GOP COIN THIEVES IN OHIO... AND SOCIAL SECURITY
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 (http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/28/national/28coins.html). 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.