Bill anything that moves

(Photo credit: Daquella manera)

(Photo credit: Daquella manera)

When morality comes up against profit, it is seldom that profit loses.”

― Shirley Chisholm

It’s shaping up to be a long, hot summer in the land of curdled milk and honey but air conditioners and ceiling fans aren’t the only thing humming along at full speed. In America, the gears of capitalism continue to keep worker’s noses to the neoliberal grind. Sam Walton and Jeff Bezos clearly have never met an inanimate object on the planet they couldn’t find a way to bar code, warehouse or commoditize. Meanwhile, the American healthcare system provides a focused snapshot of the shock and awe policies adopted by the corporate interests that have captured our public institutions. It was beyond shameful that our nation’s signature healthcare laws were underwritten by the for-profit insurance and private healthcare industries. The POTUS didn’t even make a pretense of advocating for a universal, single-payer healthcare system that ensures both affordability and access. Tiered health plans are like Kwanzaa in July for healthcare CEO’s who can now offer the illusion of affordability while continuing to deny access to the gold-plated healthcare plans enjoyed by the elite and their hired help. To add insults to injuries, many GOP-controlled states have refused to expand Medicaid programs, denying care to millions of vulnerable citizens. What we have been allotted are platinum, gold, silver and bronze health plans, an Olympian, hunger games of medicine. This is undoubtedly what Hippocrates had in mind when he said, “Primum non nocere”, which translated loosely means…“First, do no harm to the platinum plan patients, but it’s ok to do a little harm to the gold and silver plan patients and feel free to do a lot of harm to the bronze plan patients.”

Marching Across the 16th Street Viaduct in Sup...

(Photo credit: Light Brigading)

In the U.S., the wholesale privatization of public education marches on with relentless efficiency. New Orleans has seen it’s entire public school district dismantled and replaced by charter schools, whose teachers have no union representation, due process or collective bargaining agreements. In California, the courts have declared tenure and seniority to be “unconstitutional” citing Elite v. Non-Elites, 1776, which ruled classism, racism and elitism as constitutional as slipknots and mom’s apple pie. Public education is one of the few remaining bastions of union influence in the U.S. so it’s unsurprising that the corporate-capitalists have pressed so hard to undermine and scapegoat the teaching profession. A career venture-opportunist like Bill Gates has been only too happy to inject his familiar brand of take-no-prisoners reform that served him so well in building Microsoft into a monopoly corporation. Public schools have always been inextricably linked to the communities they serve. A constant turnover in less experienced teachers coupled with the exodus of veteran teachers will only further weaken the tenuous bonds in communities already reeling from the financial collapse. It is important for the public to realize that the princes of privatization aren’t looking merely to reform public education, they’re looking to crush it under their wing-tipped heels. It’s frightening to consider how many promising careers have  been snuffed out and how many students have had their confidence in education shattered beyond repair.

(Photo credit: KeizerStreetArt)

(Photo credit: KeizerStreetArt)

Privatizing the profits and socializing the losses has always been the mantra of the corporate class. Harvard taught them well that blondes and bankers do have more fun. So rather than view quality healthcare and accessible education as basic, minimum human rights in a modern, civilized society, we have been conditioned to believe we must earn this ever elusive American Dream™ with our blood, sweat and tears, The fact that our labors always benefit the elite the most is sheer coincidence, nothing more. If only we would pull ourselves up by our bootstraps just a little bit harder, then we, too, could have a 30-year adjustable rate mortgage, six-figure student loan debt and busted bronze healthcare plan. In capitalism, every person, place or thing under the sun has a price to be calibrated by the invisible pimp hand of the marketplace that conveniently ignores the inconvenient truth that technological innovations outpace the sustainability afforded by a planet with finite resources. The corporate and state controlled media outlets do their part to ensure that geopolitical and ideological bluster are never seen for what they are…naked grabs for the land, labor and resources required  to sustain the opulent lifestyles the elite have become accustomed to. The intoxicating elixir of power is a hard habit to break so, to keep their feathers plumed, the elite must increasingly rely on repression and the projection of dominance to maintain social order. Alas, if there’s one thing I’ve learned from living in the mecca of capitalism is that all bills eventually come due. It’s only a matter of time before it is the servant’s turn to collect on the master’s outstanding debts.

Peace and solidarity to all readers.

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33 Responses to Bill anything that moves

  1. Reblogged this on Flying Tiger Comics and commented:
    all “ism”s are lethal

    Like

  2. On target commentary> Right to vote a mere illusion of democracy and certainly this is not a land of equality.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jeff Nguyen says:

      True enough, Carl…the right to vote loses some of it’s punch when the choices are so limited. The lesser of two evils conundrum gets kinda old after awhile.

      Like

      • Mike Booth says:

        I call this Tweedle Dum-Tweedle Dee democracy. It works great for them in the medium term. But in the long run won’t they bring down the country? Our grandchildren may get to see that spectacle.

        Like

      • Jeff Nguyen says:

        The global elite have a history of using and discarding countries and nation-states once they’re usefulness has expired. This is why solidarity must transcend borders, ideologies and ethnicities. Our grandchildren deserve a better world than the one we are currently leaving them for their inheritance.

        Thanks for commenting, Mike.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. As to healthcare, it’s not; that’s the ploy. It’s sick-care. Its focus is on the treatment of the sick and the prescribing of poisons. There are other entities responsible for making us sick, but to go into that would be to hijack your post.

    Hangknot, Slipknot, was great.

    Another fine piece of work, Jeff. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jeff Nguyen says:

      Your comment reminds me of reading how executives at Monsanto eat organic, non-GMO foods in their own homes. The healthcare the elite enjoy from their private and concierge doctors is not the same level of care you and I receive at (Have) Mercy General Hospital. Access to high quality, holistic medical care is as important as affordability.

      Adding to the discussion and taking it into unexpected directions is never hijacking the post in my book. Limiting the conversations is the last thing I want to do here. Thanks, as always, for your insightful contributions, Peter.

      Like

  4. skulzstudios says:

    Power is the heroin of the über-elite. Heroin is hard to kick.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Jeff, my hat is off to you and to all teachers out there who are trying and who are fighting an uphill battle. I remember back in the day, teachers were honored. At one point, I thought that I would become a teacher, but instead I went into other things, but there was so much respect for the field of teaching. Now, it’s like teachers are being vilified and for all that you do, that is so wrong. The students are suffering as a result of the vilifying of teachers.

    I am at a loss for words in trying to come up with anything to say about as Peter so aptly put it, ‘sick-care’. If something’s got to give, I sure hope that it gives soon as too many people are suffering. We have the numbers, but what we don’t have is the time or the energy or the strength as many are just so tired, broke and broken as was the plan all along.

    Thank you for another great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jeff Nguyen says:

      I appreciate your supportive words, Shelby. Many of the veteran teachers I know have chosen early retirements and the younger teachers are being conditioned to ‘tow the line’. You’re right that it’s the students who suffer the most fallout. A new generation of students have been raised to believe their intelligence and educational achievements are based on scores from standardized tests created by the corporate-education industry that have been proven by research to be class and culturally biased.

      You have a gift for seeing through all the bluster and bravado on a given topic and zeroing on the people who are suffering the most from these shockingly awful economic policies. I can definitely picture you as a thoughtful, compassionate teacher but I can also see you as a social worker who makes a powerful advocate and ally for our most vulnerable citizens,

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  6. We are in the throes of the great breaking down in America – the ending of the white majority, the changes being wrought by technology, and the ever impending wrath of Mother Nature are the movers of what appears so terrible. Public education has held its place, and teachers can be strong influences. But, really, when you look at the history of American Education and what it has consistently done to destroy the culture of anyone not white – let it go. We can create our own community education. We can support each other, when we decide to. As for health care, inevitably single payer will arrive. And there are actually doctors working to promote health care – Functional medicine is that movement. But, again, the solution to all problems lie within each person recognizing the interdependence we all have and that all differences are illusions, and that what must be eradicated simply are the poisons of ignorance, hatred, and desire. But, we should consider ourselves fortunate – at least we don’t live in Palestine. Now, what has been going on there is enough to break the heart.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Jeff Nguyen says:

      Thanks for joining the discussion, Skywalker. There does seem to be a perfect storm brewing of counterbalancing forces that may serve to disrupt the status quo in unforeseen ways.

      I have gone to great lengths in previous writings to point out the inherent fault lines in public education which, in it’s storied history, has served as both an extension of the state and it’s nemesis. However, I do think it’s premature to “let it go” until there is a viable, meaningful system to take it’s place. I shared in my response to Nicci below that education is one of the few remaining pathways to economic/social mobility, especially for the lower/working classes.

      I do support and believe in localized, community-driven approaches to education and healthcare that are universal in both theory and in practice. The reality, however, is untold numbers of vulnerable citizens are presently suffering from the corporate underwriting of education and healthcare and may not make it until these systems work themselves out. To our detriment, compassionate people like yourself who recognize our global interdependence are not the ones making the rules…just the ones forced to follow them.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. The myth of meritocracy, and the belief in equal opportunity is so well broken down here, Jeff. It’s a frustrating system, but breaking down the school system, and opportunity for children to be able to make it, must be one of the harder things to bear.

    I read an article a few months ago (early March, I think) which shared the importance of education as a means for working class children to be able to have opportunity. The writer said that by closing down the opportunity, those in power (British public, meaning so very private) school boys were able to keep a hold on who gets to stay in power, despite claiming to represent democratic (and even labour party) values. Closing every school which offered opportunity, he said, was fleecing children of any opportunity.

    He also said the media hunt for individual abusers of children (at that time focused on PIE) ignores the wider way that a great many children are being exploited by the system as a whole.

    SA has Equal Education, who go all out to hold government (and school governing bodies who can be discriminatory) accountable and fight for children’s rights. Four activists came back and shared despair.

    What can be done for a different future?

    Like

    • Jeff Nguyen says:

      You’ve touched on some things that especially resonate with me…how education is about opportunity as the pathway to social/economic mobility or, conversely, restricting opportunity as a means of social control. What education has given me is choices, previously I was confined to low paying jobs with little hope for forward progress. I do not disparage those who do such labor as “menial”, there is a difference between one choosing to do such work and one being compelled because there are simply no other choices to be had.

      The short answer I would offer for a different future would entail a complete restructuring of the economic systems that have enabled the consolidation of power and influence in the form of corporations, as we currently know them. This would require the complete, dismantling of capitalism as we know it, perhaps, to be replaced by localized, community-based cooperatives as a start.

      Like

  8. tubularsock says:

    Great post, Jeff. And as you know those same corporate elites that are crushing public education and profiting off sick people are already positioned to control the water supply as a commodity. After that …….. the air. Every breath a profit making opportunity.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jeff Nguyen says:

      Thanks, Tubular. It seems that bottled oxygen is now a popular commodity for wealthy Westerners looking to scale Everest (with a lot of help from the Sherpas). This is an interesting article on the intersection of Western capitalism with Eastern culture…

      “Sherpas, Death and Anger on Everest”: http://nyr.kr/1nUN1Ly

      Like

  9. floridaborne says:

    Several years ago I tried to get insurance through an association membership. The association had been told that their policy was like that of a large corporation–no one would be denied insurance. Then I applied and was denied. Why? I have mild Tourette’s Syndrome. The association was furious at the insurance company and didn’t realize there were some “exceptions” in the fine print. I was without health insurance for many years and relied on the excellent sliding-scale clinic in my small town for health care. Now there are stories about the government “affordable” health care being anything BUT affordable. People from every walk of life are finding that they’re paying more premiums for less coverage.

    Like

    • Jeff Nguyen says:

      My son has Tourette’s Syndrome, I can relate to some of the struggles you’ve experienced. Community-based, sliding scale clinics are the unsung heroes of the American healthcare system. For those who are able to afford the new ACA plans, they are finding their access severely restricted to a small pool of medical providers willing to accept their coverage…the big wheels keep on turning.

      Like

  10. What I find even more irritating are the US insurance companies systematically trying to destroy single payer systems overseas (by backing conservative pro-privatization companies). NZ investigative reporter Nicky Hager writes about efforts by the health insurance lobby to interfere with the 2005 election in The Hollow Men.

    More recently Big Pharma is trying to destroy our pharmaceutical bulk buying agency via the clause they inserted in the secret Trans Pacific Partnership Treaty.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jeff Nguyen says:

      Yes, it’s bad enough that the ruling, Western-capitalist class are eating their own countries from within but they intend to bring down as many countries with them as they can. The TPP should serve as irrefutable evidence that the global elite merely occupy their host countries but their true loyalties always lie with their own dynastic, self-interests.

      Like

  11. You have said it so well! I always repost your blog entries on my Facebook page…your thinking is so logical and clearly stated! I hope more people read you and try to implement your ideas!

    Like

    • Jeff Nguyen says:

      That’s very kind of you to share my posts and much appreciated. The blogging community has helped sharpen my thinking and expand my consciousness in ways I never imagined. Most of all it has given me hope that I’m not alone in believing a better world is possible. I do love your stirring poetry, as well.

      Like

  12. mytiturk says:

    Been away exploring our four easternmost provinces, where people just joke about their troubles and make those of their visitors’ float away. Nice to see you are continuing to battle the relentless windmills that grind us up really fine.

    Like

    • Jeff Nguyen says:

      Sounds like you’ve been having more fun than I have. In July, I will be going on a road trip with my family along the East Coast to Maryland. I’m sure the windmills will still be there when I get home. Good to hear from you, mightyturk.

      Like

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