Tags: Using | Enron | Protect | Political | Power

Using Enron to Protect Political Power

Wednesday, 13 February 2002 12:00 AM

This may prove to be the biggest problem with Enron. Power-mad Beltway politicians are on the verge of passing one of their pet pieces of legislation – something they call "campaign finance reform."

Now – before we go further – know this. The VAST majority of Americans do not care about campaign finance reform.

They have seen people associated with Enron donate huge sums of money to the Republican Party – and get nothing for it. So much for the crying need for reform.

How much money do you think Enron donated to various Republican politicians? The answer is easy. I've memorized it. The answer, expressed in dollars, is ZERO.

Let's try again to put this in perspective.

Have you ever heard of Emily's List? Emily's List is a feminist group that solicits donations and then gives that money to leftist female candidates for public office.

Last year Emily's List gave nearly $8 million to these leftist-feminist candidates. That is more money than Enron donated to politicians (in soft money and through the employees' political action committee) since 1990.

So – why the big push? Because the true purpose of campaign finance reform is not to curb the political influence of big donors. The true purpose is to make it harder to unseat political incumbents.

Let me tell you what this campaign finance reform bill would do.

Let's say you are concerned about a proposed highway project that is to be funded with federal money. You organize a group of neighbors to fight the project. You solicit donations from interested parties to assist you in your fight. You do everything right in creating your special interest group. Dot every "i" and cross every "t."

Then you go to the candidates for Congress. The Democrat supports the project, the Republican opposes it. You decide to place an ad on local television urging your neighbors and other interested parties to vote for the Republican because the Democrat wants to bulldoze about 150 houses to make way for a new highway.

Uh oh. You have a problem. The election is only four weeks away. The television station tells you that you can't place your ad.

Why not? Because the election is less than 30 days away and you can't place any "issue ads" on television that name a particular candidate. So much for your right to political free speech.

It isn't a campaign finance reform act, friends. It's an incumbent protection act, and they're about to cram it down your unsuspecting throats.

And speaking of issue ads – some group is running ads in South Dakota criticizing Tom Daschle for killing the economic stimulus bill. The group funding the ad is called the "Committee for Growth," or something like that. It is not affiliated with the Republican Party or any Republican candidate.

Joseph Lieberman is not happy about this ad. He calls it a "gutter ad." He is demanding that President Bush immediately take whatever steps he can to see that this ad is removed from the South Dakota airways. Old Joe is just beside himself over this ad critical of his pal Tom Daschle.

Turn back the clock. It's the 2000 presidential election. The NAACP, a group all but joined at the hip with the Democratic Party, is running ads that essentially blame the death of James Byrd in Texas on Bush. Byrd is the man who was chained to a pickup truck and dragged to his death.

Byrd's daughter says in that ad that when Bush failed to sign a new "hate crime" law in Texas it was as if her father had been killed all over again. (Texas already had a hate crime law, by the way, and two of the killers have been sentenced to death.)

Since Lieberman was the vice presidential candidate at the time, he was asked to denounce the ad and ask that it be removed from the airwaves. Lieberman refused. He would neither denounce the ad nor ask for its removal.

How do you spell "hypocrite"?

Children shouldn't fly on commercial airliners. They're too noisy and ill-behaved. Besides, what do you think minivans are for?

If rug rats DO fly commercial, only allow them to cart their insipid little multicolored rolling carry-on bags if they contain clothes, not toys.

Is there a member of the Senate who sounds more addle-brained and mentally distorted than Fritz "Foghorn" Hollings of South Carolina?

I heard Colin Powell referred to as a "black American" on Jeopardy last night. Makes sense. How can you call a Jamaican an "African-American"?

I screwed up and went to a restaurant in Alpharetta ... America's most regulated city … last night. When they carded my wife for a glass of wine, we got up and left.

A praiseworthy death. His name is Jack Henry Abbott. While in prison he wrote some letters to Norman Mailer. Mailer made those letters into a book. The book helped free Abbott. After he was free, he murdered another innocent person. Thanks, Norman. Now Abbot has hanged himself in his cell.

OK … let's see if we can make it even rougher on people who still travel by commercial airlines.

They've adopted one of those stupid "30 minute" rules for all commercial airliners bound for Salt Lake City. The rule? You can't leave your seat for the last 30 minutes of the flight.

Well – it happened Saturday. Some idiot named Richard Bizarro took it upon himself to ignore two warnings from the captain and the flight crew ... and he got up to use the restroom soon after the 30-minute rule went into effect.

When he came out of the restroom, he tried to stare down the flight attendant who told him to return to his seat. At that point the air marshals went into action.

OK … so this clown decided to test the rules, and he was arrested. Now – get this. He is facing the possibility of 20 years in prison.

Just a bit excessive, don't you think, for a man who took a leak five minutes too late? Remember, at 25 minutes left in the flight that airplane was still 200 miles from SLC.

But it gets worse. These air marshals decided that it would be a good idea for all of the passengers to put their hands on their heads for the rest of the flight. Just think about this – you pay hundreds of bucks to fly to SLC and you spend about 25 percent of the flight with your hands on top of your head looking like you're being marched to a jail cell.

What idiocy.

As I was going through some e-mail to the show last night, it occurred to me that we're seeing a big increase in letters from folks wanting some type of term limits on members of Congress.

Look – I agree with you, but I have to tell you to just give up on this one. Term limits aren't going to happen.

You need to know two things: First, the vast majority of politicians – and we're talking 95 percent or more here – who DO promise to limit their time in Washington will go back on their word when the promised quitting time arrives.

Second, politicians will work through the courts to overturn any term-limit law that is passed by the people they represent.

OK … so the snowboarders won a few medals in Salt Lake City. Big deal. They took the wheels off their skateboards and did well. As soon as the snow melts, their skateboarding brethren will be back on the streets defacing stair railings, park benches, concrete walls and anything else they can find to mow down with the tools of their trade.

Did you hear one of the winners yesterday? He said it was "rad!" Gag me.

Those of you who spend any time on our ski slopes will know that snowboarders are a menace. Sure, there are exceptions – but for the most part they are rude on the slopes and foul in the lift lines.

They have enough studs, rings and other adornments sticking out of their eyebrows, noses, lips and God knows what else to set off a metal detector five miles away.

They show little, if any, courtesy for other skiers. You can hear their laughter as they go ripping through a family group in the middle of the slope – and the shouts of "rad!" as they disappear into the woods.

The Pepsi Cola people hired a bunch of snowboarders and bicycle motocross athletes to run something called the Mountain Dew Ice Village at the Olympics. These kids are staying at the Beta Theta Pi house on Greek Row at the University of Utah. Things aren't going well there.

Neighbors report "guys in the street until all hours, broken beer bottles everywhere and broken mirrors on parked cars." Apparently the frat house has been trashed.

Could someone please give me a list of ski resorts that don't allow snowboarders? Even ones with medals?

An Australian insurance group looked at automobile accidents and tallied them according to the astrological sign of the drivers. The worst drivers? "Geminis – typically described as restless, easily bored and frustrated by things moving slowly, had more car accidents than any other sign."

They were followed by Taurus and Pisces. "Taureans were thought to be obstinate and inflexible, while Pisceans could be risk-takers and dare devils."

The best drivers are Capricorns. Here's the complete list. Looks like Aries are right there in the middle. That would be Royal and me. Belinda's a Virgo. We don't ride with her.

As they are apt to do, colleges and universities around the country are developing courses that study important events, in this case the 9-11 attacks. Most are legitimate, such as Georgetown's "The U.S., the Middle East and the War on Terrorism" or Harvard's "The Economics of National Security."

But then we look to California and find "Terrorism and Sexuality" at Cal State Hayward, in which wars are described as a form of eroticism for those "patriarchs" who fight them, and also UCLA's "Terrorism and the Politics of Knowledge" about America's "record of imperialistic adventurism."

Cal State Hayward professor Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, a former activist with such homegrown terror groups as Students for a Democratic Society and the Weather Underground, says her "Terrorism and Sexuality" course covers the feminist perspective on 9-11 and its aftermath. And she makes no attempt to hide her contempt for the current wave of patriotism, which she equates with terrorism.

"I have no obligation to be loyal to any government that I don't feel is just – free speech is free speech," Dunbar-Ortiz said.

So, a former domestic terrorist is teaching a college course on America the Terrorist. What a country.

I hope you listeners haven't received 10,000 copies of "The Ant and the Grasshopper" as I have. But in case you have and can still stomach the idea of stories with a moral, check out these fairy tales rewritten for today's more touchy-feely crowd.

There's "Hansel and Gretel," "The Fisherman and the Fish," "The Three Billy Goats Gruff," "The Three Little Pigs" and a much shorter version of "The Ant and the Grasshopper."

Here's a moving example.

The first and second billy goats gruff were stopped from going across a bridge to get food by a troll. Then the biggest and baddest billy goat gruff showed up. He told the troll he was going to kick his ass. That greatly upset the first and second of the billy goats gruff who accused the third billy goat gruff of "hegemony" and "imperialism" and said that negotiation was the way to go. So the third billy goat gruff went away. Unfortunately, the troll refused to negotiate and the first two billy goats gruff starved to death.

The Moral of the Story: It's better to starve to death than to fight!

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This may prove to be the biggest problem with Enron.Power-mad Beltway politicians are on the verge of passing one of their pet pieces of legislation - something they call campaign finance reform. Now - before we go further - know this.The VAST majority of Americans do...
Wednesday, 13 February 2002 12:00 AM
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