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Enron Debate

To the Editor:

You are way too predictable! Upon reading the Enron cover story "Up in Smoke" (February 14th issue), I was not surprised to see that it was yet another attempt to make the Enron scandal a Republican/GOP scandal. Not surprisingly, the facts to date show that Enron got far more return on their investment from Democrats than Republicans. Enron campaigned for the Kyoto protocol. President Bush has been heavily criticized for not supporting the Kyoto protocol (no favors bought there). When calls were placed by ex-Clinton administration officials to members of the Bush administration seeking help for Enron, they were told no.

Were your reporters nonpartisan and nonbiased, they would have reported that in 1996 the Congress enacted amendments to the Investment Company Act of 1940 that imposed greater investor protections on the companies governed by the statute. Enron objected and sought to be exempted from certain prohibitions in the law in regard to foreign investments and the shifting of debt from its books to off-shore subsidiaries. Enron's requests for exemptions were rejected by the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, but that didn't stop Enron from going directly to the SEC and lobbying for those very exemptions. In 1997, the Clinton/Gore SEC, then operating under Arthur Levitt, granted Enron the very exemptions that allowed the company to lawfully engage in the conduct that appears to have resulted in its recent collapse. Yet none of this has ever been mentioned in your paper. Was the Clinton/Gore-controlled SEC returning some favors or did this request for an exemption on honest bookkeeping actually make sense to them?

Ken Lay spent the night at the Clinton/Gore White House 11 times. Enron introduced the Clinton/Gore team to Lippo Industries (and through them to China's Peoples Liberation Army, a great source of illegal campaign contributions to the Democratic machine).

I can appreciate your desire to be antiestablishment, but the Flyer needs to be a little more independent and not merely a journal that gets its marching orders from the socialist Democratic Party. A true "alternative" paper would be independent enough to hold everyone's feet to the fire and not just those they have a personal grudge against. Grow up.

Chris Leek


To the Editor:

Thank you for running the excellent story on the Enron debacle. It's an instructive must-read for all Americans, no matter their political affiliation. This scandal touches all the bases, unfortunately.

Garvin Lamp

West Memphis, Arkansas

Free Speech Stifled?

To the Editor:

The so-called right to free speech is just a hollow phrase if the people are denied access to the mass media. I am of a religious minority in this community. We are known in America as the Swedenborgian Church and adhere to the theological writings of the 17th-century Swedish scientist and Christian theologian Emanuel Swedenborg.

I call myself a pro-choice Christian. I believe the soul enters the body and one becomes a human being at birth with the first breath of life, as exemplified in the Bible with the creation of the first human, Adam.

For several months I was allowed to express myself on various topics on Mike Fleming's radio show on WMC-AM. Now I am unpolitely disconnected, screened out, and denied access to his "open forum" programming.

Granted, I do have a unique perspective on many of today's issues, but do we really have free speech if even one voice is silenced?

Ray Bell


Correction: In an article in last week's Flyer, it was misreported that Congressman John Tanner sent a $1,500 campaign contribution he received from Enron to the Greater Houston Community Foundation's Enron Employee Transition Fund. The actual amount of the Enron contribution was $500, which Tanner forwarded to the transition fund.

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