There are at least three people in the news this week we shouldn’t waste too much sympathy on. The first of them is Kim Kardashian. The robbers, who forced their way into the $16,000 a night Paris apartment she was occupying, are reported to have made off with $10 million in jewels, including a diamond ring worth $4 million.
Frankly, it’s almost an obscenity to own that much in jewelry. To spend $4 million on one diamond ring is disgraceful, as is the $53 million she apparently ‘acquired’ (to suggest ‘earned’ seems inappropriate) last year as the highest paid “celebrity” reality television “personality”.
Is it not time to realise that reality TV was invented as a way of producing cheap programming: more profit for the media companies and inferior entertainment for the masses? It was never intended to pay contestants huge sums. But then, no-one really expected such low-end television would be so popular. The obsession with so-called ‘celebrities’ is a strange quirk of the human race.
No doubt the jewels were well insured.
Wells Fargo Chief Executive, John Stumpf, was obviously stumpfified this week as he now has to relinquish $41 million in bonuses after his bank defrauded customers by opening two million non-existent accounts in their names and charging them for it. That’s such a shame for Mister Stumpf as his salary is a mere $19.3 million. How will he survive?
According to California’s treasurer John Chiang:
“Wells Fargo’s fleecing of its customers by opening fraudulent accounts for the purpose of extracting millions in illegal fees demonstrates, at best, a reckless lack of institutional control and, at worst, a culture which actively promotes wanton greed.”
Wrong, Mister Chiang, at best it’s a whole cartload of criminal offences for which Mister Stumpf, and others associated with the racket, should go to jail for a very long time. But, of course, they won’t because the very rich only do jail time if they rob other very rich people – as per Bernie Madoff. Robbing the less-well-off is only deserving of a slap on the wrist for getting caught.
We should definitely not feel sorry for Mister John Stumpf.
Finally, let’s purge any positive feelings we may hold for the latest reincarnation of Margaret Thatcher (or, could it be Mother Theresa?) British Prime Minister, Theresa May, who this week struggles to persuade the British people that all will be well now that she’s named the date of the divorce from Europe. Sadly, that statement’s caused the pound to sink to its lowest for thirty years, though not everyone’s complaining:
Big companies like BP, GSK, Rio Tinto et al make most of their money in dollars but report their profits in pounds. As the pound falls to its lowest level against the dollar for 31 years, those dollar profits are worth more in pound terms. A goldilocks scenario for big multinationals headquartered and listed in the UK…”
Yet again the corporates make it big. We can, however, feel much sympathy for the millions of U.K. pensioners living abroad whose fixed income pensions have been shrinking drastically following the Brexit result, and the consequent actions of the British government.
It’s just one more case of the rich getting richer and….well, you know the rest.
Theresa May was supposedly a supporter of the U.K. remaining in the E.U., but recent revelations show that was not necessarily the case:
Former PM David Cameron felt “badly let down” by Theresa May during the EU referendum campaign, his former director of communications has said…in a book – ‘Unleashing Demons: The Inside Story Of Brexit’.
Sir Craig Oliver said the then home secretary failed to back the Remain campaign 13 times and was regarded by some as “an enemy agent”…
Sir Craig says Mrs May only came “off the fence” in favour of Remain after Mr Cameron became “visibly wound up” and gave her a dressing down over the telephone.
“Amid the murder and betrayal of the campaign, one figure stayed very still at the centre of it all – Theresa May. Now she is the last one standing,” wrote Sir Craig, who was Mr Cameron’s director of communications for five years.
Sir Craig’s book suggests Mr Cameron was left uncertain over whether Mrs May favoured staying in the European Union. He said Mrs May was referred to dismissively by aides as “submarine May” during the campaign.
It turns out that ‘submarine May’ misled the British people into believing she was part of the ‘Remain’ group, when in truth she was in favour of Brexit. It explains why those Brexit politicians hopeful of grabbing the top job were so happy to step aside and let May walk into number ten Downing Street unopposed. And, why her cabinet is now almost totally composed of ‘Brexiteers’.
We should not waste sympathy on deceitful Theresa May, or John Stumpf, or Kim Kardashian. Each has gained wealth and power at the expense of ordinary folk. They don’t need our sympathy and neither would they bother to ask it from those they consider of a much lower order than themselves.
Perhaps she should instead consider why we, as human beings, have a need to raise such individuals to a status they don’t deserve; why we allow their domination of news headlines and media attention. It might just teach us something about ourselves.
 “Kim Kardashian West robbed of millions by Paris gunmen” BBC, October 3rd 2016
 “Wells Fargo chief forfeits $41m amid corruption probe” BBC, September 28th 2016
 “Why rising shares aren’t a sign of joy” BBC, October 4th 2016
 “David Cameron ‘let down’ by Theresa May, says former PM aide” BBC, September 25th 2016