Hurricane Harvey and Progressive Capitalists

It’s all so neat and tidy. We have our heroes -- the people and entities who consistently do the right thing and uphold the ideals we adhere to so strongly. Then there are the villains, those individuals, politicians, and organizations who will never -- under any circumstances -- be credited with doing the right thing by the opposing side.

The president is a constant hero/villain, depending on one’s vantage point. Starting with Bill Clinton in 1992, every president since has been lionized or vilified to a far greater degree than previous presidents. Even Ronald Reagan -- hated by the liberal press and the hard-core left -- was regarded warmly for his comforting, fatherly national address following the Challenger disaster in January 1986, and he was grudgingly accorded a smidgen of respect by his opponents for his overall handling of the economy and our then-Cold War adversary, the USSR.

Similarly, JFK was respected and admired by people all along the political spectrum, allies and opponents alike. The general public felt he’d saved us from nuclear war with the Soviets in the Cuban Missile Crisis (although this may be historically inaccurate) and the outpouring of public grief and affection from all corners following his assassination in November 1963 would never be matched today. The extent to which President Trump engenders criticism and outright loathing among his critics could be summed up by this humorous, farcical headline that might appear in the liberal press the morning after Trump personally discovers the cure for cancer:

“Trump ignores diabetes sufferers.”

Today, it seems that most figures are regarded as either all hero or all villain. There’s very little in-between.

However, most things aren’t that clear cut.  Many recent and current heroes are not all as pure as the driven snow.

Hurricane Harvey drives this point home pretty strongly. A consistent, reliable villain for progressives is Corporate America, with their relentless drive for profits, their supposed disregard for the environment and their exploitation of workers (especially women, minorities and those with gender-identity issues), relegating them to underpaid positions with no real opportunity for advancement. To progressives, capitalism as practiced by our corporations is a major scourge on our culture and civilized society; there is little that these companies do right in their eyes.

Yet Corporate American has stepped up to a huge degree in the aftermath of Harvey’s devastation in a very short period of time.

The leading contributor at this point is Walmart, one of the biggest boogiemen on the progressives’ list of corporate scoundrels. Walmart is unfailingly held up by the Left as an example of everything that is wrong, greedy, uncaring and exploitive of our big for-profit institutions. How can they possibly be the leading contributor to the disaster relief effort?

But even more fascinating is the number 3 name on that list, Apple. Everyone knows Apple -- not only are they the most well-known consumer brand in the world, they have a reputation for social consciousness, for being a hip, with-it, aware company, a company with a heart, a company that “gets it.” Their CEO, Tim Cook, is a frequent and very public critic of President Trump and he (Cook) is well-known to be a homosexual. Apple checks every liberal bone fide there is, right down the line. If there is a profitable American corporate giant that even a progressive could love, then Apple is it.

Profitable is the word. Apple was nearly bankrupt and forgotten in the late 1990s and the overwhelming market dominance of the “Wintel” (Windows/Intel) computing platform had nearly driven Apple out of business. With nothing to lose, Apple threw a marketing Hail Mary and introduced the iMac, a compact egg-shaped computer in a translucent case, available in multiple colors. Its main USP (Unique Selling Proposition) was its ability to connect to the internet very quickly, in only two steps after unpacking. The demand for quick access to the Internet was exploding in the late-90s and Apple recognized this innate desire among the computer-user market faster and better than any other company. So great was the iMac’s competitive advantage in achieving a quick Internet connection that they leveraged that aspect of the iMac’s performance into a characteristically-memorable Apple advertising theme: “There is no step three!”

The iMac staved of Apple’s imminent demise and gave them the breathing room they needed to develop and introduce a new wave of astonishingly successful products.  In the early 2000s, Apple introduced the iPod line of portable mp3 music players. Instead of bulky, skip-prone portable cassette tape and CD players, people could now enjoy a high-quality skip-free portable music player a fraction of the size and weight of previous mechanical transport-based players, with immensely greater song storage capacity to boot.

The iPod revolutionized personal portable entertainment and Apple sold 100’s of millions of them. The iPhone followed in 2007 and another smash success, the first-ever “tablet,” the iPad, debuted in 2010. Concurrent with these introductions, Apple continually updated and refined its line of desktop and laptop computers, endowing them with better performance, greater cross-platform (PC-to-Mac) compatibility, bigger screen sizes, lighter weight and longer battery life.

The upshot of all this is that Apple is today perhaps the most well-known and profitable consumer products company in the world. It’s estimated that their cash stockpile is currently in excess of 260 billion dollars -- far greater than most countries! -- and it continues to grow.

The entire Hurricane Harvey cleanup/rebuilding/replacement effort is estimated to be in the mid-upper double-digit billion-dollar range over the next decade or so. Hurricane Irma is following soon, and there are more to come. Apple could easily pay for the entire Harvey recovery operation, just off the interest on their cash alone. If Tim Cook really wanted to be a hero, he could “write a check,” so to speak, for everything. Tomorrow. Viewed in that light, Apple’s paltry $2 million Hurricane Harvey donation thus far is worse than villainous -- it’s downright deplorable.

It’s all so neat and tidy. We have our heroes -- the people and entities who consistently do the right thing and uphold the ideals we adhere to so strongly. Then there are the villains, those individuals, politicians, and organizations who will never -- under any circumstances -- be credited with doing the right thing by the opposing side.

The president is a constant hero/villain, depending on one’s vantage point. Starting with Bill Clinton in 1992, every president since has been lionized or vilified to a far greater degree than previous presidents. Even Ronald Reagan -- hated by the liberal press and the hard-core left -- was regarded warmly for his comforting, fatherly national address following the Challenger disaster in January 1986, and he was grudgingly accorded a smidgen of respect by his opponents for his overall handling of the economy and our then-Cold War adversary, the USSR.

Similarly, JFK was respected and admired by people all along the political spectrum, allies and opponents alike. The general public felt he’d saved us from nuclear war with the Soviets in the Cuban Missile Crisis (although this may be historically inaccurate) and the outpouring of public grief and affection from all corners following his assassination in November 1963 would never be matched today. The extent to which President Trump engenders criticism and outright loathing among his critics could be summed up by this humorous, farcical headline that might appear in the liberal press the morning after Trump personally discovers the cure for cancer:

“Trump ignores diabetes sufferers.”

Today, it seems that most figures are regarded as either all hero or all villain. There’s very little in-between.

However, most things aren’t that clear cut.  Many recent and current heroes are not all as pure as the driven snow.

Hurricane Harvey drives this point home pretty strongly. A consistent, reliable villain for progressives is Corporate America, with their relentless drive for profits, their supposed disregard for the environment and their exploitation of workers (especially women, minorities and those with gender-identity issues), relegating them to underpaid positions with no real opportunity for advancement. To progressives, capitalism as practiced by our corporations is a major scourge on our culture and civilized society; there is little that these companies do right in their eyes.

Yet Corporate American has stepped up to a huge degree in the aftermath of Harvey’s devastation in a very short period of time.

The leading contributor at this point is Walmart, one of the biggest boogiemen on the progressives’ list of corporate scoundrels. Walmart is unfailingly held up by the Left as an example of everything that is wrong, greedy, uncaring and exploitive of our big for-profit institutions. How can they possibly be the leading contributor to the disaster relief effort?

But even more fascinating is the number 3 name on that list, Apple. Everyone knows Apple -- not only are they the most well-known consumer brand in the world, they have a reputation for social consciousness, for being a hip, with-it, aware company, a company with a heart, a company that “gets it.” Their CEO, Tim Cook, is a frequent and very public critic of President Trump and he (Cook) is well-known to be a homosexual. Apple checks every liberal bone fide there is, right down the line. If there is a profitable American corporate giant that even a progressive could love, then Apple is it.

Profitable is the word. Apple was nearly bankrupt and forgotten in the late 1990s and the overwhelming market dominance of the “Wintel” (Windows/Intel) computing platform had nearly driven Apple out of business. With nothing to lose, Apple threw a marketing Hail Mary and introduced the iMac, a compact egg-shaped computer in a translucent case, available in multiple colors. Its main USP (Unique Selling Proposition) was its ability to connect to the internet very quickly, in only two steps after unpacking. The demand for quick access to the Internet was exploding in the late-90s and Apple recognized this innate desire among the computer-user market faster and better than any other company. So great was the iMac’s competitive advantage in achieving a quick Internet connection that they leveraged that aspect of the iMac’s performance into a characteristically-memorable Apple advertising theme: “There is no step three!”

The iMac staved of Apple’s imminent demise and gave them the breathing room they needed to develop and introduce a new wave of astonishingly successful products.  In the early 2000s, Apple introduced the iPod line of portable mp3 music players. Instead of bulky, skip-prone portable cassette tape and CD players, people could now enjoy a high-quality skip-free portable music player a fraction of the size and weight of previous mechanical transport-based players, with immensely greater song storage capacity to boot.

The iPod revolutionized personal portable entertainment and Apple sold 100’s of millions of them. The iPhone followed in 2007 and another smash success, the first-ever “tablet,” the iPad, debuted in 2010. Concurrent with these introductions, Apple continually updated and refined its line of desktop and laptop computers, endowing them with better performance, greater cross-platform (PC-to-Mac) compatibility, bigger screen sizes, lighter weight and longer battery life.

The upshot of all this is that Apple is today perhaps the most well-known and profitable consumer products company in the world. It’s estimated that their cash stockpile is currently in excess of 260 billion dollars -- far greater than most countries! -- and it continues to grow.

The entire Hurricane Harvey cleanup/rebuilding/replacement effort is estimated to be in the mid-upper double-digit billion-dollar range over the next decade or so. Hurricane Irma is following soon, and there are more to come. Apple could easily pay for the entire Harvey recovery operation, just off the interest on their cash alone. If Tim Cook really wanted to be a hero, he could “write a check,” so to speak, for everything. Tomorrow. Viewed in that light, Apple’s paltry $2 million Hurricane Harvey donation thus far is worse than villainous -- it’s downright deplorable.

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