Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Three Easy Pieces

Today remains Thursday, 12 August 2010.


Now comes Christopher Hitchens, apostate faux leftist, juvenile atheist, and life-long poseur, who saw some sort of The Light after 9-11, and became a born-again Proper British Gentleman (or at least A Legend in His Own Mind), arse-romancing Bush-Cheney and lusting after the Yanqui conquest of Iraq. In his review of The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ (The New York Times Sunday Book Review, July 11, 2010), he describes Israel/Palestine, or Palestine/Israel, as “what remains the world’s most benighted region”. Yes, sniff and snort, regrettably infested with “yids” and “wogs”, as they say in the “better” London clubs, don’t y’ know.

Because, of course, the Anglo-Saxon/Aryan world is the most unbenighted, not having invented napalm, the machine gun, various weapons of mass destruction, Shoah (the Holocaust), etc.

Now this empire-besotted gimcrack Col. Blimp/Margaret Thatcher has cancer, and demands we consign to the memory hole his avid conversion to racism, and all stand to attention, salute, and praise his courage. I wish cancer on no one, but Hitchens might deserve more sympathy, had he not chosen to become such a shoddy paladin of shabby common bigotry.


Now goes Ted Stevens, disgraced Alaskan hog-trougher, dedicated proponent of predatory economics, and longest-serving Republican senator. He became quite delightfully wealthy through advancing the interests of environmentally-destructive industries such old-growth forest clear-cutting and petroleum.

Stevens enjoyed the high life, and on Monday past threw the dice once too often, when the single-engine plane in which he was a passenger attempted to triumph over a basic law of physics: two objects, such as an airplane and a mountainside, cannot simultaneously occupy the same space. Stevens was indulging his appetite for upper-class leisure, flying to a remote fishing camp.

Sometimes, it’s not easy being rich.


Let’s try to get this straight. Mark Hard … pardon me, Mark Hurd, was forced to resign as Chairman, CEO, and President of Hewlett-Packard, because of expense account irregularities. So far as I can make out … er, piece together ... er, determine from the available information, he claimed to have had dinner by himself or with persons with whom he was not dining, and charged said sustenance to shareholders, in order to cover up the fact that he was dining with a company employee, female, who later charged him with sexual harassment. And this is the same Mark Hurd who made $33,952,237 in 2008, and $24,201,448 in 2009. Which is, like, $58 million and change in two years, pre-tax of course.

Ms. or Mr. Person Close to the Situation Who Wished to Remain Anonymous said the amount Hurd misappropriated was in the range of $1,000 to $20,000. Excuse me, and I don’t really care if he falsified his accounts because he was hoping to make whoopee or for some other reason: what kind of arsehat makes that kind of money, and fails to cover his tracks by paying a lousy 20 grand in cash and never expensing it?

Now perhaps, as Hurd’s defenders claim, he really is the Visionary Who Single-Handedly Brought H-P Back From the Brink. Even then, I wouldn’t trust the judgment of a nincompoop who won’t invest 20 large (out of $58 million+, pre-tax) in a cover-up.

Capitalism loves stories of Visionaries, Take-Charge Guys, Can-Sell-Ice-Cubes-to-Eskimos Guys, etc. That’s because capitalism wants you to PAY NO ATTENTION TO THE SYSTEM BEHIND THE CURTAIN. No matter how great the Great Man's Vision, it’s just poof! unless there is a system of process, which is to say, many people, to bring it into reality.

Capitalism loves a leader-driven narrative. Which is to say, a Fuhrer-driven narrative. Which is to say, a convenient excuse for concentrating the riches at the top of the food chain, rather than spreading the riches out all along the food chain to all the people Who Make It Happen.

That said, wonder what Mr. Hurd said to Mrs. Hurd, when he arrived home? (After "Honee, I'm ho-ome!") Whatever it was, I suspect it cost him more than $20,000.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

No fan of Ted (the Internet is a "series of tubes") Stevens, I. HH's disdain for the former Republican Senator from Alaska is well-deserved. It occurs to me, however, that small planes oftentimes prove dangerous forms of travel, regardless of one's wealth, age or position in life (i.e., Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, Patsy Cline, Oklahoma State University's basketball team to name a few). The dead on Stevens' plane included Dana Tindall, 48, of Anchorage, a senior vice president of GCI (an Anchorage-based communications company), and her 16-year-old daughter, Corey, as well as the pilot of the plane, Theron "Terry" Smith, 62.

Seems you don't have to be rich, or evil, or anything in particular, to suffer random, indiscriminate tragedy. And to insinuate that vacationing is somehow blameworthy is disingenuous at best.

12:49 PM  

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