The People Speak On Enron

While George W's PR flacks keep insisting that the Enron scandal is too complicated for us commoners to follow -- the people themselves seem very engaged and have no trouble connecting all the dots to see the big (and ugly) picture being drawn here.

One place to find what folks are thinking is in one of the mass media's last democratic forums: Letters-to-the-editor columns. As I travel around the country, I'm impressed by the savvy people are showing as they pen their thoughts, practically all of which express outrage at what Enron represents. Here's a sample:

Carol Fletcher from Pflugerville, Texas: "Enron failed to pay any income taxes in four of the past five years, all the while lobbying for and receiving tax rebates. The hubris of Enron and similar companies is nauseating. I hope to see candidates take a stand with specific recommendations, not just rhetoric, as to how to end this corporate gluttony."

C.L. Fincher of Little Rock: "Oh, yes, we little people understand exactly what happened at Enron, and we are furious about it. Our course of action is crystal clear: appoint a special prosecutor who is acceptable to both parties."

Anne Kirby, Palo Alto: "In addition to punishing the wrongdoers, we should see to it that the money they made in this scandal is taken from them and returned to the investors they duped, especially their own employees."

Peter Hill of Boston, commenting on a fired Enron worker who now has no money for his son's illness: "If this country had universal health care, a company's failure would not mean the end of health coverage for laid-off employees."

John Koppel of Bethesda, Maryland: "Enron's collapse was a product of a culture of greed, dishonesty, ethical blindness, and wishful thinking that has characterized much of corporate American and that has been allowed to flourish essentially unchecked for the last 20 years (largely because politicians from both parties are dependent on campaign contributions from big business).

This is Jim Hightower saying ... Bush Inc. might be fooling themselves, but they're not fooling the people.

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Imagine you've forgotten once again the difference between a gorilla and a chimpanzee, so you do a quick Google image search of “gorilla." But instead of finding images of adorable animals, photos of a Black couple pop up.

Is this just a glitch in the algorithm? Or, is Google an ad company, not an information company, that's replicating the discrimination of the world it operates in? How can this discrimination be addressed and who is accountable for it?

“These platforms are encoded with racism," says UCLA professor and best-selling author of Algorithms of Oppression, Dr. Safiya Noble. “The logic is racist and sexist because it would allow for these kinds of false, misleading, kinds of results to come to the fore…There are unfortunately thousands of examples now of harm that comes from algorithmic discrimination."

On At Liberty this week, Dr. Noble joined us to discuss what she calls “algorithmic oppression," and what needs to be done to end this kind of bias and dismantle systemic racism in software, predictive analytics, search platforms, surveillance systems, and other technologies.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
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