“Individual Liberty” = Hidden Corporate Interests = Dodgy Amazon Reviews

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Too seldom do we get advance notice of what corporate interests are up to in the political arena—doings that are too often masked, sometimes hidden behind a staged “citizen uprising”. That’s why it’s good to see this piece in the New York Times:

Like about a dozen other states, Florida is debating a proposed amendment to its state constitution that would try to block, at least symbolically, much of the proposed federal health care overhaul on the grounds that it tramples individual liberty. But what unites the proposal’s legislative backers is more than ideology. Its 42 co-sponsors, all Republicans, were almost all recipients of outsized campaign contributions from major health care interests… It is just one example of how insurance companies, hospitals and other health care interests have been positioning themselves in statehouses around the country to influence the outcome of the proposed health care overhaul.

The Times mentions that the person behind this strategy is Clint Bolick of the Goldwater Institute in Arizona. If you want to know more about Bolick and those who share his views, check out http://www.ij.org/index .  Describing themselves as libertarian lawyers who love free enterprise and “rugged individualism”, they nevertheless end up advancing the interests of big companies that often do serious harm to the interests of small businesses that are the backbone of the market economy. To say nothing of the interests of ordinary people who would like nothing more than a fair shake – a pension that doesn’t vanish, some medical coverage that won’t take flight when they get really sick.

How willing is Clint Bolick himself to let the free market prevail? One way to find out is to peruse the Amazon reviews for Bolick’s novel, NIcki’s Girl:

“I don’t typically read this type of genre, but this page-turner even lured me in to this psychological thriller. Clint Bolick makes his pages dance with vivid dialogue and a seemingly good ending to an otherwise tragic tale.”  Who wrote this? “S. Bolick, Phoenix, AZ”.

“Like most avid readers, I have my favorite authors and have just added Clint to the top of that list.  What a suspenseful novel and one where you really can associate with the characters. You will fall in love with the little girl almost immediately as if she were your own. I couldn’t put this novel down. Even though it had a definitive ending you will want more, more, more… “  This endorsement came from….”Diane Bolick, Phoenix.”

“I was up until a ridiculous hour finishing this book–I literally could not put it down! It was a fantastic book. I really got drawn into the characters. Highly recommended for anyone who is a fan of psychological thrillers. Let’s just hope Mr. Bolick writes a second novel! “  This one is signed, FictionFan, but, again, the writer hails from Bolick’s town, Phoenix—leading one to wonder if that isn’t Aunt Peg.

Then there’s Jordan R. Rose, another Arizonan, who lavishes praise on Bolick, and who is also from Arizona. At least he had the decency to (accidentally?) give the book just three out of five stars after labeling his review “Nicki’s Girl is a Must Read!” (Look up Jordan R. Rose—he is a colleague of Clint’s at the Goldwater Institute.) Apparently, some of the other 14 adoring reviewers are also connected to Bolick—though none of them came out and said so. For example, “C. Corriveau” turns out to work for the Alliance for School Choice, affiliated with…Bolick.

Now, almost every author jumpstarts their Amazon reader reviews by encouraging those who he/she knows to read and review the book, but isn’t this a bit much?  Read the reviews—they all have a certain phony ring to them—like political ads where indignant soccer moms words are actually written by corporate admen. Sigh…can’t we just have an honest policy debate for once?

Where else do you see journalism of this quality and value?

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