Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Tales of a Phony Capitalist Part VII: Merck Greases the Skids

It gets worse. Way worse.

In Monday's debate, Rick Perry asserted with his typical braggadocio that he was offended someone would think he could be bought for the paltry sum of $5,000. As it turns out, he was entirely correct. Although Merck, the maker of the mandated Gardasil vaccine, technically gave him only $5,000 in his last bid for governor, they managed to funnel hundreds of thousand more through the RGA. The Washington Post has the full scoop:
But campaign disclosure records portray a much deeper financial connection with Merck than Perry’s remarks suggest.

His gubernatorial campaigns, for example, have received nearly $30,000 from the drugmaker since 2000, most of that before he issued his vaccine mandate, which was overturned by the Texas legislature.

Merck and its subsidiaries have also given more than $380,000 to the Republican Governors Association (RGA) since 2006, the year that Perry began to play a prominent role in the Washington-based group, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics.

Perry served as chairman of the RGA in 2008 and again this year, until he decided to run for president. The group ranks among the governor’s biggest donors, giving his campaign at least $4 million over the past five years, according to Texans for Public Justice, a watchdog group.
So let me get this straight. Not only was Perry fudging the truth by concealing the $30,000 he had received directly from Merck (he made no bones about including earlier years in claiming that he had raised $30 million), but he also neglected to mention that of the $4 million he received from the RGA, $380,000 of it can be traced directly to Merck. ...No, it is all fungible. That's a far cry from a meager $5,000, as he rightly pointed out. Oh no, he's worth far more than that!

How many other companies donated to the RGA, knowing that their money would go to support Rick Perry? And how much more did they contribute knowing that as head of the RGA, Perry would be able to direct that money to other governors who might support their interests? It seems that instead of proving himself a principled leader, Perry abused his position as head of the RGA to increase his power and profits while setting up a complex system of kickbacks and payoffs. And a lot of companies received his message loud and clear: "I'm gonna be a powerful guy controlling a lot of your interests, so pay up, or shut up." This greasing of the skids has got to stop.

As it turns out, Bank of America is listed among the 240 bundlers who contributed more than $100,000 to Perry. Maybe that's why this lobbyist had such a knowing tone in his voice when he assured Perry "we'll help you out":

Michelle Malkin sheds even more light on the underhanded dealings of Perry and Merck in this post. As it turns out, Perry did not meekly admit he had made an error and drop the matter. Rather, he instituted the mandate by executive order, claiming that the legislature didn't have the power to overturn it. When they, in fact, did, he demonized the opposition to the bill as shameful spreaders of misinformation who acted out of political expediency and had their collective consciences saddled with the burden of putting women to death. But to hear him tell it now,
One of the things I do pride myself on, I listen. When the electorate says, ‘Hey, that’s not what we want to do,’ we backed up, took a look at what we did.”
Just another lie in Perry's never-ending quest for power.

Furthermore, who else lobbied for Gardasil? That's right, Hillary Clinton. And this when Merck sat on the board of her husband's Global Initiative. Puts Rick Perry's endorsement of Hillarycare in a whole new light, doesn't it? Just because Perry has an "R" after his name doesn't mean he should get a pass on the very same thing Hillary tried to ram through.

No, that's not all. Merck has attempted to buy off at least 40 state legislatures in order to ensure that their drugs get favorable treatment. Among the worst offenders are New Jersey, Florida, California, Pennsylvania, and, not surprisingly, Texas, which is in fifth place with Merck contributing $158,000 to its legislature. Interestingly enough, Alaska and Minnesota are not on that list. Oops! They let one too many elected officials squeak through without paying their dues to the great lords of Merck.

Finally, Malkin notes that the blog "A Time for Choosing" reports that an opt-out is virtually impossible to obtain in Texas due to a slow bureaucratic process which essentially guarantees that a child will be kicked out of school long before he or she gets the exemption. And even if you manage to wrangle the exemption out of the state's health department, you will be discrimnated against by private schools, doctors, and insurance companies. So much for the "opt-out" argument.

I realize that, even in light of all of the foregoing, many people will still vote for Perry just because he's "our" guy. Well, I don't believe that our government should be so big that we must constantly play it off against one another. If you vote for Rick Perry, realize that you are voting for business as usual, and that our country will not be restored. Power will just shift from corrupt Dem politicians to corrupt GOP politicians. Instead of returning to "free men and free markets" as Palin so eloquently put it, the money will simply be shifted from union bosses and unsustainable green jobs to crony capitalist CEOs and their lobbyists. You, the average American, will be left none the richer, with the government still transferring 40% of your earnings to these crooks in a form of legalized theft. If you refuse to throw off your shackles and crawl out of Plato's cave, it will be your loss. You will never truly be a free man (or woman) competing in a free market, and as a result you will be a slave to these interests the rest of your life, unless you manage by hook or crook to enslave others. Sad. So very, very sad.

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