40% More Jaw-dropping Fun, HRC Edition

jaw drop 2
Gobsmacked! As if things could not get weird enough, Hillary Rodham Clinton is so transparently on defense about her classified emails that my jaw actually dropped to the floor reading the Politico article linked above (40% chance of being updated by morning, so I grabbed the whole thing, JIC).

For those just catching up, the NYT published an article Friday about some Inspectors General requesting a criminal probe of classified information that was sent/received via Clinton’s personal email, and then the Paper of Record changed it after pushback by Team Clinton. And then they got caught red-handed altering the story.

jaw drop

For those just catching up, yes, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton used a personal email address AND a private server to communicate electronically during her tenure. For those just catching up, yes, that is possibly without a doubt the most ridiculously transparent attempt to circumvent transparency laws the political world has ever seen, and that includes the missing minutes on the Nixon tapes. And finally, for those just catching up, the mainstream media has been pretending for months that all of this is just routine politics, nothing to see here, move along, why dontcha. Forgive & forget, riiiiight?


But that’s all utter bullshite.

Speaking of bullshite, here’s HRC’s defense, from the Politico article (first link in this post):

Continue reading

Posted in clusterfucks | Tagged , , | 92 Comments

The Rise of the “Radical Middle”

This is an Open Thread.

Posted in Uncategorized | 115 Comments

It’s Called “Capitalism”

"What do you mean, 'May cause side effects?'"

“What do you mean, ‘May cause side effects?'”

I’d love to hear Riverdaughter’s take on this:

Drug Prices Soar, Prompting Calls for Justification

As complaints grow about exorbitant drug prices, pharmaceutical companies are coming under pressure to disclose the development costs and profits of those medicines and the rationale for charging what they do.

So-called pharmaceutical cost transparency bills have been introduced in at least six state legislatures in the last year, aiming to make drug companies justify their prices, which are often attributed to high research and development costs.

“If a prescription drug demands an outrageous price tag, the public, insurers and federal, state and local governments should have access to the information that supposedly justifies the cost,” says the preamble of a bill introduced in the New York State Senate in May.

In an article being published Thursday, more than 100 prominent oncologists called for support of a grass-roots movement to stem the rapid increases of prices of cancer drugs, including by letting Medicare negotiate prices with pharmaceutical companies and letting patients import less expensive medicines from Canada.

“There is no relief in sight because drug companies keep challenging the market with even higher prices,” the doctors wrote in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings. “This raises the question of whether current pricing of cancer drugs is based on reasonable expectation of return on investment or whether it is based on what prices the market can bear.”

Pressure is mounting from elsewhere as well. The top Republican and Democrat on the United States Senate Finance Committee last year demanded detailed cost data from Gilead Sciences, whose hepatitis C drugs, which cost $1,000 a pill or more, have strained the budgets of state and federal health programs. The U.A.W. Retiree Medical Benefits Trust tried to make Gilead, Vertex Pharmaceuticals, Celgene and other companies report to their shareholders more about how they set prices and the risks to their businesses from resistance to high drug prices.

The trust cited the more than $300,000 per year price of Vertex’s cystic fibrosis drug Kalydeco and roughly $150,000 for Celgene’s cancer drug Revlimid.

Even former President Bill Clinton, in a speech to pharmaceutical executives in Philadelphia last month, said it would be in the industry’s best interest to say more about its costs and pricing.

“Explain, explain, explain and disclose, disclose, disclose,” Mr. Clinton said, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer. “Don’t expect everybody to love you, but at least they will hear your side of the story.”

The pharmaceutical industry has already had the veil lifted on various practices. Drug companies now have to report the payments, including meals and entertainment, that they make to doctors for research, consulting and giving promotional speeches. The companies have also had to disclose more results of their clinical trials and in some cases have started to provide raw data to outsiders.

It is unclear if cost and pricing will become the next such area. The state bills, which are supported by some health insurers and consumer groups, have not progressed. The two senators, Republican Charles E. Grassley of Iowa and Democrat Ron Wyden of Oregon, have not reported the results of their inquiry. And shareholders of Gilead, Vertex and Celgene voted down the resolutions proposed by the U.A.W. trust, though the trust says it reached settlements with Eli Lilly and with two other drug companies it would not identify.

The pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry trade groups say the transparency bills would be costly to comply with and would provide misleading information.

Even some people concerned about drug prices say that the cost to develop a particular drug has little to do with that drug’s price and that knowing such information will not keep prices down.

“The past R&D cost is really kind of a red herring,” said Len Nichols, a health care economist at George Mason University, referring to research and development. “The current revenue doesn’t pay for past R&D; it pays for current R&D.”

Prices for cancer drugs, some of which extend lives by only a couple of months, routinely exceed $100,000 a year, and some new ones exceed $150,000. And it is not unusual for the list prices of existing drugs to rise 10 percent or more year after year, far beyond the rate of inflation. The prices of older drugs for multiple sclerosis have risen from about $10,000 per year in the late 1990s to more than $60,000 now, according to a study, even as competition in the market has intensified with the introduction of new products.

One more time:

“This raises the question of whether current pricing of cancer drugs is based on reasonable expectation of return on investment or whether it is based on what prices the market can bear.”

Heartless bastards! Trying to make a profit off sick people! What kind of system allows that heinous bullshit??

It’s called “capitalism.”

If you were sitting in a classroom or the Vatican the idea of making a profit off sick people would probably sound morally repugnant. It just feels wrong. Government should do something so that everyone has access to life-saving drugs. We can’t put a price on life!

A few years ago I would be right there with you (in the classroom, not the Vatican). Then I had an epiphany. Actually, I had a few of them, as reality began slapping me back and forth.

Is it just a coincidence that just as Obamacare was passed into law that the pharmaceutical industry in the United States began closing down their R&D departments?

It costs a lot of money and takes many years to develop new drugs and get them approved for market. That’s a big upfront investment, and a lot of times it doesn’t pan out. Even when a drug makes it onto the market you have to spend a lot more money getting people to use it. Insurance companies typically don’t want to pay for it.

Then when you finally start making a profit off your investment you get sued by people who claim your wonder drug made them sick or killed someone they love. If you lose in court you could be facing billions of dollars in settlements and/or jury awards.

So why on earth would anybody waste their money on drug research?

Because the potential profits are YUUUUGE. Take away those potential profits and you take away the incentive to do drug research. There is a reason that communist countries are not on the cutting edge of medical research. It’s the same reason that North Korea is poor and South Korea is prosperous.

If I was dying of cancer I would want any drug that would cure me no matter what it cost. It would be really great if I could get an insurance company or the taxpayers to pay for it. Otherwise it would be unfair to let me die because I couldn’t afford to pay for a miracle drug.


However bad you think the pharmaceutical industry is now, just wait until you see what happens when the government “improves” it.

socialism vc capitalism

Posted in Uncategorized | 134 Comments

One Of These Things Is Not Like The Others


Just a short one cuz I’m still recoopin’ and these vicoden make me fuzzy.


The rise of Black Lives Matter has presented opportunities for Clinton and her opponents, who are seeking to energize black voters to build on the multiethnic coalitions that twice elected Barack Obama. But the candidates have struggled to tap into a movement that has proved unpredictable and fiercely independent. It is a largely organic web of young African American activists — many of them unbound by partisan allegiances and largely un­affiliated with establishment groups such as the NAACP that typically forge close ties with Democrats.

Led by several dozen core activists, many of whom voted for the first time in 2008, Black Lives Matter has organized protests — at times drawing hundreds of participants — in more than two dozen cities and colleges. Many of the movement’s leading activists are among Twitter’s most influential users — with the ability to pump messages out to hundreds of thousands of people, often prompting topics to trend nationwide.

At times, they have pressured media outlets to cover stories surrounding race and justice, and they have leveled sharp critiques of politicians and celebrities that often go viral. In one such instance, activists blasted Clinton when she appeared at a black church near Ferguson last month and said that “all lives matter” — a phrase that struck the demonstrators as dismissive of the unique discrimination against African Americans by law enforcement officers.

The activists say they are ready to make their voices heard in the presidential race. Although they are pressuring candidates to talk more about police brutality, they say they intend to carve out a broader agenda encompassing other issues relating to systemic racism.

“If you are running to be the leader of the free world, it is your responsibility to seize the opportunity that the protest movement has created,” said Brittany Packnett, 30, a St. Louis-based activist who serves on a White House task force formed after the Ferguson protests to study policing issues.

The Obama years have seen the emergence/birth of three separate political movements – the Tea Party, Occupy Wall Street, and Black Lives Matter. Of the three, the media has depicted two positively and one negatively.

The Tea Party has been depicted as a bunch of angry anti-government racist loons who are hellbent on restoring Jim Crow. They are considered dangerous radicals. But so far there hasn’t been a single Tea Party riot. They have managed to elect a few new members of Congress by challenging GOP incumbents.

Occupy Wall Street was depicted as a bunch of idealistic social justice activists who were challenging income inequality and corporatism. There were numerous confrontations between the police and OWS, and to the best of my knowledge they haven’t elected anyone to anything.

Now we have Black Lives Matter. Like OWS they are getting mostly positive treatment from the mainstream media. Like OWS they are a left-wing movement. The Tea Party leaned to the right.

Can you see where I’m going with this? I hope so because it’s 2:30 am and I’m too groggy to go any farther.

Posted in Uncategorized | 96 Comments

Scammer Alert


My mom got a call today from some guy with a strong East Indian accent who was calling from a blocked number and said he was from Windows Tech Support. He told her that hackers had tried to access her computer and wanted to something something something. He gave her a number he said she could call to verify he was for real.

I don’t know exactly where he was going with his scam because she hung up on him like I had told her to do. I googled the number and it is associated with a number of scams over the past few years. Then I googled “windows tech support scam” and discovered numerous articles.


Someone tried a different scam on our friend Helen recently but she didn’t fall for it. Unfortunately, lots of people do fall for these scams, and for various reasons the cops aren’t particularly interested in doing anything about it.

A simple policy is to screen calls and don’t call back anyone you don’t know. If a stranger calls the odds are it’s a telemarketer, a bill collector or a scammer.

Don’t be a victim!

This is an open thread.

PS: I had two teeth pulled today. The vicoden and beer are just starting to kick in.

Well hello handsome!

Well hello handsome!

Posted in Uncategorized | 19 Comments

And Now For Something REALLY Important


Forget about Iran getting nukes and Planned Parenthood selling baby parts, here is something really important:

Nicki Minaj and Taylor Swift engaged in an unexpected back-and-forth on Twitter today after Swift took issue with Minaj’s Tweets about being snubbed from the MTV Video Music Awards “Video of the Year” category. Minaj got a nod in the “Best Female Video” and “Best Hip-Hop Video” categories for “Anaconda” but rightfully felt left out of that coveted “Video of the Year” grouping. For reference, nominees in the biggest category of the night include Taylor Swift herself, Beyonce, Ed Sheeran, and Mark Ronson.

Minaj criticized MTV for the decision on Twitter earlier today, raising the possibility that her status as a Black female artist consistently relegates her to so-called urban categories like “Best Hip-Hop Video.” “If your video celebrates women with very slim bodies, you will be nominated for vid of the year,” she wrote. Swift took obvious offense, taking the Tweet as a personal slight, writing, “I’ve done nothing but love & support you. It’s unlike you to pit women against each other. Maybe one of the men took your slot.”

Minaj fired right back, letting Taylor know the Tweets weren’t directed at her at all. “Huh?” Minaj Tweeted. “U must not be reading my tweets. Didn’t say a word about u. I love u just as much. But u should speak on this.” She added soon after, “@taylorswift13 I’m still confused as to why u just tweeted me when I made it abundantly clear…”

Taylor seemed to back down in her own response inviting Minaj to share her win if “Bad Blood” takes home the award.

Just in case you are unclear what Nicki Minaj was saying:

Black women have never won the VMA for Video of the Year except for in 1995, 1997, 2001, 2003, 2007, 2009 and 2012. I don’t know how many have been nominated over the years but it’s a lot.

I am really sick of this shit. Does everything have to be politicized and racialized?

Taylor Swift dominated the music industry this year. To suggest that nominating her for a major award was somehow racist is bullshit. It’s not like none of the other nominees is black. Of the two women nominated this year 50% of them are black. Black artists Bruno Mars and Kendrick Lamar are both nominated as well.

But let’s not let facts get in the way. Black people were oppressed and discriminated against. As reparations for the way they were treated, they deserve to win all the awards for while. All the nominations too. Only then can we have justice.


Posted in Taylor Swift | Tagged | 127 Comments

Tuesday Open Thread

I don't GAS

It’s 3:50 am and I got nothing.

See you in a few hours.


Posted in Uncategorized | 86 Comments