Got Arsenic?

Seriously?

This is why it’s increasingly difficult to take our cultural priorities seriously, because the people who are elected –and paid– to make them a priority don’t take anything seriously. Except for who the next donation is coming from.

It’s beyond appalling that we are currently listening to brazen politicians whining about regulation and how “too much” of it is killing job creation.

If only.

We’ve been on one extended deregulation bender since the Reagan era and it’s resulted in a country that is less affluent, less aware and less healthy.

I have had too many discussions to count where I’ve heard right-wing (or self-declared libertarians) proclaiming that corporations are not individuals and more, no corporation will knowingly behave immorally because it’s bad business. Of course, the contrary is always the case: it is good business to deregulate, cut out the middle man, enfeeble mechanisms of oversight, eliminate as many positions as possible, spend as little on optimal (and safe) working conditions as you can get away with, and splash the obscene profits on marketing and out-of-court settlements. “It’s bad business” my misguided amigos will say. “No company wants to get caught poisoning food, or water, or making dangerous products because then people won’t support them.” Really? How’s that working out for Toyota. Or McDonalds. Or any juggernaut that can pay to make the bad press go away.

But let me be clear: this is on us. It is because, as a nation, we don’t demand regulation and benefits and the so-called “entitlements” (that we pay to have provided to us at a later time, making the word “entitlement” about as sensical as Bush’s Orwellian “Clear Skies” initiative) that we end up with arsenic in our food. Yes, the corporations, which when profiled are defined as sociopathic, and the cretins who run them have much to answer for, but we’ve seen by now that we should expect the worst. At a certain point, if someone lies to you enough times it becomes your fault if you continue to believe them because it is too painful to acknowledge reality.

As a nation, we are still letting ourselves be told not to believe our lying eyes: 30 years of trickle-down economics (despite the telling eight year respite when Clinton raised taxes and the middle-class soared and we had an abundance of jobs and a budget surplus) stagnate wages, annihilate jobs and invariably result in deficits that –like clockwork– open the floodgates to services and programs being waylaid. Even now, even after  Bush’s double-down on a domestic policy old-school conservatives could never have conceived resulted in transforming a surplus into an unprecedented debt (blame the next president!), we have the media and entirely too many politicians wringing their hands and talking about austerity. Even now, after we saw irrefutable evidence that the alternate reality of Free Market Utopia is a recipe for destruction, there are people protesting that we have too much government in our lives. If you watch Fox News or are congenitally disinclined to understand cause and effect, we can see how, against all possibility, this is still happening. So we can understand it, but we can’t excuse it.

But hey, it’s just a few bad apples making a few bad batches of apple juice, right? Besides, if called on it, these deep-pocketed psycopaths will most likely complain that their oversight was caused by Big Government interfering in the natural order of things. It’s hard to do good business with all these do-gooders worrying about safety and integrity. In fact, we need even less regulation to ensure it doesn’t happen again! And enough people will nod their heads and drink the arsenic-flavored Kool Aid.

Once again, our boy Bill Hicks was distressingly prescient (fast forward to 2.22). What is most disturbing here is that in this bit he is obviously being over the top. If only.

Truth, of course, seldom is unable to prove it can outstrip the most outrageous or cynical fiction.

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