the lights never went back on at the Times. That's
the only acceptable explanation for the loving
Lewinsky The Paper of Record gave to the power
industry on the front page of its Sunday edition.
20-some column inches, we are told that "experts
say" that the reason the lights went out over
one fourth our continent ten days ago was that
the electric industry, most particularly, transmission
lines, "remained regulated." The answer to our
woes, the Times informs us, is more deregulation
-- except for the visionary rules contained in
the President's energy bill. In the editorial
posing as a news story, the Times lectures us
that the president's proposals would have been
law, and saved us from the power outage, "but
politics have stymied their progress."
in the article, the stymiers of progress are named:
those evil small-minded "consumer groups."
who are these "experts" who revealed The Truth to
the The Times? The authors quote seven in the article,
beginning with David Owen, the industry's chief
lobbyist. That paid shill is followed by James Hoecker,
identified by his former title only, as a "independent"
regulator. Just from the article, you'd think the
poor guy is unemployed these days. In fact, he's
walked comfortably through the revolving door and
onto the industry payroll. His law firm represents,
among others, First Energy, the characters who started
the black-out rolling. I guess that fact was not
"fit to print" in The Times.
favorite is the Times giving us the expert advice
of the "director of Transmission for the National
Grid Transco which owns and runs the grid in England
and Wales." This Brit says Americans should pay
more money to grid operators. What he doesn't
say -- and the Times is happy to keep his secret
-- is that his corporation owns Niagara-Mohawk
Power Corporation, the company that spread the
power outage into New York. Undoubtedly, NiMo's
failure to react to the emergency resulted from
the corporation's eliminating 800 workers in New
York over the past two years and radically cutting
investment in the grid system it operates in the
parade of industry retainers, payrollers and lobbyists
lecturing us stumbles on through the Times' inside
pages. Unnamed "industry analysts" telling us "consumers
will have to foot the bill" to fix the system. As
an analyst of the industry for decades -- and on
no one's payroll except the United Nations -- I
can tell you that you HAVE paid the bill already
for a good system. But power pirates such as the
National Grid of England have run off with the booty.
admit, there's one "expert" cited who is not receiving
an industry paycheck. The article is capped by
the finger-wagging counsel of the Chairman of
the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Chairman
Pat Wood III concludes the article with his admonition
that deregulation must be accelerated. Wood is,
after all, the man in charge of our nation's power
system. His qualifications for the job? His appointment
was secretly proposed by Ken Lay.
the Times wants to publish corpornography on its
front page, hey, it's a free country. At least they
did it with the lights off.
Palast is author of the bestseller, "The Best
Democracy Money Can Buy," and the worstseller,
"Democracy and Regulation." The later, regarding
the dangers of deregulation, written with Theo
MacGregor and Jerrold Oppenheim, was financed
and published by the United Nations ILO.
August 25, 2003