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Capital Punishment

I didn’t get my degree in economics. Everything I know about the subject is like a fabric made of motley stitchings. I do what I can to know what I’m talking about. It’s complex. It involves math and countless variables. In America, we hate numbers like crushed tomatoes. There are people who pen hasty polemics that don’t show that the author understands the difference between the national debt and the deficit. And even when they do distinguish these large numbers, they don’t understand why we can sustain that debt and why it is important to global finance that it doesn’t get paid back too quickly, if it does so at all. It makes no sense on its face, but our debt makes the world hum-we are A Safe Bet. And we still finance at ass-kicking low rates.

Sustainable? I’m gonna pull a Donald Trump and say: look at the world. You see what’s going on. America is still great for the profit class-surprisingly stable- and that is a fucking ineluctable fact. Oh, sure, someday soon the house of cards we call capitalism will eventually collapse when labor can’t afford to buy its own products(we’re already halfway there) but for now, we are still an economic powerhouse that attracts investment. We will be part of tomorrow one way or another and the world knows it. And that truth transcends the numbers and the graphs. America has its thumb on the global economic scale, so worry not about the big scary zeroes, friends.

That’s all a circuitous way of coming around to talking about the goddamn Epipen. Does its saga make any sense?  When a private company makes a vital product, can it be relied upon to provide it in a responsible fashion? This is a question we should be asking when a company like Mylan risks the health of thousands to make millions.

You’ve all seen the story, no need to recap. It’s pretty obvious by now that Mylan got caught being super greedy. Everyone in the upper echelons gets paid when they retag the price of the auto-injector, their flagship product since 2007. This last time around though, they took such a big bite that everyone noticed. Now the company is under political fire for their gouging.

I understand and accept that every company has to include in its price several things, including profit. And I understand grudgingly that this profit must increase. Such is the nature of a growth-oriented economy. But damn, when you’ve got a consumer base that isn’t going anywhere, that is to say, a group that can get sick and die without your shit, hold your horses before you rob them. Slowly, slowly screw them over so they don’t notice or don’t mind.

Mylan has a lot of chutzpah. Their product’s component parts are valued at approximately twenty dollars. The delivery system is not their own invention-that would be some guy at NASA. Now they are tweaking the design of the original auto-injector so they can patent it. They pulled off an incredible marketing coup by tying federal grants to placement of the pen at schools. The FDA has shielded them from competition, swatting down several possible rivals. All while enjoying  inversion. So they are having a GOOD run. All the planets are aligned for continuing good fortune for Mylan Pharmaceuticals.

By the bloodless rules of supply and demand, Mylan can do whatever it wants as long as the market can hack it. And they have. Which brings us back to the question-should lifesaving medicine be exposed to market forces? After all, in other areas of the economy there are metrics in place for when regulators must step in, when trusts need busting, and when prices need some controllin’. Know what I say? If drug companies cannot mind their manners in the free martketplace, then they get an offer they can’t refuse. Buy them out. Take a controlling interest in the company. Am I suggesting a little socialism? Sure. A little red-line of sorts. Wouldn’t be the first thing we planned out. Some parts of it are too important to be left to the caprice of shareholder desires. Besides, they get most of their R&D budget from the government to start with. It’s at least in bad taste to be screwing over the taxpayer if you are in pharmacueticals.

My pinko dream may never need to come. Public outcry may be enough to shame the companies and our politicians into acting. I guess that’s the reason for the sudden decision by Mylan to produce a generic for its own product. Which, to this untrained mind, makes no sense at all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Boobs A Lot

Michelle “Tits McGee” Fiori does, like most Republicans, make up things. She’s never had a higher education to the best of my knowledge,and it shows. You think Ben Carson is weird? This is at least as insane as claiming that a supplement cured his cancer. What do we need the ACS for? Because Fiori has it figured out:

Fiore proposed that end-of-life patients should have more access to approved treatment options. “If you have cancer, which I believe is a fungus, and we can put a pic line into your body and we’re flushing, let’s say, salt water, sodium cardonate [sic], through that line, and flushing out the fungus,” she said, “These are some procedures that are not FDA-approved in America that are very inexpensive, cost-effective.”

Anybody with half an education and a brain knows that cancer is caused by improper cell division. Cancerous cells skip the checkpoint process and divide like crazy and soon build up a clump of cells that will eventually look for other cells to feed on if not treated. At least that what my biology 101 instructor said. But fuck facts when it comes to the Republican party:

The American Cancer Society has warned that while cancer patients whose immune systems are weakened by high doses of chemotherapy can sometimes contract fungal infections, “there is no evidence that antifungal treatment causes the patients’ tumors to shrink.”

We are making great strides in cancer research by getting the immune system to attack cancer cells. We will find a cure in my lifetime. And that’s what is real. Not the nonsense that Fiori is pushing.

This is what happens when you elect a support system for a pair of knockers. Way to go, Nevada. You have just made the quarantine list.

The White Ben Carson

Rationally speaking, anyone in the GOP who is trying to say the most incendiary shit their little fevered pea-brains con conceive of should be enjoying a prime spot in the pack of hopeless hopefuls. But that theory breaks down when we talk about Mike Huckabee. Why?

Simply put, he’s not a novelty. He’s been doing this for years with no success. He’s not black and Republican. He’s not a failed businessman with oodles of cash spared from bankruptcy court. He’s just your typical Jesus-sucking asshole who sounds like your cranky uncle. Witness:

On Thursday, Huckabee continued his streak by saying people convicted of crimes should be sold into slavery.

Host Jan Mickelson said the modern criminal justice system has been “taken over by progressives,” and said punishment should be modeled instead of the Bible’s Old Testament Book of Exodus.

“It says, if a person steals, they have to pay it back two-fold, four-fold. If they don’t have anything, we’re supposed to take them down and sell them,” he said.

It’s better that prisoners be indentured so that they must “spend their time not sitting on their stump in a jail cell — they’re supposed to be working off debt… Wouldn’t that be a better choice?” Mickelson asked.

Well, it really would be,” Huckabee responded. “Sometimes the best way to deal with a nonviolent criminal behavior is what you just suggested.”

Aside from the obvious stupidity of this conversation, hang on a minute. Non-violent criminals should be indentured? Really? To whom? The guy who gets caught with a few joints has to what-work off his sentence? A shoplifter has to labor for the company he stole from until the value of his theft is paid back fourfold? Folks, it’s a sad enough world as it is when we don’t pity our petty criminals.It may have worked in biblical times-but haven’t we come a long way since then? Why are we using some musty book to judge our law-breakers? I know the answer to that, though.

I wonder if the same cruel statutes would apply to tax-evaders and inside traders. But I know that ain’t who Mike and this moron are talking about. They’re talking about the desperate and destitute. It’s part of the GOP DNA to take giant shits on top of the lower class while happily servicing rich scum.

But I’ve already said too much. Mike Huckabee would not even win a presidential primary where his opposition was a ham sandwich. I should ignore him. Even Fox News spurned him. Let him sputter away, and I shall speak of thee no more.

Pull The Other One

Since the abortion issue is center stage, ad nauseam, it was only a matter of time before we saw some foot soldiers do the dirty work of the propagandists who want to end safe procedures:

Police were called to the South Wind Women’s Center on E. Kellogg at around 3:30 Monday afternoon.

Staff at the clinic reported a man came into the clinic with a backpack which contained knives. 911 dispatchers say the man was also carrying a small box wrapped in tape. The clinic was evacuated temporarily.

Now what’s really befuddling about this story is that the police believed the man had no ill intent against the clinic:

According to police, Trevizo was applying for a position at the clinic. Officers went through a backpack the man brought with him and found several knives and a pill bottle with a fuse coming out of the top.

He told police he had just moved out and had all of his personal belongings with him.

Of course! Who of us hasn’t saved the cutlery and the bombs when we move?

‘Til Death Do Our Parts

Today’s read: It’s about organ donation. Evidently certain religious sects are telling their parishioners and anyone else who will listen to not be a donor. They seem to believe that death is being hastened in some cases by doctors who want parts. They also say that brain death is reversible and should not be considered a signal that the rest of the person is dead. Jerry Coyne explains that they are nuts.

One For Three

So, Obamacare lives to see another day. And the world turns relentlessly, this time for the better. John Roberts wrote for the majority: “Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them.”

Clarity. Sanity. Divination, some would say.

I have been having a spirited argument with a reader about literalism in law. He is probably agitated by this decision, as the Supreme Court ruled in favor of intent and not the exact wording of the law. He made some very good points that I will carry with me whenever I think about the Constitution and jurisprudence. I am still in favor of penumbras and rights given but not enumerated, however. Given today’s terrible gridlock in Congress, it is unlikely that there will be any change in the Constitution to deal with today’s Big Questions. Therefore, the force of law devolves unto the Court. It may not be ideal, but it’s what we have.

The House will not let well enough alone. They’re suing the executive for altering parts of the law to adjust for small businesses to prepare for the law, and for appropriating funds for Obamacare that have not been authorized by Congress. There’s a fuckload of other challenges too. I see that these challenges will probably not be heard by the Court. And there’s still the possibility of reconciliation to force a majority vote on repeal. Fortunately, Obama can veto that happy shit posthaste.

Today we celebrate a win for the little guy. And we keep our fingers crossed until tomorrow. Or maybe a few days after that. Fucking drama, is what this is.

Auntie Vaxx

California is gearing up to remove the “personal belief” exemption from children’s vaccines. That’s important:

The reason why California lawmakers are considering SB 277 is because scientists have figured out that once the portion of a population that’s been vaccinated drops below 95 percent or so, that population no longer enjoys herd immunity. Without herd immunity, highly contagious diseases like measles can flourish. According to data compiled by the New York Times, more than a quarter of California kindergartens are currently below the herd immunity rate.

But leave it to the religious and science-dumb to dig their heels in against something sensible:

According to State Assembly GOP Leader Kristin Olsen, however, the idea of requiring vaccinations for children in public and private schools “erodes parental rights.” In an interview on the Broeske & Musson radio program last week, Olsen declared that, despite the Disneyland outbreak, “there’s really no need for this bill whatsoever,” dismissing it as an “emotional reaction” to a “one-time incident.”

“I think this is an example of people overreacting to incidences,” Olsen told the hosts. “What we need to make sure in Sacramento is we’re making decisions based on logic and sound data.

Lady, this is your stomping grounds. Pay attention. Read a newspaper instead of your Bible and then you might know that your fucking state had a whooping cough outbreak just last year. I live 3000 miles away and even I remember that. As far as “parental rights” go, I want to know-has she ever met any parents? We all suck. We make bad decisions on behalf of our kids every fucking day. That is why we need standards of care. I am grateful for the expert guidelines that serve my communities, because I sure as fuck don’t know everything. I can’t. It’s a complex, scary world and I will take all the help I can get to not have my kid die before I do.

You’re endangering your children with religious bullshit. Fuck off.

The Great White Hope

Up until recently, Scott Walker has enjoyed a robust presence in the presidential race, even though he hasn’t declared yet. He’s playing very coy about his views, trying to remain the least controversial choice. A Serious Contender. No more:

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker defended his decision to sign a law in Wisconsin mandating ultrasounds for women before they get abortions, calling ultrasounds “just a cool thing out there.”

In an interview on “The Dana Show,” the Wisconsin Republican and 2016 presidential hopeful boasted to host Dana Loesch, “We defunded Planned Parenthood, we signed a law that requires an ultrasound. Which, the thing about that, the media tried to make that sound like that was a crazy idea.”

Defending the legislation against what he called the “gotcha” media, Walker said, “Most people I talk to, whether they’re pro-life or not, I find people all the time who’ll get out their iPhone and show me a picture of their grandkids’ ultrasound and how excited they are, so that’s a lovely thing. I think about my sons are 19 and 20, you know we still have their first ultrasound picture. It’s just a cool thing out there.”

Guilting women into an unwanted pregnancy is “a cool thing”. That is, if you can find a doctor to violate your reproductive rights in Wisconsin. This will not play with moderates. I want to know-how can Scott Walker be a contender for president when he is ruining his home state? Is the plan to fuck the state dry and then move on to destroying the federal government? Methinks so.

Another Bad Apple

Jeb Bush is a moron, just like his brother. How did he get a reputation as the smart Bush?

Bush sported his Apple Watch during a town hall meeting in Arizona on Thursday, and referenced it when asked about Obamacare.

“On this device in five years will be applications that will allow me to manage my health care in ways that five years ago weren’t even possible,” he said, pointing to his watch.

It could, for example, alert someone with bad blood sugar when they’re eating something they shouldn’t be eating. “You’re diabetic, you can’t do that,” Bush said, mimicking what the watch would say if someone chows down on a butterscotch sundae, for example.

The point of the illustration is to show how health care can become more manageable on the individual level and shift the entire health care system away from what he described as an overly complicated and enormous system.

“Obamacare makes that journey even harder,” he said, calling for the law to be repealed and replaced. “It’s so complex and so big.”

Questions I need answers to: Who’s going to provide these watches? Will there be Bushwatches like there are Obamaphones (which was a GWB program)? How the fuck can you manage the myriad types of illnesses and accidents that befall human beings with a motherfucking wristwatch? Debbie Wasserman Schultz wants specifics. Me too.

Here’s Jeb at the town hall, making a delectable word salad that might make Sarah Palin envious.

Praise His Unholy Name

Satanists have pulled the trigger in Missouri:

The Satanic Temple, an unlikely and productive ally in the fight for reproductive justice, is following through on a promise to sue the state of Missouri for enforcing antiabortion legislation, which Satanists believe impedes their free exercise of religion. The temple claims that by refusing to grant one of its members, identified as Mary Doe, an exemption to its 72-hour abortion waiting period, the state placed an undue burden on the woman’s religious beliefs in violation of Missouri’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

We argue that the “informed consent” materials are an affront to our guiding principles of self-determination and personal autonomy (beliefs which hold that a woman should be free to make “decisions regarding her health based on the best scientific understanding of the world, even if the science does not comport with the religious or political beliefs of others”). As such, the 72-hour waiting period — itself a burden upon our religious belief in the freedom to make decisions “voluntarily, without coercion and in an informed manner” — is moot and without justification.

“We are dedicated to seeing this case through, and we will fight — with every resource available to us — for bodily autonomy and personal sovereignty,” Greaves said. “Suddenly gone are the days in which Religious Privilege seemed to exist to the benefit of a single creed. All at once, the all-too-numerous flagrant theocrats holding public office across the nation are made to sullenly realize that Religious Liberty isn’t theirs alone. Hail Satan.”

Time to hoist the Christians on their own petard. Satanists get to have all the fun. I’ve already donated to them because they are wreaking havoc everywhere. You should too.

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