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Monday, May 29

prayer and pardon

Now that we know that Ken Lay is a good Christian and that the jury prayed to reach a verdict, will someone have the sense to stop reporting this and start reporting on the real story of the year, Lay and Bush?

One would have thought that the trial was about God's swift sword of Justice. I wonder if the jury's very public dependency on prayer and evidence as opposed to evidence alone is a basis for appeal? It is well known that if a jury employs the Good Book during deliberations, they have created grounds for a mistrial or appeal. It will be difficult for Lay's appellate team to employ religion as the basis for a new trial since Lay so quickly evoked that God is Good and the trial and the verdict was in His hands. All along I thought it had something to do with man's law and not God's law. If it was the later and not the former, would stockholders get to cast the first stone?

Why is it when someone is found innocent it is by the grace of God but when found guilty, it isn't God's fault? How could God hate Ken Lay so much? How could anyone think that years in a minimum security federal prison means that they are blessed?

Ken Lay was the biggest contributor to the Bush/Cheney White House bid and of course loaned his friends the corporate jet to bring the Good News--we are going to be richer and you're not--to the rest of America. Bush would not get involved in Enron's screwing of California and the subsequent end of Pete Wilson (remember him?). Bush even contacted Tom Ridge, yes him, the once head of Homeland Security (sounds just like an insurance company, there with their hand out until you need them) and Governor of Pennsylvania to open that fair state to Enron.

Lay met Cheney at the White House to develop the nation's energy policy. Not that you can review the documents surrounding that policy because the Supreme Court said you can't. Cheney and his fellow duck hunter, no not that lawyer fella from Texas but Associate Justice Antonin Scalia, didn't think we had a right to view those documents.

People in Houston talk chat radio have said some strange things. First in the parade of oddities is the notion that no one in Houston could be Ken Lay's peer. How could Kenny Boy get a fair trial by a jury of his peers ( to use the misleading cliche) when no one but 12 accountants could possibly understand spread sheets?

The government didn't base its case on accounting. It based it on law. Fraud is fraud. Accounting may be evidence of fraud, but usually the smoking gun isn't in a memo on a ledger. It is in the testimony of witnesses and in this case the strained credulity of Lay and his co-conspirator Jeff Skilling. The jury believed that they were lied to when the "boys" as one commentator called them, said they didn't know what was going on. It was someone else's fault. But the articles of incorporation and the stockholders charge Lay and Skilling with knowing what is happening. Trial analyst stated that the government's success was due in part to its lack of focus on accounting and its devotion to law.

The other weird statement was that Bush would have to be a fool to pardon Lay. Why wouldn't he? The pardon power is what wonky political science types call "an absolute power." There are no institutional checks and balances on it and their aren't any public opinion checks, either. Clinton made some well publicized pardons, but so did Reagan and Bush I, and of course Ford. Who did pay a heavy price for his pardon of Nixon.

Bush is leaving the White House and returning to business. Would it hurt his brother Jebby's chances? I don't think that it would. After all, Neil Bush didn't hurt either one of his brother's political ambitions. Would it hurt the Republican Party? Why? They expect payoff for their investments. They can only hurt themselves. Lay is Bush's friend. Didn't Lay expect something in exchange for those campaign contributions? If there is a quid pro quo relationship--campaign money in exchange for a rainy day--then that would indeed make an interesting story. One that won't be found at the Federal Election Commission's finance reports filed by Lay and Bush.

Would a pardon be the Christian thing to do? That hasn't swayed Bush before now. He wouldn't pardon Karla Faye Tucker who found God after she went to death row in Texas for leaving a pick axe in her victim's head. But then again, Bush wasn't friends with Karla Faye and Ken Lay didn't kill anyone.

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