Business as Usual

Amy Goodman, host of Democracy Now! (best news show in America)


I'm as Mad as Hell and I'm not going to take this anymore!

Noam Chomsky, a scholar's scholar!

I don’t read the business section of the newspaper, in fact, I don’t read newspapers or watch television news at all. Why? Because I have long known that it is primarily propaganda. And this is why it cracks me up when I hear people proclaim “they want to be informed.” I should qualify my statement, I do watch & read the “alternative news” e.g. Democracy Now, Common Dreams, The Nation, Harper’s, the Utne Reader, etc. And I never cease to be amazed at the hubris of corporate America. Their greed and their gall (bold, impudent behavior) is truly astounding. The daily headlines on Democracy Now blow me away and I ask myself again and again, how much more blatant do they have to be before people wake up and say, “I’m as mad as Hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore!” (movie, “Network”) Moreover, the corporate crooks & their media lapdogs, ad nauseam excuse/cover of “oh, it’s just a few rotten apples,” is so transparently false that only a fool could believe it. If I had just 1% of Noam Chomsky’s drive & dedication, I would compile a record of corporate America’s crimes for say, my lifetime, but my predilection is to highlight the big picture and to be as succinct as possible because I know that most Americans have a very limited attention span. No, I don’t mean to sound condescending, I’m simply being honest and pointing out the fact that due to our suckling at the television teat from birth to death, our critical & analytical thinking abilities have atrophied considerably.

By the way, I should confess that not reading/watching the “mainstream media” is not smart because we should know what the propagandists/indoctrinators are up to if we are to defeat them. I simply don’t have the intellectual/emotional stamina to do more. Okay, where to begin? Perhaps with the personal? I have been laughed at, mocked, ridiculed, even lost girlfriends over the course of my life because I’m not “ambitious” enough. I fear that even my own son believes me to be a failure? This has cut me deeply but it wasn’t that I made a conscious decision to not be “ambitious,” but rather, my character simply won’t allow me to live a lie or ignore for long, the values I believe in. It’s been my experience that most people I have met or known, would probably define ambition as synonymous with the drive to make as much money as possible i.e. material wealth.

Actually, ambition is defined as “a strong desire to do or achieve something, typically requiring determination and hard work.” And this is why it really stings me when people think I’m not ambitious. It’s like they’re saying I’m lazy or not able to be “successful.” If I were truly lazy, why have I spent the last 30 or more years, reading thousands of books, making copious notes in the blank pages of them, taking 14 years to earn my Bachelor’s degree in English Literature, traveling to Europe nine times, watching, listening, recording alternative news, documentaries, etc.? When I first started attending community college at the age of 19, I had no idea of what I wanted to study and a step-dad at the time, suggested I study business. I thought, ‘what the Hell?’ and took several courses in accounting, retailing, salesmanship, introduction to business, small business management, etc. but these classes were far from intellectually stimulating. It occurred to me that the only necessary ingredient to “succeed in business,” was greed.

Rod Serling

I’ve wanted to be a writer ever since I took a writing test in the Reader’s Digest magazine at the age of about seven. It was sponsored by Rod Serling and when they told me that I had the potential, my imagination blossomed. Kids in school used to love hearing my stories read out loud by the teacher, and a few friends over the years have also told me they liked my writing. And I have struggled with my inner demons, who have tried their best to discourage me, all my life. I write because I must and because I care deeply about humanity, beauty, truth, & justice. In other words, don’t you dare accuse me of being lazy or not capable of “success,” because I have written over 1,850 pages of a major project I’m working on and dozens of short stories, and countless essays, etc. over the years. I am writing this essay not because I’m lazy or trying to make excuses for not being materially successful, but rather, because I have always been a sort of sentinel, looking out for & trying to protect the weak & the vulnerable. I’ve hated bullies, with a passion, my whole life. And most of the fights I’ve been in, have been with bullies. Moreover, the corporate, government, & military criminals I write about, are the world’s biggest & most dangerous bullies.

I detest and despise bullies to the marrow of my bones. Maybe it’s due to the teasing & torment I experienced as a young boy? I have what’s called a ‘lazy eye,’ and when I played sports as I grew, after a couple of hours, my right eye would turn inwards like I was cross-eyed and kids were cruel in their teasing & laughter. Perhaps my hatred of bullies also stems from what an aunt told me? She said that my first step-dad would beat me severely before I was even a year old. All I know is that I have dove into gangs of bullies beating on a single guy and my rage is ugly and frightening to me. So when I see all the pain, misery, suffering, & death caused by the corporate, government, & military bullies, that primordial hate rises up in me again & again.

Howard Zinn "A People's History of the United States" (the true history of America)

I was taught in elementary school, junior high school, & in high school that America was a nation dedicated to defending the people of the world who were oppressed by cruel dictators. We are the champions of freedom & democracy is drilled into every student in our public education system. Well, for those of you who may still be believers in these myths, sorry but it’s all a lie. It’s a grand betrayal and their (the 1% or less who own America) simple scheme is to keep us ignorant, paying our taxes, & buying their crap products. Yeah, you may be thinking, here’s another ‘conspiracy nut,’ but you’d be wrong. Here’s just a brief list of the countless examples of how we have been screwed, ripped-off, & died for the wealth & privilege of the low-lives glorified on television and in the press.

the Corporatocracy (Bernanke, Paulson, Greenspan) aka Crime Lords

part of "the cost of doing business" with BP & the oil spill that we paid for but they didn't

Before I get started, keep in mind as you read my words, is this a country i.e. the values & principles we were taught that the United States represents, you or any American should fight for, be maimed for, die for, or pay taxes to? Okay, let’s return to the “few rotten apples,” mantra excuse from the corporate crocodile class. If it were just a few rotten apples, then why is there a steady stream of ‘rotten apples?’ No, my imaginary reader, these corporate crimes are not an aberration but the norm. All you have to do is check out some websites like Corporate Watch to see their track record & what you’ll notice is that the same corporations keep on committing the same crimes again and again. They get a slap on the wrist in terms of the miniscule fines they are ordered to pay, and then go right back to business as usual. Breaking the law is standard business practice and when they occasionally get caught i.e. when a politician wants to dupe the public into believing he/she cares about law & order, and they are fined, they shrug it off as part of the cost of doing business. 

When you or I break a law, our lawyers advise us to admit our guilt & wrongdoing before the judge. We are lectured, punished, & labeled a criminal. But if you’re a big corporation, you pay a small fine relative to the profits you made from your illegal & immoral activities, your license to do business is not revoked, you continue to be given contracts from the U.S. government, and you aren’t even forced to admit/plead guilty in a court of law and your corporation’s record doesn’t even show a conviction. How can this be you may ask? Quite simply, it’s because the laws are written by lawyers and the government is overwhelmingly made up of lawyers who are paid handsomely with huge salaries and bribes (donations to their political campaigns) by the same corporate criminals. Moreover, the legal branches of our government starting with the attorney general’s office, the F.B.I., etc. choose and/or are told who to prosecute and who to ignore when it comes to enforcing our “laws.”trailer of very important documentary

For example, take the common practice of drunk driving violations. Cops are notorious drunkards but how often are they arrested for drunk driving. A cop in Portland told me once that half the cops in Portland drive drunk. But when a cop is stopped by a fellow officer for driving drunk, they are either allowed to drive home drunk or are given a ride home. Judges, lawyers, firemen, doctors, the wealthy, etc. are routinely allowed to endanger others’ lives by driving under the influence but if you or I do so, we are chastised and punished as immoral & indifferent to the dangers we pose to the public. You have heard the old saying, ‘it’s not what you know but who you know that matters,’ I’m sure. Well, it’s so true. This is justice in America. A drunk driving conviction can ruin your life and once you’ve gotten one, it continues to haunt you and it is as difficult as Hell to get back on your feet once again. Is this too naïve of me to ask why isn’t it simply the same for everybody i.e. if you drive drunk, you are punished the same as everyone else who drives drunk?

John Perkins, mindboggling insights into U.S. acts of state terror

Another example of the hypocrisy of America’s respect for ‘law & order’ is the crime of bribery, which we love to mock poorer countries such as Mexico for. “American” and another brilliant & insightful film on Corporate abuses foreign corporations routinely bribe our “representatives” with campaign contributions, luxurious vacations, expensive cars & homes, high-class hookers, etc. to look the other way regarding their crimes, to award them sweetheart contracts, to pass a law that favors them, etc. and this is considered as simply part of the cost of doing business. And again, the criminals in their penthouse suites & executive offices are given a pass but what happens to us if we offered a cop a bribe to not write us a ticket for example?

More importantly, mull this over, John Perkins, who wrote Confessions of an Economic Hit Man laid out the basic modus operandi of corporate crime lords in his book. In a nutshell, his job was to wine & dine heads of state in developing countries. Through an intricate network of contacts in the World Bank, The International Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organization, etc., Perkins & others first attempt to bribe presidents, prime ministers, etc. to allow powerful corporations a monopoly on utilities, oil leases, mining, etc. in their country. And if bribery doesn’t work, the ‘jackals’ (the assassins) are sent in & if the assassins fail to kill the uncooperative official, the U.S. military is sent in under the pretext of defending democracy and other such bullshit propaganda. Are you aware of the fact that the first name given to our undeclared war on Iraq was dubbed Operation Iraqi Liberation but they realized that the initials for this “operation” were O.I.L. and this was a bit too revealing so they changed it to Operation Iraqi Freedom? I know, more conspiratorial ranting & raving you may be thinking so, let me continue to present my case.

Let me preface this part of my essay by pointing out that I’m not a lawyer and am simply pointing out how I’d classify the various “crimes” committed by our government & many large corporations here in the land of “law & order” where the reptilian class love to boast of their respect for the sanctity of America’s values & principles. These headlines were all culled from the headlines of Democracy Now! (a daily alternative news hour that will open your eyes in contrast to the corporate, media lap dogs who seek to blind us to the truth of their actions.) I simply started with headlines dated August 12th, 2010 and worked my way back for a couple of months.

1) Aug. 12- Wells Fargo ordered to repay customers for overdraft fees (fraud)
2) 8/12- Story-‘Gaming the System’ –Study details how big banks are avoiding lending obligations under ‘Community Reinvestments Act’ (fraud, criminal contempt of court, conspiracy, perjury)
3) 8/11 –Democrats cut $12 billion in food stamp funding (fraud, child abuse, bribery, conspiracy, domestic violence, perjury, theft)
4) 8/3 –Countrywide Financial to pay $600 million settlement but doesn’t have to admit any wrongdoing (bribery, aiding & abetting, conspiracy, embezzlement, fraud, insurance fraud, perjury, racketeering, robbery, theft/larceny)
5) 8/2 –Prudential & Met Life are being probed for defrauding families of dead soldiers (treason, conspiracy, embezzlement, forgery, fraud, insurance fraud, perjury, racketeering, robbery, theft/fraud)
6) 7/30 –U.S. moves to increase arms exports (aiding & abetting/accessory, fraud, hate crimes, manslaughter-involuntary, murder-second degree, prostitution, racketeering, conspiracy)
7) 7/30 – GOP blocks small business loan fund (perjury, aiding & abetting/accessory, bribery, conspiracy, domestic violence, extortion, fraud, robbery, theft/larceny)
8) 7/30 – House rejects bill to help sick Ground Zero workers (treason, prostitution, aiding & abetting, conspiracy, domestic violence, embezzlement, extortion, forgery, fraud, hate crimes, identity theft, insurance fraud, manslaughter-involuntary, murder-second degree, perjury, racketeering, rape, robbery, theft)
9) 7/30 –Citigroup to pay $75m to settle subprime mortgage claims & two of its top executives pay (mere) $180,000 in fines [how much do you think Citigroup profited from their criminal actions?] (bribery, computer crime, conspiracy, domestic violence, embezzlement, extortion, forgery, fraud, insurance fraud, hate crimes, money laundering, perjury, prostitution, pyramid schemes, racketeering, robbery, stalking, statutory rape, tax evasion, telemarketing fraud, theft/larceny)
10) 7/29 –Pentagon can’t account for $9 billion taken from Iraq oil revenues for reconstruction (incompetence on massive scale, aiding & abetting/accessory, bribery, computer crime, conspiracy, embezzlement, extortion, forgery, fraud, identity theft, money laundering, perjury, prostitution, pyramid schemes, racketeering, rape, robbery, tax evasion, theft/larceny, wire fraud, TREASON)
11) 7/28-House votes to fund wars in Iraq & Afghanistan (treason, aiding & abetting/accessory, assault/battery, bribery, burglary, conspiracy, criminal contempt of court, disturbing the peace, drug cultivation & manufacturing, embezzlement, extortion, forgery, fraud, harassment, hate crimes, kidnapping, manslaughter:voluntary, money laundering, murder:first degree & second degree, perjury, pyramid schemes, racketeering, rape, robbery, sexual assault, shoplifting, stalking, tax evasion, theft)
12) BP seeks $10 billion tax break to cover spill expenses (bribery, conspiracy, domestic violence, embezzlement, extortion, forgery, fraud, insurance fraud, environmental crimes, manslaughter-involuntary, murder-second degree, perjury, prostitution, racketeering, rape, robbery, tax evasion/fraud, theft/larceny, gross incompetence)
13) 7/28-Republicans block campaign finance law (treason, aiding & abetting/accessory, assault/battery, bribery, burglary, child abuse, conspiracy, criminal contempt of court, disturbing the peace, domestic violence, embezzlement, extortion, forgery, fraud, harassment, hate crimes, identity theft, kidnapping, manslaughter-voluntary & involuntary, money laundering, murder-first & second degree, perjury, prostitution, pyramid schemes, racketeering, rape, robbery, shoplifting, tax evasion/fraud, telemarketing fraud, theft/larceny)
14) 7/27-BP CEO steps down but with fantastic compensation packet (incompetence on a grand scale, malicious & willful crimes against humanity-my wording, aiding & abetting/accessory, bribery, conspiracy, domestic violence, embezzlement, extortion, forgery, fraud, insurance fraud, manslaughter-involuntary, murder-second degree, perjury, prostitution, pyramid schemes, racketeering, rape, robbery, tax evasion, theft)
15) 7/27-BP fails to set up $20 billion compensation fund (criminal contempt of court, aiding & abetting/accessory, bribery, conspiracy, domestic violence, embezzlement, extortion, forgery, fraud, hate crimes, insurance fraud, perjury, probation violation, pyramid schemes, racketeering, rape, robbery, tax evasion, theft, treason)
16) 7/23-Report; Bailed out banks paid out $1.6 billion in excessive bonuses (treason, aiding & abetting/accessory, assault/battery, bribery, burglary, child abuse, computer crime, conspiracy, criminal contempt of court, domestic violence, embezzlement, extortion, forgery, fraud, harassment, hate crimes, manslaughter-involuntary, money laundering, murder-second degree, perjury, prostitution, pyramid schemes, racketeering, rape, robbery, stalking, statutory rape, tax evasion, telemarketing fraud, theft/larceny, wire fraud)
17)  Money that’s what I want by The Flying Lizards

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