Archive for June 2nd, 2011
Bonus points: He went to Harvard.
Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is one of the few U.S. senators who does not appear to have been corrupted by a system that forces senators to turn their jobs into full-time fund-raisers beholden to those interests with the most money, including the global pharmaceutical industry which develops and tests many drugs using government grants, and then turns around and cries R&D-related poverty while enjoying record profits on the backs of the sick.
Sanders has introduced two bits of legislation that seek to break the economic stranglehold that this industry has on the health of millions worldwide and, by extension, bankrupt state and local governments who have been erroneously convinced that the only way to address this disaster is to cut drug benefits without taking even the most cursory look at a system that rewards pharmaceutical greed through, among other things, a drug patent system weighted heavily in favor of corporate interests.
According to an article on Knowledge Ecology International (with helpful links to the legislation):
By de-linking research and development incentives from product prices, and by eliminating legal monopolies to sell products, it is possible to induce investments that are medically more important, procure products at low prices from competitive suppliers, radically lower pricing barriers for access to new medicines, reduce wasteful marketing and research and development activities, and dramatically lower the overall costs of acquiring innovation, while expanding access to that innovation.
The pharmaceutical industry is one of the world’s most profitable businesses, with a considerable portion of that money going to buy the support of your elected officials.
You want to cut health care costs? You can start by taking the profit motive out of life-saving drugs that are often developed in laboratories funded by federal and state governments.
What’s even worse: despite already wringing untold billions out of the world economy, drug companies are just getting more brazen about over-charging for drugs and simply creating false shortages for drugs so they can jack up the prices.
Don’t just get mad. Change the system.
The headline from USA Today says it all: The global war on drugs has failed.
Among the recommendations:
- End the criminalization, marginalization and stigmatization of people who use drugs but who do no harm to others.
- Challenge rather than reinforce common misconceptions about drug markets, drug use and drug dependence.
- Encourage experimentation by governments with models of legal regulation of drugs to undermine the power of organized crime and safeguard the health and security of their citizens. This recommendation applies especially to cannabis, but we also encourage other experiments in decriminalization and legal regulation that can accomplish these objectives and provide models for others.
- Offer health and treatment services to those in need.
- Replace drug policies and strategies driven by ideology and political convenience with fiscally responsible policies and strategies grounded in science, health, security and human rights – and adopt appropriate criteria for their evaluation.
- Invest in activities that can both prevent young people from taking drugs in the first place and also prevent those who do use drugs from developing more serious problems. Eschew simplistic ‘just say no’ messages and ‘zero tolerance’ policies in favor of educational efforts grounded in credible information and prevention programs that focus on social skills and peer influences.
You can get the full report here.
Sadly, the White House has already come out with a response that proves they lack the will to follow through on the most important of the commission’s recommendations, saying the War on Drugs (which is primarily a war on harmless users and addicts in need of treatment) is “not born out out of a culture war or drug war mentality, but out of the recognition that drug use strains our economy, health, and public safety.”
Yeah, right. And if you believe that whopper….
Sad. Terribly sad. What a waste of human potential, not only in terms of money spent on the war on drugs, but also in terms of the incarceration of primarily lower income people.
NBC New York, obligingly feeding the beast that is Sarah Palin’s gaping narcissistic maw (and bus tour) runs an article and story about Sarah’s magically transformative neckwear. Outside of New York, it’s a chunky cross; in New York, it’s back to the Star of David (Jews!).
Notes NBC/NY’s Roseanne Colletti:
NBC New York asked Palin about the significance just as she boarded her bus outside Fox Newschannel to head off to Boston.
“Today is the 44th anniversary of Jerusalem being reunited,” she said. ”We want to call attention to that.”
The pendant is in every photo she took with fans and supporters and can be seen in every sound-bite captured by television crews.
Some analysts wondered if the possible Republican candidate for president was actually wearing the necklace to play to the hometown audience as she hop-scotched around New York on her national bus tour.
Gee, do ya think? The Boston Phoenix’s David Bernstein has been noting humorously on Facebook since the bus tour started how Palin’s necklace has been changing with each new area in which she steps foot.
We ought not be surprised that a politician tailors her messages and appearance to her audiences, but the difference is that folksy, aw-shucks Palin tries to portray herself as being above such concerns.
His name is Brandon Barthrop, he’s a dude evangelist for Christ if there ever were one, and he claims to have diverted (or dissipated or toked away) a tornado in the Minneapolis area, purely through the power of intercessional prayer and dead brain cells. (“Where we’re high on Jesus all the time and the drunken glory.”)