»home   »2002       »printable

The Truth, Mainly - 07/22/2002

Current news gets vital bodily fluids flowing

"Yee-haw!" I yell.

I've been listening to NPR again—Bob Edwards interviewing James Doty, once a lawyer for George W. Bush, later general counsel for the SEC. The talk is about how George W., back in his Texas days, was 34 weeks late in notifying the SEC that he'd sold $848,560 worth of his Harken Energy stock six months before it lost 75% of its value.

Doty says that the SEC release letter in response found nothing wrong with that. Edwards points out that while the SEC took no action, the letter explicitly refuses to exonerate George W. Not so, Doty says.

"Let me find it," Edwards says. "Let me find it."

He finds it—and quotes directly from the SEC letter: the letter's contents "must in no way be construed as indicating that the party has been exonerated."

Unfazed, Doty says "I think the release prohibits people from representing it as exoneration."

Which is, of course, exactly how Doty had just represented it.

And that's when, in loud-mouthed indignation, I yell "Yee-haw!" Because I'm getting excited again, see, more excited than I've been since Watergate.

It's been a long calm spell. I sort of dozed through the administrations of Presidents Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush I, and Clinton. (I didn't get nearly as aroused over Bill and Monica as Ken Starr did.)

And that 28-year snooze took a toll on my physical well-being. I went bald. My beard turned gray. My cholesterol and Prostate Specific Antigen counts went up. I had to get bifocals, my back gave out, my toenails made small children cry. And I no longer had buttocks. My gluteus maxima became my gluteus minima.

I was a mess.

But lately I've been feeling like a kid again. Our children and grandchildren have noticed.

"This," my grandchildren squeal from the hammock I'm swinging them in, "is the highest you've ever pushed us!"

"The color is back in your cheeks," my son observes. "You haven't yelled at the TV like this since 1974." It started last fall when Enron employees lost their life savings while their CEO, "Kenny Boy" Lay (as the President calls him), and other top officials were making out like bandits. That's when we found out that Kenny Boy had been best buddies with George W. and one of his largest campaign contributors. Republican guru Kevin Phillips wrote in the L.A. Times that "Not in memory has a single major company grown so big in tandem with a presidential dynasty and a corrupted political system." The Bush family, he wrote, had been trading favors with Enron since 1988 and he drew comparisons to the Teapot Dome scandal of the Harding administration. That got my vital bodily fluids flowing again.

The Truth, Mainly


And they kept flowing when Judicial Watch (one of Clinton’s toughest critics) filed suit against Halliburton, claiming the company overstated revenues by $445 million between 1999 and 2001. Dick Cheney, you’ll remember, was CEO until the election of 2000.

My adrenaline really kicked in when President George W. Bush announced that corporations should "put an end to all company loans to corporate officers"—even though he himself accepted company loans from Harken in 1986 and 1988 while he was a corporate officer there.

And my juices flowed exuberantly when the president told Wall Street that "In the long run, there's no capitalism without conscience…no wealth without character"—thereby causing seismic rumbling as Jay Gould, J.P. Morgan, Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller, William Randolph Hearst—among others—guffawed and snorted from their graves. But here's what really fired up all my internal organs:

My wife and I got our quarterly report on our TIAA-CREF retirement fund, some of which is tied up in the stock market.

Modesty and shame prevent me from revealing just how much smaller our nest egg is now than it was three months ago, but let me say that more than anything else, that really put the color back in my cheeks, that really made me yell at the TV. My son came up with a frightening theory: given last week's NY Times/CBS News Poll showing that two thirds of Americans believe the Bush administration is "more interested in protecting the interests of large companies than those of ordinary Americans," I'm not alone. So it's not just me, my son said, it's two thirds of the nation that's been revitalized by indignation. All those vital bodily fluids are bringing the color back to our collective cheeks as we the people yell at the TV. And here's the kicker: that renewed nation-wide vitality, my son explains, is what the Bushies are giving us as a National Health Plan. Yee-haw.


Retired English Professor Leon Satterfield writes to salvage clarity from his confusion. His column appears on alternate Mondays. His e-mail address is: leonsatterfield@earthlink.net.


©Copyright Lincoln Journal Star

used with permission