Follow the Money

Full Transcript:

Joe Manchin is not fooling anyone. There was no reason to wait for him to get specific about his objections to the Build Back Better initiatives because the motivations of his donor / owners have always been clear. We knew the truth would eventually come to light.

Big Finance doesn’t want dental, hearing, and vision benefits built into basic Medicare because insurance companies would no longer be able to profit from those services through Medicare Advantage, a program specifically designed to support hollowing out and privatizing Medicare.

Big Oil wants to sustain the last gasp of an outmoded economy. They don’t want a nationwide deployment of climate friendly charging stations subsidized by the federal government precisely because it would serve to decrease our dependency on fossil fuels. Manchin likes to say that it makes no sense to incentivize companies to use cleaner sources of energy because they are moving in that direction anyway.

What he doesn’t say is how reasonable incentives tend to accelerate any transition. And since 2017, Manchin received $138,500 from electric utilities, $107,500 from Oil and Gas, plus $78,500 from the Railroads that haul coal. To suggest there is no self-interest behind Manchin’s assertions defies credibility.

No one is suggesting that fossil fuels won’t be a part of the mix for topping off vehicle batteries. However, any nudge that helps us to shear away from continued dependence on environmentally destructive feedstocks will help us to deliver a healthier planet for our grandchildren.

Big Pharma wants to continue price gouging for prescription drugs that were, in many cases, originally developed at taxpayer expense. Pharma doesn’t want the government negotiating prescription drug prices for Medicare because they are intent on fleecing the public in perpetuity. Need an example? Heather Bresch, Manchin’s daughter, worked with Pfizer Inc. in 2016 to monopolize and raise the price of the EpiPen.

As President and CEO for Mylan Inc. The company, specializing in generic drugs. raised the price of a two-pack of EpiPen from about $124 dollars in 2009 to $609 in 2016. Mylan was one of the largest campaign contributors to Manchin’s campaigns in five election cycles, donating around $211,000 to his campaigns since 2009 through PACs and employees. In 2010, the company’s PAC and its employees were the largest donors to Manchin’s first Senate run. Mylan, now operating as Viatris is the number one career donor to Manchin. 

Any politician that prostitutes his or her office, thus defiling positions of honor and trust, is not serving the highest and best interests of our nation. When all is said and done, their exaggerated sense of self importance does not mean that they must win re-election for, as James Freeman Clarke said in 1870, “A politician thinks of the next election; a statesman, of the next generation.” The focus of elder statesmen must be on the next generation for, after all, their future and this world are their rightful inheritance. 

n May of 2021, U.S. District Court Judge Ann Aiken ordered attorneys for both the 21 Juliana plaintiffs and for the federal government to convene for a settlement conference. On the 29th day of October the talks ended without resolution. In 2015, twenty-one children filed Juliana versus The United States. The plaintiffs asserted a right to life and a planet capable of supporting it. The lawsuit alleged the government violated their constitutional right to life, liberty, and property through “affirmative action” that allowed climate change.

The Manchin intransigence is just the latest evidence of a venal conspiracy of men against humanity. The disloyal opposition, to any effort putting evolution back on track, is centered in the United States Senate. We must ask ourselves, is Manchin’s bipartisan fetish sincere or is he just aligned with those retardant forces that seek to kill any effort that would put the ship of state on an even keel?

His feigned reverence for the best interests of West Virginians would be somewhat believable if it was simply centered on the troubled coal industry within that state. But his gamesmanship with respect to early childhood education, and the care of seniors betrays his “if I can’t explain it” schtick. To be fair, Joe Manchin is clearly not the only self-interested politician. But his obsession, to always be at the center of attention, makes him an enduring symbol for dark money politics.

As Manchin rails against socialism in clever code, his state is one most dependent on federal funding. Of those states getting back more than they contribute to the federal treasury, West Virginia finished fifth behind Kentucky, Mississippi, New Mexico and Alabama. Even so, the rest of the country is sympathetic to the people of West Virginia precisely because they are so poorly represented by Manchin. The people of that state deserve more.

They are industrious, intelligent, and poised to embrace the challenges of a new economy. They have a growing interest in entrepreneurship. They are building incubators, and strategically located tech parks. Campus activity has yielded major innovations in manufacturing with the new high-tech tools needed to usher in the “Third Industrial Revolution.

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