Money's Too Tight To Mention...But We're Mentioning It Anyway, Ruuudeeee!
It was a time of wild exuberance, twinkling eyes and lottery-hit dreams, those halcyon days of the late-90's / early 2000's “Dot-Com” era. Sock-puppet dogs promoted vapor-venture pet food businesses to sudden multi-million dollar status. A multitude of napkin-scrawled business plans burst to ballyhooed life and then flamed out as if alcohol-dipped and match lit. The snarky name of the “Dot-Com” era's death-spiral phenomenon?
I remember bars all over town filled for months on end with embittered, stunned people spending their small severances and railing about the “obvious” idiocy of the bosses and the “lameness” of the master plans. What a time it was—sudden, pseudo-success followed by crushing, soul-sapping failure. But even now, the memories of it have faded somewhat. In some cases intentionally because of the pain memories it conjures up, but in other cases simply because folks weren't in close enough proximity to feel it.
“What was it like?”, those people will ask one day. “What does a Dot-Bomb sound like when it detonates?”
And the answer is, “It's not a detonation really”. That would indicate a spark of some sort and a radiating outward of energy. No, a Dot-Bomb's end is much more of an im-plosion rather than an ex-plosion.
It starts with a quivering of doubt, and then hiss of deception, high and almost beyond the frequency to hear, but the way it unnerves the atmosphere jangles the senses on an almost unconscious level. You feel it more than hear it. Then, it cracks a bit under the weight of scrutiny and the hiss becomes a whine of panic, as common sense, trust, dreams and the investment of time come rushing inward with a giant sucking sound.
The Christmas ornament-fragile shell gives next, collapsing under a sparkly, but thin veneer of confidence, and then...then, it's on. It's a pocket “black hole” taking everything nearby into it's entropic core. Big things that wouldn't seem able to fit are sucked in effortlessly and at light speed. Grand, stupid ideas. Reputations. And money....lord God, the money, it whooshes down and away like grains of rice against an ocean whirlpool's pull. It's rushing now, this macabre reverse of the “big bang”, a faux universe coming to a sad, diminutive end. There's a final howl as there's little else to consume but air—nothing tangible. A vacuum consuming itself now. And a then, final “pop”. All gone save for memories, hype and bruised feelings.
But a “Dot-Bomb” has a toll beyond the mere torching of dreams and ideas. The truest sign of a “fucked company's” final days is when the money gets tight and paychecks either start bouncing, or are deferred. People working for said company stop getting paid.
Which brings us...oh, right about here
CNN has learned that top staff members of Rudy Giuliani's presidential campaign were asked to work without pay for the month of January, and perhaps longer, so that campaign resources could be focused on the Florida Republican presidential primary.
Two sources in the campaign, speaking on condition of anonymity, insisted the campaign was not in dire financial straits. A third campaign source, however, said "things are starting to get tight" and that "it was more telling than asking" the senior staff to forgo paychecks beginning the first of the year.
Another source disagreed, saying it was a "voluntary" move by senior staff members "so all of our resources could be targeted toward Florida...Our campaign is not living hand to mouth right now..."
The officials did not immediately provide a number of staffers who were subject to the new policy. Nor would campaign officials disclose the amount of money the campaign had in the bank.
“And in the end...the Post-Its and office supplies you take, aren't e-e-e-e-equal tooooo the dough....you'd make...”
I suppose it's kind of ironic that the imploding Giuliani candidacy at it's death-rattle moment so devastatingly mirrors the “Dot-Bomb” era that kicked countless New Yorkers in the teeth and out of the up-chucking Silicon Alley that Rudy presided over during his second, bed-shit term as Mayor.
But irony may not be the correct term here. Poetic Justice is I think a better one. Giuliani presided here in New York during the “Dot-Com” inflation and subsequent “Dot-Com” bust and during his time as Mayor rode those waves tighter than Swayze in “Point Break”. It just stands to reason that he would in effect pattern his presidential campaign on the snake-oil selling so prevalent during in his tenure in town.
Point A: Overhype a so-called need or demand for the public. (the need for an abusive “daddy” figure in a push-marketed 9-11 bogeyman-crazed country.)
Point B: Offer a bogus magic bullet that only you can provide that will meet this alleged desperate need of the people.
Point C: Garner buzz for said magic bullet via wild claims and over-the-top testimonials of shills and cronies.
Point D: Value of bullet soars to stratospheric levels thanks to “buzz”. Heat is generated. You become “the next big thing”.
Point E: Soon thereafter, people want to see just what the magic bullet is. They want details. Proof. All that is offered is more and more hype and selling of the “need”, which wears on the consumer.
Point F.: (as in fucked) With no “product” people's scrutiny increases and it is revealed that the person behind the hype is a shady charlatan with little more to him than bluster. The “company” is exposed as a scam, funding disappears and the low men on the totem pole who threw in their lot and busted their asses end up not getting paid.
Of course, as per the “Dot-Bomb” construct, the big boss plays the whole venture like a gambler, banking to the last on “that one big sale”, or “that one big presentation” he's spending every remaining dollar on to save the company's ass with all the futility of a Sin City loser madly chucking his last quarters from the cheap paper bucket, down into the slots' maw,...“because man..he just knows he's gonna hit now!” He's GOTTA hit now!
That “one big presentation”? Mmmmm...something tells me the ol' PowerPoint show better be in 3-D and have Industrial Light and Magic-grade effects in it. And an army of slick-handed “spokesmodels” administering special...“favors” to anyone he's trying to sell on this, 'cause well...damn...
Giuliani Sinks To Fourth In Florida
A new Datamar poll in Florida finds Mike Huckabee leading the Republican presidential primary race with 24% support, followed by Mitt Romney at 20%, Sen. John McCain at 18% and Rudy Giuliani now back in fourth place at 16%.
Two months ago, Giuliani led the GOP race. With little chance of winning the other early states, he has been campaigning nearly non-stop in Florida for several weeks.
The Florida primary is on January 29.
Oooh! We'll give out personalized “crank” radios!—that only get AM! Really cool 128 MB WMA-only music players with a glow-in-the-dark “RudyCo” printed on the side! Magenta fleece tops with “RudyCo” embroidered on 'em. In acid green! We'll give those out as “gifts” and swing people back to looking at RudyCo as...deep breath now—“The market driver in supra-incremental governance at the macro and micro interest points, filling the post mega-saster, adrena-critical, leadership void in the 21st Century marketplace. LLC” Gasp!
The Post has done a poll with a likely voter screen the last three times, this month, early last month and in early November. In early November Rudy was at 34%. A month later he was at 25%. Today he's at 15%. The Times meanwhile has Rudy dropping from 22% to 10% over the last month among Republican primary voters.
Every hallmark of a ”Dot-Bomb” implosion is present as we watch, many of us with popcorn—the “Pets.com-ming of the Giuliani campaign. Steve, God rest him, made his first mark writing about the idiocies of that painted-ballon-meets-diamond-needle era, and in going back through his writings, his words on companies doing the shitter-swirl ring so Goddamned true about these final chapters of RudyCo that it's just plain scary. Particularly when you think of Giuliani's staffers “voluntarily foregoing” (Shit! I just be-spittled my monitor again) their salaries. On that kind of worker “dedication”, Steve was terse and blunt.
“Loyalty is fine. But it has its limits, usually at the loss of your paycheck.”
Loyalty is a two-way street and always has been. Self-sacrifice is for the desperate and the dumb. No one should demand more of you than they are willing to ask of themselves.
Any boss which uses his position to play God and screw with you is not worthy of your labor.
So, let's get down and dirty with it, shall we? Rudy's people are not the “True Believers” of the fervent variety that man say...the Huckabee and Obama campaigns. A charismatic leader draws a different sort of worker. Rudy ain't charismatic. In fact, if you put him in a glass tank full of vipers and scorpions you'd still have trouble picking out which creature therein was “the charismatic one”. No, Rudy's people are pragmatic, misanthropic number-cruncher types directly reflecting their master. These people didn't fucking volunteer to eat Ramen and Fla-vor-aid for a month because of Giuliani's inspirational message. Dollars to donuts (something those staffers could use a bit of now) he dictated the terms and let it be known with the usual Giuliani blunt-force-trauma threat of career destruction that anyone mouthing off on the down-low about campaign troubles would be trashed forever. Remember what Rudy's company Giuliani Partners is into—Corporate Security Consulting. Do you think for so much as a second that his right-hand people—the ones still getting paid—aren't monitoring the calls and e-mails from the staffers reduced to Snickers™-bar lunches? Please.
But human nature is something you can't stop. As with any failing venture, be reasonably certain that there is talk amongst the rank-and-file about the upper-level's fuck-ups. They'll sit around and discuss it after hours over a couple of sixes of Pabst Blue Ribbon—as the Coronas and Stellas are now locked in a file cabinet in the campaign manager's office.
The talk will turn to “what bullshit this all was”. Suds'll flow and somebody'll interrupt the din of grousing with a “Hol' up, hol' up, hol' up, hol'...UP!”
“I just thought a' something. How the fuck can we be broke if we really didn't campaign anywhere yet? Huh? If we didn't compete in Iowa, and-and in New-fucking-Hampshire...and we're not gonna fuck with South Carolina...How the fuck can we possibly be broke?”
There will be knowing looks, a couple of “Yeahs” and then, someone else will bust the whole thing wide open.
“It's one of two things! We either never really had the money, which means the boss is a fuggin' liar...or...or, you're gonna love this—he spent it all on expensive, unnecessary BULLSHIT! Which would make him...”
“A fucking thief!”, someone else will finish.
Thoughts will turn to those expensive hotel stays:
Rudy Giuliani likes to travel in style.
That's what can be deduced by looking through Giuliani's campaign spending report, which shows the former New York mayor has routinely stayed in posh hotels while on the road, and seems to lack confidence in the quality of commercial air carriers.
Whether it was $2,010 at the Greenbrier Hotel in West Virginia, $4,034 at La Costa Resort and Spa in Carlsbad, Calif., or $5,370 at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco, the former mayor found himself top-notch lodging.
Water views seem to be a prized asset for Giuliani -- during an early trip to New Hampshire, the former new york mayor stayed at the Wentworth by the Sea resort, a AAA Four-diamond resort that advertises "postcard-perfect views of the waterfront" in Portsmouth.
He also spent more than $565,000 reimbursing various corporate supporters for private jet travel. The biggest chunk of those flights came via Elliott Asset Management, a New York hedge fund known by some as a "vulture fund," so-named because they buy debt cheaply from cash-starved countries, and then sue them for the full repayment. The head of the firm, Paul Singer, is in charge of Northeastern fundraising for Giuliani.
Giuliani spent another $800,000 on charter jet travel.
And there are the odd over-the-top perks extended to the boss's peeps when they travel...
Around the office of Giuliani Partners, it is said, Sunny Mindel, Giuliani's communications director, spoke of the need for providing an entire plane seat for Judith's "Baby Louis"—a reference to her Louis Vuitton handbag, which sits in solitary splendor on her travels.
People know that ain't a fucking coach seat.
And I'm fairly certain Rudy's people can read the papers too, so they're well aware of the reports of his shady-assed profligacy at the expense of others during his mayoralty.
“At the expense of others.”
Oh, I don't think I'm terribly off the mark in laying out that late-night bull session of Rudy staffers. I've seen it a million times myself. Experienced it, too. And if you haven't, you know someone who has.
A chair'll be kicked around. Someone will start to cry and have to be consoled. The IT guy present will offer to burn copies of Vista for anyone who needs it as a stick-it-to-the-man gift to everyone. They'll ask for XP instead—thanks. That which cannot be nailed down and traced will be “liberated”. Someone'll invariably jam the printer with a resumé after hours and damage the Goddamned machine trying to remove the incriminating paper. Fun, fun-fuckety-fun-fun-fun.
Now, some have in recent weeks suggested that I stop knee-dropping Rudy in the ribs while he's down. I will not. Years ago as a kid I studied self defense for three years. The one thing our instructor kept telling us about being caught up in a confrontation was that “there are no rules, no ring and no bell”. The object when in a fight is to disable your opponent to where he is no longer a threat. If he's still moving, you knee-drop him in the ribs. You take a fall ending with an elbow smash to his jaw.
“You don't knock him down. You knock him out.”
I think of my old instructor's words when dealing with the barely-twitching Rudy Giuliani campaign circa-January '08.
No twitching. No mercy. Only sweet, crumpled unconsciousness will do. We're going after all of the creepy wingnut candidates here...but Giuliani doesn't get a mercy breather...ever. We will chronicle and aid every nudge towards the end for his campaign because based on the evil he's already done—he richly deserves it, and for the sake of this country, we deserve to be spared from him.
So, dancing on his difficulties—you're damned right I will. Celebrate his slide into the sewer? Absolutely! Mercilessly mock his money woes? Hell yes—with every media mention it gets.
'Cause in spite of what the song says, “Money Ain't Too Tight To Mention”.