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Enron’s Global Game (12/01)

Until it imploded last October, Enron — long known as End-Run by its critics — was often described as just another aggressive corporation eager to expand its portfolio and open routes into new markets, albeit sometimes with "strong arm" tactics. The implication in most press reports was that, so long as consumers and shareholders came out on top, how it operated was a matter of little public concern.

But Enron was never just another company. It was a major architect and proponent of utility deregulation, with close friends in both the Clinton and two Bush Administrations. Headquartered in Houston, TX, it was also the largest contributor to George W. Bush’s presidential campaign, giving at least $550,000 to Bush himself and an estimated $1.8 million to the Republican Party during the 2000 elections. Since then, however, it has also emerged as one of the biggest corporate rip offs in history. Early evidence indicates that its executives hid at least half a billion in debt while enriching themselves through insider trading and financial gimmicks. In the end, they ran the company into the ground. Citgroup, J.P. Morgan and other banking houses were either hoodwinked or accomplices. In either case, they lured in shareholders with empty promises. read more

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Is Marriage Worth It? (3/00)


Let’s get a grip on this marriage hype. Regardless of what the church says about its sanctity or what the court mandates in the recent Vermont Supreme Court decision extending its "privileges and benefits" to heretofore-free same-sex couples, marriage isn’t a wholly beneficial institution. Rather, wedlock is a contract, often blessed by the church and always enforced by the state. And both formidable authorities have a compelling interest in this particular bargain, since it regulates the sexual activities of adults – mainly women. read more

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Outting Big Brother (2/00)

Even though I felt bad about what we were doing, I was very pleased with the professional part of my job," recalls Margaret Newsham. "I don’t mean to brag, but I was very good at what I did, and I actually felt like Echelon was my baby."

In fact, Newsham helped build the electronic surveillance system known as Echelon. And although she’s broken with the world of espionage, she fears that "certain elements" in the NSA or CIA may yet try to silence her. As a result, Newsham sleeps with a loaded pistol under her mattress, and her best friend is Mr. Gunther – a 120-pound German shepherd trained to attack by a friend in the Nevada State Police. read more

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Millennium Shoot Out (12/99)

Since the 1970s, right-wing Christian identity groups and apocalyptic survivalists have spawned militant, quasi-underground formations, including some that call themselves patriots or militias. During the height of the rural farm crisis in the early 80s, for example, one such group, the Posse Comitatus – a loosely knit, armed network that spread White supremacy and anti-Semitism throughout the farm belt – captured a small but significant number of sympathizers among farmers and ranchers. Other extremists such as Aryan Nations and the Lyndon LaRouche group were also active. Soon a network linked tax protesters to organizations as far to the right as various Ku Klux Klan (KKK) splinter groups and neo-Nazis. read more

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Presidential Death Match (11/99)


After Zippergate and the Starr Report, could politics get any more warped? You wouldn’t think so. After all, in little more than a decade, we’ve gone from arms for hostages, covert war in Latin America, and prime time bombings in Iraq to the wall-to-wall circus that placed the president’s penis in the center ring for a constitutional trapeze act. But then the corporate pimps, media sycophants, and political fixers who convinced voters to put a B-grade actor, a drugged-up Yalie, and a world-class narcissist in charge of the world’s only superpower came up with a blockbuster not even DreamWorks could have packaged. read more

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Nukes & Y2K (10/99)

As the clock strikes 12 midnight on December 31, 1999, the world will hold its collective breath waiting to see if the predicted computer problems associated with Y2K will come to pass. Apart from Y2K disruptions feared in banking and the distribution of food, water and fuel – there are several critical areas, often overlooked, which could cause massive loss of life and catastrophic public health emergencies.

Nuclear power plants and nuclear weapons systems, we’re told, are Y2K compliant. But are these lethal systems and the public vulnerable to unthinkable Y2K disasters? The U.S. government itself states that not all utilities that run nuclear power stations will have completed computer safeguards to protect against millennium accidents. And the Pentagon has announced that 23 separate nuclear weapons systems will not be repaired in time to meet the Y2K deadline. Many observers are fearful that the situation is far worse in other nations which possess nuclear technology, such as cash-strapped Russia. read more