US Religious Police Emerge……as Iran Abolishes it’s….

With some irony it should be noted that Iran under public pressure is deemphasizing and maybe abolishing it’s religious police. Meanwhile in the U.S. our Supreme Court appears to be moving to enforce religious orthodoxy by declaring unlimited rights for believers at the expense of others freedoms.

Medicynical Note: Religious freedom used to include the freedom from religion. Now every “devout” person can be offended by the simple fact of non-believers and discriminate against them. This “right” seemingly has infinite applicability. Next up will be a suit against having to serve those of a different faith; different color; different national origin; who knows?

Sadly a the arbiters of this suit will be a reactionary Supreme Court majority. A majority that follow the beliefs of a religion that in many locales has bankrupted itself paying off victims of it’s priests’ immoral behavior. Ironic? Or Tragic?

Everything, Everyone……… for Sale

In a country that values money as speech and in which every elected representative is, arguably, for sale this comes as no surprise.

Medicynical Note: Given the politicization of the military it’s only a matter of time before we learn of active duty types being compromised by monied political types…… it may have happened already given the sordid Retired General Flynn’s track record.

Each of these generals has a retirement package from their thankful government that is better than that available for 99.9% of the U.S. public. They do not need the money. But in America it appears that everything and every one ……. is for sale. Including our feckless Supreme Court who made it all possible and is destroying America one ruling at a time.

Lying Huckster Can Invoke Bankruptcy Protection…. Federal Student Borrowers Can’t

Alex Jones after tormenting the victims of the Sandy Hook massacre was sued for defamation and calling the school shooting (26 victims) a hoax. He owes over a billion dollars.

He apparently can and has filed for bankruptcy debt relief (after allegedly hiding assets). Meanwhile students deeply in debt from college loans, some having been scammed by for profit “institutions” (sic) are barred from this way of satisfying overwhelming debt. Ironic, maybe, but that’s America.

Medicynical Comment: I’m speechless.

Election Fraud: Set a Thief to Catch a Thief?

Those paragon’s of virtue, Republican governors who spent the first two years of the 2020’s trying to game redistricting, spent millions of dollars this cycle on trying to find really real election fraud.

Medicynical Note: Since the Supreme Court, yes the conservative dominated one, abdicated on the oversight of fairness in elections, republican states have worked diligently to suppress the vote of and redistrict democratic opponents. These fraudulent democracy advocates are the so-called “fair”elections guys out there looking for voter fraud. Ironic…..or just tragic?

Once when working overseas I could feel secure in the legitimacy of American elections. But since the money=speech decision and the Supreme Court’s stepwise dismantling of the historic voting rights act, everything is open to question.

Incompetent Policing: Colorado Springs Slaughter

“But the law that allows guns to be removed from people deemed dangerous to themselves or others has seldom been used in the state, particularly in El Paso County, home to Colorado Springs, where the 22-year-old Aldrich allegedly went into Club Q with a long gun just before midnight and opened fire before he was subdued by patrons.’

“”If the justice system had followed through with something, anything … he wouldn’t likely have had access to be able to get a weapon and five people wouldn’t have died,” Bowman said.”

Medicynical Note: Given the dereliction of duty by the Chief of Police and his office I would hope the victims of this preventable massacre force the firing of the chief and obtain massive compensation from the city and county for their loss.

This only happens in the U.S. where guns are cheap and available to anyone; where our police forget the protect part of their duty while cashing their paychecks; where children in school live in fear; where innocents are regularly slaughtered (over 600 mass shootings this year). This happens rarely if ever elsewhere. That’s a fact.

It’s not that we have more mental health problems than elsewhere, it’s not the doors; it’s not the founders (they’d be appalled); in most cases it’s not police incompetence; ITS THE GUNS.

Catholicism: No Shame

As they have done in the past these folks seem unable to show contrition. To them it appears to be simply a matter of saying they have sinned and all is forgiven.

Medicynical note: As an organization the Catholic Church has harbored more abusers of women and children than almost any other currently active organization. It would seem to lack credibly on moral issues.

This is not just ancient history. During WWII while there were heroic individuals, the church seemed to tolerate Nazis and ignored the holocaust both in Italy and elsewhere. Later in the 20th century they aided and abetted atrocities against indigenous peoples on almost every continent (not Antarctica), they shielded abusive priests in the U.S., and to their everlasting shame participated in the atrocities of the dictators in Argentina, Chile and Franco’s Spain.

Now while still paying off previous victims they offer advice on morality.

Addendum: And this on November 18 2022. Our Supreme Court is dominated by this group’s “theology.” Unbelievable.

America’s Carnage…. Continues. It’s the guns.

“At least 68 shootings have unfolded this year on US school grounds, including 15 on college campuses, CNN data shows.”

Medicynical Note: America’s so called “freedom” is killing us. Yesterday’s school shootings involved two Universities, why? Because it’s so easy. (See here and here). (See below for correction)

America leads the industrialized world in school shootings, shootings of individuals by police officers (often unarmed and innocent), shootings of police officers, mass shootings, gun involved murders, gun involved suicides, and accidental shootings. It’s not close.

It’s not mental health, it’s not the doors at the schools, it’s not increased lawlessness in America, it’s the guns. Thoughts and prayers don’t help. To think otherwise is stupid

Meanwhile the folks who made this slaughter possible sit in their protected enclave in fear of peaceful unarmed protesters. They piously offer clever quips about their actions. Extending the world of 240 years ago to the modern day, selling out to campaign contributions of an amoral industry, and supporting a “freedom” based in part on support of slavery is not, to me, a good idea. We simply make it easier to kill. America the not so beautiful.

Addendum: Just announced (afternoon Nov. 15) that the U of Idaho killings were with a “bladed” weapon. Amended the above to refer only to the UVA shootings.

The Laugher (Laffer) Curve….Still a joke

How can an economic theory that has never worked still be treated as gospel?

“Laffer “plays a kind of P.T. Barnum of economics,” said Robert Reich, President Bill Clinton’s labor secretary. “Washington loves big personalities with wild ideas that save rich people money.””

““A charlatan who claims to be an economist,” is how former Reagan budget adviser David Stockman described Laffer in a 2013 CSPAN interview.”

“A “preposterous theory,” Steven Rattner, a former Treasury official under President Barack Obama, wrote in a 2019 New York Times essay, referring to Laffer’s idea that cutting taxes increases revenue.”

Medicynical Note: Why does this ridiculous concept still exist? Why did this clown get a presidential medal (sic degraded because it was from Trump)? Because…… Laffer’s plan conforms to republican orthodoxy in that it supports tax cuts for the wealthy. Fox News has been on board since the beginning because……well you know……facts don’t exist there.

The fact that deficits always grow after Laffer tax cuts is overlooked and blamed, you know, on the other guys.

We’ve been a country running on propaganda and lies since the Reagan era. It’s happening again and those predicting disaster may well be right as Republicans look ready to return to majorities (I hope I’m wrong) in congress. Vance Packard is turning over in his grave.

Guns, Fear, Death and Irony in Permitless-Carry America

Supreme Court Justice Alito recently said he felt “threatened by unarmed people as they used their first amendment rights to protest court decisions.

Meanwhile around the U.S. more and more states are implement the court’s permitless-carry rulings and more people around the country openly carry weapons.

Medicynical Note: Parenthetically this is a freedom created by the same conservative Supreme Court justices that now say they live in fear of being shot, in part, because of it.

Police, as a group inexplicably seem to favor all “2nd amendment rights,” including open carry. But ironically or tragically they are one of the groups at greatest risk from this “freedom.”

America leads the industrialized world in police deaths from guns, and people, innocents and perps, being shot by police. We also are the industrial world leaders in all other gun deaths including accidental shootings, mass shootings, school shootings, suicides by guns, armed assaults and robberies.

Each year local governments, pay out millions of dollars to innocents and their survivors and bystanders erroneously shot by police using excess force…..often because they work and live in fear of being shot themselves.

And all this is based on a constitutional amendment and tradition that arguably had it’s origin in slavery and racism. This is American freedom?

$35,500 Medication in U.S. …… $250 in the U.K. The U.S. Medical Scam

I’ve previously talked about the manipulation of medical prices through price gouging and medical code game playing. What follows is an example. Not unusual. It happens every day in the U.S. of A.

“Total Bill: $73,812 for the two shots ($35,414 for the first, $38,398 for the second), including lab work and physician charges. United Healthcare’s negotiated rate for the two shots plus associated fees was $27,568, of which the insurer paid $19,567. After Hinds haggled with the hospital and insurer for more than a year, his share of the bills was determined to be nearly $7,000.”

Medicynical Note: Almost everything on this bill is a manipulation of the system. First, the pricing of the lab tests. Each are inflated probably several times the actual cost of doing the test or the price of the test done for outpatients. Next, the cost of the medication leuprolide $35,000 (gasp!). This, for a drug developed in 1973 and priced at a few hundred dollar just a few years ago and costing $250 or less in overseas healthcare systems. Current pricing in various locales here. And lastly the use of codes to increase the billing i.e. separating the office visit fee from an “evaluation and management” fee. Both events, of course, happened simultaneously. Or consider the over $500 fee for a quick, less than a 1 minute, administration of a drug that has almost no immediate side effects. The nurse administering the drug didn’t even have to find a syringe to draw up the medication as it comes ready to go in a syringe.

Healthcare pricing has little to do with actual costs. This patient had insurance and paid a “negotiated” reduced but still excessive amount. But if he had no insurance he would have been billed and held accountable for the full amount, unless maybe he could claim poverty or was a skilled negotiator.

The finances of healthcare in the United States are worse than going to a used car lot and dickering for a car……and more expensive. When you understand that the CEOs’ of so-called health-care companies major concern is income not outcomes than you understand why we pay so much.