culture, politics, commentary, criticism

Friday, July 09, 2004
Why is Ken Lay smiling? mmw at
bad things rightly points out that I have a tendency to vanish whenever my pet bugaboo, the Enron scandal, heats up. I'm afraid I don't have much to add now that Kenny Boy has been indicted, except that no matter what happens to him beyond this point it was all worth it for him.

For the small sum of a half-million dollars he managed to help get a man into the White House who now avoids even a mention of him as if it were some rare form of Texan cancer, but who allowed Lay to secretly dictate energy policy with the avid cooperation of Dick Cheney.

Lay's indictment and the handcuffs are a piece of theatre designed for mass media consumption. Lay's little stroll was about the smilingest perp walk I've ever seen.

And the money. Oh, the money. The highest estimate I've seen so far is that he could be fined as much as $5 million. Even if he had to pay the maximum fine, by my calculations, that would still earn him a 1800% return on his investment (i.e., the fine, relative to the $90 million he stole from Enron shareholders). Seems generous, especially compared to what your savings account offers these days. That is, if you have any money left, as so few former Enron employees appear to do.

Supposedly he has less than $20 million left of the original $90 million he stole, but that's because he was given three years to hide $70 million. Don't you think you could do that with a combination of offshore accounts and annuities that pay you income for life (but without the messy accountability of being able to be seized by legitimate creditors, even by court order)?

Why is this man smiling? Because he got away with it. Even if they fine him the maximum, he got away with it.

John Emerson at Seeing the Forest provides a nice compendium of handy Enron links for your amusement or outrage as the case may be.

Greatest Hits · Alternatives to First Command Financial Planning · First Command, last resort, Part 3 · Part 2 · Part 1 · Stealing $50K from a widow: Wells Real Estate · Leo Wells, REITs and divine wealth · Sex-crazed Red State teenagers · What I hate: a manifesto · Spawn of Darleen Druyun · All-American high school sex party · Why is Ken Lay smiling? · Poppy's Enron birthday party · The Saudi money laundry and the president's uncle · The sentence of Enron's John Forney · The holiness of Neil Bush's marriage · The Silence of Cheney: a poem · South Park Christians · Capitalist against Bush: Warren Buffett · Fastow childen vs. Enron children · Give your prescription money to your old boss · Neil Bush, hard-working matchmaker · Republicans against fetuses and pregnant women · Emboldened Ken Lay · Faith-based jails · Please die for me so I can skip your funeral · A brief illustrated history of the Republican Party · Nancy Victory · Soldiers become accountants · Beware the Merrill Lynch mob · Darleen Druyun's $5.7 billion surprise · First responder funding · Hoovering the country · First Command fifty percent load · Ken Lay and the Atkins diet · Halliburton WMD · Leave no CEO behind · August in Crawford · Elaine Pagels · Profitable slave labor at Halliburton · Tom Hanks + Mujahideen · Sharon & Neilsie Bush · One weekend a month, or eternity · Is the US pumping Iraqi oil to Kuwait? · Cheney's war · Seth Glickenhaus: Capitalist against Bush · Martha's blow job · Mark Belnick: Tyco Catholic nut · Cheney's deferred Halliburton compensation · Jeb sucks sugar cane · Poindexter & LifeLog · American Family Association panic · Riley Bechtel and the crony economy · The Book of Sharon (Bush) · The Art of Enron · Plunder convention · Waiting in Kuwait: Jay Garner · What's an Army private worth? · Barbara Bodine, Queen of Baghdad · Sneaky bastards at Halliburton · Golf course and barbecue military strategy · Enron at large · Recent astroturf · Cracker Chic 2 · No business like war business · Big Brother · Martha Stewart vs. Thomas White · Roger Kimball, disappointed Republican poetry fan · Cheney, Lay, Afghanistan · Terry Lynn Barton, crimes of burning · Feasting at the Cheney trough · Who would Jesus indict? · Return of the Carlyle Group · Duct tape is for little people · GOP and bad medicine · Sears Tower vs Mt Rushmore · Scared Christians · Crooked playing field · John O'Neill: The man who knew · Back to the top

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