Thursday, January 12, 2012

Shocked, shocked!

The prurient finger-wagging going on over the Marines who were dumb enough to get caught wagging their extra fingers over some dead opponents (or victims) is pushing my ack-meter to the limit.

   Anyone involved in war on the ground knows firsthand that this is not aberrant behavior, it's common and always has been. How could it be otherwise? We train kids to be brutes, to kill, to hate whatever enemy is convenient today, yet we can't stand to see the brutal results. From the media to the pious government and military officials to Joe Six-Pack at the business end of his glass teat, it's hypocrisy of the highest order.
   What these kids are being pilloried for isn't what they did, but rather letting the folks back home find out about it in all its graphic ignominy. I'm sure this sort of behavior is no secret to the Afghans and Iraqis we've been routinely brutalizing for a decade.
   If we really hope to ensure that this doesn't happen anymore, our only choice is to get out of the war business, folks.

Editorial: Whaddaya expect?

The unnamed editor fuzzily reacts to recent examples of large corporations having to back down on boneheaded, tone-deaf attempts to wring a few more pennies out of their customers. Like the rest of the media, he misses the forest for the trees.

If you haven't seen "Network," do. Right away.
   I'm gratified to be able to note an unusual agreement with frequent commenter Tom Steele (who I know to be much more personable over coffee than in his writing), who gets an important piece of the truth when he writes, "it seems the link between top management and the real world has broken down." This is a lot of it, in a nutshell.
   The people who inhabit the top echelons of large corporations do not live in the same world that we do. The wealth that they take for granted does not allow ten bucks a month to matter, or even register as real. So when a bean-counter comes to the boss with a proposal to boost profits by .01% (and the value of their stockholdings by 2% = a couple million clams) by adding an insignificant fee, why not? Who would care?
   We 99%ers have historically accepted this sort of monetary paper cut without complaint. Have you thought about the fee breakdown on your phone bill or water bill lately? And whole industries have been able to successfully institute fees that most of us see as outrageous simply by acting as cartels. The airline fuel surcharges and baggage fees leap to mind. The top corporate dogs have been given every reason to think they can probably get away with this stuff.
   But it's not that corporate leadership is any further out of touch now than at any time in the past few decades. What's changed is that regular, normal people are finally reaching the limits of what they'll take without complaint. They've had enough, and they're not gonna take any more.
   Events like this encourage me to hope that the Occupy movement has moved from the streets into the popular consciousness. If we can now move beyond the I-me-my concerns of the individual purse to concern about how our society actually works, we'll be making real progress.