Bush Incorporated, In Bed With the Enron Bandits from Day One
February 8, 2002
Political battles are often won or lost depending upon who defines the terms of the debate to their advantage. Right now the White House has successfully argued that Bush Incorporated is innocent of wrongdoing because they did nothing for Enron after being notified of its impending bankruptcy last fall.
But that is the wrong lens through which to judge their Enron complicity: the question is what did the Bush administration do to help Enron try to avoid bankruptcy from January 20th until the fall of 2001?
The answer to that question, of course, is that as soon as Bush raised his right hand at his inauguration, it was hard to tell whether the White House was a subsidiary of Enron or Enron was a subsidiary of the White House.
There have been reports that Enron insiders were aware of a looming collapse for months and even perhaps a year or more prior to the announcement of the formal bankruptcy. That means that Ken Lay and other Enron officials, including those who ended up as White House appointees, probably knew from the moment Bush was sworn in the actions that needed to be taken to try and stave off the company's implosion.
The Enron bandits needed help from Bush Incorporated beginning with Day One - and they got it. Here is what BBC investigative reporter Greg Palast told BuzzFlash in an interview we are posting on February 8 on BuzzFlash.com:
"In December 2000, Bill Clinton was about to take his bow and leave office. In response to Enron's laying siege to California, Clinton issued through the Energy Department, an order which effectively barred Enron from trading into California. It effectively put Enron out of business for a while on their biggest trades. The day after George Bush took office, which means, he was still hung over and, you know, sweeping out the confetti out of the Oval Office, he had the Energy Department issue an order overturning Clinton's order, putting Enron back into the speculation game in power. I'd like to know how that happened. How did they make that decision in hours of taking office? Who set that up and when? That's one of the first questions."
It wasn't just that Ken Lay had immeasurable influence on the secretive, "Skull and Bones" Dick Cheney energy industry energy committee. The record shows that the Bush administration fought privately and publicly, on a number of fronts, for key measures that would advance the economic well-being of Enron and perhaps stave off its economic collapse.
for example the way in which the head of FERC was eased out because Ken
Lay wanted someone who would more aggressively push for energy deregulation.
The current chairman of FERC was first a Ken Lay/Bush appointment when
Bush was governor of Texas. The hijacking of FERC by Ken Lay (through
Bush) is a key example of how the White House did everything it could
for Enron to help them forestall bankruptcy. (see: http://www.dallasnews.com/politics/statenews/stories/
By the time the White House allegedly received notice of Enron's imminent bankruptcy in the fall, it wasn't a question of whether or not the White House did anything at that time. The reality is that there was nothing left that they could do. That doesn't make them virtuous. It just means they had exhausted all their efforts to assist Enron.
They had given Enron the keys to America's energy policies, appointed former Enron officials to key positions, had the Vice President and the Treasury Secretary openly advocate for policies favorable to Enron, and let Ken Lay throw his weight around D.C. like an 800 pound guerilla who had the President of the United States on the end of his leash.
Among other publicly aggressive efforts to shore up Enron, Cheney threatened that states might have land seized under eminent domain to provide right of ways for power grids (sought by Enron.) Secretary O'Neill (who on February 7th sobbed under withering questioning by Senator Robert Byrd, and bizarrely claimed he was born into a ditch) fought tougher offshore banking regulations (which would have limited Enron's offshore corporate scams). The Secretary of the Army, the former head of one of Enron's "troubled" divisions, was urging the privatization of utilities for the army, with you-know-who as the likely contract recipient. Dick Cheney tried to assist Enron in getting out of a jam involving an India power station. Cheney and the White House stridently adopted Enron's position that no price caps be imposed during California's energy crisis. Well, the list goes on and on.
All along, during the first months of the Bush administration, Ken Lay and has band of corporate bandits were desperate. They knew they were headed for a hard landing if the man they helped bankroll to the White House (with a final boost from the Supreme Court) didn't give them everything they wanted. They got their wish. But in the end, their corruption was so entrenched that their jerry-rigged, sleazy, multi-billion dollar scam collapsed of its own weight. Their Fall 2001 calls were nothing more than a courtesy to the White House to allow the Bush scrubbers time to build a cover story before the Enron sign fell onto the Houston pavement and smashed the stock portfolios and retirement funds of tens of thousands of Americans into smithereens.
The press and the Senate Democrats are debating the wrong point. They are looking for a smoking gun after Enron's autumn calls to Bush administration officials. But the smoking gun has been right there for them to see all along. It was an Enron starter's gun fired off on Inauguration day.
By October of 2001, the ball game was already over. Even the old general manager of the Texas Rangers, George W. Bush, could tell you that.
A BuzzFlash Editorial
|DAILY BUZZ||FIFTH COLUMNIST||CARTOONS||SOUTHERN STYLE|
|MEDIA LINKS||LINK ARCHIVES||EMAIL BUZZFLASH||ABOUT|
otherwise noted, all original