July 29, 2005

Another Smorgasbord of Sleaze

Occasionally, it's fun to list, in what I call a "smorgasbord of sleaze", a few of the latest outrages from the whacky world of the right wing corporatist power structure. Here are some of the latest bitter dishes Americans are being served.

Bitter Dish #1

Just as the energy bill in Congress is being debated, the Environmental Protection Agency is withholding an embarrassing report that shows how automakers are using loopholes in gas mileage requirements to manufacture automobiles that actually get less miles per gallon than cars did in the late 1980s. Imagine that, despite common sense, despite scientific mandates, and despite all the laws and regulations to the contrary, fuel efficiency has gotten worse.

Bitter Dish #2

CAFTA, known on these pages as the Central American Fleecing The Americas act, was voted down 180-175. Time expired and Bush lost. Was it over? No. Bush lackies in the House leadership, in direct contravention of House rules, extended time on the vote so that arms could be twisted and eventually they got what they wanted in a 217-215 vote. Their cheating is shameless, and they are doing it more often.

Bitter Dish #3

A recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine claims that echinacea, the purple coneflower that millions of people use worldwide to ward off viruses and as a remedy for the common cold, has no effect. What the study does not tell you is that the lead researcher has been a paid consultant for manufacturers of antibiotics. Millions of prescriptions for antibiotics are given patients every year unnecessarily for viruses and colds, against which they DO NOT WORK. Echinacea has no patents held by pharmaceutical companies. Echinacea is not profitable for big PHARMA.

Bitter Dish # 4

Despite promises to the contrary in 2004, Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kansas), and a prime example of what really is wrong with Kansas, has been refusing to hold the hearings on the Bush administration's misuse of pre-war intelligence. Sen. John D. Rockefeller (D-WV) has explained the reason he believes the hearings haven't happened: ''I always think there's a reluctance to do anything which might embarrass the administration. I think that's been true since the beginning of all of this." Golly, ya think?

Bitter Dish #5

Thanks again to Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA), we now know about Tom Delay's $1.5 billion (yes, billion) giveaway to Halliburton, the oil industry, and Sugar Land, Texas in the latest energy bill which is being considered now in Congress. Delay is like a drunken sailor with American taxpayer money when it comes to his corporate pals.

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