Reidblog [The Reid Report blog]

Think at your own risk.
Thursday, July 06, 2006
Where in the world is Ken Lay?
Dead , apparently, at a luxury ski chalet, where his heart just "gave out..."

Mr. Lay died having ridden Enron into the ground, taking with it several state pensions (including the one for Florida teachers,) and the California governorship (not to mention a few ballfields) and enriching himself in the process. And although he was convicted, along with Skilly Boy, Jeffrey Skilling, of defrauding both investors and employees of Enron, he conveniently will be doing his time in the grave.

... that is, if he is, in fact, deceased.

And if his death... such as it is ... was truly God's design (and not somebody else's...)

He died having been purged from the consciousness of one George W. Bush, who once called him "Kenny Boy," and who once passed affectionate letters between himself and his young charge (some hand-written) signed simply "George" and "Ken..." Example:

Dear Ken,

One of the sad things about old friends is that they seem to be getting older - just like you!

55 years old. Wow! That is really old.

Thank goodness you have such a young, beautiful wife.

Laura and I value our friendship with you. Best wishes to Linda, your family, and friends.

Your younger friend,

George W. Bush
Yes, that really is an adult writing. Stunning, isn't it? And yeah, dude, that IS old ... and here's a gushing tribute to Dubya's big 6-0 from the supposedly Bush-hating New York Times. And from yesterday's press briefing with the minister of information, Fox News' The White House's Tony Snow:

Q One other quick question. What has been the President's reaction to the death of Ken Lay?

MR. SNOW: I really haven't talked to him about it. I'll give you my own personal reaction, which is when somebody dies you leave behind those who grieve and I think they deserve our compassion. But I don't know, what do you think would be the appropriate thing to say?

Q I don't know. I don't know him. The President was his friend, not me.

MR. SNOW: No, the President has described Ken Lay as an acquaintance, and many of the President's acquaintances have passed on during his time in office. Again, I think -- it's sort of an interesting question, but not answerable by me.
Where is the love ... hell, where is the follow up question???

More on the Dubya-Enron non-relationship, from Alternet:
Ken Lay, Bush’s largest financial benefactor, has admitted to knowing him long before this time. Lay tried to get the former Bush’s presidential library to locate at the University of Houston, whose Board of Regents Lay served on in the late 1980’s. During this time, Lay admits to spending “quality time with George W.” Bush, however, denies that their relationship was ever on the level of personal friends. Also, Lay contributed $122,500 as the CEO of Enron to Bush’s governor race before the 1994 election. Another $200,000 came from employees of Enron. In fact, Enron’s CEO, its employees and their relatives have contributed $836,800 over Bush’s political career -- more than from any other source. Would just an acquaintance give you almost a million dollars for your campaigns? Only if there is reason to believe there will be some benefit. And Enron saw benefits.

It is insulting for George W. to insist he hardly knew Lay before 1994 when Lay was co-chairman of the former Bush’s 1990 economic summit for industrialized nations, which was held in Houston. Lay was also co-chairman of the host committee for the Republican National Convention when it was held in Houston in 1992. It is a fact that George W. was actively involved in the campaign, which makes it impossible for them not to have known each other. The more one looks into the relationships of all the key players, the more one realizes that this has the potential to grow into a scandal as big as any other.

It is important to realize that 15 high-ranking officials in the Bush administration owned stock in Enron last year with a combined value of almost one million dollars. The contacts between Enron, the once-biggest energy company in the world, and the most powerful government in the world are vast. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfield, senior Bush adviser Karl Rove, deputy EPA administrator Linda Fisher, Treasury Undersecretary Peter Fisher and U.S. Trade Rep. Robert Zoellick all had stock in Enron. The biggest connection is Army Secretary Thomas White, who was Enron’s vice chairman before he got his Pentagon job and owned up to $100 million worth of Enron stock.

Two other Bush officials had professional ties with Enron. Lawrence Lindsey, White House economic advisor, was a managing director of Economic Strategies, Inc., who served as a consultant firm to Enron. Zoellick also served on the advisory council of Enron. It is important to remember that Bush and Cheney once headed an energy production company and many of his top aides came from oil companies including Rumsfield, Condoleeza Rice, and many others.

Just before Enron’s bankruptcy, its top officials were lobbying the administration for help. Calls were made from Lay to Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neil, Commerce Secretary Don Evans, and Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan right before the bankruptcy. O’Neil and Evans say they did not notify Bush until January 10th of their contacts with Lay and Enron’s trouble. There is even proof that Enron executives called Fisher several times in the fall asking him to help the company secure a bank loan.

Also, Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham called the Enron chairman on November 2. We need to know what was said and decided during all these phone calls. The reasons for these calls are unknown, but the Bush Administration promises that they did nothing to help the company. We cannot take his word on this, and probes need to be made. The President said on January 10th that he “never discussed with Mr. Lay the financial problems of the company.” It is, of course, possible that none of the officials who acknowledge contacts from Enron much earlier than the fall told Bush or took any action. But it's not very likely.

The White House has admitted that the energy task force had met six to eight times with Enron officials and deny that finances were discussed. These then-secret meetings were held behind closed doors with Enron executives during the drafting of Bush’s energy plan last year. Many of the deregulation laws fit with Enron’s desire to expand into the giant company it had become. Officials must explain how much influence Enron executives had on administration policies after contributing over a half a million dollars to the Bush campaigns. Energy experts say Enron helped create the new laws that enabled the energy giant to become the most powerful in the market.
But of course, Bush didn't know him, just like he didn't know Jack Abramoff... next this guy will be denying he knows Cheney and Rumsfeld ... uh-oh.

Tags: , Enron, Kenneth Lay, Jeff Skilling, Jeffrey Skilling, Andy Fastow, , Politics, News, Republicans
posted by JReid @ 6:02 AM  
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