Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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July 15, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

THE NEW GILDED AGE....What a depressing story this is from Louis Uchitelle in the New York Times today. I mean, it's nice to know that there are a few rich people who aren't complete assholes, but it seems safe to say that the majority fall pretty safely into this category. Do they seriously believe that American executives in the 50s and 60s just coasted along on waves of cash while they not only had a world red in tooth and claw to tame, but were responsible for personally taming it without help from any other human being on the planet? Apparently so:

The new tycoons describe a history that gives them a heroic role. The American economy, they acknowledge, did grow more rapidly on average in the decades immediately after World War II than it is growing today. Incomes rose faster than inflation for most Americans and the spread between rich and poor was much less. But the United States was far and away the dominant economy, and government played a strong supporting role. In such a world, the new tycoons argue, business leaders needed only to be good managers.

....That changed with the arrival of "the technological age," in [Lew] Frankfort's view. Innovation became a requirement, in addition to good management skills — and innovation has played a role in Coach's marketing success. "To be successful," Mr. Frankfort said, "you now needed vision, lateral thinking, courage and an ability to see things, not the way they were but how they might be."

Oy. Where do these people come from? I'm at least moderately sympathetic to this kind of argument when it comes from a genuine entrepreneur like Bill Gates or Sam Walton, but when it comes from some guy who thinks he practically risked life and limb by climbing to the top of the corporate ladder and then engineering a couple of big mergers, it almost makes me want to retch. These guys wouldn't know risk if it hit them in the kneecaps with a two-by-four.

Kevin Drum 12:56 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (158)

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Naturally liberals are going to take any chance they can to denigrate successful capitalist innovators. But most Americans know that capitalism, and capitalists, are the engines of growth for America. That is why we have the highest standard of living in the world.

Posted by: Al on July 15, 2007 at 1:03 PM | PERMALINK

I was wondering when a blogger would pick this up. The whole thing turned my stomach, especially the lack of counter perspectives (um, maybe the rest of America isn't reaping the benefits that you are). Best of all was when that Kenneth C. Griffin claimed that he would be forced to relocate to another country if he had to pay higher taxes. Oh boo-hoo! Poor little rich boy! The slings and arrows you suffer under!

Posted by: wilder on July 15, 2007 at 1:05 PM | PERMALINK

Apparently, some people are unable to recognize the changed industrial landscape in the couple of decades following WWII. Industry in western Europe and Japan--and largely China--had been decimated. Industry in the US had not been. So the US was quite capable of manufacturing goods that were exported to other countries. Starting in the late 1960s/early 1970s, that benefit began to be neutralized.

Posted by: raj on July 15, 2007 at 1:09 PM | PERMALINK

Right on, Kevin. There really isn't any risk for those at the top of the corporate world, and there's very little accountability. It's just like Bush World. And, believe it or not, it's way less efficient than the public sector. The only principle still in effect in the boardroom is corporate profit trumps everything except CEO salary. We live in the land of Oz.

Posted by: Walter Crockett on July 15, 2007 at 1:12 PM | PERMALINK

Don't these captains of industry have enough money to hire their own hagiographers? I guess they don't need to, if the New York Times is going to do it for free.

Posted by: RSA on July 15, 2007 at 1:13 PM | PERMALINK

Entrepreneurial efforts do take courage and skill, as does ensuring an older brand remains relevant. Engineering mergers similarly takes skill - to identify the possibility of the deal - to come to the agreement and then operationally to have that merger be effective.

The post reads as though effectiveness at business is akin to just showing up. That is not the case. When you have a number of people depending upon you for their livelihoods - the ability to make the business work and prosper is a quality to be admired.

This isn't referring to George Bush's laughable business experience - but to those who successfully have led companies. It's not easy and it fundamentally builds the economy.

I would ask those who have a knee-jerk reaction against capitalists to consider how many families can depend upon them for their livelihoods? How have you grow the pie for others? Capitalists have done so considerably.


Posted by: jackifus on July 15, 2007 at 1:26 PM | PERMALINK

One of the biggest problems in American capitalism is a real unwillingness to take significant risk. This is why American industry is slipping into second (and sometimes) third place in the world. Warren Buffet has spoken out about this problem many times. He's especially correct in pointing out that eliminating estate taxes so that we have the Paris Hilton's of America leading our industries is an extremely bad idea.

Posted by: Glen on July 15, 2007 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

For an accurate picture of the shares of income, taxes, and asset wealth in the United States, see the video, "President Bush's Tax Cuts," at:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=SA1f2MefsMM

Posted by: Lee A. Arnold on July 15, 2007 at 1:29 PM | PERMALINK

Some people never get over Ayn Rand. Right, Al?

Posted by: Gore/Edwards 08 on July 15, 2007 at 1:40 PM | PERMALINK

Bill Gates is so smart that he won the lottery twice. IBM let him have the rights to Dos(DOH) and Apple turned him on to the graphic interface. Gates says his team was so astounded by Apple's stupidity that they almost skipped out of the building.

Posted by: Michael7843853 G-O in 08! on July 15, 2007 at 1:45 PM | PERMALINK

Used to be:
"In such a world, the new tycoons argue, business leaders needed only to be good managers."

Nowadays:
"To be successful," Mr. Frankfort said, "you now needed vision, lateral thinking, courage and an ability to see things, not the way they were but how they might be."

Sounds like a good bullshit artist not a manager. It's time we all called them on it.

Posted by: Doc at the Radar Station on July 15, 2007 at 2:03 PM | PERMALINK

Bill Gates certainly came in to luck - but was smart enough to benefit from it. It's not automatic.

This isn't to dismiss income disparity as a serious and growing problem in this country. It in-itself is not related to the skill and creativity it takes to build or successfully run a company.

Posted by: jackifus on July 15, 2007 at 2:07 PM | PERMALINK

For all of Kevin's detractors, I'd like to recommend this post. To be able to read that gobbledy gook, much less figure out what meaning might have been intended, demonstrates his iron fortitude, keen deciphering abilities, and a spooky understanding of abberant psychology.

Posted by: jussumbody on July 15, 2007 at 2:31 PM | PERMALINK

The other problem with the "CEO as hero" meme is that it presupposes that nobody else in the company had anything to do with the success of the company.

Posted by: PaulB on July 15, 2007 at 2:32 PM | PERMALINK

Sandy Weill thinks he deserves what he got because
1. he came in first in a highly competitive game and 2. he obtained much more for his stockholders than he retained himself.

Well, duh, and BFD. But exactly the same was true of Bob Crandall and and is true of Jim Sinegal.

Even if it's true that the challenges for today's CEO in a global economy are more demanding than were those for yesterday's in a national economy, it's not true that today's CEO's are any more gifted by the gods in talent, nor is it true that much smaller amounts of money wouldn't suffice to motivate them to develop and display that talent. But it is true that today's salaries and other reimbursements have become so astronomically large that they significantly affect the size of funds available for reinvestment and to the ordinary investor.

And who's so delusional as to think that CEO rewards are set in a well functioning competitive market, and not by an self-perpetuating oligarchy accountable to nobody? Did CEOs get 1000% smarter in a decade or two?

These guys feed on the meat of self-delusion and arrogance.

Posted by: God's Reject on July 15, 2007 at 2:32 PM | PERMALINK

"The new tycoons describe a history that gives them a heroic role."

These are the same people who bravely avoided serving in the Vietnam War and bravely offered their support to the Iraq War.

These are also the people who bravely invented consumer electronics and software products which the result of decades of public and private basic research by government labs, universities, and corporations (which they sadly were not old enough to bravely manage themselves).

But of course not everyone has the chance to bravely invent new consumer electronics and software products (although if they did they would certainly have done so bravely). These other brave and highly successful people bravely found ways to get the taxpayer to bail out their automobile companies, banks, airlines, and baseball teams (all of which were nearly brought down by European socialism and sexual harassment law). And were it not for the failure to privatize social security even pets.com would have been as successful as its founders were brave.

Posted by: Linus on July 15, 2007 at 2:36 PM | PERMALINK

What is going on in the Times article?

Simple: the idiots at the top of the economic pyramid realize that they are getting paid absurdly more than their counterparts in the 50s and 60s, and must now come up with a rationalization that justifies it.

This revolting self aggrandizement is their answer to the problem.

Naturally, they don't explain why managers today are actually better selected than managers in the past, nor do they give anything that resembles evidence that managers today really are in any important cognitive way different from those in the past. It is nothing more than ex post facto "explanation" -- a pure assertion -- for what they already want to believe.

But of course it's not just cross time comparisons that they must account for. Cross cultural comparisons present the same kind of problems for their narcissistic view of themselves.

If managers in the US are so spectacularly good and deserve like spectacular compensation, why do they fail in case after case against competitors in Japan, who are, of course, led by executives who earn only the smallest fraction of what US executives earn? If these US companies could turn this around simply by hiring executives who are great at vision and lateral thinking and other assorted bullshit that is now so important, why don't they do so, so that they might consistently outdo their competitors in Japan?

But of course their whole argument is in fact just a crock of convenient shit. It holds up as well as a Republican spin on the war in Iraq: good enough only for those who already drink the KoolAid.

Posted by: frankly0 on July 15, 2007 at 2:36 PM | PERMALINK

I work for a company where the CEO tried to engineer selling it to a private equity firm. The shareholders thought it was a bad idea, rejected the deal and the Board effectively fired him. So he received his multi-million dollar severance package. The price of failure can be really really rough for these risk taking captains of industry.

Posted by: Billy on July 15, 2007 at 2:37 PM | PERMALINK

"I would ask those who have a knee-jerk reaction against capitalists"

Sigh... Nobody here has a "knee-jerk reaction against capitalists." We have a knee-jerk reaction to stupidity like "The new tycoons describe a history that gives them a heroic role."

"to consider how many families can depend upon them for their livelihoods?"

How many of those tycoons were irreplaceable, generating business and coming up with innovations that would not have happened if they had not been there? I would argue that this applies to few, if any, of them.

"How have you grow the pie for others? Capitalists have done so considerably."

What does this have to do with anything that Kevin, or anyone else here, has said? We aren't commenting on capitalism, we're commenting on smug, self-satisifed, delusionary idiots.

Posted by: PaulB on July 15, 2007 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

Bill Gates is the wealthiest of the wealthy. He made his money from sales of Windows and Office.

Who thinks Windows is a Rockefeller better than Mac's OS or Linux--or better at all? Who thinks Word is a Rockefeller better than Word Perfect--or better at all?

So because we got these non-superior products foisted on us, Bill Gates deserves to be up there with Rockefeller?

Posted by: God's Reject on July 15, 2007 at 2:43 PM | PERMALINK

it's nice to know that there are a few rich people who aren't complete assholes, but it seems safe to say that the majority fall pretty safely into this category

That's certainly true of the plutocrats' lickspittles -- "Al", "ex-liberal", "minion" -- who post in this forum.

And how fascinating that to a cretin they advocate more and more war as well.

Posted by: Gregory on July 15, 2007 at 2:48 PM | PERMALINK

Isn't it interesting that no prior posts to this thread have commented on the near-cause/effect relationship between the points of this posting and of the immediately previous posting (Americans get less leisure despite providing their employers increasing productivity)?
The obscene up-shifting of income, wealth,and opportunity that has been engineered over the last three decades is exactly why we have both overworked and underpaid employees and overpaid upper management.
And, as always, trust the Republicans, the reich-wing, the corporatists, and their lapdogs in the media (forgive the redundancy) to engage in the most blatant kind of projection. They scream "class warfare" because they've been waging it against you and me for decades, and we are in rout.
Sooner or later, something's gotta give -- but how? Will we wind up in a political revolt, a bloodbath... or Brazil (Gilliam's)?

Posted by: smartalek on July 15, 2007 at 2:51 PM | PERMALINK
"I'm at least moderately sympathetic to this kind of argument when it comes from a genuine entrepreneur like Bill Gates or Sam Walton, but"

Wow. Moderately sympathetic? Just moderately, huh? How nice. How charitable of you.

At the risk of generalization, capitalism was the engine that makes people strive for higher living, just get past that and enjoy the fruits of their labor and efforts. If things were, by and large, provided for the government, you wouldn't have a friggin' iPhone, for example, or Bill Gates would have little or no incentive to go with Microsoft. It's nice to know that despite your childish hatred for people with a lot of wealth that at least some common senese seeps into your frame of view to allow you to be..."moderately" sympathetic. How nice.

Posted by: Boorring on July 15, 2007 at 2:51 PM | PERMALINK

Bill Gates is so smart that he won the lottery twice. IBM let him have the rights to Dos(DOH) and Apple turned him on to the graphic interface. Gates says his team was so astounded by Apple's stupidity that they almost skipped out of the building.

It's worthwhile remembering, though, that Microsoft didn't come out with a GUI competitive to the Mac GUI until the early 90s -- many years of course after the introduction of the Mac in 1984.

What this really points to is the enormous monopolistic advantage Microsoft had to Apple (and any other competitor) in the PC desktop market. In how many other industries can you spot a competitor a 6 year advantage, and still be the easy winner?

The only way that makes sense to think of Gates is that he was smart enough not to blow his tremendous inherent advantages, conferred on him in one stroke when IBM selected Microsoft to develop the OS for its market dominating PC. But you'd have to be a fool to think that that made him smarter than thousands of others who knock around in the software industry.

Posted by: frankly0 on July 15, 2007 at 2:52 PM | PERMALINK

"Engineering mergers similarly takes skill - to identify the possibility of the deal - to come to the agreement and then operationally to have that merger be effective."

"When you have a number of people depending upon you for their livelihoods - the ability to make the business work and prosper is a quality to be admired."

Apparently, you've never worked for a company that has merged with another. The net result is usually job losses and lack of jobe security.

Mergers are generally designed to effect mass layoffs and a transfer of large pockets of investment capital into a few lucky hands. If you honestly think the overwhelming majority of mergers are good for the average American, you don't know what you're talking about.

Posted by: brewmn on July 15, 2007 at 2:53 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, and it goes with overall increase in fascistic tendencies. Look at this scary link:

Link

Posted by: Neil B. on July 15, 2007 at 2:54 PM | PERMALINK

The crack about tax rates and moving out of the US tells you all you need to know about these types of people.

They don't care about this country, their neighbors or the people that work for them, they have rose to the top because they are the most self-centered, hollow and delusional people in the office.

They need to be deported to a banana republic before they finish turning this country into one.

Posted by: Condor on July 15, 2007 at 2:55 PM | PERMALINK

The simple fact is that Gates is hardly a self-made man or infinitely productive business leader.

His family was so wealthy he could drop out of Harvard and still know he would live comfortably all his life. His father was a major lawyer in Seattle and Bill figured out how to make a lawyer's knowledge translate into a clever contract with IBM for a product Gates bought from another developer.

Using those profits, he developed the GUI by brute force. Anybody who ever used a DOS-based PC could see immediately how useful a GUI would be and the only real surprise was how useful the first version of Windows wasn't.

So the next step was to dominate the market by 'giving' Windows away. Of course, as anyone who has ever bought a MS product knows, the fact that the first one is free doesn't translate into long-term savings.

Bill Gates got a leg up by coming from a family where legal larceny was dinner-table conversation, attending a private school with other rich kids who could afford to play with computers in the 70s, and being so wealthy he could drop out of school, daydream, and use his inherited money to build some daydreams. This is not Abraham Lincoln stuff.

Posted by: serial catowner on July 15, 2007 at 2:58 PM | PERMALINK

"At the risk of generalization, capitalism was the engine that makes people strive for higher living, just get past that and enjoy the fruits of their labor and efforts"

And yet another idiot who cannot read. Where did Kevin say that he was anti-capitalism? What on earth does capitalism have to do with anything in the article Kevin referenced or any of the discussion that has taken place thus far? You're arguing in favor of a strawman that nobody here is arguing against!

Posted by: PaulB on July 15, 2007 at 2:58 PM | PERMALINK

Another way of looking at it is that "innovation" in shuffling money around -- whether issuing and retiring ever-more-complex debt instruments or shuffling the nominal ownership of companies -- has come to be more rewarding, and at lower risk, than innovation in actually making or doing stuff. It is innovation, to be sure, but most parasitic innovation (because without the existing enterprises it's useless).

Another sign of this is the way that even "real" innovators during the tech boom of the 90s got rich: not by making the best or even the most profitable products, but by convincing some other company or members of the public to buy them out. Some companies went public with hardly any salable product at all.

Posted by: paul on July 15, 2007 at 3:00 PM | PERMALINK

Has Bill Gates ever said anything like the bilge that was spewed by some of the people in that article?

Posted by: PaulB on July 15, 2007 at 3:01 PM | PERMALINK

Has Bill Gates ever said anything like the bilge that was spewed by some of the people in that article?

No, I think you're right about that. As much of a prick he seems to have been to others in the computer industry, his conduct with the outside world has mostly been exemplary.

Posted by: frankly0 on July 15, 2007 at 3:06 PM | PERMALINK


There were high-powered financiers millenia ago, but they generated no increase in per-capita income: Malthus ruled. Market economies are not in themselves sufficient to generate rapid economic growth: that takes inventors, engineers and scientists.
If you want to thank someone, thank James Watt or John Bardeen.

Posted by: gcochran on July 15, 2007 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK

Persevered and read the whole article.
Lord.
Finding more delusional people would require visiting a locked psych ward.
[Their arrogance and selfishness are all too common.]

Certainly skills exist in the CEO trade, but success is more often than not a matter of timing and luck. Perhaps the major trick is recognizing when the timing is right and exactly what luck is.
That many CEOs are failures at recognizing that times change is attested to daily by previously successful companies filing for Chapter 11.

The overpowering impression left by the article is that these men have become soft and selfish. Whatever value they once added to society has been repaid to them long ago. They're just coasting now, and, paraphrasing J.K. Galbraith, searching for a moral justification for selfishness.

Posted by: clio on July 15, 2007 at 3:45 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, PaulB, and now a vacuum of civility has left with your bumbling forth.

Posted by: Boorring on July 15, 2007 at 3:48 PM | PERMALINK

"The obscene up-shifting of income, wealth,and opportunity that has been engineered over the last three decades is exactly why we have both overworked and underpaid employees and overpaid upper management."
Posted by: smartalek on July 15, 2007 at 2:51 PM
------
This feeds into the idea of "flat maxima" that has been discussed quite a bit here lately:
http://faculty.fuqua.duke.edu/~cadem/bio/massey%20&%20thaler%20-%20loser's%20curse.pdf
This shows that performance expectation is consistently overvalued based on evaluation of the surplus value that is actually returned. Culturally, for some reason the difference between what is expected and what we actually get has been increasing a lot in the last few years. I think it has to do with the end of the cold war and the rise of the new corporatist *religion*. It is hero worship gone amuck or perhaps it would be best put as "talent worship". No wonder narcissism is rampant amongst these folks. Hmmm. Sounds like a pre-existing condition ;-)

Posted by: Doc at the Radar Station on July 15, 2007 at 3:54 PM | PERMALINK

The NYT article left me the impression that most of Robber Barons at the turn of the century, made their fortunes in industry (steel, oil),
and railroads. A few others made their fortunes in silver speculation, or banking.

As described in the same article, it looks like today's billionaires made their money from:

Handbags, CableTV, WebTV, Hedge Funds/Private Equity scams, and oversized department stores
filled with junk from China.

But, i'm sure there are still billions to be
made from military-industrial-homeland-security
sector ...

Posted by: Joe Bloggs on July 15, 2007 at 3:59 PM | PERMALINK

"Ah, PaulB, and now a vacuum of civility has left with your bumbling forth."

LOL... I have never seen any particular reason to be civil to an idiot. I see that you have no answer to my comment, civil or not.

Posted by: PaulB on July 15, 2007 at 4:02 PM | PERMALINK

Just posted a piece on my blog (name linkie) that I think both Kevin and the people in this piece are operating under the same pretension, that is, that the incomes and wealth of these executives is any way tied to market growth or corporate risk. Instead, their income is directly due to how they value and sell themselves. They are marketers and negotiators first, and if they achieve a staggering income, it's due to the boards of directors who fall for such claptrap about their 'indispensable' skills. Until the stockholders of the companies realize they're being swindled for the services of, in many cases, charlatans, we'll continue to see a rise in the number of Jack Welsh wanna-bes.

Posted by: RM Scarrow on July 15, 2007 at 4:04 PM | PERMALINK

A thousand apologies, I thought the link went to the URL.
http://neuecolossus.squarespace.com/

Posted by: RM Scarrow on July 15, 2007 at 4:07 PM | PERMALINK

IBM went to Gary Kildall the inventor of CP/M software and asked him to rewrite it for the new IBM-PC. He declined and Microsoft jumped the chance. At that time, Microsoft's product was a 4k and 8k basic program that was embedded in ROM chips on motherboards included on various early computers.
Microsoft re-wrote the CP/M code as IMB-DOS (and MS-DOS) and it shipped with every PC. Their record of innovation is sketchy.

Most of these super-rich capitalists did not become wealthy by creating real industries or real property, but like Jay Gould of Robber Baron fame, are merely shuffling stocks and debt. While their greed exceeds all standards of decency, their contribution to the national bien-être social is minimal.

Posted by: Mike on July 15, 2007 at 4:09 PM | PERMALINK

Remember also that CEOs are paid by Boards that *aren't using their own zero-sum income* but outside monies they command. Board members don't have any less buying power themselves after picking the pay of the CEO. Hence, it is not a true market choice (where buyer knows, if he blows $30,000 on a crappy car, he must buy $30,000 less of everything else.) The Board members in turn depend on the patronage of the CEO and his/her cronies and entourage.
As even George Will admitted, they are each other's poodles.

Posted by: Neil B. on July 15, 2007 at 4:11 PM | PERMALINK

BTW, also note that the managment's top job is to increase their company's market share and struggle against other companies, hence they produce even less (or no, or negative!) actual net utility.

tyrannogenius

Posted by: Neil B. on July 15, 2007 at 4:13 PM | PERMALINK

"Naturally liberals are going to take any chance they can to denigrate successful capitalist innovators. But most Americans know that capitalism, and capitalists, are the engines of growth for America."

These aren't "capitalists." "Capitalists" are distinguished by their investment, and placing at risk, capital. These are EMPLOYEES of capitalists who suffer from delusions of grandeur.

Posted by: dp on July 15, 2007 at 4:19 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, perfectly written. I love the closing line.

PS. To Michael78-i-like-obama-too "astounded by Apple's stupidity...", you mispelled Xerox.

Posted by: dennisS on July 15, 2007 at 4:23 PM | PERMALINK

Neil, wtf is net utility in the context you've used it? If capitalism doesn't include increase their company's market share and struggle against other companies, then it might as well be communism.
Take a chill pill, you're all wound up with nowhere to go.

Posted by: TJM on July 15, 2007 at 4:34 PM | PERMALINK

"How have you grow the pie for others? Capitalists have done so considerably."

Bull. They may have done so, but "considerably" is a relative word, and they certainly have not "raised the boats" as much as the "tide" they have skimmed off would indicate.

How come other countries, that are now doing so well (Japan and Germany come to mind, along with Finland and Norway) don't have to pay such obscene salaries to their CEOs?

Posted by: Cal Gal on July 15, 2007 at 4:34 PM | PERMALINK

Cal Gal, it doesn't even matter, since Kevin isn't arguing against capitalism.

Posted by: PaulB on July 15, 2007 at 4:51 PM | PERMALINK

TJM: What I mean by net utility, is net increased GNP, what makes our standard of living. If managers spend X hours just fighting each other over market share, that did "no work" in making more for us as a whole. I didn't say it was evil or practically avoidable, just has to be recognized in our evaluations of things.

Posted by: Neil B. on July 15, 2007 at 5:06 PM | PERMALINK

Bill Gates & Sam Walton???

Bill Gates's first product, Microsoft Basic, was stolen (that's the word) from the Digital mini-computers he worked on during the Bonneville project - back when ideas that were "to be shared" and only corporate phonies tried to lock them up.

Gates is the son of a corporate phony, however, & the apple don't fall far from the tree. His company made itself powerful the old-fashioned way, with exploitive, illegal contracts, & now spends a major amount of its time & money trying to ruin those that try to do what he did in the early 80s.

Sam Walton took the meanness & parsimony of Southwest Missouri/Northwest Arkansas and made it national.

Neither man should be held up as an example of anything beyond greediness & expoitation.

Posted by: sidewinder on July 15, 2007 at 5:08 PM | PERMALINK

The writer of the article talked to about 12 rich people, quoted fewer than that, and from that oh-so-meaningful sample Kevin concludes that, regarding rich people in general, it is "safe to say that the majority fall pretty safely into this category", the category being "complete assholes". Gosh, if I wansn't more fair-minded, I'd conclude that it is safe to say that most people who write a blog paid for by a political magazine are preening, smug, ignorantly judgemental jerks. I'm more fair minded than to make such broad judgements based upon little to zero data, and mostly supported by predisposition, however.

Are some, or even a lot of rich people complete assholes? Sure, because there is no shortage of complete assholes generally; it is a just a trait revealed in different ways. I would be unsurprised if it were revealed that assholes of the rich variety reveal that the former trait via undue self-congratulation, because human beings everywhere engage in undue self-congratulation. Humility is not in excess supply anywhere, by my observation.

Is excessive CEO pay a real phenomena? Sure, to the degree that the pay results not from the consent of the owners of the company, but rather as a result of self-dealing and an insidious principal/agent problem. Recognizing this reality, and trying to think of solutions that would provide a net benefit (a very difficult exercise), however, is a long ways from simply concluding that a bunch of people that really haven't been observed closely by the commenter are largely complete assholes.

Posted by: Will Allen on July 15, 2007 at 5:27 PM | PERMALINK

Stephen C. Hilbert, Conseco, $47.1 million
Carly Fiorina, Hewlett-Packard $51 million.
Doug Ivester, Coca-Cola, $120 million.
Jill Barad, Mattel, $55 million
Mark Swartz, Tyco, $44 million
Richard Grasso, NY Stock Exchange, $140 million
Franklin Raines, Fannie Mae's $1.3 million a year pension for life

The list goes on and on and on. These are the severance packages that these executives received. What do they also have in common? Poor performance, failure, near bankruptcy; in some cases, they were fired.

What was that about risk?

Posted by: R. Porrofatto on July 15, 2007 at 5:47 PM | PERMALINK

Has Bill Gates ever said anything like the bilge that was spewed by some of the people in that article?
Posted by: PaulB on July 15, 2007 at 3:01 PM | PERMALINK


He never did say Apple was stupid, but he did say that they were astounded that Apple showed them the GI and I am fairly certain he did say that his team had to resist the urge to skip in their glee. I read it in a book at least 15 years ago. I'll post the title here when I find it. He was the beneficiary of 2 of the biggest business mistakes in history.

Posted by: Michael7843853 G-O in 08! on July 15, 2007 at 6:18 PM | PERMALINK

Al: "Naturally liberals are going to take any chance they can to denigrate successful capitalist innovators."

Innovators? Naturally, you're a complete idiot. Do we have to dredge up the number of times you've barfed up talking points about how rich John Kerry or Nancy Pelosi are supposed to be? Probably.

The fact is, you don't even remember the horseshit you spread on this site. But rest assured: people smell the stink of unchanged diapers wherever you go.

Posted by: Kenji on July 15, 2007 at 6:30 PM | PERMALINK

Jebus Kleist, what a filthy rag the NYT has become. I wouldn't subscribe to it nowadays if it were the last newspaper in the country. The Sulzbergers may as well sell it because it's become a disgrace to the family name and a mockery of the achievements of a once-great paper under the stewardship of more enlightened generations of the Ochs and Sulzberger families.

Posted by: Steve LaBonne on July 15, 2007 at 6:33 PM | PERMALINK

nothing is more loathesome than having some corporate asshole defend his outrageous compensation by saying he's simply being paid the market price for his skills and since they're sooo very scarce, well, his corporate board didn't have any choice but to pay up.

i wish one of those boards would just once fire or refuse to hire a CEO and give as its reason that he was not worth the money he was demanding.

then we'll see whether some other firm hires him at his asking price.

my guess: there's no "market" for overpriced corporate execs beyond sleep-at-the-switch compensation committees on corporate boards and business school professors who believe anything if a big shot corporate guy says it.

Posted by: Auto on July 15, 2007 at 6:40 PM | PERMALINK

> Microsoft re-wrote the CP/M code as
> IMB-DOS (and MS-DOS) and it shipped
> with every PC. Their record of
> innovation is sketchy.

Actually Gates bought QDOS from Seattle Computer products on an unlimited unrestricted license for $10,000, spent a few days porting it to the 8088, and sent _that_ to IBM. Ripping off CP/M-86 directly would have been too obvious.

That said, the original IBM PC configuration had PC-DOS as the standard choice for $50, but CP/M-86 and the UCSD p-System could be had as an option for $495 (IIRC the price). No one (except my then engineering school) ever chose either of those options.

Cranky

Posted by: Cranky Observer on July 15, 2007 at 6:44 PM | PERMALINK

microsoft is hardly an innovator. gates actually bought dos from some poor schmuck who received a pittance in return, and he did benefit greatly from some breathtaking corporate stupidity. however, in defense of bill gates, it was his company. he built microsoft.he took the risk, unlike the majority of ceo who are nothing more than corporate bureaucrats, who even if they fail, are paid excessively, are given stock in the company and risk little. that's kevin's point.

Posted by: mudwall jackson on July 15, 2007 at 6:59 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, really, the NYT sure was a much better paper in the old days, like when it won Pulitzers for covering up Stalin's mass murders. If it only could return to the halcyon days of yore!

Posted by: Will Allen on July 15, 2007 at 7:01 PM | PERMALINK

A death by a thousand cuts to the capitalist parasite that preys upon the life blood of the proletari -- OOOh, look, there's Britney Spears! Yoo hoo, Britney -- we love you!

Posted by: The New American Marxist on July 15, 2007 at 7:04 PM | PERMALINK

Al:,/b> "Naturally liberals are going to take any chance they can to denigrate successful capitalist innovators."

Speaking for myself, I almost always discount any arguments about the virtues of capialism offered by bitter 35-year-old underemployed social zeroes who live rent-free with their mother.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on July 15, 2007 at 7:20 PM | PERMALINK
It's worthwhile remembering, though, that Microsoft didn't come out with a GUI competitive to the Mac GUI until the early 90s -- many years of course after the introduction of the Mac in 1984.

What this really points to is the enormous monopolistic advantage Microsoft had to Apple (and any other competitor) in the PC desktop market. In how many other industries can you spot a competitor a 6 year advantage, and still be the easy winner?

Microsoft's advantage lay in the fact that Jobs and the brain trust at Apple closed the architecture of all the Apple machines, preventing the many thousands of developers around the world from building applications for Apple computers. MSFT welcomed developers and this resulted in enormous numbers of applications being built for the PC. I would say closing the architecture of the Apple machines was one of the dumbest business moves of all time, allowing a copy-cat like Gates to pull way ahead, even with a much inferior (to this day) GUI / operating system.

The other point requiring mention is that Apple took the GUI idea from Xerox after spending a day at Xerox examing their wonderous Star machine which sported a GUI.

From Wikipedia:

A trip to Xerox PARC by Apple Computer's Steve Jobs in 1979 led to the graphical user interface and mouse being integrated into the Apple's Lisa and, later, the first Macintosh.[1] Steve Jobs was shown the Smalltalk-80 programming environment, networking and most importantly the WYSIWYG, mouse-driven GUI interface provided by the Alto. Members of the Apple Lisa engineering team saw Star at its introduction at the National Computer Conference (NCC '81) and returned to Cupertino where they converted their desktop manager to an icon-based interface modeled on the Star.[2] The initial Macintosh interface was a simplified version of the Lisa interface (i.e., single-tasking), supporting only a single floppy drive instead of the hard drive of the Lisa (and Star).
Posted by: Dilbert on July 15, 2007 at 7:21 PM | PERMALINK
.... I'm more fair minded than to make such broad judgements based upon little to zero data....Will Allen at 5:27 PM
That merits the chutzpah award for the day.
.... the NYT sure was a much better paper in the old days....Will Allen at 7:01 PM
I'm sure you prefer the current day when they shill for the Bush propaganda machine with such luminaries like Michael Gordon, Judith Miller, Jeff Gerth (the latter two happily departed), and pro-war, neo-con editorials. Speaking of mass death, the new toll for dead Iraqis, it is now estimated at over 700,000 thanks to Bush.
... Gates bought QDOS from Seattle Computer products on an unlimited unrestricted license for $10,000....Cranky Observer at 6:44 PM
So much for a hurried reading....thanks. Posted by: Mike on July 15, 2007 at 7:27 PM | PERMALINK

For all of Kevin's detractors, I'd like to recommend this post.

Posted by: jussumbody on July 15, 2007 at 2:31 PM | PERMALINK

Yep. When Kevin stops trying to be clever and merely tries to be smart, he does pretty good.

Posted by: Martin Gale on July 15, 2007 at 7:29 PM | PERMALINK

Right, mike, lemme know when the nyt wins a Pulitzer for denying a lot of Iraqis have died, and, really, what's thirty MILLION dead if there is an omlette to be made, right? Look, I didn't raise the subject of the supposed superiority of the paper in days gone by. That was somebody else. I guess it was bad form on my part to write in detail about those golden days, huh?

Posted by: Will Allen on July 15, 2007 at 7:50 PM | PERMALINK

"These guys wouldn't know risk if it hit them in the kneecaps with a two-by-four."

Spot-on, Kevin! But it's a very good start, you must admit...

Posted by: Brian on July 15, 2007 at 8:35 PM | PERMALINK

Al, people who write anonymously shouldn't write panegyrics to risk.

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on July 15, 2007 at 8:35 PM | PERMALINK

Mr. Weill could just as easily have been born a poor black child in the ghetto and eaten lead paint chips, suffered brain damage and spent his entire life in a group home. When this arrogant asshole says, "We didn’t rely on somebody else to build what we built, and we shouldn’t rely on somebody else to provide all the services our society needs.", he shames God himself. Everything he owns, every oxygen molecule he breathes is thanks to the grace of God and the work of thousands, no millions, of other people who have worked hard to give him the lofty status he enjoys in this life. He will be laid low in the next life, however. Count on it.

God will teach humility ultimately, to prideful and self-important men like Mr. Weill. Humble yourself before the Lord, lest you be humbled.

Posted by: The Holy Ghost on July 15, 2007 at 9:28 PM | PERMALINK

MSFT welcomed developers and this resulted in enormous numbers of applications being built for the PC.


One of the things I have most trouble with is how people look back in hindsight at the history of computer technology and imagine that there was a wisdom and vision, or foolishness and blindness, in various decisions that were made. A great many of those decisions strike me as little more than happy or sorry accidents.

It was actually pretty inevitable that MSFT would "welcome developers". Remember, its original staple product was a Basic interpreter, and then various compilers for other languages. No developers, no sales. Certainly MSFT in the end profited immensely by its decision to enable as many applications as possible to run on the IBM PC, but acting as if that was a decision made in the knowledge of its ultimate consequences is just wrong.

The reality is, no one really understood how the market would develop. Apple's decision to control their own PC's applications seemed like a plausibly good one at the time. In fact, of course, to this day it profits in certain ways by this decision: fewer outside parties involved with applications and peripherals etc makes for a more stable system -- still a major selling point.

And even if Apple had encouraged outside developers, its very unlikely that it would have made a major dent in Microsoft's monopoly. I don't remember the exact figures, but the number of IBM PCs immediately dwarfed the number of Apple PCs from the moment the IBM PC was introduced: such was the marketing power of IBM at the time. In corporate circles, it was essentially a no-brainer for a company to choose the IBM offering. MSFT simply managed to exploit this effective IBM monopoly to its own purposes. Developers went after the IBM PC simply because that's where the money was. Apple was never going to be a major competitor in the corporate market (and there was really little besides the corporate market at the time), no matter what it did.

Posted by: frankly0 on July 15, 2007 at 9:47 PM | PERMALINK


I mean, it's nice to know that there are a few rich people who aren't complete assholes, but it seems safe to say that the majority fall pretty safely into this category.


Kevin? Yooooooooooooooou're FIRED !!!!!!

Posted by: Charlie Peters on July 15, 2007 at 9:47 PM | PERMALINK

From the article: But the United States was far and away the dominant economy, and government played a strong supporting role...[easier then for CEOs]

Are these the same turdlings who hate government now? I am very confused...

No, wait. They just say they hate government to play a role...

Posted by: thersites on July 15, 2007 at 9:52 PM | PERMALINK

PaulB: "I have never seen any particular reason to be civil to an idiot."

Hey, idiots are people too, ya know. Most of 'em anyway.

Posted by: Kenji on July 15, 2007 at 10:45 PM | PERMALINK

I see Slick Willy is here with his typical blundering idiocy. Hey Willy, was that reporting on the USSR the only time the NYT won an award?

Are you that stupid, or are you just lying rather than "writ[ing] in detail about those golden days?"

Posted by: noel on July 15, 2007 at 11:30 PM | PERMALINK

"it's nice to know that there are a few rich people who aren't complete assholes, but it seems safe to say that the majority fall pretty safely into this category"

Mr. Drum sticks it to the Man! :)

Posted by: luci on July 15, 2007 at 11:34 PM | PERMALINK

Didn't Jack Welch say that 25% of a CEO's job was identifying talent and the other 75% was evaluating said talent. Doesn't sound that heroic to me.
Apparently these new CEOs haven't heard about Level 5 Leadership.

Posted by: Jim Collins disapproves on July 16, 2007 at 12:11 AM | PERMALINK

After WWII, the industrial bases of Japan, Germany, Italy and France were destroyed. Those of Britain and the USSR were severely damaged and Russia had twenty million dead. Those of the U.S. had been vastly expanded. We held comparative advantage, for a time. In this era, it was *relatively* easier to be the CEO of GE or General Motors than it is today.

By the 1970's, our allies, having retooled their industrial bases, were statring to kick our asses economically and the Soviets geopolitically. It was our turn to shift gear on many different fronts for a couple of decades. And we did.

That doesn't make today's CEO's "heroic". Most are simply managers (unimaginative bureaucrats)who understand economies of scale. A few though, are visionaries and trailblazers who have created real value. That should be respected, if not confused with dodging grenades or rescuing ppl from burning buildings.

Posted by: zenpundit on July 16, 2007 at 12:39 AM | PERMALINK

One interesting point was how the rich successful CEO’s in the article said it wasn’t the money; they were driven to do it anyway. Then they turn around and say if taxes were higher they probably wouldn’t have done it after all. I suspect they were right the first time. The CEO’s of Intel, Hewlett-Packard and IBM all were driven to build major corporations back in the time of high taxes. I suspect the problem today is that CEO’s view dollars as the way to keep score. If we passed a law that all salaries over $300,000 had to be paid in doughnuts, they could still take pride in having more doughnuts than other CEO’s without taking so much money from the stockholders.

Posted by: fafner1 on July 16, 2007 at 1:35 AM | PERMALINK


And even if Apple had encouraged outside developers, its very unlikely that it would have made a major dent in Microsoft's monopoly.

Going off topic, but part of it is also understanding the market, knowing your competitors, and defending your 'turf.' Gary Kildall had the dominant 'home' OS in the 70s, but failed to recognize that he needed to partner with *the* dominant business computer company at the time - IBM. In hindsight it's obvious, but it was also obvious at the time. And msft had as much to do with keeping their monopoly as Apple was to let them.. when PC clones came along (remember that term?), MSFT quickly licensed their OS to make sure their product was available on as many machines as possible. And when things went sour with IBM, MSFT still won out over IBM's OS/2. I hate to be defending msft b/c I started out as an Apple 2 user, but I think to dismiss MSFT as just a parasite doesn't tell the full story - they were quick to incorporate useful features to keep their product current. For instance, Apple didn't get true multi-threaded support until OS 8.

Posted by: Andy on July 16, 2007 at 3:50 AM | PERMALINK

"To be successful," Mr. Frankfort said, "you now needed vision, lateral thinking, courage and an ability to see things, not the way they were but how they might be."

I think this is partially correct, and let me elaborate. As a successful investor and investment banker, I am America. I am the embodiment of why this country is the greatest in the world. I am woven into the fabric of an investor class that makes money and makes a difference. It is not greed for greed's sake: it is the accumulation of wealth in a manner unrivaled in American history. The greatness of me equates to the betterment of America.

One thing missing from the comment is the need for a killer instinct. A successful businessman needs to be all of the things listed--a visionary, a courageous invidividual, a deep thinker--yes, I am guilty of having those attributes. But one must also possess the "eye of the tiger," which translates into an ability to see the herd and know which beast is weak and which beast is nursing a sore hoof and which beast can be separated from the others and brough down more easily. I am a father tiger, and I have trained many cubs to take a long look through the blades of grass at the herd, and I have taught them to cull the beasts and slaughter the weak.

Ask yourself this question--if the herd overpopulates and overgrazes, what then? Liberalism is the ideology of the people who think the herd show grow fat and lazy and self-indulgent. Conservatism is the lean and mean predator that keeps the herd on its toes. Why is there not more respect and admiration given to people like myself? I don't need a TV show or an awards ceremony, but how about some respect for what me and my tiger cubs have been doing?

Posted by: Norman Rogers on July 16, 2007 at 8:26 AM | PERMALINK

This is a letter I sent to nytimes.com on July 15:

Sunday's story "The Richest of the Rich, Proud of a New Gilded Age" describes an attitude that philanthropic largesse is equivalent to good governance. While a new Carnegie, such as Bill Gates, may give away billions for the betterment of humanity, I do not wish to depend on the goodwill of a few powerful tycoons. Just as our country was founded on the principle that a nation run by its own citizens is better than generations of great kings, institutional and structural justice and equality are better than a thousand Carnegies. Will all of the libraries and endowments of a rich man's legacy wash the stain of blood from the Homestead strike and its aftermath? Can we depend on the likes of Paris Hilton to be generous and merciful to her more ordinary neighbors? “Gilded” indeed! What looks like fine gold is nothing but thin gold leaf over wood.

Posted by: Daniel Kim on July 16, 2007 at 8:50 AM | PERMALINK

Distilled water and pure grain alcohol only, Norman. Preserve your essence.

Posted by: Will Allen on July 16, 2007 at 9:39 AM | PERMALINK

So no defense of your "writ[ing] in detail about those golden days?" Slick Willy? Or do you think a single episode of monstrously bad judgment warrants dismissal of an entire institution?

Posted by: noel on July 16, 2007 at 11:12 AM | PERMALINK
....lemme know when the nyt wins a Pulitzer for denying a lot of Iraqis have died....Will Allen at 7:50 PM
Let us know when you grow up enough to know that what some dead guys did over 60 years ago is less important than what the current management is doing. The endless whining about past politics is amusing in the extreme, but it shows what a complete lack of understanding rightists have of the current corporatist media in the US, the corporatist media that has let the country down because it refused to examine the Bush Administration's lies for war, the Bush administration's lies about its abuse of power, and even that abuse of power itself.
.... Liberalism is the ideology of the people....Norman Rogers at 8:26 AM
Republicanism is for those that would veto medial coverage for children and provide large subsidies for the wealthiest while claiming that they are the Christians of America. The motto for the Republican Party should be: Let us prey. Posted by: Mike on July 16, 2007 at 11:25 AM | PERMALINK

Such a terrible waste of time for a man who calls himself intelligent. Some men have a talent for writing blogs, others for driving very fast cars, still others for whining a lot. Some men make good lawyers; others, not overly endowed with theoretical intelligence open small businesses and support themselves and their families. Posted by mhr

And you have a talent for stupidity and mendacity.

Posted by: DJ on July 16, 2007 at 12:56 PM | PERMALINK

UGH. What is "lateral thinking"? I hate that utterly meaningless corporate speak that gets inserted into PowerPoint slideshows at every opportunity. (And, is it just me, or is it increasingly prevalent in government writing?) In my time working in a variety of different disciplines in corporate America, I have only rarely encountered senior executives who actually played a meaningful, constructive role in shaping and developing the company. Mostly they just go to meetings, but it's unclear to me that they did anything other than nod. I suppose when it comes down to it, the ultimate "yea" or "nay" in the decision process is theirs, but you look at the golden parachutes these guys have -- remember Robert Nardelli of HomeDepot, who was paid $210 million to leave? It hardly matters whether they actually do anything. The "vision" aspect, or talent, almost always comes from lower levels within the company, and the work? A lot of CEOs wouldn't be able to find their shoes if they didn't have an administrative assistant managing every last aspect of their lives for them. For some reason that apparently entitles them to make upwards of 400 times the assistants' salary.

Oh, and they're cheapskates. I once saw an expense report for a senior executive making well over $1 million who wanted reimbursement for a bag of chips and a soda from Penn Station. Sheesh.

Posted by: Andy on July 16, 2007 at 1:58 PM | PERMALINK

Why is there not more respect and admiration given to people like myself? I don't need a TV show or an awards ceremony, but how about some respect for what me and my tiger cubs have been doing? Posted by: Norman Rogers

Because you're a delusional gasbag.

Posted by: DJ on July 16, 2007 at 2:01 PM | PERMALINK

"one is to work at amassing money"

Who said Ayn Rand was dead?

Posted by: J Smith on July 16, 2007 at 2:03 PM | PERMALINK

Mike, you illiterate dunce, it was not I who raised the matter of decades past. I merely responded to someone who did, in a dishonest fashion. Why you would think it notable that someone would put forth an accurate account of the historical record, especially when it concerns literally dozens of millions of murdered souls, is puzzling, but the functioning of your brain is always puzzling.

Posted by: Will Allen on July 16, 2007 at 2:03 PM | PERMALINK

mhr sez "one is to work at amassing money"

Who said Ayn Rand was dead?

Posted by: J Smith on July 16, 2007 at 2:04 PM | PERMALINK

Slick Willy, you still haven't explained why your "accurate account" is nothing more than a single attack? Wouldn't an "accurate account" require that you list both the sins and the selfless acts? Or, as I've already asked you, does a single monstrous act damn an institution forever?

Posted by: noel on July 16, 2007 at 2:19 PM | PERMALINK

My personal favorite compensation story:

$435MM Bonus for Ford Motor Co execs after $12BN LOSS

Posted by: bcinaz on July 16, 2007 at 2:25 PM | PERMALINK
....it was not I who raised the matter of decades past.... Will Allen at 2:03 PM
Yeah, really, the NYT sure was a much better paper in the old days, like when it won Pulitzers for covering up Stalin's mass murders. If it only could return to the halcyon days of yore! Will Allen at 7:01 PM ..... lemme know when the nyt wins a Pulitzer for denying a lot of Iraqis have died, and, really, what's thirty MILLION dead if there is an omlette to be made, right? Look, I didn't raise the subject of the supposed superiority of the paper in days gone by. That was somebody else. I guess it was bad form on my part to write in detail about those golden days, huh? Will Allen at 7:50 PM

This is the Glen Reynolds phenomenon in action: echo someone and then, when the position becomes untenable, try to shift responsibility. This is neither the first time nor will it be the last for Wee Willy.

Posted by: Mike on July 16, 2007 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

Mike, you lack-wit, my post was in response to a poster who claimed that the NYT was a much better publication in years past. I thus pointed out that it in those years past, when the NYT supposedly was a better publication, that it covered up Stalin murdering millions. I wasn't "echoing" anyone, unless you consider sarcasm to be echoing. Sheesh, you are an idiot.

Yeah, noel, I'd say deliberately covering up the murder of millions of people, accepting a Pulitzer for the cover-up, and then, decades later, after the cover up is fully exposed, continuing to list the Pulitzer as an achievement the institution is proud of, pretty much damns an institution forever. I don't see the U.S. Army listing My Lai or Wounded Knee as proud accomplishments.

Posted by: Will Allen on July 16, 2007 at 3:03 PM | PERMALINK

So, your voting for George W. Bush after his unprovoked assault on the Iraq people? How does that fit into your taxonomy? Doesn't your full throated support of an illegal invasion that has killed hundreds of thousands and displaced millions put you in the same category? Or did I miss the post where you said that you were wrong in voting for the candidate whose foreign policy team was less qualified than could have been expected from a Dukakis Presidency? The fact is you are simply trying to attack the NYT because of something that happened six decades ago - and you only picked that because it confirms your tribal bias.

Oh, and by Dukakis, I mean Olympia.

Posted by: noel on July 16, 2007 at 4:01 PM | PERMALINK

noel, stop lying about unprovoked assaults. When a nation provides safe harbor to a terrorist who attempts slaughter thousands of Americans, that's a provocation. When cease fire agreements are not adhered to, that's a provocation, one that often results in the resumption of firing. Now the resulting invasion can be smart, dumb, or it's wisdom to be determined at a future date, but it is simply stupid and dishonest to call it unprovoked.

I'm not attacking the NYT for soemthing that happened six decades ago. I'm describing the behavior of the New York Times in an era that another poster asserted as a period in which the NYT produced a superior product, and noting that it is an act that the Times described in the current era as a meritorious accomplishment. Why does an accurate recital of facts enrage you so?

Posted by: Will Allen on July 16, 2007 at 4:19 PM | PERMALINK
.... my post was in response to a poster who claimed that the NYT was a much better publication in years past.....Will Allen at 3:03 PM
Wee Willie, your said what you said. In years past, the Post and the Times, albeit reluctantly, published articles that brought down the corrupt Nixon regime. In more recent time, they were shills for Bush's war. Your were whining about a 60-year old incident that is meaningless because it's not relevant to today. Quit trying to deny what you claimed.

Stop lying that Iraq 'provoked' Bush's attack. The Iraq people did nothing to provoke this illegal war. Saddam was not hiding bin Laden, Afghanistan and Pakistan are. Saddam was not violating the cease fire, the US and Britain were with the illegal no-fly zones.


Posted by: Mike on July 16, 2007 at 4:32 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, Mike, you moron, Saddam was hiding one of the people who was involved in the first WTC attack.

Finally, a person who concludes that 10 million murdered is now "meaningless" or "irrelevant", because it happend in the 1930s, isn't fit for civil society, especially when an institution still says that it's participation in the cover up of the millions being murdered was a meritorious achievement. Please crawl back under your rock. Yeah, right, it all meaningless and irrelevant.

Posted by: Will Allen on July 16, 2007 at 4:47 PM | PERMALINK

Slick Willy, your full throated defense of the unprovoked assault on the Iraqi people is as laughable as your usual re-writing of history. Provide evidence for your assertions. So far all you've done is bluster and make an unsubstantiated claim.

Posted by: noel on July 16, 2007 at 5:38 PM | PERMALINK
Yes, Mike, you moron, Saddam was hiding one of the people who was involved in the first WTC attack....Will Allen at 4:47 PM
Thank for the name-calling, it shows how immature and silly you are. The fact is that there was no link between Saddam and al Qaeda. Trying to claim that Saddam was hiding Ramzi Yousef or someone else is unproven and as silly as claiming that Germany or the US were hiding the 9-11 bombers. It is not a causi belli.

Yes, your bellyaching and crying about some Pulitzer Prize of 70 years ago to Walter Duranty is meaningless today. It's of historical interest, but Walter Duranty died in 1957, the paper has different editors and publisher, and the slant of the paper's editorials are different to the point that until recently, they backed Bush. Your claim that I said the deaths of millions is a straw man argument. It is clear that you were whining about the paper, not the victims of Stalin's collectivization.

Noel, he cannot because he doesn't know what he's talking about. It's all bully and bluster with him.

Posted by: Mike on July 16, 2007 at 5:56 PM | PERMALINK

You idiots, go research Abdul Rahman Yasin. Mike I never said Saddam was linked to Al Queda. I said he gave safe harbor to one of the 1993 attackers, and that such an act is a provocation. Yes, I know you'll likely repond by saying that Yasin's lawyers defended him and that Tariq Aziz claims that Saddam offered to turn over Yasin to the U.S. with the only preconditon being that the U.S. sign a receipt. Yeah, sure, whatever you say.

Look, Mike if you think name-calling is immature and silly, then why do you do it? Also I'm not the one who said that covering up ten million murdered was an incident without relevance to evaluating the past of the NYT, no matter that the NYT still celebrates it's winning the Pulitzer Prize for the cover up. That was you.

Posted by: Will Allen on July 16, 2007 at 6:15 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, noel, I'd say deliberately covering up the murder of millions of people, accepting a Pulitzer for the cover-up, and then, decades later, after the cover up is fully exposed, continuing to list the Pulitzer as an achievement the institution is proud of, pretty much damns an institution forever. I don't see the U.S. Army listing My Lai or Wounded Knee as proud accomplishments.

I do, however, see them listing the Indian campaigns in general, the Vietnam War, and the unjustified and illegal attack on Iraq as proud accomplishments.

And I did see the US Army (and/or the Marine Corps) try to cover up and deny that massacres of unarmed civilians such as My Lai, No Gun Ri, and Haditha took place until the story got out and the cover-up became untenable.

Posted by: Stefan on July 16, 2007 at 6:37 PM | PERMALINK

I said he gave safe harbor to one of the 1993 attackers, and that such an act is a provocation.

Hey, we give safe harbor to the terrorist and mass murderer Luis Posada Carriles. Is that a provocation?

Yeah, noel, I'd say deliberately covering up the murder of millions of people, accepting a Pulitzer for the cover-up, and then, decades later, after the cover up is fully exposed, continuing to list the Pulitzer as an achievement the institution is proud of, pretty much damns an institution forever.

What about deliberately invading Iraq for no reason and causing hundreds of thousands of deaths and millions of casualties while claiming the unprovoked aggression as a proud achievement? Does that damn the United States forever?

Posted by: Stefan on July 16, 2007 at 6:40 PM | PERMALINK

Stefan, an untenable cover-up is no impediment to the New York Times. Lemme know when the U.S. Army still celebrates the commendation awarded Lt. Calley for the My Lai massacre.

Posted by: Will Allen on July 16, 2007 at 6:42 PM | PERMALINK

Yep, it sure is Stefan, which is why it shouldn't have been done. Glad to clear that up for you. As to the "no reason" and "unprovoked" rhetoric, as I noted above, that is simply a lie.

Posted by: Will Allen on July 16, 2007 at 6:46 PM | PERMALINK
... go research Abdul Rahman Yasin....Will Allen on July 16, 2007 at 6:15 PM
Why don't you look up Abdul Rahman Yasin.

...Al-Qaeda bomber Ramzi Yousef is said to be recruited by the CIA, though details are not known. Author Richard Labeviere reported without elaboration in a 1999 book, “A classified FBI file indicates that [Yousef] was recruited by the local branch of the CIA.” [Labeviere, 1999, pp. 220-221] In 1995, Newsday will report, “FBI officials also are considering a probe of whether the CIA had any relationship with Yousef, who fought with the CIA-financed mujaheddin in Afghanistan in the 1980s.” [Newsday, 4/16/1995] But there appears to be no further reporting on whether such a probe was conducted. Yousef is believed to have masterminded a series of bombings in the early 1990s, including the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and the planned Bojinka attack, before being captured in 1995 (see February 7, 1995). If Yousef was recruited by the CIA, it may have been in the late 1980s when the CIA recruited and trained thousands of people around the world to fight in Afghanistan (see 1986-1992). In the late 1980s, Yousef was studying engineering at a Wales college, but he’d also joined the Muslim Brotherhood while there. During a break from school in 1988, he went to one of bin Laden’s training camps in Afghanistan and spent several months honing his bomb-making skills...

You are reduced to repeating the same old canards and not making any case for your assertions.
If Bush can't go into Pakistan for bin Laden, Yasin is certainly not a sufficient and necessary reason to have attacked Iraq. If Bush couldn't be bothered to go after the Cole bombers , there was no reason to attack Iraq because of the presence of some individual supposedly involved in the '93 bombing.

...According to Dr. Rice, the decision not to respond militarily to the Cole bombing was President Bush's. She said he "made clear to us that he did not want to respond to al Qaeda one attack at a time. He told me he was 'tired of swatting flies.'" The administration instead began work on a new strategy to eliminate al-Qaeda....

.... Lemme know when the U.S. Army still celebrates the commendation awarded Lt. Calley for the My Lai massacre..... Will Allen at 6:42 PM

Yet another really silly red-herring. You are acting like a fish on land, flipping and flopping in desperation.

Posted by: Mike on July 16, 2007 at 7:36 PM | PERMALINK

Uh, Mike, the link you provide, even if accepted at face value, it has nothing to do with Yasin. Look, I understand that you think it is no big deal that the NYT still celebrates it's winning a Pulitzer for covering up Stalin's murder of ten million. That's why you need to crawl back under a rock.

Posted by: Will Allen on July 16, 2007 at 7:45 PM | PERMALINK
.....That was you. Will Allenat 6:15 PM
No, in fact, it was not. You started yakking about Walter Duranty and his Pulitzer from 70 years ago.

"Also I'm not the one who said that covering up ten million murdered was an incident without relevance to evaluating the past of the NYT,"

No, you said that it was relevant to the current New York Times. Take responsibility for what you say, no matter how inane and silly.

.... the link you provide.... it has nothing to do with Yasin.... you need to crawl back under a rock. Will Allen at 7:45 PM

If you read anything, you would know this individual has numerous aliases and that is one. Duranty is another red herring of yours. You can yammer about him all you want. It exemplifies how incapable you are of cogent argument.

Posted by: Mike on July 16, 2007 at 7:58 PM | PERMALINK

Uh, Mike please, please, please read the thread. A poster explicitly compared the current times to years past. The cover up for Stalin happened in years past, thus making my response relevant to that poster's contention. You then claimed that covering up for Stalin was not relevant when comapring the current times to years past, despite the fact that the current times still celebrates the fact that it won a Pulitizer for covering up for Stalin. What is wrong with your brain?

Yousef and Yasin are not the same person.

Posted by: Will Allen on July 16, 2007 at 8:06 PM | PERMALINK

Can Mike and Will please go outside and settle this?

A lot of these guys (and they're all guys, aren't they) were born on third base and think they've hit a triple. Many of the rest lobbied to have the tax code and banking regulations changed so that a single is scored as a triple.

And they're so out of touch with the rest of us they don't know that lots of people in this world work very hard, a lot harder than they do. And a lot of people are smart, too. But, now that we have a winner-take-all economic system, only a few get to convince themselves they're smarter and harder-working than everyone else.

Posted by: jrw on July 16, 2007 at 8:16 PM | PERMALINK

Slick Willy is now trying to suggest that giving safe harbor to a terrorist is "provocation." This is, of course, false. Provocation in the sense of "valid reason to start a war" requires acts commensurate with "Acts of War." That Slick Willy thinks any ordinary "provocation" is sufficient cause to start a war is simply evidence of his unfitness to be heard in debates on foreign policy.

Now once again, Willy, please provide evidence of provocation. Please limit your responses to acts that would be construed as "Acts of War" by a rational person.

Posted by: noel on July 16, 2007 at 8:50 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, Noel, I think aiding those who attempt to slaughter thousands of Americans is a provocation. Feel free to argue that it is non-provacative to aid those who attempt to slaughter thousands of Americans.

jrw, I did not intend to go off on this tangent, but merely commented briefly in response to someone who had asserted that the NYT had declined in performance, compared to years past. Given what occurred in years past, I thought it warranted a brief mention. Noel, and to a lesser extent, Mike, think that every thread is about Iraq. I will note that Carly Fiorina of Hewlett Packard fame has made a ton of money for nonperformance, and is, last time I checked, female. There is no doubt that compensation boards are quite frequently serving other interests than the shareholders'.

Posted by: Will Allen on July 16, 2007 at 9:26 PM | PERMALINK

well, i couldn't get through all the comments, but recently read some relavent articles in foreign affairs and walrus.

seems the problem with capitalism isn't the capitalists, but the inevitable(?) massive heaps of maoney some of these people hold onto. i believe being a capitalist means you use capital to invest in something new or reinvest in your existing company. when you hold onto to capital that came to you as profits, you are profiteering. when you hold onto capital your entrepreneurial great-grandfather made back in the gilded age, i'd say you're lucky and greedy.

late capitalism was predicted to involve a small minority holding onto a vast majority of wealth, the establishment of corporatism and the eventual rise of world government. it seems those with the money (no matter how they came about it) feel they know best what society needs and should look like. philanthropy, however, will not correct for the ever widening gap between rich and poor, and will never make large groups of poor people content: it is no cure for disparity.

how about large investments in our infrastrucure (not the NAFTA superhighway)? how about coming to terms with decadence? how about a raise?

Posted by: qfmliii on July 16, 2007 at 9:30 PM | PERMALINK

Slick Willy has now defined "Act of War" down to giving shelter to someone who failed to kill thousands of people. As has been pointed out, George W. Bush still hasn't invaded Pakistan. In other words, even he doesn't believe you Will. Too bad you voted for him twice.

For those wondering, Slick Willy's inability to understand the difference between the past and the present (he chose to pretend the NYT was making a 60 year old Pulitzer the centerpiece of its journalistic reputation in order to regale us with another idiotic anti-communist talking point. He further claimed that this talking point represented a detailed exegesis on NYT journalism). His constant carping on past sins demands that his culpability in the unprovoked war of aggression against the Iraqi people - a slaughter he still defends as if there were some provocation. In other words, his support for the wonton slaughter of Iraqi people belies his concern for human life that he pretends in his posts attacking anything he sees as liberal.

Posted by: noel on July 16, 2007 at 9:53 PM | PERMALINK

Noel, please show me where I wrote the words "Act of War". Furthermore, please don't tell me you are so stupid as to argue that if an act provokes a war, every similar act must provoke it as well.

I see you cannot read any better than Mike, and thus fail to grasp that it was another poster who wished to compare the NYT of the past to the NYT of today, and I merely offered up an example of what the NYT of the past was like. This factual account offended noel, because facts which don't comport with noel's worldview are deemed offensive by noel.

Or noel simply lies, as in this case where noel dishonestly claims that I stated that the NYT makes covering for Stalin the centerpiece of their journalistic reputation. I didn't do any such thing; noel just made that up, as is typical. I stated that the NYT still counts winning a Pulitizer for covering up Stalin's murder of 10 million as a major accomplishment. This happens to be true, and there is nothing that provokes anger in noel as much as the truth.

Posted by: Will Allen on July 16, 2007 at 10:07 PM | PERMALINK

Slick, you claimed that the assault on the Iraqi people was not "unprovoked." Provocation cannot simply mean "something that Slick Willy doesn't like." Provoking a war requires an actual "Act of War." I've already explained this to you once - are you really so stupid as to think that every provocative act is sufficient to go to war? No wonder you voted twice for the least competent national security team in decades.

As to your attempting to limit your words you said "I guess it was bad form on my part to write in detail about those golden days, huh?" Since your "in detail" only resulted in a single instance, the only correct inference is that this must be the centerpiece of the NYT's journalism awards. A detailed discussion would have required much more. But then you've described it both as being detailed and as "a passing reference." I guess the truth for Slick Willy depends on what nonsense he's trying to defend at a given moment.

You have simply referenced a 60 year old controversy simply because it fits in with your typical tribal idiocies.

It is monumentally stupid to insist that they pretend they didn't get an award just because Slick Willy doesn't like it.

Posted by: noel on July 16, 2007 at 10:26 PM | PERMALINK

Oddly, Slick Willy's argument is now that sheltering someone who failed in an attempt to murder thousands of Americans is sufficient provocation to go to war (henceforth the shorter and more correct "Act of War") but that harboring someone who successfully planned the murder of thousands of Americans is not an "Act of War."

The only visible justification for such a bizarre and untenable juxtaposition is that he voted for the architect of this idiocy and must defend his tribe no matter how logically inconsistent.

Posted by: noel on July 16, 2007 at 10:33 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, noel. I suspect you explain many things to yourself. That those explanations don't comport with a dictionary is fairly typical, just as it is the case that, to noel, "detail" and "instance" (how many instances, btw, of deliberately covering up for the murder of 10 million does it take to tarnish a reputation in the void that exists between your ears? Three or four? Sheesh, talk about low expectations!) somehow become synonymous with "centerpiece".
Whatever you say, noel.

Listen, you have made it quite clear that under the rock that you live, deliberately covering up the murder of ten million is of little consequence when it occurred in the 1930s, so it isn't surprising that it would never occur to you that a publication with a shred of decency would put a footnote to be read with their listing of that Pulitizer, to note that it was awarded for work which deliberately lied about one of the greatest crimes of the 20th century. I know, as Duranty echoed Lenin, what's a few broken eggs when there are omelettes to be made, right?

Finally, I'll simply note that I made no representations as to what constitutes an Act of War, nor what was required in response to various provocations. Is you reading yet, noel?

Posted by: Will Allen on July 16, 2007 at 10:54 PM | PERMALINK

So Willy, you really think that you've demonstrated anything other than your partisanship? Your misrepresentation of my stance on the NYT is typical of your ability to lie both about what you said and about what I said in order to pretend you have made some significant point.

Did you say you had spoken "in detail?" Did you also say that you had made the point "in passing?" Only in the simple mind of Slick Willy, willing to redefine terms at will, does this constitute consistency.

It's odd that our resident apologist for the slaughter in Iraq has no compunction against inferring things from other people's writings - even remarkably silly things as demonstrated in his most recent post, but then demands that only a word for word quote be used when discussing his arguments. The syllogism is unknown to him (except when he leaps to untoward conclusions).

Here is is Slick: Willy claims Iraq provoked a war with the United States. The only evidence Willy has provided is that they harbored a wannabe terrorist from a decade before the war on the Iraqi people. That shelter therefore must be sufficient cause to invade and therefore constitutes provocation. By international agreement wars may only be entered into to stop an ongoing genocide (not claimed by Slick Willy), to defend another nation under attack (also not claimed), or owing to an Act of War against the invading nation (the only argument left to Slick Willy).

So, do you have another category Slick? Perhaps "because I define harboring someone who failed to kill thousands people as a sufficient reason?" Because you have asserted that the harboring of a failed terrorist plot is sufficient "provocation" - no matter how you try to back out of it now.

Your defense of the rationale of the Iraq war demonstrates clearly why you were so stupid as to vote for someone as clearly incompetent as Bush - twice.

Someone whose ability to discern the difference between Bush and his far more competent opponents clearly has no business complaining about the reasoning skills of others.

Posted by: noel on July 16, 2007 at 11:15 PM | PERMALINK

Here, ultimately, is the difference Slick. The NYT may have won an award for bad reporting six decades ago, but it is a human institution and is likely to have some lapses of judgment (c.f. FDR's concentration camps). Listing the prize is more honest than not listing it. But it was six decades ago.

The unprovoked slaughter of Iraqi people is a tragedy unfolding right now, which owes its genesis to people like you - too naive about foreign policy to understand when you are voting for people who are total incompetents. Your posts here indicate that you are still stuck fighting the Cold War and don't have any idea what's going on now. The votes of foreign policy naifs like you have killed as many as several hundred thousand Iraqis. That you feel no shame about it says all we need to know about you.

Posted by: noel on July 16, 2007 at 11:28 PM | PERMALINK

Noel, if you are so illiterate to fail to grasp that a detailed point can be made in passing, well, it is no wonder that you don't understand the meaning of the word "provocation". I'll also also note that I never wrote the word "sufficient". Geez, would you at least pretend to have read the thread?

Posted by: Will Allen on July 16, 2007 at 11:32 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, noel, I can understand quite well that by avoiding the option of listing the award, with a forthright statement as to what monstrous act was encompassed in winning the award, you avoid the issue, and really, what's ten million murdered if it happened a while ago, right? Gosh, by your reasoning, and even accepting your description of events in Iraq, one of Bush's missteps was not effectively limiting media coverage to those who would cover up what was occurring completely. If he had, after all, some idiot noel of the future would eventually be able to say that the deliberate cover up was a "misjudgement" and "but it happened six decades ago". Thanks for clearing that up.

Posted by: Will Allen on July 16, 2007 at 11:42 PM | PERMALINK

Willy, you said "write in detail about...." There is no spinning your words. Point noel. Sorry Slick.

As to your, once again, putting words in my mouth - stop lying about what I said [as if that were possible]. Unlike you I have made no representation about the NYT. I have merely pointed out that you have incredibly poor judgment. Given your track record of ineptitude and dishonesty one would have to consult a reliable source before accepting a comment from you suggesting that the sky was blue.

The only one avoiding the point here is you. You supported the murder of Iraqis. That gives you no credibility on human rights. Unlike the NYT, you were an active instrument of death in Iraq. Unlike the NYT, you voted for the architect of the slaughter of Iraqis. And your sins aren't decades old. They are your most current output at the voting booth.

Which is why Iraq matters in this thread.

Posted by: noel on July 17, 2007 at 12:25 AM | PERMALINK

Yes, you dunce, when someone makes an assertion that the NYT was better in the past, to point out how one of their Pulitzers was won in the past is to write in detail about the past. You cannot possibly be this stupid, can you? Apparently, you can, because you also are damned stupid to grasp that to deliberately cover up of ten million murders, while they are happening, does make one an active instrument in the acts of murder. Say, you numbskull, do ya' suppose that if one were to deliberately park one's car so as to conceal a mugging taking place on a sidewalk, law enforcement may take issue with that act? Good gravy, every time I don't think it is possible for you to get any more stupid, you prove me wrong! Like when you fail to grasp that characterizing the deliberate cover up of ten million murders as a mere "lapse in judgement" is to make a representation regarding the NYT. Not only are you unable to describe what others have written, you can't even describe what you have written! My goodness, to call you an imbecile is an insult to imbecility! How do you manage to feed yourself?

Posted by: Will Allen on July 17, 2007 at 12:50 AM | PERMALINK

So Will, no defense of your current lapses in judgment? All your ranting aside, how do you live with yourself knowing that, in the face of overwhelming evidence that George W. Bush was incompetent, you voted for him? How do you live with yourself knowing that, after voting for the single least competent candidate presented by a major party in the past six decades, he started an unprovoked war and then you voted for him again?

All this ranting about events that took place decades ago doesn't demonstrate that you take human life seriously. Your active votes, the fact that you chose, out of all the available candidates, to put down as your vote George W. Bush, demonstrates that quite clearly. You have no credibility to attack anyone for being callous to human life, nor for being stupid.

Posted by: noel on July 17, 2007 at 1:08 AM | PERMALINK

Apparently, you can, because you also are damned stupid to grasp that to deliberately cover up of ten million murders, while they are happening, does make one an active instrument in the acts of murder.

What about deliberately voting for someone responsible for hundreds of thousands of murders while they are happening, as, to pick a random example, someone who voted for Bush after his attack on Iraq? Does that make one an active instrument in the acts of murder?

Posted by: Stefan on July 17, 2007 at 1:17 AM | PERMALINK

Noel, all I did was point out how the NYT won one of their Pulitzers in the past, a past which was asserted to have been a period when the NYT was a superior product, compared to today, and a Pulitzer which the NYT still notes as an accomplishment to this day, despite how it was won. In response to these simple remarks pertaining to the historical record, you have made one excruciatingly idiotic remark after another, as if idiocy was an infinite resource springing forth from your so-called mind. If I'm ranting, it is only because the incredible degree of pain involved in being exposed to your intellect. My, my, my, I hardly would have thought it possible, if I had not witnessed it.

Posted by: Will Allen on July 17, 2007 at 1:23 AM | PERMALINK

Lemme know when the U.S. Army still celebrates the commendation awarded Lt. Calley for the My Lai massacre.

Lemme know when the New York Times actively "celebrates" the Pulitzer in question rather than merely commemorating the historical fact of its being awarded.

And, as long as we're on the subject of the U.S. Army celebrating genocidal killers, would the practice of naming forts, weapons systems, etc. in honor of these killers count as "celebrating"? What about, for example, Fort Carson, CO, home to the 5th Armored Brigage and the 10th Special Forces Group, and named after noted Navajo killer Kit Carson?

Posted by: Stefan on July 17, 2007 at 1:25 AM | PERMALINK

Only if voting for the other guy makes one responsible for the likely greater number of deaths his election would have resulted in, Stefan.

Posted by: Will Allen on July 17, 2007 at 1:28 AM | PERMALINK

Lemme know when the U.S. Army still celebrates the commendation awarded Lt. Calley for the My Lai massacre.

What about the Sheridan M551 light tank, named by the Army to celebrate a soldier who deliberately used tactics of mass starvation against Indian civilian populations in the genocidal campaign to steal their land?

Posted by: Stefan on July 17, 2007 at 1:31 AM | PERMALINK

Yes, yes, Stefan they are merely "commemorating" being awarded the prize, which is why they, golly, just somehow fail to note that the reporting which resulted in the prize was an utter fraud, in deliberate service to the 20th century's greatest mass murderer.

Hey, if you want to remove names of genocidal killers from Forts and weapon systems, that sounds like a good idea to me. I didn't know that Kit Carson was on par with Josef Stalin, though I'm far from well-versed on the topic.

Posted by: Will Allen on July 17, 2007 at 1:36 AM | PERMALINK

Lemme know when the U.S. Army still celebrates the commendation awarded Lt. Calley for the My Lai massacre.

What about the 85th Infantry Division, nicknamed the "Custer Division" in honor of George Armstrong Custer? Does that count as the US military celebrating Custer's part in the genocide of the Indians?

Posted by: Stefan on July 17, 2007 at 1:38 AM | PERMALINK

Yep, I think it's really a bad idea to honor the likes of George Custer. Don't you?

Posted by: Will Allen on July 17, 2007 at 1:40 AM | PERMALINK

Only if voting for the other guy makes one responsible for the likely greater number of deaths his election would have resulted in, Stefan.

Well that's an odd morality-- one is not responsible for deliberately voting for an actual killer to continue his killing because voting for the man who is not a killer may possibly and purely hypothetically result in a greater number of deaths?

So therefore, to answer your earlier question, and going by your standards, then deliberately covering up of ten million murders, while they are happening, makes one an active instrument in the acts of murder only to the extent that not covering them up would have resulted in the likely greater number of deaths that not covering them up would have resulted in.....

Posted by: Stefan on July 17, 2007 at 1:47 AM | PERMALINK

I realize that being exposed to an intellect that requires you to support your statements, calls you to task for your many and awful misjudgments, and that fails to bow down before your convoluted and nonsensical rantings must be painful for someone like you who doesn't understand foreign policy, has an obsession with events three and more decades past, and whose drink addled brain isn't up to deft logic and precise wording.

You will live.

Unfortunately, you won't learn.

Soon you will be back spouting off as if your opinion mattered. Saying stupid things about how the Iraq war was justified, claiming that events done by people no longer living at places that have made considerable changes are more important than the actions taken recently by individuals such as yourself. And once again I will be amused to remind you just how stupid and unimportant you are.

In fact, you will likely come back tonight to get the last word. You will lie about your posts, you will lie about my posts, and you will go to bed imaging that you have demonstrated something other than your dishonesty. Nothing can prevent that.

Posted by: noel on July 17, 2007 at 1:47 AM | PERMALINK

Yep, I think it's really a bad idea to honor the likes of George Custer. Don't you?

Yep. And don't you therefore think the fact that an organization like the U.S. Army that deliberately participates in the murder of hundreds of thousands of people, accepting and doling out awards for the genocide, and then, decades later, after the genocide is fully acknowledged, continues to honor the names of the soldiers who organized and took part in the genocide as people it is proud of, pretty much damns that institution forever?

Yeah, noel, I'd say deliberately covering up the murder of millions of people, accepting a Pulitzer for the cover-up, and then, decades later, after the cover up is fully exposed, continuing to list the Pulitzer as an achievement the institution is proud of, pretty much damns an institution forever. I don't see the U.S. Army listing My Lai or Wounded Knee as proud accomplishments.

Posted by: Stefan on July 17, 2007 at 1:53 AM | PERMALINK

Slick, are you claiming that voting for Gore would have resulted in more deaths? Or are you claiming that voting for Kerry would have resulted in more deaths? Those are the only two options given your statement.

Every time I think you've hit rock bottom you sink lower. Provide evidence that what you claim is true. You can't even demonstrate that it is plausible.

Posted by: noel on July 17, 2007 at 1:53 AM | PERMALINK

Noel, you have asserted that I have written words I did not write and you have denied writing words that you did write, and you still cannot grasp, even now, that I only identified a past episode in the history of the NYT because another poster referenced that history in a disingenuous or ignorant fashion. I used to think you were dishonest, sinply because I wasn't bright enough, until now, to understand that you are the first person I've ever encountered who would lose a battle of wits with a mollusk.

Posted by: Will Allen on July 17, 2007 at 1:56 AM | PERMALINK

Only if voting for the other guy makes one responsible for the likely greater number of deaths his election would have resulted in, Stefan.

So that's a yes, then, to the question of whether deliberately voting for someone responsible for hundreds of thousands of murders while they are actually happening, as, to pick a random example, someone who voted for Bush after his attack on Iraq, makes one an active instrument in the acts of murder.

Posted by: Stefan on July 17, 2007 at 2:00 AM | PERMALINK

Yep, I would, which is why I'm not in the business of defending or minimizing the inexcusable acts of the U.S. Army. I only referenced Calley becaue you raised My Lai, which was an inapt anlaogy, given that the Army does not commemorate Calley's service.

Why are you in the business of defending or minimizing the inexcusable acts of the New York Times?

Posted by: Will Allen on July 17, 2007 at 2:02 AM | PERMALINK

Yep, Stefan to vote for a politician is to vote for murder, and be an active agent of murder, because the state is merely an instrument of violence, a sadly unavoidable one. The only choice is which hand at the murderous rudder is to be preferred.

Posted by: Will Allen on July 17, 2007 at 2:06 AM | PERMALINK

And you preferred the one who had already demonstrated his willingness to use the state to commit mass murder in Iraq.

As to the rest, you flatter yourself when you compare yourself to a mollusk and show serious signs of dementia thinking that by defending your vote for the architect of the Iraq war, by making easily disproved claims about the provocation of said war, and generally misrepresenting both your posts and the posts of others, that you've won something.

Posted by: noel on July 17, 2007 at 2:28 AM | PERMALINK

And now I leave the field to Slick Willy. He will, no doubt lie and bluster but will never get past the fact that he is a willing part of the Bush machine. His tribal identification will stand even when he is falling down drunk.

I offer no evidence that Willy is drunk, just hope that his kind of idiocy comes from the kind sustained sustained drinking that would embarrass Christopher Hitchens.

Posted by: noel on July 17, 2007 at 2:48 AM | PERMALINK

And I thought to check in to this thread to see how a liberal / libertarian CEO - could relate his experience to others...

Nothing to do with Hitchens or the Iraq war ... just the gilded age - and how different mindsets view the same economic data, based on their psychologies. I find it absolutely striking that those who don't start or lead companies assert that those who do are mere lazy fat cats.

Life is more fluid than that. Steve Jobs is amazing at creating something out of nothing ... his achievements are conspicuous - but to a degree every CEO does it as well. Again, it's not automatic... one has to look at the world and adjust. It's easier when the world is made smaller ... a task to complete. So, a poster is correct, Jobs doesn't do it by himself - but what he does do ... shouldn't be poo poo'd as being something anyone could do with a beer and remote in hand

Posted by: jackifus on July 17, 2007 at 3:59 AM | PERMALINK

Sorry, the number of CEOs who are Steve Jobs (you know, a guy whose career included creating the Apple Computer in his garage) is vanishingly small. The number of CEOs who are like the dufuses related in the article is astounding.

These aren't generally people who create value, many of them could be replaced by a pseudo-random generator and the companies that hired them would do just as well. How can I say that? Look at how many of them are rewarded for decisions that ultimately damage their companies. The pay for these bozos is completely unrelated to their performance - including much of the so-called "merit" pay.

Posted by: noel on July 17, 2007 at 9:59 AM | PERMALINK

Yep, Stefan to vote for a politician is to vote for murder, and be an active agent of murder, because the state is merely an instrument of violence, a sadly unavoidable one. The only choice is which hand at the murderous rudder is to be preferred.

OK, so despite all your hysterical handwaving about how the NY Time was an accomplice to murder, it turns out that pretty much every single voter in the United States, including you, is one as well? Then what's the big kerfluffle if you set the bar so low?

Posted by: Stefan on July 17, 2007 at 10:50 AM | PERMALINK

Gee, I dunno, Stefan, maybe because there is no alternative to having a state which is murderous to some degree, and there really is no reason at all to lie about Stalin killing 25,000 Ukranians per day? Do ya' think?

Posted by: Will Allen on July 17, 2007 at 11:55 AM | PERMALINK

Corporate Innovations
From "Innovations of the Paperless Age, Cognitorex Press."
Hire basic labor force at less than full time thereby shedding the cost of health care, pensions and seniority benefits. Transfer savings to executive management.
Transfer previously tax paying internal accounting divisions to Offshore Tax Havens. Transfer savings to executive management.
Underfund pension obligations, then enter bankruptcy to avoid promised worker retirement benefits. Transfer savings to executive management.

Posted by: Craig Johnson on July 17, 2007 at 12:36 PM | PERMALINK
who would lose a battle of wits with a mollusk.Will Allen at 1:56 AM
You may compare yourself to a mollusk, but it serves praise the ability of the mollusk.
Why are you in the business of defending or minimizing the inexcusable acts of the New York Times? Will Allen at 2:02 AM
The ignorant yammering about the Times continues apace. It's up to the Pulitzer committee to rescind, but after 70 years it's trivial. However, it's entertaining to see someone use this as a smokescreen to divert attention from the more recent sins of backing the disastrous policies of the Neo-con administration of George W. Bush.
I find it absolutely striking that those who don't start or lead companies assert that those who do are mere lazy fat cats.....jackifus at 3:59 AM
The problems is in essence that the US is becoming a neo-feudal society ruled and governed by the few, the rich, the privileged, and inhabited by the many, the downtrodden and the screwed as evidenced by the growing income inequality. This is similar to the last gilded age that actually was more feudal in that the Titans of Industry could muster armies of guards to protect their interests and beat down unionizing efforts of their workers

Jobs rode in on the computer revolution, Hewlett and Packard on the electronics revolution , but more made money by being venture capitalists. Most of the extremely rich today owe their wealth to friendly, to say the least, government taxation policies, to slanted government regulations, and to compensation committees that, in turn, owe their position to the guys whose wages they set. Most of the corporate policy that creates wealth for the owners, shareholders, and upper management is dedicated to profit and if that means off shoring, outsourcing, and moving American jobs to low wage areas, it's fine by them.

....there really is no reason at all to lie about Stalin killing 25,000 Ukranians per day? Do ya' think? Will Allen at 11:55 AM

That's another pathetic straw man. That is all you have, straw men, red herrings, and an overwhelming desire to show readers how intellectually dishonest and ignorant you are. It's a strange desire perhaps resulting from perverted egoism, but completely successful

Posted by: Mike on July 17, 2007 at 12:44 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, Mike, to you, it's trivial for an institution to contine to commemorate it's award for deliberately concealing the murder of ten million people. And, to you, for some bizarre reason, the account of this behavior is irrelevant to the discussion of the instituton's performance, past and present.

Posted by: Will Allen on July 17, 2007 at 1:09 PM | PERMALINK

Slick, they won the award. They list it among their awards. Your repeated use of "commemorate" is an attempt to inflate their use of the award into something it isn't. But you know that. Does it bring credit to the NYT? No. Did it help to kill people? No.

Let's posit a counter-factual. Let us imagine that the NYT no longer listed the award. Would that change the number of people who died? No. Would Slick Willy stop whining about the award? Unlikely, he would probably simply move the goal posts. So, listing the award isn't the issue.

Let us move further. Imagine that the NYT did not win the award. Would that change the number of people who died. No. Would Slick Willy still be complaining? Hard to say, he is whining about the NYT rather than the awards committee - which is odd. What the award really proves is that the Pulitzer can be won for false reporting.

Let us finally move to what Slick Willy appears to be driving at (in his typically inept way), imagine the NYT never wrote the stories in the first place. What does little Willy in his pea brain (that's a pea instead of a brain, not a brain the size of a pea) imagine would have happened? Does he imagine that there would be fewer dead? Based on what evidence?

See, ultimately it doesn't matter because Slick Willy can't demonstrate that the reporting caused any more deaths. This stands in stark contrast to the act of voting for Governor Death. No Bush, no war on Iraq.

Posted by: noel on July 17, 2007 at 1:35 PM | PERMALINK

Gee, I dunno, Stefan, maybe because there is no alternative to having a state which is murderous to some degree, and there really is no reason at all to lie about Stalin killing 25,000 Ukranians per day? Do ya' think?

Only if, to use your inartful dodge, there is no alternative to voting for a government which is murderous, and there really is no reason at all to lie about Saddam having WMD and thereby kill 600,000 plus and counting Iraqis? Do ya think?

Posted by: Stefan on July 17, 2007 at 2:27 PM | PERMALINK

Stefan, all governments are murderous. Every one of them. Whether this Administration was more so than most, or, more importantly, was more so than the alternatives, is unclear. I chose this one because I believed, and still do, that failure, within, at most, the next few decades, for the populations that sit atop the oil reserves of the Persian Gulf, to achieve self government, including self government of their oil reserves, and then choose to trade peacefully with the rest of the world, will likely result in violence not seen on a scale since the first half of the 20th century. Thus, I made my choice.

To head off the predictably stupid response, no, I had no reason to believe that Bush was committed to that goal. The goal, however, was long term, well in excess of Bush's possible time in office, so I supported abandoning completely the pursuit of "stability" in that part of the world, for it was the pursuit of stability for several decades which made such a poisonous brew, a brew which may still result in dozens and dozens of millions killed.

Yes, noel. I know you find it unobjectionable for a publication to list an award, without explanation, for the cover up of ten million killed. Congratulations. I'm not sure of the meaning of the first paragraph, but, yes, the cover up did aid the killing, or at least the author certainly thought so. He stated explicitly that he was lying so as to help strengthen Stalin's international prestige and hold on power. All the better to further Stalin's later actions. Of course, you discount the value of clearly identifying a killer of tens of millions, because that is the sort of person you are, noel. More mystifyingly, you think that an examination of this record is not pertinent to the examination, past and present, of the NYT, which, again, was not an issue that I raised initially.

You truly are possessed of an infinite stupidity, aren't you?

Posted by: Will Allen on July 17, 2007 at 2:55 PM | PERMALINK

Slick, you keep lying about what I've said. Your dishonesty really is boundless isn't it?

As to the pertinence of events six decades past, if your goal was "the examination, past and present, of the NYT" then you have failed. All you've done is whine continuously about a single event. This kvetching hardly merits your grandiose application of the term "examination."

Of the three of us, still posting, only one voted for the guy who started a war. Only one of us has demonstrated that he is perfectly okay with giving his full throated support to someone who, without provocation, initiates the slaughter of human beings. You have presented no evidence that the NYT had any effect on the number of dead. The same can't be said of your cheerleading for Bush.

What's amazing is that now that you have revealed your reasoning for voting for the architect of mass slaughter in Iraq, your incessant whining about the NYT is put into sharp relief. You voted for mass murder in order to stave off mass violence. The suggestion that a Gore or Kerry administration would have been more murderous than one that carried out the "Shock and Awe" terrorist attack on Baghdad is so far beyond the pale as to remove you from any rational discussion.

The evidence is in. Bush has created an Iraq that is far less stable than the one he was left. Bush has been the best friend Al Queda could have foisted upon us. We wouldn't be worse off if Osama Bin Laden had chosen his favorite candidate. And the worst of it is, you knew all that when you voted for Bush the second time. Wait, no, you aren't smart enough to know the difference between right and wrong, between the function of government and the libertarian fantasyland version of government. So perhaps your mental illness is what allows you to condemn those who did exactly what you do now - apologize for mass murderers.

Posted by: noel on July 17, 2007 at 3:41 PM | PERMALINK

No, noel, I haven't lied about a single thing you said. You just can't read your own typing, any better than anyone else's. As evidenced by last night as well, you literally cannot comprehend the meaning of words and sentences, even when you post them yourself.

Posted by: Will Allen on July 17, 2007 at 4:06 PM | PERMALINK

Slick Willy, lacking any real response, but demanding the last word simply repeats his favorite bit of projection. Willy, why do you think that repeating your lies about what you and I have said gains you anything? Do you think anyone on the board is fooled? You're better off continuing your explanations as to why you voted first for a cipher who then instigated massive violence in an area you believe needs democracy and then after seeing his massive incompetence you decided that he was still worthy of your vote.

What was it that drew you to the incompetent Governor of Texas? Was it his history of blithely signing off on the deaths of human beings? Was it his libertarianism in using the power of the government to steal property from its rightful owners in order to make him a rich(er) man? Was it his history of wonderful business transactions that always benefited him and seldom benefited his investors?

No need to answer. I'm now bored of refuting your idiocies, lies, and misrepresentations. See you again soon you Bush cultist.

Seriously Will, between your grandstanding on the NYT, your defense of unprovoked aggression, your simpleminded inability to understand what a government is and does, your lies about your posts, your lies about the posts of others, what is it that you think you bring to the party? We can both agree it isn't your sunny personality.

Posted by: noel on July 17, 2007 at 4:22 PM | PERMALINK

9/11 = Inside Job
http://home.comcast.net/~plutarch/911.html

Posted by: Joe on July 17, 2007 at 6:30 PM | PERMALINK

"...in addition to good management skills."

Bwahahahahaha!

They don't even have that. An MBA is someone who breaks up all his furniture and burns it in the fireplace, and gloats about how all that money he previously paid on the gas bill is now going straight to profit. Of course, he figures the apparent short-term profit will resultin his promotion to higher levels before the chickens come home to roost. And when his successor faces severe red ink from the expense of replacing all the furniture and getting the gas hooked back up, he can take the blame.

Nardelli inflated the short-term profitability of Home Depot by systematically stripping it of assets and milking it, took a $200 gazillion bonus, and left the dried-out husk to another fall guy. Multiply that by 500 and you've got--ahem--the Fortune 500. The perverse incentives to game the numbers by destroying real productivity are almost as bad as in the old Soviet planned economy.

We need a fuckin' Pol Pot in this country to take out everyone who sits behind a desk or wears a necktie to work.

Posted by: Kevin Carson on July 18, 2007 at 3:17 AM | PERMALINK
it's trivial ... the account of this behavior is irrelevant to the discussion of the instituton's performance, past and present. Will Allen at 1:09 PM
If you had the wit, you would realize that there was nothing if poor benighted old Walter Duranty's columns that lead to the death of anyone, unlike those front page articles the Times published by Judith Miller and Michael Gordon. Duranty is history; Gordon's "work' is still being printed by the lying neo-con editors at the Times, still spinonymous, still government pro-war propaganda.

It was not always so at the Times or the Post. During the Nixon administration, they came to recognize the lying, abuses of power, corruption and the fear-mongering of that president were a threat to American democracy. Today, those publications that are handmaidens to even worse abuses. At other times in their long history, they were merely Republican outlets.

What concerns me is the current "work" of the American media including the Times and the Post, each of which has received scores of emails from me criticizing and condemning their lies and propaganda. Their Republican days are irrelevant to today's situation as is their record of exposing Nixon. At one time, Woodward and Bernstein were heroes; today, they are hacks. I have no interest in praising their past work; it's their current efforts of providing cover for the Bush Administration and trivializing current candidates that are of concern and importance.

Yes, Duranty is irrelevant today. The facts he tried to hide are well-known. The authoritarian left he defended is dead and has been replaced by a better, anti-authoritarian left. If he were writing today, he would be you: ignoring the lies of the Bush administration, the deaths if hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, the imprisonment and torture of people guilty, if anything, of defending their country, and the existence of Bush gulags across the planet. He would be you: ignoring the abuses of power, the domestic spying, the violations of the Hatch Act, the cover ups with phony claims of executive privilege, using government agencies for partisan purposes, subverting and perverting agencies meant to protect consumers, citizens and children.

At some day in the future, Bush will be history like Nixon, Hoover, or Reagan. When that day comes, some patriotic Americans will be fighting new battles against governments that ignore their wishes, sell out to the highest bidder, and engage in unconstitutional activities, just as we have done in the past from the time we fought George III. Now our fight is against George II. That is what I care about.

Posted by: Mike on July 18, 2007 at 12:42 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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