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Sunday, December 10, 2006


Where are you Abe Lincoln ? Lobbyists Rule

Power of Lobbyists * Military Families

The tentacles of lobbyists reach deep into our system of government. From FDA to Congress and the NIH, legislations related to products and services that affect all Americans are often guided and shaped by lobbyists and elected representatives on the take. Democrats are not untainted although in recent years it was the Republicans who blatantly served special interest groups. They make a mockery of what President Lincoln said at Gettysburg on November 19, 1863: "........and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."

The Post has two items about the power of special interest groups.

Dairy Industry Crushed Innovator Who Bested Price-Control System

In the summer of 2003, shoppers in Southern California began getting a break on the price of milk.

A maverick dairyman named Hein Hettinga started bottling his own milk and selling it for as much as 20 cents a gallon less than the competition, exercising his right to work outside the rigid system that has controlled U.S. milk production for almost 70 years. Soon the effects were rippling through the state, helping to hold down retail prices at supermarkets and warehouse stores.

That was when a coalition of giant milk companies and dairies, along with their congressional allies, decided to crush Hettinga's initiative. For three years, the milk lobby spent millions of dollars on lobbying and campaign contributions and made deals with lawmakers, including incoming Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.).

NIH Scientist Pleads Guilty in accepting $285,000 from Pfizer

A senior government scientist who was a focus of a congressional probe into conflicts of interest in medical research admitted in federal court yesterday that he improperly failed to disclose payments of $285,000 he received as a consultant for the pharmaceutical manufacturer Pfizer Inc.

Pearson "Trey" Sunderland III, who was chief of the Geriatric Psychiatry Branch of the National Institute of Mental Health, pleaded guilty in Baltimore to a misdemeanor charge of violating conflict-of-interest rules.

There are many of us who hold strong position for or against the war in Iraq. How do the families of soldiers feel? They are the ones whose voices have more power than the rest. While Christian Davenport and Joshua Partlow's report in the Post covers only a few such families, it confirms that a divide exists. Opposition to the war has gained strength among military families but the oppposition is far from the level of sentiments in the waning days of Vietnam war.

Nancy Hecker hasn't read the Iraq Study Group's report. She doesn't need to. She knows her son, Army Maj. William F. Hecker III, died at 37 for a just cause, no matter what the antiwar crowd thinks.

If she "can stand firm in support of our country and the mission, is it too much to ask the rest of the country to do so as well?" she asked.

Beverly Fabri also doesn't need the report to help her make up her mind on Iraq. "We are not going to win this war," she said. "And we shouldn't have gotten involved with it in the first place."

Almost three years after her 19-year-old son, Army Pvt. Bryan Nicholas Spry, was killed, she said: "I'm beginning to feel like he just died in vain, I really am."

As the country debates what's next for Iraq, many family members who have lost loved ones in the war are torn about what should happen and how the legacy of those who have died there will be affected.

When the war began nearly four years ago, there was virtually unanimous support for it among military families. But as the country's belief in it has deteriorated, cracks have also begun to show among those who were its staunchest backers. And now, as the death toll mounts, many are struggling to reconcile bad news that seems to keep getting worse with the mission their loved ones believed in and died fighting for.

Sunday morning music

Johann Sebastian Bach Organ Work Selection
Toccata and Fugue
Performer: Hans Otto, Helmuth Rilling, Jorgen Ernst Hansen, Knud Vad
Audio CD (April 16, 1995)
Denon Records

Great post, thanks. Don't know if you've seen these two pretty shocking videos from Iraq yet or not (kid chasing bottle of water, car getting crushed), but both star the US Military and put it in a very negative light. I have them up on my site at www.minor-ripper.blogspot.com ..You have to wonder what these soldiers were thinking when videotaping this stuff...
Another case of US doing it all wrong from start and creating a HUGE mess fo others to clean up! Sometimes, I think our leaders totally lack long-term strategies.

They just don;t seem to get it! It happened with Afghan mujahidden fighters, then with Saddam. We are still backing some of the most corrupt goverments for our short-term interests!

Everytime we mess with a foreign country, we seem to be creating a future debacle!
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