Sunday, July 11, 2004

All praise to the Whiskey Bar

I've been fiddling around for a couple of months with a blog. I've learned two facts from the experience: Blogging requires discipline, and it taxes your writing skills. (It also messes with your social and work activities!) So a couple of weeks ago, when Billmon over at the Whiskey Bar interrupted his pattern of publishing 2-3 times every day, I felt a bit of sadness even as I understood a bit of why his well had run dry.

Well, Billmon's back. While he's not going to be serving up comments from the audience, he promises to apply his intellect and progressive point of view where needed. If his July 10th essay about Ken Lay and the Bush dynasty, titled "Play It As It Lays" is indicative, I am very thankful that he's back.

Of course Billmon skewers the media:

Maybe it's just me, but shouldn't the fact that several of Enron's unindicted co-conspirators - like the Vice President of the United States and the head of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission - are still on the public payroll, and apparently still involved in the cover up, count for something?

Apparently not. The coverage of Lay's little perp walk was about two-third celebrity journalism (about on par with an E Channel documentary on the life and times of Morton Downey Jr.) and one-third desultory political speculation, in which the usual pundits expressed the conventional wisdom that the explosion of corporate crime that marked the final years of the '90s bubble is now just ancient history, and thus will have little or no impact on the election....
But he gives much more to chew on.

The tentacles of influence that Lay and company managed to insert into the Bush family and the Republican Party make the Teapot Dome scandal of the 1920s look like a tempest in, well, a teapot.

And yet now the talking heads seek to convince us that seeing Ken Lay briefly paraded before the television cameras in handcuffs is sufficient proof that the Bushes have put the scandal behind them - and us. We're supposed to forget, I guess, about the ruined lives and the enormous economic damage left behind by Enron and its political benefactors.

Read the full essay, and you'll learn about how the press is collaborating with the GOP to convince us that since Heinz had an encounter with Lay, everyone's guilty and there's nothing to be seen here. You'll discover how the Bush family and Ken Lay have aided and abetted one another for more than 20 our expense.

Welcome back, Mr. Billmon.