Tuesday, June 08, 2004

burn, baby, burn

connie mentioned this to me on the phone last night; i hadn't heard about it yet. since she's in california, maybe the news spread more quickly out there...

cbs has some very damning tapes of enron traders revelling in the california energy crisis, swearing "like barnacle bill the sailor", & gloating about how they are profiting from reaming their customers in the ass. i mean, this is bad stuff:

When a forest fire shut down a major transmission line into California, cutting power supplies and raising prices, Enron energy traders celebrated, CBS News Correspondent Vince Gonzales reports.

"Burn, baby, burn. That's a beautiful thing," a trader sang about the massive fire.

Four years after California's disastrous experiment with energy deregulation, Enron energy traders can be heard – on audiotapes obtained by CBS News – gloating and praising each other as they helped bring on, and cash-in on, the Western power crisis.

hoo boy, that's a good lead. & just in case you forgot that bush had permanently camped out inside enron's pockets, there's stuff on the tapes about him too:

Before the 2000 election, Enron employees pondered the possibilities of a Bush win.

"It'd be great. I'd love to see Ken Lay Secretary of Energy," says one Enron worker.

That didn't happen, but they were sure President Bush would fight any limits on sky-high energy prices.

"When this election comes Bush will f------g whack this s--t, man. He won't play this price-cap b------t."

Crude, but true.

"We will not take any action that makes California's problems worse and that's why I oppose price caps," said Mr. Bush on May 29, 2001.

be sure to read part 2 of the story as well, and check out both the videos to get some soundbites. i would love to get my hands on an unbleeped, unedited copy of the tapes rather than making do with the soundbites in the cbs report, but this is pretty damning stuff: it basically proves that enron "fucks california" (& those aren't even my words!)

"He just f---s California," says one Enron employee. "He steals money from California to the tune of about a million."

"Will you rephrase that?" asks a second employee.

"OK, he, um, he arbitrages the California market to the tune of a million bucks or two a day," replies the first.

The tapes, from Enron's West Coast trading desk, also confirm what CBS reported years ago: that in secret deals with power producers, traders deliberately drove up prices by ordering power plants shut down.

"If you took down the steamer, how long would it take to get it back up?" an Enron worker is heard saying.

"Oh, it's not something you want to just be turning on and off every hour. Let's put it that way," another says.

"Well, why don't you just go ahead and shut her down."

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