Sunday, December 10, 2006
Where are you Abe Lincoln ? Lobbyists Rule
Power of Lobbyists * Military Families
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.
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)
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!