We have entered a chronosynclastic infundibulum, Kurt Vonnegut's imagined cosmic phenomenon consisting of a region where all possible opinions are true. At least that's the corporate media view of the world, and as we know all too well it has allowed sociopathic billionaires to convince much of the public that science is a conspiracy against human freedom, by which they mean their own wealth. The Union of Concerned Scientists has taken a look at the current state of the deceivers' art in Heads They Win, Tails We Lose: How corporations corrupt science at the public's expense. From the publicity material:
Unfortunately, censorship of scientists and the manipulation, distortion, and suppression of scientific information have threatened federal science in recent years.
This problem has sparked much debate, but few have identified the key driver of political interference in federal science: the inappropriate influence of companies with a financial stake in the outcome.
I'm not sure it's true that few have identified the key driver, but whatever.
And along the same lines, Nader's Raiders have something to say about medical device regulation:
Regulation of medical devices—a $350 billion industry that includes such products as heart and brain stents, artificial hips and implantable defibrillators—is at a crossroads. With a major reauthorization bill up for debate, members of Congress already have introduced 14 bills1 that aim to accelerate devices’ path to the market, often by weakening measures intended to ensure patient safety.
The bills reflect industry’s concerted lobbying campaign. In 2011, the medical device industry spent $33.3 million on lobbying, raising its total to $158.7 million since 2007. In just the third and fourth quarters of 2011, at least 225 industry lobbyists—including 107 who previously worked for the federal government—lobbied members of Congress or executive branch officials on issues relating to medical device regulation.
Damn I miss George Carlin.