Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Brutally Honest Rant - 01/31/07

Brutally Honest Audio Rant: Executions and Executives
Audio Transcripts

[Start Program]

(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 Ceau┼čescu 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…

(Quick Pause)

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!

(Fade out)
(Computer – Ending/“End of Recording”)

[End of program]

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

A movie about... well you'll understand.

I'm not going to add anything to this... I'm just going to put this up for you to view. Add your own comments if you wish. If there is any group or organization or institution that you believe this applies to, please feel free to list them in the comments section.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Quick Preview of SOTU

Just to let you know what tonight's State of the Union speech will be like...

Signing Statements...

Official Announcement: Brutally Honest RETURNS next week!

Wow, it’s almost the end of January already! Some of you were probably wondering where I’ve been and when I’ll be bringing back the rants. Well let’s take care of that speculation.

The weekly Brutally Honest Column will be returning with all-new articles on Monday, January 29th. I’ll probably have them up on the previous Sunday, but I’m keeping with my tradition of a midnight Sunday deadline. One serious change that I’ll have to implement will be the shuffling of the archive files to a new server. Hey, I’ve been at this for over TEN YEARS now. That’s a lot of articles to write. This move may cause some confusion so please bear with me on the changes.

By the way, don’t expect too many changes to the general layout of the website. I kind of like the newspaper-style format that I’ve developed so I’ll be sticking with it. I’m also toying with the idea of providing more than just quotes in each article. There may be quotes, or there may be a brief summary or links to related websites for further information. It’s been a little hard to find relevant freedom-friendly quotes this past year when one of my source websites shut down, so I gotta go with the changes.

The Brutally Honest Audio Rants will be return on Wednesday, January 31st. As with this past year, I’ll have the transcripts up at the blog page, but I really and seriously hope that you would listen to the rants instead of just reading about them… especially those of you with broadband access! I spend time and effort and energy to cobble together some really good music and audio clips that cannot be brought over to the transcripts and it would be helpful if people could listen in when possible. Those with dial-up, I can understand. Remember, I was a dial-up person for the longest time as well.

I’ve been toying with the idea of recording these rants in MP3 format, but right now I’ll have to stick with RealAudio format unless I can find a server that will allow me to upload a 15 or 20mb audio file.

Now, you’re probably wondering why I haven’t come back sooner. After all, this will be AFTER the State of the Union speech, and I normally do rants and articles about that. Well I got a new computer and I’ve been spending the past two weeks – which normally would have been spent on getting Brutally Honest restarted – getting everything shuffled over to the new system. And it wasn’t easy either. In fact, I’ve been documenting one of my bigger points of aggravation and I’ll have it available at the Brutally Tech weblog in the next few days.

So, fun stuff coming up this week. I hope everyone had a great month, and I’m looking forward to getting back into the swing of things and calling them as I see them. (By the way, if you have any ideas or suggestions, please feel free to leave comments here.)

Saturday, January 20, 2007

So she's running..

So Hillary Rodham Clinton, the banshee, has decided to end the speculations of liberals and conservatives and FINALLY decided to toss her hat into the presidential ring for 2008.

Well, don’t expect me to jump up and down on this news, although I’m sure some of my liberal friends are having a few coital peaks about it.

But you know who would really be having some coital peaks right now? The conservatives and neo-conservatives.

Oh these guys have been just WAITING for her to run for office just so they can use all of the information collected about her when she was the First Lady. All of the rumors about her antics, all of the tirades that she allegedly had, her failed health care initiative, everything that was put into books during the 1990’s… all of that is now fair game. PLUS her husband’s antics are once again open for discussion. Rehash? Absolutely! Any vulnerability that can be exploited is fair game in 21st Century politics. That’s the lesson from Fox News and Ann Coulter and the rest of the crowd.

Listen, I’m not overly excited about Hillary running because I happen to think that she’s WORSE than her husband. I can’t get excited about someone who thinks that NOBODY should be in the hallways when she’s around. I actually get CONCERNED about someone with that kind of attitude. It’s bad enough that we have men who act like Caesar, whether it is Julius (Reagan), Claudius (Bush Senior), Caligula (Clinton), or Nero (Bush Junior)… the last thing this country needs is a Prima Donna queen bitch running it, and that’s what I see in Hillary.

Maybe I’m being too idealistic, but I think that the kind of female leader we would need is someone from ABC’s short-lived series “Commander-In-Chief”. A leader that leads without being authoritarian. Those kinds of leaders DO exist. The problem is that they aren’t ambitious. They don’t actively SEEK the roles put before them. They just do what they need to do and that’s it. But then again, I’m both a libertarian and a supporter of the Fair Tax, so I’m idealistic anyway.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Is “No Problem” a Problem?

Here's an interesting question that I'm hoping people will think long and hard about…

The folks in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's "Vent" section somehow think that saying "no problem" is something of a social faux pas when using it in response to some polite praise. For instance…

"Thank you for helping me with this problem. I really appreciate it."

"No problem."

Or something like…

"Thank you for slaving over a hot stove to cook that meal. It was great!"

"No problem."

Apparently to some people, saying "no problem" in response to polite praise is like saying to those people "bite me".

Now I deal with customer service calls all of the time. I say "no problem" when people thank me for helping them out of a tight situation, which is pretty much what I do. For me "no problem" is short for "it's really no extra effort needed to resolve this problem of yours because this is what I do for a living. My whole purpose of drawing a paycheck is to help answer your questions and get you through this kind of a problem."

But I can understand why some folks would feel like saying "no problem" is sort of a brush-off. Honest gratitude is something of a rarity nowadays. Trying to get people to simply say "thank you" is pretty much a hassle. The least we can do is to acknowledge that gratitude with something more than just a casual statement like "no problem".

I'm going to try to refrain from saying "no problem" and instead respond with a polite "you're welcome" or some other social nicety and see if there's a difference. Probably won't be, but I'm just curious if anyone else has any thought on this.

What do you think? Is saying "no problem" a brush-off, a turn-off, or a kiss-off? Please post your replies in the comments section.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Klingons in the White House!

I kid you not, there are KLINGONS in the White House!

KLINGONS that pretend to be VULCANS!

Set course for the planet Uranus (aka Washington DC) and check this video clip out courtesy of YouTube.

I'm reminded of the old parody song "Star Trekkin..."

There's Klingons on the starboard bow,
starboard bow, starboard bow,
there's Klingons on the starboard bow,
scrape 'em off Jim!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Bush's Iraq Speech

Junior hasn’t learned a damn thing!

That’s the impression I got watching Bush Junior address the nation last night about what he wants to do with Iraq. He didn’t try to sell the American people that there’s a “new course” or a “new direction”. He basically said, “mistakes were made, blame me for them, but I’m sending in more troops and we’re going to do whatever it takes to knock off the violence there.”

In other words… “stay the course”… with more troops, both on our side and on the Iraqis. Oh, and it’s not going to be easy, and people are going to die, but we gotta keep going. Boil those twenty minutes down and that's what you get.

And of course he invoked 9/11… AGAIN! He invoked the same pattern of fear-mongering that has slowly pissed away his credibility with the masses.

Junior basically carried on like it was business as usual. He acted as if the Republicans were still in charge in the Congress and ready to rubber-stamp his plans into place.

He wasn't trying to SELL us the idea of sticking with his program. He was DICTATING it to us. He was TELLING us what the course of action will be, as if we do not have any kind of a say in it.

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. He still has that dwindling number of conservative and neo-conservative mentalities that are eager to kiss his ass and worship him. He still has his attack dogs in the talk show circuit. He still has his inner circle, although that got dwindled down somewhat with his cheerleader Harriet Meyers leaving and him having to dump “Zen-Master Rummy” right after the election. As long as he has his worshipers, he'll continue to act like Caesar.

Some of that time and effort of the past week should have been spent preparing a better address. There were some good elements to it, and at least he understands that THERE ARE problems that need to be resolved. But the American people need to know that (1) we’re not going to be there forever, continually throwing good soldiers into harm’s way and (2) what those conditions are that will let us know that this WILL come to an end. We don't need a timetable, we just need to know what the conditions are!

And dammit, LAY OFF THE 9/11 CRAP! The next time our President invokes 9/11, it had damn well better be to announce that we FOUND AND KILLED Osama! Nothing less will suffice. We avenged Pearl Harbor and then moved on. We didn't use it as an excuse to start the Cold War. The same thing applies here.

Yes, we need to finish what we started in Iraq. We need to clean up the mess that we helped to create. But somewhere in the course of that clean-up we have to come to the realization that THERE HAS to be an ending! Whether you agree or disagree with why we went over there or why we're still there now, you have to admit that at some point WE MUST bring our soldiers home! If sending more troops allows that reality to happen sooner rather than later, then by all means do it.

THAT is what Junior should have been selling to the American people. But he didn't do that! He simply DICTATED what the course of action will be, without any kind of bright side to it all, and then expects us to simply go along. If he is wondering why nobody's buying it, he has only himself to blame.

Someone once said that the definition of stupidity is doing the exact same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Whoever came up with that definition should not only be doing the speechwriting for the White House, but they should also be in on that “inner circle” so they can be REMINDED of it.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Moralists strike again!

Someone I know is getting robbed.

I say “getting” and not “got” because it is still going on.

The people who are robbing her first struck in broad daylight. They acted with complete impunity, because for the most part they have it, and they know it. They attacked this woman, they held her for ransom, and they are still in the process of taking everything she has and everything she owns.

You may have heard of this woman. The robbery certainly made the national wire services, although nobody outside of yours truly will be willing to call it such.

This woman’s name is Melissa Wolf, although you may know her by her real name, which I won’t give out of respect. And the only reason why nobody outside of yours truly will call this action against her a robbery is because the criminals in this case are those in the local government in Georgia.

Melissa was charged this past week with running a house of prostitution… supposedly from her own multi-million dollar house in Gwinnett County. That’s not all she was charged with, though. She is also accused of “conspiracy to possess cocaine”, which is about as bogus of a charge as you can manufacture.

But this is where the truly criminal activity comes in, because by charging her with “conspiracy to possess cocaine”, the local prosecutor can invoke federal RICO laws to STEAL HER PROPERTY! Everything she has, everything she owns, all of it would belong to the county, to be sold or used at THEIR discretion.

Now I have met Melissa several times in the past, and I even interviewed her for my online radio program back in 2000. She is a former Penthouse centerfold model as well as a feature dancer (yes, she’s a stripper). I cannot say whether or not she offered her “services”, but the prices being offered by the prosecutor seemed to be more fiction than fact. $10,000 for sexual services? The person who has that much money on hand doesn’t need to pay $10,000 for that kind of service! I’d have a better time believing that a person blew $10,000 for some satisfaction at the now-defunct Gold Club (another victim of government theft) than in the “private services” of a feature dancer who would certainly be experienced enough to know better than to make such an offer!

Oh but I suppose that doesn’t matter, does it? She’s a centerfold model! She’s a stripper! In the eyes of the freedom-hating moralists, that instantly makes her guilty of just about ANYTHING!

So why pick on her? Why target her and her friends and anyone else associated with her?

Three words: FOLLOW THE MONEY!

Melissa lives in a nice house in a very nice section of Gwinnett County, and it is valued supposedly at over a million dollars. That’s a nice chunk of resale change for any county official who finds himself or herself a little short on tax revenue. And that doesn’t count the money that could be made selling off any cars she may have, any of the furnishings, electronics, and jewelry inside that house.

And all the county has to do to get away with this criminal act is to make the charges against Melissa and her associates stick. All they need is a plea bargain from someone. That’s all that it takes. That’s why the prosecutors are now going after some other folks too. They’re fishing for a witness. They want someone to get on the stand and say that everything Melissa is accused of is true, and then all of that property and all of that money is theirs to plunder. And that’s what it’s really all about. It’s about using the law to STEAL someone’s property.

The truth of the matter is that Melissa and her associates and anyone else brought in on this are getting victimized by the government. They are getting ROBBED by the government. In a county full of so-called “Christians” that CLAIM to respect the Ten Commandments, their own government officials are GUILTY of blatantly and maliciously violating TWO of those Commandments. “Thou shall not steal” and “Thou shall not covet thy neighbors goods.” We’ll have to figure out if they’re also guilty of bearing false witnesses, most notably with the “conspiracy to possess cocaine” crap.

But even if by some chance Melissa manages to avoid a conviction and keeps her property, she still has to deal with the fact that everyone now knows her real name. Whatever privacy she would have been able to enjoy afterwards has pretty much been eliminated. There is a reason why entertainers, be they mainstream or adult, have stage names. It is to give them a modicum of privacy; which is needed especially when you’re exposing other parts of yourself that most folks do not normally do. I know most “common folk” don’t understand that, but I’ve met entertainers – models, dancers, and actresses – and some of them are my friends, and I understand their concerns about privacy. And to have your REAL name and your REAL address plastered for all the world to see is about as exposed as you can get.