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You may be someone around middle-age, without arms or legs, reading this Friday announcement from Germany:

Berlin • The German manufacturer of a notorious drug that caused thousands of babies to be born with shortened arms and legs, or no limbs at all, issued its first ever apology Friday—50 years after pulling the drug off the market.

Gruenenthal Group's chief executive said the company wanted to apologize to mothers who took the drug during the 1950s and 1960s and to their children who suffered congenital birth defects as a result. Salt Lake Tribune

How fucking special. For decades Gruenenthal denied any wrongdoing and would not meet with Thalidomide advocates; now they "regret" what they did—and made money doing it. They're still doing it. Gruenenthal earned nearly a cool billion in 2011, from Palexia, Zaldiar, Versatis, and other magic pills whose meaningless name must include a V, X, or Z. Meanwhile, the victims of pharmaceutical greed never heard a word for 50 years, and have received only modest financial support from a trust. Gruenenthal never admitted fault but agreed to establish a 150 million (euro) fund in 1970, which is running low and some victims are still awaiting compensation. The math: they've spent about 3.7 million a year, and made 30 times that last year alone.
[T]he apology was dismissed by Thalidomide Agency UK, which represents people affected by the drug in Britain, as "insufficient". The Grünenthal Group needed to "put their money where their mouth is" rather than simply express regret, the charity's head consultant, Freddie Astbury, said. The Guardian
You go, Freddie! Lookit the shit thousands of families have suffered from Gruenenthal's addiction to the coin. Hell, for every Thalidomide baby who lived, 10 died. Those who survived encountered challenges and expenses most of us can't imagine. This happened, it's a fact, one even corporate toadies have to acknowledge.
Astbury [that's Freddie again] said the drug maker should apologize not just to the people affected, but to their families. He also said the company should offer compensation. "It’s time to put their money where their mouth is," he said. "For me to drive costs about 50,000 pounds ($79,000) for a car with all the adaptations," he said. "A lot of us depend on specialist care and that runs into the millions." Salt Lake Tribune
That's what unregulated corporate greedheads can do to a family. I drive around Arizona and I see communities and entire ecologies poisoned by mining companies. Drive farther north into Utah and you encounter people, land, and rivers contaminated by uranium blasts. Terry Tempest Williams' masterful Refuge offers a glimpse into the human cost of corpo-militarism, which Romney wants to expand. More mining, more fracking, more foresting, more drilling, more Big Ag, more Big Pharm, more Big War, and here are the keys to the country, Goldman Sachs. And Freddie? Fuck Freddie.

Yes, let's go back to the America god loved, the one Mitt Romney almost cried about Thursday night (or maybe he was choked up over Clint's soliloquy)—that glorious time before those pesky EPA regulations, when Pittsburgh was so polluted it turned little Rachel Carson into a nature lover. You too may remember playing in the streets as the DDT truck sprayed your neighborhood. What could possibly go wrong?

But, of course, today's GOP can't honor Carson for helping to stop other poisonings, because pesticide-pharmaceutical-chemical dunderheads like Sen. Tom Corbin claim Silent Spring was based on "junk science." Junkheads weaned on corporate teats may say that, scientists won't. The dying Carson, in pain constantly, was mercilessly attacked by a gaggle of corporate and political hatchetmen (she's a communist! woman! lesbian!), and they haven't gone away. It's no exaggeration to say the chemical industry boogie is criminal:

A new Public Citizen report finds that over the last twenty years the pharmaceutical industry has accounted for 25% of all violations of state and federal law when it comes to the False Claims Act. Thom Hartmann
And what the heck does this "apology" from Gruenenthal even mean?
"We ask for forgiveness that for nearly 50 years we didn’t find a way of reaching out to you from human being to human being," Harald Stock said. "We ask that you regard our long silence as a sign of the shock that your fate caused in us." Salt Lake City Tribune
They couldn't find a way to reach out, human-to-human like, for five decades, even though Thalidomide families were knocking on the door. I guess they couldn't hear the knocking because they were enveloped in some kind of "long silence" that the Thalidomide babies apparently caused.

Good luck, Freddie.

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