May 25, 2012

Barroom Brawl Business Ethics in America

Filed under: Commentary — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 12:28 pm

The Golden Gate Bridge turns 75 this weekend.
The Oakland Bay Bridge is the other San Francisco Bridge.
Tough times in the land of endless opportunities.

Barroom brawls used to be an integral part of the cinematic formula for a Western movie, but the one and only time the World’s Laziest Journalist witnessed a real life mêlée in a tavern occurred just about fifty years ago. The long dormant memories were quickly revived this past week during an effort to assess the trend spotting potential for connecting several business news stories from the San Francisco Bay area.

The Golden State Warriors (née Philadelphia Warriors) announced that since they have gotten a sweetheart real estate deal in Frisco, it was time to say adios to Oakland. It seems that the team owners will be gifted with some prime property on the waterfront and will provide their own funding for the construction of a new sports stadium entertainment complex in the postcard perfect setting.

The dramatic business news development occurred in “sucker punch” quick fashion this week. On Monday, the sports reporters were saying that something was developing. On Tuesday, a press conference on a pier on the bayside of fog city was being held.

The Sacramento Kings are scrambling to get a development deal from their hometown. In Los Angeles, efforts to get the L. A. City Council to build a football stadium in the downtown area and make offers to lure a new tenant into it, are a recurring political refrain. The Forty-niners football team has announced plans to split from San Francisco.

On Tuesday morning, John Madden, on his daily radio commentary show on KCBS radio, noted that Oakland had been there for professional sports in the past and that some reciprocal loyalty seemed to be conspicuous by its absence.

Meanwhile the business news seemed to be obsessing on the Facebook stock imbroglio. It seems that one particular company advised their best clients to sit on the bench while the suckers took a bath. The good ole boys take care of their own; the rest can fend for themselves. Business has adopted W. C. Field’s advice, “Never Give a Sucker and even break,” as the new code of ethics.

Jamie Diamon (Jamie Diamond sounds like a good name for a go-go dancer, eh?) and his merry band of pranksters seem to be positioning their company for a new rendition of the ever popular “Too Big to Fail” song and dance routine that precedes a bid for a government bail-out.

Legally the paper work for home foreclosures (at least in California) seems questionable at best and possibly unlawful, but the foreclosures roll on like a bad dream.

President Obama led supporters to believe that he was sympathetic to the needs of people who derived medicinal value from cannabis. Now, the government efforts to shut down the sites where pot can be sold as a remedy for a variety of medical conditions are occurring much more frequently.

What politician was the first to use the philosophy: “Don’t listen to what I say; watch what I do!”?

In 1968, Richard Nixon got elected President by promising to end the war in Vietnam. He used the same platform to get reelected in 1972. President Obama intimated to the voters in 2008, that he would take care of two unpopular wars. In 2012, Obama seems content to recycle the Roosevelt slogan “Prosperity is just around the corner.”

During the Vietnam War, the clergy of the Catholic Church was more concerned with the birth control issue than with the morality of using Agent Orange. Now Notre Dame is drawing a line in the sand over the inclusion of contraceptives in health programs rather than worrying about any possible similarities between America’s drone strikes and the Condor Legion’s bombing of Guernica.

The paradigm for all this is that capitalists use the barroom brawl ethics of a motorcycle gang to content with any opposition. If you pick a fight with a motorcycle gang member other members of that club who are there will respond en masse. If you take on a one percenter, he and the politicians, the police, the press, and the clergy will form a line of defense that will wear out any attacker.

On Tuesday, a very random casual poll of folks in San Francisco indicated that the person in the street didn’t care about where the Golden State Warriors called home. (One year, several decades ago, they played six “home” games in San Diego.)

A one percenter sports team owner realizes that sports fans are just like the motor oil used to lubricate an engine. A complete change is recommended for maximum efficiency or to increase profit margin.

Isn’t it rather poignant to note that immediately after the Facebook debacle, President Obama showed up in Silicone Valley to solicit campaign donations and the folks who bought the stock without the benefit of the brokers’ warning for high rollers have to hope some long drawn out law suit helps them recover their losses?

The good ole boys network survives! Wasn’t there a Johnny Paycheck song that noted “the big man plays while the little man pays”?

Isn’t it very odd how politicians seem to be oblivious to the little people getting fleeced in America, but they get their panties all in a wad when some Secret Service members sew their wild oats in a foreign country? (Isn’t prostitution legal in the country where the incident occurred?)

Is there one TV network that is becoming synonymous with sports?

Is there one TV network that is synonymous with politics?

Is there one TV network that has the audience with the lowest “well informed” ratings?

Wouldn’t it be a co-inky-dink if one name was the correct answer to all three of those questions? You know; the network with the motto: “We deceive; you pick up the check.” What was the country song with the line: “Six rounds were bought, and I bought five!”?

This columnist has heard that the police in Berkeley have started a program of waking up sleeping vagrants in the middle of the night. (Who else got the sleep deprivation treatment?) One source indicated that tickets were being issued but our efforts to fact check that aspect of the story have been inconclusive.

How many politicians talk to the homeless? We have seen one member of the Berkeley City council talking to a homeless man recently, but when was the last time that President Obama talked to a homeless person? When was the last time the governor of California talked to a homeless person?

In the movie “Charlie Wilson’s War,” a turning point came when the congressman got some fellow politicians to visit a refugee camp and talk with some of the victims of the Russian Invasion of Afghanistan.

Wait! There is a subtle difference here. The one percenters can make a profit on a war in a foreign country and feel good about helping the poor wretches who live near the battlefield, but they are also making scads of money on the foreclosure trend so why change that?

If the owners of the Golden State Warriors can turn a profit on the valuable real estate, could any subsequent sizable campaign contributions they might make to the politicians who helped expedite the change of venue be misconstrued as being “commission checks”?

The fact is that capitalists don’t care who get hurt by their ruthless pursuit of increased profits, but barroom brawlers do have some regard for innocent bystanders. In the aforementioned donnybrook in the gin mill, in the mid Sixties, the columnist and his buddy were surrounded by ten to fifteen pairs of guys engaged in fisticuffs, but since we were perceived as two outsiders (it was our first visit to that city and that “watering hole”), who were not recognized by either of the fray’s rival factions, as being members of the opposition group, we were able to stroll away from the fracas unscathed. Our reaction was to resort to the common cliché of “wow that was just like a scene in a John Wayne Western.”

[Note from the Photo Desk: Reportedly the Golden State Warriors will use the Bay Bridge in their new logo. The Golden Gate Bridge will celebrate its 75 birthday this weekend.

If the battleship Iowa’s departure for its new home in San Pedro and the Golden Gate Bridge’s birthday celebration occur simultaneously, during the Memorial Day Weekend; do ya think that an aerial photo showing the Iowa approaching the Golden Gate Bridge (this will be the last time an American battleship ever passes under the Golden Gate Bridge) will be used above the fold on page one of the next day’s edition of the New York Times? That image for the Memorial Day issue would be priceless.]

Oliver Goldsmith wrote: “Laws grind the poor, and rich men rule the law.”

Now, the disk jockey will play “Ballroom Blitz,” Roger Miller’s “Dang me!,” and the Sir Douglas Quintet song “I’m Just Tired of Getting’ Burned.” We have to go donate some of our used satin sheets to the local shelter for the homeless. Have a “posh soiree at Wayne Manor” type week.

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