Saturday, May 28, 2005



I hope you've seen that great film ENRON-- THE SMARTEST GUYS IN THE ROOM. It's a kind of cautionary tale about how the smart guys-- the Ken Lays, Jeff Skillings, Andrew Fastows-- figure out a way to steal. They buy off and cozy up with-- and get patronage and protection from-- the Bush Family and then go on to systematically, ruthlessly, rapaciously rob everyone in sight: their customers, the owners (stockholders) of the company they were managing, the public (especially in California), their employees and, of course, Society at large. All this from the biggest contributors to George W. Bush's political career. Is it a coincidence? Well, not really. The smartest guys in the room seek out corruptible politicians all over the world; it's an investment. Historically, the smartest guys in room after room after room in country after country and age after age, always buy into the political types in order to get rules and regulations favorable to them (and, of a grosser level, to get protection). "Kenny Boy" Lay, Jeff Skilling and crew and their long, long relationship with George Bush I and George Bush II-- extremely profitable for both parties-- was a classic example. And the ENRON film lays it out as clear as clear can be. So what does this have to do with coin thieves in Ohio and Social Security? Plenty!

First the basics of the Ohio story. I heard about Republican Party Chairman/kingmaker/George W. Bush Pioneer Thomas Noe on NPR a few weeks ago and the story struck me as newsworthy. Apparently it didn't strike the Michael Jackson/OJ Simpson/runaway bride/Paula Abdul-obsessed mass media as newsworthy, although I was able to follow the story as it unfolded online thanks to local Ohio newspapers. And finally today the NEW YORK TIMES ran a piece ( To make a long story, that is going to get a LOT longer, short, Thomas Noe has been Mr. GOP power broker in NW Ohio for many years. There isn't an important Republican office holder in a state where ALL the important office holders are Republicans who isn't beholden to Mr. Noe-- from Governor Taft, Secretary of State Blackwell, ex-Governor/now Senator Voinovich, Attorney General Petro, State Auditor Montgomery, right up to 5 of the 7 Supreme Court judges. And in a state with virtual one-party rule (and with a Secretary of State who has been clearly shown to be a manipulator of vote counting), there were no checks and no balances. Even if you didn't follow the Enron case too closely, you must be aware how many millions of dollars were lost (read: "STOLEN") from employees' retirement funds (that is, from the voluntary private accounts the employees had). In this case, the Republican office holders-- the ones with the legal fiduciary responsibility for protecting the money collected from taxpayers, the ones with no checks and no balances-- decided to invest MILLIONS of dollars from the Ohio Workers' Compensation Bureau into a highly speculative fund, which buys and sells rare coins, run by the GOP Chairman of Lucas County, Thomas Noe. No other state invests public money in something this risky but the most charitable thing I've heard about this "strategy" is that its safer than taking the money to a riverboat gambling operation.

While Mr. Noe was funneling HUGE sums of money into the Bush/Cheney campaign and into the campaigns of Governor Taft, Secretary of State Blackwell, ex-Governor/now Senator Voinovich, Attorney General Petro, State Auditor Montgomery and 5 of the 7 Ohio Supreme Court judges, as much as 20% of the investment was "lost" (again, read: "stolen"). We're not talking about the values decreasing; we're talking about the coins being PHYSICALLY lost ("stolen").

My friend Peter says I write too much for a blog. I just want to make one more point though: Social Security. When Franklin D. Roosevelt and Henry Morgenthau campaigned for it and fought for it and designed it the GOP attacked it as "communism" and anti-American, and anti-business and catastrophic, all that. The GOP fought it tooth and nail (ensuring themselves 2 decades of minority status) and have never given up hating it. There is nothing in Social Security for the Greedy and Selfish segment of the Republican constituency, They've been plotting against it for over 70 years and with the Republicans in control of the White House, both houses of Congress and the Judiciary, they've been salivating at the prospects of gutting it and replacing it with a system that will benefit their wealthy, powerful backers-- the Ken Lays and Thomas Noes of the world, the smart guys. Since FDR brought is Social Security not one dime has been lost ("stolen"). For the GOP this is intolerable.

Labels: ,


At 11:39 AM, Blogger DownWithTyranny said...

My friend Jim sent me an interesting update on this extremely important, mostly ignored story. It comes from the CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER, which I think is the biggest daily in the state of Ohio. The title is:

Ohio GOP Coingate Scandal Spreads to 2004 Election Fundraising

--Grand jury investigates coin dealer's fund raising

It was writtem by John Caniglia and ran June 2. And here's the latest on a preview of what George W Bush and his band of crooks plan for the Social Security system:

A Lucas County commissioner and a state official testified Wednesday before a federal grand jury investigating Republican coin dealer Tom Noe's fund raising for President Bush.

Those familiar with the investigation say the grand jury is examining whether Noe funneled contributions to the campaign by seeking donations from friends and associates whom he later reimbursed.

Commissioner Maggie Thurber said she and her husband, Sam, appeared before the secret panel in Toledo and cooperated fully against Noe, a prominent GOP fund-raiser and chairman of Bush's campaign in Northwest Ohio.

"We're shocked, sickened and deeply disappointed in the recent revelations about Mr. Noe and his business activities," Thurber said in a statement.

Thurber and her husband gave Bush $1,950 each at an October 2003 fund-raiser in Columbus, according to campaign finance reports.

Donna Owens, a Republican who serves on the Ohio Industrial Commission, also appeared before the panel and answered questions. Owens donated $2,000 to the president's campaign at the same fund-raiser, according to finance reports.

But neither Owens nor Thurber would comment on whether Noe reimbursed them.

Federal prosecutors began the grand jury inquiry as state officials continue to investigate Noe's handling of a $55.4 million coin investment scheme using money from the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation.

Last week, investigators said $10 million to $13 million in state money was missing.

U.S. Attorney Gregory White said his office is handling the campaign investigation, while a team made up of prosecutors from Lucas and Franklin counties, as well as federal prosecutors from Cleveland and Columbus work on the investment investigation.

White said prosecutors soon will meet with state investigators from several agencies who have formed a task force to study the issue.

It is unclear who will take the lead on the task force and which office would file charges.

Thurber, the Lucas County commissioner, declined to say whether she is a target of the investigation.

Owens' work as a member of the Industrial Commission is closely linked to the Bureau of Workers' Compensation, which collects premiums paid by employers, oversees the insurance system and pays out claims. The Industrial Commission hears disputed claims.

Owens, the former mayor of Toledo, declined to discuss her testimony, her relationship to Noe or whether she is a target in the case.

Noe's longtime friend Michael Boyle, the president of an environmental business, also testified Wednesday.

His attorney, Stephen Hartman, said Boyle answered questions for nearly an hour, but Hartman wouldn't discuss Boyle's testimony. Boyle gave Bush $2,000 in October 2003.

Boyle is "very upset about this, because they were friends for 10 years, and it makes it all the harder for him," Hartman said. "At no time did Mr. Boyle suspect that he did anything improper or illegal."

Bush's re-election team listed Noe as a "pioneer" for raising more than $100,000 in last year's presidential campaign.

The investigation focuses on Noe's work at the fund-raiser that raised more than $1 million for Bush.

Noe's attorney, Jon Richardson, could not be reached for comment.

Federal prosecutors declined to discuss the grand jury's investigation, led by Assistant U.S. Attorney Seth Uram, who has gained praise from attorneys for his dogged work on several high-profile cases.

In 2003, Uram worked to convict J. Richard Jamison, who was sentenced to 20 years in prison for a $105 million insurance scam. Uram also helped seize more than $2 million in Jamison's Toledo home and his vacation home, as well as hundreds of thousands of dollars that Jamison stashed in assets in 50 foreign and domestic companies.

Noe has been a prominent fund-raiser for the state and federal GOP, its causes and its candidates for years, according to campaign records. He has given more than $60,000 to candidates and PACs linked to the Republican Party.


Post a Comment

<< Home