Brutally Honest Audio Rant: Executions and Executives
(Computer – Introduction)
(Music intro – “American Idiot Remix” – by Green Day and David Matthews 2)
Good evening, and welcome to this week’s Brutally Honest Rant. I’m David Matthews 2, writer of the weekly online column Brutally Honest.And WELCOME to the 2007 season of Brutally Honest rants! There’s been a lot of fun stuff that went on during the month that I was on my holiday break, some of which I’ve covered over at the Brutally Honest weblog or over at Brutally Tech. But now that I’ve got a new computer for 2007 and I’ve got the website and the rants up and running again, I’m definitely going to be making up for lost time in these next few weeks.
AND I’ve got two new series exclusively for the audio rants that I’ll be kicking off in the next few weeks.
One of the series that I’ll be starting up is the return of something my longtime listeners may remember… my look at “Government Out Of Control”. And believe me, I wouldn’t have brought this out of the Talk Liberty graveyard if we weren’t full of such abuses of power!
The other series that I’ll be kicking off will be called “Unacceptable Truths” and it will be looking at some constants in this world that most of us pretty much do not accept, but they are true nonetheless. In fact I’ll probably be starting off with the biggest of these truths next week, so please stay tuned because you’re not going to want to miss this.
BUT… in the meantime, I’ve got two separate subjects that I want to talk about concerning things that happened last December.
First up: the DEATH of Saddam Hussein.
I talked about this last month when it happened, and I STILL believe that it was LONG overdue!
But his death is really not what’s bugging me… what is bugging me are the people who think that his execution was such a frigging TRAGEDY! “Oh, how dare the people watching him be executed ridicule him and sing praises of his enemies! They RUINED what could have been a dignified process.” The New York Times really got into that and it really, REALLY bugged me
NO, it wasn’t a tragedy that he was put to death for the crimes that he committed. It was actually a TRAVESTY that he was allowed to live that long in the first place! It was a TRAVESTY that allowed him to go through the trial that he managed to turn into a farce at every opportunity. And I want people to understand that the ones who are bitching and crying about Saddam getting strung up and hung were pretty much the same ones who didn’t want us to go to war in the first place.
And having the crowd cheer and chant the name of Shiite cleric Muqutata al Sartyr… aka “Chunky”… as they’re putting Saddam to death doesn’t mean a damn thing when you look at how other leaders were executed in history.
Romania’s cruel leader Nicolae Ceauşescu certainly didn’t fare too well when he was overthrown in 1989. Like Saddam, he too ended up being hunted down and having to hide all around the countryside. Unlike Saddam, he wasn’t given the benefit of being able to defend himself in his trial. He was just found guilty, and then led along with his wife out to some street to be shot by a firing squad of one.
When Italy’s Benito Mussolini was executed near the end of World War II, he was left outside to ROT on a meat hook in the public square for several days! He wasn’t even given the benefit of a trial. They just shot him and his mistress like a couple of stray dogs. Citizens traveled from all over the country just to SPIT on their beloved leader’s carcass! Then they took him down and buried him like you would bury dog crap. And this from the man who was credited for making the trains run on time.
Saddam, on the other hand, was allowed to LIVE long enough to have his trial, which he made into a farce. He was even allowed some AMERICAN defense attorneys for all the good they were able to do. He was given a chance to appeal his case as provided under Iraqi law, and when he was executed he was given the chance to hear the insults against him, he was allowed to make a retort before he was executed, and then after he was dead he was buried in a private ceremony just a few days later. Compared to how others brutal leaders in history fared, not to mention his own damn victims, Saddam’s execution was pretty weak. And at least he didn’t have his head ripped off when he was being hung! The same can’t be said about his brother-in-law.
So for all of you who complained about Saddam’s execution, I say give it a rest. The world still has plenty of evil and twisted bad guys for you to complain about, and maybe if you focused more on THEIR crimes, you could come up with some better ways to deal with them.
Okay, enough said about that…
The next issue that I want to talk about that happened during the holiday break is the discussion about “golden parachutes”.
This subject came up because Home Depot finally got rid of an eyesore. And no I’m not talking about the bright orange aprons. On January 9th, CEO Robert Nardelli stepped down from his job. This was a guy who pretty much pissed away the company. Things were so bad that at the last stockholder’s meeting, Nardelli REFUSED to show up for it! He simply REFUSED to be there! The stockholders are his BOSSES, and he REFUSED to answer to them!
Can you imagine not showing up at your own performance review and still expecting to keep your job? That’s what Nardelli essentially did.
But his departure wasn’t what rattled everyone’s cages. His departure was pretty much was already a given at that point. What pissed people off was the fact that he was given a severance package that totaled $210 MILLION.
And just about EVERYONE balked at that! How DARE this man get paid so much money for screwing up!! HOW DARE HE???
Politicians got up on their soapboxes and started spewing pure hypocrisy about how it was “unfair” that people like Nardelli could get so much money for being let go. Mind you these are the same people who are paying the pensions of convicted criminals like Bob Ney and Randy Cunningham, so these shysters pretty much have ZERO credibility on the subject.
Investors even tried to go to court to have the legal system put a halt to the payout, but of course the courts said that they had no choice in the matter. And surprisingly enough, nobody screamed “Judicial Activism” over the matter, even though such a tactic WOULD have fit the bill.
Well guess what, boys and girls? You may not like that kind of payoff, but let’s get brutally honest here… that is the NATURE of big business!
I know this is a little hard for most people to understand… because you will never make that kind of money or be given that much responsibility. But when you get up to THAT level of corporate activity, you aren’t playing by the same rules that you and I play under. These people don’t have 8-hour shifts where they can go home at the end of the day and forget about work. When you’re that high up on the corporate hierarchy, you pretty much ARE the company.
Now when you get that high up on the corporate ladder to where you are answering to stockholders and boards of directors, you pretty much have to do whatever it is they tell you to do, without question. They can fire you at a moment’s notice for whatever reason. They don’t even have to give you a reason. They can redefine your job on the fly. The board of directors could tell you to show up at the office at 2am and dance around in a hot dog suit while singing “I’m an Oscar Meyer Weiner” and you’d have to do that... UNLESS you have a certain legal document that says otherwise. That document is your employment contract. It spells out what your job is, how much you will get paid for, and… most importantly… what happens SHOULD that contract be violated.
And the only way to really prevent a company from violating that kind of employment contract and removing you from your job is to make it financially burdensome. In other words, if you’re going to fire that person, you’re going to have to pay, and pay BIG.
Well THAT is what was in Robert Nardelli’s contract, boys and girls! He had a contract that said that if he left his job, Home Depot would have to pay him all of that money just to get rid of him. He could have even had it written so that the board of directors would have to wear hot dog suits and sing “I’m an Oscar Meyer Weiner” and THEY would have to do it.
These are the games that corporate executive play. They don’t have an EEOC or a union to turn to if they get screwed over by their employers. The only thing that keeps them and their employers – the stockholders and various boards of directors – honest is a legally binding contract.
Of course the solution is pretty much a no-brainer. If you want good top-tier executives, then you tie their pay and their bonuses to the success or failure of the company. That’s what Nardelli’s successor has to do now. Frank Blake has to actually WORK for his supper! And he won’t even have the luxury of a golden parachute thanks to all of the publicity surrounding Nardelli’s ouster.
Now you’re probably wondering why this wasn’t done already, right? Well get this: the only reason why nothing’s ever been done about it is because nobody’s given enough of a care to MAKE it an issue! This crap has LITERALLY been going on for DECADES now, just like all of the other corporate games that went on with companies like Enron and WorldCom. And as long as the ordinary people like you or I continue to patronize their businesses, there’s really no reason for these games to change.
So it’s really up to us to put our money where our mouths are. If you don’t like the crap going on with companies like Home Depot, then stop doing business with them. Stick with the mom-and-pop stores in your area… if there are any left. You may not get the variety that you want or the prices that you would like, but at least your conscience would be clear, wouldn’t it? Not to mention that you legitimately claim that you’re actually doing something to stop the growth of “Big Business”!
(Computer – Some timely stuff… but as always you have to tune in to hear them)
(Fade Music In – “Session” by Linkin Park)
I can understand why you folks would be outraged over Nardelli’s big payoff for incompetence. It completely flies in the face of everything that you and I have been brought up to believe in. We believe that incompetence and ineptitude should punished, not rewarded with bonuses and raises.
And yet what we fail to understand is that at the big corporate executive level, the rules are a little different. It’s more of a country club, with cliques and little circles of influence. The people who sit on the various boards of directors are pretty much the grown up versions of the high school elite. And they’re pretty much interchangeable. They have almost nothing to do with the business at hand, and are instead in it for just the money.
Ford Motor Company recently posted their worst financial figures EVER! Why? Because the people at the top paid more attention to appeasing their board of directors than figuring out what the masses are looking for in a vehicle. And the only way that is ever going to change is when you have people running a business that really CARE about that business and not just how much money they’re going to make off of it.
And by the way, folks, I don’t trust ANYONE in Washington to help make that idea happen! These are the same grifters and shysters that vote themselves automatic pay raises while putting this country deeper into debt. If there is anyone whose pay should be directly tied into their performance, it is every single member of the White House and Congress… and at their current rate of ineptitude, they’d end up having to pay US instead of the other way around.
Brutally Honest is a Get Brutal production. All opinions expressed are those of the commentator and may or may not be shared by the online provider. This is David Matthews 2 saying good night, and I’ll speak with you soon!
(Computer – Ending/“End of Recording”)
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