Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Bush to Create More Osama bin Landens & Enrons

The Bush administration took active steps in the last 6 months to support Sunni extremist jihadist groups like al Qaeda in both Lebanon and Iran. After threatening to reduce financial regulations imposed in response to the ethics debacle of Enron, the Bush team gathered last week to put their nefarious plans into motion. The Washington Post reported in a piece on class action suit denial against Enron’s investment banks:

In a series of conferences last week, industry titans and even Treasury Department officials pressed the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission to rewrite costly regulations and make it more difficult for investors to sue gatekeepers such as banks and accounting firms.

A Georgetown University law professor called it a “very big victory for business.” Shareholders or the owners of the company have limited legal recourse for the criminal behavior of executives and investment banks complicit in their schemes.

How long will it take for new Enron’s to be created given the widespread executive cheating under stock option plans? A study indicated almost 30% of publicly traded firms manipulated stock option grants to top executives at some point between 1996 and 2005. Yet, given the widespread practice of backdating only 100 to 200 firms are under investigation by the SEC.

Between the Enron implosion and widespread corporate stock option cheating, why does the Treasury Department wants the SEC to do even less to keep corporations’ activities above board and in the public eye? How do Treasury Chief Hank Paulson’s friends at Goldman Sachs feel about all this? Likely, they are tickled pink or should I say giggling green? Is Hank helping keep his old company’s record earnings streak going?

This regulatory relaxation should disabuse anyone of the notion that the Bush administration wants to hold big businesses accountable. Chiquita Banana just paid a $25 million dollar fine for funding at least two Colombian terrorist groups. Despite the war on terror, Chiquita executives were not spirited off to Guantanamo Bay nor locked up next to domestic terrorist Jose Padilla. However, the Colombian government might want the executives extradited to their country for trial. They have a much better idea of how those Chiquita millions cost the lives of innocent civilians.

Funding the wrong people is a familiar refrain, especially those familiar with the President’s heavy handed international policy. Sleeping with the wrong party got us Osama bin Laden. It appears we have strange bed fellows once again in the Middle East, more Sunni extremists. I hope some news organization is keeping track of their names so 15 years from now we can track it back to President Bush. His legacy should be quite clear by then. Will we be paying $50 a barrel for Paraguayan water by then?

P.S. On April 3rd, 2007 Brian Williams reported of one such CIA assisted Sunni jihadist operating from Pakistan. His target is Iranian Revolutionary Guards.

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