Wednesday, November 9, 2016

"The World We Live In - Possibly One Of A Series But Let's Start With The First One And We'll See Where It Goes"

A woman I was acquainted with told me that when her father confronted a situation that what utterly hopeless and demonstrably irreparable, his shrugging fatalistic reaction was,

“Whaddaya gonna do?”

I do not like writing about this.

“And yet you are.”

I know.  And why am I writing about something I do not like writing about?  It’s my alternative to “Whaddaya gonna do?”  I put it on paper.  (Or whatever this is.)

“Does it do any good?” 

It’s no permanent solution, but it gets it out of my system.  Until it re-insinuates itself into to my system and I have to put it on paper again, in order to get it back out.  The post reader wonders, “Haven’t I read this already?”  You probably have.  Why has it (or a recognizable facsimile of it) returned?  The original difficulty re-insinuated itself into my system and I had to expunge it a subsequent time.

Writing – the “Cerebral Laxative.”  (For Temporary Relief Only!)

Okay, so what perpetual virus has resurfaced to disturb my normally calm and contented mental homeostasis?  (Not the clearest sentence, but unusual.)  


On the morning of this writing, I read in the L.A. Times about a lawsuit brought by federal prosecutors against an executive of television provider DirectTV for orchestrating a scheme to collude with rival Pay-TV providers to drive down the (arguably exorbitant) price Time-Warner cable was demanding for their Dodger broadcasts, which the rival providers had previously rejected.  (Because of this continuing standoff, access to Dodger games has been unavailable to more than two-thirds of the local viewership for the past three seasons.)    

That’s one. 


Not long ago, it was reported that employees at Wells Fargo had credited some of its bank’s customers with new accounts and credit cards that those customers had never requested.

That’s two. 

And, so as not to displease the “Rule of Three” gods, and provide yet another example…

Volkswagen got nailed engaging in a massive “Emissions Ripoff.”

That’s three… just off the top of my head.  And I don’t regularly read the “Business Section”… there are probably at least a few more.  And by “at least a few more” I’d like to say, bolstering my argument,  “hundreds and hundreds more” but I do not actually know.  Though I will bet there are more than just three. 

Question:  How many corporate scams need to be uncovered before we forget the “rotten apples” and seriously scrutinize the barrel?

Big companies, cheating their customers.

Whaddaya gonna do?

There has always been business.  (CAVE TIMES:  “I’ll trade you two rocks for a pointy stick.”  But let’s keep this more recent.)  President Coolidge (1924-1928) proclaimed, “The business of America is business.”  Hardly as memorable as “We have nothing to fear but fear itself” or “You can fool some of the people all of the time” (so it appears this has happened before.)  The thing is, (normally) “Silent Cal” Coolidge was correct.

The business of America is business.

The distinction is, far greater than today – though there were high-profile examples of the opposite – the “business” Coolidge was referring to when he proclaimed, “The business of America is business” was predominantly small business.

And small business is demonstrably different. 

One difference – which I shall take care of off the top – is that, at its most egregious and nefarious – if those are separate categories and I am not certain they are – small business can only cheat “small.”

“I weighed the pound of nails you sold me; it’s only fifteen-and-a-half ounces!”

What did they steal there, a nickel?

On the other hand, with big business? 

The sky’s the limit. 

(By the way – this probably doesn’t belong here, but the thought just revisited my mind.  If people providing a product or a service receive such enormous amounts of money that they create “foundations” allowing numbers of elites to enjoy Public Television and the opera, why don’t they instead – assisting everyone – slash the prices of their products and their services?)

Okay.  And I am running out of time… if not seemingly bottomless vituperation.

“Small business” was generically a “handshake” operation.  You promised to pay, you paid; you promised to deliver, you delivered.  Why?  Because the participants were honest and upright human beings.  They had looked each other in the eye. 

These rural residents may quite likely have known each other, imaginably since childhood.  Who rips off someone they’ve been acquainted with for decades?  (Okay, Bernie Madoff and fevered family members squabbling over an inheritance.  But who else?)

Common decency requires fairness.  Plus, there were reputations to uphold.

Concepts of capitalism – like the age-old belief in “a jury of your peers” – made understandable sense in lightly populated rural communities – which comprised a majority of this country when those hallowed principles had a theoretical shot.  Decent country folk had a mutual connection, fusing a bond through familiarity and trust.  (Or not, for the habitual miscreants.)               

Big cities?  Corporations, where the responsibility is unilaterally (or primarily) to the company’s shareholders? 

All bets are off. 

You don’t know them, and they don’t know you.  How hard is it to cheat strangers? 

What can we do about it?  I don’t know – go after the “Bad People” one at a time.  Oh, and my favorite.

If convicted, sentence “White Collar” criminals to “Maximum Security” prisons… if only for a week.

I think that might seriously alter the landscape.

“‘Hey, 'Wall Street'.  Give me your cobbler!”

Okay.  I got it out again.

But there is no promising it is not going to return.

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