Bandolero has long had his sights on the Unholy Trinity of Big Pharma, Big Insurance and Big Med. Until they are made transparent, there is no hope for reformation of the health industry into something that is available and affordable to all. Congress struggles over legislation and gives us junk like Obama Care, or promises of other legislation that they tout depending on who is funding their campaign chests. All the while, legislators are either unwilling or too dumb (or, most likely, both) to pierce the veil behind which the Unholy Trinity conspires, in violation of anti-trust laws, to get richer and richer at the expense of the population. A recent article, Big Pharma Has The Flu, in Wired Magazine caught our attention by actually referring to “Big Pharma”. At least Bandolero is not alone in his recognition of the nature of the beast. It spotlights the enormous profits reaped by Big Pharma from sales of flu vaccines that have only limited effectiveness, and the reason why Big Pharma has no incentive to do better. In the end, however, the author seems to mostly blame the inherent nature of capitalism for Big Pharma’s failure to produce an effective vaccine, and to suggest that it will take funding on the level of the Gates Foundation to make an effective vaccine possible. What the author overlooked is that Big Pharma itself could fund the research and development necessary to create an effective vaccine, especially if Big Insurance and Big Med were to throw in some of their money. It ain’t gonna happen. Too many CEO’s, directors and shareholders are not in the game for the purpose of improving or protecting the health and well being of the common man (er, common person). They’re in it for the purpose of improving and protecting their own wealth and lifestyle. It’s not in their financial interest to spend money to create an effective flu vaccine. It is in their financial interest to spend money to buy Congress, the biggest cuckoo’s nest in history. It’s a lot cheaper.
El Bandolero is alarmed by the surge of sentiment for democracy and majority rule, particularly since the 2016 election. Certain groups, liberals especially, are finding it easy to forget why the country was founded as a republic and why it was deemed necessary to supplement the Constitution with a Bill of Rights. Protection of the “little guy” and “minorities” was deemed essential. Majority rule can be the worst kind of tyranny, and is fertile ground for the worst kind of tyrants. Making matters worse, liberals and conservatives both persist under the thumb of the oligarchy, whose power doesn’t depend on the form of government. The oligarchs hold the strings that manipulate government either way.
Bandolero believes the best hope for humanity is rule by a benevolent dictator. This is always countered by the “absolute power corrupts absolutely” platitude. It ain’t necessarily so, but it’s an easy sell to the masses. The principal weakness of the benevolent dictator is his/her vulnerability to assassins sent by the oligarchy.
The problem with dismantling the oligarchy is how to do it while preserving the incentive to excel. Who wants to build a better mousetrap just for the pride and joy of accomplishment, without material reward and elevation of status? Of course, if human nature could be elevated to being satisfied with pride of accomplishment for its own sake, it wouldn’t need much in the way of governance in any form. In that case, we’d just need an efficient (and benevolent) bureaucracy to manage the infrastructure and provision for education and health care. The oligarchy’s tentacles would have to be cut out of that, too. But, to get from where we are to a benevolent dictatorship with an efficient bureaucracy probably will require the dictator who arises from anarchy. We’re beyond the days when a viable revolution could be prosecuted to a successful conclusion. The people who understand why it’s needed are now too old to mount and sustain such a struggle. The younger ones are too complacent in their “me” lifestyles and the opiate of technology. As long as they have broadband they are content enough. But, reducing the existing institutions to a state of anarchy may yet be possible. And El Bandolero stands vigilant and ready to lead the charge, if anybody cares.
There is, of course, much more to the challenges facing us (that is, those of us who perceive them for what they really are), but that will be discussed in future missives.
Bandolero is going to take an opportunity here to be more serious than usual. The insanity that had been tightening its grip on the pre-Harvey nation had become a source of burgeoning perplexity to El Bandolero, not to mention a source of rare confusion. Radicals on the left behaving like neo-nazi stormtroopers, radicals on the right behaving like neo-nazi stormtroopers, fascists and antifascists with no distinguishing features, monumental insanity, the silent majority holding its hands over its mouths in a hushed yet deafening “oh my! oh my!” And then Bandolero stumbled upon an article that took the whirlwind of bewilderment and incertitude from his mind and crafted a paen to reason and rationality. And here it is: A Nation Gone Daft, by Ronald E. Yates. You should read it. Twice. At least. If you can’t read, ask a family member, neighbor, friend, pastor or other spiritual advisor of your preference, or interpreter if you don’t know English, to read it to you, unless you’re deaf, in which case you’ll need to find somebody who can sign it to you in your language.