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Lay dead, Rover

New York Post front page, 6.7.06One of the great moments of Australian media legend came when the Daily Telegraph in Sydney was announcing to its readers the death of Joe Stalin in 1953. They prepared a banner reading "Stalin Dead - Official". The Tele's owner, Frank Packer (father of Kerry, grandpop of Jamie) ordered the banner be altered to read "Stalin Dead - Hooray".

Half a century later, put together the death of another self-serving power-hungry economy-destroyer, Ken Lay, and a Daily Telegraph alumnus, its former editor Col Allan, now in the saddle at Rupert Murdoch's New York Post. And voila.

All I have to say on the passing of Kenny Boy is to re-visit a joke that was doing the rounds a few years ago:

Feudalism: You have two cows. Your lord takes some of the milk.

Fascism: You have two cows. The government takes both, hires you to take care of them and sells you the milk.

Communism: You have two cows. You must take care of them, but the government takes all the milk.

Capitalism: You have two cows. You sell one and buy a bull. Your herd multiplies, and the economy grows. You sell them and retire on the income.

Enron Capitalism: You have two cows. You sell three of them to your publicly listed company, using letters of credit opened by your brother-in-law at the bank, then execute a debt-equity swap with an associated general offer so that you get all four cows back, with a tax exemption for five cows. The milk rights of the six cows are transferred through an intermediary to a Cayman Island company secretly owned by the majority shareholder who sells the rights to all seven cows back to your listed company. The Enron annual report says the company owns eight cows, with an option on one more.