May 30, 2006

It has a nice ring when you laugh


Andreas Schulze, Ich Kaufe Nichts (I Buy Nothing), 2004

* What people are missing [or not bothering to report] in the Enron story: the George Bush connection. excerpt:

"The Bush administration has a long and intimate relationship with Enron, whose much-discredited chairman, Kenneth L. Lay, was a primary financial backer of George W. Bush’s rise to the presidency.

"It was Enron that provided the model for the administration’s trickle-down attempt to revive an economy that’s been in steep decline during Bush’s tenure. That model gives the fat-cat corporate hotshots everything they want in return for bankrolling political campaigns. Not to worry about the rest of us because, hey, what’s good for Enron is good for America. That it hasn’t been is now painfully clear.

"What did Enron get in return for its contributions? It got its way on deregulation, for one thing. Remember when the administration refused to assist California and other states during the energy crisis, and consumers paid the steep price?

"So greedy was Enron that it locked its own workers into a pension plan based on inflated company stock values and suspect hidden partnerships, while the top leadership led by Lay made out like bandits.

"Bush should be called as a witness in the congressional hearings scheduled to unravel this mess. One thing that should come up in the hearings is then-Gov. Bush’s October 1997 telephone call on behalf of Lay to then-Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge to help Enron crack into the tightly regulated Pennsylvania electricity market.

"'I called George W. to kind of tell him what was going on,' Lay told the New York Times about the 1997 phone call, 'and I said that it would be very helpful to Enron, which is obviously a large company in the state of Texas, if he could just call the governor [of Pennsylvania] and tell him [Enron] is a serious company, this is a professional company, a good company.'"
...
"That Lay was instrumental in Bush’s rise to the presidency is indisputable. Since 1993, Lay and top Enron executives donated nearly $2 million to Bush. Lay also personally donated $326,000 in soft money to the Republican Party in the three years prior to Bush’s presidential bid, and he was one of the Republican “pioneers” who raised $100,000 in smaller contributions for Bush. Lay’s wife donated $100,000 for inauguration festivities.

"As governor, Bush did what Enron wanted, cutting taxes and deregulating utilities. The deregulation ideology, which George W. long had adopted as gospel, allowed dubious bookkeeping and other acts of chicanery that shocked Wall Street and drove a $60-billion company, seventh on the Fortune 500 list, into bankruptcy.

"This emerging scandal makes Whitewater seem puny in comparison; clearly there ought to be at least as aggressive a congressional inquiry into the connection between the Bush administration and the Enron debacle. Facts must be revealed, beginning with the content of Lay’s private meeting with Vice President Dick Cheney to create the administration’s energy policy."
...
"We have a right to know whether the Enron alums in the administration were tipped off in time to bail out with profit the way Lay and the other Enron top execs did, while their workers and stockholders--and eventually U.S. taxpayers--are being left holding the suddenly empty bag."

* Some George Harrison links: video for Blow Away, sticking it to the man in an excerpt from A Hard Day's Night, and video for Crackerbox Palace. enjoy.

* "To me the greatest pleasure of writing is not what it's about, but the music the words make." - Truman Capote

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