Al Gore Endorses Steve Jobs 100%
Al Gore (Apple Board member) and Apple’s audit committee stated they were sure any “irregularities” with Jobs’ options (fraud and lying) had been completely corrected and they had total confidence Steve could continue to be Knight of Apple, warrior of all things not Microsoft, defender of real creative and community code.
Since Al Gore is an almost mythical demi-god in my mind this is an uncomfortable morning for me. I got the unholy shit beat out of me at Kos’s place for my last piece on Jobs’ options from people I respect, and now Al says all is well. I still say this is fraud and lying, and I do not trust a word of Apple’s audit committee. I never assume at face value anything an American corporation says.
One should note I never said Jobs should be fired or prosecuted. I said options as a form of compensation should be abolished, for Jobs is just the latest in an extremely long list of American corporate officers to have been ensnared by simply irresistible temptations of fraud and fortune, with then the inevitable lying to cover it up.
I don’t buy for a microsecond Apple’s statement that Jobs “may have” fixed the back-dating but was “unaware of the accounting implications.” In English, this deliberately confusing text means Jobs back-dated his options but didn’t know it would gain him millions of dollars personally. Bullshit.
The unmitigated arrogance that we’re supposed to accept statements like that simply says to me Apple knows there’s no way the Feds can prosecute from what they found, so they can say anything they like. Okay.
The Washington Post deliberately obscures the story in with terrible, asinine text and a grossly incomplete timeline. “Backdating stock options is not illegal, but not disclosing the practice to investors or falsifying documents to cover it up may be a crime.”
Jesus Christ. A company can fill out an options form any way it likes, of course, but changing the issue date at a later time for monetary gain without telling anyone is fraud. In the course of that crime naturally lying about it or falsifying records is also a crime.
The grant at issue here is an astounding 7.5 million shares (the scope of vast fortune in these numbers is simply mind-boggling) after an equally stupefying grant of 10 million shares less than a year before! [The Washington Post story reports it at 10 million, while I previously stated it was 20. I apologize and regret the error.]
It’s missing in the Post’s timeline. Jobs got the vast fortune of capitalist kings with a 10 million share grant, but just eleven months later the share price was 41% lower—dear holy Jesus, a fortune rivaling Larry Ellison’s $700 million options payout was right there for the taking, so another grant was issued which has lead to all this falsification fuss. Al says it was all good and it’s cool with him. Okay.
It’s not okay with me. I was surprised in the reaction from my first piece that the incredible potential scope of monetary payout to Jobs was glibly accepted. Who the freak on earth ever needs more than ten million dollars in this world? The kind of vast wealth in Jobs’ grant creates a tiny segment of society with enormous power, which is extremely dangerous on a lot of levels, worth another story in of itself. When in fact fraud and lying occur to make this obscene level of wealth occur I get angry—as always, the rich and powerful play by a different set of rules and take away far too much of society’s share of wealth.
I would never get away with fraud and lying to a county prosecutor, it’d be bars for me, as it would be for most of us.
My hero of all time, Al Gore, however, says all is well. I think he’s wrong, so the mythical hero worship status he holds in my mind is up for some serious re-examination. Just the thought of this surprisingly hurts, however, and gives me a glimmer to the pain I caused for the obvious (likely justified) hero status many hold for Steve Jobs. I’m sorry about that, man.
Even though I think Jobs engaged in many levels of malfeasance here I could be wrong, so if it becomes totally obvious in the future I will own up to it and say so. I also was totally serious when I stated it had nothing to do with Apple or Jobs personally, if Al Gore had back-dated his options my reaction would have been precisely the same. I am sick to unholy god of corporations lying and committing accounting fraud so their CEO’s can get obscenely, unimaginably rich.
Yesterday I spent $1299 of my very, very hard-earned cash on a MacBook for my daughter. It seamlessly melds with her nanopod, dual-core, wifi, burner, mic, webcam, very light, drop dead gorgeous OS graphics. I am Windows/Unix, but for her time and place this was by far the best machine I found. I already have an issue, shockwave won’t run in Safari with the Intel chipset, and the user guide didn’t help. Bummer.