Monday, November 09, 2009
Swine at the Trough
I originally didn't want to make this personal, but after some late night thought -- as well as a comment from Jayne that broached the subject -- I don't see why I shouldn't.
I'll let Jayne explain it, by way of what she posted in the comment section of yesterday's quote referencing Goldman Sachs's preferential treatment in securing hundreds of doses of the H1N1 vaccine for its employees, while most other Americans are forced to wait.
I think this is worth putting up on the main page:
"Your 15-month old daughter is on the 'wait list' to get the vaccine. Her pediatrician hasn't received the doses that were supposed to have been delivered over a month ago and says it's 'up to the government' if they end up getting them at all. I'm so glad she has to wait so that the nice people at GS can be taken care of first."
So there you have it. Inara waits while Goldman Sachs executives get to literally bathe in the vaccine if they want.
This was my response, also in the comment section of that post and now moved to the main page:
"This may seem overly simplistic but unfortunately it's also the reality of the situation: You're rich -- not just rich but obscenely rich, and on the backs of the taxpayers who were forced to bail out your asshole folly -- you live. You're poor or middle-class -- you can die. You don't matter one bit. To grab a line from a previous Taibbi column, "Tough, suck on our yachts."
A child living in Queens, New York -- an epicenter of the American swine flu outbreak -- is made to wait for a vaccine until the Masters of the Universe across the river are sufficiently protected. Honestly, if this sort of thing isn't the straw that breaks the back of a very angry public -- I have no idea what will be.
It would be nice if Americans could wake up and realize that most of us will never be one of these people; that dream we were all pitched about how anyone can become a member of the plutocracy and spend their lives drinking champagne out of a Manolo Blahnik or Edward Green while jetting around the globe is in large part a lie. Most of us and our families will spend our lives getting walked on by these people and the unaccountable corporate leviathans they've created in some form or another -- whether we're being hired and fired at their whim, turned down for insurance or health care because we just don't add up to enough on a bank ledger to make us worth saving, or being gambled on and eventually made to pay for the bad, greed-fueled bets that brought the entire global economy to its knees. At some point, the millions and millions of us are going to have to say that we've damn well had enough of the antics of the handful of them. Yes, I realize this is a reductionist-populist way of thinking, but after all we've witnessed over the past couple of years, is there really any way to ignore the truth anymore?
A small group of silver spoon-fed sociopaths take and take and take and amass a staggering volume of wealth -- everyone else ends up on a waiting list to get a flu vaccine.
When did our culture become this immoral -- this inhumane?"
It now dawns on me that in my indignation I left out one complicit party: the government. These corporations wouldn't be able to get away with this shit were it not for a powerful group of bought and paid for lawmakers and politicians who will always put the needs of the people who line their pockets above those of the voters who put them in a position where they could get fat and happy by greedily lapping at the golden teat of big business in the first place.
Something has to give. At some point, somebody's going to have to say "enough is enough" and actually mean it.
It's not going to happen anytime soon, though. Need proof? Just read on:
Bloomberg: Big Pharma's Crime Spree: Pfizer Broke the Law by Promoting Drugs for Unapproved Uses, 31 Deaths from Just One Drug/11.9.09
These assholes are so full of hubris and audacity that they don't even hide -- they'll come right out and admit that they make more money marketing potentially dangerous drugs, even if they do have to pay the occasional multi-million dollar fine, than they would if they played it safe.
You and me? Our health -- our lives?