Our country is no longer controlled by, and for, We the People, but instead by, and on behalf of, international banking and multinational corporate interests. While the gradual, almost imperceptible takeover of our government by this corporate fascism has been evolving by design for many decades, it is a coup d'etat nonetheless and has been disastrous for the vast majority of Americans. This blog is an exploration and discussion of how this occurred, and the damage it has done to our democratic processes.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Monopolies Over Life Itself

When I picked-up the latest free issue of Pathways while leaving yoga class the other evening, my attention was immediately drawn to an interview of Harriet Washington, a noted medical ethicist and author of several books related to the subject. (Her latest, titled Deadly Monopolies: The Shocking Corporate takeover of Life Itself -- And the Consequences for Your Health and Our medical Future, published late last year, is the basis and focus of the interview.)

Later, as I read the interview, it became clear to me how changes in medical patent law, going back to 1980 with the Bayh-Dole Government Patent Policy Act, created a market for patentable living things and allowed researchers to use the information, subsidized and paid with our taxes, to sell the information to private corporations (i.e., Big Pharma) for their own gain and profit. As Ms. Washington notes: "Bayh-Dole was basically a golden key for corporations who could now profit from patents that they previously were unable to hold." It gets worse (which shouldn't be a surprise under our current corporatocracy governmental structure). 

Once Big Pharma patents a gene, for example, it literally stifles innovation, so that product innovation slows to a crawl with resultant soaring prices. I learned about the corporatization of universities, the shelving of unprofitable research, the corporate funding of the FDA and medical journals, and why we're inundated with tons of direct-to-consumer pharmaceutical advertisements in the United States -- which are banned and illegal in Europe, Canada, and almost everywhere else in the world. Nowhere else in the world (except for New Zealand), are corporations allowed to do this. In a nutshell, I learned how corporations have now been given license to patent, and own, the very basis of life itself. Here is the interview in its entirety, conducted by Dr. Daniel Redwood:

"Two events took place in the United States in 1980 that, in retrospect, have dramatically changed the nature and direction of health sciences research. These were the Supreme Court decision in Diamond v. Chakrabarty that allowed the patenting of living things and the passage of the Bayh-Dole Government Patent Policy Act. To begin, could you please give us a broad-brush summary of these policy changes?"
"Their import is that Diamond v. Chakrabarty removed the ambiguity about whether one could take out a patent on a product of nature. And specifically for our purposes, whether one is able to take out a patent on a living thing. Living things had occasionally been patented in the past. For example, when adrenalin was patented, there were objections that this was actually a discovery rather than an invention. Even Louis Pasteur faced questions when he patented a strain of yeast. Some said, 'You didn’t invent this yeast; you just discovered it'
So now we have a law that stipulates unambiguously that if something is living, that’s not a bar to its being patented. In addition, we have a second law saying that when a university holds a patent, it is legal for the university to license or sell that patent to a corporate entity. Previously, universities were not allowed to do that, the rationale being that these patents arose from research that was subsidized by the government—that is, by you and me. Our tax dollars paid for the development of these molecules, and the feeling was that a private corporation should not be allowed to profit from it. The 1980 Bayh-Dole Act, supplemented by other laws, changed all that, making it feasible and, in fact, making it desirable for the first time, for researchers to take out patents on living things, based on research performed in universities, and to sell and license them to corporations. Bayh-Dole was basically a golden key for corporations who could now profit from patents that they previously were unable to hold."

Read the rest here.


 Here's another interview from last December, by Thom Hartmann, on the same subject.




33 comments:

S.W. Anderson said...

Big-money and corporate interests have been on a roll — maybe "rampage" better describes it — for about 30 years. This patenting chicanery is one more aspect of it.

At the same time, forces that in earlier decades served to brake and counterbalance the excesses of big-money and corporate interests have become less willing and able to do either. The public has gone largely passive and the political system has to a great extent been bought off or cowed.

I'm trying to fight off pessimism with the belief that things tend to run in cycles, and maybe this cycle is coming to an end.

John Myste said...

Often what causes these types of cycles to come to an end is the Supreme Court, which is currently conservative and corporation friendly.

Unless we lose a conservative or two on that court, don't bet on a sea change. I don't see a legislature on either side that is concerned with such minutiae.

Jefferson's Guardian said...

Mr. Anderson, I'm afraid my pessimism has overridden any hope that we'll see a resurgence of democratic rule in this country. The malignancy of corporatism has grown exponentially in past years, and is spilling over into other parts of the world.

With a president who continually campaigns from the left, while governing from the right; a legislature that writes laws that favor only the elite and artificial persons, and as poignantly laid out by Ms. Washington in this article, "independent" science and research selling-out to corporate bidders and effectively owning the very structures and processes of life, the system is stacked against the interests of the majority.

True, maybe the "cycle" will run its course, or has the centrifugal force been so great that containment within the framework of a republican democratic system been forever compromised?


Mr. Myste, it seems the only underlying reason for presidential elections is to assure judicial dominance. Undoubtedly, this branch of government is the most powerful and least understood. I agree with your assessment -- totally.

Thank you for your insight.

Dave Dubya said...

And this won't be the end of it, either. Corporations are claiming, or buying, everything, including land, water, resources, and our government. They will eventually own "copyrights" on DNA itself.

Corporate rights supercede individual rights as it is. Corporate "personhood " dominates the financial and political systems.They will not stop until they own serfs and slaves.

Jefferson's Guardian said...

You're right, Dave, corporations are finagling to obtain the rights of ownership to just about everything imaginable. We're on the cusp of neofeudalism.

I already believe we're slaves to the system, but I concur; I also envision a day where outright ownership of workers, from a legal perspective, will be the rule of the day. Corporate charters will be the true and only representations of personhood; humankind only being a legal concept -- purely as a device to supply labor. Otherwise, humans will have no intrinsic value.

The Blog Fodder said...

Interesting blog, with lots of good links for me to follow up on.

Anna Van Z said...

Check this out - rare good news:

http://www.care2.com/causes/scotus-invalidates-breast-cancer-gene-patents.html

Just the Facts! said...

Who pays for your yoga class? If you do, how do you get the money to do so?

Dave Dubya said...

Someone complained, "You want to see a lack of class?" about this thoughtful blog.

Just the Troll said, Who pays for your yoga class? If you do, how do you get the money to do so?

Is that class, or what?

Perhaps he wants to deride another persons occupation. We know he likes to do that.

Now that's real class. We can take a lesson from that guy.

I wonder where he gets his money? Why won't he tell us? Perhaps he's ashamed of his menial labor.

Maybe Just the Troll is on psychiatric, or some other form, of disability. The constant projection would indicate this. His style is not exactly that of a rational person who's capable of an honest days work.

Just the Facts! said...

So JG, if DD is correct, you teach yoga. Where do your students get their money to pay you for your services?

Good to see DD is finally off Defecation Watch, I guess George Harrison was correct, all things DO pass.

Dave Dubya said...

So JG, if DD is correct, you teach yoga.

Illogical.

Good to see DD is finally off Defecation Watch,

How’s that for class? Illogical, ignorant and juvenile, but not too classy, though. (Once again, blatant projection)

I bet the gutter troll is unemployed, a menial laborer, or otherwise sucking on the government tit somehow.

Due to his dishonesty, immaturity and lower than average IQ, he probably can't get a decent honest job.

If he has a job, he sure isn't very proud of it is he?

I bet he’s ashamed of his low paying dead-end job, but believe he’ll be rich as Romney someday if only the Democrats get out of his way.

That seems the radical Right’s idea of “personal responsibility”, blaming others for their failure.

Gee, I wonder why? I know a dittohead dupe of a janitor who enjoys union benefits, but votes for Republicans and hates unions.

He and Just the Gutter Troll certainly have the same mentality...and class.

The only reason they’re not millionaires is because of liberals.

Yup.

Jefferson's Guardian said...

Just The Falsehoods!: "Who pays for your yoga class? If you do, how do you get the money to do so?"

I do.

From my checkbook, naturally.


Dave Dubya: "I wonder where he gets his money? Why won't he tell us? Perhaps he's ashamed of his menial labor."

and...

"I bet the gutter troll is unemployed, a menial laborer, or otherwise sucking on the government tit somehow."

That's my guess. I suspect he washes cars.


Just the Falsehoods: "So JG, if DD is correct, you teach yoga. Where do your students get their money to pay you for your services?"

I teach yoga occasionally. As far as where students get the money to pay for my classes, I don't ask. Usually students who attend my classes have a job, and very likely it's a job with the federal government or with a federal contractor. I suspect they have checking accounts, also.


Dave Dubya: I know a dittohead dupe of a janitor who enjoys union benefits, but votes for Republicans and hates unions.

Interestingly, I know some flight attendants with a major airline who are of the same mentality. They love the union benefits, bitch and complain about how the company's treating them, yet they vote Republican in every election. Why they vote against their own self-interests is always a mystery to me.

Just the Facts! said...

I dislike govt workers unions, which I have stated before.
Defecation Watch, you don't have that at your prison DD?

Well now that we are clear that JG's yoga classes are paid by somebody who works and taught by someone who gets paid, this sounds a lot like capitalism. Unregulated by govt capitalism at that! These banks on which the checks are written, are they for profit banks? JG are paid for every class you teach? If so, why are you taking money for your services?
How do you determine what to charge your students when you teach yoga? Is it based on what they can pay, what if that's not enough to make it worth your time to teach the class?

I would be surprised if there were yoga teachers on every block in America, so I would guess that the charges for teaching are pretty standardized within an area. Is the govt ok with that? I mean, doesn't this call for regulation, to keep yoga teachers from price fixing?
JG, if any of your students pay in cash, do you report this income to the IRS?

Dave Dubya said...

My, that's a lot of inane and pointless questions from such a disrespectful little mop squeezer, isn't it?

I mentioned the Gutter Troll's disrespectful comments about our profession to my Republican voting co-workers. They think he's a punk asshole, for some reason. Right down there with rapists, thieves, thugs and killers we protect his lame little ass from.

My co-workers have no respect for a gutless little twerp who would wet himself if confronted by situations we see every day.

Just the Gutter Troll dislikes anyone FOX(R) and Limbaugh tell him to dislike. I bet he doesn't have the nerve to tell a cop he hates his union. Nor would he have the guts to tell me and my co-workers to our faces, either.

That's what makes him a punk. The asshole part is self evident.

Just the Facts! said...

AAHH, Poor DD got his feelings hurt. Time to unleash the hate that only the right according him, has.

Dave Dubya said...

I think his narrow little mind can’t comprehend another conservative thinking he’s a punk asshole. More projection from the gutless little mop squeezer. I wonder if he really thinks my feelings are hurt by what a fecal obsessed punk asshole says.

I’ve seen over 25 years of punk assholes thinking they can frazzle me with the juvenile crap pouring out of their mouths. All in a days work. His kind of talk would often result in some fellow mop squeezer having to mop his blood off the floor.

Because he’s half-witted, immature and a coward, I think this boils down to the fact he's insecure and jealous that he can't do a real man's job.

Those are the nicest things I can say about him.

Jefferson's Guardian said...

Just the Falsehoods!: "...this sounds a lot like capitalism. Unregulated by govt capitalism at that!"

It does...at first glance. It could also be how yoga studios and similar businesses run in so-called "socialist" countries. But, one thing's for certain, there are no yoga lobbyists filling my elected representative's ear in D.C, nor are there any writing legislation for, and on behalf of, my elected representatives. There are no yoga lobbyists pushing for war so that I can expand my business into U.S. government-occupied countries, and there certainly are no yoga businesses manipulating pricing through speculation in order to raise the price of a yoga class here in my town.

Unregulated? Hardly! In order to become insured, instructors are required to become certified. In my home state, a fairly recent requirement mandates that any program that trains yoga teachers must be certified. They are trying to make sure the training programs are legitimate, and the people who are facilitating these programs are legitimate. Nothing wrong with that.


"These banks on which the checks are written, are they for profit banks?

Most are. Some are too-big-to-fail banks, others are more local and strictly commercial, still others are community-oriented credit unions.


"JG are [you] paid for every class you teach? If so, why are you taking money for your services?"

Obviously, I'm compensated, but not always. Sometimes I conduct classes "pro bono", as a service to the community.


"How do you determine what to charge your students when you teach yoga? Is it based on what they can pay, what if that's not enough to make it worth your time to teach the class?"

It depends on many factors -- class length, type, style, etc., etc., although there are yoga studios in some large urban areas that base their payment structure on ability to pay. I've read that it's very successful.

I'd teach yoga for nothing, and as previously mentioned, I have. But, I don't have to.


"...I would guess that the charges for teaching are pretty standardized within an area. Is the govt ok with that? I mean, doesn't this call for regulation, to keep yoga teachers from price fixing?"

Nope, pricing varies, obviously, as the style, type, and demand varies. And, as already mentioned (above), it is regulated (just as most businesses are, and should be).


"...if any of your students pay in cash, do you report this income to the IRS?"

Always. There are moral codes among those in the practice. In this particular case, it's "Satya" (a commitment to truthfulness) and "Asteya" (a commitment to non-stealing). I'm sure both of these are foreign to your conservative mind.

Okay, I've answered all of your questions, diligently and truthfully. Now it's your turn to answer my questions:

What industry and business are you in, and in what state? What is your job title? Do you get paid? Is your business regulated by any state or federal agencies? Does your business benefit from government subsidies, of any sort, or does your business benefit from government-provided infrastructure (such as roads, bridges, etc.)? Have you ever bid on public projects and, if so, were you ever awarded a public bid? Have you ever received a kickback?

I've got more, once you answer these truthfully.

Just the Facts! said...

Hey dude, its not me knocking the system, it's you. Why should I answer your questions? I'm only upset with the way govt makes it harder to make a living unless you are a public employee or federal worker or foul mouth prison guard.

I'm all for you charging as much as you can for teaching yoga classes, go for it, you will have no beef with me for doing so. You are an independent small business man when you do that. I feel sorry for the amount of red tape you have to go through to do your trade.

High Ho Yoga and away!!

Dave Dubya said...

Why should I answer your questions?

This is what the gutless half-witted twerp always whines after we answer HIS questions.

He quickly proves what I told you; he's a punk, asshole and coward.

He's ashamed of his job and social standing, and he is afraid to let anyone know about his mop squeezing job.

Yet he probably thinks he'd be a millionaire if not for Democrats, you know.

Just like reasoning with a Moonie.

I don't think the hateful little cultist deserves any more attention...despite all the "class" he brings.

He's incapable of being polite or honest. He is what he is.

Just like every other dim-witted, punk asshole coward I've encountered.

Just the Facts! said...

Dave D
When I think of experts on assholes, I automatically think of you.

Bent over, spread them, now cough.

Dave Dubya said...

That's real "class". Got any more?

Jefferson's Guardian said...

Just the Falsehoods: "...its not me knocking the system, it's you. Why should I answer your questions?"

I'm "knocking the system" because it's corrupt, and designed to get more corrupt as time goes on. Why you can't understand this perplexes me.

You don't have to answer my questions. I thought by doing so you could unload and explain, in detail, how "govt" is keeping you from making a living. Otherwise, I can't even begin to see your side of the equation.


Dave Dubya: "He's ashamed of his job and social standing, and he is afraid to let anyone know about his mop squeezing job.

You're probably right. Otherwise, he'd be more forthcoming about his line of business and what he does. Oh well, I tried.

Just the Facts! said...

Yeah DD I do but out of respect for a true capitalist who works in the free market at least some time, JD , I'll leave the low class, under educated, typical Democrat public workers unions swearing up to you. You seem to know so much about assholes, why should I interfere with you showing how much you are one?

Jefferson's Guardian said...

Just the Falsehoods!: "I'm only upset with the way govt makes it harder to make a living..."

I forgot to mention; I'm also upset with how much harder it is to make a living, but I've realized it's not the government's fault -- totally. It's a partnership that has developed, over many decades, between the government and big business (multinational corporations and banks) -- or "gov-corp" -- that has made it this way. I prefer to refer to it as the "corporate-state".

It's unfortunate that you haven't figured this out yet.

Just the Facts! said...

Unregulated? Hardly! In order to become insured, instructors are required to become certified. In my home state, a fairly recent requirement mandates that any program that trains yoga teachers must be certified. They are trying to make sure the training programs are legitimate, and the people who are facilitating these programs are legitimate. Nothing wrong with that.

How re the big corporations benefiting from requiring you to do the above?

Jefferson's Guardian said...

They aren't, but then again, I'm not complaining about the state's licensing and certification processes. You are. As I mentioned, already, which you noted, there's "[n]othing wrong with that" (meaning, I have no problem with the state's licensing and certification processes). It keeps the rift-raft out.

Why is it that licensing requirements, imposed by a state, bother you more than the revolving-door between corporate-America and the government? I've never seen you upset about, for example, TARP, or any other corporate malfeasance that has caused much greater harm to the average American.

Your priorities are misplaced, and you're definitely barking up the wrong tree.

Just My Two Cents said...

JG and DD,

Its very clear you two love one another. Do you guys plan on getting married?

Jefferson's Guardian said...

Very clear, huh?

What is very clear, though, is that Just the Falsehoods! seems to be sweet on me. Ironically, he represses his homosexuality and just can't allow himself to escape the closet he's living in. There are a couple of instances on Tom Degan's blog, The Rant, where in a drunken stupor he came on to me. He's infatuated with my blogger picture at the beach, and I realize that's why he stalks me.

He needs to be more cognizant of what he's saying on-line when he's drinking. His "gayness" sprouts wings late at night and he doesn't even realize it. He's definitely a closet-queen, and he's trapped in his own denial.

Dave Dubya said...

Yes,
This has been quite obvious in his homo-suggestive comments.

He does seem quite obsessed with watching men in the shower and bathroom as well. Have you noticed that quaint pattern?

Poor little fellow. He's insecure, and jealous that, unlike me, he can't do a real man's job. That's hard enough on him.

He's also ashamed of his job and social standing, and afraid to let anyone know about his mop squeezing job. Now he's having a tough time suppressing his naughty urges for other men.

Oh, the deep and hopeless shame of it all. He can only safely express his shame and guilt through hatred for us. Perhaps this is a closeted love/hate thing he has for us.

He is obviously very confused...about most things in fact.

No wonder he feels such insecurity as a right wing extremist. This is why he needs to project his gay little feelings towards us.

I wonder if his fellow housekeepers see him this way too...

I bet they've known for some time.

Moduspropogandi said...

The time has come, my kindred spirits, to acknowledge that the term “Progressive” is simply a polite, Americanized term for “Marxist” after all. Until a more appropriate term is agreed upon in national and international parlance, that should be our preference.

Dave Dubya said...

Just the Fascist as MP,
The time has come where the extreme radical Right has termed progressive as "Marxist". That tradition was started by none other than Hitler.

Good little fascist coward.

Jefferson's Guardian said...

Dave Dubya, I hear the incessant squawking of the mean-spirited little closet queen parroting the fascist bylines once again. Moduspropogandi (also known as Just the Fascist!, Anonymous, and several others) still doesn't possess a single original thought or idea worth considering. As you aptly pointed out on Tom's blog, he sees a Marxist around every corner. Everyone's a Marxist!

If you're against injustice, in his view you're a Marxist. If you're tired of corruption within the prevailing corporate-state, you're a Marxist. If you're a defender of democracy, he sees you as a Marxist.

The fact that I've never been affiliated with the Communist Party, and have never even inquired into the Communist Party, makes no difference to him. He sees me, you, and everyone who believes "in liberty and justice for all" as Marxist. If I didn't know better I'd think this was Joseph McCarthy, but that paranoid fool died in 1957. You don't suppose this fool's his reincarnation, do you?

Dave Dubya said...

The Nazis were defeated, but fascism thrives in the US among those who despise Hitler's enemy and defender of democracy. In fact, I believe American fascists hate FDR more than Hitler did.