Friday, October 04, 2019

Trump, Big Pharma, and a Whirled sense of deja-cuckoo

#NotMyPresident Donald John Trump continues to unravel in the face of the ongoing impeachment inquiry, spewing and sputtering and tweeting statements that are either silly, stupid, alarming, self-incriminating, or some combination of the above. As Bess Levin, writing for Vanity Fair on October 3, noted:
We regret to report that the president of the United States is becoming increasingly unglued, which is a troublesome development when the only glue holding him together in the first place was right wing memes, fake Time magazine covers, and a barely comprehensible text chain with Rudy Giuliani. Never the picture of mental stability, this new Donald Trump has responded to allegations that he withheld aid from Ukraine unless the country investigated his political rival—which he literally did!—with a series of statements, tweets, and conspiracy theories that would concern even Batshit Trump 1.0. Those include but are not limited to: calling for the whistle-blower’s sources to be executed, ranting that Rep. Adam Schiff should be arrested and charged with treason, threatening a Civil War, and something about jockstraps. Which brings us to today, when the president floated the theory that Big Pharma is behind the push to impeach him. Yes.
It is the Pharma/impeachment theory -- which Trump introduced in Florida during a shameless attempt to pander to a group of cheering, supportive senior citizens after signing an October 3 executive order to "improve" Medicare -- that has rendered him prime Whirled fodder (yet again).

I had a couple of thoughts when I read about Trump's Big-Pharma conspiranoia -- I mean, apart from the obvious thought that any older American who isn't a member of the fabled one percent, but who still thinks that Trump has her or his best interests at heart, is misinformed, willfully ignorant, or deluded. Take that executive order (please).
As Charles Pierce wrote in Esquire, the document contains "a poison pill the size of a horse's head" in Section 3. Pierce explains that the provisions in this section are...
...pretty much the same plan that Paul Ryan, the zombie-eyed granny starver from the state of Wisconsin, spent years trying to slime into law. It is the first big step toward Ryan's lifetime goal of privatizing the Medicare system, which, as someone who has enjoyed its benefits for almost a year, I can tell you is a terrible idea. Look at all the little buzzing land mines in there. "Competition." "Market pricing." This thing even expands Medical Savings Accounts, a terrible idea that emerged in the 1990s and that Bill Frist was going to ride into the White House in 2000.

The president is a blight and impeachment is the only cure, but the conservative project rolls merrily on. I'm not entirely sure he knew what he was signing, because he doesn't know anything about anything, but the people who find him useful do, which is why he'll be around for a while longer.
Beyond that, my first thought was that Trump's rationale for the Big Pharma/impeachment connection is beyond silly, based as it is on his insinuation that the big drug companies resent and fear him because he has done so much to try to rein them in and get them to lower prescription drug prices, as he'd promised during his campaign. Not only has he fallen far short on that promise, as outlined by The Atlantic in May and NPR in July, but he has in some cases actually acted as an ally of Big Pharma, such as this Pharma-friendly trade agreement with India.

Back in July 2017 on this Whirled, I
speculated about Trump's likely policies regarding the big drug companies (see under "Little Hitler strikes again"). My premise then was that contrary to insinuations by alt-health crapitalist and devoted Trumpster Mike "The Health Ranger" Adams, Trump was not going to turn out to be the big hero fighting against Big Pharma that Mikey and others had predicted he'd be; to the contrary, his chronic and incurable allegiance to big business would render him more likely to be a friend to the big drug companies. And so far, for all practical purposes, that's pretty much been the case. In other words, Trump has been about as tough on Big Pharma as he personally has been on Russia.

But the other immediate thought I had after hearing about the alleged Pharma plot -- and this is where that sense of deja-cuckoo comes in -- was that Trump's evocation of the pharmaceutical industry's big money and enormous power reminded me of the whiny claims of various alt-health quacks, scammers, and predators whose marketing efforts are often framed in their
yuuuge hero/martyr complex, which focuses on the big drug companies and the medical establishment as the enemy. I've blogged about a few of these hucksters, most notably fake doctor/cancer quack/neo-Nazi/devoted Trumpster/conspiracy fan Leonard Coldwell, aka LoonyC, who has been whining for years and years about how Big Pharma is after him, and has repeatedly claimed that "they" have even tried on several occasions to kill him.

Not long after I wrote my first blog post about LoonyC back in May 2012, he decided I was a Big Pharma shill,
publicly and falsely accusing me time after time of being paid big bucks by the drug companies to ruin his reputation. A few years ago he even (falsely and crazily) claimed that Big Pharma had paid me to kill his dog. His followers believed every word he wrote and never even questioned it, as do the followers of most alt-health quacks. The facts don't matter if the story is good.

But Coldwell is just one fourth-tier Scamworld lunatic. No doubt, being
the fervent Trumpanzee that he is, he feels proud to be in the same imaginary boat of Big-Pharma victimhood that his orange idol is, and I won't be surprised to see some garbled writings from him on social media about this very topic. (I'll be sure to share if I do.) My point, however, is that Coldwell's sphere of influence is very limited, while Trump is still in a position to do a lot of damage, some of which may be irreversible, on his way down. His claims about Big Pharma being behind impeachment efforts may be hilarious, but the multiple reasons that impeachment is being pursued are anything but funny.

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