The Hightower Report

Another Front Group for George; and Protecting America from Fair Drug Prices


George W. has a new veterans front group trying to give him some political cover.

He had the notorious "Swift Boat Veterans for Trashing John Kerry" out front for him in his 2004 presidential run, but they got exposed as a bunch of Republican Party hacks, so now he has a fresh group of shills. Calling itself "Vets for Freedom," this bunch has been posing as an independent, objective, nonpartisan voice, writing articles and blogs that support Bush's war in Iraq.

An example of their objectivity is a glowing piece one of VFF's leaders posted in June: "Baghdad is beautiful," he gushed. "I mean shockingly majestic. I was amazed to see this level of cleanliness." He didn't mention that, only the day before, explosions around beautiful Baghdad had killed another 23 people.

Withholding negative details seems to be a trademark of this outfit. For example, a guy named Taylor Gross went to the Buffalo News and at least three other newspapers in April to urge them to carry the "balanced and credible" stories written by VFF leaders. Gross failed to mention, however, that until last year he had been a Bush PR flack in the White House press office and now heads a Republican PR group.

Nor did Gross tell the newspaper editors that the "nonpartisan" Vets for Freedom has deep Republican ties, that its slick Web site is even hosted by a firm that worked for the Bush-Cheney campaign, and that VFF has trashed decorated war hero Rep. John Murtha and other Democratic critics of George's misadventures in Iraq.

None of the papers took up Gross' offer, though such papers as The New York Times and The Washington Post have carried op-ed pieces by VFF leaders – none mentioning the authors' partisan connections and bias.

To keep up with VFF and other political front groups, connect with a watchdog organization called SourceWatch:


Isn't it great to know that our homeland security officials are on the job to protect you and me? Yesiree, they are out there on our borders right now – protecting us from getting cheaper drugs from Canada.

It received practically no publicity, but last November a homeland tentacle called the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency quietly began confiscating mailings of prescription drugs that senior citizens and others in our country had ordered from pharmacies in Canada. Are these dangerous drugs? Not at all. They're the same medicines that doctors here prescribe – but they cost only half as much ... or less. That's because the U.S. is practically the only country in the whole world that doesn't stop the drug giants from price gouging, so shopping for the exact same medicines outside the U.S. is a way for consumers to avoid being ripped off.

But George W.'s border-protection police are now stepping in to ... well, protect the rip-off prices of the drug giants, which get the bulk of their global profits by gouging American consumers. Perhaps you thought that our homeland security agency was focused on assuring ... you know ... our security. But, no; it's busy defending our borders against fairly priced drugs being delivered to heart patients, diabetes sufferers, and others.

The good news is that the public has rebelled, forcing both the House and Senate to pass an amendment prohibiting border agents from seizing medicines imported from Canada. The bad news, however, is that the drug corporations are major GOP campaign donors and employ more Washington lobbyists than there are members of Congress. So, the Bush White House and Republican congressional leaders are gathering behind closed doors to kill this pro-consumer amendment, even though it has already passed in both houses of Congress.

To make your voice heard in this fight, contact Americans for Health Care at 866/428-6837.

For more information on Jim Hightower's work – and to subscribe to his award-winning monthly newsletter, The Hightower Lowdown – visit You can hear his radio commentaries on KOOP Radio, 91.7FM, weekdays at 10:58am and 12:58pm.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More The Hightower Report
The Hightower Report
The Hightower Report
The Donald Show

Jim Hightower, July 10, 2015

The Hightower Report
The Hightower Report
The damning nuttiness of the GOP's "Hell No" faction

Jim Hightower, Aug. 15, 2014


George W. Bush, Swift Boat Veterans, John Kerry, Vets for Freedom, Taylor Gross, Dick Cheney, John Murtha, border protection police, prescription drugs, Canada, Americans for Health Care

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle