This is going to be a rant, dear reader. A long and arduous one about morality, law, taxes, and such. So if you’re not into that kinda thing, you may want to avert your gaze now. Well, maybe you may wanna stick around for the few pictures but the rest of the post will be a tough slog otherwise.
So let’s talk about this concept of the straight and narrow, shall we?
What a load. Seriously. They (I’ll explain who they are below), had a chance to convince me that being a law-abiding, tax-paying, run-of-the-mill citizen is what’s best. What they ended up doing instead is convincing me that the law has nothing to do with justice, rules and morality are unrelated, and that anyone trying to convince you otherwise is either hopelessly ignorant or in on the racket.
The racket is, of course, the money game, extending all the way down from the corporations, through their (sometimes our) subservient government, and onto us minions, all upheld with thinly veiled lies and hypocrisy. Oh, and police, operating under a ridiculously precedent-laden law.
“Hang on just a second!,” you might say, “weren’t you poking fun at the G20 protesters for standing up against exactly this?!”
Nope. It wasn’t the message I had a problem with, it was the method. Breaking a few windows and spray painting illegible slogans is idiotic. Blocking the streets to prevent fellow citizens from using them is childish. And if you read a newspaper, or have half a brain, you’ll note that Starbucks and the major banks et al. suffered not one iota. Big surprise!
But I’ve done my fair share of G20 railing myself, plenty around this blog to back me up on that.
And the G20, really, is a perfect example of corporate dominion over government. All Torontonians are acutely aware of the ridiculous security measures the G20 were provided with during that eventful weekend, something that would never be extended to individual heads of state. When the Queen comes to visit people can run up to her and shake her hand for heaven’s sake! And the G20 isn’t a governmental body, or a policy body, or anything of the sort. It’s 100% about money. It’s about financial stability – how to make life comfortable for those for whom life is already too comfortable.
To be fair, this isn’t anything new. I mean, how long have bankers, financial analysts, and all these overfed con men (the reason markets require confidence to operate), been telling us to be frugal with our money in order to make modest gains through savings or measly investment accounts. Right … and where exactly are they urging us to save / invest our money? Their banks, credit unions, investments funds, and so on. Shocker, that one. And I wonder if these same people would ever put their money where their mouths are. You know, be satisfied with a 0.01% compound rate with a $50 monthly fee for the privilege.
And, really, have a stroll down to King and Bay downtown one day and have a look around. I dare you to argue that frugality and savings and all the other bullshit we’re still being shovelled built all that.
Like I said, you either have to be ignorant or in on the racket.
The concept of profit is another one that’s deeply flawed. The bank / business establishment would have you believe that profits are the end-all be-all. After all, don’t they constantly demand profits each and every quarter? That’s kinda like you walking into your boss’ office every three months and demanding a twenty-percent raise (for doing nothing, I should add). Your boss would probably laugh at you, right? Yet his / her boss expects exactly this – at least. So, every quarter, the people at the top make more and more while you get to wait a whole year before finding out that you have to “tighten your belt” because profits are down. Not that the company is losing money, let’s be clear – in that case you’d be laid off. They’re just not making as much as they’d like to, and since their ravenous mouths must be fed first (because they’ve obviously done the most to earn it), it comes out of your paycheque.
Yup, profit is a set of scales. If someone has a lot, someone else must necessarily have little. Or the government prints more money, thereby devaluing it and starting massive inflation. That’s no good for anyone so the status quo stays. And if it was just a little profit, as the same two-faced bankers / investors / financiers tell us to expect, it wouldn’t really be a big deal; those who lose in order for others to gain wouldn’t lose that much. But we all know that it’s never enough – they’ll take your fingernails if they think they can get two pennies for them.
And they’re insidious about it too.
Have you tried to rent a hotel room in, say, the last thirty years or so without a credit card? Damn near impossible. Last time I tried, it went a little something like this:
“Why do I need a credit card to rent a hotel room?”
“We need to make an imprint just in case there are damages or extra charges.”
“So you’d arbitrarily charge any amount on the card? What if my limit is two-thousand and I do four grand in damages?”
“We’d rather you didn’t, sir.”
“So would I, but I’m trying to make a point here.”
“No, we would only go up to $500. Our insurance would have to cover the rest.”
“Ah, now we’re getting somewhere. Okay, here you go, five-hundred in crispy new bills. You can hold on to this deposit and I’ll pick it up tomorrow once you say the room’s kosher.”
“Sorry, sir, we need a credit card imprint.”
“But I’m offering you legal tender here, up to the limit that you just stated. Money up front and no extra processing fees for you. Better than going through the credit card company if I wreck the place, so what’s the problem?”
“Sorry but that’s our policy.”
End of conversation. You must do business with Visa or Mastercard or whoever if you want to stay in a hotel.
And it’s the same with the government.
My sister recently got a traffic ticket, as we all do from time to time. Payment instructions for credit cards only. No cheques, no cash. No shit. Some government agencies no longer accept legal tender as payment. In other words, government won’t accept government-issued money. You must do business with a credit card company, or a bank (not a government entity last time I checked!), yet you can’t pay using a form of payment issued by the payee.
And this wouldn’t be particularly bothersome to me except for the outrageous fees that are foisted on us by these institutions. In this regard, any fees are outrageous. If we want a job, if we want to conduct affairs with the government, if we want to just live our lives, we are beholden to unrelated private enterprise and are charged for doing so. In other words, we are forced to give up our money to private interests by law.
Mind you, that doesn’t stop the government from pulling its own tricks in lock-step. Most Ontarians have recently started enjoying the new Harmonized Sales Tax (HST), combined from the previous Goods and Services Tax (GST) and a federal tax. For a lot of things this hasn’t meant much change, but new items were introduced for taxation so that the government could misappropriate even more of our money. We’re now required to pay 13% on funerals, for example – assholes won’t even let you die in peace.
Then there’s the Eco Fee that was introduced along with the new tax, and it shows just what a travesty all of this is. No level of government seems to know exactly how much stores should be charging, but that didn’t stop them from passing the law anyway (and then temporarily rescinding it after discovering that they didn’t really know how their own fucking law worked!). Had we been overpaid, we would of course be required to return the money. Giant private enterprise, of course, is under no such similar obligation.
Stores happily started to charge anywhere from a buck to five dollars on everything that might fall under the “hazardous waste” category, the excuse being that the fee would be used in the safe disposal and recycling of said hazardous waste. But you have to bring the waste to a drop-off site yourself. Okay. And what the fuck are you bringing back anyways? The fee covers stuff like dishwashing soap and paints and other consumable stuff – things you use. The soap goes down the drain, the paint goes on the wall. What you’re bringing back are empty recyclable containers. So, you get to pay for recycling something that you have to bring back that, really, you’re not bringing back because you’ve used it up.
And the HST is applied on top of the fee! It’s called a fee so they can put a tax on it since it’s still illegal to tax a tax – at least for now.
I know, I’m already bald from all the hair-pulling.
And this, this is what I get for forking over half my paycheque to the government?! All these taxes that we’re all paying into because, supposedly, they’re being used for our benefit? Yeah, I’ve had some experience with these so-called “benefits”, I take the ancient transit system every day that I support through both orifices, I ride my bike on the pot-holed roads that I also pay for, and I walk on the broken sidewalks that come out of my pockets. And you know what? I call bullshit. They’re fucking lying to us and stealing from us – it’s no more complicated than that.
This is why people who say “there are no certainties in life but death and taxes” deserve to be slugged. They’ve basically equated a natural process that’s an actual certainty to something completely artificial and potentially escapable. And these people usually say it with a smile and a shrug, urging you to accept their wonderfully lackadaisical take on the rape we’re all experiencing. They’re either aggravatingly ignorant or in on the racket.
People who tell me that I need to express myself at the ballot box get a wallop as well. There is not a single party out there that doesn’t perpetuate this shit. PC, Liberal, NDP, doesn’t matter. I’ve voted for all of them and they’re all assholes once they get into power. For fuck’s sake, it’s only been four years, are people’s memories that short? They’re all crooks!
And to all the people who think you can make a difference with your dollar – have you not been paying attention? Look, let’s say you buy at the local mom ‘n pop. Okay, so there’s a little community benefit, true. But – you pay taxes. They pay taxes. You buy brand-name products, profits of which go right up to the behemoth corporations in control. What? You only buy hand-made? And prithee tell, where did the raw materials for those hand-made products come from? There are only a handful of things, usually agricultural, that you can buy that are partially outside of the system of corporate control, and Monsanto is trying to make sure you get fucked on those too – taxes not included. Basically, you’re simply shuffling around pieces of paper, allowing mom and pop to pay rent, stay afloat, exist for another month. In the grand scheme of things, you might as well be at Walmart buying a $7 Coke (taxes and fees included) with your credit card.
Don’t even get me started about Apple.
Welcome to the corporate dystopia of 2010 – came a bit sooner than I thought.
But there is hope.
The one thing that I find laughable in the G20 protesters’ arguments is the thought that there are a handful of megalomaniacal men sitting at the top of the food chain pulling all the strings and reaping all the benefits. Megalomaniacs exist by the thousands if not millions – we’ve all probably met one or two. You know, God’s gift to this earth, can do no wrong, etc.
It’s clear that these people won’t stand to be anything less than number-one asshole, and since there are so many of them, it’s a constant climb over the bodies of predecessors. Yesterday’s top dog is today’s dog food. So while I’m certain that megalomaniacs exist at high positions, they tend to do so only for brief periods. That alone could help to explain why the need for quick profits is so prevalent – they know their time is limited so they’d better scrounge up as much as they can. As the world’s population increases, this will only become more tumultuous; law of averages.
So I’m generally unconcerned about any singular overarching regime controlling the globe. Even if we ended up with one world corporation / government, there’d be too much infighting to make it the Orwellian 1984 that so many people fear. Besides, such broad-ranging, active surveillance requires that 50% of the population is being watched while the other 50% watches. After all, those not being watched are potential wrenches in the machinery – the criminals, saboteurs, and everything else that Big Brother can’t abide. Who’s left to run things? Nah, the numbers just don’t work.
The system we’re involved in, as I mentioned, requires confidence. It’s a con, a ruse – make-believe. Money is a mere representation. There used to be a time when a dollar bill was a promissory note; you could go to the central bank and exchange it for a dollar’s worth of gold. Now it’s merely a concept. If you don’t believe it’s worth a dollar’s worth of goods, services, or whatever you plan to exchange it for – it’s not! You sure as hell can’t exchange it for gold at any bank. Only coins, in fact, have intrinsic value, and they’re slowly being phased out. Paper money is probably next.
It’s the same with law. Law was at one time a standardized representation of justice; you kill someone, you get punished. It used to make sense. However, because the law needs to apply to everyone equally, every idiotic judgement got thrown into the books as precedent. If a judge ruled a specific way, a future judge is duty-bound to rule the same way; the law must not only be fair but must be seen to be fair — sure you’ve heard that one. That’s why people are more and more frequently getting off on technicalities and precedent. The hubris of the legal system and its judges specifically is, ultimately, the instrument of its own demise.
While these systems are imploding on themselves, it’s incumbent on us to lose our fear of them. And maybe pick up some useful trades while we’re at it. Big Brother isn’t watching. Those cameras aren’t for our safety or protection. The police are enforcing law, not justice. Money is a suggestion, credit cards are an insult, and government is a subsidiary.
Look, I’m not gonna tell you to break the law. The law insists that I don’t. But when you start to look at the whole ball of wax for what it is, you start to get the idea that maybe a little side-stepping is in order. That’ll be my excuse when I’m before the courts. :)
Get off the straight and narrow if you want to live as anything more than a subservient stooge. Do it to a lesser degree for the benefit of your kids. Oh, the lofty will try to convince you of how wrong you are for doing so (usually while doing exactly the same thing), but don’t let their crap fly unless you’re planning to let it hit the fan. As the bard once said, “don’t believe the hype!”