How Corrupt Are Democrats? (UPDATED)

by: David Sirota

Fri Dec 11, 2009 at 14:36


That's a tough question to answer, but this gives you a pretty good answer:

The White House, aided by Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), is working hard to crush an amendment being pushed by Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) to allow for the reimportation of pharmaceutical drugs from Canada, Senate sources tell the Huffington Post.

As a result, the Senate health care debate has come to a standstill: Carper has placed a "hold" on Dorgan's amendment...

Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) is a lead co-sponsor of Dorgan's amendment. She said she's confident that, as of now, they have the votes they need. "I think that's why we're not having this vote," she said, smiling.

Carper represents the home state of AstraZeneca and has raked in a whopping $200,000 from the drug industry over his career. And Sens. Frank Lautenberg (D) and Bob Menendez (D) - both from New Jersey, the home of many drug companies - have joined with him. Those two combined have received roughly $800,000 from the pharmaceutical industry. And, of course, they are help the Obama administration shit all over President Obama's explicit promise to champion drug importation legislation.

How corrupt are some Democrats, you ask?

Corrupt enough to work against legislation their party for years promised to champion, their president promised to support, many of their own members support, most industrialized countries already have on their books and that the Senate has the votes to pass.

Corrupt enough to effectively insist that while it's somehow perfectly safe to import lead-painted toys from China and disease-carrying vegetables from Mexico, it's somehow unsafe to allow Americans to purchase drugs imported from FDA-certified factories in industrialized countries - even though drug firms themselves are allowed to do this (and do it all the time).*

Corrupt enough, indeed, to try to block a progressive amendment that key Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe says that - if passed - would make her more likely to vote for the underlying health care reform bill.

That's how corrupt.

* This is a really important point that everyone seems to forget: Drug companies already produce a lot of the medicines they sell Americans in other countries. In other words, many of the medicines you consume right now are already made abroad. The drug companies do this for all sorts of reasons, not the least of which is lower manufacturing/labor/environmental compliance costs in countries like China and exorbitant tax subsidies in countries like Ireland. Current law, however, only allows the drug companies themselves to import medicines from other countries - it does not allow individuals or (more importantly) wholesalers and pharmacists to do the same thing.

Indeed, pharmaceuticals are the only product that enjoys this double-standard, whereby only the manufacturers are allowed to import and export, but not consumers or wholesalers. And this double-standard exists so that the pharmaceutical industry can control drug prices, and protect those prices from the competitive pressures of free trade (the free trade principle, by the way, that drug companies routinely lobby for when aggressively pushing for free trade deals that help them open up factories in other nations). Drug importation legislation would simply allow American pharmacists, wholesalers and individuals to import FDA-approved medicines from FDA-approved factories just like American drug companies already do - and import those medicines at the lower prices they are sold in other countries.

So when the FDA insists that drugs from abroad are "unsafe," not only does the agency have zero proof that's true (where are the dead Canadians?), but the agency is actually implying that it's own much-ballyhooed activities inspecting and regulating drug companies' foreign factories is failing. It most certainly isn't, of course. What's really going on is that the FDA is lying on behalf of the pharmaceutical industry - specifically, putting out a dishonest canard of "safety" in order to justify a current legal framework that lets drugs be imported into this country, but only by pharmaceutical companies in a way that keeps prices inflated here in the United States. Evidently, free trade is only OK when it allows corporations to troll the world for horrible labor and environmental standards - but not OK when it might help the average consumer. And evidently, the FDA is far less interested in the safety of consumers than in the safety of drug industry profits.

UPDATE: Huffington Post (disagreeing with the Hill) suggests that passage of this amendment might actually hurt the prospects for the underlying health care bill. It's anyone's guess if that's true. However, here's the key point: The only way that is true is if passage of the underlying bill is predicated on an even more deeply corrupt secret deal between the White House and the drug industry - a deal that would be undermined by this progressive legislation. In other words, those arguing that killing this amendment is progressive because it (allegedly) moves forward the underlying health care bill are accepting the premise that it is progressive to respect a secret and even more corrupt drug industry deal. How friggin' sick is that?

David Sirota :: How Corrupt Are Democrats? (UPDATED)

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Well, REid could simply disregard that hold. He did that before. (4.00 / 1)
So, he obviously is playing along, to. This stinks to heavens.

just shows it's all hypocrisy (0.00 / 0)
All I hear is complaints about NAFTA, but the moment some international trade hurts New Jersey instead of your state everyone's for it. We need more protectionism, not less, and if you want lower drug prices, don't smuggle them out of some other country.

New Jersey politics at Blue Jersey.

Well, protectionism breeds protectionism in return. (0.00 / 0)
So, this is not really helpful Hopeful. And imho you misunderstood the idea behind the drug import idea: If importing drugs from Canada became legal, pharma prices in the US would fall sooner than you can teach a four year old to spell acetylsalicylic acid correctly! So, not much drugs would really be imported, becuas this would force big Pharma to finally correct the ridiculously distorted prices in the US.

[ Parent ]
Uh, I really only clicked "post" once! (0.00 / 0)
Where do all the double postings recently come from?

[ Parent ]
That is such an empty talking point. (4.00 / 3)
The hypocracy of it is amazing, and the double standard is everywhere.  All of the other countries are cheating, protecting their industries and jobs, and getting away with it.  But when we want to protect our own, all of a sudden the scare bear "protectism" is brought up.  American autos have been complaining on deaf ears since NAFTA.  

[ Parent ]
It's Not Really That Shocking Actually! (0.00 / 0)
Right now, HRC is teetering badly in all the polls with public support fading the longer this process takes.

Meanwhile, Obama bought off the Pharma Lobby with his little deal that keeps their profits intact. That way they don't spend an extra $20 million attacking the bill and mobilizing opposition at a point when the insurance lobbyists were already pounding vulnerable Dems.

David, in Denver you must have seen all the hysterical ads from the insurance lobbyists attacking Betsey Markey (D- CO-04) and she became one of the Dems to oppose the House Bill. They clearly intimidated her and it's easy to see why. Those ads were saturating the airwaves.

You can accuse Obama of a cynical sell-out but he might very well have been right that another $25-50 million in hostile ads added on top of the massive insurance lobby efforts would probably doom health care reform.

And they apparently still have $20 million on hand RIGHT NOW to throw in if needed!


[ Parent ]
What reform? (4.00 / 2)
All I really see here is the insurance industry buying a mandate and permission to push their profits even further as the government looks the other way.

[ Parent ]
Real health reform has already been defeated... (0.00 / 0)
...we are getting the corporate version that helps them more than anybody else.

Regards,

Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate for me-and I welcome their hatred. - FDR


[ Parent ]
Don't project your attitude onto others. (0.00 / 0)
With all respekt, dk, but this is a lot of bullshit. Maybe Americans cheat every way they can, I dunno, but this isn't true for the rest of the world. At least not to this degree (there's always some black sheep, ok). Can't you imagine that people in other countries are maybe a bit more principled than you Yankees?

[ Parent ]
Did you read my link? (4.00 / 1)
My comment was in response to your comment about protectionism.  Did I put it in the wrong place by mistake?  Tell me why we are protectionist when we suggest the US protect our jobs and economy, while other countries do it without a second thought?  

Protectionism is nothing more than a Republican, neoliberal talking point.  


[ Parent ]
Oops, no sry, dk, I didn't. Checked it now. (0.00 / 0)
However, that's not the protectionism I'm talking about. I'm arguing here against protectionism that is against all kinds of international trade, regardless if the trade partners are acting fair or not. Th kind of protectionism that shows in the "buy american" law (which, btw, hurts the case against Japan). See, I'm for free trade, as long as it is fair trade. I've always argued against unlimited trade with China, that doesn't take their unfairly manipulating the exchnage rate into account, and which ignores their much lower level of protection of thir workers and the environment. And I have always made a stand against letting Japan getting away with shutting off its domestic market against imports.

If you go against these countries, you have my full suppport. But that's not what some here are advocating. They are against every kind of free trade, even against long term trade partners which really have no unfair advantage at all (quite to the cntrary), like us Yurpeans. Why hit us when all facts show that your real problem is China?


[ Parent ]
I think that the type of bias against trade (4.00 / 2)
is much less than you think.  You probably run into sentiment that is just quickly expressed and eliminates obligatory disclaimers for the writers convenience.   If trade was a mutually beneficial arrangement, people wouldn't be opposing it.  They oppose it, and that includes David Sirota, because it is a way one street that leads American workers to the unemployment office.  Sirota is one of the few major bloggers left that is standing up to Obama and what's left of the Democratic Party.  If Taibbi's latest piece doesn't clearly demonstrate that this administration doesn't give a damn about the impact of trade, health care, and the war on people and the economy, I don't know what will.  Sirota is one my favorites.  

[ Parent ]
Well, I'm thinking of the discussion about "Buy American"... (0.00 / 0)
...where I was about the only one arguing that fair trade partners shouldn't be thrown into the same drawer as the Chinese. That every single economist supports the view that fair trade increases the welfare of everybody involved. And that the EU actually made a stand against protectionist measures of the member nations (calling the French back when they tried to do that in their "cash for clunkers" program, for instance). Didn't make much of an impact among our folks, and that is still a sore, if not sour, point in my memory.

So, pls excuse me for reacting somewhat allergic whenever someone talks about "protectionism".


[ Parent ]
Btw, dk, I know that the Detroit free press is a respectable paper, but... (0.00 / 0)
...their internet domain name leads to regular misunderstandings. Might have been better if you had linked to another news source...
:D

[ Parent ]
I couldn't agree more... (0.00 / 0)
...the multi-nationals have re-defined how we talk about trade...they have redefined fair trade as protectionism and demonized it, and redefined multi-national defined corporate trade as something called "free trade" and made it out as some sort of panacea.  Remember, their panacea is the system that allows them to exploit poor workers around the world and exploit the lack of basic regulations which in the end destroys our way of life and often the lives of the poor that they exploit.

I think Gray's version of free trade would be nice, but it is really a fairy tale.  What we have now is a multi-national corporate defined trade policy that is called "fair trade".  It needs to be dismantled and destroyed, and they can call us protectionist or whatever, but I would call it being fair and being a true patriot.

Regards,

Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate for me-and I welcome their hatred. - FDR


[ Parent ]
I'm aware that it's an ideal, not reality. (0.00 / 0)
However, we need to have ideals so we can judge what is a step into the right direction, and what isn't, right? And "protectionism", in the meaning of isolation, isn't the right way.

[ Parent ]
Well the first big step... (0.00 / 0)
...is trying to overcome multi-national corporate power, and I almost think that is getting to be impossible.  In a way they are already legislating and making our laws, either though GATT and WTO and a multitude of of other trade policies, or though their influence on elected and authoritarian governments.

Eliminating or significantly reducing their power base would have to take place before anything like fair trade could be accomplished.

Regards


Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate for me-and I welcome their hatred. - FDR


[ Parent ]
Well, protectionism breeds protectionism in return. (0.00 / 0)
So, this is not really helpful Hopeful. And imho you misunderstood the idea behind the drug import idea: If importing drugs from Canada became legal, pharma prices in the US would fall sooner than you can teach a four year old to spell acetylsalicylic acid correctly! So, not much drugs would really be imported, becuas this would force big Pharma to finally correct the ridiculously distorted prices in the US.

[ Parent ]
They are already being imported (4.00 / 2)
Had you read the post and the links in the post before commenting, you would have seen this:

Corrupt enough to effectively insist that while it's somehow perfectly safe to import lead-painted toys from China and disease-carrying vegetables from Mexico, it's somehow unsafe to allow Americans to purchase drugs imported from FDA-certified factories in industrialized countries - even though drug firms themselves are allowed to do this (and do it all the time).*

Now, do me a favor - go fuck yourself, you troll. You have a history here as a pernicious troll - and the history keeps developing.


[ Parent ]
Once again, David, you're the ONLY ONE complaining about Hopeful (4.00 / 1)
Can't remember Chris, Paul, or Mike calling him a toll, ever. And I don't even see your point this time, since you have been stomping for protectionism during the "Buy American" debate, too?

[ Parent ]
There already is free trade (4.00 / 2)
There is free trade in drug importation - drug companies are allowed to engage in it, and do engage in it. If we're going to have free trade, let's have free trade - let's let everyone have free trade, not just corporations.

Maybe YOU need to do a little bit more reading before commenting:

Evidently, free trade is only OK when it allows corporations to troll the world for horrible labor and environmental standards - but not OK when it might help the average consumer. And evidently, the FDA is far less interested in the safety of consumers than in the safety of drug industry profits.

That person from NJ is a troll - a hateful fuckhead of a troll who contributes nothing of substance to this site.


[ Parent ]
I didn't dispute the point about the imports. (4.00 / 1)
That should be evident from my comment. Of course, only customers themselves being able to import their drugs from across the border would apply pressure on big Pharma to correct their prices.

But I'm really wondering about your strong reaction on Hopeful. Now, that sure wasn't a very thoughtful comment, but calling him a troll for that? Aren't you overreacting a bit? Why don't you ask Chris or Mike what they think about this commenter? I'm really under the impression that Hopi isn't unpopular here at all...


[ Parent ]
sorry (0.00 / 0)
I did read the links. Even the Huff Po seems to think this amendment may hurt the bill's chance of passage, but you say the opposite. No one really knows I suppose.

I am sorry you think am being hateful. I will not comment any further on your posts unless I have something positive to say, and I am very sorry that any of my comments made you feel hated. I wish you every success and I hope you continue to have opportunities to make your arguments in print, on TV, and online.  I have no doubt that the country will be better off for that.

I will also agree that the free trade argument was extreemly weak and you have refuted it well.


New Jersey politics at Blue Jersey.


[ Parent ]
thanks (0.00 / 0)
I sincerely apologize. You know this commenting on the internet can get carried away.

New Jersey politics at Blue Jersey.

[ Parent ]
I take your point (4.00 / 1)
I agreed with your last few posts, next time I will say so if it makes you feel better. I'm not reading and posting at the site just to piss you off, but I am to your right without a doubt, and I just think sometimes your arguments are unfair.
I don't want to turn into one of the people at dailykos that followed you around to attack you.

I'll also agree I was being a bit trollish here, but really everyone else seems to be looking out for their states, I am just a little mad that Menendez is now villain#1 when he is usually pretty good. This isn't a new stand for him, so it's not like he was just slipped a bit of cash and flipped.

And I do think there is very little in the way of principles at stake here. The plan to lower US drug prices by diverting Canada's share has always seemed bizarre at best. But I hope you and Gray are right and it will make a big difference.

 

New Jersey politics at Blue Jersey.


[ Parent ]
Frankly (4.00 / 3)
I fail to see how helping the pharmaceutical industry charge Americans exorbitantly higher prices for drugs is good for the average citizen of New Jersey. It may be good for Pharma execs, and you could try to argue it's good for the average worker at a NJ drug company, but even with that industry there - MOST New Jersey citizens don't actually work for the drug companies. In other words, MOST New Jersey citizens are on the bitter end of the deal, forced (like all other Americans) to pay much higher drug prices than the rest of the world.

[ Parent ]
Exactly (4.00 / 1)
The pharmaceuticals are NOT loyal to NJ. Right now most of them are concentrated here in NJ, but they are aggressively off-shoring/outsourcing the actual manufacturing and formulation and are pretty much becoming just R&D/sales/marketing.

In fact, with the merger between Merck and Schering, thousands in NJ will soon be unemployed.


[ Parent ]
As a resident of New Jersey, I would just like to say: (4.00 / 2)

I fail to see how helping the pharmaceutical industry charge Americans exorbitantly higher prices for drugs is good for the average citizen of New Jersey.

Roger that!

[ Parent ]
David (0.00 / 0)
Be the better man - no need to take it to that level. Trolls are always around and the more you acknowledge them the more it empowers them.

You are better than that :)

Back on topic, I have to say I am highly disappointed in my state's two senators.


[ Parent ]
You are absolutely right (4.00 / 1)
You are, of course, absolutely right. I let my investment in this issue get the better of me - I've been working closely on it for the better part of a decade, starting with accompanying Bernie Sanders (my boss at the time) on the first congressional bus trip to Canada to highlight this situation way back more than ten years ago.

[ Parent ]
I have to disagree (4.00 / 2)
The reason drug prices are so high is because the drug companies are basically jerry-rigging the market. And in some cases they have a monopoly or near-monopoly on a given treatment.

Protectionism vs free trade is irrelevant here - our current system in regards to the drug companies is protectionist and the drug companies are still laying off workers, falsifying medical journals to support their drugs, and keeping the prices artificially high to inflate their own profits.

This is one of those situations where opening up the market some would be good for people.


[ Parent ]
The drugs are already being imported by the pharma corporations... (0.00 / 0)
...and sold to you and I at high margins.  The corporations are using our trade agreements to import drugs and sell thme to us at high margins.

Also, just as a suggestion, the multi-national corporations want to redefine fair trade as protectionism and demonize it, and redefine multi-national defined corporate trade as something called "free trade" and make it out as some sort of panacea.  Remember, their panacea is the system that allows them to exploit poor workers around the world and exploit the lack of basic regulations which in the end destroys our way of life and often the lives of the poor that they exploit.

How we ever allowed the multi-national corporations to get us to abandon the "American System" of economic politics that we used in one form or another for most of our history, and to adopt the "British System" in most recent times, I will never understand.

Regards,

Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate for me-and I welcome their hatred. - FDR


[ Parent ]
Is there a whip count on this amendment (0.00 / 0)
This may be something some GOP Senators might help push over a 60 vote limit.

John McCain won't insure children

Not sure (0.00 / 0)
I am not really well versed in parliamentary procedure, but I think if there is a hold it is in the senate majority leader's hands.

[ Parent ]
Absolutely.... (0.00 / 0)
The GOP knows that scuttling this deal will kill health care reform, so they will be all for it, even though they were against it in the past.

REID: Voting against us was never part of our arrangement!
SPECTER: I am altering the deal! Pray I don't alter it any further!
REID: This deal keeps getting worse all the time!


[ Parent ]
No (4.00 / 1)
Coburn, McCain and Snowe have all been solid supporters of this for years - for their own ideological/political reasons. Coburn and McCain are ardent free-trade fundamentalists and believe it in their heart, and Snowe lives in Maine where the political pressure over this has been intense for years.

[ Parent ]
I missed your show this morning (0.00 / 0)
did you nominate Carper as butthead of the week?

John McCain won't insure children

[ Parent ]
Or maybe not (re: GOP help on this amendment) (0.00 / 0)
[ Parent ]
David Vitter is for drug reimportation (4.00 / 2)
Via TPM:

"My ultimate goal," Vitter explained, "is to use that (re-importation) to cause that (pricing) system to collapse."

Now Vitter does have a point, in that if the whole United States attempted to free-ride on Canada's prescription subsidies -- with that country having less than a tenth of our population -- then Canada's system would potentially be overwhelmed. More likely, their government would very quickly crack down on re-importation, cutting off the supply to the Yankees.



Things You Don't Talk About in Polite Company: Religion, Politics, the Occasional Intersection of Both

[ Parent ]
great comment (4.00 / 1)
Obviously my comment was pretty stupid, and I really should have thought it all through more.

I do think these other countries are free-riding on us and that drugs are too expensive. I want a solution.  I agree that everyone pushing for the drug importation is staying on the side of ordinary Americans and therefore, this should be supported. I also think it is terrible that Obama supports the bill as a Senator, says he supports it now, yet seems to actually working against it. Aside from actually falsifying the vote, it's maybe the worst thing for our Democracy.

New Jersey politics at Blue Jersey.


[ Parent ]
See, now that's what I'm talking about (0.00 / 0)
There you've made a logical argument - and I agree with you, Hopeful - importation is not the only thing that needs to happen. It's one piece. But you are absolutely right - the machinations on this one issue says so much about the dishonesty and corruption emanating from some Democrats and from the White House.

[ Parent ]
Does this mean Hopeful is not a troll anymore? (0.00 / 0)
Just curious.

[ Parent ]
Well the countervailing argument is... (4.00 / 1)
...that if the drug industry pulls out of the reform coalition, no reform will end up passing as they will shift their big guns against the bill.

Unfortunately, the political system is incredibly corrupt in and of itself.  I can't blame Obama for gaming the system to the advantage of overall reform.  Politics is dirty, and I do have to give him credit for not playing nice-nice... I just wish he'd do the same for the public option and other conservadem issues.

It's a shame that we can't be purists, but until the current system of government is re-written we have to play the hand that is dealt us.  I still support this deal, even if it sucks, for the greater good.

At some point in the future a reconciliation bill can address the drug issue.  Even so, importing drugs from canada really only solves the symptom, not the core problem of overpriced drugs.  Canada would immediately ban exports as a result, I'm sure, and the issue would be moot.

I also think its clear that with Snowe's feelings hurt, she is now trying very hard to scuttle reform.  She may never really have been onboard in the first place, but she is definitely not onboard now.

REID: Voting against us was never part of our arrangement!
SPECTER: I am altering the deal! Pray I don't alter it any further!
REID: This deal keeps getting worse all the time!


Isn't Obama all about bipartisan kumbayah (4.00 / 2)
this is one beneficial amendment that has bipartisan support and Obama is killing it.

This is not why I became a state level delegate for Obama and canvassed for him and Sen. Udall on many different occassions last year.

I am very truly disgusted and demoralized right now.

John McCain won't insure children


I'm not sure I buy the premise of your update (0.00 / 0)
I had thought it sound, in theory, to go for a divide and conquer strategy.  Get the drug companies and doctors and hospitals on your side in the short term in order to isolate the insurance industry.  Giving PhRMA some concessions strikes me as the same thing as giving Mary Landrieu $300 million in Medicaid funding to Louisiana.

One key point, as mentioned in the article, is this:

Along with its pledge of support, PhRMA offered to spend $150 million on ads backing reform. Most of that money stands ready to be used to kill reform, should it come to that. A Democratic aide said that the threat of PhRMA ads is being used by opponents of Dorgan's amendment as a reason to sink it.

It doesn't do any good to bring Olympia Snowe on-board if it causes pharmaceutical interest groups to unleash the big guns and threaten negative funding that flips five tenuous votes from yes to no, for a net negative gain.

If this is an issue that supposedly has bipartisan support, then Democrats should use it as a trump card and refuse to back it unless some of its Republican supporters agree to vote for cloture, if not the overall bill.  If someone wants it, see what you can extract from them first before agreeing to it.

If drug reimportation really has bipartisan support that can clear a 60-vote threshold, can it be passed later as a separate bill?

I think that this ultimately comes down to strategic voting and assumptions about what is the most progressive bill that can be passed.  I don't believe that is the same thing as dishonesty and corruption (but I don't deny that there are some dishonest and corrupt politicians out there).

Things You Don't Talk About in Polite Company: Religion, Politics, the Occasional Intersection of Both


They're definitely trying to neutralize PhRMA and not take them on (4.00 / 1)
The question is though, is that what the American people want? I think the American people want them to take on these interests, not give into some of them as many Americans continue to get pounded into oblivion by them, to take on the fight as some to be determined fate in the future. For politicians that's an easy trade, for Americans, not so much. I do know for a fact most of the people here in DC in on this deal think they're doing the right thing. But that's pretty sick if that's the best we can do.

[ Parent ]
Is what the American people want feasible? (0.00 / 0)
We know that it's stupid to fight a war in Iraq and Afghanistan at the same time.  Merely being on the side of what is right isn't enough to guarantee that the job can be done.

When it comes to military wars, the American people generally support wars that are quick, easy victories.  People were fooling themselves and thought that Obama was saying more than he actually said if they thought he was promising a quick and easy victory on health care reform.  I'm not sure what's going on.  

If Howard Dean were in charge, I think he would have a long-term, incrementalist strategy along the lines of the 50-state strategy of adding more and more people to existing programs until almost everyone is covered somehow in a fiscally responsible manner.  With Obama, he may have a long-term plan or he may not.  

But with most Democrats, I don't get the sense that there is any long-term plan.  And that's a problem.

Things You Don't Talk About in Polite Company: Religion, Politics, the Occasional Intersection of Both


[ Parent ]
Is America Feasible? (4.00 / 2)
When what the vast majority of the American people WANT and what our government is able to DO no longer mesh, then I can tell you that we have a stark choice of

a) calling the American experiment over - and a failure.

b) fixing government.

I would propose to you that the progressive solution is to fix government so that America works for the American people.

And I agree with you that the "mainstream" Democrats are perilously close to being part of the problem rather than part of the solution.

I have come to believe that the upside of our current situation is that it is opening the eyes of the largest amount of people ever to seeing the graft and corruption at the highest levels of our government:  Rahm - he's like  bureaucratic syphilis, the gift that keeps on giving. Progressives are the magic bullet.


[ Parent ]
I'm leaning toward (0.00 / 0)
The notion that the Constitution is a POS that needs to be replaced.

Things You Don't Talk About in Polite Company: Religion, Politics, the Occasional Intersection of Both

[ Parent ]
Hmm. If not then, now? (4.00 / 1)
There are strong reasons to consider a Constitutional convention now: a relatively higher average educational level, eyes wider open, high and rising income inequalities, and some very naked attempts at power grabs by the ruling class.

There are also strong reasons not to consider a Constitutional convention now: the people most likely taking part would be quite well lobbied and Goldman Sachs has an arsenal.

It's an interesting problem.  There'd have to be pitchforks in the streets and the Tea Party would have to get wise that their strings are being pulled before any net good could come out of such a convention.  (One wonders whether the tea scuttlers in 1773 acted at the behest of local tycoons as they did in 2009.)


[ Parent ]
Most Democrats in the establishment DC crowd... (4.00 / 2)
...going right up to the White House wouldn't see this as corruption. They'd see it as a necessary evil for getting a wider health care bill passed (neutralizing PhRMA to do that).

I don't know if that's true or not, but if it is, I have to ask: What does that say about our democracy? It's pretty sick, and I sometimes am really frightened with how easily my colleagues in these DC politico offices wave that aside. Still glad I sent it to you david.


The more I think about it (4.00 / 1)
I don't even believe the rumors about the fabled WH deal with Big PhRMA.  Supposedly the WH negotiated millions of dollars in ads for reform in exchange for PhRMA's support?

Does that make sense?

If you are going to get something from the drug companies, wouldn't you negotiate for something better than ad dollar?  What the hell is the point of ads anyway?  To convince the public?  The public has been convinced from the get go.

My guess is that Rahm negotiated some big fat donations to Obama's re-election campaign.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                


I think one of the underlying subtexts (4.00 / 1)
The underlying subtext here was that phrma wasn't going to oppose the bill. They have more money to cough up as an interest group than just about anyone else to bring up to attack it if they wanted. And the funny thing is, they were more about Baucus's committee bill than anything else.  

[ Parent ]
Yeah, this thing stinks like New Jersey - (4.00 / 2)
ad dollars are a pretty weak anchor to hang such a big deal on.

As Sirota said in a comment above, he has been aware of pharma's dealings with the drug importation issue for more than a decade, initally working on the issue with Bernie Sanders, who we know is a dyed in the wool Progressive.

Obama, on the other hand, is no progressive. He makes a deal with big Pharma that the government will not negotiate for drug prices in exchange for what? - support of health care reform and billions of dollars to be used for PRO health care reform ads.

You've got to be kidding me! As if it were that simple.

I knew that deal stunk the moment I heard about it.

Sirota is right: the only question is how far does the corruption go.

If passage of the Dorgan amendment to allow importation of drugs from Canada threatens the bill, that says volumes. And, as Sirota points out in his Update, if so-called Progressives in Congress acquiesce to kill this amendment because it might kill the bill they are condoning corruption of the highest order...what are fighting for, anyway.

Let's not forget the FDA. As Sirota points out:

What's really going on is that the FDA is lying on behalf of the pharmaceutical industry - specifically, putting out a dishonest canard of "safety" in order to justify a current legal framework that lets drugs be imported into this country, but only by pharmaceutical companies in a way that keeps prices inflated here in the United States. Evidently, free trade is only OK when it allows corporations to troll the world for horrible labor and environmental standards - but not OK when it might help the average consumer. And evidently, the FDA is far less interested in the safety of consumers than in the safety of drug industry profits.

emphasis added.


[ Parent ]
I meant the pollution in New Jersey from the chemical plants - (4.00 / 1)
Just to be clear.

[ Parent ]
David...its important that you UPDATE (0.00 / 0)
this to include the White House strongly denying involvement or whipping of any kind on Dorgan's amendment, for or against. It's also important to mention Robert Gibb's publicly saying the other day that Obama still supports drog reimportation and the Dorgan amendment, something a cautious WH like this with probably not do if they had plans to involve themselves to this degree. We already know how this WH deals with these issues, they give non-answers or evade the topic. Now I'm pretty sure the WH won't push for this to pass because they do have a deal riding on it and can't overtly do that without completely shattering their credebility for future dealmaking. But that's significantly different that actively stalling debate and shutting down the senate to prevent an amendment that could pass without their support, from passing.

I've been a strong critic of the Obama admin, but, imo, it's important to have a fair accounting of the facts, its what separates us from the idiots on the right, who conveniently form facts around their pre-conceived conclusions.  


Obama supported the robust PO too (4.00 / 2)
and we see how that worked out for us.  Even when they give answer answers, they're well calculated to say the right things to the right audiences at the right times.

Besides, in what sort of government is the executive branch bound by deals made with lobbying groups but immune to any claim of wrongdoing from individuals?


[ Parent ]
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