CSotD: Supply and Command

Jeff Koterba comments on Amazon’s purchase of a health care chain, which adds to the growing collection of stuff the octopus owns.

It’s not quite the same thing as a monopoly, since there’s no logical connection between Amazon’s main business as a seller of things and the health clinic’s business as a seller of services, though Amazon has health care clinics for its employees.

Amazon does have monopolistic practices — like leaning on their vendors by setting prices below cost, or simply copying their designs and undercutting them with similar products — but it’s less obvious than the classic monopoly of, for instance, a company owning all the oil companies, which may be more evident today in the meat-packing industry, where four companies control 55 to 85% of the markets.

Amazon’s control is more insidious, in that it capitalizes on the groundwork set up by corporations since WWII that have made “shop local” a bad joke beyond boutique specialty items. For day-to-day shopping, we haven’t been able to “shop local” in decades.

In some cases, it is that the local grocer can’t begin to compete with the prices at the corporate supermarket, and in others — particularly pharmacies — the chains have actively bought out the locals.

As it happens, Amazon hit me with three emails this week inviting me to use their pharmacy for my prescriptions. I’m declining, not because I’m going to a local pharmacist — we don’t have one — but because I have excellent drug coverage with my Medicare, and because, even though the pharmacists at the supermarket aren’t making a good living, they’re at least making a living.

And it’s not a Walgreens or a CVS, so I don’t have to worry that my prescription might offend some divinely directed druggist’s personal beliefs.

Which reminds me that I don’t know what I’ll do if the grocery chains start letting their clerks decline to ring up foods that aren’t halal or kosher or vegan or sufficiently healthy.

Well, use the self-check, sure, but I’m told I’ll go to Hell for doing that.

It ain’t easy, being pure.


Nor does it seem like it’s going to get any easier. Pat Bagley points out that Christofascism is a real thing, and that the Republican Party is determined to jam that square cross into the round hole of American government.

This is yet another case of a small, intense minority finding itself empowered to say things out loud that decent people only whispered a generation ago, and having packed the Supreme Court with justices who uphold the right to impose religious beliefs on non-believers, while having packed Congress with people like Lauren Boebert who genuinely believe God is the rightful ruler of America, it’s hard to see what will stop these extremists from imposing their religion on everyone.

We’ve already got a substantial number of people who believe the Pledge is not said in schools even though it is legally required in nearly all states and strongly encouraged in the two or three holdouts. How hard would it be to convince them that all football coaches should be required to pray before, during and after games?

Sigh. Apparently a lot easier than convincing people who oppose such things to show up at the polls and say so.


A few weeks ago, I remarked that voters value celebrity over policy and that, if Honey Boo Boo were old enough to run for Senate, she’d probably win.

Lukey McGarry notes that she isn’t actually named “Honey Boo Boo,” and he’s right — the child’s real name is Alana Thompson.

But “Honey Boo Boo’s Monster” is actually named “Herschel Walker,” and I’m not sure which of them is less qualified for a seat in the Senate, but I know which one has a good chance of landing there.

The problem is not “them.” It’s “us.”


But it’s not just a matter of offering them attractive piffle in the form of famous screwball candidates.

Gary Varvel (Creators) actively works to persuade the public that a very traditional viewpoint — that high fuel prices motivate people to seek more efficient vehicles — is actually an evil plot to … well, to what?

To help curb climate change? To increase the appeal of wind farms over fracking? To decrease global dependency on a diminishing supply controlled by people like Vladimir Putin and Mohammad bin Salman and Nicolás Maduro?

Doesn’t matter. It’s evil evil evil.

Never mind that climate change is clearly real, and never mind that gas prices have fallen 14% and seem likely to continue to decrease.

Evil. We don’t like evil!


Unfortunately, “We don’t like evil” is a universal emotion, and Paul Fell isn’t the only left-of-center person piling on the witnesses at the January 6 hearings for stepping up now when they didn’t earlier.

Well, Elliot Ness and the feds didn’t refuse to listen to that bookkeeper because the guy had worked for Al Capone. In fact, that was precisely why they wanted to hear him.

Is Cassidy Hutchinson a rat in an expensive suit? Was John Dean?

Dean disappeared. Jeb Magruder bought a house near mine in Colorado, and he was active in his local church, but I never even saw him standing on his porch.

No, the people embraced as heroes in the wake of Watergate and Iran-Contra were Oliver North and Gordon Liddy, the ones who refused to be — as Al Capone and Donald Trump and now Paul Fell put it — “rats.”


And, as Keith Knight suggests, if you look for any sort of honest logic behind the proposals coming from the right side of the aisle, you’re insulting your own intelligence.

They have a plan, but you’re not part of it.

I haven’t seen a cartoon of this yet, but I have a cartoon-based song to follow.

The latest proposal from TFG is to resolve the homelessness issue by giving them tents and putting them out on land at the edge of town.

Brilliant. Instead of calling it “Hooverville” as we did in the Depression, we’ll call it “Trumptown.”

Then, as with the Hoovervilles and the Bonus Army encampments and Resurrection City, when we get tired of this non-solution solution, we’ll just send in the cops or the army to throw them all out and tear the place down.


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