Of splits and summits

The decision to send Secretary of State Colin Powell to the U.N. Earth Summit in Johannesburg, South Africa, highlights the internal splits in the Bush administration and ruling class over their present policies of belligerent unilateralism. The splits are fueled by growing world and national public opinion that George W. has gone too far – from Iraq and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, to the economy and corporate corruption, to the environment and nuclear arms.

The Bush administration has used the inhuman terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 to step up their drive for world domination through the war on terrorism. From revoking the Kyoto and ABM Treaties, rejecting the International Criminal Court to walking out of the U.N. conference on racism, this ultra-right, pro-corporate administration has proven its contempt for international cooperation, law and norms. It snubs and worsens the issues that must be addressed ensure humanity’s and nature’s survival, or at the very least be a decent global citizen.

The Bush administration’s unilateral and bellicose policies have little support at the grassroots and among the working class and peoples of all countries. This shallow support fuels other governments’ trepidation in going along with the Bush plan. The policies heighten each country’s own internal conflicts and class struggles as well as heightens global and regional conflicts.

While 106 heads of state will be at the Earth Summit, discussing sustainable development to overcome poverty and environmental degredation, Bush will not be one of them.

In his invitation letter to world leaders, U.N. General Secretary Kofi Annan wrote, “Your presence would send a strong message of global solidarity and signal commitment at the highest level to a sustainable future for all,”

The Bush administration’s message is loud and clear. It has no such outlook.

The world’s working people can force a change through unity and struggle. And the largest responsibility lies with the American working class and people to guarantee the United States not become the corporate, nuclear rogue that these policies are leading it to be.


Kopper cops a plea

Former Enron executive Michael J. Kopper pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering in a plea bargain in Houston’s Federal District Court this week. He agreed to surrender $12 million in ill-gotten gains and will cooperate in investigating other criminal misdeeds in the collapse of the $400 billion energy trading giant. It insures that for many more months there will be headlines and news reports exposing the poisonous entrails of corporate fraud and malfeasance.

But from the beginning there has been a strenuous effort orchestrated by the White House to steer the Enron crisis away from George W. Bush and the 30 or more Enron operatives Bush named to his administration.

Thomas White, for example, the U.S. Secretary of the Army, who served as chief executive of Enron Energy Services before Bush named him to his Pentagon post. Phone logs reveal that White spoke with Enron executives at least 84 times as Enron was sliding into bankruptcy. He sold off his 200,000 in Enron stock just before the crash walking away with $12 million, insider trading on a grand scale. Yet Bush in a display of cronyism, continues to stand behind White.

And what of Enron’s close links to Bush, Vice President Richard Cheney, and other administration big wigs? Will Kopper help shed light on these connections?

Candidates in this election year must prove their readiness to stand up against the corporate crime wave.

It is far more than Bush’s silly vow at his Waco summit to “hunt down” the corporate wrongdoers. (He must have forgotten he is still hunting Osama bin Laden.)

It means candidates taking clear stands for increases in the minimum wage, prescription drugs under Medicare, for union rights, affirmative action and peace. It also means taking a stand against against privatization, deregulation and tax giveaways to big business and the rich.