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Friday, February 06, 2004

Homeland Security or Corporate Security?

Does the Homeland Security Bill defend you, or does it defend corporations? I'm not sure that Tom Ridge's color-coded alert system has done much to make me any safer, or that the War on Terror itself has made me any safer, but I do know that it has helped large corporations suckling the teats of the administration to avoid lawsuits from those greedy, opporunistic parents of autistic children...

New York Times columnist Bob Herbert responded to the hidden provisions of the Homeland Security Bill with appropriate righteous fury back in November...

"...Last week the Senate approved legislation to establish a Department of Homeland Security and it will soon be signed into law by the president. Buried in this massive bill, snuck into it in the dark of night by persons unknown (actually, it's fair to say by Republican persons unknown), was a provision that -- incredibly -- will protect Eli Lilly and a few other big pharmaceutical outfits from lawsuits by parents who believe their children were harmed by thimerosal.

Now this has nothing to do with homeland security. Nothing. This is not a provision that will in any way protect us from the ferocious evil of Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda. So why is it there? Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that the major drug companies have become a gigantic collective cash machine for politicians, and that the vast majority of that cash goes to Republicans.

Or maybe it's related to the fact that Mitch Daniels, the White House budget director, is a former Eli Lilly big shot. Or the very convenient fact that just last June President Bush appointed Eli Lilly's chairman, president and C.E.O., Sidney Taurel, to a coveted seat on the president's Homeland Security Advisory Council.

There's a real bad smell here. Eli Lilly will benefit greatly as both class-action and individual lawsuits are derailed. But there are no fingerprints in sight. No one will own up to a legislative deed that is both cynical and shameful..."
Read Bob's Article

See how it works? Legislation to shield Eli Lilly from lawsuits would never have made it alone, but if democrats would have voted against Homeland Security, they would have been labelled unpatriotic.

As they say, "the devil's in the details". In this case, the devil is a republican legislator so cynical as to not even attach his name to an amendment.

What can be done? First of all, consign this corrupt administration to the rock from under which it crawled. Vote for a party that actually cares about all its citizens, not just corporations. Call your senators and congressmen and ask them why amendments can be attached to bills without a sponsor.

In the end we get the government we deserve; the government we're willing to fight for.

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