Bush and Cheney stood up to the rest of the world and refused to reduce the cost of TB, AIDS and Malaria drugs. America was the only country to refuse to relax global patents on these pandemic drugs in continuing Bush's brand of compassionate conservatism.
It is sickening that Bush and Cheney could care less about those suffering from AIDS, TB and Malaria around the world. All that matters to them is paying back all those campaign contributions.
There is no doubt a real problem in the world in that there is a lot of money to be made in curing sickness. There is a lot of money in developing life saving drugs. And that money draws the research and capital necessary not only to develop the drugs but also to manufacture them.
However, there is a large issue regarding AIDS, TB and Malaria. These three diseases continue to wreak havoc around the world They cause untold suffering and with regards to AIDS are destroying the economies of more than one African nation.
But for George things are simple. What creates profits for the large corporations is the only measuring stick in regards to what he should do. When any action is measured against corporate profits, corporate profits win.
This is why George does not give a damn about global warming, or medicine for the sick and poor, or protecting the national parks from logging and oil exploration, or human rights. And it is the reason that George is going to invade Iraq for its oil.
What a sick, sick President America has. I have little doubt that the deaths that will be caused by Geroge Bush around the world during his administration will make Hitler's rampage in Europe look like the acts of a local serial killer. The number of people that George has already killed in Afghanistan, and the people that are dying everyday from TB, Malaria and AIDS is staggering.
There is always a middle ground with these complex socio-economic issues. But as long as George is President, morality and ethics and compassion will have to remain outside the White House. Every American should feel shame when they look into the mirror each morning knowing that thousands of people are dying every day because Christian America has ignored the teaching of Jesus and embraced the money god.
The real gods of America are on its money; the presidents of the United States. God help us if we ever put George's picture on anything more than a plug nickel.
Bush's bitter medicine
The poor need cheap drugs, not cheap talk
Monday December 30, 2002
When pushed to do so, the Bush administration will feign concern for the world's poor. But its actions speak louder than its words. The intervention by vice-president Dick Cheney last week to torpedo a deal to get cheap drugs into poor countries whose populaces have been consumed by epidemics was a cold-hearted piece of realpolitik. Forget the honey-coated pledges of support for development and warm declarations that global prosperity must be shared. The United States was the only country out of 144 to oppose an agreement that would have relaxed global patent rules on treatments. The richest nation on the earth backed the arguments of the drug lobby over the cries of the weak and wasted. In doing so the US has emptied the current round of trade talks of a meaningful and substantial proof that globalisation could help the poor.
The White House does not want developing nations to be able to get hold of cheap drugs in a self-declared public health emergency. It acknowledges the big three killers - Aids, malaria and tuberculosis - are serious enough pandemics that copyright could be suspended. But it does not want other deadly diseases, such as diabetes or asthma, to infringe corporate patents. While the rest of the world had conceded this point, recognising the moral imperative to help those who cannot help themselves, the US would not. Fearful that America's trade representatives would save too many lives at the expense of corporate profits, Mr Cheney stepped in to block any agreement. Big Pharma helps bankroll the Bush White House, and what it wants, it gets. The US drug companies demanded protection from their rivals in Brazil, India and Thailand, which can churn out copies of their treatments at a fraction of the cost. This, claims the Bush administration, would undermine the patent system and discourage drug development, which relies on big profits. Worse still, if generic drug-makers based in industrialising nations were able to manufacture and then export drugs to treat a wide range of diseases, they would soon be selling many medicines for which affluent consumers pay rather a lot. The US argument is seriously undermined by the fact that no other country agrees with it enough to wreck a deal for affordable medicines.
In reality, George Bush is not remotely interested in helping poorer countries on their terms or on those negotiated in a multilateral arena. The extreme unilateralist position in this case has been taken to induce other countries to align more closely with US interests. This should be resisted, strongly. There are plenty of reasons to doubt whether the leader of the most powerful nation in the world has benign ambitions for the world. There is little sign the president will make serious efforts to cut poverty, tackle disease or face the environmental challenges of the future. Not content with scuppering a deal on cheap drugs, Washington has also refused to contribute its fair share to a United Nations global fund to fight Aids, TB and malaria. If proof were required of the United States' priorities, it might be found in the fact that America could meet its goal of raising foreign assistance to 0.7% of GNP, but the $60bn required to do so has been directed to the military. Denying impoverished countries access to life-saving medicines fits a pattern. What Columbia University's Jeffrey Sachs calls the weapons of mass salvation will not be deployed by Mr Bush. By declining this responsibility, America will ensure that peace and stability in the world are harder to attain than chaos and disorder.
How can we manifest peace on earth if we do not include everyone (all races, all nations, all religions, both sexes) in our vision of Peace?
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