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Drug Industry Is Being Deregulated

by Denny Burbeck Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2005 at 7:13 AM

Are you in favor of deregulating the Drug Industry?

Deregulation Any One?

There is a covert deregulation of the drug industry

that is well under way. The enormously powerful

drug lobby is surrepticiously deregulating the drug

industry from inside the FDA by changing the rules

for drug evaluation. There is one brave man in the

FDA who is standing up for the American people,

against great resistance, and telling the bitter truth -

Dr. David Graham. He says "We have a system

that is biased toward approving drugs almost

regardless of the safety risks(1)." This 'under

the table' deregulation has cost American lives

as well as money for illnesses that would not

have occurred.

- Let's look at the deregulation of the Energy Industry.

During the '90s Enron pushed the accounting envelope

to criminal levels in an effort to keep their stock

price rising. That is what most of the litigation is

about right now. They cooked the books to a

smoldering pile of ash with lies, deceit, criminal

accounting, conflicted analysts, evidence

shredding, and so on. The company filed for

bankruptcy in October of 2001 because the Wall

Street Ratings Firms began hearing of the corruption

and lowered Enron's bond rating over a period of

several months to where the company could no

longer borrow money, and it's stock became worth

pennies.

But a very interesting thing happened for Enron

just a year before this was revealed - deregulation

of the Energy Industry - (with the help of our

illustrious VP Dick Cheney). All during the

year of the collapse of Enron, the company

was making enormous profits (little reported).

This company had been grossing 2 to 3 Billion

dollars annually until deregulation when they

pocketed the Billion surplus the state of

California had built up, AND put California

in Billion of debt with their drummed

up energy crisis in the heat of the summer -

over Billion from a single state. They

perpetrated these schemes in other states

and Canada as well, raking in over 0

Billion that somehow has been roundly

overlooked by the press. The 4,300 SPEs

(Special Purpose Entities - off shore partnerships

that were given a small amount of news coverage)

were filled with these illegal profits and remain

a mystery to the American Public(2).

A Fortune 500 article published in April, 2002

(six months after the bankruptcy filing) moved

Enron from the 6th to the 5th spot, estimating the

company would gross 8 Billion(3). That

was rather astonishing to me considering that

they were in BANKRUPTCY PROCEEDINGS!

And that is when the news coverage diminished

to next to nothing for some reason. The big news

seemed to be how much money the Execs were

paid in stock options and bonuses. Let me

assure you, the money that these guys have in

American bank accounts is just for their living

expenses and lawyers fees. They have billions

in the Caymans.

You see, deregulation was still in effect (it still

is to some extent) and Enron was still making

astronomical profits even AFTER the so-called

"collapse of the energy giant". They made enough

money in the short span of two years to pay off

all of their debt ( Billion), to buy back all of

their stock at the '98 price ( Billion) and

get out of bankruptcy proceedings.

But they didn't do that. No, they shoveled all

of that money into off-shore accounts in the

Cayman Islands where almost 600 of these

SPEs had one single post-office-box business

address(4). They (the Execs) chose to let

the company go belly up in order to confuse

the public while they all retired and let

Fastow and a few others take a slap on

the wrist (although several trials are soon

to begin).

The Cayman Island Government announced

in 2002 that it had changed it's banking

policy and would divulge information on

the off-shore accounts....."But no one has

asked".

Skilling said (rather conspicuously) three

times in less than five minutes during his

testimony to the Sub-Committee - "Enron

was disbursing cash". (I have the transcript)

He wasn't kidding! That was most likely the

only truth that came out of his mouth at that

hearing and why he still professes that he

did not lie.



The mainstream news continues to refer to

Enron as the "Bankrupt Energy Giant"

(dis-informing the public and keeping them

ignorant of the facts).

- Is Deregulation ever a good thing?

Let's look back at the deregulation of the

Banking Industry in the Eighties. There

was a need for reform due to the

skyrocketing interest rates of the time,

but what ensued was a 0 billion

(possibly more) rip-off by the likes of

Michael Milken and several dozen of

his band of corporate thieves. Fifty five

Federally Insured Savings and Loan

Institutions defaulted, and dozens of huge

corporations filed for bankruptcy. The

money lost by these corporations and

S&Ls was pocketed by Milken and his

crew while the tax-payer and investor

footed the bill.

Deregulation of the public airwaves is

still being sought - not by any citizens

groups - but by (you guesed it) large corporate

conglamorates. After having the rules

changed in the nineties they were back

for more. The public found it to hurt local

coverage, put people out of work, and

there was a huge negative response from

citizens that has so far stahled this latest

round.

Enron had been pushing for deregulation

for 5 years or more saying that the prices

will fall dramatically with increased

competition. They even produced TV

commercials shown in California to

get the public to back the scheme.....

which they eventually (and foolishly)

did. The deregulation of the Energy

Industry is quite vivid now with the taped

recording of an Enron Exec asking for

(and receiving) a bogus shut down of a

power plant in Nevada (and their subsequent

laughs). The day of the shut down, Enron

declared an "energy crisis" and raised prices

(in some places) 400% to the local Power

Companies who could not legally pass that

much of an increase on to the public. The

State of California went billion in debt

during that first year of deregulation.

So, it is quite clear that deregulation of

industry will have horrendous side affects,

although the drug industry and criminals

have been prospering.

- White Collar Crime Punishments

I recently sat on a jury that had no option

but to convict a man on his third strike

against the State of California for car

theft, and he was put in prison for life

(against the jury members wishes). We

felt that the third strike law should be

applied to violent crimes only, but that

did not matter. The jury was there to find

guilt or innocence - not to determine the

punishment.

While our elected officials have condoned

diminishing government regulations, they

have been mute on updating of the criminal

code. The punishments for huge white

collar crime were put in place many decades

ago before anyone knew what a billion was.

Michael Milken was fined 0 million

dollars after stealing and cheating the

American public out of BILLIONS of

dollars. He spent 18 months in a minimum

security prison and was released to spend

his loot. "Milken's punishment for costing

the American taxpayers billions of dollars is

comically trivial" - a quote from Benjamin

Stein who wrote a book on Milken's carreer

in crime entitled "A License

to Steal".

During a more recent jury duty I was able to

ask the Judge (in the hallway) why the

sentencings for white collar crime are so lax

and out of date. He said it's up to the State and

Federal Legislatures to change punishments. I

said "Well, that explains it." Government

officials are finding it difficult to increase the

penalty for fraud and theft against people

like Kenny Boy who was a very generous

political donor to both parties.

When you realize that these white collar

criminals are ripping the public off to the

tune of BILLIONS of dollars, you see that

there is much reform that is needed in our

Criminal Justice System. In the case of the

drug industry, there are law suits being filed

by the families of their victims. One has to

wonder, though, if the court cases should not

be in Civil Court, rather in Criminal Court.

But with the drug industry being the most

powerful in Washington at this time, chances

are they won't.



I personally hope that protests will incorporate

the need to reform the Criminal Justice System

to make white collar crime penalties worse than

the gains, and stop the corporate deterioration

of the FDA. Any American citizen without

corporate ties will tell you that Dr. David Graham

needs to be placed in charge of the FDA.



*************************************

1 - http://www.newstarget.com/002551.html

2 - CBS News, Saturday Edition - Brian

Ross Reporting. The way the SPEs worked,

is that anyone with a 3% investment, could

get Enron to donate the other 97% to form a

partnership. "Typically, Enron deposited 0

million in cash and 0 million in stock to

these SPEs." Surely not all of the 4,300 SPEs

were used in this manner, but let's say just

1,000 were. Do the math. My speculation is

that many of these 4,300 "investors" are the

same bunch of corporate thieves that were

involved with Michael Milken in the Eighties -

Carl Ichan, Ivan Boesky, Carl Lindner, Victor

Posner, Saul Steinberg and several dozen others

that cost the American Taxpayer over 0 Billion

during the deregulation of the Banking Industry.

3 - This link is to the 2002 Fortune 500 article

where Enron in bumped from the 6th to the 5th

spot on their 500 list:

http://www.fortune.com/fortune/fortune500/articles/0,15114,373322,00.html

4 - ABC News, Feb. 15, 02







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