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I*@economicdemocracy.org
2006-05-26 13:34:17 EST
Friday, May 26th, 2006
Enron: The Bush Connection

Listen to Segment || Download Show mp3
Watch 128k stream Watch 256k stream Read Transcript

Enron founder Ken Lay and his family rank among President Bush's
biggest financial backers of his political career. The family donated
about $140,000 to Bush's political campaigns in Texas and for the
White House. The president personally nicknamed Ken Lay 'Kenny Boy.'
Our guest Greg Palast examined the connections between Enron and the
Bush administration in his documentary "Bush Family Fortunes."
[includes rush transcript - partial]

We turn now to the connections between President Bush and Enron. Enron
founder Ken Lay and his family rank among President Bush's biggest
financial backers of his political career. The family donated about
$140,000 to Bush's political campaigns in Texas and for the White
House. The president personally nicknamed Ken Lay "Kenny Boy."
Overall Enron employees gave Bush some $600,000 in political donations.
According to the Center for Public Integrity this made Enron Bush's
top career donor - a distinction the company maintained until 2004.
Shortly after Bush took office in 2001, Vice President Cheney met with
Enron officials while he was developing the administration's energy
policies. Our guest Greg Palast examined the connections between Enron
and the Bush administration in his documentary "Bush Family
Fortunes."

* Excerpt of the documentary "Bush Family Fortunes".

Enron's influence reached as far as Uzbekistan. In January, we
interviewed the former ambassador to Uzbekistan, Craig Murray. He spoke
about the relationship between President Bush and the Uzbek regime of
President Karimov.

* Craig Murray, former UK Ambassador to Uzbekistan.

RUSH TRANSCRIPT

[break]

AMY GOODMAN: Enron's influence reached as far as Uzbekistan. In
January, we interviewed the former British ambassador to Uzbekistan,
Craig Murray. He spoke about the relationship between President Bush
and the Uzbek regime of President Karimov.

CRAIG MURRAY: It goes back to before George Bush became
President. In 1997 or 1998, George Bush, as Governor of Texas, had a
meeting with the Uzbek ambassador to the United States, Ambassador
Safayev, which was actually organized and set up by Kenneth Lay of
Enron. And if you go to my website, you can find a facsimile of Kenneth
Lay's letter to George Bush, telling him to meet Ambassador Safayev in
order to conclude a billion-dollar gas deal between Uzbekistan and
Enron. And that was the start of the Bush relationship with the Karimov
regime.

Karimov is one of the most vicious dictators in the world, a man
who is responsible for the death of thousands of people. Prisoners are
boiled to death in Uzbek jails. And he was a guest in the White House
in 2002. It's very easy to find photos of George Bush shaking Karimov's
hand.

AMY GOODMAN: Again, that is the former British ambassador to
Uzbekistan, in our Democracy Now! studios. And for people who are
listening on the radio, you can go to our website at democracynow.org
to see the photographs of the leaders of Uzbekistan shaking the hands
of President Bush. Greg Palast, your response?

GREG PALAST: You have to understand that Enron is an international
conspiracy locked up very tightly with the Bush family. You have to
understand that not only was a call made to the dictator of Uzbekistan,
but Jeb Bush called up the finance minister of Argentina to fix a deal
and said even though Enron was low bidder for the natural gas of
Argentina, Jeb Bush called and said, you know, "My father has just
been elected president of the free world."

AMY GOODMAN: This is before Jeb Bush was Florida governor?

GREG PALAST: Before he was governor. This is George's brother. And what
Jeb was saying is "My father would very much appreciate if you would
give Enron the deal." And the finance minister was just floored. He
thought that this was being muscled into giving away Argentina's
resources to some guy he's never heard of: Ken Lay. This is Jeb Bush.
Neil Bush then goes on the payroll of Enron to sell the Saudis water
systems for Enron. You have to understand that literally the Bush
family has been kind of an armed sales force for Enron, and an
empowered sales force, sometimes on the payroll, sometimes just in
office and the gimme is, of course, the huge political donations.

And that really hasn't been touched in the U.S. papers, the huge
international reach of Enron, including, by the way, Mr. Tony Blair,
where I broke a story there about Enron's influence with the Blair
government, that huge amount of money was paid into the Labour Party to
allow Enron to bust the rules to allow them to build power plants in
England. I mean, Tony Blair had a lot to answer for, but that story was
covered there.

AMY GOODMAN: I didn't hear these questions asked last night in the news
conference with Tony Blair and George Bush, who were having a kind of
mini-summit in Washington, D.C.

GREG PALAST: Yes, very mini. Yeah, no, Tony Blair is also completely
mobbed up with Enron. I mean, I pretended, I went undercover and was
able to virtually buy Tony Blair's Cabinet back in 1998. It was a big
scandal. I won the equivalent of Britain's Pulitzer Prize for it. It's
in the book. And basically I pretended to be an Enron representative,
consultant, and the doors literally opened. I was invited right into 10
Downing Street. All I had do was say "Enron." It was like
"abracadabra." But it was all about cutting secret private deals.
And they said, "Well, you know, we just had your guys in, and we've
already given them xyz. We've given them waivers on the power
plants." And I was like --

AMY GOODMAN: Were you wired?

GREG PALAST: I was wired, yes. And unfortunately for Tony Blair, I was
wired. And when he called me a liar on the floor of the House of
Commons, we said, "Well, let's listen to the audio tape." But, you
know, that's not done here in the U.S. I mean, at the same time that we
were busting Enron over there, the U.S. press here was acting like Ken
Lay, like especially writers like Thomas Friedman of the Times, like he
was, you know, Elvis on a pogo stick. He was bringing the wonders of
the free market to electricity, this guy who was basically leading --
like I say, you have to understand it's a mob. And one thing I am very
discouraged at, reading the coverage, it's all about symbol of an era,
as if it's gone, as if under George Bush that era is over. No, that era
is beginning. Okay, they got rid of the guy who kicked it off. They had
to. He went too far. But the whole gang is still operating. That's one
of the big evils.

AMY GOODMAN: I want to turn now to an excerpt of the documentary,
Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room. It's based on the book by the
same name by Bethany McLean and Peter Elkind. In this excerpt, Enron
founder Ken Lay talks about the state of Enron to a room full of Enron
employees. The date was October 22, 2001, a week after the Securities
and Exchange Commission sent a letter to Enron asking for information
on the company's third quarter losses.

KEN LAY: As you can, of course, see the underlying fundamentals
of our businesses are very strong, indeed the strongest they've ever
been. But regrettably, that's not what Wall Street is focusing on, and
I doubt that's what you're focusing on. This inquiry will take a lot of
time on the part of our accountants and lawyers and others, but it will
finally put these issues to rest.

NARRATOR: At the very moment Ken Lay was talking to employees,
only a few blocks away, Enron's accounting firm, Arthur Andersen, had
begun destroying its Enron files. On October 23, Andersen shredded more
than one ton of paper.

KEN LAY: Despite the rumors, despite the speculation, the company
is doing well, both financially and operationally.

SHERRON WATKINS: He was making all kinds of statements,
reassuring employees, and not just employees, reassuring investors we
have no accounting irregularities, the company is in the best shape
it's ever been in.

KEN LAY: From the standpoint of Enron stock, we're going to bring
it back. We're going to bring it back. All right, we're down to
questions, and I've got a few up here. "I would like to know if you
are on crack. If so, that would explain a lot. If not, you may want to
start, because it's going to be a long time before we trust you
again."

UNIDENTIFIED MAN 1: It certainly wasn't clear to anyone at
Enron, much less anyone outside of Enron. It wasn't really clear what
was going on or what was going to happen.

KEN LAY: I know this is a lot -- there's a lot of speculation
about Andy's involvement. I and the board are also sure that Andy has
operated in the most ethical and appropriate manner possible.

NARRATOR: The next day, Andy Fastow was fired, when the Enron
board discovered that he had made more than $45 million from his LJM
partnerships.

REP. JIM GREENWOOD: The question, Mr. Fastow, is how could you
believe that your actions were in any way consistent with your
fiduciary duties to Enron and its shareholders or with common sense
notions of corporate ethics and propriety? How do you answer, sir?

ANDREW FASTOW: Mr. Chairman, on the advice of my counsel, I
respectfully decline to answer the questions, based on the protection
afforded me under the United States Constitution.

SHERRON WATKINS: Andy, in many ways, I think he was set up as the
fall guy. All of the Enron executives were saying, "There's your man,
Andy Fastow. He's the crook. You know, he's the one that stole from
Enron, stole from LJM> He's the one that cooked the books. Go after
him."

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I've thought about this and thought about
this, and it couldn't have just been a few executives at Enron that
made this happen. If you think of the banks involved, Chase, Morgan,
Citibank, the billions in loans, Arthur Andersen. What about Vinson &
Elkins, the lawyers that represented us? There had to have been
complicity across the board, because it was all too easy.

AMY GOODMAN: Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, an excerpt. It was
produced and directed by Alex Gibney. Our guests are Robert Bryce, Pipe
Dreams, and Greg Palast, Armed Madhouse. Greg, this is the point you
were making about it being larger than Enron.

GREG PALAST: Yeah. I mean, basically the co-conspirators, the rest of
the mob, was breaking out champagne yesterday, because they said,
"We're off the hook." This should have been the beginning of new
indictments, and like I say, the only new indictment are the guys that
went after Enron, the law firm that sued Enron for its shenanigans.
Milberg Weiss was put up. It was clearly political prosecution to say
"We're going to go after the guys who went after Enron," and yet
you heard the list. You had the law firm Vinson & Elkins, you had
Arthur Andersen, you had a whole crew of characters who got off
scot-free here.

And what's even worse is that the game continues. See, the last Ken Lay
-- and this is important to understand -- was a guy named Sam Insull.
In 1930, all those companies called Edison were actually started by
Sam, who was the Ken Lay of his time, watered the stock, played games
with the books, overcharged customers. F.D.R. came into office, had the
guy busted, but even more, he says, "I'm not just going after the
criminal. I'm going after the crime." And F.D.R. changed the law to
say we're going to prohibit price gouging by these power pirates. We
are going to prohibit them from flickering the light switches. They
keep those lights on. No more freezing Grandma Millie, okay? And third
-- this is the big one -- the law under Franklin Roosevelt said you
cannot make political donations if you're a big power company.

Now, Ken Lay slithered around that to give the big bucks to the Bush
family. I mean, the law says they can't do that, you have to
understand. He was the number one giver, when the law says you can't
give. And in 2005, Bush made it official by repealing the F.D.R. Public
Utility Holding Company Act, which barred these contributions by power
companies to politicians. In other words, basically they just opened up
the game, they threw Lay and Skilling to the dogs, to the crowd, and
the game continues on.

AMY GOODMAN: Robert Bryce, you talk extensively about the similarities
between the Bush administration and Enron.

ROBERT BRYCE: Sure. Let me make one point I think that we've missed
here. It's not just the Bush administration, as well. I mean, Congress
had a hand in allowing Enron to do what it did. Let's look at the case
of Phil Graham. Phil Graham was the one who carried legislation that
allowed Enron to do a lot of the things it did and avoid federal
oversight at the same time that his wife, Wendy, was on Enron's
board.

AMY GOODMAN: Phil Graham, the former Texas senator.

ROBERT BRYCE: Former senator from Texas. So Enron had tremendous power
in Congress, as well, that allowed it to operate with a free hand in
the energy trading business and to operate really as an unregulated
commodities broker, an unregulated commodities exchange.

AMY GOODMAN: Just one second, because I spoke over you. I spoke over
you. The former Texas senator Phil Graham's wife, Wendy, say again her
role.

ROBERT BRYCE: She was on the board at Enron at the same time that
Graham was in the Senate sponsoring legislation that benefited Enron.
Not only did Graham not recuse himself, he sponsored legislation that
effectively allowed Enron to operate as an unregulated commodities
exchange. So, I mean, there's plenty of -- Enron's money corrupted a
lot of elements of government, and it wasn't just the Bush
administration. I'm not saying that to excuse the Bush
administration, because, I mean, when you look at Enron and you look at
the Bush administration, you see the similarities. Both operated with
this clear idea that they were going to change the world, that the
world was going to follow their new business model and that that was
going to change the world forever.

What else? Well, they launched brutal attacks on anybody who doubted
any of their programs. They had huge surges in debt that they covered
up with creative accounting. We see that now with the Bush
administration, creating some of the largest deficits in American
history of any presidency in American history, and also just this idea
that they were on a religious mission. This was -- their business model
was going to change the world. No one could doubt them. Anyone who did
was immediately cast aside. And in a word, it's the same commodity, the
same trait that brought down Enron is the defining trait of the Bush
administration, and that's hubris. It's the Greeks' fatal flaw. And
I think that that clearly came home to roost with Lay and Skilling, and
I think eventually it's going to come home to roost with the Bush
administration.

AMY GOODMAN: Greg Palast.

GREG PALAST: Well, what you have here is economic political
gangsterism, which has now seized control of the government. You can't
look at it any other way. We have a system in which basically, instead
of -- that basically, just like the mob, is able the rewrite the laws,
pick the judges. They have decriminalized what we call deregulation,
Ken lay's great gift to America, deregulation of industry. And it's not
just electricity, okay, it's deregulation of industry. His great gift
is really decriminalization of price gouging, of monopoly abuse, of
economic abuse. These guys still have California by the light bulbs,
and as deregulation disease is spreading across the nation, still 24
states have deregulated their power markets. The march continues on.

And you have to understand the other problems that have occurred here.
It used to be that these guys had to keep the lights on and keep track
of the money that they took from you to keep your lights on. Well, that
game is over now. We had a blackout, if you remember, a couple years
ago, and that was because these companies had literally sucked the cash
out of these firms and fired all their workers to keep the money that
you pay to keep your lights on. And Bush's response and Dick Cheney's
response and Congress's response was further deregulation; that is,
further decriminalization of sucking the money and lifeblood out of
these power companies. So, this is just -- you have to understand, is
that basically what we've done is we've decriminalized the rip-off of
the consumer.

AMY GOODMAN: And finally, in the last few seconds we have, Robert
Bryce, author of Pipe Dreams, the workers, what do they gain by all of
this?

ROBERT BRYCE: Well, the workers at Enron gain nothing. I mean, you
know, they gained a little bit of satisfaction, but I know a lot of
these people who are former Enron employees, some of them I know still
haven't been able to find work after losing not only their jobs, their
life savings, and in many cases their reputations. Just having worked
at Enron became a blot on their resume. So I think in Houston and here
in Texas, I think there's a lot of satisfaction to see Lay and Skilling
convicted. But if I can just add one other thing, this game isn't over
yet. There's certain to be an appeal, and there's a possibility of an
overturn here, because of the judge's jury instructions, which were
fairly open-ended and were similar to the instructions given in the
Arthur Andersen trial, which was then overturned at the Supreme Court,
so while I'm pleased --

AMY GOODMAN: We're going to have to leave it there, Robert Bryce.
We're going to have to leave it there. Robert Bryce, author of Pipe
Dreams, Greg Palast, author of Armed Madhouse. Skilling and Lay will be
sentenced on September 11th.

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Jerry Okamura
2006-05-26 15:22:09 EST
So, let me see. If a friend of yours commits serial murder, or rapes a
number of women, since you are "connected" to that person, you are guilty of
being "complicit"?

<*o@economicdemocracy.org> wrote in message
news:1148664857.518704.307340@38g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...
> Friday, May 26th, 2006
> Enron: The Bush Connection
>
> Listen to Segment || Download Show mp3
> Watch 128k stream Watch 256k stream Read Transcript
>
> Enron founder Ken Lay and his family rank among President Bush's
> biggest financial backers of his political career. The family donated
> about $140,000 to Bush's political campaigns in Texas and for the
> White House. The president personally nicknamed Ken Lay 'Kenny Boy.'
> Our guest Greg Palast examined the connections between Enron and the
> Bush administration in his documentary "Bush Family Fortunes."
> [includes rush transcript - partial]
>
> We turn now to the connections between President Bush and Enron. Enron
> founder Ken Lay and his family rank among President Bush's biggest
> financial backers of his political career. The family donated about
> $140,000 to Bush's political campaigns in Texas and for the White
> House. The president personally nicknamed Ken Lay "Kenny Boy."
> Overall Enron employees gave Bush some $600,000 in political donations.
> According to the Center for Public Integrity this made Enron Bush's
> top career donor - a distinction the company maintained until 2004.
> Shortly after Bush took office in 2001, Vice President Cheney met with
> Enron officials while he was developing the administration's energy
> policies. Our guest Greg Palast examined the connections between Enron
> and the Bush administration in his documentary "Bush Family
> Fortunes."
>
> * Excerpt of the documentary "Bush Family Fortunes".
>
> Enron's influence reached as far as Uzbekistan. In January, we
> interviewed the former ambassador to Uzbekistan, Craig Murray. He spoke
> about the relationship between President Bush and the Uzbek regime of
> President Karimov.
>
> * Craig Murray, former UK Ambassador to Uzbekistan.
>
> RUSH TRANSCRIPT
>
> [break]
>
> AMY GOODMAN: Enron's influence reached as far as Uzbekistan. In
> January, we interviewed the former British ambassador to Uzbekistan,
> Craig Murray. He spoke about the relationship between President Bush
> and the Uzbek regime of President Karimov.
>
> CRAIG MURRAY: It goes back to before George Bush became
> President. In 1997 or 1998, George Bush, as Governor of Texas, had a
> meeting with the Uzbek ambassador to the United States, Ambassador
> Safayev, which was actually organized and set up by Kenneth Lay of
> Enron. And if you go to my website, you can find a facsimile of Kenneth
> Lay's letter to George Bush, telling him to meet Ambassador Safayev in
> order to conclude a billion-dollar gas deal between Uzbekistan and
> Enron. And that was the start of the Bush relationship with the Karimov
> regime.
>
> Karimov is one of the most vicious dictators in the world, a man
> who is responsible for the death of thousands of people. Prisoners are
> boiled to death in Uzbek jails. And he was a guest in the White House
> in 2002. It's very easy to find photos of George Bush shaking Karimov's
> hand.
>
> AMY GOODMAN: Again, that is the former British ambassador to
> Uzbekistan, in our Democracy Now! studios. And for people who are
> listening on the radio, you can go to our website at democracynow.org
> to see the photographs of the leaders of Uzbekistan shaking the hands
> of President Bush. Greg Palast, your response?
>
> GREG PALAST: You have to understand that Enron is an international
> conspiracy locked up very tightly with the Bush family. You have to
> understand that not only was a call made to the dictator of Uzbekistan,
> but Jeb Bush called up the finance minister of Argentina to fix a deal
> and said even though Enron was low bidder for the natural gas of
> Argentina, Jeb Bush called and said, you know, "My father has just
> been elected president of the free world."
>
> AMY GOODMAN: This is before Jeb Bush was Florida governor?
>
> GREG PALAST: Before he was governor. This is George's brother. And what
> Jeb was saying is "My father would very much appreciate if you would
> give Enron the deal." And the finance minister was just floored. He
> thought that this was being muscled into giving away Argentina's
> resources to some guy he's never heard of: Ken Lay. This is Jeb Bush.
> Neil Bush then goes on the payroll of Enron to sell the Saudis water
> systems for Enron. You have to understand that literally the Bush
> family has been kind of an armed sales force for Enron, and an
> empowered sales force, sometimes on the payroll, sometimes just in
> office and the gimme is, of course, the huge political donations.
>
> And that really hasn't been touched in the U.S. papers, the huge
> international reach of Enron, including, by the way, Mr. Tony Blair,
> where I broke a story there about Enron's influence with the Blair
> government, that huge amount of money was paid into the Labour Party to
> allow Enron to bust the rules to allow them to build power plants in
> England. I mean, Tony Blair had a lot to answer for, but that story was
> covered there.
>
> AMY GOODMAN: I didn't hear these questions asked last night in the news
> conference with Tony Blair and George Bush, who were having a kind of
> mini-summit in Washington, D.C.
>
> GREG PALAST: Yes, very mini. Yeah, no, Tony Blair is also completely
> mobbed up with Enron. I mean, I pretended, I went undercover and was
> able to virtually buy Tony Blair's Cabinet back in 1998. It was a big
> scandal. I won the equivalent of Britain's Pulitzer Prize for it. It's
> in the book. And basically I pretended to be an Enron representative,
> consultant, and the doors literally opened. I was invited right into 10
> Downing Street. All I had do was say "Enron." It was like
> "abracadabra." But it was all about cutting secret private deals.
> And they said, "Well, you know, we just had your guys in, and we've
> already given them xyz. We've given them waivers on the power
> plants." And I was like --
>
> AMY GOODMAN: Were you wired?
>
> GREG PALAST: I was wired, yes. And unfortunately for Tony Blair, I was
> wired. And when he called me a liar on the floor of the House of
> Commons, we said, "Well, let's listen to the audio tape." But, you
> know, that's not done here in the U.S. I mean, at the same time that we
> were busting Enron over there, the U.S. press here was acting like Ken
> Lay, like especially writers like Thomas Friedman of the Times, like he
> was, you know, Elvis on a pogo stick. He was bringing the wonders of
> the free market to electricity, this guy who was basically leading --
> like I say, you have to understand it's a mob. And one thing I am very
> discouraged at, reading the coverage, it's all about symbol of an era,
> as if it's gone, as if under George Bush that era is over. No, that era
> is beginning. Okay, they got rid of the guy who kicked it off. They had
> to. He went too far. But the whole gang is still operating. That's one
> of the big evils.
>
> AMY GOODMAN: I want to turn now to an excerpt of the documentary,
> Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room. It's based on the book by the
> same name by Bethany McLean and Peter Elkind. In this excerpt, Enron
> founder Ken Lay talks about the state of Enron to a room full of Enron
> employees. The date was October 22, 2001, a week after the Securities
> and Exchange Commission sent a letter to Enron asking for information
> on the company's third quarter losses.
>
> KEN LAY: As you can, of course, see the underlying fundamentals
> of our businesses are very strong, indeed the strongest they've ever
> been. But regrettably, that's not what Wall Street is focusing on, and
> I doubt that's what you're focusing on. This inquiry will take a lot of
> time on the part of our accountants and lawyers and others, but it will
> finally put these issues to rest.
>
> NARRATOR: At the very moment Ken Lay was talking to employees,
> only a few blocks away, Enron's accounting firm, Arthur Andersen, had
> begun destroying its Enron files. On October 23, Andersen shredded more
> than one ton of paper.
>
> KEN LAY: Despite the rumors, despite the speculation, the company
> is doing well, both financially and operationally.
>
> SHERRON WATKINS: He was making all kinds of statements,
> reassuring employees, and not just employees, reassuring investors we
> have no accounting irregularities, the company is in the best shape
> it's ever been in.
>
> KEN LAY: From the standpoint of Enron stock, we're going to bring
> it back. We're going to bring it back. All right, we're down to
> questions, and I've got a few up here. "I would like to know if you
> are on crack. If so, that would explain a lot. If not, you may want to
> start, because it's going to be a long time before we trust you
> again."
>
> UNIDENTIFIED MAN 1: It certainly wasn't clear to anyone at
> Enron, much less anyone outside of Enron. It wasn't really clear what
> was going on or what was going to happen.
>
> KEN LAY: I know this is a lot -- there's a lot of speculation
> about Andy's involvement. I and the board are also sure that Andy has
> operated in the most ethical and appropriate manner possible.
>
> NARRATOR: The next day, Andy Fastow was fired, when the Enron
> board discovered that he had made more than $45 million from his LJM
> partnerships.
>
> REP. JIM GREENWOOD: The question, Mr. Fastow, is how could you
> believe that your actions were in any way consistent with your
> fiduciary duties to Enron and its shareholders or with common sense
> notions of corporate ethics and propriety? How do you answer, sir?
>
> ANDREW FASTOW: Mr. Chairman, on the advice of my counsel, I
> respectfully decline to answer the questions, based on the protection
> afforded me under the United States Constitution.
>
> SHERRON WATKINS: Andy, in many ways, I think he was set up as the
> fall guy. All of the Enron executives were saying, "There's your man,
> Andy Fastow. He's the crook. You know, he's the one that stole from
> Enron, stole from LJM> He's the one that cooked the books. Go after
> him."
>
> UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I've thought about this and thought about
> this, and it couldn't have just been a few executives at Enron that
> made this happen. If you think of the banks involved, Chase, Morgan,
> Citibank, the billions in loans, Arthur Andersen. What about Vinson &
> Elkins, the lawyers that represented us? There had to have been
> complicity across the board, because it was all too easy.
>
> AMY GOODMAN: Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, an excerpt. It was
> produced and directed by Alex Gibney. Our guests are Robert Bryce, Pipe
> Dreams, and Greg Palast, Armed Madhouse. Greg, this is the point you
> were making about it being larger than Enron.
>
> GREG PALAST: Yeah. I mean, basically the co-conspirators, the rest of
> the mob, was breaking out champagne yesterday, because they said,
> "We're off the hook." This should have been the beginning of new
> indictments, and like I say, the only new indictment are the guys that
> went after Enron, the law firm that sued Enron for its shenanigans.
> Milberg Weiss was put up. It was clearly political prosecution to say
> "We're going to go after the guys who went after Enron," and yet
> you heard the list. You had the law firm Vinson & Elkins, you had
> Arthur Andersen, you had a whole crew of characters who got off
> scot-free here.
>
> And what's even worse is that the game continues. See, the last Ken Lay
> -- and this is important to understand -- was a guy named Sam Insull.
> In 1930, all those companies called Edison were actually started by
> Sam, who was the Ken Lay of his time, watered the stock, played games
> with the books, overcharged customers. F.D.R. came into office, had the
> guy busted, but even more, he says, "I'm not just going after the
> criminal. I'm going after the crime." And F.D.R. changed the law to
> say we're going to prohibit price gouging by these power pirates. We
> are going to prohibit them from flickering the light switches. They
> keep those lights on. No more freezing Grandma Millie, okay? And third
> -- this is the big one -- the law under Franklin Roosevelt said you
> cannot make political donations if you're a big power company.
>
> Now, Ken Lay slithered around that to give the big bucks to the Bush
> family. I mean, the law says they can't do that, you have to
> understand. He was the number one giver, when the law says you can't
> give. And in 2005, Bush made it official by repealing the F.D.R. Public
> Utility Holding Company Act, which barred these contributions by power
> companies to politicians. In other words, basically they just opened up
> the game, they threw Lay and Skilling to the dogs, to the crowd, and
> the game continues on.
>
> AMY GOODMAN: Robert Bryce, you talk extensively about the similarities
> between the Bush administration and Enron.
>
> ROBERT BRYCE: Sure. Let me make one point I think that we've missed
> here. It's not just the Bush administration, as well. I mean, Congress
> had a hand in allowing Enron to do what it did. Let's look at the case
> of Phil Graham. Phil Graham was the one who carried legislation that
> allowed Enron to do a lot of the things it did and avoid federal
> oversight at the same time that his wife, Wendy, was on Enron's
> board.
>
> AMY GOODMAN: Phil Graham, the former Texas senator.
>
> ROBERT BRYCE: Former senator from Texas. So Enron had tremendous power
> in Congress, as well, that allowed it to operate with a free hand in
> the energy trading business and to operate really as an unregulated
> commodities broker, an unregulated commodities exchange.
>
> AMY GOODMAN: Just one second, because I spoke over you. I spoke over
> you. The former Texas senator Phil Graham's wife, Wendy, say again her
> role.
>
> ROBERT BRYCE: She was on the board at Enron at the same time that
> Graham was in the Senate sponsoring legislation that benefited Enron.
> Not only did Graham not recuse himself, he sponsored legislation that
> effectively allowed Enron to operate as an unregulated commodities
> exchange. So, I mean, there's plenty of -- Enron's money corrupted a
> lot of elements of government, and it wasn't just the Bush
> administration. I'm not saying that to excuse the Bush
> administration, because, I mean, when you look at Enron and you look at
> the Bush administration, you see the similarities. Both operated with
> this clear idea that they were going to change the world, that the
> world was going to follow their new business model and that that was
> going to change the world forever.
>
> What else? Well, they launched brutal attacks on anybody who doubted
> any of their programs. They had huge surges in debt that they covered
> up with creative accounting. We see that now with the Bush
> administration, creating some of the largest deficits in American
> history of any presidency in American history, and also just this idea
> that they were on a religious mission. This was -- their business model
> was going to change the world. No one could doubt them. Anyone who did
> was immediately cast aside. And in a word, it's the same commodity, the
> same trait that brought down Enron is the defining trait of the Bush
> administration, and that's hubris. It's the Greeks' fatal flaw. And
> I think that that clearly came home to roost with Lay and Skilling, and
> I think eventually it's going to come home to roost with the Bush
> administration.
>
> AMY GOODMAN: Greg Palast.
>
> GREG PALAST: Well, what you have here is economic political
> gangsterism, which has now seized control of the government. You can't
> look at it any other way. We have a system in which basically, instead
> of -- that basically, just like the mob, is able the rewrite the laws,
> pick the judges. They have decriminalized what we call deregulation,
> Ken lay's great gift to America, deregulation of industry. And it's not
> just electricity, okay, it's deregulation of industry. His great gift
> is really decriminalization of price gouging, of monopoly abuse, of
> economic abuse. These guys still have California by the light bulbs,
> and as deregulation disease is spreading across the nation, still 24
> states have deregulated their power markets. The march continues on.
>
> And you have to understand the other problems that have occurred here.
> It used to be that these guys had to keep the lights on and keep track
> of the money that they took from you to keep your lights on. Well, that
> game is over now. We had a blackout, if you remember, a couple years
> ago, and that was because these companies had literally sucked the cash
> out of these firms and fired all their workers to keep the money that
> you pay to keep your lights on. And Bush's response and Dick Cheney's
> response and Congress's response was further deregulation; that is,
> further decriminalization of sucking the money and lifeblood out of
> these power companies. So, this is just -- you have to understand, is
> that basically what we've done is we've decriminalized the rip-off of
> the consumer.
>
> AMY GOODMAN: And finally, in the last few seconds we have, Robert
> Bryce, author of Pipe Dreams, the workers, what do they gain by all of
> this?
>
> ROBERT BRYCE: Well, the workers at Enron gain nothing. I mean, you
> know, they gained a little bit of satisfaction, but I know a lot of
> these people who are former Enron employees, some of them I know still
> haven't been able to find work after losing not only their jobs, their
> life savings, and in many cases their reputations. Just having worked
> at Enron became a blot on their resume. So I think in Houston and here
> in Texas, I think there's a lot of satisfaction to see Lay and Skilling
> convicted. But if I can just add one other thing, this game isn't over
> yet. There's certain to be an appeal, and there's a possibility of an
> overturn here, because of the judge's jury instructions, which were
> fairly open-ended and were similar to the instructions given in the
> Arthur Andersen trial, which was then overturned at the Supreme Court,
> so while I'm pleased --
>
> AMY GOODMAN: We're going to have to leave it there, Robert Bryce.
> We're going to have to leave it there. Robert Bryce, author of Pipe
> Dreams, Greg Palast, author of Armed Madhouse. Skilling and Lay will be
> sentenced on September 11th.
>
> = = = =
> STILL FEELING LIKE THE MAINSTREAM U.S. CORPORATE MEDIA
> IS GIVING A FULL HONEST PICTURE OF WHAT'S GOING ON?
> = = = =
> Daily online radio show, news reporting: www.DemocracyNow.org
> More news: UseNet's misc.activism.progressive (moderated)
> = = = =
> Sorry, we cannot read/reply to most usenet posts but welcome email
> FOR MORE INFORMATION: http://EconomicDemocracy.org/wtc/ (peace)
> http://economicdemocracy.org/eco/climate-summary.html (Climate)
> And http://EconomicDemocracy.org/ (general)
>
>
> ** ANTI-SPAM NOTE: For EMAIL "info" and "map" DON'T work. Email to
> ** m-a-i-l-m-a-i-l (without the dashes)at economicdemocracy.org instead
>



Moses
2006-05-26 15:32:10 EST
Now that Lay and Shilling are guilty the Bush administration must look
elsewhere to find a "conservative" to head a privatised social security
administration. Well, maybe Bush could pardon and then appoint.




Jerry Okamura wrote:

> So, let me see. If a friend of yours commits serial murder, or rapes a
> number of women, since you are "connected" to that person, you are guilty of
> being "complicit"?
>
> <info@economicdemocracy.org> wrote in message
> news:1148664857.518704.307340@38g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...
>
>>Friday, May 26th, 2006
>>Enron: The Bush Connection
>>
>>Listen to Segment || Download Show mp3
>>Watch 128k stream Watch 256k stream Read Transcript
>>
>>Enron founder Ken Lay and his family rank among President Bush's
>>biggest financial backers of his political career. The family donated
>>about $140,000 to Bush's political campaigns in Texas and for the
>>White House. The president personally nicknamed Ken Lay 'Kenny Boy.'
>>Our guest Greg Palast examined the connections between Enron and the
>>Bush administration in his documentary "Bush Family Fortunes."
>>[includes rush transcript - partial]
>>
>>We turn now to the connections between President Bush and Enron. Enron
>>founder Ken Lay and his family rank among President Bush's biggest
>>financial backers of his political career. The family donated about
>>$140,000 to Bush's political campaigns in Texas and for the White
>>House. The president personally nicknamed Ken Lay "Kenny Boy."
>>Overall Enron employees gave Bush some $600,000 in political donations.
>>According to the Center for Public Integrity this made Enron Bush's
>>top career donor - a distinction the company maintained until 2004.
>>Shortly after Bush took office in 2001, Vice President Cheney met with
>>Enron officials while he was developing the administration's energy
>>policies. Our guest Greg Palast examined the connections between Enron
>>and the Bush administration in his documentary "Bush Family
>>Fortunes."
>>
>> * Excerpt of the documentary "Bush Family Fortunes".
>>
>>Enron's influence reached as far as Uzbekistan. In January, we
>>interviewed the former ambassador to Uzbekistan, Craig Murray. He spoke
>>about the relationship between President Bush and the Uzbek regime of
>>President Karimov.
>>
>> * Craig Murray, former UK Ambassador to Uzbekistan.
>>
>>RUSH TRANSCRIPT
>>
>>[break]
>>
>>AMY GOODMAN: Enron's influence reached as far as Uzbekistan. In
>>January, we interviewed the former British ambassador to Uzbekistan,
>>Craig Murray. He spoke about the relationship between President Bush
>>and the Uzbek regime of President Karimov.
>>
>> CRAIG MURRAY: It goes back to before George Bush became
>>President. In 1997 or 1998, George Bush, as Governor of Texas, had a
>>meeting with the Uzbek ambassador to the United States, Ambassador
>>Safayev, which was actually organized and set up by Kenneth Lay of
>>Enron. And if you go to my website, you can find a facsimile of Kenneth
>>Lay's letter to George Bush, telling him to meet Ambassador Safayev in
>>order to conclude a billion-dollar gas deal between Uzbekistan and
>>Enron. And that was the start of the Bush relationship with the Karimov
>>regime.
>>
>> Karimov is one of the most vicious dictators in the world, a man
>>who is responsible for the death of thousands of people. Prisoners are
>>boiled to death in Uzbek jails. And he was a guest in the White House
>>in 2002. It's very easy to find photos of George Bush shaking Karimov's
>>hand.
>>
>>AMY GOODMAN: Again, that is the former British ambassador to
>>Uzbekistan, in our Democracy Now! studios. And for people who are
>>listening on the radio, you can go to our website at democracynow.org
>>to see the photographs of the leaders of Uzbekistan shaking the hands
>>of President Bush. Greg Palast, your response?
>>
>>GREG PALAST: You have to understand that Enron is an international
>>conspiracy locked up very tightly with the Bush family. You have to
>>understand that not only was a call made to the dictator of Uzbekistan,
>>but Jeb Bush called up the finance minister of Argentina to fix a deal
>>and said even though Enron was low bidder for the natural gas of
>>Argentina, Jeb Bush called and said, you know, "My father has just
>>been elected president of the free world."
>>
>>AMY GOODMAN: This is before Jeb Bush was Florida governor?
>>
>>GREG PALAST: Before he was governor. This is George's brother. And what
>>Jeb was saying is "My father would very much appreciate if you would
>>give Enron the deal." And the finance minister was just floored. He
>>thought that this was being muscled into giving away Argentina's
>>resources to some guy he's never heard of: Ken Lay. This is Jeb Bush.
>>Neil Bush then goes on the payroll of Enron to sell the Saudis water
>>systems for Enron. You have to understand that literally the Bush
>>family has been kind of an armed sales force for Enron, and an
>>empowered sales force, sometimes on the payroll, sometimes just in
>>office and the gimme is, of course, the huge political donations.
>>
>>And that really hasn't been touched in the U.S. papers, the huge
>>international reach of Enron, including, by the way, Mr. Tony Blair,
>>where I broke a story there about Enron's influence with the Blair
>>government, that huge amount of money was paid into the Labour Party to
>>allow Enron to bust the rules to allow them to build power plants in
>>England. I mean, Tony Blair had a lot to answer for, but that story was
>>covered there.
>>
>>AMY GOODMAN: I didn't hear these questions asked last night in the news
>>conference with Tony Blair and George Bush, who were having a kind of
>>mini-summit in Washington, D.C.
>>
>>GREG PALAST: Yes, very mini. Yeah, no, Tony Blair is also completely
>>mobbed up with Enron. I mean, I pretended, I went undercover and was
>>able to virtually buy Tony Blair's Cabinet back in 1998. It was a big
>>scandal. I won the equivalent of Britain's Pulitzer Prize for it. It's
>>in the book. And basically I pretended to be an Enron representative,
>>consultant, and the doors literally opened. I was invited right into 10
>>Downing Street. All I had do was say "Enron." It was like
>>"abracadabra." But it was all about cutting secret private deals.
>>And they said, "Well, you know, we just had your guys in, and we've
>>already given them xyz. We've given them waivers on the power
>>plants." And I was like --
>>
>>AMY GOODMAN: Were you wired?
>>
>>GREG PALAST: I was wired, yes. And unfortunately for Tony Blair, I was
>>wired. And when he called me a liar on the floor of the House of
>>Commons, we said, "Well, let's listen to the audio tape." But, you
>>know, that's not done here in the U.S. I mean, at the same time that we
>>were busting Enron over there, the U.S. press here was acting like Ken
>>Lay, like especially writers like Thomas Friedman of the Times, like he
>>was, you know, Elvis on a pogo stick. He was bringing the wonders of
>>the free market to electricity, this guy who was basically leading --
>>like I say, you have to understand it's a mob. And one thing I am very
>>discouraged at, reading the coverage, it's all about symbol of an era,
>>as if it's gone, as if under George Bush that era is over. No, that era
>>is beginning. Okay, they got rid of the guy who kicked it off. They had
>>to. He went too far. But the whole gang is still operating. That's one
>>of the big evils.
>>
>>AMY GOODMAN: I want to turn now to an excerpt of the documentary,
>>Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room. It's based on the book by the
>>same name by Bethany McLean and Peter Elkind. In this excerpt, Enron
>>founder Ken Lay talks about the state of Enron to a room full of Enron
>>employees. The date was October 22, 2001, a week after the Securities
>>and Exchange Commission sent a letter to Enron asking for information
>>on the company's third quarter losses.
>>
>> KEN LAY: As you can, of course, see the underlying fundamentals
>>of our businesses are very strong, indeed the strongest they've ever
>>been. But regrettably, that's not what Wall Street is focusing on, and
>>I doubt that's what you're focusing on. This inquiry will take a lot of
>>time on the part of our accountants and lawyers and others, but it will
>>finally put these issues to rest.
>>
>> NARRATOR: At the very moment Ken Lay was talking to employees,
>>only a few blocks away, Enron's accounting firm, Arthur Andersen, had
>>begun destroying its Enron files. On October 23, Andersen shredded more
>>than one ton of paper.
>>
>> KEN LAY: Despite the rumors, despite the speculation, the company
>>is doing well, both financially and operationally.
>>
>> SHERRON WATKINS: He was making all kinds of statements,
>>reassuring employees, and not just employees, reassuring investors we
>>have no accounting irregularities, the company is in the best shape
>>it's ever been in.
>>
>> KEN LAY: From the standpoint of Enron stock, we're going to bring
>>it back. We're going to bring it back. All right, we're down to
>>questions, and I've got a few up here. "I would like to know if you
>>are on crack. If so, that would explain a lot. If not, you may want to
>>start, because it's going to be a long time before we trust you
>>again."
>>
>> UNIDENTIFIED MAN 1: It certainly wasn't clear to anyone at
>>Enron, much less anyone outside of Enron. It wasn't really clear what
>>was going on or what was going to happen.
>>
>> KEN LAY: I know this is a lot -- there's a lot of speculation
>>about Andy's involvement. I and the board are also sure that Andy has
>>operated in the most ethical and appropriate manner possible.
>>
>> NARRATOR: The next day, Andy Fastow was fired, when the Enron
>>board discovered that he had made more than $45 million from his LJM
>>partnerships.
>>
>> REP. JIM GREENWOOD: The question, Mr. Fastow, is how could you
>>believe that your actions were in any way consistent with your
>>fiduciary duties to Enron and its shareholders or with common sense
>>notions of corporate ethics and propriety? How do you answer, sir?
>>
>> ANDREW FASTOW: Mr. Chairman, on the advice of my counsel, I
>>respectfully decline to answer the questions, based on the protection
>>afforded me under the United States Constitution.
>>
>> SHERRON WATKINS: Andy, in many ways, I think he was set up as the
>>fall guy. All of the Enron executives were saying, "There's your man,
>>Andy Fastow. He's the crook. You know, he's the one that stole from
>>Enron, stole from LJM> He's the one that cooked the books. Go after
>>him."
>>
>> UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I've thought about this and thought about
>>this, and it couldn't have just been a few executives at Enron that
>>made this happen. If you think of the banks involved, Chase, Morgan,
>>Citibank, the billions in loans, Arthur Andersen. What about Vinson &
>>Elkins, the lawyers that represented us? There had to have been
>>complicity across the board, because it was all too easy.
>>
>>AMY GOODMAN: Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, an excerpt. It was
>>produced and directed by Alex Gibney. Our guests are Robert Bryce, Pipe
>>Dreams, and Greg Palast, Armed Madhouse. Greg, this is the point you
>>were making about it being larger than Enron.
>>
>>GREG PALAST: Yeah. I mean, basically the co-conspirators, the rest of
>>the mob, was breaking out champagne yesterday, because they said,
>>"We're off the hook." This should have been the beginning of new
>>indictments, and like I say, the only new indictment are the guys that
>>went after Enron, the law firm that sued Enron for its shenanigans.
>>Milberg Weiss was put up. It was clearly political prosecution to say
>>"We're going to go after the guys who went after Enron," and yet
>>you heard the list. You had the law firm Vinson & Elkins, you had
>>Arthur Andersen, you had a whole crew of characters who got off
>>scot-free here.
>>
>>And what's even worse is that the game continues. See, the last Ken Lay
>>-- and this is important to understand -- was a guy named Sam Insull.
>>In 1930, all those companies called Edison were actually started by
>>Sam, who was the Ken Lay of his time, watered the stock, played games
>>with the books, overcharged customers. F.D.R. came into office, had the
>>guy busted, but even more, he says, "I'm not just going after the
>>criminal. I'm going after the crime." And F.D.R. changed the law to
>>say we're going to prohibit price gouging by these power pirates. We
>>are going to prohibit them from flickering the light switches. They
>>keep those lights on. No more freezing Grandma Millie, okay? And third
>>-- this is the big one -- the law under Franklin Roosevelt said you
>>cannot make political donations if you're a big power company.
>>
>>Now, Ken Lay slithered around that to give the big bucks to the Bush
>>family. I mean, the law says they can't do that, you have to
>>understand. He was the number one giver, when the law says you can't
>>give. And in 2005, Bush made it official by repealing the F.D.R. Public
>>Utility Holding Company Act, which barred these contributions by power
>>companies to politicians. In other words, basically they just opened up
>>the game, they threw Lay and Skilling to the dogs, to the crowd, and
>>the game continues on.
>>
>>AMY GOODMAN: Robert Bryce, you talk extensively about the similarities
>>between the Bush administration and Enron.
>>
>>ROBERT BRYCE: Sure. Let me make one point I think that we've missed
>>here. It's not just the Bush administration, as well. I mean, Congress
>>had a hand in allowing Enron to do what it did. Let's look at the case
>>of Phil Graham. Phil Graham was the one who carried legislation that
>>allowed Enron to do a lot of the things it did and avoid federal
>>oversight at the same time that his wife, Wendy, was on Enron's
>>board.
>>
>>AMY GOODMAN: Phil Graham, the former Texas senator.
>>
>>ROBERT BRYCE: Former senator from Texas. So Enron had tremendous power
>>in Congress, as well, that allowed it to operate with a free hand in
>>the energy trading business and to operate really as an unregulated
>>commodities broker, an unregulated commodities exchange.
>>
>>AMY GOODMAN: Just one second, because I spoke over you. I spoke over
>>you. The former Texas senator Phil Graham's wife, Wendy, say again her
>>role.
>>
>>ROBERT BRYCE: She was on the board at Enron at the same time that
>>Graham was in the Senate sponsoring legislation that benefited Enron.
>>Not only did Graham not recuse himself, he sponsored legislation that
>>effectively allowed Enron to operate as an unregulated commodities
>>exchange. So, I mean, there's plenty of -- Enron's money corrupted a
>>lot of elements of government, and it wasn't just the Bush
>>administration. I'm not saying that to excuse the Bush
>>administration, because, I mean, when you look at Enron and you look at
>>the Bush administration, you see the similarities. Both operated with
>>this clear idea that they were going to change the world, that the
>>world was going to follow their new business model and that that was
>>going to change the world forever.
>>
>>What else? Well, they launched brutal attacks on anybody who doubted
>>any of their programs. They had huge surges in debt that they covered
>>up with creative accounting. We see that now with the Bush
>>administration, creating some of the largest deficits in American
>>history of any presidency in American history, and also just this idea
>>that they were on a religious mission. This was -- their business model
>>was going to change the world. No one could doubt them. Anyone who did
>>was immediately cast aside. And in a word, it's the same commodity, the
>>same trait that brought down Enron is the defining trait of the Bush
>>administration, and that's hubris. It's the Greeks' fatal flaw. And
>>I think that that clearly came home to roost with Lay and Skilling, and
>>I think eventually it's going to come home to roost with the Bush
>>administration.
>>
>>AMY GOODMAN: Greg Palast.
>>
>>GREG PALAST: Well, what you have here is economic political
>>gangsterism, which has now seized control of the government. You can't
>>look at it any other way. We have a system in which basically, instead
>>of -- that basically, just like the mob, is able the rewrite the laws,
>>pick the judges. They have decriminalized what we call deregulation,
>>Ken lay's great gift to America, deregulation of industry. And it's not
>>just electricity, okay, it's deregulation of industry. His great gift
>>is really decriminalization of price gouging, of monopoly abuse, of
>>economic abuse. These guys still have California by the light bulbs,
>>and as deregulation disease is spreading across the nation, still 24
>>states have deregulated their power markets. The march continues on.
>>
>>And you have to understand the other problems that have occurred here.
>>It used to be that these guys had to keep the lights on and keep track
>>of the money that they took from you to keep your lights on. Well, that
>>game is over now. We had a blackout, if you remember, a couple years
>>ago, and that was because these companies had literally sucked the cash
>>out of these firms and fired all their workers to keep the money that
>>you pay to keep your lights on. And Bush's response and Dick Cheney's
>>response and Congress's response was further deregulation; that is,
>>further decriminalization of sucking the money and lifeblood out of
>>these power companies. So, this is just -- you have to understand, is
>>that basically what we've done is we've decriminalized the rip-off of
>>the consumer.
>>
>>AMY GOODMAN: And finally, in the last few seconds we have, Robert
>>Bryce, author of Pipe Dreams, the workers, what do they gain by all of
>>this?
>>
>>ROBERT BRYCE: Well, the workers at Enron gain nothing. I mean, you
>>know, they gained a little bit of satisfaction, but I know a lot of
>>these people who are former Enron employees, some of them I know still
>>haven't been able to find work after losing not only their jobs, their
>>life savings, and in many cases their reputations. Just having worked
>>at Enron became a blot on their resume. So I think in Houston and here
>>in Texas, I think there's a lot of satisfaction to see Lay and Skilling
>>convicted. But if I can just add one other thing, this game isn't over
>>yet. There's certain to be an appeal, and there's a possibility of an
>>overturn here, because of the judge's jury instructions, which were
>>fairly open-ended and were similar to the instructions given in the
>>Arthur Andersen trial, which was then overturned at the Supreme Court,
>>so while I'm pleased --
>>
>>AMY GOODMAN: We're going to have to leave it there, Robert Bryce.
>>We're going to have to leave it there. Robert Bryce, author of Pipe
>>Dreams, Greg Palast, author of Armed Madhouse. Skilling and Lay will be
>>sentenced on September 11th.
>>
>>= = = =
>>STILL FEELING LIKE THE MAINSTREAM U.S. CORPORATE MEDIA
>>IS GIVING A FULL HONEST PICTURE OF WHAT'S GOING ON?
>>= = = =
>>Daily online radio show, news reporting: www.DemocracyNow.org
>>More news: UseNet's misc.activism.progressive (moderated)
>>= = = =
>>Sorry, we cannot read/reply to most usenet posts but welcome email
>>FOR MORE INFORMATION: http://EconomicDemocracy.org/wtc/ (peace)
>>http://economicdemocracy.org/eco/climate-summary.html (Climate)
>>And http://EconomicDemocracy.org/ (general)
>>
>>
>>** ANTI-SPAM NOTE: For EMAIL "info" and "map" DON'T work. Email to
>>** m-a-i-l-m-a-i-l (without the dashes)at economicdemocracy.org instead
>>
>
>
>

I*@economicdemocracy.org
2006-05-26 18:40:48 EST
I think the question you're trying to ask is not "a friend of yours"
but rather, if John Smith, who later turns out to be Al Capone, was a
MAJOR CONTRIBUTOR TO YOUR ELECTION CAMPAIGN" would that
raise questions?

Jerry Okamura wrote:
> So, let me see. If a friend of yours commits serial murder, or rapes a
> number of women, since you are "connected" to that person, you are guilty of
> being "complicit"?
>
> <info@economicdemocracy.org> wrote in message
> news:1148664857.518704.307340@38g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...
> > Friday, May 26th, 2006
> > Enron: The Bush Connection
> >
> > Listen to Segment || Download Show mp3
> > Watch 128k stream Watch 256k stream Read Transcript
> >
> > Enron founder Ken Lay and his family rank among President Bush's
> > biggest financial backers of his political career. The family donated
> > about $140,000 to Bush's political campaigns in Texas and for the
> > White House. The president personally nicknamed Ken Lay 'Kenny Boy.'
> > Our guest Greg Palast examined the connections between Enron and the
> > Bush administration in his documentary "Bush Family Fortunes."
> > [includes rush transcript - partial]
> >
> > We turn now to the connections between President Bush and Enron. Enron
> > founder Ken Lay and his family rank among President Bush's biggest
> > financial backers of his political career. The family donated about
> > $140,000 to Bush's political campaigns in Texas and for the White
> > House. The president personally nicknamed Ken Lay "Kenny Boy."
> > Overall Enron employees gave Bush some $600,000 in political donations.
> > According to the Center for Public Integrity this made Enron Bush's
> > top career donor - a distinction the company maintained until 2004.
> > Shortly after Bush took office in 2001, Vice President Cheney met with
> > Enron officials while he was developing the administration's energy
> > policies. Our guest Greg Palast examined the connections between Enron
> > and the Bush administration in his documentary "Bush Family
> > Fortunes."
> >
> > * Excerpt of the documentary "Bush Family Fortunes".
> >
> > Enron's influence reached as far as Uzbekistan. In January, we
> > interviewed the former ambassador to Uzbekistan, Craig Murray. He spoke
> > about the relationship between President Bush and the Uzbek regime of
> > President Karimov.
> >
> > * Craig Murray, former UK Ambassador to Uzbekistan.
> >
> > RUSH TRANSCRIPT
> >
> > [break]
> >
> > AMY GOODMAN: Enron's influence reached as far as Uzbekistan. In
> > January, we interviewed the former British ambassador to Uzbekistan,
> > Craig Murray. He spoke about the relationship between President Bush
> > and the Uzbek regime of President Karimov.
> >
> > CRAIG MURRAY: It goes back to before George Bush became
> > President. In 1997 or 1998, George Bush, as Governor of Texas, had a
> > meeting with the Uzbek ambassador to the United States, Ambassador
> > Safayev, which was actually organized and set up by Kenneth Lay of
> > Enron. And if you go to my website, you can find a facsimile of Kenneth
> > Lay's letter to George Bush, telling him to meet Ambassador Safayev in
> > order to conclude a billion-dollar gas deal between Uzbekistan and
> > Enron. And that was the start of the Bush relationship with the Karimov
> > regime.
> >
> > Karimov is one of the most vicious dictators in the world, a man
> > who is responsible for the death of thousands of people. Prisoners are
> > boiled to death in Uzbek jails. And he was a guest in the White House
> > in 2002. It's very easy to find photos of George Bush shaking Karimov's
> > hand.
> >
> > AMY GOODMAN: Again, that is the former British ambassador to
> > Uzbekistan, in our Democracy Now! studios. And for people who are
> > listening on the radio, you can go to our website at democracynow.org
> > to see the photographs of the leaders of Uzbekistan shaking the hands
> > of President Bush. Greg Palast, your response?
> >
> > GREG PALAST: You have to understand that Enron is an international
> > conspiracy locked up very tightly with the Bush family. You have to
> > understand that not only was a call made to the dictator of Uzbekistan,
> > but Jeb Bush called up the finance minister of Argentina to fix a deal
> > and said even though Enron was low bidder for the natural gas of
> > Argentina, Jeb Bush called and said, you know, "My father has just
> > been elected president of the free world."
> >
> > AMY GOODMAN: This is before Jeb Bush was Florida governor?
> >
> > GREG PALAST: Before he was governor. This is George's brother. And what
> > Jeb was saying is "My father would very much appreciate if you would
> > give Enron the deal." And the finance minister was just floored. He
> > thought that this was being muscled into giving away Argentina's
> > resources to some guy he's never heard of: Ken Lay. This is Jeb Bush.
> > Neil Bush then goes on the payroll of Enron to sell the Saudis water
> > systems for Enron. You have to understand that literally the Bush
> > family has been kind of an armed sales force for Enron, and an
> > empowered sales force, sometimes on the payroll, sometimes just in
> > office and the gimme is, of course, the huge political donations.
> >
> > And that really hasn't been touched in the U.S. papers, the huge
> > international reach of Enron, including, by the way, Mr. Tony Blair,
> > where I broke a story there about Enron's influence with the Blair
> > government, that huge amount of money was paid into the Labour Party to
> > allow Enron to bust the rules to allow them to build power plants in
> > England. I mean, Tony Blair had a lot to answer for, but that story was
> > covered there.
> >
> > AMY GOODMAN: I didn't hear these questions asked last night in the news
> > conference with Tony Blair and George Bush, who were having a kind of
> > mini-summit in Washington, D.C.
> >
> > GREG PALAST: Yes, very mini. Yeah, no, Tony Blair is also completely
> > mobbed up with Enron. I mean, I pretended, I went undercover and was
> > able to virtually buy Tony Blair's Cabinet back in 1998. It was a big
> > scandal. I won the equivalent of Britain's Pulitzer Prize for it. It's
> > in the book. And basically I pretended to be an Enron representative,
> > consultant, and the doors literally opened. I was invited right into 10
> > Downing Street. All I had do was say "Enron." It was like
> > "abracadabra." But it was all about cutting secret private deals.
> > And they said, "Well, you know, we just had your guys in, and we've
> > already given them xyz. We've given them waivers on the power
> > plants." And I was like --
> >
> > AMY GOODMAN: Were you wired?
> >
> > GREG PALAST: I was wired, yes. And unfortunately for Tony Blair, I was
> > wired. And when he called me a liar on the floor of the House of
> > Commons, we said, "Well, let's listen to the audio tape." But, you
> > know, that's not done here in the U.S. I mean, at the same time that we
> > were busting Enron over there, the U.S. press here was acting like Ken
> > Lay, like especially writers like Thomas Friedman of the Times, like he
> > was, you know, Elvis on a pogo stick. He was bringing the wonders of
> > the free market to electricity, this guy who was basically leading --
> > like I say, you have to understand it's a mob. And one thing I am very
> > discouraged at, reading the coverage, it's all about symbol of an era,
> > as if it's gone, as if under George Bush that era is over. No, that era
> > is beginning. Okay, they got rid of the guy who kicked it off. They had
> > to. He went too far. But the whole gang is still operating. That's one
> > of the big evils.
> >
> > AMY GOODMAN: I want to turn now to an excerpt of the documentary,
> > Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room. It's based on the book by the
> > same name by Bethany McLean and Peter Elkind. In this excerpt, Enron
> > founder Ken Lay talks about the state of Enron to a room full of Enron
> > employees. The date was October 22, 2001, a week after the Securities
> > and Exchange Commission sent a letter to Enron asking for information
> > on the company's third quarter losses.
> >
> > KEN LAY: As you can, of course, see the underlying fundamentals
> > of our businesses are very strong, indeed the strongest they've ever
> > been. But regrettably, that's not what Wall Street is focusing on, and
> > I doubt that's what you're focusing on. This inquiry will take a lot of
> > time on the part of our accountants and lawyers and others, but it will
> > finally put these issues to rest.
> >
> > NARRATOR: At the very moment Ken Lay was talking to employees,
> > only a few blocks away, Enron's accounting firm, Arthur Andersen, had
> > begun destroying its Enron files. On October 23, Andersen shredded more
> > than one ton of paper.
> >
> > KEN LAY: Despite the rumors, despite the speculation, the company
> > is doing well, both financially and operationally.
> >
> > SHERRON WATKINS: He was making all kinds of statements,
> > reassuring employees, and not just employees, reassuring investors we
> > have no accounting irregularities, the company is in the best shape
> > it's ever been in.
> >
> > KEN LAY: From the standpoint of Enron stock, we're going to bring
> > it back. We're going to bring it back. All right, we're down to
> > questions, and I've got a few up here. "I would like to know if you
> > are on crack. If so, that would explain a lot. If not, you may want to
> > start, because it's going to be a long time before we trust you
> > again."
> >
> > UNIDENTIFIED MAN 1: It certainly wasn't clear to anyone at
> > Enron, much less anyone outside of Enron. It wasn't really clear what
> > was going on or what was going to happen.
> >
> > KEN LAY: I know this is a lot -- there's a lot of speculation
> > about Andy's involvement. I and the board are also sure that Andy has
> > operated in the most ethical and appropriate manner possible.
> >
> > NARRATOR: The next day, Andy Fastow was fired, when the Enron
> > board discovered that he had made more than $45 million from his LJM
> > partnerships.
> >
> > REP. JIM GREENWOOD: The question, Mr. Fastow, is how could you
> > believe that your actions were in any way consistent with your
> > fiduciary duties to Enron and its shareholders or with common sense
> > notions of corporate ethics and propriety? How do you answer, sir?
> >
> > ANDREW FASTOW: Mr. Chairman, on the advice of my counsel, I
> > respectfully decline to answer the questions, based on the protection
> > afforded me under the United States Constitution.
> >
> > SHERRON WATKINS: Andy, in many ways, I think he was set up as the
> > fall guy. All of the Enron executives were saying, "There's your man,
> > Andy Fastow. He's the crook. You know, he's the one that stole from
> > Enron, stole from LJM> He's the one that cooked the books. Go after
> > him."
> >
> > UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I've thought about this and thought about
> > this, and it couldn't have just been a few executives at Enron that
> > made this happen. If you think of the banks involved, Chase, Morgan,
> > Citibank, the billions in loans, Arthur Andersen. What about Vinson &
> > Elkins, the lawyers that represented us? There had to have been
> > complicity across the board, because it was all too easy.
> >
> > AMY GOODMAN: Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, an excerpt. It was
> > produced and directed by Alex Gibney. Our guests are Robert Bryce, Pipe
> > Dreams, and Greg Palast, Armed Madhouse. Greg, this is the point you
> > were making about it being larger than Enron.
> >
> > GREG PALAST: Yeah. I mean, basically the co-conspirators, the rest of
> > the mob, was breaking out champagne yesterday, because they said,
> > "We're off the hook." This should have been the beginning of new
> > indictments, and like I say, the only new indictment are the guys that
> > went after Enron, the law firm that sued Enron for its shenanigans.
> > Milberg Weiss was put up. It was clearly political prosecution to say
> > "We're going to go after the guys who went after Enron," and yet
> > you heard the list. You had the law firm Vinson & Elkins, you had
> > Arthur Andersen, you had a whole crew of characters who got off
> > scot-free here.
> >
> > And what's even worse is that the game continues. See, the last Ken Lay
> > -- and this is important to understand -- was a guy named Sam Insull.
> > In 1930, all those companies called Edison were actually started by
> > Sam, who was the Ken Lay of his time, watered the stock, played games
> > with the books, overcharged customers. F.D.R. came into office, had the
> > guy busted, but even more, he says, "I'm not just going after the
> > criminal. I'm going after the crime." And F.D.R. changed the law to
> > say we're going to prohibit price gouging by these power pirates. We
> > are going to prohibit them from flickering the light switches. They
> > keep those lights on. No more freezing Grandma Millie, okay? And third
> > -- this is the big one -- the law under Franklin Roosevelt said you
> > cannot make political donations if you're a big power company.
> >
> > Now, Ken Lay slithered around that to give the big bucks to the Bush
> > family. I mean, the law says they can't do that, you have to
> > understand. He was the number one giver, when the law says you can't
> > give. And in 2005, Bush made it official by repealing the F.D.R. Public
> > Utility Holding Company Act, which barred these contributions by power
> > companies to politicians. In other words, basically they just opened up
> > the game, they threw Lay and Skilling to the dogs, to the crowd, and
> > the game continues on.
> >
> > AMY GOODMAN: Robert Bryce, you talk extensively about the similarities
> > between the Bush administration and Enron.
> >
> > ROBERT BRYCE: Sure. Let me make one point I think that we've missed
> > here. It's not just the Bush administration, as well. I mean, Congress
> > had a hand in allowing Enron to do what it did. Let's look at the case
> > of Phil Graham. Phil Graham was the one who carried legislation that
> > allowed Enron to do a lot of the things it did and avoid federal
> > oversight at the same time that his wife, Wendy, was on Enron's
> > board.
> >
> > AMY GOODMAN: Phil Graham, the former Texas senator.
> >
> > ROBERT BRYCE: Former senator from Texas. So Enron had tremendous power
> > in Congress, as well, that allowed it to operate with a free hand in
> > the energy trading business and to operate really as an unregulated
> > commodities broker, an unregulated commodities exchange.
> >
> > AMY GOODMAN: Just one second, because I spoke over you. I spoke over
> > you. The former Texas senator Phil Graham's wife, Wendy, say again her
> > role.
> >
> > ROBERT BRYCE: She was on the board at Enron at the same time that
> > Graham was in the Senate sponsoring legislation that benefited Enron.
> > Not only did Graham not recuse himself, he sponsored legislation that
> > effectively allowed Enron to operate as an unregulated commodities
> > exchange. So, I mean, there's plenty of -- Enron's money corrupted a
> > lot of elements of government, and it wasn't just the Bush
> > administration. I'm not saying that to excuse the Bush
> > administration, because, I mean, when you look at Enron and you look at
> > the Bush administration, you see the similarities. Both operated with
> > this clear idea that they were going to change the world, that the
> > world was going to follow their new business model and that that was
> > going to change the world forever.
> >
> > What else? Well, they launched brutal attacks on anybody who doubted
> > any of their programs. They had huge surges in debt that they covered
> > up with creative accounting. We see that now with the Bush
> > administration, creating some of the largest deficits in American
> > history of any presidency in American history, and also just this idea
> > that they were on a religious mission. This was -- their business model
> > was going to change the world. No one could doubt them. Anyone who did
> > was immediately cast aside. And in a word, it's the same commodity, the
> > same trait that brought down Enron is the defining trait of the Bush
> > administration, and that's hubris. It's the Greeks' fatal flaw. And
> > I think that that clearly came home to roost with Lay and Skilling, and
> > I think eventually it's going to come home to roost with the Bush
> > administration.
> >
> > AMY GOODMAN: Greg Palast.
> >
> > GREG PALAST: Well, what you have here is economic political
> > gangsterism, which has now seized control of the government. You can't
> > look at it any other way. We have a system in which basically, instead
> > of -- that basically, just like the mob, is able the rewrite the laws,
> > pick the judges. They have decriminalized what we call deregulation,
> > Ken lay's great gift to America, deregulation of industry. And it's not
> > just electricity, okay, it's deregulation of industry. His great gift
> > is really decriminalization of price gouging, of monopoly abuse, of
> > economic abuse. These guys still have California by the light bulbs,
> > and as deregulation disease is spreading across the nation, still 24
> > states have deregulated their power markets. The march continues on.
> >
> > And you have to understand the other problems that have occurred here.
> > It used to be that these guys had to keep the lights on and keep track
> > of the money that they took from you to keep your lights on. Well, that
> > game is over now. We had a blackout, if you remember, a couple years
> > ago, and that was because these companies had literally sucked the cash
> > out of these firms and fired all their workers to keep the money that
> > you pay to keep your lights on. And Bush's response and Dick Cheney's
> > response and Congress's response was further deregulation; that is,
> > further decriminalization of sucking the money and lifeblood out of
> > these power companies. So, this is just -- you have to understand, is
> > that basically what we've done is we've decriminalized the rip-off of
> > the consumer.
> >
> > AMY GOODMAN: And finally, in the last few seconds we have, Robert
> > Bryce, author of Pipe Dreams, the workers, what do they gain by all of
> > this?
> >
> > ROBERT BRYCE: Well, the workers at Enron gain nothing. I mean, you
> > know, they gained a little bit of satisfaction, but I know a lot of
> > these people who are former Enron employees, some of them I know still
> > haven't been able to find work after losing not only their jobs, their
> > life savings, and in many cases their reputations. Just having worked
> > at Enron became a blot on their resume. So I think in Houston and here
> > in Texas, I think there's a lot of satisfaction to see Lay and Skilling
> > convicted. But if I can just add one other thing, this game isn't over
> > yet. There's certain to be an appeal, and there's a possibility of an
> > overturn here, because of the judge's jury instructions, which were
> > fairly open-ended and were similar to the instructions given in the
> > Arthur Andersen trial, which was then overturned at the Supreme Court,
> > so while I'm pleased --
> >
> > AMY GOODMAN: We're going to have to leave it there, Robert Bryce.
> > We're going to have to leave it there. Robert Bryce, author of Pipe
> > Dreams, Greg Palast, author of Armed Madhouse. Skilling and Lay will be
> > sentenced on September 11th.
> >
> > = = = =
> > STILL FEELING LIKE THE MAINSTREAM U.S. CORPORATE MEDIA
> > IS GIVING A FULL HONEST PICTURE OF WHAT'S GOING ON?
> > = = = =
> > Daily online radio show, news reporting: www.DemocracyNow.org
> > More news: UseNet's misc.activism.progressive (moderated)
> > = = = =
> > Sorry, we cannot read/reply to most usenet posts but welcome email
> > FOR MORE INFORMATION: http://EconomicDemocracy.org/wtc/ (peace)
> > http://economicdemocracy.org/eco/climate-summary.html (Climate)
> > And http://EconomicDemocracy.org/ (general)
> >
> >
> > ** ANTI-SPAM NOTE: For EMAIL "info" and "map" DON'T work. Email to
> > ** m-a-i-l-m-a-i-l (without the dashes)at economicdemocracy.org instead
> >


Roedy Green
2006-05-26 19:10:54 EST
On 26 May 2006 10:34:17 -0700, info@economicdemocracy.org wrote,
quoted or indirectly quoted someone who said :

>Listen to Segment || Download Show mp3

http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=06/05/26/1410242

for Democracy Now MP3 and transcript of Enron story.

Listen to Lay lay it on thick about what a good Christian he is,
wiping out the life savings of the employees of Enron.


--
Canadian Mind Products, Roedy Green.
http://mindprod.com Java custom programming, consulting and coaching.

Roedy Green
2006-05-26 19:34:13 EST
On Fri, 26 May 2006 23:10:54 GMT, Roedy Green
<my_email_is_posted_on_my_website@munged.invalid> wrote, quoted or
indirectly quoted someone who said :

>
>http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=06/05/26/1410242
>
>for Democracy Now MP3 and transcript of Enron story.
>
>Listen to Lay lay it on thick about what a good Christian he is,
>wiping out the life savings of the employees of Enron.

It is cute. Palast got hold of the letter Lay wrote to Cheney telling
him his picks for the 3 men he wanted to regulate the utilities. Bush
appointed all three.

Capone used to pay off the cops. Lay appointed the cops he wanted.

There is an amusing clip on that tape where Bush claims he does not
know Lay, only that Lay once visited the White House with 20 other
business leaders for a general discussion about the economy.

Why does he bother lying when there is so much public evidence to the
contrary.
--
Canadian Mind Products, Roedy Green.
http://mindprod.com Java custom programming, consulting and coaching.

Roedy Green
2006-05-26 19:35:25 EST
On Fri, 26 May 2006 19:22:09 GMT, "Jerry Okamura"
<*5@hawaii.rr.com> wrote, quoted or indirectly quoted someone
who said :

>So, let me see. If a friend of yours commits serial murder, or rapes a
>number of women, since you are "connected" to that person, you are guilty of
>being "complicit"?

You were if you committed crimes to benefit him, like appointing his
buddies as judges.
--
Canadian Mind Products, Roedy Green.
http://mindprod.com Java custom programming, consulting and coaching.

Roedy Green
2006-05-26 19:58:15 EST
On Fri, 26 May 2006 23:10:54 GMT, Roedy Green
<my_email_is_posted_on_my_website@munged.invalid> wrote, quoted or
indirectly quoted someone who said :

>http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=06/05/26/1410242
>
>for Democracy Now MP3 and transcript of Enron story.

Palast says Lay "slithered around" FDR's law prohibiting political
contributions from utilities. Enron employees were Bush's biggest
corporate donor. Lay himself handed out $2.5 million personally.

Bush repealed the law in 2005.

Bush claims he does not know Lay. Does that pass the laugh test? The
guy who hands you millions does not even get to shake your hand? Get
real!

--
Canadian Mind Products, Roedy Green.
http://mindprod.com Java custom programming, consulting and coaching.

Stewart_connor
2006-05-26 21:07:02 EST
Roedy, thank you for remaining aware of soc.retirement and
soc.senior.issues


Jerry Okamura
2006-05-27 13:42:29 EST
Why did you think that the privatization proposal which Bush proposed was
the wrong proposal? Why should that be a conservative or liberal thing?

"Moses" <moses@spoof.net> wrote in message
news:127eltutki82e9b@corp.supernews.com...
> Now that Lay and Shilling are guilty the Bush administration must look
> elsewhere to find a "conservative" to head a privatised social security
> administration. Well, maybe Bush could pardon and then appoint.
>
>


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