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This Is What Democracy Looks Like

Today's Note From a Madman

May 22, 2008


The Sleaze of The Paid Lobby

"It's only natural, if we adopt a nonpartisan position like we did three years ago, we'll find it easier to work with more and more Democrats who want to work with us for the good of patients,"
-Billy Tauzin, chief executive officer for the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America

Congratulations Billy Tauzin - You win the spin-of-the-day award for the guy who most makes my skin crawl... today. And even though it's early in the morning when I sat down to writing this, I'm so certain that I cannot possibly find anyone more disgusting than you that I can give you the award right now.

It seems that for the first time in a long time - like ever - the US pharmaceutical industry is giving more of our hard-earned dollars to Democrats over Republicans. The sum, so far, is $7.4 million (Democrats) to $7 million (Republicans). If you were wondering, in past years that figure was as high as three-to-one in favor of the GOP.

Why, this is a bigger upset than David beating David in American Idol. (Or is that American Idle?)

Mr. Tauzin, a former GOP Congressman (Democrat turned Republican, that is) from Louisiana, was the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee until 2004. So in the world of Washington politics, US Rep. Tauzin went through the revolving door and went from being one of the main guys policing the drug industry to being Mr. Tauzin, one of the main guys taking advantage of the drug industry legislation he, himself wrote.

In other words, he made the rules which he now benefits from today.

The Medicare Drug Benefit Program, which was designed partly under Tauzin's leadership in the House, gave the people he now represents unprecedented profits without so much as allowing the American people the ability to use their numbers as bargaining power. And for his reward Tauzin now has a really good job. In his new role, the former US Congressman "earns" about $2.5 million per year.

What a great coincidence for Tauzin that Big Pharma employed him after he ushered in their big money drug bill.! Even the US Supreme Court knows a conflict of interest when they create one.

Big Pharma is putting its financial muscles wherever it can to help them keep their ill-gotten gains.

"In the past, I got almost nothing and many of the Democrats got almost nothing in terms of campaign contributions, so they are helping us to some extent. I don't think it means anything. I don't think there is a link between what people contribute and our agenda. And there shouldn't be."
-Rep. Frank Pallone (DEMOCRAT-NJ)

Speaking of coincidence, Rep. Pallone is my US Congressman and I've found him to be good, honest and a man with scruples. The donations from Big Pharma and device manufacturers, which amount to more than $87,000 for Pallone, rank eighth in amount among House members.

Our eyes will be on you, Rep. Pallone and they will be on the whole House as well come this January.

Tauzin is afraid of losing all which he and the former GOP majorities in the House and Senate, along with President Bush, have worked hard for all these years. They simply want to keep all of that they acquired and will do and say whatever they can to keep it that way. And they think that contributing to more Democrats will help them.

It had better not.

"Money follows the power, and it can predict power."
-Massie Ritsch, The Center for Responsive Politics

In this case, Tauzin and Big Pharma are attempting to make the new Congress THEIR Congress.

Congress and a new (hopefully) Democratic President will have much to do and undo as it relates to the past eight years. Much of it comes down to what Tauzin and the GOP did to aid Big Pharma and other health care companies who are making record profits. There should be no money big enough to sell out the American people, in spite of the phrase "every man has his price".

The American people should be priceless.

-Noah Greenberg

Gas and Politics

During the current inquisition of oil company execs on Capitol Hill, I found it amazing that these executives were able to keep their cool.

Sen. Dick Durbin, while complaining about Chicago having the highest gasoline prices in the United States, asks, "Does it trouble any of you when you see what you're doing to us?" What Sen. Durbin forgot to mention was that Motor Fuel Taxes in the city, originally meant for building roads, currently go to the Feds, Illinois, Cook County, and Chicago. Among others, there's a 9.25% sales tax, a county home rule tax, an RTA transit tax, and a Chicago home rule levy. There's an astounding 10 levels of taxation that account for 79.2 cents for every $4 gallon of gas. What a damn hypocrite!

10 levels of taxation! That's enough to keep a typical Democrat happy for a lifetime!!

-Bob Driscoll

Just Democrats, Bob? -NG

And in response to, "More people voted in Florida and Michigan than in any election in a decade in both states. So your son was very much the anomaly," Dorothy Schwartz writes:

There is a demographic with which the writer does not appear to be familiar nor to understand. There are a lot of young people who have become very disillusioned about the politics and electoral process in this country. They have often manifested this by not voting. I don't agree with this, and I urge my son, and my other disillusioned young adult kids, to vote. But no one has energized and inspired them except Barack Obama. That includes my 30 something daughter who is basically disgusted with this country and the "powers that be" and doesn't feel votes are worth much; she registered to vote just so she could vote for Obama. He is inspiring many younger, and even not so young, voters to reinvest in the political process. And he has inspired this 60 something voter as well.

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-Noah Greenberg