presents The Angry Liberal
Enron, Part I: R.M.S. Enron Sails for America!
January 14, 2002
The date is April 14, 1912. Somewhere in the Atlantic, Captain Edward J. Smith receives word that his ship, the R.M.S. Titanic, is on an inevitable collision course with an enormous iceberg. Without a moment's hesitation, Captain Smith activates the ship's public address system:
"Attention, Ladies and Gentlemen. This is Captain Smith. I want to assure you that I have never felt better about prospects for the ship."
Captain Smith switches off the microphone and presses a button on the bridge. Suddenly, every door on the mammoth ship slams shut, locking passengers and crew in their cabins, staterooms, and work stations. Without a moment to lose, Captain Smith and his officers rush to the valuables vault. Smith enters the combination on the huge safe and swings the heavy door open, revealing a staggering collection of jewelry and other expensive passenger belongings. Smith and his crew grab what they can from the safe and stuff it into pillow cases. With the loot safely loaded onto the ship's lifeboats, Captain Smith and his officers climb aboard. They lower themselves down to the icy Atlantic water, each man in his own heavily laden lifeboat.
Just as the boats touch the surface of the water, the Titanic emits a sickening groan. The expected iceberg rips into her hull, spilling millions of gallons of cold sea water into the ship and onto the terrified passengers. As the sea engulfs the enormous ship and the humanity still aboard her, Smith turns to the other lifeboats. Above the sounds of muffled screams emanating from the ship, he shouts:
"Thank God for a deregulated steamship industry, eh, mates?"
The story you just read would have been outrage, had the R.M.S. Titanic actually met its demise as described (all apologies to the descendants of Titanic's Captain Edward J. Smith for this fictitious account). Yet the story essentially documents the downfall of the Enron Corporation, former energy trading giant. To Enron's "Captain" Kenneth Lay, I say the following: Your actions have shown America the face of the modern corporate giant. As captain of your corporate ship, your poor judgment steered her into an iceberg. Unlike the gallant captain of the Titanic, however, you did not go down with your ship. You plundered her and escaped, leaving your crew and passengers to slowly sink beneath the waves. If Enron were a seagoing vessel instead of a corporation, you'd be swinging from a yard arm for your actions.
At this point, Ken, I suggest you look behind you. You'll notice that many of those formerly in your care are clinging to debris. And they've got attorneys. Not only that, but a hell of a storm is being brewed up by various government entities and the press. And it's headed right for your little flotilla.
It looks like rough seas ahead, Ken.
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© 2002, The Angry Liberal
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