The big story begins here
by way of Corrente
. Basically, Governor Walker of Wisconsin wants to sell state-owned power plants to private owners -- without bidding. No bid contracts = CORRUPTION
. As one Corrente comment puts it:
Buying up existing power plants is one of the major operations of Koch Industries and this explains their sudden interest in Wisconsin - an opportunity to expand their empire on the cheap.
The provision eliminates all oversight of these no-bid sales.
Until now, I thought Walker was an ideologue. Incorrect. He's in it for the money. That's why Walker ginned up the ersatz state budget "shortfall" in the first place.
Are you starting to see the bigger picture?Salon
has published a strange article claiming that Koch does not own power plants. Wrong.Here's the part Salon doesn't tell you.
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.
Oh -- you should note that in 2004, Merrill-Lynch bought the energy trading aspect of Entergy-Koch. Nowadays, Merrill Lynch is, of course, the "wealth management" division of Bank of America. Hmm. You think maybe this
is what Assange has on B of A...?
At any rate, we now have a fairly good idea of what's really going on...This is the California energy crisis all over again.
Frankly, I've suspected for a while now that the wheeler-dealers were going to make a stab at repeating the Enron scenario.
A big clue came in this very important 2008 story
. You may have seen it before: The piece is about Axelrod's side company ASK, which uses "astro-turf" tactics to manipulate public opinion and to create a false impression of grassroots support for policies that only a big, heartless corporation could love. The really funky stuff hits you on page 2:
ASK's relationship with ComEd goes back much further: The Chicago-based utility says ASK has been an adviser since at least 2002. ASK's workload picked up in 2005, as the Exelon subsidiary was nearing the end of a 10-year rate freeze and preparing to ask state regulators for higher electricity prices. Based on ASK's advice, ComEd formed Consumers Organized for Reliable Electricity (CORE) to win support.
One TV commercial, penned by ASK, warned of a ComEd bankruptcy and blackouts without a rate hike: "A few years ago, California politicians seized control of electric rates. They held rates down, but the true cost of energy kept rising. Soon the electric company went bust; the lights went out. Consumers had to pay for the mess. Now, some people in Illinois are playing the same game." CORE, which describes itself on its Web site as "a coalition of individuals, businesses and organizations," was identified as the ad's sponsor. After a complaint was filed with state regulators, ComEd acknowledged that it had bankrolled the entire $15 million effort.
The message seemed effective...
This "effective" message spun reality on its head. That's not
what happened in California.
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.
Incidentally, here's the Cato version of history: "Did Enron Pillage California?"
Since the Kochs fund Cato, you know what the answer will be before you read the article. Also see here
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. Bend over, rate-payers in the Midwest: You are about to get (Ken) Lay-ed...by a big, bad Koch.