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mean meg whitman1

This article was first published on AlterNet

With the elections for governor just around the corner, most California voters probably think they have a pretty good grasp of the pros and cons of Republican candidate Meg Whitman: on the downside, she’s an aloof billionaire who can’t be bothered to vote or remember her own servants’ names after nine years, and she’s dabbled in the sort of insider double-dealing with Goldman Sachs that’s brought the nation’s economy to its knees.

On the plus side, many still regard Whitman as one of the most effective and successful business leaders around. Three decades of relentless pro-business PR have convinced a lot of voters that our best business leaders know best, and that’s been Whitman’s main selling point, going back to her first campaign ad:

“I have run large organizations. I know how to create jobs. I know how to focus. I know how to balance a budget. And, I think, a business perspective is a bit of what California needs right now.”

But what few people outside of the investment community know is what a disaster Meg Whitman’s business career really was. In fact, Meg Whitman’s record in the corporate world reads like a laundry list of failure: it’s a resume marked by fraud, gross incompetence, wasteful spending and gross disregard for anyone’s interests but her own. In her obsessive drive to become a billionaire, Whitman left a legacy of bitterness among untold numbers of jilted employees, shareholders and eBay clients, while enriching herself and a handful of fellow executives and investment bankers.

Her worst decision at eBay — to buy internet phone service Skype for over $4 billion in 2005 — bled billions in eBay’s value. It was a huge waste of money whose consequences were passed on to employees and shareholders. The effects are still being felt by the company today, over five years after Whitman’s disastrous decision.

Whitman’s fabled $1 billion in wealth was acquired in the first few months of her tenure, well before she could muck the company’s bottom line up. That billion-plus that eBay’s directors handed Whitman was perhaps the easiest billion anyone has ever been handed in corporate history: eBay hired Whitman in March 1998, when the company was already the tech world’s darling. Just six months after she joined, eBay went public, making Meg Whitman an overnight billionaire thanks to stock options that allowed her to buy eBay stock at just 7 cents a share, and sell them on the market for as high as $170 per share.

That was in 1998-’99, long before Whitman could screw the company up — when the worst she could do was work out a scheme with Goldman Sachs to kick back to her personal account a couple million more in exchange for making Goldman Sachs the lead investment bank for eBay’s stock offering.

So Whitman made her eBay billion not by building the firm up, but rather by lucking into the right place at the right time. Over the next few years, as she started to put her own stamp on the firm, eBay’s fortunes went into decline and finally into full-scale tailspin.

Now cut to 2005, when Whitman is fully in control of eBay. By now, in the middle of the last bull market, eBay’s stock is floundering thanks to a series of poorly executed decisions, bad investments and frustrated eBay users. This was the moment when Whitman went from incompetent to reckless: she bet the eBay house on a grossly overpriced $4.1 billion takeover of Skype, a startup internet phone company with almost no revenues to speak of. Even normally friendly analysts were confused, not just by the price but also the business logic.

In a CNET article back in 2005, headlined “eBay’s scary Skype purchase,” analysts from Forrester Research looked at the numbers and the logic and concluded, “These things don’t add up to the $2.6 billion price tag (with the total value climbing to a potential of $4.1 billion). Skype provides no sustainable advantage in the communications or communities arena to eBay.”

The key phrase at the time was that the buyout “left investors/analysts scratching their heads.” Businessweek‘s Rob Hof wrote a column on September 8, 2005, headlined: “eBay buying Skype? I’m Scratching My Head“; TechNewsWorld reported a month later, “The latest [eBay] acquisition comes as many tech world observers are still scratching their heads”; Popular GigaOm blogger Om Malik wrote, “frankly at $2-to-$3 billion, it doesn’t make sense for eBay to get into a whole new business.” (eBay paid more, over $4 billion.)

Two years later, as the grim results trickled in, analysts were still scratching their heads. CNBC’s Silicon Valley bureau chief wrote in October 2007, at the peak of the bull market, “I remember when eBay bought Skype for that staggering $3.1 billion and scratching my head, wondering what the connection was. I remember talking to CEO Meg Whitman soon after the deal was announced, listening to her tell me that Skype would make as much sense and be as important to eBay as PayPal was. I remember nodding, listening. And I remember still scratching my head.” Today, investors are scratching their collective heads: eBay de-valuing the Skype asset by 46 percent or about $1.6 billion.

So already by October 7, the grossly inflated price resulted in a $1.6 billion writedown of losses to tack onto the buy price. And this was before things got really bad. See, as it turned out, Whitman didn’t just overpay for Skype–she overpaid, and didn’t even own Skype.

That’s right, when Whitman signed on the dotted line and plunked down $4.1 billions, she did not buy the technology that made Skype work, but instead leased it from Skype’s original creators–who were under no obligation to continue the lease.

But by October 7, 2007, investors were already getting fed up with Whitman’s helmsmanship. This was the high-point of the last bull market bubble, and yet eBay’s stock on this day was slightly lower than where it was in September 2005, when the Skype deal was first announced. Meanwhile, eBay’s biggest competitor, Amazon.com, saw its stock price soar 122 percent over the same two-year period as Amazon made smart investments and wooed clients and customers away from eBay in droves.

The full extent of Whitman’s wasteful $4 billion acquisition only became clear last year, when the real company that owned Skype’s technology, a shady firm called Joltid, decided to stop letting eBay play with its technology. Guess who owned Joltid? The same guys who once owned Skype before selling it (sans Skype technology) to Whitman for $4 billion. Investors were shocked — and eBay’s stock plummeted on the news to near penny-stock status. eBay informed the SEC that if the matter wasn’t resolved (i.e. if Joltid wouldn’t agree to lease them the Skype technology that Whitman forgot to include in the $4 billion purchase), then, in eBay’s own words, “Skype would be adversely affected and the continued operation of Skype’s business as currently conducted would likely not be possible.” In other words, Meg Whitman spent $4.1 billion of eBay’s money to buy literally nothing.

It’s no wonder then that Whitman “retired” from eBay when she did in early 2008: She had failed the company miserably, leaving eBay in ruins. A year after Whitman bailed on eBay, the stock had sunk so low that employees were left holding onto stock options that would actually cost more than than eBay’s market stock price, making them worse than worthless. That’s a far cry from the 7 cents per share that Whitman was handed after just a few months on the job — but as any economics student knows, the laws of scarcity dictate that there’s a limited number of 7-cent stock options to be had, and to make up for that, others — every other, in fact — have to take stock options that are worthless. And it’s a far cry from the tens or hundreds of millions more in stock options profits Whitman cashed in between February 2007 and February 2008,when she unloaded another 6.4 million shares of eBay between February 2007 and February 2008, in a move some criticized as legally questionable and in possible violation of insider trading rules.

The question we should ask ourselves is, was this failure at eBay a one-off thing, or was it part of a pattern in Whitman’s executive resume? The answer isn’t pretty, assuming she wins the governor’s race.

In the years before Meg Whitman settled into her eBay gig, she bounced around from one corporate disaster to the next, showing neither loyalty nor follow-through and commitment: Think Sarah Palin of the corporate world. In 1992, Whitman headed up a children’s shoe division at Stride Rite, including Keds brands — and just about exactly one year later, several states filed lawsuits against Stride Rite accusing the firm of price-fixing its products, in particular, Keds. The company was forced to pay millions in fines and cover retailers’ losses as part of the settlements.

With that disaster out of the way, Whitman failed her way into the CEO spot at FTD.com, the online florist shop. It should have been a cinch: Whitman was handed a 75-year-old non-profit florist association that had been a virtual monopoly business with an international presence, but was convinced by an ex-Goldman Sachs executive to convert into a private for-profit company, with the Goldman Sachs exec’s hedge fund as the investor. It might have worked out well, but for Meg Whitman’s leadership. In 1997, just two years into her tenure, Whitman bailed on FTD. The florist company’s business had fallen almost by half, posting a new low of 12 million orders in 1997, down from 22 million orders a decade earlier.

Having failed at taking an old successful business into New Economy profitability, Whitman took a safer job at toymaker Hasbro, where she launched the Teletubbies dolls. Within a year, these would be the most controversial dolls in America, targeted for boycott by the Christian Right and Jerry Falwell as crypto-homosexual dolls seducing young children. If that wasn’t bad enough, another Teletubbie had to be pulled off the shelves in 1998 because its programmed voice sounded like it was repeatedly saying “faggot.” (Video of the doll here.)

Hasbro’s stock price barely budged, but Whitman was already moving on. After just one year at Hasbro, she switched again, taking the CEO helm at eBay and six months later, in September 1998, Meg Whitman was suddenly an overnight billionaire.

At the time Whitman joined eBay in March 1998, her main function was to be the kind, matronly face of what was otherwise an upstart online flea market/auction house. Over the next few months, Whitman wasn’t able to make giant business decisions like paying $4 billion for Skype, but she did as much bad as she could, immediately hatching kickback schemes with investment bankers Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and even the notorious analyst Frank Quattrone. They variously offered sweetheart kickback deals to Whitman if she promised to list eBay through their bank.

Whitman chose Goldman Sachs, which promptly kicked back $1.7 million in funds skimmed from other startup firms, and Whitman was also named to Goldman Sachs’ board of directors as a way of saying “thanks!” — where she sat with a veritable Injustice League of Corporate Villians, including BP’s CEO John Browne. Other notables serving with Meg Whitman on Goldman’s board included John Thain, the Merrill Lynch CEO-billionaire who used company money to buy $1,500 waste paper baskets for his office, and who later took $4 billion in taxpayer bailout money and doled it out to his fellow Merrill bankers as bonuses before being sent on his merry way. Overseeing Goldman’s board with Whitman, Thain and Sir John Browne was none other Hank Paulson, Bush’s Treasury Secretary who devised the bail-outs of all of his billionaire banker friends in his last months in office.

What is so stunning about Whitman’s stock kickback scheme with Goldman Sachs is how quickly she exploited her new CEO position of power at eBay, at the expense of company shareholders and employees. The speed with which she turned to fraudulent behavior suggests she knew she had been a serial failure in corporate America, and that this eBay gig was her one last chance to stuff her pockets before she’d tank the company and be pushed out of her job, as she had over the previous few years. She lasted longer than expected — not because of Whitman’s skill but because eBay was just too good of a company to be brought down fast.

By March 2009, with the stock depressed below employee stock option prices and disasters looming ahead over the SKYPE acquisition, an article in Silicon Beat looked back and summed up Whitman’s legacy. Responding to eBay’s attempts to blame the depressed stock price on the financial crisis, Silicon Beat wrote, “while eBay shares have indeed fallen over the last year, hitting a 52-week low of $9.91 on Friday, the company’s stock price has been under pressure for years now since peaking at $58.17 at the end of 2004. They lost 26 percent in 2005, 30 percent in 2006, gained 10 percent in 2007, and fell 58 percent in 2008. So far this year they are down another 26 percent.”

The result: Meg Whitman is a billionaire who can blow over $150 million to make herself governor, outspending Jerry Brown by 15-1. Whitman can donate another $30 million to Princeton to get her sons into an Ivy League school, and she still has enough left over to buy half the illegal immigrants in California, whatever their names are. That’s if she loses.

But if Meg Whitman wins the governor’s chair, hoo-wee! Just think of the opportunities for a serial failure like her with that record of gross incompetence, massive waste and personal enrichment. Think of the privatizations of state property, think of all the workers who can be fired and the contracts that can be handed out to “private” firms. The possibilities are endless. If you were Meg Whitman, you’d understand.

This article was first published on AlterNet

Mark Ames and Yasha Levine are the founding editors of The eXiled. You can also check them out at The AMES-LEVINE List.

Mark Ames is the author of Going Postal: Rage, Murder and Rebellion from Reagan’s Workplaces to Clinton’s Columbine.

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42 Comments

Add your own

  • 1. llllxlxlxllll  |  October 27th, 2010 at 3:54 pm

    holy fuckball in a handbasket. im still looking for someone to dig up Bain’s work when Romney was there…all I know of was the NEC deal that went kaput

  • 2. Alexius  |  October 27th, 2010 at 4:56 pm

    She sounds perfect. Why isn’t she already President?

  • 3. Lavrentij "Anarchy99" Lemko  |  October 27th, 2010 at 4:56 pm

    Where the hell is attorney general Eric Holder? He should be prosecuting bad guys left and right on Wall Street. Instead, he is another Uncle Tom, just like Colin Powel, Juan Williams and the rest. Carryin’ water for The Man.

  • 4. a  |  October 27th, 2010 at 5:09 pm

    Funny, that same thing happened at the several start-ups that I had worked at in the internet industry since the mid-to-late nineties.

    I guess none of you fuckers ever had jobs and are too dumb to read any industry or business news of any sort.

    Each time I read one of these pieces, it’s like you all just came from a long-term coma or from the moon or were literally “born yesterday”, and have no fucking clue what goes on in the business world.

    Jesus, this is ancient news and you present it like you’re on the cutting edge. WAKE THE FUCK UP!!!

    News flash: the Dead Kennedys were singing about the shit-pile that is Jerry Brown 30 years ago. And he’s the alternative to Whitman! It’s over folks, just give up now and bow down to your eternal right-wing masters.

  • 5. Diet Coke  |  October 27th, 2010 at 6:02 pm

    Did you just fucking find out Fiorina destroyed HP?

  • 6. izzy  |  October 27th, 2010 at 8:10 pm

    No matter what malfeasance she’s guilty of, she still looks like Mickey Rooney on steroids.

  • 7. David  |  October 27th, 2010 at 8:20 pm

    re: “a” -

    The fact is, not everybody knows all of this off the top of their head. If, as you say this is old, old news, then how the fuck is Whitman the leading candidate?

    People who don’t read every line of Barrons or the Financial Times every week still vote, you know, and if even one of them reads this, it’ll mean one more person informed about Whitman’s track record of failure.

  • 8. Fischbyne  |  October 27th, 2010 at 9:38 pm

    Thanks for the added detail, Commenter 4. While Whitman was failing her way into $billions$, lower-level staff in Silicon Valley were floating from pointless start-up to pointless start-up, feeling vaguely anti-authoritarian in your Jello Biafra t-shirts.

  • 9. dmj260  |  October 27th, 2010 at 9:40 pm

    Oddly enough, this makes me really hate Christopher Hitchens (and Martin Amis, etc.). Meg Whosiwhat’s is one of the enemy, but we, the peasantry, are freakin out over Islamo-fascists, Yemeni yokel-terrorists, and other specters of Oxbridge-imagined “horrorism”-ists. We should drag out the guillotine and do something about this mess, Ms. Meg’s head tumbling into a basket first. Yet we’re fussing over buck-toothed borderline-retard dusky-hued boogies. And that, folks, is the pith and substance of the Hitchens, Amis, George Orwell, the New York Times, Anglo-American smartass axis: “Wog bad.” And ole Miss Meg, a terror unto man and a scourge of god, is your new governor, o’ enlightened California.

  • 10. cheapskate  |  October 27th, 2010 at 9:41 pm

    Perhaps a solution can be found:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x4o-TeMHys0

    The rent is too damn high???

    Ooh la la, with all due respects to the basuco!

  • 11. GARY  |  October 27th, 2010 at 10:18 pm

    a billionaire who says californias problem is that there are too any people on welfare…what a mnd

  • 12. fajensen  |  October 28th, 2010 at 12:15 am

    I think a lot of these management types are the genetically engineered human equivalent of a smart-bomb: They first destroy their primary target, then move onto the next, eventually becoming advisors to The President or something. All the jobs I have had has been targeted by one of them.

    The Chinese, aliens or the lizard people must be responsible.

  • 13. Derp  |  October 28th, 2010 at 12:28 am

    Derp derp derp! You’re a commie if you think she oughta be making less money, she earned what the free market paid her and shame for you saying government should regulate wages, derp derp derp!

  • 14. Victor Villain  |  October 28th, 2010 at 12:54 am

    I posted a link to this article to (Left Business Observer) Doug Henwood’s Facebook page, Doug came back with:

    “Well yeah, but does this mean people should vote for that jackass Jerry Brown?”
    http://www.leftbusinessobserver.com/Jerry-Brown.html

  • 15. Robert Kaufman  |  October 28th, 2010 at 7:44 am

    “Meg Whitman’s business career really was. In fact, Meg Whitman’s record… reads like a laundry list of failure: it’s a resume marked by fraud, gross incompetence, wasteful spending and gross disregard for anyone’s interests but her own.”

    Wow! Whereas if you start up a newspaper in the hardest journalism market in the world like Mark Ames did with the eXile, and you have to face a Kremlin who eventually shuts you down, and you don’t cowtow like the other media whores, then look what happens–you don’t get rich and the Kremlin shuts down your paper. And when it’s all over, some troll will come onto your blog and try anonymously zinging you. I’m not that kind of troll though, Ames. I’ve been a fan of yours for over a decade, and I want you to know that there are LOTS of us who dream of having balls like you, we who live like spineless sellout fags try living vicariously through you, which I guess is why Vanity Fair featured you and The eXile. The whole country is full of Meg Whitman sellout scum, and worse, non-billionaires who troll internet sites to defend the billionaires. Don’t listen to those trolls, Ames. They’re just House Negroes. I should know–I am one, but I’m trying not to be, I just don’t know how.

  • 16. tristes_tigres  |  October 28th, 2010 at 9:08 am

    Mark and Yasha, can you fucking believe that cunt “Chip” Brown ?

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/31/magazine/31prokhorov-t.html?_r=1&partner=rss&emc=rss&pagewanted=print

  • 17. paul cripps  |  October 28th, 2010 at 9:52 am

    derp derp the free market did not pay her a billion dollars, a bunch off insiders did.the free market will not give a billion dollars to EMPLOYEES WHICH through incompetence, loses their money, she is basically a thieving cunt.so i can safely assume a whole lot really dumb fuckwit californians will vote for this horrible, horrible, cunt. this is grossly unfair but she is one ugly cunt as well ,please forgive that last remark..

  • 18. Bullshitphilosophy  |  October 28th, 2010 at 10:51 am

    The fact that she’s an egotistical, narcissistic, self serving, thieving, POS doesn’t surprise me. The world is made up of a very high percentage of people like this. What surprises me is how normal people don’t seem to pick up on her insanity. Have any of you actually seen video of Nut-Meg speaking? She’s very obviously out of her fucking mind. Even so, she obtained employment at some of the largest corporations in the world, and the electorate takes her for a serious candidate. Is there a psychiatrist in the house? Please explain this phenomenon.

  • 19. Derp  |  October 28th, 2010 at 12:11 pm

    Derp derp, private corporations and individuals are a part of the free market. They paid her a lot of money so clearly the free market loves her! Derp derp!

    The free market is all-knowing and self-corrective! If she ain’t been corrected then she don’t need no correcting! You Commie faggots want to force executives to earn minimum wage, destroy businesses through rules, and make us into Red Russia, derp derp derp!

    I mean, if we lived in your country then Bill Gates would earn as much as a janitor, derp derp! You want to destroy the incentive to make more money, derp derp!

  • 20. Zhu Bajie  |  October 28th, 2010 at 2:42 pm

    “I guess none of you fuckers ever had jobs and are too dumb to read any industry or business news of any sort.”

    Life is depressing enough without reading business news all the time.

  • 21. Zhu Bajie  |  October 28th, 2010 at 2:46 pm

    If she’s so rich, how come she can’t get a better face-lift?

  • 22. jack kane  |  October 28th, 2010 at 3:59 pm

    Jerry Brown is all right by the low standard set by American politicians. Check his bio:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jerry_Brown
    He taxed Chevron, opted for an apartment in downtown Sacramento rather than the Governor Mansion, opposed the death penalty, oversaw huge budget surpluses, opposed prop 13, advocated living wages, opposed NAFTA, spoke against the health care industry, worked with Cesar Chavez, and promoted alternative energy. He is a from a bygone era of American politics, an era when the politicians had some conscience and independence (hell, even Tricky Dick wanted universal health care).
    This era is gone now. The likes of Whitman and Obama are the epitome of the new politician. They are either dedicated servants of the owner class, or worse, members of the owner class.

    Regarding the DKs classic, Brown’s wikipedia bio says: “Biafra later said in an interview with Nardwuar that he now feels different about Brown, as it turned out he was not as bad as he thought he would be and subsequent songs have been written about other politicians deemed worse.”

    Don’t get me wrong – I’m sure Brown has many faults. But compared to Whitman, he is almost as punk as Jello. Of course, this gets us back to the ‘lesser of two evils’ conundrum.

  • 23. ricky  |  October 28th, 2010 at 4:12 pm

    Tweet, tweet, and re-tweet…..Americans need to wake up to the fact these CEO’s are just crooks with the CEO’s running for office being the worst crooks of all.

  • 24. rick  |  October 28th, 2010 at 6:48 pm

    Read Nassim Taleb if you want to learn about the Tulipmania idiocy of overpayment for emblematic “leadership”–average boards of companies are dumber than cinema audiences, or chiropractic patients. Why don’t you sell that “free market” crap to people with the religious faith in human wisdom implied in all that pseudoscience? The “free market” only works out of sheer structural randomness…almost all its close-up details are corrupt and idiotic, perpetually.

  • 25. Lavrentij "Anarchy99" Lemko  |  October 28th, 2010 at 8:03 pm

    Read C. Wright Mills’ _The_Power_Elite_. Needs to be updated. @18 / bullshitphilosophy — Yo, it is called ‘Stockholm Syndrome’.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stockholm_syndrome

  • 26. Tony  |  October 28th, 2010 at 9:04 pm

    @10 cheapskate. That web page owes all due respects to 1997.

  • 27. Mike C  |  October 28th, 2010 at 11:58 pm

    @a
    Reading the financial press is dejected window shopping for the underclass. They’re busy killing themselves with whiskey and opiates (by them, I mean me) and trying not to drown in debt in spite of their full time jobs. So, no, your average person doesn’t know anything beyond a few sound bites and folktales about businesspeople and business in general. That might be why the second paragraph of this article says this:

    “On the plus side, many still regard Whitman as one of the most effective and successful business leaders around.”

    That’s the rhetorical context for this article, which assumes you don’t know jack shit about Whitman beyond her slobbering campaign excesses. Most people don’t.

    Having “gotten in on” the perpetual “ground floor” of several small companies, I know being the smartest person in the office isn’t saying much. Most of the failure-bound vanity projects I’ve joined were mid-death spiral; which is why I collected a paycheck, while investing in them neither financially nor emotionally.

    Moving on; what’s astonishing is that any of the public still thinks the country needs to be “run like a business.” You come home from your shitty job, and you think the government should be like the autocratic fucktards that expect you to stay till 2am without overtime? that deny you benefits? that made you sign an “at-will” contract? whose idea of a business model is serial failure using inherited risk capital?

    Corporations are fascist states, with total top-down hierarchies. Why the fuck are their implications for public policy not obvious? We’ve been so fucking aghast for so long, liberals are shaking their heads when they should be shaking their fists, turning over cars, screaming into bullhorns, hurling rocks and firebombs.

    If I saw a few people breaking windows at the Citi building, I’d join them. That’s how movements happen. That’s how the Tea Parties, as stupid and fake as they are, started. It’s called Dutch Courage, and we’ve all got it. Mobs are full of cowards, but they get things done.

  • 28. Mike C  |  October 29th, 2010 at 12:13 am

    @rick
    “Fooled by Randomness” appealed to my prejudices. I’ve never met a “business leader” who wasn’t obstinately blind to the systemic problems — which they’ve been warned about — that would ultimately sink their “vision.” There are exceptions; some moderately rich people who’ve contributed something to society, and have earned their salt.

    But unless they sweat cancer vaccine, no financial wonk is “worth” billions of dollars. It’s all a con now; CEOs versus investors, the public versus lenders; it’s a bait and switch shell game. Big, inflatable B2 decoys sent off while the Cessna absconds with the magical suitcase. The top players aren’t making or contributing anything to society; even their spending habits are too class incestuous, and their compensation to their employees too shameful, to get any money into the economy at large.

    Taleb’s essay cites the frailty of his colleagues’ careers which revealed them to be, in his words, “overpaid hicks.” Probability, not merit, decides games of chance.

  • 29. Ozinator  |  October 29th, 2010 at 5:13 am

    the DK song didn’t say anything serious about Brown. something about people being taken away for not being happy and everyone needing to meditate. silly shit

  • 30. David  |  October 29th, 2010 at 6:32 am

    Good article, but the teletubbie decision in and of itself wasn’t a bad one. Tasteless sure, but it turned into a very profitable franchise for Hasbro.

  • 31. Lavrentij "Anarchy99" Lemko  |  October 29th, 2010 at 8:00 am

    Larry Kudlow on Fiorina:

    http://townhall.com/columnists/LarryKudlow/2010/06/10/carly_fiorina,_woman_for_the_future

  • 32. Kat  |  October 29th, 2010 at 10:34 am

    Here I just thought she made her money running the world’s biggest fencing operation.

    Did you see the WSJ has a feature on those other lovely California billionaires, the Resnicks?

  • 33. lcl  |  October 29th, 2010 at 3:26 pm

    GREAT article… even after reluctantly following this election I can’t believe I never heard any of this.

    Kind of relevant considering Whitman made her “Ebay success” the ENTIRETY of her WHOLE CAMPAIGN.

    Thanks again Exiled/Ames.

    To respond to some comments….

    @ Rick (24)
    “The “free market” only works out of sheer structural randomness…almost all its close-up details are corrupt and idiotic, perpetually..”

    I like what you’re saying here and would like to understand more what you mean by “structural randomness.” For me, I’d replace that phrase with “sheer inertia”… as in survival of the first and fattest, rather than the most fit.

    @ Mike C (27)

    “Having “gotten in on” the perpetual “ground floor” of several small companies, I know being the smartest person in the office isn’t saying much. Most of the failure-bound vanity projects I’ve joined were mid-death spiral; which is why I collected a paycheck, while investing in them neither financially nor emotionally.”

    So true… yet there is a deep seated fear (among all US classes it seems) of admitting that luck is the key factor to financial success… well, luck as in dice significantly weighted in the favor of those born rich and into appropriate social connections and no shame.

    @Mike C
    “unless they sweat cancer vaccine, no financial wonk is “worth” billions of dollars.”

    Perfectly stated!

  • 34. thus_speaketh_the_butt_trumpet  |  October 29th, 2010 at 11:21 pm

    #4 and #21 you nailed it.

    At last one of the Bad Hair pictures once bandied about on The New Board (an evilbay discussion board) sees the light of day. Along with bad face, bad eyes, …..

    Evilbay bought Skype, they also bought PayPal, which was cleaning people out and ruining lives back in 1998.

    Yeah, this bitch will probably become President.

  • 35. boson  |  October 30th, 2010 at 7:29 am

    so if these elitny types are not just monsters (I’ll grant that), but also incompetent bastards, then why is it that they always win, and we lefties always lose?

    like why didn’t i go to princeton and/or harvard?

  • 36. Derp  |  October 30th, 2010 at 3:36 pm

    Derp, derp, what evidence do you have that she engaged in “insider trading”? Don’t be no false accusations or you might get sued for libel, derp derp derp!

  • 37. Arch Stanton  |  October 30th, 2010 at 4:30 pm

    Not to worry people, Whitman is about to get trounced by a resurrected Dead Kennedy’s song. If she had any integrity or shame she’d move to Paraguay on Nov. 3. On the other hand, you don’t become a “CEO” by having any measure of the aforementioned qualities.

    My suggestion to everyone: Get out and vote–just don’t do it at the ballot box.

  • 38. jon  |  October 31st, 2010 at 8:10 pm

    The problem with having a billion bucks in your personal account is that suddenly, $4bn for an acquisition starts to look like a good deal. By owning money in amounts most mortals have to write on paper to comprehend, you lose all sense of perspective and should be shunted off to a luxury island somewhere in the Pacific to grow fat and sadistically abuse a few servants on your winnings, not put in charge of everyday decision making at an actual business.

    Poor California; I see dark clouds no matter who wins on Tuesday, and only the potential silver lining of legal weed to anesthetize the population.

  • 39. Marcus McSpartacus  |  November 1st, 2010 at 4:05 pm

    Meg Whitman totally looks like Lord Vigo the Carpathian

    http://che­ezburger.c­om/View/41­21847040

  • 40. arrowrod  |  November 2nd, 2010 at 7:15 pm

    So what?
    Interesting to see some of the “really smart” posters gloat about not giving a shit about their “hopeless” job.

    I’m just “smart”, so was too stupid to realize that the jobs I did, weren’t supposed to succeed, because of the roadblocks of the inept. Fuck them, I just steamrollered them.

    Note to all. We’re Americans, have fun while we are sleeping. But don’t wake us up.

  • 41. Capt. Caveman  |  November 4th, 2010 at 11:18 am

    I don’t know who Meg Whitman is, but judging by that picture Rutger Hauer has really let himself go.

  • 42. maus  |  November 16th, 2010 at 10:57 am

    @4 “News flash: the Dead Kennedys were singing about the shit-pile that is Jerry Brown 30 years ago. And he’s the alternative to Whitman! It’s over folks, just give up now and bow down to your eternal right-wing masters.”

    Apparently you either haven’t been paying attention to anything the Kennedys have done since 1979, you’re namechecking the song because that’s the only thing you know about Jerry Brown, or possibly both.


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