville and Paul Begala charge,
"like the hooker who fell out of love with the sailor after he ran
out of money".”
Or like a politician who doesn’t “stay bought.”
And now, politicians of such low morals as Bush and Cheney are leading the nation into a flag-waving frenzy and an open-ended “war on terrorism.” That was as predictable as it is pathetic. “Dubya Dubya Dubya Dot Warmonger Dot Com,” was a sub-heading of a Bulletin published at a time the dot-coms were still worth something (see “Weep Mankind!” - Jul 26, 2000).
More than 18 months later, tens of thousands of lives extinguished by war can perhaps help mankind understand better why our headline for the July 2000 news story about Cheney being picked by Dubya for his Veep was “Weep Mankind!” As chairman and CEO of Halliburton, the 22nd largest Pentagon contractor with about $600 million in Department of Defense (DOD) revenues in 2000, Cheney was in the war business. As Dubya’s Veep, Cheney is in the war business. Cheney, the epitome of the New World Order’s motto - “perpetual war for perpetual commerce,” has been working on both sides of the Washington-“Death Merchants” revolving door for 34 years. And it shows…
Long time Annex Research readers may recall our Kosovo wartime story, "War Is Great; Peace Sucks; Long Live NATO!" (Annex Bulletin 99-13, May 19, 1999).
“Wall Street investors who backed the "death merchants" have seen the Top 10 Pentagon defense contractors' stocks outperform the market (the S&P 500 index) by a 2.5-to-one ratio since March 23 (+15% vs. +6%), the day before the shooting war started in Yugoslavia.
After lagging (behind) the S&P during the first three weeks of NATO's war on Serbia, the Top 10 Pentagon stocks surged ahead in mid-April, and stayed ahead of the market, as it became evident that this war could drag on. And as Congress started to deliberate the White House's request for additional $12 billion of funding for the Pentagon.
even before this request, and before the shooting war started on Mar.
24, the new Day of Infamy, the U.S. defense budget for fiscal year
1999 and beyond had been already increased by the Clinton administration.
The White House requested in February an additional $112 billion in
Pentagon spending over the next five years, bringing the Pentagon's budget
up to $319 billion by 2005.”
We’ve just updated our study of the Top 50 Pentagon contractors’ business volumes for 2000. And guess which company has benefited the most in 1998-2000 from the increases in military spending? Surprise, surprise… It was Cheney’s Halliburton! It topped ALL OTHER (!) “death merchants” by growing its Pentagon-related business by 108% (see the chart and Top 50 by spending increase table at our web site).
The business wasn’t too shabby for the rest of the top Pentagon contractors, either. The top 10 military vendors’ revenues, for example, increased by 26% between 1998 and 2000, while their stock prices surged by 40% during the same period.
On the global scene, the U.S. arms manufacturers’ 2000 sales surged by 44% since 1999, to $18.6 billion, topping all other international “death merchants,” and accounting for exactly half of all global arms sales. Russia was a distant second with $7.7 billion of revenues, but with an even higher (60%) annual increase.
And just think… the global “death merchants” had collected such impressive New World Order “peace dividends” long before the Bush administration took power, and well before the Sep. 11 attacks. As the WTC towers collapsed, the “death merchant” fortunes surged. The post-911 world promised to be a free-for-all feast for the military contractors and energy companies. And a sunset for a civilized world.
Wasting no time for chance to gouge the flag-waving public, the Bush administration has already marshaled huge increases in our nation’s defense spending (an additional $59 billion in fiscal 2003 alone; $675 billion over the next 10 years - see the chart). No wonder the shares of the top Pentagon contractors are thriving on Wall Street.
The Raytheon stock, for example, the nation’s third largest defense contractor with $6.3 billion in DOD revenues in 2000, closed at $23.95 on Sep. 10 - the 52 week LOW. Raytheon closed at $38.27 on Jan. 31 - a 52-week HIGH!
So Wall Street knows what Washington’s “war against terrorism” is all about, even if the naïve, flag-waiving Main Street Americans don’t. The U.S. taxpayers are hostages of the “death merchants” and energy companies, and of their Washington peons at “Dubya Dubya Dubya Dot Warmonger Dot Com.” Willy-nilly, we have been all harnessed (by our stupidity and gullibility) into supporting the Bush League jihad against jihad; into cheering and funding acts of state terrorism in the name of fighting individual terrorism. And for the sole benefit of Enron’s, Lockheed’s, Boeing’s, Raytheon’s or Halliburton’s of the corporate world.
If the flag-waving U.S. public weren’t as stupefied as it is, Americans would be waving the stars and stripes upside-down - a sign of distress. For, we’ve lost thousands of innocent lives because of the hatred Washington’s policies have sowed; we’ve lost our dignity by stooping down to the terrorists’ level; we’ve lost respect of other nations around the world, even of our friends and allies; we are losing freedoms and rights enshrined in our Constitution for which our forefathers died in the American Revolution; and now… we are about to lose our shirts, too, once the new military budget is implemented.
And just think… we’ve lost all that just so that a some “death merchants” and energy companies could make a few extra bucks.
And what’s the American public doing about it? In a word - cheering! About 82% of Americans approve of the job George W. Bush is doing as president, according to a Wall Street Journal/NBC poll taken Jan. 18-21, and published in the Jan. 24 edition of the Wall Street Journal. As to the Enron scandal, 40% of Americans “are not particularly concerned” about the Bush administration, according to the same poll.
This writer hangs his head in shame. As a free-thinking American. For once, this “truthmongering” editor wishes the media had lied. For, that would be less painful than having to reconcile oneself to being surrounded by so many morons.
And what are the leading American business executives doing about having their business interests hijacked and held hostage by a bunch of industrial era dinosaurs? (“death merchants” and oil companies). In a word - nothing! Well, maybe not quite nothing. Having allowed their businesses to be sucked into the national flag-waving frenzy, they are sticking the stars and stripes on their office buildings, products, vehicles… lest they be ostracized as “unpatriotic.”
In other words, they are acting like shepherds who allow themselves to be led by the sheep. Which, in turn, are following the wolves in sheep’s clothing - straight to the slaughterhouse (see “Ostriches, Sheep and Sardines,” Oct. 1999 Sydney, Australia, lecture, and Chronicles magazine column - “A Bear in Sheep’s Clothing”, Dec. 1998).
For, using our flag for commercial purposes is a crass, disrespectful, disgraceful, despicable... desecration of everything for which the Old Glory stands. Even the Wall Street Journal acknowledged that (see "Marketers Tread Precarious Terrain", Feb. 5). Business leaders should be educating the public about the real patriotism and dignity, not pandering to the crowd's lowest instincts.
Besides, a war economy is not necessarily good for everyone’s business, as America’s industrial warmongers would have us believe. Airline, health care, tourism, transportation, insurance, IT companies… are only some among several industries whose leaders should be voicing their dissent but aren’t.
In fact, few American executives are even bothering to define their unique business interests, let alone oppose the direction in which they are being pulled by their noses by “death merchants’” and oil companies’ Washington proxies. Given the herding mentality that’s now pervading our country, like the American people, most business leaders feel dissent would be considered “unpatriotic.”
This writer hangs his head in shame. Again. This time, as an independent American businessman.
Because a herding mentality and blind one-mindedness have led to creations of yesteryear’s bogeymen, like Adolf Hitler. The moment business leaders and the German people stopped questioning and started obediently following their popular leader in the 1930s, their fate was sealed. Are Americans today making the same mistake?
One comforting thought... “Don't be afraid of anything except of sin,” His Holiness, Serb Patriarch Pavle, counseled this writer in September 1995, right after NATO commenced its first bombing of the Bosnian Serbs (see “Orthodox Patriarch Leads by Example,” Washington Times, Feb. 9, 1997). For, God “will weigh everything precisely and fairly,” he said.
Including the sins of globalist “elites,” such as Ken Lay and Enron’s Peons. And the stupidity of the “panem and circenses” (“bread and games”)-infatuated materialistic masses. And the cowardice of business leaders who fail to lead.
In the end, we will all get what we deserve.
Happy bargain hunting!
Enron's Croat Connection
- Just how wide and deep the tentacles of Enron’s corruption have
reached can be also seen from a Jan. 31 story in the Financial Times
(London), filed from Budapest.
“In one meeting, Mr (Franjo) Tudjman (Croatia’s late
president) asked Joseph Sutton, head of Enron's international operations,
how much influence his company had with the US state department and
whether it could arrange WTO (World Trade Organization) entry,” the FT
writes. "Mr Sutton said he could not promise WTO membership, but
guaranteed that Enron and the US would lobby for Croatia's entry into the
WTO, Partnership for Peace and Nato."
even tried to link the Enron deal with avoiding arrests by the
International War Crimes Tribunal at the Hague over the his and his
government’s war crimes against the Serb minority in this small Balkans
an excerpt from that FT report:
The Enron collapse may have finally ended a long-running scandal over relations between the US energy company and the semi-authoritarian government of the late Croatian president, Franjo Tudjman.
Mr Tudjman, who led Croatia through independence, negotiated a controversial memorandum of understanding with Enron before his death in December 1999. It would have given Enron rights to build a power station in Croatia and run it for 20 years, selling electricity to HEP, the state electricity company, at above-market rates.
Questions about the deal intensified after Mr Tudjman's death and the election, in January 2000, of a democratic government. Tapes of conversations show that Mr Tudjman hoped giving Enron the contract would secure political favours, including a state visit to Washington.
After renegotiation, Enron is thought to have retained the right to build a power station and sell electricity to HEP at above-market rates, though lower than previously. That contract expires this summer, though details are unclear due to confidentiality agreements.
Enron's power deliveries to Croatia ended
on November 30, when other European deliveries ceased. The power station
has not been built. The
deal's legacy, however, may be the light it sheds on Mr Tudjman in his
later years - and on Enron's readiness to and play along with his
Croatia had been isolated politically -
particularly by the European Union - over treatment of Serbs during the
offensive that ended its war of independence.
For the full FT story, see “Enron’s curious Croatian client”.
Also see… “End of Folly, Not of World” (Annex Bulletin 2001-18, Sep. 26, 2001)
Volume XVIII, No. 2002-04
Editor: Bob Djurdjevic
P.O. Box 97100, Phoenix, Arizona
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