February 1, 2002:  The smell of Enron just keeps getting even stinkier.  On January 30, the Chronicle broke the story of a memo written by Ken Lay to Dick Cheney, while he was heading Bush's committee to write an energy policy.  This was at the height of the rolling blackouts last spring.  The policy points that Lay asked for in that memo turn out to be a remarkably good prediction of the policy that the veep later announced to the public.

Senator Barbara Boxer is calling this memo a "smoking gun" that lays bare the white house's willingness to create public policy founded on favoritism and bribery.  She promises to go over the memo in considerable detail when she has Ken Lay in front of her committee on Monday.  (Feinstein is joining in with Boxer on this, but I don't think she's fooling too many people.  She was perfectly willing to support PG&E's continued monopoly profiteering two months ago.)

Loretta Lynch, president of California's Public Utilities Commission, says "During that time, every official in California was knocking on doors in Washington trying to get help.  Now we know why they let us down."

Cheney's office says that his energy plan was "based on sound science."  (That must be why it worked so well.)  "Nothing in there benefits a specific company or interest group."  Let us remember that the move which broke the escalating price spiral and also ended the rolling blackouts was a regulatory price cap -- exactly the move which both Lay's memo to Cheney, and Cheney's final policy document, argued most strongly against.  "American consumers are best served when [we] avoid subsidies, price caps, and other constraints."

Watch out for a sudden big breaking news story unrelated to Enron to erupt on Monday when Ken Lay is scheduled to testify, some of the more conspiracy-minded Bush watchers warn.

It's now coming out that Enron paid newspaper writers to downplay the scandal.  Even in bankruptcy, their business model still seems to be founded entirely on bribery.

Another turn of the revolving door between Enron and the Bush crowd, it turns out, got a lucrative Enron consulting job for Robert Reed, the former head of the Christian Coalition, a tireless worker in the cause of persuading religious fundamentalists to vote for the interests of the kind of capitalists that Jesus constantly preached against.  They say that Ken Lay is very Christian.  Reed's job?  "Building grass-roots support" for Enron's kind of deregulation.

Remember Bush's campaign promise to have "no tolerance for even a hint of scandal" in his administration?

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