Monday, August 10, 2009

Corporate Greed – Denying Freedom of Speech and Expression in Public

In Kami Jin (Paper People), I reflected on some of my personal experiences with how executives and managers in Corporate America went out of their way to squash the freedoms of speech and expression in their organizations. At places where I worked, supervisors chastised and ridiculed individuals for making constructive comments or criticisms that were contrary to management’s ideals or beliefs. If bosses didn’t agree with your suggestion, they often considered it as “an attack on management.”

This often resulted in negative consequences for the individual making the suggestion. Speaking out resulted in either being passed up for a promotion, but often resulted in a demotion or even termination if management felt it was severe enough to warrant the action. Oddly, those who often spread lies and false allegations against their peers for the sake of “climbing the ladder,” were often rewarded with promotions.

Unfortunately, corporate greed has spilled into the public sector. The national issue of health care reform has caused many obstructionist against reform to create lies, falsehoods and misinformation about the issue that are so far from the truth that it is pathetic that uniformed people in this country perceive these to be “the truth.” Underwritten and funded by corporate executives and lobbyists for insurance and pharmaceutical companies, these parties have hired out public relation firms to organize “citizen groups” to infiltrate town hall meetings sponsored by Congressional representatives intended to have a civilized debate on issues like health care reform. But rather than having the opportunity to have a “civilized debate,” these meetings have become dominated with violent outbursts and demonstrations by people who, often, are not even constituents of the representative’s district. But, people (prostitutes) planted there by insurance and corporations to intimidate gullible citizens with their misinformation and propaganda provided them by these so called “PR” firms.

It’s first of all shameful that these “public relations” firms call themselves “public relations firms.” To the profession of public relations, they are a disgrace. Unlike marketing firms, in PR, you should be telling the truth about the subject. These entities are nothing but propaganda organizations spreading lies for the sake of and preserving the status quo of insurance and pharmaceuticals that stand to lose large profit if a single-payer or a public-option were to become reality. Or the truth of the matter, if a competing entity were to be introduced to the marketplace.

They say it’s “government bureaucracy” that is out to destroy health care in America. I say, “corporate bureaucracy” has been destroying health care in America all this time.

· Why does the cost of health care in America continue to rise?

· Why does America lag (47th) behind the rest of the world in the quality of health care?

· Why are we paying so much for health care compared to the rest of the world? Why are other countries receiving better health care that we are for a lot less?

· Why does someone have to pay $200 for an inhaler here in America and only pay a dollar ($1) for the same inhaler in Cuba and Mexico?

· Why are corporate executives receiving much more in terms of salaries and benefits while average workers are losing their jobs plus their medical benefits in addition to everything else?

· Why can't our health care system find effective ways to reduce costs and make it affordable for all Americans and find a means of building a health care system that is first in the world, rather than argue about the costs that it will take to create a first class system?

The insurance companies promised the Senate their version of “reforms.” But just think, their “understanding of reforms” is what they have been doing all along.

Recently, to continue to satisfy their shareholders, insurance companies have been making efforts to remove many of their patients from their rolls. Much of this is done with very poor communications often by not telling the patient until it’s too late when a patient discovers that he or she is no longer covered by the insurance that the person once had. Or by suddenly changing a patient from a primary carrier to a secondary carrier without notification and then leaving the patient with two secondary payers leaving the patient to coordinate payment or be stuck with the bill in its entirety.

Then there is the issue of not approving coverage for an important procedure because the insurance company deems it “experimental” or “not medically necessary.” Mind you, the insurance company made this decision, not the doctor. In other words, some bureaucrat in the insurance company was practicing medicine without a license. In some cases, this has resulted in the patient’s death. This is criminal. And the person(s) responsible should not be held for manslaughter, but for murder in the first degree.

Back to the issue of freedom of speech and expression. We have the corporations so paranoid about losing their profits, that they hire “hit people” to be their “megaphones.” Do they come out and do the talking? No, they hide behind their mahogany-lined offices while others serve as their mouthpieces. Let alone, the poor people doing their lying are just as vulnerable to get the ax from their insurance rolls as part of their “reform” measures.

Are you executives too ashamed and embarrassed to come out and speak for yourselves? What are you afraid of? You didn’t let your own employees speak their mind in your own companies. Now, you don’t even let the citizens of this nation speak their mind in public town hall meetings as civilized people. You have turned these events into mass hysteria. Yet, you’re too “busy” to come out and debate one-on-one for yourselves, but you can tell a bold face lie in front of the U.S. Senate about your reforms, while stirring up a hornet’s nest full of lies on something this whole nation should be working for – health care reform that will benefit all citizens of this nation – not just your fat pocket books. And since you cannot come out and speak for yourselves, you are an embarrassment to this country. I suggest that you take a trip to Little Tokyo in Los Angeles and buy a t-shirt printed with the legend, “cut on the dotted line,” just above the waist. For if you have any honor in you – which you probably don’t – you would do as the shirt says and do as any honorable Japanese businessman in disgrace would do.

Health care is not only a right for all Americans. It’s a right for every individual on this planet. We all have the responsibility of keeping everyone healthy. Illnesses do not recognize borders, lifestyles, social classes, races, nationalities, sex, gender, and any other divide that one can think of. It attacks at will anywhere, and at anytime. Take the swine flu for example. All it takes is one airplane or boat trip.

You can silence the employees in your company. I might not agree with your management style or methodologies – but that is your right. But don’t tread your privileges on this nation. You have already tainted Congress by asserting your special interest money, which should have been better spent for the good of your patients, you have instead brought the souls of many Senators and Representatives (the “parrots”) just so that you could sway the opinion of health care reform in your greedy favor.

You have gone to the extent of getting favors from a corrupt government that has sold its soul to Corporate America. Stupidity like this has caused civil wars and revolutions in other countries. A little over 200 years ago, a king who sat on a throne, placed himself on a pedestal, and ruled a New World, over-taxed his citizens. As a result, a new country was born. That same country is overdue for a revolution – to overturn a corrupt government by and for Corporate America, and return it once again as a government by and for the people.

This corrupted government has treated you well. In a down economy, it has bailed out failing companies while continued to reward incompetent executives with taxpayer money. The next time, the taxpayers are not going to be so benevolent.

In modern times, we essentially have the same analogy. We have an elite group of people with influence who have placed themselves on pedestals ruling (hiding) in their corporate suites, influencing government with their riches, getting richer by the day while the “peasants” continually starve and lose their jobs and benefits. Prices are sky rocketing out of control, yet, the government is non-responsive. The time is ripe for a revolution. Being a Quaker, I favor a peaceful one at that. But if it means civil disobedience and unrest, I would have to favor all means necessary to bring justice to bear.

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