Thursday, June 30, 2005


Painting day

I'm painting the basement today, so I'm keeping this posting short and sweet. I'm sure many of you are relieved.

On public access and prescriptions

Four days later, I still await word from the staff of Matt Blunt, Boy Governor, on the status of his campaign promise to "study" the feasibility of an import prescription drug program such as what our neighbors in Illinois have employed. It appears the level of access to the governor's office I've been granted directly corresponds to the amount of money I donated to the governor's campaign last year.

My question, however, is now obviously moot as Canada has decided to end its growing industry of exporting prescriptions back to the country where many of them are actually manufactured. I suppose that lets the governor off the hook with his so-called promise to the voters.

"Canada cannot be the drugstore for the United States of America; 280 million people can't expect us to supply drugs to them [at] controlled prices within our pricing regime," said Health Minister Ujjal Dosanjh.

Admittedly, the very idea seemed like the most half-assed, duct-taped fix to the huge problem of middle-income Americans bankrupted into poverty by out-of-control prescription prices. Bush's response was the Medicaid prescription bill that left out millions of Americans and provided billions in a subsidy windfall to the pharmaceutical companies. I actually heard Paul Harvey last week parroting the pharmaceutical industry's tired old line that they have no choice but to rip us off so that they can produce all those wonder drugs. It's a veiled threat. You consumers had better shut your mouths or we'll quit producing all these drugs that save and enhance your life. I couldn't tell if Paul Harvey was delivering sincere opinion or if this was one of his paid advertorial pitches like what he does for Neutrogena or Wells-Lamont gloves.

In fact, a very large percentage of what we spend on prescriptions are devoted to marketing. Researchers have directly linked the spike over the last decade in drug prices to the FCC's rule revision to allow prescription drugs to be touted over the airwaves. If you want to know how pharmaceutical companies spend their money watch the commercial breaks during the evening network news.

The mail keeps coming:

A reader doesn't like that I hold conservatives accountable for their hateful words:

I've got to say, you Dems are great politicians. Dems have really mastered the art of using words as weapons. And I mean that, in this sense - Dems are masterful at using words to manipulate the truth. For instance, Demostrategists develop "talking points" and distribute them every morning via fax machines to Dems on capital hill. The Dems can be heard all over TV land parroting the same phrase, and soon you start hearing it from the Demominions around the country. The second tactic used by Dems to suppress and manipulate the truth is "branding." This involves branding or labeling some one or some idea in a consistent manner, regardless of its applicability, in order to create a negative association. The Mouth has done a fine job of this in recent post, branding anyone or anything said in disagreement as "devisive," or "hatfull." But, I suppose its true, if you say anything often enough, people will start believing it.

I'm sure Democrats do those things. They are politicians after all, and we liberals tend not to look at these people perhaps more realistically than conservatives, who seem quite worshipful of folks like Karl Rove and Tom Delay. Yes, I'm consistent and unrelenting in my assertion that conservative rhetoric is consistently and relentlessly mean-spirited and divisive and have been for 15 years. If the same conservatives who go on and on about personal responsibility refuse to take responsibility for their own mean-spirited words, then someone needs to hold them accountable. They believe they have the right to be as outrageous and unfair as they won't and no one has the right to call them on it. As for representing constant repitition as some perverted form of the truth, isn't that what President Bush did Wednesday night when he attempted five times to link Saddam to 9/11?

In another letter, a reader responds to my call on conservatives to take a stand against companies and individuals who give free enterprise a bad name:

If I remember correctly, wasn't it the Bush administration (under your friend, John Ashcroft) who 1. Continued the pursuit of Microsoft. 2. Prosecuted Enron (I don't remember any conservative defending Enron's actions, thank you.) 3. Prosecuted Tyco, Arthur Anderson, and Merrill Lynch? And if I remember correctly, didn't all of the wrong doing in these corporations go on during the Clinton administration? If it was going on then, why was it the Republican administration who caught them and not the Dems? And if I remember correctly, wasn't it the DEMOCRATIC party, under Clinton's administration who just racked in the contributions from multiconglomerates like Microsoft? And excuse me, but I don't remember the Democrats supporting small business during, say the last century. It has been Republicans, my friend.

Those are good points. I would point out that these prosecutions were not personal initiatives of Ashcroft's but the actions of U.S. prosecutors. I suppose he deserves indirect credit, mainly for allowing the prosecutors to do their jobs. And I admit, under the Bush administration, allowing a federal emplyee to do his job is quite noteworthy, if not exactly praiseworthy.

As for Bush himself, in the wake of these scandals, he chose to do little other than make a few speeches encouraging executives to do better and to make throw around some get-tough rhetoric. The substance behind the rhetoric was an impotent law enforcemen arm that had no new resources devoted behind but was merely a reshuffling. Challenged to do more, Bush attempted to push some fox-and-henhouse self-regulation schemes. Finally, realizing public opinion was behind him, Bush signed the Sarbanes-Oxley Act into law, a piece of legislation he had vehemently opposed.

Please don't even mention Bill Clinton's name. This liberal finds Clinton an abomination and disgrace. Not only was he morally repugnant, but much of his executive substance was a betrayal to liberalism. That I voted for him twice should tell you how much I dislike the Republican way.

Hello, Mouth
I thought I'd check in. I'm sometimes Left, I'm sometimes Right. I'm always Americian. What bothers me about the Left is that they never seem to step forward with a solution to the problems that the Right has created. I believe that had Kerry done this, he would be president today. What do you think? Also, I think that the Left should promote for the general population the Thrift Plan that benefits Congress. The Left complains bitterly about Bush's plans for Social Security, but they never offer a good, solvent program such as their own Thrift Plan. The Left also complains bitterly of the energy policy, but they never seem to step forward and say, "we must conserve our way out of this mess." I really believe that if the Left would step up with postiive, productive plans, that the country would be better. What are your ideas on why this never seems to happen?
Nothing President Bush does will ever be enough, or good, or true to you liberals, as evidenced by your comments here.

This is exactly why I so frustrated when Pres. Bush tries to "get along" with Dems and appease them, thinking that if he gives in on issues or moves to the left some, or befriends Teddy Kennedy, that Dems will say "gosh, you know, that George W isn't such a bad guy at all." At least, in politics, Dems are not the friend of any conservative, and will never find any good in anything we do, unless it is to their political advantage to do so. So, stick to your guns, George.
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