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Hiding the Losses
Bridget Gibson

"Close a bigger deal. Hide the loss before the 1Q." -- Thomas White, now Secretary of the Army (in a February 2001 e-mail, while Vice President to Enron Energy Services)

Since November 7, 2000, the losses have been piling up. In the collective memories of our nation's citizens, no other presidential election night had come and gone without a clear winner being declared. After thirty-six days, the citizens of this country were all disenfranchised as the United States Supreme Court inserted itself into a political dispute and appointed George W. Bush as the forty-third President of the United States of America. Justice Stevens summed it up eloquently in his dissenting opinion: "We may never know with complete certainty the identity of the winner of this year's Presidential election, the identity of the loser is perfectly clear. It is the Nation's confidence in the judge as an impartial guardian of the rule of law."

Our corporate-owned and controlled media encouraged the citizens to "be patient" and await the outcome, while simultaneously congratulating the viewing public for its "patience." This seemed to be a curious circular logic to me at the time. What were we thinking as we watched the infamous "Brooks Brothers Riot," which we now know to have been a staged event by paid operatives from the Republican party (Matt Schlapp, a Bush staffer who was based in Austin and received $4,276.09; Thomas Pyle, a staff aide to House Majority Whip Tom DeLay, $456; Michael Murphy, a DeLay fundraiser, $935.12; Garry Malphrus, House Majority Chief Counsel to the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, $330; Charles Royal, a legislative aide to Rep. Jim DeMint, R-SC $391.80; and Kevin Smith, a former GOP House staffer, $373.23). Their successful disruption of the counting of the votes in Miami, Florida, caused the fall of our democracy. Three of these people are now officially members of Bush's Whitehouse staff.

What we, the citizens, did not know was that we were watching a bloodless coup in our country.

We were told during the campaign that George W. Bush believed that the United States should be led by someone who would not try to humiliate and offend the rest of the world. Somehow, amidst all the bellicosity and the bullying of other countries' leaders, this civility seems to have been lost in the shuffle.

We were told that this Bush administration would bring "honor and dignity" to the Whitehouse. Amid the secrecy of our energy policy, the financing of Bush by the corrupt and ethically bankrupt Enron, the scandal of Bush's involvement in similar dealings at Harken Energy, and Dick Cheney's exposed leadership at Halliburton (violating US sanctions by doing business with Saddam Hussein in Iraq), that honor and dignity never materialized and we suffered another loss.

Our national security agencies, the heads of the FBI, NSA and CIA all failed us on and before September 11, 2001. They failed to heed warnings, they failed to interpret information, they failed to accept that the agents in the field were capable and thinking and knew that they had valuable and important information. Since that time, no head of any of those agencies has answered for their failures and all have had the audacity to threaten and stonewall anyone wanting answers to the legitimate questioning of these failings. Their actions have caused the citizens to lose faith in the honesty and abilities of these "security" agencies. Along with the loss of life suffered that day, we have the loss of our trust in humankind.

On September 17, 2001, George W. Bush announced that he would get bin Laden "dead or alive." The word "evildoer" was coined and spent freely. On October 26, our Congress passed the USA PATRIOT Act, trashing our Constitution and Bill of Rights and displacing our world and our acceptance of our country. This Act has done more to destroy our way of life and our country of law than any other measure ever passed. Our hopes and dreams for our democracy's future were lost that day.

Our nation's debt has surpassed $6,211,000,000,000, more than $21,540 for every man, woman and child in this country. Our financial situation continues to deteriorate as the deficits will pile yet more debt (currently at the rate of more than One Billion Dollars per day) to the total. Soon the cost of borrowing will be reflected by a rise in interest rates that will pit the average American with the Federal Government in competition for loans. This cannot come at a worse moment as the economy falters and our fellow Americans find themselves without employment and with no bright prospects. While the top 1% will reap tax cut rewards, those without will find fewer and fewer reasons to ever hope for a better world. As our nation's citizens struggle in uncertain times to maintain their stability and keep their worlds intact, we shall see that the value of families has been lost on this administration.

I'm sure that Kenny Boy and Dick and George and Tom could arrange with some of the creative accountants from Arthur Anderson that have been laid off to find a way to hide some of their nefarious dealings, but there will be no way to hide losses like these.