Category Archives: Ethics

LIV Golf and the Saudis: Sportswashing

I’m not a golfer and could care less whether LIV golf is successful. But I do think we should understand the motivation of the Saudi government sponsor. In the case of LIV, the Saudis are paying hundreds of millions of dollars to buy, I’m told, top golfers and to sponsor golf tournaments. Yes, the same government involved in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the embassy of Saudi Arabia in Turkey is bringing us LIV. (a bit ironic to say the least)

“Saudi officials said the journalist was killed in a “rogue operation” by a team of agents sent to persuade him to return to the kingdom, while Turkish officials said the agents acted on orders from the highest levels of the Saudi government.”

Now, just a few years later the oil-wealthy Saudi’s are attempting to distract the world from it’s past by sponsoring sports events, and golf is not their only target.

Saudi Arabia has proved to be an alluring hub for sports events over the past few years, having signed a 10-year, $650m deal for a Formula One motor racing event, having invested millions in a Saudi International golf event, and hosted some of the biggest boxing showdowns in recent memory. The kingdom has also hired the Boston Consulting Group to help lobby its interest in hosting a World Cup event in the not-so-distant future.”

But the assassination of Khashoggi was not an isolated killing for the Saudis. It’s more the tip of an iceberg of killings and disappearances within Saudi Arabia.

Medicynical Note: it’s depressing. Sports icons such as Messi and Ronaldo and the prominent golf pros sell themselves and participate in events sponsored by an amoral and murderous regime. We watch and participate. We think nothing of going to the World Cup in Russia or Qatar. If we have no conscience we might even watch an obscure LIV golf event. We watch as the icons of world sport sell themselves and while they’re playing, people die.

Metal Detectors For Kindergardeners….. the Real America?

Reaping what the Supreme Court has sowed. The United States of America is the only place on earth where T.S.A.-like guards subject kindergarteners to daily security screening. Is this the “real” America? Is this what conservative America thinks is “freedom.”

Medicynical note: Our conservative Supreme Court majority has decreed that literally any attempt to control access to or the actual carrying of guns on our streets and malls is a threat to “freedom” and unconstitutional. Meanwhile the justices sit at home shaking in fear and complaining about the threat of people in front of their homes who might be carrying a gun. Ironic? Or just sicko?

Meanwhile the rest of us, including our children and grandchildren are subjected to mass shootings, threats of bodily harm, shooting incidents and now the daily screening for weapons as they go to school. “Freedom” in America has become a sick joke.

More Massacres: America Reaps what it has Sowed

America’s cavalier gun policies move toward their natural endpoint. Killings blossom out of nowhere, collateral damage (death) abounds. It’s no nightmare, it’s America’s self-inflicted hell on earth.

“Broadened out to include all deaths from gun violence, not including suicides, 1,214 people have been killed before the end of the first month of this year, including 120 children. That is likely to increase to tens of thousands by the end of 2023 – the figure for 2022 is 20,200.”

“In comparison, the latest data from the UK showed that in the course of an entire year ending in March 2022, 31 people were killed by firearms. The UK’s population is 67 million to the US’s 333 million.”

Medicynical Note: Ah can you feel the freedom! It’s an almost daily gift from the thoughts and prayers folks. From the conservative members of the Supreme Court who made this all possible and quake in fear of people with……. guns; to the feckless Republican Party who thinks this is just another sign of “freedom” to the emergency responders who must be exhausted by the mayhem. It’s deja vous all over again. It’s “Groundhog Day” until we get it right…….

We’ve become a parody of ourselves. This is not at all like the good old days. It’s a self inflicted purgatory— and speaking of the afterlife, wonder what all those gun carrying evangelicals think? Is this their idea of heaven?

A Six Year Old Perp: Guns in America

Anyone think this is what the Supreme Court had in mind when they legalized guns everywhere for everyone?

Sadly this Onionesque headline is real.

“We did not have a situation where someone was going around the school shooting,” Newport News police chief Drew told reporters. “We have a situation in one particular location where a gunshot was fired.”

“He added that the shooting was not an accident.” (Emphasis Medicynic)

“The student has since been taken into custody, and the teacher, a woman in her 30s, was taken to a local hospital to be treated for injuries that were “believed to be life-threatening”, according to the police department. Drew told reporters the teacher’s condition had improved somewhat by late afternoon.”

Medicynical Note: This really happened…..in…..America. WTF happened to us?

On the same day it was reported that 323 police were shot and 60 died in 2022 while 1400 people were shot and killed by police in 2022 and that since 2014 over 8000 people have been shot and killed by police.

Ironically, the people who made the killings possible and common, the people who gave us the “freedom” to kill, our conservative Supreme Court members, say that are “afraid” of people carrying guns near their homes.

And our brave police who should be leading the fight against gun violence, continue as a group to support deregulating gun ownership. They do this to the point of often refusing to enforce gun laws (Connecticut is just one example).

And we all live in fear. Welcome to America in 2023.

Supremes Scared of Guns Everywhere….and the rest of us?

The Supreme Court that has supported guns everywhere for everyone is afraid……..of guns. “The law requires every judge to swear an oath to perform his or her work without fear or favor, but we must support judges by ensuring their safety,” Roberts wrote in his nine-page report. “A judicial system cannot and should not live in fear. The events of Little Rock teach about the importance of rule by law instead of by mob.”

Medicynical Note: Mass shootings in America almost daily. School shootings several times a year. And the judges who made it all possible are……… scared. What about the rest of us?

De-regulation’s Consequence— Arizona’s Water

When deregulation allows the payments to legislators and judges in various forms, and sale of literally everything including resources such as water,problems follow. (Psst, bribery everywhere else in the world)

“Arizona’s water is running worryingly low. Amid the worst drought in more than a millennium, which has left communities across the state with barren wells, the state is depleting what remains of its precious groundwater. Much of it goes to private companies nearly free, including Saudi Arabia’s largest dairy company.”

Medicynical Note: Over the years a segment of our country influenced by greed and a form of I’ll-conceived idealism became convinced that privatization would lead to efficiency and cost savings. After all, in capitalism, competition forces all players to compete and be ruthlessly efficient.

As we’ve watched this fantasy play out over the last 40 years (since Reagan) it’s fallacies have become obvious. We forgot that unstated goal of capitalists is not competition but monopoly. When services are privatized and unregulated, profits become more important than services. Short term revenue generation to stockholders takes precedence over the quality of outcomes, sustainability, or the well being of a local population or individual.

This thinking has led us to become an armed camp influenced by the NRA and gun manufacturers; a country in which health care is unaffordable and whose prices increase yearly by multiples of the inflation; a country in which resources are sold off to the highest bidder; and a country in which our legislators and judges are legally influenced by payments (made legal by those same judges).

Arizona is just one example.

Over the Counter Meds— Benadryl vs Diphenhydramine

Below are ads for the anti-allergy antihistamine and sleep aid diphenhydramine, perhaps better known as Benadryl, from the internet on Dec. 22, 2022. This allergy medication has been on the market for over 50 years. It’s been available as a generic for almost all that time and yet it’s still marketed under it’s brand name, Benadryl. It’s priced from around a penny (Costco in-store price under $5.00) or two (Walmart) / pill for the generic diphenhydramine versus ten cents to 20 or 30 cents/pill for the branded Benadryl pills. And everyone selling the medication makes a substantial profit. That the magic of capitalism.

Medicynic Note: The actual cost for the diphenhydramine must be a fraction of a penny/pill— Neither Costco nor Walmart sell this drug at a loss.

However the brand name version still outsells the generic, so it’s no wonder that drug and pharmacy companies still sell the brand name version but at 10-20 times their actual cost for the medication.

CVS and Rite-aid also show the brand name with their own CVS/Rite-aid label generic version…..usually at 50-75% of the branded prices above.

Healthcare in America: Income over Outcomes!

America has a system of revenue generation that it calls healthcare. Many of it’s “healthcare” corporations work more diligently to improve revenue and income than on improving patient access, affordability and outcomes. That’s American private healthcare even if the company involved is supposedly “non-profit.” This article documents some of the actions of a large non-profit church run hospital system. In reality it is a cash cow that launders hospital income into huge privately held investments.

As noted in the article “But The Times this year has documented how large chains of nonprofit hospitals have moved away from their charitable missions.”

“Some have skimped on free care for the poor, illegally saddling tens of thousands of patients with debts. Others have plowed resources into affluent suburbs while siphoning money from poorer areas.’

And: “Today, Ascension operates in 19 states, mostly in the South and the Midwest. It serves about six million patients.”

“By many measures, Ascension is rich.”

“In addition to its billions in cash, it runs an investment company that manages more than $41 billion. Last year it paid its chief executive, Joseph Impicciche, $13 million.”

“Because of its nonprofit status, Ascension avoids more than $1 billion a year in federal, state and local taxes, according to the Lown Institute, a health care think tank.”

Medicynical Note: In large areas of the country, because of the tax advantage from their non-profit and church related status, hospitals like Ascensions’ have become the only provider of health care, dominating both inpatient and outpatient services. Besides scrimping on staffing and services to maximize return they also enforce health care religious proscriptions on their non-practicing patients and staff.

In the end America has a revenue generating rather than a health generating system of care. It’s interest is more in income than outcomes. Sad but true.

Voting on Gay and Inter-racial Marriage— America’s Disgrace in Full View

There is not country in the world where people have to vote to assure the right of an inter-racial couple to marry……except in the good old U.S. of A.

Similarly, in most enlightened areas of the world gay marriage is an accepted reality as part of “freedom”. The exceptions are largely theocracies whose citizens are held to two thousand or year old credos.

In the U.S. our orthodox religionists (christian mainly) hold to the notion they should have unlimited “freedom” to dictate the rules of society according to their “beliefs.” As such they attempt to attach religious dictates to civil rule. Our Supreme Court has a majority of these dinosaurs and is inflicting untold damage on our democracy. Separation of Church and State is not in their vocabulary.

Of course no one forces any so-called true believer into gay marriage, or use of birth control, abortion or racial intermarriage.

Medicynical Note: The racist roots of our constitution is showing. Glad the bill passed but disappointed that it was necessary.

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.