Kalamity K

The Daily Chaos of Kalamity K
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2006-02-03 18:50:04 (UTC)

Explain this to me...

Explain this to me. Shell (Royal Dutch Shell, joint
British and Dutch owned) reported the highest corporate
profit ever in the UK, saying yesterday that it made 23
BILLION dollars in profit, which is 30% higher than last
year. PROFIT, people, not revenue. PROFIT. 23 BILLION

Earlier in the week, Exxon announced a world record profit
of 36 BILLION dollars. Again, this is PROFIT, not
revenue. PROFIT.

BP is expected to make a similar announcement shortly.

So just explain this to my little mind. Between two of
these three companies - corporations, excuse me - there has
been close to 60 BILLION DOLLARS MADE IN PROFIT. Off the
backs of whom? You want to sit there and tell me there is
no price gouging and no extraordinary inflation of prices
and no improper conduct going on. I can accept a
corporation needs to make profit in order to survive, pay
its employees, hire more people, put money into exploration
and engineering or whatever it is that makes a certain
corporation go. I can accept that some of the extra money
is put towards good things like protecting the environment,
finding alternate energy sources, and the like, for
corporations in the oil business. I can even say that some
of those choices may well make a corporation a
good "citizen" of the world.

But I ask you this. In a political, economic and social
climate that has taken more than its fair share of beatings
lately; in a world that is becoming more full of strife and
anger and disrespect for those at the top; in an economy
that sees growing gaps between the rich and the poor and
that seems to be unmercifully targetting the middle class,
so that in the end we will either either be a have or a
have not with no straddling point (and believe me, there
will more have nots than haves, and how THAT makes sense to
anybody's future is beyond me, because history has shown
that you can only surpress a group of people for so long
before a breaking point is reached); in the face of all of
this, can these corporations NOT eat up just a bit more of
the expense until things get sorted out?

What ever happened to giving back to the community? Is the
world too large to be a community? Do your stakeholders
REALLY need that extra billion dollars divided up a million
ways? I don't know who decides these things on a corporate
level, but I assume the stakeholders or the board of
trustees or whatever the equivalent is in any given
corporation. Can these people not see past the ends of
their noses and decide to, just once, forgo that extra
million dollars (for which they are certainly not hurting,
I am absolutely certain of this) and give it back to the
people who need it? It only seems just when you are
getting rich off the backs of the poor middle class shleps
like me who have to time their excursions during the week
so they can make do with one tank of gas for 7 days.
Because I refuse to line up for a half hour at a gas
station when the prices "drop" from inflated super-high
price to one marginally less inflated high price. I refuse
to line up because in the end, the difference it makes to
my pocket book doesn't add up to enough (though if there
are no line ups, I will always buy cheaper!). More than
anything, though, I refuse to line up because I DO NOT LIVE
IN A THIRD WORLD COUNTRY where I have to put my pride on
the line and go practically begging around for anything I
can find. I do not live in Germany pre-World War II when
the mark was plummetting so badly prices weren't even
affixed on store shelves because they changed that fast. I
do not live in a place where a wheelbarrow full of paper
notes is more valuable to set fire to for heat than for the
monetary value printed thereupon. Perhaps this is a
typical middle-class or bourgeois way or thinking, coming
from someone who hasn't really truly known "hard times" in
life. Perhaps it is arrogant and selfish and even
demeaning in a way, but I don't think so. I refuse to let
my life be dictated to (as much as possible, at any rate)
by the greedy mother fuckers who think they can own
whomever and whatever they want. Fortunately I don't drive
much during the week as it is, so these stupid prices
haven't forced me to entirely reevaluate how I act during
the course of my daily life. I have always tried to keep
my fuel consumption low, mainly for environmental reasons,
but also because it's an expenditure that I don't entirely
think is necessary when you can do it another way. That
having been said - I LOVE to drive and sometimes just go
tooling around because I love being in my car, on my own,
listening to my music and just exploring around.

If and when - likely when (because I am in a bad mood about
this right now) - the day comes when I am going to have to
plan my actions according to the dictates of a giant
corporation, rue the fucking day. There are certain things
that I will not be told how or when or what to do - and
curtailing my freedom of creativity and movement and
exploration and fun IS NOT ONE OF THEM.

Extraordinary times call for extraordinary deeds by all -
not just a few - to make it through. I don't know how
extraordinary these times of ours are - there have been
countless instances of darker ages through our history,
religious dark ages and cultural and societal dark ages,
sometimes engulfing the whole world, sometimes parts of it
at a time. I would say these are at least somewhat
extraodinary times, but only in some ways. In other ways,
it's almost not even worth it to analyze the same mistakes
being made over and over and over again by people who
can't, or won't, learn from the ravages of history. The
theory goes that a population deserves what it gets when it
falls into apathy and doesn't concentrate on properly
preserving the advances its society has made. I agree - to
a point. The general masses are to be blamed for some of
what is happening now, to be sure. But at the same time,
we cannot be everywhere at once, nor can we control
everything we would like to. So we elect people to
represent us on the stages we cannot attain on our own.
And it is there job to do the will of the people, and to
look out for us when we can't do it ourselves.

And these representatives have failed us and are failing us
miserably. Instead of protecting us from the big bad boys,
they are all in cahoots together, sleeping with the enemy,
so to speak. Instead of listening to what their
represented demographic wants, wishes, desires, needs - how
many times do they go and just do what they want? What
would be best for them and theirs? A normal reaction for a
person - but NOT when your job has a higher purpose than
pure selfish motivation (or when it is supposed to, anyway).

And when governments fail, it is up to the corporations and
other entities to see this AND NOT run roughshod over a
population. And they, too, are failing us incredibly and
at an alarming rate.

The only extraordinary acts going on here are extraordinary
acts of greed and corruption. My government recently fell
because of a corruption scandal, which the opposition
attacked mercilessly. I (gleefully) wait for the day when
the current governing party faces its first scandal. I
sort of have an unseemly anticipation for the moment when I
can figurately screw them to the wall and laugh because
they were no better than the last guy. Power corrupts,
it's true, and as they say, absolute power corrupts
absolutely. And in corporations, in the end, it's all
about absolute power, isn't it?

I know there are a lot of good things that get done, too,
but you rarely see them and right now I'm not in the mood
to look or listen to it. I am sick and tired of this
bullshit. All of it. ALL OF IT. I am tired of worrying
about money when I am working in jobs I am way over-
qualified for but can't find a job in my field because of
an extreme glut of available talent (and other reasons). I
am tired of working my ass off to not go stir crazy in a
job I hate, to drag myself (and it is rapidly becoming
dragging myself, even though the job is fairly cushy) here
on a 5-day-a-week basis to be paid money that never stays
with me, but instead gets immediately transferred to other
people/entities. I don't have pay days. I have money
transfer days. I'm sick of the bleak realization that
likely no matter how hard I work at something, I'm likely
never going to be rid of these worries entirely. At least
doing it in a job that suited me would make the pain of
financial crap less. But I'm not. So I sit and stew. I
hate the bleak realization that there are forces out there
that would seek to curtail my rights and freedoms and
ability to do simple things such as move about freely
without being watched. That, in this respect, my freedom
to live my free time as I want could be diminished. I am
sick of worrying that after I work for the forty best years
of my life, I may not have enough money to subsist on, let
alone do the things I should have done when I was younger,
such as travel or take up a new hobby, or refinish my by-
then-woefully-out-of-date house. I'm tired of jerks and
criminals being the people who rise to fame and fortune,
while the good, hard-working people remained inadequately
compensated - especially people like our firefighters,
paramedics, police and military.

I am just fucking tired of it all. And yes, all of this
relates to those people at Royal Dutch Shell and Exxon and
BP and even Petro-Canada (which, by the way, was invented
in the '70s, I believe, to help keep Canadian gas prices
low, but lo and behold, Petro's prices are now in line with
every other gas station's). It relates because there comes
a point where you have to do what is right, and not what
you want. Our outgoing prime minister said yesterday, in
response to the question about how his party suffered (and
perhaps even lost the recent election because of) from the
sponsorship scandal and that he called an in-depth inquiry
into the affair to bring out the truth and recommendations,
that in the eyes of history, it is never wrong to the do
the right thing.

If only more people thought like that.

So after all this...tell me something.

When are the corporations going to sit up and do the right