The Archives

Excerpts from Electric Degeneration, Degenerate Press' semi-weekly e-zine, free and ad-free. A full episode contains sections for music reviews, upcoming events, blasphemy, classifieds, and anything else we feel like saying. If you'd like to subscribe just contact us.

You can surf the entire archive.

If you can't find what you're looking for by surfing, use this handy search feature:


We've had a few hits, but we need some heavy duty traffic on our online book:
Read it and weep. Or read it and laugh. But please READ IT and get us some feedback! If we get enough interest in this beast we might actually consider trying to get a real book out of it.

Thursday we got an unexpected bonus to our weekly pool sessions at Lenny's - Stevie T. and the Arkansas Stranglers. They did a long sound check/rehearsal early in the evening, then later cranked out a couple of sets of somewhat sleepy/weepy acoustic-based country fried rootsy rock - yeah, it's tough to label or pigeonhole except as "pretty, and pretty good." It's not the kind of stuff we can sit through for an hour normally, but perfect accompaniment to a night of billiards.
Speaking of unexpected, I ain't been hanging around the Star Bar as much as I used to, mostly due to lack of cash, and ended up out of the loop on the gossip so it was a surprise to me when I heard last week the joint was changing ownership. No word yet as to what changes, if any, the new owners have in mind but if you see Dave Parker, Jim Stacy, or Gary Yoxen ask 'em.

Here's a response to last episode from degenerate SR:
Let me preface this by saying I'm not a member of any political party, but in the
interest of fairness, there are a lot of facts being conveniently overlooked in
Brokaw/Jennings/Rather et al's Enron reporting. First, though -- have you been
following the saga of the latest business in the belly-up file, an undersea
fiber-optic company called Global Crossing? Filed the fourth-largest bankruptcy in
history this week.
Big story, obviously. But one of the more interesting sidebars is how LAST week on
CNN, Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry MacAuliffe had this to say about
Enron: "The people out there who are hurt the most are the small people, and once
again the wealthy special interests got to take their money off the table, and that's
what we need to investigate."
Quite pious. Well, now it's been made public that with Global Crossing,
champion-for-the-little-guy McAuliffe invested $100,000 soon after the company was
founded, then later cashed in the stock for $18 million, a pretty tidy profit. In the
same year, he arranged for bigwig Dem contributor and Global Crossing CEO Gary
Winnick to play a few rounds of golf with then-Pres. Clinton, and the bidding soon
began for a government contract worth $400 million.
In the meantime, Winnick gave $1 million to build Clinton's presidential library,
hosted fundraisers for Sen. Tom Daschle, and waxed Rep. Henry Waxman's palms (as well
as a few Republicans, too). McAuliffe used some of his big stock score to put up
$1.35 million to get a mortgage for the Clintons' house in New York, which of course
allowed Hillary to meet "residency" requirements for her run for the Senate. Can you
say, "Quid pro quo?"
GC was finally awarded the contract last summer, even though they were nearly
bankrupt. Companies like AT&T and Sprint, among others, of course went apeshit,
calling it a political payoff, and stories of image-enhancing, creative accounting
techniques by -- who else? -- Arthur Andersen on behalf of Global Crossing emerged.
The Bush administration canceled the contract.
This week GC stock was trading for around 80 cents a share, and needless to say, a
lot of investors and employees suffered the brunt of it. McAuliffe's response to
critics? "This is capitalism. You invest in stock, it goes up, it goes down. You
know, if you don't like capitalism, you don't like making money with stock, move to
Cuba or China." Yes, he really said that, on Fox News Channel Tuesday. Maybe he
thought that kind of spin would go over well on the legendarily right-of-center news
network. At any rate, it's an intriguing change of tune, and these are all verifiable
facts, more of which come tumbling out every day.
Our current president apparently made a speech to Global Crossing employees a few
years ago, and took stock as opposed to a speaking fee. I have no idea whether he
also got out when the getting was good, but I wouldn't be surprised. I'd be
interested in knowing if he still owned stock when he killed the contract.
But back to Enron. Perhaps the real story is whether Democrats simply pay their
buddies back better than Republicans do:
Enron and the Clintonites
The Clintonites may have been more accommodating than the Bushies.
by David Brooks
01/21/2002, Volume 007, Issue 18
ON JULY 5, 1995, Enron Corporation donated $100,000 to the Democratic National
Committee. Six days later, Enron executives were on a trade mission with Commerce
Secretary Mickey Kantor to Bosnia and Croatia. With Kantor's support, Enron signed a
$100 million contract to build a 150-megawatt power plant.
Enron, then a growing giant in energy trading, practically had a reserved seat on
Clinton administration trade junkets. Commerce Secretary Ron Brown, who egregiously
linked political donations to government assistance, accompanied Enron chairman Ken
Lay on a mission to India. Enron president Joseph Sutton was on the trip to Bosnia
during which Brown lost his life in a plane crash (Sutton was not on Brown's plane at
the time). After Brown's death, Enron's Terence Thorn, a $1,000 donor to the
Clinton-Gore campaign, traveled with Commerce Secretary William Daley to South
Africa. Ken Lay also traveled with Energy Secretary Hazel O'Leary on her trade trips.
There were other contacts between Enron and the Clinton administration. Ken Lay was
a close friend of Mack McLarty, Clinton's first chief of staff. In his 1993
disclosure statement, Robert Rubin listed Enron as one of the firms with which he had
had "significant contact" while at Goldman Sachs. Enron was represented by the law
firm of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld, the firm where Clinton advisers Robert
Strauss and Vernon Jordan worked.
And Enron benefited from its government contacts during the Clinton years. After
Lay's trip to India with Ron Brown, Enron received nearly $400 million in U.S.
government assistance so that it could build a power plant south of Bombay. According
to reports in the Houston Chronicle at the time, the Export-Import Bank kicked in
$298 million, while another federal agency, the Overseas Private Investment
Corporation, put up $100 million.
In February 1995, David Sanger of the New York Times wrote a fascinating insider
account of how the deal had been consummated. Enron had been the lead bidder to build
the new power plant. Jeff Garten, then undersecretary of commerce for international
trade, created what he called "our economic war room" to push the American firm's
interests. The State and Energy departments were enlisted to press Enron's case.
According to Sanger, the U.S. ambassador to India, Frank Wisner, "constantly cajoled
Indian officials." The CIA performed some risk analysis and investigated rival
British companies.
Clinton himself was involved in starting the India effort for Enron. According to
Michael Weisskopf of Time, Clinton scrawled a note to McLarty telling him to help
with the project.
Support for the Bombay power plant was just a small part of the help Enron received
from the Clinton administration. All told, Enron received over $4 billion from OPIC
and the Export-Import Bank for projects in Turkey, Bolivia, China, the Philippines,
and elsewhere.
Under Clinton, the Commerce Department was proud that it was finally using the might
of the U.S. government to assist favored firms. But the enterprise was plagued by
constant criticism that somehow it always seemed to be big political donors that got
most of the help. According to the Boston Globe, all but three of the recipients of
OPIC aid during Brown's tenure were substantial Democratic donors. According to a
study by the Center for Public Integrity, Enron, U.S. West, GTE, McDonnell Douglas,
and Fluor donated a combined $563,000 to the Democratic party during 1993 and 1994
and received $2.6 billion in foreign contracts secured with government help. The
Globe found that during the first Clinton term, 27 firms had donated $2.3 million to
the Democrats and received nearly $5.5 billion in federal support.
All of this is not to deny that Enron was primarily a Republican donor. Nor is it to
minimize the connections between Enron and the Bush administration. Rather, the
connections between the Clintonites and Enron remind us that the scandal is not the
donations. The scandal is what gets done by federal officials in return for the
donations. And while the Clintonites received less money from Enron than the
Republicans, the evidence thus far suggests that Democrats extended more favors to
Enron than Republicans. That suggests that the nascent Enron scandal may not end up
helping Democrats as much as they now think.
Make no mistake, though: The press corps is in full frenzy over what the Bush
administration may or may not have done to help Enron as it was going down the
tubes--though there is no evidence the Bush administration did anything beyond take
phone calls from desperate Enron executives. But the real story here is not about
lawbreaking or extraordinary behavior. It is about what has become standard practice
in Washington every day.
When corporations make political donations, the money is generally not used to lobby
for free market reforms--although Enron did some of that. Rather, the money is used
to encourage French-style dirigisme. It is used to lure government into bed with
private commercial interests. That's not an effect conservatives should cheer.
David Brooks is a senior editor at The Weekly Standard.
© Copyright 2002, News Corporation, Weekly Standard, All Rights Reserved.
As always, respectfully submitted,
degenerate SR

Editor's Response:
Note that last episode I said "To make as much money as possible, both Enron and Arthur Andersen paid politicians from both parties to deregulate their industry and made the laws as favorable as possible for the company. The big wigs of government happily obliged."
I don't deny that democrats are corrupt. I believe that in order for anyone to achieve a national political position in this country you MUST be corrupt. There is no way to raise the money needed to get into office. Even if you are an honest person who's interest is for the greater good when you begin your clamor up the political pile, there is no way to remain so and reach the top. But furthermore, I believe the desire to BE at that position goes hand in hand with corrupt, power hungry, greedy personalities. Combine these two theories and you have no hope of having an honest leader.
But somehow it still stings when we find out about it...

Contact Degenerate Press

Take me to Degenerate Press' home page!
There's no place like home... no place like home...

All content on this site is owned by Degenerate Press and cannot be used without our permission. We have lawyers for friends with nothing better to do than cause trouble (no kidding), so play nice. Copyright © 2002, All Rights Reserved