Monday, June 20, 2005



Last week Bill Moyers gave one of his brilliant speeches somewhere. I wasn't there but I read the text. The guy is so inspiring. But I took out a piece that really had very little substantive relevance to what he was talking about, just some warm-up banter in the intro: "I can't imagine a more exuberant gathering today except possibly at the K Street branch of the Masters of the Universe where they are celebrating their coup at the Securities and Exchange Commission."

The coup Moyers was referring to, of course, was the announcement by Bush that he was appointing Christopher Cox to head the SEC. Bush could have been worse; he could have appointed Cox's neighbor, "Duke" Cunningham (although he would probably have to had pardoned him to prevent him from going to jail for accepting undisguised bribes from a military contractor). And Cox is bad enough. He is also very much in line with the kinds of people Bush nominates for important jobs-- mediocre intellects with total disregard for integrity and any sense of ethics, people like "Crazy John" Bolton, a congenitally undiplomatic U.N.-hater as Ambassador to the U.N., or Philip Cooney, a sleazy oil industry operative as chief of staff of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, recently forced out of government (and back directly on the Exxon payroll) after being caught red-handed changing scientific papers on environmental dangers that didn't mesh with extreme right wing ideology (and corporate profiteering).

Is Cox as bad? MUCH MUCH MORE DANGEROUS to America. If the population of the United States is 300,000,000, there are probably a good 299,900,000 better suited to protect investors, particularly small investors from avariciously, capitalist crooks and greedy corporatists. Just his ties to the Enron scandal alone should disqualify him but, of course, in the topsy-turvy world of George W. Bush, that makes Cox a perfect candidate. Back in 1995 Cox showed he was willing to go to the mat and fight to the death-- for his corporate masters against the interests of the American people. He championed the right of corporate executives to lie with impunity without the fear of being sued, his so-called Private Securities and Litigation Reform Act. Whenever a rightist uses the word "reform," hold on to your wallet because you're about to be fleeced. On Capitol Hill they dubbed the bill the "Ken Lay Protection Act." Yeah, we need Christopher Cox watching over the interests of small investors! Do you think he'll recall the nearly three-quarters of a million dollars the financial community has shoved up his ass as campaign contributions once he gets his new position?

In short, Cox doesn't believe in regulation-- just the kind of unfettered capitalism that INEVITABLY leads to catastrophe for ordinary people. It always has and it always will. But is he personally a crook? Probably. According to the L.A. TIMES Cox was sued when he was caught helping concoct a scheme that robbed 8,000 investors of approximately $136 million in retirement savings by encouraging them to invest in phony mortgages. Although other people at Cox's company pled guilty, Cox avoided prison on a technicality and by (falsely) claiming ignorance. Who better for Bush to appoint to head the SEC?


At 7:08 AM, Blogger DownWithTyranny said...

My friend Ken sent me a great note about Cox's nomination that I want to share:

I'm astounded at how little hand-wringing that appointment occasioned. I suppose it's such an utterly predictable Bushworld appointment that it lacks any dramatic surprise element. But my goodness, talk about someone manifestly anti-qualified for a job!

Of course what those "pro-business" elements never see is how disastrous the policies they advocate are for business. I don't think many people expected William Donaldson to show the spine he did (this time I guess the administration decided it had to have a certified 100% stooge, no fooling around), and it was business that reaped the benefits--a measure of public credibility they could never have regained with someone like Cox running the show. Those people just don't understand how desperately they need government regulation to save not just us but themselves from themselves.

Of course more and more when our business leaders talk about a healthy climate for business, they don't mean an environment for developing productive, economically viable businesses, they just mean a good time to line their own pockets with short-term (and that term seems to get shorter and shorter) finagling.



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