...I'm okay with being REALITY-based.

Monday, August 18, 2003
      ( 11:30 AM )
Dim Bulbs and Light Stalkers

I checked in first with Greg Palast to see if he had anything on the background of the Power Outage...of course he did.

[I]n 1990, one devious little bunch of operators out of Texas,
Houston Natural Gas, operating under the alias "Enron,"
talked an over-the-edge free-market fanatic, Britain's Prime
Minister Margaret Thatcher, into licensing the first completely
deregulated power plant in the hemisphere.


FDR gave us the Federal Power Commission and the Public
Utilities Holding Company Act which told electricity companies
where to stand and salute. Detailed regulations limited
charges to real expenditures plus a government-set profit.
The laws banned power "trading" and required companies
to keep the lights on under threat of arrest -- no blackout
blackmail to hike rates.

Of particular significance as I write here in the dark, regulators
told utilities exactly how much they had to spend to insure the
system stayed in repair and the lights stayed on. Bureaucrats
crawled along the wire and, like me, crawled through the account
books, to make sure the power execs spent customers' money
on parts and labor. If they didn't, we'd whack'm over the head
with our thick rule books. Did we get in the way of these
businessmen's entrepreneurial spirit? Damn right we did.

Most important, FDR banned political contributions from utility
companies -- no 'soft' money, no 'hard' money, no money PERIOD.

But then came George the First. In 1992, just prior to his
departure from the White House, President Bush Senior gave the
power industry one long deep-through-the-teeth kiss good-bye:
federal deregulation of electricity. It was a legacy he wanted to leave
for his son,
the gratitude of power companies which ponied up $16
million for the Republican campaign of 2000, seven times the sum
they gave Democrats.

He goes on to detail how Enron and its cronies moved in and took over...

It took until December 20, 2000, with the lights going out
on the Golden Gate, for President Bill Clinton, once a deregulation
booster, to find his lost Democratic soul and impose price caps
in California and ban Enron from the market.

But the light-bulb buccaneers didn't have to wait long to put their
hooks back into the treasure chest. Within seventy-two hours of
moving into the White House, while he was still sweeping out the
inaugural champagne bottles, George Bush the Second reversed
Clinton's executive order and put the power pirates back in business
in California.


Californians have found the solution to the deregulation
disaster: re-call the only governor in the nation with the cojones
to stand up to the electricity price fixers.
And unlike Arnold
Schwarzenegger, Gov. Gray Davis stood alone against the bad
guys without using a body double. Davis called Reliant Corp of
Houston a pack of "pirates" --and now he'll walk the plank for
daring to stand up to the Texas marauders.

There's more. What is so excruciatingly depressing is that the media finds it far more invigorating to repeat all the glam about Arnold and not delve one bit into the truth behind the energy crisis or the fact that the precedent being set in California is that they are about to recall a governor, who, though personally unlikeable, has done nothing wrong, committed no crime and has in fact done his best against an embittered state legislature to help his state's citizens. This is all above and beyond the entire bamboozling that BushCo has engaged in all weekend to cover up the fact that they have stalled all efforts to reform and regulate the energy industry by holding any reform bills hostage to drilling in ANWR.

Are people starting to see through the facade that is our country's leadership YET?

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