I attended John C. Fremont Sr. High School in Los Angeles, California in the early 1960s–real Old School…the Original O.Gs (Original Gangsters) as a matter of fact. I now realize it was then, maybe the rowdiest school in the entire United States.
We invented the filthy dance called “The Hully Gully” (use your imagination). We invented the dance called “The Slauson Shuffle.” We were home to the notorious South Central street gang called “Slauson Village”–the gang which when it mellowed, became “The Bloods” of crack-cocaine-dealing fame.
During my junior year we were suspended from eligibility for all athletic championships because at one home football game after our previously undefeated team lost, our students and alumni in attendance rioted, sending 22 students from visiting Los Angeles High School to the hospital. Our unofficial sports motto was: “If we don’t win by the fourth quarter, we always win the fifth quarter.”
Our unofficial school motto was: “Can’t be shamed!”
Our school certainly had “moxie.”
But I have never seen anything as bold, as audacious, as shameless as the unapologetic, money-grubbing executives at insurance giant AIG, who came to the American taxpayers, Stetson, beaver-hat in hand to get a hand-out to save the firm from their own insolvent business practices which have taken the entire Capitalist world economy to the brink of destruction. They took the money ($170 billion worth), then proceeded to reward their lying and conniving top executives with more than $165 million in BONUS PAY. Thanks guys for a job really, really poorly done!
Nothing quite that rotten that is, except maybe the governors of South Carolina, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas. They are four of the poorest states, which have some of the highest unemployment rates in the nation, and where they coincidentally pay the lowest wages to begin with, and then the lowest unemployment benefits and where the fewest unemployed workers qualify for those states’ paltry benefits.
Well, those governors in their collective wisdom have said they will refuse portions of the recently enacted federal economic stimulus funds because they object to expanded unemployment benefits for their distressed workers.
Can’t be shamed!
Now that’s moxie!
I don’t know which gang is more scurrilous in my view: the money-grubbing corporate thieves who nearly stole the nation into bankruptcy with their risky sub-prime “derivative” lending schemes; or the money-hoarding political chiselers in public office who want to take federal money intended for unemployment benefits and use it to pay off their states’ debts to wealthy financiers and bond holders, or use it to build more privatized prisons as their answer to increasing homelessness and desperation.
Of course there’s always Bernie Madoff, the investment guru who redefined the very meaning of a “Ponzi Scheme,” making off with as much as $65 billion his company stole from gullible investors–some of them his personal “friends”–while managing to accumulate a personal fortune now estimated to be worth about $860 million! His wife Ruth even cashed a check for $10 million the day before he was arrested! Talk about “selling short.” That’s moxie.
Enron crooks, Keating Five, savings & loan felons, Meyer Lansky, Bugsy Siegel, sit down! We’ve got a posse operating now, which puts your crimes to shame, and these new embezzlers-on-steroids, obviously: Can’t be shamed! They are clearly the new “Hard-Hearted Hannah’s” of the financial game, perfecting their art by pouring water on a drowning nation. The humiliation of it all.
There is an explanation for this kind of behavior. Their mantra is simple, and they all consistently and unapologetically embrace it in all its manifestations and have since the surrender of Gen. Robert E. Lee at Appomattox: 1. the federal government’s the enemy; 2. taxes are bad; 3. the federal courts don’t understand the Constitution; 4. unions are bad; 5. you may have no health insurance, but at least you’re an American…a White American who wants to keep his guns and his Bible, You Betcha!
These guys will continue to operate in this manner until they are caught, held down, and someone drives a wooden stake through their beast-hearts. They cannot be shamed into doing what’s right. They’ve been operating just like this all along. We just never noticed, because they let a few crumbs fall from the table down to the rest of us.
Now, they want the crumbs too. And it looks like they’re going to get them, legally. Can’t be shamed!