Vinson: Get Mr. Drysdale!

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How many readers are familiar with the name Rupert Murdoch?  I’ll guess less than 20 %.

I use a calculation of “20 %” because when I asked an eclectic mix of six people—different ethnicities, different age brackets, different eco-politico-socio backgrounds—only one of the six was even remotely close to identifying the “real”  Rupert Murdoch. Regarding the other five, responses ranged from “UFC fighter” to “that old rich man [Donald Sterling] who owns the Los Angeles Clippers” to “I don’t know.”

With a somewhat quizzical expression, one young fellow, however, did comment: “Ain’t he the guy who’s all over the news, and has something to do with CNN and Fox?”

“Keith” Rupert Murdoch, 83-years-old, hails from Australia and is a business tycoon of the highest order, more like a “world-class corporation on two legs,” to use an original quote.

Rupert Murdoch “rarely likes to be outdone, and his 80 billion dollar bid for Time Warner could trigger a new round of media mergers. . . . Time Warner has been the ultimate liberal establishment—East Coast and Hollywood—power bastion. Murdoch has been the insurgent, seeking not only to take power from the establishment but also to challenge its liberal bias.

“The eerie lack of protest last week to news that Murdoch had bid for Time Warner, from both his target and the greater media world—no yowls about Murdoch the defiler or Murdoch the right-wing monster out to amass more power—suggests he has won. Or that Time Warner has given up. . . . Murdoch, in the shadow of Time Warner and ever envious of it, built his own media company, combining print, movie studio and TV network” (reference: July 21, 2014 edition of USA Today, section B, pages 1-2).

Moving right along, how many readers are familiar with, have watched reruns of the popular TV sitcom The Beverly Hillbillies, which originally aired from 1962 through 1971? For those unaware, here’s a brief synopsis:
While hunting for food, impoverished mountaineer Jed “J.D.” Clampett accidentally fires into the ground and a stream of black oil, a.k.a. “Texas Tea,” spews upward.

“Well the first thing you know ol’ Jed’s a millionaire, Kinfolk said, ‘Jed move away from there’ Said, ‘Californy is the place you ought to be’ So they loaded up the truck and moved to Beverly. Hills, that is. Swimmin pools, movie stars” (lyrics to theme song for The Beverly Hillbillies TV show).

Now worth somewhere between 25 and 50 million dollars (depending on the episode), Jed moves his backwoods, non-educated family from the rugged mountains to lavish, movie-star-studded Beverly Hills, California. (NOTE: (There is ongoing speculation concerning from whence Jed and his family originally hailed: Missouri? Arkansas? Tennessee?) Jed entrusts his newly-found fortune with Milburn Drysdale, the greedy Beverly Hills banker who has no scruples in doing whatever necessary to keep Jed & clan happy and living in Beverly Hills, thus keeping Jed’s millions in Drysdale’s Commerce Bank of Beverly Hills.

Putting things in perspective, 25 – 50 million dollars was a heap of money back in the early ‘60s – early ‘70s. On one episode of The Beverly Hillbillies, Jed tells banker Drysdale that he/Jed wants to see and count his/Jed’s money. Banker Drysdale, of course, attempts to explain to  Jed that such a count is impossible, due to limited hard cash on hand, a variety of investments etc. Jed is somewhat suspicious and upset when Drysdale can’t produce Jed’s money on the spot.

My point is: Offering “billions” to buy out a major corporation is commonplace these days . . .  far too “common” for my comfort! One is forced to ask: Is there adequate “security” to back such monetary transactions?

Kudos to Rupert Murdoch for being the ambitious tycoon he is. And though this might sound a bit cornfed, like Jed Clampett, I’d like to see the banker count out a few million in “hard cash” before someone offers “billions” to buy out a business.

You must admit, billion-dollar buyouts do cause one to question the “true state” of our world economy.

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Mike Vinson
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