Let's Compare Realities

Let's once again venture into a comparison of today's reality as opposed to what passes for reality in the modern American's mind. To put the issue as bluntly as possible, the difference is immense.

When your doctor provides you with a prescription for a drug, the common misconception is that generic drugs have been tested against the name-brand to assist your pharmacist in delivering the best option at the lowest cost for your case. That is not the situation.

Betty Dong, a clinical pharmacist at Univ. of Calif.-San Francisco, compared Synthroid, a drug used by hypothyroid patients and produced by the Boots Company of Britain, against lower cost generic alternatives. Her findings were that the lower cost generic drugs were equally effective in treatment as the name brand Synthroid. When Dong stated that she intended to publish her findings in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Boots enacted a clause in her contract to block the publication and then began a systematic campaign to publicly attack her research as flawed. It was impossible for Dong to defend her study as she was now contractually barred from even discussing her work. Hence, Synthroid is still considered the drug of choice in this treatment even though consumers could be saving millions of dollars if medical professionals were aware of the research.

Another fallacy is that our educational system is operated by the "Liberal" establishment to further their insidious agenda.

The John M. Olin Foundation, organized in its present form by an ultraconservative munitions manufacturer, underwrote a journalism course at Boston University called "Reporting Military Affairs", a course designed to "make journalists more sympathetic to the military", according to a former dean.

The Olin Foundation also succeeded in establishing an extremist, fringe philosophy of law in our most influential law schools. This program preaches "commercial selection in the marketplace could largely displace government decision making", according to Kevin Phillips, a Republican critic of the ultraright. Consider what he said, folks. These courses teach that corporations should make many of the national policy decisions that your government does now. America by the corporation, of the corporation and for the corporation. Not a very "Liberal" viewpoint, I'd have to say.

I don't have to remind you of Newt Gingrich's so-called college course, "Renewing American Civilization", for which he has been "fined" $300,000 by Congress for lying about its tax-exempt status and use of campaign contributions and which is still the object of an IRS investigation. Both he and the schools, Reinhardt and Kinnesaw colleges, have admitted to knowing that the entire process was illegal since it violated federal campaign financing laws as well as laws governing tax exempt institutions. Nevertheless, Gingrich used these "courses" to trade political influence for contributions and volunteers to his far right organizations and causes. Again, not very "Liberal".

Privatization is the current mantra of politicians and their corporate masters. The spurious belief they espouse is that privatizing government services saves money while providing the same level of service. Another big lie that, stated often enough, sounds as if it's legitimate.

Buffalo, New York, contracted out the janitorial services for it's state buildings in 1992. The initial claim was that the cost savings from the contract was from improvements in efficiency that the government couldn't match. Only later, after continued questioning from the Buffalo News did they admit that nearly every penny of savings resulted from the use of many "more part-time workers at lower salaries and with far fewer benefits". This is not a case of efficiency but rather a transfer of money from the pockets of state workers to corporations and politicians.

An extraordinary example of the evils of privatization is in the penal institution's headlong rush to give up the management of correctional facilities to corporations. A 1995 riot in a prison operated by the Esmor Corporation for the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) led to a report detailing "an atmosphere of abuse and penny pinching in the jail for illegal immigrants and asylum seekers. Poorly paid, ill-trained guards physically and verbally abused detainees, shackling them with leg irons, roughing them up with no reason in the middle of the night". Esmor Corporation had obtained this contract, despite absolutely no experience in the correctional field, by the simple expedient of hiring the campaign manager of a New York politician as its lobbyist.

Why is privatization the current ideological push from the far right and corporations? Because you as a citizen must completely cede your control over all phases of the service once it is privatized and the contract signed. You can remove the offending politician once the magnitude of the stupidity of this action is seen but the contracts will be written, as they are now, with such huge financial penalties leveed against the government if the contract is broken that the cost of repairing the inevitable damage is immense. This is the undoing of democracy, ladies and gentlemen. Privatization removes your voice entirely from the process and produces situations where politicians and corporations are utterly exempt from voter's oversight during the life of the contract. Is this what you truly want or is it just what your favorite political guru tells you that you want?

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