Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Bad Bechtel

I spent the first three days this week working in San Francisco's Financial District for a health insurance corporation.

The job was to provide "Quality Assurance" on a revamped consumer website, and all I can assure you is that insurance companies should be out of the health care industry altogether. They are parisitical in the extreme, draining money, time and resources from actual health care providers and patients.

The proposed site that I am proofreading is so extraordinarily baroque that I am starting to become amused, but the idea of actually filling it out for real as a consumer also strikes me as absurd. It would take half a day to fill out and for anybody less sophisticated than the extremely web-savvy, the site would be impossible to navigate.

The company, which shall remain nameless, has offices in the Bechtel Building on 50 Beale Street across from the PG&E Headquarters.

Next door to the building is a plaza with foliage, benches and spindly trees.

A "Bechtel" train car sits at the back of the plaza that has a small history museum inside.

In the plaza, there is a tall middle-aged man of undetermined ethnicity who is the security guard in front of the ramp going to the underground garage. He stands at the entrance from 5 a.m. to 10 a.m., then sits in the train from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

He wanted to know why I was taking the photos, and he told me in the politest way that he was supposed to tell me that taking photos of the Bechtel Building was not encouraged. "Why is that?" I asked him. "Well, after 9/11 and everything..." "Oh, please, the Bechtels probably engineered it, they've done things equally as evil..." I replied in a bantering tone, and he burst into laughter.

The two greatest sites for information that I know of on the internet are, which is an encyclopedia about movies, and which is the encyclopedia of one's dreams, with concise, informative essays that contain links galore to continue searching. Click here to get to Wikipedia's fine essay on the Bechtel Corporation.

The cliche about San Francisco and the Bay Area is that it is a leftist, hippie heaven when in reality some of the most reactionary people in the world happily make their headquarters here.

The family company grew large during the Hoover Dam project on the Colorado River.

After building oil pipelines to nowhere in Alaska, as part of World War II graft (a warmup for Iraq)...

...they joined somebody named John McCone and really got into the oil business, building refineries and everything that went with them.

Their latest "global footprint" was trying to take over the water system of a small city in Bolivia which fought back in riots when their rates tripled overnight. Now Bechtel's subsidiary is suing Bolivia for $25 million. Bring on the Bechtel Apocalypse! Where Private Enterprise Does It Better Than Government!


Kit Stolz said...

Bechtel, Lawrence Livermore, the Bohemian Club...hmmm. Now that you mention it...

Houston said...

I worked with the Bechtel boys (and girls) on the Trans-Alaska Pipeline back in the 70s of the last century. My contractor was busted for illegal shortcuts in code and procedure. Bechtel, the real culprit, held its nose and pointed at us like we were the ones who farted. Damn, if it weren't for Halliburton, they wouldn't have any competition for the most evil force in the world today.

the Witch said...