Yachts, And the Rising Tide that Lifts Them

I read this piece in the Chicago Tribune today (h/t RMP’s Blast…), and I couldn’t help but notice how drastically it missed the point, which is the simple  fact that it seems like all of these people who not only cause the world’s catastrophes, but the pancaked ninnies who tell us about them, have yachts, so they think yacht ownership is, well, normal.  America particularly, but really the whole world, is under relentless siege by an unprecedented crime wave, and the getaway car is always a yacht.  Not that I’m knocking yachts, which are indeed inventive tools for the 21st century criminal; they’re cheap, compared to all the trophy wives, and you can sail from tax haven to tax haven in style and comfort.  I think that the “small,” non yacht-owning 99.5% of the world understand this basic fact, even if David Gregory and the Cheicago Tribune don’t.  Case in point:

There was something galling about BP Chief Executive Officer Tony Hayward attending a yacht race last weekend while his company’s runaway oil well continued pummeling both wildlife and livelihood for an eighth week in the Gulf of Mexico.

Ya think?  11 people were killed, and what looks like an entire ecosystem spanning multiple countries is pretty much history.  People without yachts would be in jail, not at a regatta, for that sort of tomfoolery.

Sure, an argument could be made that a Father’s Day outing with his son is reasonable, but hey, Tony, ever hear of a backyard barbecue? Something about the blue waters off the Isle of Wight and, let’s face it, the idea of a rich guy playing with his big boat just didn’t sit right. It was, critics said, a public relations fiasco. You couldn’t flip on a television or radio without hearing a talking head bloviate about Hayward and his yacht.

Ah, bring in “the children,” and blame the “bloviators.”   Never mind that the vast majority of bloviators are to this day still screaming, “drill, baby, drill,”  and the whole damn thing was sponsored by the heavily yachted JPMorgan Chase, to boot.  Statistically, children whose parents have yachts don’t need a lot of sympathy and quality time with their thieving and incompetent Daddies to “succeed;” no matter how dumb, worthless, or self-indulgent they turn out to be, they do OK in life anyway.  People without yachts are just not worried about missed Father’s Days for that bunch, barbeque or not.

Even White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel took time to weigh in, declaring, “I think we can all conclude that Tony Hayward is not going to have a second career in PR consulting. This has just been part of a long line of PR gaffes and mistakes.”

“Even” Rahm Emanuel?  Taking advantage of a political opportunity?  Now I’m certain that this editorial was written by a four-year old. With a yacht.

That was the tone of the weekend when it came to BP: Its PR savvy since the April 20 explosion that killed 11 people and sprang an untamable gusher deserves an F. And it probably does.


But when stories drag on long enough, the relentlessness of the 24-hour news cycle begins to look for stories within the story. And the problem with this story is that it moves the eye from more relevant concerns: massive numbers of dead and oiled animals, an effect on the ecosystem that won’t be known for years and questions about how forthcoming BP is being with access and information.

Ah, yes.  The job of all of us now is to become bird-bathing sob sisters, looking “forward, not back,” as the miscreant’s yacht slips past the horizon.  BP’s egregious lying might be a problem, but the fact that it’s run by a criminally incompetent dilletante with a yacht named “Bob” shouldn’t matter a whit.  And this whole boring story of drive-by yachtings has dragged on too long, anyway.

More than once, Hayward has seemed like a dunce (who can forget his immortal “I’d like to have my life back” after those 11 workers had lost theirs?). But after a weekend of discussing his lack of PR skills, let’s remember not to be distracted from what’s coming out of BP’s well by what’s coming out of Tony Hayward’s mouth.

No, what we’re distracted by is what’s coming out of his wallet, when it’s abundantly clear that the “dunce” deserves none of it.  What we inevitably find, once again, aboard the yachts of the real Randian “producers” are bumbling fools who couldn’t, and haven’t, done an honest day’s work in their entire lives, yet they and their apologists nonetheless never tire of telling the rest of us we must now, given our straitened circumstances, tighten our belts and eat Nine Lives in our golden years so the yachting set can go on running the world in the style to which they’ve unaccountably grown accustomed.   The problem the Tribune steadfastly refuses to see is that those of us who don’t have yachts have to actually perform to hang onto our livelihoods, and we don’t appreciate that people far above us are allowed to make huge, earth-shattering mistakes and never suffer even the slightest consequences.

The rising tides of the last 30-odd years have indeed lifted some boats, but nothing under forty feet, as the Hayward episode starkly illustrates.  Will someone tell the Chicago Tribune?


  1. michlib says:

    At least I can rest easy knowing Mr. Hayward can have more soothing optics along the cote d’azur while our gulf coast becomes the cote d’noir. Bubba’s shrimp company, unfortunately, isn’t similarly ” situated “. All that pound sterling spent on regulatory capture has paid of handsomely indeed.

  2. You’re right CH…”the real Randian ‘producers’ are bumbling fools who couldn’t, and haven’t done an honest day’s work in their entire lives.”

    It’s amazing to watch the ultimate effects of the Reagan-initiated deregulation and GOP-pushed tax cuts for the rich. The upper 1% has managed to suck the wealth out of the middle and lower classes, and they’re not about to give it back.

    Greed is a wonderful thing for these people. Every year at their annual Bohemian Grove retreat they sit in overstuffed chairs, puff on Cuban cigars, and sip Henri IV cognac while they casually discuss plans for making the petit-bourgeois cough up more of their hard-earned money.

    They really have no idea what it means to do “an honest day’s work.”

    • cocktailhag says:

      That’s the thing… If these people could point to any contribution they’ve made, besides to their own bank account, I’d like to see it. Even the robber barons of old actually did things, albeit with a lot of government indulgence, that did build the economy. Rich, for being rich, is the new famous for being famous… And lo and behold, Paris Hilton gets a tax cut.
      It’s Darwinism in reverse.

    • michlib says:

      ” The upper 1% has managed to suck the wealth out of the middle and lower classes, and they’re not about to give it back “. These parasites seek not only to give nothing back, but per the presidents commission on the deficit, Social Security and Medicare, those evil middle class benefit ” budget busters “, are next on the pyre for the suddenly important oblective of ” fiscal responsibility “. How ” rich “.
      What’s truly hilarious is that these deficit hawks chirped up not at all during eight years of two quagmire wars, tax windfalls to the yachting demographic, and the largest example of taxpayer indulgence to the fiscally irresponsible in history. But now we see the true villain laid bare – ” entitlement ” ( only used to describe programs that benefit poor/middle class folks ) payments. The rich have a different name for it – ” birthright ” – and theirs are never up for budgetary review.
      The two Santa Claus meme lives on.

  3. Tina says:

    T – working my ass off – so sorry can’t read every word of your thrilling posts – though I have been trying – likely it should be source of education – don’t want to knock the Napa Register but I usually just read the food and wine section :)
    miss you!

  4. mikeinportc says:

    I watched much of Hayward’s Congressional lashing . ( Basically a photo-op for the Honorables, even the ones that ’til lately, have been against any oversight.) I was waiting for someone to ask him what he does do for BP, or what he actually knows. Didn’t happen. ( One exasperated congressman reiterated that Hayward did confirm that it was Thursday.Lol.) Apparently it’s a given that CEOs of major corporations don’t actually do anything (on the record) , except get paid . Is the gig really a sort of pre-retirement? If so, I want in on it. ;)

    • cocktailhag says:

      I second that emotion. I would love to retire from this whole accountability thing, and just have the checks sent to my home, where I could loaf around drinking in my curlers.
      Ah, in a perfect world…

    • cocktailhag says:

      That was a cute article…. Portland is a charming place; I have my parents to thank for choosing it.
      I’m surprised that the blogger missed the Nude Bike Ride, which just happened and is understandably the most famous “themed” ride.

    • cocktailhag says:

      Well, it’s obvious that the Bush-dominated MMS didn’t give a damn about oil spills, and it’s equally obvious that Obama was lax in cleaning house. Other than that, I didn’t see anything remotely new about that article.

      • nailheadtom says:

        Now wait a minute. . . these are the government regulators, federal career civil servants, not appointees, that determine with computer models what will occur when there’s an oil escape and require that oil companies be able to respond to that model. As usual, the government regulation that you so much adore is incapable of preventing the very incidents for which it has been established. Just as successful as the “War on Drugs”, the War on Poverty” and all the other campaigns that result in defeat for the feds at the expense of the populace.

        • Tom,

          I know it’s tough for you. Either you’re being paid by some right-wing group to “kick the fucking hippies” or you actually believe the bullshit presented in the articles that you link to from time-to-time. Either way, you appear to be lost in a world of make believe.

          I personally think that you get a hard-on every time the “reality” people who comment on this blog try to counter your inane points (You’re probably stroking it right now).

          That’s nice (for you), but many of us who stop by occasionally to read CH’s words of wisdom have gotten tired of your impertinent bullshit.

          Go play in the streets!

        • cocktailhag says:

          Sheesh, Tom. Nobody in a gov’t uniform told BP to blow out its huge and (formerly) valuable well and poison the earth, thus basically committing corporate suicide. BP fucked up in the Free Market, and now it’s blaming society; maybe they’re closet liberals over there.
          The war on drugs, since you’re obviously unaware, was a right-wing attempt to criminalize its political opponents, whereas the war on poverty was an attempt to solve an actual problem. They are hardly analogous.

          • dirigo says:

            Sticking to the oil rig (pardoning the pun and leaving aside horseshit about the “wars” on drugs and poverty), the operations of North Sea platforms by “socialist” Norway offer some clarity about how appropriate regulation can work.

            A point was made in recent reporting that a contraption called an acoustic regulator was not installed on the infamous gulf platform. This device is supposed to trigger gas ventilation as necessary to avert a blow.

            The thing costs about 500K, chump change compared to the unknown catastrophic damage now before us (Do you see it, Tom? Do you acknowledge it?). According to the report I read, it was, somehow or other, deemed too expensive to install on the Horizon.

            Back to Norway, the report indicated such a device is, under regulation, standard equipment on North Sea rigs; and rigs under Norwegian control are considered among the safest in the world,

            With that, remember also that the Gulf of Mexico is like a backyard, plastic splashing pool for the kiddies compared to waters just a hop, skip and jump from the Arctic.

            So really, what were the Bush-era MMS flunkies doing during their “watch”?

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