The Widdershins

Posts Tagged ‘Enron

What a week! Everyone is struggling to explain what is happening. I’ve heard the pundits say it is where “greed meets incompetence” or “malevolence meets the sewer” or any number of unsatisfying descriptors.

It might be an intersection or a confluence, but I prefer the Swindon “magic roundabout”. It is seven traffic circles in one. Here’s an explanation:

So in the Dolt 45 turd-o-matic roundabout, we have greed meeting incompetence meeting malevolence meeting dirty tricks meeting incoherence meeting indifference meeting amorality. It is the non-compunction junction since there are no qualms about any loathsome behavior.

Then last night it became apparent these idiots have sat on these emails for three weeks – emails saying “Clinton-Russia” in the subject line – and yet, they had no plan for dealing with them I was reminded of Burn After Reading, the Coen brothers movie. Burn After Reading celebrated a bunch of incompetents who thought they were genius; when in reality, none of them should have been in public without a Mommy’s Helper leash.

Like a hummingbird during mating season, the excuses have been everywhere all at once. Of course the paragon of square-headedness, Sean Hannity, the dumbest man ever paid to talk on teevee, quickly got to the essence of it all with a demand to investigate Hillary’s emails.

There are bright spots though. People like Russ Douthat ate a big heaping helping of crow:

The benefit of the doubt I extended to Trump was limited, but on a rather important subject: I thought that direct collusion between his inner circle and Russian officialdom during the 2016 campaign was relatively unlikely and the odds of ever finding proof of such a conspiracy vanishingly low.

You can read my argument in full here; it’s a mere six weeks old. It’s also no longer operative, because we know now that Donald Trump’s son, his son-in-law and his campaign manager all took a meeting in which it was explicitly promised that damaging information on Hillary Clinton would be supplied as “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.”

If this was a tease in the review of a sitcom, the next part would be prefaced with, “hilarity ensued.” Having known about these emails for a month, the crack P.R. Team decided to fabricate a story for release last Saturday that morphed into another story on Sunday that again morphed into another story on Monday, and yet again changed for Tuesday. Honest folks don’t have to lie – repeatedly.

The ambulatory carrot stain has dumbed down normal. Of the top ten recounted in the article, here are a few of my favorites:

  1. It’s not normal for the presumptive nominee’s son to take a meeting with a Russian lawyer who claims she has dirt compiled by Russian governmental forces who want to see your guy win.
  2. It’s not normal for the President to sign off on a public cover-up of that meeting when confronted with the facts.
  3. It’s not normal for the President to hold a Cabinet meeting that consists of his staff gushing over him.
  4. It’s not normal for the President to obsess about cable-news coverage of himself, yell at White House televisions, and instantly react to stories before checking the specifics.

But this is normal for this White House and the person illegitimately occupying the Oval Office. What is not normal is the speed at which Special Counsel Mueller is forging ahead. Mueller learned valuable lessons prosecuting Enron, its executives, and related organizations. He will not be daunted by these halfwits and morons.

In thinking about the week, here are my takeaways:

  1. No matter what happened with the hacked emails, the Russian activities, or the various conspiracies, but for the Comey letter on October 28th, Hillary would now be President.
  2. The Mercer family is battling a $6.0 Billion tax bill. They have also bankrolled Milo, pollster Kellyanne Conjob, Breitbart, Steve Bannon, and Cambridge Analytica, their data mining firm. Someone had to identify and target promising precincts in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania and transmit that information to the Russian bot controllers. There is an electronic trail and the NSA probably already has it.
  3. If only Obama had demonstrated the courage to ignore McTurtle’s obstruction last summer and forge ahead with the warning of Russian interference, Obama would have been proved correct and vindicated by the email saving his legacy and the country from the orange plague.
  4. The tightly choreographed kabuki of the G20, starring Pootie, Lavrov, and Dolt was nothing more than a performance for good old Rexxon. If you are Rexxon, how would you feel being played for the fool on a world stage? Watch for a resignation.

Here’s the last scene from Burn After Reading. They ask a good question. If we learn not to let this happen again by making the name Trump synonymous with Benedict Arnold or genital herpes, we will have learned something of value.


What’s on your mind today?



Good afternoon. This just in from the “you can’t make this stuff up” file — real and true headline from yesterday’s Pop News Section of my newspaper, Fox News Hires Clueless Actress as Contributor. I know you are thinking, “Isn’t it redundant to mention ‘clueless’ in any sentence containing Fox News?” In any event, Fox hired Stacey Dash, best known for her roles in the Clueless movie and television series as an “on air“ contributor.  Seemingly her depth of expertise:  Supporting Romney over Obama in 2012.

Some explanation is warranted today. We of the WWW (World Wide Widdershins), being always eager to please, are trying something different for the next few weeks. Our Friday posts will stay up throughout the weekend. As usual, they will be open threads. Feel free to post any thoughts or just a simple hello.

Meritocracy Measurement Cartoon


This week a few articles brought home a subject I’ve been wanting to write about for quite some time — the fallacy of meritocracy. Although it dates back to the 2nd Century B.C. during the Han Dynasty, meritocracy has only been part of our lexicon and a pervasive cultural hallucination since the late 1950s.

So we can all start from the same jumping-off point, meritocracy has nothing to do with government. Meritocracy is an ideology. An ideology that flourishes in both political parties because of the glitter of whatever “American exceptionalism” is. Meritocracy is the belief, however misguided, that people are solely judged based upon their merits whether those merits be intelligence, morality, general aptitude, or work ethic.

The articles stirring me up were seemingly innocuous — unless you read them with an admittedly jaundiced eye. My eyes and I plead guilty. The first article was the Wall Street Journal coming out with their annual compensation survey of 300 large company CEOs.

Stop the presses and forget the 99 percent, the sad tale painted by the list of CEOs was one of unfathomable inequality among these Templars of the meritocracy and the tiptop of the 1%. The top three — Larry Ellison or Oracle, Leslie Moonves of CBS, and Michael Fries of Liberty Global — raked in more than the bottom 50 CEOs on the list combined. Just think about a mere 1% of the 300 pulling in more than the bottom fifty. The inhumanity of it all!

Yacht with just one basketball court...

Yacht with just one basketball court…

Let’s take Larry Ellison for example. In 2013, Ellison had to scrape by on a meager $76.9 million in direct compensation. Spending $100 million to win the America’s Cup, or racing fellow billionaires with your BMW Oracle race team, or building a yacht with just one basketball court — those things take serious scratch. This is not to speak of his new mortgage payment — paying for the whole island of Lanai, the sixth largest Hawaiian Island.

An average chief executive now makes about 257 times the average worker’s salary, up from 181 times in 2009. For the companies listed in the S&P 500, the median CEO salary reached a new high in 2013, a breathtaking $10.5 million.

Paying lip service to the critics of high salaries, boards of directors have tweaked compensation policies placing more emphasis on payment in stock instead of cash and stock options. Quite coincidentally and I‘m sure unplanned, this policy has become a boon for CEOs because a 30 percent surge in stock prices last year drove pay packages up accordingly. I guess sometimes good things just happen to good people.

Island of Lanai, 141 sq. miles created by volcanic meritocracy...

Island of Lanai, 141 sq. miles created by volcanic meritocracy…

The other article, Choosing Profits Over Productivity is a more esoteric economics piece. I’ll summarize it this way, a key indicator of the country’s economic health is worker productivity. With the sluggish economy, worker productivity growth has stalled since 2009. This is a big deal. For the last thirty years, workers have become consistently more and more productive because of and through the use of technology.

A major reason for this stall in worker productivity is a decline in spending on computers and software known as “capital services.” A practice totally devoid of a basic tenet of great leadership and management, that of making sure “your workers have the tools and materials to do their jobs effectively.“

It’s not as if companies don’t have money to spend. Corporate cash reserves have increased almost 70% over the past four years to more than $2.0 trillion or about the size of the Russian economy.

Instead of spending on capital services, corporations are spending their cash on increasing dividends and buying back stock. With corporate profits being inordinately high, conversely employee compensation as a percentage of GDP fell to a 65-year low in 2013. All the while Larry Ellison was moving into his own Hawaiian Island and managing to make do with just one ocean-faring basketball court.

Chart productivity and earnings

What makes this bit of economic research alarming is the stock market has not punished, but rewarded companies that have not invested in worker productivity with higher stock prices. Simply put, Wall Street is rewarding practices leading to making “less stuff” by putting more cash in the pockets of investors — in other words, rewarding doing the wrong thing.

The learning is this: Just as higher productivity creates wealth that’s shared by both workers and business owners, low levels of productivity make businesses less efficient, leading to lower wages, and inevitably increasing income inequality.

Now, what has this got to do with the misguided beliefs associated with meritocracy?

Everything — well not everything, but a lot.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Blog Archive

April 2018
« Mar    

Kellyanne Conway’s new job

So similar

Take the kids to work? NO!

That moment when *your* pussy gets grabbed

You go gurl! h/t Adam Joseph

“The” Book

Nice picture of our gal

Time till the Grifter in Chief is Gone

Hopefully soonerJanuary 21st, 2021
2.8 years to go.

Mueller Time!

Wise Words from Paul Ryan

Heroine of the Resistance


Only the *best* politicans bought by the NRA

Marching for their lives

Perfect Picture

Perfect Name For Him h/t Daily News

Scary a.f.