• David M. Rubin

AN APRIL FOOL'S ROUNDUP OF REPUBLICAN AFFRONTS (BUT IT'S NOT A JOKE)

When a politician responds to a journalist with the words "I didn't know until you told me," you can be sure it's a lie.


A Kaiser Health News reporter informed Senator Tim Scott that he had received more money from drug companies than any other member of Congress. Scott responded, "I didn't know until you told me." Right.


His quote appeared in a valuable March 27 Post and Courier story by Rachana Pradhan and Victoria Knight. It sheds light on Scott's talents as a political fundraiser, in part through cultivating ties to the drug industry. He does their dirty work protecting drug industry profits and they help fund his campaigns.


For more on this see the November 4, 2021 post on the DCDP site titled Tim Scott: Big Pharma's Best Friend (But Not Yours). Scott, a master of political deception, wants constituents to believe he works in their best interests to improve the performance of Big Pharma. In fact, he does nothing of the sort.

For example, he is a co-founder of the congressional Personalized Medicine Caucus. The goal of the caucus, Scott has said, is "to nurture scientific advancements that may reverse the genetic and molecular causes of rare and common diseases." The conditions being treated are often rare; the therapies are expensive, and profits for the drug companies can be large.


If these therapies are insured, the costs are spread among all medically-insured persons in private or government health care plans. We all pay the price in the cost of our insurance premiums.


That would be fine, except that Scott balks at helping millions of Americans cope with the everyday high cost of prescription drugs. Siding with Big Pharma, he has refused to authorize Medicare to negotiate drug prices on behalf of some 64 million enrollees. He has argued that the companies need the profits from Medicare to develop new drugs.


The result is that Scott votes to keep drug prices for Americans among the highest in the world while at the same time posing as the champion of those with diseases requiring expensive, breakthrough therapies. For this service, the drug companies have made Scott the leading recipient of campaign donations. But, he says, he didn't know this.


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On the subject of drug pricing, Nancy Mace voted on April 1 against a bill to cap monthly insulin expenses at $35. The Democratic-sponsored bill passed the House with only a handful of Republican votes. Mace, who is quick to Tweet all sorts of "achievements" had nothing to say about this on April Fool's Day.


Sadly, her vote is no joke. Mace must be angling for some of Scott's campaign money from the drug industry.


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Back to Slippery Tim, journalist Robert Klemko, who covers police training and reform for The Washington Post, wrote a disturbing piece on January 26, 2022. He examined the training materials that "experts" use when hired to improve interactions between police and members of the public.


Remember that Scott's modest proposal in his failed legislation on police reform was to provide federal funds to local police departments for more training. Scott didn't want to touch any of the hot button problems associated with police reform, such as eliminating immunity for police officers who abuse their authority. Rather, Scott played it very safe. His solution was to throw taxpayer dollars at more training.


But Klemko discovered these trainers "include many former law enforcement officers and military personnel, some of whom are linked to extremist groups and anti-government movements." A hacked list of the Oath Keepers, a group that participated in the January 6 insurrection in Washington, shows that 65 of its members had worked in police training.


Trainers, Klemko wrote, "demonize civilian protesters and reformers, describing them as loud voices holding minority opinions." Some of the trainers urge police to "maintain a warrior mentality" when interacting with the public. They argue that the push for police reform is an "overhyped effort of leftists and mainstream news organizations."


So far as I can determine, Scott never addressed the fact that his preferred solution to police reform would fund trainers who actually reinforce current police behavior. This makes perfect sense for a Senator who only poses as a problem solver.


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Nancy Mace continues to entertain. In her newsletter of March 18, she proudly told constituents she was a co-sponsor of the Sunshine Protection Act. This would make daylight savings time permanent. No more changing clocks from standard time to daylight savings time, and then back.

But then she wrote, "I have supported measures to do away with daylight savings time." What?


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CORRECTION. In my post of March 14 ("Republicans Take Aim at the Morning After Pill") I should not have used the phrase "morning-after pill" as shorthand for "medication abortion." The two are different procedures.


Republicans in Columbia have proposed legislation that requires anyone providing a woman with mifepristone to inform the woman that the procedure can be reversed by taking progesterone. (Mifepristone works by blocking hormones necessary to maintain a pregnancy.) There is no evidence to support that progesterone can reverse the process. It's junk science; that is, typical Republican science.

Taking mifepristone followed by misoprostol (to cause the uterus to contract and empty) is known as medication abortion. A woman can take these two drugs to end a pregnancy. This is the procedure on which Republicans are focusing now.


The so-called morning-after pill is different. It works by inhibiting ovulation and, perhaps, by interfering with the transport of sperm to inhibit implantation. Studies have shown that this pill can work if taken up to 120 hours after unprotected intercourse, although it is more effective if taken within 24 hours.


Republicans haven't tried to outlaw the morning after pill yet. But once Roe is overturned, the morning after pill and medication abortion will both be on their legislative hit list.

For now, it's medication abortion that has their zealous attention. I was careless in using the phrase "morning-after pill."


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