Tuesday, July 30, 2002

Fascinating tale of collapse

The Washington Post has a series of articles on the collapse of Enron. Strange that they keep mentioning Republican this, Republican that, but the actions that lead to ultimate collapse pre-date Bush.

From Concerns Grow Amid Conflicts, article 3 of 5:

His [Robert J. Hermann, then the company's top tax attorney and a managing director] tax department made a huge and unique contribution to Enron's bottom line. Members of his staff, working with some of the most prominent banks and law firms in the nation, engineered a series of intricate tax-reduction transactions that had boosted Enron's reported profits by nearly $1 billion between 1995 and 2000.
(Emphasis mine.)

From Visionary's Dream Led to Risky Business, article 1 of 5:

In the 1990s, banks and law firms began aggressively peddling "structured finance," complex deals in which companies set up separate affiliates or partnerships to help generate tax deductions or move assets and debts off the books. With Skilling's ascension to the presidency in 1997, Enron became increasingly dependent upon such deals to hit its financial targets.
The point of all this being that President Bush had little to do with what was going inside Enron that led to its downfall. To see who did, you have to review who was president, whose regulators were in place, during these key times.

But not if we listen to Clinton's version of history:

Bush administration officials have suggested that corporate practices got out of hand under the Clinton administration's Securities and Exchange Commission.

"These people ran on responsibility, but as soon as you scratch them, they go straight to blame," Clinton said. "Now, you know, I didn't blame his father for Somalia when we had that awful day memorialized in 'Black Hawk Down.' I didn't do that."

The book and film "Black Hawk Down" tell the story of a deadly 1993 attack on U.S. special forces, which had been sent to the famine-ravaged East African country by President George H.W. Bush during his last days in office.
Nicely done dodge in the interview. Can't finger Bush, so shifts to "these people," then back.

And blaming "father Bush" for Somalia...oh, that is rich. Economic collapses like Enron (or WorldCom or Global Crossing or etc.) are years in the making. Military blunders like Somalia are usually cured by giving the order, "Withdraw!" Fact is that while George H.W. put the original troops in, they were there for two years before the "Black Hawk Down" battle. Fact is that Clinton increased our military presence, while at the same time putting us under UN control. Fact is that a botched UN mission, the attempted assassination of Adid, fueled such hatred against the US that the Battle of the Black Sea became inevitable. (This is all documented in Mark Bowden's book, by the by.)

And that mission happened during Clinton's watch, events directly under his command. It was Clinton who ordered the withdrawal after that battle, and by Osama bin Laden's own statements, seeing that -- what he called our "most disgraceful case" -- told him that the tiniest of nations, of fighting forces, could defeat the United States.

Thanks, Bill.

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