Inspection- The Way Things are Supposed to Be

by Ken Carman

Why do I hear a Barbara Streisand mock-alike singing a modified refrain of The Way Things Were as I start to type?

“Things were so simple then!
We claim that every time
And if they could screw us once again…
Would they?
Could they?”

(Then Cenk Uygur yelling: “Of coooooooooooooouuuurseeeee!”)

Saddam made up BS then invaded Kuwait. Well… caveat: some say we invited him, did a backflip then got outraged after we wink, winked him into thinking it was, “OK.” But let’s stick with the official story for now, though there sure seem to be a hell of a lot of “official” stories that have smelled quite ripe for many, many years now.

So, like Hitler and Poland before, and the natives in America before that… (Further song for this mock-musical/movie running in my head: Custer look-alike singing, “And I’ll get to Little Big Horn before ya!”) Saddam invaded to “protect himself” from those who were supposedly planning to attack him.

Skip a little more than a decade beyond Kuwait: the invader became the invaded. Iraq was invaded to “protect us,” and the world for… wait for it… even bogus-er, even more politically convenient, reasons. No huge stockpiles of WMD we “knew” were north, south or up Rummy’s colonoscopy portal.

I can’t help but think of a line from a David Wilcox song (No Far Away) at this point…

“This oil slick of blood, cross’ the ocean will spread, and poison our well instead.”

He wrote that during the first Gulf War.

I’m still waiting for those waves Canadian Mounties to Dudley Do Right their way into the States on their horses and hold each and every leader from then to now responsible: either for participating, or for saying something like, “Let’s move on,” and sneaking away from the table of holding anyone of any significance responsible.

Maybe we can hold the soldiers who died searching for WMD responsible? After all it was supposedly OK to mock them as long as it was President Bush. Damn them for not finding what wasn’t there!

Holding people responsible for what they do, or didn’t do. That’s the way we’ve been told it’s supposed to be. If you cheat on a test you get punished. If you lie you pay for it. If you break something that belongs to someone else, even a country, you replace it. If you kill an innocent person you lose your freedom, maybe even die yourself. If your actions, or even lack of action, lead to someone’s death you can go to prison for manslaughter. You can’t just sit as the driver in life’s car and allow your passengers to steal, murder, rape or bring back the Teletubbies. This is called being held responsible. Acting like an adult.

OK, maybe not the Teletubbies, though some may wish it were so.

But, other than rebuilding schools and such, often via shoddy KBR/Halliburton means and methods, none of the above is true most of the time. “Oh, golly gee, we bombed your wedding party? Tough bananas baby.” I suppose that’s what qualifies for “rule of law” when you’re the biggest bully on the block. Like if you’re a teabag governor and who don’t like who the voters vote for. It should be your right to uninstall who the voters voted for and install someone who will agree with you: follow your lead.

This shouldn’t be the way it is, but it is.

A neighborhood watch guy kills a black kid coming back from the store with Skittles and a drink. Immediately he’s held until this all can be investigated completely, everyone interviewed, records checked and charges made, if needed.

No, instead we get a slightly altered version of “move on, move on,” and even “Sssh, let’s not even talk about it!” The watch guy is allowed to “stand his ground,” but the kid has to submit like some slave: say “Yes, master,” or be blown away? The kid is slandered as some punk gang member with dropped pants, underwear showing and a gangster hoodie pulled up over his head (“Nothing” to do with the rain.) …and the killer some saintly innocent by mad mobs on the net? Pictures are posted of the kid giving two middle fingers to the camera, pants dropped… only it’s a lie: that’s not the same kid. Like posing as a pimp, then trying to pimp ACORN sans pimp suit, or lying about Valerie Plame and her husband causing many to die… any tactic is “fair game,” as long as it gets you what you want.

Is all that really “the way it’s supposed to be?”

Back to the dead teen who conveniently can’t defend himself, and those who seem to claim he had no right to defend himself at all…

A politically to the right main prosecutor charges him with a harder to prove crime and immediately declares the watch guy said something far less incendiary than what some audio experts say he actually did say… not even waiting for the trial. Claims that on the indictment form.

What kind of prosecutor helps the defense the very first thing they put out there: their declaration of charges? Is a prosecutor supposed to help the defense win their case? Is a neighborhood watch guy supposed to have so much power over whether a kid lives due to false assumptions? Does a teen have to believe anything some strange adult may, or may not, have said in the dark and submit to whatever they ask, or demand? Should the loudest angst and anger really be about anyone who dares to question and doubt what happened here?

That’s not the way it’s supposed to be, is it?

CEOs and huge corporations can do things that would put us in prison, or death row. Seems they’re “not people too.” They’re super people. God-like people with so many rights no one should dare question them, or talk about what they’ve done. “We paid you to frack your property, now you’re water’s stinky and flammable, your kids possibly poisoned from what we told you was safe. Shut the hell up. We’ll sue if you say anything. See that tiny print no one can read, we never told you about? That says you shut the hell up and die, or we sue you into wanting to jump off a bridge first.”

Of course they may do that anyway.

We have property rights, unless the state, or WalMart, or Walgreens, wants our property. Not even all businesses are treated as equal super people. Small business is the Trayvon Martin of the business world: shot for just wanting to sell Skittles and a drink on the corner corp wants, sell ice cream on a corner in some small town. Neither party wants to address any this because they have gigunda wads of corporate cash in damn near every pocket. Best just to be pro-corporate: but only pro-big-corporate. After all, why bite the huge hand that feeds you buckaroos?

Prostitution is legal, folks, just as long as it’s political and corporate in nature.

Why do I see a picture in my head of the Koch brothers dressed as pimps and tons of politicians, right and left, with bright red laced stockings, black leather dress, all hanging out on some corner in Washington, or city in your state? Those poor ladies I used to pass by as a teen in the 60s on 42nd Street in Manhattan. How will they ever compete?

That’s not the way it used to be, or was “supposed to be.” Times change, and too often not for the better. The weeds are growing like mad in our economic garden, choking off true free enterprise. All fertilized by paid for pure political  bat guano: pro-mega-corp policies spewed out of the pens and processors of bought and paid for pols and dishonest, but smart, ALEC(s).

Like family farms. Supposedly we’re all in favor of family farms, right? Republicans rant about a “death tax,” where family farmers lose their farms because of a supposed “oppressive” death tax. Such BS aside, it’s interesting that studies of subsidies show that 60% of farm subsidies don’t go to “family farms.” They go to 10% of farms out there: all the big, mega, richest farms. You know, the kind that crowd chickens or turkeys into tiny places, are supported by Monsanto products where, if their seed just happens to blow over onto your small family farm field they sue you out of house, farm and home. Bye, bye, small farm competition! Seems the biggest bullies on the block are all that matter these days. You know, like not even questioning genetic manipulation done by Monsanto or the kind of farms whose untreated waste doeth pour into our water and streams? In the past “farmer” recipients of this “farm” welfare have included David Rockefeller, Ted Turner, Sam Donaldson and Ken Lay.

Not the way it’s supposed to be, is it?

Recently an owner of nearby Ashland City’s over 50 years old 50’s ice cream shop faced a dilemma; Walgreens wanted the property his small business sat on… a very popular, very profitable, excellent, neighborhood hotspot that gave high school students their first work experiences, part time… served huge ice cream scoops, real malts and shakes; all while sitting among the owner’s personal 50s-60s memorabilia collection.  That owner was probably one of the smartest, best bosses to work for I’ve met. I only say “probably” because of all the time we spent there, observed how he treated his employees… and I tend to be quiet but very critical when I do that… I can only say “probably.” I never actually worked for him.

The problem was the town fathers, and I assume mothers, knew big bucks were determined to build on that corner, and it’s certainly likely money might have changed hands. All they had to do was get that corner for Walgreens. And the other mega corp., McDonald’s, just built across the street a few years ago, wanted a more successful local out of the way. Mom and Pop’s (mostly “Pop’s”) 50s place continued to take most Ronald’s business away.

Besides: there was no other drug store in town, except the nice, new, huge Rite Aid a short walking distance down the same main drag.

Politicians did the “brave” thing… raised the small business owner’s taxes and made it clear if he didn’t accept the admittedly lucrative deal Walgreens offered, well…

Is that the way it’s supposed to be?

Well, I could go on, and on, but point made. And I’m sure you have your own examples, or can argue with mine and offer your own. Feel free to do either, or both. Notice I’ve used both big business and government examples… and more so: the two working in tandem to screw us all. You know: fascism?

As kids, before school, we were supposed to eat our Cheerios: both cereal and milk. We’re given our lunchboxes and reminded to have a good day at school, to work hard. We’re if we’re honest, treat others well and fairly, we’ll get on well in life. Our teachers tell us that. The principal sternly reminds us if we slip up, or over the loudspeaker at the end and the beginning of the day. And at the dinner table at night we may pray to one on high who looks over all and “always” makes sure the wicked aren’t rewarded, or at least are punished. We may even pray to that same misguided concept of a Creator before we go to bed, then wake to be taught this lesson over and over again.

And that’s the way it’s supposed to be…

..but it’s not.

-30-

Inspection is a column that has been written by Ken Carman for over 30 years. Inspection is dedicated to looking at odd angles, under all the rocks and into the unseen cracks and crevasses that constitute the issues and philosophical constructs of our day: places few think, or even dare, to venture.

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Ken Carman and Cartenual Productions
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