Category Archives: Health

Blogs Against Kleptocracy – Pandemic Profits

It’s simple really: If you want to put a whole lot of fat cash into the pockets of drug manufactures, fake a pandemic! And that’s pretty close to exactly what the WHO and CDC did with all the dire warnings about H1N1.

“120 million Americans infected with up to 90,000 dead… ,” was the Obama Administration’s estimate of the impact here in the US. “2 billion infected with hundreds of thousands dead… ,” was the breathless estimate from the WHO. But what was the outcome of this dire world-wide medical emergency? Not even 5000 flu-related deaths in the United States, far less even than in a regular flu season.

What was not the outcome of a ‘regular flu-season’, however, were the stratospheric profits of companies like CSL Limited, GlaxoSmithKline, and Roche—the latter, for example, realizing a whopping 12-fold increase in profits year over year from the second quarter of 2008 through the same period in 2009.

The Council of Europe of reportedly investigating the WHO for allegedly faking the pandemic to bolster the bottom line of drug manufacturers. Do you think we’ll see such an investigation in the United States of Kleptocrats? Don’t bet on it!

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Dispatches from South America – ‘No Remedias Para Usted’

So…it was bound to happen. It might have been something I ate. Perhaps I wasn’t quite as careful with the tap water as I should have been. Or, maybe it was those damned bus fumes combined with the thin air…

…but just as I returned to Ecuador from a week in Peru, I got sick as a dog. For three days I felt like I was having an acute asthma attack combined with nausea from hell. Body aches? Oh yeah. Fever? Yup… ’bout 100 F for at least 24 hours. So, not wanting to infect anybody else, I pretty much took to my bed and did a lot of sleeping. But I also trekked with the Frogette down to Farmacia Fybeca to try and obtain an over-the-counter “remedia” for my body-aches and cough. You know, something like Actifed or Tylenol Cold and Sinus. And what did we discover at our favorite pharmacy? You can’t get anything in Ecuador without a prescription, not even basic cough suppressants.

Now I’m not sure if this is the case all over South America (hopefully not), but it seems like a pretty short-sighted policy to me. Consider that H1N1 spread faster in South America than just about anywhere in the world, a problem that could have been mitigated by having easy access to standard over-the-counter remedies. I mean, let’s face it, in a country where nobody…and I mean nobody…covers their mouths when they sneeze or cough, the one sure way to keep an airborne virus down is to make sure nobody *HAS* to cough.

More ‘Dispatches From South America’

The Upside of a GOP Win In Massachusetts

According to House Speaker Pelosi (D-CA), a GOP win in the Massachusetts special election…

“…doesn’t mean we won’t have a health care bill. Instead, it would simply be a question about how we would proceed.”

But the sad fact is that win by Scott Brown would be a godsend for Democrats. Then, instead of having to explain why health care went down to defeat—as moderate and liberal democrats defect at the crucial moment—Democrats can point at the Republican minority and say, “…it’s their fault! They defeated this bill.” Far better for the Democrats than having to explain why they can’t lead, won’t fight, can’t unite, and crafted a crap bill that looks like it was written by the insurance industry lobby.

A Brown win is the easy way out, though it remains to be seen whether Pelosi and Reid have sufficient legislative skill to take advantage of a it.

Insurance industry hospital ship to Haiti – S.S. Hopeless will serve rich quake victims

More aid from the U.S. arrived in Haiti today as the insurance industry’s hospital ship S.S. Hopeless sailed into Port-Au-Prince harbor, on a mission to bring much needed medical relief to rich survivors of the 7.0 earthquake that struck the country January 12.

The Hopeless had steamed at top speed from the Bahamas, where it waited for six days while Haiti’s paperwork was being processed.

“We are here to bring the world’s best health care system to the Haitian elite,” explained Julie McCoy, the Hopeless’s cruise director.

“Medical care for poor quake victims is being provided by emergency public options funded by the world’s governments and nonprofits, so the industry role is to offer a standard of care and service to Haitians willing to pay the free-market price,” McCoy said.

The Hopeless is a 32,000 ton Connecticut-registered vessel, recognized around the world by the familiar green dollar sign painted on its side. It carries 500 private rooms, a galley staffed by six cordon bleu chefs, 12 operating suites for elective surgery, 20 magnetic resonance imaging scanners, a claims department, a Wal-Mart pharmacy, and an IMAX theater currently showing Avatar.

The Hopeless is suspending many of its normal policies due to the urgent nature of the Haiti situation. Plate tectonics won’t be treated as a preexisting condition, and patients will be able to add domestic servants to their policies at a rate of 30% of full premium instead of 50%.

S.S. Hopeless

In other news, surging GOP Massachusetts senate candidate Scott Brown brought in help yesterday to put his effort over the top. The former male centerfold’s office announced that Jeff Gannon and Levi Johnston were flown in to help campaign for Brown on the final day of his race against Democrat Martha Coakley. “The male centerfold aficionado voting bloc is going to put us over the top,” said a spokesman.

ERITAS and Wiseline Institute and Center for The Secular Humorism celebrates its 300th post on Ragebot

New magazine jolts publishing world – TSA body scans to appear in “Public Screenings”

The White House announced the first stage of a new business diversification plan today, launching the first-ever government owned monthly magazine.

“Public Screenings” will carry images of airline passengers taken by Transportation Security Administration using the new millimeter-wave scanning machines.

Press secretary Robert Gibbs said the TSA originally planned to release the photos in the Federal Register, as a way to preempt the paperwork burden of responding to inevitable Freedom of Information Act requests by Maxim, FHM and Fox News.

However, the Office of Management and Budget reviewed the project and immediately saw how a new magazine, when coupled with the public’s insatiable interest in seeing people naked, could result in a major new revenue source.

Press secretary featured in spread in premiere issue

Gibbs cited how the tens of millions of people who fly every year would quickly create a huge collection of body scans of people from all walks of life — including the rich and famous. “The sales of issues containing Tiger Woods mistresses alone could pay for three years worth of the upcoming military occupation of Yemen,” Gibbs said, adding: “Whoopsie.”

OMB projections see newsstand sales erasing the national debt by June.

However, the private sector publishing world denounced “Public Screenings” as exploitation and an invasion of privacy, and called the idea of a federally-published magazine socialistic.

“Americans don’t want a bureaucrat standing between them and their paparazzi, we already have the best private naked picture delivery system in the world,” said Vernon H.W. Lechér, spokesman for the U.S. chapter of the British Institute of Nude Observation Clubs United for Laws Against Robes (B.I.N.O.C.U.L.A.R.), a free-market less privacy rights organization.

“This is a job killer. If Barack Obama has his way, instead of lurking in bushes with telephoto lenses, thousands of independent photographic entrepreneurs will be living under those bushes,” Lechér said.

Instead, Government should cut regulations on independent photographic entrepreneurs. “Imagine what the Globe or National Enquirer could do with those TSA body scanners — provided all local voyeur laws are canceled by executive order,” said Lechér.

“Honest people with curtains and nothing to hide should have no objections,” he added.

In other news, Fox News commentator Brit Hume said yesterday that he meant no offense to Buddhism when he advised prodigal golfer Tiger Woods to become a Christian. “I was only saying that his kitchen floor would be cleaner and shinier with new improved Christianity, over Buddhism or other kinds of witchcraft,” Hume told Fox’s Bill O’Reilly.

The Health Care Debate Could Not Be More Personal

This is a post that I’ve been very reluctant to write as it involves a situation that, I’m almost embarrassed to say, really should never have been allowed to happen.

You see, for the six months leading up to our little sojourn abroad, after I lost my last steady job back in March 2009, the Frogette and I were “soaring without a net” for the first time in our lives. In other words…with no steady work and crappy COBRA coverage that was too expensive to consider, we choose to risk having no medical coverage at all rather than shell out roughly $8,000 over that period.

Was this a wise decision? Probably not. I have at least two pre-existing conditions that may preclude me from ever getting steady coverage again. (We have “temp” coverage now, but it covers almost nothing.) And we are getting older. In fact, we’ve both reached that stage of life where we really need to be taking care of ourselves, and part of that is good, solid, regular, routine medical exams. Exactly what we cannot get in our current situation, in our country of citizenship, in what Republicans keep referring to as the ‘finest, most efficient, health care system in the world’.

I don’t know how the health care debate is going to turn out. Personally, my knee-jerk instinct is to oppose what looks like another ‘super-giveaway’ to huge, prosperous corporations. On the other hand, if this opportunity to reform the system is lost, there may not be another in our lifetimes.

Regardless, what I do know is this: If the US does not move toward providing health care to all its citizens—does not make for-profit health care illegal, whether it’s single-payer or via some other mechanism—I will not allow myself and my family to be frozen out of affordable health care. I will not risk financial ruin to help pad the bottom line of corporations that are not really interested in keeping anybody healthy. I will take my expertise, my education, my industry, my company, my resources, and my taxes, and I—WILL—LEAVE! I can certainly find another kleptocracy that will, at the very least, take care of me in my declining years, and for the US government to think otherwise, is pure hubris.

South Carolina wins 2nd production line – “They threw everything at Santa” -Mrs. Claus

The fierce competition to determine the site of a second North Pole production line has been won by South Carolina.

The announcement was made yesterday by Northex, the North Pole’s Oslo-based holding company that also owns Kris Kringle Worldwide and Rudolph Organic Compost.

“South Carolina has shown us it offers the best business and labor climate for our expanded operations,” said Angelina Claus, Northex CFO and wife of Santa Claus for 371 years. “Also, they threw everything at Santa in terms of tax breaks and other incentives” to build the new toy factory in the Palmetto State, she said.

South Carolina officials, decked out in pointed slippers, velvet breeches, belled hats, and other gay apparel, gathered in the state capitol of Columbia for celebrations that stretched late into the night. “South Carolina puts the SC in ‘Santa Claus’ — and ‘Christmas,’ now that you mention it,” said a jubilant Gov. Mark Sanford.

It was Sanford’s personal, secret negotiation of a trade pact in Argentina earlier this year that sealed the deal. Now having a physical corporate presence in South Carolina gives Claus an opening into the lucrative Argentinian toy market currently, controlled by competitor Father Christmas.

Other incentives committed by the state include tax exemptions on in-state purchase of reindeer fuel and gift wrap, and a waiver of environmental regulations for Santa’s capital projects. In addition to the new assembly plant in Charleston, Santa also has plans for a three-runway sleighport and a new project for his Nat King Coal division, which would be the world’s largest open pit mine.

Barbie’s Dreamliner
Behind schedule

Santa Claus went looking for a new production site earlier this year after negotiations with the elf union, the Arctic Federation of Labor, broke down over the AFL’s refusal to agree to a no work stoppages deal. Santa had demanded the provision after stoppages caused expensive delays in the Barbie’s Dreamliner program.

State House Speaker Bobby Harrell summed up the state’s victory: “Today, South Carolina kicked the asses of a bunch of greedy little elves.”

In contrast, the decision has touched off a firestorm north of Canada.

“Christmas is ruined,” said Elf spokesman Gruffudd Greenbuckle said, and went on to say that work stoppages were a phony issue.

“Periodically elves have to perform a little dance, while singing merry toybuilding worksongs. It’s in our DNA, and it only takes about a minute at the top of every hour, everyone knows this,” said Greenbuckle.

“Santa used it as an excuse to betray our centuries of loyalty, and is blatantly cutting costs at the expense of the little guy,” said the three foot tall Greenbuckle. “Health insurance reform with a strong public option would do more to lower costs,” he said.

Stole Democrats’ 60th vote

Greenbuckle and other elf leaders are calling upon federal lawmakers to intercede. “Keep the North Pole at the North Pole, we say ‘let’s stay together’,” Pole City Mayor Holly Mistletoe wrote in an e-mail to Rep. Al Green (D-Texas), chairman of the House Oversight of Holiday Observances Committee (HOHO Committee). A spokesman for Green said his committee would take up the issue after the holiday recess.

However, elf assistance legislation is a non-starter in the Senate, according to Homeland Security Committee chairman Joe Lieberman (Connecticut for Lieberman-CT).

“Christmas, shmistmas. The North Pole is an axis, with elves whose union supports the public option. Protecting America from this axis of elf evil is my top priority,” Lieberman said.

Lieberman celebrates green win

Hello, I’m Joe Lieberman, and I want to tell all of you how close America recently came to losing one of its most precious ecosystems — the health insurance industry.

We all depend on this delicate food web of premiums, co-payments, deductibles, MSAs, and MSA deductibles.

It’s a breathtaking example of the wonder of nature at work. There are predators and prey. Some live; some die; some have their claims denied. The lucky ones live to have their claims denied another day.

It’s a circle of life, death, and preauthorizations.

Interrupt this cycle and there would be a health care feeding frenzy. And my home state of Connecticut has one our most sensitive habitats, where some barely survive on tenuous 30-40% profit margins.

Thus you can understand why, when President Obama first broached the subject of reform, I was distraught. “You’re killing the ecosystem!” I told him.

Luckily a group of concerned Senate conservativationists awoke to the threat of affordable health care. Ben Nelson, Mary Landrieu, and Blanche Lincoln are among those who joined me in defeating a strong public option. It was a momentous green victory — meaning millions of pieces of green paper will continue flowing into our campaign treasuries.

It’s often said that even stepping on a butterfly can cause major alterations in the environment. Or maybe that was time travel. Whatever. We can celebrate that insurance companies won’t be added to the endangered species list any time soon.

We can be grateful our children — and their children — won’t have to go to a zoo to see a medical bankruptcy.

GOP members soften – Fail to erect barrier to health reform progress

Republican hardness against health care reform legislation went soft on Saturday, as GOP senators failed to stop majority Democrats from passing amendments during a rare weekend session.

McConnell said his caucus wilted after the AARP threw cold water on GOP claims that proposed Medicare cuts, intended to reduce overpayments, would instead hurt seniors. A proposal by Sen. Mike Johanns (R-NE) to restore $400 billion in cuts was defeated, 41-53.

“There was shrinkage due to the AARP’s cold water being very cold,” said McConnell.

“Our caucus is usually a few votes larger than this,” he said.

But the Minority Leader said the setback would not affect his floor strategy. “These things happen sometimes. We’ll just try again later,” McConnell said.

McConnell went on to say he had moved to pump up Republican confidence. “I have made an online purchase of a vacuum device, and have been assured it will add 2 to 3 votes to our length and girth.”

McConnell’s assistant, Republican whip John Kyl of Arizona, also said the weekend results would not deter Republican unity in the Senate. “We will not compromise on opposition to government-run insurance,” said Kyl.

“My office has been deluged with messages from concerned citizens who are afraid of a pubic option, and the Republican Party is going to make sure they can go on being afraid,” he said.