A few weeks ago they were bouncing bank shots off consensus candidate for Most Hated Human Martin Shkreli, he of the million-percent drug markup and lopsided grin while taking the Fifth Amendment. With the addition of a twirly mustache, he’d be the perfect person to tie the damsel on the railroad track (that would be Snidely Whiplash for cartoon newcomers).
First of all, let him take the Fifth in peace. That’s what it’s there for, and he is kinda under indictment at the moment, after all. Second, it’s been pointed out before that Shkreli is a great distraction from the real misdeeds of pharma (including, I would argue, triggering the autism epidemic via vaccines).
In the same way, screaming at people about the lead in Flint is the perfect foil when the bigger issue is the toxic poisoning of America by special interests that fund an obeisant governing class. Exhibit A, of course, is Congress itself -- and the government’s own vaccine mandates, its “cover-up court” and its flabbergasting insistence that flu shots containing industrial-waste-grade mercury are just fine for pregnant women and for infants.
Elijah Cummings, Democrat of Maryland who was having a go at Michigan’s governor this week over Flint, used to care about that, too, as you might recall. In November 2012 he played to the crowd of parents and told the CDC’s Coleen Boyle:
“’There's something wrong with this picture. When you've got this combination of shots, and you go from 1-in-10,000 to 1-in-88, it seems to me somebody would say, 'Wait a minute. Let's put the brakes on this,'" he said. "’I wish you could see the people behind you. There are grown men crying behind you... Let's err on the side of keeping children safe, even if we have to do a pause and give children one shot per day.’"
Playing to the audience seems to be a Cummings specialty. He told Shkrelli: "You can look away if you like, but you should see the faces of the people you affect," Cummings said. "You are known as one of the bad boys of pharma."
Congress has more to answer for than Shkreli does when it comes to pharma whoredom, and more to answer for than Michigan’s governor when it comes to the toxification of America. Like answering for its own creation, the ill-advised vaccine “court” and compensation scheme (and I do mean scheme), and its own massive failure in not revisiting its catastrophic consequences (the autism epidemic). Talk about an Oversight!
Like answering for making it impossible to negotiate drug rates for Medicare and tossing another trillion dollars their way. Like answering for crashing through the revolving door faster than Julie Gerberding. (See Billy Tauzin, former head of PhMRA. Wikipedia: “Two months before resigning as chair of the committee which oversees the drug industry, Tauzin had played a key role in shepherding through Congress the Medicare Prescription Drug Bill.”)
Now, as Anne Dachel has reported, Tony Muhammad of the Nation of Islam tried to raise the William Thompson CDC whistleblower issue with Cummings. You’d think Cummings, after saying “something’s wrong with this picture” of multiple vaccines and a soaring autism rate, would take the logical next step and demand Thompson himself be called as a witness. (Even if Chaffetz said no, the public stink would be progress). Instead, Cummings told Muhammad before hanging up, he is “pro-vaccine” despite all the ersatz empathy for the audience. And Chaffetz, I happen to know, has chit-chatted with a who's who of autism advocates including Robert F. Kennedy Jr. who you think might get a little professional courtesy from both sides of the aisle.
People are tired of lawmakers in high dudgeon who promptly forget what they’re angry about until the next chance to act tough presents itself. I thought it was just me, but people are starting to notice.
“I’m really glad these lawmakers took their moment in the sun to look so tough,” Mika Brzezinski scoffed on Morning Joe Friday, speaking of the Flint session. “I don’t want to ever hear those people again. I’m so sick of Washington.”
“And you wonder why Congress has an 11 percent approval rating?” said Steven Rattner.
No, actually, you don’t.
Dan Olmsted is Editor of Age of Autism.