Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Some Information on Republican Incumbents

It you want to know what your GOP Congressman are really up to, check out these links:

--AZ-Sen: Jon Kyl
--AZ-01: Rick Renzi
--AZ-05: J.D. Hayworth
--CA-04: John Doolittle
--CA-11: Richard Pombo
--CA-50: Brian Bilbray
--CO-04: Marilyn Musgrave
--CO-05: Doug Lamborn
--CO-07: Rick O'Donnell
--CT-04: Christopher Shays
--FL-13: Vernon Buchanan
--FL-16: Joe Negron
--FL-22: Clay Shaw
--ID-01: Bill Sali
--IL-06: Peter Roskam
--IL-10: Mark Kirk
--IL-14: Dennis Hastert
--IN-02: Chris Chocola
--IN-08: John Hostettler
--IA-01: Mike Whalen
--KS-02: Jim Ryun
--KY-03: Anne Northup
--KY-04: Geoff Davis
--MD-Sen: Michael Steele
--MN-01: Gil Gutknecht
--MN-06: Michele Bachmann
--MO-Sen: Jim Talent
--MT-Sen: Conrad Burns
--NV-03: Jon Porter
--NH-02: Charlie Bass
--NJ-07: Mike Ferguson
--NM-01: Heather Wilson
--NY-03: Peter King
--NY-20: John Sweeney
--NY-26: Tom Reynolds
--NY-29: Randy Kuhl
--NC-08: Robin Hayes
--NC-11: Charles Taylor
--OH-01: Steve Chabot
--OH-02: Jean Schmidt
--OH-15: Deborah Pryce
--OH-18: Joy Padgett
--PA-04: Melissa Hart
--PA-07: Curt Weldon
--PA-08: Mike Fitzpatrick
--PA-10: Don Sherwood
--RI-Sen: Lincoln Chafee
--TN-Sen: Bob Corker
--VA-Sen: George Allen
--VA-10: Frank Wolf
--WA-Sen: Mike McGavick
--WA-08: Dave Reichert

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Delay Indicted, Forced to step down as House Majority Leader

CNN has the story.

Tom Delay could be found guilty of conspiracy for improper use of donations to the PAC Texans for a Republican Majority to pay Republican candidates running for the Texas legislature. He may face up to two years in prison.

Meanwhile, Republican Senate Majority leader Bill Frist is under intense scrutiny over his involvement in an insider trading scandal. Documents show that Frist knew more about his "blind" trust than he should have, and sold stock in HCA just before the stock crashed. Convenient, huh?

What is it with Republicans and white-collar crime?

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Drug companies turn 3rd world Africa into giant guinea pig

I saw a great new movie, The Constant Gardener, a few weeks ago, and since then, I have been itching to do some research on the questions it raises. I have finally taken the time to do so.

Let me give a little background on the movie without giving too much away (it is a great movie that will probably be nominated for the Best Picture Oscar, so see it if you haven't). It centers around a plot by a fictional drug company to forcibly test a new drug on African AIDS patients who receive other drugs for their disease. When the test drug starts killing people, a gigantic coverup ensues. Sounds exciting, right? Well I won't tell you the rest and ruin it - either see the movie or go on one of those plot spoiler sites if you want to know the whole story.

Anyway, the movie was done in a way that made the plot seem very feasible. Part of that is due to the excellent adapted screenplay, but much of it has to do with the fact that pharmaceutical companies do exploit test subjects in Africa to try out their new drugs there before releasing them in the "western world".

In this post I intend to simply outline a few cases of abuse by the big pharmaceuticals to provide a platform from which I can do some future research. I don't claim to know all the details in any of these cases, but much of this information is old news that has been widely ignored (or intentionally subdued) - I bet you won't know most of it.


The first instance that I came upon was centered in Nigeria. In 1996, a meningitis epidemic broke out in Kano, a city in the north of the country. Government radio stations told affected persons to the Infectious Diseases Hospital to received free emergency medical attention from Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), an international aide organization.

Big pharmaceutical Pfizer was also at the same hospital (convenient, isn't it?) to test a new drug, Trovan. If you follow the previous link, you will learn that Trovan can cause complete liver failure.

Now backtrack to Nigeria - Pfizer needed test subjects - guinea pigs - for its operation. Desperate parents of meningitis patients saw Pfizer employees and mistook them for MSF aide workers. These employees "unwittingly" convinced parents to allow the drug to be tested on their children [Source - BBC]. An excerpt from the BBC article:

She handed over her children to a white man - she did not know if that person was from Pfizer or MSF. She was distressed at the time - and she lost the piece of paper the white man gave her. Anyway, she cannot read.

So here was Pfizer, taking advantage of an outbreak of meningitis and testing a drug on unsuspecting patients - a drug with debilitating and even fatal side effects.

How did Pfizer respond to accusations of exploitation and conspiracy? "Society should be grateful to Pfizer because we came to help save lives," a spokesperson said.

Think this is bad so far? Wait until you hear this - Pfizer apparently used medical ethics documentation that was written a year after the incident to justify their drug trials in Nigeria. [Source - Washington Post]

From the above Washington Postsource:
Typed on the letterhead of the Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital and dated March 28, 1996 -- six days before Pfizer's experiment began -- the letter said the hospital ethics committee had reviewed the plan to test Trovan on 100 children with meningitis and found the protocol to be "adequate." The letter gave permission for the test to proceed.

But Sadiq S. Wali, the hospital's medical director, recently told The Washington Post the document was "a lie." He said the hospital had no ethics committee at the time Pfizer's test was underway and did not organize it -- or create the letterhead stationery bearing his name that was used in the approval letter -- until months later.

"The hospital is quite clear: We had no ethical committee," he said in a telephone interview.

Reached by telephone in Kano last week, Dutse said it was "possible" that the approval letter was drafted up to a year after the trial. Dutse, who was listed as Pfizer's "principal investigator," said he felt that the letter reflected the informal approval he had obtained from three doctors, who reviewed Pfizer's test plans and told him they saw no ethical problems. No records were prepared at the time, he said.

But one of the doctors Dutse cited, Idris Mohammed, last week disputed Dutse's account. Reached in London, Mohammed said: "There was no ethical committee at the time of the trial, none met, and no approval was properly given for the trial."

These families never were able to bring Pfizer to justice. Only three days ago, a court dismissed (for a second time) the class action lawsuit pertaining to the scandal. [Source - law.com]

Pfizer committed a heinous crime and got away with it. But this isn't the only case of big drug companies using African peasants as test subjects.

Stay tuned, more to come.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Grassroots action update: Send a letter to your representative

Cross-posted at Daily Kos.

Thanks to all those who marched yesterday. The march was successful, as you all know, drawing at least 100,000 protestors (likely around 250,000). But we're not done yet, and I want to encourage people to keep working for peace.

Much of the march went unseen by the American people, due to a variety of factors (Hurricane Rita, media bias, etc). We need to make sure that the power of the protest is not lost on our Congressmen and Congresswomen. Because the Bush administration refuses to address the issue and says that the U.S. will "stay the course" in Iraq (after all, they will not have to face another election), we need to demand withdrawal from Iraq from our representatives in Congress. Since every representative in the House is up for reelection in 2006, they will be forced to address the overwhelming public disapproval of the handling of the Iraq War.

We can use this to our advantage to help bring our troops home. The time is perfect - right after one of the largest protests in DC history - to contact representatives in Congress.

Here is what I am proposing: each and every one of you who is reading this should send an email to your representive. Knowing that many if not most of you do not have the time to compose a letter, please feel free to copy and paste mine below:

Dear Representative [Insert Last Name],

On Saturday, September 24, over 100,000 American citizens came to Washington, D.C., to demand an immediate withdrawal of United States soldiers from Iraq. In addition, tens of thousands protested in other American cities such as San Francisco. The message of the American people is clear: the current situation in Iraq is unacceptable.

Over 1,900 U.S. soldiers have died in Iraq. Thousands have been wounded, both physically and emotionally. Most will carry their scars for life. As insurgents develop new ways of killing American soldiers, the situation becomes more hopeless every day.

I am stunned that Congress has not stepped in to put an end to the needless waste of American lives in Iraq. I want to think that I can trust the representatives I elect, but I am full of doubt after witnessing Congress stand pat while Americans are slaughtered.

A New York Times poll indicates that the majority of Americans want the immediate withdrawal of U.S. armed forces from Iraq. These are the same people who will be going to the polls in November of 2006 with the war on their minds (if it has not ended by then). Our will must be respected.

I am writing to demand that you sponsor or support a resolution calling for the immediate withdrawal of United States soldiers from Iraq. Congress cannot afford to wait any longer to address the Iraq quagmire. I urge you to speak with your fellow representatives in order to gain their support for troop withdrawal.

Thousands have died in Iraq as a result of lies and deception, but it is not too late to save the lives of the young men and women of the armed forces serving in Iraq. Please act now without hesitation to bring them home.

[Your Name Here]

Don't know who your representative in the House is? Don't worry. Go to the House of Representatives' website and enter your zip code (near the top of the page). Once you have reached your rep.'s page, either (a) Use his/her online contact email form to submit your letter or (b) Find his/her email address and submit the letter through your own email service provider.

Have any suggestions or want to post other copy-and-paste-able letters? Please feel free to add your comments and I will update the diary with your letters. I just started a blog that I intend to use to launch future grassroots activism campaigns, so please feel free to post your suggestions there as well.

Please take the time to do this. I know that it seems pointless at times, but we cannot stop fighting for our troops - after all, they never stop fighting for us. I don't usually ask for this, but if you want to support this email campaign, please RECOMMEND this diary so it gains maximum exposure here at dKos.

War hawks silent but definitely not majority

The war hawks responded to the anti-war demonstation with a very lame counter protest today.

These people disgust me. These are the people that refuse to question their leader even after he lies to them. They are the ones willing to allow thousands to die while they drive their SUVs with "Support our Troops" ribbons attached. They talk big, but only 400 had the guts to show up in Washington today.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Video from four anti-war rally speakers available

The Brad Blog has posted video of several speeches from the rally today. Here are links to the video:

Representative Cynthia McKinney
Watch Video [Download - Windows Media] [Streaming - Real Media]

Reverend Jesse Jackson
Watch Video [Download - Windows Media] [Streaming - Real Media]

Cindy Sheehan
Watch Video [Download - Windows Media] [Streaming - Real Media]

George Galloway
Watch Video [Download - Windows Media] [Streaming - Real Media]

Shots from traffic webcams

Check out these shots of hundreds of thousands of protestors courtesy of dKos poster bmaples:

Here is a view from 15th and Contitution.

45 minutes later, the same intersection is still packed as far as the eye can see.

Picture of protestors from the intersection of H and Vermont.

14th and New York image

250,000 People!

From C-Span - march is 20 blocks long with 250,000 people!

This is an enormous march/rally. The streets around the White House on the march route are so packed with protestors that nothing is moving. The American people have shown up in Washington in force, to demand that the U.S. withdraw from Iraq and hold Bush accountable for his lies.

I haven't been able to find very many pictures from the DC march yet, but I have found some pictures from protests in other cities against the Iraq War.

London, England

Manila, Philippines:

More to come, so stay tuned.

The crowd is very vocal and very large

Watch the rally live on C-Span.

Here are some pictures, courtesy of Democracy Cell Project:

Protest Update: Protestors overflowing the Ellipse

There are protestors everywhere around the White House. The protest, slated to be held on the Ellipse, has encompassed not only that area but also much of Pennsylvania Avenue, 14th Street, and 15th Street. There are reports of Metro trains (DC public transportation) jam-packed with protestors still arriving at the protest. So far, people like Cindy Sheehan, Rev. Jesse Jackson, and Representative Cyntia McKinney (D-GA) have turned out to speak at the protest.

UPDATE: 100,000 protestors are currently voicing their dissent in London as well. (From speaker George Galloway and The Independent .

To give you an idea of the area of the protest in DC, here is a hybrid satellite map from Google (click to enlarge):

DC War Protest Today!

Today is the big day! 100,000 protestors are expected to descend on the White House in opposition of the Iraq War. Cindy Sheehan will speak at the rally.

Some recent poll statistics on public opinion of the war:

  • 54% of Americans believe that the United States will not win the Iraq War [Source]
  • 67% of Americans disapprove of the way President Bush has handled the war [Source]
  • 59% say that the invading Iraq was a mistake [Source]
  • 52% support an immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq [Source]

A Rasmussen poll, which tracks President Bush's approval rating daily, puts Bush's approval at 45% with 54% disapproving. A very telling statistic: 39% of the country strongly disapproves of Bush's performance. Only 22% strongly approve of him.

I'll post updates regarding the peace march throughout the day.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Hello World

I want to introduce my new blog as briefly as possible. I intend for this to be, if nothing else, a place for me to vent my opinions and maybe even discuss politics with other liberals. Everyone is welcome to post their opinions here.

I am a Daily Kos poster who wants to expand the realm of my political writing. dKos has a limit on the number of diaries a user is allowed to post per day, and I want to have a chance to make my own rules.

I will include a variety of information here: news, politics, ideas, and more. I invite anybody who is interested to participate in discussion here and send any suggestions for the site my way. Remember, Liberalitics is in its fledgling stage and I'm just trying to get it to fly. I hope all of you come along for the ride.