Page 27


EVERYONE KNOWS IT’S WENDY. Wendy Gramm, wife of Senator Phil, has emerged as a minor player in the saga of Enron’s collapseor perhaps not so minor. Gramm, a member of the company’s Board of Directors, was among more than 20 executives and directors named in a lawsuit filed by a New York bank. The bank has asked a judge to freeze the defendants’ assets, charging that they sold off their own stock while leaving others holding the bag. Wendy Gramm has long been a zealous supporter of the kind of deregulation that Enron promoted and profited from. In the previous Bush administration, as chair of the Commodity Futures Trading Commissionwhich is charged with protecting markets from fraud and manipulationshe helped lay rail for the runaway train that was Enron, whose very fuel appears to have been fraud and manipulation. After she stepped down in 1992, Enron offered her a directorship. The company has also donated thousands of dollars to her husband, who in turn managed to get Enron exempted from commodity-trading legislation passed last December. It’s not the first time Wendy Gramm’s board activities have raised an eyebrow or two. She also sits on the board of directors of Nebraska-based meatpacking giant IBP, which in 1996 encouraged its managers to vote for thenPresidential candidate Phil Gramm in the Iowa straw poll. She also sits on the boards of State Farm Insurance, Invesco Funds, and the International Republican Institute. Recently she has been shoring up her Texas ties: Last year she became chairman of the board of the Texas Public Policy Foundation, the conservative advocacy group funded by right-wing millionaire James Leininger and served as co-chair of the comptroller’s “eTexas” commission; and last summer Governor Perry appointed her to the Texas A&M Board of Regents. Dialogue, continued from page 2 resource planning. It will not happen with sugar and spice. Wayne Halbert Harlingen Irrigation District Mary Kelly responds: I couldn’t agree more with Mr. Halbert’s statement that a. healthy river is good for both the environment and Valley agriculture. The Texas Center for Policy Studies has taken that position for several years. While Mr. Halbert’s letter doesn’t indicate which of my statements he considers incorrect, and while he fails to acknowledge that Ms. Chapman and I have indicated \(and we issues with him and other Valley farmers in response to past inquiries, I think our basic STATEMENT OF OWNERSHIP, MANAGEMENT AND CIRCULATION. The Tiaras Observer scription price of $32. Publisher, The Texas Democracy Foundation; Managing Editor Barbara Belejack, Co-Editors Nate Blakeslee and Karen Olsson. Owner: The Texas Democracy Foundation, 307 W. 7th St., Austin, TX 78701. the Mail; avg. 37 actual 56; \(0 Total Free Distribution: avg. 7268, actual 8109. Percent Paid and/or Requested Circulation: avg. 94%, actual 94%. Signed Candace Carpenter, Circulation Manager, 10/22/01. difference of opinion boils down to how to deal with Mexico on the current deficit issue. Making repeated demands that can’t reasonably be met in the midst of this drought could sour future negotiations over how to make sure the lower part of the Rio Grande gets as much water as possible over the coming decades. We may also differ in how much water we think is available right now in Mexico. TCPS’s analysis is based on the “useable” storage in the Mexican reservoirs, not the absolute amount of water they hold. I do agree that the state of Chihuahua’s very recent proposal to pipe water uphill from the lower reaches of the Conchos, over 100 miles to the city of Chihuahua, is woefully misdirectedbut it is likely to collapse of its own inviability. Moreover, this idea has not been and is not likely to be sanctioned by the Mexican federal government. There is no doubt that Valley farmers have been hit hard by this situation. As we have said in the pastappropriate compensation is in order. PATRIOTIC HYPOCRISY Every time I see an American flag, I wonder where it was made. A forced labor camp in China? A sweatshop in the Philippines? To me, it is far more disrespectful to the flag to use it as a mere symbol of convenience than to burn it. And where will most of these tattered relics end their days? A landfill. Nowadays I see “One Nation Indivisible,” but never “With Liberty And Justice For All.” It is only the blind eye that we the people turn to our government that allows such “patriotic” hypocrisy to exist. How can there be freedom or justice in a land with secret military tribunals and secret executions? President Bush is now warning Iraq not to develop “weapons of mass destruction” to “terrorize nations.” I wonder how the untold thousands ians feel with American weapons of mass destruction raining terror upon them daily. If we are defending civilization, where are the calls for democracy in Afghanistan? If we are pursuing justice, why did Bush refuse the Taliban’s j offer to extradite bin Laden to a neutral country for trial? No, the world’s richest nation is spending billions to attack the world’s poorest people over a new oil pipeline valued at several trillion dollars. Think of it as an investment in America’s future, and Bush’s energy policy which will guarantee we’ll need all that oil. Still waving that little plastic flag? Maybe it’s time you thought about the values it’s supposed to represent. Wayne Skipper Eugene, OR 20 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 12/21/01