I did an earlier column, "10 similarities between Ultra Conservatives and Nazis," and one of the similarities I did not list was the frequent use by conservatives of the words "The Unwashed" to describe members of the 99 Percent Movement who were demonstrating last year against the corporate destruction of the middle class and the American dream.
The denigrating insulting and vicious epithet "Unwashed" chills me to the bones because it's the same psychology Nazi camp guards at the death factory of Auschwitz used to make murder easier. As the prisoners became increasingly starved and skeletal-looking, and increasingly smelly and filthy, the rags they wore rotting off their backs----they became easier to hate and dismiss as non-humans---and thus easier to murder.
They could be dismissed as sub-human.
Labeling members of the 99 Percent Movement has the same intent, to dehumanize. Some of these people are in fact unwashed, some are homeless, some have drug and alcohol problems; probably a few are legitimate trouble makers. Some were a little more "Unwashed" from camping outdoors, sleeping in tents near capitol buildings.
But many were "Washed" as well as genuinely concerned about what they perceived as the wrong direction the country is taking.
The purpose of this column is not to recount the 99 Percent demonstrations or the Nazi-like use of the term "Unwashed." If you're a right-wing fanatic who wraps himself in the flag even though like most conservatives you've never served a day in uniform, you won't be open-minded.
But just remember this Mister Conservative, when you call another human being "Unwashed." They are human beings, and deserving of the empathy of being considered human beings just as you yourself are.
Try and remember that the next time the Nazi concentration camp guard inside you flares up.
This piece instead is to accurately portray "The Corporate Bum." If you the right-winger can call the 99 Percent "Unwashed," I can call those predators who are working overtime destroying this country collectively the "Corporate Bum."
This portrait is not fictional. This is true. It was observed by me with my own eyes personally because in a way I was an accomplice. I had a decent paying job and many monthly bills I needed to pay. The corporate bum who ran the company in Los Angeles where I worked knew this. He had me over a barrel and had power over me and knew that too.
I would however, not do things unethical to preserve my job as others would and this led him to describe me as "worthless" behind my back.
His name was Tom and he was only one person, but he pretty much represents thousands of other corporate head egomaniacs who run (misdirect might be more accurate) companies across this country, in a way that is comically but not unrealistically portrayed in the TV show "The Office." To Tom and those like him, courage and humanity are foreign concepts. Like Nazi guards, these people are very much alike. They think alike.
We're in a corporate boardroom. A seemingly endless meeting is taking place because the Corporate Bum, or young punk I might call him, Tom, exerts his power by speaking endlessly to his subordinates including me. Meetings give Tom the chance to play the big guy, so we have multiple meetings every day. In fact, we spend more time in mindless endless meetings than we do selling the company's product.
Listen to him talk. He loves to hear himself talk. He strides back and forth around the room in his immaculate suit and tie, one of 40 suites he owns, saying the same clich? things he said at the meeting four hours ago---and the one yesterday.
I was summoned to this mandatory meeting and drove 40 miles from my assigned sales territory despite the lack of common sense in wasting gasoline, congesting freeways and cutting my work day in half to hear Tom talk. Mainly, this exhibition is a type of theatrical show, to re-establish Tom's dominance over us subordinates and to cow us into submission. You see if Tom doesn't talk, he isn't a big shot. Then who needs Tom?
He reminds me of Hitler in the bunker. Any student of World War II knows that Hitler used to deliver endless interminable monologues, rambling on forever, always the same topics, the nature of sub-human Jews and Slavs, the evils of smoking and the joys of vegetarianism, the evils of women's cosmetics (lipstick is made from whale spit). His flunkies had to listen to it.
Even with Russian artillery sounding in the distance, he went on and on. If you dozed off listening to it, you were in trouble.
Tom says over and over again like repeating a rosary, "This is significant. This is significant. This is very significant." He postures and poses for effect as he says it, to impress us with his self-importance, and to instill a measure of fear in us from his self-importance.
He makes the same basic spoken point, from 12 different perspectives, a two-hour presentation. He believes, why say it in 300 words when you can say it in 3,000.
Tom is an axe man, a bully boy, a boy genius (he thinks). He was sent out from corporate headquarters in Chicago with the mission of getting rid of the old guard, those older men. It worked this way. This was a small company that had through hard work become a local success through the efforts of the older men 20 years ago. It grew to the point that its profit potential became greedily apparent to a big conglomerate company in Chicago.
The big conglomerate company in Chicago bought the successful small local company and sent out Tom to establish control and remake the company in the image of the big conglomerate company in Chicago.
There was just one problem.
The older men had achieved profit-sharing status because their work had made the former smaller company a profitable success. They were sharing profits that in the beginning they had been promised they would have, as a reward from the company whose success they had built through their hard work.
This was money Tom and his overseers back in Chicago now wanted to pocket for themselves.
The older men and their profit sharing had to be gotten rid of. They had to go. And that was Tom's job. And he would get rid of them, one at a time, and one by one.
He was a hatchet man, what we now call a "Vulture Capitalist."
Tom is young and ruthless, but goes to extravagant lengths to seem not to be. When he's not repeating "This is significant" over and over, he's using words like "destiny," the misleading phrase "customer service," and "This is a performance-based job."
"Performance-based" is a corporate double-speak threat used on employees that translated means, "if you don't screw the customer royal, you're out on your ass, and even if you do you're out on your ass if you're on my hit list."
That applies to me. The only time I get applauded is when I report in the endless sales meetings that I screwed the customer, raised the rate they pay yearly 60 percent for the same product and service. If I report I only raised them a reasonable 10 percent, I am met with stony silence.
Applauded for screwing the customer.
I have a conscience. I don't feel comfortable raising the customer 60 percent more for the same product and service. Why would the customer pay that you ask? You lie to them about the increased profits they will make after loading them up with extras they don't really need and showing them a specially designed bogus mathematical equation invented by a head crook at the company designed to pull the wool figuratively over the customer's eyes.
No, I'm more comfortable raising them only a reasonable 10 percent over what they paid last year, and so I'm in trouble. Tom is already planning to get rid of me. The only people he values are sycophant slaves who are sufficiently crooked enough to charm him. There are only three such employees at the company.
Tom cheats on his wife with another woman at the company. It's an open secret. Everybody except Tom's wife knows. I don't despise him because he cheats on his wife. Lots of men do that. It's that he's so ruthlessly calculating about it, like everything else he does. Everything can be finessed, scammed, purged, justified.
I walk by Tom in a hallway. I say, "Hi Tom." He says nothing in return, and continues down the hall. He has already marked me for expulsion. Like a Nazi guard at Auschwitz, to him I'm already a "subhuman."
These old guys with profit sharing that Tom is supposed to get rid of, they're of a different generation, an older generation. They're all about the same age. They're older than me. They have their foibles. They go to a lunch counter and make sexist jokes and slap each other on the back, but they still have a sense of heart, some humanity and empathy, not like this ruthless product of a younger generation'Tom.
How will he get rid of them? He does nothing overt that will result in a lawsuit. He's clever. He uses the subtle joking insult, tells them individually in his office this is a "performance-based" job and they're not shaping up. In one more extreme and daring case, he gives an elderly mid-manager a prepared script to read announcing that the mid-manager is (not his own words) stepping down for the common good of the company.
"I hate to do this to you," Tom told the elderly mid-manager earlier in his office, lying through his teeth.
As the mid-manager almost chokes reading the phony script announcing to all of us his forced retirement, I know it's bogus.
I send a letter of complaint to the owner of the company in Chicago, telling him about his bully-boy's dishonesty and there is no response back to me because once the owner got the letter and read it he no doubt said, "But all that's good. Tom is doing what I want. I want dishonesty and chicanery."
In addition to being slated to be terminated, I am now on a "Trouble-Maker's" list.
In the end, Tom gets rid of almost everybody, even Deb (her real name), one of the best salespeople the company ever had, but who unfortunately for her had a lingering sense of integrity.
Tom gets rid of everybody except a few like-minded crooks.
Being a Vulture Capitalist means destroying everything, getting rid of everybody, pocketing the proceeds, and hopefully unloading the company you destroyed for a further profit.
Tom better watch out though. Right now there is a man younger than Tom, eyeing his job. Eventually, he will get rid of Tom.
I quit before I am fired and move back into the field of journalism.