Monday, August 09, 2004

The Counterpoint: It's a Good Thing!

Talk about kicking them when they're down! The most recent edition of "The Point" features Mark Hyman quoting a self-pitying Martha Stewart, followed by outraged wailing about her corporate misdeeds.

"The Counterpoint" isn't going to spring to Martha's defense. What we will do, however, is point out that there are many larger fish to fry if financial hanky-panky is the issue. To wit, we offer this line-by-line parody/response to Hyman's editorial, creating the commentary he would deliver if he sincerely cared about corporate wrongdoing:

"Halliburton gets unfairly maligned simply because of their past association with me." -- Dick Cheney

What an arrogant pity party.

Okay, let’s review the facts. No one buys Halliburton gasoline in Iraq because it makes cars run better than other gasoline. And the Army doesn’t serve Halliburton food to its troops because it tastes so good.

Halliburton gets no-bid government contracts because of Dick Cheney’s political celebrity. Its oil, drilling equipment, and food are no better than other companies’ oil, drilling equipment, and food (and, in the case of the food, it’s actually subpar to the point of being unhealthy ).

In Dick Cheney’s case, a millionaire many times over makes a sizable salary and has nearly half a million stock options with connections and influence not available to most other stockholders or employees. It raises questions as to his character and greed. But his argument that Halliburton is maligned simply for political reasons is absurd. The federal government itself is looking into charges of corruption, former employees have filed suit against the company, and Halliburton has admitted taking illegal kickbacks in the past. Halliburton broke the law and Cheney has violated the integrity of the government contracting process. And now both Cheney and Halliburton are in the spotlight for it. That’s the trade-off for the political celebrity status that has richly rewarded Cheney and Halliburton so far.

Dick Cheney epitomizes political and corporate self-indulgence. He wants all the benefits and perks of political status but none of the responsibilities that go with it.

And that’s The Counterpoint.


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