Blinding People Means Never Having To Say You’re Sorry

Today’s Globe carries a short piece from the AP about Bausch & Lomb. They’re the people who want you to trust them to take care of your eyes.

A few years ago their contact lens cleaner, ReNu with MoistureLoc (isn’t it cute how the marketing folks come up with such clever names to suck you in) exposed users to a ‘potentially blinding infection’.

Seven people had an eye removed. Many others had corneal transplants because of the fungal infection.

Rather than stand up and admit the problem publicly, the company went private two years ago to avoid the ‘outside distraction’ that would come with lawsuits.

B&L has settled six hundred lawsuits in the past year, with dozens pending.

They wanted to keep it secret. They couldn’t stand the thought of the public not trusting them to provide safe eye care. They couldn’t deal with the thought that people might find out that B&L actually injured people. That might hurt sales. That might hurt profits.

Let’s face it. Corporations don’t give a damn about your life or your safety. If they can get away with hurting you or killing you to improve their profits, they’ll do it. Witness the cigarette companies’ slaughter. The Ford/Firestone killings a few years ago. The Union Carbide mass murder in Bhopal. The recent Wall Street destruction of the American economy. The recent banking industry’s destruction of home ownership. The American government’s failure to inspect Chinese and Mexican imports, and even American foods, that killed people and pets. The electrocutions for profit of American soldiers by KBR in Iraq.

If B&L hadn’t been caught out they would have just blithely gone on, ignoring complaints, and letting their product hurt people. Corporations keep expensive law departments for the purpose of denying that anything at all is wrong, or that the company did anything wrong, and maintaining that the company has no responsibility for anything that goes wrong. And there’s always that handy corporate veil that allows individuals in charge to exercise their best psychopathy without ever being called to account.

If it were up to the Republicans and the Conservatives and the Libertarians, no company would ever be sued or called to account or regulated to insure the safety of their products. No, the only regulation they want is the kind that insures the safety of corporate profits. B&L product cost you an eye? Too bad, say these mavens of profitable irresponsibility, you should have figured out by yourself that they were putting out a contaminated product, and aw gee, too damn bad the medical bills cost you your home and your life savings and everything you own but that’s just the price of personal responsibility.

But of course now they have their backup plan in place. It’s called the Supreme Court, manned by white men (does anyone really think Clarence Thomas is black?), and led by Justice Roberts who never met a corporation or rich white man he didn’t like and rule in favor of.

No wonder they’re so upset by the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor. She’s not male. She’s not white white. They’re so screechingly scared of what they think she is that they can’t see that she isn’t progressive or even particularly liberal. She’s just a middle-of-the-road judge. But The Lion suspects that B&L, had it come before her, might not have fared well.

The Lion suspects that all these elements, the corporations, the courts, the white elites, and the rightist elements in government are most happy when the public remains blind to their machinations. Like B&L they don’t want the public to see, and they’re terrified that someone like Sotomayor might open a few eyes.

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4 Responses

  1. Most of the Libertarians I know do not believe that the Government should create corporations. There is nothing wrong with the “joint stock company” model that Adam Smith wrote about, and there is much that is right with it. An example is that it lacks limited liability for shareholders.

    And although Libertarians oppose regulation of industry: that is, having legally mandated processes thrust upon companies to kill creativity, we do *not* oppose the tort system. A robust civil tort system is *required* to enforce property rights including the right not to have property polluted or damaged without your consent.

    The Republican plan, on the other hand, seems to be much as you described. Ron Paul, Peter Schiff, Rand Paul, and Adam Kokesh are a notable exceptions to this. They want *free* markets, not markets crippled by government intervention. And by that he means either “pro-business” or “anti-business” intervention.

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  2. Apparently pre-emptive war is okay with the right wing, but pre-emptive regulation by government agencies like the FDA that would (when not being run and run down by the right) work to prevent problems and discover problems before they kill people is not okay. Yeah, that makes sense.

    The tort system doesn’t keep the corporations from killing people. It’s the barn door that gets closed after the horses have burned to death. That’s if the survivors have enough money to fight the corporations in court.

    So-called free markets are little more than piracy dressed up in three-piece suits. And when they screw up they come crawling to the government for handouts and bailouts because free-marketers haven’t got the guts to stand or fall on their decisions in the marketplace. Note that that would be the same government they spend so much time trying to undermine and weaken, if not destroy, by fighting against reasonable regulation, or any regulation.

    No thanks. Keep your so-called Libertarianism. It’s pretty much as murderous a disease as religion.

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  3. I use Baush and Lomb Opcon-A and my vision gets worse each day. Is that because I’m getting old or are these drops bad for my eyes???

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    • Getting old is bad for the eyes.

      Maybe you might want to research the web, see if anyone else is complaining about the stuff. It’s hard for the corps to hide stuff from consumers anymore.

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