Greed is not synonymous with America

But it’s getting harder to prove that point to myself when I read things like this.

From the Motley Fool via Yahoo
Vanity and Vulgarity at Enron
Thu Jun 3,10:20 AM ET
By Seth Jayson

“In one tape, after enduring a bit of ribbing about “how much money you
guys stole from those poor grandmothers in California,” a trader says,
“Yeah, Grandma Millie, man. But she’s the one who couldn’t figure out
how to (expletive) vote on the butterfly ballotâEuro¦” The first
speaker responds, “Yeah, now she wants her (expletive) money back for
all the power you’ve… jammed right up her (expletive) for (expletive)
250 dollars a megawatt-hour.”

Pride
has always been the fatal flaw. Just look at literature. From Homer to
Hamlet and even Harry Potter (news – web sites), hubris is the vice
that brings down the mighty.

These days, our most visible dramas tend to play out in legal action,
and some pretty compelling language has come to light in the Snohomish
County, Wash., Public Utilities District’s (PUD) efforts to obtain
compensation from Enron (OTC BB: ENRNQ.PK – News) for alleged market
manipulation.

Recent transcripts of conversations between Enron’s West Coast energy
traders offer vivid proof that the firm’s sophisticated, self-obsessed
thieves didn’t just hold a dim view of its unwitting stockholders.
Public entities, like the state of California, were considered easy
prey. Timothy Belden, one of two traders from the Portland office who
have pled guilty and cut a deal with prosecutors, says on one tape that
the firm’s trading practices “just (expletive) California… to the
tune of a million bucks or two a day.”

As you might expect, these guys harbored no affection for the rest of
us, either. You and I — derisively referred to as “Grandma Millie” by
the traders — are looked at as ignorant rubes, ripe for the rip-off.

In one tape, after enduring a bit of ribbing about “how much money you
guys stole from those poor grandmothers in California,” a trader says,
“Yeah, Grandma Millie, man. But she’s the one who couldn’t figure out
how to (expletive) vote on the butterfly ballotâEuro¦” The first
speaker responds, “Yeah, now she wants her (expletive) money back for
all the power you’ve… jammed right up her (expletive) for (expletive)
250 dollars a megawatt-hour.”

Other tapes document traders’ nefarious plans such as sending power
away from areas that needed it, manufacturing grid congestion that
Enron would later be paid to alleviate. They also capture the hope that
then-candidate George W. Bush might someday appoint Ken Lay as U.S.
energy secretary.

“How great would that be for all the players in the market?” one asked.

Pretty great, I’ll bet. And given the unbelievable arrogance displayed
by this gaggle of crooks — they knew these conversations were being
taped, for crying out loud — we should be mighty glad it didn’t come
to pass. But most of all, we should hope that this kind of criminal
conceit is punished as mightily in our courtrooms as it is in fiction.