After reading Joe Cannon’s piece, it struck me that perhaps the whole collective bargaining thing in Wisconsin has become a smokescreen. Oh yes, they want to do that too, but even if that part of the bill is taken out, and there is a glimmer of hope that might be a possibility, there are still horrible parts of the bill that should not stand, not the least of which is the the section that gives the governor the sole authority to sell off, via no-bid contracts, the state’s power plants.
From Joe’s post:
Koch industries is the leading partner in a firm called Entergy-Koch, LP, described as
a new wholesale trading, transportation and marketing company based in Houston…
The firm was “new” as of 2001.
EKLP, a privately held company formed by subsidiaries of Entergy Corporation and Koch Industries, Inc., delivers, markets and trades power, natural gas and other energy-related commodities, including weather derivatives, through wholly owned subsidiaries Axia Energy, LP, Axia Energy Europe Ltd., and Gulf South Pipeline Company, LP.
Now check out this bio of the former head of Entergy:
he was responsible for Entergy’s 30,000 megawatts of generation assets, including 73 gas/oil-fired plants, 10 nuclear plants, 6 coal-fired plants…
Given the heavy Koch investment in pro-Walker propaganda (at this moment, you can see Koch-funded ads all over Huffington Post), you know that EKLP plans to profit from Walker’s no-bid contracts.
Huh. Joe goes on to remind us of California’s energy “crisis” and the role Enron played in that.
Yes, electricity rates skyrocketed and rolling blackouts occurred in 2001 — but not because “politicians seized control.” Quite the opposite: Politicians deregulated energy.
I’ll say again what I’ve said before. Hell, I may even give these words a permanent place on the masthead: Deregulation invites crooks to take over, just as crooks would take over your town if all the cops disappeared.
In California, the blackouts and high prices occurred not because rates didn’t match the “true cost” of energy. Just the opposite. Wikipedia, surprisingly, has it right:
California had a shortage of electricity caused by market manipulations and illegal shutdowns of pipelines by Texas energy consortiums.
The key conspirator was Enron. They were in the “energy trading” business — just like Entergy-Koch.
Incidentally, although everyone now agrees that the California crisis was fabricated, there was a time — as recently as seven-or-so years ago — when anyone who made that claim was castigated as…wait for it…a “conspiracy theorist.” Back then, anyone who told the truth about the crisis had to endure ever-so-clever references to tin foil headgear. We also suffered through the usual pop psyche drivel: “Conspiracy theorists search for simplistic answers in a complex world…”
Then we got audio recordings proving that Enron schemers planned the whole thing.
Ah yes, y’all remember “Burn baby, burn” doncha?
“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.
“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.
By the way — am I the only one who recalls that, even as the blackouts walloped California, the internet pundits and the cable news talking heads overflowed with Axelrodian “astroturfed” commentary pushing for still more energy deregulation in other states? States like Wisconsin? Because, y’know, that trick worked out soooo freaking well in the Golden State…
The exposure of Enron may have set those schemes back a decade. But now it’s time for Enron II: The Kochtopus Strikes!
Time has passed, and Axelrodian propaganda trickery has made many people forget what really went down in California. So go ahead. Call me a conspiracy theorist. Offer your bon mots about foil chapeaus. I’ll stand my ground: They’re gonna pull the same shit again.
The Wisconsin face-off ultimately is not about unions, and it isn’t about libertarian ideology. [BL: though busting unions is the icing on the cake] Bend over, rate-payers in the Midwest: You are about to get (Ken) Lay-ed…by a big, bad Koch.
What is it they say about those who fail to remember the past?