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Sat Feb 20, 2021, 06:31 PM

Texas Gets Lay'd: How the Bush Family turned off the lights

Maybe because Texas gave us that wet-lipped huckster Ted Cruz, you think the state deserves to freeze in the dark.

https://www.gregpalast.com/texas-gets-layd-how-the-bush-family-turned-off-the-lights/



I get that, but it’s not their fault, a least not the victims burning family heirlooms to stave off frostbite. “What happened was entirely predictable,” power distribution expert attorney Beth Emory said of the blackouts. She told me this twenty years ago, after the first blackouts in Texas and California, following the cruel experiment called “deregulation” of the power industry. Until 1992, the USA had just about the lowest electricity prices in the world and the most reliable system. For a century, power companies had been limited by law to recovering their provable costs plus a “reasonable,” i.e. small, profit. But in 1992, George H. W. Bush, in the last gasps of his failed presidency, began to deregulate the industry. “Deregulate” is a misnomer. “De-criminalize” describes it best.

With the “free market” supposedly setting the price of power, Texas-based Enron was freed to use such techniques as “Ricochet,” “Get Shorty,” and “Death Star” to blow prices through the roof when weather shut down power plants. (This week was not the first game of Texas Gouge’m.) Enron was not the only Lone Star power pirate. Houston Power & Light was “ramping” plants up and down at odd hours which whistleblowers said was deliberate. Bush’s son “Shrub,” Texas Gov. George W. Bush, signed a law in 1999 forcing the state’s hapless customers to accept any price the “free” market dictated. Enron’s CEO Ken Lay showed his appreciation by becoming Baby Bush’s number one donor for Dubya’s presidential ambitions. This week, wholesale electric prices in Texas, normally $50 per megawatt-hour, busted over $9,000/MWHR. Again. It happens with every cold snap and heat wave. One shop owner, Akilah Scott-Amos, showed the Daily Beast her electric bills which blew up from $34 per month to $450 for a single day.


On Saturday, February 13, 2021 Griddy customer Akilah Scott-Amos was charged $456.78 for a single day’s power. By Monday, her bill had increased by another $2,500. Last year, she paid $33.93 for the entire month of February.

CUTTING THE POWER LINES TO TEXAS

Every state in America interconnects their power lines to provide back-up in case of emergencies. Except Texas. To prevent federal regulation, Texas deliberately has refused to connect its lines to other states. The federal government, which has restored a modicum of protection, can only police utilities that are connected to the national grid. So, Texas literally cut itself of from the rest of the USA’s electric system. Texas Governor Greg Abbott blames windmills for this week’s deadly disaster — some wind farms froze. But California is sitting on massive excess power capacity. With 80,000 megawatts of capacity, the Golden State often gives away power free to other states. This week, the sun is shining here in LA — and our solar, wind and hydro generators could easily un-thaw Texas if the Lone Star hadn’t been Lay’d by the Bushes. Of course, the rulers of Texas, the beneficiaries of freezer-burn pricing, know this. This week, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Trump’s first Energy Secretary, said, “Texans would be without electricity for longer than three days to keep the federal government out of their business.” Well, Rick and Ted can tan in Cancun while oxygen machines in Loredo shut down.

THE SOLUTION: DEMOCRACY

I didn’t need a crystal ball in 1998 when I predicted that California, Texas, Oregon and Rio de Janeiro would go dark and cold if they de-regulated their power markets. In a series of lectures at Cambridge University, the London School of Economics and the University of Sao Paolo [yes, I had a life before journalism], I said, in academic terms, the screamingly obvious: There is no such thing as a “free” market in electricity. Electricity isn’t a bagel. You can’t skip it in the morning when the price goes berserk nor shop at another electricity store. The alternative to blackouts and price gouging is Democracy. Regulation is merely the enforcement of publicly voted rules to protect the public from economic overlords. This alternative to free market mania was first applied by the man who electrified America, President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Listen to FDR:



snip

23 replies, 3623 views

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Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 23 replies Author Time Post
Reply Texas Gets Lay'd: How the Bush Family turned off the lights (Original post)
Celerity Feb 20 OP
mnmoderatedem Feb 20 #1
Wicked Blue Feb 20 #2
wnylib Feb 20 #15
soldierant Feb 20 #23
Liberal In Texas Feb 20 #3
OMGWTF Feb 20 #22
UpInArms Feb 20 #4
luvtheGWN Feb 20 #17
UpInArms Feb 20 #18
malaise Feb 20 #5
paleotn Feb 20 #6
Duppers Feb 20 #16
Blue Owl Feb 20 #7
ancianita Feb 20 #8
dflprincess Feb 20 #11
AllaN01Bear Feb 20 #9
ananda Feb 20 #10
SWBTATTReg Feb 20 #12
Pepsidog Feb 20 #13
LymphocyteLover Feb 20 #14
speak easy Feb 20 #19
Kid Berwyn Feb 20 #20
dalton99a Feb 20 #21

Response to Celerity (Original post)

Sat Feb 20, 2021, 06:42 PM

1. I'll always remember the Lewis Black joke regarding Ken Lay on Comedy Central


in regards to the Enron Scandal, in conjunction with the accounting scandal with Arthur Anderson.


Video Clip of Ken Lay's wife (paraphrasing):

"I know my husband is a decent, honest individual. Of that I am 100% certain"


Lewis Black:


"That 100% figure was compiled by Arthur Anderson."

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Response to Celerity (Original post)

Sat Feb 20, 2021, 06:45 PM

2. K&R

Deregulation in the energy industry and the media has been a nightmare

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Response to Wicked Blue (Reply #2)

Sat Feb 20, 2021, 08:53 PM

15. Deregulation creates feudalism.

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Response to wnylib (Reply #15)

Sat Feb 20, 2021, 11:09 PM

23. In all areas - though it may be more obvious in energy management.

And when it leads to privatization, the nightmares only get worse.

Which is why I support In The Public Interest (ITPI).

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Response to Celerity (Original post)

Sat Feb 20, 2021, 06:51 PM

3. It would be nice if we could have utilities as non-profits again. And companies like Griddy not

allowed to practice this variable rate nonsense.

This is what the repubs want to do to the whole country. Turn everything over to the bottom-line feeders and turn us into an even more 3rd world country.

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Response to Liberal In Texas (Reply #3)

Sat Feb 20, 2021, 10:47 PM

22. Non-profit medical facilities, too. No one should profit from another's pain and suffering.

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Response to Celerity (Original post)

Sat Feb 20, 2021, 06:54 PM

4. For emphasis ... I am reposting this part

There is no such thing as a “free” market in electricity. Electricity isn’t a bagel. You can’t skip it in the morning when the price goes berserk nor shop at another electricity store. The alternative to blackouts and price gouging is Democracy. Regulation is merely the enforcement of publicly voted rules to protect the public from economic overlords.

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Response to UpInArms (Reply #4)

Sat Feb 20, 2021, 09:09 PM

17. And to that I would add this:

In a Democratic society, there is no free market in healthcare.

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Response to luvtheGWN (Reply #17)

Sat Feb 20, 2021, 10:12 PM

18. +1

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Response to Celerity (Original post)

Sat Feb 20, 2021, 06:55 PM

5. Great post

Truth will out

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Response to Celerity (Original post)

Sat Feb 20, 2021, 07:01 PM

6. The primary rub between us and the Repukes is....

What's commons and what's not. Distill it down and that's what you end up with. Utilities, healthcare and on and on, things we need to live are commons to most of us and shouldn't be used to make a buck for a lucky few.

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Response to paleotn (Reply #6)

Sat Feb 20, 2021, 09:00 PM

16. Succinctly & well said. 👏



things we need to live... shouldn't be used to make a buck for a lucky few.


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Response to Celerity (Original post)

Sat Feb 20, 2021, 08:26 PM

7. Supply-side Jesus died for your electricity

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Response to Celerity (Original post)

Sat Feb 20, 2021, 08:33 PM

8. Thanks for this history.


Just throwing this is in... sorry if it doesn't add anything, but out of curiosity I checked to see where Bush is these days.

Not in Crawford anymore. He and Laura are in Preston Hollow of N. Dallas, fwiw, which is probably nothing.

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Response to ancianita (Reply #8)

Sat Feb 20, 2021, 08:44 PM

11. He abandoned the "ranch" in Crawford

as soon as he left office.

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Response to Celerity (Original post)

Sat Feb 20, 2021, 08:34 PM

9. deregulation never has and never will work, but will work for the rich.

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Response to Celerity (Original post)

Sat Feb 20, 2021, 08:43 PM

10. Excellent! Yes, more FDR and less Bush.

Truly great article.

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Response to Celerity (Original post)

Sat Feb 20, 2021, 08:45 PM

12. Well, if they want to keep pushing this idiotic 'free market' crap, then we, as owners of public

lands, streets, sidewalks, etc., literally own the easements everywhere, thus, as consumers, we should demand a major share of revenues that the easements granted allowed passage over/through.

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Response to Celerity (Original post)

Sat Feb 20, 2021, 08:47 PM

13. Very interesting. Lots of good information.

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Response to Celerity (Original post)

Sat Feb 20, 2021, 08:48 PM

14. those huge electricity bill are beyond disgusting-- criminal

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Response to Celerity (Original post)

Sat Feb 20, 2021, 10:23 PM

19. Excellent post.

Another FDR quote

The American people know from a four-year record that today there is only one entrance to the White House—by the front door. Since March 4, 1933, there has been only one pass-key to the White House. I have carried that key in my pocket. It is there tonight. So long as I am President, it will remain in my pocket.

https://www.ourdocuments.gov/doc.php?flash=false&doc=69&page=transcript
This is the DU member formerly known as My Pet Orangutan.

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Response to Celerity (Original post)

Sat Feb 20, 2021, 10:41 PM

20. Cliff Baxter didn't get a chance to testify.

Cliff Baxter, ENRON vice chairman, who had told friends he was going to cooperate with Congressional investigators and was considering hiring a bodyguard when he unexplainedly left his home in his pajamas one evening and was found shot to death inside his car, parked a short distance from his house.

World Socialist Web Site did some journalism at that time:

https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2002/01/enro-j28.html

Columbia Spectator also went where mainstream media fear tread:

https://www.columbiaspectator.com/2002/01/28/former-enron-executive-was-business-school-alum/

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Response to Celerity (Original post)

Sat Feb 20, 2021, 10:46 PM

21. Kick

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