Bill Moyers: the Real Show…Congressional hearing was abruptly cancelled
Tue, 27 Jul 2004
Congressman Greenwoods’ retirement statement indicates that he had negotiated his contract with Biotechnology Industry Org–a company that represents the very industry he was in the middle of investigating–on Tuesday. http://www.house.gov/greenwood/press_releases/2004/pr040722.html
Tuesday was the precise day that Greenwood was scheduled to chair a major congressional hearing at which pharmaceutical company representatives were to be grilled under oath about concealment of evidence from physicians and parents, showing that antidepressant drugs have harmful effects for some children. Greenwood felt no moral obligation to serve the public interest until the end of his elected term. He gave the industry a break; instead of grilling industry representatives, he negotiated a private deal with them.
Bill Moyers, PBS host of weekly public affairs series NOW, was jolted by facts surrounding the cancellation / suspension / of the hearing—-as were the families who were anxiously awaiting answers.
“In fact, there was to be a Congressional hearing this week into the safety of anti-depressant medicine. It seems some pharmaceutical companies are suspected of keeping secret the bad news about their products. The hearing was abruptly cancelled when word spread that the committee chairman is under consideration for a big-paying job representing-are you ready for this?-the biotech and pharmaceutical industries.
You think I’m kidding. But believe me; I couldn’t make this stuff up if I wanted to. Unfortunately, I don’t have to.”
Contact: Vera Hassner Sharav
The Real Show
By Bill Moyers
t r u t h o u t | Perspective
Saturday 24 July 2004
First, a confession: I haven’t seen Michael Moore’s “Fahrenheit 9/11.” It’s not that I haven’t wanted to; it’s just that I have not been able to tear myself away from the real show-the political theatre playing out in full sight right before our eyes. Who needs a movie when you have the news?
Michael Moore’s weird alright, but not as weird as Michael Powell, our cartel-loving chairman of the Federal Communications Commission whose idea of the press seems to be channeling William Randolph Hearst.
Michael Moore’s outrageous, but not as outrageous as George W. Bush and Tom DeLay conspiring to let the ban on killer assault weapons expire. Bush says he doesn’t like all that loaded hardware lying around, but it’s up to the House of Representatives to vote. The aptly named Tom DeLay, the House Majority Leader, on the other hand, says-wink, wink-he can’t let a vote happen because Bush hasn’t asked him to. After you, Alphonse; after you, Gaston – and will the last man out please turn on the lights?
Michael Moore has a keen eye for the absurd; I know that from his earlier wickedly funny films. But we don’t need a seeing-eye absurdist to understand how wacky it is for Ralph Nader to get on the ballot in different states with the help of a conservative outfit that’s a front group for all those corporate interests Nader has spent his life trying to cut down to size. Imagine: 43,000 Michigan Republicans suddenly seized by the vision of “Nader the Savior,” putting their names on a petition urging him to run for President. “Save us, Ralph; save us!” Politics makes strange bedfellows, but this is a ménage a trois, as John Kerry might say, that would shame the Marquis de Sade.
No, I don’t need to shell out $9 for a movie when I can watch the Democrats in Boston next week piously pretending to be taking seriously a homily on values from Al Sharpton, or when I have C-span to watch Congress in action (or not).
* In fact, there was to be a Congressional hearing this week into the safety of anti-depressant medicine. It seems some pharmaceutical companies are suspected of keeping secret the bad news about their products. The hearing was abruptly cancelled when word spread that the committee chairman is under consideration for a big-paying job representing-are you ready for this?-the biotech and pharmaceutical industries.
You think I’m kidding. But believe me; I couldn’t make this stuff up if I wanted to. Unfortunately, I don’t have to.
Bill Moyers is the host of the weekly public affairs series NOW with Bill Moyers, which airs Friday nights on PBS.
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News from U.S. Rep. James C. Greenwood
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 22, 2004 CONTACT: Stephanie Fischer (202) 225-4276
James C. Greenwood’s Retirement Statement
Yesterday at 3:00 PM I signed a contract in which I agreed to serve as the president of BIO (the Biotechnology Industry Organization) effective on January 5, 2005. I intend to fulfill the duties to which I have been elected until the end of my term. I regret that I was unable to announce this earlier than now. This was not possible because the offer was made to me just this past Friday. Contract negotiations occurred on Tuesday and the BIO board approved the contract yesterday at about 4:00 PM.
This is a decision I have made in consultation with my family and a few close friends. As you can imagine it has not come to me easily. While difficult, it is consistent with the high ethical standards that have characterized my twenty-four-year career in elective office. It is also in keeping with a commitment I made to myself thirty years ago to devote my life to public service.
I would have preferred that the timing of this change could have occurred at a point within the election cycle in which I were not a candidate. That would have allowed me to make this transition more gracefully. Unfortunately the departure of BIO’s current president, Carl Feldbaum, is set for the end of this year and BIO’s search process occurred this summer. It would not have been ethical for me to remain on the ballot and resign after the election without disclosing this matter publicly. Accordingly I will soon withdraw my candidacy for re-election with the Pennsylvania Bureau of elections.
I do not believe I would have considered taking such a position with any other trade association. But in my work in health care and particularly with regard to the issues of stem cell research and somatic cell nuclear transfer, I have come to comprehend the enormity of the transformation in human health that is possible with the advancement of cellular therapy, the development of biological treatments and the use of the now decoded human genome. After twenty-four years as a generalist, I now wish to begin a new chapter in my life in which I can become a specialist in a dramatically exciting and revolutionary field.
It has been a privilege to serve the people of the eighth Congressional district. Throughout my career I have endeavored to serve with honor, hard work and independence. I am eternally grateful to my family for allowing my service to both disrupt and enrich our lives. I will forever be proud of the many bright, able and devoted men and women who have helped me to serve our constituency. They have blessed us all with their service.
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