"Dick Cheney's Bonehead Enron Play"

By Scott Rosenberg


Salon Staff
February 2, 2002 1:30AM (UTC)

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Dick Cheney is a man of principle. Unfortunately, one of his principles is that conversations between the big boys who run the country should be kept from the ears of the rabble. When those big boys include the liars and thieves that ran Enron, Cheney has a problem. George W. is not helping by pretending that he and Ken Lay barely knew each other. As Clemenceau would have put it, "George W. talks like Jesus Christ, but he acts like Bill Clinton."

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-- John Mize

Vice President Cheney's invocation of executive privilege need not be interpreted as his having anything particularly nefarious to hide. If corporations (or other interests) are to come to the table and advise or inform the executive branch, they want to know that what they say will not end up on the front page of the Post (or on Salon.com) the next day. It should be noted also that Enron was not the only energy company to talk with Cheney.

The appearance of hiding something shady may be created simply by a member of the press asking aloud, "I wonder if Cheney is hiding something." When the vice president then continues to withhold the information, of course it reinforces the impression. It may be analogous to a journalist saying, "Mr. Vice President, are you hiding something questionable? If so, please cite executive privilege."

I do not pretend to claim that there was nothing wrong with the meetings, and I am far from enthusiastic about the Bush administration's energy and environmental policies. However, I do think that far too much has been made of the task force meetings in the light of Enron's heinous mismanagement and subsequent collapse.

-- Fred Beukema

Why aren't the public and media shouting from the mountaintops "bring in the special prosecutor"? Enron's tentacles reach throughout our government. Our elected officials are no better than some south of the border politicos that run their governments on bribes, favors and corruption. Bush should be impeached before the whole country falls like the Enron house of cards. Everyone that lost their job should be lobbying Washington and the media. The impeachment battle cry needs to sound. Our greatest enemies are here at home, and they are our elected leaders. Impeach the scoundrels. Bush first and Tom DeLay, Kay Bailey Hutchison, Phil Gramm along with them (oh, and put Wendy Gramm in jail while we are at it). The whole thing makes me ill.

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-- P. Hamilton

Hang 'em!! How can any citizen, employee or investor have confidence in a system or government that rushes to cover up and water down such a despicable and injurious act?

Our whole economic system is based on confidence and integrity at the marketplace.

When a wrong appears, regardless of the magnitude, it must be quickly and thoroughly identified and stamped out. If some politicians are hurt, at whatever level, so be it.

-- Edwin Wheeler

I read the article "Cheney Defends Enron Decision" with a mixture of glee at the depth of the hole Cheney was digging for himself and disgust at his utter disregard for the American people.

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Cheney's claim that releasing the names of those industry executives who advised him on the energy bill would "make it virtually impossible ... to have confidential conversations with anybody" displays an utter contempt for the right of Americans to know how their tax dollars are spent. How can he honestly express surprise that a public servant should be required to reveal what corporate interests he is serving while claiming to serve the public?

Further, his suggestion that these issues are being pursued for "political expediency" in the midst of a "grave national crisis" is openly offensive. Attempting to hide his selling of political favors behind the bodies of those who died on Sept. 11 is an all-too-accurate symbol of Cheney's willingness to sacrifice the American people he claims to serve to the business interests that helped put him in office.

-- Jeremy Robinson

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Even a child would know that the cozy relationship between the vice president and the energy industry needs to be scrutinized by the populace of our country. The extensive rape of the Californians, and the lack of help or understanding from the Bush team early on in 2001, drove the profits of the Enron executives to a hefty windfall of the California surplus.

The money was pocketed by the tightly knit insiders who sold at peak stock prices. Are Bush and Cheney afraid that the news will finally leak out and the American people will find out how much Enron stock Bush and Cheney sold, and how they profited? Or were they compensated by another means which they are trying desperately not to have divulged? Nobody gives something for nothing!

-- Harvey Starr

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The scandal of Enron for the Bush administration is a philosophical one. Cheney can continue to stonewall, if he chooses, but he will lose eventually. But the transcripts of the meetings, which the GAO has been trying to get since Enron was still an energy giant, will only prove what we already know.

The most damning piece of evidence has already been released. It is the Cheney-Bush energy plan. It has everything in it, from hundreds of millions of dollars in subsidies to drilling rights on public lands, for Enron and the other energy companies, and nothing for conservation. Enron and other energy companies met many times with Cheney, mostly in secret. Conservationists met once, in public.

Surely, the scandal is right there: Big money can have whatever it wants from the Bush administration. What does Cheney think he's hiding?

-- Ken Olson

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Keep up the investigation. What I want to know is:

1) How much money did Enron make from California on how much actual energy?

2) When did Florida and the other public pension funds buy their shares in Enron? After all the executive unloading, their stock needed buyers.

3) How can people support the Bush/Cheney energy plan after all this?

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That last question is probably rhetorical, but it is a mystery to me.

-- Linda Tashker

I totally agree with Scott Rosenberg's piece "Dick Cheney's Bonehead Enron Play." Mr. Chenron all but won regardless of what any outcome in court will be for one simple reason. We will never know what those documents really contained. Sure, he can waltz into the GAO office, slam down 1,000 pages of "documents" and say "Here you go, boys. This here is all of the documents requested. They're all right there." And we would never be the wiser as to the true documents. Kenny boy and his cronies all have shredders in their bathrooms. Are we to believe that those documents even exist anymore? After almost 40 years in Washington, Mr. Chenron surely knows how to play this game like a pro.

-- Jack Lizmi

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Why shouldn't Cheney fight to keep his dealings with Enron quiet? After all, the case would eventually end up in the U.S. Supreme Court, a once-revered branch of our government ruined in 2000 by partisan Republican jurists.

-- Doug Markham


Salon Staff

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