There’s greed and there’s stupidity...

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These past few weeks, the media have reported on stories which highlight just what kind of world we are living in, and to that end, what kind of world we have created. I never saw anything funny that wasn’t terrible. If it causes pain, it’s funny; if it doesn’t, it isn’t. I’ve tried to hide the pain with embarrassment for myself and mankind, but the more I try to look away, the more ashamed I get. So I read these news stories with tears in my eyes.

The first story is about the RCMP officer who led the national security unit that provided false information about Maher Arar to U.S. authorities. He has been promoted to the rank of assistant commissioner of the RCMP. Maher Arar received a settlement amounting to $10.5 million in compensation for the ordeal, and this federal employee gets promoted.

How about Pope Benedict? After showing little to no understanding let alone the sensitivity it takes to lead in the 21st century, remarked that AIDS cannot be overcome through the distribution of condoms, it only aggravates the problem.” If that wasn’t good enough, His Holiness confirms he still holds firm that “abortion, even to save a mother’s life, is not a good health practice.”

Hey, what do you think about the modern-day Poster Boy of Greed, Bernie Madoff? Isn’t he just a tip of the shallow spiritual water of corporate America, which clearly represents the primary rule of 21st-century business success—loyalty to yourself? Loyalty to clients and employees is alright—as a theory. The truth is that loyalty only matters to yourself. Screw the rest, seems to be Corporate Capitalism, which teaches us to strive to screw anyone so you can get ahead, family, friends, neighbours, and even those you don’t like.

Thomas Paley wrote, “One step above the sublime makes the ridiculous and one step about the ridiculous makes the sublime again,” and no truer words have been written to explain corporation greed. Nortel Networks Corp. got to pay—legally—its top mangers $7.3 million U.S. even as thousands of long-serving loyal employees are denied severance payment, using what AIG is trying to sell to Congress: “You need to keep the good people to make sure this restructuring is successful in order to preserve as many jobs as you can,” says Nortel’s chief counsel. May I ask: Is that not their job anyway, without bonus? Would that $7.3 million not go further at the bottom of the corporate ladder than at the top?

And what about AIG, which received $170 billion in U.S. government cash, which now believes that their top executives deserve bonuses ranging from $1 million to $4 million, totaling $165 million? Why? Because these executives are vital to AIG’s recovery plan, or so they boldly told the U.S. Congress. This is the same AIG that through poor, neglectful, irresponsible and shamefully based on collective management practices based solely on greed, placed our world in this economic financial straightjacket.

If this isn’t the most shameful show of corporate ethics I don’t know what is. These guys must have been sick the day they taught business ethics, morality and a sense of fair play at business college. Under certain circumstances, urgent circumstances, desperate circumstances, profanity provides a relief denied even to prayer, according to Mark Twain, and trust me, I’m in rare form at the moment, and I’m not calling on my God for help.

So my blood wasn’t up to a nitro pill yet, but my pulse was running faster than a politician’s seeing his popularity drop in the pools. I read that there were some 1,700 Calgary residents who paid $400 for a plate of chicken along with a good serving of Texas-style bull, provided by former U.S.. President George W. Just to validate this man’s delusion of grandeur, he openly offered President Obama help if President Obama should call upon him. As I read this my heart stopped as I reached for my nitro puffer. You see, I don’t feel sorry for fools like George W., for people like him have limited mental capacity and in his mind we are all suckers, and why not, he got elected twice. But what about those Calgary business individuals? What’s their excuse? How deeply locked in are these people’s conversion to right-wing political bull? I’ll bet these same people think that Elvis is still alive and hiding in Moose Creek, and will appear on stage at Michael Jackson’s grand return in England next month. These people don’t seem to understand that if taxes are excessive, they are reflected in idle factories, tax-sold farms, and hence, in hordes of hungry tramping the streets and seeking jobs in vain. These same taxpayers may never see a tax bill, but they pay it in deductions from wages, in increased cost of what they buy, or (as now) in broad cessation of employment. Do they not realize that this economic swamp we find ourselves in was developed by good old George W.’s economic policies or lack thereof, or do they care? If these Calgary business persons are the future, then permit me to quote Groucho Marx: “Gentlemen, please accept my resignation. I don’t care to belong to any social organization that will accept me as a member, for I just don’t understand you guys.”

Are there no good international corporations, I thought. Then I found a dim light for this article. I found that Wal-Mart corporation is giving $2 billion U.S. in bonuses to their hourly workers. We must remember that just this past December, this international hub of non-union, low-wage, and minimum-benefits corporate policy organization settled to pay $640 million U.S. for 63 federal and state class-action lawsuits. So, although this moralistic move looks good, it just might be that their sudden change of heart is part of a bigger overall plan of theirs to improve the relationship with its workers and stay the course of keeping unions from the front door, and thus status quo.

Nevertheless, give the devil his due: Wal-Mart employees will roughly receive $2,000 U.S. each. It’s not what I was ethically looking for, but given the morals of corporate America and its leaders at this point in history, I’ll settle with that for the meantime. But I think you’ll agree with me, what is needed is a total change in mentality of our system, one that stops rewarding failure to one that reward success, and rewards those who do instead those who simply say they do. We must take a moment to say to our corporate and political leaders, “We’re mad as hell and we’re not going to take it anymore, from nobody!” So let’s get these changes in motion and let’s get dumping those losers.

Organizations: RCMP, AIG, Nortel Networks U.S. Congress Wal-Mart

Geographic location: U.S., Calgary, Texas Moose Creek England

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