MotherJones JA93: Notes from the front

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Like father, like son. As noted in our recent story, “My three sons” (Nov./Dec. 1992), George Bush’s son Neil helped his two former business partners walk off with $132 million in loans from Silverado Banking in Denver, and then in 1991 he failed to repay a $2.35 million loan guaranteed by the Small Business Administration. Similarly, Lan Bentsen, son of Treasury Secretary Lloyd Bentsen, borrowed $163 million from Texas S&Ls in the early 1980s. But when the longhorn economy went bust, rather than bankrupting his companies and ignoring his debts, Bentsen spent the next seven years liquidating his assets and repaying the entire amount. In March he settled with federal regulators: while he still owed $54 million in interest on the loans, he signed over to the government all his remaining real estate assets and cash, which totaled $28 million. The feds forgave him the rest.

During the same time period, the SBA announced that it had run out of money. Neil Bush, who’d stiffed the SBA $2.35 million, couldn’t be reached for comment. He was in Kuwait, enjoying the hospitality of the Emir, who was honoring Neil’s dad for Operation Desert Storm.

–Stephen Pizzo

MoJo’s memories online. Our investigation of the controversy over repressed memories (“Doors of Memory,” Jan./Feb. 1993) has sparked an electronic debate on bulletin board systems (BBS) nationwide. Participants include “adult survivors,” psychologists, counselors, Survivors of False Memories support group members, and curious onlookers, all heatedly discussing the claim that some shrinks may be inducing false memories of abuse in their patients. To join in, call your local BBS and hook up with the “psych” conference (available through the Ilink BBS network). Or start your own debate. For a back issue containing “Memory,” send $5 to Mother Jones, 1663 Mission St., Suite 200, San Francisco, CA 94103

Let’s see, should I accept this bribe or should I follow departmental procedure? Since we published evidence of Justice Department corruption (“Shredded Justice,” Jan./Feb. 1993; “Dirty Justice,” Mar./Apr. 1993), officials have agonized over how to infuse ethical sense into their ranks. The brilliant solution? An “ethics” computer game, designed to train staff in moral conduct. The department has signed a $248,000 contract with Legend Entertainment (a computer-games maker); the game debuts in November and will be used by up to 92,000 employees. Players advance from entry-level Justice jobs all the way to Assistant to the Attorney General, earning points for “correct” responses to ethical problems and being penalized for, say, shredding documents.

–Leta Hong Fincher

Lickety split. Last January, Mary Harris “Mother” Jones was inducted into the Labor Hall of Fame. Now the Friends of Mother Jones have a move afoot to place the lady’s likeness on a U.S. postage stamp. Readers are being asked to choose between our namesake as she was in her youth (top)–“with the look of an angel and the tongue of a mule skinner”–or in later years (bottom), after she helped swell the ranks of the United Mine Workers, exposed the shame of child labor, and founded the Wobblies. Okay, just kidding about the babe with the whip, but we like to think of her as being similar to that other Jones. Express your support for a stamp by writing to the Friends of Mother Jones, 3354 Edwardsville Rd., Edwardsville, IL 62025.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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