Friday, January 19, 2007

Rarely have I seen such disgusting collusion mixed with panic

I'm watching MSNBC right now in my Chicago hotel right before going to a business meeting, so this diary has to be short.

There is an advertisement put on by Pharmaceutical Lobbying industry PhRMA that exceeds the boundaries of any political advertisement I saw in the last election cycle in terms of making my blood boil.

Unfortunately, there is no online version of the ad on PhRMA's site, on, YouTube or anywhere else, so I'll have to describe it from memory. Hopefully someone can find this online somewhere soon.

You see, some of you may remember the last year's scandal in which the pharma industry was caught quietly paying for ads praising senators who supported the Bush medicare prescription drug benefit. As the article says:

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce claims credit for the ads, although a spokesman refused repeatedly to say whether it had received any funds from the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America.

Several campaign strategists not involved in the ad campaign said no legal issues were raised by the pharmaceutical industry's involvement. In political terms, though, the disclosure is likely to embolden Democratic critics of the Medicare drug program, who charge it amounts to a Republican-engineered windfall for drug companies.

Well, the Pharma industry patronage of their own massive giveaway is now completely overt and open in a very disturbing way.

The advertisement I am describing literally begs seniors to "give the Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit program a chance." It begins with swelling, feel-good music about the supposedly wonderful passage of the bill and statistics showing how much money on average seniors supposedly have saved.

Then it plays some scary music with a newspaper quote about how much money would supposedly be lost by interrupting the supposedly wonderful plan (with what, PhRMA? A national healthcare plan? Oh no!).

Finally, as I said, it asks seniors to just "give the plan a chance to work". I'm not kidding. And at the end? The PhRMA logo--right there, front and center. It's direct and open lobbying to the public by a private industry in support of an unpopular government program dedicated to making huge giveaways to that very industry. It's simply unbelievable.

They KNOW people are upset. They KNOW that their preposterous profits are under threat from national momentum in a variety of areas towards a more nationalized healthcare plan.

And they've dropped all pretense of separation from the Bush Administration in literally begging America's Seniors to not rock the boat, and to keep their profits rolling in.

There is an old saying in Latin that goes "Nemo tam malus est ut malus videri volat"--it translates "Nobody is so evil that they want to appear evil."

Well, PhRMA has gotten awfully close to disproving that maxim. The fear is on their faces and the mask is coming right off in a really unprecedented way.

This fight is gonna be real, real ugly.

Update: as many say in the comments, this is just like Bush's strategy for Iraq, isn't it? "Just give us a chance! I know we're screwing you over, but give us a chance!" The difference here is that this is like Halliburton putting on an ad on MSNBC asking Americans to give the "war" a chance--with the Halliburton logo front and center. It's disgusting.


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