The piece below was first published in The Moscow Times on January 25, 2005. The first half deals with the then-breaking (and now forgotten) Enron scandal. The second half of the column deals more directly with the Bush Faction's use of torture and other illegal methods in the Terror War.
Enron the Great, "The Mother of Harlots and Abominations of the Earth," has fallen. The vast wake of its collapse has covered the White House with stinking pitch, and occasioned much excited comment amongst the punditry. Unfortunately, most of these editorial exhalations have veered between tortured defenses of the Dear Leader and gleeful gibes of the most unnuanced sort: e.g., "How is George Bush just like Bill Clinton? They'd both do anything for a Lay."
Here at the Global Eye, of course, we eschew the bitter prose of partisanship and the low tone of sniggering frivolity. As always, we seek to elevate the level of public discourse, to give, as it were, a choral voice to what Lincoln called "the better angels of our nature." Toward that end, we have today invited a very special guest commentator on the Enron scandal: James, the brother of Jesus.
Rebbe James has no little experience with the troublesome nexus between government and powerful special interests. He spent several decades as the undisputed head of his brother's religious organization, an extremist variant within Judaism that espoused radical asceticism and stressed charitable works over theological posturing. Resisting both the modernizing pressures of the Western infidels occupying his country and the relentless ambitions of the devious Roman collaborator, Saul of Tarsus, James held the group together until he was executed in a political plot engineered by Roman functionaries and local intriguers. His brother's organization was eliminated a few years later when the Romans destroyed Jerusalem and proscribed all local sects except the collaborationists: a few Jewish splinter groups – and the followers of Saul.
James' central role was later suppressed by the Saultines, who were now almost exclusively Gentile, and overwhelmingly anti-Semitic. They had bigger fish to fry: seizing the wealth and power of the Roman Empire. This Christian coalition – which operated according to Saul's conspiratorial dictum of being "all things to all men," then lowering the boom once you're in control – condemned the remaining loyalists to Jesus' family as heretics, and relegated James to the back pages of their anthology of folk myth and theological posturing, The New Testament. The rest, as they say, is history – and a pretty sordid tale it's been, too.
But as they also say, you can't keep a good man down. So, through the miracle of modern publishing, we are pleased to welcome Rebbe James back to the "marketplace of ideas," to give us his views on the Bush-Enron debacle, and its deeper implications for global business culture – especially the vexing question of labor relations. Take it away, James!
"Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you. Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth-eaten.
"Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat at your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days.
"Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth.
"Hearken, my beloved brethren: hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs to the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?"
Wonder if we will see testimony of this caliber on Capitol Hill anytime soon? Or will the Enron-spattered Democrats let the Enron-encrusted Republicans wriggle free, out of mutual self-interest for the profitable status quo? [Note, September 2005: Yep, that's exactly what they did.]
As for the president, and his transparent lies about his relationship to Enron's influence-peddling chairman, Kenneth Lay, we'll let the venerable Rebbe have the last word:
"If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain."
Meanwhile, the latest Saultine Emperor has set his own private army loose in Afghanistan. Yes, the pale riders of the CIA are back in the saddle again, operating under "greatly relaxed rules of engagement" as they do Bush's covert bidding, the Boston Globe reports.
Bush is building a "shadow military organization" within the CIA, top US officials say – proudly. Like the "unlawful combatants" of Al-Qaeda, these troops wear no uniforms, are not bound by the rules of war like honorable soldiers under their country's flag, engage in terrorist actions as well as combat, and answer to no one but their divinely-inspired leader.
Do these Osamic echoes trouble the self-proclaimed defenders of democracy and civilization? Not a whit. ''If we didn't think it was appropriate, we wouldn't be doing it," said a senior Bush official. "If the commander in chief didn't think it appropriate, we wouldn't be doing it. If it ain't broke, why fix it?"
Why indeed? After all, a similar set-up worked wonders back in Vietnam, where the CIA's Phoenix Program murdered anywhere from 20,000 (the CIA's own admission) to 70,000 people. But hell, they were just a bunch of commies, right? Or suspected commies. Or suspected commie sympathizers. Or their families. Or whatever. As one Phoenix vet told Congress: "Quite often it was a matter of expediency just to eliminate a person in the field rather than deal with the paperwork."
Now those happy days are here again. ''We are doing things I never believed we would do – and I mean killing people!" enthused one of Bush's new Praetorians.
Rebbe James? Any comments?
"The wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God."
Heretic! Appeaser! Send this nut to Guantanamo Bay!