Monday, November 9, 2009

Good Morning, everyone. We had a perfect fall weekend with plenty of sun and above normal temps. It seems to be overcast right now but the temperature is above normal and we may yet get some sun.

I found this item on the Google home page this morning. We can file it under either 'Companies acting badly----again!!!' or 'When are we going to realize that normal criminal penalties are no deterrent to giant, global corporations?' So, Phizer paid a miniscule criminal and civil penalty, said its mea culpa in court (or rather one of its subsidiaries did), and promises to be good--and then violates the agreement before, as the author says, the 'ink is dry.' Then take a look at the list of companies caught doing the same thing--repeatedly. I think this paragraph sums up the situation very well--

Marketing departments of many drug companies don’t respect any boundaries of professionalism or the law,” says Jerry Avorn, a professor at Harvard Medical School in Boston and author of “Powerful Medicines: The Benefits, Risks, and Costs of Prescription Drugs” (Random House, 2004). “The Pfizer and Lilly cases involved the illegal promotion of drugs that have been shown to cause substantial harm and death to patients.” (my emphasis in red)

The problem isn't just with the drug companies. All of our 'too big to fail' companies have the same scofflaw attitude. Many of our just plain big companies follow their lead.

After last week's optimistic take on the jobs report, it is nice to see some are rejecting the sugar coating. As this opinion states, telling a dying patient that things are looking up because he is dying slower is not a realistic assessment of his medium and long term prognoses. But--what the hay!!--it sent the stock market up. That's all that really matters isn't it?

Last night 60 Minutes had an interesting segment on how vulnerable many of our critical systems are to cyber attacks. I wasn't really surprised by the information. Nor was I surprised by how little private industries have done to combat such attacks. What did surprise me was the very small mention about the role of the profit motive in this. Companies prefer to look like they are concerned and addressing the problem rather than actually addressing the problem. It is simply cheaper. Usually, any even oblique criticism of so-called capitalism or of the profits that underlie it don't make any appearance at all. And another comment also surprised me--the reference was to simulated attacks on the power grid which showed how vulnerable power generators can be to cyber attacks. The consultants staging the simulations found it ridiculously easy to cripple generators. But I wonder how many noticed the next comments on how long and difficult it would be to get replacements because they simply aren't made in this country any more. Want a nightmare? Think about the result of an attack that cripples the power grid during the hottest or coldest part of the year over an extended part of the country. Multiply what happened last year in several parts of the country when winter storms crippled power companies by damaging the power lines. Some placed did not get back to normal for a month. But think what it would be like if a generator that takes three months to repair or replace goes out. Think the scenario is far fetched? I found this over the weekend at The Oil Drum and it was featured in the 60 Minutes report.

1 comment:

Kay Dennison said...

Corporations lie to us? The government lies to us? Why does none of this surprise me?

What happened to "Made in the USA"? And why don't we bring it back?

If our own soldiers aren't safe on one of our own bases in our own country, how can we 'everyday' folks feel safe?