When politicians talk about our Free Market, many of us realize it is a variation on a glittering phrase like “Freedom is On The March”, spoken over the burnt corpses of those we liberated from a modern-day Hitler while making half of the survivors stateless refugees and leaving the rest in a permanent killing zone. The Free Market sounds like a great place. In theory, it’s wonderful. There is free and sportsmanlike competition, on an even playing field, where the best product, sold for the best price, sets the pace for the race to give people the best of everything at the most affordable price. Like the best health care in the world, available here in America, to those who can afford it. Like a delicious and filling meal containing several times the daily sodium, sugar and fat recommended for health, for under $5. That’s the magic of the Free Market. How can you beat that?
The “Free Market” is very much like the red and blue fucking baseball hats and the loyal, uncritical thinkers who wear them. There was a critique of Hillary’s campaign– her message didn’t fit on a baseball hat. Trump had a great, if ambiguous to the point of sinister, motto: Make America Great Again. Sekhnet snapped a great shot of a smiling older man at an anti-Trump rally wearing a red Make America Hate Again baseball hat. Closer to the mark than Trumpie’s motto, but still — just a gotcha. Sticks and stones can break my bones, but political mantras can never hurt me. Unless, perhaps, I look like a Muslim to a group of angry guys in red hats.
I’m reminded of this “invisible hand of the Free Market” bullshit, demonstrably stinking bullshit at that, by the pills I receive in the mail from an outfit that mails out my prescription drugs. One pill is to keep my blood pressure under control, a Herculean task these days. The other is a statin, because my kidney disease has caused my cholesterol to spike. Here is a photo of the two pills, greatly magnified, to show one of the tiny wonders of the Free Market.
This is an example of the Free Market being free. You see, these wonder drugs were originally developed by big pharmaceutical companies at the cost of many millions of dollars. Then, after a certain term as a patent protected drug, to pay back the cost of development with a handsome profit as a reward, the drug was allowed to be produced as a “generic”. Same chemical composition, a fraction of the price. I get the generic Avapro and the generic Lipitor. My mother always said, of the latter, “I luuuuuuhv Lipitor.” She did, apparently.
Luckily for me, I have a magnifier app on my new brilliant phone. It allows me, when studying a pile of these pills, to separate the 329s from the 10s. As I do this I wonder how intolerable to the Free Market the government intrusion would be if they mandated “red for blood pressure drugs, green for statins” to the manufacturers of generic drugs taken by tens of millions of Americans. I know, I know, it stinks of state-controlled Communism. Seriously, I don’t fucking get it. Is America really that fucked up? Are we really this fucking stupid?
I get that Obama had to please those who put him in office, that he was constrained and coerced left and right. Mostly right, in fact, but also left. Money, it is said, has no political allegiance, although recent American history may argue that point. It’s not like anyone with a brain said money has no political allegiance, money said it. Yes, money talks. Of course it does. It told Obama that his signature health insurance plan could not overturn some very, very lucrative practices fundamental to the American Free Market. Those hungry foxes? They are the best and most experienced guardians of the hen house.
Look how well it worked having Goldman Sachs guys in charge of economic recovery from the massive financial fraud they profited from, an intricate scheme of deliberate deception that would have embarrassed Bernie Madoff, and almost sank the boat in 2008. These experienced foxes know exactly how many hens they need to eat, let them do what they do best. Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the continued unnecessary deaths of tens of thousands of Americans a year. Those dead Americans are patriots, in a way, dying for the Free Market we all love and defend to the death. Those preventable American deaths are the price the rest of us pay to live in a Free Market, and don’t you ever forget that.
I’m harsh on Obama because I actually believed the poetry he recited while campaigning. Sad to say, my man was mostly saying whatever he needed to say to get into power, like they all do. Sad to say, the alternative, both times, was seemingly much worse. Now we’ve got a wobbly, over-confident scary clown for a commander-in-chief, thanks in part to my man Barack “Raking in Some Serious Tubmans” Obama. People can only hear so much polished, meaningless bullshit coming from a bullshit artist, even a genius of the art, before they shut down.
You like the Free Market so much? Let the private health insurance industry compete with Medicare for all. Let the best entity win, as it is written by the invisible hand of the Free Market. “That was never in the cards,” say those in blue hats who still believe Obama had no choice. Tacitly, they add with a silent sigh “super lucrative business interests and very well-paid, in-the-loop, revolving-door lobbyists are too powerful here in the Free Market to allow that massive incursion into their market share. No matter how much better virtually everyone agrees a public option would be.”
(After writing that meteorologists need to constantly explain that the latest catastrophic climate event is related to the pattern of increasingly disastrous global climate change)
How else will people understand the connection between disparate weather events, from dust-bowl conditions in the Midwest, to epic wildfires in the Northwest, and record-breaking cold in the Northeast? Scientists tell us that climate change played a role in at least half the droughts, floods and storms in 2014. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), on its global climate change website, states that “multiple studies published in peer-reviewed scientific journals show that 97 percent or more of actively publishing climate scientists agree: Climate-warming trends over the past century are very likely due to human activities. In addition, most of the leading scientific organizations worldwide have issued public statements endorsing this position.” In Europe and other parts of the world there are debates on what to do about climate change. But in the United States, we have debates on whether it exists at all, or if humans have contributed to it. It’s as if every time we talked about the earth being round, we interviewed a member of the Flat Earth Society for “balance”. (Democracy Now! p. 213)
The idiotic American debate on whether climate change even exists has been underwritten, at a cost of billions over several decades, by the industries that profit the most from the ultimate destruction of life on the planet. Those industries are simply too lucrative, and too powerful, to let themselves wither and die just because the earth is being destroyed by the fossil products they extract and refine.
The Secretary of State we have now knows this better than anybody, he was until recently the CEO of Exxon. Exxon’s scientists were among the first to discover, in the 1970s, the connection between burning fossil fuel, increased CO2 in the atmosphere and rising global temperatures. The corporation published these findings, then spent the next few decades funding studies that would obfuscate those findings, cast them into doubt, create a debate between Alarmists and Skeptics. Who are you going to believe, a hysterical Alarmist or a cool, calm skeptic? Let the debate continue. Meanwhile, CAH-ching! Fossil fuel. Good to the last drop.
What is the lesson of all this brouhaha over global warming for a leading voice of the Flat Earth Society, former loudest, unrepentant “Birther” voice? Simple. Shut down NASA’s fucking website. DUH!
Free Market, baby. Like Justice, you get all the Freedom you can afford to pay for. If you are poor, you know, you can’t afford much of either. Probably best to shut the fuck up and keep your head down while the best and the brightest Make America Great Again. Freedom, as always, is on the march, taking flight in the skies over your hovel. Ask any ten year-old in Mosul, Waziristan or Raqqa.