There are certain, unbeatable yet ugly truths inherent within our system of government, with the most salient and succinct of such arrangements coming to us in the form of lobbyists and special interest groups.
These ghoulish entities lurk throughout the hallways of our government, now in plain sight and in broad daylight both. The madness! The horror! These vestiges of the “good ol’ boy” system were once at least somewhat cognizant of their repudiating nature, hiding themselves in layers of circumstance and coincidence, “bumping into” Senators and their ilk “on occasion”, perhaps at a high stakes, high class dinner party or cocktail hour.
Now, the fiends simply waltz into the Capitol, undeterred by their own reputations as villainous scum, and hoodwink us repeatedly. (Hoodwink may not be the most accurate verb to employ in this case, but we’ll keep it classy).
Why such vitriolic verbiage? Because, quite simply, if any of the things that these lobbyists suggested were to actually behoove We The People, then there wouldn’t be any need for lobbyists at all.
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Think of it this way: A lobbyist is nothing more than a cheerleader for a particular interest. Their entire existence is predicated on the fact that someone needs convincing of something. We mustn’t ignore the particulars of the language here either, in that convincing and conniving are of a similar linguistic origin.
So, when a lobbyist from the tobacco industry meets with your Senator or Congressmen, it won’t be to relay any information on what he’s doing to help you in your life. Rather, he will be working to ensure that they are extracting the precious resources of your wallet in the least offensive manner possible. Neither of the partners in this transaction are in the business of being found out, that has been painfully obvious.
Yet, now, in the days of tolerable corruption, as spearheaded by the stubborn and creatively cunning Hillary Clinton, we are expecting a certain level of filth to be scumming up the inside of the tank. Even after a year of Donald Trump “draining the swamp”, we can find no real solace from this well entrenched practice of political manipulation.
How far will we allow to go on? Will we simply acquiesce to the corporate overlords in whole? Or will the American people rise up and demand that their elected officials act in servitude to them, the way that it was outlined within the original framework of these United States?
For the time being, and in the case of the Big Pharmaceutical industry, the answer seems to be more of the same tired status quo in in the Beltway.
How Big Pharma truly operates is a terrifying, terrifyingly efficient spectacle to behold, at least in what little of displays of such behavior is available to the general public.
For the sake of our argument, we must understand one of the most potent weapons in Big Pharma’s war on your wallet: Opioids.
Starting life inside the innocuously-visaged poppy plant, opium is simply and quickly created by allowing the “milk” of the seedlings to dry, releasing morphine. Morphine is, of course, one of the most potent mind-altering substances available to modern man still to this day, but, thanks to the Big Pharmaceutical lobby it is available to Americans as young as 12 when prescribed by a doctor for use.
These incredibly powerful drugs are being heavily misrepresented by doctors and manufacturers alike, by using the whitewashing term “pain killers”. In no way do these drugs work to alleviate the pain of whatever slip, trip, sprain, or strain you’ve experienced. Rather, they operate by convincing your mind that you don’t feel that pain. Quite literally, you are paying to have your brain temporarily rewired.
The most important and complex tool ever given to a living creature resides between our ears, and you’re handing over the keys to a corporation hellbent on taking your money. Worse still is the fact that these drug makers decided long ago that “one and done” was not an option for you, and they embraced the darker ends of opium use by allowing the full force of the drug’s addictive powers to remain intact in their final product.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with the free market and the gift of capitalism, but what Big Pharmaceutical companies are doing is weaponizing their false cure in order to make a repeat customer out of you and your loved ones.
Just how much money is Big Pharmaceutical throwing around Washington these days? According to the folks over at OpenSecrets, the industry spent nearly $280 million on schmoozing your public servants – nearly 385 of them, in fact, meaning that the amount of benefit given to a single representative in D.C. averages $727,000.
That’s three quarters of a million dollars per politician in 2017 alone.
Scarier still is the fact that this is generally trending up, thanks to the widespread overprescription of medical opioid painkillers, and the greed of the entire industry. Over the last 20 years, the explosion of wealth looks like this:
So, with such an upside to establishing a healthy, working relationship with these prolific peddlers of cerebral candy, are there any politicians in Washington D.C. willing to put the opioid-driven Big Pharma lobby on blast?
Believe it or not, there are a few.
Big pharma keeps pushing back against legalizing medical marijuana because, in many cases, they want to continue to sell addictive drugs and dominate the market for drugs that address chronic pain. That’s wrong.
It is time to rework our cannabis laws. https://t.co/g23trjnJcT
— Kirsten Gillibrand (@SenGillibrand) February 28, 2018
Certainly, Senator Gillibrand grinds the gears of a great many of America’s conservative minds, but she’s no dummy when it comes to the pharmaceutical farce facing our nation.
Of course, her brief ode to pot is something that needs thorough discussion as well, especially in relation to the opioid crisis in American.
Marijuana will, at some point in the not-so-distant future, be legal at the federal level in the United States, barring any totalitarian shenanigans from Attorney General Jeff Sessions or his successors. The people are overwhelmingly in support of the end of pot prohibition not only for recreational use, (something Americans excel at above all else), but for medicinal use as well.
Stories from around the nation are being heard, day in and day out by these lawmakers, who can no longer stand idly by while parents risk arrest and jail time for procuring a medicine that eliminates their child’s seizures. In many cases, these Schedule 1 “drugs” come in the form of CBD oil only, continuing little to no THC – the chemical compound in marijuana that creates the entirety of its psychoactive experience.
In the case of Nevada, the financial benefits from their recent recreational legalization effort have been absolutely astounding.
“Nevada’s recreational marijuana industry is still in its infancy, but it is already making quite a splash in the tax pool. The Department of Taxation projected tax revenue from pot retail and wholesale would be about $50 million. After six months of sales, the revenue is already more than $30 million, on pace to reach $60 million for the year.
“‘I’m not so surprised but I do think this shows that marijuana is fitting in quite well in Nevada and it’s part of our economy, and it’s generating a lot of tax revenue for the rest of the state,’ Will Adler, Director of the Sierra Cannabis Coalition said.
“‘$30 million in tax revenue tells us that the people of Nevada are embracing recreational marijuana,’ Assem. Teresa Benitez-Thompson, D-Reno said. ‘It tells us that obviously the demand is there.'”
And here’s the kicker:
“The tax money goes into different pots. Most of the 10 percent retail tax revenue goes to the state’s rainy day fund, while the 15 percent wholesale tax helps fund the Department of Taxation, local jurisdictions, and education. If revenue from pot sales continues at this pace, it will leave extra money for the budget.”
States are exceeding their budgets on this green gold rush of the 21st century.
Can we allow ourselves the gap in revenue potential that marijuana prohibition has created? Is there any other realistic industry that, on a nationwide scale, could lead to more prosperity and wealth being created in America than legal weed?
There is one: The pharmaceutical industry, whose addictive products generate billions and billions of dollars in cash every year, but at the cost of how many lives?
In 2016, the estimated number of Americans who were killed by prescription opioid overdoses was just shy of 64,000. Now, if you take that same pharmaceutical lobbying pool of $280,000,000 being spent in Congress, with each public servant receiving $727,000 on average in benefits, and divide that among the 64,000 families affected by an overdose, they would each receive $4,375.
That’s not enough to even cover the funeral costs of these once-addicted Americans.