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Did Socrates say "Know Thyself", or was he misunderstood, as all are. Show Thyself is all we can do. The knowing is unknowable.  

I am filled with joy.  It can't be helped.  

Became a Farmer, Builder, Musician, Tank Commander, Librarian, Lawyer and Minister. I have failed at many things. And now retired.  Filled, just filled, with Joy. 

Sunday, August 10, 2008

The Business of Crime

On August 9, 2008, Edison International announced that its NET income nearly TRIPLED, from its publicly-announced second-quarter earnings of one year ago. Edison's President, Theodore Craver Jr., who added the CEO title a week ago, said that this eye-brow raising "success" is the result of "being able to realize our substantial growth potential".

Actually, Mr. Craver, it boils down to being able to be a criminal. You are realizing substantial criminal growth potential, and you are doing it under color of "doing business". Let's look at what Edison is actually achieving:

-- Edison is an "international" entity; it is "off-shore". It is taking money from rate-paying citizens who are always domestic, wherever they are.

-- The rate-payer paying for a utility owned by Edison, and which has No Competition at its point of purchase. The rate-payer is under Edison's monopoly.

-- Edison bought the Congress, and wrote its own laws concerning its "utility" services, building a monopoly for itself into the legal infrastructure. Under Reagan, and then perfected under a series of "conservative" administrations, this public utility proceeded to DE-REGULATE itself, while maintaining its market monopoly. We now have, literally, regulated and restricted Statism for the rate-payer (just TRY generating your own power onto the grid), and un-restricted un-regulated monopolist profiteering by Edison.

-- In the same quarter that Edison announced unprecedented gross profits, and NET profit increases, the price of oil had also increased. In other words, even though the cost to generate electricity increased-- Edison had to pay a lot more for their own fuel costs -- they made even more profit.

-- This same profit increase does not even include a claim made by the IRS (which remains the ONLY "regulator" or government intrusion on Edison's practices) concerning a (wait for it) for ONE AND ONE HALF BILLION in unpaid taxes, involving a "complex lease arrangement" made with a wholly unregulated subsidiary company, and with which Edison's lawyers intend to shield Edison further from tax exposures in the future.

-- This profit increase does not include any purchases of pollution allowances -- even though these costs were supposed to be incurred as part of their own pollution reduction compliance plan. For example, their own Edison Mission Group was required to post $48 million to the program. They clearly signal that won't happen. By setting up unregulated subsidiaries, such as Edison Capital, which supposedly invests in energy and infrastructure, Edison International intends to evade the pollution allowances. They see pollution reduction as an "impairment" to their profits.

-- Edison makes no claim that the profit increase is the result of increased efficiency, a better product or service, a new technology, or a market expansion.

-- Edison also announced its intention to increase rates for 2009, 2010, and 2011. It is almost breath-taking to see their interest in their future profit-taking....

-- The bottom line is that Edison has increased its profits by taking more money from consumers in local arenas served by its monopoly on power delivery, while avoiding the taxes and pollution regulations which would be imposed by the respective public agencies. Proposed rate hikes are based on extortion. There is no free market here. The "hidden hand" is not a free and informed market setting the price, it is Edison's off-shore and unregulated subsidiaries taking the benefits while shifting all the costs and burdens back to ratepayers and tax payers.

This is not Capitalism. This is predation. What ENRON got away with, is what Edison is getting away with: Money, taken under the false pretenses of "business". This profiteering enterprise will collapse because it is predation, it is not actually "business". They produce nothing. There is no informed exchange involved in this "profit".

Where you see the profits increase, in the absence of ANY improved product, service, technology or market expansion, you have to ask just what "business" is Edison in?