Signs of the Times

This page is for the articles and videos that strike me as apropos for orienting our moral and time and space compasses.

11. http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2014/12/pigmen-win.html

“The real owners are the big wealthy business interests that control things and make all the important decisions. Forget the politicians, they’re an irrelevancy. The politicians are put there to give you the idea that you have freedom of choice. You don’t. You have no choice. You have owners. They own you. They own everything. They own all the important land. They own and control the corporations. They’ve long since bought and paid for the Senate, the Congress, the statehouses, the city halls. They’ve got the judges in their back pockets. And they own all the big media companies, so that they control just about all of the news and information you hear. They’ve got you by the balls. They spend billions of dollars every year lobbying ­ lobbying to get what they want. Well, we know what they want; they want more for themselves and less for everybody else.” George Carlin

After the disgusting example of politicians of both spineless parties bowing down before Wall Street, the military industrial complex and corporate interests this weekend with the passage of a bloated pig of a spending bill totaling $1.1 trillion, how can anyone not on the payroll of the vested interests not admit there is only one party – and it serves only the interests of the wealthy business interests. Obama, champion of the common folk, signed this putrid example of political corruption and corporate capture of the American political system. For all the believers who voted for the red team in the November mid-terms, this is what you got – a bipartisanship screwing of the American people.

http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2014/12/pigmen-win.html

 

 

10. http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2014/12/great-generic-drug-rip.html

The Great Generic Drug Rip-Off

Big Pharma has followed the only avenue left to reap billion-dollar profits: jack up the price of generics.

What happens when rapacious cartels run out of billion-dollar-profit products? They jack up the price of what was previously low-cost. And why are they able to raise prices by 388% to 8,000% at will? Because they can. That’s the whole point in having a cartel that is enabled and enforced by the cartel’s toadies and apologists in the central state (federal government): price increases can be imposed on the government and the private sector at will.

I was alerted to the extraordinary price increases in widely used generic drugs by Ishabaka (M.D.), who forwarded this fact sheet issued by the office of Senator Bernie Sanders: (Chart is reproduced below)

Staggering Price Increases for Generic Drugs

“Rep. Elijah E. Cummings and Senator Bernard Sanders sent letters to 14 drug manufacturers requesting information about the escalating prices of generic drugs used to treat everything from common medical conditions to life-threatening illnesses. Data was provided by the Healthcare Supply Chain Association (HSCA) on recent purchases by group purchasing organizations (GPOs) of ten generic drugs.”

Here are Ishabaka’s comments:

“I’d like to focus on the top one – doxycycline. This is a very effective antibiotic for pneumonia, bronchitis, and sexually transmitted diseases (chlamydia and gonorrhea). Throughout my medical career, it has been a cheap generic drug I used all the time. It’s cost has gone up from $20 a prescription to over $1,600 a prescription in the last 12 months.

Low-income people used to be able to afford doxycycline, which would stop the spread of these serious, sometimes life-threatening infections. Now they can’t, and there is no drug as good as doxycycline available cheaply. I think this is an outrage. Imagine if a generic bottle of aspirin increased in price from $10 a bottle to $800 a bottle in 12 months – Americans would be marching in protest.”

Drug Use Average Market Price Oct. 2013 Average Market Price April 2014 Average Percentage Increase
Doxycycline Hyclate
(bottle of 500, 100 mg tablets)
antibiotic used to treat a variety of infections $20 $1,849 8,281%
Albuterol Sulfate
(bottle of 100, 2 mg tablets)
used to treat asthma and other lung conditions $11 $434 4,014%
Glycopyrrolate
(box of 10 0.2 mg/mL, 20 mL vials)
used to prevent irregular heartbeats during surgery $65 $1,277 2,728%
Divalproex Sodium ER
(bottle of 80, 500 mg tablets ER 24H)
used to prevent migraines and treat certain types of seizures $31 $234 736%
Pravastatin Sodium
(bottle of 500, 10 mg tablets)
used to treat high cholesterol and to prevent heart disease $27 $196 573%
Neostigmine Methylsulfate
(box of 10 1:1000 vials)
used in anesthesia to reverse the effects of some muscle relaxants $25 $121 522%
Benazepril/
Hydrochlorothiazide
(bottle of 100, 20-25 mg tablets)
used to treat high blood pressure $34 $149 420%
Isuprel
(box of 25, 0.2 mg/mL vials)
used to treat heart attacks and irregular heartbeat $916 $4,489 390%
Nitropress
(50 mg vial)
used to treat congestive heart failure and reduce blood pressure $44 $215 388%
Digoxin
(single tablet, 250 mcg)
used to treat irregular heartbeats and heart failure $0.11 $1.10 884%

The murky world of drug pricing is attracting some much-needed attention:

Lawmakers Look for Ways to Provide Relief for Rising Cost of Generic Drugs

For 30 years, generic medications helped make health care cheaper. Why is their cost surging?

What politicos and the mainstream media cannot dare state openly is obvious: the system of drug development and generic drug pricing/distribution is broken in the U.S., and the core cause is the cartel-like structure of Big Pharma and the rest of the healthcare system.

Though nobody in officialdom or the mainstream media can say this publicly, the reason for these outrageous increases is painfully obvious: As Big Pharma’s stable of billion-dollar drugs slip off patent, their profit pipeline is weakening.

The pipeline of potentially billion-dollar-profit drugs (so-called blockbuster drugs) is thin. So Big Pharma has followed the only avenue left to reap billion-dollar profits: jack up the price of generics, and push the government to pay the outrageous increases via Medicare and Medicaid and force the increases on private insurers and providers. If we just roll over and accept 8,000% increases, we deserve the corrupt, rapacious system we have.

http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2014/12/great-generic-drug-rip.html

9.

  8. All Wars Are Bankers’ Wars, by Michael Rivero
  7. http://www.gregpalast.com/larry-summers-and-the-secret-end-game-memo/

Larry Summers and the Secret “End-Game” Memo Thursday, August 22, 2013 By Greg Palast for Vice Magazine Excerpt;  […] The year was 1997. US Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin was pushing hard to de-regulate banks. That required, first, repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act to dismantle the barrier between commercial banks and investment banks. It was like replacing bank vaults with roulette wheels. Second, the banks wanted the right to play a new high-risk game: “derivatives trading.” JP Morgan alone would soon carry $88 trillion of these pseudo-securities on its books as “assets.” Deputy Treasury Secretary Summers (soon to replace Rubin as Secretary) body-blocked any attempt to control derivatives. But what was the use of turning US banks into derivatives casinos if money would flee to nations with safer banking laws? The answer conceived by the Big Bank Five: eliminate controls on banks in every nation on the planet – in one single move. It was as brilliant as it was insanely dangerous.[…] Go here for the rest;   http://www.gregpalast.com/larry-summers-and-the-secret-end-game-memo/

6. http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-08-05/was-al-qaeda-terror-threat-used-divert-attention-nsa-uproar

Was The Al-Qaeda Terror Threat Used To “Divert Attention” From NSA Uproar?

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Michael Krieger via Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,

Some analysts and Congressional officials suggested Friday that emphasizing a terrorist threat now was a good way to divert attention from the uproar over the N.S.A.’s data-collection programs, and that if it showed the intercepts had uncovered a possible plot, even better. – NY Times article from August 2, 2013: Qaeda Messages Prompt U.S. Terror Warning

Nothing about the above quote should surprise any of my readers, we all know the sick, twisted mindset of those involved in the Military-Industrial-Wall Street complex. What’s more shocking is the fact that these folks so openly admit it to the New York Times, albeit in a typical anonymous and cowardly fashion. Let’s not forget what Robert Shapiro, former Clinton official and Obama supporter told the FT in July 2010:

The bottom line here is that Americans don’t believe in President Obama’s leadership. He has to find some way between now and November of demonstrating that he is a leader who can command confidence and, short of a 9/11 event or an Oklahoma City bombing, I can’t think of how he could do that.

I discussed the above quote and related topics in my 2010 piece: The Dangers of a Failed Presidency. Well, if Mr. Shapiro thinks President Obama didn’t have credibility in 2010, one can only imagine what he thinks today. That is precisely what makes the current moment so extraordinarily dangerous. From the New York Times:

WASHINGTON — The United States intercepted electronic communications this week among senior operatives of Al Qaeda, in which the terrorists discussed attacks against American interests in the Middle East and North Africa, American officials said Friday. It is unusual for the United States to come across discussions among senior Qaeda operatives about operational planning — through informants, intercepted e-mails or eavesdropping on cellphone calls. So when the high-level intercepts were collected and analyzed this week, senior officials at the C.I.A., State Department and White House immediately seized on their significance. Members of Congress have been provided classified briefings on the matter, officials said Friday.

“Unusual,” but somehow also extremely convenient for this to occur just as public opinion turns against the NSA and near passage of the Amash Amendment.

But intercepting electronic communications is one of the National Security Agency’s main jobs, as the documents leaked by Edward J. Snowden, a former N.S.A. contractor, have only underscored. At the request of intelligence officials, The New York Times withheld some details about the intercepted communications. Some analysts and Congressional officials suggested Friday that emphasizing a terrorist threat now was a good way to divert attention from the uproar over the N.S.A.’s data-collection programs, and that if it showed the intercepts had uncovered a possible plot, even better.

In light of all of this, let’s recall the wise words of Edmund Burke on fear:

No passion so effectually robs the mind of all its powers of acting and reasoning as fear.

Full article from the New York Times here. 5. http://www.theburningplatform.com/?p=58107

TRYING TO STAY SANE IN AN INSANE WORLD – PART 2

In Part 1 of this article I detailed the insane solutions proposed and executed since 2008 by our owners as they attempt to retain and further expand their ill-gotten wealth, acquired through fraud, deceit, swindles, and the brilliant manipulation and exploitation of the masses through Bernaysian propaganda techniques. Madness has engulfed the entire world, with a concentration of power in the hands of a few psychopathic financial elite wielding an inordinate and dangerous expanse of power over the lives of the common man. They are a modern day version of Al Capone, except their weapons of choice aren’t machine guns, but a printing press, peddling debt, creating derivatives of mass destruction, and peddling heaping doses of disinformation. The contemporary criminal class wears Hermes suits, Rolex watches and diamond studded pinky rings, drops $500 to dine at Masa in NYC, travels by chauffeured limo, lives in $10 million NYC penthouse suites, occupies luxurious corner offices in hundred story glass towers, and spends weekends hobnobbing with the other financial elite at their villas in the Hamptons. They have nothing but utter contempt for the lowly peasants who depend upon a weekly paycheck to make ends meet. Why work when you can steal $1 or $2 billion from farmers with no consequences?

Al-Capone
Al-Capone

6a00d8341c630a53ef0120a6116479970b-600wi The willfully ignorant masses are kept at bay by the selling them a false dichotomy of Republicans versus Democrats, conservatives versus liberals, and capitalism versus socialism. The ruling class distracts the public with fake wars on poverty, drugs and terror, while using these storylines to further enrich themselves and keep the public alarmed and frightened. We’ve been “fighting” the wars on poverty and drugs for over four decades and poverty is at record levels, while drugs are easier to obtain than candy in a candy store. The war on terror is nothing more than a corporate arms dealer welfare plan. The end of the Cold War put a real crimp in the bottom lines of Lockheed Martin and the rest of the peddlers of death. 9/11 and the subsequent undeclared wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and now Syria, with Iran on the horizon, have been a godsend to the bottom lines of the corporations Eisenhower warned about in 1961. In reality, the politicians are interchangeable and bought off by corporate and special interests. The people are sold a fable, and controlled opposition is the fairy tale. They perpetuate the welfare/warfare state that enriches Wall Street, the military industrial complex, the healthcare service complex, politically connected mega-corporations and the corporate media propaganda complex. The American people are given the illusion of choice by their keepers. The system is rigged. The real decisions are made by unelected secretive men who operate in the shadows and use their wealth to direct the decision making of the politicians, government bureaucrats, and corporate entities that benefit from those decisions. Edward Bernays described a society that existed in the 19th Century, 20th Century, and has now grown to immense proportions in the 21st Century:

“Political campaigns today are all sideshows…A presidential candidate may be ‘drafted’ in response to ‘overwhelming popular demand,’ but it is well known that his name may be decided upon by half a dozen men sitting around a table in a hotel room…The conscious manipulation of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country.”Edward Bernays 

The manipulation of the masses has been perfected by the ruling class through decades of corporate mass media messaging the purposeful dumbing down of the populace through government public school education that teaches children how to feel rather than how to think. The conscious manipulation of the masses has been designed to produce obedient non-thinking consumers of corporate products, educated to believe the accumulation of material goods with debt constitutes wealth, to fear whatever the government tells them to fear, and never look up from their iGadgets long enough to actually think for themselves. We are bombarded with Orwellian memes designed to keep us sedated and pliant, as the ruling class pillages the national wealth and expands their power and control over our lives.

Conform; Stay Asleep; Do Not Question Authority; Obey; Consume; Reproduce; Submit; Watch TV; Buy; Follow; Doubt Humanity; No New Ideas; Feel, Don’t Think; Fear; Accumulate; Honor Apathy; Believe Experts; Surrender; Spend; No Independent Thought; Win; Want More; Hate; Succumb To Desire; Yield To Power; Choose Safety Over Liberty; Choose Security Over Freedom   

This insane world was created through decades of bad decisions, believing in false prophets, choosing current consumption over sustainable long-term savings based growth, electing corruptible men who promised voters entitlements that were mathematically impossible to deliver, the disintegration of a sense of civic and community obligation and a gradual degradation of the national intelligence and character.

Are You Sane?

“A sane person to an insane society must appear insane.” – Kurt Vonnegut – Welcome to the Monkey House

aldous-huxley-the-real-hopeless-victimsVonnegut and Huxley’s social commentary reveals a basic truth that societies and human beings have been prone to bouts of madness over the course of decades and centuries. Humans are a weak species, susceptible to the vagaries of greed, lust, gluttony, wrath, sloth, envy and pride. The seven deadly sins are in full bloom today, as the American empire descends through Dante’s inferno of reality TV, celebrity worship, religious zealotry, adulation of wealthy titans, military conquest and worship of false idols. Over the centuries humans have gone mad over tulips, farm land, stocks, and real estate. The easily duped American populace has been victimized by multiple bubbles bursting since the creation of the Federal Reserve in 1913. The contention that a central bank run by private banking interests would promote a safer financial system and a stable currency is laughable. The Federal Reserve and the bankers who control it have created three stock bubbles, the largest housing bubble in history, a bond bubble and the mother of all debt bubbles, while destroying 95% of the dollar’s purchasing power in the last 100 years.

Read the rest ; http://www.theburningplatform.com/?p=58107

4. http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-08-06/next-stop-vladivostok-russia-bets-big-trans-siberian-railway

Next Stop, Vladivostok: Russia Bets Big On Trans-Siberian Railway

Tyler Durden's picture

Warren Buffett’s recent investments in something as mundane as rail appear to have found big fans in an unexpected place: the Kremlin. As Stratfor reports, none other than Russia is betting big on the key rail link connecting continental Europe with the Pacific: the Trans-Siberian railway. 3. http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-08-06/louis-winthorpe-iii-explains-why-trading-places-greatest-business-movie-all-time

“Louis Winthorpe III” Explains Why Trading Places Is The Greatest Business Movie Of All Time

Tyler Durden's picture

From “buy low, sell high; ‘fear’, that’s the other guy’s problem” to “don’t worry if the price goes up, just keep buying,” Trading Places is, as Dan Aykroyd describes “the greatest business movie of all time.” It’s hard to disagree but in the brief 2 minute Bloomberg collage of clips and interview, Aykroyd explains the movie’s epic ‘orange juice pit’ finale (which in some strange way reminds us of the unapologetically crowded one-sided nature of the current US equity market)http://bloom.bg/196b2v1 2. http://www.theburningplatform.com/?p=58789

Why Won’t They Tell Us the Truth About NSA Spying?

Submitted by Ron Paul via The Ron Paul Institute, In 2001, the Patriot Act opened the door to US government monitoring of Americans without a warrant. It was unconstitutional, but most in Congress over my strong objection were so determined to do something after the attacks of 9/11 that they did not seem to give it too much thought. Civil liberties groups were concerned, and some of us in Congress warned about giving up our liberties even in the post-9/11 panic. But at the time most Americans did not seem too worried about the intrusion. This complacency has suddenly shifted given recent revelations of the extent of government spying on Americans. Politicians and bureaucrats are faced with serious backlash from Americans outraged that their most personal communications are intercepted and stored. They had been told that only the terrorists would be monitored. In response to this anger, defenders of the program have time and again resorted to spreading lies and distortions. But these untruths are now being exposed very quickly. In a Senate hearing this March, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told Senator Ron Wyden that the NSA did not collect phone records of millions of Americans. This was just three months before the revelations of an NSA leaker made it clear that Clapper was not telling the truth. Pressed on his false testimony before Congress, Clapper apologized for giving an “erroneous” answer but claimed it was just because he “simply didn’t think of Section 215 of the Patriot Act.” Wow. As the story broke in June of the extent of warrantless NSA spying against Americans, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers assured us that the project was a strictly limited and not invasive. He described it as a “lockbox with only phone numbers, no names, no addresses in it, we’ve used it sparingly, it is absolutely overseen by the legislature, the judicial branch and the executive branch, has lots of protections built in…” But we soon discovered that also was not true either. We learned in another Guardian newspaper article last week that the top secret “X-Keyscore” program allows even low-level analysts to “search with no prior authorization through vast databases containing emails, online chats and the browsing histories of millions of individuals.” The keys to Rogers’ “lockbox” seem to have been handed out to everyone but the janitors! As Chairman of the Committee that is supposed to be most in the loop on these matters, it seems either the Intelligence Community misled him about their programs or he misled the rest of us. It sure would be nice to know which one it is. Likewise, Rep. Rogers and many other defenders of the NSA spying program promised us that this dragnet scooping up the personal electronic communications of millions of Americans had already stopped “dozens” of terrorist plots against the United States. In June, NSA director General Keith Alexander claimed that the just-disclosed bulk collection of Americans’ phone and other electronic records had “foiled 50 terror plots.” Opponents of the program were to be charged with being unconcerned with our security. But none of it was true. The Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday heard dramatic testimony from NSA deputy director John C. Inglis. According to the Guardian:

“The NSA has previously claimed that 54 terrorist plots had been disrupted ‘over the lifetime’ of the bulk phone records collection and the separate program collecting the internet habits and communications of people believed to be non-Americans. On Wednesday, Inglis said that at most one plot might have been disrupted by the bulk phone records collection alone.”

From dozens to “at most one”? Supporters of these programs are now on the defensive, with several competing pieces of legislation in the House and Senate seeking to rein in an administration and intelligence apparatus that is clearly out of control. This is to be commended. What is even more important, though, is for more and more and more Americans to educate themselves about our precious liberties and to demand that their government abide by the Constitution. We do not have to accept being lied to – or spied on — by our government.

1. Here an article tells the tragic story of Anna Brown who died at age 29 in a St Louis MO, on the floor of a jail cell after failing to convince the medical and police officials that she was is grave distress. I can’t see anyone personally responsible for this series of unfortunate events. But I cannot help thinking that the modern world of letting the ‘authorities’ and ‘officials’ duly appointed to oversee the health and welfare of individuals system is most heavily responsible. The fact that Anna Brown was one of ten (10) siblings and who had a mother able to house her and her two (2) children yet she was homeless and dependent upon the welfare system instead of her family tells the story of the difference between the family and the government in terms of compassion and true physical as well as emotional and economic support.  There illustrates the deep value of traditional family vs the robotic system of government welfare. No matter whether Anna Brown’s death may have happened in the arms of her family anyhow, it is to my mind doubly tragic that her life was thusly ignominiously ended upon the floor of a jail cell. I believe it would be a blessing for all individuals to be freed of  the state and free indeed in their own families to take care of one another in human love, comfort, and yes, even conflict in wrestling with poverty, unemployment, and temptations to and consequences from crime (which Anna Brown was not guilty of in any fashion in this example she was simply poor, unemployed, and homeless, in reality she was simply a co-operative compliant ward of the state!).  At least we would hold onto one another and die together in dignity as unique beings made in the image of our Creator Jesus if the family was not usurped and over ruled and over shadowed by the muscular authority of the government. Life is short, let us make the most of it. It does matter how we live. It does matter that we care for one another one to one. Woman unhappy with care at St. Mary’s hospital is arrested for trespassing, dies in jail

 BY CHRISTINE BYERS, Sunday, March 25, 2012 Richmond Heights police officers stand with patient Anna Brown, who sits on the floor inside St. Mary’s Health Center telling the officers she did not need to leave because she did not receive adequate care for the pain in her legs Thursday, Sept. 21, 2011. A short time later Police arrested Brown for trespassing and resisting arrest. Still frame from surveillance video obtained by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch from Richmond Heights Police Department via Sunshine Request. (…) PASSING JUDGMENT Brown’s family hired an attorney, but a lawsuit hasn’t been filed. Should the matter make it to court, it will rest on whether St. Mary’s violated state medical malpractice laws, said Sean Fosmire, a Michigan attorney with more than 30 years of experience representing hospitals and physicians. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services “must have seen there was enough … medical testing to satisfy the federal law,” Fosmire said. Federal law does not require accurate treatment, he noted. If St. Mary’s doctors “went through an exam, did testing and determined that the diagnosis was something else like a leg cramp, they may have been wrong, but that doesn’t mean they’re in violation of the federal law,” he said. The family’s success in court also would depend upon how much a jury finds her life was worth — in dollars, said Tom Keefe, a Belleville-based personal injury attorney. “If you kill a homeless man with no job, he’s not worth very much. But if you wipe out (Cardinals star) Matt Holliday, who is making $20 million a year, it’s worth a lot of money,” Keefe said. “Even though they are both human beings and both victims, the truth is, death cases are evaluated by the losses you can prove the survivors have suffered.” Davis said she still has trouble sleeping and eating, and constantly questions whether she should have taken in her daughter. She said she wants permanent custody of her grandchildren, now 11 and 2. Brown’s son is in counseling to deal with his mother’s death but is earning A’s and B’s. The girl kisses a picture of her mother whenever her grandmother wears a T-shirt bearing her image. The family wore the shirts to Brown’s burial on Oct. 8. Krystle Brown still wears hers to bed. “She was not a drug dealer or a hooker or doing other things that she could’ve ended up dead for,” the sister said. “People assume things because of they way they talk or the way they live or the things they do. “My sister is not here today because people passed judgement.” Blythe Bernhard and Jeremy Kohler of the Post-Dispatch contributed to this report.(…)

________________________________________________

Sunday, 09 December 2012 

After Educating Delegates, Monckton Booted From UN Climate Summit

Written by 

“In the 16 years now that we have been coming to these events, there has been no global warming at all,” said Lord Monckton, referring to the most recent U.K. Met Office data showing that there has actually been no observable increase in planetary temperatures for more than a decade and a half. Like a wide array of climate scientists and experts, Lord Monckton has been trumpeting that key point for days.

Simply stated, no warming means the UN’s “climate models” were wildly inaccurate at best and should therefore be discarded. Many critics, in fact, argue that the computer-generated “predictions” were actually deliberately misleading, designed to produce hysterical forecasts more for public fear-mongering purposes than scientific accuracy. Even if the Earth had been warming, however, Lord Monckton told the delegates that other approaches would be better suited to the task of dealing with it than an international UN-run climate regime.

http://www.thenewamerican.com/tech/environment/item/13872-after-educating-delegates-monckton-booted-from-un-climate-summit

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