28 November 2008


Dear Pharmaceutical Executive:

Our daily sales statistics for Generation RX reflect that consumers worldwide are flocking to the film. They also tell another story: the drug companies are also buying my film!

I am writing today in order to discern whether you were aware of this, or whether was it a simple clerical error. Good help is so hard to find these days! Our records show that on the first day the DVD was officially available for sale online, more than a dozen copies were purchased either by a drug company or in one case, their public relations firm.

And that’s only on the first day!

As the Director of the film, I am writing to thank you for your enthusiastic support of my vision. Please know that I appreciate your best wishes — and have told many national reporters — and Senator Grassley of your generous act.

At first, they didn’t believe me, but I told them that it was indeed a magnanimous gesture on your part. I mean, to purchase the work of filmmaker who has worked so diligently to expose the shoddy science and conflicts-of-interest that has permeated the medical establishment, well, it makes me beam with pride that you are taking my work so seriously.

Was I all-wrong about you? With the purchase of GENERATION RX, are you now trying to get to the truth? Am I to be accorded the official blessings of the entire petrochemical universe from this day forward?

If so, thanks again. Wow. You guys sure are great.

If I may be so bold, I’m sure that if ALL of your employees were ‘asked’ to buy my film, then I could get started much sooner on my next documentary, which involves the entire history of your great industry, dating back to Germany in the 1930s.

Ah, the stories we’ll tell!

So please write back when you get the chance, and let me know whether we should process the credit card for your orders. We take everything but Diner’s Card.

In the meantime, please accept my thanks for stepping out front to buy my film. Your support means the world to me!

Yours sincerely,

Kevin P. Miller

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25 November 2008

'GENERATION RX' Exclusive Video - Part 1

The good people at NewsTarget.com are unveiling a weekly series about Generation RX, and so we decided to assist their efforts by unveiling a series of three weekly video clips. This is Part One.

This video clip is extracted from the section where we begin to examine the science behind Prozac — and how it was approved for the marketplace.

23 November 2008


I HAD ASKED ONLY THREE OF MY 10 PREPARED QUESTIONS when the voice on the other end of the phone interrupted.

“All right, Kevin. That’s enough. That’s good,” said the man. “I’ll see you tomorrow morning at 8:30 a.m.”

I hung up the phone and smiled. Somehow, through the grace of God and a wee bit of trickery, I had just secured an interview with Michael R. Taylor, Deputy Commissioner for Policy with the FDA. The year was 1993, and the agency had been pushing back hard on the general public’s thirst for vitamins and alternative medicines. FDA was locked in a fierce battle with consumers over access to dietary supplements, and the era has become known as ‘The Vitamin Wars” of 1993-94.

And now I was going to be right in the middle of the fight — and interviewing the FDAs second-in-Command.

I recall this today not because I want to regale you with tales of my journalistic wizardry, but as a consequence of the news that President-Elect Obama — or someone close to him — has hired Michael R. Taylor to head his transition team for agriculture and energy.

Believe me when I say that this is not “Change We Can Believe In,” and if Taylor plays a similar role in an Obama administration come January 20th, it is a dire warning to millions of health freedom advocates and proponents of FDA reform.

Michael R. Taylor was Deputy Director of FDA during the reign of David Kessler, an MD who argued passionately against allowing a truthful health claim that the beneficial B-vitamin Folic Acid can prevent certain birth defects. In his appearance before a Congressional Oversight Committee, Dr. Kessler argued ad nauseum with Senators, “if we don’t get the dose right with Folic Acid” that it would cause something paramount to death and destruction for the planet.

As with so many other vital nutrients, Kessler and FDA had stonewalled Folic Acid for 17 years before finally admitting — kicking and screaming as he left office under a cloud of suspicion — that 400 micrograms of Folic Acid could indeed prevent birth defects. These birth defects are called neural tube defects, or NTDs, and it has been proven that women need to take folic acid every day starting before they are pregnant to help prevent Spina Bifida.

The cure for NTDs cost less than two cents as a vitamin supplement, but Kessler couldn’t bring himself to recommend that American women of childbearing age take a VITAMIN. The FDAs unwillingness to do meant that at least 30,000 women delivered babies with Spina Bifida over a 17 year period — and if that’s not considered a crime, I don’t know what qualifies.

Seated next to the esteemed Dr. Kessler was his right hand man — Michael R. Taylor — a ‘public servant’ who knew his way around Washington, not to mention the halls of Monsanto. Prior to FDA, you see, Taylor worked as part of Monsanto’s legal team. While at FDA, he began to usher in that company’s agenda on genetically modified organisms like rBgh — Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone. The hormone is injected into most cows — and makes its way into our beef, cheese, and milk supplies.

YET IN 1993, I was in the middle of producing LET TRUTH BE THE BIAS and the FDA really made me jump through hoops to get the interview with Taylor. Caught in the middle of the “Vitamin Wars,” they were trying desperately to deliver a legislative knockout punch to Dietary Supplements, and so they took every media opportunity available to rail about unsafe vitamins and herbs. When I phoned in my request, though, I was an unknown entity —and they said I must submit to a pre-interview by phone in order to meet my request. One day later, I prepared a list of questions and made the phone call that was to determine whether I would be granted an interview at FDA headquarters.

Over the phone, the “trickery” — I call them journalistic instincts — kicked in. I began with a softball question, asking Mr. Taylor to outline the FDAs case against dietary supplements.

No problem.

“Next question,” Taylor barked, so I tossed another softball.

On the third question I added sarcasm and disbelief to my voice for Mr. Taylor’s benefit. “Mr. Taylor, these so-called leaders of the Vitamin movement actually say that FDA wants to regulate vitamins and minerals as drugs…”

Taylor interrupted me again and proceeded to deliver two minutes worth of FDA policy explanations. When I began to ask the fourth question, Mr. Taylor had heard enough. “This is one journalist,” he must have thought, “that is on my side,” so he granted the interview at 8:30 the following morning. I called my crew and told them we would leave for Washington D.C. immediately.

That evening, as fate would have it, the suburban Maryland hotel where we stayed seemed to get only CNN on their televisions. At 9pm, Larry King Live came on the air, and much to my amazement, there was Michael R. Taylor, via satellite. When he slammed Dr. Jonathan Wright, the famous holistic MD whose clinic was victim of a guns-drawn raid orchestrated by FDA in 1992, I knew what I had to do. With the interview now less than twelve hours away, I decided to use the FDAs own words and literature against them.

What transpired is, to this day, the only on-camera interview about alternative medicines with an FDA executive.

By the time Michael Taylor looked at me and said, “Turn the camera off so we can talk,” well, as my Dad used to say, “things went to Hell in a handbasket in a hurry.”

We didn’t “turn off the camera,” of course. Before the interview began, I had discussed this exact scenario with my cameraman, a veteran of 60 Minutes and numerous news programs. No one short of Idi Amin — and perhaps not even that dictator — could get him to turn off his camera. “In fact,” he laughed, “that’s when I usually zoom in for a closeup.”

To the best of my knowledge, mine was the final interview Michael Taylor ever participated in. Within months, Taylor was ‘transferred’ to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, where he continued the spread the Gospel of Monsanto’s rBgh, because, after all, what better place to affect veterinary medicine from than the Department of Agriculture?

So with no public hearings, and based on only 90 days of shoddy testing — rBgh became part of the food supply.

It was Michael R. Taylor’s finest hour in ‘public service.’

Since his mission was accomplished at FDA and the Department of Agriculture, Taylor he moved back to the law firm representing Monsanto, thus completing the circle. As a bonus, consumers were largely unaware that they were feeding their kids buckets of rBgh-laced milk. Monsanto wanted no labelling of their milk and they got it.

Michael R. Taylor had done his job well.

So it is appropos – even karmic – that Michael Taylor’s name resurfaces now for the first time in a decade. For not only did he star in LET TRUTH BE THE BIAS in 1994, he makes a return performance once again in GENERATION RX, as I grill him about Prozac.

For years, after his appearance in LET TRUTH BE THE BIAS and Taylor’s subsequent departure from FDA, many credited my film as one of the reasons Mr. Taylor had been forced to leave FDA. I can only hope that there is some truth to that assertion.

My prayer now is that my new film, GENERATION RX will help to drive Taylor out of the arms of President-elect Obama — and back to Monsanto, where he truly belongs.

From there, at least, he’ll know whom he’s supposed to be fighting for.

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21 November 2008


GARDINER HARRIS IS A MAN ON A MISSION — one aimed at uncovering the truth about conflicts-of-interest between the drug companies and the psychiatric medicine machine. In the past year, his sterling reporting for the New York Times has given collusion and corruption in psychiatric medicines the kind of intense national scrutiny missing for decades.

It is extremely gratifying to know that my film GENERATION RX — which delves deeply into the issue — will not be left twisting in the wind all alone. Mr. Harris’ reporting confirms yet another basic tenet of my documentary: conflicts-of-interest not only do exist, but they are pervasive, and run throughout the mental health community.

Today Mr. Harris revealed another shocker: the host of National Public Radio’s popular show “The Infinite Mind,” a program that has won in excess of 60 journalism awards, has accepted at least $1.3 million from the drug companies for marketing lectures. And that is only since the year 2000. Mr. Harris reports that Dr. Frederick K. Goodwin, the psychiatrist and radio host, “is the latest in a series of doctors and researchers whose ties to drug makers have been uncovered by Senator Charles E. Grassley, a Republican from Iowa.”

During my interviews for GENERATION RX, Professor Sheldon Krimsky of Tufts University detailed how funding cuts in Academic research during the Reagan years helped precipitate this “blurring of the line” between academic/scientific research and commercial interests. “What they (the Reagan administration) thought they would do is to create a closer linkage between the corporate world and the academic world,” says Krimsky. “So they created incentives for corporations to invest in universities. At the same time, they kept proclaiming that . . .the federal budget was going to be mean and lean, and that got university administrators very concerned. How were they going to make up the financial downfall in the university budget?”

University presidents, Krimsky pointed out, were now between a rock and an economic hard place, and opted for survival “by creating this new era of commercialized academia.” It soon became acceptable for scientists to have a commercial affiliation while being paid as a basic researcher. This changed the ethos of science, perhaps forever.

In the old days — and by ‘old’ I mean the 1970s — academic and journalistic interests worked hand-in-hand to root out the best of scientific research. Integrity of the information was paramount — in fact, it was the stated goal. During that era, skepticism was a hallmark of the academic mission. It kept what some brilliant Canadian conflict-of-interest researchers called “the premature enthusiasms of industry,” in check.

As Gardiner Harris and other journalists have discovered, those safeguards were abandoned years ago. GENERATION RX puts forth many of the shocking details, but Sheldon Krimsky knew all of this would come to pass, sooner or later.

He tells viewers how there are two rules that operate within the federal advisory committees, the groups responsible for making recommendations on whether any given drug should be available to consumers. “Rule number one says that anyone who has a substantial conflict of interest cannot serve on a federal advisory committee,” Krimsky says with a knowing smirk. “Rule number two says that rule number one can be waived. And rule number one is waived; in some cases the evidence shows 50 percent of the time.”

So there you have it. The very rules written into law to protect the public from conflicts-of-interest actually make allowances for the rules to be broken half the time. “One culture’s pursuit of the truth is supposed to be unencumbered by money,” Krmsky concludes, “and the other culture, for which money is the medium of exchange, is the bottom line.”

The Canadian conflict-of-interest researchers recognized this ethical landmine as the most dangerous and daunting challenge for today’s academic research programs. In fact, they coined the perfect term to decribe what it is like when academia and the pharmaceutical companies are joined at the hip.

They call it, “Dancing with the Porcupine,” a term meant to describe the steep and painful price we all pay when the cherished institutions we rely upon for truth — go awry.


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17 November 2008


THE WASHINGTON TIMES REPORTED TODAY that news ads by the world’s largest pharmaceutical lobbying group will appear on American televisions this week. The multi-million ad buy, targeting well over 100 million households, will be part of an aggressive public relations campaign designed to “undercut an expected push by the Obama administration for price controls of prescription drugs,” according to the Times.

Ken Johnson, senior vice president with the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, or PhRMA told reporter Sean Lengell, “We've been moving the pieces on the chess board around for some time now getting ready for next year, and we've got a great game plan in place."

I am not a chess player, so I consulted the good people at 101 Chess Tips in order to better understand the pharmaceutical chess analogy. The first thing I read was the following:

“Have you ever found yourself dominating a game, leading in pieces, and yet struggling to put your opponent into checkmate? Have you ever chased a king around the board, frustrated that you could not find that all important checkmate position?”

In the chessboard that is modern healthcare, PhRMA is committed to winning the game at any cost. It was PhRMA who tried to eliminate competition back in the 90s by paying for so-called Public Service Announcement (PSAs) on television. The ‘PSAs’ they concocted pertained to Quackery — and their message was clearly aimed at destroying the credibility of nutritional supplements and Alternative Medicines. The ads, which featured, you guessed it, a duck — basically told viewers that alternative medicines were the modern-age equivalent of snake oil: deceptive, dangerous, and even deadly. As by design, the PSAs that ran widely on TV and Radio were co-sponsored by none other than the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) — the very ‘regulators’ charged with keeping the pharmaceutical industry honest.

The cozy, fraternal relationship between FDA and PhRMA is explained quite clearly in my new film GENERATION RX, proving that much like Wall Street, the regulatory agency responsible for the oversight of the nation’s most powerful industries is missing in action — and worse. Rather than being castigated by elected officials for their crimes, the FDA has usurped more power over the past few decades. The sad irony is, of course, that FDA fails miserably at the job they are paid by tax dollars to do — namely keep food and drugs safe for American consumers. Instead of worrying about toxic mercury in Tuna, for example, FDA chooses to harrass harmless vitamins. It’s Big Business at the FDA, where they uncritically support the monpolistic visions of PhRMA, and drug companies in general.

As my film points out, FDAs blind cooperation is not only unethical, it is illegal, yet the chess game continues. PhRMA and the FDA know that the players keep changing every few years in Congress — and that few have the spine to challenge them.

GENERATION RX unveils scurrilous secret letters, faxes and other documents that prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the FDA was keenly aware of the suicide risk and other dangers associated with Prozac. The film also shows that the FDA and Eli Lilly shared “strategies” on how to deal with any ensuing controversy. Then they pushed antidepressants (SSRIs) on kids by using ficticious science based on the “biological model of mental illness,” and did so, according to Pulitzer prize nominated science writer Robert Whitaker, “even though they knew that the evidence did not support their conclusions.”

This SSRI collusion began in 1986, and for all we know, it exists today. FDA did, after all, remove the amino acid L-Tryptophan from the market mere months after Prozac was introduced because it was perceived to be a threat to Prozac. Next, the FDA ignored warnings from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and helped create a billion dollar industry targeting ‘ADHD Kids,’ even though science did not support their claims.

Now, Mr. Johnson claims that PhRMA would've embarked on exactly the same ad campaign if John McCain had won last week's presidential election. Of course. It's called hedging your bets. Big Pharma planned to win no matter who is President.

SINCE CLASS-ACTION LAWSUITS and other legal remedies for consumers who fall victim to prescription drugs are now being threatened (read my blog called A SUPREME TEST OF PATIENTS’ RIGHTS), I am reminded of a possible solution put forth by Barry Turner, who appeared in GENERATION RX. Turner is a lecturer in law, specializing in medical law and medical ethics at Lincoln University and at Leeds Law School in England. In a fascinating exchange, Professor Turner discuss whether by Pharma’s way of thinking, it is more wise to settle out of court to and to keep lawsuits away from the pervue of the general public.

Kevin P. Miller: “As with Ford or GM or Peugeot or whomever, if they know that they have a gas tank that might explode — or something that may cause a liability concern, don’t big corporations often factor this into the cost of doing business? Ford knew, for example, that their 1970s Pinto could explode if hit from the rear, but they chose not to recall the Pinto to fix it, as it would have been too expensive. Instead, they chose to deal with individual lawsuits in dozens of separate states. Don’t the pharmaceutical companies look at this the same way when a product has deadly side effects?”

Barry Turner: “Yeah, the pharmaceutical companies certainly factor personal injury litigation into marketing and R&D, which is why suing drug companies with personal injury litigation will not change the way they act. They can afford to do it.”

But then, Turner introduced something I had not considered, legislation created in the wake of the Enron and Worldcom scandals. It is called the Sarbanes Oxley Act.

According to Wiki, Section 802(a) of the SOX, 18 U.S.C. § 1519 states:
“Whoever knowingly alters, destroys, mutilates, conceals, covers up, falsifies, or makes a false entry in any record, document, or tangible object with the intent to impede, obstruct, or influence the investigation or proper administration of any matter within the jurisdiction of any department or agency of the United States or any case filed under title 11, or in relation to or contemplation of any such matter or case, shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both.

“I think it is unlikely,” Mr. Turner said in our interview, “that they can factor in the effects of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which is the thing that I am working on at the moment. Hopefully that will change their tune. You cannot factor in a 20 year jail sentence into your marketing strategy.”


In chess, the King is the most important piece. The object of the game is to trap the opponent's king and capture it. Since we are the pawns in this high stakes game — and since the drug companies are looking to end the game before a new administration even begins — perhaps some wise elected officials will consider the wisdom of Barry Turner as they pursue justice for the “Kings” of Medicine.

If they have the courage to do so, the illegal collusion that's become so common between FDA and the drug companies would finally end. Accountability would be restored — or else drug company execs would go to prison.

That, my friends, to use the vernacular of Chess, would be called “Checkmate” — and it can't come soon enough.

11 November 2008

New 'GENERATION RX' Documentary Trailer

'GENERATION RX,' a new documentary by Kevin P. Miller, is available NOW on DVD for just $20.

For more information — or to obtain a copy of the film — visit the movie's website at www.GenerationRxFilm.com

10 November 2008

GENERATION RX Reveals Widespread Ethical Conflicts, Risks of Psychiatric Drugs to Children

GENERATION RX documents how an entire era of children have been caught in the middle of an unprecedented change in Western culture: that of drugging children with psychiatric medications earlier—and more often than ever before. Writer/director Paul Haggis, who won back-to-back Academy Awards® for "Million Dollar Baby", and "Crash," calls GENERATION RX "a powerful and often chilling eye-opener. Many of the stories stayed with me weeks after viewing — and continue to haunt me now."

Cleveland, OH (PRWEB) November 11, 2008 -- International award-winning filmmaker Kevin P. Miller announced today that his new film, GENERATION RX will be released on Tuesday, November 11, 2008 through the film's website at www.GenerationRxFilm.com.

GENERATION RX addresses many of the alarming issues surrounding the growing use of ADHD drugs, antidepressants, and anti-psychotic medications among children and teenagers worldwide.

"For decades, scores of doctors, government officials, journalists, and others have extolled the benefits of psychiatric medicines for children," said Miller, the film's writer and producer. "GENERATION RX unveils 'the rest of the story' and explains how this era of unprecedented change in Western culture really occurred -- and what price has been paid by society."

By employing the expertise of internationally respected professionals from the fields of medicine, ethics, journalism, and academia, Kevin P. Miller investigates whether collusion between drug companies and their regulatory watchdogs at the FDA exists. He also focuses on the powerful stories of real families who followed the advice of their doctors -- and faced devastating consequences for doing so.

GENERATION RX is a film about families who confronted horror and found nowhere to turn for help -- and how scores of children have been caught in the vortex of mind-bending drugs at the earliest stages of their growth and development. This powerful documentary also examines whether we have forced millions of children onto pharmaceutical drugs for commercial rather than scientific reasons.

Ultimately, Miller says, "GENERATION RX may help parents decide whether the perceived benefits of these medications outweigh the serious risks to children."

Critics and Hollywood insiders have already begun hailing GENERATION RX as one of the best documentaries of 2008. Paul Haggis, the Academy Award® winning Writer/Director said, "Generation RX is a powerful and often chilling eye-opener. Many of the stories stayed with me weeks after viewing — and continue to haunt me now." Mike Adams, publisher of NewsTarget and Natural News, says the film "delivers a jaw-dropping emotional ride," and "weaves a terrifying tale of criminal conspiracy. It is one of the best films of 2008."

Jason Buchanan of the "All Movie Guide" stated, "GENERATION RX is a film that every parent should see."

GENERATION RX is being released by Common Radius Films, an Independent media company based in Vancouver, British Columbia. For more information -- or to obtain a copy of the film, visit the movie's website at wwwGenerationRxFilm.com.

The documentary film trailer can be viewed on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=awXu9v8ervc


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05 November 2008


If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.

It's the answer told by lines that stretched around schools and churches in numbers this nation has never seen, by people who waited three hours and four hours, many for the first time in their lives, because they believed that this time must be different, that their voices could be that difference.

It's the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled. Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been just a collection of individuals or a collection of red states and blue states.

We are, and always will be, the United States of America.

It's the answer that led those who've been told for so long by so many to be cynical and fearful and doubtful about what we can achieve to put their hands on the arc of history and bend it once more toward the hope of a better day.

It's been a long time coming, but tonight, because of what we did on this date in this election at this defining moment change has come to America.

A little bit earlier this evening, I received an extraordinarily gracious call from Senator McCain.

Sen. McCain fought long and hard in this campaign. And he's fought even longer and harder for the country that he loves. He has endured sacrifices for America that most of us cannot begin to imagine. We are better off for the service rendered by this brave and selfless leader.

I congratulate him; I congratulate Gov. Palin for all that they've achieved. And I look forward to working with them to renew this nation's promise in the months ahead.

I want to thank my partner in this journey, a man who campaigned from his heart, and spoke for the men and women he grew up with on the streets of Scranton and rode with on the train home to Delaware, the vice president-elect of the United States, Joe Biden.

And I would not be standing here tonight without the unyielding support of my best friend for the last 16 years the rock of our family, the love of my life, the nation's next first lady Michelle Obama.

Sasha and Malia I love you both more than you can imagine. And you have earned the new puppy that's coming with us to the new White House.

And while she's no longer with us, I know my grandmother's watching, along with the family that made me who I am. I miss them tonight. I know that my debt to them is beyond measure.

To my sister Maya, my sister Alma, all my other brothers and sisters, thank you so much for all the support that you've given me. I am grateful to them.

And to my campaign manager, David Plouffe, the unsung hero of this campaign, who built the best -- the best political campaign, I think, in the history of the United States of America.

To my chief strategist David Axelrod who's been a partner with me every step of the way.

To the best campaign team ever assembled in the history of politics you made this happen, and I am forever grateful for what you've sacrificed to get it done.

But above all, I will never forget who this victory truly belongs to. It belongs to you. It belongs to you.

I was never the likeliest candidate for this office. We didn't start with much money or many endorsements. Our campaign was not hatched in the halls of Washington. It began in the backyards of Des Moines and the living rooms of Concord and the front porches of Charleston. It was built by working men and women who dug into what little savings they had to give $5 and $10 and $20 to the cause.

It grew strength from the young people who rejected the myth of their generation's apathy who left their homes and their families for jobs that offered little pay and less sleep.

It drew strength from the not-so-young people who braved the bitter cold and scorching heat to knock on doors of perfect strangers, and from the millions of Americans who volunteered and organized and proved that more than two centuries later a government of the people, by the people, and for the people has not perished from the Earth.

This is your victory.

And I know you didn't do this just to win an election. And I know you didn't do it for me.

You did it because you understand the enormity of the task that lies ahead. For even as we celebrate tonight, we know the challenges that tomorrow will bring are the greatest of our lifetime -- two wars, a planet in peril, the worst financial crisis in a century.

Even as we stand here tonight, we know there are brave Americans waking up in the deserts of Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan to risk their lives for us.

There are mothers and fathers who will lie awake after the children fall asleep and wonder how they'll make the mortgage or pay their doctors' bills or save enough for their child's college education.

There's new energy to harness, new jobs to be created, new schools to build, and threats to meet, alliances to repair. The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even in one term. But, America, I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there.

I promise you, we as a people will get there.

There will be setbacks and false starts. There are many who won't agree with every decision or policy I make as president. And we know the government can't solve every problem.

But I will always be honest with you about the challenges we face. I will listen to you, especially when we disagree. And, above all, I will ask you to join in the work of remaking this nation, the only way it's been done in America for 221 years -- block by block, brick by brick, calloused hand by calloused hand.

What began 21 months ago in the depths of winter cannot end on this autumn night. This victory alone is not the change we seek. It is only the chance for us to make that change. And that cannot happen if we go back to the way things were.
It can't happen without you, without a new spirit of service, a new spirit of sacrifice.

So let us summon a new spirit of patriotism, of responsibility, where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves but each other.

Let us remember that, if this financial crisis taught us anything, it's that we cannot have a thriving Wall Street while Main Street suffers.

In this country, we rise or fall as one nation, as one people. Let's resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long.

Let's remember that it was a man from this state who first carried the banner of the Republican Party to the White House, a party founded on the values of self-reliance and individual liberty and national unity.

Those are values that we all share. And while the Democratic Party has won a great victory tonight, we do so with a measure of humility and determination to heal the divides that have held back our progress.

As Lincoln said to a nation far more divided than ours, we are not enemies but friends. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection.

And to those Americans whose support I have yet to earn, I may not have won your vote tonight, but I hear your voices. I need your help. And I will be your president, too.

And to all those watching tonight from beyond our shores, from parliaments and palaces, to those who are huddled around radios in the forgotten corners of the world, our stories are singular, but our destiny is shared, and a new dawn of American leadership is at hand.

To those -- to those who would tear the world down: We will defeat you. To those who seek peace and security: We support you. And to all those who have wondered if America's beacon still burns as bright: Tonight we proved once more that the true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity and unyielding hope.

That's the true genius of America: that America can change. Our union can be perfected. What we've already achieved gives us hope for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.

This election had many firsts and many stories that will be told for generations. But one that's on my mind tonight's about a woman who cast her ballot in Atlanta. She's a lot like the millions of others who stood in line to make their voice heard in this election except for one thing: Ann Nixon Cooper is 106 years old.

She was born just a generation past slavery; a time when there were no cars on the road or planes in the sky; when someone like her couldn't vote for two reasons -- because she was a woman and because of the color of her skin.

And tonight, I think about all that she's seen throughout her century in America -- the heartache and the hope; the struggle and the progress; the times we were told that we can't, and the people who pressed on with that American creed: Yes we can.

At a time when women's voices were silenced and their hopes dismissed, she lived to see them stand up and speak out and reach for the ballot. Yes we can.

When there was despair in the dust bowl and depression across the land, she saw a nation conquer fear itself with a New Deal, new jobs, a new sense of common purpose. Yes we can.

When the bombs fell on our harbor and tyranny threatened the world, she was there to witness a generation rise to greatness and a democracy was saved. Yes we can.

She was there for the buses in Montgomery, the hoses in Birmingham, a bridge in Selma, and a preacher from Atlanta who told a people that "We Shall Overcome." Yes we can.

A man touched down on the moon, a wall came down in Berlin, a world was connected by our own science and imagination.
And this year, in this election, she touched her finger to a screen, and cast her vote, because after 106 years in America, through the best of times and the darkest of hours, she knows how America can change.

Yes we can.

America, we have come so far. We have seen so much. But there is so much more to do. So tonight, let us ask ourselves -- if our children should live to see the next century; if my daughters should be so lucky to live as long as Ann Nixon Cooper, what change will they see? What progress will we have made?

This is our chance to answer that call. This is our moment.

This is our time, to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth, that, out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope. And where we are met with cynicism and doubts and those who tell us that we can't, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people: Yes, we can.

Thank you. God bless you. And may God bless the United States of America.


03 November 2008


TOMORROW IS ELECTION DAY IN AMERICA, but the truth is that the shadow of the Bush legacy could resonate for years, if not decades. This is particularly evident in healthcare policy, where President Bush has aggressively sided with big business over patient’s rights time and again.

When the President battled John Kerry in 2004, one of the battle cries repeatedly espoused throughout the campaign was that “trial lawyers” were the marquee offenders in what had become an overly litigious society. Opportunistic Trial Lawyers, they opined, were the reason why healthcare costs were out of control. As the President decried “junk lawsuits,” however, his real aim was to insulate major pharmaceutical companies from lawsuits — and to distance consumers from their day in court — if an approved drug harmed them.

President Bush proposed setting, in his words, "a hard cap of $250,000" on physical and emotional pain and suffering. Then he went one step further — and pushed legislation designed to exonerate drug companies from ANY liability whatsoever for drugs which harmed Americans. “Since the Food and Drug Administration already approved the drugs as “safe and effective,” he reasoned, "they should be immune from lawsuits."

Journalist Jane Akre, a veteran of radio, local TV news and even CNN, has seen all of this before, and now she is reporting on some of the blowback from the Bush policies. Akre has earned kudos as one of the nation’s most admired journalists for her expose’ on Monsanto’s rBgh — the synthetic growth hormones used in cows — and for her refusal to change the facts of her investigative series that were unfavorable to Monsanto. She was summarily fired by Fox because of her journalistic integrity and has endured a series of expensive and career threatening lawsuits (see my blog entry “Is Media Your Servant?” for the details of that dramatic story).

Ah, but you can’t keep a good woman down, as the saying goes.

Akre is again in the midst of some sterling reporting about corporate protectionism and how it has afftected the lives of real people. As News Editor of the National News Desk, Jane featured an interview with musician Diana Levine, a woman whose case appears before the U.S. Supreme Court today. The case, brought forth by pharmaceutical giant Wyeth, “will test whether corporations have blanket immunity from lawsuits when their product is approved by the government,” including the FDA, according to Akre.

In April 2000, Ms. Levine went the emergency room of a local hospital for treatment of a migraine. “In addition to a medication to treat the migraine she was given another medication called Phenergan made by Wyeth to stop the nausea,” reports Akre. Today, Akre writes, “she wishes she had stuck with the nausea.” Tragically, Levine acquired gangrene as a side effect of the way the drug was administered and while in the hospital, doctors removed her hand. “In a second procedure,” Akre continues, “they took the right arm up to below the elbow. She has a prosthetic arm now, but making music became difficult if not impossible.”

According to Dr. Carolyn Dean, an MD who appeared in my film WE BECOME SILENT, over two million patients suffer adverse reactions to pharmaceutical medicines in hospital-based settings annually — and often suffer serious consequences like Ms. Levine’s. In Dr. Dean’s stellar book, DEATH BY MODERN MEDICINE, she exposed the fact that over 780,000 Americans die each year from iatrogenic — or “doctor-caused” treatments. This is, incidentally, a far greater number than has been reported on by the mainstream media, which repeatedly insists that the number is between “40,000 – 100,000 iatrogenic deaths annually.”

So today, the Supreme Court is set to decide whether Wyeth has any culpability in the wake of Diana Levine’s tragic circumstances, even though it is widely agreed that the anti-nausea drug Phenergan, which she was given intravenously, was indeed responsible for Levine losing her hand and half of her arm.

According to the Associated Press, several justices indicated that if the FDA “had clear information about the risks of Wyeth Pharmaceuticals' anti-nausea drug Phenergan” — and approved its warning label anyway — then Wyeth “would probably prevail in its court fight against Diana Levine.”

For the nation, Wyeth's appeal of a $6.7 million verdict Levine won from a Vermont state jury has far reaching consequences. Backed by the Bush administration, Wyeth argued that "once a drug's warning label gets FDA approval, consumers cannot pursue state law claims that they were harmed.”

For those of us who know how endemic corruption at the FDA has become, the prospect of a Supreme Court victory for Wyeth is a chilling one indeed.

Thus, on the eve of one of the most important elections in U.S. history, an equally monumental decision regarding patients' rights will be made in the next 24 hours in the highest court in the land. And President Bush, arguably the most unpopular President in history, may well secure what he wanted all along: to insulate the petrochemical companies from consumer lawsuits and leave more Americans to wonder what his legacy has wrought.

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