THE TRASHING OF THE AMERICAN DREAM
In the constant battle between Good and Evil in our American garden of red, white, and blue it seems that, through the decision handed down in Kelo et al v City of New London et al, the Devil has been given the upper hand.
Although a trusting American public customarily looks for wisdom from the Courts, Justice has apparently lost its wits and found it in the best interest of the American public to turn its black robed back on the common man and his constitutional right to own his own home, free from the worry of robber barons in league with government scoundrels.
While the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution authorizes government to take private property for “public use”, it does not authorize confiscation for “public purpose”, which in New London, Connecticut’s case translates to little more than implementing urban sustainable development to meet the goals of the UN’s Agenda 21.
In layman’s terms, exercising eminent domain in New London translates to giving neighborhood blue-collar property owners the boot, razing their property, and then erecting tonier business establishments in the hope of drawing the white-collar crowd with pockets full of money to newly built Riverwalks and Greenways. It also translates to exacting profitable pleasure at the expense of bringing misery to others.
In order to attract more tax revenue while extracting profitable pleasure from 90 acres of Ms. Kelo’s Fort Trumbell neighborhood, city officials created the New London Development Corporation, empowering its members to label Ms. Kelo and her neighborhood homeowners as second class citizens, no longer worthy of holding title to property within that particular area.
The perquisite in being able to even think about doing this dastardly deed, of course, was attracting a new company, and “biotech” Pfizer, the world’s largest pharmaceutical company, fit that bill quite nicely. It also helped that sustainable development champion Claire Gaudiani, the appointed President of the New London Development Corporation, was married to a Pfizer Executive and also had a working relationship with George Milne, Jr., now the retired President of Pfizer’s Central Research.
In 1998 Pfizer bought a “brownfield” from the city for a mere $10 and built a new multi-million dollar Research & Development Center on that parcel of land, which abuts the Fort Trumbell neighborhood along the Thames River. As a “perk”, the tax-starved city gave Pfizer a 10-year tax abatement. The company also managed to negotiate “incentive” subsidies totaling at least $118 million from state and federal sources.
However, in order to draw Pfizer to town and compliment their “world class” global facility, the development corporation agreed to provide more upscale community amenities than New London had to give. And so, Susette Kelo, a woman who managed to buy her pink Victorian cottage and painstakingly restore it on her nurse’s salary, plus all her Fort Trumbell neighbors, had to go.
By exercising eminent domain and condemning the coveted waterfront property, the New London Development Corporation was able to turn the property over to private developers, Corcoran Jennison Companies, who would profitably see to the building of a hotel, conference center, health club/fitness center, marina, and residential housing for those white-collar Pfizer employees being brought to the community from other states. The best New London residents could hope for in finding work at Pfizer would be in the cafeteria or janitor’s closet.
In October 2002, Pfizer was the first, and so far only, transnational American pharmaceutical company to sign the UN’s “Global Compact” created in July 2000 by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. The Global Compact is a network of UN agencies, corporations, non-government organizations, and academic institutions that endorse a “shared set” of principles of “good corporate citizenship”.
Companies signing the Global Compact commit to supporting and advancing the Compact’s 10 Principles on human rights, labor, the environment and anti-corruption; said principles based on even more principles purportedly necessary to improve “global society”.
Sounds good on the surface, but in reality it’s nothing more than a method of “eco-green-washing” transnational companies with bad reputations so they appear more pristine than they really are.
Pfizer, which has research divisions in many states and countries, has been named in a barrage of securities lawsuits accusing the company’s executives of damaging investors by making false and misleading statements about the safety of its manufactured drugs, Celebrex and Bextra.
The company has also been involved in several lawsuits and product liability cases charging that the company deceived consumers who bought Bextra and additionally caused serious health injuries to patients who took the drug. Another lawsuit was filed against Pfizer last year for concealment of evidence and deceptive marketing of the antidepressant, Zoloft.
In yet another case, Pfizer agreed to pay $430 million after pleading guilty to criminal fraud for illegally promoting Neurontin, a drug approved by the FDA to treat epilepsy, but misused to treat everything from ADHD and mental illnesses to a variety of pain conditions, including migraine headaches. As of May, there was a minimum of 2,300 families blaming Neurontin for a suicide or attempted suicide and taking legal steps against Pfizer.
More damning is Pfizer’s involvement in a class action lawsuit seeking monetary damages for millions of American children who’ve been exposed to dangerous levels of mercury because drug companies, including Pfizer, used the preservative Thimerosal, a form of mercury, in children’s vaccines. The vaccines have now been linked to Autism and/or other learning disorders, which affects as many as 1 out of 5 children.
Another lawsuit filed in 2001 against Pfizer on behalf of thirty Nigerian families charged the company with medical experimentation on foreign citizens without their consent, resulting in the death of eleven children, with others suffering brain damage, paralysis, or deafness. This was said to have happened when Pfizer took the opportunity to quickly conduct an unethical clinical trial of the potentially dangerous antibiotic, Trovan, on their children in 1996 during the civil and medical crises in Kano.
Pfizer, along with Slimfast, is being sued for deceiving consumers and causing aspartame poisoning. Additionally, the FDA is taking a better look at Viagra, the sexual dysfunction drug produced by Pfizer, which is now thought to restrict the flow of oxygenated blood to the optic nerve, causing irreversible vision loss. Pfizer, dancing it’s version of the Soupy Shuffle in the face of the lawsuit, is denying any complicity although the company has been negotiating for quite some time with the FDA to change Viagra’s label to mention this possible side effect.
If that’s not bad enough, Pfizer has also been in trouble with government agencies for alleged violations, which occurred at Pfizer's facility on the Thames River in Groton, Connecticut, including improper container management, failure to conduct (and/or properly document) required inspections and training, discharge of effluents exceeding limits established by a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit, discharge without a NPDES permit, and failure to properly report releases as required under the Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) program.
Ask yourself, Ladies and Gentlemen, in this latest battle between Good and Evil settled by the U. S. Supreme Court, who will benefit by the working class people of Fort Trumbel-New London losing their homes, businesses, and the property upon which all stood? Will the public truly benefit or will the financial beneficiary be an omnipotent small town government wanting every last nickel it can extract from a drug manufacturer pimping the FDA to look the other way or stall so it can add to its multi-billion dollar coffer, even at the expensive of the lives of little children? What should be given more value, human beings or the wealth of our cities?
Pfizer has been, and continues to be, romanced in Michigan, too, by Governor Granholm. Accounts of MI’s romance dance and exchange of big money can be found at the following sites, with the last one listed pertaining to just some of Pfizer’s corporate crimes:
the right Rx for Pfizer's 600-employee Michigan Expansion.
© 2005 Carole "C.J." Williams - All Rights Reserved
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C. J. (Carole) Williams lives in Michigan's beautiful Upper Peninsula. She writes a weekly newspaper column, "On Target with C. J. Williams", for Ontonagon's Lake Superior Voice (www.thelakesuperiorvoice.com) and is also a guest writer for the Women Hunters Club (www.womenhunters.com), an online organization dedicated to the encouragement, education, and promotion of women in the hunting traditions.
For the past several years, C. J. has been monitoring the eco-environmental movement and the UN's Agenda 21 in her state, as well as America, which she strongly believes has done more to destroy our nation than to make it as strong and prosperous as it could and should be.
Although a trusting American public customarily looks for wisdom from the Courts, Justice has apparently lost its wits and found it in the best interest of the American public to turn its black robed back on the common man and his constitutional right to own his own home...