Sunday, February 28, 2010

McCain Wouldn't Have Done Any Better: McCain-Dorgan Will Expand FDA Power

While the Republicans co-opt the inchoate Tea Party movement for their own purposes and pretty much defeat whatever good purpose the movement had, prominent Republicans are working alongside their Democratic rivals to increase the size and power of our government and assist its corporate overlords in making life more expensive and difficult for our citizens, and further constricting their liberties while funneling what remains of their wealth into corporate coffers.

Anybody who thinks that Obama's rival, Sen. John McCain(R) of Arizona, or any other Republican, would have done any better than Obama in protecting us from further encroachments on our freedoms or back pockets, need only consider some of the dangerous legislation now being introduced, notably the McCain-Dorgan Act, introduced last month, which will vastly expand the power of the FDA to regulate vitamins and other over-the-counter supplements.

The pharmeucetical industry and medical profession are using every legal tool at their disposal to prevent people from controlling their own health care, and have lobbied for years for more regulation of supplements, often advocating making them available by prescription only. The justification for this new bill is the existance of small amounts of "performance-enhancing" substances in some over-the-counter supplements, causing some sports figures who used these products while innocent of their contents, to be in violation of the NFL's anti-doping policy. Why the use of such supplements by sports players to give themselves a competitive edge is considered to be a matter of public concern is difficult to understand - why can't this remain a matter between the players and the NFL?

More regulation of supplements will mean much greater costs to manufacturers and higher prices for consumers. Worse, the bill is one more step along the road to total control over every substance we put in our bodies by government authorities. As it is, the ongoing war on drugs has triggered more restrictive regulation of pain-killers, with harsh punishments for physicians found in violation of draconian restrictions on the use of addictive or narcotic pain relievers, resulting in greater misery for people suffering great physical pain who cannot now obtain pain relief in the dosages necessary for real relief.

Obama has taken a tentative first step toward expanding personal liberties and ending the destructive, no-win war on drugs by ending federal raids on suppliers of medical marijuana where permitted by state law. Let's hope he takes the next step and vetos this destructive bill.


Nudge said...

I'm not feeling a whole lot of hope that The One (aka O'Bammy) will be anything but a centrist version of GWB's third term that never happened.

Obama signs one-year extension of the so-called Patriot Act:

The program certainly seems to be the same as in the Bush years: prop up the richest and most influential corporations and keep propping up BAU, even if these things destroy the country in the process.

The North Coast said...

Agree with you, Nudge, and things would have been no different had McCain or Clinton been elected.

Politics has failed us and will continue to fail us, and you have to think that maybe we depending on it to accomplish things it never was meant to do, like make our lives perfect and pain-free. The more we ask of the state, the more we deliver ourselves to its real owners- the people who buy the pols.

Nudge said...

Someone on the HBB said it nicely the other day: her vote for Obama was really a vote against the patently batshit-insane Palin, who no one wants anywhere near the levers of power. Once she made it clear that she does what baby Jeebus tells her to and that Jeebus doesn't like Iran, Russia, or anyone else by the USA, it became a moral imperative to cast a vote for the other side.

We see before us the folly of allowing the richest people/corporations to control the political processes. History should be our guide as to what follows next. Our country is now far from #1 in any index of countries ranked by freedoms. Check out the YOY percentage drop on the following chart:

The only top-10 nation with a “freedom from corruption” score lower than ours was Chile.

consultant said...

So what's the plan? What's the next step?

The way I see it, Obama is doing about as much as one could expect.

"I" want more. But our system is broke. Not beyond repair, but badly broken. It's been said before, we don't need a reboot, we need a complete makeover. Politics, education, business, transportation, food, you name it. We're out of step with current conditions and full of ourselves. Things obviously need to change.

But here's the rub. There's always a rub. 30 to 40% of the people don't know what the hell we're talking about. They don't want a makeover. They just want things to stay the same. Another 40% or so want things to change. But to what? They are mostly clueless.

The next battle for our nation's soul is going to be between the 10 to 15% of folks who believe in something, whatever that is.

So to repeat a famous phrase, "where do we go from here"?

consultant said...

When I look at America today, it looks like the days before the Civil War or WWII.

All the emphasis on Obama can easily mask the real problem. Our culture which produces our leaders has become juvenile, narcissistic, corrupt, wasteful and deeply cynical.

Do the right thing? Ha! That's no longer on the table. Hasn't been for a while.

Having paid for laws that benefit them, most of our major corporations roam the American landscape like highway bandits, cutting off avenues for self sufficiency and creating an environment where it's difficult to live without taking on debt.

We have University presidents now saying stuff like this with a straight face:

"If we don't pay our administrators and professors competitive salaries, they'll leave and go to private industry."

Wow! I'm glad they have options. But what about the costs which are passed on to students and parents? Obviously, most of our current college leaders aren't concerned with that (March 4th, college students around the country are going to protests the high costs of education).

Our friend Jim Kunstler sums it up nicely with his catch phrase: Clusterfuck Nation.

(Excuse my language) We're so fucked up right now, I don't know if Washington, Lincoln and Roosevelt together could talk sense to us. Beck and Rush would shout them down as crazy liberals and progressives. The mainstream press (especially TV) would probably take a pass on their admonitions too. You know, like they're doing right now with the tragedy in Chile (I guess by saying Chile is better prepared than Haiti to handle a devastating earthquake, that absolves them from having to spend the money to cover another major human catastrophe in our hemisphere).

Most of our leaders are a bunch of gutless wonders.

We're in bad, bad shape folks. As I've said before, when your culture is screwed up, you are in for a world of hurt.

It's something about the human condition. It usually takes a great tragedy of some sort to turn things around. To get stuff back to reality. I'm am not even looking forward to that.

consultant said...

"I'm am not even looking forward to that."

By that I meant I'm not looking forward to whatever it is that is going to shake the country in its boots.

We are so messed up, it's going to take something way bigger than 9/11. And as we saw/see with our leaders, given our current state, it's not at all assured we'll come out the other side exercising the better half of our nature.

Nudge said...

Consultant, agreed, we're messed up here. Over on the housing bubble blog, they have a saying: “we're so far underwater, the fish have no eyes”. Put it this way: the level of our unfunded lifestyle liabilities, expressed as a ratio of what-we-want to what-we've-got, is accelerating hyperbolically toward infinity.

That being said, there is a still a lot of good here, but at the present time the good bits have little place in the “greed is good, f*ck everyone else” world. By there being a lot of good, I mean skilled & intelligent people who can coexist just fine with others and who would prefer to live under some better mode, even if it's a little simpler than what we have now. Simpler lifestyles obviously didn't kill our ancestors (in the same way that they're not killing the Amish either) and in fact, they were so well off that people came here from all over the world to get in on the act.

Our correction will very likely take place on many different levels. Keeping one's wits and sense-of-humor, and not succumbing to the inevitable American “Waaah, what do you mean, I can't drive my Escalade to the shopping maul whenever I want? It's the end of the world! Waah!” angst as the Roaring 00's are given a proper send-off, will probably be just as important as staying healthy and fed during the correction.

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