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BUZZFLASH REPORT Sunday February 10, 2002 at 11:48:05 PM

Bush Incorporated, In Bed With the Enron Bandits from Day One: PART II

On February 8th, BuzzFlash wrote and posted an editorial "Bush Incorporated, In Bed With the Enron Bandits from Day One." (See http://www.buzzflash.com/editorial/2002/02/020802_Bush_Beds_Enron.html)

We have received an avalanche of response to our assertion that the Democrats and the media are missing the boat on the Enron/Bush Administration scandal. It is misleading to focus on what the Bush administration did for Enron after the infamous autumn 2001 calls (which, at first, were denied by Ari "I've Always Got My Fingers Crossed Behind My Back" Fleischer). The real scandal is what the Bush administration did to try and save Enron beginning the day of George W. Bush's inauguration on January 20, 2001.

It's a bit like a ship that has hit an iceberg and is slowly sinking. If Enron is that ship, it sought the assistance of the White House during the transition period prior to January 20th to send help to patch up the ship and keep it afloat. (See the following New York Times article for confirmation that Enron executives knew that the company was in peril in January of 2001: http://www.nytimes.com/2002/02/10/business/10COLL.html)

On January 20th, 2001, the White House began to implement a wide range of measures to keep Enron from sinking. But the ship ran into a second iceberg: Republican Jim Jeffords (from a vanishing species of politicians: a man with principle) switched parties, and the Democrats regained control of the Senate. At that point, many of the Enron-saving efforts planned by the White House became hopelessly stalled.

In this ship-sinking scenario, the calls to the White House in the Fall of 2001 were not calls for help any longer. They were probably meant to warn the Bush administration to steer clear of the Enron steamer as it finally sunk, in order that the White House didn't get pulled down in the undertow. That may explain, as an example, why the Justice Department waited several months to tell the White House and the Defense Department not to destroy Enron-related documents.

Readers responded to our February 8th editorial with a wide variety of comments, and we wanted to reply to some of them:

1) Many BuzzFlash readers were surprised that we didn't list MORE of the actions taken by the White House on behalf of Enron once the Bush administration was placed into office by the Supreme Court. Why didn't we note that the Bush administration was trying to force the Taliban to give the U.S. oil pipeline rights through Afghanistan prior to September 11th (with Enron a likely beneficiary)? Why didn't we list the 17 ways the Cheney Energy report was similar to Enron's wish list? Why didn't we take note of the huge tax break and rebate earmarked for Enron in Bush's "stimulus" bill? Why didn't we didn't we list all the Bush appointees from Enron? And so forth.

The answer to these questions is simple: BuzzFlash didn't have enough space to list all the high and low profile efforts the Bush/Cheney team took to try and save Enron from collapsing.

2) A few BuzzFlash readers advised us to emphasize that by taking "no" action in the autumn, the Bush administration left pension holders and investors to fall off a financial cliff, rather than trying to give them time to make a last ditch effort to save some of their investment.

The answer is that our readers are right, but our editorial was about what Bush Incorporated did to help its sister company, Enron, to try and stay afloat. It is true that the fall "inaction" was defined by what the Bush/Cheney crew did not do for John Q. Public.

3) Why didn't we include quotations from Treasury Secretary "Cry Me a River" O'Neill and White House Budget Director Mitch "New Yorkers are Money Grubbers" Daniels about how the Enron collapse was really just an example of capitalism at work.

The answer is that their statements have more to do with the corrupt business practices that the Bush administration condones than with how they aided Enron once they moved into the White House. The comments by O'Neill and Daniels are indeed appalling. They basically represent the Bush administration's aberrant view of business: an anarchistic Darwinian marketplace, where corporate bandits and desperadoes hold sway as they are allowed to loot investors and the government.

4) Why didn't you mention the story BuzzFlash posted that Ken Lay was in Washington, D.C., the day (February 4th) that his lawyer (in D.C.) said that he couldn't accept a subpoena for Lay because he didn't know where he was. (See

The answer is that we agree this is one is a mighty curious oddity. Lay's prominent D.C. Gucci lawyer didn't know where Lay was on a day he was actually in D.C. (as later indicated by Lay's spokeswoman). BuzzFlash's speculation is that Lay might have been meeting with emissaries from the White House to establish a consistent cover story before Lay "testifies," which is now scheduled for the week of February 11. Remember that there are certainly grounds to suspect that a Justice Department "investigation" is aimed at keeping the White House from being tainted by the scandal, rather than getting to the bottom of the truth. Can you imagine a John Ashcroft Justice Department actually bringing information to a Grand Jury that might be damaging to the White House? Dream on. The right wing Federalist clique has always applied one standard of justice to Democrats and another, more lenient one, to Republicans. And remember that Papa Bush saved his neck from a potential criminal charge by pardoning his administration's participants in the illegal Iran/Contra activities. The Bushes believe that they are above the law.

So what was Ken Lay secretly doing in Washington, D.C., on February 4? Well, we know he wasn't meeting with his lawyer, because his lawyer said he didn't know where Lay was on February 4th. So, let's just offer the possibility that Lay was meeting with "interested parties" representing the White House damage control squad. We can't confirm that happened; we can only offer that as a possibility.

Well, BuzzFlash received more pointers from our wonderful readers, but we'll stop here for the moment because the dinner bell is ringing at our little Suzie-Q ranch. We bought the spread for a song from "Kenny Boy" and couldn't be happier, especially since we found caches of loot buried behind the barn that used to house his Rolls Royces. After we get settled, we'll invite Buzzflash readers down for a big Texas style "movers and shakers" barbecue. Just bring cash, it goes a long way in Texas. If you bring enough of it, you might even get the power franchise for California. Stay tuned! (And yes, we are making this last paragraph up.)

Y'all take care now.