Those Damn High Drug Prices

The health care debate is silent for now….but it will return if Congress has its way……

Whenever the subject of a health care bill comes up one of the first issues they talk about but never do anything about is that of the High Cost of Drugs.

But who can we blame for the high costs?

First of all Bill Clinton…..and then on from him….

Why do Americans continue to pay the highest prices for medicine in the world? The answer lies in the fact that lawmakers have sculpted specific policies, often not found in many other nations, that boost pharmaceutical industry profits. Meanwhile, the drug industry has spent $61 million on state elections and nearly $67million on federal elections since 2010.

Amid rising public anger over the issue, Republican President Donald Trump campaigned for president on a promise to reduce drug prices — and, as recently as Monday, excoriated Merck & Co. CEO Ken Frazier, demanding that he “LOWER RIPOFF DRUG PRICES!” Democrats, in the meantime, have long depicted themselves as fight-for-the-little-guy populists crusading against pharmaceutical industry fat cats.

However, key players from both parties have made pivotal decisions at the federal and state levels that have kept drug prices high — and pharmaceutical industry profit margins wide. As part of International Business Times’ ongoing coverage of the fight over drug prices, what follows is a look at six of those individuals, and how their actions have shaped America’s prescription drug market.

Source: Why Are Drug Prices So High? These Politicians Might Have The Answer

Now you know why we pay more for drugs than anyone in the world and thanx to the system these people set up….we will always pay more than they are worth.

Who will step up and make the high cost of drugs a priority?  The Dems?  Of maybe the GOP?

Will Dems Feel The Pain?

The Dems have been on a vision quest to find a message for the upcoming mid-terms…….right now they have nothing but slogans….maybe they think because one person can win with mindless slogans that it will work them as well.

Appears the health care is the proving ground for the next election……the progressive wing of the DNC is pushing for all to recognize and get behind a Medicare for all provision.

House and Senate Democrats have wondered for months whether Bernie Sanders’ supporters might choose to focus their energy on launching primary challenges to party moderates in 2018. They’re about to get an answer.

Sanders has decided the moment is right to launch his proposal for the single-payer health insurance system that helped form the backbone of his presidential message. And Democrats who don’t get behind it could find themselves on the wrong side of the most energetic wing of the party — as well as the once and possibly future presidential candidate who serves as its figurehead.

Source: Sanders ‘litmus test’ alarms Democrats – POLITICO

I see that the normally liberal media is jumping on the DNC to try and prevent it from moving more Left than they are now….

Thirty Democrats disillusioned with their party’s struggles in Middle America have unveiled a new group aimed at expanding its base beyond just the two coasts. The initiative, which comprises current and former mayors, governors, cabinet members and lawmakers, comes complete with a catchy new title, “New Democracy.”

If that name sounds familiar, it’s because it was the same as that given by Mao Zedong to his theory of democracy in communist China.  (of course it does not sound familiar because no one remembers that far back….but it makes for a great political attack)

“In a word, new-democratic culture is the proletarian-led, anti-imperialist and anti-feudal culture of the broad masses,” Mao wrote on New Democracy in 1940, nine years before coming to power in China.

Source: Democrats new slogan borrows from communist China

A shame when even a liberal media would use such yellow tactics against the Dems…..but their efforts may be a moot point….for you see the DSA is making headway against these cowards in the DNC……

The Democratic Socialists of America are meeting there this week as part of the group’s biannual convention. In the wake of a surge of new interest over the past year, the organization announced earlier this week that it now has 25,000 dues-paying members — a historic peak for the group that makes it the largest socialist organization in the country since World War II.

David Duhalde, DSA’s Deputy Director, was brought on by the organization in 2015. He told The Intercept that shortly before the November election, the organization had between 7,000 to 8,000 members. On November 9, they started seeing supporters of Vermont’s Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presidential run and others flooding into DSA.

Source: Democratic Socialists of America Celebrate Record Membership in Chicago. Now What?

I for one think that this turn is for the best…..time for the DNC to return to being where it belongs….with the working class.

So the question is….will the Dems return to being the party of working America or will they stay in the lane with big money?

What say you?

We Are Better Than This

Surely everyone knows about the mash-up in Virginia this past weekend…..it illustrated that the fights of the 1950-‘s and 60’s are still being fought …..that issues from the past have never gone away.

I read a good op-ed entitled…”We Are Better Than This”…..

Making America Great Again means entertaining support from white supremacists, neo-Nazi’s, the Ku Klux Klan, the survivalist movement, vigilante militias, and it is all neatly packaged in a spiffy new advertising meme labelled the alt-right.

Okay, America, we are now experiencing what it means to go back in time. This is what they meant when they said we were going to take America back. It meant we were going to revisit the good ole’ days when overt racism was the order of the day, when nuclear detonations were rationalized and accepted as, well acceptable, when white men made all the decisions and coal was king. Back to the days when environmental degradation was a critical component to economic progress. Back when civil liberties could be curtailed in the name of law and order, especially if you were from the classes of the troublemakers

Source: We Are Better Than This – LA Progressive

I am sorry but this type of thing, these confrontations, does nothing to “Make America Great Again”….

The President has come out with comments on the violence…..

President Trump’s comments so far on the violence in Charlottesville have been denounced by those on both sides of the political aisle. A sampling of columnists’ takes on his response:

  • In the New Yorker, Jelani Cobb says this is one of the weakest responses to Nazism America has seen. Even the eventual White House clarification wasn’t much better than Trump’s original response. “When questioned about the rationale for Trump’s evenhandedness, the White House clarified that both the protesters and the counter-protesters had resorted to violence. This is notable in that the United States was once a country that did not see Nazis and those willing to fight them as morally equivalent.”
  • At CNN, Timothy Stanley says Trump failed this test. The president likely sees “not a prejudice problem but a crisis of law and order” when he looks at what happened in Virginia, just like many conservatives consider the KKK and Black Lives Matter “as bad as each other.” But “Black Lives Matter, for all its faults, sees a truth that Trump does not: America operates an unjust racial hierarchy in which people of color are relegated to the bottom. When African-Americans protest, they are expressing their powerlessness, they are punching upwards. White supremacists, by contrast, enjoy power and authority. They are punching downwards out of irrational hate.”
  • At FiveThirtyEight, Julia Azari points out why it’s interesting Trump isn’t specifically condemning white supremacy. His “comments are striking for a couple of reasons. For one, Trump repeatedly denounced his predecessor, Barack Obama, for refusing to use the phrase ‘radical Islamic terrorism’ to refer to attacks by Islamist radicals. For another, denouncing Friday’s white supremacist protest and Saturday’s (apparent) attack should have been comparatively easy for an American politician.”
  • Michael Gerson acknowledges at the Washington Post that it’s difficult to find the right words in the face of a tragedy like this, but Trump is, apparently, completely incapable of doing so. “The flash point in Charlottesville was the history of the Civil War,” and “the oppression and trauma that led to Appomattox did not end there. Ghosts still deploy on these battlefields. And the casualties continue. But Trump could offer no context for this latest conflict. No inspiring ideals from the author of the Declaration of Independence, who called Charlottesville home. No healing words from the president who was killed by a white supremacist. By his flat, foolish utterance, Trump proved once again that he has no place in the company of these leaders.”
  • In the New York Times, conservative writer and radio show host Erick-Woods Erickson weighs in. Though he considers the “social justice warriors” of the far left and the white supremacists of the far right to be “two sides of the same coin,” Erickson points out that a white supremacist was allegedly to blame for this violence. “On a day that saw one person killed during the Charlottesville violence, the president did not need to play the ‘both sides are culpable’ game. No side would be protesting in Charlottesville had not the white supremacists decided to march.”

Sad thing is that this is not an isolated occurrence…..more to come….

There is a wealth of articles and such about what the country should do about this rise in hatred…..a better question would be “what will this country do about this rise in hatred”?

Its The Farts!

Most people on WP have a cat or a dog and they post on their antics, moods, photos ……(I’ll get back to our furry friends in a moment)……

Awhile back there was a theory floated out there that the dinosaurs because of their immense size and their diet were allowing massive amounts of methane into the air….more simply…the did a lot of farting.

Then there was the theory that all the cows across the globe were farting constantly and thus the methane level was rising across the world.

Now back to the cats and the dogs……

A UCLA professor isn’t saying anyone who cares about the environment should get rid of their beloved pet dog and/or cat. But he’s not not saying that either. It’s widely accepted that eating meat is bad for the environment for a number of reasons, and it turns out our pets eat a whole lot of meat—in fact a country comprised only of the US’ cats and dogs would place fifth in global meat consumption, according to a press release. Professor Gregory Okin was interested in the environmental impacts of our pets and—in a paper published Wednesday in PLOS One—calculates that American cats and dogs create about 64 million tons of carbon dioxide per year due to eating meat. That’s equivalent to the yearly output of 13.6 million cars. “The numbers are surprisingly large,” he tells the Sacramento Bee.

All told, cats and dogs account for 25% to 30% of the environmental impact of meat consumption in the US. Okin says that’s “huge.” And yet, he’s “not saying people should go out and kill their animals or feed them something that isn’t appropriate”—like an all-veggie diet. Okin does identify a number of possible ways to lessen the problem: people could transition to vegetarian pets, such as hamsters, birds, and chickens (which have the added benefit of providing protein for their owners); the pet food industry could get more sustainable and find alternate sources of protein; and, according to the Santa Monica Mirror, pet owners can make sure they’re not over-feeding their dogs and cats.

If the climate is changing then these “scientists” want to blame our furry friends.

Does not matter to me….my two dogs may fart as much as they like….please just do it another room.

Time for some figs, bleu cheese and honey…..the grill will be busy today…..I will be making a hand made pizza….a meat lovers of course…….be well, be safe…..chuq

Aging Sucks!

Another weekend begins and I have been dealing with lots of issues so a couple of days away from the “news crawler” would be nothing but a good deal.

There is an ad on TV these days about sending in your spit so they can analyze your ‘telemeres”…it is an aging thing…..and now some research has been done along those lines…..

To err is human—our own cells do it all the time. But new research suggests that when it comes to aging, there may be a workaround. Scientists report in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology that they triggered cells to produce the protein telomerase, which lengthens the telomeres at the ends of chromosomes. (Telomeres shorten as we age.) The scientists used cells taken from 17 children with the rare genetic condition progeria, which causes them to age fast and typically die in their teens. Before the therapy, the kids’ cells would “multiply very poorly and then die,” Cooke tells Vice. After delivering RNA right into the cells to spur the production of telomerase, they saw a “dramatic improvement” as cells “proliferated normally.”

The study is small and the research is young, and many experts are highly skeptical. One professor of medical genetics at the University of British Columbia goes so far as to call attempts at telomere lengthening “snake oil,” and says that while telomeres shorten as we age, the correlation isn’t perfect and doesn’t necessarily signal good health or longevity. Plus, there may be at least one evolutionary benefit to telomeres shrinking over time; when cells become too short, they stop dividing and die. At least in the case of cancerous cells, that’s a defense mechanism. Meanwhile, a study out of New King’s College London published in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology finds that bipolar disorder may shorten telomeres faster, while patients treated with lithium appear to reverse that effect.

They say another sign of old age is when we start talking to ourselves……my grandfather once said…”when you talk to yourself you talk to a better class of people”…..

Believe it or not….but there has been some research done in this field…..

Talking to yourself doesn’t mean you’re crazy. In fact, the habit might be downright smart. That’s the takeaway from a new study in Scientific Reports, which involved two separate experiments. In the first, researchers at Michigan State University and the University of Michigan monitored the brain activity of 29 students who were asked to review neutral and disturbing images and talk about how they felt while referring to themselves in the first and third persons, reports Today. In the second, researchers asked 50 participants to internally reflect on painful experiences in the same way. In both cases, “third person self-talk” allowed participants to better regulate their emotions to relieve stress, researchers say. “It kind of switches you to a different mode of experiencing negative emotions when you use your name rather than the word, ‘I,'” says the lead researcher.

Indeed, when students were met with disturbing images, activity in the regions of the brain involving emotions decreased within one second of third person self-talk, reports Newsweek. Both experiments also showed referring to oneself in the third person required no more effort than referring to oneself in the first person and much less effort than other forms of emotion regulation, like positive thinking. With third person self-talk, “it’s like you’re viewing [a situation] from an outsider perspective” and gaining “a tiny bit of psychological distance,” researcher Jason Moser explains, per a release. “It really does help.” An example, he says, would be to tell yourself, “Jason is really scared” and explain why during a stress-inducing situation. Moser even says psychologists should recommend it for those struggling with anxiety and stress. (Hearing voices might not be bad, either.)

This old fart is going to have some snacks and wine…..see you guys tomorrow….chuq

GOP Abandons All Pretense

Many years now I have been saying that the GOP is full of hypocrites….and recently they have proved it in a big way.

For ages the GOP has pretended that the military and our veterans were something special and heroes for their service…..

Every election they salute our veterans and use them as political props….but since the election of Donald J. Trump there has been a bit of a push back against these false narratives.

Recently head of the NSC has been attacked by the GOP and some within the party because he threw some of the alt-Right people out of the Council…..Even military veterans inside Trump’s own White House are not immune. Retired Gen. H. R. McMaster, Trump’s National Security Adviser and a Silver Star recipient, has been attacked by the far right after he fired some extreme nationalists from the NSC.

Then there is John McCain after his cancer diagnosis….RNC member Diana Orrock retweeted a call for McCain, who is being treated for brain cancer, to “please just fucking die already.” Alt-right communities online openly celebrated his diagnosis, calling it “godly justice.”

And these are just a few examples of the crap they are spreading……

Source: GOP smears a Silver Star general, Purple Heart veteran, and former POW in week of shame – Shareblue

Looks like their heroes are only heroes when they are useful….like I said f*cking hypocrites!

The GOP is killing itself…..a party ideas in the past they have become a party of opposition only…..NO real agenda on anything….just words in a campaign ad.

All this division within the White House is not getting anything done to “Make America Great Again”!

You people that voted for this clusterfuck asked for and now you have.

Congrats!

State Run Media

Is it possible that we could be getting a state run news outlet?

Back during the campaign and shortly after he took office I wrote about the possibility of a Trump News Network…..there were several ways that he, Trump, could set up his own news network

Source: A Step Closer To Trump TV – In Saner Thought

We have a bit of a network dedicated to Trump and his views…it is a YouTube channel…..for now it is called “Trump Breaking News Network”……

Well news has come out that a company, a broadcast company, is in the move to push the Trump agenda disguised as news.

During the 2016 Presidential campaign, the Sinclair Broadcasting group cut a deal with Jared Kushner for “good” coverage of the Trump Administration, which seems to have paid off.

Politico reported last December:

Sinclair would broadcast their Trump interviews across the country without commentary, Kushner said. Kushner highlighted that Sinclair, in states like Ohio, reaches a much wider audience — around 250,000 viewers[sic]— than networks like CNN, which reach somewhere around 30,000.

With Fox News suffering several major setbacks in the past year, Sinclair Broadcasting is making moves to become the new giant of right-wing media. Many are now calling Sinclair ‘Trump TV.’

Source: ‘Classic Propaganda’: Sinclair Broadcasting Pushes Aside Fox News to Become ‘Trump TV’ | Common Dreams

Sinclair if successful will be able to push the Trump news to about 72% of the nation.  There will be mandatory stories on these local stations that carry the Trump view and of course will be pushing that the MSM is the enemy and a purveyor of fake news.

They have even hired the communications officer of the RNC as their chief political analyst…if this comes about then we are running close to having state controlled media….and I do not believe that is what the Founders had in mind…..do you?

Of course my more radical Right wing brethren will argue that the MSM is already pushing the “liberal” agenda….and I will say that I can see why they claim such….but I do not think that these main stream media outlets are always pushing fake news…I will admit that they do have a tendency to be used as a propaganda tool….but most are doing their jobs whether we like their reports or not…..

This still smells like some sort of authoritarian power grab to me.